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Mustered Out on Mertactor

220-1107

Arrival at Tarkine

After a thankfully quiet and uneventful jump, the Princess safely emerges from jump at 02.00 and starts on the four hour journey to Moffett Field. As the ship gets closer to the world, they can see that there are a lot of ships in system, many of which are in orbit above the downport, with shuttles hard at work transferring passengers from the ships to the surface.

Fortunately, as the Princess is relatively small compared to most of the ships in system, the SPA is able to allow them to land. As Will taxies towards the spot of empty tarmac on the edge of the downport, everyone looks around. They have managed to patch up the starport well over the past ten months since they were instrumental in defeating the rebel attack on the base and everything looks calm, although Jie notices with interest that there is still a large Imperial Marine presence and they are obviously on high alert due to the presence of so many important offworlders.

Customs is fairly strict here and so it is a couple of hours before Autumn and Max have gone through all of the paperwork and all of the passengers have disembarked.

Max immediately gets to work on trying to find a buyer for the trade goods, wanting them out of the way in case the Princess needs to make a rapid departure. While Max does his rounds of the merchants, the others try and get information on the Overbluff and his airship, the Baischormth.

Jie heads over to the bar and heads up straight to the first group of off-duty marines she can find. It only takes her one quick round to discover that there is not much going on here at Moffatt Field – all of the VIPs and the airships are to be found in the capital, Delis.

The party members decide that, this case, that’s where they need to be. They call Max over the commos and tell him that they are heading into town. Max asks them to pay the mortgage off at the Hortalez et Cie branch while they are there as it’s 10 days overdue now. He tells them that he will catch up with them in the evening.

The party members grab a couple of ground car taxis and make the short 25km journey into town, stopping off at the bank. While they are inside, they spot the manager, Sergei Petterson, who was the one who did the deal with them to buy the Princess off Kiimii. He remembers them well as a result of the party members saving the bank from the armed robbery. He invites them for a drink and a chat after they have brought their account up to date. He seems happy enough, avoiding asking any difficult questions about the fact that their payments indicate that they have not been keeping to the routes that they said they would be taking.

With the race not due to start for the best part of 48 hours, they realize that they need someplace to stay and so start looking for a hotel. Due to the number of VIPs in town for the race, all of the decent hotels are full, but they eventually manage to find room in a run down motel on the edge of town.

Once they have checked in, they ask where the race is being held and discover that it is being held in a field a couple of km out of town to the north of the city. They get back in the cabs and head over there to take a look.

They see that there are ten airships moored at the field – expensive machines which use a combination of helium and anti-grav technology to create vast, sleek craft. The Baischormth is quite easy to find, standing out among the others. It is being guarded by some members of the Nattichippin mercenary Company, while security for the entire event is being taken care of by Imperial Marines.

Realizing that there is no easy way onboard the Overbluff’s ship, Jie leads the party members to speak with the Captain who is in charge of security here. The Captain remembers the party members from last year and is generally very accommodating. Jie tells him what they have learned about the Overbluff’s nefarious plans. The Marine Captain is a little skeptical, however, explaining that they have checked each of the airships very carefully and there are definitely no weapons onboard any of them. When he sees that Jie is not backing down from her claim that easily, however, he tells her that they will check the Baischormth again closer to the start of the race.

With all of the airships being tethered some 50m off the ground and access only being possible from a tower, there are no easy ways of getting onboard the ship and so the party is going to have to try something other than stealth if they want to check the ship themselves. They ask around and find out that most of the dignatries are going to be attending a party later that evening at the Cobra Cabana – the hottest club in Delis.

Seeing no point in staying on site any longer, the party members head back to their motel in order to get changed into their eveningwear collection, realizing that they are going to have to smarten up if they are to be allowed into the club. Autumn gives Max a call and tells him where they are. Having had no luck in finding buyers for the party’s trade goods at the starport, Max heads over to join them.

They head down to the club at 21.00. They see that there is a long line of people trying to get in. It would appear that simply dressing the part is not going to be enough to get them in. The party members attempts to talk their way in does not get them past the bouncers and so it falls upon Max and his bribery skills plus Cr. 500 before the velvet rope is lifted.

Once inside, the party members start to mingle. After an hour, Jie comes up to the others sounding all excited:

“I found a guy who has some spare tickets,” she says. “And they are only Cr. 100 each!”

The others don’t share her excitement, realizing that there is no way that genuine tickets to such a prestigious event would be going so cheaply.

The party members ask to meet the seller and Jie directs them to a weasel-faced man. The other immediately shuffle him into a corner and start to apply pressure upon him. Once he sees what he is up against, he breaks down and admits that the tickets are faked. He is a forger – and not a terribly good one at that – he doesn’t seem to have any connection to the Overbluff.

While the others are deciding what to do with the forger, Taeva spots a familiar figure slipping out of the club – it looks like the Overbluff. She immediately decides to follow him at a safe distance. She follows him down a dark alley and watches on while he changes his identity before heading out of the other side of the alley and onto another main street. Here he hails a taxi and then heads off. Taeva tries to hail a taxi for herself to continue the pursuit. She is out of luck this time, however, as there are no other cabs around and so is forced to watch the Overbluff disappearing into the distance.

With a sigh, she returns to the club to tell the others what she has seen.

The party members hang around for another hour, but with the Overbluff definitely not there any more, there seems little point in staying longer. Having not gotten much sleep the evening before due to the Princess’s early arrival that morning, the party members decide to head back to the motel to get a good night’s sleep. After all, they still have another 30 hours before the start of the race.

Comments

After the stop off at the bank, during one of the quieter moments on Tarkine, Stian asks about the ownership of the Princess and what, if any mid to long term plans the group has for the ship?

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Hmm. Good question. Guys? Weren’t we talking about trading in the Princess for something much faster?

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Yes, while you are sat with the bank manager is an ideal time to discuss any changes you want to make to ownership of the ship, swapping ship’s shares for capital, paying for upgrades, changing the ship for a new model, etc.

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“Grim, had you done the budgeting for the upgrade? Which ship did you have in mind?” asks Stian, attempting foolishly to call Grim’s bluff…

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This is probably a good time to mention that I have 4 ships shares I am looking to invest or make a return on. I’ll ask the bank manager his advice, how does he feel I can get the best return on the investment?

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Umm, don’t we now “own” a spiffy new M-class 10-billion tonner? It even has racing stripes and secret cargo holds. And a round king-sized captain’s bed!

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On a more serious note, irrespective of what ship we fly, how about we suggest to the Conneseur (sp?) that an appropriate award for saving his substantial buttocks would be a Horkalite chef (Miranda?) as a Princess crew member. We could charge more for passages and attract more customers.

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Can we legally claim the M class as a prize or award of salvage? Seems there was some doubt.

Re Miranda/Horkalite chef, s/he would be an excellent draw to high end customers, we’ll need a fresh lick of paint in the common areas/staterooms and have to house train Jie.

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Max would advise you that claim to the Type-M is a problematic area. Killing the owner of a ship and all his crew and then just taking their ship is what pirates do. You might be justified in taking it because “we’re the good guys and they’re the bad guys”. Authorities probably won’t see it that way though without going through legal process.

If this happened in the Imperium, then it would be an easier matter to resolve as it would be subject to Imperial Law. In District 268 there is no one governing body. The vessel is registered to Pagaton (a flag of convenience for a lot of ships).

On a practical basis, you would be travelling around on a vessel which is registered as belonging to the Overbluff until you got rid of it with any advantages or disadvantages that it brings to you.

Miranda is not going to give up her position as right hand woman to the Overbluff to become your personal chef. You will get your reward for your help – but it will be in the form of some artworks which you will be able to sell for a pretty penny.

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Agree re:Miranda as a crew addition. Would also give us the ability to act as a sort of “hot truck” at the starports we stop at….

“What’re you having, Cletus?” asked Griff casually as the two of them waited in the long line to get to the ‘order here’ window of the small pink spaceship.

“I thought I’d try the Grim Burger, though the Cornelius Omelet with Hovarth Ham sounds good too…” replied Cletus.

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Turning to Stian, Grim pauses a moment.

“I’ve been thinking about that.” He says, pulling out a glossy brochure with pictures of spaceships on it. “According to my research, and this sales catalog, anything we get will be faster than the Princess, ergo…”

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The other side of offing the Overbluff is, if as we suspect he’s a serious drug kingpin, we have just created a vacuum at the top of his organisation and there’s likely to be all kinds of bloodshed in the proceeding months as his minions (if we didn’t kill them too) and rivals vie for control of his business empire. Sounds like a fine reason to not have anything with “this belongs/belonged to the Overbluff” written on the side and move on, like out of the subsector move on. Do we really need to be hunted down by this guys goons?

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hmm, the comments are overtaking the log… apologies

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@ Grim, :D

Do we have the money to change ship or, apart from the Engineers whim, any actual reason to?

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That’s good that you’re commenting here. I’m struggling to keep up with the logs so carry on.

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OK, to take stock then…

  • We’ve just taken down a major subsector crime boss
  • We have the connoisseur and need to return him to where he and miranda want to go
  • We have the option of heading back to Pagaton and helping out the Callios, including nuking the Overbluff’s pad, just for the hell of it. Only the living spread the news huh Taeva?
  • We have a replacement surplus grav vehicle, does it need any upgrades or are we all happy with it?
  • Stian is asking about the future, the poor boy is borderline PTSD and is looking for a quieter life. He has ship shares to invest but wants to know what the group wants to do?
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And, can Will use his computer skills to try see where the Overbluff warehouses his product?

The information should be worth something to someone!

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Have I missed something- Miranda was rh person to Overbluff?

Re ’new ’ shares how would these work-reducing the monthly mortgage?

New ship: my impression is that we are making borderline small/ steady profits as is, and have no huge sink of extra cash. Someone would have to do the sums but I would have thought paying off a new 300 or 400T mortgage would massively increase overheads with a risky prospect of profits. I would have thought the way to upgrade was to have a solid base of extra cash first. We should upgrade the drives/ weapons as an alternative.

Our trade route should be governed by cargos and speed. Taeva not interested in Overbluffs holiday home (probably only one of many).

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Will’s dream of “captaining” a huge M-class lies shattered at Stian’s feet, with several pieces ground under the heels of Grimstead and some anonymous god-life figure who seems determined to spoil the lives of the intrepid adventurers.

“Ah well,” he sighs. “At least that secret surgery on Grim’s nasal passages have stopped that godawful snoring…”

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Re Miranda, not sure where I read it but yes, I knew she was high up in the Horkalites and therefore the Connoisseur.

Am pretty sure the idea of a new ship is Grim and his Oar of the Gods™. As in, pie in the sky.

Agreed on the Overbluff’s holiday home but what about the Callios?

Will, have a look, see if you can find where the OB is warehousing his merchandise. Seems unlikely he’d leave that kind of info kicking around as its somewhat incriminating but does he have a record of properties he owns or rents? Some kind of coded shipping logs? Any kind of audit trail we can follow up on?

Or do we want to cut our losses, return the Connoisseur to wherever he wants to go and move to the next adventure?

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I have updated the party members’ shares as of the current time representing the value of the ship that everyone has bought back from Hortalez over the past 10 months (ignore the first version – I got a decimal point in the wrong place and was making the financing over 4 years instead of 40 – doh!)

If Stian is buying in, he would reduce Hortalez’s share by 4% which would decrease the mortgage by 4.44%, taking it from Cr 205,721/month to Cr. 196,577/month.

In terms of the ‘optimum ship’, if you look back on your trading history, you will see that Autumn just about manages to fill the staterooms on most of your trips, but only just usually and. more often than not, only with Mid passengers rather than High.

Max usually just about fills the cargo hold. He is not usually bitching about the lack of space. He often can buy more, but it will usually be low value items where the margins are pretty small.

The bottom line is that a 600-ton Type-M is going to be overkill on the small routes that you tend to run as it has more than three times the capacity of your A2. The reason why they are called Subsidized Merchants is that they are not usually financially viable except on some high-traffic routes. They thus tend to often be subsidized by planetary governments in order to try and boost trade.

In summary, you could lose money running a Type-M while adventuring at the same time. A 400-ton Type R would be better, but would probably still not earn you more than your A2.

If you were starting with a blank sheet of paper, then probably something around 300-ton with J3 and M3 would be about right. Unfortunately there are no standard designs that I know of that are similar to this – you’d need to start off with something close and then upgrade it to your needs.

Another thing to bear in mind – if you go for a significantly larger ship, you need quite a few NPCs to crew it.

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So it sounds like we’re all agreed on getting a new ship and continuing to let Will call himself captain?

;-)

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Seriuosly, the Princess is perfectly adequate, as is the slightly new AGC. Grim will be quietly installing a one man 6G escape pod near the engine room. As to Stian buying a share from our lienholder, I’m all forit! It lowers our mortgage and forces Stian to lose his current ‘devil may care’ attitude and come join the ranks of bill paying adults with the rest of us? What’s the hold up? Take the man’s ship shares ASAP :)

Grim

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“Aren’t you hungry Griff? I thought we were getting lunch?” said Cletus somewhat testily.

“I thought about it but then I remembered the Unguin’s Princess was landing today and I thought we come see their travelling art exhibit ‘Purloined Portraits: The Overbluff Collection’. Apparently it’s being curated by the famous art critic Grimstead. I hear he’s even displaying some of his personal collection in a gallery they’ve named ‘main life support’.” Replied Griff as the pair waited in a rather lengthy line to get in to the small hangar at the spaceport.

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“Too cool!” responded Cletus. “I hear he has an extensive collection of works showing Vargr playing cards! Well worth missing lunch for…”

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now, if we could just capture the market on weird art loving hungry people that love a good burger cooked up by the finest chef this side of tarkine…

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Will concurs on taking Stian’s money, er, shares! And he asks Grim if he could get his Vargr painting silk-screened onto a sweater vest. Will recalls fondly a tie he once owned with something similar. Of course in that version the stinking Vargr were cheating.

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Some notes so that we can move things forwards without having to wait for me to catch up on the backstory:

1. Miranda and The Connoisseur can take scheduled flights back to Mertactor – they don’t want to inconvenience you any more as they are very grateful for all your help.

2. As a reward for all your hard work in rescuing him, a very grateful Connoisseur gives you some valuable (but not holy) antiques/artwork which Max reckons is worth maybe Cr. 2 million to the right buyer.

3. Max searches the database of buyers for such antiques/artworks. He discovers that there is a collector on Flexos who is in the market for this kind of gear.

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Some thoughts on the grav carrier, while I like having something armoured for times like Noctocol, it seems prudent to have something a tad more discreet. If we should plum for the grav equivalent of a large SUV, can we afford to keep it in the cargo bay of the Princess? If its true that Max is struggling to fill the cargo then I’m sure the space is available and I’m sure we can also juggle as needs be to get the thing in and out. A quick look thru Supplement 5/6 hasn’t something close so I’ll knock something up for the group’s approval.

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As long as it has a DVD player. Will hates long drives. Oh, and a toilet.

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How about this plan….Grab the Type-M and man it with a skeleton crew that would be able to accompiny the Princess back to Pagaton (Yes, this is kinda like piracy, but the 5th Frontier War is looming and I doubt the authorities would care too much) Set the Type-M in orbit and put a FOR SALE…..cheap sign in it’s window. As Pagaton is Pirate central, Grim and Teava could rig a self distruct system in it and show all interested buyers that they shouldn’t get too greedy…..or else!

The idea here is fast and cheap with no questions asked. I guess we’d get 10% of what we’d get if we went through the proper channels, but 10% of a couple of MegaCredits is still an ass-load. Then we sweeten the deal by saying to the prospective buyer (probibly a mercenary group or Drug Lord with a Body guard contingent) “We’ll knock off a few thousand credits if you sink that pesky Sea-Harvester tooling around down there.”

POW!!! We get cash for almost nothing AND InterSol keeps it’s word that the Calios problem would be solved.

Heck, for coming up with a plan this cool Jie should be made Captain!!! (After she gets house trained.)

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Apart from the lack of pilots (how many of us can pilot and navigate?) I’ve a funny feeling that the 800ton merc ship owned and operated by the Overbluff’s merc company parked at the Pagaton high port might just recognise the ship. The fight could be interesting but we already bottled out of going toe to toe with them once and I’m pretty sure Nick would love to taunt us (me) for backing out of a fight again

I have a shopping list that requires TL10 and a low law level if we’re going for it…

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We’re doing a lot of chicken counting here. Nick indicated the scenario wasn’t over.

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@ SBB: That’s what I thought too but in Nick’s post at 11:13 this AM the Conn and Miranda are heading off together and he’s definitely hinting we should be going to Flexos which is core/spinward 2 parsecs from Noctocol… pretty uninteresting world but if there’s a bloke there wants to give us MCr2 for the art work the Connoisseur has given us in gratitude then… sounds like more than we could make with Jie’s “plan”.

Problem tho is that there’s no water on planet and no gas giant so we’d be paying (Cr4400 if its standard far trader) for fuel and will need to take the time to process.

Tho I daresay that’ll give us the chance to get into some trouble while we’re there…

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NickPendrell

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