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“No, while I like to fix things. I was never allowed to work on the jump computer.”, Wrench falls silent.

Martin Ibanez strolls up in his dress black uniform, a cutlass hangs from his left side. Several medals hang from his uniform. His green beret is in his hands. He nods toward both Crystal and Joe.

“How you all doing?, he says in a slowish drawl,. He orders a water.

“Nice smooth jump we had there. As you can tell, I am a marine. Just got out of the service a few months ago and just trying to find a place to settle down. How about you two? Naval officer and a Merchant Marine, I can guess, but your stories?”

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Crystal nods at the robot's response, albeit looking mildly disappointed at the brevity of it. She's pondering what other subject to broach when Ibanez approaches. She briefly glances at Joe, but decides he'd probably prefer to have a bit more time to work on his response, so she addresses the marine in that clear, melodious voice of hers.

 

"Well, truth to be told, I'm just a surfer girl dreaming of a career in musical theater or entertainment", she starts, grinning. "I know, doesn't really sound like quality military material, but my first commander had this idea about me having potential as a communications and morale officer." Crystal chuckles. "Sounds like being promoted for incompetence, right? It worked, though, my serving as a special attraction morale officer that frequently got reassigned from one ship and fleet to another, showing all those crews the Imperial Navy truly does care about keeping spirits up." She shrugs, "They decided that after three terms, my services were no longer required, so here I am."

 

She pauses, looking around the bar area, then adds with a grin, "Say, do you think Luxor still needs a hot musical act to wow this liner's VIP passengers?"

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“It would surprise me if they did not need one or more, but I suspect that fate will have it's say in the matter despite what you want. Fate has a way that puts you in the right place at the right time.”, say Ibanez.

 

The robot speaks up, “Master Jax, do you think we could get my tracks out of the storage units down below? I really do not like the legs they have put on me. I would be... more helpful, if I felt complete, besides which I feel unstable on these legs and I would hate to tumble and break some glasses or bottles.”

The bartender replies, “ Yeah I will head down and have them sent up here, if you will watch the bar for me and help these fine folks.”

“I will watch the bar and help these fine folks.”

The bartender turns and heads away.

“Is there anything you fine folks want?”

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Crystal shakes her head slightly and replies to Ibanez with a smirk, "Well, I sure hope this trip will go smoothly enough I'm not actually needed here, so unless somebody pinches me and I wake up in a luxury beach resort, I guess I'll have to politely disagree with fate on where I need to be."

 

She turns to the robot, slightly inclining her head, sounding fairly serious as she says,"Say, Wrench, have you considered that management had those legs put on you because somebody thinks a more humaniform, bipedal appearance might feel more familiar to the average cruise ship passenger, that is, less likely to trigger negative responses grounded in xeno- or technophobia?" She shrugs. "Not that I mind, but it might be something to consider before undoing the change, particularly in light of your concerns management might send you to the scrap heap."

 

Then, going back to a chirpier tone, Crystal adds, "Anyways, I would assume Luxor has beverages they want to establish as signature drinks for the vessel, so if you want to score brownie points with management, how about you make the most of an opportunity to sell us on some of those? I'd suggest suggesting something suitable as an aperitif, given we'll likely be wanting to head off to dinner after I finish it, and I guess my drink could be a bit girlier than the boys'."

 

She turns and grins at Ibanez, offering, "Sorry for dragging you into being sales pitched at like that, but it just feels like Wrench could use the practice."

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Joe wanders up to the group at the bar after getting back from his bout with transition sickness.  "Y-you w-would think a-after the number or j-jumps I've made, I-i'd be u-used to t-that!"

 

C-crystal, are you r-really t-tryin to psy-spy-syc... are you analyzing a bot?!?    N-never been r-round one an-nyone left on long enough t-to d-devlop a p-p-personality!

 

W-whats y-your s-story Wrench? And w-what have you got for j-jump n-nerves?" Joe laughs nervously...

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A beautiful redhead with pale skin walks I flanked by 3 massive gentlemen, who look anything but gentle, both of which have a cutlass on one hip and a pistol on the other hip. She flops down on a stool at the other end of the bar. She glares at the robot, “What is this 'thing' doing here? If he is serving alcohol., then I am not drinking.... better yet...”, she turns to one of the guards, “GET ME A DRINK.”

The guard hesitates, “Madame, I think...”

She cuts him off, “ You are right, I apologies, Mr Robot, I have had enough to drink. I just want this trip to be over with.”

 

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Crystal shrugs at Joe. "Is that what I'm doing? I don't know. I guess? But on a trip with what appears to have both a skeleton crew and a skeleton non-Luxor passenger compliment, the opportunity to delve into how well a service robot truly understands he impact the robot's own decisions might have on interactions with and relations to humaniti seems like one of the more fascinating uses of my time that might present itself, does it not?" We have already touched upon the conundrum that the self-chosen designation Wrench might be problematic due to the proverbial connotation of the term." 

 

She trails off, watching the small group approaching and trying to gauge what she might be dealing with here. Given the woman is flanked by bodyguards, quite possibly a mid- to high-level Luxor exec!

 

With a broad smile, Crystal gets up to circle the bar, making her way toward the new arrivals, talking to the robot while she does, "Actually, Wrench, why don't you be a dear and prepare a mild pick-me-up for madame? You know, something to help brighten the mood without taking an unnecessary extra toll."

 

She stops an arm's length from the near guard, offering him a nod, then glances past him directly at the woman as she speaks, very clearly and melodically, "Pardon the intrusion, madame, but I couldn't help overhear you apparently were not quite happy with the cruise so far? Even though I am not a Luxor employee, having only recently been discharged from my role as a morale officer in the Imperial Navy, I really cannot stand seeing someone already unhappy this early in the trip. So please, madame, let me know if there is anything I might do to try and help?"

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Wrench looks at Joe, “I am just a robot that has been aboard this ship since her launch, before that I was an explorer bot and now, I am just a simple bartender.” It is almost as if he says this last part in distaste. “I have just the concoction for you.”

 

As Crystal approaches the guards seem to tense up, but take no action.

The woman scoffs, “Well if you could convince my father into letting me marry who I want rather than marrying some bozo HE picked out, that might make this trip a little more enjoyable, but as it stands I suspect that you might have to kill him, just to get him to, maybe pay attention to what someone else wants.”

 

Wrench looks at Crystal. “I think I know just the thing she needs.” He turns around and starts mixing a few things, “I will be required to go to the kitchen for a few things. I will be back as soon as I can.” Wrench heads toward the kitchen.

 

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Crystal inclines her head slightly for a moment, then shakes it briefly as she replies, "Well, madame, I should think killing someone just to get their attention might be both a tad extreme, and ultimately counter-productive. That aside, I would assume he employs competent guards that like these here gentlemen", she again nods at the bodyguard, with a soft smile, "could easily gauge I would not pose much of a threat as an assassin."

 

She nods at Wrench's interjection, and after the robot heads off, continues, "So, madame, perhaps you would settle for my offering a sympathetic ear to share your sorrows in more detail? I know I am an outsider, but given I understand this is mostly a Luxor company trip, maybe that is exactly what you need right now." Crystal grins a little mischievously and adds, "And if you are not much into uniforms, I can bring party girl me if you prefer."

 

And possibly getting tossed out an airlock me, Crystal thinks. Trying to be what could probably be construed to be a bad influence on some corporate bigwig's daughter might not be the best of ideas in terms of trying to get on said bigwig's good side. Ah well, you only live once.

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The woman give a small smirk at Joe's comment. “Well I really do not want you to kill anyone, but killing my father or my husband”, which she says with as much disdain as she can, “seems to be the best way out of this arranged marriage. My deepest apologies for not introducing myself, I am Sarah Van Horton, my father is the CEO and owns most of Luxor.” She looks at the guards. “Would you guys be dolls and sit over there at that table? You will not be very far away and this lady and her friends seem like they both will not harm me and wold be good protectors if someone does try to harm me. I shant let you stay there long, I just want to have a talk to my new friend here, with out a set of ears too near. I would not want what happened to my last set of bodyguards happen to you.” The guards hesitates then move off a little further out of ear shot.

She tells you in brief sentences that she has fallen in love with a young trader out of Glisten, while it was just a physical attraction to begin with they have since had time together in which they got to know each other. She tell you that her father whole heartily disapproves because the young man is a small time trader and can barely make the payments on his ship.

At this point Wrench comes back holding a cup of something, which he sets on the bar near the woman.

She picks it up and makes a face at the smell, which smells like wet dog. She takes a sip and gags.

“God, that is horrible.”

The guards come back over and one of the guards and says just load enough for all to hear that it is 5:50 and she should be getting ready for the Captain's dinner.

Sarah looks at you three, “You three must be a few of the winner of the 'lottery'. You must sit at my table for the captain's dinner. No, I will not take NO, for an answer. I like you three and your robot friend, he MUST come as well. We will have dinner together and get to know each other. I really must run. Please say you will eat at my table?”

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After Sarah introduces herself, Crystal nods ever so slightly, then briefly interrupts to return the courtesy, stiffening for just a moment as she says, in that melodious voice of hers, "It is my pleasure, madame, and I mus stress that as the one who intruded, surely the fault for foregoing introductions lies with me. My deepest apologies for that. Crystal Cooke, Lieutenant Imperial Navy, retired." Well, for better or for worse, thanks to the bodyguards, Mr. Van Horten will presumably hear of her even before dinner.

 

As she listens to the lovestruck young woman's tale, Crystal seems thoughtful. She occasionally nods in understanding, and sighs slightly at hearing Sarah's beloved isn't good enough for her father, shaking her head mildly, muttering in a low voice so the guards will not overhear, "As the most revered bard of ancient Terra put it, 'The course of true love never doth run smooth’. An unfortunate truth that spans the ages, is it not?"

 

Crystal looks curiously at what Wrench brings for Sarah, and seeing her reaction, she shakes her head with a slight shrug and apologetic smile, "Oh, madame, sorry, I should have realized that when I ask a robot for something and make it sound like medicine, the result will probably taste like medicine. Let us hope it is an effective one."

 

At Sarah's invitation, Crystal nods and replies with a broad smile, "Indeed we are 'winners', madame, and I will be more than honored to dine at your table. I honestly was a little concerned that as company outsiders, we might have trouble getting to know people on this cruise, so words can barely describe how happy I am to follow your invitation."

 

Crystal waits for miss Van Horton to be off before she says, "Gentlemen, I should find a powder room to freshen and touch up before dinner myself. May I suggest I meet you back here so we can head to the dining hall together?" She looks at Joe. "I suspect you would prefer not having to navigate the potential pitfalls of negotiating your claim to a seat at the CEO's daughter's table with staff yourself." She then turns to Wrench. "As for you, you'll keep those new legs for dinner tonight, given that's what Miss Van Horton will expect you to walk in on." She starts to leave, but then halts, points at the cup and asks, "Out of curiosity, what exactly did you serve her, Wrench?"

 

Unless anyone objects, or the robot offers a hazardously unpalatable reply to her question, Crystal will then go freshen up in the nearest bathroom, then return to the bar for the Joe, Ibanez and Wrench, in order to lead them to the dining hall. She is quite certain that of the lot of them, she's best qualified to deal with the incredulity the claim their rag-tag band has been invited to the CEO's daughter's table might well elicit from staff.

Edited by Arkady
glaring typos
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N-never really had a problem. W-with t-that, I sit and if s-someone t-tells me to m-move I st-tare at them until t-they go away. It w-works b-but doesn't make me many friends with the st-taff' He says with a lopsided grin.

 

'Wrench, if your not busy, a pan galactic gargle blaster would be appreciated' if we're going t-to the end of t-the universe, I may as well arrive in style!'

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At dinner that night Sarah introduces you all to her father. (“Dad, meet my new friends.”) gets introduces you each by name and rank. Her father raises an eyebrow at Wrench, but does not question it. Your party and Sarah sit at a table together with the guards near by and at the next table over is obviously another set of guards. Sarah's father, Stanton, Sits at a table by himself reading from a data tablet, when the captain arrives she moves around the room asking guest if they are having a good voyage.

She goes and sits with Mr. Van Horton, he shows her the tablet and they seem to have a minor discussion before she sets the tablet aside and stands up. She greets and thanks all of the guest. She then tells you that “We are still on track to arrive in the Overnale system for refueling the liner. “ with that dinner begins.

Sarah is a wonderful hostess to your party. She ask you each questions about yourself and your life, and she does seem interested in the answers. She never tries to pry answers out, if the person seems reluctant to answer. If questioned about her life she simply answers “Being a heiress is pretty boring. Pretty much learning the business and riding horses.” She does let it out that she is the only child of Stanton and that her mother passed shortly after Sarah's birth.

 

Over the next week Sarah makes it a point to 'hangout' with her new friends. She is not overly pushy if some one does not feel like hang out, that is fine with her. Wrench and Sarah seem to become best friends over the week. He is usually with her, but when the party wakes each morning he is I the hall waiting. Some of the time he seems to just hang out with each of you, if questioned about the wanting to hangout, he tells you, “I have spent most of my life serving people in one fashion or another and Madame Sarah has given me leave to 'make friends' and I find your and the other company ...enjoyable.” and he goes on to tell you that since no one official has come to tell him to get back to work, he has taken her suggestion as an order.

Ibanez hangs out with you guys, but is tight lipped about his past. You know he is a marine who just recently left the service. He served on a few ships. And that is about the extent of your knowledge of him.

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