Tag Archives: Ungstir

[SLACK ROLEPLAYING LOG] #rp-ungstir: Queen Anne’s Revenge

There’s a new arrival to the Ungstir Landing Pad – a large freighter that has definitely seen better days. On its side the name “Queen Anne’s Revenge” is painted in bold letters but there are some chips and it’s faded in places. Sprawled across its back is a very shapely lower half of a woman. The rest of her has disappeared into a hatch as the redheaded woman tinkers with something. There’s a fair amount of swearing echoing from the ship in Spanish.

“Can’t park here,” grunts a middle-aged Ungstiri with tousled black and gray hair as he wanders toward the Queen Anne’s Revenge. “Berth’s reserved for the Ecliptic.”

It takes a few attempts to get out of the large hole Kam has half disappeared out of but when she does pop up, her long red curls a frizzy mess escaping from the scraped back bun, she glares down at the Ungstiri, hands propped up on her hips. “That loud mouthed, too busy staring at my tits attendant over there told me this was where I needed to park this hunk of metal,” she snaps back. “So take it up with that moron and let me fix my ship.” Her hand points towards a young Ungstiri man with an overlong nose and eyes just a little too close together.

The man crosses his arms. He shrugs. “That’s between you and your boyfriend. I’m just telling you as a kindness. The Ecliptic is due back any time. Her owner’s not a patient man.”

Kam throws up her hands, gesturing all around, “There are like ten other free spaces on this damned pad,” she says exasperatedly. “And the inner wiring of my heap is all screwed up. It’s going to take hours for me to try and fix it all so it will even move.”

“I know a tug operator,” the Ungstiri replies. He points to the next berth over. “I own that slot. You are welcome to stay there until the Mako returns in a few days.”

There’s a big exasperated sigh from Kam before she nods. “Guess I don’t have a choice. Uh, thanks for the help.” she mutters. She squats down to gather up her tools. “Where the hell is he?” she grumbles to herself. “Having to fix the ship all on my own. Going to kick his ass across this pad when I find him.” She hefts her bag of tools over one shoulder as she starts to climb down the side of the ship.

The man extends a hand to Kam. “I’m Owein Panderyn. My boy Newt should be along in a bit with the tug to get your ship moved.”

“Kam,” the redhead replies, accepting the hand. “Thanks for the help. Still waiting for my mechanic to show up.” She shakes her head and hefts her tool bag higher up on her shoulder.

“Yes, well, if your mechanic stays missing much longer, just ask Newt to give your ship a look,” Owein says with a smile. “He can fix just about anything.”

Kam eyes Owein with some skepticism. “I’m picky about who touches my ship,” she says. “But if I can’t find him, I’ll give your kid a chance.” She shakes her head, hands finding their way to prop on her hips again. “He said we’d meet on Ungstir. Where is he,” she mutters with a frown.

“Who’d the missing mechanic?” Owein inquires. “I could ask around, see if he’s holed up somewhere.”

“Fedya O’Dell,” Kam replies. “He came ahead to check things out and we had made arrangements to meet here on Ungstir a while ago.” She waves a hand back at the ship. “Had to fly the ship out myself.”

“All right,” Owein says. “I’ll send my boy over soon as I can. And I’ll ask around about your mechanic.” He smiles. “Welcome to Ungstir!” Then he wanders back toward the cavern city of Resilience.

As one Ungstiri departs, another appears, this one a bit more familiar. Fedya is moving hurriedly from the gate glancing over his shoulder as much as he looks around the landing pad. There is a mixture of joy and concern on his face as he spots the Queen Anne’s Revenge and her redheaded captain. “Kam!” he calls out, hurrying over.

Kam’s slight smile to Owein becomes a bit brighter and far more genuine when her name gets called by an oh so familiar voice. She turns on her heel and strides off to meet at the halfway point, dropping her sack of tools and throwing her arms around Fedya.

“Missed you,” the mechanic replies as he returns the embrace, a broad smile across his pale face. He pulls back just a hair sooner than he normally would though. “Your trip is ok?” he asks, “Hope so, because is time to go.” He takes Kam by the hand and begins making a beeline towards the boarding ramp.

Kam merely snorts. “She’s not going anywhere just yet,” she replies, scooping up her tools and shoving them into Fedya’s arms. “Go do your job and fix my ship. There have been power problems since I managed to land her several hours ago. Been trying to fix it but I’m not a mechanic. You’ll be lucky if I could get her up in the air, let alone travel any distance.”

“Der’mo,” Fedya hisses, glancing back at the gate again and then at the open hatch, “Ok, get in cockpit.” He grabs the tools and rushes over to the access panel.

Kam follows instructions but that doesn’t stop her from shouting back, “What did you do now?” She only sounds slightly miffed.

“I will explaining later,” the Ungstiri shouts back, diving into the hatch. “Try to start her so I see where problem is,” he says.

“Mierda,” Kam grumbles to herself as she plops herself down in the pilot’s chair, hands gliding over the controls to bring up power. She gets a weak response of about sixty percent. “It was a long trip. Lots of bumps along the way and I was just trying to juryrig everything to work!”

“Can see that,” Fedya shoots back, he’s being playful, to be sure, but there is a level of tension in his voice as he tries frantically to rewire the power couplings. “Ok, try it now.”

Kam starts up the ship again and more lights flicker. “I have about 80 percent,” she calls. “I can probably get us off the ground and if we aren’t being chased, I can get us to a different planet.”

Fedya’s head pokes out of a hatch in time to see a hovertruck pull out of the gate with three humanoids sitting in the front. They stop to question someone who points in the direction of the Queen Anne while a massive Zangali lumbers out of the back of the truck. Fedya squirms back into the hatch, calling out, “Hang on, I try something!” He quickly detaches a feed and plugs it in elsewhere, siphoning a bit of main engine power into the thrusters. “Try now!”

“Okay, so apparently we are getting chased,” Kam mutters to herself as she starts up the ship for a third time. It sputters to life. “It’s working for now. Where am I going?” There is some more muttering to herself in Spanish as the ship goes through its start up sequences at am accelerated pace.

“Anywhere!” Fedya shouts, backing out of the hatch and slamming the panel home. As he turns around, the driver of the truck spots him. They make eye contact for a split second before the mechanic makes a dash for the boarding ramp. “I almost on! Lift off!” he yells into the comm as the Zangali climbs onto the tailgate of the truck even as it lurches in the Queen Anne’s direction.

“You are in sooo much trouble,” Kam shouts as she finishes her start up sequence and the ship begins to lift off the ground. The ship moves with an unusual sluggishness but it doesn’t stop her from pushing the ship off to break atmosphere and take to the stars.

Fedya jumps aboard even as the boarding ramp rises from the ground. He turns to see the truck change direction to a small freighter nearby and grimaces as he keys the airlock shut. “I knowing!” he yells back as he nearly drops headfirst into the engine room, “You yell  me later, da?” Glancing around the compartment he frowns, “And I yell you for what you do down here!”

Kam risks a quick glance over her shoulder before turning her attention back to her flight path. “Hold on, about to make a jump as soon as we get enough distance from the Rock.” She scowls though. Flying risky paths is nothing new. Getting scolded is something else entirely. “Don’t blame me for the engine room! I barely made it here. I had to get every drop of power out of the engine that I could! Maybe next time don’t leave me to make a long trip by myself.”

“And had to use all money I has to get out here and Ungstir is no accept Hekayti credit,” the Ungstiri calls back as he speedily reroutes power back into the jump drive, “Is no my fault I need work pool table for money. How is I know this man lead local gang. I miss Boromovs. At least with them, you know.”

“Pool?” Kam definitely sounds incredulous. “This may be our universe but it’s not where we came from.” She shakes her head as she lines up the ship for an accurate jump and as they finally ascend to the right distance, the ship rocks back and then shoots forward, heading off speedily toward Sivad. Once the ship goes on auto, she leans back in her seat with a quick sigh of relief. “Stupid to make potential enemies on Ungstir over pool. We’re headed to more civilized areas now, so try to behave a little. Si?”

Looking around the engine room in dismay, the mechanic finally gives up for the moment, clambering up to the spinal corridor and making his way to the cockpit. “Never say I am smart one,” he replies with a grin once he arrives, “This is your job.”

“Can’t leave you alone for a minute,  can I? Kam asks fondly. “Hope you were able to learn a few things while you’ve been out here.” She shakes her head, smiling up at Fedya as he approaches. “Just how bad is it down there?” She tries to look innocent. She really tries, but it’s just really not in her bag of tricks.

“Ungstir? Is fine,” Fedya says, plunking down in the co-pilot’s chair and rotating it towards the pirate captain, “More legit work, but no as much easy money, da? Is old days, before biggest war. But is no war. Consortium is everywhere. Even Demaria and Sivad.”

Kam’s smile is wistful as she leans back, tilting her head curiously in Fedya’s direction. “So we are now existing in a universe where we technically haven’t been born yet. Where it seems as though our great grandparents wouldn’t even have been born yet.” She slowly shakes her head, lips pressed together. “It’s… a little hard to imagine. Though I suppose a lot of what’s happened in the last few years is hard to imagine.”

“Da,” Fedya replies, glancing out the viewports, “Not that there is much missing from old… new times for me. Had nothing there, nothing I no have here.” He turns to Kam with a faint smile. “Sorry if is disappointing,” he says.

The red-headed pilot frowns as she tugs on a single curl. “Not disappointed, querido,” Kam replies. “It will just take time to figure things out here. We need to find a way to make money to get the ship in good order.” She shoots Fedya a dark look. “And no more hustling until we know what we’re up against, si?”

The mechanic gets a bit sheepish at this, but nods. “With ship here, should no be hard to find work,” he says, “But if we want fly in Consortium, we need license for you and for ship. Is costing much money. So, I get money.” He shrugs, pulling out a few large-denomination credit chits.

Kam shakes her head in Fedya’s direction. “I’ve been a bad influence on you,” she sighs. “And I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. But we’ll find a way.” She flashes a brief smile. “Our pirating ways will need to wait until we know the expectations and how to slide around them. Just patience now.”

Use Slackpass to join the saga on our Slack site!

[SLACK ROLEPLAYING LOG] #rp-ungstir: Karaoke Night

It’s a busy night in Ungstir’s most popular pub – most of the miners just got paid, some offworlders who love exotic accents are on the Rock, and it’s time for the weekly karaoke competition.

Not about who sings the best, though. It’s about who can stay sober the longest. Every time someone botches a lyric, they’ve got to take a drink. And you’ve got to try to remember the lyrics while two really loud miners are shouting the names of blood-rage music bands in your ears.

It rarely ends well.

Into this busy night strides Cygnari, the Falari freighter captain. Weaving his way through the various patrons, he steps up to the bar, and peruses the selections. Settling on a local microbrew, he orders, and turns to observe the Karaoke contest.

Beneath the shoulders of most of the miners, a swift, quiet young woman with auburn hair ducks about, slipping some small coin from several of them. She keeps it subtle, enough that they’ll just think they lost it, rather than as if it were stolen. She then approaches the bar after she has acquired enough for what she has in mind, and takes the free seat next to the Falari. She orders for a drink that comes in a mug about half the size of her head, and then waits patiently for it, surveying the bar for anything worth concern or intrigue.

As his beer arrives, Cygnari takes it and lifts it to his beak to take a sip, and savors it for a moment. “Ahhh.. a fine brew.” he notes, as he takes another sip. His PDA beeps and he takes it from his pocket. “Hmmm.. about to have a solar storm. That sure puts a crimp on things… I’ll have to sit tight until it passes as navigating through one of those can be a mess.” He shakes his head, flares his wings a bit in frustration, and maneuvering them around the barstool, takes a seat.

The young woman leans forward to avoid the wings as they settle down, tapping her fingers in a precise rhythm, but not one to the tune of the Karaoke song playing. One-two, three – and then it switches to the other hand, with the beat reversed.  She glances apprehensively at the bartender, but relaxes when her drink finally arrives. She reaches into her pocket and extends a very thin plastic tube. It looks more like the cable you’d find in an engine, but it’s been cleaned thoroughly. She inserts it into the drink and begins using it like a straw, grinning at the bartender raising an eyebrow at this.

Cygnari curls up the edges of his beak as he sees this. “That’s a new method if I’ve ever seen one.” he says, with a bit of a chitter, taking a sip of his own brew.

She glances up at the Falari with a curious, yet somewhat opaque expression. She then makes sure the bartender isn’t looking, and slips the tube out of her mug. She taps it three times, and out slides the gunk from the drink, silently dripping down to the floor. She’s found an alternative use for an engine fuel filter. “For those of us who don’t like pulp in our drinks,” she simply replies, putting it back in and taking another drink.

Cygnari widens his remaining eye. “Practical.” he says, curling the edges of his beak up again. He then looks down to the floor. “Besides, I don’t think they’ll notice…” he says, noting the rather high level of mess currently on the floor from the night’s activities.

A female Castori is trying to burble her way through a tender ballad about dying in space when a miner roars in her ear: “HATE FILLS THE STARS! HATE FILLS THE STARS! HATE KILLS THE STARS! STARS FILL THE KILLS OF HATE!” And so, of course, she botches the word “asphyxiation” and must take yet another drink. A cheer goes up.

The human nods in agreement, surveying the crowd again. “I don’t think they’ll notice much of anything…” she replies as one of the miners falls over in the background, fumbling about on the floor.

Cygnari chitters a bit at this. “Welcome to another night on the Rock.” he says, taking a sip of his beer.

She tilts her head at this and sighs, taking another sip of her drink. As she surveys the crowd again, she turns her glance back up to the Falari. “I don’t suppose you know of anyone here looking to hire?”

The bartender, a scar-faced Ungstiri man with one gray eye and one green eye, perks his bald head upward as he hears the woman’s question. “I could use a janitor.” Right about the time a miner throws up near her feet.

Cygnari looks down at the newest addition to the floor mess with a bit of disgust to his face. “You’d never be at a loss for work, that’s for sure.”

She grins widely to hide her impulse to scowl. “I appreciate the offer, but that’s not really my skillset. I’m just between crews at the moment, I’m afraid, but if I fail to find anything suitable, I’ll be sure to let you know!” She partially lowers the facade of jovial attitude as she takes a drink from the straw, her eyes tightening in frustration. Afterward, she shifts back into a more passive expression upon releasing the straw.

“Oh,” the bartender says, eyebrows edging up. “What kind of ship work you do? Might know a guy.”

Cygnari takes a sip of his drink, nodding towards the bartender. “There you go. I’m just a short hauler who makes enough just to keep my own ship running so not the hiring type at the moment.”

Fedya O’Dell ducks into the bar from outside, glancing out the door for a moment before smiling with relief. He heads up to the bar and plunks some money on it. “Double of vodka,” he says in Mierz.

The bartender supplies the requested drink. Well. At least it looks like vodka. Smells like it could be paint remover. Hard to say.

A human woman walks into the bar, jeans tucked into a rugged pair of dark brown leather boots.  She stops just inside the entrance, eyes scanning the bar’s occupants.  She pulls her hands out of her jacket pockets before turning in the direction of the bar.

Fedya’s right hand drops to the butt of a revolver stuffed in his belt when the newcomer pulls her hands out of her pockets, but he relaxes when they appear empty. With a subtle sigh of relief, he chuckles at himself before tossing back the remains of his drink.

The woman approaches the bar, both hands coming to grip the edge of the bartop, “Privet” she says, eyes on the bartender, obviously trying to get the bartender’s attention.

“What?” The bartender scowls at the woman as he grapples with a mop for the vomit on the floor.

The woman spares a glance at Fedya then at the vomit on the ground before her eyes lift to meet the bartender, “I heard you might be able to use a hand here.” she responds, hand reaching out for the mop, “Name’s Anna.”

The stocky mechanic places his empty glass down while observing the “interview,” raising his eyebrows in amusement.

The bartender shoves the mop at Anna. “You got the requisite number of hands and feet. At least one eye. If you can keep your mouth shut most of the time, we should get along great. You’re hired. I’m Guri.”

Cygnari places his now empty glass on the bar, checking his PDA. “Storm’s subsiding… about time.” he mutters.

Anna grabs the offered mop, “Spasiba.   And most of the time, I can do.” she replies, stepping forward to begin the process of mopping up the floor.

“So you have time for refill now, yes?” Fedya calls to the bartender tilting his empty glass back and forth.

Use Slackpass to join the saga on our Slack site!

[SLACK ROLEPLAYING LOG] #rp-exploration: Ekaterina’s Pride

[MESSAGE POSTED ON UNGSTIR COMMUNITY SERVICE BOARD]

TITLE: Crew sought for Operation Outrigger

AUTHOR: V. Prague

MESSAGE: Hiring crew for Consortium-sponsored exploration mission. Got ship; need people. Leaving ASAP.

A red-haired Pyracani is on his way towards a transport back to his homeworld, suitcase in hand. He pauses as he happens to catch sight of the post. After a moment’s glance at the transport, the pilot pulls out his comm and dials someone up. “Sir? Meuc Sionnach. Who do I talk to about extending my furlough?”

Said same Pyracani fighter pilot finds his way to the ship bound for nowhere. He’s not in uniform, but his military-issued pulse pistol is slung on his hip. A cup of early morning coffee is held in one paw as he presses the airlock’s call button with the other.

“Yeah, what?” comes a grumbled voice over the speaker.

“Meuc Sionnach,” the caninoid replies, his cheer not even slightly damaged by the response, “We spoke on comm about the job. I’m the pilot.”

“Ah. OK. Come aboard,” the voice grumbles. A beep. The hatch unlocks.

The Pyracani waits for the airlock to cycle before stepping in, adjusting a duffel bag on his shoulder as he looks around the inside of the vessel.

The ship’s owner leans against the bulkhead in the cramped central corridor. He wears a battered fedora and a trenchcoat. Cigarette smoke wafts from beneath the hat’s brim. “You good for a long trip? Got cards? My poker face sucks.”

Meuc’s muzzle wrinkles a bit as he gets a whiff of the ship’s interior, but he quickly grins back at the smoker. “Yes, and I do,” he says, “And you’d be the first person I’ve met to make that claim truthfully, if you are.”

“Well, just waiting on one more for the crew, then we’re ready to go,” the squat man replies. He extends a hand. “Vechkov Prague.”

Shaking the extended hand, the Pyracani nods with a toothy grin, “Reub Meuc Sionnach,” he says, “Pleasure to meet you. Lookin’ forward to this trip.”

“Yeah? Makes one of us,” Prague replies with rolled eyes. “Scares the shit out of me.” He draws himself away from the bulkhead, then points down the hall to a hatchway. “Bunks.” Fore toward a ladder. “Up to the cockpit.” Aft toward another ladder. “Engines.” Stomps a foot on the deckplate. “Cargo access, down below in the belly.” The wrinkles around his eyes crinkle upward. “Welcome aboard the Ekaterina’s Pride.”

“Ekaterina, eh?” the Pyracani says, craning his neck to look up the ladder leading to the cockpit, “Name of anyone important?”

“Dead wife,” the ship’s owner replies with a shrug. He takes a drag off his cigarette before tapping ash on the deckplate. “Finally taking her on the trip I always promised.”

“Fair ‘nough,” the Pyracani says with a quick nod, “My condolences, of course. And I’ll do my best to bring her home safe.”

“Appreciated,” Prague says. “Our first stop’s going to be a rendezvous with a fuel tanker called the Rucker. We can depart just as soon as…”

And that’s when the airlock buzzer goes off again. He raises a pudgy index finger and then pokes the intercom: “Yeah. Come on.” He thumbs the lock trigger.

Moments later, a slender woman with severe-cut blonde hair steps aboard. She nods to the Pyracani, then offers a hand toward Prague. “I’m your engineer. Eloise Sharpers.”

The ship’s owner gestures to Sionnach. “Rob-Roy Sionnach.” He gives an apologetic shrug to the Pyracani. “Never can get those names right.” He then points toward aft. “Engineering is down that way.” A faint smile. “I suppose you can unpack at your bunks before we get underway.” With that, he heads toward the cockpit and clambers up the ladder.

The Pyracani snorts in amusement before nodding to Eloise with a smile. “Meuc, Meuc Sionnach,” he says before turning to unpack his meager belongings. A few changes of clothes, a bit of rations, and a quickdraw holster tailored to fit the same weapon as the military-issue one he carries.

Eloise eyes the weapon as she stashes her duffel under a bunk. “Soldier?” she inquires.

“Fighter pilot,” the caninoid says as he proceeds to change out the holsters, “Knew I was saving up furlough all that time for something.”

“Try not to break her too often,” the woman replies with a chuckle. Then she ducks out of the bunks, aft toward the ladder, and down into engineering.

“Get ready for the easiest job you ever had,” Sionnach calls back with a confident smile before clambering up the ladder to prepare for departure.

Not a lot of room in the cockpit. Vechkov is hunkered down in a bucket seat that gives him access to sensors and communications. The only other chair is a bucket at navigation, with a gridwork window canopy that currently offers a view of the bustling Ungstir docking bay area.

The Pyracani slides gingerly into the pilot’s chair. “Say when,” he says, flipping switches as he mentally goes through a quick checklist. It takes him but a few moments to familiarize himself with where everything is.

“We clear for launch?” Prague asks via commlink to engineering.

Eloise checks the gauges and monitors. Nothing alarming on the readouts. “We should be good to go, as long as our pilot can steer through the rock fields out there.”

Vechkov nods, then switches off the commlink. “If you screw up, guess this’ll be a nice short trip.”

“You folks worry too much,” Sionnach says, laughing, as the ship begins to rise, “Flown through much tighter spaces than what you have out there.” As the ship whizzes out of the hangar and into space, perhaps a little faster than some might be used to, “Course, this is a bit bigger than what I usually fly.”

The ship’s owner transmits data to Sionnach’s console. “Last known coordinates for the Rucker. They’re a last-stop fuel depot for the Outrigger op. Next stop after that is…” His voice trails off as he watches Ungstir Prime disappear to the side and behind. “Well, I’m open to suggestions.”

“I guess we could always see what looks like the most interesting direction once we get there,” Sionnach offers as he turns the ship out in the direction of unexplored space. “Preparing to engage Tilsworth-Cooke drive,” he announces.

In engineering, Eloise checks her PDA one last time. She finds an encrypted message with a masked voice that states: “Safe travels. Keep moving. Like a good shark.” She deletes the message. Frowns. “Screw you,” she mutters to no one in particular.

Back in the cockpit, Prague says: “Let’s go.”

The Pyracani nods as he pulls the lever that sends the vessel hurtling into FTL. “ETA … four hours, twenty-three minutes, Captain,” he says.

Use Slackpass to join the saga on our Slack site!

[SLACK ROLEPLAYING LOG] #rp-ungstir – All the Best Lies

The first official roleplaying scene on our OtherSpace Slack site. It takes place on Ungstir between private investigator Vechkov Prague and a mechanic named Fedya:

Vechkov Prague sits on a stool at the counter in the dimly lit Rockhopper Tavern, watching the latest holovid news from beneath the brim of his battered gray fedora.

Fedya slips through the door of the Rockhopper, loosing a furtive glance without before heading towards the counter. He nods to the bartender as he steps up and settles into a stool to wait for the woman to have a free moment.

“Membership in the Stellar Consortium is for closers,” announces Jeremiah Busby, president of the Stellar Consortium Council, on the holovid display above the bar. “First place is a shiny seat at the table. Second place is screw you, goodbye, there’s the door.”

The commentator, a Castori identified as Oomkin Durb, takes front and center as Busby’s audio fades: “That in response to talk of Ungstir possibly joining the Consortium in the coming months.”

The scruffy man in the fedora and duster sitting at the bar just gives a dark chuckle and takes another sip from his smudged glass of liquor.

“Keep your vyrugal Consortium,” Fedya mutters with a quiet snort of derision. Once his order is placed, a short, wide glass of clear liquid on ice is placed before him, which he sips with a satisfied shudder.

“Not a fan of our friends on Earth?” quips Prague as he looks over at Fedya.

“Must be a reason we leave, no?” Fedya replies with a smirk, “If everyone wanted to be like earth, we would have stayed there.” He glances around the bar before asking in Mierz, “Do you speak the Mother Tongue?”

“Of course,” the private investigator replies, brow furrowing in possibly feigned offense. In Mierz he says: “But so do most of our neighbors here. Why?”

“My Terran is less than fantastic,” admits the mechanic-turned … pirate? Trafficker? Who knows, anyway, he continues with a grin, “Never did well in school, you see. Hard-headed.” He raps symbolically on his temple for effect.

Vechkov chuckles. In Mierz, he says, “I spend too much time on Earth for my own good, I think. Too slow there, me. Almost got me killed once. I try not to go back. Still.” He glances back at the holovid display showing coverage of a Consortium Council meeting. “We are vulnerable here, not so far from Nall space. Pirates from Fagin’s turf. Help from the Vanguard doesn’t sound all bad.” He shrugs. “Maybe just a little bad.”

“Maybe,” Fedya admits, shrugging noncommittally, “but nothing’s free, and everything’s a trade. Maybe we trade pirates for Vanguard. Suppose it all depends what you want, no?”

“Maybe,” the pudgy man in the fedora agrees. He extends a hand to Fedya. “Vechkov Prague. Am private investigator when I’m not holding down bar stool, turning brain to mush with too much news and…” Holds up his glass. “Whatever this is.”

“Hate to admit it, Terran Vodka tastes better,” Fedya replies, shaking the extended hand for a moment, then holding up his own glass with a grin, “But this … this is what makes us Ungstiri. Fedya O’Dell, mechanic. Among other things.”

A smirk from Vechkov. “What sort of mechanic? Sometimes, in my work, I need things fixed. Fixed sometimes means ‘conveniently broken.'”

“I work freighter engines mostly,” Fedya says, casting an evaluating glance over the PI, “but it’s been said I’ve spent more time breaking things than making them past few years.”

The detective grunts. “Ah. Good to know. O’Dell. Long line on Ungstir?”

“Mostly. It’s… complicated,” the Ungstiri says with a wry chuckle. “Mother’s great, great, great …. something, who knows anymore. Woman never told a true story in her life.”

“Some of the best stories are total lies,” Prague says. He raises his glass in salute. “To mothers and their great, great, great somethings.”

Fedya returns the gesture, shaking his head in amusement as he tips more liquid down his gullet. “And all the best lies,” he adds, taking another sip, “You finding much work these days?”

“Is quiet lately,” the investigator admits with a shrug. Turns his glass on the countertop. “Of course, I have been on what I call sabbatical. Some odd jobs here and there. Missing husbands. Absent wives. The occasional runaway.”

“Sabbatical?” Fedya replies with a bit of joking incredulity, “Sounds fancy. But yes, quiet. Like people aren’t sure what’s going to happen.”

Another chuckle from the man in the hat. “Sabbatical. Very fancy. Sometimes I even wear pants and leave my hovel.” He glances around the pub. “Is nervous time, to be sure.” Nods toward the holovid. “Relieved, actually, that our diplomats don’t seem close to any kind of agreement on this Consortium deal. Nall Vox got her eyes on Busby. We throw in with him, chances are she pays a more attention to our little bubble of air here.”

“Makes sense,” Fedya says, considering this as he taps his glass, “A Vannie base here could spit and hit the Parallax. Fagin’d pitch a fit, too, no doubt.”
“Yes and no,” Vechkov replies. “Lord Fagin might see it as good for business, either way. Those Sortie folks are some of his best customers. Plus, if you’re the Pirate King, really ups your chances of getting hands on stray military hardware.”

Join the fun! Request an invite via email to jointhesaga@gmail.com!