009-1117 – Venad – Adar/Hinterworlds

Venad – Adar/Hinterworlds 0402 A221621-B Ni Po Na 324 Im M0V M6D

I slept in this morning. Wasn’t much of a reason to get up. Eventually I did and got something to eat from the room dispenser. It wasn’t great, but there isn’t much you can do with synthesized eggs.

After a bit I decided to head back to the starport to check the status of the Grayswandir. As I got closer the first thing I noticed were all the posters and signs attached to the perimeter fence. Then I saw the air rafts circling overhead.

Then I saw the grav tank inside.

Security was a bit tight getting in but they relaxed when I showed them my ident.

“What’s with the security?” I asked.

The guard, who was wearing combat armor though his helmet was sitting on the desk beside him, shook his head. “Anti-Imperial sentiment has been building up since the news from Core got here. There have been almost daily protests outside and the people in charge seem to think it’s going to get worse.

I frowned. “Why?”

He shrugged. “Got me. The higher-ups told us we needed to increase security, so we did.” He looked out through the windows towards the courtyard beyond. “They say they’re unhappy with us here, but the Imperium has done more for them than anything the Ral Rantan’s ever did. Once they find Dulinor and bring him in, all of this will settle down.”

I nodded. “Yeah. What do they think, the Imperium is going to collapse?” We both laughed at that and he waved me into the starport.

I went to the pad where the Grayswandir was sitting. Scaffolding was still around the port engine but the rest of it was clear and the boarding ramp was down. I waved my ident at the securitybot at the entrance and went inside.

There were a couple of techs in the bridge, finishing up on upgrading the main computer software. I spoke with them briefly then headed aft. I went into the engine room and was surprised to find Jami there.

She had what looked like a third of the maintenance panels off and was deep within one as I entered. But as soon as she realized I was there she jumped up.

“Heya, Captain Derek.” she said, wiping her hands on a dirty rag which couldn’t have left them any cleaner. “How’s it going?”

“That’s what I wanted to ask you,” I said, even though I hadn’t had any idea she would be there. “How is everything going?”

She nodded and waved around. “The gang here knows what they’re doing.” She put her hands on her hips. “I didn’t realize you had a J-2!”

I shrugged. “How else would we have gotten to Venad? You’re two parsecs from anywhere.”

She shrugged. “Used drop tanks? Had bladders in your cargo hold? I don’t know. I hadn’t thought about it. There are so many ways around that it didn’t even occur to me.” She looked around the engine room. “Nice ship. Glad to be aboard.”

I nodded. “Yeah, I liked it so much I bought it.”

She laughed at that. “Yeah, I can see that. Hope to have one of these myself, someday.”

I smiled. “Stick with me. You will.”

She nodded. “I’m sure I will. Captain.”

I laughed at that. “Remember that this time next year when you’re trying to figure out if some random plant on whatever planet we’re on is edible.” I frowned. “We’re having a crew meeting at the Galloping Garan around 1800 tomorrow. Can you make it?”

She frowned. “Not my favorite place, but sure.” She nodded. “See you there tomorrow, Captain!” She gestured back towards the engineering console. “Just let me make sure these idiots didn’t forget to connect anything back up!”

I smiled. “Better you than me. See you tomorrow?”

She nodded. “You bet!” Without any other acknowledgment, she went back to the console and knelt inside. I watched her work for a minute then went back to my walk-through.

I checked the rest of the ship and didn’t find anything out of the ordinary. There were a couple of crates of entertainment cartridges already secured in the cargo bay and I was surprised to see them here so early, but the lone worker I found there claimed they weren’t causing any problems; they had just gone ahead and let them on board since the cargobot was getting insistent. I told them it was fine and noted that we had received the cargo.

Everything seemed to be in order so I left the ship. I had been assured that everything would be ready by the morning of 0011, so with a sigh I headed back towards my hotel. I could have headed into Startown again but I always started getting a bit on edge as we got closer to launch day. Once back home, I grabbed a couple of beers and a sleepy-stick from the dispenser. I watched a couple of innocuous dramas on the net for a while but eventually chewed on the stick until I was ready for bed.

Tomorrow it would start for real. I would be commanding a starship.

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