The party members meet up for breakfast as usual and this time they meet up with Kiimii and Laarii as well. All are dressed in their smartest clothes, wanting to impress the bank manager as best they can.
Max and Kiimii are still haggling over the final details of the deal after Max only recently became aware of the fact that a mortgage payment on the ship became due on 270 and will need to be paid immediately. Max finally agrees that the party will pay this instalment providing that Kiimii pays her father back the Cr.250,000 the party owes him for the fusion valve. After getting Max to throw in a shared middle class stateroom to get them back to Dallia, Max and Kiimii finally shake hands.
Once breakfast is over, the party members plus Kiimii and Laarii grab a couple of taxis to take them on the 25km journey to Tarkine’s capital, Delis. They are stopped at the exit from Moffett Field by the Marines on duty but, as soon as they see the passengers’ Imperial and Collacian passports, they are quickly waved through with a salute.
There is little traffic on the highway and, 20 minutes later they are already at Delis. The capital is tiny by world standards, looking more like a large village than a city. It’s all very picturesque, despite the gray clouds overhead and it’s obvious that there’s a lot of money here.
The taxis drop them off in front of the small brick building that comprises the offices of Hortalez et Cie. They are stopped by a couple of security guards at the entrance but, when Max tells them that they have a meeting with the Manager, they let the party members enter.
After a short wait, they are led into a conference room where they are met by the jovial bank manager, Sergei Petterson. Kiimii and Max do all of the talking, telling him what they want to do, while Sergei makes notes. Sergei asks Max how they intend to make the regular monthly payments. Max has prepared for this, handing the manager a business plan. The business plan is a complete tissue of lies – trading the nice, safe and profitable routes rather than heading off adventuring whenever there’s the possibility to make a quick buck.
Sergei reads through the business plan and nods in agreement.
“Very good,” he says. “This is all fine with us if all the other parties are in agreement.”
Everyone nods enthusiastically.
Sergei calls his assistant and asks her to fill in all of the necessary paperwork. The party members spend an hour chatting politely with the Manager until the assistant returns with contracts.
The Manager looks over them to check the contracts and then hands copies to both Kiimii and Max, signing one of them himself.
However, Max and Kiimii’s signing of the papers is interrupted by the sound of automatic gunfire coming from the lobby of the bank, immediately followed by screaming and a voice shouting out.
“This is a robbery. Everyone get down on the ground and no one else needs to get hurt.”
Sergei looks petrified. Kiimii and Laarii both start screaming and hide under the table.
The party members simply grab their weapons and prepare to deal with the robbers who have shown spectacularly bad timing at trying to rob the bank at this time.
Taeva is closest to the door. Peeping out, she can see two robbers in her line of sight. With a quick blast from her gauss pistol, she takes down the pair of them immediately.
Arvor is next out. He rushes into the centre of a lobby and ducks down behind a countertop where people sign checks. He lines up another of the robbers in his sights and drops a third one quickly.
Seeing that this side of the bank is pretty crowded, Jie runs through the centre of the bank, her hands up in the air and screaming like a girl in the hope that the robbers just think that she is one of the staff who is panicking.
Will also takes up a better position, running to the washroom where he ducks behind cover. Grim comes up behind Taeva and waits as there are no more targets in view.
There are three robbers remaining inside the bank who all take cover. One of them fires a volley from his SMG carbine at Arvor, but the bullets ricochet harmlessly off the counter he is hiding behind.
The second robber fires at Taeva in the doorway of the conference room and catches here. Fortunately her armour absorbs most of the damage and she fights on.
The last of the robbers fires at Arvor too. The volley catches him fullsquare, but his armor also absorbs the majority of the damage and so he is not brought down.
Another robber runs in from the street through the main entrance and shoots at Taeva. Although he is on target, the bullets don’t penetrate her armor.
On the other side of the bank, yet another robber enters and immediately sees Will with his back to him in the entrance to the washroom. As with Arvor and Taeva, Will’s armor saves him from getting too badly hurt though.
Taeva is now in a rush to get this combat over with as quickly as possible. The robbers are pretty good shots and the party have been lucky so far that none of the party members have been taken down. Emerging from the doorway, she blasts two more of the robbers and, once again, manages to take them both down in one volley.
Arvor fires at one of the robbers who shot at him last time. He manages to hit the robber, but the robber is still standing and continuing to fire.
In the washroom, all on his own, Will knows that he is fighting for his life, one-on-one with the robber. At nearly point blank range, he unleashes a full volley from his gauss pistol at the robber and is delighted (and probably somewhat surprised) when all of the bullets find their target, chewing up the robber’s flesh despite his armor and leaving him very seriously injured.
Jie continues to run and scream until she is behind one of the last of the robbers. Once she is in position, she pulls out her body pistol and fires it at the robber, only to see her shot miss the robber, hitting the wall behind him. Grim tries to take out another of them, but he is having no better luck than Grim, the bullets seemingly hitting everywhere other than the robber.
The robber which Grim missed takes advantage of Grim’s missing him by shooting at Jie. His volley is on target and Jie gets peppered, despite her armor. She manages to grit her teeth and keep to her feet, however. The robber decides that the odds aren’t looking very good for them any more and so he and his sole surviving colleague start to run out of the bank. Taeva catches one of them with a full volley, mashing up the robber pretty horrifically. There is no one who has sight to the last of the robbers though and so he is able to run out of the bank where he leaps into a waiting getaway van, which immediately tears off.
The air of panic starts to die down inside the bank as Will sees to everyone’s wounds. Fortunately no one was badly hurt in the fight from the party and, after a few bandages from Will, everyone is feeling as good as new.
Inside the conference room, Sergei is looking pretty shell-shocked and Kiimii and Laarii aren’t looking much better.
While the banks air still smells of gunpowder and freshly spilt blood, Jie walks leisurely over the bodies, through the smoke and back into the managers’ office. Kiimmii and Laarrii are just now getting off their knees and automatically straightening their finest suits and looking wild eyed around as they put lockets of expensive hair extensions back into place. Jie stands in front of them.
“Next time I order you to clean the toilets…” Jie puts 2 fingers deep inside a newly made hole in her chest cavity and plucks out a used bullet. She then flicks it towards the pair like a wet booger. It lands with a metallic pinging on the table. “…you’d better farkin’ clean the damn toilets.”
She then turns and walks out.
Knowing that the place will be crawling with cops soon and the bank manager will be busy answering questions and trying to calm everyone down, Max quickly gets Sergei and Kiimii to sign on the dotted line so that they don’t have to wait there the whole day.
As soon as all three signatories have signed, Max grabs the party’s copy and pushes them out of the door.
“Nice doing business with you, Sergei,” he says shaking his hands.
The party members walk over the bodies of the robbers, through the walls chewed up by the bullets and emerge onto the chilly streets of Delis.
“I think a celebration is called for now that we are the proud owners of our own ship,” Max says.
The others agree, and Max asks for directions to the best restaurant in town.
Fifteen minutes later and they are sat in La Canarde Jolie, where Max proposes a toast to the success of the Unguin’s Princess.
Over hors d’oeuvres, Max turns the conversation to his favorite subject – money.
“If you remember, we all chipped in a total of 275k to buy the computer and sensor relays, most of which came from Will and I. Since then I’ve bought a lot and sold a lot. We were doing OK, but then that first payment on the ship gave the trading account a bit of a bending, not to mention hvain’ to pay Kiimii’ fine as well. Currently I have Cr.236,179 left.”
“Our next payment is due in three weeks. Luckily the Cr.150k we have waiting for us on Dallia for delivery of the gasoline and chemicals should take care of most of it. I’d be a lot happier if we had a month or two’s payments in the bank though to cover our arses.”
“So what I’m asking is if it’s OK to keep all the money in the trading account for a while or if any of you need it back now?”
“Also, can anyone add anything else to the kitty? I know most of you are pretty skint now after getting your implants. But if anyone has got any spare cash, it would be good so that we can fill as much of our cargo hold as possible. I can chuck in an additional 50k.”
The lunch is a long one, and much wine is consumed in the process. Even though it’s only a little after 16.00, dusk is already starting to fall. The party members hail a large cab to take them back to starport.
Their cab driver is listening to prog rock on his 8-track, but turns it over to the radio after Max tells him that he can’t stand listening to that shit any longer.
The radio is tuned to the ‘Freedom for Tarkine’ pirate radio station, which comes out of a track, into a newsflash:
“The brave Tarkite People’s Resistance has struck a new blow to the Pro-Imperial regime, and hijacked two truck convoys laden with fertilizer and fuel 300 kilometers southwest from the Downport”
“Fackin’ ’ell!” Max exclaims. “That’s the cargo we brought in from Dallia.”
“Does that mean that we might have problems getting paid the other 50%?” Arvor asks.
Max shakes his head:
“Nope – as soon as the bill of lading was signed, it ain’t our responsibility any more. Still, it’s weird though.”
It’s dark by the time the taxi arrives back at Moffett Field. The party members’ ID’s are checked once again by the Marines on duty and sniffer dogs check for explosives.
“If we want a stewardess, we’ll ’ave to nick one from one of the other ships in port,” Max says. “There’s no Merchant Academy on a shithole planet like this, so there won’t be any other options. So I reckon that we need to do some schmoozing around the bars tonight and then see if we can do some sweet talking.”
Everyone heads to the bar along with Max to continue the celebrations for becoming the owners of their own ship.
The party members are only halfway through their first round when klaxons sound around the starport. People look around, not really knowing what is going on. No one is panicking though. Five minutes later and the customs cutter takes off into the night sky.
A voice comes over the tannoy:
“Attention all spacecraft crew, all takeoffs and landings are currently on hold. We will inform you once they will resume shortly. Thank you for your patience regarding this matter.”
Most of the spacers in the bar just shrug and get back to their drinking.
As the evening wears on, the bar becomes full to capacity. Moffett Down is completely full at the moment, mostly with Far Traders, but there are also three McLellan Factors Liners in orbit above the starport, taking a large group of retirees on a cruise to see the wonderful wildlife of Tarkine. With each of the liners having 12 stewards, Max doesn’t think it will take too much effort to find a decent stewardess.
After a few hours, everyone is feeling pretty merry as they have spent the whole afternoon and evening drinking now. They see the customs cutter is landing – the only movement at the starport since all takeoffs were put on hold. The cutter lands heavily, but in one piece, a black plume of smoke coming from its M-Drive.
The party members order one more round and then are about to call it a night when they see a newsflash on TV:
“An armed and swift 400ton craft of unidentified hull configuration exchanged energy fire with a lone Custom’s vessel before jumping out of system. Our vessel though damaged was unable to pursue, and returned with no casualties. Tarkine Ground Force Security detected the tracks of the hijacked convoys late in the day, which led to an unused farmer’s field outside of Moffett Downs. The Farm was abandoned, but showed signs of recent occupation, being one of dozens of foreclosed properties of known TPR rebel leaders.”
The party members then head off to bed.