Everyone assembles for breakfast. Max is already at the table, handcomp on his knee, commo in his hand looking for a buyer for the computers and sensor arrays.
Finding a potential buyer, Max heads off to negotiate, leaving the others to continue chatting. Shortly after Max’s departure, Kiimii and Laarii join them and the party members negotiate with Kiimii over the terms of the partnership.
For someone who is so clueless about ship operations, Kiimii is a tough negotiator who argues about every triviality – mostly concerning who gets what cabin.
They are still haggling when Max returns at lunchtime with a philosophical look on his face.
“Didn’t get as good a price for the gear as I’d hoped for,” he reports. “Still, I got 375k for it, so we’re still 100 grand up on the deal, which ain’t too bad.”
Tired of bickering with Kiimii for hours and keen on a change of scenery, they decide to go to the Port Authority to check upon the fine that needs to be paid for the release of Unguin’s Princess.
Upon arriving at the Port Authority, they are told to wait to see the Commissioner. While they are waiting, they see Captain Valens and his crew coming out of the offices. Gus looks even more pissed off than he did on the way out of the ship.
He sees the party members and comes over to say “Hi”.
Max asks him what happened.
Captain Valens replies with a stream of some rather colorful adjectives, inserted with the words ‘trumped-up charges’, ‘Patent lies’,and “a fine railroad job full of shemdur”. He concludes, “the new SPA Commissioner here fucking has it in for anyone registered out of Collace or the Imperium, and coddles or looks the other way for any vessel of the Trexalon Technical Consortium.”
“I had to stand there as they searched for ‘contraband’ through the ship’s locker, and damaged all our Lifeballs and spare Vacc suits looking for drugs! Then they tell me I’m in safety violation for our passengers!”
“But my troubles aside friends, I have a priority cargo that has to be removed in order for me to conduct these so called ‘repairs’. There are forty-eight tons of frozen meat in twelve refrigerated containers destined for Talos. I’m flat busted until our banker can send funds to us. I haven’t got a spare crimp for the warehouse. They took my Pilot’s and Broker’s licenses!. The delay will void my contract, so the cargo is available for sale. I’m open to either sell it to you direct, or if you’re here a bit, pay you twice your worth if you can Broker it for me to raise some cash to get my old girl out of lockdown."
Spotting a way of making some quick cash, Max is interested in the cargo and starts negotiating with Gus. A couple of minutes later and Max has bought the meat for Cr.48k. He keys over the cash to the Captain, who is grateful.
“At least we can get a hotel now,” Gus says. “We’ll be staying at the Comfort Inn if you need to speak to us.”
It’s time to meet the Commissioner now. They hear the same story about violations from him and have the price of Cr.165,000 in fines confirmed. They decide not to pay up until they really need to, not wanting to risk even more fines while they are waiting.
They head back to the hotel.
“I need to check that this cargo Kiimii found is legit,” Max says.
He gets the contact’s phone number and gives her a ring, arranging to meet her in the Gravity Well casino and restaurant and then heads off to meet her, leaving the others to continue discussions with Kiimii.
Max comes back a few hours later looking pretty happy.
“Yeah, it’s all pretty much as Kiimii said,” he announces. "She was an old bird called Ms. Jeri Mandert-Sluyp – flirty thing, she is. She has a cargo of Bio and Petrochemical freight which is classified as hazardous cargo, and is part of the Dallian-Tarkine trade exchange agreement for
“The bulk freighters of McClellan Factors will not haul it, claiming it might leak, and contaminate food shipments. So they are having to split up the cargoes on many smaller vessels, they don’t own any Subsidized Merchants. It’s the only thing they can do until the Dallian Government finishes paying for several such vessels built for this purpose.”
“The cargo is 34 tons of Biochemicals (Fertilizers & Agro useful Compounds) and 16 tons of gasoline. As Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT), the shipping rates are a lot higher than usual, which is why she is going to Cr.6,000/ton. She paid me 50% down and the other 50% when we come back and show her the Bill of Lading.”
“I also managed to unload the meat onto her for a total of Cr.92,000 – so that was a nice quick little earner.”
The others congratulate Max on the good deal and then discuss how they will proceed from here. They decide to arrange departure for noon on 270, giving them just under three days to get passengers and for Max to find another 10 tons of spec. cargo – for the fines to be paid and Grim to fix the drives. Kiimii and Laarii will take care of finding the passengers.
They decide that a big night out is called for after their week at the belters’ base.