Installation of New Fuel Purification Plant Parts

Characters: Slade and Vincent
Location: Miishakaal Engineering Room

1125.7.6 Standard Imperial time: 11:20, Standard Vland time: 11:18, Local time: 9:40

Now that everyone is out of Engineering, it's safe for Slade and Vincent to get to work on installing the new equipment. The first bit of machinery to get installed is the fuel compressor pump.

Both men work slow and steady, making sure the job is done right the first time. An hour later the new fuel compressor pump is installed. A half hour after that the new fuel scrubbers are installed. Another half hour is spent cleaning the fuel filters. The scum and grit is dumped into the ship's waste tank. Once clean, they're reinstalled. All in all, two hours and fifteen minutes have gone by. Everything checks out. They fire up the fuel purification plant and observe how the new equipment handles the unrefined fuel.

Slade has Vincent do it, "Go ahead Vincent. Can't have you gun shy around the equipment."

Vincent cues up the Fuel Purification Plant and opens up the fuel inlet.

There's a bit of creaking as air is flushed out of the equipment and the unit adjusts to the new equipment. It doesn't bother Slade, though Vincent is a bit nervous. However, all gauges are showing green. Flow rate is optimal. The scrubbers are operating at capacity and the pump is moving things along.

"Good," Slade says, "Let's get the salvageable parts organized and stowed away. Then we can go get cleaned up."

Gvarokh Ponders the Situation From the Bridge

Character: Gvarokh
Location: Miishakaal Bridge

Gvarokh sits in the pilot's chair on the bridge taking stock of the situation. A quick check of the fuel gauge shows that the ship's fuel tanks are full, though still unrefined. Although Slade might be annoyed at unrefined fuel running through the drives, in an emergency he'd just have to deal with it.

Life support checks out too.

"So, other than the transponder, and the captain, there's nothing else keeping us here," he says out loud.

He then checks his and the captain's notes about acceptable transponder exchange worlds. He wonders if it would be ok to get the transponder switched at Hrun. He can't find anything that says they can't.

Gvarokh accesses the local net. He thinks to himself, "The captain told us to leave without her if she wasn't back in 24 hours, but I can't see us getting far. We'd be dropped faster than a dirrghzae on the first day of hunting season."

He can't find any public information on what sort of ships the naval base has but he remembers that the welcoming party consisted of 2, 400 ton patrol cruisers and 2, 1000 ton destroyer escorts. With a naval base in system, it is likely that there are alot more, and alot bigger, ships around.

Gvarokh easily finds a directory linked to a map of the station. All public and commercial areas are clearly labeled. The port authority's offices are labeled as well. There are several areas that are marked "station administration", but no explanations are given for what that means. "May as well have written, Closed To The Public."

A quick check with the TAS info page reveals that the local law level is 3. That feels reassuring in some way.

Gvarokh tosses these ideas around in his head while he makes his way to the galley for some grrahhak.

Standard Imperial time: 13:40, Standard Vland time: 13:38, Local time: 12:00

Up on the bridge, the comm buzzes. It's Slade. "Hey Gvarokh. The fuel purification plant is all fixed. She's cleaning up the fuel now. We'll be good to go in six hours."

Gvarokh answers, "Great news. Uh, can you stop by after you clean up?"

Slade replies, "Yeah sure," and terminates the connection.

Hanging in the Crew Lounge

Characters: Lakir, Simrii, Vlad, Slade, Vincent
NPC: Chuck
Location: Miishakaal's Crew Lounge

1125.7.6 Standard Imperial time: 14:00, Standard Vland time: 13:58, Local time: 12:20

After returning to his room, Lakir did a field strip of his gauss pistol and checked that all of his mags were fully loaded. Once completed he went downadeck and over to the ship's locker to check his vacc suit. Satisfied that it's in tip top shape and that the air tanks were topped off, he went to the galley to make himself some lunch. Simrii, Vlad, and Chuck are in the crew lounge hanging out, waiting for something to do besides waiting.

"Anything going on?" Lakir asks.

"Nope," Simrii answers.

"Gvarokh came out for some grrahhak," Vlad adds.

Lakir sighs and then sets to making himself some lunch.

Standard Imperial time: 14:30, Standard Vland time: 14:28, Local time: 12:50

After Lakir finishes lunch, a freshly showered Slade emerges from the cargo hold iris and heads to the bridge.

Chucks asks Slade, "How's it going down there Slade?"

"All fixed," Slade manages to say before disappearing.

Chuck cheers.

Vincent then appears in the crew lounge, "Man, I'm hungry," and begins to look for something to eat.

Gvarokh and Slade on the Bridge

Characters: Gvarokh and Slade
Location: Miishakaal's Bridge

Standard Imperial time: 14:30, Standard Vland time: 14:28, Local time: 12:50

Gvarokh is on the bridge mulling over his notes when the iris valve chime sounds. He checks the security cam and sees that it's Slade. "Enter!" he barks.

"You wanted to see me Gvarokh?" a freshly showered Slade asks.

"Yes," says Gvarokh. "It's still about that message I received from the Captain. I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out what to do about it, but the best answer I keep getting back is 'Wait.'. And I don't like that answer. Do you have any suggestions?"

Slade answers, "You know, I've thought about this and I can't come up with a better idea than doing what the Captain says. A few possibilities to consider: (1) We can send a coded message somehow to rule out any form of duress. (2) We can hack the net. (3) We put on our best clothes and go try to visit her. (4) We can call the authorities for help. (5) We can storm the station. (6) We can threaten to engage the jump drive at dock." He pauses. "I think that about covers it."

Gvarokh glares at Slade for just a moment, then says, "Sarcasm aside, you are probably right. I guess right now we need to just go along with the captain's plan until we know we need to do otherwise." He adds, "Let's make sure the ship is ready to go when the time is up."

Slade shrugs, "Without sarcasm my only friend would be the jump drive. I wish I had better ideas, I really do."

Gvarokh laughs a bit at the joke. He turns serious and says, "Oh, one more thing. I didn't want to tell everyone this, but I do want to mention it to you: there was a second part to the captain's message. She said that if she didn't return, there is a data crystal in her cabin that I need get and play. I have no idea what's on it, but I want you to be there if I have to get and play it."

"Oh, crap. Your concern is now officially contagious. What do you mean, if she doesn't return? When do we determine that she hasn't returned? Because she hasn't returned."

Gvarokh says, "We will know she hasn't returned when the 24 hours are up." He pauses for a couple moments while it sinks in, then continues, "I don't plan on leaving immediately. Either she got in trouble with the authorities and we can't leave, or she is in trouble with someone else and we can at least do some poking around. Unfortunately, I have no idea where we would start the search."

Slade takes a slow breath and glances around the bridge as if hoping the captain might suddenly jump out of a duct or storage locker. He says, "Okay, gotcha. Let me know. Thanks for the update." He pauses and makes eye contact finally, "Hang in there Gvarokh. We'll work this out somehow."

Slade heads back to engineering to check up on things, then he takes some downtime to be by himself and think, if time allows. He wants to break his subgun out of the locker, clean it, and check his magazines, but he knows they're in perfect shape from the last time he did that, and it would send the wrong message to the rest of the crew.

Strolling In

Characters: All
NPC: Chuck & Shiraamer
Location: Miishakaal's Crew Lounge

Standard Imperial time: 17:05, Standard Vland time: 17:03, Local time: 15:25

Boredom preoccupies the crew. Chuck has given up reading and is now staring at the ceiling. Slade and Vincent are monitoring the progress of the Fuel Purification Plant via Vincent's laptop. Simrii, Lakir, and Vlad are passing the time with Va Ignaets, the vargr equivalent of "Go Fish."

Gvarokh has returned to the galley for his third cup of grrahhak.

Chuck asks him, "How's it going Gvarokh?"

Gvarokh growls back something in Gvegh which makes Chuck sink lower in the couch in an attempt to disappear. He wishes he hadn't said a word.

Although Vincent and Slade don't understand a word, and Lakir only a word or two, the tone is pretty obvious. Vlad and Simrii understand every word and, as a result, keep to themselves.

In the ensuing silence, the airlock is heard to whooosh. While everyone who had a weapon out before instinctively reaches for it now, tensions ease up as the distinctive sound of the captain's heels on the deck are plainly heard. As she enters the crew lounge, six and a half hours after her cryptic emails, all eyes are upon her.

She looks none the worse for wear and appears to be a chipper mood, "Hi boys." She makes her way over to the coffee pot and pours herself a cup. After noticing several stares and glares, she blurts out, "What?"

Gvarokh is very relieved to see her. He grabs an empty chair, spins it around toward her, and says, "OK, we're all here. What's the story? The long version, preferably."

All eyes and ears are upon her as she remains standing. With mock indignation, she states, "The captain is not subject to interrogation by the crew." She smiles and takes a seat. "I went to the Port Master's Office. After a short wait, I was permitted to see Hiaani. I explained to him that we were new to Vilani space and that we needed a RVE transponder. Since we were such good sports about being boarded and thoroughly inspected by that Lieutenant Drilimmi woman, he decided to give us a passing grade on the background check." She pauses to take a drink of her coffee. "And then he took me out to dinner."

She stands, "And that's all I'm going to say on the matter," which is followed by a devilish grin. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I'd like to return to my quarters."

Vlad just shakes his head and grins.

Vincent mutters, "Figures. She goes out on business and gets lucky...."

Gvarokh says loud enough for all to hear, "The message you sent me was much more ominous than a dinner date ..."

She cringes. "Yeah, well, the dinner date happened after I sent that email. I had something else in mind on my way to see him." She sighs, "After I met Hiaani, everything changed." She pauses, with a brief stare into distance. Snapping back she sincerely adds, "I'm sorry if I made you worry, old friend." She reaches out and touches Gvarokh on his left arm.

As she walks away, she adds, "We should be receiving a copy of the background check form any minute now. You should be able to get that transponder installed once it arrives. Let me know when it's done." And with that, she sashays away.

Next: Leaving Gishinridu