[CHAPTER 1] Jiggery Pokery.   Posted by GM.Group: 0
GM
 GM, 23 posts
Fri 3 Nov 2017
at 03:21
[CHAPTER 1] Jiggery Pokery


June 15th, 2439
1500 Hours (3:00 PM)


Somewhere outside the Yukon Gypsy Outpost, orbiting the planet Tara...



"Another day, another dollar."

That old proverb has gotten you through a lot of shit. At the end of the day, anything can be endured if the profit margins are high enough. Just about anything can bring on a good mood, but nothing kills it quicker than a lost investment.

You are aboard the Argus. Your current trajectory will bring you into port at the regionally famous Yukon Gypsy, an abandoned military outpost that's been renovated into a trade hub. The station sits perched right along the middle of the Revati-Primm trade highway. Pirates aren't too bad of a problem out this way, but the shopkeepers on the Gypsy usually make up for that with their unorthodox pricing strategies.
Solomon MacMillan
 player, 39 posts
 Goes by "Sully"
 HOLD FAST
Fri 3 Nov 2017
at 12:12
[CHAPTER 1] Jiggery Pokery

"Another day, another dollar."

   Solomon "Sully" MacMillan glanced at the credo, burned in wood on a plaque by a shipmate now long gone, then glanced again at the bridge display heralding the approach of the Yukon Gypsy.

   He idly scratched his beard. Grunted. Sniffed. Said to himself, the bridge, or nobody in particular, "Damned Yukes. We'll be lucky if we can get so much as an old world dollar out of 'em."

   Sully checked the course display again, set it to decrease speed and notify him when within a hundred kilometers of the station, then sat back in his chair, watching the stars.
Odette Laframboise
 player, 61 posts
 Tiniest Engineer
 in Spaaaaaccceee!!!!
Fri 3 Nov 2017
at 15:38
[CHAPTER 1] Jiggery Pokery
Over the comms, Odette's voice spoke to the bridge, presumably from down where she spent most of her time, the engine room. "Hey, has anyone up there seen my yellow han... no, wait! Got it! Thought I left it up there. Have we got an ETA for Yukon? Have I got time to grab a shower and a bit of sleep? I lost track of time. I'm a bit... dusty. For making a good impression."

That was one part of her upbringing that had actually taken root in her personality. She liked squirming about inside the engines a lot, but it was fairly dirty work. And she had a thing for being clean and tidy when they docked anywhere. First impressions mattered.

This message was lightly edited by the player at 15:39, Fri 03 Nov 2017.

Solomon MacMillan
 player, 43 posts
 Goes by "Sully"
 HOLD FAST
Fri 3 Nov 2017
at 16:04
[CHAPTER 1] Jiggery Pokery
  Sully tapped the output key of the bridge mic.
  "I'd say we've got 15 minutes until we get within hailing range of the facility, but even that will be at least an hour of hangar-wringing and paperwork. You've got plenty of time."
  He tapped the broadcast toggle again, then stood up and stretched, wincing as joints popped.
 "DASH, put on some Martian jazz, would you? Abnett-era, not that crappy new stuff."
  He paused, as high-tempo piano began tinkling over the bridge speaker system.
  "Thanks, DASH."

This message was last edited by the GM at 00:16, Sat 04 Nov 2017.

Franciszek Gomolka
 player, 21 posts
 "Pour one more, lads...
 ...gonna be a long trip."
Fri 3 Nov 2017
at 16:52
[CHAPTER 1] Jiggery Pokery
Another steady stream of coolant suddenly popped up like a boiling tea kettle. France sighed and readied his plasma torch again, mindful of the three previous welding marks visible around the pipe's exterior. He had been at it for what seemed like hours; sure, welding minor coolant leaks wasn't exactly his idea of "fun," but it had a predictable, relaxing monotony to it. It wasn't an urgent task; the microleaks would take hours before they'd even be registered on sensors. However, France's slowly-expanding frame certainly couldn't compare with Odette's contortions to squeeze into the engine, and he certainly couldn't churn out technical marvels like Alan. He was content for this sort of relatively quiet busywork he was afforded on the Argus. He brought his visor down over his face, musing that even surrounded by such sophisticated technological wonders, a good piece of hard metal can still do its job just fine. Sort of like him, really.

"All right you little bugger, quit your hissing and-"

His reverie was interrupted by a strange sound, something possessed of strange dissonant melodies. He paused momentarily and shook his head.

"Sully and his goddamn jazz again..."

He increased the intensity of the plasma torch in a futile attempt to drown out the music.
Kessar Cindull
 player, 43 posts
 Ex-Pilot Rescue Force
 Surly and Sarcastic
Fri 3 Nov 2017
at 17:17
[CHAPTER 1] Jiggery Pokery
Kessar burst onto the bridge, carrying a limp and badly beaten body of Bruce. Bruce was breathing, but he looked like he had gone 10 rounds with a boxer-bot. Kessar heaved him onto the floor, spat on him, and gave him one more kick in the stomach for good measure. "Son of a Bitch was in Odette's pod, rifling through her unmentionables drawer. It's not bad enough he was miserable at his job he has to do this? He is lucky I'm in a good mood or I would space his ass." Kessar turned and walked away griping about Bruce, his lack of hygiene and morality.

This message was last edited by the player at 17:34, Fri 03 Nov 2017.

Solomon MacMillan
 player, 46 posts
 Goes by "Sully"
 HOLD FAST
Fri 3 Nov 2017
at 17:35
[CHAPTER 1] Jiggery Pokery
Sully sprang out of his seat, took in the scene, and shouted out the door after Kessar:
"The hell'd you bring him up here for? Now I have to look at 'im!"

He gave a once-over to the miserable figure on the floor and wrinkled his nose.
"I don't know why he bothered to rough you up, from the smell of you I'll bet you didn't feel a thing."
Squid
 Robot, 2 posts
Fri 3 Nov 2017
at 18:35
[CHAPTER 1] Jiggery Pokery
"Query: Was crewman Bruce's behavior deemed as 'socially unacceptable'?", came the monotone, yet curious voice of Squid as its many appendages allowed it to slither its way along the corridor in Kessar's wake. Of course, it wasn't the medic that prompted its curiosity, but rather the sorry state in which the human he was carrying found himself.

The AI's core programming was centered around the concept of aiding others, a concept that had by now triggered quite a few warning signals in its synthetic synapses. Its numerous eyes focused themselves both onto the injured crewmate and onto Sully, the latter of which had reacted in a manner Squid could not really classify as worried for Bruce's health. Intriguingly enough, Squid disregarded the medic completely, even as it produced its second question. "Query: Is it not the function of a medic to heal, not injure? Or does this have to do with his 'condition', as described by creator Alan?"

This, of course, was a nod to a previous conversation, one centered around Bruce trying to convince the Engineer into modifying Squid so as to grant it a feminine voice. Needless to say, Alan was deeply disturbed by this suggestion, considering his past misdeeds, thus prompting the man to ask his creation to avoid him as much as possible. Of course, in its innocence, the AI complied without really understanding why. After all, it was clear that other crewmates also seemed to avoid him, as well, and Squid's duties often meant little contact with the crew during work hours, anyways.
Solomon MacMillan
 player, 48 posts
 Goes by "Sully"
 HOLD FAST
Fri 3 Nov 2017
at 18:49
[CHAPTER 1] Jiggery Pokery
Hearing the robot's voice echo down the hallway, Sully chuckled to himself. He'd escaped another episode of Robotic Ethics Class. It was Kessar's problem now.

Then again, with Kessar's current mood...

"Dear lord, he's gonna break the poor thing's little logic center." He keyed the mic toggle again. "Sully to Alan, you may wanna rendezvous with Kess at the medbay. Squid's asking questions again and he might need a chaperone this time."
Hit the toggle again. Hit play after DASH had so helpfully paused during the drama. Exhale.
Kessar Cindull
 player, 48 posts
 Ex-Pilot Rescue Force
 Surly and Sarcastic
Fri 3 Nov 2017
at 18:51
[CHAPTER 1] Jiggery Pokery
Kessar was clearly furious, much more angry even than he probably should be. This was not like someone going through a guy's sister's privacy, it was more like someone going through a girlfriend's privacy. His whole body shook with fury as he spun to face the robot. The look he was giving the machine was was far worse than the one he normally gave to "turn a man's insides to jelly," it was the kind of anger that normally prompted murder. Clearly he is not angry with the robot, but instead Bruce. The robot just happened to be in the way.

"Socially unacceptable???" He could barely force the words out. "Damned right. I catch you going through anybody's undies and I'll dismantle you myself."

Anyone who has been on the ship for the last six months or so has seen the tension between Kessar and Odette growing slowly. Like a pot on simmer, eventually it would boil, it was just taking a really long time. So long, in fact, it might even be getting frustrating to observers, like when two of your friends in high school obviously were in the process of "feeling each other out" and it was taking months rather than weeks.
Odette Laframboise
 player, 69 posts
 Tiniest Engineer
 in Spaaaaaccceee!!!!
Fri 3 Nov 2017
at 19:05
[CHAPTER 1] Jiggery Pokery
Odette, however, was as yet blissfully unaware of any of the goings on. Having finished up her dusty and grimy job, she was heading back to her room for a nap and a shower, not necessarily in that order. This took her past the compartment where France was wielding his welding, or possibly vice versa. She did not sneak up, but made enough coughing noises to attract attention. Nobody should sneak up on someone who was spot welding. That was only going to get people lightly cooked, and nobody wanted that.

She watched him work and smiled a little. He was good at what he did, and with the right training, he could have made a good chief engineer on a much larger vessel. His attitude, however, was likely to stand in the way of that ever happening. Still, he did his job well, and did not complain, even though it was a pretty rotten way to live. Ships as old as this one were always breaking down in small, and tedious ways, and some poor sod had to fix them.

When he came to a break in his noisy work, she asked, pleasantly. "Nearly done? Got time for a change and brush up, if you want to go over to the Yukon. Once we've done business, I would imagine there are several interestingly fermented beverages that require further attention."

Beer. If her mother learned she was drinking beer, the snooty cow would probably have a nervous breakdown on the spot. Odette had never even seen beer when she was living at home, and it took her some time to even taste it once she left, owing to such deeply-instilled prejudices. But after a hard day, eyebrow deep in grease and dust, nothing refreshed the spirit quite like a decent bevvy.
Faris Al-Rahmadi
 player, 9 posts
Fri 3 Nov 2017
at 19:09
[CHAPTER 1] Jiggery Pokery
Faris walked in, wearing the undersuit of a space suit. "Once we dock, I'm going to take a spin on the outside and check, we did not lose any pieces of thermal plating when we ran through that micrometeoroid shower. Now's as good time as any, just in case we decide to make a planetfall somewhere. I'd hate being cooked", the former Navy officer said. He had time and again proved, that contrary to the beliefs the professional officers had theirs surgically removed, he did have a sense of humour. He had even once cracked, the Navy had replanted it in to him, after they kicked him out. And yet, when it came to work, he had his own notions of efficiency, even though he never asked anyone to do something he was not ready to do.

The former Lieutenant Commander raised a brow. "Don't tell me, Bruce was at it again? Kess, don't castrate him just yet - I'm pretty sure the captain wants to do it herself once she hears of this. And no more beating on him either. He needs to be alive and awake for the captain." Faris seemed to share Kess' dislike, or that was rather an understatement for the emotion. The dark brown eyes were almost as cold as the great void outside the ship.
Cassandra Wilson
 player, 12 posts
Fri 3 Nov 2017
at 19:15
[CHAPTER 1] Jiggery Pokery
   Cassie's voice came over the speakers.  "The next meal will be delayed a bit until about six th... ummm..."  The sound faded to what seemed like muttering, "Uhhh... gotta add twelve to the hours..."  A moment later the voice resumed it's full volume.  "Dinner will be at half past eighteen hundred hours...  maybe eighteen thirty?"

   The speaker clicked off, then came right back on again.  "There's one more thing.  Would whoever is swiping the individual rations packs kindly not do it just before meal time?  I'm not mentioning any names, but I'll make up to go plates if you two want to eat a romantic dinner somewhere more private."
Franciszek Gomolka
 player, 23 posts
 "Pour one more, lads...
 ...gonna be a long trip."
Fri 3 Nov 2017
at 19:20
[CHAPTER 1] Jiggery Pokery
Odette knew France all-too-well, and her sense of timing was impeccable. He turned down his torch, watching the blue-hot glow of metal recede as the hissing of unstable coolant subsided. The pipe would hold, at least for now. He removed his mask and stood up, haltingly.

"'Beverages,' eh? Well, it's been at least an hour. A real dry spell."

He waited for laughter at his little joke. Evidently it was too little. France was never much of a conversationalist; he preferred to let his work speak for itself. Unfortunately his work didn't have much to say either.

"How long's our layover on the Yukon? Depending on the fuel rod situation and whether or not the hull needs reinforcing, we can have the old boat seaworthy again in a few days."

Again, he elicited no laughter. That "Squid"-thing was proving to be a better humorist than France ever could be.

He coughed slightly; although his attitude towards Odette was perhaps less prurient than the other men on board, he sure as hell didn't want to get on her bad side. Despite being nearly a decade his junior, her engineering expertise left France awestruck; he always wondered what sort of education she received that gave her such a knack for it. Surely not scrubbing out conduits on an old rickety space station, that was for damn sure. Besides, he had heard all those rumors about the booby-traps in her stateroom, and more than once found himself nervously checking his own bunk for hidden mechanisms...

This message was last edited by the player at 19:25, Fri 03 Nov 2017.

Odette Laframboise
 player, 72 posts
 Tiniest Engineer
 in Spaaaaaccceee!!!!
Fri 3 Nov 2017
at 21:11
[CHAPTER 1] Jiggery Pokery
"Well, a dry spell needs some watering. We will definitely get to that. But I am not sure how long we're staying. Long enough, as I doubt the captain will try to leave without a decent contract. And we really do need a little time to do some essential maintenance that we can't do while in flight. I have a feeling we're going to be working a lot of the time. Sorry!" Odette's smile was a little rueful. She loved her work, but even she couldn't get enthusiastic about degaussing the hull plating, or tightening the coil fuel rod bolts. And it would be all hands to the pump, so to speak. No fancy qualification could get her out of some essential, and tedious, basic maintenance. "Still, there'll be time for some R&R. Any plans in mind?"
Franciszek Gomolka
 player, 24 posts
 "Pour one more, lads...
 ...gonna be a long trip."
Fri 3 Nov 2017
at 22:02
[CHAPTER 1] Jiggery Pokery
"Sounds like they'll be plenty of greasework for the lot of us. As usual. As for me, well, er...

France was at something of a loss. He didn't quite know how to tell her that he was torn between getting plastered at the Yukon canteen, or finding a quiet spot to work on his newfound passion: his charcoal drawings, a rekindling of his boyhood aspirations towards being an artist. The whole matter was utterly embarassing to him, being the sort of "un-technical" pursuit that would've earned him a resounding thwack on the jaw from his fellow workers back in the day.

He momentarily stumblef over his words.

"I, er, I'm sure I'll think of something. Truth be told, I'm not too fond of station-folk. I know from experience: if you're in space and not moving, you tend more often than not to entertain some funny ideas, some nasty shit."
Squid
 Robot, 3 posts
Fri 3 Nov 2017
at 22:08
[CHAPTER 1] Jiggery Pokery
At Sully's call, Alan's voice could be heard echoing through his earpiece.

Alan Kirschner:
"Bloody hell, are you serious? What did you guys do to it this time?... Nevermind, I'll access it remotely and see if I can figure it out. Diagnostics station is acting up again and I need to work on it as well. Just try not to upset it or anything, alright?"


With that, the young man ceased communication, likely returning to work. It was understandable, really; considering their imminent arrival to Yukon, he both wished to make sure that the ship was in good condition and see if he needed any spare parts for repairs. While the micrometeorite shower didn't do much damage, it was always difficult to assess whether any electronics were hit... especially with the Diagnostics station malfunctioning.

It was then that Kessar rose his voice at the AI by his side, immediately prompting the synthetic to lower its 'head' and gaze, almost as if it were a small child being scolded by their parent. "I apologize for any inconvenience I may have caused. Please let me know if I can assist in any way." Squid's textbook apology/offer for help sprung up as it usually did whenever the AI felt that it had made a mistake, its tone laced with traces of an almost saddened quality.

As if on cue, Faris had also appeared next to the group, intent on checking the outer hull for damage to the thermal plating as soon as they landed. Its head perking up at the prospect of work, the AI's multiple eyes focused on the fellow crewmate, its smaller, claw-like appendages moving quickly as if in excitement. "Crewman Faris, it is within my capabilities to assist you in any EVA-related endeavors. Query: Would you like me to do so?"
Faris Al-Rahmadi
 player, 10 posts
Fri 3 Nov 2017
at 22:32
[CHAPTER 1] Jiggery Pokery
"Sure, Squiddy", the olive skinned spacer replied. "Another set of eyes, or cameras, won't hurt. You can spot fractures in the plates better than I, so we will go out and check them out once we have docked and scour the part of the hull, the rocks pounded upon." Having the robot along on the check would not only shorten the time it took him to go through the effected plates, but it would mean less puking from the radiation exposure and even less of the damn juice that tasted like fermented septitank. Anything to escape that stuff in vast amounts.
Kara Dean
 Captain of the Argus, 1 post
Sat 4 Nov 2017
at 01:30
[CHAPTER 1] Jiggery Pokery
The water sputtered from the showerhead like a broken tap, barely above room temperature. Kara didn't even mind it, these days. As long as the water remained clear and not brown, she couldn't be bothered to complain much.

A ruckus could be heard through the cabin walls. With a deep sigh, she finished rinsing the shampoo from her hair and quickly dried off. After donning her black undergarments, she slipped into a tight-fitting pair of coveralls with her rank's insignia stitched over the shoulders. She strolled over to her cabin's desk, where a small coffee pot was brewing 2 cups of rich dark, right on time.

Her slender hand reached out and made contact with the PA terminal next to her personal computer. The ship's coordinates and current docking protocol emerged from the display, bathing her in an icy blue light.

"Solomon, please come and see me."

She grabbed her coffee mug and rolled her chair closer to the fresh pot. She had a feeling it was going to be a long evening.
Solomon MacMillan
 First Officer, 49 posts
 Goes by "Sully"
 HOLD FAST
Sat 4 Nov 2017
at 01:34
[CHAPTER 1] Jiggery Pokery
A shrill beeping woke Sully, who realized he'd fallen asleep in his chair at the bridge.
first officer macmillan?
"Egh...Yes, DASH?"
you asked me to notify you when we got within 100km of the ship Yukon. I didn't make the notification too jarring, did I?
"No, DASH, it was just fine, thank you. Did you start the deceleration?"
starting deceleration now. in fact, I notified you just prior to reaching the 100km marker so we'd both be able to supervise it.
"Thank you DASH, that was very clever."
Sully didn't know to what degree DASH, or any other advanced AI, experienced emotion or simulated it for human benefit, but he tended towards courtesy just in case. And he couldn't think of much practical reason for the smug and self-satisfied tone with which DASH replied, i thought so too, sir. beginning deceleration now.

Sully nodded, felt a shudder pass through the ship and keyed the bridge mic.
 "Folks, that little shipquake you just felt was a rare good'un. That was the rear coils cutting power and the forward thrusters beginning their deceleration burn. Which means we'll be starting our docking procedure on the Yuke within 90 minutes. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some shouting to do with the hangar techs."

He keyed the bridge mic again, then said," DASH, could you have Squid or one of your auxiliary bots bring me a cup of that battery acid Odette calls coffee?"
A pause.
"DASH, don't actually bring me battery acid."

Kara's transmission reached him then. He keyed the private channel to the captain.
"Sully here. Do you need me in person, Cap? I'm just about to start yelling at the Yukes. And you know I love yelling at the Yukes."

This message was last edited by the player at 01:36, Sat 04 Nov 2017.

Kara Dean
 Captain of the Argus, 2 posts
Sat 4 Nov 2017
at 01:46
[CHAPTER 1] Jiggery Pokery
"It won't take long, I assure you."