Opportunity Knocks

Characters: All at first. Then Lakir goes to the bar. Later, Simrii joins him.
NPC: Jum Tixem, Jossia Mersshon
Location: The Bridge, a bar at the Larkarda Starport

1125.6.4 - 15:50 / 14:20 local time (18 1/2 hr day)
Simrii notices that Lakir is talking to some guy midway between the table and the bar (~10 feet/3 meters). They shake hands. The guy is casually, but expensively dressed. He has a well trimmed beard and he's a little on the wide side. The two appear to be having a conversation.

Simrii asks out loud, "Who is Lakir talking to?"

No one knows.

Lakir's back is to you. He continues to the bearded man at the bar. The bearded man looks flustered. The bearded man removes his pistol from his holster and hands it over to Jum. Jum adds something to the conversation and then leaves them. Jum heads over to your table.

Jum: "Are you ready to order Mister Vladgorkfeg?"

Vladgorkfeg: "Yes. I'll have the Shibuya Squid with the Oriole spices."

Jum: "Ahhhh good choice. I've had it baked and it is quite delicious. Anyone else?"

Simrii asks, "Jum, who is Lakir talking to?"

Jum replies, "He's talking to a businessman named Mersshon. Mr. Mersshon asked me if I knew of any reliable independent outfits looking for work. Naturally, I thought of you. I sent Mr. Mersshon over your way but Mr. Zalikhuluskaki intercepted him and began drilling him for information. Quite rude if you ask me."

Jum departs for the kitchen.

Lakir leaves Mersshon at the bar and returns to the table and crouches beside the captain and says really quietly, "Guy at the bar, no heavy arty on him now, says he's got a line on a recovery op, six figures, Jum don't know him."

Mersshon stands with arms crossed at the bar, looking a tad bit annoyed.

Vladgorkfeg says to the captain, "An offer of food and drink might soothe the man's rrrruffled fur. And perhaps make it easier for us to part from him some much needed cash." *grin*

Captain Shiraamer grins. "That exactly what I was thinking Vlad. Seems a shame that the gentleman is a bit put out. Lakir, you had first contact with him. Invite Mr. Mersshon over for a dinner and a drink." Looking at the rest of the group she continues. "Best behavior boys. Mr. Mersshon is already feeling uncomfortable and we don't want to spook him."

"No problem, Cap'n." Lakir walks back to the bar. He says a few words to Mersshon and then sits on a barstool. Mersshon walks over to where Lakir was sitting.

Jossia Mersshon "Jossia Mersshon," he says offering to shake the captain's hand.

Shiraamer smiles and shakes Mr. Mersshon hand. "Captain Shiraamer Siirkasaare."

"I understand from the bartender that you're in need of work. If you're interested, I have a job - a simple job really - which you may find profitable. May I sit down?"

"By all means, please have a seat. Would you care for something to eat or drink?"

"No thank you I'm fine thanks." He sits in Lakir's chair, which is directly opposite the captain.

Shiraamer thinks to herself ~'a simple job really', now how many times have I heard THAT line before.~ On the other hand, she says out loud. "A simple job? Now that would be a change. Would you care to tell us more?"

"I'd be happy to. I wasn't too sure that I was going to get a chance after the shakedown Lakir gave me. A bit too cloak and dagger if you ask me." He chuckles.

Shiraamer smiles. "The boys are a bit protective towards me and the ship -- as I am towards them."

Mersshon doesn't reply so much as nod his head and smile.

Jum arrives with Vlad's plate of squid. There are a few greens and tubers on the side. The squid looks fresh from the sea, all glistening, and there is a hint of sulfur, sneaking out underneath the acrid scent of pepper and other spices.

"There you go Mr. Vladgokfeg."

"Ahhhhhh thank you Jum." Vlad digs into his meal. It's not for the faint of heart, what with all of the squishy and slurpy sounds. Growls of satisfaction escape Vlad's mouth.

Mersshon seems unfazed, as do Gvarokh or Simrii. The rest of you.....

Shiraamer puts a business smile on her face and turns her chair a bit so as not to have to watch Vlad eat his meal. Still, she can hear him and every once in awhile has to gulp when he growls over a particularly juicy morsel.

Mersshon continues with his sales pitch, "I'm a shipping and transfer agent for Wellesmoor Diversified Products Inc. We're a mid-sized manufacturing corp. We make a variety of products ranging from body armor to novelty electronics. One of purchasing agents has obtained a prototype bioscanner, along with the blueprints, from one of the Vilani megacorps. Judging by the information we've received, the device is similar, but superior to the bioscanners currently produced in the Imperium.

"Unfortunately our agent was not able to return the device in person. Therefore, Wellesmoor has authorized me to hire an independent agent to make the pick-up.

"The job pays 300,000 credits. 1/3 now with the balance payable upon delivery. We'll even cover your expenses up to 100,000 credits, provided that you provide receipts and don't try and pass off anything outlandish. We're talking primarily fuel, air, water, food, docking fees, that sort of thing.

"So, what do you say? Do we have a deal?"

Chuck smiles. His eyebrows arch up and he looks at the ceiling. He's calculating his share and how much 'grog' that can get him.

Shiraamer replies, "You are right it does sound pretty routine. Forgive me for asking, but why wasn't your agent able to return the device in person? If it's as routine and simple as you say...."

"I'm sorry I'm not at liberty to discuss that."

Not the answer she wanted to hear. "Where is the pick up to be made at?"

"I'll let you know that after you've accepted my offer."

Gvarokh asks, "How far is this trip? Obviously you can give the destination yet, but I am trying to gauge the overall expenses as it relates to the payment."

"Yes I can give you an idea as to how far you'll have to travel." Mersshon leans back in his chair, and thinks for a second, "Hmmmm, the destination is within 12 parsecs of here. Does that help?"

"Yes it does. Thank you."

Shiraamer smiles and rhetorically says, "Now who's doing the cloak and dagger stuff."

Mersshon smiles back and says, "Ahhhhh yes yes."

In an attempt to squeeze more money out of Mersshon, Shiraamer launches her attack, "This is starting to sound risky. While I'm intrigued by the job offered, there are a few uncertainties here that leave me concerned."

Sensing where this is going, Mersshon blocks her and says, "I'm sorry, but given the state of the Imperium I can't offer more than 300,000. I'd say that life itself has become risky these days. One never knows when the tides of war will change. For all we know, Larkarda could be overrun tomorrow by corsairs, or vilani."

Determined, Shiraamer presses on. She's smarter than Mersshon is giving her credit for, "I'll grant you that, but this goes above and beyond day to day life for a merchant." She leans in over the table, "This sounds more like industrial espionage."

Mersshon sighs, that one struck home, "Yes I suppose you could call it that, but we didn't have much choice. We tried to obtain the prototype and blueprints through legal channels. The vilani, particularly those of the Makhidkarun Bureau, have been reluctant to trade with any outsiders ever since Emperor Lucan withdrew from the Vland sector. When they refused to sell the bioscanner to us, our agent acted rather rashly, and stole it.

"Officially we have denounced the theft and fired our agent. However, we still want both the scanner and our agent back, intact." His expression is quite serious to emphasize his point.

"I can give you 360,000."

Captain Shiraamer contemplates the new price. She wasn't deluding herself that she needed this job. Deciding not to push the price any further, she nods. "Ok, you've hired us. A third up front and the balance payable on delivery."

Gvarokh nods his head in agreement.

"Yes. A deal then." He is quite pleased and smiles wide.

Simrii remains remarkably quiet through out the whole conversation, although his detest for Mersshon is fairly evident to anyone who's known him longer than a week. He simply shakes his head at the whole deal and eventually excuses himself and heads to the bar.

The captain continues, "Now that we're all on the same side, how about filling us in more on the WHOLE thing?"

"Yes, of course." Mersshon reaches into his pants pocket. He's obviously not going for a weapon as one would have been clearly visible as a protruding bulge on his walk over. He pulls out a holocrystal and tosses it to the captain who catches it.

"That holocrystal contains a dossier on our agent. You'll find photos, personal records, employment history, that sorta thing. You're to pick up our agent on Theton."

To Gvarokh he says, "That's 9 parsecs spinward and coreward from here."

Turning to face the captain again, he continues, "Everything else you need to know is on that holocrystal. Meeting place, call sign, countersign, you name it. Review it before you leave and call me," he slides his business card across the table to the captain, "if you have any questions. And be careful not to give away your true reason for being on Theton to the vilani. They'll be awfully upset."

The captain pulls out her bank card reader and her bank card.

Mersshon: "Ah yes, the down payment."

The transaction goes off without a hitch. The ship's account now shows 159,411 credits.

Mersshon stands and prepares to leave. He makes to shake hands with the captain.

Shiraamer puts away the bank card reader and shakes hands with Mersshon. "We'll be in touch."

Mersshon leaves the table. He stops at the bar, passing Lakir and Simrii along the way. He gets what appears to be a pistol from Jum and leaves the place.

After Mersshon leaves, Shiraamer sits back down and looks at her crew. "Ok guys, it seems we have a job to do. Perhaps we should get back to Miisha and start making plans. I want this guy checked out in more detail. I would have pushed for a bit more creds guys, but we DO need this money and I didn't want to see it go walking. Remember that when we do this job. I want everybody on the same page before any stories are going to be told that might come back to haunt us. I'm going back to Miisha and look over this data crystal. Briefing will be tomorrow morning at 0700 hours. Oh, and Chuck? I will want coffee starting at 0600 hours. The rest of the night's your own guys. Return with me, start to investigate this guy if you want, I don't care. I DON'T want to get a call to come and bail any of you out of jail though. Any questions?"

Gvarokh speaks up, "We will need to have cargo in our holds to help our cover. Since it is only for cover, though, simple freight should be sufficient."

Shiraamer passes the holocrystal to Gvarokh. He makes a copy of the data to his handcomp.

Captain Shiramer smiles, "I trust your judgment on what would or would not work. Check into it."

Gvarokh replies, "Well, in that case, it is back to the ship."

Simrii arrives back at the table with a sandwich and fries. Lakir is no longer at the bar.

Private Threads: Two At The Bar (Lakir and Simrii).

NEXT: Simrii Returns To The Table