Post-Debriefing Meeting

Characters: All
NPC: Chuck, Kagfak, Uengghae, Captain Urshakekar and crew, Captain Daagudakur and crew
Location: Miishakaal cargo hold
System: Timat

1126.19.3 - 13:00 Imperial Time, 13:00 Vilani Time

The meeting with Rothchild was successful and now Gvarokh, Lakir, Dougok, and Captain Urshakekar are back on board Miishakaal. Meanwhile, repair teams are hard at work on fixing the ship. The work estimate is three days. Slade agrees with the assessment.

The crew have assembled in the cargo hold along with the two rescued captains and their respective crews. Urshakekar is explaining to his crew and Daagudakur and her crew what happened during the meeting and his report filing he needs to conduct for his lost ship. Meanwhile Gvarokh and crew, who wish to be mercenaries first and traders second (the reverse of what they used to be) are discussing how to move forward as privateers.

Once both groups are finished, Gvarokh combines the two into one big meeting. Gvarokh explains that he and the rest of New Miishakaal Enterprises (NME for short) are planning to pursue a campaign as privateers for the Vilani, provided that they can secure a more potent ship. He doesn't hide his feeling that they were incredibly lucky to have completed the rescue mission and made it back alive and (mostly) intact. With Rothchild backing their request, he feels that they'll be able to requisition one of the captured corsairs, preferably a Ueknou class, to use in this assignment. Success means Miishakaal will be available for lease and Gvarokh would like Urshakekar and/or Daagudakur to be their first clients.

The two captains exchange glances. Daagudakur raises an eyebrow and tilts her head. Urshakekar is smiling.

Daagudakur replies, "We were just talking about combining our crews, at least for the short run."

Urshakekar says, "I'm going to be filing a claim with the insurance company. While we wait for them to process the claim, my crew will be working for Su."

"And it was my intention," she adds, "to hire you guys to help us get my ship back. Goddess willing, she's still adrift in the Envar system and no one's snatched her. But we don't have any money right now as our bankcards were stolen by the Touzagh. We'll need our banks to issue us new ones, but as you can probably guess that will take some time."

Urshakekar interjects with a sardonic grin, "Everything involving the Vilani Bureaux takes time." With a wink at Daagudakur, he quips, "We have a bet to see which happens first: the processing of my insurance claim or the reissuing of our bankcards.

"I think we'd still be interested in leasing your ship but we need to get back on our feet first."

"And I want my ship back," Daagudakur says emphatically. "If the banks give us any shit, the Raven becomes my only asset." She struggles to say the next part. "If I have to sell her to survive, I will."

Gvarokh says, "We are more than willing to help you out on this. We have to go to Maran first. That is unavoidable. However, after that visit, we would be happy to help you search for your ship."

Daagudakur smiles and nods as she says, "Thank you."

"Assuming you get any money back, we would need contributions to the operating costs, but we won't charge you a charter fee or anything like that. It is just that we must go to Maran next. Our business there shouldn't take too long, so most of the delay will just be travel time.”

Urshakekar replies, "Well, Maran is on the way and the insurance company is based out of there. Would you mind giving us a lift?" He smiles. "You can put it on our tab."

Gvarokh laughs and says, "Sure, not a problem!"

Dougok wags his tail and yips in agreement with the decision.

Lakir speaks up, "We don't have enough staterooms, well, not without everyone doubling up, so who's goin' cold this time around?"

Urshakekar raises his hand and replies, "It's our turn." He turns to face Daagudakur. "It's only fair. You went last time."

She doesn't object. "Ok."

Lakir says to Gvarokh, "We should also see about topping off our rounds on the gauss guns and anything else people shot off during the raid. Not to mention getting some grenades, seismic charges, and maybe our own iris valve opener."

"Maybe even an autodoc," Dougok suggests.

Gvarokh nods.

"And maybe something more effective than a bubble for Dougok, regardless of how far we need to go."

"We'll get it on Maran. They're tech level 15. After all this time, we should get him one that's top notch."

Dougok's tail wags vigorously. "One with a smart cloth option to allow me to fine tune the color schemes?"

"Uh yeah, sure, if they're not insanely priced."

Back to Maran

Characters: All
NPC: Chuck, Kagfak, Uengghae, Captain Daagudakur and crew, Lun Miisha, Rear Admiral Khagamsusuu, Lt. Mizepsharguliig
Location: Miishakaal
System: Maran

1126.20.6 - 21:10 Imperial Time, 5:10 Vilani Time

Miishakaal emerges from jumpspace and begins decelerating.

20.7 - 00:55 Imperial Time, 8:55 Vilani Time

Deceleration complete. Miishakaal gets in line for Melika Starport.

There's some trepidation throughout Miishakaal. The last time they were here (18 weeks ago), the ship was attacked by a rogue recon drone which kamikazed into the ship's reactor. While Sharushariid paid for the repairs, the crew were obligated to pay that debt by undertaking the rescue mission that they just returned from.

Although the line is much shorter this time, waiting is still annoying.

A recon drone comes by the line, scans your ship, and stops.

You're hailed by it.

A human voice says, "Attention Miishakaal, please exit the line for the starport and follow this drone to the naval base. It will be your escort."

Gvarokh replies, "We have some low berth passengers, could you have someone on hand to help revive them?"

"Acknowledged, Miishakaal."

"Well, at least it's not shooting at us this time," Chuck says.

Gvarokh gives the order to follow the drone.

02:00 Imperial Time, 10:00 Vilani Time

The drone leads Miishakaal to the naval base which is located on a small moon. She is granted access without delay and is instructed to set down on a landing pad. Once down, the landing pad descends into the base and the drone returns to the queue for Melika Starport.

Miishakaal is lowered into a bay and the roof closes overhead. The bay is brightly lit and personnel scurry about. A docking arm is extended and connects with the personnel airlock. A few minutes later, the buzzer goes off to announce that someone wishes to come aboard. External video reveals it to be Lun Miisha (the guy from Sharushariid), Lt. Mizepsharguliig (your legal rep), and Rear Admiral Khagamsusuu (who was at the meeting). Behind them are two medical personnel. Two guards stand at the far end of the ramp.

Gvarokh opens the door.

Khagamsusuu is smiling. "Permission to come aboard, Captain."

"Permission granted!"

He shakes Gvarokh's paw. Miisha and Mizepsharguliig do likewise. The medical personnel nod and Gvarokh flags down Chuck to escort them.

Once everyone is squeezed into the crew lounge, Rear Admiral Khagamsusuu says, "Well done, Captain. Well done. No, scratch that. Excellent work!" He can hardly contain himself. "I've read the reports and what you did was simply outstanding. There's an old Solomani saying... That took balls!"

Miisha seems a bit uncomfortable by Khagamsusuu's unprofessional demeanor. Mizepsharguliig smiles through her embarrassment.

Miisha says, "Yes, thank you for returning our scientists and their vessel to us. They spoke highly of your bravery and your efforts."

Khagamsusuu continues, "I take it that Rothchild repaired your ship to your satisfaction?"

"Yes, his crew did a fantastic job," Gvarokh replies.

"Good. Good. Oh, yes. Lt. Mizepsharguliig has news for you."

"Yes, I do," she says. "The party responsible for hiring the hacker that crashed that recon drone into your ship was arrested, tried, and convicted. He's now in prison serving a 20-year sentence."


Khagamsusuu asks, "So now that all this is behind you, what are your plans?"

Gvarokh responds, "Well, sir, as you know, we lost our trader during this adventure. When looking at things, I just don't know how much we really are truly cut out to be traders, anyway. What we would like to do is shift more permanently into a role similar to what we just completed."

"I'm listening."

"Unfortunately, we just don't really have the ship designed for such operations. So, that leads to my rather bold request. I know that you have captured multiple corsair ships in your innumerable skirmishes. I request that you allow us to use one to go fight fire with fire. We would operate along both sides of the border as an independent corsair, but actually taking direction from Sharushariid.

"I hope that our performance on this mission has demonstrated both our ability and our loyalty. Imagine the effect we could have with a true combat ship!"

"I am, and I confess I'm intrigued." He sighs. "I'm booked solid with meetings until 06:00 tomorrow. I stole some time to come down here to see you. Regardless of what is decided, I need to take those plasma turrets off of this ship. We can put you up here at the base, or I can assign a launch and guard detail to you for R-n-R over at Melika."

Lakir says, "We need to pick up some shit anyway, to enhance survival options. I vote for goin' shoppin', with maybe a hooker and a beer on the side. It's been a LONGGGG cruise."

That brings some cheers.

Dougok nods, "Hookers are good."

Vlad adds, "Whichever leads me to meat and beer works."

Gvarokh decides he'd better nip this in the bud before it gets any worse. "Ok, we'll go to Melika."

Miisha rolls his eyes. Admiral Khagamsusuu has a grin on his face. He says, "Good. Be ready in an hour. I'll have an escort waiting for you."

"One last thing, Admiral," Gvarokh says.


"Our passengers..."

"Oh yes. Lt. Mizepsharguliig will see to them."

The admiral and Lun Miisha depart while Lt. Mizepsharguliig stays behind. Captain Daagudakur takes advantage of the situation and introduces herself.

Shopping at Melika Starport

Characters: All
NPC: Chuck, Kagfak, Uengghae
Location: Melika Starport
System: Maran

1126.20.7 - 04:00 Imperial Time, 12:00 Vilani Time

The crew have parted ways with their passengers. Both of the captains and their crews have accompanied Lt. Mizepsharguliig to start reclaiming their lives. Miishakaal's crew, along with their escorts (two armed guards), have hopped over to Melika Starport to go shopping and get some much needed rest.

No one in the group is armed, but Gvarokh is wearing his tailored cloth armor. Dougok wears one of the suits of vargr cloth armor he has claimed as his own from the ship's locker. Everyone else is casually dressed and equipped with a comm and/or PDA.

Gvarokh asks the group to stick together for right now. He needs to set up Dougok, Kagfak, and Uengghae with bankcards and then they should all go shopping. After that a group dinner is the last thing he asks of them before they spend their remaining free time doing as they see fit.

The guards arrange for an airbus to come pick up the group. When it arrives, it has no driver as it's under control from the starport's trafficnet. The airbus holds everyone comfortably while the guards sit at the front and handle driving instructions. The seats are comfortable and recline. There's even a bathroom!

The first stop is Melika Federal, a large and popular bank in the subsector. Establishing bank accounts for the three vargr takes some time as biometric data is collected from them. When it's finally done, Gvarokh deposits a thousand credits into each of their accounts. He explains that this is just "mad money" and that he'll be paying for any equipment purchases.

Dougok expresses his gratitude for the mad money as well as the offer to buy equipment.

From here the group gets back on the bus. Gvarokh explains to the guards that they need equipment, especially vacc suits that will fit vargr. The bus heads to what used to be an Imperial Outfitters store. It's now a Sharusharid Traveler shop. It's mostly equipment (yes, vacc suits too) but there are some light weapons: a limited range of blade weapons and low caliber pistols. A sign in the store warns visitor that all firearms are prohibited on the surface of Maran.

Dougok heads immediately to the vacc suit section and inquires about a tailored vacc suit with a smart cloth option that allows him to fine tune the color schemes. The clerk in attendance says that it will cost 20,000 credits and require 8 hours to construct.

Dougok asks, "Does that include a built-in HUD and vision enhancement?"

Lakir keeps an ear open for the answer.

"Yes on the HUD. Vision enhancement is present but limited to 50x magnification in the visible spectrum. However, if you're in comm contact with a sensor array, the data from the sensors can be relayed to the vacc suit and displayed via the HUD."

Lakir asks, "Got anything that I can mount on an older suit?"

"How old?"

"Tech level 12."

"If it's got HUD and a data port you can plug in some light weight limited range wearable sensors."

"Are they interchangeable?"

"You'll have to buy the vacc suit harness and a regular headmount but yeah, it'll work."

"How about gun mounts?"

"No. You'll have to find someone that sells scopes."

"Ok, so how much?"

"1000 credits for the sensors, 15 for the harness, and 25 for the headmount."

"Ok, I'll take the package."

Meanwhile, Vlad has wandered over to the blade section. He sees a nice variety of daggers, blades, utility and combat knives made from high tech alloys that make for hard, yet lightweight, weapons and tools.

Kagfak and Uengghae have followed him over and are also looking over the options.

Vlad opts for a concealable non-metallic knife that costs 25 credits. Kagfak and Uengghae opt for regular-sized daggers at 10 credits each.

Simrii says to Gvarokh, "I think I'm gonna go see if I can find some fresh food. Some meat, veggies, fruit if possible."

Gvarokh replies, "We'll go there next. I'd like everyone to stay together, at least until after dinner."

Dougok picks up a set of full spectrum goggles (1000 cr) and a hand comp (1000 cr).

Lakir gets a pair of goggles too. He explains that he needs software for them to interface with his super-PDA. The clerk lets him download one from the store for 20 credits.

Looking over the firearms, Dougok notes that they're all snub pistols of the standard shipboard security type.

Lakir has followed Dougok over here and, disappointed they don't have the ammo he wants, discretely asks for the location of a heavier weapons dealer.

"Sorry, don't know. Military grade hardware is outside our catalog."

Dougok selects a snub pistol. It costs 150 credits. The only ammo available for it is the non-lethal variety: tranquilizer darts and sleep gas. There are no clips for the weapon; bullets are loaded individually. Boxes of ammo are available for 20 credits and each holds 20 rounds. Dougok opts for five boxes of each.

Once the purchases have been rung up, everyone gets back on the bus. Gvarokh asks the soldiers if they know of any open markets where they can by fresh food. One does and instructs the bus to take them there.

05:40 Imperial Time, 13:40 Vilani Time

The airbus has parked outside a food market. Simrii leads the way, but the vargr in the group follow closely behind. The scent of fresh food—especially meat—is irresistible to them. A few people balk at the sight of vargr, but the presence of the group's military escort squashes any dissent before it can manifest itself into something ugly.

Chuck catches up to Simrii and the two start ordering: Simrii making main course selections and other fresh food that he has a craving for while Chuck finds stuff to complement it. The vargr make their suggestions too and Chuck makes sure that they're added to the list. Gvarokh, who is resisting the urge to join his brethren in the droolfest, offers the ship's bankcard to cover the bill and arranges, with help from one the guards, to have it all delivered to the ship. He also takes note of the vendors here as possible customers for the packaged food and spices they have in their hold.

After dropping a thousand credits on fresh food, the group is done with shopping and looks for a place to eat. Gvarokh asks the guards for recommendations for vargr-friendly establishments. The two scratch their heads for a bit and then one suggests The Rising Sun, a Solomani-Japanese restaurant. "They prepare the food right in front of you so they can make it any way you like it. I've had it; it's good."

The group decides to give it a shot and instruct the bus to take them there. The staff at the restaurant are friendly and a chef who is familiar with vargr palates is assigned to them.

Before the chef gets to work, and after drinks have been poured, Gvarokh asks for some quiet to give a brief speech.

"Friends, both old and new, thank you for agreeing to this dinner with everyone together. For all of you here from the start, when we first left, no one who sent us really expected us to succeed. we were just an opportunity that presented itself to them for one last chance. Despite that, we knew we could succeed and I had faith in all of you, my pack, that we would succeed.

"Together, and with the invaluable help of our newer packmates, we turned that faith into action and success. Do not forget the enormity of what we accomplished. It was truly a great accomplishment. A toast to the success!"

A chorus of "hear, hear" goes up and then the drinks go down.

After the toast Gvarokh pauses for a couple moments, then says, "And before we eat, here is a second toast: To the glorious future and hunts ahead!"

More cheers and drinking.

At this point the chef shows up with the food he is to prepare. It turns out he knows his stuff and everyone is pleased with his skills. He bows at the howls of appreciation and applause.

The dinner is enjoyed by all but it has come to an end. Gvarokh confesses that he plans on calling it an early evening as he wants to be stone cold sober for the meeting the next day. He asks the rest of the crew what they have planned.

Vlad says that he plans on just going to the hotel bar for a couple of drinks and then head off to bed.

Lakir asks Gvarokh if he'll be requiring his presence at tomorrow's meeting.

"That would be great if you'd attend."

"Ok, then. I'll make it an early night."

Dougok stands up and says, "I plan on painting the town red!"

Kagfak and Uengghae seem torn as to what to do. They look to Vlad and Gvarokh to gauge their reactions.

Chuck is staring down at his PDA.

Slade shakes his head.

Simrii seems preoccupied with produce.

Vincent looks to be mulling it over.

Chuck gets up and walks over to the guards and engages them in conversation. After a bit, all three return to the table. He explains to Dougok that they'll be watching his back this evening as the rest of the group will be keeping it low key—the hotel bar being the extent of their evening.

Kagfak decides to stay; Uengghae goes with Dougok.

After Gvarokh has paid the bill, the group heads to the hotel and checks in. Dougok and Uengghae head out with the guards. Before they exit, Dougok is heard asking them if they know "where the wolves go to hunt tail."

The rest of the group heads to the bar. Some stay briefly to make an appearance before heading off to bed. The rest enjoy the evening at the bar but call it a night before any room spinning can occur.

Meeting With Rear Admiral Khagamsusuu

Characters: All
NPC: Chuck, Kagfak, Uengghae
Location: Miishakaal, parked at Maran Naval Base
System: Maran

1126.21.1 - 03:00 Imperial Time, 03:00 Vilani Time

The crew has returned to the ship. Fortunately there was enough downtime for Dougok and Uengghae to recover from their night out. While the guards didn't provide any details, one remarked, "You're gonna have your hands full with that one."

Dougok showed up sporting a gash on one ear and several roughed up areas of fur. He seems inordinately pleased with himself.

Simrii and Chuck are busy going through the foodstuffs purchased the previous day and finding the proper storage space for it all in the galley.

Dougok stumbles into the galley and fixes himself a cup of kaf. Once completed, he sits down and laps it up. To the assembled crowd he states, "I needed to blow off a bit of steam. That was a howl." He looks about. "I can help with the stowage of food. I don't think I'm in the best of shape to meet a Vilani admiral."

Gvarokh laughs. "No, you're not."

Slade spent his morning going over new ship designs. While there are no shipyards on Maran—it has a B starport, go figure—the Vilani Navy (which does have a base here) funds research that is conducted here (Maran is TL-15). Obviously said research is top secret but the trend is towards more automation. The war's influence is felt heavily here. The Navy would love to have fully autonomous warships, but the lack of true AI continues to be a stumbling block.

Ads for the commercial shipyards (the two closest are Audhumla and Vhodan: 1 and 2 parsecs away, respectively) push the same ships that have been in the marketplace for some time. With the demands of war forcing shipyards to focus on the military's needs, the refurbished ship market is booming. Repairable ships and salvage are in high demand.

Gvarokh spends his time rehearsing his sales pitch to Admiral Khagamsusuu and trying to come up with answers and retorts for every question and counterargument he can think the admiral can come up with.

Vincent stops by Gvarokh's quarters and says, "If there are no objections, I'd like to go."

Gvarokh replies, "Yes, you'd make a good addition."

When the time comes to depart, it's just Gvarokh, Lakir, and Vincent. An escort takes them to see the Admiral. He meets them outside a conference room and seems enthusiastic to see them. After shaking their hands/paws, he says, "We're meeting with two other admirals and a representative from each of the four Bureaus. This sort of operation requires approval from the military and at least one of the Bureaus. Not only does someone has to fund it, but all four must be made aware of it and, if there are any strong objections, they must be made before we get under way."

Gvarokh replies, "Thank you very much for the explanation of the situation. That helps a lot!"

"My pleasure. Each of the people in there has received a brief about the plan. I had a chance to talk with the other admirals about it over dinner, and they're sold on the idea. We just have to convince the bureaucrats.

"I'll make the formal presentation. I'll start off with an introduction of you and your success against the Touzagh, then you'll make your proposal and I'll tie it in with our Border Defense Strategy. They'll then take shots at the plan to see if it can still float. Ready?"


The trio accompany Admiral Khagamsusuu into the room. They're introduced to Admirals Ashikagalagan and Shashkulashi (a man and a woman) and then the Bureaux reps: Akagur Ashshaazam from Makhidkarun (male), Ishnir Pashishii from Naasirka (female), Aru Arkummu from Zirunkariish (male), Fabian Dikishari from Sharurshid (male), and on a monitor on the wall, your contact from Sharurshid, Lun Miisha. They all look to be in their late 50's but could be older if their bloodline is as heavy on the Vilani side as their features imply.

Khagamsusuu then expounds upon Miishakaal's mission to rescue the crews of the Qa Livk and Fitzpatrick. He details how successful the group was and does so with a measure of pride. He drags Lun Miisha into the discussion, insisting that he verify everything. And he does. Miisha then forwards the gratitude of the Qa Livk's captain and crew and recommendations from Security Chief Rothchild and Colonel Garmin of Odinaga.

Khagamsusuu then thanks Miisha for his input and lets him go. The monitor goes blank.

Gvarokh makes his pitch to the group and Khagamsusuu bolsters it by showing how it can tie into the Navy's Border Defense Strategy. Once he's done, the others let their feelings known.

Ashshaazam expresses concern that this sort of offensive will lead to retaliatory attacks against the Vilani Safe Zone.

Ashikagalagan counters that if the frontier worlds fall, the corsairs will start raiding the Safe Zone. Khagamsusuu adds that the group will not carry anything that will tie them back to the Navy.

Pashishii questions whether one ship can do much for the Ziru Sirkaa but Shashkulashi points out how much has been accomplished already. Arkummu counters that it might be presumptuous to expect an uptick in the economy now that the Touzagh have fallen, pointing out that the group merely disbanded. He feels that the corsairs will just realign themselves into smaller groups and resume raiding. Shashkulashi argues that smaller bands are easier to crush as they lack the resources to mount major attacks and coordinate large offensives.

Dikishari says, "I find it troubling that we're willing to content ourselves with an ever shrinking Safe Zone."

Arkummu replies, "If you were aware of the numbers that are being floated about, you'd realize that a small, yet stable Safe Zone is the only thing that will help us ride this war out."

Khagamsusuu says, "While I understand a reluctance to finance a push into conflict zones, this project aims to undermine a foe that is taking worlds for their own use, not bombing them into oblivion. If successful, we can expand the Safe Zone. It might be the boost we need to remain a viable entity in this war."

Ashikagalagan comes back with. "This is about Gemid, Admiral."

Khagamsusuu looks stung. "I don't know how anyone can sleep at night knowing what sort of hell they could unleash. So, yeah, I'd like to get Gemid back. Maybe this project is the first step in that direction."

While the group continues to debate among themselves, Lakir whispers to Gvarokh, "This looks like our opening. Let's see what we can find out about Gemid. Also, it seems the bucks required to support our ops is a sticking point. We need to emphasize the 'self-funding' nature of our operations, both from a legit commerce cover as well as a privateer/direct action point of view. All with the right setup in the front end."

Gvarokh nods.

Lakir adds, "We can manage this; we have the track record."

Gvarokh clears his throat. "What's the status of Gemid?"

The group exchanges glances with one another before Khagamsusuu says, "As you know, Gemid, an Imperial client state, fell to Confederation forces a few years ago. We're not certain how it fell, but our sources indicate that several states that were anti-Imperial made a deal with the Confederation and provided them with information regarding the defense forces at the naval base that left them vulnerable."

Shashkulashi adds, "They could've also taken the planet hostage with threats of nuclear bombardment."

Pashishii retorts, "But only a fool would want to risk damaging all of that high tech infrastructure."

Ashikagalagan counters, "Not necessarily. If your enemy has a cache of doomsday weapons which you can't counter, wouldn't it be preferable to let them be destroyed lest they be used against you."

Arkummu says, "But the Imperium would never use doomsday weapons..."

The assembled group all shoot a look in his direction.

"Oh right. Yes, well, that was before all this Black War madness."

Khagamsusuu regains control of the conversation. "The naval base there has an advanced weapons facility. Everything was on the table, and I do mean everything. Our contacts have indicated that the only reason why the Confederation hasn't put these weapons into use is that those stationed at the facility sabotaged as much as they could before being overrun. It bought us time, but we don't know how much."

The room is silent while he pauses.

Lakir is about to ask some questions, but Gvarokh puts a paw on his arm to stop him. Lakir looks at him; Gvarokh gives him a "wait" signal with his paw.

Gvarokh clears his throat. "We could help to figure that out.

"As Admiral Khagamsusuu stated, nothing on the ship will tie back to the Vilani at all. Even if the ship is claimed or found, there will be nothing that will give them any indication it came from the Vilani Empire. We will appear in all ways to be an independent operator.

"While our overall goal is to raid and sow discord, working against any Touzagh successor and gathering intelligence on Gemid fit right in with that. In addition, we will be ripe for any other such missions along the way. Any other intelligence, specific raids, or rescue missions are all fair game and within scope of the operation. You will have a free agent operating in enemy territory that can be used as necessary for specific tasks, while causing general mayhem in between.

"I assume, based on this discussion, that Gemid will be our initial focus."

"That has yet to be determined," Arkummu retorts.

"Well, whichever mission is chosen, we will be a prototype of such operations. If you determine our efforts a success, you will be able to add more such ships to the effort over time.

"We will operate in a self-sufficient manner. Aside from the ship itself, we should not incur any expenses. In fact, depending on how much raiding we are able to accomplish, we could end up being cash flow positive. We will have to retreat to Vilani safeholds when faced with serious damage, but the proceeds from raiding should help pay for such occurrences."

Gvarokh pauses to let that sink in. He notes that this last point has gone over well with the Bureaux reps.

"And being your team in the field, we can act immediately upon the intel your agents provide us rather that waiting for it to find its way back here and then sending out a team. Based on your orders of course."

Heads nod around the room.

Khagamsusuu asks the assembled group, "Does anyone have any further questions for Captain Gvarokh?" No one does so Khagamsusuu asks Gvarokh, Lakir, and Vincent to wait outside.

Out in the hall, Gvarokh explains to Lakir why he interrupted him when he pressed on Gemid. "It was premature to ask any inside questions about Gemid and could be counter-productive. Once they buy in, you can hone in on Gemid."

Lakir nods.

After ten minutes or so, the door opens and the group files out. Khagamsusuu invites the trio back into the meeting room.

Once seated, he says, "We took a vote. It's a go. We'll need a few weeks to put it all together: secure a ship, fit you into the budget, get you a list of contacts, and build your itinerary." He smiles. "But we got everyone on board and that was the hardest part."

Gvarokh wags his tail while he says, "Wonderful!"

Khagamsusuu nods.

"Can I put my wishlist in now?"

Khagamsusuu smiles. "Yeah, go ahead."

"I want a corsair, not one of those Imperial types, something vargr, like a Ueknou class. And it should have an authentic Touzagh paint job."

"That shouldn't be too hard. There are several captured ones lying around."

"If there's any way we can get those two plasma turrets back, that would be great."

"Yeah, it would." He scratches his chin. "I might have to squeeze a few bean counters to make it happen."

Gvarokh's tail is wagging again. "Do we get a cutter or G-Carrier?"

"The Ueknous all come with G-Carriers."

"Ok, now the hard part. What sort of cut do we get from the spoils?"

"10%. We have to make some attempt to keep this revenue neutral."

The 10% is less than Gvarokh wants, but it will just mean they'll need to stay busy. He figures that as long as they can get a few ships in the deal, it will work for them. If they just get cargo, they'll suffer. He realizes that there's a need to prove themselves, which means just accepting the 10%.

Gvarokh grunts in acceptance. They're getting a corsair; he can't be choosy.

Lakir assumes the balance of the gear and munitions procurement process will occur concurrently with the ship acquisition so he holds off for now.

Gvarokh says, "We need to understand how much we're supposed to know on different things, and how wide we should be spreading the knowledge with the crew."

"What you tell your crew is your business. If you can't trust them, they shouldn't even be on your ship. If they're someone you need for the job, use your best judgment. Any information we send you will be marked. 'FYEO' is 'For Your Eyes Only'. 'NTK' is 'Need To Know', something you'd generally share with your closest crew, but you could tell the rest if the mission made it necessary. 'FP' means 'Field Personnel' can know. 'PK' is 'Public Knowledge'. If there's a 'D', it's disinformation. Does that suffice?"

Gvarokh replies, "Oh, I trust my crew. The issue was just that I was betting there will be some information you won't even want them to know. I figure setting the groundwork is the best path. Your outline works for me. Thank you."

The Admiral nods. "Good."

Lakir requests that the Admiral supply them with a data dump on the tactical/strategic situation in the surrounding area, just PK stuff, to get them up to speed.

The Admiral nods. "Absolutely.

"As I said before, it's going to be a few weeks before we're ready for you. You can do what you want during that time. The op will wait until you get back, but if you're going to take more than 12 weeks, drop us a line.

"We'll have your transponder ID on file." He adds a conspiratorial wink. "Be sure you leave it running while within our borders. It'll be to your advantage."

The meeting concluded, the Admiral shows them to the door.

Later, when they're on the way back to the ship, Gvarokh explains to the other guys that there may be a chance to "skim" a bit here and there. While he expects the Vilani to track the big stuff, he's will to bet that they aren't going to sweat the small stuff, as long as it isn't really noticeable.

Next: Post-Big Wig Meeting Planning