The story so far.   Posted by Acheron.Group: 0
Acheron
 GM, 1 post
 A ship called Haven
 In an uncaring universe
Thu 2 Jun 2005
at 16:10
The story so far
The Haven, having suffered serious damage at the hand of self assigned 'picket agents'  limped to port.  With her future in question, the crew pulled their resources and rebuilt her.

While the crew worked on the refit, the captain went to find them a job that wouldn't be too hazardous.  One concern (the shakedown voyage) was enough.  So as the ship pulled out of dock, they had what they needed - a simple job.  Transport a bunch of actobats to an out of they way performance, and then back to join the rest of the circus.

They'd chosen the Cicada-class transport because it would be a slow journey where they could practice their new act in the hold.

It should have been smooth, but the Captain knew all too well, supposed to and is are two different things.

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:04, Tue 18 Sept 2007.

Chris Vargas
 NPC, 2 posts
 Captain of the Haven
Thu 2 Jun 2005
at 16:50
The Crew
Taking on crew

Garris and Marc

I’ve made some mistakes in my life, lord know I’ll be making a lot more before its through, but I can say that my first choice in first mates was probably one of the worst ones I’ve made to date.

Let me back track a little here, ‘cause every time I start thinking about that  huh choo-shang tza-jiao du tzang-hou….

The only good thing about the whole mess is the fact that I did end up with a really good first mate… someone I probably wouldn’t have noticed if that shiong-muh duh duang-ren hadn’t  gone all ‘soft and cuddly’ on my crew.

All I can say is, he interviewed well.  His documentation seemed in order—I know better now, but in this world a lot of the time you have to take people at their face value.   Well, that and carry a really big gun for when they turn on you.

With my first mate in place, I took on crew and passengers, heading out towards New Hope territory.  First two weeks of a 6 week journey were fine—too fine looking back.  Without full use of my legs, I have to rely a lot on my first mate to be my eyes and ears shipboard.  Garris, reported in regularly, and to hear his side of the story everything was fine, except for a few troublemakers on the crew—but he assured me they’d fall in line.

There was something in his voice that set off little alarms in my head.  I was so busy waiting for those to go off I’d missed the ‘big gong’ going off in engineering.  Garris turned out to be the kind of man who only seemed truly happy when he was making people miserable.  He’d had the crew working overtime scrubbing the decks, moving cargo around and sweeping under it… and making sure they knew that I was not to be disturbed.

I guess the man figured that since I split most of my time in a wheel chair and the pilot’s blister there was no way I was going to make it down to the cargo hold.  He was wrong.  Walking may hurt—but it was nothing in comparison to seeing what he’d been doing supposedly on my orders. Fortunately one of them had decided to ‘bother me’ and see if that’s really what I wanted.

We dropped Garris at the first rock we passed.  The men liked my second choice as First mate: the man who’d come to see me.  Marc Denali, interesting man—just not what I pictured.  Then again I don’t really know what I pictured.  It certainly wasn’t traveling around, scraping out a living on a ship that’s older than I am.

The next trip out went a lot smoother.  Its nice having a first mate I can trust to do the job… I just worry, ‘cause I’m not sure I can trust him to leave the tops on the salt shakers alone…
Anyway, it’s like I’ve always said… go with your second choice… for the most part.


Angelina Ramirez – Rami

Rami is another person on the list of good crewman that were a mistake.  Rami knew her job and did it well.  She also thought she knew everyone else’s job, and business and well… she wasn’t as big a mistake as Garris… Marc does double check my staffing decisions now—which is a help.  But well… I think Rami was a special case.

Still—we’ve taken her on board from time to time when she was interested in heading where we were headed.

Foxworth – Fox

I don’t think there’s a job on this ship that’s too big or too… messy for Fox to lend a hand.  He’s not the best mechanic, nor the best leader… jury’s still out on which is a better fighter (Marc or Fox), but he’s here and willing to work—sometimes that’s more than enough.

We’d just finished unloading our cargo on Sutter’s moon when Fox approached us.  He’d been working the docks, hose man and general labor—and looking for a way off the rock.  The only thing we could offer him was more of the same—but at least we were moving.  I think that’s part of what made up my mind about the man—the need to keep moving.

He’s one of our better decisions.  But man—I’ve seen Fox in a fight.  Looking at him, you’d figure there’s no way he could take on some of the hulking brutes out there, but when he fights—it’s like… like he is the fight.  There’s no emotion, no losing his cool… if he were a Taoist, I’d say he was in the moment… its not quite right, but it’s the closest I can describe.

I do know I never want to be on the receiving end.  I’ve caught him wandering the ship late at night.  I’ve seen the look in his eyes—too much like mine… too many ghosts out there.  I think it’s why I keep moving, trying to keep the ghosts at bay.

Chen Shouhui – Dr. Chen…. Sharyn

Shayrn was a crew choice that wasn’t really a choice or a decision.  Her position here just kinda happened.  We were on Persephone when one of our crew had a slight disagreement with a man with a knife.  Rami.  I did mention that she was a mistake right?  Something about cheating at cards and calling the man she’d cheated’s mother some rather uncomplimentary things….

Well, Fox and Marc ended the ‘discussion’ a little abruptly… or was it the knife that ended it?  All I know is Marc assured me after that that Fox can indeed handle himself in a ‘situation.’
With Rami hurt, they took her to the Town Doctor… Sharyn, who it seems still has a problem with staying on the good side of the pompous authoritarian idiots out there…. Anyway… she ended up bartering her way on board under the guise of keeping an eye on Rami…

It was hard not to recognize her.  While Marc was still negotiating with her, I activated the intercom.  I couldn’t help myself.  “Corpsman, will you get your butt on my ship already.”

She wasn’t a Corpsman any more—she was a full fledged doc…  and a retired Captain at that.  Kinda funny… I met Sharyn in the war… Opposite sides of the war—only it turned out she was fighting an entirely different war than we were.  She was an Alliance medic, just a few rotations shy of being a full blown doctor.  She took care of my people—stood by them longer than she needed to.

I haven’t talked to her much, but I know she lost her family in the war… whether they’re dead or just displaced—I don’t know.  I don’t push her on it though. She’s been through a lot.

She’s even started me on my ‘long postponed’ physical therapy… it’s why I’m making this trip to Albraith.  She thinks I still have a chance to undo some of the damage that Alliance charge did to me in the war…

We’ll see.

Dimitri – Dim

Dim came to us just at the right time, Marc and I were managing to keep the ship flying, but… to be honest we’re much better as back up pilots… people you let fly when there’s nothing on the horizon and nothing too complicated or dangerous.

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had solid pilots on deck before, but most of them didn’t stay too long.  They’d find newer boats, with better controls… better control area… not some closed in little bubble.  It takes some one special to see the romance in a craft that was designed to lumber through uncharted areas.  She was built for the long haul, slow dependable and mostly self sufficient.

Dim’s a good man, a bit stressed at times but I’ve never seen someone actually be comfortable in the blister, with the possible exception of Maire, my dad’s old pilot.  She’d spend days in there just watching the stars go by.  I think she was at her best when she was at the controls.  I’m starting to get the same feeling about Dim.

He’s been with us for about six months now, and if he hadn’t been with us last time—it probably would have been the last time.  A band of raiders, cut throats really, intent on taking the Cicada from us.

Between Marc and Fox, we held them off long enough for Dim to work some serious magic at the helm.  We escaped, survived even, but the damage they did to my ship… I was going to have to scrap her— I just didn’t have the money to fix her.  That’s when the crew pitched in…  and I finally realized that like me, the Cicada was their home.


Christopher Vargas – Captain – Cicada Survey Ship -129
Haven
 GM, 1 post
 Cicada Class Ship
Thu 2 Jun 2005
at 16:53
Phoenix from ashes
She was gone: nothing more than a shell.  Chris Vargas bowed his head.  Even if she was still repairable, there was no way he could afford the work that needed to be done.  If he was lucky he could find someone interested in buying her and rebuilding her.  He let his breath out slowly knowing all too well that someone with the kind of money required to rebuild her, wouldn’t be wasting his money on an archaic bucket of bolts like the Cicada..

He was numb.  It was like being told he’d lost the full use of his legs all over again.  No one would take him on board as a crewman… The rest of the crew would be able to find other slots, he was sure of it… but he and the Cicada would be a thing of the past…

He closed his eyes fighting back the emotions that threatened to overwhelm him.  They’d had a good run, they’d survived but their luck just hadn’t held.  This was her last journey and they all knew it.

Even as he sat alone in his quarters, he knew the others were gathering, trying to comfort and reassure each other, but knowing all too well—it was over.

THE PHOENIX RISES.

Intro
Their captain fought as an Independent during the Unification War.  He served as an officer until a fragmentation grenade damaged his back and spine.  While not paralyzed, the damage caused him extensive loss in mobility and the pain of his injuries confined him to a wheel chair.  With proper physical therapy, he was told that he may regain some mobility, but the chances of finding a physical therapist that would travel with him on the outdated craft he now called home were very slim.

 So he focused on his crew rather than himself.  He gathered a team of reliable men and women until he found the right mix of talents.  His first job was finding a first mate.  He found that man in Marc Denali..
As they traveled crewmen came and left until they solidified into his current team… he even found a Doctor familiar not on in the PT he needed, but also in alternative medicines, including acupuncture.

Three months ago, they were attacked and their aging ship was badly damaged.  They managed to escape, and were forced to land on the rock they were now leaving.  Pooling together their resources they worked to repair, and improve the ship.  Two months of labor had resulted in a refitted, safer craft… and a crew anxious to get airborne.  2-3 weeks before lift off, the Captain grabbed a flight to a neighboring planet in an effort to drum up business and to visit with a specialist who could assess his progress.

Dr. Chen, the shipboard doctor, had expressed concern that he had waited too long to being therapy… soon they would know… and they would know if there were any problems with their newly refitted ship/home.

Shake down cruise

The ship shuttered slightly as the engines came online.

“My name is Dmitri Wa, and I'll be your pilot on this trip to the edge of nowhere.” The pilot smiled as he began his speech over the ship’s intercom.

“It's a dark, empty day as far as the eye can see, out here in the soulless reaches of space. I'd ask that all passengers please take their assigned seats so that we may call the roll, and all crew please start earning your damned money by doing whatever it is you've been hired for.”

He smiled at that knowing full well that the others were up and working already as he prepared to lift off.

“Have a safe, pleasant trip, and please, do not open the airlocks to strangers for any reason.”


In the cargo bay, Foxworth, or Fox as he was called, finished locking down the cargo then thumbed the intercom button.  “'You really know how to cheer folk up. Is this preflight depression some sort of tradition or pilots charter or something, Dim?'”


In the filter room, Sharyn  Sharyn looked up at the intercom and shook her head .  With a chuckle she locked the last filter into place and picked up the old ones for cleaning.

She paused long enough to reply over the ships com system.

"Sou-yo duh do dhr-dang...." she answered, then paused.  "Why are you so cheerful? Some of us have been up working already, so nice of you to join us.... This is Sharyn if you haven't guessed by now."

She released the button and headed towards the cleaning room so she could get to work on cleaning the filters.



Dim grinned as he ran the engine diags. "We're up in five," he said into the handheld mic, "so kindly curtail your witty retorts and find something to hold onto. It's windy outside."
Putting the mic down, he scanned the reports and, satisfied that everything is running smoothly he sent the engines revving harder. The increase in the noise level was dramatic. He knew he  probably couldn't hear a thing if he’d been beside those fans. Not that he'd want to be... stories about men minced by jet engines were common as dust in the circles this crew ran in.

Marc watched Fox finish up, then turned to the intercom and activated it.

"Why don't you wait a second, Dim," Marc said, taking his First Mate duties a bit seriously. "I want to check the cargo area real quick and don't feel like being knocked around while you get your 'feel' for the day."

Marc did a quick check of the cargo then jogged his way to the bridge. Poking his head into the pilot blister, he glanced at some of the gauges.

"And I forgot something," he says to the back of Dimitri's head. "I get paid to tell you what to do. Figured I'd slack off a bit today. Whadda think?"

He smiled and without waiting for an answer, moved to his chair on the bridge and began looking through various logs and checklists.



"Nobody down here but me," Dimitri yelled sounding a bit peeved. "I should put up a gorram sign. That or make a door."

He didn't see how that would be possible though, the recessed area where he sat was pretty open and wouldn't cut off well. Maybe a hatch, he thought. Yeah.

"I assume you sticking your beak in here means we're shiny for take-off... get ready, get set, we're leaving Tibet. After a quick stop in Albraith to pick up the captain, that is. Marc, we still taking on crew?"

”Yeah, we should have at least one coming," Marc replied. "Provided you get us there in one piece."

Flipping the intercom switch to the rest of the ship, Marc punched the button.

"Fox, you get the quarters set up? There was a lot of junk in that spare bunk the other day. And every body make sure you're sitting down. We all know how Dim likes to drive." He chuckled as he turned off the intercom.



Watching the piles of crates wobbling and vibrating as Dimitri took off, Fox thumbed the intercom again. 'Most that junk is now in a box down here. If no one claims it before we hit Albraith, I'm going to barter it off for some  goodies.' All except that little wooden puzzle. I'm keeping that.”

Fox shut the intercom off and headed for the ladder that put him closest to the empty cabin.




Sharyn just nodded at the intercom's speaker as she headed towards the washroom. Just outside her target she strapped the filters down and grabbed a handhold for good measure.

Of her life onboard, she hated takeoffs the most. Everything else was fine.

"Better not trash my hydroponics like you did last time," she muttered

"I'm surrounded by crazy people," she muttered to herself, forgetting she was close enough to Marc for him to hear her.  The rest of her comments were thankfully drowned out by the full 'roar' of the engines that gave the Cicada its name.

"I'll have you know," Marc said loud enough to be heard over the engines. "That
calling me crazy isn't allowed until after you'd gone on a date with me. So don't ever call me that again."

Sharyn shot him a startled look and then smiled.

"Fair enough," she yelled back, “but if Dim crushes your rib cage 'cause he's pulling too
many G's during takeoff... don't come crying to me!"

She stopped when she realized that the roar of the engines was gone, replaced by the peaceful thrum deep within the ship. They were back in space… back in the black.

She let the rest of her breath out, relaxed now that the Cicada had finally broken atmo. She let out a relieved sigh and then let go of the hand holds, noticing how the blood had drained from her hands.

She stretched her fingers and then prepared to get back to work.

A small, wiry form stepped out from the bridge and into the common area, Dimtri Wa himself.   Dim looks both happier and more wistful than he has in a long while, It's a funny expression on the little guy's face... like he wanted to get going again but really didn't want to leave, either.

  "It's running so much smoother now! I mean, yeah, atmo flight's still choppy and labored, but the engines don't cough on startup like they used to and the new plating does wonders for the turbulence. I don't know if you felt it, but..." he trailed off has he headed portside towards the kitchen.

"Felt it? Felt what?!" Marc demanded, shaking his head. "Get back and here and finish your sentence."

He tried to stand up, forgetting that he’d actually strapped in for take off.

“Ow!”

He unstrapped and followed Dim into the common area.  He caught a glance of the pilot as he headed into the kitchen.  Mark glanced at Sharyn, shaking his head.

"Please finish what you were saying," Marc said as he entered the kitchen. Before Dimitri could say anything, Marc glanced back toward Sharyn. "Now HE'S crazy."

Sharyn laughed in agreement. "It's all the hard take offs and landings... rattles the brain...." She explained.

She paused and looked at Dim through the galley window.  She was obviously relieved to be in the black again.

"You're telling me that *that* is better?" She asked the pilot.

Dim gave Marc a weird look.

"The difference; did you feel the difference. I guess you didn't feel it. Well, it's there. The money was worth it." He grabbed a packet of something from the cupboard... powdered meat that for some reason didn't turn his stomach.

"Don't know how the captain's going to pay us back," Dim commented as he ripped open the packet and poured the contents into a tin can, adding a splach of water, then setting the whole thing down on the counter to gel.

Coming up the ladder that led from the middle deck to the common area, Fox looked round. “No, no, no, Dim is merely eccentric. To be truly crazy, he'd have to foam at the mouth, paint him self an absurd color, call himself something like ‘Lord Buckethead’ and then eat the captain. Now that would be crazy.”  Fox explained before flopping into one of the chairs.  'Someone making coffee or do I gotta’ come over there and do it myself?”

Dim opened his mouth at Fox's speech, then shook head. "Coffee would be nice," he stated brusquely as he leaves the galley just as quickly as he'd come

Sharyn winced at the thought and quickly extricated herself from the webbing and the couch

"I'll get it,” she offered. “I've had that road tar you call coffee... "

She shudders slightly, "Waste of good beans!"

She started setting up the equipment and just shook her head. "It's amazing you've survived as long as you have."


"Now, why'd he leave so fast?" Marc asked, staring at the empty door to the bridge.  "Everyone else is aware that this is a partnership now, right? We get a cut of the profits...however much that is. Cap'n'll decide that when he pick him up."

Grabbing a pack of crackers, Marc sat down at the table and looked at Doc and Fox. He knew that he couldn't have asked for a better crew for this boat. He was glad he had them.

"Speaking of picking up the captain..." He stood up and stuck his head out of the kitchen. "Dim, if you can hear me, how long till Albraith?"

The intercom crackled. Apparently Dimitri was already in his chair down in the blister and would rather talk this way than yell.

"I hear you,” he answered.  “At this speed, maybe twelve hours, I reckon to be good or another four or so, then I'll want to hit the hay. Tibet sunset is in ten minutes, FYI.  Anyone wants to bring me a cup when that coffee's brewed, I'd be mighty grateful. Oh, and my meat when it's gelled."



Dimitri may have been one of the newest crew members, but he'd already made the blister (or pod, or bubble, or jar, depending on his mood) his home away from bunk. The placing of the equipment made it a tight squeeze for anyone bigger than him, and there was plenty of little paraphenalia around marking it as his territory. There was a hand-held mirror, a small ring fashioned from a twig and woven across with thread like a spider web, and a small poster depicting a motion model of the Sol system to keep him company Dim liked collecting things.  Everyone knew that if you've lost something, he's the man to go to; whether that means he's good at finding things or steals them, no one was really sure, but they all had their suspicions.

As for the blister itself, it's a place very few other people enjoyed.. The plastiglass was thick but there was entirely too much of it.  Anyone sitting there got a good view of both sides, straight down, and not quite straight up, which can be very disconcerting.   Some even said you could very nearly fool yourself into thinking that you were hanging your ass right out into the 'verse, nothing around but void.

"How can you eat that tyen shu duh straight like that?" Sharyn asked leaning over the cup for a moment, then returning her focus to the coffee. She could smell it now, the roasted smell overriding the smell of the 'meat.'

"You know ... I'm going to make stir fry soon as I finish cleaning the filters," she adds towards Dimitri then, in a quieter tone she looks at Marc and Fox. "You guys up for stir fry?"

She didn’t bother waiting for an answer knowing that if it the food was hot, and they didn’t have to cook it… they weren’t going to complain where she could hear them.



When the coffee finished brewing, she snagged 4 cups and sets them up on a tray. She also pulled 4 sugar cubes out of a drawer and placed them in the center of the tray, before pouring the coffee.

She handed a cup to Marc and Fox and then headed towards the blister, carefully leaving the gelling... 'meat' behind.

She noticed how the blister was starting to get that ‘lived in smell’ and smiled.  Dimitri was making himself right at hom.

"One lump or none?" she asked as she pushes the tray forward and offered him a cup.  As she waited, she looked around, taking a sip from her own cup.  "Love what you've done with the place," she teased.

Looking out the view area she felt a slight hint of vertigo, but also a feeling of amazement.  She had been born planet side but this is where she felt at home.

As she looked, Marc stuck his head inside the bridge.

"I'm going to be in my bunk if anyone needs me."



Without waiting for a real answer, Marc made his way down the ladder to the second deck.   He walked down to the middle cabin, and punched in his code and opened the door.

Once inside, he took a look around. His cabin was what most people call, barren.  There were a few papers laying on a makeshift table. His bunk was made, and everthing was it's place.

Sitting on the bunk, Marc took a few deeps breaths. He was thinking of lying down, but at the moment, he was a little too wired. Grabbing a towel, he headed for the cargo hold to make use of Fox's weight equipment.

Slowly things settled into their routines. Dimitri plotted the course and verified the systems as Marc rested and Fox finished cleaning up the 'guest' room.

As promised once Sharyn finished her chores with the filters, she began cooking lunch for herself and the others. Usually when she was planetside, she'd purchase spices and herbs to augment and accentuate the food... but this had not been a pleasure stop. It
had taken most of the crew's finances as well as her own. She'd even taken an advance on this month's stipend to get a few items for the medical bay.

Things would be a little bland until they got the full ship up and operational.  It was just something they’d have to accept.

When lunch was ready she hit the intercom.

"For your dining pleasure, we present the stir-fry of the day... watercress, mung bean sprouts and... protein gel now available in the galley."

She debated about setting the table, but it only meant more work and since it was just 'family'... there was no real reason.

Fox listened to the intercom message and went back to poking at the spare room’s light switch, producing absolutely no result. He looked across at Marc in exasperation. 'The lights don’t work, the wall sockets don’t work,” he grumbled.  “We only just had this ship refitted!'

Shaking his head, he followed Marc as the first mate headed toward the galley. “Soon as I've eaten, I'll have that rooms junction box to bits... probably end up re-wiring the entire damn ship...”

Marc nodded as Fox spoke.

"Just be careful," he replied. "Don't go toasting yourself or nothing, dong ma? Besides, my cabin's right next to it. I DO NOT want it damaged."

Climbing up the ladder into the common area, Fox looked around. “Dim not emerged from his lair yet?”

Dimitri poked his head over the lip of the bridge. "I'll be right there."


A few minutes later Dimitri emerged, carrying a handheld radio that occasionally emited a low stream of static. "I'm getting some noise on the common band. Can't make it out. Probably nothing." Still, as he sat down he kept the radio close at hand.

Marc glanced at the radio and then Dimitri. He trusted the pilot enough to let him figure it out. Besides, after a workout then filling dinner, he was ready for a nap.
Not really paying much attention to the conversation going on around him, Marc ate his gel-fry quietly.  He was busy thinking about the captain and the possibility of  a new crew member. The captain hadn't said much about him...or her. Only that they were to get the last cabin ready for someone. Hopefully this was their mechanic. Fox was alright with basic stuff, but if the drive broke down, he knew they were all in trouble.

A squeal of static brought him back to the table.

"Everything ok? Marc asked.

"Yeah. It's just noise." Dim answerend not seemingly concerned, but he would cock his head toward the low hiss every time it emerged from the handheld.

"You know, I was thinking," Dim said in his low drawl, "the retro-fits, especially the plating, make the ship pretty non-standard. We could fuzzify our data trail by renaming the ship. You know, if anyone was getting a bead on us, that might throw 'em off."

Though he doesn’t say it, it’s fairly obvious that Dim is talking about the Alliance. Being wanted for multiple killings, as the Alliance claims Dim is, tends to induce a certain level of paranoia.

Marc nodded at Dim's idea.

"Good idea," Marc said.  "Don't think the captain would mind. He wants the alliance as far away as possible, I'm sure. Not like we're legal all the time anyhow."

"Hmm, this stir-fry ain't bad, Doc," he added swallowing a bit. "Even for protein gel, Thanks."

He thinks only a moment longer before speaking again.

"Acheron," he says. "'River of Woe' in Earth-that-was mythology. We sure as hell had our fair share of woe of late. Almost be fittin' for this crew. Just a suggestion, though. What about you all?" He looked to the rest of the crew.

Sharyn watched the others as she let the name roll around in her mind. "We do seem to sail a river of woe," she answered slowly

Dim shook his head. "You guys call ME depressing."

“You are depressing,” Sharon answered with a wink.  “We’re just realists.”

Dim ignored Sharyn's comment, flicking a piece of food at her in a half-hearted manner. It sailed wide, hitting the near-empty pepper shaker.


"We could call it the 'Fuzzy Bunny'," Marc suggested with a mouthful of stir-fry. "Feds'd be too busy pissing themselves laughing to stop us for anything."

Sharon looked at Marc, unsure at first if he's being serious or teasing. She tried to suppress a smile, but the effort only made her eyes twinkle more.

"Wu de tyen ah, its the crew of the Fuzzy Bunny! Run for your lives!" she laughed shaking her head.

Marc just looked at Sharyn. He didn’t answer, or give any inclination that he was joking. He popped another mouthful of stir-fry and looked at Fox, who'd been quiet for longer than normal.

"How about 'Sanctuary’?” Dim asked.  “I think this ship is a bit of that for all of us."

Fox looked up from his meal and appeared to think for a moment. He nodded slowly. 'Yeah. I like that.'

He went back to his food for a minute, the, without looking up; he suggested “Similar theme: what about 'Haven'?'”

"Haven's nice," Marc answered quietly. "Succinct, sweet, and short enough that Fox can spell it if needed."

This time he gaves a half smile as he spoke. He knew he joking and hoped that Fox did too.

"Two good names so far," Marc continued. "What do you think, Doc? You're almost the deciding vote."

Sharon looked at him and then the others. They can almost see the gears turn and
her expression change slightly as she switched gears.

"Well," she said. "Trying to think like an over worked officious Alliance commander, I'd think that ‘Sanctuary’ or ‘Haven’ would be a place to hide from the law and board them.”

“Then again, I'd think anybody naming a ship after something from... is it Greek? mythology... I'd think they where up to something... and board them."

Her expression softened as she went back to thinking like herself as she tries to decide on a name. "How about 'Acheron's Haven' ?"

Then she shook head. "I think maybe just Acheron.... "

  "The F.B. Hacherary," Dim pipes up, clattering his spoon down on his now empty plate. "Am I on dishes? I forget." Standing up, he turned to the cupboard and checked the dog-eared, spattered piece of paper. "Roster says yes." Shrugging, he grabbed his plate and dumped it in the wash basin.

"I'm not sure," he commented as he started filling the basin, "what name we could pick besides the 'Mary Jane' or 'Edmund Fitzfickle" that we couldn't imagine the Alliance noticing. Now, 'Jonesboro' would be terrible... who would name a ship after a pivotal battle in the war and expect not to see the Alliance start sniffing? Same goes for 'Captain Polanski' or someone like that... she's still fresh in the minds of too many veterans to be a safe moniker. But really, unless we're gonna call her the 'Anti-Unification Smuggler's Gunboat,' we shouldn't be jumping at rattles.

"If you want to be practical," he suggested, "pick something people can pronounce. They're gonna say Ach-her-on, or Akron, or summat. Otherwise I'd be onboard for it. Too distinctive a name gets remembered."

Marc nodded in agreement.

"I can tell you that not every Alliance commander is going  to board a ship named `Sanctuary' or `Haven'," Marc comments. "Believe it or not, a lot of settlers use names like that in their one-way death traps. You want some help, Dim?"

Marc got up and walked over to the sink, grabbing a towel.

"Have you ever heard of the ship `Serenity'? Most people assume it's named after the Battle of Serenity Valley. But who knows. Maybe the captain is a fan of Earth-that-was Zen or something. He finds peace onboard her. His place of Serenity."

Shrugging, Marc helps towel dry the dishes as Dimitri washes them.

"We all know what we brought ourselves into by joining this crew. We're smugglers. Nothing `honorable'. But it's what we are. We can sit scared every time we see a cruiser, afraid they'll take our name to mean we're hiding something, or we can pick a name and see what happens."

"My vote is for Haven. It's not necessarily notable and short enough that people won't turn it into go se trying to pronounce it. If I seem bossy about it, I'm sorry. I'm getting tired."

Sharyn winced slightly when Dim mentioned Jonesboro, but as the conversation turned she nodded. "True enough...".

"Still...."

Her next thought was interrupted by a sudden burst of static, and an all too familiar series of code calls.

".... <squelch> 77... 32 repeat 77219-32 Possible code violation..."

She stiffened slightly as she translated the codes without thinking about it.

"Travel code ... Non-standard travel signal... Craft not matching its visual signature... they're investigating..."

She looked at the others. "It could be someone else...." It sounds like she wants to believe that, but she's afraid she's wrong.

"Damn," Marc swore as he hurried out the kitchen. He, too, recognized the code being broadcast. ‘Hopefully, they're talking about some one else. We do not have money to pay for a fine right now...if that's all we get.’

Marc took his seat on the bridge and began watching the scanners, trying to figure out who they were dealing with.

"Sure enough," he said, tapping his screen. "Alliance cruiser. Please don't be looking at us. Please."

Dim arrived a beat behind Marc, half falling, half sliding into his chair in the blister.  “We shouldn't run, people," he barked over the intercom, "they've probably tagged our destination and we'd never get the captain without another encounter. Marc? Command?"

"Don't run," Marc answered. "We haven't been hailed yet. I don't want to give them a reason to..."

*Cicada-class transport. This is Alliance Cruiser I.A.V. Constance. Release control of your helm and prepare to be boarded.*

Marc droped his head on the console.

"Jen dao mei," he said quietly. "Do as they say, Dim. No need to piss them off today." Reaching over, he punched the intercom. "Sharyn, Fox. Please head to the cargo bay. We're about to get visitors. Might as well play nice and meet them at the door. I'll be down as soon as I grab the paperwork."



Boarded. Dim fought a spasm of fear as he released control over to the Alliance ship and bounded out of the bubble, whipping past Marc off the bridge. He reached his cabin and headed to his stash, a compartment within his computer monitor, only big enough to hold a few slim data-cards. Finding the ident-card that matched the ship's data, he closed up the monitor and gave it a quick wipe with his shirt. Then he rested his head against the wall. It's just an inspection, he assured himself. It's not what it could be, it's not what your body thinks it is. Take control. Slow everything down. Be greased.
Through sheer force of will, as he made his way toward the cargo bay, feeling the ship move on its own around him, his body answered the commands he's sent it, slowing his heartbeat, stopping the adrenaline, curbing the sweat. He's cool, he's greased right up. No one can touch him. There's nothing wrong, and he's not Dimitri Wa, he's Gavin Vernon Harding, and he's been doing contract work on freighters like this for years. Untouchable.

His heart does trip a bit when he reached the cargo bay, but only once.



In the kitchen, Sharyn sighed.  "And it started out as such a nice day. On the bright side," she said to Fox. "We don't have any cargo yet. We're just in transit after the re-fit."

She did a quick mental inventory and realized that she had one item in medical that might make a boarding party take a second look. After a pause she hit the intercom. "Marc, I'm stopping by medical and picking up my license for the Neurolizer."

"See ya downstairs," she said to Fox and then headed through the doorway to her 'office.'

It only took a few minutes to gather the required paperwork.  She’d work hard on the bay during the refit, making sure it had everything they needed.  She’d even set up a properly secured area for the neurolizer.  She was glad she had now.

In the proper hands the unit could be used to help undo nerve and tissue damage.  In the wrong hands—it could be a cheap, and very addictive high.  That fact made it extremely regulated piece of equipment.   Only Alliance vessels or government run hospital ships or doctors trained and certified in its use were allowed to own one.

Having one was dangerous, but with the captain’s condition—it was a life safer.  She pulled out the licenses, permits and certification certificates and added them to her portfolio before heading down to the cargo bay.



Fox wolfed down the last few mouthfuls of his meal and ran for the ladder to the lower decks, tossing his bowl into the sink as he did so. He slid down the ladder and ran along the corridor of the lower cabin deck and disappeared into his cabin. After grabbing his ID card and checking that his weapons locker was in fact locked - and therefore legal; Fox headed down to the hanger, ready to meet their 'guests'

Shifting his balance minutely to compensate for the ships manouvers, Fox watched the main cargo doors, trying to convince himself that it was utterly impossible for them to have traced him, and that his ID would stand up to any inspection they could give him.

He didn’t look round when he heard footsteps on the stairs behind him. He listened carefully for a moment and identified it as Sharyn. Fox continued to watch the door as the others arrived.

“So much for not opening the airlocks to strangers,” Shayrn commented to Dimitri as they waited for the Alliance troops to enter.




The boarding party was fast and efficient.  A small squad of soldiers filled the bay, surrounding the crew and securing the area, before their commander set foot on the Cicada’s deck.

Surrounded the crew waited as calmly as they could all things considered.

The officer, a lieutenant, entered the cargo bay and looked around a little before focusing on those gathered.

 “Is this your entire crew?”  He asked brusquely.

Before anyone could answer, more men filed on board and with a nod, the officer sent them out to scour the ship.





Outtakes:

"It's running so much smoother now! I mean, yeah, atmo flight's still
choppy and laboured, but the engines don't cough on startup like they used
to and the new plating does wonders for the turbulence. I don't know if you
felt it, but..." he trails off and steers starboard, heading into the
kitchen.



Sharyn:
“Dimitri!!! The only way the kitchen is on the Starboard side is if you
turned the ship upside down. again!”

Fox:
 Please... no… I was halfway up a ladder last time.
Haven
 GM, 2 posts
 Cicada Class Ship
Thu 2 Jun 2005
at 17:38
Boarded
My pilot was forced to heave to, and the local Aliance swarmed my decks.  They tore apart the Med-lab... and then took the doctor there to question her about the Nuerolizer.

She tried to show them the papers, they ignored her.  They broke the locks on the storage compartment, she objected... when they almost broke the device, she tried to stop them...

She ended up with a concussion.  Fortunately their commanding officer decided to run her credentials rather than just lock her up...

When they found out that she was a decorated combat vetran (and a former purplebelly herself, they beat a hasty retreat.

So they left me and my crew, with medical in disarray, the doctor concussed, and my flight deck scuffed.

It was the only incident on our way to meet our captain.

This message was last edited by the player at 19:24, Thu 02 June 2005.

Chris Vargas
 NPC, 3 posts
 Captain of the Haven
Thu 2 Jun 2005
at 19:35
Taking on passengers
I was amazed when the ship arrived.  The crew had done a first rate job getting her patched together.

While planet side, I took a page from the ship and went to get my spinal column evaluated by one of the doctors here.  Sharyn had recommended him.  It seems, that with work and proper PT, I  will be able to walk again.

Sharyn was pleased to hear that, and even picked up some needles when she was in the market.  Just call me 'Captain Pincushion'... okay, maybe not

Only my crew could manage to get into  a fight with our passengers, before they’ve even boarded the ship.  It all started when our Pilot went out to ‘explore’ planet-side.

A street urchin picked his pocket and Dim, being Dim took off in pursuit.  That would have been fine, but it seems that someone had been attacking the smaller, less threatening members of a traveling circus…

The Acrobats saw Dim chase the kid into an alley and went after him.  The crew went to pick up Dim.  The Acrobats were about to give Dim a ‘taste of his own medicine, when the others arrived.  A fight ensued, and in the process one of the Acrobats’ arms was broken.  It wouldn’t have been too bad, if the acrobats hadn’t been the passengers I’d booked.

That night we had another visitor, and potential client, a bounty hunter, name of Nadnikov:  Justice Nadnikov.

Sharyn, not to be outdone by the boys, ended up breaking the bounty hunter’s nose in another misunderstanding.

Now… all we have to do is get this circus safely to its destination, hopefully without another fight.
Chris Vargas
 player, 105 posts
 Captain of the Haven
Tue 18 Sep 2007
at 20:01
Trouble comes in threes
Maybe more, I've lost count. But things have definitely gotten worse.

Go to bed one night thinking things are all right, except for Fox threatening to break one of the acrobat's fool necks.  Wake up a few hours later and things are bad, very bad.

It's not unheard of for an acrobat to fall, uncommon but not unheard of.  Of course, it had to happen.  Now the fingers are pointing every which way and we're trying to preserve and gather as much forensic information as possible.

That would be bad enough but the Doc's passed out.  Someone's gassed our passengers and we we haven't seen hide nor hair of our gorram mechanic.

Simple may be overrated, but I'd like to try it sometime.