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The Cleon Memorial Library For discussion of Traveller fiction, both official and fan-written. Fan-written drafts are explicitly welcome.

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Old July 28th, 2017, 11:56 AM
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Post Teacher

TEACHER
Traveller5
By The Pakkrat

The deck and drives had been rumbling for the past hour as Kakhskha sat at the spacious helm and watched the quicksilver of jumpspace melt away to become replaced new stars of real space. Since Dedhekhsgourz, or “Dead-Hex”, the Astrogator and J-Drive specialist was absent from the Bridge, the female Vargr Captain of the Gatherer looked instead to her right at the Engineering Console. Manning it was Anghal, the Engineer from the Infinity League. Without having to ask, the Engineer reported to her silence.

“Jumpspace precipitation, ma’am,” announced Anghal, a chocolate brown Gvegh with deep, amber-brown eyes. “All lights are Green. Jump Drive on hasty cool-down.”

Nodding her light beige muzzle at the Chief Engineer, Capt. Kakhskha was about to lay claws on the manual controls when the door to the Bridge opened. Instead of grasping the controls for a new vector, she looked over her shoulder to see the entry of Professor Zannun, a male Gvegh Vargr from Serue the capital of high technology in Knoellighz Sector. One of two males crewing the Gatherer, Zannun was the oldest Vargr on the ship and supposed to be Ship’s Steward, though Kakhskha was by far a better cook. Males. Go figure. What the old Scholar did have was quiet feet though he was clearly not used to jump rumblings. The Captain could have missed Zannun’s entry if it had not been for the hiss of the iris valve to the Bridge opening.

The Professor stepped up to the Astrogation and SensOp boards, currently empty of crew. Kakhskha recalled that her Astrogator liked to crunch his numbers off the Bridge when she allowed such. She watched as Zannun looked at the visuals readouts from the TL 15 Visor.

“Where is the primary?” asked the Scholar. “There’s no system on the sensors.”

“Correct, Distinguished Professor,” agreed Kakhskha, using his formal Rank among his own think-tankers. She saw the male’s ears droop and his tail fall to the floor in surprise.

“Did we misjump?” Fear in the black-furred male began to show. His personal Charisma was showing again. Though learned, and an award-winning researcher, Zannun was overly protective of his breakthrough designs and the system he had asked to install aboard the Gatherer.

“No. We are on path and I am monitoring our vector and velocity, Distin-.“ She cut herself off. Why was she reporting to this male? He was the Fourth Officer, the supposed Steward and was only called to the Bridge to run his educated mouth on the Comms or CommsPlus when asked.

“What is the matter, Steward?” asked Kakhskha almost as an order. She drummed her claws on the helm controls to show her Charisma and authority as Captain.
__________________
Virus: When you care to infect the very best.
Empress Wave: Not something done in a local stadium.
Incoming Code: tc 23- mgt++ tn++ t20- t4- t5++ tp? tg- th? to~ ru+ ge- 3i+ c+ jt- au+ ls+ pi+ ta he+ kk hi+ as++ va++ dr+ ith? vr? ne? so+ zh+ vi+ da+ sy~
The Pakkrat 0608 X58738-8 S va++ so+ zh+ vi+ da+ 534
On assignment: Roethoeegaeaegz (Knoellighz 1726)

Last edited by The Pakkrat; July 29th, 2017 at 11:12 AM..
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Old July 28th, 2017, 12:00 PM
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Post Teacher pt. 2

The C-Drive specialist Professor cringed at the Captain’s paralanguage. She intimidated him. It was on his face. He was from Serue and only a male. Males like Zannun were a credit-a-dozen back home on Roethoeegaeaegz. But then when the females held all the armor and weapons, that was to be expected on a matriarchy world. This was why Kakhskha caught the Traveller bug, the wanderlust to take to the stars. Out here, she was exposed to more headstrong male Vargr, like Dead-Hex the only male ever to goad her or tease her on her own Bridge. She liked the Astrogator’s attention though he was from the Zhodani-loving Infinity League. Kakhskha wished Dead-Hex would hurry up.

“M-my Collector will take forever to gather exotic particles without a primary, a system, Captain Kakhskha,” explained Prof. Zannun. “Your Astrogator has jumped us into an empty parsec, Captain.”

Kakhskha never admitted it to anyone else, but she had the best rating as a SensOp though she enjoyed the helm more. Looking flippantly at the boards to her left, she nodded, “Yes, it seems he has, Steward.” She repeatedly used titles, roles and ranks before a person’s names. It was drilled into her back on her homeworld.

Professor Zannun’s jaw dropped. “B-but how will we jump without-?” He cut himself off as Kakhskha rose from the spacious seating of the helm. She rose to her full height, formal, female. Power and Charisma born of authority as Captain issued from her. Her tail betrayed her true feelings despite the bravado she was playing at the cringing nerd. The elder male was smart, intelligent but not very wise in Travelling and a poor cook. The others were dumping his meals behind his back and sneaking meals later from the galley when he slept.

“Professor,” began Kakhskha, “you must have checked our records on Serue when you hired us to tour your Collector Drive on its maiden voyage. You know that I attended College on Roethoeegaeaegz, to earn my degree. Anghal over there earned hers on Duelunogoerrzuez in the Infinity League. She’s our Chief Engineer. Dead-Hex is the best Astrogator I’ve ever seen. But don’t tell him that or else I’ll never hear the end of it. He too attended the same College as Anghal.”

The iris valve to the Bridge hissed open again. In stepped First Lieutenant Ardell, a valkyrie Marine from Nouon a colony world belonging to Roethoeegaeaegz. The Marine had a slight limp to her step but was healthy. Despite her handicap, the Marine came to lean against the back of the helm. Kakhskha recalled the valkyrie who signed on with her and the resume on hardcopy she presented. The two were friends from the same general culture if not the same worlds. Males knew their place where they were from. “What’s up, boss?” asked the Ship’s Medic and Counsellor, a curious role for a decorated and Disabled Marine. The gray and white female Vargr was never without her laz-pistol though she was a better Medic. Kakhskha nodded to the fellow female.

“The Professor here seems disturbed that we have precipitated from jump in Parsec 1524, one devoid of a system,” said Kakhskha as she crossed her arms. She continued to enlighten the smart-guy male. “Even though she was conscripted to the Marines, Lt. Ardell has an Honors BA and might as well be a surgeon. But she’ll save your life one day, Distinguished Professor. She’s that good, even under fire. One of her medals says so. ‘Thanks’ is on the back of one that she showed me.” Kakhskha paused for effect, hoping it would.
__________________
Virus: When you care to infect the very best.
Empress Wave: Not something done in a local stadium.
Incoming Code: tc 23- mgt++ tn++ t20- t4- t5++ tp? tg- th? to~ ru+ ge- 3i+ c+ jt- au+ ls+ pi+ ta he+ kk hi+ as++ va++ dr+ ith? vr? ne? so+ zh+ vi+ da+ sy~
The Pakkrat 0608 X58738-8 S va++ so+ zh+ vi+ da+ 534
On assignment: Roethoeegaeaegz (Knoellighz 1726)

Last edited by The Pakkrat; July 29th, 2017 at 03:20 PM..
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Old July 28th, 2017, 12:03 PM
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Post Teacher pt. 3

Anghal, the Chief Engineer took the pause to speak up from across the Bridge, “Cool-down almost complete, Captain.”

Kakhskha heard the report but acted as if was missed as she kept her brown eyes on the male before her. “You wanted the best. We’re Merchants, a Naval Spacer and a Marine, Professor. Each of us is a master at our role on this ship. We may not look it. I trust Lt. Ardell with security on this 300-ton ‘stretched’ Surveyor and I trust her with my life. Look at her. She obviously is unfazed by our current position.”

“H-how will we get home? All ten of our Low Berths are full of Passengers.” The blue eyes of the nervous Gvegh from Serue were overthinking the situation and taking the worst reaction.

“Calm yourself, Zannun.” There. She had become informal at last. The Gatherer was only two jumps out from Serue since the installation of the Profressor’s Collector Drive and the Canopy. “What does the Ship Profile abbreviation on the outside of this ship’s hull say, Zannun?” She wanted him, before the three females, to come up with the answer to his fears without having to be told directly and thus fail to earn his trust. Charisma would not do it alone. Authority only went so far before a crew mutinied. Not that a single male Vargr had a chance against Lt. Ardell.

“It says SJL-3A32, Scout, Survey/Prospector, Long-Range at 300 tons, an- an Airframe hull with wings capable of 3Gs of acceleration and a two-parsec jump range. And now we’ve jumped into an empty parsec for which my Collector cannot raise the charge to jump again.”

Kakhskha rolled her eyes and scratched an ear. How to break this to him? The Merchant Captain looked to the iris valve and wished Dead-Hex would arrive soon. The male before her was acting doomed. “What does it not say, Zannun? What are the specs of this ship that you have apparently glossed over in your desire to see us test-run your revolutionary Collector Drive?” Hurry up, D.H.

“Well, she’s armed with barbettes, has nine luxury staterooms and has excellent charged plate armor from Serue…” The black-pelted worrywart began rattling off what he could remember from the first day he interviewed Kakhskha and her ship.

“Yes-yes,” Kakhskha stopped the Professor. “We took on seven High-class passengers and had to make do with two Economy passengers. We were lucky to have ten desperates fill our Low Berths. The freight fare and the gemstones we bought back on Khodhothgvouks (Knoellighz 1323) which might sell poorly on the next world are filling our cargo hold. This ship has to pay for itself, yes? Your project’s restart funds were well appreciated in getting our ship off the tarmac again, Zannun. Your Collector Drive is working well as far as the rest of us can tell.”
__________________
Virus: When you care to infect the very best.
Empress Wave: Not something done in a local stadium.
Incoming Code: tc 23- mgt++ tn++ t20- t4- t5++ tp? tg- th? to~ ru+ ge- 3i+ c+ jt- au+ ls+ pi+ ta he+ kk hi+ as++ va++ dr+ ith? vr? ne? so+ zh+ vi+ da+ sy~
The Pakkrat 0608 X58738-8 S va++ so+ zh+ vi+ da+ 534
On assignment: Roethoeegaeaegz (Knoellighz 1726)

Last edited by The Pakkrat; July 28th, 2017 at 12:17 PM..
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Old July 28th, 2017, 12:03 PM
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Post

Ancients, keep Lt. Ardell from having to tackle and sedate the worried male, thought Kakhskha. He was missing still another detail about the Gatherer. Then the iris valve opened and the mottled pelt Dead-Hex stepped onto the Bridge. He had an overconfident spring in his digitigrade step and his tail wagged like he had not a care in the universe. Under one arm, the male from the Infinity League cradled his Portable Controller, a Console designed to be taken anywhere in the ship and still function as a fixed Console as on the Bridge. Dead-Hex lifted and aimed the device at his Astrogation-SensOp station. With a swipe of his claw across the face of the Portable Controller, his work – the next jump calculations – was sent via the ship’s Model/6 computer to the Console on the Bridge. “Calculations finished and confirmed, Captain. Jump at your command.” He goaded her with his tongue lolling out like a teenage male hoping the best for his first year of Selection back home.

Another wave of confusion washed over Professor Zannun, the ship’s Steward as the jovial Dead-Hex passed between him and Kakhskha. It annoyed her and he knew it. The male, like Lt. Anghal from the Infinity League, was from Duelunogoerrzuez (Knoellighz 1138) and the system was full of capitalists and competitive show-offs. Taking in a full breath for patience in her male crew, Kakhskha pointed to the Engineering Console on the Bridge. “Your answer is on that Console, Zannun. See if you can find it while we get busy.”

Zannun looked struck by the lack of concern for the situation. “Stranded,” was all he could mumble as he hobbled in fear to the Engineering Console. Anghal got up from the station to give the worried male room. She looked to Kakhskha for guidance and received a quiet nod from the Captain. At the voiceless permission, the Chief Engineer gestured to the boards. Kakhskha saw her index claw point to the ship’s fuel status, a healthy highlighted blue.

The black-furred Seruean saw the indicators for the ship’s remaining fuel. Kakhskha knew that they had barely scratched the first week of fuel out of the seven months of fuel had the Gatherer did nothing else but in-system commute. The ship in truth had enough fuel for another jump of up to two parsecs, beyond the single charge of the Professor’s Collector Drive. There was no need for another. Understanding and relief sagged his shoulders.

“When you proposed the installation of your Collector, Zannun,” explained Kakhskha as she sat back down at the helm next to Dead-Hex who was already checking the Sensors for space matter that might get dragged along in the jump bubble. “The crew and I agreed to your forty-ton contraption on the condition that we keep the tankage necessary for normal fuel expenditure. I agreed with them since none of us had ever seen a Collector Drive before. We were going to take no chances. You didn’t trust us. Why should we trust your newfangled Collector Drive? But the Collector works as does the Canopy. Congratulations. But here is the real boon. We can make a second, two-parsec jump as soon as the Jump Drive is cooled down. Our Ship’s Profile doesn’t have to say how many jumps we can perform on a tank of fuel, only our single jump range.”

“Thanks to our masterful team whom you hired, Zannun, we need only to jump to Aesrroeth (Knoellighz 1624) and then skim for fuel, thus saving us a full week in the hole rather than having to go around, hopping systems. That way would have taken us four weeks. We arrive at Roethoeegaeaegz now in just under three. How’s that for customer service? You hired masters. You have masters. Your Collector works, Zannun. Congratulations. Now go aft, relay the good news to any concerned passengers and let the Merchants do their business. Time is money after all.”

“Jump Drive ready, ma’am,” reported Lt. Anghal from her standing position over the newly-enlightened Professor’s shoulder.

“Coordinates locked…ma’am,” added Dead-Hex who deliberately delayed his ma’am. Capitalist.

Kakhskha ignored the jest. Males. “Go aft, Distinguished Professor. We will arrive ahead of schedule.”

Professor Zannun passed close behind the helm on his way to the iris valve to the Bridge and paused. Kakhskha watched him.

“What is your mastery, Capt. Kakhskha, if I might ask?”

“Me? Hmph. I Majored in Business but my Minor was Instruction. I’m just a Business Teacher. Feel better?” Kakhskha smiled genuinely for emphasis.

“Yes, ma’am.” With that, the black-pelt hobbled from the Bridge.
__________________
Virus: When you care to infect the very best.
Empress Wave: Not something done in a local stadium.
Incoming Code: tc 23- mgt++ tn++ t20- t4- t5++ tp? tg- th? to~ ru+ ge- 3i+ c+ jt- au+ ls+ pi+ ta he+ kk hi+ as++ va++ dr+ ith? vr? ne? so+ zh+ vi+ da+ sy~
The Pakkrat 0608 X58738-8 S va++ so+ zh+ vi+ da+ 534
On assignment: Roethoeegaeaegz (Knoellighz 1726)
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