Fugitak – Adar/Hinterworlds 0602 C5A027A-5 Lo Ni De A 125 Na F2V M3D
The first thing I did this morning was pack. We’re not leaving until tomorrow, but launch day is sways busy enough that I didn’t want to wait until the last-minute.
Then I went over all of the cargo and passenger manifests, making sure to create a hard-copy to give to Commissioner Harter when we left. I had seen the list of fines we’d been hit with this week and didn’t want to increase them any further.
I saw that Varan had already come up with a loading pattern so I just quickly looked over it and approved. I also instructed the Grayswandir to reconfigure the passenger cabins to hold a family of 4 and two singles. I knew the partitions would be in the correct position by the time I got aboard.
Everything necessary taken care of, I pinged the crew comms. “Everyone able to do a pre-launch in a couple of hours? Say 1400? Main common area.” I got a couple of responses almost immediately; no problems.
Even though the meeting wouldn’t be for a couple of hours, I went ahead and headed for the common room. The lunch crowd was starting to filter in and table space was getting to be at a premium. Looking around I saw Jami, Amada, Varan, and a woman I didn’t recognize sitting at a table together. I thought about joining them but decided against it.
Looking further I saw Dr. Korvusar at a table by herself with her usual glass of wine and looking at her comp. I picked up my lunch, what I had learned was called a Pini-leaf sandwich, and walked over.
“Boarding is between 1000 and 1200 tomorrow,” I said, sitting down without an invitation. “Anything special you need before departure?”
She picked up her wine glass and took a drink while looking levelly at me over it. “Why don’t you join me, Captain?” She gestured towards the seat I was in.
“Sorry,” I said, waving my hand around, “it’s crowded in here.”
She sat the glass back down. “As I said, I wouldn’t mind a better wine selection but won’t expect you to find it here. I hope we’ll have better look at Boilingbrook?”
I took a bite of my sandwich. “Certainly. I’ll do what I can.”
“Of course you will.” She turned back to looking at her comp.
I ate my sandwich in silence then opened my beer, looking around. The room was fairly full. I didn’t see Do’rex come in, though I hadn’t expected him. I didn’t see Saahna either, which did surprise me a bit. I shrugged and turned back to the table to see Dr. Korvusar still looking at her comp.
“Know anything about encryption tech?” I asked her suddenly.
There was a long moment before she looked up. She took a drink of her own before locking her gaze on me. “Just because I was in the Imperial Navy it doesn’t mean I was a code-breaker, Captain. I was a Medic, remember? May I ask why you are curious?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know. We… I picked up a weird personal delivery that seemed a bit odd, that’s all.”
That for some reason got her attention; she closed her comp and leaned forward. “Oh? What happened?”
I hesitated then waved my hand. “Don’t worry. It’s probably nothing.”
“You were the one who brought it up, Captain.”
I sighed. “Yeah, you’re right.” I told her about my hallway encounter the day before.
“We pick up these personal cargoes every now and then, but this was one of the odder contacts I had. Since the locals seem to have been a bit interested as well, I’m just wondering if I’m getting us into something.”
“Well thank you for letting me know, Captain,” her interest fading as rapidly as it had risen. “If I have any ideas I’ll let you know.”
“No chance you could glance at the datastick?”
She had turned back to her comp. “Is it sick?”
I laughed. “Doubtful.”
“Then there isn’t any need for me to look at it. Now, if you are finished with these distractions, Captain?”
She resumed reading something on her comp. I hesitated, then resumed my survey of the room.
After a while I got up, dumped my leftovers, and grabbed another beer. By this point the room had started to clear out so I grabbed a larger table in the back. There was still over an hour before the crew would be here so I started going over the manifest again.
Do’rex was the first to show up. He entered, looked around, and headed straight for the table. A few of the locals openly stared as he came through though all of them probably knew he was here by now.
“Glad to see you’re still with us,” I said, kicking a chair out in his direction. He sat without saying anything but continued to survey the room.
“You doing OK?” I asked when he didn’t respond to my initial welcome. He waved a tentacle in my direction but continued sitting silently. I shrugged and didn’t press the issue a third time.
I was saved from too much awkward silence by Saahna’s arrival. She waved as she entered then stopped at the dispenser long enough to get a beer of her own and a bowl of tama leaves. She dropped the bowl in the middle of the table and sat down opposite me.
“Ready to get out of here?” she asked.
I nodded. “Not too soon. Can’t say I’ll miss the place much.” Do’rex clicked in agreement.
“If you must spend all your time in such a small place, why not join a ship crew?” he asked. “Then at least you would be going someplace.”
I shrugged. “Some people just like having natural gravity under them.”
“You would think they would like natural air around them too,” muttered Saahna.
Further discussion was cut off by the sudden arrival of Varan, Jami, and Amada. Varan headed straight for our table while Jami stopped off at another with Amada before heading over.
“What’s up, everyone?” Varan asked as he pulled a chair from the next table and sat down. He grabbed a handful of tama leaves and was about to wave the waitbot over when he remembered, stopped, and sighed. He stood back up. “I’ll be right back.”
Jami arrived just as he left, sitting down in his recently vacated chair. She gestured in his direction. “Something wrong?”
“Forgot his beer.”
“Good thought!” She leaned back to look in his direction. “Hey, grab me one too, will you?” He waved a hand over his head in our general direction.
“So how’s it going?” I asked, nodding in Amada’s direction. “Things work out?”
Jami lowered her head, seeming to be embarrassed. “Yeah, we talked it out. I thought she was wanting something more; turns out she just needed a little push to want to leave.”
I nodded. “Seems like there are a lot of those here. The rest of our passengers are getting out too.”
“Can’t blame them.”
“I think we’re all in agreement there.”
Varan returned, holding two beers and a plate of pak’tmi. He saw his seat taken, sighed, and pulled another over. He handed one beer to Jami, dropped the other in front of him and shoved the plate towards the center of the table.
“So, we’re ready to go, Captain?”
I nodded. “Hopefully we’ll hit vacuum around 1400 tomorrow. Then we’ll have to make a run out to the local giant to refuel, so it’s going to be another long day. Probably won’t hit jumpspace until close to midnight.”
“If we’re lucky,” said Do’rex, taking one of the pak’tmi. “Depends on conditions on the gas giant.”
“Think positive,” I said, helping myself to a pak’tmi as well and tearing off a strip. “Anyone have any concerns? Anything we need to worry about?”
Do’rex flipped a tentacle. “Just what I said.”
I nodded. “Got it. The rest of you?”
Varan took a long gulp of his beer. “I’m just glad we’re heading somewhere with something. I feel like I’ve been stuck at grandma’s house for summer vacation without any of my friends or net access.”
I shrugged. “Looked like you’ve been doing well at making friends.”
He laughed and Jami flushed slightly. “Yeah… I guess things work out. Sometimes.”
“Still, you’re right. We should have a lot more opportunities at Boilingbrook. High tech, high pop, industrial, and a ton of local traffic. We’ll do well there.”
“I hope so,” said Saahna. “I doubt we made much on this run.”
I shook my head. “We didn’t do badly. Covered our operational anyway. Unless we racked up a ridiculous number of their fines.”
She frowned. “Did we?”
I hesitated. “We’re out about 17 k-creds. That I know of. So far. Pretty much spread evenly, so I can’t blame any one of us. Except…” I stopped and pulled up the records my comp. “Who was singing Aslan folk songs at 0300 in the common room? Actually, it says someone was screeching like a cat in heat in the common room, but I know what an Aslan folk song sounds like.”
Do’rex clicked in laughter, Saahna laughed out loud, and Varan gave me a look of shock. Jami lowered her head.
“Sorry, Captain,” she said. “Amada wanted to know what kinds of things I had learned while Travelling and ‘Aslan Folk Songs’ is one of the more unusual ones on my list.”
I raised an eyebrow. “You speak Aslan?”
She nodded. “Yeah, our navigator on the Cygnarus was Aslan. She tended to forget what language she was speaking when she got excited, so all of us on the ship kinda had to pick it up.”
She smiled. “And when Thesaes got drunk she had to sing.” She laughed. “That woman could clear a bar faster than anyone else I’ve ever met.”
I laughed as well. “I bet that was awkward, sometimes.”
She shrugged. “Are you going to tell a drunk Aslan she can’t sing?”
“Anyway, that’s what that was all about. I had actually forgotten that I wasn’t supposed to be out at that time. Didn’t know until someone showed up and told us to leave.”
“Yeah, well, it happens.” I shrugged. “I probably should be more annoyed but I have as many fines on here as any of the rest of you, so I really can’t say anything.” I looked around. “Anything else?”
Saahna reached into her pocket and pulled out the datastick. “Couldn’t get anywhere with this,” she said, handing it to me. “I could break into it, but there’s no way whoever gets it wouldn’t know that I had. Want me to crack it anyway?”
I took the stick and shook my head. “No. It isn’t a threat to us and I can’t say I’m that concerned about whatever may be on it. It’s odd but…” I shrugged, “I guess that’s the way things are sometimes.”
She looked at me. “You sure? You seemed pretty concerned about it the other day.”
I tried to wave it off. “Yeah. Well… I guess I’ve calmed down a bit since then.”
She held the look a bit longer, frowned slightly, then shrugged. “OK. You’re the Captain.”
I stuck the stick in my pocket. “So, I’ve got at least one place to go on Boilingbrook anyway.”
“What’s their downport like?” asked Varan.
Jami laughed. “In the middle of nowhere and a non-stop party.”
She nodded. “It’s a pretty hostile planet and most of the population lives in floating cities. Not grav, they’re actually buoyant and float around the planet. They built a floater just to function as a starport and trade port. But of course you need people and facilities and support and everything else. So they built a new city around the starport. *Only* for the starport. The rest of the population avoids it, but if you’re a Traveller? No better place to go!”
“Hey!” I said. She looked at me, suddenly subdued.
“Um… sorry, didn’t mean to speak out of turn, Captain.”
I shook my head. “No, I didn’t mean that. Well, not that way. I just want all of you to be careful. Busy planet.”
Varan stared at me. “We’ve been on the ship a while… Captain.”
I sighed. “Yeah, but now I’m responsible for all you idiots.” I paused, thinking. “And I just realized why Captain Anna was so mad at me all the time.”
Saahna laughed. “Just now?”
I shrugged. “Hey, I’m slow sometimes.” Everyone laughed.
“OK!” I said, shrugging again. “So… does anyone have anything we need to know before we hit vacuum tomorrow?”
“How much alcohol are we loading?” Varan laughed.
I sighed. “You know what our fabricators can create. You have better templates? Feel free to load them.”
He shrugged. “Never hurts to ask.”
No one seemed to have anything else to add, so talk tuned to generalities. OK, mostly to Imperial politics; there isn’t much weather to talk about in a sealed environment. Eventually Jami left to join Amada, and Varan soon followed. Do’rex left without a word.
Saahna had gone to the dispenser for another beer and round of tama leaves and came back to find the table empty. She shrugged, sat the plate down, handed me a beer, then sat down in the vacant seat next to me.
“Chase everyone off?”
I shrugged. “More like it’s the last night on-planet and everyone had somewhere to be or someone to be with. Or both.”
I smiled at that. “You know you’ve always got someone to be with.”
She laughed and waved dismissively in my direction. “Not enough competition here for you. Anyway, I think I”m going to take advantage of my last night with a room to myself and go to sleep early. Launch days are always long.”
I was a bit disappointed but did my best not to show it. “Yeah, probably a good idea.”
We talked a bit more, then she left. I stayed a bit longer, watching the common room as it filled then cleared again, but finally deciding I was just delaying the inevitable. I headed back to my room and recorded this log.
Gods, this is a boring planet. I’m never landing on a Pop 2 world again….