Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Solo Traveller - Episode 25: Keeping the ship afloat

Date: 329-1106

Arrived back at the  highport over the mainworld (Obox/ Foreven (2337 C7A2777-9 Fl)). We got clearance to dock at a subordinate facility. When I disembarked, Dr. Veev was there waiting for us all to show up. He had a couple Imperial marines with him and other than that the place was empty. Only one guy came off the lab ship at all, and he only seemed interested in talking with Eshtam and the Lieutenant. He gave her something, looked like a cheap handcomp, and then they was done. The marines took the pinnace away, and we unceremoniously went back to the downport. They two of them were their usual sullen selves, but the doc sat with me in the cockpit to let me know how things had been going whilst we were away. Which was a bit crap. Orneev was having a hell of a bad time locating cargo, and not knowing our next destination makes taking on freight a bit of a challenge, now don't it? I'm gonna hafta have a word with Herself about this.

Bad luck or no, I want to see Orneev when we put down. Business can wait. The cargo hold will still be there tomorrow.

But the doc says it would be best if I didn't say too much about the little adventure we was just on. He says I can tell Orneev and Diula what went down, but that I shouldn't mention the name of the lab ship. Or that it was Imperial. Or even a lab ship. God of the Void! I thought he was on our side.

[Diula has mostly been keeping an eye on Heldamin, who has learnt to sit quietly in the engine room whilst Diula is puttering about.

Orneev's cargo search for days 325 & 326 failed. On 328 he found a consignment of meat - 95t @ cr1350/tonne. There are several Ag worlds (-2 sale DM) within Jump-2, so this seemed like a bad deal. I asked Mythic--

Q: Will the meat still be on offer when the other PCs get back? 50/50 (4+): O3 C9, No -- there are other interested buyers. He'd have to gamble on their next destination not being an Ag world.
Q: Does he cross his fingers and buy the meat? Unlikely (5+): O3 C8, no - too risky

And whilst I'm interrogating the Oracle--

Q: Any problems with Heldamin? Unlikely (5+): O1 C7, No.]

Date: 330-1106

I was in a much chirpier mood when I got up this morning. But the accounts were looming over my head, so I cornered Herself over breakfast. "Y'know," I says, "it would really help if we knew where we were headed next."

She just looked at me for a minute, then she says, "We've been here way too long already."

So I jumped in before she had a chance to continue [Inty needed to roll under INT (10-) to make a good case. She rolled a 5]. "We're just free traders!" I blurted out. "With bills to pay. And a bank to keep off our collective arse. It would look real suspicious if we travel empty."

She musta looked at her shoes for a good minute! "Fine," she says slowly. "Post our destination as Tolirion or Phllyg, I don't care. Fill the hold with the first thing that shows up and we're out of here."

I always wanted to see Tolirion.

. . .

Later: I could tell Diula was getting stir crazy so I sent her with Orneev into port to post our destination and make one last stab at finding something on spec too. Herself and her marine were babysitting Heldamin, so I just went back to bed. I must needed the sleep cause next thing I know it was dinner time and Orneev and Diula was waking me up and talking over each other about how they'd got real lucky and found a nice juicy bit of merchandise -- one tonne of cybernetic parts, expensive but probably going to return a good profit on a world like Tolirion [+1 resale DM for Ag]. And they also filled the rest of the hold to capacity with freight. This is gonna make everybody happy. Including me, cause something bad is going on here and I don't want to get dragged into it again.

[cybernetic parts -- 20t @ cr325,000/tonne
can only afford 1t for 328,250(incl. fees)

Rolling for freight: 5 major cargos: 60t,60t,20t,10t,10t
8 minor cargos: 35t... Here I stopped rolling, as they can take on 1 major (10t) and 1 minor (35t) to fill out hold.]

cr632,263 ship's fund

    -600 extra berthing
-275,729 mortgage (paid 325-1106, on time!)
-328,250 buy cybernetic parts

 +45,000 freight
cr72,684 new ship fund

next mortgage due 355-1106

We already refuelled and refreshed the life support, so as soon as we're loaded we can ship out.

Date: 332-1106

[no outbound ship encounters.

I rolled for drive failure & misjump as usual (even though I don't usually record it, I always make the rolls); drive failure was 11+1(unrefined fuel): just barely a success.]

We had a real quiet trip out to the jump point. Didn't pass no other ships. Herself was on the bridge as usual, looking at the sensors, and didn't bother calling out the 100-diameter mark this time. I guess she finally trusts me to fly.

I dimmed the lights, and hit the jump button. The drives made a noise I never heard before in all my 20 years as a spacer, kind of a grinding mixed with a squeal. I was sure they were blown again, but just as I seen the engineering intercom light flashing, we suddenly went into jump space. I talked to Diula for a few minutes, she said everything seemed OK but she was going to monitor it for a while.

Then Herself got up to go aft. "Your ship's a real gourmet," she says. "She complains when you feed her the cheap stuff."

I hate to say it but she's right. The Hekabe really does not like unrefined fuel!


  1. That last part was good, really good. If this was group play, you could poke at their fears of a mis-jump by trotting out all the classic indications. Someone is not feeling well? Was it that chili dog he wolfed down before lift off or was it a mis-jump? The drive made an odd noise for a moment? Innocuous or something else? Keep it up and people will be wigging out by the time the 168 hours are up.

    As it stands now, maybe Heldamin or someone else will come unglued from the stress.

    1. Or maybe it will be us as we wait for the "next exciting episode" (spoken in a deep 'announcer voice').

      -- Jeff

    2. Someone cracking from strain certainly looks to be on the horizon. Though there's a pleasant Rich world to see first.