Previous Next

Grand Slam Return

Posted on Mon Oct 2nd, 2023 @ 7:11pm by Executive Officer Kenneth McTigue & Pilot Daniela Pareja & Commanding Officer Mickey Serendipity & Ships Engineer Delphi Jammer & Passenger Emma Yonkers & Comm Tech Wulf Edevane

Mission: What We Did On Our Euopan Vacation
Location: New Far Svalbard, Europa, Jovian luna system
Timeline: December 2380, six months after the events of the previous plot.

Set into one of the caverns under the Europan ice shelf, the cave city of New Far Svalbard boasted as cosmopolitan population as any outer planet colony. But the pale-skinned and blonde hair phenotype of the Norwegian settlers hadn’t drifted too far, with the few Martian and Belter transplants sticking out like dockside flares. On the wide streets, scooters and delivery drones prowled, as the population of the Europan capital got to work. And beneath those streets flowed the riches of Europa: fish. Gene tweaked and branded down the last strand of DNA, trout, salmon, and long tuna could be seen swimming in artificial aqueducts beneath the glass-insulated walkways. 35% of the protein that ended up in the bellies of spacers came from the fisheries and gene tweakers of Europa.

So when the only option for a meeting/breakfast venue that didn’t serve pickled fish or haddock was an Earth ethnic food chain brand, well…no one died for lack of starch at a Dennys’.

“So that's with the discount.”

Mickey gestured to the comm tab he’d slipped into the middle of the booth's table. On it was a number that was eye-watering to look at. A small fortune to be sure, and as he’d said previously that was with the discount granted to them by the dockyard for shipping something from Rhea to Europa. The excited chattering of the EuroStar techs, when they saw the crate lifted from the Tross battered cargo bay, had reminded Mickey of the mad braying of seagulls…

He shook his head.

“With that in mind, that doesn’t totally empty the refit account or our other savings in the Charon Courier Company LLC, which,” he said looking at the newer members of the crew around the table. “I hope all of you have signed the contracts that make you partners in that enterprise. Equal shares after we feed the savings account. But as I said, we have enough left over in the accounts for upgrades over refits.”

He picked up his coffee cup and took a meaningful swig from it.

“So…pitch me on ways to burn money to make money. Remembering the longer they take, the more money we burn on renting rooms.”

"Frankly, we need to either accept we don't have a PDC grid anymore, or pull the last two Directed Energy Emitters. With one on the nose, and one of her ass, we might as well shine a flashlight at any potential hull penetrator heading our way." Ken tapped a few buttons and pulled up a local grey market offer he had found earlier. "We're licensed to carry a total of eight point defense cannons. I know a guy who knows a guy. He's offering to sell us six Nariman Dynamics 40 mil cannons. The ones the Martians have been sticking on every one of their warships. They can take generic 40 millimeter caseless, not like the Kennerall cannons that most civvie ships fly with." He gave Mickey a moment to consider it, then he winked at Yonkers. "And I want to upgrade the railgun. Switch out those ancient nitrogen-cooled magnets with the newer helium-cooled magnets."

"I like the utility value of not having to buy proprietary rounds at selected retailers," Mickey said, nodding. "I think the PDC's are something we can all agree we need, pretty sure we can sell off the directed energy mounts for parts. Railgun upgrade means we'll need to apply for a new licence, which means accreditation, and oversight. It also means we need to upgrade the transponder so the UNN and MCRN don't shoot us on sight for having a capital ship grade long gun."

"Totally, the transponder will be a great idea, as for the rails, I think I might know someone back on Mars that could get us some parts for the upgrades. Might take a little for them to be probe shipped but still faster then a standard transport. I'd admit it would be riskier too, since no crew means no one riding shot gun." Yonkers shrugged. "now those sexy point weapons you are talking about, that's something I'm totally up for, with the 40 mils we can slice torps and even pirate ships like they are butter. Whoo boy what I can do with those will cause you boys to wish you could sleep with me." Her laugh was raunchy fueled by the excitement of new toys to play with and well the Martian style potato moonshine that she loved. some claimed the OG recipe came from Mark Watney himself.

"See, we already have a hook-up for the magnets." Ken grinned at the excited Martian. "We have a license to have a railgun installed. If we upgrade the current gun, we'd need a full accreditation. However, if we pull the current barrel and magnets, and have a fresh unit installed we should only need to have it verified as functional by the shipyard's weapon officer. I'd want to check it with our lawyer before we do that, but that should dance around the need to talk to any official military people."

Head and full attention stuck in a handheld video game, Wulf was silent in the matter of 'what cool new death toys can we now own' for more than one reason. One he didn't particularly like the idea of killing, but also he didn't hate being able to stay breathing. Two, he hated talking about money, it reminded him of the un-fun parts of his childhood. And Three - New Far Svalbard had a store selling retro gaming consoles and he was definitely now heavily addicted to this clunky little crackhore of a motherfucker he'd purchased. Sounded, as the comm tech caught the periphary of the others' conversation, like the Big Three had it all covered anyway. He slurped some pink Cola-free cola and briefly looked up to scan their faces. Yup, Ken had That Grin, and Emma was rocking half-cut and definitely dangerous laughter. Mickey had this covered.

Reaching over, Ken plucked the game device out of Wulf's hands. He flipped it over, popped the compartment open, and yanked the powercell out. Said powercell was quickly sent flying out into the restaurant. The compartment was then closed back up, and the device handed back. "Christ Wulf, I've had baby marines that had more attention span than you have since you bought this thing." He gave his friend the gimlet eye. "You're the electronics expert, what do you think?"

A potent scowl accompanied a short tirade of colourful swearing that was quick-fired in Ken's direction, but Wulf kept it brutally swift and then shifted gear. "You don't need my opinion on weapons," he muttered, placing the game down and pulling a spare battery from his pocket. He took a quick second to place it deliberately down next to said game, but wasn't dumb enough to go so far as to put the two together just yet. A direct invite to the big conversation meant something, it mattered to the tech. He switched to his hand terminal and lit up an online catalogue.

"I think we should rip out all the comms and sensor suite and start over," Wulf said, tapping the individual components on his tech wish-list. "It's not just the protocols that need updating regularly, it's the hard-lines and the relays, the adaptors, the TP links, ONTs and the..." He paused. "I know it's not as sexy as talking weapons, but the better our network is, the safer we'll be from all the threats and attacks you can't hit wipe out with your murder toys." An enigmatic expression replaced his serious face, and Wulf let his gaze shift from Ken to Mickey to Emma and back to Ken. "And the interface would look fucking awesome," the tech added, dark eyes gleaming with the thought of the upgrades. "Like next level awesome."

"Awesome enough fo flying dis boat mo fun?" Dani asked, her Belter accent coming on much stronger than it had aboard the Baton Rouge. Dragging an extra chair up to the table, the loud groan of steel on steel made it so no one missed her entrance. Pulling it up to the table she sat down heavily in the open space. Next to her was an oversized teddy bear, the purple plush was nearly as tall as Dani. Its purple Galaxy printed fur was covered in a stylized belter vac-suit. Across the left chest pocket and back, patches flying OPA colors and tags had been hastily and aggressively scratched out with a dark marker.

"Dis I'ma yours by da weh," she flipped the powercell back on the table. "try na fo litter while to're xiya Eurtah." Dani swept her hand through her short hair, fixing a stare at the ship's XO a moment longer as she grinned in hat i<>could be interpreted in a friendly way... But just as easily as not.

"Thanks," Wulf noted gratefully as he grabbed said powercell and shoved it into his pack before anyone else decided otherwise. "Ken wasn't littering," the comtech continued, gifting his friend a raised-eyebrow quizzical look. "He was making a point. And yes, definitely awesome enough to make flying the 'Tross more fun - 10K graphics, integrated pull-push wraparound mapping and trajectories, full 5D ensemble with surround sound and faster reaction times. Works great for movie night too." Wulf paused, turned to consider Dani and her companion. "Who's your new purple friend and what made him leave the OPA so swiftly and brutally?"

"Opa dey kowl kakagova, pensa oso highly fo sif. Imalowda na du deserve such wa fine creature asilik da bear." Dani took a swing of her beer. " I'ma rescued em."

Mickey looked down at where his hand had been idly tapping information into his hand terminal: Magnets/PDC's (Ken/Yonks MCR contact?) Comms array/BUS (Wulf/Dani) Reactor/DriveStuff (???). He tapped a finger against the glass display, and looked over at Delphi who had, to this moment, remained quiet.

"New guns, new blood in the veins, how about you and me head over to the dockyard and see about making sure the reactor and drive systems are getting the love and attention they need?" he asked. "And once we have these all ticked off, we can put the word out we're looking for work. After we run the EuroStar delivery job to Callisto, which is getting us a 15% discount so not something we're going to drop. Nice little dry run to make sure they bolted everything down. Test everything."

Delphi had been neck deep in technical diagrams and data from thr shipyard the whole while. As chief engineer, she needed to have her eyes on *everything* being done to the ship, as well as being very hands on with working on repairs herself. The yard dogs here were good, but this was her ship, as far as she was concerned, and she would be damned if she was not involved with getting her back into shape.

Hearing her name, the seven foot tall Belter looked up from her handheld terminal and nodded, her long, blue brushed back mohawk flowing down her back.

"Ya bosmang." She said and set her terminal down on the table. "Milowda ye mowteng nuva injector fo da reactor. Owte xidawang pashang"(1) she said and held up her terminal, showing the diagram of the reactor in it's current state, the pellet injector highlighted in red. It was still functional, but at end of life span and she did not want them going out again with the old one and had been having a time getting the yard to swap it out.

"Mowteng to bek walowda gova fo mi"(2) she said and flashed the Captain a grin at that last.

TAG Mickey

He eyed the large stuffed plushy.

"That thing better be full of aerogel or it's coming out of your weight allowance," Mickey said, before pointing a finger at Wulf. "Reminds me, much better translator software please. Not only to help us talk to the new hire but also because the rep from New Texas Agi sent me a comm today and I'm pretty sure the 'Tross's comm kept putting the word 'shit' in his 'subs every time he said 'compensation' in Swahili."

"Sorry, Cap," Wulf looked guiltily down to his terminal and called up Zee's online personna so as not to be having a secondary conversation right here and now. "I'll fix it." He traded some words (along with a few other tiny little 'glitches' and deliberate switches) on purpose, for comedic value, but a direct call-out was best handled swiftly and professionally. "Zee," he said quietly. "Run Hendrick Protocol Beta." A password was keyed in. The tech looked back up at Mickey. "Any chance we can get a fancy new fabricator while we're spending money?"

"The last time you made purchasing decisions we ended up with a food printer that had a sideline in field artillery," Mickey said dryly. "I want final say on any tech you bring onto the Tross. Which reminds me."

He held up a finger and reached under the table to a bag he had there. As he lifted up what he had hidden there, an all to familiar jingle began to tinnily play from a cheaply made printer in its base. The dented alloy coffee mug was placed on the table, the green and black logo of a long-defunct company faded from years of neglect within the Tross superstructure.

"The techs at the shipyards removed hull panel 34 and this thing fell out, it's been jammed up inside the guts of the life support system right next to the main atmospheric regulator. This explained why we could never locate it, as the echoes travelled from one end of the ship to the other. The 'Tross's ghost is no more," Mickey said and pushed the mug towards the centre of the table. "I don't know whether to drink from it, or find an airlock to vent it out onto the Europan surface."

Ken plastered a mask of innocencent indignation onto his face. He had lead the charge in finding the mug he had hidden six months ago. Seeing Mickey's slow descent into madness was the icing on the cake. The chance to interrogate Wulf, Delphi, and even Yonkers on this was the real price. Nobody would suspect the grumpy XO in this. He had stolen the idea straight out of Wulf's playbook. "How about instead we smash it with a big hammer, and then mount it over the galley table as a prize?"

Wulf had been about to protest Mickey's complaint about food printers, unjustified though said complaint would have been, but the presentation of a jingle coffee mug made the tech freeze. Sure, that was a thing of beauty, a noise machine of the highest order and an old, familiar aural-friend for sure. But... that wasn't the logo of the mug that Wulf had mislaid. That was something else. Someone else. Opening his mouth to point this out, and to attest to the beautifully garish bubblegum pink variety of mug that he himself had 'lost', Wulf wasn't really surprised to be beaten to the punch by Ken. Ken who had doggedly punished him with many an interview and 'search and destroy' mission. But this wasn't his mug. He attempted to keep his expression enigmatic, as he let Captain and XO decide this other mug's fate, but he couldn't maintain silence for long.

"Don't kill it," Wulf said, drawing blame deliberately in his own direction out of force of habit and misdirection. "It's lucky."

"If eht wowk why na keep im? Dani asked with a raised eyebrow. "inyalowda kowltim waste..." This crew wasn't as bad as her last, that captain...

"It's not about waste, its about revenge. Even Belters get revenge, saw a zero-gee rendition of Coriolanus when I was on Vesta four years ago. All in Belta franca, which really did add something to the performance," Mickey mused, eyeing Wulf and then Ken. "It gets an impact drill, and then set in resin as a warning to the next novelty corporate war crime we find."

The comtech winced - more at the thought of sitting through an entire Shakespearean production (any production) than the mug's fate. The mug's death was inevitable now. "I'm with Dani," he said, simply. "Seems like a waste. I bet you're gonna miss that tune too," Wulf added with a small smile. "So, just to confirm - I can go price up some new tech stuff, printers and such, then you just want me to run them all by you first, right Mickey?"

"And Ken," Mickey said. "Now, are we all ready to get on with the day?"

"I just have to grab my duffle from the bunk motel," Yonkers smiled at Mickey, "Anything to get back underway."

"All good, boss," added Wulf, kicking back his chair and standing up.

(1) "We still need a new injector for the reactor, old one is f[redacted]"

(2) "Need you to break/bust some heads for me"


Previous Next