[IC] Traveller: Scoundrels, Rogues, Nobles and Worse

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Harl Quinn

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OPENING MONTAGE
[CUE: "Journey of the Sorcerer" by The Eagles]
The scene opens on a Beowulf-class free trader being loaded on the tarmac at a high-tech spaceport before lifting off, heading out of the blue and into the black. It navigates through a busy traffic region before coming into the clear. As the music builds in intensity, we see the ship join up with a small convoy which then proceeds to jump out of the system.

Free Trader reference
upload_2018-3-29_2-12-30.jpeg

We see the free trader enter another system and separate from the convoy to dock at a highport station. The scene pivots to follow an Empress Marava-class far trader leaving the station to jump outsystem. We follow the far trader through jumpspace and into a frontier system where it lands in a field. We watch as the crew unloads their cargo - livestock - for a band of locals riding slender, six-legged sauropods. The music builds in intensity again as the far trader lifts off and leaves them behind. We see it enter the black and follow it once again into jumpspace. We catch a glimpse of shipboard life with the crew losing at poker to their Vargr crewmate. The Vargr greedily scoops up a bunch of protein ration bars and carts them off to his locker as the captain sticks his head through the door and lets the crew know they're about to make planetfall.

Far Trader reference
upload_2018-3-29_2-13-16.jpeg

The music builds to a "homecoming" style bridge and we see the far trader as it enters the system and begins its approach to enter the atmosphere and land. The music fades out as the ship flies over a different Beowulf-class free trader and lands on its assigned pad just as a crewman leaves the free trader. The captain of the little free trader follows him down the ramp, but it's clear the crewman doesn't want to stay. In fact, he makes it crystal clear by giving the captain the finger as he leaves. He boards a grav-bus which promptly leaves the spaceport.

WIPE TO: The same grav-bus, stopped in front of a rather non-descript building. The sign on the front reads "Captain St. James Memorial Orphanage" in Vilani and Galanglic scripts. We see the crewman getting kicked off the bus for non-payment of fare just as the camera pans up and passes through a second-floor window where we see Ascot "Crusher" Underfoot sound asleep in a somewhat utilitarian (and slightly uncomfortable) bed.


GM's Note: I don't intend to write the entire game narrative as a script. I just wanted to set the stage with a general montage set to "Journey of the Sorcerer". The rest of the game narrative will be written in the format of fiction. Artwork copyright 2018 Ian Stead.

Date: 131-1116 (131st day of Imperial Year 1116)
Location: Amherst Down Startown
World/Sector: Alell (B56789C-A)/Regina Subsector (Spinward Marches 1706)

Ascot was dreaming. Dreaming of the blonde girl at the reception desk of the Travellers' Aid Society. But this was no ordinary dream. Ascot was being his most dashing, charming self - as charming and dashing as a sixteen-year-old genius could be - and it was working. As the two of them leaned over the desk toward one another, Ascot focused on her lips. A slight smile curled the corners of her mouth. Ascot leaned in closer and the girl did the same.

As they sealed the kiss, Ascot noticed something unusual. Her breath smelled of... dog biscuits? Ascot quickly began to return to consciousness as a soft wetness enveloped his lips and then ran up his face to his nose. He jumped slightly as he awoke to find himself staring into the panting face of a large Vargr - no, a large dog - with reddish brown fur.

"Moose says it's time to get up," chirruped a little voice behind the dog's face. The dog backed up and Ascot's vision focused on the dog's rider. A little dark-skinned, blonde-haired girl of 12 grinned mischievously at him. Ascot sighed. It was Cassie... and Moose.

Reference: Cassie and Moose
upload_2018-3-29_2-28-28.png

The little girl had gone AWOL a few months back with her new four-footed friend after the administrators found out she was hiding him in her room and feeding him table scraps. They ordered her to abandon the dog or they would have the authorities take him. Cassie didn't bother to negotiate like she used to try to do when she got into trouble. Instead, she just packed up a few things and stole off into the night while the staff dealt with a distraction orchestrated by her little friends.

"Time to get ready for school - or are you going to go looking for a job again," she harrumphed as Ascot put his feet on the floor.

What does Ascot say and do?
 
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Templum Domini

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WIPE TO: The same grav-bus, stopped in front of a rather non-descript building. The sign on the front reads "Captain St. James Memorial Orphanage" in Vilani and Galanglic scripts. We see the crewman getting kicked off the bus for non-payment of fare just as the camera pans up and passes through a second-floor window where we see Ascot "Crusher" Underfoot sound asleep in a somewhat utilitarian (and slightly uncomfortable) bed.

Date: 131-1116 (131st day of Imperial Year 1116)
Location: Amherst Down Startown
World/Sector: Alell (B56789C-A)/Regina Subsector (Spinward Marches 1706)

Ascot was dreaming. Dreaming of the blonde girl at the reception desk of the Travellers' Aid Society. But this was no ordinary dream. Ascot was being his most dashing, charming self - as charming and dashing as a sixteen-year-old genius could be - and it was working. As the two of them leaned over the desk toward one another, Ascot focused on her lips. A slight smile curled the corners of her mouth. Ascot leaned in closer and the girl did the same.

As they sealed the kiss, Ascot noticed something unusual. Her breath smelled of... dog biscuits? Ascot quickly began to return to consciousness as a soft wetness enveloped his lips and then ran up his face to his nose. He jumped slightly as he awoke to find himself staring into the panting face of a large Vargr - no, a large dog - with reddish brown fur.

"Moose says it's time to get up," chirruped a little voice behind the dog's face. The dog backed up and Ascot's vision focused on the dog's rider. A little dark-skinned, blonde-haired girl of 12 grinned mischievously at him. Ascot sighed. It was Cassie... and Moose.

The little girl had gone AWOL a few months back with her new four-footed friend after the administrators found out she was hiding him in her room and feeding him table scraps. They ordered her to abandon the dog or they would have the authorities take him. Cassie didn't bother to negotiate like she used to try to do when she got into trouble. Instead, she just packed up a few things and stole off into the night while the staff dealt with a distraction orchestrated by her little friends.

"Time to get ready for school - or are you going to go looking for a job again," she harrumphed as Ascot put his feet on the floor.

What does Ascot say and do?

Ascot would regret leaving his first job as a Merchant Marine upon remembering Cassie's predicament; not that he shouldn't have left the aforementioned first job, but still. His reply to Cassie was, "I'm a genius with Special Education. I finished Higher Education or the equivalent at 13." It was not known if he was merely boasting or telling the truth. "So I'm looking for a job."

The boy stubbornly knew he was destined for greater things than this orphanage. He had strived to educate himself, to exercise his body (that only had some success), and find out as much as he can about the Galaxy as possible. Sometimes, he dreamt of making it big, of buying a noble title just to prove himself. But looking at Cassie, he knew that helping others came first.

"So, what are you doing here? Are the authorities distracted again? People should be kinder," he said. Not all was well in the Third Imperium, he knew; beneath the surface were hurts mundane and mental. He can't fix all of it, but he can help those in need. "If you need anything, I still have the 1000 credits from my last career; you can pay me back later."
 

Harl Quinn

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Ascot would regret leaving his first job as a Merchant Marine upon remembering Cassie's predicament; not that he shouldn't have left the aforementioned first job, but still. His reply to Cassie was, "I'm a genius with Special Education. I finished Higher Education or the equivalent at 13." It was not known if he was merely boasting or telling the truth. "So I'm looking for a job."

The boy stubbornly knew he was destined for greater things than this orphanage. He had strived to educate himself, to exercise his body (that only had some success), and find out as much as he can about the Galaxy as possible. Sometimes, he dreamt of making it big, of buying a noble title just to prove himself. But looking at Cassie, he knew that helping others came first.

"So, what are you doing here? Are the authorities distracted again? People should be kinder," he said. Not all was well in the Third Imperium, he knew; beneath the surface were hurts mundane and mental. He can't fix all of it, but he can help those in need. "If you need anything, I still have the 1000 credits from my last career; you can pay me back later."
"Ol' Mr. Chirranigan is arguing with the food truck guy again, so he's busy. The others are trying to find Toren and Than. They're off on one of their 'quests' again," grinned Cassie. Toren and Than were twin boys about half Cassie's age. They looked to her as a big sister, so she was probably the one who gave them the idea to hide somewhere in one of the empty rooms or go exploring the basement again. "And I don't need your money. Moose and me have our delivery business; maybe you could work for us."

Ascot gave her a slightly perturbed look, followed by a smile. Cassie giggled as she steered Moose toward the fire escape. "C'mon. I'll go with you to the TAS. Maybe they'll have work for all three of us."
 

Templum Domini

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"Ol' Mr. Chirranigan is arguing with the food truck guy again, so he's busy. The others are trying to find Toren and Than. They're off on one of their 'quests' again," grinned Cassie. Toren and Than were twin boys about half Cassie's age. They looked to her as a big sister, so she was probably the one who gave them the idea to hide somewhere in one of the empty rooms or go exploring the basement again. "And I don't need your money. Moose and me have our delivery business; maybe you could work for us."

Ascot gave her a slightly perturbed look, followed by a smile. Cassie giggled as she steered Moose toward the fire escape. "C'mon. I'll go with you to the TAS. Maybe they'll have work for all three of us."

A grin from the boy. "All right, let me fetch my blade; it's the best thing I have and proof that I can stand as tall as an adult."

And with that, Ascot got up and took the sheathed sword that lay beside his bed, alongside a rucksack that contained some of his remaining possessions, including a picture of his parents. He had slept in his 'outdoor work clothes' ever since coming back from his merchant marine career just in case he had to go find a job again. So if Cassie can provide food, Ascot can go to the TAS with her. All in all, things seemed to be good.

Hopefully it'd be his big break; he was tired of orphanages. Those places treated him like an inferior being.
 

Harl Quinn

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Date: 131-1116 (131st day of Imperial Year 1116)
Location: Stellaluna Saloon, Amherst Down Startown
World/Sector: Alell (B56789C-A)/Regina Subsector (Spinward Marches 1706)

Joss ( N Necrozius ) took a sip of her drink and winced as what passed for whiskey on Alell burned its way down her throat. At the same table sat a pair of mercenaries, both wearing the patch of the Red Suns mercenary band. The elder of the two, with a scar running from the top of his bald head to his jawline, growled something to himself in his native Sword Worlds' dialect.

Reference: Red Suns (aka Blood Sons) Mercenary Company logo
upload_2018-3-30_3-16-32.jpeg

<Sonur af drukkinn apa og kælahór!> he exclaimed, slamming his cards down. "I fold."

His partner sat there for a moment, then started grinning like a Vargr about to eat a sheep. "Okay, missie. Let's see what you got. I call," he chuckled.

Joss raised an eyebrow and risked a glance at the bartender. The woman at the bar, her gold and silver locks betraying her age, began to pay special attention to the game. "Okay," Joss sighed, tossing back the last of her firewater. "Read 'em and weep. Full house." She spread the cards wide on the table for all to see.

<Allirfaðir,> he snorted, revealing his hand. A pair of aces.

"You know what? I smell more than the smoke she's blowing," growled the elder merc. "I smell a cheat!" Moving in unison the Sword Worlders stood back from the table, knives in hand as the scarred warrior flipped the table. Joss herself stood back, going for the slim body pistol tucked in her pocket. She didn't get far as a shotgun blast roared and brought down a dusting of plaster from the ceiling.

"That's enough, children," grunted Mother Shom. "If you can't play nice, you can leave. Standing or on a stretcher, makes no difference to me." She chambered another shell for emphasis.

Reference: Mother Shom
upload_2018-3-30_3-51-58.jpeg
Artwork by Dave Deitrick, copyright 2018 GDW

<Jörð norn,> the old wardog spat, leaving a wad of mucus on the floor as he left.

<Jörð tíkur,> sneered the other, making a rude gesture over his head as he followed his fellow warrior.

Joss eased up and quickly righted the table. "Sorry, Mother," she smirked. "I forgot how bad of losers Swordies are."

"Eh," harrumphed the portly barmatron. "If there were justice in this universe, we'd have nuked them in the last war. Grab a broom and sweep up. I'll lock up and we'll figure the take."

The Fifth Frontier War was still fresh in everyone's minds, having ended six years prior. Worlds across the Spinward Marches on both sides were rebuilding and what little stability existed was being held together with grit, wire and a whole lot of prayers. Mercenaries were a common sight in the spaceports, especially as they passed between jobs and looked for new fodder to fill their ranks.

Having fled her former boss' operation on Roup, Joss had made herself a quiet place on Alell, two parsecs away. Despite the distance, it still felt too close for comfort. All Tan Silbi needed was a good ship and a week's worth of time to catch up. Joss shrugged the thought away. Silbi and his crew were too busy fighting their turf war while trying to hide from the Ministry of Justice and the Imperial Rangers. Another couple of weeks and maybe she could dust off from here and find more lucrative work in one of Mother Shom's other operations far, far from Roup.

Still, the thought of leaving the underworld behind and feeling the new sun of another world on her face without looking over her shoulder held a special appeal - especially after reading that ad on the TAS newsnet...

>>CLASSIFIEDS<<
***HELP WANTED - CREW ***EXPIRES 137-1116***
Free trader captain urgently seeks crew - experience preferred, but not necessary. Departure within six rotations imperative. Sword Worlders need not apply. Applicants must meet at Berth 25.


What does Joss say and do?
 
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Necrozius

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Joss focused on the dust and grit on the floor while her mind was millions of miles away. She rather liked this world; the Coliseum was a real wonder and the seas, while not as grand as those on her home world, brought comfort and familiarity.

No, I'd better get going. A Free Trader could keep her on the move for long enough to disappear well enough. She might even come across another water world... Who knows?

She felt hesitant about telling Mother about her plans as it would bring some finality to the situation. Opposing forces pulled her apart: she wanted to stop the flight, but she'd have to keep cheating people, often dangerous ones like that merc scum, until she felt completely safe. Will I ever be?

Tossing the mess into the garbage chute panel, she picked up all the glasses and sorted the cards (the evidence of the evening's work) and wiped the table clean. Yeah, I'm going to go for it. I hope that I'll have time to say goodbye to the sunsets of Alell before I leave.

Taking a deep breath, she approached Mother and decided to be honest and forthright. She appreciated when folks were real with her too.

She might not get the job, but she'd give it her damned best shot.

Joss put on a neutral expression and a dash of sadness in her voice. "Mother, I'm going to apply for a off-world job. I hate to leave, but I've got to... keep on the move, you know?" She didn't want to say what kind of job it was in case her past associated tracked her down to the Stellaluna. It would be better if her matron didn't know; for everyone's safety.
 
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Harl Quinn

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Date: 131-1116 (131st day of Imperial Year 1116)
Location: Travellers' Aid Society, Amherst Down Startown
World/Sector: Alell (B56789C-A)/Regina Subsector (Spinward Marches 1706)

>>CLASSIFIEDS<<
***HELP WANTED - CREW ***EXPIRES 137-1116***
Free trader captain urgently seeks crew - experience preferred, but not necessary. Departure within six rotations imperative. Sword Worlders need not apply. Applicants must meet at Berth 25.


Aaron Larson ( Bunch Bunch ), former Imperial Marine and recently retired member of the IISS sighed as he looked at the job offerings on the TAS terminal screen. Things were tough all over in the post-war Marches, but on a world like Alell, it couldn't get much tougher. Governed by a Byzantine and impersonal bureaucracy, Alell's government seemed to be making money hand over fist by making it difficult for Imperial refugees, immigrants, and even Imperial citizens to find work.

As a Scout, Larson knew that retirement was merely temporary. One sudden archaeological discovery, one minor incident that disturbed the still fragile and young peace, and he could be recalled to duty. Still, he couldn't just sit around. He had to be doing something, otherwise he'd go stir crazy. His reverie was broken by the sound of the door chime. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a teenage boy and a pre-teen girl enter the office. The boy wore a tunic that had once borne the emblem of one of the Imperial megacorporations - Tukera, maybe Akerut, he couldn't be sure as they were somewhat similar. Still, it was unusual that someone so young would come wandering into a TAS office in the middle of the day.

Without warning, a large, reddish-brown dog bounded through the office door, skidding to a halt behind the girl. "Moose! I told you to wait outside," the girl scowled. The dog didn't seem to care about the admonition and instead began to sniff and snort around the floor of the office.

One of the clerks quickly pulled his lunch cooler up onto his desk and exclaimed, "Get that monster out of here! I'm not losing another lunch to him!"

"He's been fed, so he's harmless," the girl frowned. "Besides, he didn't know it was your lunch. He just wanted to play and - "

The clerk rose from his desk and moved to grab Moose. The dog simply dodged away and barked, daring the clerk to give chase."No! Absolutely not! He goes and so do you!"

Aaron swore he could see steam rising from the clerk's collar to fog up his thick-lensed glasses.

A slender female Aslan came bustling through a door at the back, interrupting the clerk's tirade. <Keisea aokhaor asaiatleftuaw firuah!> she chuckled, disguising what passed for a smirk of amusement amongst her people. "What has you so upset now, Hirran?"

"This-this BEAST invaded the office and attempted to eat my lunch again! It's an outrage! I can't work like this!" the clerk stammered.

The dog, sensing he was now under scrutiny, calmly walked over by the Aslan and sat down, his bushy tail quietly thumping on the floor. Moose looked up at the Aslan as if to say, "I'm not that bad. See? I can be civilized, unlike some humans."

"Oh, come now, Hirran, he's harmless... and cute," the Aslan countered. "After all, he and Cassie are the only couriers who'll work for us. You've scared everyone else away."

"Really, Hieakhayes?! You're taking their side?! Fine. If you're not going to do something about this, I will."
Hirran grabbed the girl by the arm, eliciting a low growl from the dog. Undeterred, the clerk began to drag Cassie toward the door.

What do Ascot and Aaron say and do?
 
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Harl Quinn

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Date: 131-1116 (131st day of Imperial Year 1116)
Location: Travellers' Aid Society, Amherst Down Startown
World/Sector: Alell (B56789C-A)/Regina Subsector (Spinward Marches 1706)

Baron Bryce Mackenzie ( Bunch Bunch ) was not having a good day. Losing an administrative position due to political backbiting and double-crossing was bad enough, but to lose most of one's staff to the same backstabbing, conniving shemdur-sucker was even worse. Still, there was one bright spot in all this mess and her name was Anne Ripley. She had stuck by him when everyone else on his staff had abandoned him and it was she who encouraged him to take a chance at placing an ad on the TAS newsnet.

The loss of his position on Yori was but a minor setback. With luck and a tug at the right strings, he might just yet be able to make a comeback and either find favor with another noble or even find some dirt on Alston. As the door chime of the TAS office sounded, Bryce was met with a flurry of activity.

A TAS clerk had a young girl by the arm and was making a somewhat harried beeline for the door. The girl, unwilling to be ejected, had put on the brakes, her shoes leaving black scuff marks across the TAS logo on the tile floor. Around the two bounded a reddish-brown mass of fur and noise. Looking on from the sides were a fellow clad in Scout overalls, a teenage boy with his hand on the hilt of his blade, and a female Aslan who looked to be ready to make the offending clerk into mincemeat.

What does Bryce say and do?
 
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Templum Domini

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"Really, Hieakhayes?! You're taking their side?! Fine. If you're not going to do something about this, I will." Hirran grabbed the girl by the arm, eliciting a low growl from the dog. Undeterred, the clerk began to drag Cassie toward the door.

What do Ascot and Aaron say and do?

Ascot places himself on the way between the Clerk and the door, before saying, "Oh, no, you don't! I read a few books on Law back in Special Education, and it says, and I quote: 'Animals employed by an affiliate of the Travellers' Aid Society, including couriers, messengers, people in the delivery business, and other providers of service and support, are allowed in the premises of the Society's building, provided that their presence is not disproportionately disruptive, dangerous, or otherwise breaks Imperial or Local Law!"

The goal was to get Cassie out of trouble in the short-term, as well as to pop the Clerk's bubble of arrogance and conceit. The long-term goal is to impress the Aslan and smooth his way into getting a job, as well as raise his' and Cassie's profile as precocious and intelligent children; this will get them a job.

OOC: Rolling Advocate 0 (No unskilled penalties). I am judging that this task is Simple or Easy, which gives me a +6 or +4. My Int is 13, which gives me a +2 on top of that.

Roll if Simple: https://orokos.com/roll/609538

Roll if Easy: https://orokos.com/roll/609539
 

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FC Larson stands shaking his head. 'Unruly kids and an undisciplined paper shuffler. wonderful combo. At least the kid has an excuse. Erin said Cassie was precocious at that age.' he thinks to himself. ''Control yourself sir! Don't let the child get the better of you. You are the adult after all. He says sternly at the clerk. 'And you child, the dog is yours? Then the responsibility of keeping control of it is yours. ' he admonishes the girl.
Having said his piece he waits to see who rises to the occasion and who falls to their level of incompetence.
 

Bunch

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Bryce calmly watches the scene play out. He smirks and thinks 'Never work wirh children or animals. They upstage you every time!'
He waits to see if the girl is in any real danger of being harmed before acting
 

Harl Quinn

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Joss focused on the dust and grit on the floor while her mind was millions of miles away. She rather liked this world; the Coliseum was a real wonder and the seas, while not as grand as those on her home world, brought comfort and familiarity.

No, I'd better get going. A Free Trader could keep her on the move for long enough to disappear well enough. She might even come across another water world... Who knows?

She felt hesitant about telling Mother about her plans as it would bring some finality to the situation. Opposing forces pulled her apart: she wanted to stop the flight, but she'd have to keep cheating people, often dangerous ones like that merc scum, until she felt completely safe. Will I ever be?

Tossing the mess into the garbage chute panel, she picked up all the glasses and sorted the cards (the evidence of the evening's work) and wiped the table clean. Yeah, I'm going to go for it. I hope that I'll have time to say goodbye to the sunsets of Alell before I leave.

Taking a deep breath, she approached Mother and decided to be honest and forthright. She appreciated when folks were real with her too.

She might not get the job, but she'd give it her damned best shot.

Joss put on a neutral expression and a dash of sadness in her voice. "Mother, I'm going to apply for a off-world job. I hate to leave, but I've got to... keep on the move, you know?" She didn't want to say what kind of job it was in case her past associated tracked her down to the Stellaluna. It would be better if her matron didn't know; for everyone's safety.

Mother Shom sighed. "I've heard this talk before and know the reasons for it all too well, child. You don't stay alive in my line of work - or any other line of work I'm in or been in - without. It's offworld trouble, isn't it? You don't need to say another word. You can stay - my people keep a weather eye on this town and we protect our own. If you feel you need to leave, you'll still have a place here. I'll just miss having you around to take the pigeons' money from them."

What is Joss' response?
 
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Harl Quinn

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Ascot places himself on the way between the Clerk and the door, before saying, "Oh, no, you don't! I read a few books on Law back in Special Education, and it says, and I quote: 'Animals employed by an affiliate of the Travellers' Aid Society, including couriers, messengers, people in the delivery business, and other providers of service and support, are allowed in the premises of the Society's building, provided that their presence is not disproportionately disruptive, dangerous, or otherwise breaks Imperial or Local Law!"

The goal was to get Cassie out of trouble in the short-term, as well as to pop the Clerk's bubble of arrogance and conceit. The long-term goal is to impress the Aslan and smooth his way into getting a job, as well as raise his' and Cassie's profile as precocious and intelligent children; this will get them a job.

OOC: Rolling Advocate 0 (No unskilled penalties). I am judging that this task is Simple or Easy, which gives me a +6 or +4. My Int is 13, which gives me a +2 on top of that.

Roll if Simple: https://orokos.com/roll/609538

Roll if Easy: https://orokos.com/roll/609539

The clerk sputtered to a stop as Ascot's verbal and physical obstacles blindsided him. "What?! That's preposterous... Th-that's-"

"One-hundred percent true," the Aslan finished for him, consulting her dataslate.

"Hardly! She's just a wastrel and her dumb dog you hired off the street out of pity, Hieakhayes. You can't just make her - "

"I can, I will, and look at that," Hieakhayes said, tapping the screen with her claw, "I just did. So unless you want to be the wastrel out on the street, Hirran, I suggest you let go of her and quit being such a htailaa."

Cassie's posture straightened as the clerk released her from his grip. She quickly chastened Moose with a look and the dog sat down next to her, panting slightly from his exertion in defense of her.

"Now, my young friends, let's talk shop for a bit in my office," Hieakhayes beckoned.

Cassie let out a whoop of joy before clapping a hand over her mouth and giggling behind it.

What is Ascot's response?
 
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Harl Quinn

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FC Larson stands shaking his head. 'Unruly kids and an undisciplined paper shuffler. wonderful combo. At least the kid has an excuse. Erin said Cassie was precocious at that age.' he thinks to himself. ''Control yourself sir! Don't let the child get the better of you. You are the adult after all. He says sternly at the clerk. 'And you child, the dog is yours? Then the responsibility of keeping control of it is yours. ' he admonishes the girl.
Having said his piece he waits to see who rises to the occasion and who falls to their level of incompetence.

Bryce calmly watches the scene play out. He smirks and thinks 'Never work wirh children or animals. They upstage you every time!'
He waits to see if the girl is in any real danger of being harmed before acting

The clerk sputtered to a stop as the teenager's verbal and physical obstacles blindsided him. "What?! That's preposterous... Th-that's-"

"One-hundred percent true," the Aslan finished for him, consulting her dataslate.

"Hardly! She's just a wastrel and her dumb dog you hired off the street out of pity, Hieakhayes. You can't just make her - "

"I can, I will, and look at that," Hieakhayes said, tapping the screen with her claw, "I just did. So unless you want to be the wastrel out on the street, Hirran, I suggest you let go of her and quit being such a htailaa."

Cassie's posture straightened as the clerk released her from his grip. She quickly chastened Moose with a look and the dog sat down next to her, panting slightly from his exertion in defense of her.

"Now, my young friends, let's talk shop for a bit in my office," Hieakhayes beckoned.

Cassie let out a whoop of joy before clapping a hand over her mouth and giggling behind it.

As Hieakhayes turned her attention to the younger pair, Hirran straightened his shirt and cleared his throat in an all-too transparent attempt to restore some of his own dignity and pride. "My apologies for that scene, gentlemen. Just a temporary disagreement between management and labor. How can I assist the two of you today?"

What are Bryce and Aaron's responses?
 
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Templum Domini

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The clerk sputtered to a stop as Ascot's verbal and physical obstacles blindsided him. "What?! That's preposterous... Th-that's-"

"One-hundred percent true," the Aslan finished for him, consulting her dataslate.

"Hardly! She's just a wastrel and her dumb dog you hired off the street out of pity, Hieakhayes. You can't just make her - "

"I can, I will, and look at that," Hieakhayes said, tapping the screen with her claw, "I just did. So unless you want to be the wastrel out on the street, Hirran, I suggest you let go of her and quit being such a htailaa."

Cassie's posture straightened as the clerk released her from his grip. She quickly chastened Moose with a look and the dog sat down next to her, panting slightly from his exertion in defense of her.

"Now, my young friends, let's talk shop for a bit in my office," Hieakhayes beckoned.

Cassie let out a whoop of joy before clapping a hand over her mouth and giggling behind it.

What is Ascot's response?

"I would love to talk shop for a bit, yes," Ascot smiles, before bowing low. "Thank you for your favorable intervention."

He would then walk, perhaps alongside Cassie, behind Hieak, warmed by the glow of triumph. Surely, he'd get a job now, right?
 

Harl Quinn

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Just a bit of reference as to where everybody is at and what's in the area...

Amherst Down Startown
upload_2018-4-3_4-19-30.jpeg

STARPORT KEY
1. Freight Control Center
2. Freight Landing Pads
3. Oberlindes Freight Complex
4. General Warehouse District
5. Customs Secure Warehouse
6. Alell Freight and Charters, LIC
7. Freight District
8. Yard 21 (Shipyard)
9. Alell Imperial Financial Center
10. The Majestic Hotel
11. Commercial District
12. Alell Tourism Board
13. Grav-Ball Arena
14. Poni Tracks
15. Marina and Docks
16. Passenger Berths and Terminal
17. Passenger Concourse
18. Utopia Hotel and Casino
19. Heaven’s Tower Hotel
20. Residential/Entertainment

Artwork from GURPS Traveller: Starports, copyright 2018 Steve Jackson Games
 

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The clerk sputtered to a stop as the teenager's verbal and physical obstacles blindsided him. "What?! That's preposterous... Th-that's-"

"One-hundred percent true," the Aslan finished for him, consulting her dataslate.

"Hardly! She's just a wastrel and her dumb dog you hired off the street out of pity, Hieakhayes. You can't just make her - "

"I can, I will, and look at that," Hieakhayes said, tapping the screen with her claw, "I just did. So unless you want to be the wastrel out on the street, Hirran, I suggest you let go of her and quit being such a htailaa."

Cassie's posture straightened as the clerk released her from his grip. She quickly chastened Moose with a look and the dog sat down next to her, panting slightly from his exertion in defense of her.

"Now, my young friends, let's talk shop for a bit in my office," Hieakhayes beckoned.

Cassie let out a whoop of joy before clapping a hand over her mouth and giggling behind it.

As Hieakhayes turned her attention to the younger pair, Hirran straightened his shirt and cleared his throat in an all-too transparent attempt to restore some of his own dignity and pride. "My apologies for that scene, gentlemen. Just a temporary disagreement between management and labor. How can I assist the two of you today?"

What are Bryce and Aaron's responses?
Aaron smiles as the clerk is put in his place. 'No need to pour salt in his wounds' he thinks to himself. He sees Bryce and knows this guy is clearly higher up in the food chain than he is. 'How is it that young fool's like this get further than hard working old farts like me? Eh whatever. I'll wait me turn and see what happens.' he decides.

Bryce observes all has worked out fine so back to the task at hand.
'Baron Bryce Mackenzie good man. I've come to speak to your department head.' he tells the unsteadied clerk, assuming he can skip to the top man and find an appropriate project to work on.

Aaron chuckles inside. 'This guy is so rich from birth! God damn!' he bites his tongue. 'FC Larson sir looking for a list of open positions.' he tells the clerk.
 

Necrozius

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Joss sighed in relief. “Thank you, Mother. You're one of the good ones. We’ll see what happens with that job. They might not even have a place left for me anyway."

She offered to help close up and thought about heading out immediately after to apply for the crew job.

Might as well try to get one of the better bunks, or at least an early start on sizing up the other passengers...
 

Harl Quinn

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Date: 131-1116 (131st day of Imperial Year 1116)
Location: Alell Public MedCorp Station #23, Amherst Down Startown
World/Sector: Alell (B56789C-A)/Regina Subsector (Spinward Marches 1706)

Reference: A map update
upload_2018-4-8_23-22-57.jpeg
STARPORT KEY
1. Freight Control Center
2. Freight Landing Pads
3. Oberlindes Freight Complex
4. General Warehouse District
5. Customs Secure Warehouse
6. Alell Freight and Charters, LIC
7. Freight District
8. Yard 21 (Shipyard)
9. Alell Imperial Financial Center
10. The Majestic Hotel
11. Commercial District
12. Alell Tourism Board
13. Grav-Ball Arena
14. Poni Tracks
15. Marina and Docks
16. Passenger Berths and Terminal
17. Passenger Concourse
18. Utopia Hotel and Casino
19. Heaven’s Tower Hotel
20. Residential/Entertainment

Octia had barely finished her paperwork when a shadow loomed over her, interrupting her flow toward the next task at hand. She looked up to see Chief Medic Narhul glaring down at her.

"A word, Octia. In my office. Now," he grumbled, giving her the look of a man pained by perfection.

Octia looked at her partner with a raised eyebrow. Whatever Narhul "the Narwhal" wanted, it probably wasn't good. It never was. When he wasn't on a call and arguing with doctors over the radio about their directives, he was usually strutting around the vehicle bay like a preening peacock, giving dubious advice and needlessly admonishing any medic who didn't rise up to meet his "standards".

Following the pear-shaped medic to his office, Octia stood in the doorway. Great, Octia thought to herself. This is going to be another of the Narwhal's 'He Said-She Said' conversations. The last one cost us a secretary. Now what?

"Close the door and have a seat," Narhul motioned.

"I'll stand," Octia replied, nonplussed. The office was a cramped room, even without Narhul occupying it. Octia suspected it had been a supply closet before it was "promoted" to be the Chief Medic's office.

Narhul hunched his shoulders and leaned forward at his desk. "I hear you went on a little flight on company time yesterday. Mind explaining to me what that was all about?"

"There was an ERV at the main concourse that was in a bind and I helped out. They had to respond to a low orbital incident but couldn't take off until a medic arrived," she explained. "Are we done?"

Reference: A Blakeway-class Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV)
upload_2018-4-8_21-21-23.jpeg
Artwork copyright 2018 Steve Jackson Games

"No. What were you originally there for," the bulky supervisor pressed.

"We had a call about a man down with a broken leg. It was a minor case. The patient was stable and both Harin and Derlex were more than capable of handling it without me," Octia continued.

"And just who was the patient," Narhul scowled.

"The flight medic," Octia scowled back at her supervisor, "without whom the flight couldn't leave. It was a closed fracture and there was no danger of thrombosis. Plus I had the flight medic and the pilot's blessing."

"But not ours," sniped Narhul.

"Lives were at stake. Who knows how long it would have taken the replacement -"

"Five minutes," barked Narhul, "Five minutes was all it would have taken for them to get there. That's their regulations."

"We waited ten," Octia replied, unfazed by her supervisor's red faced interruption. "Ten minutes and three - three - calls to the tower."

"You weren't qualified to make the flight and you know that," the burly medic grunted.

"Pffft. I'm qualified in basic zero-g operations - " the younger medic scoffed.

"But you're not qualified by Public MedCorps standards - and you don't have a vacc suit qualification. What if there had been a hull breach? One little slip and poof! We're down a medic, the government's footing the cost, and I'm out of a job because of your recklessness. I can't have that, Octia. This was your last chance. You've got ten minutes to clear out your locker and get out."

Reference: The emblem of the Alell Public Medical Corps
upload_2018-4-8_21-37-27.jpeg
Artwork copyright 2018 sbed (medical pack) and Delapouite (Vitruvian man), under CC BY 3.0

Octia stood speechless for a moment. "I upheld the medic's oath to give aid wherever and whenever possible. The ERV crew were Public MedCorps as well, and they'll testify in my defense!"

"No. There won't be an inquiry as this was just one too many incidents of insubordination. Goodbye, Octia. And don't loiter. It's bad enough I've had to do this. Don't make me contact PubSec."

Octia whipped the door open and stormed out. Her partner looked up and grimaced as he saw her expression. Oh well, no secrets in the station, she thought to herself. She quickly walked across the vehicle bay to the locker room. Opening the small sanctum of her locker, she grabbed her duffel bag, opened it, and began sweeping her belongings into it.

"Suspended," asked Harin.

"Fired," Octia sighed.

"Fired?! You're the best medic here - better than even the Narwhal - not that he would admit it,"
Harin harrumphed.

"I'm not entertaining any illusions here, Harin. I knew PubMedCorps would see me as just another interchangeable part. No different from Lysani. All I wanted to do was help, but you know what they say - 'No good deed goes unpunished,' " she chuckled grimly.

"You can't just up and leave. You can fight - "

"Nope. Sorry, but that's not the game plan. He wrote it up and filed it as one last act of insubordination. No mention of the situation at the concourse, no mention of the pilot or flight medic's blessing for it. Nothing." She turned and handed Harin a thigh holster containing a medical scanner. "Here. Take this. You'll need it given that you're going to be stuck with the Narwhal from here on."

"Eh. I figure he's just going to send me and Darlex out and sit on his fat - "

"Why are you still here?" Narhul blustered. "I told you to leave. Harin, take a walk."

"Whatever," Harin grumbled. "C'mon, Octia. I'll walk you out."

The two medics walked past the grav ambulance and out the bay door.

Harin offered his hand to Octia. "It's been an honor working with you. I learned a lot even though you were the probie," he smiled.

She laughed and grasped his hand in a firm but pleasant handshake. "If you need a reference to get out of here, just let me know," she said with a mischievous wink.

He winked back. "Same here. Take care."

"I'm not sunk yet, Harin," Octia called over her shoulder. "I've got options."

As she left Harin and the station in the distance, she pulled out a small dataslate and looked at the ad she had bookmarked the night before. I've definitely got options, she thought to herself.

* * *
Location: Docking Berth 001, Alell Downport

Commander Zeph Erlass, late of the Imperial Navy, hefted her kit and brushed a lock of dark hair out of her eyes as she disembarked from the free trader Aztheung. It had been bad enough to leave the Navy - the only true home she had known - because of cultural pressure from her fellow Aawalti; but to leave Efate by taking working passage on a Vargr free trader was even worse. It wasn't that she disliked Vargr in general. She had worked with quite a few in the Navy and most were exemplary officers and crewmen. Unfortunately the pack she signed on with to elude her "benefactors" were less than outstanding.

The engine room was a complete shambles. If she wasn't cleaning the remnants of protein bars out of consoles, Zeph was stuck reminding her fellow crewmen on the importance of cleaning or changing the filters on their refresher drains. The former merely annoyed her; the latter made her skin crawl.

Still, it got her clear of Efate and away from Captain Eshomiir and his wife. Now all she had to do was find a TAS office and sell her high and low passage tickets for some quick cash. After that was an unknown. There was always the shipyards, which could use an engineer. Maybe even a far trader or subsidized liner would hire her on. Still, it all depended on what was offered on the net. Her Navy qualifications would easily get her a listing with the TAS, but job postings were another thing.

Behind her, the howls and yips of the Aztheung's crew merged with the breeze as they set about to unloading what little cargo they had for trade. Zeph quickly crossed the tarmac to the passenger concourse and made her way inside. Customs and the like took a shorter time for her due to the grace of her military qualifications. Inside, the concourse bustled with a cornucopia of species.

In one corner a pair of Aslan males consulted a computer terminal under the watchful guidance of their matriarch. When one of the males became perturbed with the terminal's refusal to act on his request, he pulled back a furry fist only to be held in check by the female with a hiss and a growl. Sheepishly, the male lowered and unclenched his fist, allowing the matriarch to take his place at the console. Across the way, a pair of bright-eyed amphibian Bwaps haggled with an uplifted ape at a Tukera ticket counter. The pair of diminutive aliens waved their tickets wildly, most likely demanding an upgrade for being bumped off the liner they booked passage on.

What is Zeph's first course of action now that she's arrived on Alell?
 
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Harl Quinn

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"I would love to talk shop for a bit, yes," Ascot smiles, before bowing low. "Thank you for your favorable intervention."

He would then walk, perhaps alongside Cassie, behind Hieak, warmed by the glow of triumph. Surely, he'd get a job now, right?
Hieakhayes quickly escorted the trio back to her office, away from the bustle of the front office. "So, my young friends, I understand that you are looking for work either with or through us. Mr. Underfoot, I see by your vest that you were employed by Imperiallines previously. What are your qualifications and what type of work are you looking for? Keep in mind, Imperiallines and its subsidiaries do have a mandatory non-competition clause in their contracts, which affects employees regardless if they leave voluntarily or otherwise."

What is Ascot's response to Hieakhayes' inquiry?
 
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Aaron smiles as the clerk is put in his place. 'No need to pour salt in his wounds' he thinks to himself. He sees Bryce and knows this guy is clearly higher up in the food chain than he is. 'How is it that young fool's like this get further than hard working old farts like me? Eh whatever. I'll wait me turn and see what happens.' he decides.

Bryce observes all has worked out fine so back to the task at hand.
'Baron Bryce Mackenzie good man. I've come to speak to your department head.' he tells the unsteadied clerk, assuming he can skip to the top man and find an appropriate project to work on.

Aaron chuckles inside. 'This guy is so rich from birth! God damn!' he bites his tongue. 'FC Larson sir looking for a list of open positions.' he tells the clerk.

Hirran bowed low before the war veteran and distinguished noble. "As you've seen, at this time, Lord Mackenzie, Commander Larson, my departmental head is otherwise engaged. I would be honored if you could please provide me with your qualifications and the lines of work or passage level you are looking to enter," he said in a flustered rush. "With that information I can easily determine the openings that would best suit your abilities and, erm, station."

What are Aaron and Bryce's responses?
 

Harl Quinn

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Joss sighed in relief. “Thank you, Mother. You're one of the good ones. We’ll see what happens with that job. They might not even have a place left for me anyway."

She offered to help close up and thought about heading out immediately after to apply for the crew job.

Might as well try to get one of the better bunks, or at least an early start on sizing up the other passengers...
The clean up went quickly. As the weekly supply delivery arrived, Joss looked back at the Stellaluna.

Mother Shom waved her on from near a stack of boxes. "Go on, youngblood! I'll be fine, but don't be a stranger, okay?"

With a sigh, Joss turned and continued on her way.

Am I understanding correctly that she is going directly to the docking berth and not the TAS office?
 

Templum Domini

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Hieakhayes quickly escorted the trio back to her office, away from the bustle of the front office. "So, my young friends, I understand that you are looking for work either with or through us. Mr. Underfoot, I see by your vest that you were employed by either Tukera or Akerut previously. What are your qualifications and what type of work are you looking for? Keep in mind, Tukera and its subsidiaries do have a mandatory non-competition clause in their contracts, which affects employees regardless if they leave voluntarily or otherwise."

What is Ascot's response to Hieakhayes' inquiry?


Ascot smiled, "My qualifications are as follows: An IQ of above 125, which in turn is the limit for 'Genius'. After that are Special Education Classes that put me in College and University-level at the age of Thirteen. The line I served in was Imperiallines*, where I served as a Merchant Marine and made it to Senior Crewman until I was falsely charged with theft on account of my youth; I managed to clear my name but eventually mustered out due to dissatisfaction with being accused in the first place. I have basic training in piloting spaceships as well, along with vacuum suits and mechanic work."

A frown. "My prime weakness is not knowing how to fight, though; despite my blade, it makes me a liability." Another pause for effect. "As for what type of work I am looking for, I wish to go on a free trader on a high-risk but high-reward enterprise so as to further advance my proficiency, income, and social standing."

((*Which was also a possibility in Ascot's CS.))
 

Trish Moon

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Date: 131-1116 (131st day of Imperial Year 1116)
Location: Docking Berth 001, Alell Downport / TAS / Camdem Lock

It hadn't taken long for Zeph to find TAS and sell her tickets, download her journal to the members library where the Traveler's exchanged stories and information of what lay ahead in any of the lanes of travel, who to avoid and those looking to make a connection; it was what TAS was really all about. Well that and cheap digs for the quality which Zeph paid special custom to and where she learned form the Nurse who took her bio and drew samples to grant her a clean bill of a nice quiet club free of the young nobles that haunted the beaches and the other clubs.

So after a nice long shower in real water, her civvies cleaned and fresh, hair done by someone who knew what they were doing, and a veggie meal of the local fresh market she was ready to mingle.

She was dressed in short skirt of silk so red it seemed like liquid forming to her legs stopping 6 inches (15 cm) above her knees and her top was a reptile leather coat that began where it touched the skirt as an angry flaming orange then fading into a creamy yellow and underneath a soft powder blue gauze camisole. Her long legs were clad in black silk stockings with suspender belt, her feet in Gladiatorial style sandals laced up to behind her knees with blood red leather. It was an outfit her last employer had bought her for a party to celebrate a function important to him appearances to a Vargar being so important; too bad they were also known for their love of bright colors.

The Lord and his Dame had reduced her civilian clothing choices by having the transport people reroute her things to be lost in some unclaimed Naval storage center just to get a final jab.

She wanted to come to the Camdem Lock because it was sure to be the place the crew of the liners that ferried people to the resorts of the world and she needed to wear something other than a pair of coveralls and she was stuck with this and as flashy as it was Zeph had to admit it fit her well and was made of such fine material she felt as if she wore no more than smoke.

She entered the Starport bar and was happy to see she was told the truth, it was a fine place to mingle and on the Starport under Imperial law which was less risky than the local extreme level she'd read about in TAS. She took a stool at the Bar which was a signal to others that at least she was approachable trouble was she was approached first by a leech who actually tried to warn her of doing business while inquiring her prices.

And so after reading the creep the riot act in perhaps five languages Zeph sat alone at the Bar contemplating her Resume and submitting it to the TAS board.
 

Necrozius

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The clean up went quickly. As the weekly supply delivery arrived, Joss looked back at the Stellaluna.

Mother Shom waved her on from near a stack of boxes. "Go on, youngblood! I'll be fine, but don't be a stranger, okay?"

With a sigh, Joss turned and continued on her way.

Am I understanding correctly that she is going directly to the docking berth and not the TAS office?

The TAS office was only a few blocks away, so Joss could take her time getting there. She'd be able to ready her game face before interacting with the bureaucrats. They spoke a different, almost reptilian language. Gamblers and rogues she could deal with; fiends of the red tape god were more challenging because they couldn't be bribed or bluffed so easily.

She appraised her appearance in a shop window. She had changed her hairstyle shortly before making planetfall: shorter than ever before and bright red. She had even gotten new tattoos this week: tribal markings of some followers of a benign Machine God cult. She didn't believe in any deities, but it might throw pursuers off of her trail if they thought she'd frequent devout crowds.

Joss had been dealt a good hand when it came to beauty. She had taken advantage of this for the games. It was always distracting: captivating to those who'd be attracted to her, inspiring jealousy in her rivals.

iNONvOz.jpg

Her reflection was superimposed over the display of antique electronics for sale. The possibility of symbolism wasn't missed to her quick mind, and she attempted to push those thoughts away. Nevertheless, she wondered if she too was about to become a relic of another age. Rumors of secretly cybernetically-enhanced brains and eyes...

She shook her head and straightened her bangs before setting off at a quicker pace to reach the TAS building. She wondered if any of her future crewmates would be there at the same time...
 

Harl Quinn

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Date: 131-1116 (131st day of Imperial Year 1116)
Location: Docking Berth 001, Alell Downport / TAS / Camdem Lock

It hadn't taken long for Zeph to find TAS and sell her tickets, download her journal to the members library where the Traveler's exchanged stories and information of what lay ahead in any of the lanes of travel, who to avoid and those looking to make a connection; it was what TAS was really all about. Well that and cheap digs for the quality which Zeph paid special custom to and where she learned form the Nurse who took her bio and drew samples to grant her a clean bill of a nice quiet club free of the young nobles that haunted the beaches and the other clubs.

So after a nice long shower in real water, her civvies cleaned and fresh, hair done by someone who knew what they were doing, and a veggie meal of the local fresh market she was ready to mingle.

She was dressed in short skirt of silk so red it seemed like liquid forming to her legs stopping 6 inches (15 cm) above her knees and her top was a reptile leather coat that began where it touched the skirt as an angry flaming orange then fading into a creamy yellow and underneath a soft powder blue gauze camisole. Her long legs were clad in black silk stockings with suspender belt, her feet in Gladiatorial style sandals laced up to behind her knees with blood red leather. It was an outfit her last employer had bought her for a party to celebrate a function important to him appearances to a Vargar being so important; too bad they were also known for their love of bright colors.

The Lord and his Dame had reduced her civilian clothing choices by having the transport people reroute her things to be lost in some unclaimed Naval storage center just to get a final jab.

She wanted to come to the Camdem Lock because it was sure to be the place the crew of the liners that ferried people to the resorts of the world and she needed to wear something other than a pair of coveralls and she was stuck with this and as flashy as it was Zeph had to admit it fit her well and was made of such fine material she felt as if she wore no more than smoke.

She entered the Starport bar and was happy to see she was told the truth, it was a fine place to mingle and on the Starport under Imperial law which was less risky than the local extreme level she'd read about in TAS. She took a stool at the Bar which was a signal to others that at least she was approachable trouble was she was approached first by a leech who actually tried to warn her of doing business while inquiring her prices.

And so after reading the creep the riot act in perhaps five languages Zeph sat alone at the Bar contemplating her Resume and submitting it to the TAS board.

The bartender, a balding, portly portrait of his trade, made his way past a pair of robotic assistants to greet Zeph. "What'll ya have, miss?"

At a nearby table, a free trader captain nursed a drink of his own, muttering to himself. "For want of a crew, a cargo was lost... For want of a cargo, a ship was lost," he winced as the liquor burned its way down his throat.

Zeph recognized the mangled rhyme as a bastardization of an ancient Terran proverb she once heard. Her Solomani assistant chief engineer recited it when she disciplined a crewman for leaving behind some vital parts at port. The ship was forced to rendezvous with a fleet courier to recover the parts, but had something happened, the consequences would have been dire.

Reference: For Want Of A Nail
For Want of a Nail
For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

With a sigh, the spacer looked up and squinted at Zeph. "You," he said to Zeph with a slight wheeze from the liquor, "you look like a smart gal. You wouldn't happen to know where I can find a qualified free trader crew around these parts?"

"Don't pay any attention to him, miss," the bartender advised. "He's just upset because his entire crew walked out on him."

What is Zeph's response?
 

Harl Quinn

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The TAS office was only a few blocks away, so Joss could take her time getting there. She'd be able to ready her game face before interacting with the bureaucrats. They spoke a different, almost reptilian language. Gamblers and rogues she could deal with; fiends of the red tape god were more challenging because they couldn't be bribed or bluffed so easily.

She appraised her appearance in a shop window. She had changed her hairstyle shortly before making planetfall: shorter than ever before and bright red. She had even gotten new tattoos this week: tribal markings of some followers of a benign Machine God cult. She didn't believe in any deities, but it might throw pursuers off of her trail if they thought she'd frequent devout crowds.

Joss had been dealt a good hand when it came to beauty. She had taken advantage of this for the games. It was always distracting: captivating to those who'd be attracted to her, inspiring jealousy in her rivals.

iNONvOz.jpg

Her reflection was superimposed over the display of antique electronics for sale. The possibility of symbolism wasn't missed to her quick mind, and she attempted to push those thoughts away. Nevertheless, she wondered if she too was about to become a relic of another age. Rumors of secretly cybernetically-enhanced brains and eyes...

She shook her head and straightened her bangs before setting off at a quicker pace to reach the TAS building. She wondered if any of her future crewmates would be there at the same time...

As the door chime sounded, Joss caught the last bit of the office clerk's pitch. "...With that information I can easily determine the openings that would best suit your abilities and, erm, station," he said before Joss caught his eye. Both men turned briefly to look at Joss. One was ruggedly-built with posture suggesting a prior military career, but clad in a Scout's outfit. The other was well-dressed with well-manicured hands, probably a noble.

"Well, it looks like we're in good company here," the noble quipped to his fellow. The ex-soldier-turned-scout raised an eyebrow at his fellow job seeker's remark.

Great, Joss thought, A comedian and his straight man. This ought to be interesting.

"I'll be right with you in a moment, miss," Hirran said, glancing up from his dataslate momentarily. "Just as soon as I help these gentlemen with their job search."

HIrran turned his attention back to Bryce and Aaron. "Gentlemen, if you'll log into the terminals against the far wall, we'll begin logging your qualifications and specializations."

What are Joss, Bryce, and Aaron's responses?
 

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Ascot smiled, "My qualifications are as follows: An IQ of above 125, which in turn is the limit for 'Genius'. After that are Special Education Classes that put me in College and University-level at the age of Thirteen. The line I served in was Imperiallines*, where I served as a Merchant Marine and made it to Senior Crewman until I was falsely charged with theft on account of my youth; I managed to clear my name but eventually mustered out due to dissatisfaction with being accused in the first place. I have basic training in piloting spaceships as well, along with vacuum suits and mechanic work."

A frown. "My prime weakness is not knowing how to fight, though; despite my blade, it makes me a liability." Another pause for effect. "As for what type of work I am looking for, I wish to go on a free trader on a high-risk but high-reward enterprise so as to further advance my proficiency, income, and social standing."

((*Which was also a possibility in Ascot's CS.))

"I see - Senior Crewman and a Merchant Marine to boot at such a young age. Most males of my species are busy beating the snot out of each other at your age," purred Hieakhayes, her whiskers twitching slightly with the toothy Aslan version of a smile. "You certainly are qualified - perhaps overqualified - for work on a free trader. Currently, we have only one such vessel seeking crew on file. The Honneamise is a Beowulf-class free trader berthed in docking bay 25. She landed here a day ago and the captain filed an ad through us. I think I have it - yes, here it is." With a flick of her clawed fingers, the TAS agent brought the ad into existence on the holoscreen.

>>CLASSIFIEDS<<
***HELP WANTED - CREW ***EXPIRES 137-1116***
Free trader captain urgently seeks crew - experience preferred, but not necessary. Departure within six rotations imperative. Sword Worlders need not apply. Applicants must meet at Berth 25.


"Keen," whistled Cassie. Even Moose sat up to take notice. "Wish I could go with ya."

What is Ascot's response?
 
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Templum Domini

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"I see - Senior Crewman and a Merchant Marine to boot at such a young age. Most males of my species are busy beating the snot out of each other at your age," purred Hieakhayes, her whiskers twitching slightly with the toothy Aslan version of a smile. "You certainly are qualified - perhaps overqualified - for work on a free trader. Currently, we have only one such vessel seeking crew on file. The Honneamise is a Beowulf-class free trader berthed in docking bay 25. She landed here a day ago and the captain filed an ad through us. I think I have it - yes, here it is." With a flick of her clawed fingers, the TAS agent brought the ad into existence on the holoscreen.

***HELP WANTED - CREW ***EXPIRES 133-1116***
Free trader captain urgently seeks crew - experience preferred, but not necessary. Departure within two rotations imperative. Sword Worlders need not apply. Applicants must meet at Berth 25.


"Keen," whistled Cassie. Even Moose sat up to take notice. "Wish I could go with ya."

What is Ascot's response?

A smile at that as Ascot said to Cassie, "Yeah, I wish you and Moose can come as well."

Turning back to Hieakhayes, Ascot would continue, "I will take said job. May I have directions to Docking Bay 25 and leave to go there?"

If given leave, Ascot would begin his departure at once, but not without a smile, a deep bow, and a "Thank you."

That and one last wave to Cassie.

"You're like a little sister to me, you know that?" he said as he opened the door. "Remember that!"

And then he would fully go.
 

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The bartender, a balding, portly portrait of his trade, made his way past a pair of robotic assistants to greet Zeph. "What'll ya have, miss?"

At a nearby table, a free trader captain nursed a drink of his own, muttering to himself. "For want of a crew, a cargo was lost... For want of a cargo, a ship was lost," he winced as the liquor burned its way down his throat.

Zeph recognized the mangled rhyme as a bastardization of an ancient Terran proverb she once heard. Her Solomani assistant chief engineer recited it when she disciplined a crewman for leaving behind some vital parts at port. The ship was forced to rendezvous with a fleet courier to recover the parts, but had something happened, the consequences would have been dire.

Reference: For Want Of A Nail
For Want of a Nail
For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.


With a sigh, the spacer looked up and squinted at Zeph. "You," he said to Zeph with a slight wheeze from the liquor, "you look like a smart gal. You wouldn't happen to know where I can find a qualified free trader crew around these parts?"

"Don't pay any attention to him, miss," the bartender advised. "He's just upset because his entire crew walked out on him."

What is Zeph's response?

Date: 131-1116 (131st day of Imperial Year 1116)
Location: Docking Berth 001, Alell Downport / TAS / Camdem Lock

When the Bartender asked her what it was that she wanted Zeph asked for a local brew that she’d heard the TAS agent suggest and as she waited she heard the man in his cups reference an old quote obviously in a fit of worry that had him drinking like a man facing the so called Golden BB.



Then as if to remove all mystery of his situation the man spoke to her filling in the seams while mildly insulting her with his assumed familiarity and crude manners….but who was she to be picky she was fresh of a Vargar boat. His dilemma was obvious but its cause lacking. He needed a crew and he had time sensitive cargo to move; but it didn’t explain why a Free Trader was without a crew.



Was he a cruel Captain, tardy with crew pay, the cargo dangerous, the destination dangerous, or any other number of undesirable reason; it was surely something to worry over.

"It is an interesting problem you have Sir, a ship, a cargo and no crew"


Zeph paused allowing her body language to convey that she had yet more to say but was weighing her words before hand by taking a sip of her beer.

"I am Commander Erlass late of the Glas von adire HAC CEO (Heavy Assualt Craft - Chief Engineering Officer) TAS and happen to be seeking a berth that provides for my need to spend as little time as possible planet side.

I have no knowledge of any other potential crewmembers having only arrived this day cycle.

I do have questions though and I hope you won't think them too intrusive and First is; How did you lose your crew?"

Her speech pattern is unmistakable as that of a former...very former Imperial officer
 
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Octia's departure and goodbyes were swift. Her roommates hurriedly helped her pack some belongings and clothing, lugging the bulk of it to a waiting grav taxi as Octia toted her own medical supplies down to the craft. The ride was short, but nerve-wracking, Vargr drivers being what they are. After regrouping in the periphery of the docking berth, the young woman briefly took stock of her surroundings. The bay was dominated by a standard Beowulf-class free trader, adorned with green and yellow markings and its name stenciled in both Solomani Galanglic and Viliani Bilandin. Punching the button on the comm pad brought no response and the ship was sealed tight.

All I can do now is wait, I guess, Octia thought to herself as she took a seat on her small mountain of gear.

A smile at that as Ascot said to Cassie, "Yeah, I wish you and Moose can come as well."

Turning back to Hieakhayes, Ascot would continue, "I will take said job. May I have directions to Docking Bay 25 and leave to go there?"

If given leave, Ascot would begin his departure at once, but not without a smile, a deep bow, and a "Thank you."

That and one last wave to Cassie.

"You're like a little sister to me, you know that?" he said as he opened the door. "Remember that!"

And then he would fully go.

Hieakhayes' eyes sparkled as she offered a toothy, feline smile. "Splendid! Let me get you a map." She quickly called up a map which showed Docking Berth 25 at the far southern end of the small craft berths and printed the budding pilot a copy. She then grasped Ascot's hand in a warm, furry, and slightly firm handshake. "I wish you the best, young man. You have a bright future ahead of you. Perhaps we will meet again some day."

Reference: When an Aslan "smiles"... :hehe:
upload_2018-4-26_1-25-21.jpeg
Sort of unnerving, isn't it? :shock::hehe:
:smile:

Reference: The current map of Amherst Down Startown
upload_2018-4-26_2-26-31.jpeg

Cassie and Moose accompanied Ascot on his way to his new job. Occasionally Moose would stop to sniff around, forcing the little girl riding atop him to pat his neck and urge him on. "C'mon, Moose. Let's go. Ascot doesn't have all day for a long goodbye," she coaxed.

Long goodbye, yeah right! thought Ascot. Sure, going back to the orphanage wasn't the most ideal situation for Cassie, especially since it meant Moose would be homeless, but it was still better than being cooped up aboard a free trader with a jump sick dog. Ascot paused as Moose cocked his head to listen to a couple of bickering Vargr and their own barking debate. Could dogs get jump sick? Ascot quickly dismissed the question and chided himself for even considering it.

The mile to docking berth 25 diminished slowly as the trio walked along the tarmac. Nearby, the stereotypical saucer-shape of a Solomani free trader could be seen lifting off from its own berth with a roar. Cassie and Ascot shielded their eyes from the sun as they briefly watched the ship ascend and then jet off into the distance.

Reference: A typical Solomani free trader

The trio quickly doubled their pace, walking quickly past other bustling berths to avoid getting distracted. Soon, the din of trade and starships died down a bit. The empty berths yielded no distractions, nothing of interest even to Moose, who was usually very interested in the scents of the area. Fearing he had missed his big chance, Ascot broke into a run toward berth 25, stopping in the entry way to reassure himself and catch his breath. As Moose and Cassie galloped into the docking berth, Ascot leaned against the doorway, nursing a stitch in his side, smiling.

There sat the next step in his journey - the Honneamise.

Reference: The Free Trader Honneamise
9a0eb6de803bfa987a3825ec0bf2ce59.png

Cassie whistled in appreciation. "She sure is pretty. But how do you get aboard?"

"Let's ring the bell," Ascot said, punching the intercom button. The comms chirped, but no answer was forthcoming. Not even a pre-recorded message like most traders would leave for brokers or prospective crew.

An unfamiliar voice echoed from across the way as a woman clad in a medic's overalls stepped into view. "I don't think anyone's home right now. All we can do is wait. I'd try back later, but with my luck - and yours - we'd probably get left behind." The woman offered her hand to Ascot. "The name's Octia - hopefully the medic and steward of the crew if anybody shows up to let us in. Who might you be?"

Reference: Octia
upload_2018-4-8_20-42-27-jpeg.1785

What is Ascot's reaction to his future crewmate?
 

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Date: 131-1116 (131st day of Imperial Year 1116)
Location: Docking Berth 001, Alell Downport / TAS / Camdem Lock

When the Bartender asked her what it was that she wanted Zeph asked for a local brew that she’d heard the TAS agent suggest and as she waited she heard the man in his cups reference an old quote obviously in a fit of worry that had him drinking like a man facing the so called Golden BB.

Then as if to remove all mystery of his situation the man spoke to her filling in the seams while mildly insulting her with his assumed familiarity and crude manners….but who was she to be picky she was fresh of a Vargar boat. His dilemma was obvious but its cause lacking. He needed a crew and he had time sensitive cargo to move; but it didn’t explain why a Free Trader was without a crew.

Was he a cruel Captain, tardy with crew pay, the cargo dangerous, the destination dangerous, or any other number of undesirable reason; it was surely something to worry over.


"It is an interesting problem you have Sir, a ship, a cargo and no crew"


Zeph paused allowing her body language to convey that she had yet more to say but was weighing her words before hand by taking a sip of her beer.


"I am Commander Erlass late of the Glas von adire HAC CEO (Heavy Assualt Craft - Chief Engineering Officer) TAS and happen to be seeking a berth that provides for my need to spend as little time as possible planet side.

I have no knowledge of any other potential crewmembers having only arrived this day cycle.

I do have questions though and I hope you won't think them too intrusive and First is; How did you lose your crew?"

Her speech pattern is unmistakable as that of a former...very former Imperial officer

"Ah, my apologies. I should have recognized an officer when I saw your demeanor, Commander. Captain Jamison Lebeau of the free trader Honneamise, at your service," the trader squinted in the daylight streaming through the open door. "As for my situation, I was merely reciting a bad parody of a poem I learned in school. While a cargo would be a bonus, right now time is of the essence. I seek a crew and an exit visa in order to leave this place and its byzantine bureaucracy. A chief engineer is one such crew member I seek."

"As to how I lost my crew? That is a story unto itself. We had landed on some backwater - I can't recall the name at the moment - but long story short, the cargo and its recipients were not what they were purported to be,"
Lebeau explained, swirling the remnant of his brew in the mug. "There was a slight misunderstanding and a hasty departure. When we landed here, my crew thought it best to part ways... and so here I sit, my crew scattered to the winds and me three sheets to said winds."

Zeph briefly considered the free trader's story, but before she could give any kind of comment, Lebeau continued pleading his case. "But don't judge me too harshly, Commander. I am a fair employer and captain. I share what I can of the profits and I don't work my crew any harder than myself. Prior to this little dust-up, we were doing quite well and I have hope of getting underway once I have a crew and my space legs under me. So, that being said, what are your qualifications? Do you have any references?"

What is Zeph's response/reaction?
 
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Date: 131-1116 (131st day of Imperial Year 1116)
Location: Docking Berth 001, Alell Downport / Camdem Lock


Zeph blushed slightly a bit worried that she might have insulted the Captain by asking questions that may seem accusatory so it was with careful thought she chose her words.


“I served three terms in the 73rd Assault Fleet my first berthing after graduating from the Fleet Engineering school at Glisten aboard the Winaig (Swiftsword) a Repulse Class Heavy Cruiser and was advanced to the rank of full Lieutenant after a fuel leak caused a shortage of higher ranked personnel in my department.” She said softly remembering how the death of others had been the initial cause of her advance.


Then reaching into her purse she drew out her papers and slid them across the table to the Captain. They bore the symbols of the Fleet and the Travelers Aid Society also marking her as an awarded member of that trusted organization.


“Once the Winaig returned to her berthing at the Naval Base at Lunion it was decided by Fleet Command that I attend Advanced Command school at Strouden where I graduated 1st in 675 which resulted in my being again advanced in rank to Lt. Commander and assigned to the position of CEO of the Heni Las Mador (Wandering Turtle) a Maxwell class and may have grown old and gray at my post had not my department head and her Husband chosen me to serve as Syph which would have effectively grounded me and made me the head of one of the Fleet Refit Yards neither position appealing to me so I cashed out at Ivendo on my last reenlistment”


Zeph sighed pausing to take another sip of her brew.


“From there I shipped out aboard an old Type A Free Trader filled with Vargar making myself the only hairless aboard and no hope that they might hire another which placed me in a strange and lonely position.


It wasn’t all that unpleasant mind you but combined with the bill of fare and the general atmosphere of conversation along with social pressure not what I wanted in a berth so when the ship arrived in system here even though Alell is an Amber world I cashed out so I suppose you could say I have become a wanderer because of events.


I run a tight engineering section no matter the ship for logical reasons not wishing to disappear into jump space or to Miss-Jump on the other side of Aslan space.”


Zeph again blushes realising that by her metric she’s been babbling and because of her thought decides to stop and allow her possible new Captain to make a comment or ask her questions.
 

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Date: 131-1116 (131st day of Imperial Year 1116)
Location: Docking Berth 001, Alell Downport / Camdem Lock


Zeph blushed slightly a bit worried that she might have insulted the Captain by asking questions that may seem accusatory so it was with careful thought she chose her words.


“I served three terms in the 73rd Assault Fleet my first berthing after graduating from the Fleet Engineering school at Glisten aboard the Winaig (Swiftsword) a Repulse Class Heavy Cruiser and was advanced to the rank of full Lieutenant after a fuel leak caused a shortage of higher ranked personnel in my department.” She said softly remembering how the death of others had been the initial cause of her advance.


Then reaching into her purse she drew out her papers and slid them across the table to the Captain. They bore the symbols of the Fleet and the Travelers Aid Society also marking her as an awarded member of that trusted organization.


“Once the Winaig returned to her berthing at the Naval Base at Lunion it was decided by Fleet Command that I attend Advanced Command school at Strouden where I graduated 1st in 675 which resulted in my being again advanced in rank to Lt. Commander and assigned to the position of CEO of the Heni Las Mador (Wandering Turtle) a Maxwell class and may have grown old and gray at my post had not my department head and her Husband chosen me to serve as Syph which would have effectively grounded me and made me the head of one of the Fleet Refit Yards neither position appealing to me so I cashed out at Ivendo on my last reenlistment”


Zeph sighed pausing to take another sip of her brew.


“From there I shipped out aboard an old Type A Free Trader filled with Vargar making myself the only hairless aboard and no hope that they might hire another which placed me in a strange and lonely position.


It wasn’t all that unpleasant mind you but combined with the bill of fare and the general atmosphere of conversation along with social pressure not what I wanted in a berth so when the ship arrived in system here even though Alell is an Amber world I cashed out so I suppose you could say I have become a wanderer because of events.


I run a tight engineering section no matter the ship for logical reasons not wishing to disappear into jump space or to Miss-Jump on the other side of Aslan space.”


Zeph again blushes realising that by her metric she’s been babbling and because of her thought decides to stop and allow her possible new Captain to make a comment or ask her questions.
Captain Lebeau unfolded Zeph's packet and gave it a quick read-through. "Impressive, Commander," he said, as if his absorption of the facts imparted were sobering him up. He refolded the papers and slid them back to Zeph as he extended his right hand in acceptance. "Consider yourself hired. Welcome aboard, Chief. And don't worry about any kind of Aawalti cultural pressure. Nobles the Imperium over think more of themselves than we mere peasants do. If there's any more trouble from them, let me know. I protect my own."

Rising from the table, he pulled a couple of 10-credit notes out of his wallet and tossed them down. "Do you need to gather your things or are you set to go?"


What is Zeph's response?
 
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Harl Quinn

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Ascot smiled warmly and offered his hand, "Ascot Crusher Underfoot. Child prodigy. Happy to meet you."
Octia raised an eyebrow and smirked at Ascot's self-proclaimed title as she grasped his hand. "Glad to meet you. You have had all your shots, right?"

Ascot raised an eyebrow in response.

"Sorry," she said, breaking the handshake. "Just a bad attempt at starship medic humor. So, who's your friend and is she coming with us?"

The little girl quickly introduced herself. "I'm Cassie and this is Moose." Moose looked up at her mention of his name and wagged his tail as if to say, Yup, that's me.

Before the conversation could proceed any further, a young man pulled up in a grav car. He smiled as he brushed a lock of blonde hair out of his face. Although he was clad in casual clothing, his thermal vest bore a weathered Tukera logo. "Excuse me, but could you tell me who the master of this ship is?"

What is Ascot's response?
 

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Octia raised an eyebrow and smirked at Ascot's self-proclaimed title as she grasped his hand. "Glad to meet you. You have had all your shots, right?"

Ascot raised an eyebrow in response.

"Sorry," she said, breaking the handshake. "Just a bad attempt at starship medic humor. So, who's your friend and is she coming with us?"

The little girl quickly introduced herself. "I'm Cassie and this is Moose." Moose looked up at her mention of his name and wagged his tail as if to say, Yup, that's me.

Before the conversation could proceed any further, a young man pulled up in a grav car. He smiled as he brushed a lock of blonde hair out of his face. Although he was clad in casual clothing, his thermal vest bore a weathered Tukera logo. "Excuse me, but could you tell me who the master of this ship is?"

What is Ascot's response?

Ascot noted the young man; was he another merchant marine? He would carefully weigh his response, waiting for a few seconds before finally saying, "Ah, we ourselves are waiting for the captain of the Free Trader, who seems to be both absent and not left a way to contact those seeking a job under him. Either way, my name is Ascot Crusher Underfoot, Child Genius. What's your name?"
 

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Captain Lebeau unfolded Zeph's packet and gave it a quick read-through. "Impressive, Commander," he said, as if his absorption of the facts imparted were sobering him up. He refolded the papers and slid them back to Zeph as he extended his right hand in acceptance. "Consider yourself hired. Welcome aboard, Chief. And don't worry about any kind of Aawalti cultural pressure. Nobles the Imperium over think more of themselves than we mere peasants do. If there's any more trouble from them, let me know. I protect my own."

Rising from the table, he pulled a couple of 10-credit notes out of his wallet and tossed them down. "Do you need to gather your things or are you set to go?"


What is Zeph's response?

"My things are at TAS so all I need do is call with the berth of the ship and they'll deliver them." said Zeph with a smile not commenting on her social issues.

Then she took the man's hand feeling a shiver run up her spine as she made contact with the opposite sex a feeling she'd never completely shaken even after being exposed to the habit which others engaged in so easily.

"I will with your permission head right there and make sure the former Engineer's attention to detail was up to par"

She couldn't help but blush once more as she fought with her primal nature.

She knew it was silly to cling to her former culture's morays and customs having luckily escaped its umbrella of judgmental control hoping that she had a better chance in a more mixed cultural environment.
 

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As the door chime sounded, Joss caught the last bit of the office clerk's pitch. "...With that information I can easily determine the openings that would best suit your abilities and, erm, station," he said before Joss caught his eye. Both men turned briefly to look at Joss. One was ruggedly-built with posture suggesting a prior military career, but clad in a Scout's outfit. The other was well-dressed with well-manicured hands, probably a noble.

"Well, it looks like we're in good company here," the noble quipped to his fellow. The ex-soldier-turned-scout raised an eyebrow at his fellow job seeker's remark.

Great, Joss thought, A comedian and his straight man. This ought to be interesting.

"I'll be right with you in a moment, miss," Hirran said, glancing up from his dataslate momentarily. "Just as soon as I help these gentlemen with their job search."

HIrran turned his attention back to Bryce and Aaron. "Gentlemen, if you'll log into the terminals against the far wall, we'll begin logging your qualifications and specializations."

What are Joss, Bryce, and Aaron's responses?

Joss considered the fact that she would have to make use of a terminal. Putting her info out on the network was risky. She obviously couldn't use her name and bonafides. Neither Silbi nor Mother Shom got to where they were by not having their people in key places - police, government, even TAS. A ping in the TAS system would be like a beacon to Silbi's organization. Likewise, lying on a TAS application would not get her anywhere. The TAS was pretty stringent on insuring people using their services were legitimate. If the fact-checkers did their jobs, she would be blackballed, and that would leave her stuck on Alell. Maybe I'd be better off taking the direct approach with this one, she thought.

N Necrozius , what is Joss' decision/action?

Meanwhile, Aaron and Bryce were engrossed in sorting out their own situations. "You know," the young noble quipped, "I'm not quite sure what I would actually do on a free trader. It's not like they would be always working in the upper strata of society. While I'm sure being a steward has it's own administrative requirements, I would think there would be some who would find it the perfect opportunity to, shall we way, vent their discontent with the nobility were they to find out my origins."

The former marine rolled his eyes mentally. Having been a ranking officer, he knew exactly how to handle his new acquaintance's understandable - and perhaps wanton - trepidation. "Look, I assume you were an administrator of some sort - a lot of nobles are, after all. You wouldn't necessarily just be taking care of passengers and cargo - someone has to help make sure the books are in order. A free trader isn't necessarily a jack-of-all-trades. Even merchants with ties to the megacorps have need of administrative assistants. Just look at it as another administrative post. You take reports from the captain, steward, engineer, and other crew and make sure everything is documented, ordered, and so forth. That frees up everyone to do their jobs more efficiently and makes the operation run smoother."

The young noble thought about it. Could he do the same job as Anne? Could he do as good a job as Anne? I guess there's only one way to find out, Bryce said to himself, hitting the "Enter" key. With that single keystroke, he saved his credentials and qualifications, applied for work aboard the Honneamise, and sealed his fate all in one fell swoop.

Seeing that his fellow had taken the plunge, Aaron followed suit. In for an ounce, in for a pound, as they say, he thought, throwing his lot in with Bryce aboard the Honneamise. "I guess now all we can do now is wait and see if the ship's master bites," he chuckled.

"Indeed," smiled Bryce. "I just hope he's not a Vargr - and if he is, hopefully he's had all his shots."
 

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"My things are at TAS so all I need do is call with the berth of the ship and they'll deliver them." said Zeph with a smile not commenting on her social issues.

Then she took the man's hand feeling a shiver run up her spine as she made contact with the opposite sex a feeling she'd never completely shaken even after being exposed to the habit which others engaged in so easily.

"I will with your permission head right there and make sure the former Engineer's attention to detail was up to par"

She couldn't help but blush once more as she fought with her primal nature.

She knew it was silly to cling to her former culture's morays and customs having luckily escaped its umbrella of judgmental control hoping that she had a better chance in a more mixed cultural environment.
As the two released their grip on the handshake, Lebeau's comm pinged several times. Pulling the small handset from his pocket, he tapped the screen and smiled. "Looks like you won't be alone, Chief - you don't mind me addressing you by your title and not your former rank, do you? It looks as though we've got a couple others interested in working with us. I'll walk with you back to the Honneamise."

The walk from Camden Lock to the edge of the docking berths was quick. As they walked past the first of the berths, Zeph could hear the raspy, barking conversation of her former crewmates on the Aztheung. She made a point of not paying any attention to the noise, letting it instead blend in with the PA and ship traffic. Lebeau did the same, knowing it would be imprudent to comment on his chief engineer's former employer. What neither one counted on was being noticed by the Vargr.

The conversation in the docking berth quickly died out. Two of the canids walked down the entry ramp of the berth and called out to Zeph in rough Galanglic.

"Khai, pinkskin! You work fast!" mocked the taller of the two, his black fur shining in the sun.

The other leered at Zeph, a patch covering his left eye and a newly made notch showing in his right ear. "What he paying you? Maybe captain let you come back, give you more rations?!"

What is Zeph's response?

* * *​

Ascot noted the young man; was he another merchant marine? He would carefully weigh his response, waiting for a few seconds before finally saying, "Ah, we ourselves are waiting for the captain of the Free Trader, who seems to be both absent and not left a way to contact those seeking a job under him. Either way, my name is Ascot Crusher Underfoot, Child Genius. What's your name?"

"Pleased to meet you all; just call me Bishop. If you see the captain, give him this," the young man said, handing Ascot a plastichrome card. Activated by the teen's body heat, it began playing a short video - with the sound muted - followed by the prospective crewman's contact info. "Let him know he's got my arm and gun for security if he wants it. I'll be back after I've grabbed my gear."

Before either Octia or Ascot could get a word out, Bishop hit the accelerator and the grav car quietly rushed away.

What is Ascot's response to this turn of events?
 
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