Session 1 3

Mu Cephei burns bright red in the distance, as the shuttle drifts quickly toward the shipyards. Technically a Confed shuttle, it has been handed over to its three passengers - all of them technically Confed too, so far as it matters these days.
BBBB is in the pilot's seat just now. A blip appears on the radar - another ship, a fighter, inbound to the shipyards. …wait, is that a Kilrathi fighter? Here?!? But it's not showing as hostile…
B4: "There's nothing wrong with our IFF, right?"
Abraham Bounty: "Are you getting unusual readings?"
B4: "Yeah. A friendly Kilrathi fighter."
B4: "I've seen plenty of friendly Kilrathi FREIGHTERS, but take the first r and e out and things get a lot more uncomfortable…"
Abraham Bounty: "Well then, open a channel and say 'Hello.'. We would like them to stay friendly and we can best do that by being neighborly."
B4: "Good fences make good neigb-"
Spyboy Pearson: "Got it, sir."
[OOC] Spyboy Pearson: Hmm. Name of fighter….
Spyboy Pearson: "Omaha Beach to unknown fighter. Good afternoon."
[OOC] Spyboy Pearson: Your cue, Hrrin
Hrrin: The answering voice is, as expected, the slightly raspy kilrathi accent. "Small Craft Lynx's Paw to Omaha Beach. Ah, is that the local time, then?"
Spyboy Pearson: "Yes. Current local time is…3:42 PM. Watch out, though, it's a 24 hour and 16 minute day."
Abraham Bounty joins on the com, "Harry? Is that you?"
Hrrin: "Ehh," you can almost hear the dismissively waved paw. " If one can pick up a sandwich, and proper navigation so-"
[OOC] Hrrin: quick, what would his last known rank be, to her?)
[OOC] Abraham Bounty: Major, most likely.
[OOC] WC GM: Wrong service
[OOC] WC GM: If he's in the Navy?
[OOC] Abraham Bounty: Lieutenant?
[OOC] Hrrin: My brain keeps saying that. we'll roll.
[OOC] WC GM: Lieutenant Commander, perhaps
[OOC] Abraham Bounty: LC seems reasonable.
Hrrin: "Lieutenant Bounty! How terribly small space is!"
Abraham Bounty: "More a small sector than space being small. When did you get a fighter?"
Hrrin: "It is a boring story, you don't need to know. There was a man with a distressing knack for salvage and finding military surplus. Bar-something? Something-bar?"
While Abraham is not currently in uniform, and thus not wearing a rank insignia, something stirs in the back of Spyboy's mind. Something from an article - a briefing document about chains of command - he once read. This…is not a mere lieutenant next to him.
Hrrin: "I am not sure if appreciate the familiarity of the equipment, or rue the notoriety my unexpected appearances grant."
Abraham Bounty nods. "I think I know him, or at least his family. So what brings you to the small place that is here?"
[OOC] Spyboy Pearson: I dunno about in the Navy, but in the Air Force most command posts have pictures of the chain of command, all the way up. Makes a lot of sense for Pearson to have walked past Abraham's picture on a wall somewhere, and have very little idea where…
Spyboy Pearson: "There's usually not all that much room on the inside of a…small craft…for systems refits, so I'd lean towards the former."
[OOC] Abraham Bounty: If they don't, they should unless they're in occupied territory or something where it's easy for 'da enemy' to figure out who the commanders are and… deal with them.
[OOC] WC GM: It'd be the same in this Navy, most likely. Abraham wasn't in his chain of command directly, but he was being transferred, and to meet the guy on the shipyards.
Hrrin: "There was a plan to emigrate to Salaam, in Collins. Some of my people are there."
Abraham Bounty: "I see."
[OOC] Spyboy Pearson: That or I saw his name and rank in an email header. =p
[OOC] Hrrin: This is obviously not Collins, of course.
Spyboy Pearson: "Too boring over there, or are things….awkward for some reason?"
Hrrin: "Oh, I am in no hurry. You know me: drawing the time out…stopping to see nearby sights: the shipyards and such." - Abraham might not catch it (Cannot Read Aliens), but Spyboy or Bunny may well catch the slightly nervous quaver of baldfaced lies.
B4: "The shipyards here are great!"
Abraham Bounty nods "I see. I should have expected that human space is still very new and interesting to you."
B4: "I'm pretty sure there are more shipyards here than in any other system this side of Sol!"
Abraham Bounty: "Silly of me not to realize it."
Hrrin: "Ah? Is that so?" Palpable relief: excuse for wrong turn secured. "It may even be nostalgic, then."
[OOC] Spyboy Pearson: Hmm. Decent charm skill should cover spotting lies, but Spyboy's only so-so.
[OOC] WC GM: B4's probably realized it. Spyboy might have.
[OOC] Hrrin: Heh. She might be acting a bit shifty, but for a completely innocuous reason. This amuses me.
[OOC] Spyboy Pearson: I figure Spyboy caught it but B4's a little too patriotic.
[OOC] Abraham Bounty: Totally over Abraham's head.
Spyboy Pearson: "Yeah, as long as you're here anyway you may as well see some of the shipyards."
Spyboy Pearson: "Though you're about three systems in the wrong direction from Collins."
Abraham Bounty: "True. It's very humbling for me to see first hand exactly how little I know about shipbuilding."
Hrrin: "Oh, I expect I will enjoy them." And this rings with sincerity. Perhaps tellingly, she does not address Collins, but continues on. "If your business leaves you long in Mu Cephei, let's meet for cards again, hey?"
Hrrin: "Perhaps introduce me to your companions, if they are interesting."
Hrrin: On sensor, the aging Kilrathi fighter adjusts heading, veering towards a different docking entrance than the Confederation shuttle.
Abraham Bounty: "Yes, let's. I think I'm finally starting to figure out Kilrathi facial expressions and voice cues."
Hrrin: "We are not so different. You are just terrible at poker."
Hrrin: She adds in visual signal briefly to wave goodbye, then ends the connection.
Abraham Bounty: "I resent the implication and demand satisfaction. Put your wallet where your whiskers are."
Abraham Bounty: "Blast, too late."
Spyboy Pearson: "It happens."
Spyboy Pearson: "So just who was that….'Lieutenant?'"
[OOC] Spyboy Pearson: Heavy (doubtful) emphasis on the rank there.
Abraham Bounty: "Of course, if I were /really/ good at reading Kilrathi, I would have known she was going to do that."
Abraham Bounty: "That was a friend. We met a while back when she first came to human space. We got along."
Spyboy Pearson: "Lost a lot of poker, I take it?"
Abraham Bounty: "I managed to even it out in the end."
Abraham Bounty says that with a touch of pride.
Spyboy Pearson: "Good to know."
Spyboy Pearson will back off from the rank question for a time.
B4: "Navy yard, this is Confederation shuttle Omaha Beach, requesting permission to dock."
TrafficControl: "This is Shipyard Traffic Control, permission granted. Please engage automatic landing sequence."
B4: "Automatic landing sequence engaged. Thank you, Traffic Control."
B4: "I hate automatics."
Spyboy Pearson: "I don't mind them so much."
B4: "Well you can barely handle a ship without them."
Why the automatic sequence kept banking to the left, before back to the right to level out, was an eternal mystery.
B4: "Like THAT."
Nevertheless, within a minute, the Omaha Beach was landed with engines powering down. A pit crew was already bringing up umbilicals.
[OOC] Abraham Bounty: It's an engineering prank.
B4: "We're in space. We don't bank, we use RCS, which means waggling the wings is a waste of fuel."
Abraham Bounty stand and makes ready to leave the ship. "Thank you for the trip."
Spyboy Pearson: "Maybe the sequence is making sure the nozzles are clear."
Spyboy Pearson: "Not a problem, sir. Would you like someone to show you around the station?"
Abraham Bounty: "Yes please."
Spyboy Pearson: "Heggy, can you finish up here?"
B4: "No problem. I'll catch up."
Spyboy Pearson: "Great."
Spyboy Pearson: "Where you headed, sir?"
Abraham Bounty: "Shipyard management. I need to check on the status of my ship."
Spyboy Pearson: "Mmm…in the Rock. Right this way, sir."
Spyboy Pearson: "You want the whole tourist shpiel, or would you rather just have me show you the shortcuts?"
Abraham Bounty: "I wouldn't mind a tour, but don't you have other duties?"
Spyboy Pearson: "Not right now. Still technically on leave."
Abraham Bounty: "Ah, then I'll let you lead the way."
Spyboy Pearson: "I take it you've been to the Commodore Perry Naval Shipyards before, sir?"
Spyboy Pearson: "At least, I would hope so, if your ship is here."
Spyboy Pearson sets off towards the transportation tubes.
Abraham Bounty: "Yes I have. Though only once, I'm afraid and I didn't have any time to look around and take in the sights. Harry's lucky to be able to do that."
Abraham Bounty follows in Spyboy's wake.
Spyboy Pearson: "Well, the yard has six rings. Four are residential, one is commercial. We're on the military ring right now - most of the docks are built into the rings to save power."
Spyboy Pearson: "However, the actual yards themselves are in the yards downstation, so we'll have to take the tubes there."
Abraham Bounty: "Lead on."
Spyboy Pearson leads Abraham to a cylindrical column - an elevator pod is there with seats and tie downs and zero-G warnings.
Abraham Bounty takes a seat and buckles himself in.
Spyboy Pearson: "Course, getting there means going through the station core, so no gravity."
Spyboy Pearson buckles himself in as well.
Abraham Bounty: "No gravity can be fun. Though less so when it's unexpected, I admit."
Spyboy Pearson addresses a panel by the door.
Spyboy Pearson: "Yard control."
Panel: "Restricted area. Authorization?"
Spyboy Pearson: "Michael Pearson. And you, sir?"
Abraham Bounty: "Abraham Bounty."
Panel: "Authorization granted."
That…seemed a little too fast, to Michael.
[OOC] Abraham Bounty: I have a friendly voice. That must be it.
Spyboy Pearson: "Huh. Usually asks me reason for visiting the yard."
Spyboy Pearson: "Anyway - engage window mode."
Abraham Bounty: "They did know I was arriving. I probably triggered a flag."
The sides of the pod become translucent.
The walls fade away to reveal the station interior as they pass it - three decks flash by, then a long, tall stack as the tube bends in towards the core.
White ring on black, brown rock to the left. Occasionally, another tube flashes past, down towards the ring - but the higher the pair gets, the less 'down' it seems.
Spyboy Pearson: "Mix of Lagosian architecture and human."
Spyboy Pearson: "The rings are pretty typical for them - though with our materials science."
The ride up to the core does take some time - if you were to replace radius with height, the ring would be taller than any skyscraper ever built.
[OOC] Spyboy Pearson: In retrospect I should have said that in character.
[OOC] Spyboy Pearson: Ah, well.
Abraham Bounty: "So Lagosian and human technologies are easy to integrate?"
It's a bit staggering to realize that the Commodore Perry Naval Shipyard is on the *small* end of the stations in Mu Cephei.
Spyboy Pearson: "Well, we've had a lot of practice."
Spyboy Pearson: "At this point, though, yes - you run into a few issues like power standards, but those are easy to deal with. The main issue is psychophysiology."
Abraham Bounty: "You mean a non-human mindset that is actually physiologically based?"
Spyboy Pearson: "My wife thinks in a different way than I do - her instincts push her hands in different directions, so a control panel for her and a control panel for me aren't the same at all."
Abraham Bounty: "I see."
Spyboy Pearson: "For us, we prefer instruments in the center, controls on the outside. When they get nervous, say combat or hairy flying conditions - they glance around more, so instruments around the edges leave them more vision clear in the center."
Spyboy Pearson: "But modern systems are reconfigurable, so that's alright."
Abraham Bounty: "It's counter-intuitive when using equipment set up for another species then. I can see that being a liability in a fight."
Spyboy Pearson: "Most definitely. But it's not hard to reconfigure the systems so my main problem with piloting her ship is getting it to go the way I want."
Abraham Bounty: "But reconfiguring a system is not something you want to have to deal with in combat. The ideal way I suppose is if the equipment could somehow quickly identify the species of the person using it and configure itself automatically. I think we're still a ways off from that though."
Spyboy Pearson: "Mmm, the flip side to that is there are often differences that arise from different school. Civilian-trained pilots and military-trained pilots have different instincts, too - and their cockpit layouts reflect that. That's not physiological, that's just competing standards."
Spyboy Pearson: "You know what they say - start with six competing standards."
Spyboy Pearson: "Someone says, 'hey, that's a problem. We should make a universal standard to fix that.'"
Spyboy Pearson: "Now you have seven competing standards."
Abraham Bounty: "True."
The straps dig into Abraham's shoulders as it slows to a halt near the core. It spins, aligning itself with, rather than to, the core - then the gravity in the pod seems to reverse as it starts accelerating down towards the massive rock below.
Spyboy Pearson: "Now, the Lagosians never seemed too fond of pseudogravity - and if you need the area for spin gravity anyway, it's a waste of energy. But the Confederation, on the other hand…"
Abraham Bounty: "There aren't any adverse effects of pseudogravity on Lagosians, is there?"
Abraham Bounty: "I never heard of any anyway."
Spyboy Pearson: "No more than there are to us."
Abraham Bounty: "I see."
Spyboy Pearson: "And Heggy - that is, Helvetica Gertrude Francesti Janictam, didn't have any problems while we were serving on the carrier."
Abraham Bounty: "Well that's something at least."
Spyboy Pearson: "They just don't like it in their stations. Can't say why - makes the engineering of large-area stations a bit easier, but then they've already got pretty solid plans, so it's just a matter of actually building their stations."
Abraham Bounty: "Is it the energy requirement do you think?"
Spyboy Pearson: "I don't know - I never really asked."
Spyboy Pearson: "It could be - or it could be the fear of what happens if it goes out."
Spyboy Pearson: "You know - I think I know."
Abraham Bounty: "Oh?"
Spyboy Pearson: "A good solid spin-gravity design has a lot of surface area - the larger the radius, the less the Coriolis effect, and adding more rings for more surface area or even just extending the width isn't too bad."
Spyboy Pearson: "Look at the difference between the Stanford torus and the O'Niell cylinder. Same diameter, just different length."
Spyboy Pearson: "So if you want to see the sky, spin gravity is for you."
Spyboy Pearson: "Pseudogravity, however, works best in stacks - the gravity is linear, so the more floors the better, and the less wasted power on providing gravity to vacuum."
Spyboy Pearson: "Mind, the Lagosians have never, historically, had a big problem with living underground."
Abraham Bounty: "I see. Yes that makes some sense. Pseudogravity makes more defensible structures though."
Spyboy Pearson: "Sure."
Spyboy Pearson: "But the Kilrathi sector is a looong way from here - until the Nephilim started coming through the Lagosians haven't had to worry about that."
Spyboy Pearson: "And while they've never had a problem with living underground in their history, their present is another matter entirely."
Spyboy Pearson: "I think they're tired of warrens - tired, burned out, or just afraid of the negative connotations they're picking up."
Abraham Bounty: "And there apparently getting all these new visitors from the sky. Yes."
The rock is drawing closer.
The pressure on the straps abruptly disappears and the low-G warning lights go out.
Spyboy Pearson: "Well, we're in the yard."
Abraham Bounty: "Thanks. Guess I should check on my ship now then."
Abraham Bounty unbuckles and rises from his seat.
Spyboy Pearson: "Which ship is yours, sir?"
Abraham Bounty: "The RAH Legacy."
Over to the side, there is a bustle of activity - many workers scrambling to secure various things. And a very large hole where a ship should be.
Abraham Bounty pulls out some documentation. "Let's see… according to this, my ship should be… right about… here… and it's not. Most vexing."
Spyboy Pearson: "Indeed."
Abraham Bounty: "I guess I should find someone to complain to. If I don't find my ship, the military will take it out of my paycheck. And I still owe Harry a nice dinner. So in the interest of interspecies relations, I can't let that happen."
Abraham Bounty flags down someone to get the story from.
Once the elevator pod stops, there is in fact someone - crisp uniform, saluting even before Abraham can unbuckle - standing there with an envelope. "Sir! RAH Legacy had to leave without you. Said to give you this, for your eyes only."
Abraham Bounty salutes back. "Thank you Ensign." He then opens up the emvelope and reads the, doubtless, bad news.
The ensign salutes again and heads off.
Abraham Bounty: "Well. Apparently the ship was at least able to leave the yard. That's a good thing I suppose. Heartening even."
Abraham Bounty: "God help them if they screwed with my radio-presets."
[OOC] Spyboy Pearson: Mmm, repost.
Spyboy Pearson: "Why would they leave without the captain?"
[OOC] Abraham Bounty: Well, yes, but a different channel.
[OOC] WC GM: Valid, even.
Abraham Bounty: "Orders."
Abraham Bounty: "Just not /my/ orders."
Abraham Bounty: "Well. Since it seems I'm going to be here a while. Would you like to continue with the tour?"
Spyboy Pearson: "I sense the hand of Admiral Wenser in this…"
Abraham Bounty adopts a purely innocent expression. "I can confirm that the envelope contained only a single piece of paper and no hands at all. And that's all I can confirm. Technically I can not confirm or deny whether or not the paper was blank."
Spyboy Pearson: "May as well. To be honest there's not much to see in here if you're not looking for a specific ship - there are viewports for all the ships but since the yards themselves are in zero-G, they're pretty much opaque from the microscratches from metal particles and paint droplets."
Spyboy Pearson: "I think they pulse the gravity generators to clean each drydock between ships, but that obviously doesn't work when there's actually a ship in the drydock. No Confed capital ship was meant to sit on the ground."
A sudden shadow catches the eyes: a large asteroid is being herded near the station, a bit closer than usual but in no danger of collision.
Spyboy Pearson: "…I get the feeling there's a particularly massive construction project in the offing."
Abraham Bounty: "Huh."
Abraham Bounty watches the asteroid go lazily by.
A swarm of tugs drift around it like bees, engines flaring every so often to push or pull.
Spyboy Pearson pulls out a hand computer and browses the forums for a second
Occasionally one of them makes off with a chunk of it - or a chunk splits off and is caught.
[OOC] WC GM: Checking for info on the asteroid?
[OOC] WC GM: Or something else?
[OOC] Abraham Bounty: No, just watching a relatively novel sight.
[OOC] WC GM: I meant Spyboy checking the forums.
[OOC] Abraham Bounty: Ah.
[OOC] Spyboy Pearson: Pretty much.
The forums' threads about the asteroid are a mix of speculation and observation. One thread's most active poster is apparently the pilot of one of those tugs.
This asteroid is one of the bigger whole chunks to have been pulled from the belt, and one of the more iron-rich. Apparently, a seventh ring is to be added - there's some hush-hush secret construction technique, but the basic chassis will be formed in minutes rather than months or years.
Spyboy Pearson: "Huh. Word is they're adding a ring to the station. Crazy."
This prospect has several supporters - and quite a few concerned, who point out the energy densities needed for that, and wonder where it will come from.
Abraham Bounty: "That's… potentially ominous. If they are trying to set themselves up to be able to repair more ships, that implies that someone somewhere thinks there's going to be a lot of damaged ships in the near future."
Spyboy Pearson: "Mmm - could be, but seems unlikely."
Spyboy Pearson: "Most of the yards, including the ones for serious repairs, are in the rock itself."
Spyboy Pearson: "The rings are mostly for people - I'd say they're stepping up the evacuation of the planet."
Abraham Bounty: "I see. Still worrisome."
Spyboy Pearson: "It'll get worrisome when the ships start to arrive. Till then…"
Spyboy Pearson: "But anyway."
Just as he says that, another large transport comes out from behind the asteroid - or rather, the asteroid stops blocking view of the transport. Many thousands of Lagos who will never again set foot on their home planet, and are grateful for that.
Abraham Bounty: "Ah universe. You still know your cues."
It slowly, leisurely drifts - a little too slow, it will be hours before it docks, when it could cut that to minutes with a quick bit of engine power.
Spyboy Pearson: "Yeah. Now I'm worried. The station is pretty close to capacity - and even if this ring is supposed to be really quick it won't be done for…"
Spyboy Pearson: "…but anyway."
Abraham Bounty: "Yeah. Nothing we can really do."
The intercom comes to life. "Non-essential personnel please clear the Rock."
Spyboy Pearson: "Let me show you the Bazaar. It's the most gratuitous mix of Lagos and human culture on the Yard."
Abraham Bounty: "Are you feeling essential today?"
…a LOT of footsteps can be heard, heading for the elevator.
Abraham Bounty: "To the bazaar then."
Spyboy Pearson grabs a pod headed for Ring Three, the commercial ring. Unlike the trip here, it doesn't ask for authorization - but the coloring shifts gently to a blue color, and the doors pause while a few uniformed workers find seats.
Abraham Bounty goes into the pod with Spyboy.
More than a few - the pod is filled to capacity. The workers look nervous, but keep silent.
[OOC] Abraham Bounty: Communicator: "I'm sorry, but you're not authorized to be non-essential."
Spyboy Pearson lives up to his handle - eyes lidded, leaning back in his seat - eyes on the workers for anything they may reveal.
[OOC] Spyboy Pearson: Their expressions imply some kind of accident…
The workers relax once the elevator is underway. Whatever happened, or is about to happen, distance is apparently safety.
A slight scent to them - this crew was all fuel handlers. Except for that one, he's in charge of life support hookups.
[OOC] Spyboy Pearson: No power systems techs in our pod, I take it?
[OOC] WC GM: Nope.
They keep their lips shut for the entire trip.
Finally, the elevator opens up. The techs exhale as one, and file out.
Abraham Bounty: "Well, that was… tense…"
Spyboy Pearson: "Yeah."
Spyboy Pearson: "Fuels technicians and life support not needed - but obviously not a security problem, they were way too nervous."
Looking at the elevator tubes, a lot of pods are heading to and from the Rock just now.
Spyboy Pearson looks to see if he can see a trend in uniforms of those who have been recalled.
Few of the pods going to the Rock have any passengers - though the ones Spyboy does spot, where he can identify them, all seem to be medical.
…oh, wait. There's a hazmat team. And another, and a third, suiting up as the pod whisks them away. Three inbound to the Rock at the same time…
Abraham Bounty: "Some kind of medical accident? Fire or radiation?"
At the same moment, both men feel eyes upon them. Difficult to tell from where, but they are being watched.
[OOC] WC GM: Getting toward session end time, so wrapping this up.
Spyboy Pearson: "So! This is the Bazaar. The largest open-air market on the station, which it works hard at, despite the complete lack of competition…"
Abraham Bounty: "Well, I don't know about you, but I'm hungry. You pick out a resteraunt and I'll treat you for the tour."
Spyboy Pearson: "Works."
The market is indeed big. And as if tenseness was contagious - well, suffice it to say that a good blade could cut slabs of armor from the air here. All voices are low and muttered.
Spyboy Pearson sends a quick message to B-4 about the change in destination
BBBB sends back a quick message: "Be safe. The bar with the sim to your right is clear."
Spyboy Pearson points out a bar to his right.
Spyboy Pearson: "Decent food there."
Abraham Bounty: "All right."
Abraham Bounty sits down at the bar.
They are soon joined by others, making their way in at about the same time.
And so a spyboy, a Lago, an officer, a Kilrathi, and a hotshot pilot walk into a bar…

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