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Leitz December 9th, 2017 09:27 PM

[TDW:1416.2] Saorsa Bound
 
[Haearn System 208.75.1200 Fleet Time] Bridge, Abandonment

Jump coordinates were locked in. Maneuver speeds were in check and the ships were spread out in case of navigational error. The fleet was ready.

It had taken a lot of work to get them there.


No one was surprised when Jimmie Raeder became “President Pro Tem” with a three year term. Haearn wasn’t sure about unification but her people had paid the cost of division. Jimmie was an experiment.

He was also now recognized as “off the market”, relationship wise. The day before the election he had asked Captain Noevl to marry him. There was a rumor amoung the Fish aboard that had cameras not been around President Raeder would have made his acceptance speech with a black eye and broken jaw. Yet Captain Noevl had stood beside Jimmie the next day. Sharp eyes saw a young boy, between two very muscular guards, in the background.


Gail was at station on the bridge. Her treatment had gone well, aided by a load of pure oxygen sent by Haearn. The Toppers had rigged two torpedoes as supply rockets and sent the high speed cargo as fast as they could. Haearni didn’t know from Confed from Atrean but ENS Gail Jacobson was a planetary hero.

She also made a mark on the Abandonment. Eventually even the Fleet Captain knew a certain crewman was mentally in zero G about a certain ENS. Jokes about saving her boyfriend aside, everyone aboard had gotten the clear message: crew takes care of crew.


Captain Holden had affirmed that position. Ben had gotten the read that Holden wasn’t nearly the leader Stephens was. There was an expectation that some of the raider crews might change their jump coordinates. Holden had, with Ben’s approval, started to rearrange crews and send those most at risk to the Abandonment. Rumor has it that former Captain Berry of the Hashanai had refused, and then subsequently stumbled on the bridge of his ship. Several times. In multiple directions. Holden might not make the best Captain but crew started following orders a lot faster.


So far the mess crew were doing well with finding new ways to cook Haearn fish. The Topper cadets were pitching in and Sub Ensign James Christian was acting as Senior Haearni aboard. What he lacked in leadership training he made up for in a willingness to whatever work was needed. Ensign Candidate Klessia Christian had been studying comms and sensors on the Abandonment. She was already training former slaves on the basics.


Lily, well, was Lily. The darkness seemed to have receded a little. There was a bit of Kel in her walk around the Captain’s cabin but all Marston on the bridge. It was good to be alive.


Still, he had one problem to deal with. It was time. McCray joined Ben as he walked to the conference room off the bridge. Auger was already there.

“You sure about this?” He looked between them. Auger’s “Yes sir.” came out quickly and with conviction. McCray’s nod was a bit more hesitant. Auger took her hand.

“Sir, it’s the best thing that could happen for me, and I want to make it the best thing for Sherry. The McCray clan head won’t recognize any marriage not done strictly by their rules in their chapel on their planet. Our duties will preclude us from getting there for some time and there’s going to be resistance. I’ll do the best I can to meet their expectations but I’ll hang before I let a stubborn old man who browbeats nieces into arranged marriages ruin her life.”

Sherry McCray met Ben’s gaze. “Yes sir. My family wasn’t important enough to make decisions, the clan head does what he wants. I’ve had to do what men tell me all my life.”

Her hand squeezed Auger’s. “It took me a while to realize that some men actually love. Izzy and I want to marry. I want to finish my schooling. We don’t know what all is going on but there’s chances for us. I’d like to enter jumpspace as Mrs Auger, if you don’t mind.”

Leitz January 5th, 2018 06:01 PM

[Haearn System 208.75.1415 Fleet Time] Bridge, Abandonment

Ben’s schedule was packed, even with Lily and Auger taking up twice what they normally would have. Some things just require “The Captain”. Like “Miss Bettie”, as she was introduced. She had managed to get on Ben’s schedule with a “representative??” notation. Once again the bridge conference room served good purpose.

“Thank you for meeting with me, Captain Webb.” Bettie’s skin was a natural brown, slightly darker than her hair. She was young, thin, and seemed unsure of herself.

“Captain Webb.” A breath. She straightened. “I have been asked to represent the People of Blood and to open negotiations with you.”

She looked at the floor for a moment, and then at Ben. She smiled. Her eyes danced. “A bit more formal than I’m used to, sorry, Captain. I’m Baroness Bettie Delcroix; some of the other nobility have asked me to talk to you about a couple things. Don’t need an answer right away, but when you do have one I’ll share it with the others.”

“Some folks want to get back to their families, and as soon as they can. Everyone thanks you and the crew for all you’ve done but families come first. Some of us are interested in how you plan on dealing with all the freed people who will be homeless and jobless.”


Spoiler:

“People of Blood” (PoB), a term sometimes used to denote hereditary nobility.

Miss Bettie Delcroix 44854C [F] Age: 22
Liaison roll 9 (8+1)

PoB information gathering (natural 12)

atpollard January 9th, 2018 11:44 AM

[Haearn System 208.75.1416 Fleet Time] Conference Room, Abandonment
Quote:

Originally Posted by Leitz (Post 579943)
“Some folks want to get back to their families, and as soon as they can. Everyone thanks you and the crew for all you’ve done but families come first. Some of us are interested in how you plan on dealing with all the freed people who will be homeless and jobless.”

Ben laced his fingers together, closed his eyes and absently tapped his lips as he considered how best to respond to the Baroness. He opened his eyes and smiled “An interesting choice for Diplomatic Liaison. I’m not much for formality, either. So let’s try something a bit less formal. For starters, you can call me Ben and I’d like to call you Bettie. Captain Webb and Baroness Delcroix will require far more posturing than I have either the time or inclination for. It is hard to posture when it is just a Ben and Bettie talking.”

“I have half an answer for your question about how I plan to deal with all the freed people, if that will suffice. However, I should probably let you in on a secret, first.” Ben leaned forward and lowered his voice. “I am not really a very good Starship Captain or Fleet Commander. I sort of fell into the job by accident. My expertise is as a sniper and in the areas of Recon and unconventional warfare. I recently discovered that there was some overlap between my combat skills and the Merchant Career. Particularly in the area of hostile takeovers.”

Ben leaned back and shrugged “So the plan is to lead the freed slaves on a military mission with a commercial goal. Since you are from Saorsa, unless I mistake your accent, you will probably be familiar with an area called Trevile. Currently a dumping ground for the unwanted and a sprawling collection of industrial rust and urban blight. Well we are going to invade and conquer Trevile and transform it into a viable community. Building by building, business by business and block by block if necessary.”

Ben’s eyes lit up as he described the plan “We will take and hold land. We will gain control of resources and restore them to production to support the effort. We will build communities for our families and our future and defend them against anyone that would threaten them. We will lead the people that no one wanted to take the place that no one wanted and build something great from the ruins.”

Ben laughed at himself “I have the broad plan. Lily has helped fill in some of the numbers. There are a million details that still need to be resolved.” Turning completely serious, Ben continued “We have two things in our favor. These freed people have already demonstrated the strength and resourcefulness to accomplish the impossible, and failure is not an option.”

“So Bettie, that’s what I intend to do with the freed people. The Baroness Delcroix can tell her inquiring People of Blood that we intend to take Trevile and build homes and jobs and communities there.”

Spoiler:

Ben Recon-1 vs Bettie = roll (11)+1 = 12
  • Captain Benjamin 'Ben' Webb [M] (age 30) - [797874] - [PAJL Marine/Consort]:
  • (Baroness) Bettie Delcroix [F] (age 22) - [44854C] - [Saorsa (Wardn) Noble]

Leitz January 9th, 2018 12:26 PM

[Haearn System 208.75.1423 Fleet Time] Conference Room, Abandonment

Several emotions crossed Bettie's face as Ben spoke. Some good, some not so much. He knew she was skilled at diplomacy yet her feelings were too strong to mask.

"Ben and Bettie it is. Much better." She smiled. "I don't know Treville well, but there are many areas on Saorsa that fit that bill. Most municipal districts are strapped for cash; if you can take the ground, hold it, and pay taxes you'll win with them."

"My official report will be that the initial plan is to assist in giving people homes and helping them find labor. Some of us expected that and will offer to help." Bettie paused, and smiled softly. "My homecoming will be grand. It will last about a day and a half and then I'll be asked to leave again. Some of us aren't good at being noble, it seems. We'll be noble by title and have the same nightmares and struggles as our kin-by-ordeal."

"If you can put up with us, though, we'll see what connections we can use to help your plan move forward. Would that be useful?"

atpollard January 10th, 2018 09:05 PM

[Haearn System 208.75.1430 Fleet Time] Conference Room, Abandonment
Quote:

Originally Posted by Leitz (Post 580173)
"My homecoming will be grand. It will last about a day and a half and then I'll be asked to leave again. Some of us aren't good at being noble, it seems. We'll be noble by title and have the same nightmares and struggles as our kin-by-ordeal. ... If you can put up with us, though, we'll see what connections we can use to help your plan move forward. Would that be useful?"

"Yes, that would most definitely be useful." Ben breathed a long sigh "In fact, it would be something of an answer to prayer."

"You mentioned your day and a half homecoming" Ben smiled sympathetically. "I am reminded of a quote I heard once from a man being run out of town on a rail. He said 'If it hadn't been for the honor of the thing, I would have preferred to walk.' I may not know what it is like to be a noble, but feeling unwelcome and being shown to the door is a feeling I know only too well."

Ben paused for a moment as he reached an internal decision "Bettie, do you think you might be interested in helping me with something bigger than just Trevile? See I am good when there is something that needs a heavy hand, like dealing with pirate-slavers, but I can use all the help that I can get when matters require a more delicate touch."

Ben smiled and leaned forward "Trevile is very important to me because it represents a promise to help a lot of people that cannot save themselves without some outside help. However, it is one piece of a much larger clockwork. The factories in Trevile will employ the freed ex-slaves, but they will also manufacture the parts to help rebuild the Saorsa Shipyard capability. The Shipyard will repair the captured ex-pirate fleet and turn it into an effective Merchant Fleet. This Merchant Fleet will be the start of a trade fleet not controlled by the Confederation. An independent fleet can help establish a permanent trade link between Saorsa and Haearn. Haearn has a brand new government and a new Highport under construction. Haearn is feeling out the possibility of a trade alliance that could lead to a political alliance with Saorsa."

Leaning back, Ben continued "People a lot smarter than me think that this could grow and extend to other words. They want to form a Free Trade League with at least Biter, Haearn and Saorsa." Ben smiled "So would you be interested in working with me to set the wheels in motion for Trevile, the Shipyard and the Merchant Fleet ... then obliging your family by joining us in building a multi-system trade league?"

Ben chuckled "Imagine the look on their face if you decide you WANT to return to Saorsa ... because it will then be completely your choice and they will have no say in the matter. Nothing changes the opinions of people like success. All I suggest is that you not let them define success for you. They may not have any need for a diplomat, but we do."

Spoiler:

Saorsa = Wardn
  • Captain Benjamin 'Ben' Webb [M] (age 30) - [797874] - [PAJL Marine/Consort]:
  • (Baroness) Bettie Delcroix [F] (age 22) - [44854C] - [Saorsa (Wardn) Noble]

Leitz January 11th, 2018 05:51 AM

[Haearn System 208.75.1436 Fleet Time] Conference Room, Abandonment

Bettie tapped her chin for a moment. “Okay, Twanda’s in the sick bay helping out. She and Chung are interested in hanging out for the mid-term, at least. Ash and Nate want to head back home as soon as they can. Still, Ash came up with an idea that might help. I should have some savings from my meager investments. Being unable to spend anything helps the bank account, if nothing else. Some of it will go to Twanda for filing the insurance claim on her yacht. She’s got a good case, according to Ash. It it goes through then Twanda might want to invest in your plan if it helps her get another ship. She likes being out in space.”

“I don’t know about the Free Trade League idea, or the Merchant Fleet.” Bettie shrugged. “But it doesn’t sound like too bad an idea. We’ll have Ash and Nate until we hit dirt. They have enough ideas and connections to get home, I think. The rest of us on this ship; Twanda, Chung, and I, are in. There’s probably another dozen spread out in the ships who would be interested, too.”

Spoiler:


At this point I'm assuming the ships are in jump, hence isolated. The PoB reactions are those aboard the Abandonment.

Bettie react Beinon leadership efforts, roll 10
Other People of Blood (PoB) react Beinon leadership efforts, roll 9

Bettie react FTL plan, 6
PoB react to FTL plan, roll 9

Bettie's personality and circumstance suggest why she may not leap on the idea. I'll write up more after I think through it.

atpollard January 22nd, 2018 03:27 PM

[Haearn System 208.75.2053 Fleet Time] Jumpspace, Abandonment
The woman was exasperating. Ben's jaw clench and had to concentrate to avoid grinding his teeth. Breathe, exhale, force a smile.

"There has been no crime," Wallis repeated in that same calm, sweet voice.

Ben had blocked out from 1600-2000 to work on studying to improve his understanding of business. Thinking that applying the theory to the Medical Department of the ship might be useful for dealing with the Hospital dirtside, Ben was frustrated when he just couldn't get the numbers to balance. With a glance, Lily commented that he had neglected to factor in a black market. This exercise was proving more Trevile oriented than Ben had anticipated. A little Recon skill applied to the mystery led Ben to the friendly and completely evasive Wallis Leray.

"And yet, that is not what I asked you, is it?" said Ben calmly. "I know you have been taking pain meds from people who need them and reselling them back to the pharmacy. The question was 'Why'?"

The silence hung between them as Ben calmly waited for an answer. Wallis seemed content to sit quietly and out wait Ben, immune to the awkward silence or intimidation. Ben had to smile, she was a better negotiator than he was. Fortunately, Ben had other tools at his disposal.

"Well then, I suppose we will just have to transfer you out of the Medical Department and onto a cleaning crew. They are always in need of hard workers who don't mind working without talking." Ben offered with a 'you win' shrug. "If you can't explain, then I can't trust you in Medical."

"Fine, let's talk. Like I told you, no crime has been committed. Some of the patients have a higher threshold of pain and chose to cut back on their meds. It was all voluntary. They gave their extra meds to me to sell back to the Pharmacy, who is always looking for more meds and doesn't ask a lot of questions about where they came from. Then the patients get the cash, less my handling fee." Wallis explained.

"Why?" asked Ben. "Why endure extra pain for money? Why do you risk getting charged with a crime?"

Wallis rolled her eyes "For a stake. There aren't a lot of opportunities to earn money between now and when we exit jumpspace. Everyone is looking for an angle to earn a little cash before we hit dirtside."

Spoiler:

208.075.1300 Fleet Time - Enter Jumpspace to Saorsa (Wardn)

Wallis roll = Medic Dept (medic skill) = situation reaction (6)
Ben Roll = Sales Dept (broker skill) = situation reaction (3)
  • Captain Benjamin 'Ben' Webb [M] (age 30) - [797874] - [PAJL Marine/Consort]:
  • Wallis Leray [F] (age 26) - [678A58] - [Citizen-2]: Bribery-1, Streetwise-1 ... Curly light brown very long hair, chocolate skin ... Protector ... All sacrificed for passion (4) ... Spontaneous, Nagging ... Equip: Middle Passage (1) Blade (1) ... fromTenalphi (Stay=7)

atpollard January 24th, 2018 03:19 PM

[Haearn System 208.75.2100 Fleet Time] Jumpspace, Abandonment
Wallis leaned forward "Look, I know who you are. You’re Ben Webb. So let's talk. What will this cost me?"

"What?" said Ben, genuinely confused.

"Don't play games, you're better than that. We both know where you come from. What crime can you charge anyone with that would have impact? We’ve all been living under a death sentence for months ... for years. So we did a little black marketing to try and retain what sanity we have left." Wallis had regained her rhythm and leaned back as she continued. "You know how much it hurts to hear your accent? Tawanda's and Beinon's.” Her eyes locked on Ben’s. “You know how hard it is to swallow that a citizen of the all powerful Star Confederation was rescued by people from places I never even thought about. What good is trusting a government if they don’t look out for you? Well if the Confed won't look out for me, then I guess I'll just have to look out for myself." She smiled "So how much of a cut will Ben Webb require as his Captain's Cut of the action? How much to allow this innocent business endeavor to continue?"

Ben smiled, understanding finally dawning. "Not so fast. First I need some convincing that this is indeed a harmless business endeavor. Since you seem attuned to what's what, convince me that this presents no danger and where do you see as the places that I should be looking for danger?"

"Have you forgotten already?” said Wallis. “You might want to consider that the ones doing deals are the least of your worries. Sure, we are going to be antsy and have nightmares for a long time ... but it's those who lost hope, and then their minds, that are going to cause you a lot of long term grief."

"What about this Tawanda you mentioned?" said Ben. "You're the second person to mention her name."

Wallis shrugged "What about her. She has a plan. Most of it is totally legal.” Willis smiled. “I’m not saying which parts may or may not be. Nice to see someone with a plan. Folks need to have a plan and to help others. After years of being totally at someone else’s mercy, the illusion of a little control goes a long way." Wallis smiled "The illusion of having value." Getting back to business "You want to know more, talk to Tawanda directly. Now what about the price of doing business?"

"Good news and bad news." Ben chuckled "First the good news, I guess we can survive with your little black market Med deals and I don’t generally operate on a cash kickback. So you get to keep your 'enterprise' and your money. Now for the 'bad news', I do trade in information. Therefore the Captain's Cut for looking the other way is for you to continue to keep me informed about anything that threatens the ship, people aboard or mission to get these people a new start." Ben extends a hand "Do we have a deal?"

Spoiler:

208.075.1300 Fleet Time - Enter Jumpspace to Saorsa (Wardn)
  • Captain Benjamin 'Ben' Webb [M] (age 30) - [797874] - [PAJL Marine/Consort]:
  • Wallis Leray [F] (age 26) - [678A58] - [Citizen-2]: Bribery-1, Streetwise-1

Leitz January 25th, 2018 06:23 PM

[Haearn System 208.75.2120 Fleet Time] Jumpspace, Abandonment

"Deal." Wallis said. She shook on it and then grinned. "Tawanda is taking a break on the forward lounge. Black hair, black skin. Hard to miss. Tell her the next shift starts in just over half an hour."


Ben was able to make his way to the forward lounge. Going was slow; boxes of diluents and fresher mixes lined the hallway. The lounge was an open sleeping area; the boxes weren't stacked high and people slept wherever they could find a small flat space.

Ben was also pretty sure Tawanda had been alerted to his trek to the Med Bay and that Wallis' question communicated something besides the next shift. Wallis hadn't seemed bent on causing issues.

Wallis was also perfectly clear about Tawanda being hard to miss. Most of her skin was jet black. About half of it. The other half was mixed stripes. As he grew closer Ben realized that the non-black stripes had been grafted on, and poorly. The colors and coarseness contrasted with what he guessed was her formerly smooth black skin. She was also missing her left arm from the shoulder up.

Had she not been enslaved her complexion might have been better. She might have smiled more. She might not have been gaunt; her shirt was unbuttoned and her ribs were clearly visible.

She watched Ben approach and quietly waited.

atpollard January 30th, 2018 11:15 AM

[Haearn System 208.75.2120 Fleet Time] Jumpspace, Forward Lounge, Abandonment
Quote:

Originally Posted by Leitz (Post 581325)
She watched Ben approach and quietly waited.

Ben scanned the open lounge. Seating areas and faded colors. Broken display panels. Tattered wall hangings clinging to discolored rods on patched and re-patched walls. Ornate fixtures with missing parts and burned out lights all provided hints of a former glory that was long faded. The charnel smell of a slave ship had been scrubbed out of what remained, and Ben inhaled the familiar smell of sweat and crowding that he had known too well as a conscripted pirate. He was able to pass through the bodies that covered the floor, some sleeping but most just waiting for something to happen. Staring listlessly. Their eyes following the arrival of the stranger with minimal interest.

Tawanda watched Ben approach with interest. To her, this was no stranger just wandering into the Forward Lounge. "Tawanda Németh, I presume. Bettie Delcroix and Wallis Leray both speak highly of you." said Ben with a small smile and an extended hand. "Wallis asked me to tell you 'the next shift starts in just over half an hour', although I suspect that the less I know about Wallis' activities, the better I'll sleep." Ben smiled.

"I hear you have some ideas and we might have common interests in helping some people get a fresh start and land on their feet." said Ben "So I've come to hear your 'plan' and discuss how I might help. Have you spoken with Bettie?"

Spoiler:

208.075.1300 Fleet Time - Enter Jumpspace to Saorsa (Wardn)
  • Captain Benjamin 'Ben' Webb [M] (age 30) - [797874] - [PAJL Marine/Consort]:
  • (Baroness) Tawanda Németh [F] (age 30) - [7BA67C] - [Gram Noble-3]: Computer-1,Admin-1,Bribery-1,Medical-1
  • Wallis Leray [F] (age 26) - [678A58] - [Citizen-2]: Bribery-1, Streetwise-1
  • (Baroness) Bettie Delcroix [F] (age 22) - [44854C] - [Saorsa (Wardn) Noble]


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