The party members meet up for breakfast before heading off on their separate ways again.
Arvor accompanies Max to go and see the most promising supplier which he found the previous day. It’s a long meeting; Max knows what he’s doing here and is tenacious in terms of getting the best possible deal.
They get the best offer they can and then tell the supplier that they need to confer with their business partners. They call around the rest of the party members and all assemble at Astroburger for lunch.
“Piping,” Max says. “I know it ain’t very excitin’, but it ain’t gonna cause no problems wiv the godbotherers. Got it really cheap an’ all. There’s 10 tons of it. Normally it’s 9k a ton, but we can get it for 5.4. So that would be Cr54k in total.”
“Only thing is that they want us to take some of their other gear as well. They got some electric ovens in 10 ton containers. Normal price is 10k a ton and we can get them for 7k. So that would be 70k. Together, it all comes to 124k – that’s more than we got available.”
“Do you think we should ‘ave a word wiv Mr.Grisst to see if ’e’ll lend us some dosh to complete the deal?”
“By all means, Max. Gotta spend money to make money, so let’s spend some of Grisst’s!” Grim says, while playing with his new Datapad DD/R headset.
“Great work Max," says William. “Those sound like good imports for a TL6 restrictive world like Pavabid. Nice and innocuous.”
“Yeah,” agrees Max. “I don’t reckon we should be takin’ no risks wiv the tradin’. Last thing we want is for the godbotherers to get suspicious and decide that they want to keep a close eye on us.”
Jie makes a ‘Pffft’ sound at the mention of Grisst. He did not make a very good impression on her during the jump out here, all drunk and thinking himself quite the ladies man. If that is what high society of the Imperium has to offer then leave her out. However the harsh realities of our financial situation is as apparent as Max’s almost illegible math scrawlings on the Astroburger napkin. We need cash. Jie has been more quiet then usual about this subject for 2 reasons. First she knows nothing of speculative trade and does not want to slow the others down with neophyte questions and second it seemed foolish to invest so much effort in a ploy to land on Pavabid when the main task is something far darker then trading a few baubles.
”Let’s contact him. Alamen is a greedy merchant willing to throw his creds at a new market and on a band of entrepreneurs such as ourselves.” Takes another bite of a Deluxe Beef-O-Biggie (with cheese!) “And besides…I don’t mind tanking his cash if things go south.”
“Yes, I think we should speak to Mr. Grisst,” William continues. "Might be a good use of my old diplomacy talents—as long as he doesn’t mind taking to a low-brow adventurer. What kind of a deal should we strike with him? 50/50 on what he loans us?”
Max shrugs. “Hard to tell what ’e’s goin’ to say. Blokes like Grisst don’t get where they are by bein’ too generous, even if we are in ‘is good books. I reckon we’ll just ‘ave to wing it an’ see what he offers.”
Taeva takes the opportunity to speak:
“I’ve prepared a wish list for everything that I think would be useful.”
She displays a spreadsheet from her handcomp onto the table. The expanded list comes close to Cr. 30,000.
“Bloody ’ell, girl!” exclaims Max when he sees Taeva’s shopping list. “I thought some o’ the chicks I went out wiv before had expensive tastes, but you take the biscuit!”
“Do we really need all this gear? We ain’t gonna have nuffin’ left for tradin’ if we buy all this gear.”
“The Drone and painkillers are kind of a luxury item,” Taeva says defensively. “But pretty much everything else I’d say is necessary. I’ve not put quantities on drugs and such. In fact without these items cost drops from 29k to 16k.”
“Well let’s meet with Grisst first of all and see what he’s prepared to offer us. Then we’ll know ’ow much dosh we got to play with.”
Max keys in Grisst’s number, but ends up getting patched through to his PA, Ana Pyriem.
“Mr. Grisst is in meetings for the rest of the day,” Ana says. “Maybe he would be free at 22.00 for cocktails in the bar?”
“Sounds perfect,” Max says. “Tell ‘im we’re looking forward to it.”
Everyone finishes their burgers and then head off. Grim and William return to their work in looking for freight and mail respectively while Max and Arvor look around some more in case there are any better offers for trade goods.
Everyone meets up again for dinner at 8.30pm. Grim announces that he is investigating a few leads, but still nothing yet. William is struggling with Collacian bureaucracy.
After dinner, they head to the bar and wait for Grisst to arrive. He eventually arrives at 10.30pm with Ana in tow. He looks quite exhausted.
“It’s nice to see you again, gentlemen,” he says, while hailing a waiter. “I can’t stay too long as I have a breakfast meeting at 07.00 tomorrow, but let me know what’s on your mind.”
Max explains the situation and why they are looking for a loan or some kind of a partnership agreement.
“Why Pavabid?” Grisst asks. “It’s such a restrictive place. You’d be better off going to Tarsus instead. And how have you managed to get access to a Type-R?”
Max eyes dart to the others. He knows that he can’t give Grisst the full facts as to why they are really going to Pavabid or the deal with NavInt. He bluffs the best that he can.
“Well if we are to work in partnership, then it would be best if I had a staff member accompany you,” Grisst says.
Again this puts Max on the defensive knowing that the mission will not allow for any third parties to accompany them. As Max comes up with excuses, Grisst gets more suspicious.
Grisst stifles a yawn.
“I really must go to bed soon,” he says. “Look, let’s do it this way. I’m not interested in a profit-sharing deal as I have no way of telling what kind of profit you will be making. So instead, let’s do this as a straight loan. I’m willing to risk Cr. 25,000. Don’t take this the wrong way – I am obliged to you for your action onboard the Gambit – but it would be very easy for you to skip out on me.”
“I’ll loan you up to 25k, with 10% interest payable upon your return – in no later than a month.”
“Have we got ourselves a deal?”
Max tries to get more from him, but Grisst is resolute.
Max looks to the others. Everyone realizes that 25,000 is better than nothing and so everyone agrees.
Max and Grisst shake hands and then Grisst finishes his cocktail.
“Ana will sort out the details with you. If you repay the loan as agreed, then we can look at doing some more, bigger deals in the future. Now, if you will excuse me gentlemen, I really need to go now.”
Grisst and Ana head off leaving the party members alone to work out the details. Max pulls out his calculator.
“OK, so it’ll be 54k for the piping and 28k for the ovens – that’s 82k in total. Currently we have William’s 50k, my 20k, 15k from the kitty and 25k loan from Grisst. That’s 110k. So we could afford pretty much everythin’ on Taeva’s shoppin’ list if we think it’s necessary. If not, then we don’t need the whole 25k from Grisst meanin’ that we pay less interest.”
“So what’s it to be?”
The party members decide to take Grisst’s offer. Even if they don’t end up using every single penny of the loan, the difference in the interest payments if they took a slightly lesser amount are negligible.
They continue discussing Taeva’s shopping list for a while as they finish their drinks and then head off to bed.