Fugitak – Adar/Hinterworlds 0602 C5A027A-5 Lo Ni De A 125 Na F2V M3D
Varan came back into the room sometime around 0200. I woke up long enough to realize who it was then went back to sleep. When I did wake up some hours later he was still asleep.
The rooms we were in didn’t have a private fresher so I headed down to the communal one at the end of the hallway. I had it to myself; apparently we were the only guests here at the time. Cleaned up, I went back to the common room to get some coffee and something to eat.
Whoever had programmed the fabricators here had apparently been in the Navy; the coffee was strong enough that it could probably have held shape without the mug. I also grabbed some bacon and eggs. It’s hard to screw those up, even from a fabricator, and it was fine once I got over the fact that every strip of bacon looked identical. But it tasted like bacon, which was all that mattered.
I then got to work. The first thing I had to do was to sell the spec cargoes I had picked up. I tried checking the local net but there wasn’t a lot there. Though, I suppose, when there are only about 250 people on the entire planet there wasn’t a lot of discussion going on.
Actually, the planet had more than 250 people on it. A lot more. The real population was in the thousands, but most of them were contract workers for the permanent residents. Not that it mattered, really.
I eventually found a few buyers, mostly from outlying homesteads who had just learned we had come in. Hard to believe that we were only two parsecs from the nearest Imperial planet and a Free Trader landing was major news. As a Traveller it’s sometimes too easy to realize how many people never leave their home world, or even pay that much attention to what happens beyond it.
I finished up a little after midday. The common room had filled up and was starting to empty again. I looked around and saw Jami in an intense conversation with one of the local women. I waved in her direction but she didn’t appear to notice me.
Looking around further I saw Varan standing near the entrance. I waved in his direction as well and he, after a final look around the room, came over.
“What’s up, Captain?” he said as he sat down. He looked around then saw the waitbot, started to flag it over, then lowered his hand.
“Not a lot so far,” I said. Made us about 120 k-creds this morning.
“Really!” He said, sitting up a bit. “Not bad, for here.”
I shrugged. “Everyone wants something.”
He nodded in appreciation. “Nice job!’
I smiled. “So… how are your own dealings with the locals going?”
He winced at that and looked away. “Um… let me get some lunch first.”
I smiled and shrugged in return. “Hey, I’m not here to pry into your business.”
He shrugged helplessly back. “Not all of us have your suave charm.”
“It’s a gift.”
He laughed. “It’s… not bad. But I do need something to eat.”
I waved towards the dispensers. “Help yourself. I probably should get some lunch too.”
I wound up with a beer and what the dispenser claimed was a sandwich, but instead of bread I wound up with meat and cheese between two thick leaves of some kind. I couldn’t even identify it. I thought about asking the Grayswandir what it was but in the end shrugged and ate it. It wasn’t bad and I guessed I got my vegetables for the day.
Varan was eating pak’tmi, thin strips of cheese and nearly raw meat. It was a Vegan dish and I was surprised to see it available here. I pointed.
“At least Do’rex has something he can eat.”
Varan waved one of the strips at me. “I think this is his template. I’m pretty sure this wasn’t on the menu yesterday. He probably uploaded it sometime during the night.”
I frowned. “We’ll probably get fined for that.”
“Yeah, they’ve got fines for everything. I think that’s how they supplement income around here.”
“Regimented too,” I said. “I’m looking at setting up interviews for cargoes and passengers and apparently they have fixed times and places for everything.”
“And everyplace is here,” he said, gesturing around the room as he took his last bite. “It seems like they use this one room for everything.”
I nodded. “Yeah, the meetings I’m setting up have all been in here. And only during certain times; I can’t interfere with meals.”
He looked away, then looked back. “You know,” he said, changing the subject, “I was kinda surprised you were in the room alone last night.”
I shrugged. “I have to sleep sometimes.”
“I thought you and Saahna had made up?”
“No. She’s backed off a bit from her ‘hands off’ stance but we aren’t back together yet. Why?”
He shifted uncomfortably. “I just… had heard you were back on.”
I smiled. “She shut you down, didn’t she?”
He flushed at that. “Hey, we’ve been close together for years. And have you seen her in a CES?” He shook his head. “I thought you were out of the picture so I figured I could make my move.”
I almost laughed out loud. “I know Saahna well enough to know that didn’t end well.”
His face turned even more red. “And I thought she was dangerous with a gun…”
I did laugh at that. “Hey, be glad she only used words. I’ve seen what she’s done to some other guys who got more friendly than she liked.” I paused. “I thought you were out last night anyway?”
He shrugged. “I was. Then her husband called in the middle of the night.”
“That must have been awkward.”
“You would think, but apparently it wasn’t that big of a deal to either of them. I felt kinda weird about it though, so I left as soon as she went back to sleep.”
I frowned at that. “Should have stayed. Different planet, different customs. You’re a good enough Steward that you should know that.”
He sighed. “Yeah, I know. It’s just the first time I’ve hit that one.”
“If you see her again tonight, just go apologize. She may get over it.”
“You looking after my sex life now, Captain?”
“No, I just want the room to myself.” We both laughed at that.
Passenger and cargo offers started to trickle in and the two of us looked over them for a while. Then he excused himself to go supervise the life support orders for the week. I looked around a final time. Jami and her friend had left and if Saahna had come in I hadn’t seen her. I picked up my notes and headed back to the room to go over the offers in more detail.