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gwangi32

To Quest Beyond the Stars

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You follow glowing blue neon lines to a comfortable office. A stocky human of less than average height is waiting for you. He is a middle aged man and quite bald. "Please come in and have a seat," he motions toward chairs facing a glowing comp screen.

 

"I am Zig Budgar," he says, "and I'll get straight to the point. I want to hire a small group to explore a recently discovered, or should I say rediscovered planetary system. I know this group has some experience with the Scout service and merchant style work. These are the skills you will need. There is something strange about this place which is named Unaught. Find some details, bring back a report of the potential for this system. And see if it has some affiliation, is it claimed within the Empire or by one of the Small States?"

 

He smiles and gestures to the screen. A holographic image of the local system slowly fades to a star chart. Some little skill is all that is needed to follow as a navigation line shows the route. "You may notice that the navigation line departs from charted routes just over the Imperial border. The system is not shown within any declared borders." Zig takes a drink from a table that has just appeared. He gestures at the table and says "Help yourself please."

 

"I plan to let you use a Scout Ship that belongs to me. It may become yours if you can become a team but in any event I am prepared to make this trip lucrative. Will you take me up on this or move on to something else?"

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"Well it sounds interesting." says Keiri as she gets up and selects a long-necked bottle containing a fizzing liquor with the taste of warm bourbon and ice cream. "A survey mission could take months so you'll permit me to ask a few things."

 

The young engineer takes a short pull on her drink then continues. "The most important question first. Just how lucrative are we talking?"

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"I have use of my own Type S Scout ship. If we use yours, I will need a dock for mine, until we return...." Seamus then waits for an answer to the first question.

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[mutters to Seamus] "Mustered out with a Scout Ship? Lucky bastard." [wink]

 

"Well, I could certainly use some work that offered the potential of owning a Scout Ship, however, I have a few questions as well. My first one is simply and obvious - much like my wit some say - ... what is "strange" about Unaught?"

 

Chance looks over the selection of refreshments [mutter to himself] "..kay .. where's the Denabi Hypersling? ... aaahhh."

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Zig looks you over and smiles. "Let me start with the easy question. I believe it would be best to use my ship on this mission. The Scout Ship MEDARIAN has been set up with some special equipment for this mission. A landing craft and a the cargo hold is carrying sampling equipment and native clothiing. There are translation units as well that you will need. The MEDARIAN has a specially fitted light laser/missle attack capacity and even a sandcaster."

 

"Moorings will be provided for your ship free of charge, provided that if you have not returned with my ship after two standard years ownership reverts to me."

 

"And finally, the lucrative is tied into the unusual. A scout mission touched this system and entered 'Apparent lost human colony, retrogressed into feudal low tech. Strange rotation cycle on planet. Code A1ws4.'" Zig pauses to sip and smiles again. His is a pleasant, open smile.

 

"I believe that the code means that there appears to be psionic activity on the planet among other things known only to scouts and Imperial Intellegence Services. So if the system is very strange it is possible that we will all become rich, new technology and psionics are very spendworthy. If not then it could be claimed as part of the Empire and you will all make the equivalent of an annual salary for a small merchant captain 100,000 cr plus compensation for losses and expenditures. I have in mind one other person for your crew, if all three of you sign on, she is the current caretaker of the MEDARIAN. So what do you think?"

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"Hmmmm ... psionics, eh? That can be dangerous. So, what's our cut if we find 'spendworthy' stuff? Wanna make sure this is worth the risk of getting my neurons scrambled."

 

Doing his best to remember his 2 terms in the Scouts so many years ago, Chances rolls the code around in the fuzzy recesses of memory. A1sw4 ... what did that code mean?

 

[ Anyway that Chance might remember / know this code?]

 

He takes a long slow draw of his drink and waits to see if Zig has further enticements to lure him into this possibly very dangerous mission.

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Keiri grimaced at the particulars of the job and took another pull from her drinking bulb.

 

"There're Readers there?" she asked. "I swear, next you'll be trying to sell Doyle's Eels at the starport. If we're going to be dealing with that kind of voodoo you better be providing psi helmets and the like. Throw those in and whatever else will give us an equal chance then I'm in. I'll tell you though, if you're looking for us to get touchy-feely with any of those freaks then you might be trying to hire the wrong person."

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Zig grimaces a bit at that last shot, "We are not looking to start a witch hunt out here. Psi is very touchy and I know that. We have actually put one helmet on the MEDARIAN. They aren't easy to get and authenticate, as you might guess. There are other little special items on board."

 

After a pause to sip his drink he says "But enough of that. There are three standard contracts here." He gestures to a nearby table where thinskin computerized sheets are sitting on top of metal boxes about one foot square. "If you sign the contract the box and it's contents become yours." He smiles in his charming way, waiting for your next move.

 

Aside The contracts are standard merchant style promises to pay 50,000cr per year for a voyage described in full detail elsewhere. 10% of any profits are shared out to the ships crew. All expenses are assumed by the company and an opperating budget of 1,000,000 cr (Imperial Scip and electronic account chips) will be placed at the disposal of the crew. Officers will be assigned by vote. One exception is Chief Engineer Soina Reyha, who shares in profits but votes only on destination choices. CE Reyha is not to be considered for the majority of ground work, her assigned and paid position is engineering and equipment maintenance. No insurance for death or dismemberment or injury of any kind will be offered. But medical fees are considered a part of business expenses. A "simple" medtech computer AI is included with the ship for this voyage. There is a DNA Sample Universal ID thumbprint signature block in the exact center of the document.

 

Aside 2 The document is like the flexisheets on ANDROMEDA, which is to say a paper thin computer which holds multiple pages of legal document, pictures and the like all dealling with this specific contract. If you assign your identification then a duplicate will be provided.

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"Hmmmm. This looks pretty good to me. I'm in."

 

Chance scribbles his name, which is a lot of slanted scratches, and prints out his ID number neatly next to it.

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"One last question." says Keiri, looking the contract over. About this Reyha person. Scout ships aren't the largest ships in the sky. Generally they only need one engineer. If she's to be Engineer on the boat, what is my function? I know there's going to be tons of ground work and exploration, but I mean, my main talents are in engineering. That's what I thought you were hiring me for. If I'm not taking care of the boat, what are you wanting me to do?"

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"One last question." says Keiri, looking the contract over. About this Reyha person. Scout ships aren't the largest ships in the sky. Generally they only need one engineer. If she's to be Engineer on the boat, what is my function? I know there's going to be tons of ground work and exploration, but I mean, my main talents are in engineering. That's what I thought you were hiring me for. If I'm not taking care of the boat, what are you wanting me to do?"

"Well if that's the only hold up I'll play it straight. I want people to explore for me, I want people who can think on their feet and I want the range of skills that the three of you have. The ship however isn't really your concern. So I have a caretaker for it."

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"Fair enough then." says Keiri with a nod. "Play it straight and I will too." With that the engineer signs her name and takes the job.

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Sorry, I wasn't sure I would be able to continue. I started a new assignment at work and have had to work extremely long hours. I hope to have things in order by April and back to two postings a week. Until April it will be a bit haphazard.

 

The MEDARIAN and Chief Engineer Soina Reyha are as expected. A sound ship and a competant officer. You each have a small cabin, (Please develop a list of all gear you will stow in your cabin, it will be added to the inventory, but if you want to keep something secret then PM those items to me.)

 

The MEDARIAN is a standard scout hull with almost no cargo space. The interior has been transformed into a lab ship, there is a small but well supplied lab for taking and testing planetary mineral and biological samples. There is a small hovercar (five person limit or the equivalent in cargo). One lift exoskeleton (think of the forklift-suit in Aliens). A stocked toolshop, a replacement parts locker, vac suits for everyone plus three. Four shot guns with 300 rounds of ammo, two pistols (9mm) with 1000 round of ammo, two assault rifles with 1000 rounds of ammo, ten steel knives, two short swords (machetes). Two tool belts with wrenches, pliers, fasteners and the like.

 

After a walk through and a meeting with CE Reyha you have about twenty hours before scheduled liftoff. All paperwork and permits are in place for that time. Your window is one hour and then new applications will need to be made. This is a high law level planet after all.

 

You may shop, play or go ahead and move into your cabins. If one of you is holding a good scan of a scout ship and wants to do the modifications that's fine if not I'll look around for a scan in my files

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