Log:Array Consortium: Keys to the Castle
<< Scene: Medbay, Moonstormer >>
Onys' robe is off while she's cleaning up the medbay. There must've been something going on because somebody left it a mess. The raven-haired woman sports a pretty drab dress tunic, colored pewter. Loose sleeves drape to her elbows, and the majority of her limbs are wrapped in tight off-white bandage. Brown thong sandals, bruisy uncovered hands. She's reefing on a wheeled, freestanding instrument that is a few feet from where it needs to be, and slowly moving it with the help of grunts and sweaty bangs dangling in front of her eyes.
The Medbay is well-stocked, Onys might find upon returning - more so than before. In fact, there are all /sorts/ of supplies on hand, more so than this ship should realistically ever need. Neatly filed boxes fill the lockers and cabinets to the brim, and more are downstairs in the cargo bay.
The door opens, revealing the Captain, who is - much as you first saw him - clad in heavy armor, though this armor is far more ornate (and heavier) than what he wore when you last saw him. "Doctor," he says as he sees you there, "Good to have you back. Good trip?"
Onys takes a break as her visitor enters. She uprights herself and heaves out a deep breath, leaning on the instrument. "...Phew," pushing hair from her eyes, "H-... hey. Cap. 'tain, hey. Pretty," swallowing her saliva, "new armor?" She clears her throat. "Sorry. Yeah. Fine trip. What's with the mess in here? What did I miss?"
"We're moving to a new ship," Adhar says, looking around the bay. "I'd like to stay here, but the truth is, the faction is expanding, business expanding, money being made. I don't suppose you have any problems with serving on an armed corvette, do you?"
Adhar Gann has, it must be said, fading bruises around his eyes and a splinted nose. Ahem.
"I... can't think of any?" Onys half-asks, then follows it up with another as she readjusts her leaning on the device, "Big mess, you're beat up, ship swap, you're wound up. What is going on?"
"Well, the two aren't necessarily connected," Adhar says. He steps in, and the door seals shut behind him. "But I'll level with you, Doctor. I'll be talking with the crew about it, but the situation is this: a few days ago, I got my hands on a suit of ancient armor from thetime of the Second Sith War. I...." He pauses. "Let's go into the lounge. I'll want to get Sion in on this."
"Oh. Got it. Alright," Onys nods, moving to grab her stuff. "Meet you there," she advises, as slow as she is.
"Right." He moves out into the hall.
<< Scene: Crew Lounge, Moonstormer >>
The Captain enters, clad in ornate - and heavy - armor, sword and guns at his sides. Lot of cargo being moved onto the ship of late, additional supplies, shipsuits, the whole deal. Lots of interesting changes.
"Good evening, everyone," Adhar says as he enters, Onys behind him. "Interesting things happening. If you'll all please give me your attention, I have some important things to talk to you about."
Mandl's attention is diverted from deep consideration of the chandelier. "Yes, Captain?" It hurriedly chugs the last of a half-swallowed glass of powdered nutritional ... beverage.
Sion, who had been reading over a datapad, glances up at the sound of footsteps. "Captain," she replies, nodding, toggling the datapad off and setting it aside.
Meep is seated in the middle-ish of the room, as is normal. Totally oblivious to the meetings occurance, he appears busy playing with one of those wooden cup-and-ball games. Holding the cup-stick in one hand, he tries swinging the ball attached to a string about till it lands in the cup... he's not very good. He chitters grumpily, tongue-pressing against the inside of his cheek as he tries again... no luck.
Shuffling slowly to the general area where those present are found seated, the robed Onys chooses the most accessible and available seating. Righting herself in the chair, the others are offered a coy smile before she returns her focus to the captain and forces out a relieved sigh.
"A few days ago," says Adhar, "You may have seen that I put up a very rare, very old suit of armor up for sale. Republic Intelligence confiscated the suit the next day or so when we were on a cargo drop on Thyferra. The next day, an officer of the First Order demanded the suit from me - you're like to have heard the result of that encounter." He taps a finger lightly against his splinted nose, with which go a nice pair of what were black eyes before medical treatment. "Well, kids, I'm not a magician. There's a very good chance that if I can't pull a miracle out of my arse, this is going to get nasty.
"So with that in mind, I have to ask where you're at should that occur. As most of you know, we're due to transfer the Moonstormer into the hands of the Umbaron Company in exchange for a military corvette which I intend to turn into our new headquarters. Point is, if this does turn to conflict, I'll need good people - but I don't want to demand anything of you, nor will I think poorly of you should you ask to leave. However, I need to know what's what. Planning for peace, but preparing for war, that sort of thing."
The Captain folds his arms over his chest. "So. That's the question. Who's in?"
Mandl raises its six-fingered hand. "Mandl is never not 'in,' Adhar."
Meep sort of just lets the ball dangle from the string, blinking as he looks up at Adhar then around the room, those big ole eyes looking a bit curious but totally innocent of the gravity of the situation.
Sion stifles a smile, watching Meep. The entrace of the robed figure gets a casual nod, but her attention is on Adhar. She gives the matter a thoughtful frown. "So... which exactly is this likely to turn into a fight with? The rightful government of the galaxy, or those Human supremacist goons?"
"The latter, sounds like, given what you told me, right, Captain?" Onys shifts her commentary from the complected woman to Adhar mid-sentence. "I've been indifferent to that kind of thing, but I'm trying to do some good, lately, and I don't plan on going anywhere," states the raven-haired woman.
"The First Order," Adahr says to Sion. "Which would be the human supremacists. You know, the ones who want to be the new Empire. In fact, the officer in question was /in/ the Imperial Navy in the day."
Then he looks to Onys. "Are you sure, Doctor? I know you've only joined us lately, but I know you also have other priorities. We may go from smugglers to fugitives - or privateers - in a very short stage of time. If that happens, we really can't turn back."
Mandl says, "... looking forward to new ship. Taking the fight to them, as it were."
Meep looks about, his gaze settling on Onys. Who dis? He blinks slowly, his cup and ball nearly forgotten as he stares at the robed doctor... his attention flitting between her and Adhar.. then back again.... he really ought to buy the cliff notes.
"Guess that explains how far they're willing to go in this," Sion says after a thoughtful silence. "That doesn't leave me any choice: I'm in. Just being from where I'm from, I can't just sit back and let this go. Besides, they've already attacked us," she adds, nodding in Adhar's direction, specifically at his nose.
"Assuming combat is a situation we find ourselves into." He purses his lips. "I'm still going to try and buy them off, of course, but we must prepare ourselves - and we can't assume the other captains will follow. The Consortium will likely die should we come to this pass, but if that's what happens, that's what happens."
That said, he clears his throat. "So. In the short term, we drill. Learn to use weapons, to fight better on board ship, the works. We hone ourselves. We run cargo, raise money, and we outfit the new ship. In fact..." He purses his lips. "If you lot don't have any objection, we can go now. New crew I hired is already there, getting her cleared up. Surprise! You're officers."
"I'm not worried about those priorities, Captain," Onys gives a mild headshake. "I belong here." A beat pause. "But excuse me for now," she stands and departs.
"Nothing to do but go swap ships, sounds like," Sion says, picking up her datapad and standing. "Hopefully it'll never come to a fight, but if it does, I'd rather have a warship on our side. Preferably a fast one."
"Fast, but older," Adhar says, gesturing to the door. "A Marauder-class corvette. Needs a lot of additional armament, but we're working on that. What do you say, Sion? Care to take us on our last spin around the galaxy?"
Meep widens his eyes, Spin?! Galaxy! No way Meep is going for a roller-coaster ride! At the prosect of a bumpy ride, the Teek zips over to one of the tables, wrapping both hands and legs about it to secure himself from flying about.
"I hate to see this old ship go, but it's sure a trade-up." Sion nods and turns for the cockpit. "One last trip, and then we have to let go. Let's enjoy it."
She reaches down to scruffle Meep behind the ears, then steps out into the corridor.
"Your garden is coming with us," Adhar tells Meep. "No worries. I've already got the crewmen loading it up on the new boat."
<< Scene: Cockpit, Moonstormer >>
Sion settles into the pilot's seat, glancing over the controls one last time. "I'll miss this interface. It's so easy to work with. Luxury corridor decor, luxury controls, too."
But she falls silent, reaching forward and switching on main power, bringing it up to operating level. Going into the arm-crossing trick that lets her start both repulsorlift generators at once, she has them humming within seconds. "Everybody strapped in?"
"We'll refurbish the new boat," Adhar says with a chuckle. "You'll be happy, though, that officers get their own quarters. Bunk of your own, refresher of your own..." He settles into the seat as the ship rumbles to life beneath you all. "Right. Let's get this started."
"It'll be a nice change... the refresher, anyway. The quarters here weren't bad," Sion says, bringing up the main drives. The /Moonstormer/ rises from the ground, the hull beginning to vibrate as it surges forward and begins the long climb-out into space. "So... where are we going?"
"Outer Rim," he says, and rattles off a series of coordinates. "It's a deep space mining station turned into their headquarters. And sorry to say, the quarters at the moment are strictly military. But we'll get it comfier in time, no worries."
"I'll adjust. Back home, I practically grew up in a closet; this is still an improvement," Sion replies, smiling faintly. She drops the freighter about twenty feet to miss a passing bulk freighter. "Sky hog..."
The sky outside slowly turns into the black of space. Glancing at the sensor screen, Sion picks a course through the heavy orbital traffic. "Do you have coordinates for the station? We can start putting them in now, save a few minutes' work."
He repeats the coords. "Sorry, I mumble a bit right now," says Adhar. "Hurts to talk too much." He heaves a sigh. "You'll find flying a capital much different from this. Doesn't use a yoke so much as it does a console. Interface is older, though, and more hands-on. You'll tag it in no time."
After a moment, closes his eyes - and then opens one. "You're gonna have a lot more people under you now, you realize."
The Socorran winces in sympathy. "Sorry... I keep forgetting how much that must hurt," she murmurs. "If that's what they do about /not/ having something they want, I don't like to think about what they'll do when you do."
She adjust the throttle, and /Moonstormer/ surges forward, speed inching towards reckless. "I was just getting used to having the one or two I did," Sion recalls, frowning near-absently. Flying through the orbital tangle is taking most of her attention. "How many is 'a lot more'?"
"It's no worries," Adhar says. "I think I could've killed all of them with a grenade, but it would've hurt a lot of civilians - nevermind force a conflict before we were ready." He chuckles. "You? You'll have a section of thirty. And don't look at me, either, because this ship has full complement of a hundred and seventy-seven when it's all said and done, crew and gunners. She's an old design, much less automated. We'll work on that, but for now..."
"Thirty people... and on a class of ship I've never flown, or even flown /on/? Is that such a good idea?" Sion has to ask, grimacing at the thought. She doesn't know anything about working on a ship that big!
"Blame the Order," Adhar says grimly. "And don't worry. I've hired advisors to help us get things into shape. Going to need more officers, though. And to think, I'm a smuggler!" He laughs, though it isn't terribly mirthful. "Well. We'll get money one way or the other, don't worry about that."
"If we have to, we can load down hangar space with cargo and get it there that way," Sion suggests, finally clearing the mess of orbital traffic. "Though I hope it won't come to that." She seems resigned to being an officer, at least.
"It's got a four-hundred-ton bay of its own," Adhar says. "It's originally designed for patrol and customs duty, although it's a bit more heavily armed than your regular customs cruiser. Eight double turbolasers, two racks of concussion missiles, tractor beams..." He shrugs. "We'll need to get some anti-starfighter defenses in."
"Bet we could find some quad-laser turret assemblies pretty cheap, with all the war materiel the Republic dumped on the market during the downscaling of the Navy," Sion suggests. "Four above and four below would just about cover it."
"I'll work at my haggling," he says. "Quad guns like the one I just had put on the 'Stormer start at eighty thousand or so. I'm going to replace the tractor beams, most likely, and put in a pair of ion cannons as well as two or three quad turrets. That'll do it in time with the missiles."
"I wouldn't get rid of them all. Tractor beams are good utility gear, especially if you don't have a cargo tug or a quadjumper," Sion recalls. "They're not just good for stopping ships."
"I'll stick the one," Adhar says with a nod. "Will have to plan for fighters, marines..." He sounds suddenly very tired. "Probably going to have to do some pirating, if this turns out to be the way things go. Well, it's not pirating if you're busting pirates and slavers, I suppose, now is it?"
"I'd consider it ridding the spacelanes of unnecessary scum," Sion replies, checking the coordinates. She pulls the twin levers on the console, and the /Moonstormer/ makes its final jump into hyperspace.
"Pest control, yes," he says. As the ship shudders into hyperspace, the Captain watches the universe stretch on into infinish through the glorious web canopy of the ship, and then....enjoys the ride.
The trip takes five hours, owing to the proximity that Hutt Space has to where they station is located. Once the Moonstormer leaps back into realspace, the first thing seen is a vast double-spindle of light gray durasteel and plastoid out in the dark, to which is thethered any number of small capitals and a few larger ones. The mercenary outfit is, to say the least, quite well equipped. "There we are," Adhar says, but his words are cut off by the chime of the subspace radio - and the appearance of a small cruiser as it approaches the transport.
"State your name and business," barks a rough voice over comms. "Now."
A five-hour trip is time enough to pack, time that Sion takes advantage of. Sentiment aside, she'd rather not linger on board what will likely be someone else's ship before long.
She's been back in the hot seat for about fifteen minutes when they exit hyperspace, and is careful to bring the deflector screens up as they emerge. It's an old smuggler's trick that often comes in handy. She winces at the sound of the comm, glancing up at Adhar, but her eyes return to the sensors quickly. He's the captain. She'll be preparing for evasive maneuvers, in case these very rude people are trigger-happy in the bargain. "Don't put much stock in manners, do they?"
"We're in their territory," Adhar says, "And they keep it a secret. I'm on it." He leans over and keys his own comms pickup.
"Umbaron Control," he replies, "This is Moonstormer. Commander Kamdalah is awaiting us. You'll find everything on board that we've agreed to, and no less."
The voice sounds after a moment. "Drop your shields and submit to scan."
Adhar nods for you to do so.
Sion reluctantly lowers the deflectors. She's still ready for evasive maneuvers. "They /are/ expecting us, right?"
"They are," Adhar says, "But they didn't get as big as they have without being cautious. You should've seen it the first time I came here to negotiate the deal!"
After a moment, the ship buzzes with the telltale radiation of multiple capital-grade sensors scans. Bit like potatoes in the microwave, only without the exploding guts and steam. Once done, there are several long telltale moments of silence before the voice sounds again.
"Identity confirmed. We detect multiple structural abnormalities in the spaceframe, Captain Gann. Explain yourself."
"Those would be the smuggling holds I had documented," replies the captain, brows arched. "In this case, packed with gifts for your captain and liquor for the crew."
Another long moment. "Well," says another voice - a woman's - answers now. Warm and laughing. "If that's the case, you're cleared to land!"
"Commander Umbaron," Adhar states with a chuckle. "It's good to hear from you again.
"And you, Captain," replies the Commander. "Clearance granted. Have your pilot bring my ship in."
And just like that, the torch is passed. 'Her' ship now. "Go ahead, Sion," Adhar says, deflated somewhat. "Do as the lady says."
Sion nods, changing course for the docking bay of the station. "Hopefully she has /our/ ship ready to be collected," she adds. "She sounds friendly enough, once she gets the flunkies away from the mic, but that doesn't say anything about her memory."
"She's pleasant enough," Adhar says. "But let her hear you say something like that, we'll all be hanging from the gantries." He says it as a joke, but...
Eventually the ship enters the bay, dwarfed by its incredible, cavernous space; stations aren't small in the Galaxy, not usually. Once you drift in, you are instructed to cut drives and the ship is brought in with tractor beams. And then...you are landed.
"Opening the landing ramp," Adhar announces, and gets to his feet. Almost immediately, a small tide of gray-armored soldiers march toward the vessel with rifles stowed. At their head is a small, stout Human woman in her elder years, wearing a plain gray uniform, and whose long white hair is piled atop her head in coiffure made from a single ropelike braid.
"Let's go say hello."
Sion complies, snapping off each switch and pushing each button slowly and reverently. As the hum of the ship dies, she slowly unstraps herself from the seat and stands, running a hand over the console one last time. "Gonna miss you, old girl," she murmurs.
But at long last, she turns for the hatchway into the main corridor, catching up her bag as she goes. "May as well. The sooner we make nice-nice, the sooner we get our new ship and get out of here." Perhaps the resignation is only a symptom of youthful cynicism.
A stream of infantry enters the ship, past the two of you and into the rest of the vessel; the Commander, smiling like a vaguely pleased cat, enters among them and stops at your side. "Ahhh, this ship," she says, sighing. "So beautiful. And very well-armed, Captain Gann. I'm very pleased with your update to his armament - not that it should be any trouble, of course. I have no intention to get in a fight after fifty years of nearly endless combat."
Adhar's brows arch. "You weren't kidding about retirement, then?"
"Not at all," she says, looking you over faintly. It's a fleeting gesture, yet somehow more penetrative than the ship scans. "We transfer the ships, and in a week I am off to the Core."
"Never hurts to have a plan," Sion comments idly, meeting the Commander's gaze, shifting her bag to a more comfortable position. "Hope you enjoy the R&R."
"Very well," says Adhar with a nod. "I know you'll keep her safe."
"I'll keep -him- safe," the Commander says with a chuckle. "This ship is as much your uncle as his living body was - and if he's anything like how you've described him, I'd be doing this galaxy a disservice not to take care of it. Don't worry, young Gann. You go forth and make your own legend. Put his in my care."
Adhar gives her a smile - a thin, small thing - but he smiles.
And so the transfer begins. Once swept for bombs and nastiness, and the gifts and /enormous/ amounts of Corellian ale are brought out of the smuggling holds, the ship is emptied of the last of its accountrements and Consortium iconograpy. Last is the liquor cabinet, which you'd best believe is brought with the Captain. It's the only portable piece of his uncle's ship that he has, and the Commander allows it with an easy smile.
One last look behind your back, and you are guided through the guts of the station, leaving her behind, and through a docking tube into a much larger - and far less comfortable vessel. Blue-suited crewmen of many species bustle about, the seal of the Consortium on their shoulders, and you are...well...home.
"Welcome to the Bandit's Castle," Adhar tells you, looking back as the Commander turns and walks away down the docking tube. "This...is our new home."