Life aboard the Rust Bucket is seldom boring. Our crew had been listless just hanging around the Margessi planet, waiting for a chance to make a cargo run for someone. Our communications went something like this: “We can’t make any profits without moving somebody’s goods, so let’s get busy!” “That’s right, Lisa, but until we get some offers, I don’t see what else we can do”, I replied. “Also, if we don’t get into space soon, Sally will have torn half the ship apart, making ‘improvements’, then we may not be ready to make a run for days”, I cautioned. “We’ve put out the word, now we just have to wait for a response.”
Sure enough, an offer was made, and it seemed like an easy run, but Jan was careful to make sure we were not being duped into transporting some illegal goods, as well as securing our payment for services. The best we could do was to get half our fee before we left and the rest when the delivery was to be made. We voted (we’re a democratic bunch) to take the deal. We tried to take every precaution we could think of, but in the end we got screwed anyway! Our first mistake was to not break the seals and personally inspect the goods for ourselves, but we did about everything short of that. Later we discovered that our cargo, which was some manufacturing equipment that was a higher tech level than that currently in use on Hrrunting, and just recently allowed by new laws, was entirely legal. Mixed with this legal equipment were some nuclear triggers, which are highly illegal! In hindsight, we should have got a better rundown on the fellow who set up the deal, but there wasn’t much Intel to be found on him. And of course, Archibald “Archie” Anamon turned out to be a crook! He set us up, but at least we got into space, and didn’t have to spend more time waiting around on Margessi.
Margessi is a member of The Imperium, a loose federation of planets that has a large, diverse group of members. I have no actual reason to trust or distrust them. Our customer wanted the shipment delivered to a nearby planet that is part of The Sword World group, Hrrunting. We wanted to avoid involvement in any possible conflict between these two forces, but were sucked in anyway. Our group wishes to remain neutral in terms of their conflict. This fact did not stop both sides from trying to use us against the other side.
Some of these “disputes” may be valid from someone’s point of view, but personally, I think most of us are better off staying out of the conflict.
Lisa seems obsessed with making deals and getting rich, but I doubt she’ll be able to do that while serving on this rust bucket, but who knows? I am more concerned with life and justice for everyone (except maybe Cassia Sherwood, but even Cassia deserves a fair shake … maybe). War brings a threat to both of these goals. I hope to avoid it entirely. I’d be content to make a fair living, and someday have a family of my own, living in peace.
In my younger days, I didn’t always follow the lawful path, but I always tried to do what was right, and just. It wasn’t always the easiest way to go, but in the end, it proved to be personally rewarding.
The pirates we met as we approached the Sword World group of planets, turned out to be Imperial Intelligence, hoping to provoke an incident that would benefit them politically. We asked for help from the patrol in the area, and they rushed to our aid. They were Sword World military guys I think. They offered to replace the missiles we used in our battle with the pirates. We accepted their offer, but were suspicious of their motives and their missiles, both of which turned out to be OK. When we landed, and were set to transfer our cargo, we were surrounded by the local military forces. They tried to arrest us, but taking our lead from Louise, who bit the guy in front of her, we resisted. I got into a struggle with a soldier who had a rifle aimed at me. I took his weapon away from him, then he took it back, then I managed to wrestle the rifle back from him. By this time a battle was underway, and just when the situation looked rather hopeless, we were aided by some friendly fire from the edge of the forest. Soon, the soldiers were on the run, and we got control of an APC. We met up with the bucket and got away clean, or almost. We ended up in an Imperial intelligence holding facility. We spent a month in confinement while the authorities sorted everything out. In the end, they couldn’t pin anything on us, and we were released. The Zodani were involved, manipulating the Sword Worlders.
Now I find myself on a capable crew with diverse outlooks on life. We all share a loyalty to one another, and a fondness (mostly) for our old spaceship. Engineers have been known to emit blue clouds of curse words while in the midst of difficult repairs under severe time constraints, but we really enjoy what we do, most of the time. Although our methods differ widely, Sally and I share a sense of duty to maintaining the old ship. I sometimes worry about her overuse of stimulants, but there’s really nothing I can do about it. Jan is a fully capable captain, and a good leader (but I also remember someone wise once said, “Don’t follow leaders and watch yer parking meters.”) This is good advice, which simply means everyone should think for themselves, and isn’t a knock on the captain. Our gunners, Felton and Skins are good shots, as we saw when the “pirates” attacked. That was scary! It was a tricky situation, but we handled it very well, I thought. Louise is a very interesting crew member with some odd abilities that may help us as we go further into space.
Currently, I am studying Cargo Movement during jumps. (I was impressed with the jargon those cargo guys use!) This skill is one that we need and don’t have aboard the bucket. I’ve been able to gain some skill in first aid as well. I plan to offer Skins aid when he may need it. I need to learn more about healing people, and diagnosing their ailments, so any spare time I can be of use in sick bay will be satisfying to me. Even though we didn’t get the other 50% of the credits we were owed, our crew came out of this adventure a little richer, and we managed to afford the parts needed to repair the bucket once again. Also, we spent some time in confinement while the authorities sorted out what happened, but it wasn’t the first time that’s happened. I now own an assault rifle, but I hope I won’t have to use on anyone.