Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Stars Without Number: Scions of the Stars
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Welcome to the Shadows
Pages: 1, 2, 3, 4
Whenever I think I'm finally over it, the nightmare returns.

"What are you doing?" Gevin demands. He levels his void carbine at the man I would later discover to be Nestor Crane.

The "tech" withdraws a small, black tetrahedron from his pocket. He casually tosses it towards the cargo hold's viewport.

"Testing a theory," he says. As soon as the tetrahedron strikes the viewport's pane, it distorts and dissolves. The corners of his mouth pull back into a joyless grin.

I can hear the sound of weapon discharge back in the hallway. I look back towards the door, swinging my laser rifle towards the door to cover the area.

"We have to get out of here," I tell Gevin, "before those shriekers get over here."

"Thankfully, they are no longer your concern," Crane says. He drops his own weapon and draws his second sidearm, a semiautomatic pistol. Before Gevin or I can say or do anything, he shoots the viewport. The transparent aluminum pane shatters, something that should not be possible. The vacuum greedily sucks out the air, carrying us all with it. I lose sight of Gevin, and then my eyesight gets fuzzy. I feel my lungs begin to swell, my eyes freeze and shatter, and my ears burst. For an eternity of agonizing pain, I feel myself tumbling in the nothingness of space. At some point I can't quite remember, the pain begins to dull. Finally, I feel nothing at all.

Until I feel something once more. A spark of life creeps through my system, with an explosion of pain following soon behind. I can't see, I can't hear, I can't think, and I can't even breathe. A few seconds later, my body begins to stitch itself back together. My senses return, the pain subsides, and I see who is responsible.

Those fucking shriekers.

Sometimes the nightmare stops here, leaving me to fester in a mess of fury and guilt. Fury at having to owe them my life. Fury at having them leave Gevin out in space to die. Fury at myself for being stupid enough to fall for Crane's promises of power, and letting him put those machines in my body---machines that I would eventually have to get scraped off of my bones. Finally, guilt at feeling that way towards the people who went out of their way to save my shrieked ass.

Unfortunately, tonight's nightmare is not so kind as to leave it at that.

Standing on his ship---no, Gevin's ship---we confront Crane with the fact that his standoff no longer matters. Thanks to some hacking, stalling, and blind luck, we defuse the thermonuclear bomb linked to his heartbeat. We tell him there is nothing he can do to escape his fate.

That is when he starts to melt.

"You think you've won," sneers Nestor Crane, even as his flesh around his face grows slack, "yet you have not." Hair begins to fall from his head in clumps, and what can only be described as droplets of liquid flesh dribble from his ears, his nose, and his fingers. As each horrid drop strikes the ground, it sublimates into nothingness.

"My work will continue, even if by different hands."

An eye grows watery and spills from its socket and onto the deck. His bones grow almost as thin as his skin, and we can hear the wretched crackle as his skeletal remains begin to give way to gravity.

"The door you have opened can never be shut."

His legs give way, and he collapses to the ground. Smoke lazily wafts out from underneath his clothes. His head lands in the center of the "puddle." He stares back at us---at me---and looks directly into our souls with his one remaining eye. What is left of his face turns into a grin like the one he wore before, except that this time there is definitely an emotion behind it: anticipation.

"We are coming, and there is nothing you can do to stop us..."

This is when I wake up.

Ezri's eyes snap open, and she sits up straight in bed. She looks around, assuring herself that it really was only a nightmare, and that she is just in the small spartan confines of her quarters onboard the Terra Firma. A shrill beeping sounds, making her jump in response. It takes her a few moments to realize what the sound is. It is just her alarm clock, letting her know that the ship is about to drop out of drillspace.

Ezri sighs, gets out of bed, and stumbles over to her refresher. She stares into the mirror. Her blue eyes are outlined with dark circles, and the color has drained from her face. Part of this is from the subject of the dream. The other part comes from not having felt a sun's light in days. She turns on her sink, splashes some water on her face, and musses up her short brown hair into something visibly acceptable.

She gets dressed, grabbing her underarmor and a set of clothes, a white shirt and brown pants made out of synthetic materials. She quickly pulls them on, along with her boots. Finally, she grabs one of her most prized possessions---a black jacket made out of genuine leather. She has had it since leaving home, and somehow it managed to survive getting explosively decompressed with her into space.

Ezri leaves her quarters, and walks down the Terra Firma's main corridor. Nobody else seems to be out and about, which is perfectly fine with her. The sound of her boots hitting the deck as she walks and the hum of the spike drive are the only sounds she can hear. She reaches the bridge, slips into the pilot's chair. She takes a moment to look at the strangely beautiful azure wash of drillspace, and lets the comfort of the familiar sight to banish away the bad memories the nightmare exhumed. As she lets herself settle down, she begins pulling up nav data.

"GAIA," she asks the ship's General Artificial Intelligence Assistant, "ETA until we reach Kuphon?" The ship replies via terminal.

<<ETA 3 minutes until dropping out of drillspace.>>

Good, I have time to figure out where we're going.

Ezri looks over the system information. Zaxus immediately stands out as the best destination, with Waypoint Station being the system's major refueling hub. Even better, the station is unaffiliated. That means fewer regs, and more job opportunities. She begins plotting a preliminary course based on their expected point of realspace reentry. Her fingers move deftly over the control panel, punching buttons and tapping flatscreen icons as she masterfully constructs a quick, dirty, yet surprisingly detailed travel solution with little more than hunches to work with.

<<Dropping out of drillspace now.>>

The blue waves of drillspace recede, and are quickly replaced by the star speckled panorama of realspace. In the distance, the Kuphon washes the system with bright blue light. Part of that panorama is cut off by the bright pinkish-white light of a swirling nebula that seems to dwarf anything else in the system.

<<Establishing contact with system navigational networks to verify coordinates. Connecting... Connected. Coordinates found. Refreshing navigational data.>>

Ezri begins updating her navigation calculations. She enjoys a self-satisfied smirk as she sees how little she has to change in her travel solution. Other than a few recent metadimensional hazards, it is nearly perfect. Once she is satisfied, she punches them up on the nav computer. She can feel the Terra Firma's hull hum once again as the spike comes back online and feeds power into the drill foils. The view outside gains a slight sapphire haze as the ship shifts into a higher energy shear somewhere between drillspace and realspace and begins soaring gracefully towards the gas giant Zaxus.

Ezri activates the ship intercomm.

"Wake up, folks. We just made it into Kuphon, and should arrive at Waypoint Station in an hour and a half. Do what you've gotta do to get ready to disembark."
The lady appears behind Exrl, her hand resting lightly on the seat. Her green victorian era dress, stands out even given the variation in this
crews clothing. Care has been taken to ensure not a hair is out of place underneath her small hat and veil. The Monoblade resting on her hip
while out of place for victorian clothing, seems to sit on her hip as if she was born with it.

Before speaking she pauses for a moment, to consider how she got here, trusting her life to someone who just tried to kill her..

One minute against us, the next piloting us across space.. wise? I doubt it..Too late now

"Know much about this place? been here before?"

Alice waits for a response, paying attention to any little tells to see if Exrl is lying..

Ezri does not turn around when she hears Alice. However, one of her hands briefly clenches into a fist.

I really hate it when she does that.

"Nope," Ezri replies cooly, "but I've heard of it. Good spot to lay low if you're in trouble because it's unaffiliated. Bad place to start trouble because you're close to Re space. Beyond that, you can ask Ravenna or look at what's available from the system's network." She hits a few keys, and the bridge's main viewscreen switches from a view of space to a diagram of Kuphon system. She then pulls up a new window on the touch screen, and makes another rapid series of taps and swipes.

"You can look up there, or use your compad. I've downloaded the info onto everyone's devices, including yours. Just now."

As if to emphasize the point, Alice's compad begins to beep.
Sereth fumbles for a moment with the intercom controls, sending back the non-verbal affirmative as he shakes the sleep from his eyes. Keying the message icon blinking in one corner of his vision with a mental thought, he stretches, dropping easily to the textured floor of the small room to begin his morning series of calisthenics. As the data trickled past his point of view, he made mental notes to avoid getting tangled in anything that included Golwain. War was good for bounty hunters, but being in wasn't likely to be conducive to personal freedoms or profits.

He paused the scrolling and ran it back to Yuuquora, even pausing the stretches and pushups to focus on the data.

Pre-Scream colonization? That seems like it would be a great place to...oh. Corrosive and invasive...

He tags the files to follow up with updates on the planet from the stations databases, and adds a note to review the gear stowed in one portion of the Terra Firma's hold. He might have something...

25 minutes later, he's stepping onto the bridge, giving Alice a slight bow and a smile.

"Beautiful as ever, Alice," he says as he steps past. A slightly different nod to Ezri, less familiar and more appraising.

"And thank you, Ezri. Looks like a very clean jump, as usual. And thank you for the download on the system." As someone that had pressed the group to rescue her from the good Doctor's service, he felt a slight sense of protectiveness towards the fairly rough-edged merc, and a desire to make sure that she was at least given the chance to live down her past.
A sly grin tugs at the edge of Ezri's mouth at the sound of Sereth's compliment.

"The metadimensions are my canvas, and the spike drive my paintbrush," she says without looking over at the others. She takes a beat before continuing.

"Or some other philosophical shit like that. Here, might as well pull up the station's boarding rules..." Her fingers fly over the touchscreen again. The viewscreen zooms in on Zaxus until Waypoint station comes into view. The screen centers itself on a wire diagram Waypoint Station, an fairly large cylindrical space station aligned vertically with the humongous planet. A list of station boarding rules appears next to the station.

<<Waypoint Station Boarding Rules:
  • Please have identification ready to start boarding investigation
  • All passengers and cargo must be subjected to scanning before allowed on station
  • No visible armor allowed without station authorization---may apply for during boarding investigation
  • No weapons allowed without station authorization---may apply for during boarding investigation
  • All aggressive and invasive use of psionics are prohibited---will be enforced by station security
  • All passengers must agree to follow station rules before being allowed to disembark

Station personnel reserves the right to add necessary and appropriate amendments to these rules should circumstances change.>>

After looking over the rules, Ezri shrugs.

"Looks like pretty standard boarding rules and regs for a respectable station. Probably has something to do with Re's influence."
The deep and soulful tone echoes through her chambers as Ravenna kneels naked and strikes the small hammered bell resting in front of her. Her hair is unbound and the scent of incense floats about her mingling with her own scent, clean and light with a heavy undertone of spice. She feels the sound move through her and outward. She strikes the bell and says her final prayer for the morning.

I am a worthy vessel.

She strikes the bell again building the complexity of the tone.

I will redeem the soul within me.

She strikes it one last time blending all three strikes into a delicate arc of sound that washes through the room.

I am iihkawa and through me the healing will begin.

She allows the sound to fill her and calm her, easing the tensions she has gathered through the day. Her gifts left her susceptible to the emotions and thoughts around her, almost like a static charge across her skin. The rituals she learned at temple gave her peace and purpose. They allowed her to return to herself and renew her commitment to the soul she carried and her mission to heal the wounds inflicted by the Scream. If she was successful like her brothers and sisters then the souls they were entrusted with would be brought to peace and would be returned to the world. Their return would unlock the secrets from before and a new Golden Age would sweep through the universe. It was a daunting task but there was no choice, she would serve as those before her and after if needful.

She gracefully rose to her feet, unfolding her legs beneath giving her the illusion of just flowing from the floor. She gathered the instruments of her practice and packed them away out of sight in her room. Unlike the others, her room was more temple or salon than rack or bunk. Small art was carefully distributed around the space and draped cloth softened every harsh angle. The warm and deep reds gave the room the illusion of depth and beckoned one to take their ease. Low cushions and real wood furniture filled the space with a single sleeping mat in a corner. She used only soft and natural light, inviting shadows to pool and gather around her.

The small chime of ship's intercomm called out along with a message from their newest crew member.

"Wake up, folks. We just made it into Kuphon, and should arrive at Waypoint Station in an hour and a half. Do what you've gotta do to get ready to disembark."

She walked to the wall panel, brushing aside the cloth covering and turns it on to reply. She pitches her voice low and friendly invoking the third tone of companionship to reflect her sincerity and gratitude.

"Thank you Ezri."

She moves from there to gather her clothes for the day. The act of dressing is as much ritual as prayer now. She does it without effort, layering each cloth over her skin and fastening buttons along the complex garments. As she begins to braid and arrange her hair she thinks on the changes the crew has undergone. She can feel the tension amongst them and the whisperings of mistrust. Some felt protective towards Ezri while others still questioned her inclusion. The woman herself was deeply conflicted and echoes of her nightmares still hang in the air around her but thus far she has not sought aid in dealing with them.

Perhaps in time trust in me will grow and I can offer to heal the wounds Crane left on her mind and soul.

She finishes and pauses to admire her handiwork and to make sure she has observed all the forms. Satisfied, she scoops up her compad and a smalll smile plays across her face at the waiting download for their destination. She begins to scribe her posting to offer her services as a healer, mediator, translator and companion. She pulls the curtain that hides her door and glides down the corridors towards the bridge, sensing most of the crew gathered there for the moment. She steps into the entryway and speaks, making sure to speak loudly enough to carry through the space while still working on her posting for distribution on the stations system.

" Good beginnings to you all. Do we know how long we will be docked here? How many days should I plan to receive clients?"
Ezri can always smell Ravenna before she announces her presence. The incense gives her away. There is something slightly cloying about the incense that always gives Ezri a headache. It reminds her of the same feeling she gets when breathing the air of a new world where the oxygen concentration is slightly greater than what Humans are used to. Just like with an unfamiliar atmosphere, the scent clings to her nose and lingers.

"Same to you," Ezri says, waving to her while still keeping her eyes fixed on the console.

"How long we're at Waypoint depends on you guys. However, I'll be pissed if we don't at least stay long enough for me to get a beer."

Alice smiles warmly at both Ravenna and Sereth
"good morning to you both as well"

She pauses for a second, as if to think, but its pretty obvious that this has been on her mind for a while

"actually, I agree with Ezri, a little R&R sounds great, I love you guys, but it would be nice to stretch, get some canned air and see
if other people still exist"

I'm probably stretching what Ezri said about getting a beer into R&R but seriously.. could use some time to grab a beer, do some shopping and see what else is going on.. Sure Ravenna is already planning on clients, but I bet I can talk Sereth into seeing what kind of innocent trouble we can get into
A fleeting grin chases Ezri's comments, pursued by the specter of his lingering uneasiness about the woman, though it melts into a genuine smile when he spots Ravenna, giving her the same chivalrous bow he offered to Alice.

"I doubt you'll want for business," he murmurs, the closest he can come to speaking directly about Revanna's trade. It never sat well with him, but from something more obscure than just judgement, for he didn't hold her work against her.

Sereth seems to ponder for a long moment, and then nods, "I think we can spare a week. Take some time, get a little local flavor, and keep your ear out for possible jobs. Whatever else happens, we'll meet back here after 6 days, and figure out what we can get lined up for work. Go ahead and dock us, Ezri."

"Well, I'll dock us once we get there," Ezri replies. "I can't speed up time, and I can only trim the course so much. If I'm not careful, we'll run into something like that." Ezri dismisses the wire diagram of Waypoint Station and brings up the view of outside. She points at a spot on the screen.

Out in the blue-tinged depths of space, there is an alarmingly large event that manages to take up about a third of the screen. At a glance, it might look like a glitch on the screen causing the image to ripple. However, the longer you stare at it, the more you cannot help to notice the roiling and warping of space in the area. It looks like a massive glob of water constantly rippling, like the surface of a pond being battered by a heavy and steady rain. Every so often the event pulses and sends a out "flare" of the rippling space towards the Terra Firma. However, it dies out before ever getting close to the ship.

"Don't worry," Ezri says with a wicked smile, "we're not close enough for it to be dangerous. There's the 'recommended distance', the 'fun distance', and the 'shrieking psycho' distance." She emphasizes each distance with her thumb and forefingers, each distance getting progressively smaller as she lists them.

"We're well within the 'fun distance'. I like looking at them, the space-warp snarls or whatever. They're hypnotic to watch, devastating to fly into, and pose questions that even the most brilliant of scientists can only pray to answer.

she continues, changing the subject, "I'll let you know when we get to Waypoint. If you've got stuff to trade or sell, now's the time to get the docs ready for inspection. Oh, and you might need cred for license applications if you plan on bringing any weapons along. The security here's good enough that you probably won't need them. That being said, I like having a sidearm and I can't leave my spikes behind."
GAIA alerts Ezri when the Terra Firma has reached the borders of Zaxus' regional space. Ezri drops the ship out of shearspace. The hum of the spike drive dies off, and the telltale blue tinge of shearspace travel fades from sight. Reds, yellows, greens, and whites return to reveal the true brilliance of the sight before you.

The massive gas giant Zaxus dominates the viewscreen, dwarfing even the sprawling pink-white expanse of the Sirocco Nebula. Bands of bright yellow, rust orange, off white, and gray swirl in the planet's atmosphere, with some of the colors bleeding into the others to form "spots." Every so often, one of the spots faintly flashes, revealing a faint glimmer of a furious electrical storm taking place below.

Ezri's fingers fly over the nav console. The Terra Firma's ion engines fire up, and the ship flies towards a point off of the edge of Zaxus' atmosphere. Within moments, a tiny speck appears on the vibrant backdrop of the Sirocco Nebula. The speck grows into a small, thin metallic cylinder, with a faint swarm of specks moving slowly around it.

<<Freeship Terra Firma, this is Waypoint Station docking control. Please state the nature of your approach.>>

<<Docking control, this is Freeship Terra Firma. Requesting permission to dock and disembark.>>

<<Permission granted. You are cleared to dock on platform A-13. Sending course coordinates now.>>

<<Understood. Adjusting course now.>>

Ezri adjusts the ship's course to match the transmitted one. The Terra Firma slows its approach. However, the station continues to grow in size at a considerable rate. In a few minutes, it comes clearly into sight.

Waypoint Station is a testament to the durability and majesty of Pre-Scream technology. Originally designed as a refueling point for ships in the area during the earliest moments of Humanity's golden age, Waypoint easily dwarfs most Post-Scream stations, and outclasses many of the popular Bannerjee designs that rely on cobbling together decomissioned vessels and other space trash. Although it lacks the Pre-Scream niceties of advanced psitech and nanotechnology, it makes up for it with the quality and longevity of its components.

The station appears like a giant screw with a huge ring circling right below the rounded head. Windows and observation decks line the top part of the station, which serves as the living quarters and habitat area of the station. The body of the station, bereft of a screw's threading, has several large hangar bay doors. It serves as the docking port for smaller ships, and can easily accommodate several Terra Firmas. It also serves as the cargo loading section of the station, with massive lifts bringing goods to and from the habitat area. The massive ring serves as a refueling site for all ships too big to fit through the hangar doors.

Several ships are circling the station, awaiting clearance to land or refuel. Many have the worn and piecemeal appearance of struggling free merchant ships, hauling goods from system to system with the intent striking it big with a trade. A few others carry massive fuel bunkers that are used to supply the station with spike drive fuel harvested from Zaxus' atmosphere. Finally, there are some larger ships with more advanced and graceful designs. Some sport odd symbols or stylized designs of ancient Earth animals. All of those ships bear the insignia of La Republica Empyreana, a stylized version of an eye with a planet as the pupil.

The Terra Firma flies into hangar A. The ship trembles as it enters the station and passes through the hangar force field that keeps the vacuum out and the atmosphere in. Ezri guides the ship carefully through the bustling hangar. Below the ship, several crews are in the midst of customs inspections. Cargo containers of all shapes and sizes are being moved in and out of the station. A few figures appear to be involved in vigorous discussions with others, probably arguing over station fees or customs confiscations. When she finds platform 13, she sets the ship down gently. Nevertheless, the ship echoes with a metallic thud as landing struts hit the deck.

"We're here," Ezri says over the intercom. "Grab your shit and get ready to make nice with the locals."

Ezri hops out of her chair and heads back to her room. She grabs her backpack and slings it over her shoulder. She goes to her dresser and opens a drawer. She pulls out her laser pistol and her belt, snapping the belt around her waist and securing a holster at her side. She slips the gun into place, and then heads below to the landing platform in the cargo hold.

When she opens the cargo bay doors, a trio of Waypoint officers are there to greet them. The first is dressed in a simple uniform and is holding a compad with a few different scanners slung at his side. He is flanked by a pair of security officers, wearing combat uniforms, bearing laser rifles, and boasting station colors. They walk up the loading platform.

"Welcome to Waypoint Station," says the officer holding the compad, "I'm Habin Farzai, station customs. I'd introduce the others, but I'm the only one you'll be dealing with as long as you follow the rules. Please show me your IDs and prepare for inspection."

Ezri nods and transmits her ID via her Ghostwire.

"Name's Ezri Khatar, and I'm a freespacer, no affiliations with governments or corporate entities. You'll have to ask the others what their plans beyond docking and disembarking are, but I'm looking to grab a fresh drink. Planning on bringing my under armor, my sidearm, and these." She holds up her hands and reveals her claws, letting them poke out between her knuckles.

Habin nods and grabs a scanner. He runs a bioscanner over Ezri, making notes. Then he takes his other scanner and runs it over her gear and equipment.

"I've noted your armor's particular material pattern, logged your pistol's beam frequency, and recorded a holo of your claws. We will use this information if an incident comes up matching your equipment. The license fee for bringing these items is 300, 100 for each of the three restricted items. The license lasts for the extent of your stay on Waypoint, and we reserve the right to revoke it at any time depending on circumstances. You can pay now, or put them back on the ship."

Ezri sends the fee via her Ghostwire, HUD immediately lights up with her license information. She steps onto the docking platform and then looks back at the others.

"What are you waiting for?"
As the Terra Firma makes its approach, Alice disappears from the cockpit and appears in her room. Opening her closet she thumbs through the myriad expensive dresses her hand resting on the combat field uniform.

Ezri did say it's a safe waystation.. can always come back for it.

Leaving her armor hanging up, she reaches down to grab her backpack. Carefully setting it on the bed she begins to fill it with odds and ends she may need after holding her sling for a moment she shakes her head and puts it back in her closet.

Could identify me as a psychic.. never a good idea on a well-regulated waystation..

Finally with a smile that says the world better be ready for her.. she walks out to Terra Firmaís exit door, her high heeled boots clicking down the hallways..

She turns the corner and heads out towards the customs personnel just as Ezri queries
ďwhat are you waiting forĒ

Alice looks around as she walks to the customs officers..

No matter how much I travel I never get tired of seeing new places..

Stopping as far away from the 3 officers as possible without seeming rude, she opens her compad, transmits her ID

Alice Conners Iím a freespacer as well, here to have a few drinks and do some shopping.. No armor, just cyberwear & monoblade to declare.

As they draw closer to the station, Sereth takes his leave from the bridge, giving the assembled women a smile and a polite nod of his head.

I must be the only bounty hunter this side of Sol that works with three beautiful women that are actually members of the team, and not someone's doxy.

A long moment inside the cabin as he considers Ezri's comments about the system, combined with past experience, and he leaves the thermal pistol holstered at his side, dropping it's non-matching mate and most of the rest of the more aggressive equipment into the footlocker at the foot of his bed.

He steps into the cargo hold a moment or so after Alice, firmly directing his eyes to a proper and courteous place somewhere over the woman's shoulder as he walks up behind her, stepping forward as the custom's official glances at him.

"Sereth Stanson," he says, reaching out to shake the man's hand, apparently regardless of whether the official meant to do so or not.

"Pistol and the stun baton should be about the only things of any interest," he says, sending over the registration fee for the two weapons via the Ghostwire with a gesture, making it's presence obvious as well.

"We're legit bounty hunters, looking to refuel and stretch our legs a bit...does the station have a office or some sort of central location for jobs like that?" he asks with a calm smile, directing the conversation with a casual confidence.
Ravenna returns to her quarters after publishing her presence on the station's network. A simple posting saying a healer of both body and mind will be docked for several days as well as companion. Rates and form of payment negotiable after initial meeting. Satisfied with it she returns to her quarters and grabs a coat to fasten over her clothing and a small pack for anything she might pick up while on station. She packs her medical equipment just in case and meets the rest of the crew to disembark from the Terra Firma. She keeps her face relaxed as she waits her turn with the official and his security escort.
Habin scans both Alice and Sereth, first with the bioscanner and then with the other scanner. He ignores any questions as he works, more interested in ensuring he does his job correctly rather than interacting with new arrivals. He takes notes on his compad, demonstrating an expertise at manipulating multiple handheld devices that comes from countless repetitions of a simple routine. He moves to the weapons, and forwarding licenses as soon he receives notice of payment.

"Bounty hunters, eh?" he says after he finishes processing Sereth. "We generally avoid contracting out security issues to non-station personnel. We take our independent status seriously, as we have held this station outside of conflict for over 500 years. The last thing we want to do is jeopardize that by stepping on another organization's toes. If you are interested, there may be other parties hiring bounty hunters. Seyger has standing bounties for returning truant employees. Re doesn't recognize them as a legitimate sovereign entity due to their employment practices. However, I'd recommend avoiding getting in the middle of that dispute if possible.

"However, the station does have a job posting forum. Both the station and independent parties post job opportunities on them, and would be a good place to start. I am forwarding a link to your compads now. I do know that Waypoint needs someone to pick up a shipment of triticale from Golwain. We trade spike drive fuel for it, and the station is starting to run low on its stores."

Habin taps on his keypad, forwarding the links to your computers. Your compads and Ghostwalkers blink.

"I would also recommend heading up to the habitat hub on the top of the station. The personnel turbolifts are down this walkway and next to the cargolifts."

Having said his piece, he returns back to his job. He glances at Ravenna, and waves her over.

"Next, please."
She strides forward and assumes a welcoming demeanor as she draws close to Habin. She stops and opens her coat with a small smile and lets a blush creep up over her skin.

"I have no weapons and only have an armored undersuit on. I have placed a notice on the job posting forum but I was curios the station's policy regarding psychics?"

She modulated her voice and started the tones of the Earnest Supplicant as she asked her question, searching his body in her peripheral vision for clues to his reactions to see how to react as the conversation unfolded.
Habin's demeanor is that of a man who is used to seeing strange, beautiful, and terrible faces on a daily basis. He knows what to look at, when to keep his head down, and how to treat each and every visitor fairly and impersonally. However, Ravenna's poise and body language manage to strike a chord in the man. He glances at the curves of her body and the play of her smile from the periphery of his vision, and his cold and detached demeanor begins to warm ever so slightly.

"Yes, Ms.---uh...Ravenna, I believe your ID says?" He looks down at his compad, using the break in eye contact as a chance to compose himself.

"Yes, ma'am, psychics are welcome here. We have several of them in our employ, and many often visit the station. Basically, just remember that aggressive and invasive psionic use is prohibited. Stay out of people's minds and don't hurt their person and property, and you're fine.

Habin says, "is there anything else I can do to help you?"

She fastens her coat once again and nods, her expression grateful and sincere.

"No. Thank you very much."

She walks her way out of the ship and pauses outside, to wait for the others to pass the inspection and ensure all goes smoothly. They were an earnest group of people but often seemed unwilling to bend at times and she wanted to help when she could. Their work as bounty hunters meant she could offer little more than tending their wounds and some investigation in the beginning. She was eager to do her share when she could.
Stepping out of the refresher, Harken glances at himself with a well trained critical eye. Every hair and portion of both his body and demeanor are tuned to obviously displaying he is there for one reason, business. The last few hours had been spent shaving off, mentally and physically, the parts of him that had become lax with his easy time amongst friends, new and old, on the ships voyage between the stars. He held none of this against himself, and in fact wished he could always allow himself to relax. Harken however understood his roll all to well, and new that if he did not do his job properly one of his crew could be the one to pay for it. Still he had to particular relish for combat, and would much rather simply avoid them displaying the killerr that lurked below his surface.

Damn, looks like the parties almost started without me

Quickly donning the armor and weapons he had meticulously checked during the previous hours, he takes one last look at himself and leaves his pristine room at an easy jog
Approaching the ramp he slows to a brisk walk. Noticing the security crew speaking with the rest of the crew, he gives them a quick evaluating glance before making a some what obvious gesture of checking his assault suit and weapons kept within easy access of the boarding area. Patiently waiting his turn, he will finally give Hadin a stiff nod and display his ID

"Harken Doftrey, crew member of the Terra Firma. Here to look for work and get some R&R"

Harken says the last bit in a tone that implies he relaxes by chewing metal into bullet casings

"I have my combat field uniform, standard thermal pistol and stun baton"

He will present any item for inspection upon request and ignore any of their attempts at implied intimidation.
Habin finishes scanning Ravenna and waves her on. When Harken appears with his gruff introduction, the momentary softness in Habin's demeanor disappears. He reverts to the practiced, perfunctory, and impersonal attitude that has become second nature to the customs officer. He runs the scanners over Harken and his equipment. He uses his compad to make notes and send over the license applications for the weaponry and armor.

"Please be advised that your armor will likely draw attention," Habin says flatly, clearly reciting a warning he has issued many times before. "Station personnel will be aware of and respect your license to wear it. However, other parties might react unwisely upon seeing non-security personnel walking around in military issue armor. Be sure to notify station security if such an event occurs."

With his warning issued, Habin waves Harken towards the docking platform.

"We're done here for the time being. Please let Waypoint know if you need to be refueled or resupplied. You can notify us using the station's network. The personnel lift is down the walkway and towards the center of the hangar. The habitat hub has a shopping promenade, living accommodations, and entertainment venues. I'd recommend visiting Azimuth Point. It is a lounge that gives you a view of Zaxus, Kuphon, and the Sirocco Nebula." Habin walks back to the docking platform, with his security officers in tow. He turns back, flashes a furtive glance towards Ravenna, and says one last thing.

"Welcome to Waypoint Station. Please enjoy your stay."
Harken would wait a moment for the security team to walk out of ear shot.

Though if they're worth a damn they'll have soundcatchers covering every inch of a spot like this...

Turning to the team.

"Well I think this time I'll spare you the 'We should stick together speech' and assume you know the 'don't get shot at while I'm not around' one."

A smartass smirk will split his serious demeanor as he speaks to his comrades. Eyes scanning the group, they will linger only a nanosecond longer on Ezri

Stars know I probably did worse than she's ever done. At least she was chasing something as solid as creds and not some damn wacko's ideology. Still if she fucks us over I hope she's smart enough to do it in a place like this, where we can ditch her on a station and not into the void... again.

"We're running a little lean, I'd say we find a safe way to earn a buffer fund. Since that won't happen, at least make sure whatever void damned scheme one of you gets us embroiled in is profitable. Any of you want a shadow let me know, other wise I'll be taking in the sites and waiting for your distress call"
Raising an eyebrow when she hears that psychics are welcome here, as if not quite believing it, Alice waits patiently for everyone to conclude their business with customs.

ďIím going to check out Azimuth point, seems like a good place to start, though I will likely take the long route and see whatís going on. Letís agree to check in every day by 8pm just to ensure that no one is in trouble, hopefully we will see each other more than that, but itís always good to know that if I donít hear from someone by then they might need helpĒ
Ravenna smiles at Harken's complex message of caring and connection. She glides forward and loops her arm with his, resting her hand lightly at his wrist. She keeps the grip very loose giving him full range of motion should her need to defend them or draw a weapon.

"I'd welcome the company until I have clients to screen. I would be happy to help you look for work for us but I will need to limit myself to surface scans or risk violating the regulations of the station."
Ezri scrunches her face up in disgust at Alice's suggestion.

"Check in??? Who do you think you are, my mother? Shit. You have my Ghost Talker link. Let me know when you're ready to fly. As for me, I'm going to wander around the hangar. Those Re ships are top of the line, and I've always wanted to look inside of one. I'm going to hunt down a pilot, and if I play my cards right, talk myself into a walkabout. Catch you later."

With that, Ezri heads down the walkway, heading towards the Re ships in the distance...
Sereth glances at Harkin briefly to see his response to Ezri's somewhat dramatic exit.

"I'll start looking to the options available and see what's going to be worth our while, effort to pay wise. How's everyone feeling about working for Seyger corp? I'm thinking we'll want to avoid Golwain, it's an ag-planet in this system that's currently in a bit of conflict between the Re and Seyger, but other than that, the rest seems like potential options. What does everyone think?"

As a private aside to Ezri, Sereth triggers his Ghostwire.

"How much experience do you have using spike drive fuel scoops on a ship our size?"
<<I've been refueling your ship for quite a while now. I think I can handle it. I once had to scoop fuel for my old crew while keeping our ship hidden from a system's security fleet. We got in, got out, and shrieked up one of their ships in the process. Fun times. Buy me a beer and I'll tell you about it.>>
"I'd be more than happy to lend my talents to a lady as lovely as yourself. In a place like this you could be in the most danger. I've seen my share of military brats that don't know how to respect personal space."

After a moment when Ezri has left the group, Harken will notice Sereth's glance.

"If she wants to play lone starfighter that's fine by me, she doesn't want to place nice with the team she can pull her own ass out of whatever fire she finds it in. Void knows two seconds for a message is to much to ask from some one as popular as her. As for me, I'll be buzzing any one I haven't seen within the last four standard hours to check in. As for Steyger I've got no interest in tracking down people who are just looking to get away from a bad spot. If you want to look into it, maybe you'll find it's a bit more legitimate than that. Otherwise it seems there are some easy in system jobs in system, why don't we see how many we can snatch up."
In response to Ezriís verbal slap, Aliceís face will blush briefly in pain.

Who said I was talking to her anyway? We can always get another deckhand, shit I think there are autopilotís better than her..
Anyway if she gets in trouble we will just hire someone else anyway, better to not respond and upset Sereth, he seems to have a soft spot for her..

Mentally shaking herself out of the funk she was slipping into, she lifts her internal defenses and composes her face into a neutral expression so fast its hard to tell if she ever changed expressions..

Listening to Harken, Alice nods,
ďIím for safe and easy cash, if we can transport people and goods to close areas at the same time, might be worth doing. Iíll keep an ear out for any jobs not posted as well..
Iíll have my compad out let me know when you need me or if you want to get dinner togetherĒ

Alice walks off her high-heeled boots clicking on the floor,
ďBe safe guysĒ
Ravenna watches the interplay between the crew and keeps herself still. In time Erzi would either find her place with the rest or she would have to find another ship to live on and travel with. She leans the side of her face against Harken's shoulder feeling the muscle beneath thrum with tension and something else but she knew the transitions were more difficult for him than the others though she was still not clear why yet but all things in their time.

"I can offer very little about this system or its history to help in selecting jobs or passengers but I think we could ask around discreetly to figure out what forces are at play. I'm willing to talk with people with Harken beside me in case my friendliness is misinterpreted as something else."

She gives a friendly wave to Alice as she makes her way past the group moving further in the station. A brief worry flows through her but she smoothes it away and leaves her features relaxed. Alice could take care of herself but its unclear how rowdy the populace was or how a single attractive woman would be received. She would trust her to make the best choices if something happens.
Allowing Ravenna's gentle touch to guide him along, Harken falls into an easy gate, happily allowing the lady to lead him around. For a moment he feels himself relax as he is lulled by her calming presence. Realizing what is happening he snaps his head back up, forcing some steel back into his spine.

Gah, hope I didn't startle her... I should know better than to let my guard down though, no matter how shiny the place might be. Especially when I'm responsible for something like this

Looking down he gives the lady on his arm a slight yet warm smile, hoping he did not offend. His senses begin to scan their surrounding once again, keeping him sharp and aware to preserve the gentle bit of the universe holding his arm.

As you begins thinking about what you knows about Re and Seyger, you start to realize what Habin was talking about...

The Seyger Consortium is an example of an Autonomous Commercial Entity (ACE), the current evolutionary version of the self-governing megacorporation. Unfortunately, you have heard from several sources that Seyger is also an example of the collective negative stereotypes of ACEs. According to those sources, Seyger has the draconian policy of charging exorbitant amounts for using Seyger owned facilities or resources. All property is in Seyger territory is owned by Seyger itself, and either sold (if personal or perishable) or leased (if real) to employees or visitors.

Even children born within Seyger are charged childbirth hospitalization fees, the cost of education, and food. Seyger holds these debts as loans, calculating interest. Upon graduation from school, citizens are offered two choices: 1-pay off their debt, or 2-accept employment and gain citizenship. Most people do not have the money to pay off their debt, and are forced to accept employment.

To complicate things, Seyger pays its citizens using its own ACE currency rather than galactic credits. While they do not use currency exchange to drive away potential business deals, they do use it as another barrier for employees to buy out their contract.

Re has a reputation as a strong proponent of sentient rights---one fairly earned with their seamless inclusion of non-Human species into an originally Human-centered entity, and views Seyger's employment practices as tantamount to slavery. They do not recognize Seyger as a legitimate government, refuse to do business with them. There are rumors that Re helps runaway employees escape Seyger territory, and even offer asylum. Re has not officially addressed these rumors, claiming that to do so would give Seyger some form of legitimacy. Nevertheless, from what you know of Re, you suspect the rumors to be true.

Seyger would challenge Re concerning the rumors, but they are hesitant to act given that Re is a multi-sector power and Seyger only exists in Chi Theta.

You suspect that as independent contractors, you could probably work for both parties. However, they would not make it easy...
He gives Alice a small smile as she turns away, trying to take some of the sting out of Ezri's overly-aggressive response.

The only way that's a good job is if someone did actually murder them and we're allowed to track down the killers in the corporation...

He puts a tag on it in his display to follow up with them to get more details on the off-chance it might be an opportunity to stick it to Seyger as the lift carried him up towards the Hab ring.

Let's pull up a map and make sure I know where I'm going, his eyes fluttering across the interface as he waits out the long crawl up the main body of the station.

He marks off items as he sends out notes over the Ghostwire, transmitting the name of the ship and cargo space to the various jobs that were offered, asking for any additional details available, including specifics of containment and transport for the materials, mass for the repair supplies, etc, and what would be necessary to indicate acceptance of the jobs, including necessary delivery deadlines.

<<@Harken[Sereth]: Alright, we've got three cargo runs through the Void. Assuming slow load and offload times, we could do the set in 44 hours. Assuming nothing goes wrong. Which it always does. People, Repair Supplies, and Fuel. Any issues with any of those?>>

He pauses, scrolling the list up and then hesitating for a second, considering Harken's personal demons for a long moment before he sends a follow up note.

<<@Harken[Sereth]:...There's also a fourth job. SaR. No time limit, no pay listed, no idea why the ship isn't responding.>>
Always good to help a ship in need... but damn I don't want to get caught up in local politics. Guess we could at least see how well it pays... and make sure its not some damn doomsday weapon they are sugar coating as a "relief" cruiser

<<@Sereth: Go see what details you can dig up on the transport jobs. Ravenna and I will look into the Re missions. I am sure she could coax some more information out of them. I will check with Ezri and if she is feeling cooperative she can ask around while she is flirting with the pilots. If you could use any help with negotiating I am sure Ravenna would not mind lending her talents.>>

<<@Ezri: If you have any extra time between the batting of your eyelashes, see what you can dig up about this SaR mission.>>

<<Attachment: SaR Mission Info>>

"Little lady if you wouldn't mind, we could use whatever info we could dig up on this mission Sereth found posted. I'm sure you can make some of those Re officers play nice, and don't worry I'll be there so you can fool them into thinking you actually need protection."

With a smile he will show his palmpad with whatever relevant info Sereth happened to forward.

Within seconds of contacting Ezri, you get a reply.

<<@Harken[Ezri]: I asked the pilot I'm with. She says that all applicants are referred to Re's consulate in the habitat hub of the station, and if you're interested then they're going to want us to leave ASAP.>>


Upon contacting the different parties you get several responses.

<<@Sereth[CR/WS]: Thank you very much for contacting the Consulate of La Republica Empyreana regarding the following contract: [[Matjar-Deliver repair supplies]]. The Re observatory platform on Matjar is having difficulty recalibrating its atmospheric spectroscopers and needs replacements. You will be delivering 15 tons of delicate science equipment to the platform. You will have to make sure that the equipment is safely secured in your ship hold. This is a priority five request-please complete in 14 days at the latest.>>

<<@Sereth[Jovyn]: Thanks for answering our ad about passage to Vishwa. We're going to want to meet your crew before we make any decisions. One of our number needs to feel comfortable around the people he's with or things can get dicey. We don't have much in the way of luggage. From what we've heard, the Vishwa academy doesn't look kindly on material things. If you're interested, meet us at the Stormspot Cafe in the habitat hub in two hours, and we'll hash out the details. It's a bit quieter than the rest of the station.>>

<<@Sereth[WSOE]: Greetings, this is Waypoint Station Office of Employment. Our grain reserves are starting to get low, and Golwain is the closest trading partner we have. We'd like this done as soon as possible, within 7 days. If you can do it in 3 we'll give you a 15% bonus.>>
Ravenna smiles sweetly at Herken's promise of safety and at the opportunity to help the crew. She nods her assent as she activates her ghost talker and requests the transfer of information. She feels the shudder of discomfort as the technology imbedded in her flesh flares to life and streams of data flows past her eyes. Her homeworld lacked the facilities to produce most of the advanced cybertech she has since encountered. She had relented to get a ghost talker and pressure sheath implanted especially after being ejected into the void of open space.

As she looks over the jobs and the additional comments from the crew, she allows Harken to guide them towards their destination while making her own notes. She feels the urge to take a potentially less violent or dangerous job as opposed to collecting bounties from often unwilling people.

"Excellent plan. Let's see where we can find people we can talk to. Officers are a great place to start."
As you make your way through the busy docking platforms, you reach the turbolift platform. Dozens of turbolifts line the central area of the hangar. Most of them are for personnel-bringing people to and from the hangar deck. There are also massive cargo turbolifts for moving heavy goods and equipment throughout the station. You take the closest lift, enter the area, and press the button for the habitat hub.

The turbolift shoots up towards the top of the station, momentarily causing your legs to buckle with the sudden acceleration. You fly past several decks before suddenly decelerating at your destination. The turbolift doors swing open, and you walk into the habitat hub.

You find yourselves in the midst of a bustling promenade. Humans of all shapes and sizes and various Aliens species are walking past the many shops and amenities the station offers. Burly, porcine Hochog are moving side by side with the tall, crystal-feathered Qotah. Even a few of the eerily humanoid-like Ssath can be seen wandering through the promenade's stores.

You notice a few of the people wearing uniforms, and they tend to fall into two groups. The first group are station security, wearing similar outfits to the ones you encountered on the docking platform. Many have traded the laser rifles for the less imposing sidearm thermal pistols and stun batons. However, a few have rifles strapped to their backs. They walk around, attempting to appear ever vigilant against the threat of public disorder despite the fairly benign collective mood of the crowd.

The second group of uniforms are a bit more exotic. Humans and Aliens alike are wearing black jumpsuits lined with gold stitching. They each wear a stylized eye over their left breast---or the anatomical analog in the case of non-humanoid Alien members. They have one of five colors on the shoulders of their uniforms, red, yellow, blue, green, or white. Unlike the security officers, this group of uniformed people appear to be in the middle of shore leave. They are visiting different shops, sampling the different foods on the stations restaurants, and enjoying themselves.

Computer terminals intermittently dot the walls, giving you access to the habitat hub's directory. You can easily find routes to make your way to Azimuth Point, as well as other visitor attractions.
Running a quick calculation of travel times, Sereth summarizes the data into a concise report for Harkin and the rest.

<<@Crew[Sereth]: Looks like we're shy the cargo room to do all three, unless someone's okay with filling their bedroom with triticale on the return run. So, first things first, Harkin, do we do the food run for the station, or the repair run for Matjar? The food pays slightly more if we can do the run in three days, which shouldn't be a problem.

Second, the psychic cargo would like a meet and greet to make sure we're not psychos or body-snatchers or anything like that. I'm thinking Ravenna or Alice or both should attend, maybe put them at ease?>>
<@crew; Give Ravenna and I some time to speak with the Re representatives first. Personally I would like to hear what their story is before we decide what direction to go in.>>
Sitting alone, sipping a cocktail at Azimuth Point, Alice pulls out her compad reviewing the messages from Sereth & Harken.

<<@Crew: I'm tempted to go with Sereth's plan over getting involved in a search and rescue. Unless the search and rescue pays enough for the missed opportunity costs of the other 3>>

Alice pauses for a moment thinking about how she would feel if her friends were lost..

<<@Crew: And of course unless the people really really need our help>>

Alice smiles for a moment, glad she is with a crew that also doesn't seem to want to get involved with Politics or Authorities unless necessary

<<@Crew: Let me know when I can help>>

Azimuth Point sits at the very top of Waypoint Station, and offers a view like nothing else on the station. The section is composed primarily of transparent aluminum, with arches of opaque, heavier alloys to hold the section together. Tables and viewing areas line the edge of the venue, with spiraling corridors allowing wealthy patrons to literally rise above the other guests as they enjoy their food and drink. The decor is fairly minimal, allowing the view to take center stage.

The planet Zaxus dominates the view of most of Azimuth Point, with the station leveled at a giant red spot in the atmosphere---a massive storm that has been going on since anyone on the station can remember. On the left side of the planet's horizon is the Sirocco Nebula, mingling its faint pink-white wisps with the multi-colored atmosphere of the gas giant. On the right side of the planet is Kuphon---an incredibly bright, button-sized, blue sphere that is currently lighting up the face of Zaxus.

Harken and Ravenna

The station's computer kiosks makes finding the Re Consulate fairly easy. After a few right turns and a couple strolls down busy corridors, you arrive at the consulate. Twin guards wearing a red-shouldered, black-gold uniform stand at the doorway. They verify your identification before allowing you to enter the office.

The office is fairly empty, with only a pair of yellow-shouldered Re officers working. One---a Human male seemingly in his twenties---sits at the front desk, waiting to assist any who ask for help. The other---an iridescent, opalescent-feathered Qotah female---is busy working at a computer console, completely engrossed with whatever task she is attending to.

"Welcome to the the Consulate of La Republica Empyreana," says the officer at the desk.

"My name is Ensign Neil Jexon. What business do you have with the Republic today?"
Ravenna let's her awareness spread out around lowering the shields around her mind to feel the emotions coming from the minds around her. She lets the deeper part of her consciousness uncoil and sends it out along the paths of cause and effect. She seeks a disruption or resistance along her current thread as glides forward with Harken as her escort.

"I'm Ravenna of the Terra Firma and new to this region of space. I come here seeking knowledge and a better understanding of the conflict between Re and Seyger. My captain seeks to do business in this sector but does not wish to anger the powers to be and more importantly, not increase the suffering of any sentients while plying his trade. Is there someone I can speak to and learn from?"

She keeps her face open and honest as she relaxes the muscles in her body and assumes the stance of the Honest Petitioner. She lets the warm and strength of her companion be her anchor as she attempts to read the Ensign in front of her.

You reach out into the familiar nexus of the future, attempting to piece together glimpses of the future. You sift through sensations of waiting, talking, listening, and leaving. Nothing you encounter indicates harm or distress to befall Harken or yourself.

As you pass the guards upon entering the consulate, you touch their minds. One of them deftly blocks your attempt, and you gain a sense of boredom morphing to annoyance. You slip past the defenses of the other, and manage to peek at the emotional horizon of his mind. He mirrors the other's boredom. However, he also seems to be slightly preoccupied with something---likely sifting through information on a Ghost Talker or another computing device.

When you walk into the office, you repeat the process on Ensign Jexon and the Qotah Re officer. You gain a glimpse into Jexon's emotional state. He appears to be pleasantly surprised at having people to interact with face-to-face. At the periphery of his happiness lingers a mix of boredom, frustration, and concern.

As for the Qotah, the Alien mind proves a bit difficult for you to navigate. She appears to be mentally reciting passages in a language unrecognizable to you, and you manage to stumble into the chain of words. Her emotions go from frustration, to white-hot fury, to indignation.

Ravenna and Harken

While waiting for your answer, Ensign Jexon's eyes suddenly stop focusing on you. In the background, you see the feathers on the Qotah officer's crest straighten and shudder before returning to their original form.

"While we respect a psychic's interest to apply his or her powers," he says after a moment, assuming a diplomatically amiable tone, "We do request that you refrain from using them on our person in accordance with Waypoint Station policy."
Ravenna flushes her face with a wash of heat and color as she moves forward towards the Ensign.

"I deeply regret any offense I have given. I clearly have misunderstood the regulations around psychics. Please forgive my mistake."

She withdraws her awareness from the space around her and raises the barrier around her mind. She runs her hand down the length of Harken's arm and gently extends a tendril of mental energy to him linking their thoughts.

My apologies Captain. I will rectify my mistake and get us back on track. I'm ok to keep the link open so feel free to tell me anything you want to know or follow up on.
Harken and Ravenna

Ensign Jexon appears genuinely touched by Ravenna's apology. He smiles reassuringly and raises his hand, gesturing that the apology is unnecessary.

"Not a problem, Ms...I'm sorry, I don't think I caught your name. Anyways, I'm sure it was nothing serious. Noticing psionics is part of our basic training at the Academy, and is especially important to members of the Anubis Pantheon." He points at the shoulder of his uniform, directing your attention to the yellow band.

"After all, our diplomats have to be aware of if and when someone is using psionics against them. Just another precaution we have to take.

he says, switching subjects, "how can the Consulate help you both today?"

Alice and Sereth

The two of you meet each other outside the Stormspot Cafe at the appointed time of the meeting. The cafe is much smaller and far less grand than Azimuth Point. However, what it lacks in grandeur it makes up with privacy. The cafe is a dimly lit series of booths and circular tables, offering food and drink at a smaller fare than more fancy restaurants. At the far end of the cafe is a massive viewport displaying one of the massive storms taking place in Zaxus' violent atmosphere.

A short, stocky man is standing outside of the cafe. His appearance and posture are the very picture of anxiety. He has dark skin, but manages to look pale. His black, curly hair show all the signs of premature baldness. He is also fidgeting while he waits. He glances around, furtively scanning anyone who looks as though they are approaching the cafe. He makes eye contact with you briefly.

<<@Sereth & Alice [Jovyn]: Is that you? Let me know because there's someone in my head who I'd really like to make shut up right about now.>>
His arm held out to accept Alice's hand should she be so inclined, Sereth gives the woman a slightly raised brow and a questioning look before pausing to consider the menu posted in the window outside the Cafe.

<<@Alice and Jovyn [Sereth]: We've arrived. Should we be looking out for danger?>>
Alice and Sereth

<<@Alice and Sereth [Jovyn]: No, no danger. Just worried because I've been away from the others for a bit, and I know how much trouble they can get into when left unsupervised.>>

The nervous man comes up to you, and shakes your hand.

"Hullo, hullo," he says, "Good to meet you in person. The others have been asking when you were coming. Please, please, follow me."

Jovyn leads you into the Stormspot Cafe. He walks through the cafe, leading you past the dim booths. He stops at the one furthest in the back, and gestures for you to take a seat. Five other figures are already huddled in the booth.

"These are my acquaintances."

He points towards a weedy-looking woman with pale skin and buzz cut black hair.

"This is Zera."

He points towards a portly woman with short red hair, a piggish looking nose, and a palpable air of arrogance.

"This is Guwen."

He points towards a fidgeting man with pale skin and sunken eyes.

"This is Corlos."

He points towards a kindly looking man with sandy brown hair and ruddy skin.

"This is Kyvet."

He points at the last person at the table, a sullen looking man who looks perhaps hours past his eighteenth birthday.

"And this silent one is Xeraxes. He can't talk."

"That has yet to be determined," interjects Guwen. "I'm willing to wager it's just psychosomatic. He talks in his sleep."

"He snores," quips Zera, "That's hardly talking."

"You think that he's snoring. That's what he wants you to think. However, I'm sure that he's talking---"

"Is this really the right time for all of this?" asks Kyvet.

"Don't interrupt me!" shrieks Guwen, her face flushing bright red. "I don't like to be interrupted!"

"Oh dear, here comes the waitress again," grumbles Corlos. He buries his head in his arms. A stout, angry woman with graying black hair stomps over towards the booth.

"This is the second time I've had to say it, and if I have to say it a third time, I'm tossing you out on your ears. Keep. It. Down." She glares at the psychics as she spits the words at them. She glances at the two of you.

"Sorry there, are these clowns bothering you? Give me the word, and I'll kick them all out."

says Jovyn, "They're the ones we were waiting to meet. Please, ma'am, we shouldn't be too much longer and then I promise we'll never come back."

"See that you don't,"
grumbles the waitress. She shoots a wary glance at the two of you before she marches away from the booth, searching for less troublesome customers.

"So, how soon can we leave for Vishwa?" Corlos asks, his head still buried in his arms.
Alice smooths her dress, makes sure her hat & veil are perfect, then smiles and takes Serethís hand.
After entering the bar and walking up to the group and listening to the introductions,
Alice raises an eyebrow at the shrieking Guwen and the depressive Carlos.

We all have our foibles.. but are they likely to be easy trouble we can handle or bring trouble that will cause us problemsÖ

Alice looks over each of them briefly.

"Sereth and our captain will determine when we leave of course. Which I assume you want to be soon. You are all psychics. We have a couple on board as well, and well honestly it can be challenging for non-psychic endowed people to handle being around psychics. So would you mind us asking a few questions to make sure that there wonít be any conflict on board? Iím sure you want to be safe, and we do as well so itís best to determine compatibility before departure."

Alice waits expectantly, patiently, if a bit warily.
Alice and Sereth

Guwen shoots Alice a piercing glance. However, Jovyn manages to cut her off before she gets a chance to speak her mind.

"Of course, ask away. I, um, also have a request. Xeraxes would like to link with your minds. He can't talk, but he can communicate telepathically. He wants to join in the conversation.

"And, if I might add,"
Jovyn says quietly so that only the three of you can hear, "He's probably the voice of reason among us."
Ravenna looking relieved returns to her place beside Harken. Her voice is careful and cautious, clearly looking to avoid any further confusion and misunderstandings.

"The conflict as I understand it seems to revolve around the treatment of sentients? We were made aware when docking that Seyger had standing bounties for truant employees and that La Republica Empyreana does not recognize them as a sovereign entity due to their employment practices. I would like to know more about the conditions of Seyger employment and how that may affect business or trade in this region? Are there any commercial interests within Seyger that could be worked with? Are we at risk by working with La Republica Empyreana from Seyger aligned parties? How is the conflict currently playing out? Boycotts, trade blockades or open hostilities?"
Harken and Ravenna

The Qotah officer lets out her species' version of a snort at the mention of Seyger. Ensign Jexon shoots her a sideways glance, clearly perturbed by his associate's lack of diplomatic tact. He returns his attention to you soon enough, and recites what sounds like a much-practiced speech. He manages to maintain his amiable expression despite discussing a subject that appears as distasteful to discuss as the station's trash compactor aromas.

"Re's issues with Seyger are many, but they mostly revolve around Seyger's so-called 'employment' practices. The most despicable examples are assigning debt to newborn children and thus locking them into employment, manipulating currency and interest rates to make 'paying off' said debt next to impossible despite working long hours, and the use of price fixing to make free trade for Seyger employees impossible. Unionization is a crime, and those who attempt to do so are shipped off to the prison mines of Gatakan. All of these things are detestable to us, but Re is not a military organization. As such, our current policy is to boycott Seyger products because of how they treat their people.

"If your concern is whether you are able to work with Seyger,"
he continues, "that is your choice to make. Re will not do anything to prevent you from doing so. However, I should warn you that Re will be less likely to work with known Seyger contractors. As for working with Re, I doubt contracting with us would put you in harm's way. Re and Seyger are not at open hostilities. It is possible that Seyger might target you, but extremely unlikely. All Re contractors are considered to be working under Re's authority and protection, and I doubt that Seyger would risk an interstellar incident.

Ensign Jexon finishes with a dull smile on his face, "Is there anything else I can help you with?"
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Dumpshock Forums © 2001-2012