The time on the MSS Blood, Sweat and Tears is a pleasant one after the drama of the last dying hour of the Duchess Selene and the hardship and chicanery during the time they spent at the belters’ base.
Captain Gus Valens proves to be an amiable host who warms to the party members immediately. He’s ex-Imperial Navy, originally from Mertactor, but who spent most of his career at the naval base at Mille Falcs where he was captain of a Dromedary tanker, being awarded for gallantry during the Fourth Frontier War. He has been Captain of the Collace registered A3 since he was pensioned out of the Navy four years ago. He’s tough but fair on his small crew, and they are very loyal to him. Each evening at dinner, he swaps stories with the party members, laughing heartily when he heard of their outfoxing the belters.
It’s late-afternoon on 266 when the Fast Trader arrives back at the Heaven’s Gate highport, orbiting the toxic world of Dallia. The party members collect their belongings and shake Gus by the hand for all his help.
They are just getting off the ship when Port Authority Security forces hustle up to the ship, massing at the gantry hatch to the berth. The Star Port Authority (SPA) Security Forces are dressed in mixed cloth and ablat armor, carrying laser rifles and carbines, and have several plainclothes officers shooing folks aside as the operation develops.
The party members are stopped from leaving the ship and are told to present their papers for inspection. An additional twenty SPA security troopers and two electrical powered prisoner vans arrive within minutes. The Initial team enters the berthing bay, and the half of the rest follow, leaving ten to remain as ‘crowd control’.
All of the party members are quizzed about their backgrounds and their reasons for coming to Dallia. Their papers are checked thoroughly against their database and for forgeries and then they go through all of their belongings with a fine toothcomb. After an hour, they are rudely told that they can go.
Max, however, gets even more grief as he needs to go through the paperwork for the cargo with them and wait while they check everything. Fortunately Max kept all of the paperwork with him during the evacuation from the Selene and so there are no problems, but it is still a time-consuming activity which takes a couple more hours before the SPA forces are satisfied.
Max immediately calls a local warehousing company to collect the goods, not wanting to leave them on the ship. While they are waiting for the stevedores to arrive, they see a very angry looking Captain Valens and his three crew members being led off the ship and into the the prison vans.
Most of the SPA forces go with him, leaving four guards at the dock.
Grim asks the surly looking Sargent what is going on here.
“The vessel in question was found in gross violation of numerous Interstellar safety regulations, and several of her crew’s certificates were discovered to be out of date, or of dubious nature," the Sargent replies. "The vessel will remain impounded until legal fees and repairs have been made to the Port of Heaven’s Gate. We don’t tolerate vessels with unhealthy standards of safety in our Port.”
“What sort of violations?” Grim asks.
“It would take me all night to life all the safety violations on their ship,” the Sargent replies, "But the primary one was a lack of fire suppression safety equipment, and all of their passenger rescue balls, and Vacc suits were to put it plainly, ‘not space worthy’. Their steward has no medical training certificates, and their Navigator has a license from Flexos! The Flexites barely have an E-class Port, and don’t even boast a shuttle! And their Pilot-Captain’s license is ten months overdue for renewal! I don’t know what sort of amateurs Collace lets into space, but they won’t be flying illegally here!”
Grim politely thanks the Sargent for his assistance and passes the information on to the others.
“That’s fackin’ bullshit,” Max says. “Captain Valens’ ship was probably the best run and efficient ship we’ve been on together. They’ve made all that shit up, for sure.”
It’s taking a while for the stevedores arrive. They leave Max to sort it out, not wanting to risk leaving the goods under the guards’ control now they have the idea that there’s something going on and get on with their mission.
They head off and ask at the Information Desk where they can find the Unguin’s Princess.
The receptionist taps into her computer. “Berth F12, Sir.”
They head off. In front of the berth, they find four guards lounging around, reading newspapers or chatting.
Will asks them what’s going on.
It doesn’t come as a huge surprise when they get the same response from this guard as the Sargent gave them – Unguin’s Princess has been impounded for irregularities. No one is allowed onboard until the outstanding fines – Cr.165k are paid.
Will asks where the Captain is. He is told that she is staying at the Sheraton.
They grab a cab and head over there. Upon asking at reception, they are told that Kiimii and Laarii are in the bar.
Kiimii is looking much the worse for wear. She has been drinking a lot by the look of it, weeping on Laarii’s shoulder, which has smeared her mascara so she looks a little like an Emo Panda.
She is quite surprised to see the party members. She greets Grim warmly; and nods curtly at Jie.
Not wanting to reveal all of the cards they are holding, the party members don’t tell her outright that Kiimii’s father sent her with the fusion valve. Instead they ask her about the situation. The situation is pretty much as per the information they already know. The ship can’t move because the fusion valve is burnt out and, while they were waiting for the replacement to arrive, they got hit with the trumped up violations and the ship has been impounded until fines of Cr.165,000 has been paid.
They do learn two new pieces of information, however. The first is that Unguin is not the registered owner of the ship – it is registered in Kiimii’s name as her graduation present. The other piece of news is that Kiimii knows of a job which should pay them the Cr.300k necessary to pay for the fusion valve.
The party members propose that they work together on the job to Tarkine and split the profits from it. Kiimii gladly accepts.
Max arrives at the hotel looking tired. He has managed to get all of the goods off the Blood, Sweat and Tears and into a warehouse. It’s too late to try and sell them at this time of night, so they get rooms at the Sheraton and agree to continue in the morning.