After a mid-morning examination by the Chief Surgeon at the Marine Hospital, both Grim and Vera are confirmed as being fit for active duty once again and are released from the hospital. They make their way over to the hotel to find the others just starting to emerge from their rooms, the pain that they are feeling from their hangovers worse than anything they suffered during the assault upon the embassy.
While eating breakfast, one of the receptionists comes over and, with a nervous smile on her face says, “I’m sorry to bother you, but the Accountant at the Elixabethan Embassy received a copy of your drinks bill from last night. He regretfully informs you that, as you drank your way through half of the Elixabethan Embassy’s entire entertainment budget for 1107, it is with the utmost regret that he must withdraw the offer of continuing to pay for all of your expenses at the hotel from now on.”
InterSol and The Expendables are discussing what they should do next when Arvor’s commo rings. He picks it up and has a brief conversation.
“That was the GenMech dealership back on Banfi,” he explains. “Our AGC is ready for collection now.”
The settles it for the InterSol members of the team. Ever since they’d all seen the holobrochure, they’d been dying to get hold of the machine.
And so the members of InterSol and The Expendables shake hands and say their farewells to one another, wishing each other luck on their future adventures. The InterSol members then take a grav/cab back to the shuttle port and, an hour later, they are taking off from Gro’un, heading back to the imposing form of Banfi Highport.
They take the turboshoot to the dealership where the salesman leads them over to inspect their latest purchase. The vehicle is beautifully ugly – its stark, angular lines showing all who cast their eyes upon it that they are best advised not to mess with whoever is inside it.
“Oh dear, Max isn’t here and I think that I’m the only one here with a grav/vehicle license,” says Autumn with a glint in her eye."
And so Autumn is the one who gets to give the vehicle its test drive with the rest of the group climbing into the back. It’s fairly snug inside, but definitely a lot more comfortable than their previous attempts at getting in the Princess’s air/raft. Autumn seals the hatches and ably maneuvers the vehicle into an airlock. As soon as the door is open, she floors the accelerator and the AGV hurtles away at an alarming speed. The other party members cling on in terror as Autumn passes through the asteroid belt seeming to miss them by millimetres, but Autumn is having the time of her life and is reluctant when, some thirty minutes later, the pale-faced salesman riding shotgun next to her says that he thinks they had better head back now.
Autumn asks if they can drive it straight to the Princess and the salesman accepts – anything to get back to the Highport as quickly as possible and in one piece. After Grim and Jie have checked all of the mechanics and certified that everything looks fine to them, Autumn pays the salesman his cash and he scurries away to safety.
It takes a fair bit of effort to get the new APC to fit into the air/raft bay but, with a little effort from Grim and Taeva in changing the brackets and they are just about able to squeeze it in, although at rather a strange angle.
Once that has been taken care of, and the old air/raft stowed in the cargo bay, they retire to the passenger’s common room, quite glad to be ‘home’ again after the best part of two weeks away from the ship.
While they are cracking open another bottle of whisky, Autumn’s commo rings.
“It’s Max,” she says. “He wants me to put it on speakerphone.”
“Awwight gang?” comes his happy voice. “Listen up everyone. I just had to … mmmmmm, yes … make another bastard mortgage payment on the ship … oh yes, baby, that feels soooooo good … the bloody thing is just spunking cash every day it’s staying in port … mmmmmmmnnngggghhhhhhhhh … it’ll bloody bankrupt us at this rate as there’s been no cash coming in for ages now … _ yes, yes, yes, harder baby, I like it_ … so I arranged a simple job for you … faster, yes, faster … the owner of a small cargo shuttle has a regular contract with Sternmetal Horizons …. arrrgghhhh-ooooooohh-yessssssssssssssssss … but one of his shuttles is in repair. He’s got a … YESSSSSS!!!!! … little job – simple – ship 60 tons of foodstuffs to Oculus City on the mining asteroid of Therak … ARRRRGGGHHHHHH I’M CUMMMIINNNNNGGGGGGG!!!! … It will be a three day trip there at the Princess’s 1G, one day turnover, and then bring 60 tons of tritium ore back to Banfi for another three days’ journey. It don’t pay much – the job’s only worth 90k in total – but at least it pays all expenses for a week.”
“Autumn knows how to handle the paperwork. You just need to help her load and unload and check there are no more Swordie bastards hiding in any of the boxes.”
“So are you up for it? It’s a rush job. Cargo needs to be loaded in the morning and take off no later than noon or else there’ll be penalty payments.”
“Fine with me,” says Grim.
“A little money is better than no money,” agrees Arvor.
“Good, I’ll just give all of the details to Autumn then,” Max says. “And remember, this is just a simple job – no rescuing stray kitty-kats and pissin’ about findin’ their spice, no fightin’ Ine Givar, no invadin’ any more sovereign nations. Just deliver the cargo – get paid – come home. Think you can manage it?”
“Yes, Max,” the party members sigh as one.
Autumn makes a note of all of the details of the collection and delivery and then Max signs off.
The party members finish off the bottle and then head for their rooms. As this is just a cargo delivery with no passengers, the party members can spread out a little. Jie is especially pleased with this situation as she now gets a large, empty stateroom all to herself rather than trying to squeeze into the crammed walk-in closet that the stateroom she normally shares with Autumn has become following her last shopping expedition through the malls of Banfi.