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Mustered Out on Mertactor

193-1107

Investigations in Furingort

The party members are up at a reasonable hour and continue the conversation that they had the previous evening.

Stian had been up all night pondering the situation and has had a number of thoughts that he shares with the others:

“There are a couple of suspects as mentioned, one who has the MO having already held the Connoisseur against his will for a month. Did you look into this guy when you were on Mertactor? The library data on Tarkine mentions that the ruling government has nepotistic links to the government of Mertactor, has the Connoisseur any connection there? Or is this too obvious a link and its a red herring?”

Max shrugs:

“Nope, we didn’t look into either of the two clients that sounded a bit dodgy,” Max admits. “With Jie finding the badge and knowing that it was a team from Pagaton what grabbed ’im, this was where the strongest lead led to.”

“Were the Horkalite/Connoisseur’s financial dealings looked into?” Stian asks. “Is he/are they as straight forward as they appear?”

“You’ve spent time with Miranda,” Max replies. “You can tell what she’s like – as nutty as a fruitcake with all ‘er talk of keepin’ Baport godly gut full of delicious goodies – but she’s got a heart of gold. All the others are the same. The Horkalites are well-known on Mertactor and the surrounding area as harmless nutters. It’s no secret as to why they’re rolling in dough – the food they make is so good that the rick with cash to burn pay stupid money to ‘ave them do their caterin’.”

He shrugs:

“They’d ‘ave to be really dumb to be gettin’ involved with any illegal stuff. From what Miranda says, The Connoisseur lived a fairly simple and humble life. Not like me – if I was makin’ his sort of dough, I’d definitely be spending some serious wonga on blow an’ hookers. But not ’im.”

“Grabbing an NCO from the merc unit may not necessarily yield results,” Stian continues. “An NCO would be involved possibly in the planning of the assault but is unlikely to know the whys and wherefores of the mission. From what you’ve told me of the assault they were well organised and disciplined. Be a better chance of getting more info from the officer(s) responsible for what jobs they take and possibly his/her contact – do they work thru an agency?”

“Dunno,” Max shrugs. “We don’t know nuffink about these guys. ‘Opefully after Jie has spent the day asking around the bars and Taeva has spent a while casin’ the joint, we might find out a little more about them.”

“I’m hoping there’s an office of DynCorp, the unit I’ve been working for up at the high port,” Stian continues. “I’ll ask Autumn to get a directory of businesses, are they or anyone else I might know present?”

“Can we get details of where the M class has been?” Stian continues. “Where would records holding this info be and could we hack them?”

“Dunno an’ dunno,” Max says. “You’ve seen ‘ow lax they are wiv rules an’ regulations up at the highport. They didn’t ask for cargo and passenger manifests like they do on most worlds we visit. Seems like no one really gives a shit what you do up here.”

“The only way for sure that we could find out would be to get onboard the Type-M and get into their computers. By the sound of it though, that ain’t gonna be no easier than gettin’ inside the merc barracks.”

There is a pause in the conversation before Max continues.

“Well if most of you are plannin’ on stayin’ ‘ere doin’ a bit of snoopin’ around, I may as well go back up to the highport an’ get rid of the freight. That AGC is just bringin’ us loads of attention ‘ere, which is the last thing you need when you’re tryin’ to keep a low profile.”

“Stian, why don’t you come back wiv me an’ do some snoopin’ round the highport while the others blend in the with locals.”

Everyone agrees.

“I’ll team up with Taeva if her mission is basically recon,” says Grim.

“Will can come with me,” says Jie. “Just in case we run into any intellectuals while asking around.”

Everyone agrees.

Realizing that there is little point in trying to blend in with the locals while having laser carbine power packs and Auto-RAM grenade launchers strapped to their backs, they stow their serious hardware in their rooms at The Savoy and switch to just their concealable weapons and then they head their separate ways, agreeing to meet back at the hotel at midnight in order to compare notes.

Stian and Max get into the AGC and head back up to the highport, while the others head for ladies and gentleman’s outfitters respectively. Much hilarity ensues as they emerge in their Pagatonian costumes.

The two couples then each take hansom cabs to their destinations.

At 23.00, the pairs all reassemble back at The Savoy for a late dinner.

Max is grinning from ear to ear:

“Did a great deal on selling the gear,” he says. “It ain’t so much compared to the haul that we looted from the Aslan ship, but it pays for all the damage we needed repairing an’ plenty more.”

“So ’ow did the rest of you get on?” he asks.

Taeva sighs:

“Grim and I didn’t learn a great deal from spending the day reconning the base,” she says. “There is very little movement in or out. We just saw basic groceries coming in, which were dropped just inside the yard – they didn’t let the deliverymen in. I went through their garbage but any paperwork was shredded and then burned – there was nothing left but ashes. No signs of any luxury foodstuffs in the garbage either – just basic army meals. There are three shift changes a day. One of their AGCs left and returned a few hours later. It looked as if it went to the highport and came back again later.”

“Well I was able to learn a little useful information,” says Stian. “Apparently the Sir Galahad is owned by the the Overbluff Zoarim Furinyot Dugbie.”

“Indeed it is,” Will says a little too smugly. “And according to the information Jie discovered from the bars, he also owns the Natichippin Mercenary Company as well.”

“I spent the afternoon in the Public Library checking up on Overbluff Dugbie. It would appear that he is probably the wealthiest and most-feared non-politician on Pagaton. In fact he is one of the richest and most-feared men across the whole of District 268.”

“He travels a lot, but Pagaton is where he makes his home. He has his own private island in the Southern Ocean, some 7000km from here.”

Will produces a primitive map of Pagaton. “In fact it’s located right here, just south east of the island nation of Blavyn.”

“Unfortunately this is all that I could determine about the island from the local newspapers. I could find no reports of what is actually there.”

Much debate then ensues regarding methods of recceing the island, most of which involve the Princess with various theories as to how the ship is going to handle underwater.

Max doesn’t seem to be too impressed:

“Do we really want to take that bleedin’ great thing with us on a stealth/recon job? It would be like tryin’ to tail someone while drivin’ a tank. It ain’t very subtle now, is it?”

“Sounds like the Overbluff has plenty of enemies an’ plenty of money. ’E’s gonna be well aware that there are only two approaches to the island – air and sea – an’ ’e’s gonna know that there are plenty of vehicles that can approach underwater so I am sure that ’e will ’ave some pretty decent sensors.”

“So if we need to get close, then I reckon the AGC is the better vehicle for the job. Even then, we’re gonna ‘ave to leave it well away from the island and get closer to it usin’ sumfink even smaller.”

With eyes going wide, Jie sets down her Fermotia drink (a cunning seed from the Ruttler tree about the size of a human head, grown hollow with a sweet blend of natural sugars and alcohol inside that is very tasty to the local fauna who are drawn to cracked open seeds on the beach by the fibrous inner core that looks like a multicolored, pastel umbrella) and gets some papers out of her native khakis. With a pen from the ship that has a stamp on the side that reads ‘ INTERSOL, because we care about write-y stuff’ she begins to calculate wind speed, current flow, ambient temperature, and a various host of other things. Eventually she looks up grinning:

“We might be able to use marine and avian life as camouflage. Also riding in on the Grav Carrier will give us a chance to use our option of scary-looking shark’s teeth appearing at the front of the vehicle to strike terror into those it dives down upon from above.”

She states proudly as she sucks down the last drop of her highly alcoholic drink with a long slurp.

“So, fly the AGC in low to the larger island, whatever it’s called NW of the target…” says Grim.

“Blavyn,” Will reminds Grim.

“Yes, Blavyn,” Grim continues. “From there what shall we do? Do we continue to the Overbluff’s island underwater in the AGC or do we take some other form of water-borne transport from there?”

“Can we find out the names of any on planet contractors who might have worked on the Overbluff’s retreat?” asks Taeva. “Breaking into their records might be a good first option.”

“What about disaffected employees too? A cash reward and a safe (low passage) off planet.”

“I dunno ‘ow you’d go around trackin’ ’em down,” Max comments. “Shame we ain’t got Arvor wiv us still – that’s ‘is line of work. I reckon that there would be more chance of findin’ ’em in Soumester, the biggest city in Southern Blavyn than there would be ’ere, ’alfway ’round the world.”

“Whevver we go first to Soumester or straight to the Island, the journey time will be about the same – about 16 hours. So if we start off after breakfast tomorrow, we should arrive at 2.00am the following day. But we’ll all be shagged out rattlin’ around in that thing for a whole day. The AGC ain’t built for comfort.”

“Lemme get this straight,” says Stian. “We’re going to recon first aren’t we? While it seems fairly certain that Overbluff Dugbie is involved, we don’t know how or why or where the Connoisseur currently is.”

“Starships must be routinely skimming the surface oceans to refuel, the port authority is slack at the best but are there flight paths the refuellers are having to use? Getting some kind of map of the actual site and a clue as to it’s defences is something we can do from orbit.”

Will shrugs:

“It all seems to be total chaos in this system with regards to traffic,” he replies. “With no coordinating body, it seems everyone just does what they want.”

“However, as most of Pagaton is vast empty oceans, it might look a little suspicious if a ship was to fly too low over the Overbluff’s Island when it is located so close to Blavyn and, as best as I can make out from these primitive maps, looking like is part of a reef, which means that the surrounding waters will be quite shallow.”

“An alternate plan for infiltration,” Stian continues. “Overbluff Dugbie is a man of exotic tastes. He must be receiving off world goods. Can we sit in orbit and monitor traffic to and from the island? Can we bribe/blackmail information from a traffic controller at the highport? Find out who’s delivering what and either fake a delivery or stow away on one of the delivery ships?”

“I would say look for information dirt/waterside while being well aware that the Big Man will employ snitches,” Taeva replies. “So my vote is to go to Soumester or whatever its called.”

Stian nods:

“Then my vote goes to a trip to Soumester. If the presence of offworld mercs means we can travel around openly in an AGC, then fine. But I think we should go native and travel there by local means but have the AGC flown to a remoteish place where it can hole up a while till we need it.”

“I can’t see that travellin’ from ‘ere to Soumester by AGC is goin’ to cause anyone any concern,” says Max. “After all, the city is still a good 900km from the Island.”

“If we wanted to go local, that’d mean goin’ by steam packet or Zeppelin – both of which would take friggin’ days or weeks to get there. So takin’ the AGC to Soumester seems like the first step. Then we can decide on how we’re going to make the last leg of the trip once we get there.”

He looks at the others:

“So everyone ’appy wiv that plan to start wiv?”

“I’ll third Taeva and Stian and vote for going to Soumester,” agrees Grim. “I also vote with Stian that we take the AGC as far as practical and then switch to native means, maybe as junior crew on a Galleon?”

Max gets out his handcomp and starts calculating:

“What are you doing?” asks Grim.

“Jus’ workin’ out ’ow many miles to the galleon the AGC does.”

“Fine with me too,” agrees Will.

Jie raises a lackadaisical hand to fifth the plan then her hand collapses back on the shaved coral table as with the other she waves the lean, tan bar boy over to order another one of those fruity drink thingies with the umbrella on top. And she wants it with a shake she says as swats the bar boys backside. She then laughs so hard she falls out of the chair.

The others all look at the state of Jie and Max sighs:

“I reckon that’s all decided then,” he says. “Someone better get Jie to bed and then we had all better turn in ourselves. We’ll have a long day tomorrow so we need to make an early start.”

Taeva grabs Jie in a fireman’s lift and drags her to a room, while the others head for their own rooms.

Comments

Stian ponders as the group shares the days intel, “Hmmm. There goes a whole heap of ambiguity. How about a low orbit scout in the Princess? She have the sensors to get some decent resolution images of the island?”

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“The sensors would have the resolution,” Jie replies. “We would have to make it just a quick sweep though as I can imagine that the Overbluff is quite fussy about his privacy and would definitely not be very happy if he found anyone snooping on him.”

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An interesting question here: can streamlined spaceships operate under water in Traveller? If they can, we might try a stealth approach underwater, followed by an equally stealthy land recon once we’re at the island?

Anticipating some of the problems:

1. Spaceships are by nature airtight, though we keep testing that premise in space combat, and by their design, streamlined spaceships that can enter atmosphere are also capable of withstanding a broad range of atmospheric pressures. So, we can’t go to “super spy sub crush depth”, but the hull should be able to withstand submersion if the water pressure isn’t too high?

2. The manuever engines are antigrav, right? They can operate under water just as well as in a vacuum, a thin atmos, a pea soup corrosive atmos, etc.

3. Grim woud tell you the airlocks are not designed to cycle liquid, that’s probably asking a bit much, but we could surface using the antigrav to surface slightly and hold us as close to NOW (Nap of the Water, instead of Nap of the Earth) long enough for a small team to launch, go ashore and recon?

4. Taeva did get some scubagear and underwater stuff before we left Mertactor.

(OOC at Nick We’re on a Pirate Planet and Grim thinks his AutoRAM gren launcher is a bit “flashy”? You should see the writeup for what he’s wearing while dirtside er, waterside! It starts with a Crimson cloak, trimmed in Princess Pink™…

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I seem to recall CT ships being specifically able to at least submerge. I recall it was an efficient means of obtaining unrefined fuel.

I suppose in the “real world” their displacement would be buoyant but as the fuel tanks fill with water they might essentially become submarines. With hydrogen fuel they’d likely float. Since the bulkheads are airtight though, maybe you could fill the cargo hold with water as ballast.

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Does anyone other than Steve and I have the old Gamelords’ ‘Undersea Environment’ book from 1983?

In it, it says that starships and non-starships can operate as normal underwater, but Pilot checks are at -3 because ships handle differently there.

Steve may have found some more relevant content in there (to be honest I’m too lazy to read all the way through it).

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I’ve never read it to be honest-one of those stat filled books.

The MGT adventure ‘Type S’ also has your starship (unwillingly) underwater and gives some basic situational rules.

Although a starship could function underwater I would imagine it couldn’t operate very effectively. Its sensors would not be suitable, and the degree of fine control required would probably be inadequate. If it took damage it would also be a real problem.

A starship would also be incredibly bouyant unless it became flooded. And then you’d be in real trouble.

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Agreed that sensors would be practically useless underwater – they’re just not designed for that environment and you would would be on videoscreens only – and visibility will be in the tens of metres range.

I don’t see any problems cycling the airlocks – the main problem will be deciding whose job it is to get the mop out and clean up the few m3 of water you’d let in when you did it.

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Just because our sensors are useless underwater, doesn’t mean the base we’re recceing suffers the same problem: it’s a waterworld (pretty much), you’d have to think they were expecting underwater threats. If our ship handles so poorly underwater and is effectively blind it might not be the best way in.

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We also know that Overbluff Dugbie has on call at least 50 seriously armed mercs, I somehow think we need to recruit our own mercs if we’re gonna entertain the idea of force on force with this guy.

Now, the most important thing is, does the mountain on his island have a face carved on its side in replica of his mug?

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What can we find out about Overbluff Dugbie? There’s gotta be a weakness that will let us bluff our way in. To out bluff the Overbluff, that be the challenge mateys, arrrrrrrr…..

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And… have the expendables on call for evac purposes…

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ahh, I read that Uplifted Dolphins frequent Pagaton, might there be a way they can help us?

Anyone know a friendly Dolphin?

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Hmmm, interesting points!

I agree on the Princess’ sensors being inadequate, though simple navigational sensors would be all that was required unless combat was imminent, lol.

The problem with bouyancy is actually overcome using the grav thrusters, though in a horizontal fashion, just as they are used for propulsion through the atmosphere. Remember that the streamlining bonus is not needed to operate a grav thruster equipped starship in atmosphere, it simply reduces drag and increases handling; it is the antigravity system which provides or witholds “lift”. Therefore, the thrusters would work on the same principles in water that they do to maintain altitude in vacuum or atmosphere vis a vis controliing the ships position relative to the primary gravitational body they’re using for resistance. Steve’s point about manueverability is well taken, though in emergency situations, where manueverability, or lack thereof, might have serious ramifications, the wise course would be to rise out of the water immediately and head straight for orbit. This presupposes fair warning though, which brings us back to the limitations of our starship sensor arrays, lol!

Here I agree with tim; it probably isn’t our sensor blindness that would ultimately prove our downfall, especially travelling sedately at shallow depths, but rather the fact that the enemy (not being agressive here, they might be very nice ;) may very well have an elaborate Sonar net.

I therefore second the Uplifted Dolphin idea!!

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Another idea. As Nick mentioned during the live session debate over whether to attack the Mercs like men or not, we do have the GravBelts we got from the Pavabid intrusion mission. What I’m thinking of here is a very simple approach: Taeva, in one of her stealth suits, invisible to most scans, gravbelts in and does a solo recon? She could launch from the ship (floating/hovering) out of sensor range, then return?

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With eyes going wide, Jie sets down her Fermotia drink (a cunning seed from the Ruttler tree about the size of a human head, grown hollow with a sweet blend of natural sugars and alcohol inside that is very tasty to the local fauna who are drawn to cracked open seeds on the beach by the fibrous inner core that looks like a multicolored, pastel umbrella.) and gets some papers out of her native khakis. With a pen from the ship that has a stamp on the side that reads ‘ INTERSOL, because we care about write-y stuff’ she begins to calculate wind speed, current flow, ambient temperature, and a various host of other things. Eventually she looks up grinning.

“We might be able to use marine and avian life as camouflage. Also riding in on the Grav Carrier will give us a chance to use our option of scary-looking shark’s teeth appearing at the front of the vehicle to strike terror into those it dives down upon from above.” She states proudly as she sucks down the last drop of her highly alcoholic drink with a long slurp.

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LOL! Didn’t we already paint a Hello Kitty face on the AGC in Princess Pink™ and GagMe Yellow™?

Grim gets to work painting over parts of the AGC, touching it up until it looks like a pink Hello Kitty with a gaping maw full of sharks teeth, all in a hideous mix of white and bloody red against the pink and yellow backround.

So, fly the AGC in low to the larger island (which I hereby name Iania, in honor of me) NW of the target, leave the AGC and Gravbelt at low altitude over the water to the Island of Dr Moreau? Or take waterbased transport?

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I’m ok with a recce but I don’t think we have a grav belt.

Can we find out the names of any on planet contractors who might have worked on the Bond Villain’s retreat? Breaking into their records might be a good first option.

What about dissaffected employees too? A cash reward and a safe (low passage) off planet.

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Ian – you missed this part of the description of the AGC:

At Autumn’s insistence, InterSol’s AGC comes with the optional extra Chamele-On Adaptive Paintwork package. For an additional cost of Cr. 10,000, this allows the driver to change the exterior color of the vehicle at the touch of the button. Pre-installed are the Unguin’s Princess pink/crimson palette for ferrying clients, silver, white or dark blue for trying not to attract too much attention, red with flame decals coming from the rear when Max wants to show off how fast it will go, matte black for stealth during interplanetary expeditions, a wide range of camouflage to blend in with a multitude of terrains plus the option of scary-looking shark’s teeth appearing at the front of the vehicle to strike terror into those it dives down upon from above.

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Didn’t we get to keep the GravBelts we trained with for the first Pavabid mission? Maybe I’m confused, I know they let us keep the Stun Carbines, anyway, lol! We have used GravBelts to sneak Taeva in before, I think on Avastan, but maybe we rented those?

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Ian – you missed this part of the description of the AGC:

LOL! Sure did! Well, Grim programs the ChameleOn package to include the vicious Hello Kitty Mako shark art he’s been working on!

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NI took the grav eblts back after Pavabid I.

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Ah yes, that’s correct. I remember now that I wasn’t so generous back in those days before you had a ship.

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Bummer! Note to self: buy GrsvBelts next time we’re someplace hitech.

Well then, by sea it is after hiding the GravCarrier!

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So, what is it to be – go to Soumester for an overnight stop and to maybe ask around for any information, or head directly to the Overbluff’s island?

If so, how close are you going to get in the AGC before proceeding the last leg (or should than be ‘last fin’?) of the trip?

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Lemme get this straight, we’re going to recon first aren’t we? While it seems fairly certain that Overbluff Dugbie is involved we dont know how or why or where the Connoisseur currently is.

Starships are from the library data routinely skimming the surface oceans to refuel, the port authority is slack at the best but are there flight paths the refuellers are having to use? Getting some kind of map of the actual site and a clue as to it’s defences is something we can do from orbit.

Alternate plan for infiltration: Overbluff Dugbie is a man of exotic tastes, he must be receiving off world goods, can we sit in orbit and monitor traffic to and from the island? Can we bribe/blackmail information from a traffic controller at the high port? Find out who’s delivering what and either fake a delivery or stow away on one of the delivery ships?

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I would say look for information, while being well aware that the Big Man will employ snitches.

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So go to Soumester or whatever its called.

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My vote goes to a trip to Soumester. If the presence of off world mercs means we can travel around openly in an AGC then fine but I think we should go native and travel there my local means but have the AGC flown to a remote ish place where it can hole up a while till we need it.

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all quiet on the spinward front…

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Was there a session last Sunday?

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Was there a session last Sunday?

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I thought not: I thought coming sunday next game.

With the longer breaks between games the forum often runs out of steam as we approach a point where we’re likely to play.

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No, there was no session on Sunday as there were two people away. We will play next Sunday though.

I can move things on, but I am hanging on the final decision as to whether to take the AGC to Soumester from most players, so that’s why nothing has happened for the past few days.

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Ah! Ok then, I’ll third Steve and Tim and vote for going to Soumester. I also vote with Tim that we take the AGC as far as practical and then switch to native means, maybe as junior crew on a Galleon? I know Will expressed a desire to experience the joys and sorrows of working as a Middie on a real sailing ship…

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Har! I’ve been to sea, Billy. Under the pseudonym “Fluteblower”. It didn’t work out too well. Perhaps now though I can sign on as an, ahem, “Mature” ship’s surgeon. Frigates only though—they’re way more fun. At least according to 20th century writers and Hollywood. Salt pork, hardtack, and weavels, here we come!

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Oh, and I get to flog Grim. At least once.

On a more serious note I fourth everyone else’s plan. Except Grim’s part.

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Jie raises a laxidaisical hand to fifth the plan then her hand collapses back on the shaved coral table as with the other she waves the lean, tan bar boy over to order another one of those fruity drink thingies with the umbrella on top. And she wants it with a shake she says as swats the bar boys backside. She then laughs so hard she falls out of the chair.

Good times, people.

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We’re

We_’_re

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NickPendrell

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