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Last Updated    October 12 2017
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Delivering Bruises And
       Cash


Replacing Time With Bruises

     As Friday morning moved towards lunch, the crew went about their work or hobbies while waiting for their cargo handling certification from the Lanth port.  Aali and Munarshu were working in engineering, despite the now longer timeline to get all systems operational.  Aali was now even looking forward to shutting down more critical systems which were normally only shut down during full overhauls.  As part of her plans, Aali angled towards a full shutdown once the Hotel California was loaded as cargo aboard their transport.

Aali told Mikah she'd have to make a 'parts list' of replacements to buy, because she would not be able to buy any parts while they were in jump.  And that they'd have to shut the ship down again at a port when they could buy the parts needed.  Emerging from their stateroom and morning's entertainment, Mikah and Zimzod arrived for brunch at the start of their day.  As they did, those in the lounge noticed Zimzod sporting some new shiny bruises to testify to violence behind closed doors.  Terin worked at his classes while Rol worked writing his book.  Fesic continued to study the cargo sealing system while Emkir worked on attempts to translate one of Sir Brian's books.  And Aiden's clone was still cooking for another six weeks and one day before being decanted on 110-1113.

As Aali explained her plans to Mikah, Mikah also looked ahead, to their expected travels.  Knowing they'd be longer in the port at Regina than anyone wanted, even if they couldn't buy the parts needed, Mikah decided Aiden should meet them in that system.  So Mikah logged into a terminal and connected to the x-mail system to send him a message.  She wrote that he should plan to meet them in the Regina system, but check for x-mail at every system in case of changes to their plans.  Mikah also included the contact data which would let him connect with the suite Zimzod would be able to use thanks to his right to a fief in Atora, Regina's capital city.  The x-mail Mikah sent cost her Cr 4 and would arrive on the 95th day of the year, two weeks before he was decanted.

In the x-mail, Mikah also told Aiden he'd have to buy clothing and travel gear, because sending an x-parcel with his existing gear would cost a good chunk of cash.  As she sent the message, Rol concentrated on a "Rough draft" of his military service in the Jesedipere system.  While he intended to stick strictly to an outline of the timeline, that work lent itself to listing specific memories, impressions and some specific communications from others about his unit's actions.  As he worked, Rol hoped to get the basic rough draft together in a month's time.  Beyond that, Rol knew he'd have to 'get creative' to make the facts less incriminating.

After Mikah and Zimzod had brunch, she and Zimzod agreed they had a day and a half in which the port could call, at any time.  Without any way to plan beyond that, Mikah told Zimzod she was gonna volunteer at the hospital again.  As she called their staffing office, Zimzod decided he should get into a GI party and do some gear maintenance.  Soon, Mikah took the monorail into the port and arrived at the hospital, where some of the interns she'd focused on in her shift reports were less excited to see her.  Mikah just shrugged and figured she'd hit them hard if they didn't improve and demand they prove her wrong.  As she dove into that, Terin had gone back to his studies.  Aali and Munarshu were working in engineering.

After eating, Fesic went to the cargo bay and checked on managing the controls for the bay's gravPlate flooring.  He quickly saw he could set all the areas not covered by cargo as zero-g by countering the planet's gravity, while leaving the cargo-covered spaces normal.  That way, there was a kind of obstacle course he could use to try and practice in zero-g.  Once he figured out how he wanted to set things up, Fesic got on the all-ship comms and announced he was going to be doing zero-g exercises in the bay.  Fesic did that to warn anyone in case they needed to use the space.  But when Zimzod heard the announcement, he decided he could use a workout and responded to Fesic, asking "Can anybody play?"

Not liking the tone of Zimzod's question and even imagining the evil smile on the first officer's face, Fesic answered, "No thanks" and explained he was just looking to practice.  After saying that, Fesic also got himself a bungee cord and looked for a place to anchor it before again killing the gravity and starting to play.  Mistaking the practices Mikah and Zimzod had set up for actual classes, Fesic also mistakenly thought he could guess what would be an acceptable safety precaution if he made a mistake.  So, when Zimzod showed up and joined in, Fesic's disappointment was balanced by the improved safety measures the marine insisted on as they played.  Still, Fesic paid a price in bruises for that safety.  The pair practiced in the cargo bay until Rol made lunch and announced it ship-wide.

Shipping Woes

     After those aboard gathered to eat, Zimzod and Fesic went back to the cargo bay for more training.  The others went back to their hobbies and work until the ship's comms began to buzz at 3:30pm.  Rol alternated writing with doing stent-work.  Eventually, after it buzzed a few times, Terin saw no one else was answering and picked up the comms.  When he asked if he could help, the caller said they were from the port of Lanth.  As soon as he realized the call was official, Terin said he'd get the person they needed to talk to and called Zimzod to the comms.  As the call came down to the cargo bay, Fesic had just launched himself off a wall so Zimzod called out, "Just grab a hold of something." as he turned to the comms.

As Zimzod took the call, Fesic saw his drift path would cross over a cargo pod and realized he didn't know how to change his course quickly enough without sending himself into an uncontrolled spin.  So he did his best, after drifting into the normal-gravity space, to mitigate his "landing".  As this happened, Zimzod answered the line and was told their certification papers were ready!  Once they had a command officer sign and receive the papers, the ship was free and clear to trade.  Thanking the technician, Zimzod killed the line and called Mikah at the hospital. 

Answering, "What?" Mikah was surprised when Zimzod told her they had their clearance to trade.  As he told her they had to sign the papers before they could start trading, both Mikah and Zimzod were sure there would be some kind of surprise at the end.  Still, this was important enough Mikah called the Chief attending and said she needed to take a two-hour break for business related to her ship.  After that, as Zimzod gathered up Fesic and Emkir, Mikah grabbed a taxi and spend the cr 10 to get back to the port.  There, she'd meet the men and get the work done.  And see what other surprise waited for them?  On the ship, Zimzod had to "come and get" Fesic.

Zimzod did so by leaping from where he stood into a null-grav space.  The jump was properly aimed and "pushed" so that Zimzod drifted directly to the edge of a cargo pod where he "landed" on an extended foot as he entered the normal gravity space and "Stepped" onto the pod.  Leaping again, Zimzod drifted to the pod Fesic had crashed down on and landed as easily as he had on the first.  Zimzod then offered Fesic a hand after having completely schooled him by example.  The two showered and dressed as Emkir secured his work and prepared to go.  Then, they were off to the terminal monorail before walking to the office to meet Mikah.

As they all arrived, Mikah was in scrubs and the men were in shipsuits.  Finally gathered, the four went into the office and waited to be seen.  After the wait to reach a technician, Mikah and Zimzod's idents were checked and confirmed before the technician moved forward with the signing.  With the electronic signatures collected, everyone was pleasantly surprised when they were told processing would take an hour and then then the ship would be authorized to trade!  So there were no additional steps and they only had to wait an hour before the port broadcast their certifications.

Even more of a surprise, the technician told them they could start reaching out to customers immediately, to start lining up deliveries.  As a happy Mikah wanted to know if they needed her anymore, the technician rolled out a menu of services to help the ship with any commercial activities they might need?  From advertising cargo carrying rates and free cargo bay space to passenger slots, etc.  The port mechanisms which had, so recently, blocked them at every turn were now willing to charge modest fees to help the crew do anything they legally could.  But, given their situation, the crew needed no help because they only planned to deliver their cargoes and notify the Seneschal's office when they could leave.  So Mikah left Zimzod and the others to deal with the port and went back to the hospital.

Recalling earlier conversations because the office of the Duke was holding a Jump-4 mega-freighter to haul them to Regina, the men knew they were not contracting to haul cargo.  Still, Fesic suggested they might be able to quickly score some speculative cargo which they wouldn't "have to" deliver and could carry and sell as they were able.  Zimzod agreed with that but said it had to be "Fast".  That was because any time they wasted in the process was burning the good graces of the Duke of Lanth, and would have to be explained to Branj Dilgaadin.  And until a new Duke or Duchess is designated for the Regina Duchy, Mr. Dilgaadin was the Arch Duke's Seneschal.

After a brief discussion, the men agreed they only needed to off-load the deliveries and might want to buy some tonnage in speculative cargoes.  And where the Regina system was there next stop, the world was a moon of the gas giant Assiniboia.  A rich world, and capital of the Regina subsector, the population worked to preserve farmable land.  The government has even imported Glisten-built floating cities, to move populations off-surface to allow for more extensive farming.  Still, foodstuffs were an expected import as were natural items and those goods which were less expensive to make and ship in from other systems.

After a brief talk, the men decided Emkir would return to the ship and take care of "out-going" cargo while Fesic and Zimzod spent what time they thought they could hunting for any speculative cargo.  Even as he was leaving the office for the monorail back to the berth, Emkir opened his hand-computer and started looking at the contact details for the cargo receivers.  Happily, he could spark up his comms and call the correct office of the Lanth government and tell them their cargo was available.  As he did that, Zimzod and Fesic went to the trading offices to see what was on offer?  So, as he walked, Emkir called the Lanth Subsector Department of Assessments and Tracking Administration (LS-DATA).

Once he had a tech from that office on the line, Emkir introduced himself and said that his ship had picked up two tons of file data from the IMS Illiesh Shakhik in the Equus system.  Since they had picked up the cargo in Equus and just gotten certified to trade in Lanth, the office could pick up the cargo any time in the next days as well as pay the Cr 4,000 cargo fee.  the tech on the line checked the ship's certifications and then asked Emkir to quantify what the Hotel California was actually delivering?  Checking the data on his computer, Emkir rattled off the lot numbers from the cargo pods and the tech cross-checked that data before confirming this was an expected in-bound shipment.

After everything else was confirmed, the tech said the office could have a team at their berth to receive the cargo within a half-hour.  Checking his own situation, to be sure he could be there that soon, Emkir said he would be there or just about to arrive in half an hour and they set the appointment.  Once done with that office, Emkir pulled up the data on the charter they'd agreed to carry from the D'Ganzio system.  That was 5 tons of cargo pods carried as a charter for a Cr 8,000 payment.  Calling that customer, Emkir was asked if the crew could deliver the load?  Emkir suggested it would be more convenient for the ship if the customer came to pick up the cargo and was quickly reminded the customer was The Customer and customers rarely cared about the convenience of the delivery firm.

Still, the client asked how much it would cost for the ship to deliver the cargo and gave Emkir their coordinates, which were half-way across the planet.  Uncertain how much that would cost, Emkir asked if he could call the customer back and called the port.  Once a tech picked up, Emkir said his ship might need a cargo transported to a customer and asked if that service might be for hire?  The tech happily said the service was for hire, but the costs ranged depending on "who" the ship hired to do the job?  Emkir asked if the port had a recommended service and they admitted they were not allowed to play favorites and could only provide the ship a directory to use in making their selection.  The tech also offered that the port could do the job but would charge more than many services as a general rule, so as not to compete with legitimate businesses.

The tech also reminded Emkir that the crew could make the delivery themselves, after lifting and making a suborbital hop to the customer's location.  Considering their options, Emkir knew the Probe was out of the question because it could only carry two tons of cargo at a time.  Thanking the tech for the suggestions, Emkir asked for the shipping directory and had that file bounced to his computer.  As he was receiving that file, and after thanking the tech and cutting the line, Emkir comm'd Zimzod to ask for direction.  As Zimzod answered, Emkir said "Yo boss" and Zimzod answered back, "Yo!"  After Emkir explained the request and asked if the ship was willing to pay for it, Zimzod said, "Fuck that!  Bill it to them."

Thanking Zimzod, Emkir cut the line and started calling shipping firms to get some prices.  After getting basics like the locations and description of the lot, each of the firms reacted the same way to Emkir's "Today or tomorrow" time frame.  The job was a rush and would be priced accordingly.  After crunching the numbers, each of the firms came up with a price in the area of Cr 4,000.  Hearing that, Emkir reconsidered making the suborbital hop in the ship, but worried there'd be another permit or something required.  Deciding to move on the transit estimates, Emkir called the customer back and offered to deliver the load for Cr 4,500 in hopes of making a small profit on that end.  But, after they heard Emkir's offer, they pushed for a Cr 2,000 delivery, which would cost the ship Cr 2,000!

When Emkir shot that down because it would cost the ship cash, the customer pushed that the ship had already made a profit transporting the cargo to Lanth.  Emkir next tried to play up the hazards of space and the difficulties the crew faced "keeping his cargo safe" but was cut down.  The receiver bluntly said he was being honest with a ship operator who's doing a job and being paid to do that job.  Emkir tried to get the customer to hire their own delivery service and the man said he was hoping the crew would do their job.  Emkir then asked if the company had an in-house transport and the man said he wouldn't be asking the ship to make the delivery if they had someone in-house to handle it.

Caught between loosing Cr 2,000 and a hard place, Emkir said he'd try to work something out and cut the call to call Zimzod.  Sadly, Zimzod had no experience with shipping and had no idea what Emkir expected him to come up with?  Taking the obvious, Zimzod demanded, "Why can't we just deliver it ourselves?" and Emkir suggested that might be risky.  From what Emkir told him, Zimzod said it was that or lose money.  Emkir admitted it would be cheaper to deliver it with the ship, Zimzod suggested they call Mikah.  On her way back to the hospital, Mikah got the call and answered, "Wut" in a flat tone.  After they explained the situation the Mikah, she said she was OK with looking into delivering it themselves.  With that, Emkir said he'd call the port and ask about restrictions.

Since Zimzod and Fesic were still in the port offices, Mikah dropped the line while Zimzod asked.  the answer was that it was permitted as long as it was not a hazardous or illegal cargo.  And all their cargo deliveries had been checked through customs.  When Emkir had them ask about permits to make the suborbital and landing, he was told they had been certified as a cargo handler by the port.  So that was included.  Emkir was surprised and pleased that the stupid certification that nearly killed them to get was proving so useful after all!  Happy at last, Emkir called the customer back and told them they'd deliver the cargo as part of their lift to leave the system.  That saved the ship cash as they'd not have to return to the port and pay more landing and berthing fees.

When Emkir asked if the company's property could accommodate their ship, the customer asked how large the ship was?  After Emkir gave the guy the Hotel California's dimensions, the man realized how small the ship was and said it would actually fit on one of their parking lots!  That decided, Emkir asked if they'd have a crew ready to receive the cargo and the man said they had a team that could handle the work.  After Emkir got the coordinates for the delivery, he said he'd call the customer back when he had an ETA on the delivery.  After that, Emkir started looking at the Baron's cargo before he called that line.  Calling the contact, Emkir was surprised with the man's happy enthusiasm.

Asking how long the ship planned to be in system, the customer wanted to set up a pick up.  But, when Emkir asked how soon they could pick up the man asked how long they'd be in port?  Pushing 'two days' because they needed to get loaded into the freighter and get moving, the man admitted that would be cutting things close to his ability to come get the cargo.  After asking Emkir to hold and having a muffled conversation with someone off the comms, the man came back and asked if they were certain they couldn't stay two more days?  Wanting to play nice, Emkir tried to play the 'noblesse oblige' card and found that made no impact.  the man really wanted them to stay until the fourth day if possible and at least a third day.  After offering to use the ship to drop off the cargo, and having that refused, Emkir said he'd check with his captain and cut the line.

When Emkir called Zimzod and explained the situation, Zimzod said, "Wow!  These people are assholes!"  As Emkir agreed with him, Zimzod told Emkir to offer to stay an extra day if the customer was willing to pay Cr 20,000.  Agreeing with Zimzod that was a good idea, he cut the line and called the customer back.  But, still concerned with their reputation as traders, Emkir offered the man the extra day for only Cr 5,000.  Emkir was surprised how quickly and happily the man agreed to hand over the KCr 5 and immediately regretted not asking for the KCr 20.  So with the deal cut and an agreement when to handle the pickup and payment, Emkir got to the monorail.  When he got back to the ship, the crew from the Lanth offices were waiting and received their cargo, paying the Cr 4,000.  That done, Emkir called Aali and Munarshu to get the Baron's cargo out of the x-mail safe so it was ready to deliver before going back to his translation work.

More Games In The Port

     In the trading offices, Fesic and Zimzod worked with other buyers and sellers there to figure there were four lots they could deal with.  Part of that were lots they could not carry because the lots could not be broken up and would not entirely fit in their cargo bay.  Others were simply lots in the million-credit or more range.  Looking more specifically at the four lots, two of them were precious metals, which they already had a ton of in their cargo bay.  So that was not only something they didn't want to buy but suggested they might have issues selling their current cargo because of.

The other four lots were manufactured goods, and either of those lots "could" sell well in the Regina system.  The first load was a lot of tools, which was a generic label, so the tools could be specialized or not.  And the crew could find themselves stuck with tons of very specialized tools if they were not careful.  The other lot was thirteen tons of household appliances, which could be broken up.  So they could buy a ton or more rather than the whole lot, and appliances may well sell more easily on Regina.  Once they decided "what" they wanted, the two men set off to find out who was selling it.  After Zimzod and Fesic met with the sellers, they put their complete lack of any experience on display as they tried to cut a deal.

After a short bit of checking documents and certifications, thankfully freshly updated by the port, Fesic and Zimzod were given the offer to buy as many tons as they wanted at Cr 16,000 each.  Unsure if that was a good deal or bad, Zimzod and Fesic had few resources to check the deal with and finally realized this was a game for the professionals.  So they said they needed to talk with their crew and would possibly be back later.  Then, they went looking for a broker.  The "up side" was that brokers could cut the cost of buying cargoes or raise the profit for a sale.  The down side was that you paid the broker a cut of the deal regardless of if you made the deal or not.

After leaving to hunt down a broker, Fesic and Zimzod went to the trading halls to search.  Asking around and checking some listings, they found a broker who'd cost a moderate amount and sat down to discuss their possible cargo with him.  The cargo they'd looked at were a lot of Basic Manufactured Goods for which they'd been quoted Cr 16,000 a ton to buy as speculative cargo.  before they got working, Zimzod had to agree to pay the broker's fee if they closed a deal or not because the broker had to set things up before they decided.  Eventually, that fee became Cr 1,000 as the broker worked the buy down to Cr 10,000 per ton.  But he also advised Zimzod the seller had seriously tried to rip them off!

The broker also warned there may be other mark-ups in the deal he couldn't remove.  And that would make it hard to sell the cargo for a profit anywhere they went.  After talking things over, Fesic and Zimzod decided to pay the very-obviously honest broker his Cr 1,000 and say 'No thank you!' to the deal.  As they walked, Fesic decided Lanth was not the world to hunt speculative cargo on and gave up looking for something to buy there.  At the hospital, Mikah returned to see the chief attending had taken over for her and was ready to carry on for the last bit of the shift.  So she hung out in the emergency department and pitched in as she was needed.  And, sadly for her, that was all she did until she returned to the ship.

Aboard the ship, Rol took a break from stent-work and writing to spark up the news.  While there had been no updates on the news they'd already heard, there was lots of commentary on the conflict in the Natoko system.  Local news included a mobilization of Imperial Navy ships in the system in anticipation of a widening search for the bases the rogue force from Natoko were using.  Scout personnel had been recalled and Rol could guess those manned ships were being ordered out in flights and squadrons to search out those dark places traders rarely went in-case there was a mobile base and hidden warships?

As a matter of course, the Admiralty were warning ships to travel with care but also warning ship's crews not to simply open fire on an unknown sensor hit either.  Merchanters were reminded there were Imperial Scout forces spreading wide and a shot at a sudden sensor hit could be an Imperial Naval ship who might return fire with a vengeance.  When asked, Naval spokespersons did admit that all Naval assets would identify themselves up-front, so there was every chance to confirm ship ID's before acting.  As Rol watched the news, Emkir was hanging out in the cargo bay when Fesic and Zimzod got back to the ship.  When Zimzod asked for an update, Emkir admitted he'd only asked for a Cr 5,000 fee to deliver the cargo instead of following orders to ask for Cr 20,000.

With a grimace on his face, Zimzod looked at Fesic and said, "I think someone needs some zero-g training."  Fesic admitted he had planned to start getting some zero-g training on a regular schedule.  With that, Fesic helped by closing and securing the cargo bay as Emkir accepted that he was gonna take his lumps.  As this happened, Terin took a break from his classes and invited Rol to play some video games.  Eventually, the "training" ended and Zimzod, Emkir and Fesic joined those inside the ship as Rol began to prepare dinner.  Mikah's shift ended and she returned to the ship as Aali and Munarshu knocked off for the day.  On the way, Mikah called the Duke's Seneschalate and let them know the ship's expected schedule for delivering their cargo.

Sights And Smokes

     After sharing dinner and comparing notes, Emkir lured Aali into their stateroom to help her relax after a day as one of the few crew who'd worked all day.  Fesic went back to the cargo bay, to do some cargo sealing classes.  Mikah decided to find a museum to visit for the evening.  Finding a museum covering the natural history of the system and cluster, Mikah and Zimzod headed out for that.  Rol decided to get off the ship and hit a bar for a few relaxing drinks.  When Munarshu heard that, he figured he'd tag along with Rol.  Hearing Munarshu, Mikah asked Rol, "Are you babysitting?" Rol answered, "No, I'm going out for a drink.  You want me to babysit?"  Mikah firmly said, "If he's going with you, you're babysitting."

Rol looked back at her and asked, "Do you want him to come with me?" stressing the word 'want'.  Admitting, "Really?  No!" Mikah reminded Munarshu he was grounded and couldn't leave the ship without her permission.  So Munarshu was stuck aboard the ship as others left or stayed according to their plans.  Terin also stayed aboard and initially returned to his studies.  But soon, he logged onto the commercial web and started looking for a hookah.  He spent a couple of hours researching what was available and where to buy one before finding an "infuser" with ten stems and an enhancer.  Eventually, he spent Cr 110 on the hookah itself.

After making the deal for the hookah itself, Terin shopped for herbs to burn in the hookah.  The shop offered flavored herbs as well as hallucinogenic stuff.  On a scale of 1 to 10, Terin ordered scents around a "5" and Black Cavendish and gentle cherry extracts as well as hickory and a berry mix.  Terin also ordered some hallucinogenic blends flavored with smooth rum and scotch flavors.  The four flavors, two mildly hallucinogenic blends and one "really" hallucinogenic blend.  He eventually bought an eighth of each, good for 21 "doses".  And the burnables cost him Cr 900.  Having bought his gear and stash, Terin returned to the ship.  After spending Cr 55 for taxies and drinks, Rol managed to get a light buzz on before returning to the ship.  Mikah and Zimzod spent Cr 40 each on their evening at the museum.

In the ship, Munarshu worked on his robotics studies.  After everyone got back to the ship that evening, and Terin announced his "new toy", Fesic brought up moving his stateroom further from Terin's.  But the only currently available stateroom on the ship was Aiden's because he was being cloned.  As a result, Fesic could only move to the other side of Terin's stateroom along the corridor they were housed in.  And no one else wanted to move their stateroom.  So Fesic gave up the idea, though Mikah did consider that they had not locked down Aiden's stateroom since he had died.  Mikah decided she'd have to take someone into his stateroom and clean up as well as secure down his gear until he returned.  She also realized sending him some of his gear would be too expensive so she spent Cr 4 on an x-message telling him to buy temporary gear until he met the ship in Regina.


Another Morning's Plans

     After dinner and the crew's activities the night before, the crew finally settled in to sleep to wake into similar patterns the next morning.  as was usual, Munarshu woke at 5am and went about his daily routine.  Fesic and Rol had set clocks for 6am, and got done with their daily routines between 6:30 and 6:45am.  Until Rol started cooking breakfast, Munarshu worked in engineering.  As Rol cooked, Fesic turned on and watched the news.  Aali planned on sleeping in just a bit as she had the time, so her and Emkir's alarm went off at 6:30.  By the time Rol was finishing eating, Aali and Emkir arrived for chow.

Munarshu had already returned to engineering as the couple sat down.  Bruised but not seriously hurt, Fesic decided to try to get some more zero-g practice before Zimzod woke up.  Rather than making any kind of announcement this time, Fesic simply posted a sign on the cargo bay doors saying zero-g training was in progress.  Fesic did that while Rol finished cleaning up and then checked the condition of his armor before disassembling, cleaning and reassembling his weapons.  Emkir and Aali finished up in the galley just as Terin arrived for breakfast.  And while Terin was doing his morning routine, Mikah had woken up.

Once she was awake, Mikah decided it was time to wake up Zimzod too, so she pushed him off the bed.  Waking to full alert status and immediately looking for the 'source of the explosion', Zimzod took a few seconds to come down as Mikah laughed.  Finally, he turned on Mikah asking, "Wut?"  She just smiled and said in a saccharine-sweet voice, "Time to get up." as if he'd overslept or something.  Standing straighter, he asked, "Why?  We don't have anything we have to do."  Mikah smiled and said, "I do." as Zimzod moved closer and started pushing her back onto the bed.  When Mikah pushed back and said she had things to do, Zimzod even puppy dogged a bit in disappointment until she pushed past that too.  Giving in, Zimzod asked, "OK.  What do we have planned today?

Ignoring the "We", Mikah said, "I'm gonna go volunteer at the hospital again."  Smiling, Zimzod said, "So you're gonna torture more people?"  When Mikah brightly said "Yeah" with a smile, Zimzod said, "Cool.  I'll see if anyone wants to do more zero-g work.  They finally finished up their morning routines and got to the galley as Terin was finishing breakfast.  As they arrived and asked where everyone else was, Terin said he'd gotten up late enough to miss almost everyone else and was enjoying the food.  When Zimzod asked where Emkir and Fesic were, Terin said, "Beats the hell out of me."  Moving to an all-ship comms, Zimzod called for Emkir and Fesic.  Emkir answered quickly, saying, "Yeah boss.  What's up?" 

Zimzod asked where he was and Emkir said he was just setting up his translation notes in his stateroom.  When Zimzod asked Emkir where Fesic was, Emkir admitted he didn't know just before Fesic buzzed in from the cargo bay.  Not wanting to tell Zimzod where he was, Fesic was attached to a bungee cord and trying to keep control of his situation as he answered Zimzod from his personal comms.  Still, when Zimzod found Fesic was in the cargo bay, he said, "Perfect!  I'll be down there in a half an hour for more zero-g training."  Zimzod then added, "You too Emkir."  Looking at the very small vent ports in the bay, Fesic had to wonder how Munarshu ever thought he could get into one to hide?  As Fesic considered that, Zimzod sat and ate before heading to his torture chamber with a smile.

Today's lesson was for Emkir as Fesic got to play 'teacher's assistant' and Zimzod decided to make sure Emkir asked for Cr 20,000 the next time Zimzod told him to.  Not that this was such a good thing for Fesic either.  His job was to 'catch the flying Emkir' which often meant Fesic was the padding that Emkir bounced off of rather than hitting the compartment walls.  As they worked out in the cargo bay, Mikah went to the hospital while Munarshu and Aali worked in engineering, Rol cleaning his gear and Terin went out for a run.  Having looked for pricing, Terin found a club which had "virtual tracks" on treadmills and paid the Cr 15 for the day.  Good with that, Terin figured he could try the weight room too.

Rol finished up with his gear and decided to head to the cargo bay to see what was happening?  But, by the time he got there, Zimzod and the others were done for the morning.  Rol decided he'd practice a bit and get in some calisthenics too.  Zimzod cleaned up and sat to watch the news.  Not long after, Fesic joined him.  After Emkir got cleaned up, he changed his mind and decided to start digging into the logs they'd taken off the Sohturn Behemoth.  As he evaluated what he had, Emkir realized he had a number of days' work to get the data all into the same electronic format before he'd end up spending just over a week working to organize the data and see what he could get out of it.  Eventually, Terin was done at the club, so he returned, cleaned up and went back to his classes.

After watching the news for a bit and considering the adventures he'd been on since signing on aboard, Fesic remembered the many situations where the crew were stuck on one side or the other of locked portals.  He also remembered the gizmo Emkir had which seemed to help get through some hatches aboard the Sohturn Behemoth.  So he thought it might be a good thing to start researching the design and construction of some kind of hacking rig.  When he decided that Emkir's gizmo was a good "starting off point", Fesic went to ask Emkir for more information.  Thinking the device was good for hacking passwords only, Fesic asked for a copy and Emkir said it was not his to give away, and directed Fesic to Zimzod.  Emkir also didn't correct Fesic's misunderstanding of the device because he did not know how much Zimzod wanted Fesic to know?

When Fesic asked Zimzod for a copy of the software, Zimzod asked why Fesic wanted it?  Fesic said that it might be a good starting point to developing a lock-picking system that would open doors, and pointed to the hatch aboard the station in the D'Ganzio system when they were trying to get to the station's core.  Zimzod held back his comments that military, legal and espionage organizations the galaxy over were looking harder for such a device and spending more credits than Fesic could imagine.  And just behind them were the criminals, organized crime rings and other groups of bad guys.  So, Fesic was not likely to crack the code himself.

Still, Zimzod did explain the lock-picking software more completely to Fesic, telling the gunner they already had the device Fesic planned to design.  When Fesic suggested he could perhaps improve it to make it better and more universal, Zimzod explained the software was stolen military-grade software and it was not likely a team of Fesics could do what the gunner was thinking.  When Fesic said he might be able to use the software to improve his skills, Zimzod said Fesic should improve his skills first, before being handed the tech.  Fesic accepted that and decided to do a bit of shopping to see if there was anything else of interest he might find?  As he hunted sales sites, Fesic spent the rest of the day searching for something that caught his interest.

As Fesic shopped, Emkir investigated what appeared to be the captain's trade ledger from the Sohturn Behemoth.  But rather than a list of systems and the best goods to buy there, it turned out to be more of a list of contacts and what those contacts could get deals on.  Sadly for Emkir, the data depended on the captain's personal contacts.  But it gave an idea what deals might be in the specific systems mentioned if one hunted and made contacts of their own.  Even better, a person who acted as a contact for one captain might be acting as a contact for others, so being vague about who gave one the contact's name could be an open door to trying to establish a new connection.  Once he had the data broken out, Emkir planned to setup configurations in the ship's computer, so they'd get a note when there was a contact in a system they entered.

After getting done with his zero-g work, Rol cleaned up and relaxed a bit before making lunch for the crew.  After that, he returned to writing for the rest of his afternoon.  As he wrote, Mikah worked at the hospital and Aali and Munarshu worked in engineering.  At this point, they were well into prep-work for the overhaul and could get away with as little as four work hours a day once the Hotel California was aboard the freighter.  Zimzod spent the afternoon cleaning and maintaining his gear and checking on gear settings.  And finally, Rol started cooking dinner as Mikah returned to the ship.

After dinner, Fesic continued his shopping while Emkir continued his work on the Behemoth's trade ledger.  As he did that, Aali did stent-work.  Rol also worked on his stent and was getting very comfortable with connecting to devices.  The issue was 'dealing with encountering the programming of each new device' and acclimating to the software in order to understand the feel of it and develop an understanding of its data connectors that he was having issues with.  Rol also had not followed Aali's path to connect over a network as Terin had started doing.  Aware of that option, Rol was also concerned he had no connection to his comms or weapons interfaces.  And, as he considered the situation, Rol was thinking the commdots solution was actually a very good one.  So Rol spent the rest of the evening shopping for a set and found a locally built Tl-10 set on offer for Cr 2,500.

When Rol asked Terin, the navigator said he'd spent Cr 2,000 on his, but it was a more advanced set.  So paying Cr 50 more for a system much less advanced than Terin had did not appeal to Rol.  After dinner, Mikah decided to see what vids, plays and concerts were available?  Dropping the concert idea as she scanned the listings, Mikah was drawn to the destructive farces.  And as she centered on that, Mikah decided a play couldn't be "that good", so she and Zimzod decided to do the theater-thing and bought Cr 20 tickets.  As they did that, Terin spent his evening playing with his stent.

Terin, Rol and Zimzod had managed to fully understand the workings of their stents and the ports to other devices.  Terin was beginning to understand reaching connections via a network while Aali had that down.  While Rol was good with connection to the ports of other devices, he was dealing with accessing and understanding their internal software while Aali was into more advanced software features.  Terin was just behind Aali with devices he directly connected to while Zimzod had made more progress than Rol but also not gotten into using a network.  The new thing for Aali was the ability to mentally construct subordinate commands in linked systems.  So she was able to mentally open consoles on remote systems and write her own command line instructions.  But she was still dealing with the confusion caused by system feedback.  Especially when there was a lot of data or when something went wrong.


A Rare Day Off

     Keeping to his schedule, Munarshu was the first one awake and was followed by Fesic, Emkir and Rol woke at six and that meant their alarms woke Aali and Zimzod too.  After eating, Fesic looked at Zimzod and considered signing up for more pain before he brought up working out in the cargo bay?  Zimzod nodded and looked at Emkir, asking "Are you coming?"  When Emkir asked if Zimzod didn't think it more important to work out the trade data from the freighter, Mikah asked what they planned to do in the cargo bay?  When Emkir said, "Zero-g training", Mikah asked "Really?"  With a smile on her face, Mikah said, "Sure".

While they worked out in the cargo bay, Rol moved to his stateroom to write more while Aali and Munarshu moved to engineering.  Terin slept in until nearly 10:30 and was pleased to finally get to relax.  Of course, by the time he reached the galley, there were not even leftovers from breakfast waiting.  After checking and seeing there was no leftover food in the cooling unit, Terin grabbed some things and made himself brunch.  And even though he took his time and relaxed, he still saw no one else in the space after he'd eaten and cleaned up.  So Terin relaxed and watched the news.  Still, little had changed on that front except the speculation.  That ranged anywhere from scattered naval actions to a full-blown Imperial intervention to take over all of the Natoko system.  After watching that for a bit, Terin decided to scan the vids for an action-adventure movie he hadn't seen.

In the cargo bay, Mikah's philosophy was "If you get hurt but not badly, I'm not gonna have to put you back together again."  And, she was certain you'd remember not to do again what got you hurt the first time.  Zimzod just enjoyed the morning.  Eventually, they split into teams with Mikah choosing Fesic and Zimzod getting Emkir.  Only, when it came to engaging, Mikah sent Zimzod flying a few times too, for her own personal pleasure.  After the first toss, Zimzod came off the bulkhead with his hand raised and said, "Ow!  You hurt my little pinky!"  As that training wound down and near the end of Terin's movie, Rol went into the galley to cook lunch.

As Rol asked what Terin was watching and he answered, Terin asked where everyone was?  Rol said he'd been writing his book.  When Terin asked how it was coming, Rol said it didn't have much action and got a laugh.  As they talked, Zimzod, Fesic and Emkir returned.  As Terin looked them over, it seemed they'd had a good workout.  Mikah had made a side-trip to the med-bay.  When Mikah arrived in the lounge, she started handing out children's adhesive bandages to the injured, which had animated characters on them.  When Munarshu and Aali came up-deck, Emkir asked her to kiss his elbow because it was the only part of his body which didn't hurt.

Aali looked Emkir over and said she couldn't because the animated characters concerned her, and got a laugh from the others.  As they ate lunch, Emkir whined and moaned about his bruises and asked if Mikah had pain meds? Rol joked the crew had not been getting enough exercise, as if his pain was because of not exercising for too long.  Terin volunteered that he had some hallucinogenic with a smile.  With everyone's sudden attention, Terin reminded them he'd bought a hookah.  Everyone in the compartment seemed to know what that meant except Munarshu, who asked, "A what?" as he drew out the word.

When Terin told Munarshu it was a "chilling out, smoking device" Rol joked, "I know about smoking devices.  They usually have timers on them."  That got a laugh from the group.  Taking control of things again, Mikah said the hookah was out of the question because the crew needed to be able to leave the system the next day.  Terin protested there would be no drugs involved, which got him stares after he'd led with having hallucinogenics.  Still, Terin described having flavored stuff and other stuff to smoke which would taste good.  When Terin explained they'd just relax and feel better, Rol asked how that was different than sitting there eating, suggesting the only difference would be narcotic.

Mikah joked, "You have a glass of wine with it."  Fesic joked about mixing in the remains of the scout brew Terin had made.  Suggesting they consider the hanging question of trying the hookah, Emkir turned to Aali and asked if she wanted to take the afternoon off?  Aali said she could but she didn't want to smoke, suggesting they could go somewhere and have some wine.  Emkir asked if she'd mind hanging out there while he took part in Terin's hookah, and Aali agreed she could after breaking out a bottle of wine.  Mikah warned, just make sure it's not hallucinogenic and Terin agreed.

She was concerned Terin would be too high to plot a jump, forgetting they didn't need to make a jump while cargo for the larger ship.  Zimzod also said he'd try it and Terin brought out some cherry flavored crushed leaf to burn.  The others relaxed as Fesic went back to continue his shopping from the day before while trying to ignore the scent of the stuff, which got everywhere.  He eventually did narrow down his search for an electronic lock pick with basic instructions and waiding through warnings about the legality of such devices in other systems.  Fesic wanted to buy one and have it delivered.


Where Everyone Is At The End Of The Session

     Everyone is in the ship's lounge
     Terin, Emkir and Zimzod: Taking part in the hookah
     Fesic: Shopping for an electronic lock-pick system
     Munarshu, Rol, Mikah and Aali: Relaxing in the lounge and not smoking
     Aiden: cooking for another 5 weeks and 5 days ( Decant Date: 110-1113 )
     Planned departure: Sunday, 070 1113
     To Do: Have the Baron's cargo picked up and convert Letter of Credit into cash
           Deliver sub-orbital delivery

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Next: Drop Offs And Boardings