Log:Array Consortium: More Starships, More Problems
With the discovery of the Imperious adrift in Wild Space, Adhar calls a meeting of the Captains to discuss plans to salvage the ship and what that will mean for the Consortium - but someone isn't happy with all this expansion, and their reaction takes everyone by surprise.
The meeting begins simply, with Adhar sitting at the table in the postage stamp of a conference room on board the Castle, who looks tired and vaguely angry and in a new coat - yes, no long frock coat for him, apparently, he's all modern now. He waits for people to file in, and once they do, nods to each of you before speaking.
"Thanks for coming, all of you. I know that we've just met last week, but additional information on various situations has come up that I felt you should hear from me, and may require rethinking of our current plans."
Dosk moves in and sits, waving as Adhar nods. "Oh really? Sounds interesting" Stating as he slides into the same seat he occupied last week. Waving to the others as they enter behind him.
Nadia is lounging in a chair with her feet in another one picking at her nails with the sharp end of a knife.
"So as you know," Adhar continues, "The Bandit's Castle has been sabotaged. While we have repaired much of the damage the power system leading to the turbolasers is fried and would require a complete refit, one that would cost us well over a million credits. That's just not going to work, as you no doubt can imagine. However, it also puts us at an extreme disadvantage. While we are still looking for the party who hired our saboteur, the fact is that she's an old design and has a lot of flaws since fixed in more modern generations. We have to sell her and find a replacement." Adhar leans back, spreading his hands a bit. "Easy to say, of course. But in this case we have had a stroke of extreme luck. Not only have we found a replacement, it is far mightier than the Castle could ever be. An Imperial warship."
Mara Jade takes her seat, settling in and listening as Adhar begins.
Dosk nods as Adhar explains. "Good to hear you found a replacement. I saw what happened that day, we are all fortunate the saboteur wasn't fully successful" Saying, a bit intrigued "What kind of warship? That sounds very promising."
Nadia raises a brow at Adhar's declaration. "Come again?"
Adhar nods to Dosk. "Extremely promising," he says. "It took some time, but I pinned down the location of a so-called 'ghost ship' out past Barab. We finally tracked its most likely location and then Mara, Bar'duur and I traveled to Wild Space, where the ship in question was becalmed in a gravitational quagmire." He reaches over to touch a control on the holoprojector and a large star cruiser appears, picked out in grey against the beautiful blue-violet glow of a nebula.
"This is the Imperious, a Strike Cruiser lost to the Empire thirty years ago. We are in the process of salvaging her. She will be our new flagship."
"Oh wow! A definite upgrade. Is it still there or did you guys tow it out?" Dosk asks as he leans forward to inspect the holoimage more closely.
Nadia eyes the Imperious with an impressed jut of her chin... "Alright, color me impressed, Gann."
"Ten turbolaser batteries, ten turbolasers cannons, point defense lasers, and ion cannons. Strike cruisers are medium cruisers, and they are modular ships - Imperious was a carrier configuration meaning she has a whole hangar and fighter storage bay in which we can carry not only a kriffload of starfighters but shuttles and transports as well." So, not a little boat. "Essentially what we have is half a Star Destroyer here, or at least the early Imperial sort. Salvaging and crewing her will make us one of the most well-armed criminal organizations this side of the Outer Rim, save of course for the Hutt Cartels. Which leads us to an interesting question." He nods at Nadia but doesn't comment.
Dosk watches Adhar and nods "Looks amazing, cant wait to see it in person" Stating as he leans back into his chair finally as the questions are now coming.
Nadia goes back to picking at her nails with the blade after having shared her impression. It fades quickly. Like a cat. Which she is.
" So the question is, do we move? Strategically speaking, having the Imperious means that we officially become too much of a pain for the First Order to deal with. It means the Hutts have to pay attention now. It also means that with our handling of the Mathalls, all parties know what a strike would mean. Even if it killed us, we would severely damage a criminal organization, and the Order would have to shift around fleet assets to deal with us. They aren't going to do that in the middle of an invasion, especially if we're otherwise neutral. So that means we have breathing room. At least that is my strategic analysis. I'd like to hear what you all have to say."
"I still think we should move. We are neutral, yes. And have one ship, what backing do we have aside from that? The First Order could easily make a deal with The Hutts to do something. And the First Order already has an interested with Nal Hutta. We could show up to Socorro with that Cruiser, an asteroid belt surrounding us and less chance of people moving against us." Dosk says from his seat. "But, if we're to remain here so be it."
Nadia scratches at her neck with the point of her knife, "I don't think any of us are qualified tacticians or have more than passing experience at the helm of a capital ship..." She still shrugs though, "I don't really care if we stay or go. I'm not scared of the First Order."
"I actually qualify as a mid-level naval officer of the Republic," says Adhar, his brows arched. "Or so the examinations say. But no matter. One to G
Dosk nods as the others speak, sipping from his flask as he waits for Mara's answer as well. "Will the ship have to stay in orbit or will it fit in the hangar?" Dosk adds casually.
Nadia lifts her thumb at Adhar and rolls her eyes, "I'm quite sure you do."
Mara Jade remains silent as the others talk and make their opinions known. She leans back, looking up at the ceiling for a moment. She lowers her gaze and looks at Adhar. "I still believe that Socorro would be the greater benefit to the Consortium. I accept the proposal to stay. For the time being. If situations and tensions rise even a little, you know what I'll be pushing for."
"The ship is best to stay in orbit," Adhar says to Dosk. "We won't be able to fit it through the asteroid field; it's just too big. We'd have to shoot our way through and that would not be beneficial for our potential hosts. In fact, while the ship /can/ land, it should only do so in assault or as a landed base somwhere that enemies cannot easily attack. Nar Shaddaa is theoretically one of those places, but we would need to hide her deep in the city canyons. But that is a possibility."
He nods to Mara. "Let me offer a compromise. To all of you. My suggestion is that we stay at Nar Shaddaa, at least for now, but spread our influence to Socorro so that we have influence there. We can open businesses there, attract commerce of our own. Set up a hangar large enough for our smaller vessels to land, that sort of thing. If we can do that, then regardless of what happens on Nar Shaddaa, we will have a developed field upon which to act." He looks between the three of you. "Does this appeal to you?"
"I'm fine with that, though I think a place should be set up as soon as possible in case we have to go. Maybe more security at the hangar too." Dosk says.
Nadia shrugs a shoulder and crosses her ankles, "Whatever." Which is basically a yes.
Mara Jade nods to Dosk. "That's not a bad idea." She looks to Adhar, "Why not stay here. But work on a fallback base of operations on Socorro anyway. Get the facilities. Use them but only as secondary or support. But able to be ramped up to primary operations within days. A week at most."
"That's the idea," says Adhar with a nod. "All right, then, we have consensus. Excellent. Dosk, please carry on with your scouting operation, and make sure to educate yourself on the Socorran culture. They are /very/ touchy people to newcomers, but if you know the way to deal with them it goes very easy for yourself.
"That said, let us move on to our next order of business." He leaves the hologram of Imperious floating in midair, slowly rotating. "With the salvaging of Imperious, we find ourselves in a position that starfighters, while helpful, are no longer absolutely vital to ship defense. They're also expensive. I would like to suggest instead that we go about replacing the Preybirds with heavily armed and outfitted transports, which will serve as fast-moving, heavily armored gunships that also allow us to move goods throughout the Rim and elsewhere. Starting with the Captains' ships. What do you say?"
Dosk nods "I dont know how the diehard fighter pilots will take that news, but I think its a decent idea."
Nadia quirks a brow, picking at her nails, "What the hell..." She finally manages, "You know... screw it." She drops her feet down to the deck plates and pushes to her feet, "My ambition is pretty impressive, but it doesn't include growing bigger than we need to be and escalating a fight with the First Order." She turns the knife over in her hand and stabs it into the table, "Keep arming yourselves, though. Maybe they wont pay attention to the absurdly over zealous, but rediculously still out gunned smuggler group... I'm not taking part in a slow boil rebellion.. thanks, but no thanks."
Mara Jade watches. Even felines grow weary of games and snap at some point it seems. She looks as the knife finds the table and only the table, Not moving beyond her gaze she listens to the protest offered. It's a valid point.
Adhar dras a deep breath as Nadia drives the knife into the table - for a moment a fire starts in his eyes, something that says 'to the DEATH!', but it is Nadia and so he purses his lips. "Nadia," he says after a long moment, "You have told me, time and time again, that you wanted to be paid more. To get a better ship. To get better jobs. To have status - so that the Cuul name meant something, you always tell me. Now tell me, please, how does what we're doing account a rebellion? I have no interest in helping the Resistance at this point; the lot of you voted to stay neutral, and I have not only respected that, I have come to embrace it. However, there are other organizations in the Rim that are far greater than ours, and far more heavily armed. The Mathalls, for one, for all the surgical damage that we have done for it. The Hutt Cartels are each one a military all to themselves, both in fact and through hirelings. We are expanding, because that is what successful organizations do. Don't tell me you're ready to cut and run the moment everything you have said you've wanted is about to become a reality."
"Blah blah blah..." Nadia pops her jacket and pushes in her chair, "We could have kept our heads down and done just fine, but you want no part of that... there are hundreds of smuggler groups in the galaxy and we're the one building a floatilla?" The cathar extends her hands, "Pass... You want to mistake wanting to improve my ship with wanting to have a freakin' space fortress? No... no.." Pointing, on her way towards the exit.
"All right, /Captain/," says Adhar, arching his brows, "So what would you prefer we do?"
Dosk remains silent as Nadia reacts as well, merely watching her and then Mara, then Adhar. "I'd be out of here too if i thought we were moving towards the resistance, dont think that is what is going on and if in lieu of starfighters we rely more on upgraded freighters, im game. Upgrades and modifications are what we like to do to our ships anyhow. Why not focus more on it?"
"For you to use your ears and not your over inflated ego." Nadia shrugs, back to being indifferent, "You have fun with it, I'll find work just fine without having half the galaxy wondering if I'm over compensating with the size of my Imperial cruiser, /Captain/."
"My ego..." Adhar considers for a moment. "So, you believe that it's my ego that elects to choose this ship. All right, then what would you prefer? Please, I am interested to know."
Mara Jade sighs slowly, watching the mercurial personalities, running her fingers lazily through her crimson hair as she listens to Nadia and Adhar.... discuss.
"Do you, Adhar. You don't need me to build your flotilla." Nadia is all out of arguments, "I see where this is going and it ends with us in a fight with the First Order. Either by design or destiny, I don't care which... you, them-" motioning around the ship, "-none of us... are prepared for that. I'd just as soon not be here when it happens. I survived the first Empire, I'll survive this one too."
"All right," Adhar says, remaining calm. "I hear you. What is your alternative to this plan? You're an experienced smuggler, and since you're calling me out and putting knives in my table, I at least would like to hear what else you think we should do."
Dosk merely watches at this point, like Mara.
"No." Nadia is gone, "I'm done. Enjoy your successes." Finger Kitten is outski.
Mara Jade leans on her elbow, temple against her palm, fingers in her hair as she watches the situation continue to unfold. She glances to Dosk then back to Adhar and Nadia.
"Well, then." Adhar purses his lips. "Do the two of you agree? Shall we dissolve the idea of salvaging the Imperious entirely? Regardless, of course, if Nadia is leaving or not."
"I think if there is a free ship sitting out there waiting to be taken, to take it. Especially with what happened with The Castle." Dosk says with a shrug. "As far as getting rid of the starfighters, they aren't mine so I dont care."
Mara Jade says, "If we can find it, who else could? If we don't claim Imperius, who will? If we don't look to put it to use - if it's a sound investment - we risk having to go up against it when another cartel or faction does go through with salvaging it. Nothing we have, even if the Castle were at full strength - or double, could stand against the Imperious. Probably even not at half strength." She shrugs, "Is it worth tearing the Consortium apart over? Well." A shake of her head, "Wiser minds tham mine will have to weigh that one." She leans back, looking up at the ceiling again.
She looks back. "If it's kitted out for carrier operations, who says we have to sell off any of our ships. Fighters or freighters right now?""
"I don't want you to leave, Nadia," Adhar says after a moment. "But if you must, I will respect that. Perhaps I am no longer just a smuggler. I don't know. Perhaps more of a privateer. But that does not mean that we cannot work together."
"Then we will, if we do." Nadia shrugs at Adhar, stopping in her leaving... so she can return to her side of the table to yank her knife out of the table, "That was only symbolic. I like this knife." Then she's headed towards the exit again, "Good luck with the privateer thing." She means it as much as she means anything, at least.
"Call us if you need us," says Adhar with a nod. "And be well."
Dosk nods in agreement with Mara. Then looks to the others and pulls out his flask, taking a large swig.
Once Nadia leaves, Adhar looks between the two of you. "All right," he says after a long moment, moving on now as if that did not just happen. "Does anyone else have an opinion about the direction of the orgnanization at this time?"
"Nope, we develop things on Socorro as a backup and get this new ship ready." Dosk says after Nadia leaves. "If you need help running any equipment there, my YT is available" Adding with another sip from his flask before offering it to Adhar and Mara.
Mara Jade draws in a breath slowly and looks toward Dosk before turning to Adhar again. "None I haven't already made you aware of?"
Adhar considers this. "I suppose I really am not just a smuggler anymore, am I?" He sounds a little sad at that, looking down at his hands, the datapad beneath them, and then up at the holographic image of Imperious, through which he could see Nadia. He reaches over to turn off the holoprojector and lets out a faint sigh.
"Haven't been with the group for very long, but it has grown a lot since I've joined, changes happen. You still support the smugglers in the Array very well." Dosk says as he pulls his flask back for another sip before putting it away. Nodding at Mara's comment. "I wasn't a smuggler when we freed those slaves. I'm sure other situations will arise that make me out more as a privateer or mercenary.Shouldn't beat yourself up too much over it. We are free people"
These words he was hoping to hear - he nods slowly, listening to you both. "Well," Adhar says, "Thank you, both of you, my friends. I suppose I will have to go and find more officers to support the ship to come. Still plenty of room for smuggling, in any case."
He gets to his feet. "Thank you for coming. Fortune willing, the next meeting of the captains we have will be on board the Free Enterprise."
He adds, "Which is what I'm calling her." Because of course he is.