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Human Resource Reclamation

Posted on Tue Sep 15th, 2020 @ 10:59am by Commanding Officer Mickey Serendipity & Executive Officer Kenneth McTigue

Mission: Ticket To Rhea
Location: Captain Quarters, SS Albatross
Timeline: After Delta Tea

Mickey waited for Ken to close to the door to a room that Mickey still thought of as Soto's quarters. It wasn't much bigger than Kens, Wulfs or any of the other crew's berths, but its status has the home away from home for the ship's captain gave it gravitas. Bunk, inlaid closet and shelves, all neatly turned in and secured.

Not a single personal touch to any of it.

Mickey opened a cabinet and pulled out a pair of thick plastic tumblers and a bottle of Ganymede Red. He poured a measure of the peaty, fungal whisky for himself and gestured to the other empty glass with the open mouth of the bottle.

"He'd kill us if he knew we were drinking this." Ken mused after filling the tumbler with two fingers of the Red. "Kenneth, this is only for the completion of a contract. Not for... karaoke night." he grumbled the first time I cracked the bottle by myself.

"I always figured he was a sake man myself, but apparently never touched the stuff. Besides, the day we've had I think we've earned it," Mickey finished pouring and then screwed the cap back on the bottle. Giving it a final twist to make sure it was dogged down, the bottle went back into the cabinet and was locked down against acceleration.

He took his tumbler, listing it up and paused before he took a sip.

"Some folks want to say words before they drink," Mickey said.

"Enough words have been said. The old man is either somewhere, or as something better. He never did discuss his religious preference." Ken shrugged and took a small sip. "But, as Soto would say, 楽しもう." Ken raised his glass for a clink.

The plastic of the tumblers refused to relinquish a clink, but the sentiment was there. Mickey drew his glass back and tipped it back. A good steady fire ran down his throat, with a pleasant loamy after taste that was supposed to be as good as Earth made whisky. Considering the price of a bottle edged into the four-figure range, Ganymede Red was the spacers choice.

"So..." Mickey said, tapping his thumb against the rim of his empty glass. "We have three passengers we didn't expect to pick up. Two of which we might be considered to owing given how they came into our care. An extra engineer is not a bad thing, and a spare pilot is always nice. But ships fiances get a smidge slim if we begin slicing the pie for more folk."

Ken was quiet for a long time. Part of it was in appreciation of the complex palate Red offered. The other part was in formulating his answer. "We need to be realistic about this. We've lost our personal finances, most of the ship's financial equity, and about enough air, water, reaction mass, and food to get to Rhea. We need to tell Allegra and Wulf we can't pay them when we get there, because any profit we make needs to be used for resupplying the ship and the docking fees."

Another tiny sip, and Ken continued. "If they want, I could use the help in engineering. Not with the reactor or weapons, but with running maintenance. It'd take the strain off everyone. Nobody enjoys stripping air recyclers after doing a duty shift in Ops. And I know Allegra could use a co-pilot to switch off with. But we can't really afford them."

"Not on this run that's for sure," Mickey said with a nod. He'd been looking over the books, though at this point it was more of a note pad with one page left. "We need to put out feelers for work floating around the Saturn system. Plenty of ice bucker's out there willing to hire on a sheepdog to watch their backs after the Canterbury went up. Maybe do a run out to Neptune to the Triton science colony? A lonely road, but the pays good."

"I'd rather do a supply run than guarding a ship. Last time we did a guard duty we scared off a few Belters in rust bucket, now Earth and Mars are in a shooting war. There's always the chance we could mix a run to Triton, and follow up it up with a drop at Pluto... Orbital mechanics are in our favour this time of year. But before we do that, we need to decide what we're going to do with the stowaway."

"Whose running the security contract for Rhea these days?" Mickey asked. "Because stowaways have a tendency to get vanished out an airlock if the margins are thin enough. Besides, I don't think the kid has anything like a marketable skillset for the industrial work that comes out of Rhea. And I can't think a pleasure house would take in talent raw enough to bleed."

"Al Abbiq has their scummiest cops running Rhea right now." Ken replied, "If we're not dropping the kid at Rhea, we can either drop him out of an airlock ourselves, or he needs to work. We can't have him sucking air, eating food, and more expensively, use medication, and not contribute. But I also don't see myself training another kid, not after Xander. If I ever come across him I'll break both his legs."

"As I recall that sentiment was shared," Mickey grumbled. "Okay well, I'm not tossing the kid out of the airlock. But you are not wrong. And I highly doubt the kid's hiding a degree in fusion containment, doesn't strike me as the cerebral type. But then again Wulf didn't strike me as a net head who punks secure servers for fun. I'll talk to Flo, get a feel for him and what he can do for us if we're taking him somewhere other than Rhea."

"When you talk to him, set a deadline. He needs to show that he can be useful or I'll personally walk him off the ship." Ken emptied his tumbler. "I won't toss him out the airlock either, but I won't stand for a passenger that doesn't pay or work."

"Yeah, Pan-Am we are not," Mickey said with a hand rubbing on his chin. "I'm warming to the Triton/Pluto run idea. Run out to the edge will take time, enough to let the dust settle from what's happening. When we get close to the Saturn comm relay I'll ping the work board. Put in a tender for any contracts."

"If we head up Pluto we can visit Jeremiah. He and his wife settled up there with their research commune. Last I heard they do a lot of work for the UNSD. Chances are that they'll have some well-paid courier work back sunward for us." Ken offered before eyeing the cabinet where the Red was stored. "You remember Jeremiah, right?"

"I remember his wife makes a killer hot sauce. Pretty sure she autoclaved some of my taste buds," Mickey said with a chuckle. "Time lag out that far means we'll be two days waiting for a reply. Might as well wait until we're at Saturn and can ping the relay, get all of our comm requests queue for minimal real-time lag. Give us plenty of time to get to know our guests, and find out if we want to keep them on."

*楽しもう / Tanoshimou = be merry and drink


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