Saturday, 12 September 2015

Solo Traveller - Episode 22: Far Trader Blues

Date: 305-1106

Arrived at Lasperth/Foreven (2537 B469443-A Ni)

Immediately out of jump there was a ping on the sensors, and a hail seconds later. There was 100t seeker, and the pilot wanted to know which way we came from. Herself was in the cockpit with me, naturally, so I looked at her for my orders. "Just tell them," she says, "it's no great secret." So I says we just came from Hope, and the guy asks if we have any news about Dimmul. So I gave him the run down, including how we were volunteers transporting soldiers offworld. He said he'd wanted to go help, but that he was contracted to explore this system for another three months still, and how the relief effort probably didn't have any use for asteroid miners, but good on us for helping and "may the gods of the hidden suns speed our vessel with their warm breath". So that was nice, but now I'm worried that no one in port is going to want to talk about anything BUT Dimmul.

[Q: Are the Mercs unloaded without problem? Likely (3+): O6 C1, Yes, and... port waives the berthing fee]

Date: 306-1106

We weren't the only ship in port ferrying troops to Lasperth. I guess there was a pretty big outfit that works out of here. The port authority even set up a repatriation centre, and is waiving berthing fees for the volunteer ships. Landed at the downport, and the doctor rounded up all our "passengers" and saw them off. I guess the other two stuck him with the admin work.

Me and Orneev slipped out of the ship when the others weren't looking to try and drum up some business. We were informed by the navy that we shouldn't take on any passengers, but cargo is ok. Can't run the ship if we don't make any money, now can we?

Best we could find was a load of tin [100t @ 11,700cr/tonne] but it was so overpriced [130% base price] that Orneev said we'd never sell at a profit.

Not worth it.

Date: 308-1106

Still no good cargos, but it's a nice port to walk round, as ports go. Orneev says I say that about every port where you don't need a breath mask or vacc suit to go outside. I almost said I didn't feel that way about Dimmul, but then it seemed so unfunny I bit my tongue. And it's not like no one here is talking about anything else. Lot of people round the port have some connection, even if it's only they met a guy from there once, so they're all real hungry for news. And everyone is real nice when they find out we were transport volunteers. It got so we had to start turning down free drinks so we could walk back to the ship under our own power!

Diula and the Doc went into town together, and they come back with the same story. The only ones what didn't, as if I couldn't of guessed, were Herself and her pet marine. Apparently some local religious cult takes a dim view of professional soldiering, and when they spotted our Imperial masters they went up and gave them a real hard time, saying stuff like "begone, ye Cosmic Oppressors, unloading your garbage on the good people of peaceable Lasperth" or some such (I should of wrote it down when they were telling the story. Note to self: next time pretend to be doing the accounting so I don't miss out).

Also, they came back in armour jackets and been wearing them round the ship ever since. They say they're just trying to break them in so they'll be comfortable, but I'm sure it's some subtle attempt at intimidation.

Date: 309-1106

Persistence paid off. Found 10t computer parts on offer @ cr105,000/tonne.

Bought 4 tonnes for cr424,800 (incl 1% fee). All we could afford.

Had some words with Herself about running MY ship. She told me that as soon as we're loaded we ship out. I told her we had a mostly empty hold, and we can't afford to run light right now, maybe she should tell us where we're going so we can at least post a destination to pick up some freight. She said we're going wherever she damn well says we're going and not to question it, and that we already wasted enough time looking for whatever spec cargo we find, and that she always thought freight didn't pay that well anyways. Then my beautiful Orneev steps in and says she has a point, and that we really can't afford to sit here any longer and we're already 2 weeks overdue for the mortgage payment even with the grace period. I could of killed him right then. I mean, he's right, but did he have to say it in front of her?

Date: 312-1106

We were all loaded up the next day. (Loaded! the cargo hold still echoes it's so empty!) Slow trip out to the gas giant for fuel, slow trip out to the jump point. Entered jump just fine. Time for some accounting. Even taking into account that Heldamin's last payment evaporated into space, we started out on a decent footing.

cr490,992 ship's fund

 -14,000 life support refresh
 -25,000 fuel (refined)
-424,800 buy computer parts (4t)
cr27,192 new ship's fund

If anyone asks, I may put a zero on that so they don't panic...

[Some die rolls and notes on things that didn't make Inty's log:

Every group got the standard CT encounter checks for each day they were off the ship, but most of them were quite dull, so not worth expanding upon:
- 11 rowdies, reaction = non-committal
- 6 beggars, reaction = enthusiastic
- 1 cop, reaction = hostile, may attack, Q: Why? inform / travel - a warning for crossing the street when there was traffic, but no fine.

Hardly the stuff of Space Adventure!

There was no port event, the world event (offered and investment opportunity) was not pursued, and there were no patron or legal encounters. No ship encounter heading out, either.

Eshtam & Lt. Gytovo's run-in with 13 pilgrims (reaction = hostile, attack on 8+ (6=no attack)) was the only one that provided any narrative colour. Q: Why are they hostile? punish / allies: angry that Imperium unloading mercs here

Inty really doesn't trust them, but they are in fact just trying to break in their new cloth armour so it is more comfortable. Eshtam's own armour jacket is (she hopes) still secured aboard the Dikiishgaamurga; when this mission is completed her first goal will be to get it back.

Also, at every system, I will be asking Mythic the following question, making the Odds 1 step more likely with each stop until something happens:

Q: Any problems with Heldamin? Doubtful (6): O5 C5, No + Event: PC Positive - Eshtam - Dominate / Military: Naval Intelligence is pleased with her performance and it has been noted in her record; in game terms, a +2 reaction DM when dealing with those INI personnel who are in the know.]

Date: 317-1106

Diula's not been doing so well. She forgot to turn the alarms back on after her diagnostic checks, and left the cooling system in test mode so it was about 20 degrees by 'morning' shift. She forgot to check the plasma coil housings and they nearly broke again. And she managed to depressurise the cargo bay, but at least Orneev wasn't in there when it happened. I tried to say something but she just wandered off and locked herself in her stateroom again and I think she isn't eating. Next stop I'm doubling her shore leave. Can't have her cracking up on us.

Date: 318-1106

The new doc wandered onto the bridge when I was trying to have a private conversation with Orneev about Diula's problems. I was hoping to keep this in-house, but he said he'd have a talk with her and see if he couldn't help. Well, he's the doctor, I guess.

. . .

Later: Well, whatever he said seems to of worked. Diula came out for mealtime and was in much better spirits. Spy or not, he's got a good beside manner.

[jump event: Crewman becomes sullen, uncommunicative and makes mistakes, but will not discuss.
1-2 Orneev, 3-4 Diula, 5 Veev, 6 Gytovo

Q: Are any of the mistakes serious? Unlikely (5+): O4 C0, No.
I made a reaction roll for Diula to see how she felt about Dr. Veev's visit: 9, intrigued.]

Date: 319-1106

arrive at Obox/ Foreven (2337 C7A2777-9 Fl)

Date: 320-1106

It was a quiet trip in to port. I made up an excuse about needing to have a talk with our overseers so I could send Diula to accompany Orneev to sell our cargo. Luckily there was no complaint -- from either of them. They came back with a tidy sum for the computer parts, Kcr900 [8+3=150%].

 cr27,092 ship's fund

     -100 berthing
  -14,000 life support refresh
   -5,000 fuel (unrefined)
 +900,000 sell computer parts
 -275,729 mortgage (late again: was due 295-1106)

next mortgage due 325-1106

Date: 324-1106

Labour problems at the downport are really messing thing up here. There's a work slow-down, and there may be a full-on strike. I'd be a bit more worried, but we haven't exactly found any decent cargo yet, either. I got a feeling we're going to be told to leave with an empty hold. Again, I mean. At least we got the next mortgage payment covered even if we do get shafted here. But it ain't right them making us fly empty, when I know we could get a decent consignment.

[world event: Transport delays
cargo search (2 days): gems Mcr1/tonne - couldn't afford
2nd cargo search (2 more days): fail]

Gotta keep reminding myself it could be worse. Heldamin has been really subdued and helpful when she could be, and not complaining about the house arrest, as 'twere. Orneev and Diula are starting to come round towards her. Orneev even laughed at one of her stories! The Overseers have been mostly not riding my arse since we hit Obox. We got to talking about them one morning, me and Diula and the Doctor, when were sitting round the table in the common area.

Diula says she's a real Albert Ross. I said Sorry, I don't know much Solomani history. Who's he? Her and Veev just laughed, and said something about getting me ears checked.


  1. It might surprise you to learn that I truly appreciate this post since it shows not only some details of the economics, but some part of how you make "editorial choices". Thank you.

    -- Jeff

    1. This events chronicled in this post were very much business-as-usual on a trading vessel. The dice did not produce many exciting results. There's always some tiny non-encounter that gets elided, but this one was so full of them it seemed only fitting to mention them all. I am glad that 'showing my work' makes it useful and worth reading. There are still more things I didn't mention, like the rolls for misjump and drive failure that I have been assiduously keeping up with, but there was ample evidence of one of those at the start of the Hekabe's saga.

      The next post is going to be the polar opposite of this one.

    2. Well I am sure that I will enjoy reading the next post as well as all of the rest.

      -- Jeff

    3. It's up now, but it ran really long, so the part that is the polar opposite of this post will have to wait for episode 24.