IF YOU'RE PLAYING IN THIS GAME, DON'T READ THIS!

(This goes for Judd, John Moore, Vince, Mike, and anybody else who has played or might play... Go read the Albatross logs!)

[Back to Gaming War Stories]
[Back to Leap, 155]

**Jan 1, 156**

Harold's been trying to get past my computer's security -- and failing. But he cracked the case and voided my warrenty *again*, for which I am going to give him fifteen kinds of grief. Okay, so I suppose that I could barter for an extended warrenty of some kind... It's the *principle* of the thing. I didn't loan it to him to take apart, or try to hack, or whatever! He may be cute, but that's not going to cut ice with *me*! I yell at him and tell him he owes me for the warrenty. He says he'll get it out of back pay. Since he's encrypted whatever-it-is he was writing, I set up a key-capture for the next time it's decrypted.

**Jan 2, 156**

When we get in range of Sparrion, I put out on the Sparrial nets [alt.fan.vigillante...] about the base, roughly what we found there, and that somebody else is setting up shop there. We pass a few stealthed Sparrial scouts....

Etalon complains that Looe wasn't very helpful when he woke up, would only talk to me, and is even less helpful now. Etalon keeps asking Looe about his memories, you see, and getting told, roughly, "None of your business."

We go hunting data on the security Thral -- turns out there are *TWO* Thrals who haven't been dosed at all with Zombie drug! One male, one female. We decide to send gene-scans in and see if any of our people -- the Base Boss, Francis, and these two, are wanted for questioning. The Base Boss isn't wanted for anything; Francis, graduated with degree in biochem from NG University, questioned on some things, never convicted; male Thral, some kind of bodyguard, deported when he killed somebody in a firefight; and the female Thral is Fylpeth [lit. "Panther (equiv) who walks in shadows"], wanted for questioning in regards to any number of thefts -- art, medical, etc. Anything small and portable and very, very valuable.

Obviously "ShadowCat" isn't likely to be the security Thral -- so we wake up the other one. He's good. He doesn't give me any data under Soothe. (And he's Cred-allergic.) Well, I'm pretty sure he's the baddie, so we're not going to give him up till we get to New Garavar.

I have Warren look up our friend Howard as well -- he's got some rather... dramatic (even melodramatic) works, from a while back. Specializes in covering crime-rings, organized crime, etc., rather closely. I wonder if he'd get along well with Harami...

**Jan 3, 156**

When we get to Sparrion, Warren (having been unable to convince the doctor to play "swap freeze tubes so the best ones are empty") talks to the various embassies there -- gives the Thrals all their freeze-tube Zombies, and we'll hand over their partial-dose walking. Then he calls up the Irari and Unar embassies, gives them their Zombies, and mentions that the Thrals will probably have Zombies for sale as well. We put pictures and gene-scans out on the Nets of the Sparrials, looking for their relatives. Then Warren contacts the NG embassy. They're rather confused. Finally they agree to pay us freeze-rates to ship them and the criminals to New Garavar, as well as an official so that the criminals will be "in custody."

I move Francis' tube into my room, since there's a chance that the Sparrials (Looe, the relatives of the zombie ones, etc.) might swipe the base-bosses for a Gauntlet. [Sparrial justice -- since Sparrials do not have mob-mentality like humans, if a "posse" gets together, chasing a baddie, it's like a jury...] Leave the other two, with markings, and the Sparrials are welcome to 'em if they want. But Francis is much too clever for that. Her genes should stay in the pool. Just not her attitude.

Howard Anderson wanders off-ship here and vanishes for a while.

**Jan 5, 156**

Looe also leaves ship. I hope he calls Mom.

Warren's sold off the jigsaw ship -- but not the chem-plant, since that was impounded as evidence.

Howard shows back up, carrying some suitcases. "Tired of using the communal toothbrush?" I ask.
"Yeah," he replies. Then he asks, "Okay, so when do we leave?"

Our engineer, Gaimen "Wrench" Jrill, passing by, asks "Who's this 'we'? Has he paid us?"

Howard says it's been arranged.

"By...?" we ask.

"The Embassy." I start nodding, eyes closed. "Okay, let's see the ID," I say.

He shows a NGIA card, "Michael Jarvith" [{sp?}]. I ask, "So, do you want to be called Howard or Michael or Mike?"

He says that Mike is okay -- Howard doesn't exist anymore.

We take our new spook's bags to his room.

**Jan 6, 156**

Mike/Howard talks to us a lot, about what we did, etc. He grumbles that I destroyed the evidence of the Zombie Drug, save for a few samples, and those samples I put into the "personal items" section of the freeze tubes containing Francis and the base-boss. I explain that I didn't trust the stuff to anybody's hands -- especially not Warren's; he'd sell his own grandmother -- and I wasn't trying to frame anybody, I just wanted to have the proof kept with the criminals.

I'm going to have to testify to all this at the trial. Probably under Credaline. Joy. I reluctantly agree, after Mike points out that my pilot's license might encounter problems if I don't testify. I'll just have to set something up.

I make a low-key pass at Mike -- tell him that he can take me up on it anytime before we dock at New Garavar. He asks if I'm trying to bribe him. I say, "Nope, I just felt like it. I wouldn't expect it to be anything but strictly casual." Besides, I don't want to break my run of spooks -- it would be bad luck.

He says he'll think about it, he's got a lot of catching up to do; I tell him that when he wants to take a break...

**Jan 7, 156**

Mike's talking to everybody on the ship, arranging for depositions, etc.

[much later]

We're going to be docking mid-day tomorrow, so Mike decides to take me up on my offer. He's sweet.

**Jan 8, 156**

Reach New Garavar.

[Trial, Lady Erica's outfit, two days in hotel]

[Silver had to testify under Credaline -- a specific set of questions, fortunately -- as did some of the others, including Francis. Francis and the two Thrals, not having anyone who would pay to extradite them, are sentenced to brainwipe and rehab. The Thrals take this stoically enough, but Francis breaks down in hysterics. Scherazade (covering this event) and Silver (at the other side of the room) are notably (or not so notably) unaffected.]

[[Warren sees Silver and Penny, in the Lady Erica outfit, going to one of the classy night-clubs that he's hanging out in. Gaimen also notices the pair hanging around together. Derek is asked about Silver's girlfriend. "That attractive redhead." (Copper-red, actually...) They don't seem to ask Silver about this person she's been seeing several days -- and shoreleaves! -- in a row, however.]]

[[for insertion under the appropriate day]]

My sweet Lady was kind of annoyed at me for getting shot at by defenses, and playing around with explosives -- apparently, she did "diagnostics" on the sensors to see what'd been going on, when she was picking up some stuff on Sparrion. She's checking up on me...

She also gave me a new suit -- based a little on cybersuit-style "pseudo-muscle motors," and heavy as nobody's business! I'll have to have the powercells (a case of B-cells!) shut down when I go through Customs, or they'll think I'm wearing something military grade, She says. The reason She wants this thing? #1: the sensation-transfer between it and the outside world can be just the next best thing to bare skin, and then there's #2: it's rigged up so that it can be a VR suit, for those long lonely trips... I think it's got an extended range of programs in it, too... And it's got all the bells and whistles that my old one did, so that's great! This one also has some amusement value if anyone but myself decides to try to put it on. *Bad* idea. Neurostimulators in the suit make for unhappy thieves.

I'll leave my old suit here or at Mom's or something.

I mention Mom and She decides that She wants me to have an upgraded comm -- grav-comm for talking more privately to the suit, and one that She can "ping" to tell me and Mom apart.

My Lady also says that I can commandeer any of Her ships if I really need to, unless they've got something seriously more pressing. I'm rather stunned. I mean, I figured that I could probably talk my way into deadheading back to New Garavar or something, if that Hell-ship or the Bat were in the area, but flagging one down if I need it? Yow. Not that I intend to do this anytime soon, but... Wow.

I guess She really does like me. The mind boggles.

**Feb 1, 156**

[leaving for next run]

On to Kintara, Unar (stay on the ship!) and various little fringie stations.

**Mar 15, 156**

There is boredom, and there is boredom. Boredom is a good thing...

We're at Cardiff Station -- out about 12pc from Unar, within comm-relay range, mining station for all the rockrats in the area, about 5,000 people on it, and a few hundred rockrat types. We're in holding patterns with a couple of 1,000cy freighters, waiting for this big 10,000cy ore-hauler to dock. Then its thrusters fail [Warren spotted the powerplant flaring and failing on sensors just an instant before this] -- on final approach! And it's full of ore! I can't figure any way to ram it away from the station before it hits.

Slow motion destruction, and some idiot turns the station the *wrong* way, so instead of just smashing through the lower part of the station, it's going to go through the station's Engineering and Life Support area. Smashes up the *fission* power-plant. Oh, stars, Campbell's Cream of Spacer for that freighter's crew. Finally it comes to rest, and everybody gets told to go dock up in the habitat area and start joining up rescue crews (if you can do free fall), repair crews (if you're a techie), or triage spots (if you're medical). The place is kinda "hot" from all the fission wreckage (not to mention that a blast of the radioactive stuff got blown through the air-system when the freighter crashed through there, just before they could shut everything down)...

So I'm on a rescue team, as are Derek and Awol. Derek gets himself hit with a beam, but he's in his exoskeletal vacc-suit, so it doesn't hurt him. I just don't get hit. I do a lot of wriggling through wreckage to find people, though.

In the middle of all this, guess who calls *Warren*? *JOANNA*! That idiot Alardinite girl. She's in hysterics, of course. Apparetly her little sister is off somewhere -- probably helping the medicos. Joanna wants to come to the ship so that she won't get radiation poisoning and die. Warren's having some problems dealing with all the dead and wounded we're dragging out, so he goes back to the ship to meet her. Discovers that the station authorities have set a guard on the ship and aren't letting anyone but ship-crew onto their ships. No passengers. (No selling escape-space to the highest bidders, is what they really mean.) Even Joanna herself can't talk her way past the two guys. (And with Sex Appeal 20, that takes some doing!)

Finally, after about four hours, we've gotten what we think's all the survivors. Can't scan any more, and with the rads coming out of all the mess... Campbell's Cream of Glow-In-The-Dark Spacer. I do a last pass through some of the areas, tag a couple of dead bodies for later retrieval, but they're pinned and irradiated, so braintapes probably couldn't be taken even if I worked at getting them out. Stars...

When all the rescue parties are out, they blow the lower section of the station away, so we're not all next to the rads getting our genes curdled. They'll sort through the mess later. I crawl off and think hard about using the comm. Turns out that while the local comm is busy-busy-busy (calling for help -- give 'em another 20 hours), we can use our Artemis comm to boost through to the Artemis relay up to Parva without tying up the lines...

I decide to be selfish and curl up in a corner. M'Lady's in her sleep cycle (good, she hasn't heard about all this mess!), so I set the suit for VR-snuggle mode. I wouldn't have dreamed that it would feel so good to curl up "next" to Her, when I'm too tired to do more than drift off...

[[While Silver zonks out, there are other problems -- like the lack of a Life Support area big enough to handle all the survivors. The freeze tubes, automed, and other medical stuff have already been commendeered by Cardiff Station. They have some emergency life-support, powered by fuel cells, but not enough...

Awol's guest player (Steven Sharp) turns out to know much about fuel-cells... With enough power -- and Gaimen can cannabilize the Albatross' particle beam to run 150 MW *into* the station, for this -- the fuel-cells can provide enough oxygen!

Cooling is another problem -- sending some rockrat mining ships out to catch a comet, though, and bring it back in chunks, keeps the edge off the heat long enough for the emergency rescue ship to arrive.]]

[[In related news, we all get 2 points, and I finally have enough to give Silver that Patron advantage I'd been wanting!]]

**Mar 16, 156**

Amazingly, we didn't have to pick martyrs for the life-support problem. Good thing... I don't think M'Lady would have approved.

I don't know if Parvari is going to come out of shock anytime soon, though -- his precious ship is kind of taken apart here and there...

[On to...?]