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					30.09.2002 - 01.11.2002

Posted by Galen Winters on 30.09.2002 at03:45:


"Vessel SRE-784452, this is Stargazer Control. We aren't expecting anyone right now,
please state your intentions." came a very businesslike voice over the comm.

"Stargazer Control this is the independent vessel Heart of Gold. We weren't scheduled to
stop here until yesterday. You should have gotten our flight plan by now." Galen replied,
knowing full well that a day-old flight plan would not have gotten there yet without divine
intervention. "We're stopping by for minor repairs and replenishment, do you have an
available docking bay?" Galen said, also knowing that the controller was making a big fuss
over nothing because he didn't have shit to do all day except chat on DSRNet with some
doubtlessly fat 'sexysweetgirl'. Stargazer saw traffic very rarely, which was perfect for
Galen's purposes. He didn't feel like running into any undesirables during his brief stay on
the station.

There was silence for a few moments, as the controller pretended to look for a rare open
space in the jam-packed docking bays. "You're lucky, Heart of Gold. We just had someone
leave this morning. We can squeeze you in in docking bay seven. It's on the…"

"I know where it is, thank you. Heart of Gold out." Galen ended, thumbing the comm
system to 'shipwide'.

"All hands, this is the Captain. We'll be docking in about twenty minutes. Shore leave is
approved, but don't forget your comm sets. We'll be on-station a day or two, so you can
take your time with whatever you're going to do. Any other questions, you can ask me at
customs when we debark. Winters out." He stated in as businesslike a manner as he could.

The docking went smoothly, the docking bay on the ventral tier easy enough to find, given
that he had lived on the station for over six years. There was the old lurch again, as the
stations gavity field took over for the sleek pulsar's own, and Galen could feel the weight
of his body sag a bit further into his chair. I see they still have the station set for one G.
Damned soft Earthers. he mulled internally.

The number seven docking bay was just as Galen remembered it, the north cargo lift
apparently still down for repairs. The bay was not well maintained, but was one of the few
capable of holding a vessel as large as Heart of Gold. His nostalgia at last satisfied, Galen
walked forward to the pair of guards checking the new arrivals. Waiting for his crewmates,
he silently observed the pair of guards, an ateva and a large human. They seemed a bit
bored, to Galen's eyes, going through their duties with a quiet manner. This meant that
they were either very new and bored, or very good, having seen enough to not be
surprised easily. I just hope that they don't get fugitive alerts very often here. I don't
know if Engreia liked my little disappearing act, but I'd rather not find out the hard way.
he thought morosely.

Posted by Salfiri on 30.09.2002 at15:26:

"Incomming in docking bay seven. Independant Vessel Heart of Gold." Salfiri's headset
relayed the messege from security control. She glanced at her partner, face impassive. He
just shrugged and jerked his head in the direction of the dock.

Salfiri nodded politely to the merchanter who's ship they'd just inspected, and took off at
an easy stride towards dock seven - one of the larger docking bays- Arron trotting
alongside her. They made it in good time and were standing there waiting as the ship
settled and switched over to station power and gravity.
It was an elegant vessel, sleek and sophisticated, but Arron frowned when he saw it.
"Smuggler." He said quietly. "Fine-toothed comb on this one." Salfiri simply nodded. She
was well aware of the capabilities of the Pulsar class ship. The two took up position
between the ship and gave the ship an initial visual inspection while they waited for the
hatch to open and the crew to dissembark.

They were an odd pair at first, second and third glance. Arron was actually a fairly
standard station tough, muscular and judging by his expression, not too bright, but good
at harrassing people he didn't like the look of. His uniform was pressed but presumably by
someone else, and the sleeves were tight around his bulging biceps. There was, in fact,
nothing unusual about the man, what made him so odd was the contrast he posed to his
partner. Arron Marks was a big, intimidating man, and chances were he enjoyed being a
big, intimidating man, which would explain the current sour expression on his face.

The nine foot Ateva standing next to him towered over him, her impassive expression and
alien gold eyes - without iris or pupil - somehow far more intimidating than the human
beside her, despite the fact that nothing in her stance or manner was threatening. She
seemed to radiate strength. Her uniform didn't fit nearly as well, largely because it had
been cobbled together out of several others, yet it was better pressed and somehow
looked smarter than that of her partner. They both had plasma pistols at their sides and
wore security headsets, which incorporated Babelfish UTs as well as the upgrade that
blocked telepathic mind probes. Both were standard security issue, and it was unlikely
they owned them. The Ateva also carried an electronic clipboard, a larger version of the
common e-notepad.

When the hatch opened and Galen approached them the tall Ateva inclined her head
politely. "Nand' Captain Galen Winters?" She inquired, making sure she had the right
person. "Stargazer Station security protocols require that you register a crew and
cargo manifest with us and, nadi, that you submit your ship to a standard
inspection, including cargo areas." She said, the Babelfish UT failing to find any
translation for a couple of the Ateva's words, though anyone who knew the Atevi would
know that they were indicators of respect. "Permission to come aboard and conduct
the inspection is respectfully requested, nand' captain."

The human male at her side rolled his eyes at that, obviously of the opinion that his
partner was being far too polite, and yet quite happy to leave the talking to her. Yet there
was something in the Ateva's voice that suggested that phrasing the last sentence as a
request was only a formality. They -would- see the inside of the ship, at plasma point if
that was the way Galen wanted it.

Posted by Ragnar Argoth on 01.10.2002 at01:08:

“How‟s it coming?”

The words emanating from the door half-startled Ragnar. Abruptly looking up from his
work, he recognized (after a long moment) the figure for captain Winters, and cleared his
throat. “Not bad, I woke up just a little while ago, but I should have this room mostly set
up and ready to go by the next time I sleep, unless something unexpected comes up.

Thoroughly uninterested in the fact that they were going to be docking soon, he furrowed
his brow at the mention of a requisition list. “I believe I already sent you a sufficient list a
while back. I actually sent it right after I made an inventory of the forward bay, and right
before I learned that the bay floor was mobile…” Concluding in a half-questioning tone, he
decided to finish off more appropriately. “…so that should cover that.”

I also prioritized by comparative costs, in case that makes a difference…

Watching the larger man non-verbally acknowledge him then head out of the doorway, he
kept staring forward until the automatic door closed. Clearing his throat again, he
continued working. Three down, thirteen to go. I‟m making good time, actually…

Standing up from his completed work to stretch, he was nearly oblivious to the intercom.
After having bored and threaded 64 holes in just under two hours, he could barely hear at
the moment. Though impressed at the time he‟d made, it had taken him forever (six
hours, to be exact) to draft out the machine positions.

Yawning, then straining to hear, he caught that they were going to be in port a day or two.
Great, just as long as I don‟t get nailed by Engreia customs, I‟ll be fine. Now, what to do
until then? Twenty minutes…well, that‟d be plenty enough time to put the pegboards on
the walls, considering there are quite a lot of hand tools in these crates.

Getting fed up with the rather boring work after fitting the wall opposite the door, he
decided to just take it easy for the remaining few minutes he had before their arrival.

Suppose they‟ll be asking about the bridge, heh heh. Let‟s see, pirates? No, that would
cause background checks and all sorts of funny shit. Ah well, fuck it, it‟s Winters‟ ship, he
can talk to the guys. I‟m just a grease monkey who hasn‟t seen anything except the tool
room and the power core yet.

Standing outside the maintenance bay biting his lip, he waited for the ship to dock. He‟d
been to Stargazer before, and knew that the clod hoppers always kept it at the standard
Earth gravity. And yet they wonder why the other species tend to avoid it like a cloud of

Finally feeling the ship come to a stop (and feeling slightly light-headed from the increased
strain on his heart), he made his way toward the main hatch of the Heart of Gold. Arriving
there shortly after docking, he leaned against the wall of the thing, several feet from the
good captain. He didn‟t particularly feel the need to talk at the moment, and with his ears
ringing and his forehead pounding, he probably wouldn‟t have returned any conversation
from Galen, if indeed he‟d said anything at all.

While listening in from the ship the Ateva‟s monologue, he half shook his head, hoping
Galen had dealt with this sort of situation before. Don‟t get too cooperative now pal, they
just might be suspicious then. He pondered the truth in his thought, trying to entertain
himself while waiting for the jaw to get over with and the inspection to get started.

Posted by Galen Winters on 02.10.2002 at03:59:

Galen regarded the tall ateva with a wry smile. Things didn't use to be this tight, I wonder
what's changed since I was here last. Galen thought to himself, before presenting his ID to
the obsidian-skinned security guard. "Of course, ma'am. That won't be a problem. As for
manifests, my entire crew is standing right here in front of you, and we aren't carrying any
cargo beyond normal ship's stores. We're just here for some light repairs, replenishment,
and to visit an old friend." he said calmly, studiously leaving out Lundquist for now. "We
should be on station for another day or two, and I swear that we'll keep our noses clean."
he added, giving a sidelong glance to Ragnar.

After getting clearance to proceed, Galen walked confidently past the two guards and into
the familiar corrdiors of the station proper. The twists and turns in the docking area still
didn't make sense, but Galen didn't get lost. A few of the old signs had been replaced, but
Galen could still see some of his handiwork in a patched conduit, a repainted door, or a
slightly newer section of deck plating. Ahh, such wonderful times. Galen thought,
remembering his days working for the station maintenance crew, alongside Aven Hrssault.
Speaking of which, where the hell is that fuzzball? Galen queried himself.

Almost on cue, a tall hani male rounded a turn in the corridor, regarding his watch with a
look of consternation. Galen watched the handsome form of the hani with an amused
smirk on his face. Mmm mmm mmm what I wouldn't give to get him alone and . . . slid
into his mind without even thinking, before Galen shook his head vigorously and let out a
shocked cry of alarm. "What the fuck am I thinking?" he asked himself aloud.

"That you are lucky to have such a good looking guy around to keep all the women off of
you?" came Aven's deep voice.

Galen looked up and saw Aven leaning against the bulkhead wearing an amused grin. His
latest mental slipup forgotten for the moment, Galen fired back as best he could. "Puh-
lease! You picking up cat-girl wannabes hardly counts, and you know it."

"I can't help it if I'm the center of attention for an entire group of the human population.
You're just jealous it doesn't go the other way." Aven retorted.

Galen couldn't help but chuckle at Aven's last barb, having seldom won their verbal
sparring matches in the past. "How have you been, you big furball? I was here a couple
months ago, and you weren't. What gives?" Galen asked of his friend.

"I'm doing all right, actually. I have Larson's old job, since he retired last year. All my time
on the Aldeberan Rising got me the supervisor job back here. After putting up with
pampered terran princesses and stodgy businessmen trying to avoid their jobs, if not their
work, taking care of a bunch of eccentric scientists here is a piece of cake. I just got back
last month, to take the job. I heard about your grandfather, I'm sorry." he said somberly,
placing a clawed hand upon Galen's shoulder.

"It's okay, Aven. Really. I was never that close to the weirdo anyway." Galen replied, lying
a bit. "Come on, I want to show you something." he continued, turning to head for the
observation gallery.

"Oh really, Captain Winters. Sure I'd love to see what you managed to dredge out of some
asteroid field as salvage." Aven said sarcastically.

Galen only smiled back at the doubting hani, before continuing to the observation deck
overlooking the docking bay. "By the way, what's with the third degree in the docking bay?
We didn't used to have that much security even for sensitive jobs." Galen asked along the

"I heard something about one of the scientists researching some pretty illegal stuff a
couple years ago. Altering flash and such, using less than willing human test subjects.
Apparently they were smuggled on station without any checks being done." Aven

"Ouch. I bet that was a nasty little shitstorm." Galen said. The pair walked another dozen
meters, before at last getting to their destination. The corridor opened onto a wide ledge
above the docking bays, separated form the long drop by metal railings which rose to
chest height.

Aven regarded the docking bay for several moments with a raised eyebrow, before turning
to Galen. "All right, I give. Is your piece of shit hidden behind that pulsar?" he asked.

"It is the pulsar, fuzz-for-brains." Galen shot back, very not amused.

Aven regarded his old friend with more than a bit of curiosity, the Heart of Gold being a
beautiful, and surely very expensive piece of hardware for an old maintenance tech like
Galen. "I can see we have a lot to catch up on, Galen. How's dinner sound?" Aven asked.

"Sounds great. I have to see some other people on station anyway, provisions and such."
Galen said. And someone to dry clean my brain while I'm at it. Galen wisely added only to

"Great, how's twenty-two hundred sound?" Aven asked warmly.

"Umm sounds great. What time is it? I'm still on ship's time." Galen replied curtly.
"Oh yeah, forgot about that. It's . . . seventeen twenty-two." Aven said after a cursory
glance at his watch.

"Okay, I'll be there." Galen stated flatly, focusing attention on getting the second display
on his watch set to the correct station time. "And where's 'there'?"

"How about the Glass Lounge? Best view on the station." Aven said hopefully. The
Lounge's reputation for Hani cuisine was also very good. For some reason Galen could not
fathom, that fact did not bother Galen as it once would have.

"Sounds good to me. Now if you'll excuse me, I have people to talk to." Galen said with

Aven gave a short bow, and strode off without another word, apparently having things of
his own to do.

Galen gave one long, lasting look at his ship, before doing the same and walking off the
observation platform.

Posted by Galen Winters on 02.10.2002 at04:23:

 Miss De Vries? You're on in five...

The office was in the same place as Galen remembered it, which was a small comfort.
What WAS odd was that the lights were out. There was a small shard of light which
penetrated the interior of the office through the tall glass door, but nothing was turned on
inside. The door itself was open, which on any other day would have sent Galen's instincts
into a defensive posture.

Instead, the grey-eyed valertrez, pressed the door control button, watching the panel slide
into the wall with nary a whisper. Likely Aven's got those slags in maintenance working
their asses off these days. he thought of the hani with a mixture of respect and loathing of
his work habits. There was still nothing going on inside the reception area, and the utter
stillness of it was only broken by the quiet, tuneless music piped in from the seventh circle
of hell, surely. Galen's vision was slowly adjusting to the small amount of reflected light in
the room, and he could barely make out the desk and computer terminal close to the back

He stopped short, when he thought he heard a small noise off to the right. "Hello? Is
anyone there?" he asked the darkness. His only answer was the continued light music, and
nothing else. Galen was about to dismiss the noise as wishful thinking, when he was
overcome with an almost overwhelming sense of malice. He took a split second to realize
what it was, and dove towards the desk as the unmistakeable rasp of a gun clearing
leather sounded in the still office. His opponent fired first, a trio of plasma rounds tracing
through the space he had been a moment before. Galen's own blaster was coming out its
station under his left armpit in mid-air, and Galen landed sharply on the deck, before
returning fire in the general direction of his assailant.

Galen could scarcely tell if he had hit anything, but had little time to think it over. A slow
progression of plasma rounds lanced through the desk itself, blowing through it as if it
were paper instead of sheet metal. The slow search of the space behind the desk
proceeded, Galen trying to anticipate the next shot, and not be in its path. His movements
would have done a contortionist proud, but he could tell he was being forced lower and
lower. Damn it, think. he railed at himself silently. The next round drilled through the
desk, and Galen's mind quickly calculated the angle, tracing it back to where the gunman
must be standing.

With a feral scream, Galen reached up and over the desk, and fired a quick barrage of
shots in that same general direction. He was almost instantly rewarded with a yelp of pain,
followed by a crash as his opponent jumped through the now closed glass door, running
down the corridor with the hounds of hell seemingly at his heels, if Galen could tell
anything about the cadence of the gunman's footfalls. Ths sound of his own breathing and
the pounding of his heart now provided the only soundtrack to the scene, and Galen
hauled himself to his feet with the aid of the desk.

With a sigh of relief, he let go of the desk with his hands, and was very surprised to find
himself on the floor again, almost instantly. What the fuck? he thought, before sensing a
dull ache in his left thigh. He reached down to where it was, and found a hole neatly
burned into his flight suit, which was slightly damp. "Fuck!" he swore loudly to no one in
particular. "I am pissed now!" he exclaimed, reinforcing his own anger at wandering into a
box without noticing all the danger signs.

Galen retreived a small penlight from the pocket on his left bicep, and clicked the switch
on. The small beam of light lanced out into the darkness, illuminating the lobby dimly
wherever it landed. Galen found the receptionist's desk had been ransacked, several
drawers removed and the contents dumped on the desk. The valertrez reached over and
righted the secretary's swivel chair, before hauling himself up into it. As he settled into it,
the cushion gave out a huffy sigh, which mirrored Galen's exasperated mood. He sat still
for a moment, savoring his first victory of the past few minutes, before returning to reality.
The penlight swung down to light the outside of Galen's leg, and he groaned aloud in
frustraion at what he saw. The hole in the suit was almost two centimeters wide, the edges
neatly melted by the plasma blast. There was a darkness spreading through the black
cloth, which Galen knew was his own blood. Fuck he swore again, silently this time.

He started to wheel around the office a bit, looking for something to place over the wound,
but nothing was suited to the task. Maybe the bathroom? he asked himself upon spying
the slightly open door to his right. Galen wheeled himself over as best he could, given the
debris scattered about, and reached for the handle. He stopped himself short, however,
feeling an almost palpable emanation of fear from the other side of the door. What the? he
wondered, until he figured out what the cause was. He kicked himself back from the door,
the wheels of the chair squeaking loudly in protest as he raised his pistol and light,
pointing both at the door.

"Come out nice and easy, friend. I'm not gonna hurt you if I don't have to." he said, clearly
addressing whoever was hiding in the bathroom.

Posted by Salfiri on 02.10.2002 at06:47:

Salfiri took the ID card with long, black-skinned fingers, her hand slightly larger than the
pale one the card had come from, and examined it for a long moment before handing it
back. "Thankyou, nand' Captain. We will need to see the ID of the rest of your crew before
they leave the bay, but you are free to access the station and it's facilities." She bowed her
head slightly, and the two security guards left Galen to his own devices and approached
Ragnar where he was leaning against the side of the ship.

"Can we see some ID please?" The burly human asked in a non-too friendly tone, the tall
Ateva standing a couple of steps to the side of him, visually scanning the ship, and
entering details on her electronic clipboard. Having examined Ragnar's ID card, the pair
moved past him and up the gangway into the ship itself.

The tall Ateva requested a few standard details from the panel by the hatch, noted them
down, and then the pair continued down to the cargo bay. As they walked Salfiri trailed
one hand against the wall, an apparently idle guesture that made it look like she wasn't
paying attention, but in fact she was, very close attention. Particularly to the sounds her
fingers made and the noise of her footsteps on the floor panels, she was looking for
smuggling compartments. The slightly odd ring of a deck plate on an earlier ship had
revealed a stash of flash hidden in the floor. The ironic thing had been that Stargazer had
not been an intended stop, but the ship had needed repairs.
Posted by Nadia De Vries on 02.10.2002 at07:04:

With her wide blue eyes glued to the bathroom‟s door, Nadia De Vries stood ready with her
makeshift weapon- a paper cup full of rubbing alcohol in one hand and a lighter in the
other. The young valertrez girl took a few deep breaths to steady herself and tried to
swallow down the fear she could feel boiling up from her stomach. The noise from the
doctor‟s office, on the other side of the door, seemed to have stopped and the leggy
medical assistant moved a step closer, her head turning slightly to place an ear against the
closed door.

Nadia listened closely, but didn‟t hear any more noise. “Shit shit shit,” she thought to
herself while debating on what to do. Just as she was about to step back from the door,
the blue-haired girl heard a strange low sound that repeated itself in rapid succession,
quickly followed by the sounds of what seemed like furniture being destroyed. She nearly
spilled the cup of rubbing alcohol as she leapt back from the closed door while hearing
another series of strange sounds emanating from the outer area of Doctor Lundquist‟s
office. This time there was a loud yelp, followed by the horrendous noise of glass
shattering. “What the..?” Nadia thought while her eyes stayed fixed to the bathroom door.

"Fuck!" said an angry voice, "I am pissed now!"

“Yeah… well I‟m scared shitless buddy,” Nadia muttered quietly as she took another step
back from the closed door, her blue eyes wild with fright.

After a moment, another weird noise came from the outer area- a squeaky sound that
made Nadia frown a bit. That particular noise was somehow familiar and the valertrez
cocked her head slightly in concentration as she listened to the noise that seemed to be
drawing nearer.

“My chair! That‟s my chair…” Nadia thought when she finally recognized squeaks, “What
the hell is going on?” She wondered why in the world would somebody be rolling her chair
about the doctor‟s office. The squeaks became more ominous as the sounds came closer
and closer to the little room where Nadia was trapped. “Shit shit shit.”

Just after the squeaks had stopped right on the other side of the bathroom door, there was
a noisy thump sound which was followed by louder squeaks as it seemed as if the chair
had suddenly moved back from the closed door. These confusing noises were then
followed by a growling voice that was aimed towards the bathroom.

"Come out nice and easy, friend. I'm not gonna hurt you if I don't have to."

“Uh huh, sure,” thought the young girl as she stood frozen in fear while staring at the
door. She trembled a bit, both from fear and from a slight chill, being clad only in her tiny
white skin-tight dress, with its plunging neckline and bare back. Her feet shifted nervously
making the thigh-high boots grind into the floor as she fidgeted and debated on what to
do. “No way in hell I‟m going out that door,” Nadia decided as she concentrated on the
other side of the shut door. But as she focused her thoughts beyond the door, she picked
up on the feeling that whoever was out there was injured and confused- almost as
confused as she was…

Nadia stood thinking quickly for a few more moments before she placed the cup of
flammable liquid on the sink counter and returned her lighter to her clutch purse. As she
looked back over towards the door she nervously fingered the gold locket that had been
hanging between her rounded breasts.

“You goddamn well better be a man of your word!” she said in a loud voice while still
fidgeting with the heart-shaped locket. The young girl took another deep breath, collected
her purse and stepped closer to the door. “I‟m coming out,” she said before letting go of
her locket and slapping at the button to open the door.
Posted by Donen Krell on 02.10.2002 at09:54:

Donen was surprised upon waking up, to find himself in at least a full gee of grav and in
silence instead of hearing the steady noise of the ships engines. He was even more
surprised when he looked at the time...Shit! I've been out quite a while...I guess my lack
of sleep finally caught up with me, but no wonder I feel so damned hungry.

He was going to use his commset to contact his crewmates then remembered that he'd left
it in the medbay, heading down there first, he found the message in his PDA left by
Captain Winters, and a second commset. One or both of us is having memory problems,
Captain Winters, he mused, as he ported another copy of his purchase req for the medbay
to the captain's board, for the second time, or so he thought. And he pocketed the extra
commset to return to Winters later. After trying to raise his crewmates by comm,
unsuccessfully, he wandered off to the galley. Food first, questions later.

Rummaging through the galley, Donen found a stunning lack of culinary imagination...soup
and stew...MRE's all: edible (and not much more), but he needed the calories. He downed
a container of each, to better judge the advisibility of eating either in the future, and
promptly sent off an addendum of his requisition to the captain highlighting the need for
proper nutrition, and some variety in the ships rations. That accomplished, he headed
down to the cargo bay, to get offship and find out where in hell he was.

Walking into the cargo bay, Donen jumped as he saw a tall Ateva female and a human
male foraging through the bay. He relaxed as he saw the uniforms and insignia of the
Stargazer guards. At least I know where I am now, he thought, sarcastically, and then
moved slowly into the open to so as to be identified, searched, harrassed or whatever, by
the pair. "I don't recall Stargazer Station being so inquisitive before, but I'm
Donen Krell, Med Spec on the Heart of Gold, if you are interested," said the
Valertrez, presenting his ID. "Slept through docking it seems."

Posted by Salfiri on 03.10.2002 at02:27:

Captain Galen Winters had been telling the truth when he said they weren't hauling much,
at least not where people could see it, but the two Stargazer security guards were
checking the ident panel on every crate, and in a couple of cases cracking them open. It
was mostly food and medical or engineering equipment, and Salfiri let the heavy lid of the
latest crate clang shut.

The sound of footsteps behind them made Salfiri turn sharply, hand automatically reaching
for the plasma pistol at her side, but she relaxed when it was obvious that the rather
bleary human posed no threat. "I don't recall Stargazer Station being so inquisitive before,
but I'm Donen Krell, Med Spec on the Heart of Gold, if you are interested," said the
Valertrez, presenting his ID. "Slept through docking it seems."

"There have been some security issues in the recent past, nadi." The Ateva said,
explaining without really giving him any useable information. She reached to take his ID
card and examine it. Her partner leaned past her arm to have a look, looking mildly
irritated that he couldn't look over her shoulder, given that she was almost three feet taller
than him.

"Three down, one to go." The burly human commented, then turned to look around the
cargo bay. "That's all the crates, we're done here unless you folks have got any nice little
stashes under the floor." He smiled in a very nasty way.

"Given the dimensions of the pulsar class ship and the size of the cargo bay,
compartments under the floor are unlikely, nadi." The Ateva told her partner in that
same matter-of-fact tone, expression deadpan. "That would imply an unusually thin
hull, which would be structurally unsound." There simply wasn't any room.

She handed the ID card back to Donen with a small bow. "My thanks, nand' Donen. You
are free to use the facilities of the station, nadi, shoreleave has already been
cleared by your Captain." She said. Again a small bow, a slight bending from the waist,
and Salfiri turned and headed off towards the ladder well, clipboard in hand.

But her partner wasn't do eager to leave. He turned that nasty smile to Donen. "Yeah, you
have a nice time. I'm sure you'll get a warm reception when you get back here." He leaned
closer and lowered his voice. "We're onto you, bud. This is a research facility. Random
ships don't just drop in. Maybe your drug buddies didn't tell you, but we found out about
the smuggling opperation, Stargazer isn't a flash stop any more. So I strongly suggest that
you make your repairs real quick, and hope we don't find what we're looking for, or you
boys can have a nice long chat with Engreia."

"Arron." Came the Ateva's voice from the bottom of the ladder well. She was watching
them with those enigmatic golden eyes, and one had to wonder how sharp those pointed
ears were. Her voice tone was the same as always, but the fact that she had not added
any of the usual indicators of rank or respect suggested very strongly that Arron was a
fellow doctor persecuting her clients - that is, he was trying her patience. "The rest of
the ship remains, and one would not leave this job half-finished for the next
shift." The use of the third person and again the lack of respectful term - very rare in a
society where to not show such respect was to offer a potentially grevious insult - showing
her irritation as her tone and expression did not. Of course, most of that went over her
partner's head.

"You have a nice day." Arron said with a false smile, and turned to follow his partner,
though Donen could just catch the switch to a really foul expression as he walked away. It
was probably a good thing that the Ateva was busy with the ladder well. The tiny rungs
posed a problem, made almost comical by the fact that she only had a couple of inches
clearance on the cieling. She settled the matter by placing her clipboard on the floor
above, then reaching up, grasping the edge of the floor above, and simply boosting herself
up, strong arms bringing her up to the next level, where she could climb out of the well.
Arron watched her and shook his head. Just when he was starting to think that she'd
loosen up and make a good security guard, she'd do something like this, and he'd be
reminded of just how alien she was.

Posted by Ragnar Argoth on 03.10.2002 at02:36:

Having replaced his ID in the back pocket of his slightly grease-streaked (but otherwise
vibrant) blue jeans, he listened in on the conversation between the Hani and the Valertrez
he was following. As soon as the two parted ways, he continued on toward the streets,
energy pistol almost painfully obvious under the green tank top he wore.

Damn, I need some clothes. Being snatched up by Engreia has its disadvantages. Though
it‟s not like it mattered that much, seeing as I‟m just drifting through time at the moment,
I sure did leave a lot of shit on that ship. Suppose that‟ll be the first thing I go buy: some
new clothes.

Eventually coming upon a small hole in the wall of a clothes store, he decided to check it
out. Why the hell not, I have two days to fill, and little to fill them with…

Opening the door, he was quite surprised to find that the interior had an odd flair about it.
It was as if it was the trendiest store in the world, and yet only a few people knew about
it. Rows upon rows of clothes were jammed into the store, the shelves and hangars lined
with all sorts of clothes imaginable. Some of the same types of shirts with different colors
were combined onto a single rack to make room for some of the more exotic garments
(which seemed to abound the place).
The three heads in the store Ragnar could see (two of which were behind the counter)
didn‟t bother to look at him as he unconsciously smirked at the quirkiness of the place.
Should be able to find a few somethings here…

Exiting the place with a satisfied grin (if he had ever had one, or was capable of having
one), he thought to himself, How convenient, they deliver. I‟ll just have to remember to be
there to sign for it at nineteen thirty…

That wasn‟t too bad a drain, though spending 1400 deccas on clothes isn‟t exactly my idea
of a good time. Suppose I‟ll have to push back the droid another little while. Moving
on…what‟s next, anyway?

Trudging down the street aimlessly, he continued to ponder his next stop. Well, aside from
needing to check in with Mr. Krell later for some repairs of my own, I need a new jacket.
The old one was quite nice, but of course it‟s not here anymore, is it. Maybe I‟ll get a
custom-tailored SL jacket…wonder how much one of those would run me. Then again, the
ship sounds nice right about now…

Suddenly stopping and leaning against the wall, he held his head in his palms. It ached
only dully, but it was thoroughly impeding his will to go on. His arm, though still sharply
stinging, didn‟t hinder his mobility much. Wishing he‟d talked to Donen before he set out,
Ragnar leaned forward and started to progress toward a nearby pub.

Gulping down the double shot of amber liquid (and the contents of the Kylemol blister he‟d
bought with it), he quickly took the remaining ice in the glass to his head. After punching
an order of rare steak and a hard mixed drink into the touch screen in front of him, he
stood up and headed toward the back of the establishment.

Posted by Galen Winters on 03.10.2002 at07:35:

Hearing the somewhat tentative female voice from behind the door, Galen's guard fell a
little bit, if only mentally. The door slid open quietly, brushing aside some bits of
papaerwork which had fallen against it, and revealing Nadia's face in Galen's pen light.
Seeing the somewhat indignant and scared look on her face as she shielded her eyes from
the bright light, Galen dropped the muzzle of his gun down to a high search position, just
away from the possible target, but not in the holster, not yet anyway.

The light tracked a bit lower with its more lethal mate, and Galen's eyes were drawn to the
glint of gold. Or at least that's the excuse he would give if the woman, Nadia was quite
obviously a woman, if she got offended by him ogling her lithe body on such shameless
display. The spot of light tracked further downward, and Galen took in the long legs
encased in what was surely patent leather, the real thing being quite expensive this far
out. Either the receptionist, or the doc's personal hooker. I'll bet on one, but hope for two.
Galen thought to himself with an inward smile.

"I take it you work here?" he said, not really committing to either option verbally. "Where's
Doctor Lundquist? I need to speak with him. It's important." Galen said, holstering his
pistol and grimacing as his wound gave him a new adventure in pain. Donen'll never let
me off the ship again if I keep getting hurt like this. he bemoaned inwardly, still not
knowing the extent of the Med Nazi's personality. However, Galen always believed the
worst possible outcome to any situation, and had rarely been disappointed or surprised by
this approach.

Posted by Nadia De Vries on 04.10.2002 at01:33:
Nadia blinked.

The bathroom door opened with a barely audible hiss to reveal a figure, partially hidden
behind the bright beam of some kind of little flashlight, sitting in what Nadia had earlier
determined to be her chair from the outer reception area. Her large blue eyes blinked
again as the beam of light slid from her face to ooze slowly down her body. Nadia was still
scared out of her wits and found it only mildly amusing when the beam of the little light
lingered over her half-bare chest before continuing downwards.

Moving her hand away from shielding her eyes, Nadia could begin to make out the features
of the figure seated in the cushy chair. Whether he was Terran or Valertrez she couldn‟t be
positive, but the dark-haired man was definitely human and from a quick glimpse he
appeared to be handsome. “Well, maybe handsome wasn‟t quite the right word… More like
ruggedly good-looking in a I-can‟t-dress-myself-properly type of way,” the young Valertrez
mused as the flashlight beam seeped down to light up her thigh-high white boots.

Nadia‟s eyes widened a fraction when she saw that the light had been attached to a gun of
some sort and she felt a little relieved when the man holstered the weapon. The
statuesque girl crossed her arms and watched the man as a wave of pain marred his rough
features while she had been thinking how best to respond to his questions. Seeing the
man‟s face contort in a grimace made Nadia take a step closer, a slight frown of concern
appearing on her youthful face. “You okay?” she asked quietly.

Since the stranger had put away his gun, Nadia hopefully guessed that she wasn‟t in any
great danger, so she looked around the doctor‟s office before tossing her purse on the
doc‟s desk and walked over to the doorway leading to the reception area. She slapped at
the button for the overhead lighting, but nothing happened. Sighing heavily, Nadia
marched back over to stand behind the man. “Don‟t freak out or anything,” she said as she
pushed at the back of the chair, rolling the human towards the bathroom where it was still
brightly lit. “I‟m Doctor Lundquist‟s receptionist slash assistant,” she continued as the pair
entered the little room. She roughly spun the chair around and stopped its spinning by
holding out a leg to block the man‟s own leg as it came around. Nadia flinched as the
human bellowed a few choice words after their legs made solid contact.

“Oops,” Nadia responded with a smile that was more playful than apologetic. “Guess that‟s
where you‟re hurt huh?” stating the obvious as she looked down at the neat little hole in
the man‟s trousers. The young female stood and looked back to the man‟s face, “My name
is Nadia De Vries and I have no idea where the doctor is.” A tight smile played across her
face before she went on, “And after the day I‟ve had, I‟m not sure I want to know where
he is.” Nadia glanced back to the hole in the stranger‟s pants and laughed softly, “But I
guess my day hasn‟t turned out as bad as yours huh?”

Nadia stepped over to the counter while saying, “Why don‟t you rip a larger hole in your
pants or…” She raised an eyebrow, grinned, and said slyly, “better yet, why don‟t you take
„em off so I can get a look.” Nadia laughed again, “At your wound that is.” As she waited
for the man to comply she reached over and picked up the little paper cup that was filled
with rubbing alcohol. Holding the cup in her right hand, Nadia looked back to the man and
asked innocently, “By the way, you rugged types have a pretty high pain threshold right?”
Her blues eyes fairly danced in amusement as she awaited his answer.

Posted by Salfiri on 04.10.2002 at13:34:

Salfiri and Arron had cornered the ship's last crewmember, the navigator, coming out of
what was obviously the mess hall, as they were working along the top deck of the ship.
They'd searched the entire vessel systematically, but despite Arron's suspicions hadn't
turned up anything except standard equipment and beautiful vessel.
"Heh, what's the bet we find something here?" Said Arron with a grin on his face. He was
apparently under the impression that the mess hall was where they'd find something,
because it was an obvious place. Salfiri was of the opinion that they wouldn't because it
was an obvious place. She was developing quite a high opinion of the ship, and a
reasonable one of her crew, for the two were not the same thing. Indeed, as their
inspection had continued, it appeared more obvious to her that the two had been recently
mated. It would seem that Arron had a subcontious feel for this, hence the added

They conducted the standard inspection of the room, and then moved on before they
wasted any more time. This was largely by expedient of Salfiri going through exactly what
she had to and then exiting the room before Arron could get stuck into giving the ship a
full cavity search. He'd then get annoyed and follow. It seemed to be the best way to deal
with him.

She no longer suspected them of being smugglers, it simply didn't fit with what she'd
observed, but there was definately something not right about the situation. They covered
the kitchens and gave the various quarters as thorough a search as they were authorised
to do, including the ready room, and then Salfiri slapped the open button on the bridge

A low whistle sounded just behind her, and Arron peered around her arm at the mess of
carnage and make-shift repairs that was the bridge. "No wonder they're in for repairs."
Arron commented. "Must have been some fire-fight. I reckon what, none or ten guys at
least, all armed, to make this mess. " He hedged.

No, only seven. Salfiri thought to herself, gold gaze flicking to the precise plasma blasts at
the various points on the bridge. And only three were armed. The shots had the accuracy
of trained personell. Engreia. And a skeleton crew. And those shots, efficient, precise, and
deadly if intended that way. The Atevi hunted their food with rifles, even in this modern
age, and an Atevi security guard knew how to handle a gun, and what it's affect were. A
pity to find such wreckage on such a lovingly designed ship.

Posted by Galen Winters on 04.10.2002 at18:31:

"Are you okay?"

Biting back a much saltier retort, Galen simply replied, "Oh, I'm just peachy." through
clenched teeth. Regarding the ease with which Nadia moved around the room, Galen could
tell that she was at least very familiar with the place, so she was probably telling the truth
to him.

Being wheeled like an invalid to the light of the bathroom made Galen cringe inwardly, his
ego definitely bruised by this encounter. The quick spin and abrupt stop became an
entirely new adventure in pain as his left leg impacted Nadia's. Galen's eye flew wide open,
and he gritted his teeth, trying not to show weakness, or lose his cool. Unfortunately, he
was thinking several very nasty things, which were broadcast about the room with Galen
none the wiser.

Calming down a bit, Galen caught the tail end of her latest snippet of dialog. "Oh, I'd say
it's safe to assume that your whole month has turned out better than mine." he said
pessimistically. "By the way, I'm Galen Winters, Captain of the Heart of Gold." he said,
trying to sound as impressive as he could given the situation he was in.

In response to her last, Galen grudgingly removed his shoulder holster, setting it on the
ground. He pulled the zipper down from his throat on the one piece flight suit, and
shrugged his shoulders out of it. He slowly peeled the heavy garment down his torso and
thighs, revealing a plain cotton t shirt, and a pair of blue silk boxer shorts. These last were
a bit sticky with the blood from his wound, and he winced a bit when the flight suit was
peeled away from the slowly seeping wound.

Galen let out a low whistle then, the hole now solid reality for him as Nadia went about her
business. Seeing the outright amusement at her own question, Galen had second thoughts
about the woman before him, but he knew that this needed to get treated right away. "Do
your worst." he said with a fake grin, trying to remind himself to give Donen more credit
for his bedside manner. At least he didn't seem to enjoy inflicting pain.

Posted by Donen Krell on 04.10.2002 at20:25:

Although Donen had his doubts about his captain and crewmates, he didn't think they
were smugglers...but if they were, the Ateva would no doubt find out. She seemed a lot
brighter and more diplomatic than the average security type...of course, her human
partner helped considerably in bringing back the equilibrium of Donen's stereotype for the
profession. He thought up some choice comebacks for the muscle-bound, braindead
lackey, but wisely kept them to himself. I almost feel sorry for his partner, he thought,
smiling to himself.

"Well thanks, nadi," he said nodding to the Ateva in respect, hoping the honorific was
appropriate for her race and gender, and then headed out of the hatch and into the
station, noting the number of the docking bay so he could find his way back. Let's see if I
have any luck staying out of trouble for a few hours.

Posted by The Serpent on 05.10.2002 at19:07:

 Oi, headache...

What an incredibly unhealthy way of resting, animated by the constant rumbling of the
reactors, the various minor gravity holes, which rarely affected the ship but did hell to the
lanky hackers physical and mental state, and the feeble fact that he could throw up in a
matter of moments. If he would have had any more strength, he would long ago been up
and roaming the halls in hope of finding a more peaceful corner where to curl up and
disappear from sight. But, he was too weakened to try and do anything but hide under the
covers and forget about the fact that he was most probably abducted by a deranged
former pimp and that his guts were trying to escape and run off in search for a slightly
calmer area.
He had been woken up by the high pitched, and notably disgruntled, male voices a number
of times. But after blinking for a couple of times and noting that he was not needed, he
simply turned the other side and slept on, dreaming of sweet times before life decided to
fuck him over.

After countless hours of refreshing rest, he finally forced open his deep red eyes and
yawned gruffly. The last thing Rewedyk wished to do was leave the bed and venture into
the vicious world, but it was inevitable and it had to be done sooner or later. Sooner was
more logical, later greatly more tempting. With a weary sigh, the Valertrez hoisted his
overly skinny form out of the bunk and stretched. He was just about to rub some of the
stiffness out of his pale neck, when the sudden realisation clobbered him and almost
compelled his body to fall spontaneously on the chilly floor. They were at the station and
the gravitation, quite frankly, was horrible. It was even worse than what he had gotten
used to in space, if such a thing was possible. Immediately, his stomach roared a cry of
distaste towards the current predicament and all the pained hacker could do was sit down
on the bed and wince, as his eyesight turned black. If it wasn‟t for the fact that it was so
pathetically idiotic, the Valertrez could have actually found something remotely funny in
the whole situation.
He spent a considerable amount of time, simply balled up on the side of the berth, waiting
for his body to adapt to the cruel level of gravitational force, before he even thought of
getting up. Finally, he found the courage to let go of his stomach and rise up to his feet.
Rewedyk mumbled a few curses under his breath, while shifting his eyes from one side to
the other in the rather cramped room. He was not used to much better, anyway, so it
fitted him perfectly.

Pulling through his hair with one hand, he lowered to one knee and fumbled with his shoes
for a mear second or two, before standing up once more and heading towards the door.
Obviously, in silent expectation of finding someone relatively sane and maybe getting the
mandatory ID check done before the demanding security guards busted in his door. After
opening the hatch leading out of his room, a slight glimmer on the floor caught his eyes.
Another comm set. Seemed that the captain was a bit forgetful...Rewedyk scraped it off
the floor and stuffed it into one of his few pockets, intending to hand it back to Galen later

Lo and behold, there was the duo of guards already, checking the makeshift of a ship for
any hidden compartments and hiding places. Honestly, Rewedyk wouldn‟t have been
surprised if they had found a large stash of Ash behind one of the floor tiles. The
honourable captain Winters seemed to be constantly high on something, anyway.

Posted by Salfiri on 06.10.2002 at08:06:

There wasn't much to search on the bridge, as there wasn't an awful lot left intact, and
besides, it was an unlikely place. Salfiri watched Arron rummage through a couple of
lockers, then slam the covers and shake his head. Nothing. She nodded perfunctorily, and
turned to leave the bridge, ducking under the lintel of the hatch.

"Maybe he got boarded." Arron mused, then grinned nastily. "Maybe some pirate grabbed
his stash and all his gear before he even got here. Nice firefight on the bridge and
everything." The idea of pirates preying on smugglers seemed to amuse the man.

"Unlikely." Salfiri commented as she walked.

"Oh? How'd you figure?" Arron was obviously quite keen on his interpretation of events.

"You've been on ships that do deep space merchant runs, Arron-ji." She suggested
gently. "How do they seem to you? As opposed to the short trippers."

"What, you mean the big long-haulers?" He asked. She nodded silently. "Well, I dunno,
homely I guess, efficient. Like, the crew's got themselves sorted." He said with a shrug,
not really sure where she was going. "They seem to run more smoothly."

Again that gently nod. "As I have observed, nadi." She agreed. "But tell me, what
gives you this impression, that the crew has 'got themselves sorted', as you
say?" She posed.

Again that indifferent shrug. "Well, you know, they've got their berths sorted out, a few
pictures and posters up, the mess room's sorted how they like it, there's always a few dirty
dishes in the sink. The usual stuff. Just shows that they live there." He peered up at his
partner, obviously wondering why she'd wondered completely off the topic.

"Indeed, nadi. But do you observe any such here?" She asked, glancing at him and
raising one black brow. "They have not even unpacked their food supplies. The
rooms are pristine, save the bridge, even the mess hall is clean. This is a new
crew, Arron-ji. I doubt we'll find any contraband here, save possibly for a few
personal stashes. Nand' Captain Winters simply hasn't had the time." She said
"Yeah, I noticed that." Arron conceded. "What I don't get is how even the med bay and the
labs have been cleaned out. I mean, you could see where someone'd been setting up new
gear in the mechanic's lab. A ship'd be worth twice the price with all it's gear on. Who
strips a ship before they sell it?" He asked, obviously of the opinion that it was insanity.

"Engreia." Salfiri said simply. "Their flight plan says they've come in from Scorpion

"What, you think Winters picked it up in the auction yards? Some ex-smuggler or
something?" Arron asked.

"It it the most likely explanation." Salfiri nodded. "I trust you noticed the repairs
that had been performed to the wreckage on the bridge. I would say that that
was done by Winter's mechanic. The damage was done aprehending the previous

Arron's only answer was another low whistle.

The pair paused as a lanky human - Salfiri couldn't tell Terrans from Valtertrez, and she
doubted Arron could - all but stagger from one of the rooms off the corridoor. "Ah, and
here's contestant number four." Arron drawled.

The faintest of frowns appeared on the tall Ateva's normally deadpan face. The man did
not look at all well. "Would you be kind enough to display your ID please, nadi?"
She asked, phrasing her question gently, suspecting that the man was hungover.

Posted by Ragnar Argoth on 06.10.2002 at09:12:

 Haha, the phone whore posts again!

Gnawing on the remaining few scraps of bloody meat on the plate in front of him, the
black-haired Valertrez stood up cautiously and was surprised to find that he felt more
steady than he had the last time he‟d stood up. Taking into consideration that his bandage
was bleeding through now, he planned his next stop. Suppose it wouldn‟t hurt to visit the
good doctor sooner or later, would it…

Retrieving the thin strip of plastic from its spot next to an empty glass, he turned and
headed out the door of the establishment, oblivious to his surroundings.

Back on the streets, Ragnar felt all the joints in his left arm stiffening up, all the way to the
shoulder. Clenching his slightly disabled hand into a fist, he continued aimlessly across the
street, in search of something to search for.

Frick, I bought some new clothes. What‟s next in this much-appreciated (or so he thinks)
two-day shore leave? I can take care of anything else I may want or need tomorrow, like
the jacket and maybe a couple small things for me. Other than that, and more urgent
besides, I need to finish setting up the maintenance bay ASAP, and of course get my arm
fixed up properly.

Ragnar recalled his past experiences on Stargazer while wandering down the rows of doors
and walls. He‟d been there only once, though he must‟ve been on the station for a week or

Taking a break from his illicit activities on the Scorpion stations, he remembered taking a
flight to Stargazer. His reasoning for going all the way out to such a place as Stargazer
was unclear to him at the moment, but it hadn‟t been fun at all. Living in .8 to .6 G‟s (or
less, on some odd occasions) for the entirety of his life, his 180-pound frame only weighed
in at 100 or so. He did remember that when he first felt the lurch of eighty pounds being
added to his body, he tossed the whole box of cookies (a mere hour after a big lunch).

Such fond memories…
Now that his heart and voluntary muscles seemed almost used to having gravity pulling at
him with an amount of force he wasn‟t used to dealing with, his headache began to
subside. More relieving, however, was the fact that he was walking with a lot more
normality than he had been getting by with earlier.

After glancing over his shoulder to find a gap in the traffic, he trotted across the two lanes.
Though he didn‟t particularly want to head back to the ship at the moment, it made sense
to keep to the zone near the port. That way, he could saunter along and check out
hundreds of different shops and attractions. And aside from that, with the ship nearby, he
could easily retreat to the relative safety and privacy of the Heart of Gold should he feel
the need to pass out.

Ambling along slowly, Ragnar didn‟t bother to take notice of any of the pedestrians passing
by him at more normal paces. He didn‟t have a care in the world at the moment, though
he didn‟t particularly feel like collapsing on the promenade and waking up in a hospital
under Engreia‟s substandard care. After all, he was a criminal, was he not?

Scanning the various windows, looking for anything that would pique him at the moment,
he eventually came upon a coat shop.

Custom-tailored jackets and coats in only fifteen minutes!
Now featuring new SL materials in five colors!
Choice accessories for various applications!

Ragnar headed back across the street semi-tiredly, wondering exactly what was meant by

Smirking slightly as he exited the store twenty minutes later, Ragnar was somewhat
pleased with his new attire. Though not self-absorbed in any way (as far as he knew), he
did take a small bit of pleasure in acquiring goods personifying his withdrawn and easy-
going temperament every now and again. And this jet black jacket (with accessories, of
course) seemed to have done just that.

Damn man, limit yourself. I know I have nothing, and I got cash to burn, but not that
much. I‟ve spent nearly half of it today, and on clothes no less. Not that I really want
anything else at the moment, but still…

As Ragnar tried to move his stiff injured arm, his thoughts turned to his captain.

Yeah, speaking of money, how the hell does he plan on maintaining the Heart of Gold?
Sure, he got the operation off its ass and got the ship some decent equipment, but it does
take quite a bit to keep going. I do remember hearing something about „Winters Transport
Team,‟ or something to that effect, but that‟s got to be a load of shit. There‟s no company,
that I can tell. So what, is this guy a stand-alone smuggler? Possibly a legit courier, even?
I suppose I‟ll have to find out sooner or later.

Passing a cheese shop, Ragnar suddenly wondered where he was. He‟d been all around
Stargazer before, and he knew the basic layout of the place, but this didn‟t seem familiar
to him at all. Looking down at his burning arm semi-questioningly, he stopped in the
middle of the walk (though he had been moving so slowly that the passers by didn‟t notice
any change). “Dammit!” Ragnar yelled quite aloud.

He‟d had numerous encounters with the spiteful bitch that was memory loss before. On
occasion, when he‟d gotten a little too drunk for his liking, he couldn‟t clearly remember
what had happened the night before, or even where he was or how he‟d gotten there.
More often, though, he‟d gone through so much physical or mental trauma (or the ever
popular both) in a short period that his memory fizzled for a short while.

At the moment, Ragnar figured that the cause for memory loss was the constant pain in
his left arm, being both physically painful and extremely annoying mentally. He was one to
take comfort in knowing his body was at 100%. His body was not at 100%. This tended to
annoy him greatly after awhile, not being able to utilize his usual physical abilities and take
his limits for granted (another thing that he felt more secure while doing).

Shaking his head, he decided to wait this one out, just like all the other ones he could.
Leaning against the nearest wall, Ragnar took out the near-empty package of cigarettes.
Lighting one perched in his lips, he sighed almost unhappily.

Posted by Nadia De Vries on 06.10.2002 at14:59:

“Heart of Gold?” Nadia thought as she reflexively felt for the gold heart-shaped locket she
had worn since her parents gave it to her when she had decided to strike out on her own.
She remembered feeling both a sense of freedom and a sense of loss as she watched from
the observation deck of a different space station as her parent‟s small ship departed on yet
another lengthy tour of missionary work. Zealots to the nth degree, her parents traveled
the galaxy in their rattle-trap ship, thumping their Bibles at whoever would listen. Time
and distance made her heart grow fonder as she remembered the adventures, excitement,
and new experiences of deep space rather than the strict, over-bearing ways her parents
had tried to impose on the headstrong girl.

The leggy Valertrez snapped out of her reverie when Galen whistled while inspecting his
slowly leaking wound. Her blue eyes studied his rugged frame as he sat there in his t-shirt
and silk boxers, her gaze shifting to his grinning face as he challenged her to do her worst.
She moved up a step closer and tried to kneel down beside his thigh, but the little tight
dress was starting to ride a little too far up her legs as she squatted, so she stood back up
and bent over slightly to examine the oozing hole in the man‟s leg. Holding the paper cup
just in front, Nadia nodded towards Winter‟s holster and asked, “What type of gun is that?”
When the seated captain glanced over to his weapon, the young female quickly poured a
splash of the alcohol on Galen‟s wound and made a face as she waited on his reaction.
“Sorry…” she said with a bemused smile after Winters had regained his composure. “Now I
need to find something to pack that hole with temporarily,” Nadia said as she began to go
through the cabinets once again. “The doctor doesn‟t keep much in the way of medical
supplies here,” she stated while exploring the shelves for anything useful, “Just some
smelling salts, a few relaxers, and other mild-altering drugs that have to do with screwing
with his patient‟s psyche.” She sighed and slammed the cabinet door shut in disgust before
glancing about the little room while deep in thought.

The blue-haired Valertrez suddenly smiled, “Wait right here a sec.” She darted out the
door and returned a few moments later with a roll of tape she got from Lundquist‟s desk.
She folded a wash cloth into a neat square and placed it over Galen‟s wound before
wrapping the tape around and around his muscular thigh. “It‟ll do for a few minutes,” she
said with a slight frown as she double-checked the impromptu bandage. “My little cubby-
hole of an apartment is only a few decks away and I have a proper med-kit there,” she
stated as a matter of fact while picking up Galen‟s flight suit. She tossed it at him and
ordered, “Get dressed, it‟s only a short distance to the lift. You want me to wheel you in
the chair or can you hobble along with my help?”

Posted by The Serpent on 06.10.2002 at15:33:

 Sorry, I don't have the time to post much. -.-;;

The duo struck him as rather odd, one a proud ebony shade ateva with those magnificent
golden eyes that each of the Atevi kind bared and the other, a quite gruff and bland male
Terran or Valertrez. Curse the fact that both Terran and Valertrez looked completely the
same, it was always a horrid task, finding out which race the current individual belonged
too. Even though Rewedyk would have gladly spent more time on eyeing the interesting
companions, he was greeted with a softly set query from the towering female. Shifting his
deep red eyes upwards to meet the ateva‟s golden yellow ones, he gave a short nod before
letting his fingers rummage through his few pockets to find the ID card, which he had
carelessly forgotten there ever since the visit to Scorpion 7.

Rather blankly, he handed it to the officer, the sooner they got it done the better. Both for
him and the security personnel, as the tall hacker was rather sure that they had more
interesting and important things to do than waste their precious time on a mear
crewmember of an alien ship, that they were left to inspect. He had never before been to
Stargazer, so obviously, he had no idea of how much work the twosome had to do or even
what kind of tasks they were usually handed. Stargazer Station was a small place, it
seemed unbelievable that it would get many ships in a day, so the workers must have had
something else to fill their time with.
In all honesty, all he wanted to do was fade away at some distant corner and not think
about anything other than getting the unwelcomed rollercoaster feeling out of his guts.

Posted by Galen Winters on 06.10.2002 at20:27:

Galen watched the leggy woman try to squat down to treat him, then bend deeply at the
waist, teh plunging neckline of her tight dress leaving very little to the imagination. Trying
to get his mind back in focus, his eyes traced upwards, only to meet Nadia's deep blue
orbs. Galen's heart caught in his throat then, those pools of color reminding him forcibly of
someone he did not want to remember at that moment.

Falling for her ruse, Galen turned his head. "That? Standard Vultenna S-9, why do you son
of a BITCH" he finished through clenched teeth. Alcohol wasn't exactly the most painless
antiseptic around but it did the job well enough.

Once he was done cringing, Galen brought his head back around to watch Nadia toss an
apology his way and begin rummaging through the medecine cabinet. 'Screwing with his
patient's psyche'? The good doctor's got nothing on me, sweetness Galen thought to
himself acidly. He was glad, however, for the affect the pain had on his libido for the
moment, having come very close to a visible reaction to Nadia's display of cleavage earlier.
He didn't want the woman thinking he was a pervert or anything.

Wincing a bit as Nadia's delicately manicured fingers wound the tape around his leg, Galen
watched the care she took with him, and was warmed a little in his stony heart. It had
been a long time since a woman had touched him in such a familiar fashion. Again, the
pain of the past welled up in him, but with practiced determination, he pushed it back
down into the depths of his memories.

Galen wondered cynically at Nadia's offer to take him back to her place, but decided that
she was just being helpful, and not trampy. Catching the thrown flight suit, Galen tried his
level best to pull the black garment on without too much additional pain. This he slowly
accomplished, the blood beginning to cake on the cloth where it had dried a little. This
Galen scraped feebly off of the hercules cloth, attempting to stand without the aid of the

This failed miserably, and Galen found himself barely managing to flop down into the office
chair instead of dumping himself unceremoniously to the deck. Attempting a weak grin,
Galen turned to Nadia. "Gentlemen, I believe we're going with the field expeient
wheelchair idea forwarded by miss de Vries. Any objections?"

Posted by Salfiri on 07.10.2002 at01:42:
The tall Ateva held the human's gaze a moment as she accepted the ID card. Curious,
she'd seen many shades of eye colour since leaving her world, but never red. One more to
add to the list. She bowed her head politely at being handed the card, then shifted her
golden gaze to study it. She entered something into her e-clipboard, probably his ID

The blocky human next to her watched the proceedings and gave Rewedyk a flat look
when the tall Valertrez looked over at him. He obviously wasn't impressed.

The Ateva handed the ID card back, again with a small bow. "Thankyou, nadi." She said
politely. Then she punched a couple of keys on the clipboard and turned it to face the
hacker, it showed a schematic of that floor of the station.

"The nearest medical station is located here, nadi Rewedyk, should you feel in
need of it's facilities." She said, pointing a long ebony finger at a flashing box on the
screen, which showed the recommended route from the docking bay.

Her partner's watch beeped, and he glanced at it. "Shift's over." He commented. "C'mon,
lets get out of here, I'm hungry and Sarge'll want to debrief back at the Bunker." Arron
grumped, glancing at the branch off the corridoor that led to the hatch.

Salfiri glanced at her own watch, as though not beleiving Arron's - although it was simply
habit - and nodded. "The inspection is finished, nadi, we should rendevouz with the
next shift, and then continue to Control."

Arron waved a hand in a 'yeah whatever' manner, and the Ateva turned back to Rewedyk.
"Excuse us, nadi." She said, and again that small, polite bow. Then she turned smartly
on her heel and strode off down the corridoor toward the hatch, Arron muttering a curse
under his breath and hurrying after her, having to trot to keep up with her long strides.

Posted by Nadia De Vries on 09.10.2002 at05:12:

Nadia winced and took a step forward as the man painfully teetered about for a bit before
he plopped back down into her chair. She returned his bemused grin with a gentle smile
and scooted back behind the chair while replying, “No objections Captain Winters.” She
grabbed the edges of the chair‟s back and peered over to look down at the man, “Just lift
your legs a bit and I‟ll get this show on the road.” After a reassuring smile, the young
Valertrez pushed the chair with its wounded occupant out into Doctor Lundquist‟s office.
She paused by the doctor‟s desk, quickly snatched her purse and dropped it into Galen‟s
lap before pushing him out to the reception area.

“Damn,” Nadia breathed as she saw all the damage done by the small battle that had
taken place just minutes earlier. She wanted to question the seated man about the
gunplay, but seeing the mayhem caused by the melee, she quickly determined that they
had best disappear… and fast. After kicking clear a small path through the debris, Nadia
rolled the chair out into the corridor and pushed Galen hurriedly towards the nearest lift.
Her blue eyes scanned the passageway in both directions as she impatiently beat on the
button to summon the elevator until there was soft chime and the lift‟s door hissed back.
Nadia almost fainted when she saw that the lift‟s small interior contained two people, an
elderly couple that stared in confusion and surprise at the blue-haired female and her
chair-bound companion.

Nadia hesitated only a moment before she pushed the chair into the elevator and aimed a
friendly smile at the old couple. “I lost the bet,” she said with a laugh and a slight shrug
while hoping Winters had sense enough to cover his wound with her purse. “Sixteen
please,” she said pleasantly to the elderly man as he stood by the panel for selecting the
station‟s many levels. The elderly man stood staring at the odd couple until his wife
nudged him into action and he finally punched the button after returning an annoyed look
to his elderly spouse. “That‟s the last time I wager that ol‟ Pete here,” Nadia said while
mussing Galen‟s hair, “won‟t streak buck naked through the locker room of the women‟s
zero-G volleyball team.” She let out a genuine laugh as she saw the elder woman back
away from them as far as possible and she couldn‟t help carrying on the running gag. “You
should have seen it!” Nadia went on excitedly, “He darted through like his ass was on fire.”
She giggled and looked down at Winters and grinned. “And the looks on all those poor
girl‟s faces!” she stated in mock horror while looking back to the older couple and shaking
her head.

Her eyes lit up with amusement as she saw the elder man start slapping at the floor
buttons and she put her hands on Galen‟s shoulders while bending down near his head.
“Tsk tsk, such a naughty boy,” she half-whispered as the lift came to halt. The elderly
couple nearly ran when the door finally slid open with the man practically dragging his wife
away as they fled down the passageway. Nadia couldn‟t contain herself any longer and fell
back against the wall of the lift while laughing herself silly, all of the day‟s excitement and
nerves finding release through her uncontrolled giggling.

Posted by Galen Winters on 10.10.2002 at09:40:

Galen settled into the chair, relaxing a bit as Nadia went about extricating them from the
office. He agreed with Nadia that they had best disappear, and cooperated as well as his
injury allowed. His feet found their way onto the pedestal base of the chair, each taking
station on top of one of the five wheel-tipped legs. Wincing at every small bump as the
chair ran over the smaller pieces of office debris, Galen hoped the corridor plating was
much smoother than he pessimistically knew it would be. Galen also double checked the
corridor for traffic, and finding none breathed a sigh of relief. This elation was short-lived,
and ended when the lift door slid open, to reveal the old couple in the car.

Worry and concern flashed over his face, which was trumped by the blush that burned his
cheeks when Nadia began spinning her tale with the ease of one who had done such a
thing countless times before. Inwardly impressed by her sheer chutzpah, Galen felt the
color of his face gradually return to normal as the elderly couple's thought fluctuated wildly
in chaos. Such a wonder is woman he quoted to himself, not remembering where he had
heard or read that, but believing it nonetheless. This thought was reinforced when Nadia
leaned in close, whispering close enough the he could feel her warm breath wash over the
edge of his ear. Unconsciously adjusting himself in the chair, Galen gave a soft grunt of
pain as the bandage covering his wound shifted slightly, tearing at the tenuous clot which
had formed.

Their carmates left then, departing suddenly, obviously uncomfortable with the two of
them, and Galen could scarcely blame them. A oversexed woman and a very haggard
looking spacer were hardly fit company for old married people such as they. Well, more
power to them and good riddance. Galen thought to himself, before being interrupted by
Nadia's hysterical laughter. It was quite infectious, and soon Galen found himself chuckling
along with the scantily-clad receptionist. Galen leaned back, his shoulders barely peeking
over the chairback, his head lolling backwards over it, his eyes closed. "If you lost the bet,
what did I win?" he asked half-jokingly, giving a soft laugh before thinking better of it. He
hardly knew Nadia, even if she had just saved his ass, and he was not about to go on
talking that familiarly with her. The last woman he had even thought of speaking to like
that was long dead, and Galen still irrationally blamed himself for it.

Posted by Nadia De Vries on 11.10.2002 at04:14:

The blue-haired Valertrez fought to catch her breath as she leaned back heavily on the
elevator‟s rear wall while the laughter continued to pour out of her. She dabbed at the
corners of her large eyes as she watched the lift‟s door slide silently shut and her amused
gaze switched to Galen when she heard the man begin to chuckle. As the elevator car
started its journey once more, Nadia watched Winters as he leaned his head back over the
chair towards her and said with a grin, "If you lost the bet, what did I win?"

Being in the mood she was in, Nadia was preparing to toss back a snappy, smart-ass
remark, but she found her own laughter slowly fading as she watched with curiosity as the
wounded man‟s quiet chuckles suddenly halted. The young woman casually pushed herself
off the back wall, moved over to the side of the office chair as she finally caught her breath
and looked down at the ruggedly handsome captain, a blend of mischievousness and
curiosity making her eyes bright. She watched as the man appeared to be anywhere but
on a remote space station in an elevator car sitting in a receptionist‟s chair with a nice-
sized hole drilled into his thigh. Nadia gently nudged the side of his chair with the side of
her long leg and waved a manicured hand in front of Galen‟s brooding visage. “Yoo hoo .
Captain, you still with me?” she said half-jokingly, half-concerned. “You aren‟t going into
shock are ya?”

Watching the man‟s thoughts switch gears back to the present, Nadia flinched slightly
when the elevator „dinged‟; noting their arrival on the deck her little apartment was
located on. She gave the seated man a reassuring smile before moving back behind him,
ready to resume her chair-pushing duties. Nadia wriggled about a bit as she adjusted her
little white dress and then quickly rolled Galen out of the elevator after the door opened.
The pair fairly streaked down the corridor as Nadia pushed as fast as she could while
silently praying that they wouldn‟t run into anybody.

When the odd couple finally reached the door to Miss De Vries‟ apartment, the young
female struggled to halt the chair and its occupant because of the momentum they had
built up zooming down the deserted passageway. “Wheeee!!!” Nadia playfully squealed
as her boot heels slid along floor and the chair spun about in a lazy circle. Laughing again,
she stepped over and placed her palm against the door-lock reader and moved back to
push Galen into her little abode as the door wooshed open. As the apartment door closed
she slapped at the wall panel to turn on the lights and they grudgingly flickered to life
overhead to reveal a small, partially cluttered efficiency-type flat. “Hole sweet hole,” Nadia
said with a wry grin as she stepped in front of Galen with her slender arms outstretched as
if showing off one of the wonders of the universe. “Welcome to my world,” she continued
in a more subdued tone as she let her arms drop heavily to her sides.

The whole apartment was one not-so-large room with a little kitchen nook alongside a tiny
bathroom, both set off to one side. It appeared to be furnished with pieces that were at
least ten years out of date and Nadia‟s haphazard way of tossing things about made it look
worse. The small area wasn‟t dirty, just extremely cluttered with all manner of bric-a-brac.
The main focus of the cubbyhole was the combo sleeper-couch thingy that took up fully
1/3 of the room and there was the obligatory flat-screen hanging on one wall along with
an unusual abstract painting that looked to be nothing more than blotches of various
shades of purple. A small table sat near the couch-thing that held all the common
household electronics and the kitchen nook was furnished with miniature versions of
appliances. Mostly the apartment was cluttered with clothes that hung from every available
spot that could effectively hold a hanger and many different pairs and types of footwear
were stacked along the walls.

Nadia looked down at Galen and said, “Before we get started on your leg, I‟m definitely
gonna go change and you probably ought to peel that jumpsuit... er, flight suit off again.
Anyway, I won‟t be long,” she said with another smile before heading off into the little
bathroom, its door closing with an audible screech.

Posted by Galen Winters on 11.10.2002 at10:44:

Galen wondered at the corridor they were wheeling quickly down, the haze of pain, time
and a fresh coat of paint leaving him searching his mind for why the stretch seemed
familiar to him. Stopping in front of a door, he closed his eyes for a moment, breathing a
sigh of relief at arriving at a safe haven, at least for a few hours. His eyelids fluttered open
in time to catch the door sliding back into the walls, the number centered on it
disappearing before he could get a good look at it. Was that? he asked himself, not
wanting to believe that he recognized the label.

This hope was quickly dashed as he was pushed into the apartment, Nadia shutting the
door behind them. He now understood the fear which had been nibbling at his mind for the
past few minutes, and his chin found its way to his chest. His eyes shut tightly, his face a
mask of unbearable pain as he unconsciously grasped at the platinum ring on its chain
under his flight suit.

The furniture, the permanent pieces, anyway, was still in the same place. A different color
of paint on the walls, different knick knacks on the shelves and the scattered clothing did
little to disguise a place Galen had lived in for over two years. Apartment two-seventeen,
deck sixteen, fourth on the left from the lift tube. He had given those directions to several
people long ago, not realizing he had been following them himself for the last ten minutes.
This place held memories for him, most pleasant, but overshadowed and overpowered
completely by the last time he had been here.

Elena lay dead by the bed at the back wall, victim of a drug overdose. Her kit still lay on
the end table for Galen, the indelible image seared into his mind for all time to the point
that if he had looked up at that moment, he would have seen the two items. The fact that
this happened eight years ago did little to assuage Galen's guilt and anguish, his own mind
convincing him the whole episode had been his faukt. One could see a tear or two work
down the valertrez's cheeks as he softly repeated "my fault", a barely audible mantra
which barely did justice to the turmoil and pain he felt. His mind was crazed with grief, the
wounds still fresh for him, and he was unconsciously broadcasting this to anyone nearby.

Posted by Salfiri on 12.10.2002 at01:46:

((ooc: I'm currently having problems with my internet connection being extremely
unreliable, hence the sudden silence. I'm trying to get it fixed. Sorry people, will post
when I can.))

Posted by Nadia De Vries on 12.10.2002 at04:37:

Unzipping both her thigh-high white patent-leather boots, Nadia leaned back on the
bathroom‟s little counter as she tugged each one off and set them out of the way in a
corner by the shower. As the young Valertrez straightened back up she grasped the hem
of her slinky, tight dress and began to pull it off. Just as Nadia was yanking the dress over
her head and arms a strange scene suddenly flashed into her mind. The split-second vision
showed the interior of a small apartment very similar to hers and before she could study
the scene, it vanished from her mind. As she tossed the little garment next to her boots,
Nadia frowned slightly as she tried to recall if that had been a memory of some place she
had visited. It didn‟t seem familiar she thought as she slid open one of the counter‟s
drawers and retrieved a small bodysuit made of a sheer pink material. The tall female
quickly stepped into the wispy undergarment, pulling it up and on over her slender

She moved to get a pair of faded-red colored pants that were hanging over the shower
door, but was interrupted as two rapid visions flashed through her thoughts. The first
showed a close-up view of a shiny ring and the other showed what looked like a junkie‟s
drug kit lying on a small table. Nadia‟s blue eyes grew wide with surprise as she realized
the table was exactly like the end table beside the couch-thing out in the main area of her
little apartment. “What the hell?” she thought while distractedly slipping on the pair of
loose-fitting pants.

Another scene suddenly appeared in her mind‟s eye and she grimaced at its intensity as
she saw very clearly the image of a young woman lying dead beside the back wall of her
own apartment. Even though the room was different in its color and contents, Nadia knew
without a doubt that the scene was taking place or had took place in her apartment. Not
understanding at all what was happening, Nadia hurriedly threw on the closest thing
nearby, an old black t-shirt that had Stargazer Station‟s logo plastered across its front,
before she turned to the bathroom door.

Just as Nadia opened the door another powerful image assaulted her. It was the same
scene showing the dead female, along with the drug fixings lying nearby, but this scene
was accompanied with a surge of emotions. Waves of grief and guilt washed through the
blue-haired Valertrez as she stood in the doorway while grasping the doorframe to hold
herself up. Nadia blinked and shook her head a little as the feelings, along with the image,
slowly faded from her mind.

When she finally glanced up and looked towards the wounded stranger, whose face and
expression matched the emotions she had just experienced, Nadia knew that Captain
Galen Winters was the source of these strange visions. She softly padded over on bare feet
and squatted down before the seated man. Looking up to his tear-streaked face she
quietly asked, “Who was she Galen?”

Posted by Salfiri on 13.10.2002 at06:47:

It didn't take Stargazer Security's oddest couple long to meet and brief the next pair on
shift and make their way from Dock seven to The Bunker, the control room for station's
security. The other teams that were comming off shift were making their way in and
assembling in the briefing room. They were mostly human - Terran and a few Valertrez -
but like Salfiri there were a few representatives of other races.

"Right, reports down the end of the table, make sure they're finished first." Said the shift
supervisor as he strolled in after the last of the guards, reversed a chair and straddled it.
An array of e-pads and e-clipboards came sliding across the surface of the table in his
direction. It had long ago become policy for the shift supervisor to review the reports and
transfer them to the main computer, rather than relying on the individual teams to do it. It
simply didn't happen.

"Alright," drawled the supervisor, leaning heavy arms on the back of his chair, his dark
gaze sweeping the room, "I want incident reports now, this is a debrief. Beta patrol start,
since you guys had a bit of an incident."

A short Terran male further down the table nodded. "To put it simply, someone shot up Dr
Lundquist's Office."

"Two someones actually." Interupted the Hani male on his left.

"Plasma fire." The man continued. "The whole receptionist's area and his office were
turned inside out. Someone was looking for something."

"Any leads on the culprits?" The supervisor wanted to know.

"Nothing obvious." The Hani admitted, and a Terran female on his other side nodded. "No
blood, hair, fabric. Delta patrol just took over, they're scouring the place for skin

"But," the short Terran said, and looked slightly sheepish, "this is gonna sound daft chief,
but someone took the receptionist's chair. We searched the whole area. And someone also
spilt medicinal alcohol all over the floor near the bathroom."

"A drunken furniture thief?" The supervisor asked, raising one eyebrow. "We've got
someone who comes in, searches the offices, shoots the place up, spills the alcohol and
makes off with the receptionist's chair."

"There were definately two people involved sir." Said the Hani male. "And if there was a
firefight then it suggests that they didn't like each other much."

"So number two walks in, surprises number one in the act of going through the offices,
firefight ensues, both presumably walk away." Said another Terran, at the other end of the
table. "Still doesn't explain the chair and the alcohol." He said.

"Maybe the bottle got knocked over in the fight."

"Nah, it's not stored anywhere near where the spill was.

"The receptionist, or the doctor, were carrying it when the guy barged in?"

"Maybe." Said the supervisor. "Speaking of which, has anybody contacted either of them?"

"We're working on it sir. The computer says the receptionist's checked into her room, no
sign of the doctor."

"Right, well keep working on it. Ok, what other news?"

But Salfiri barely heard the news from the other teams, even when Arron gave their own
report, including his suspicions, and she'd remained quiet throughout the report on the
shooting. The hairs on the back of her neck stood up, and she'd felt her blood run to ice.
She'd been to see the doctor not two days ago, in the hope that someone adept at human
psychology might be able to explain some of it to her. The differences in culture and
physiology led to differences in psychology which made communication at times very
difficult, despite the universal translator. The doctor had been of some help, she had
admitted that.

But the fact that someone had gone through his offices.... But once she'd thought about it
she knew it wasn't a Guild Field Operative. They were never so sloppy, and they would
never shoot an innocent bystander unless their own life was in danger. No, the Guild never
found you when there were witnesses, never in a public place. They appeared in your
bedroom, met you in a deserted hallway, always in private. Always causing the least
disturbance and distress possible. This hadn't been an attempt to carry out the Intent that
had been filed against her, but it was enough to remind her that there were people after
her, people who were a force to be reconned with.

"Hey, you still with us?" That was Arron, nudging her in the ribs. She disliked his
informality, but she could forgive him. She had been sitting, staring off into space, and the
meeting was over.

"One was deep in thought, nadi, and one appologises." She said with a polite nod,
and got to her feet.

"Hey, no problem. You just looked like you'd gone to sleep in your chair with your eyes
open. Chief does that. Figured you didn't want to be here all night." The burly human said
with a shrug. "Y'know, you should lighten up a bit. We're all heading down the Battleship
Bar, they've got trivia on tonight and we usually field a team. You wanna come?"

Salfiri regarded the man for a long moment, expression neutral, thoughtful. Human bars
were not her favourite place, but it was a public place, a place with crowds, witnesses. She
could use a few moments of not having to watch her back. At last she nodded. "One
would be pleased to attend, nadi Arron."
"Right, well get changed and we'll see you down there." Arron said, giving her a clap on
the arm and an only faintly dubious look. It was a familiarity which was unexpected, given
with an ease that was positively alien. How could these creatures live with all their little
loyalties? That constant give and take that complicated things manifold, those little tritiin
that they considered so important. Triti was a word Atevi had adopted from human, since
the first Treaty between their kinds. It was the closest they had to a concept of given
loyalty, as opposed to man-chi, and was one which was never wholely assimilated by the

Salfiri made her way back to her quarters, her tiny room that was made even tinier by her
size, where she stripped off her security uniform and dressed in the manner of an Atevi
going out in public places, the most prominant item being a long, formal, many-buttoned
coat. She glanced in the mirror, and then about the room, looking for a moment for a
familiar simbol of comfort and man-chi, but she remembered. The tiny carving of the
wi'itiki was still stowed in her bag from her descision: she wouldn't stay here. And now she
knew she couldn't. She would go down to the bar for an hour or two, and then she would
come back, for she had work to do.

Posted by Galen Winters on 13.10.2002 at10:13:

Galen started at Nadia's question, his knuckles still white from the grasp around the
necklace, and the ring suspended from it. Even as eh pried his fingers loose, the black
fabric of the flight suit still kept the spae of his fist, looking much like a black prune,
wrinkled and shriveled. The ball of fabric came slowly undone as Galen contemplated the
words of the casually-dressed Nadia.

"Huh?" Galen asked, not understanding the concern shown to him by the blue-haired
woman, touching as it was. His thoughts had leaked out, but Galen did not know, for his
grasp of his recently augmented talent was still tenuous at best.

Galen felt himself wanting to reach out to the woman in front of him, to at last lay down
his burden. His hand reached out, almost making contact with Nadia's shoulder. He held it
there for an awkward moment, unsure if he truly wanted to do this or not. His face tilted
up a bit, his grey eyes making contact with Nadia's own deep blues. He stared into them,
the pain and anguish visible in their cold gaze, reflected in Nadia's concerned and
compassionate expression. Those blue eyes reminded him of so much; words that had
been said, things that had been done, or not doen as the case may be.

It was this last that slammed shut the door on Galen's nostalgia, and tossed his emotion
back into the deep dark corner of his heart, where he usually kept it. He blinked once, his
eyes regaining their composure instantly. Only the physical pain of his leg clouded them
now, his face still flushed slightly at the tears he had wept. Remembering that Nadia was
still waiting for an answer to something, Galen went back a few seconds, recalling the
question with more clarity now. Assuming Nadia had put two and two together from his
demeanor, and didn't have a greater grasp of the situation, he simply finished the gesture,
patting her shoulder a bit. "No one important, really." he said quietly, voice coming close
to cracking, but not quite.

"Well, I think we need to figure out what we're . . . okay you're going to do with me here.
I hardly think that my medical officer is going to be happy to find me waddling back on
board with a washcloth and office tape wrapped around my leg. You have something more
appropriate in the bathroom?" he asked, trying to prop up the conversation with artificial

Posted by Ragnar Argoth on 14.10.2002 at02:17:
I hate this Earth gravity shit. Ragnar snarled as he made his way through a narrow alley
toward the nearby docks. He didn‟t know exactly why he was heading to the docks, but
he‟d leave that thought behind if seeing something jumpstarted his memory.

Wincing, Ragnar was mildly infuriated by the pulsing mixture of his rapidly returning
headache, his stiff and pain-racked arm, and his inability to dredge up several recent
entries into his memory. He did know that whatever he had been doing earlier in the past
day or two, it had been on a mid-size ship and with an unfamiliar crew.

After scanning the rows of assorted ships, all with varying colors and accessories, Ragnar
realized that his situation was veritably hopeless at the moment. He wasn‟t going to lay his
eyes upon one ship and have it all suddenly come back to him. It was never that easy.
These things always took time. Ah, what the hell, might as well make the most of the
current situation and just relax for a minute.

Ragnar sighed apathetically as he took to the nearest empty bench, lighting up the last
remaining cigarette.

So what causes this damn memory loss? The hell, maybe I should let a good doctor have a
look at my head and neck. Wouldn‟t doubt if one of my veins had been crimped some
years ago by shrapnel or some such event, causing the blood flow to my memory banks to
decrease. Head trauma is a possibility, „cause I know I‟ve been knocked unconscious by
thick metal objects before. Alright, look at me, I‟m a medical expert now! Well, it does
break down to this. Extreme physical stress (pain and shock, to be more exact) and
prolonged strain on the heart (this increased gravity is giving me a killer fucking
headache) seem to affect me the most. Aside from, of course, severe head trauma…

Glancing over to his left side, he took notice of the earpiece stuck there. Ragnar wondered
half-heartedly who all was on the current frequency he was turned to. Ragnar leaned
forward, contemplating how he could use this to get back to his ship (if indeed he‟d been
on a ship).

After having worked out some sort of a plan, he decided to open the channel. “Hey,
anyone on the ship?”

During the few seconds the line was silent, he wondered if the frequency he was on wasn‟t
some take out restaurant or something.

A surprisingly enticing voice replied teasingly to him over the Babelfish. “What‟s the matter
Ragsy, forget the docking bay the ship‟s in?”

Ragnar, bewildered by the fact that he could possibly have forgotten a voice such as this,
hesitated for a moment before saying, “Yeah, uhh, I guess I did…” He tried to sound as
light as the other had sounded, though he probably didn‟t. And what the hell is Ragsy?

“You‟re acting almost as if you didn‟t remember last night…” she said, tone laying
somewhere between hurt and playfulness.

Ragnar, unsure of what to think of the situation, didn‟t feel like trying to play the game
without knowing the rules. “Come on, can you just give me the ship‟s location? I‟m not
feeling to well, with this arm and all…”

“Well, you‟re lucky you have an excuse. I‟ll have more fun with ya later then. The Heart of
Gold is in section four, platform B. The third on your left, if you want to get simple.” The
feminine voice ended in a friendly tone.

“Thanks, see ya in a few.” He said in an equally sociable manner, though he felt frustrated
that he didn‟t even know who she was, though he‟d caught the ship name easily enough.

Making his way down the dock, Ragnar scanned the bay for the ship he was being directed
toward. I‟m gonna go in there, find the bridge, and make It look like I‟m doing something
until I can regain my sanity. Either that, or I'll just doze...
Posted by Nadia De Vries on 14.10.2002 at11:55:

Nadia‟s expression quickly shifted from a look of concern to one of mild irritation as Galen
absently patted her shoulder and gave her a vague, dismissive answer to her question of
who the dead female was. “Oh for crying out loud,” she thought as her jaw tightened,
“Another stereotypical „strong silent type‟ that would rather keep shit bottled up than
dare reveal the tiniest bit of vulnerability.” The Valertrez girl thought she deserved a better
explanation, especially after experiencing the mental assault on her already confused and
worried mind. On top of that, it was obvious that the projected memories had taken place
in this very room and Nadia was more than a little curious at the coincidence.

She stood back up, crossing her arms as she listened to Winters change the subject to
tending to his thigh wound while trying to seem light-hearted about the whole matter.
Nadia stood there and glared at the ship captain for a moment before growling,
“Whatever” and marching off to the bathroom. After entering the bathroom she mumbled
a few choice phrases about supposedly macho men while she roughly flung open the
cabinet doors under the sink and yanked out a medkit that she had purchased upon first
arriving at Stargazer Station. She hoisted the satchel-like kit over her shoulder, returned
to the main room and tossed the medkit by Galen‟s chair. “Take your suit off,” she said
curtly before she looked around for a certain pair of boots she wanted to put on. Finding
the boots along the base of the kitchen wall, she slipped them on without bothering to
fasten them and returned to the wounded man seated in her receptionist‟s chair.

Still irritated with the Valertrez male, she went about peeling off the office tape wrapping
the man‟s thigh in a none too gentle manner. Nadia tossed the tape, along with a few leg
hairs, off into a corner of the kitchen nook before she carefully peeled back the blood-
encrusted washcloth covering the small circular wound. She unfastened the medkit and
pulled out the various supplies she would use, setting them on the floor beside her. The
young woman deftly cleaned the wound with a few liquids and creams before applying a
thick gel that instantly numbed the deep wound. After taking a moment to examine the
hole, Nadia gingerly packed it with another thicker gel that stopped the oozing seepage,
before placing a thick square bandage over the entire wound and taping it securely to the
surrounding flesh. Lastly, she wrapped the injured thigh around and around with an ace-
type bandage before she crammed all the medical supplies back into the satchel. “There,
that should do until you can get yourself to a proper med-bay,” Nadia said while fastening
the cover to the medkit, sitting back on her legs beside the chair.

The young medical assistant took a deep breath and peered up at Galen. “I don‟t know
what the hell is going on today and I probably don‟t want to know. What I do know is
that…” she paused as she reconsidered her words. “Aw fuck it,” she said as she stood up,
“Look Mr. Winters, you better get out of here before station security shows up asking
questions. I‟ll think up some kind of BS to tell „em and maybe I won‟t lose my job or get
expelled from the station. To tell the truth, I really don‟t give a shit,” she stated with a
tired, weary voice as she moved over to the couch and plopped down heavily, leaning her
head back on the cushions while closing her eyes. “Don‟t let the door hit ya in the ass on
the way out.”

Posted by Galen Winters on 16.10.2002 at08:28:

Galen felt the frustration mount in Nadia's mind, the irritation and exasperation strong
enough for even the weakest of telepaths to pick up on. His feelings confirmed by the curt,
one-word answer from the woman, Galen looked about the room again. Confirming once
again his location, Galen actively fought to keep his stomach from leaping up his throat
and doing various unsociable things to Nadia's carpeting. He closed his eyes then, trying to
regain the rest of his composure. If only I could tell someone, anyone. You almost got too
close, nurse Nadia. Sorry I didn't stop you sooner, but I'm not ready for that. Not yet. he
lamented silently.

Again getting her brusque order, this time to strip again, Galen went about removing the
black flight suit from his now weary frame. Peeling the garment off slowly, the tall
valertrez set it down on the edge of the couch/bed, noticing that his PDA had been forced
partially out of a pocket. Retrieving this, Galen went to work on his correspondence as
Nadia began to work on his leg. First up was the requisition made by Donen Krell, the
ship's medical officer. Looking over the things he had requested and their priorities, Galen
was swamped by medical terms and names he had never even heard before. Trusting in
Donen's judgment (mainly because he had no other choice) Galen approved everything on
the doctor's "must-have" list, and a goodly portion of the optional items that didn‟t cost
too much. Next was the purchase requisition from Ragnar. Looking over the list, Galen
went down the line, ticking the items that Rags had marked urgent, and a few of those on
the "nice to have" list. The running total was just shy of fourteen thousand deccas, but
would be essential to keeping Heart of Gold in tip-top shape. But for what? Galen asked
himself, wincing as Nadia removed the washcloth from his leg, causing it to bleed a bit.
Priority transport is always an option, but not that much money in it. Being a hunter isn't
an option right now, given Heart of Gold's weaponry situation. We'll be paying off loans
just to get her up to spec, whatever that is. Plus I still need to get myself right in the
head. Whatever THAT is. Galen wondered, before jumping a bit at Nadia's latest intrusion
into his leg.

Galen inspected her work with an appreciative eye, having seen few who could do a better
job in all his years in the Alkes field. He was about to praise her work, when Nadia's harsh
words hit him like a sledge hammer. He listened, shocked at first, but at last accepting his
lot in the universe was to be yelled at. It certainly wasn't the first time, nor would it be the
last. Well, yet another satisfied customer, Galen he thought cynically to himself.

Standing up, Galen hobbled over to the couch where he had laid the flight suit, and slowly
slipped it on, the numbing effect of the gel Nadia had used still inhibiting his movement
some. At least it doesn't hurt now he thought as optimistically as he dared. This done,
Galen looked down to the still-fuming Nadia de Vries, a thought nipping at the edge of his
mind to say . . . something.

"Well, thank you, miss de Vries. You didn‟t have to do what you did, and I appreciate it.
Even if I'm not the best patient. I'm sorry to have troubled you." Galen said, turning to
limp over to the door. This took a few seconds, given his slow gait, and finally the door
hissed open, hydraulics silent as the treatment he was receiving from Doctor Lundquist's
assistant. Galen looked up to the open doorway, and saw something there he definitely did
not want to see.

"Typical" he said tiredly.

Posted by Salfiri on 18.10.2002 at07:23:

"Typical, nand' Captain?" A voice asked behind him. It was smooth in tone, low in pitch,
and the intonation and language identified it immediately as an Ateva, specifically, if Galen
had a good memory for voices, the Atevi security guard who had inspected the Heart of
Gold earlier.

And indeed it was. She was standing in the corridoor regarding him with a neutral
expression save for one faintly raised eyebrow, but even as he stood there her golden
gaze gave him the once over, lingering a moment on the leg he was obviously favouring.

She looked different now that she was no longer in uniform. Dark trousers, low-cut boots
and a white blouse, over all of which she wore a long beige coat that fell to her knees and
was buttoned all the way down the front, in the Atevi fashion. It was sweeping in it's cut,
hiding her form beneath, and presumably any weapons she might care to carry. Her
security headset had been replaced with a typical Babelfish UT in one pointed ear. But she
was still almost nine feet tall, and despite wearing casual clothing, she was still daunting at
first glance.

She allowed her golden gaze to drop once more to Galen's injured leg, and the hole that
had been punched in his flight suit. "A plasma blast, I believe, nand' Captain." She
said simply. And while it was possible that a forensic expert would be able to tell the type
of injury from the damage to the cloth, a security officer doing so at a glance was unheard

But to Salfiri that was the most likely answer. She had come to find Dr Lundquist's
secretary to get some answers of her own, and it had been plasma weapons that were
used in the firefight, much like the one at Captain Winter's side. And certainly someone
with a serious injury would not simply run to a medical receptionist to have it treated, they
would go to the medical centre. That meant that Captain and the Receptionist were
connected. There were some who were convinced that Salfiri was telepathic, but the truth
of the matter was that she was simply logical.

"nand' Captain Galen Winters, of Winters Transport." She said, still regarding him
with that perfect poker face. "One was looking for Dr Lundquist's receptionist, nadi,
but one believes that perhaps you can answer my questions."

She held up a large, long-fingered hand to forstall any rash actions on Galen's part. "I am
not here on behalf of Stargazer Security, nandi." She told him. "One handed in
one's resignation two hours hence." She explained. "But one believes, nandi, that
we may be of assistance to each other. I need to know the race of the person
who broke into the doctor's office" She told him, and waited to see if he would answer.

But that wasn't all that she had to say. "Given the nature of your ship and your
business, nand' Captain, and given that your identity will no doubt soon be linked
to the shooting in Dr Lundquist's Office, one judges that you are looking for
security personel." The implication being that if he wasn't then he really should be.
"One is looking for a position aboard a ship in such a capacity, nadi, and one can
provide references." Atevi security were renowned as being dedicated, albeit mostly due
to their man-chi, and an Atevi Lord's bodyguards were a living shield. What level of
Security Salfiri had been, if any, on her home world was the question.

She waited paitently, still like an ebony statue, to hear what he would say.

Posted by Galen Winters on 19.10.2002 at11:00:

Galen regarded the tall ateva with a mixture of disbelief and curiosity at her words. His
own reaction to seeing the security guard, whom he recognized, was tempered by what he
sensed to be the truth, if not the complete picture of Salfiri's situation. Poking his head out
of Nadia's door, Galen looked both ways down the corridor, still wanting to make sure that
a tactical team was not waiting to storm the tiny apartment. Seeing none did little to quiet
Galen's fears, but he saw that he had no choice but to trust the ateva for now. Ushering
her quickly in to Nadia's apartment, Galen felt that a nice chat between the three of them
might get them answers faster than waiting for the official report, which would likely be
rife with errors, disinformation, or both.

Galen slumped into a chair, rather surprising Nadia, who had expected him to have left
already, given that she heard the door close. "Well, you were looking for Lundquist's
secretary, and here she is. Miss Nadia de Vries, meet, ummm, what was you name again,
nadi? We're going to have a nice little chat about what exactly went down in your
employer's office. Do you remember anything of what the shooter looked like? I didn't get
a look at him . . . or her for that matter. The lights were out. As for race . . . " he said,
trailing off as he remembered Salfiri's question from the doorway.

Oh shit. he lamented silently, his face growing pale. "Nand' Salfiri, please tell me the Guild
isn't involved in this." he pleaded quietly. Not getting a response that came close to
quieting his newly found fears about the whole mess, Galen swore just under his breath.

"Well, that being established, or at least the distinct possibility of it, I'm not about to take
any chances. Nadia, I would recommend getting off station as quickly as you can. Doesn't
matter where. If the Assassin's Guild is after your boss, this is much deeper than I
thought. Can you think of anyone he's pissed off, anything he knows that would merit such
treatment?" he asked of the blue-eyed woman. Listening to her explanation of Rodriguez's
behaviour at the clinic, Galen again swore softly, the whole scenario seemingly spiraling
out of control.

Reminds me of that time in college, when those frat boys wanted to pick a fight with the
other hani students, and I . . . what the fuck? Galen stopped himself again, a not-so-
subtle reminder of why he had been looking for Lundquist in the first place rearing its ugly
head. I need to find him before they do, that's all there is to it. he decided, dreading
having to do so regardless of need.

"Okay, sounds like Lundquist has annoyed some heavy hitters, and is likely on the run." he
said flatly, already trying to formulate a plan in his head. "Nadia? Can you access his
accounts from here? If he's on the run, he's not likely to be covering his tracks all that
well. I need to find him before he gets hurt . . . or worse. Also, nand' Salfiri, it would seem
that I do have room on board for a security officer, if you're still interested in the job."
Galen said optimistically, still wondering about the Ateva's motives in this. "With your
connections, we might also have an easier time getting off station as well. Matter of fact,
since you need to leave anyway, I can take you with me as well, Nadia. Might be a help
finding the good doctor if you were along. Assuming you don't mind." he said deferentially,
truly realizing how much she might be able to help in this.

This has absolutely nothing to do with how she looked at me back then Galen denied
vehemently, remembering the tender expression in Nadia's eyes when she had tried to
comfort him. His own stomach turned at that a bit at the memory that experience had
grazed, before the urgency of their situation forced that back down into the depths of his
heart, where he usually kept it bottled up.

Tapping the key on the side of his comm set and UT combination, Galen spoke quickly into
the device. "Heart of Gold, this is Captain Winters. Oh, hi, Goldie. Yeeeeah, I missed you
too." he said dubiously, before continuing. "Well, if they're off the ship, get on the comm
and let them know to finish up whatever they're doing and get back to the ship. Also, start
prepping for departure. I know we just got here, Goldie. Yes, this is serious. No, I'm not
lying, damn it. Just get ready to leave as soon as everyone is back on board. All right, I
should be there soon, Winters out." he said, exasperated. "Women." he said softly, a
mixture of frustration and utter cluelessness at their behavior. Looking up, Galen met the
gaze of the two ladies, who had apparently caught his quiet lament, given the looks they
were giving him.

Galen chuckled a bit, some of the color coming back into his face rather quickly. "Well,
ladies? Do we have a plan?" he asked the odd pairing of ebon skinned ateva and blue-
haired human.

Posted by Salfiri on 19.10.2002 at11:03:

One got bored the other day, nadiin.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, her skin is actually jet black, like her hair, but it
it's not good to draw like that.
Salfiri was perhaps a little surprised at Galen's reaction to her, and his ushering her into
Nadia's flat, but she was beginning to expect such impulsiveness from humans. It didn't
mean she approved however, how did he know that she was not a security threat?

At the rather... unusual introduction, Salfiri bowed from the waist in Nadia's direction.
"Salfiri, of house Bari'igena, nandi." She said formally, expression as always neutral. Ateva
were renowned for their steel control. "One would wish that our meeting could have been
under more felicitous circumstances." She added politely in that smooth contralto.

She took a seat, and listened as Galen rambled, waiting for him to finish. "One does not
know, nandiin, whether or not the Guild is involved in this, that is what one is currently
trying to ascertain. However," and she held up a long-fingered hand, "it is not
characteristic of Guild members. There is a.. biichiji," she frowned faintly as the word
didn't translate, and looked for the nearest equivalent, "a -finesse- to Guild work that is
hardly evident here. If this was a Guild member they were acting more from mainaigi than
man-chi." She told him, unable in a language based on a culture so vastly different to find
words that did not come up against a translation barrier.

She glanced from one to the other, finally returning her golden gaze to Galen. "Did you
note the size of your attacker, nand' Captain? An Ateva is not easy to mistake, and our
Guild employs only from our people and serves only our people, nandi. The cultural
differences are too great to adapt, although there are some 'Field Opperatives' who are
known to work for non-Ateva when necessary. Providing it does not go against their man-
chi, of course." She thought a moment longer. "It does not rule out the possibility, nandi,
but it seems to me unlikely that it was a Guild member you faced." She pointed to the hole
in his flight suit. "The Guild does not miss." She told him solomnly. "But that does not rule
out an Atevi dissident." She admitted. Truth be told, she had been fairly relieved to see the
damage in the office and Galen's wound. If it had been the Guild, they'd have found Dr
Lundquist dead, or they wouldn't have seen anything at all.

And she turned her attention once more to Nadia. "Did you, Nadia-daja, note the identity
or race of your assailant?" She asked, picking up bits of the story as Galen posed his own

But when he asked her if she still wanted a job she simply nodded. "As one stated, nandi,
one stands. Your ship is a vessel of... interesting numbers, nand' Captain. We shall see if
they are felicitous. I still need to leave this station, and given what I know one doubts nadi
that you can afford to leave me behind. Chimati sida'ta, as we say, nand' Captain. The
beast is cooked. There is little reason worrying if one should have killed it, and now that it
is ready, one must eat it. The path is already in motion."

Salfiri nodded. "The beginnings of a plan, it would seem, nandiin." She said, and got to her
feet. She bowed her head slightly. "One will make... discreet enquiries, if nand' Captain
will give one use of the transmitter." She offered carefully, expression as always giving
nothing away.

Posted by Ragnar Argoth on 20.10.2002 at11:17:

Ragnar felt utterly stupid that he was completely lost in what he thought was his home
ship. Though he could have thought back to the rim of the gap in his memory and seen
that he had in fact never known the layout of the ship completely, it hadn‟t even occurred
to him to do so. So, as he wandered the halls, irate and fatigued, he hoped he wouldn‟t
have to explain himself to a crewmate he didn‟t remember seeing in a manner he didn‟t
remember to use.

Though there was really no one onboard to run in to (not that he knew that), Ragnar still
felt fortunate to reach a terminal in the engine room without running into anyone. But
even that was pushed to the back of his mind as he focused on the task at hand.

Ragnar logged in with his standard password (That is, the same one he used on all such
login procedures; he used a different one for confirmation passwords and the like.), and
upon doing this he was greeted with a small flashing button on the side of the screen. In
gray letters, it read MESSAGES. Ah, what the hell, maybe it‟ll jog something. Apathetically,
Ragnar opened the single message he might have been surprised at getting, had he
remembered the short span he‟d been on the ship.

Expecting to simply skim over the document, that he would have no idea of its relevance
to him, Ragnar read the first line, then dropped his plan and carefully read over the

Before even reading the contents, Ragnar deducted that „Galen Winters‟ didn‟t know him
very well, because he never saw any man that was more than an acquaintance call him
„Mr. Ragnar Argoth‟. While reading the message itself, he came to the conclusion that Mr.
(since Galen was a male name, no other reason) Winters also seemed to have put a
considerable amount of trust in Ragnar, seeing as there was a „returned list‟ with 14
thousand deccas attached to it. Not sure at the moment if he should enter the command
and transfer the funds to his account, he instead read the attached list of items he was
supposed to buy with the substantial amount of funding he could receive in a nanosecond.

Scanning over the list, he recognized it as something that he might need if he‟d wanted to
build up a decent maintenance bay for a mid-sized ship such as this, minus the very basics
(which he assumed were already on the ship, for if they weren‟t, someone would have
ordered them instead of all this).

Ragnar quickly closed the window with the requisition list, then hesitated in closing the
message. He still wasn‟t sure what to make of all this, and though he‟d gathered a few bits
and pieces out of that short note, he didn‟t want to make any decisions or take any actions
that he might regret later. Let‟s not try too hard to act normally. I can wait some time to
take care of that, since it didn‟t seem to be that urgent. I don‟t know how long we‟ll be in
port, though, and I‟ll have to get it in by then. And I wonder why I used this, and not the
other thing…

Ignoring the feeling he was being watched, the amnesiac proceeded to look over the
shortcuts he‟d made. One, from the label, seemed to lead to the ship‟s mechanical
schematics and diagrams. Another, to some sort of an inventory list. The third was clearly
defined by the title, HOG DECK PLANS.

Taking into consideration that he had earlier dealt with a maintenance bay‟s equipment
list, and now with the ship‟s gigantic service database, Ragnar thought it was fairly safe to
assume that he was the chief mechanic on this Heart of Gold. Almost sure.

Okay, he said to himself ponderously while navigating the deck plans, so I‟m the mechanic
around here. Figures, considering I couldn‟t do anything else with any level of expertise.
One less thing to figure out…

With a long, meaningless sigh, Ragnar took note of his surroundings while he stood, back
turned to the blank terminal. The entire ship around him was silent, except his own semi-
heavy breathing and the gentle hum of the (at the moment) idle reactor. His left hand
hung at his hip while his right rested on the snapped shut holster of the cold weapon at his
side, and his weight was shifted to his right leg. Staring blankly forward with an
unnecessary squint, the Valertrez shrugged in his new (it especially smelled it) jacket.

Despite being quite breathable and comfortable against his cool and sweating skin, it just
felt uncomfortable to him at the moment. Lowering his shoulders, he let the jacket slide off
his body. He swung it over his right shoulder and slowly fixed his gaze on the door that he
would eventually be passing through in order to reach the bridge, where he could wait it all
out and just sit in a silent lull for as long as he pleased.

With a slight grin, he shifted himself forward, and started toward the door. He wondered
exactly where this calm, quiet laziness of his had come from. Usually, his introverted self
wouldn‟t care in the least what mood he was in; he‟d just roll with it and lie through his
teeth about always being cool and feeling fine.

Not wanting to start a trend, Ragnar smiled grimly, in spite of himself, and quickly moved
on to thinking about how long it could possibly take for his body to adapt to standard Earth
gravity. Don‟t start caring about yerself now, pal, it might be harder than you think.

Ragnar‟s attention was drawn away from the silence (save the soft soles of his boots
resounding on the hard flooring), and though he could almost feel the walls pulsing with
hundreds of different currents and energies, he instead tried (with little success) to keep
himself from delving deeper into topics better left untouched, especially at the moment.

Quickly reaching into his left pocket, he produced the small electronic device by which he
could manage several important functions. He could check the „net for any messages he
may have received (though he didn‟t need to check that one often), keep up to date on
current events in the system (he couldn‟t remember the last time he‟d done that, if ever),
remind himself of important dates (“One would need important dates to need reminders of
them,” he‟d once told himself), and even, with the proper accessories, be the catalyst in
providing music to the owner.

Though Ragnar had used „the thing‟ (he actually didn‟t know what else to call it) so few
times it could be considered a cause for celebration when it did occur, as the gaunt man
entered the bridge and nearly decided to exit the ship again (this time for good), he began
to work up a way in his head to route the music function through any available sound
output source. The intercom speaker would probably work…

For a moment, the man actually contemplated doing it, but after a moment‟s projection,
he decided it would be all too much work. Dropping the plan, he instead opted to seat
himself in one of the semi-comfortable chairs in the room. After doing this, he closed his
eyes and leaned back, combing his mind for anything that might bring him back.

After what seemed like an hour (though only a few minutes had gone by), he heard the
same female voice he‟d talked to earlier in front of him.
“Rags,” the voice said, sounding somewhat concerned, “I just got off the line with Galen.
He says we‟re leaving soon, and to be ready for departure when he gets back.” She ended
as if she had more to say, but wanted a reply before continuing.

Ragnar simply lifted his head to see the occupied holotank in front of him. The hell…
Managing to keep a perfect poker face, he nodded, “Go on…”

"I think there might be something wrong...he sounded concerned about something..."

Ragnar, still trying to go along with the exquisite artificial figure in front of him, said,
“Well, maybe something is wrong, and that‟s why he‟s getting ready to leave. Just make
sure everyone‟s back ASAP if they‟re not already, I‟ll take care of the reactor.” Ragnar
turned to one of the terminals (the only one that was on at the moment), and,
remembering the idling reactor he‟d seen a few minutes (or a few hours, he couldn‟t have
told which without a clock) ago, began to initiate the priming sequence.

“Trying to take control of the situation again, hmm?” he heard from behind him, the voice
provocative yet playful.

How did I ever survive here? Ragnar thought as he tried to come up with an appropriate

Posted by Nadia De Vries on 25.10.2002 at16:22:

OOC: I want to apologize for holding things up, but between a broken hand and the pain
pills taken for said hand, I haven't been up to composing posts. Again, I'm sorry for the
delay and even though I'm not back to 100%, I do think I can handle writing now (in a
one-handed, hunt & peck kind of way).

Leaning her head back on the couch, Nadia watched with heavy-lidded eyes as Winters
stood and prepared to leave her tiny apartment. As the apartment door opened and Galen
mumbled something inaudible, the Valertrez‟s blue eyes opened wider at the sounds of a
conversation taking place between the Captain and someone else at the front door. “Oh
shit…” Nadia breathed thinking that a security team from the Station had arrived at her
doorstep. She immediately sat up and thought quickly on what tales to feed the authorities
while she tried to listen in on the voices in the small hope that she could match whatever
yarn Winters was spinning to the Stargazer cops.

Impatience and curiosity getting the better of her, the young Valertrez got up from the
couch to go see what the hell was happening at her front door. Nadia hadn‟t even taken a
single step towards the door when Galen suddenly appeared followed by a very tall ebony-
skinned Ateva female clad in a long, sweeping beige overcoat. Staring in confusion, Nadia
watched as Galen took a seat and introduced her to the imposing Ateva before firing off a
bunch of questions regarding what went on in Dr. Lundquist‟s office.

"Salfiri, of house Bari'igena, nandi." Nadia heard the Ateva state as the tall female
bowed towards her, obviously introducing herself.

“Nandi?” thought Nadia and thinking Salfiri had mispronounced her name, she was about
to correct the female when Winter‟s voice trailed off and he turned kinda pale-like. Nadia
became even more confused as the captain babbled something about Guilds and her
needing to get off the Station. When Galen again asked of the day‟s events, Nadia related
all that she could recall of Rodriguez‟s strange visit to the Doctor‟s office.

After stating what she knew, Nadia sat back down on the couch and decided to keep her
mouth shut even though she was fairly bursting with questions. Akin to watching a tennis
match, her head swiveled back and forth between Salfiri and Galen as they continued to
speak of guilds, assassins, and other such oddities. She listened as the two strangers sat
in her tiny apartment and formulated tentative plans regarding their immediate future.
Nadia felt clueless and completely out of her league, but she decided to go along with
others‟ suggestions as they seemed to be genuinely concerned about the present situation.

When Captain Winters made use of his comm set, Nadia moved over in front of her
apartment‟s little computer terminal and spent a few moments trying to figure out what
her employer was up to by peeking into some of the office accounts. After a few minutes
of investigation, the young human sat back with a puzzled look on her face as she
distractedly heard the Ateva say something about cooking and eating beasts. “Okay,
whatever…” Nadia thought absently as she mulled over the information she had obtained
on Lundquist.

Nadia looked towards the other two and shrugged before stating, “It seems Doctor
Lundquist has already beat feet. He spent a good deal of the remaining office funds paying
for passage aboard a liner bound for Anuurn. First-class no less...” she added. “Slimy, little
motherfu-…” Nadia halted before completing the indelicate choice of words. “He still owes
me two weeks wages,” she explained sheepishly.

Posted by Galen Winters on 26.10.2002 at10:40:

 sorry this is a little short, but oh well

Galen could not help but laugh at Nadia's choice of words, again feeling himself starting to
like the fiery-tempered woman. A wry smile began to curl the corners of his mouth, but
fled the moment the grey-eyed man looked over Nadia's shoulder. "Shit." He said simply,
a one word judgment at the data burned into the plasma flatscreen display unit. "Your
boss is definitely in over his head, he booked passage in his own name. If we're really
lucky, they still haven't caught up to the liner yet. Well, looks like we have our work cut
out for us, ladies. I just hope Heart of Gold is fast enough to make up the difference. Looks
like he's got a day and a half on us, so we'd best be going." Galen said as optimistically as
he dared, before noticing that his right hand had come to rest on Nadia's shoulder. He
flinched lightly at the realization, before regaining his composure, and nonchalantly
dropping the offending hand into his pocket.

Galen felt his head reeling again, the deck seemingly tilting wildly under his feet, and he
had to close his eyes for a few seconds to get his bearings again. He turned, and by a cruel
twist of fate opened his eyes to find himself looking at that spot on the floor, next to the
bed. The location which had haunted his dreams for eight years. He stood riveted,
fingering the ring on the chain around his neck through the coarse black fabric of his flight
suit. A few moments passed before he found his way back to the situation at hand, turning
to face the ladies once again, a pained look still in his eyes.

"Well, all we have to do is get off the station unnoticed, and get to Anuurn to find
Lundquist before whoever is hunting him does. Great." he said acidly, wondering if they
would be truly be able to pull it off. Well, we're sure as hell going to give it a shot he
thought to himself, taking a deep breath to calm his nerves. "Nadia, if you could, try and
cover the good doctor's tracks, because he sure as hell didn't. Nand' Salfiri, if you have
anything to pack, I suggest you go do it now. And watch yourself out there. If you found
miss de Vries this easily, I'm sure that our new friends can do the same. Nadia, is there
anything you need to bring that isn't here in your quarters? We need to travel light, I'm
afraid, but I don't want to inconvenience you too much if I don't have to." He said, trying
to smooth the young woman's ruffled feathers even as he slumped down into a chair to
take weight off his slightly sore and numb leg.

Posted by Salfiri on 28.10.2002 at07:00:
Salfiri glanced from Galen to Nadia and back as Nadia relayed what she'd found on the
system net. Dr Lundquist was either extremely stupid or extremely frightened, given the
ease with which his trail could be followed, and the tall Ateva was betting on the latter.
Still, it at least would not be difficult to find this man.

At Galen's comment Salfiri bowed her head momentarily, ignoring the incorrect form of
address. He had erred on the side of being overly polite, and she was rapidly learning not
to expect any such attempts from humans. The thought alone was important. "One is
already packed, nand' Captain." She told him in her deep, mellow voice. "One had but to
retrieve one's cases. One will do so, nand' Captain, and retrieve the information on the
Station's computers regarding the commercial vessel the nand' Doctor is aboard." She said

She rose gracefully to her feet, the movement seeming surprisingly quick and light to the
far smaller and lightly built humans. "One will also inquire as to Dr Lundquist's status, if
any, with the Guild, nand' Captain." She said quietly. "Given my continuing clearance
nandi, it should not be difficult to cover our tracks from the Station. If it is most
convenient, one will meet you at your ship." She said. "And one will be careful, nandi." She
added. She bowed formally, first to Galen and then to Nadia. "Nand' Captain, De'veriis-
daja." She said, and with barely a sound and a gentle duck through the doorway, she was


It didn't take Salfiri long to get back to her tiny apartment and make the necessary
inquiries on her terminal. It got her the answers she needed, so she gathered the two bags
that currently held her world, including a few new purchases, and left her room for the
docking bay and the Heart of Gold.

The tall Ateva in the long coat towered over all the other patrons of the docks, so her
approach was hardly unnoticed, but there was nothing to be done about that. It had taken
her all of fifteen minutes between leaving the Captain and miss De Vries and her arrival at
the ship. She set her bags down on the gangway and tapped the panel by the hatch
gently. Some things were not built with Atevi strenth in mind.

Posted by The Serpent on 28.10.2002 at17:10:

 Sucky, ne? Just to say I'm still alive. :D

Yawn. Boring. And the corner was colder than he had expected. But maybe it was better
that way, after all, the cold was accused of strengthening a person when one was
introduced to it in sane portions. Rewedyk muttered annoyedly under his breath, quoting
an old poem he had once heard at some completely random and long ago forgotten
evening with his family ring. (Although, it could have easily been mistaken for a insane
mans' rambling.) Ah yes, the good ol‟ days, when food was always on the table and if you
looked hard enough, you could always spot a twinkle of a smile on someone‟s lips. But
those times were gone and better locked away in the trunk of his memory base, enough
memorable things had happened since then. School was maybe the first that popped into
mind, followed closely by the few years of unhappily serving in the ranks of the
condemned hackers army –which in reality only consisted of about 8 weary souls just like
The Serpent himself- at the „Solar Trademark Company‟. The man had cheery memories,

After the ateva had allowed him to leave her oh so very pleasant company, the lanky
hacker had slithered out of sight and slumped down against a rather hidden wall, safely
settled in the corner. He wished to give his room some time to breathe, it felt somewhat
stuffy even though the airfilters were doing their job grandly. But it was to be expected
that Rewedyk disgusted the soiled feeling that the sweltering air gave, he was a ground
rat, so what if that land that he had learned to call home happened to be mostly
constructed of metal. Osiris had always had fresh oxygen supplies and he never had to feel
bad there. Such a bother, the irked mind of a tired and abused hacker with a mind to dull
anyone that dared to come in 20 feet of him and a body that could have easily been
mistaken for a slowly moulding tree if he stood still long enough.
Even though he should have not complained, he still managed to do so and that breathed
life into a quite interesting inner conflict. What did he hate more, the fact that his back and
behind were freezing off or that he could look forward to a new splash of nausea soon
enough…Space, how could anyone love it…

Posted by Nadia De Vries on 28.10.2002 at20:43:

When Galen walked over near Nadia and inspected the information she had pulled up on
the computer, the young blue-eyed female silently agreed with him about Doctor
Lundquist being up to his neck in trouble and sinking fast. She turned slightly to glance at
the Heart of Gold‟s captain when he absently placed a hand upon her shoulder while
expressing the need for them to hurry after her employer. And she didn‟t think much
about the gesture one way or the other until Galen actually flinched when he realized he
was touching her, causing Nadia to raise a questioning eyebrow. “It seems the good
captain is lugging around some serious emotional baggage.” she thought with a mix of
curiosity and concern. As she watched the grey-eyed man, he appeared to once again lose
himself to his painful memories and Nadia half-expected another emotional/mental assault
to manifest itself, but the tall Valertrez male just stood there clutching at something under
his black flight suit. The leggy receptionist surprised herself by nearly reaching out a hand
to comfort the emotionally strained man, but she resisted the urge by telling herself that
the guy was almost a complete stranger and besides- wasn‟t she still supposed to be
irritated with him…

Nadia told herself “To hell with it…” and tried to give Galen a reassuring smile “Stiff upper
lip and all that rot…” as he snapped out of his latest funk, giving the two females
combination orders/suggestions as to what they should do before departing Stargazer
Station. The young receptionist gave the captain a doubtful look when he suggested that
she try to cover Lundquist‟s tracks. As Winters turned to speak with Salfiri, Nadia thought,
“Yeah right, I‟ll just hack into the network and „presto-change-o‟ I‟ll crash the whole
system… Puh-leeeze” Instead, the blue-haired girl reached over and flicked the terminal

With a heavy sigh she turned back to face Salfiri and Galen, listening to their somewhat
stiff, formal-like conversation while Nadia herself, still tried vainly to come to grips with the
events that were turning her life upside down. On the one hand, she was glad for the
change of pace and the excitement, but on the other hand, she felt that she had little, if no
control over her own life anymore. Things were moving just a tad too fast for her liking
and she still didn‟t understand three-quarters of the shit that was going on. While
contemplating her present situation Nadia‟s deep blue eyes kept drifting over to the
outrageously tall Ateva and the human female tried hard not to be impolite by staring at
the ebony-skinned female as Salfiri spoke to Galen in a deep, smooth voice. Nadia had
seen Atevi before, but hadn‟t really interacted or spoken at length with any of them in a
long, long time. She recalled that on the few instances that she and her missionary
parents had visited areas with an Atevi population, the strange race had always acted
reserved, almost arrogant towards them, seeming to only just tolerate their presence. But
these were old memories from early childhood and probably not very accurate, so Nadia
decided to keep an open mind regarding the tall female.

As the Ateva stood and bowed towards each of the two humans, Nadia got to her feet also,
but smiled and waved a small goodbye to Salfiri instead of returning the formal bow. After
the tall, graceful female left the apartment Nadia looked at Galen with another sheepish
grin. “I didn‟t understand half of what she said. „Nandi‟ she mimicked with a cheerful
laugh. “Hell, I thought she was mispronouncing my name at first,” she continued while
rolling her eyes. “Gawd, I can be so dense sometimes.”
“Anyway Captain Winters,” Nadia said after a moment. “To answer your question-
everything I need is here in my little cubbyhole of an apartment and if you‟ll give me just a
couple of minutes I‟ll pack a few necessities,” she stated with a mixture of mischief and
feigned innocence in her tone as she looked at Galen with bright eyes. The casually
dressed girl spun about, went to the kitchen area and retrieved two large duffle bags from
a tiny closet. She strolled back over to Galen and pushed the bags into his arms before
pointing at the dozens of pairs of footwear lining the walls along with the clothes that were
hanging from every conceivable spot. “If you‟d be so kind as to put my shoes in one bag
and my clothes in the other, you‟d be a big help. I‟ll forever call you an officer and a
gentleman,” Nadia said with a wink before she headed off to the bathroom, “Won‟t be but
just a minute.”

A few minutes later she reappeared with two cases, one large suitcase and one smaller
case with a shoulder strap. Nadia had also changed into a snug-fitting jumpsuit that was
international orange in color and had various medical emblems stitched on to it. On her
feet was a pair of scuffy, unlaced work boots that loudly clomped as she moved to set the
two cases she was carrying beside the apartment‟s entrance. Nadia went to the small
kitchen nook again and pulled some paperwork from a drawer then crammed the
documents into her med kit before hoisting the satchel over her shoulder. The young
woman glanced about her tiny apartment, but she knew there was nothing else she really
wanted or needed. She looked towards Galen as he finished cinching up the second duffle
bag; her eyes were wide and wondering as she stared at the man she was basically
entrusting her life to.

“I guess I‟m ready whenever you are,” Nadia said quietly with a small shrug of her

Posted by Galen Winters on 28.10.2002 at22:02:

Galen caught the bags pushed casually at him, cutting off a few choice words about being
a starship captain and not a porter, but civility ruled his tongue for the moment. Watching
Nadia slip into the other room, Galen noted that she didn't seem nearly as frightened as
she should be, given the siuation. Not that that's a bad thing, it'll keep her from panicking
he mused silently, before stuffing several pairs of shoes into her bag. Never understood
how women walk in these things he thought silently, hefting a pair of stiletto heels in hot
pink leather. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. he thought, smiling a bit. The array of
clothing and shoes was a bit staggering in size, and Galen was about to say something to
Nadia about trimming her collection down some, but stopped, wondering why he did so.
Sighing a bit, he went about finishing to pack the remainder of the shoes and clothes,
examing this or that occasionally, wondering what it would look like on the lithe woman.

Finished stuffing seemingly the entire wardrobe for the latest production of Phantom of the
Tri-Vid House into two small bags, Galen sat down upon the edge of the couch-bed,
catching his breath. He barely had time to do so before Nadia appeared, carrying two more
suitcases with her. Again refraining from comment on the size of the woman's "essentials",
Galen picked up the two duffels he had packed, and the pair made their way slowly across
the station.


Galen stopped Nadia short of the entrance to the docking bay which held Heart of Gold,
the hair on the back of his neck rising ominously. Placing a single finger to his lips to hush
any questions which might arise, Galen advanced slowly, as much out of the need for
stealth as his gimpy leg. Peering around the corner carefully, Galen saw the normal
activity of a deep space docking bay. Technicians scurrying about in seemingly random
directions, cargo being transferred, and security keeping watch over the docks.

This last drew his attention for some reason, and it took him several moments to figure
out why. One of the guards, they all wore the same uniform, was standing a bit away from
his fellows, who were speaking jovially with one another. The mystery man's gaze
wandered over the various corridors which terminated in this bay, appearing to be waiting
for something. He was standing next to a large fire extinguisher, one of those that was
mounted onto a null-grav dolly for speed of movement to whatever disaster necessitated
its use. Galen saw a longarm leaning against the dolly, and did a double take. Is that what
I think it is? he asked himself, already feeling Old Man Murphy kicking him in the balls
again. Even with all that has happened since I've been gone, I don't think that Stargazer
security has started issuing railguns, have they? he asked himself, already dreading the
answer. Fuck. he kept to himself, not needing to let Nadia in on his rude language.

Opening his eyes again, Galen saw that the mystery guard was still standing alert, looking
straight at the hallway which he was standing in, blocked from view at the moment by the
corner. The helmeted figure glanced down at something else on the extinguisher dolly a
moment, before returning his gaze to the corridor. What's that you've got there, buddy?
Galen asked himself before deciding to find out.

The mental filters and barriers came to Galen's bidding easily, surprising the him greatly
with the ease of it. A month ago, it would have taken Galen five minutes of preparation
before entering another sentient's mind. This time the walls and mirrors flitted into
existence within seconds. Leaving that discrepancy alone for the time being, Galen let his
mind drift into a null state, afloat in the ether, his own body forgotten for the moment.
Galen's mind barely registered his eyes locking onto the faceplate of the anonymous man
who seemed to be waiting for them, or someone at the very least. A strange sensation
took over then, one which Galen had never really gotten used to, the sensation of falling
towards the target, the blurring of vision at the periphery as if you were moving at great
speed, and then, with a jolt, he was in.

Galen's vision returned, and he saw the edge of the docking bay from quite a different
angle. The railgun lay against the dolly to his right, and a small portable video display had
a fourplex of video images displayed with a small number in the upper right hand corner of
each. It took Galen a few moments to recognize the markings of one corridor displayed
there, and the realization completed his already bad day. Instead of dropping out of
Walter's mind, Galen decided to shift his emphasis to the surface thoughts of the assassin,
and found a rather interesting internal monologue going on in there.

… give them a few more minutes. This job has just gone from bad to worse… Get these
two done and get back to the dropship for retreival … off to Anuurn … Galen was able to
read, before he delved into the man's memories for a few more pieces of information. A
select few pieces of data later, Galen dropped out of Walter's mind with a start, his own
brain shooting violent pain across his temples. Walter jumped as if he had been goosed,
and failed to notice Galen collapse against the bulkhead, sliding out of view after a

A few seconds passed before Galen was able to regain his feet, the majority of the
headache passing away after a moment. "Son of a bitch," he whispered softly, rubbing his
temples and bloodshot eyes. He slumped back around the corner, to the waiting Nadia.
"Well, Nadia, we've got a problem. Our shooter is standing there in the docking bay with a
god damn hand cannon, and he's plugged into the security cameras." He said flatly,
pointing at the one with the feed he had recognized, barely twenty meters behind them.
"Unfortunately, he doesn't know I used to play on this station, and I know the air ducts
like the back of my hand. Or I used to." He said sheepishly. "Don't worry, there's enough
room for both of us in there," he said to Nadia's questioning look. "Though I don't know
how much of your luggage is going to make it." Getting a cross look from the
temperamental Nadia, Galen shifted his judgement on the matter. "All of it, right." he
ocnceded with a sigh.

"There should be . . . Ah, there." Galen said pointing to a large grate above them and
halfway to the camera. The large pins holding it in place came easily undone with a twist,
having been designed for easy service, and the meter-wide grate swung down on its
hinges to hang vertically, blocking the corridor partially. "Nadia?" he asked, offering his
hands as a stepping stone up into the duct, assisting the lovely woman with whom fate
had thrown him. Once she was up, and after he had passed the bags to Nadia, Galen
looked sheepishly up to her. "Don't suppose you could give the captain a hand, could
you?" he said, raising his hands above his head to her.

Posted by Salfiri on 29.10.2002 at01:38:

((Ah, it would seem that Geocities doesn't like you outlinking like that. Lets try it this way.
The pic I drew is here ))

The Heart of Gold was obviously a personally modified ship, crafted on the Pulsar class
framework. But even though she had been extensively modified, it was a fair bet that the
original manufacturing codes for the hull worked, and Salfiri needed to get inside. She'd
seen the standard security patrols about the bays, but there was one person who
shouldn;t have been there. Stargazer Security never worked along, and she had taken
pains to memorise the names and faces of all her co-workers. She didn't know this man,
and her sharp Atevi eyesight had picked out the rail gun leaning on the fire-extinguisher
dolly. Atevi eyesight was very acute, though truelly came into it's own in the darkness.

She tapped the older codes into the key panel by the hatch, knowing full well that later
owners had no doubt put their own codes in, but that it was unlikely that these very oldest
had ever been removed. This confirmed by the fact that the hatch flew up, allowing Salfiri
to duck inside. She dumped her gear unceremoniously in the corridoor just past the hatch
and headed for the computer room, having seen it on her security tour.

The tall Ateva sat down on the floor and began punching buttons, entering her security
codes that she was sure hadn't yet been erased. She was right. She patched into the
security cameras and got a good look over the shoulder of the unidentified 'security' officer
up by the fire extinguisher dolly, from a camera mounted in the corner. The man had a
feed to the cameras as well, and she could see that he had a good view of all potential
approaches to the ship. She quickly programmed in a routine that would put the cameras -
all the cameras on that floor, she didn't have time to be specific - on a looping track of the
last ten minutes, and set it to execute on her mark.

She then went through the system while she had access, and removed all references that
she could get to the Heart of Gold, and to Dr Lundquist.

"Hey, what are you doing?" Came a voice behind her, and it almost made Salfiri jump,
because she had not heard anyone enter.

"Covering nand' Captain Galen Winters' approach, nadi. There is trouble." Salfiri
replied without looking around, intent as her dark fingers flew across the keys.

"Well... I suppose that's alright then." Said the voice.

"If you have weapons I suggest you arm yourself, nadi, and ready the ship for
take-off." Salfiri added.

"Oh don't worry hun, I'm armed and dangerous!" Came the reply, a smile in the voice.

Salfiri finished clearing as much as she could from the Stargazer Station computer system,
and transferred that to the console just by the hatch. She got up off the floor, midly
surprised to see that the crew-member had left, again without her hearing, but dissmissed
it and headed back for the hatch, unbuttoning her coat as she did so and pulling from her
weapons belt which she wore underneath her new plasma pistol. Captain Winters had had
a commications headpiece on, and it took only a moment to find the frequency he was
using, and to apply a quick and nasty encryption to it. "Nand' Captain, covering your
approach, I am set up to cut the surveylance systems. Sniper spotted, will cover
you. You have five minutes to get into position to approach, starting now." That
was to give him time to get from wherever he was to near the ship.
Then she flicked to broadcast to anyone wearing a HoG headset, again with the lesser
encryption that should at least give them a short head-start on the Station. "All crew of
the Heart of Gold, report to ship. Departure iminent." She just hoped that they
wouldn't pause to question the fact that it wasn't their Captain's voice issuing the
command, and that the desire not to get left behind would override any suspicions, for

She gripped her pistol and remained in the shadow of the hatchway, golden gaze flicking
between the camera outputs and the sniper. Beside her the terminal counted down the
time until the camera blackout that she'd programmed.

Posted by The Serpent on 29.10.2002 at20:16:

"All crew of the Heart of Gold, report to ship. Departure imminent."
His brow arched questioningly, as the mellow tone of the broadcaster from gods know
where stated her demand. Seems that captain Winters' has taken a shine to one of the
security guards… Rewedyk mused with a chuckle, the soft and deep tone of the ebony
skinned ateva being of no news to him. The surprise was quite mild, considering how
haphazardly the older Valertrez had gone about forming a crew for the grand Heart of
Gold, choosing people that in normal conditions would have obviously clashed and at least
when it came to the current hacker, would have seemed unfitting into the crew. But, who
could blame the big guy, he did not seem to be one of the more social kittens and certainly
was not an experienced captain-even Rewedyk could see that, with all the knowledge he
had of starship captains. The man of grey yawned once more, groaning inwardly at the
thought of having to compel his form to rise and trudge over to the bridge to get some
work with the navigational systems done, it was a mess and anyone with the slightest of
training in that field would have noted that. Sure, it might of looked ship-shape from the
outside and even agree to run the more customary settings and a few things that the
handler demanded, but when it would come to making quick and correct calculations, the
sad little thing might just blow of exhaustion. He didn‟t know who the last person to lead
the navigationing around this ship was, but whoever he was, he had done a pretty shabby
job of it.

Muttering a few selected curses, the man clawed himself up towards the more visible
layers of the ship, intent on making his belonging to the vessel clear before anyone else
would have the audacity to question it, he could handle that part perfectly on his own.
Rewedyk did not feel all to warm towards the crew at hand and certainly he did not give
the captain as much credit as he might of deserved but even with all that, he was not
about to leave and give up just yet. Besides, Stargazer Station had some serious issues to
sort out with their graviatational settings before Rewedyk would even start to consider
staying for a longer period of time. The lurch he had taken earlier thanks to his lovely gut,
had been quite enough to last him for an infinity or two, even though he knew fairly well
that he‟d have another fit right as they started to leave Stargazer, the violent change of
G‟s threatening deep in his mind. Just cross your fingers, bite into something and try not
to vomit on the deck. he grimly reminded himself of the words of wisdom once bestown
upon his weary head by the „honoured‟ lecturer that had given him a brush-up course of
ship mechanisms back at the college days. He could barely keep himself from choking the
girl back then, his aggressive desire shared by at least half of the class, and the moment
at hand he couldn‟t wait to see that Osirian flower again. A wry simper rose upon his pasty
lips as he remembered that dark haired pedagogue, a mear one-two years older than the
class she was teaching. The group was formed by mostly serious computer scientists,
mechanics or anyone else that was flunking the rest of his or her courses and behind her
back, the poor young educator was getting poisoned, beaten and other gruesome things
done to her. Just none had the guts to actually try and do anything to her, as it usually
was with teachers and students. The reason why the grade was upset was clear, they were
lectured by a woman barely older than them and as good as she thought she might have
been, she was not. None even believed that she had ever stepped aboard a ship, really.
The majority of her students left in a few weeks to find better instructors to feed off,
Videlius had been one of them.
Grimly and sulkily, the man slid over the long corridors of the Pulsar towards the messy
cockpit flaring up ahead. Argoth had not managed to finish with his work in there, hell, the
stuff needed to do in the ship and in the bridge seemed to never end, which made
Rewedyk sigh happily, a smart friend had talked him out of peeking into the mechanics
line of work years ago. He was still more than grateful.
When entering the control centre, the semi-familiar sight of Ragnar Argoth greeted him,
dull and contemplative as usual, form slumped into one of the chairs in the relatively
moderate room. “G‟day Ragnar…” He uttered, rather emotionlessly as expected, he did not
know the man any more than the mechanic knew him and it seemed to work out just fine
for the both of them. As he was about to turn away from the man and saunter over to his
station, a lively form in the holotank caught his eye. A low-pitched whistle sounded
through the room as he inspected the resident A.I. Pretty little thing, indeed…All and all,
he wanted to meet the person that had come up with such an…interesting device, as one
might call it. But he did not stay to observe for very long, there was work to do and as it
seemed, he needed to do it promptly. That saying if he ever wished to get a portion of it
done before the insane excuse of a captain storms in, with who knows what surprise with
him this time and hasty demands for the lanky hacker to plot him a course in say 2
minutes. Well, Rewedyk wouldn‟t have been the least bit shocked if things went just that

Lining his glasses more comfortably on his pale nose, he fell onto the chair in front of the
navigation station and started to nick at a few smaller things just to get him warmed up.
What worried him was that the connection between the main computer of the ship and the
nav. computer was slower than it should be and he knew that he would not be able to sort
out the problem in such a short notice. No, that‟d take some time and pondering, probably
tearing up a few consoles and systems on the way as usual. The cheery life of a space-sick
and disgruntled man, enjoy…

Posted by Nadia De Vries on 30.10.2002 at10:13:

The blue-haired, blue-eyed Nadia clomped along beside Galen as they made their way to
the docking bay, her heavy work boots still unlaced. The two Valertrez were hampered in
their journey by having to lug around Miss De Vries‟ heavy luggage and Nadia was
beginning to huff n‟ puff a little by the time the pair neared the bay holding the Heart of
Gold. She had also been dwelling on the events of the past couple of days as she plodded
along and she accidentally bumped into Galen when he suddenly halted by the entrance to
the ship‟s bay. “What the hell?” she thought and Nadia was about to repeat the question
out loud, but she remained silent when she saw Winters quickly put a finger up to his lips.
Staring at the man with a puzzled expression she watched as he cautiously looked around
the corner before he moved and disappeared behind it.

After a few moments Nadia looked nervously about while standing completely still in the
middle of the passageway. Standing there holding her luggage, she hesitantly chewed on
her lower lip as she debated on what to do. She had just about decided to take a peek
around the corner when, much to her relief, Galen returned looking a bit pale and
withdrawn. The concern on her face deepened as she listened to Galen relate what he had
seen around the corner, but her concerned look changed to one of skepticism as she heard
the captain‟s hair-brained idea about crawling through some air ducts to bypass the armed
assassin that was between them and the ship. When Captain Winters relayed his doubts
about her baggage making through the ducts, Nadia started to get huffy and was about to
let into the wounded man, but Galen must have spotted the brewing tempest for he
quickly, and wisely, changed his opinion.

Following him over to the grate he had pointed out, she watched as he unfastened the pins
holding it in place and when the grate was opened Nadia peered into the recess uneasily.
As Galen offered his hands to boost her up into the duct, Nadia gave him sideways look
and shook her head slightly. “This is not a good idea,” she thought as she stepped up,
then wriggled into the opening. “Nope, I don‟t like this one teensy-tiny bit…”
Scooching around in the confined space Nadia made room for her luggage as Winters
handed her the cases and bags that contained all of the young woman‟s remaining
possessions. Setting the baggage aside, she turned back around and peered down at
Galen who gave her a slightly abashed look before requesting her help to get him up and
into the duct. She reached down with both hands and tugged with all her might to assist
the rugged ship‟s captain as he climbed up into the station‟s airway. “Jesus on a stick…”
Nadia grunted aloud as she pulled, “How much do you friggin‟ weigh Captain?”

Posted by Galen Winters on 30.10.2002 at11:36:

Galen watched Nadia's form in the dim light of the ventilation system, directing her
progress from behind as to cover the rear. At least that was the best excuse he could
come up with for watching her shapely rear end wiggle enticingly in front of him. Stay in
the moment, Galen. There's time for enjoying the view later he admonished himself
weakly. The ventilation shafts seemed to stretch forever, and the passage was not made
any easier by the amount of luggage that Nadia insisted was "essential". That fact alone
made their journey take twice as long as it would have otherwise.

Arriving at a large intersection, Nadia was surprised by a large circular piece of debris,
charred and melted edges showing evidence of being hit with a plasma torch. Galen had
expected it, but finding it where it was supposed to be was reassuring. Nice of that Walter
fellow to show me where he parked his dropship Galen remarked to himself cynically,
before putting a finger to his lips to keep Nadia from making any more noise. Drawing his
pistol to emphasize the point, and use it if necessary, Galen stood up in the duct. This was
possible with the large hole which had been burned through the station's outer hull. The
dark opening did not, however, terminate in an emergency shield, or even open space, as
it should have. A very dim red light lit the interior of Walter's dropship, which had attached
itself to the station hull, and bored an entrance into it. One that was not subject to security
or customs inspection. Very slick Galen mused, before remembering the task at hand.
Slowly climbing the collapsible ladder which hung just above the duct floor, Galen did his
best to be absolutely silent, gun in hand should one of Walter's friends be on board.
Inching upwards, Galen's eyes cleared the edge of the hatch, and he slowly spun around,
taking inventory of the small dropship before taking another step on the ladder. The
interior of the dropship was lit with a single red LED lamp, tactical necessity making for the
eerie blood-colored lighting.

His eyes adjusting, Galen clambered slowly into the ship, hand almost shaking with fear of
discovery. The aft compartment seemed clear of any personnel, but the cockpit door was
shut, and Galen went to this next, hoping that it was likewise unoccupied. The door slid
open silently, quite new from the factory apparently, and Galen could see stars through
the forward viewports. The pilot's seat, and two other chairs were high and wide, offering
him no view of their interior. Galen's heart pounded in his ears, the rush of blood and
adrenaline drowning out what little sound existed on the small dropship. Galen cleared the
first two chairs in absolute silence, the third standing before him like a trap poised to
spring. Galen's hand reached forward, lightly grasping the edge to swing it around, gun at
the ready. The flexor muscles in his forearm tightened, exerting force on the tendons
strung through his wrist, which were connected to his tensed fingers, knuckles white on
the edge of the seat.

"Nand' Captain, covering your approach, I am set up to cut the surveillance systems.
Sniper spotted, will cover you. You have five minutes to get into position to approach,
starting now." came screaming in his ear at that moment, scaring the wits out of him as
he flung the pilot's chair around, only to find it empty.

"GAHHHH!" came the inarticulate cry from his mouth, and Galen collapsed against the
chair, breathing very hard. "Jesus Christ" he continued, heart racing faster than an
unexploded Kittyhawk. Taking a few moments to collect himself, Galen barely heard
Salfiri's other announcement to the crew. Have to admit, she's efficient Galen mused,
before keying the mic on his commset. "Salfiri, that's good news, but I am unable to get
back there in five minutes. Also, there is at least one more shooter on station, probably
near the docking bays somewhere. Watch yourself down there. I have alternate means off
the station, just make sure that Rags, Donen and Rewedyk are on board, and make your
departure. You'll know when to set things in motion. I'll meet you outside the station, and
we'll go from there. Take a few potshots at our friend the sniper, to keep him busy. You
don't have to hit the lad, but I won't mind if you do. Goldie should be able to handle
departure procedures, and get Rewedyk working on a course to Anuurn for us, best
possible speed. Winters out." He said sharply, cutting the transmission.

Taking another few deep breaths, Galen returned to the rear compartment, and looked
down the hatch. "Nadia, come on up, it's clear." He said, offering a hand to grab her
luggage as soon as she handed it to him. Tossing the bags unceremoniously on the deck,
Galen hauled Nadia up through the hatch forcefully, nearly buckling on his injured left leg
in the process. All the cargo that Galen would be carrying this trip was now on board, and
he drew the ladder back into the small compartment that housed it before thumbing the
hatch closed. The grey-eyed valertrez then limped forward and slid into the pilot's chair,
beginning preparations for takeoff.

Several switches were flicked from red to green, warming up the engines and maneuver
thrusters. His next action was to punch in the security code for the ship's main systems,
which he had plucked from Walter's mind in the docking bay. "Sorry, old chap, I need it
more than you do," he said quietly to apologize to the assassin. "Nadia, you might want to
strap yourself in up here, I don't think this thing has artificial gravity." He called back to
the blue-haired woman.

Galen watched as the power readouts climbed into the green and resumed the preflight
procedures. This done, he disengaged the magnetic grapples holding the ship to the
station, finding that curiously the dropship did have gravity. I wonder how they got this
thing close in undetected he wondered, before he saw a small readout on the periphery of
his vision. Probable detection value: negative? Stealth systems? he pondered silently,
before punching the button to disengage the docking collar from the hole that had been
burned into Stargazer Station. The resulting blast of atmosphere was enough to nudge the
small dropship away from the station, before the automatic containment fields kicked in,
halting the loss of air. Unfortunately, this also set off every alarm on the station, including
alarm klaxons in the docking bay, which were very loud.

Well, I hope you can take a hint, Salfiri he thought grimly, riding the initial nudge away
from the station before he brought the engines fully on line.

Posted by Salfiri on 30.10.2002 at14:38:

((ooc: Donen, I'm asuming that you're aboard the ship, hope that's ok.

And I added a second picture too, for all those who were dying to see what Salfiri looks
like (I know you're out there. here ))

Salfiri heard the call from the speaker mounted on the ship's wall, since she wasn't
wearing a headset. "Salfiri, that's good news, but I am unable to get back there in five
minutes. Also, there is at least one more shooter on station, probably near the docking
bays somewhere. Watch yourself down there. I have alternate means off the station, just
make sure that Rags, Donen and Rewedyk are on board, and make your departure. You'll
know when to set things in motion. I'll meet you outside the station, and we'll go from
there. Take a few potshots at our friend the sniper, to keep him busy. You don't have to
hit the lad, but I won't mind if you do. Goldie should be able to handle departure
procedures, and get Rewedyk working on a course to Anuurn for us, best possible speed.
Winters out."

That brought the faintest of frowns to Salfiri's normally pleasant features. Who hired a
Security Guard and then left them behind? She was accustomed to acting primarily as a
body-guard, but this was not Shai-san. The crew-members Captain Winters listed were
already accounted for, she'd been waiting for him and Nadia-daja to come in. She
understood Galen's orders, it was what they called a 'broken-leg assassination'. Dissable
someone without actually killing them. She took careful aim with her plasma pistol, and
fired two shots.

The first hit the assassin in the upper thigh, the second hit the fire extinguisher. High-
pressure oxygen-blocking foam sprayed everywhere, covering the assassin as well as the
security guards nearby and anyone and anything else that had the missfortune to be in the
vicinity. The sniper would not be a happy puppy by the time they got him out of that.

She slapped the control button for the hatch, closing and sealing it, and holstered her
pistol, then headed down the corridoor for the bridge at a fast clip, long legs eating up the
distance, head bobbing occaisionally as she ducked door lintels. She arrived on the bridge
and turned to look at the tall Valertrez sitting at the navigation console, whom she
recognised from the ID check when the Heart of Gold had first docked.

"Nand' Rewedyk." She acknowledged him with a polite bow. "Salfiri of house
Bari'igena." She added by way of introductions. "Nand' Captain Winters requests
that you plot a course for Anuurn as swiftly as possible." She said, voice even and
expression neutral, as though she were discussing the weather.

She turned to the nearest wall mounted intercom and flicked the switch to ship-wide.
"Nand' Goldie, one respectfully that you report to the bridge."

"Already here." Said the voice that Salfiri recognised from before. She turned as
movement caught the corner of her eye, already reaching for her pistol. "That won't do
you much good hun." said the voice, and Goldie appeared in the holotank in the most
indecent flight suit Salfiri had ever seen.

Salfiri inclined her head slightly, as though trying to work out what she was looking at,
although she'd seen a holotank before, but evidently came to the conclusion that she could
investigate Goldie's nature later. "The Captain requests that you handle departure
procedures, Goldie-daja. He has made alternate arrangements, and will meet us
outside the station." Salfiri told the image before her.

"Ooh, the dirty stop out." Goldie growled. "Traipsing off and expecting me to follow
after him. I tell you what, he has a bit to learn about how to treat a woman." The
AI grumbled.

"Nand' Goldie, the ship." Salfiri reminded her patiently.

"Yeah yeah, I'm on it already." Goldie's image dissapeared and lights began to flicker
on the control consoles.

Not a moment later warning klaxons sounded in the docking bay, emergency lights
flashing as though the ear-splitting noise were not enough to attract people's attention.
Salfiri tapped a few keys rapidly on a console, accessing the link to the Station. "Hull
breach, loss of atmosphere. Contained, but notable. The Captain's exit, one would
surmise." She announced to the bridge in general. Then she glanced up at the
viewscreen. "Nand' Goldie, now if you please."

"Roger that." Said Goldie, suddenly in as much of a hurry to be out of there as the rest
of them.

"Cutting Station connections." Salfiri said, and did so, but not before activating the
camera shut-down, as well as Station sensors in the bays and as may force-fields in the
area as were likely to be in there way before she lost the connection. Hopefully it would be

"Lets rock and roll!" Goldie grinned, appearing in the holotank in a distubingly skimpy
outfit made entirely of black leather held together with metal studs, comlimented by a pair
of dark shades and a biker helmet. The Heart of Gold's engines revved, roared, and then
she shot out of the docking bay at far beyond the recommended speed for exiting, felt for
a moment before the inertial dampners kicked in, and not helped by the jolt as ship's
gravity kicked in.

As the HoG roared out of the docking lane someone fired across her bow, but her shields
were more than enough to deal with the minor assault. "You'll have to do better than
that!" Goldie gloated, and there was a whine of capacitors as Goldie fired up the ship's

Salfiri calmly leaned across and hit a button, and whine cut off as the weapons re-set to
stand-by. "Stargazer Station is not at fault, nadi." She said cooly. "We are dealing
with potentially two dangerous individuals. Sensor scans for Captain Winters
would be more appropriate." She added. Certainly the Captain had said that there was
likely a second. Two was an infelicitous number, but perhaps they trusted, like Guild
Assassin's, that the infelicities applied always to their victims. Salfiri was determined that
this time that would not be the case.

She glanced again at Rewedyk as he worked on the course to Anuurn, but did not interupt,
golden gaze flicking to the various read-outs, watching the sensors.

Posted by The Serpent on 30.10.2002 at15:43:

Pound pound pound…The dull sound ringed through the bridge, as the grim navigator
continued on kicking the station with one of his legs. Apparently, I‟m not gonna sleep
tonight… He mused grumpily, watching the hesitantly moving bits of information on the
screen before him. The nav systems were unmistakably rebelling against the lanky man,
making sure that they would mess up as much as possible and scamper along the lines of
complete and total meltdown and shaky life. Rewedyk, well, let us just say that he was
about to grab for an axe. First, the last few days shoot to hell, then he discovers that he is
particularly prone to queasiness when aboard any sort of spaceship and then, the stupid
system dares to break down.

He was in the middle of letting the system run on self-rectification mode for what seemed
to be the millionth time, when the impressive ateva sailed in and addressed him with that
correct and polite manner all the atevi were oh so fond of. After hearing her diminutive
briefing, Rewedyk simply shrugged his shoulders and went to kick around the panels some
more. “Work, you fucking piece of overworked crap…” He muttered hoarsely, though
quietly enough to keep it from reaching the other occupants ears, he hadn‟t shown himself
from the bestest side to begin with, no point in getting even more bad looks around the
ship. With a little toying around, the man managed to get the bulky thing to start a search
for a fast route to Anuurn, which he would later coerce to fit his and the captains liking.
„Nand' Captain Winters requests that you plot a course for Anuurn as swiftly as possible.‟
Bah, I wonder what that fool got himself into this time… He pondered, while sliding off the
chair and kneeling next to the station, fingers slowly pecking away at one of the covering
panels. “You don‟t mind if I check out your inner for a sec, right, Goldie?” He questioned,
though he doubted that the holotank occupant would hear him over the rumble and noise
she was creating. So, instead of gracing her with another version of his question, the
valertrez simply ripped off the panel and threw it behind him.
“Ouch! Would you ask before you go tearing away my skin?” a disgruntled and aggrivated
tone of voice rang behind him, calmer than the man had expected at first.
“Don‟t be such a softy, Goldie…” Rewedyk uttered, deep red eyes peeking into the mass of
wires and switches that lined the inside of the metallic thing. What ever Goldie barked
back at him might of very well slipped his ears, his attention concentrated on the sight
before him.
Holly shit… Apparently, it did not look all that good.

Pale as usual, though a worried frown creased his eyebrow, the male hoisted himself back
on the chair and carefully started to play around with the settings that the violently
twitching screen was relaying. In all honesty, The Serpent was quite incredulous when it
came to forcing the nav systems at the moment, the fear that it all might blow up or even
worse, simply die, was too great. But, captains orders and after all, if it did blow up, it‟d be
Winters‟ fault as he was the one who should have been keeping an eye on his ship. Hmph,
you‟d expect that he‟d know when a part of his vessel was about to malfunction…
To his, and the rest of the crews, luck, the station decided to hold on for at least a little
more and with a considerable amount of praying and poking it, the program burped out a
decent course to the planet, modified by Rewedyk of course. A thankful sigh later, not to
mention a few commending words towards the sickly thing, Rewedyk carried on with
getting the course on his trusty datapad and then threw it unceremoniously on the pilots
chair. “Got the course.” He stated, a content grin on his expression.
With that, he sunk back to the ground and the exposed internal parts of the grey lump.
“I‟d kill for a flashlight…” He muttered cantankerously, while his long fingers played over
the many wires he was tracing.

Posted by Nadia De Vries on 30.10.2002 at19:03:

Crawling slowly through the air duct while she pushed, pulled, and cussed at her luggage,
Nadia let escape a small snort that was brought on by a strange mixture of emotions-
amazement, disbelief, disgust, and a sprinkling of terror were but some of the feelings that
flitted through the Valertrez‟s disjointed thoughts. “Oh my friggin‟ gawd,” the young
female mumbled quietly as her heart thumped wildly from the exertion and the
excitement. “This is so fucking surreal…” she thought before a grin quickly spread across
her face. “I love it!” Nadia exclaimed silently as she worked at shoving her baggage down
the seemingly endless air shaft. She almost giggled out loud as she thought about the
current situation and how unbelievable it seemed to her.

“Dear diary… You‟ll never, ever guess in a gazillion years what I did today,” she thought
with a wry smile as her and Galen continued along the duct. Every so often she glanced
back towards the man trailing along behind, making sure he was keeping up with her and
she followed his rather dubious directions as they slowly progressed forward through the
cramped spaces. After coming upon one of the duct‟s intersections, Nadia paused as she
examined what appeared to be a large, scorched piece of metal lying just ahead on the
“floor” of the duct. The girl with hair of blue turned back to Galen with a quizzical look on
her face and once again he raised a finger to his lips. “Yeah, yeah. No shit Mon Capiton,”
she thought a little hotly as if she was gonna jump up and down while shouting or
something. As Galen moved past her with his gun in hand, to stand up in the recently
made entrance, Nadia rolled her eyes at his back, but her expression soon turned to one of
worry and concern as she watched the wounded man gingerly climb up through the ragged

A few seconds after Galen had climbed the ladder, the young female scooted over by the
opening and peered upwards just in time to see Winters step off the ladder and vanish into
the interior of the dropship. Nadia fidgeted nervously as she waited for Galen‟s return and
she nearly jumped out of her skin when she heard a loud, panicky “GAHHHH!”
reverberate down through the hatch. Just as Nadia‟s „fight or flight‟ instinct was preparing
to kick in, she heard Galen say “Jesus Christ” in a tone that was simultaneously angry
and relieved. Soon afterwards she could hear him speaking to someone, but she couldn‟t
quite make out the words. Nadia was about to climb the collapsible ladder to investigate
when Winters appeared overhead and basically said things were kosher up there. She
hurriedly handed Galen her luggage then she herself was unceremoniously hauled up
through the dropship‟s hatch by the injured captain.

Nadia was starting to fume once again as Galen secured the ship‟s ladder and the
hatchway. She crossed her slender arms and stared daggers into the back of the Valertrez
male as he made his way to the pilot‟s chair. Whether it was intentional or not, Nadia was
getting miffed at the condescending attitude the good captain had been tossing her way.
Not once, but twice he had shushed her with a finger to his lips like she was some errant,
brainless twit. Then he had basically yanked her up through the hatch as if she wasn‟t
coordinated enough to manage the climb on her own. While the unsuspecting captain
fiddled with buttons and switches, Nadia closed her eyes as she stood behind him and she
forced herself to take a few deep breaths to calm herself down. Just as the blue-eyed
female had smothered her fiery temper, Galen instantly re-ignited it when he called back,
“Nadia, you might want to strap yourself in up here, I don't think this thing has
artificial gravity.”

The irate young woman actually hissed through her clenched teeth as she uncrossed her
arms and stood there glaring at the back of oblivious man, her hands bunching into tight
fists at her side. Barely resisting a powerful urge to wallop Galen upside his thick skull,
Nadia finally regained enough self control to move to the other seat and buckle herself in.
She bit her lip and remained silent only because it was obvious, by the confusion and
doubt plastered on Galen‟s face, that the captain barely knew what he was doing in his
attempt to launch the dropship. This rather astute observation was confirmed, at least in
Nadia‟s mind, when every friggin‟ alarm within fifty light-years suddenly started sounding.

“Perfect. Just fucking perfect,” Nadia growled as she rubbed at her temples as if trying to
banish a bad headache.

Posted by Ragnar Argoth on 31.10.2002 at05:01:

(Whoo, looks like you guys been busy this week. Nice drawings, Sal. To the RP!)

Ragnar Argoth, 35 (Earth standard) years of age, opened his eyes silently. The Atevi
security officer?

Though it had been understandable that Salfiri had either ignored or hadn‟t noticed (wink,
wink) the sleeping man, it was entirely unlikely that a moderately light sleeper would sleep
through Goldie screaming.

“Let‟s rock and roll!”

Ragnar blinked several times. Then, he remembered what he‟d thought an instant ago.
“What…?” he said to himself, though the memory was gone again (if, indeed, the Atevi was
a „security officer‟).

As it stood, neither Goldie nor this Atevi had taken note of him, and though he could surely
feel the ship pulling away from the station, he wasn‟t sure at all what was going on. He
faintly remembered something on the message he‟d read before he had dozed off,
something stating that they‟d be in port a day or longer. It surely hadn‟t been a day since
he‟d sat down; Ragnar had never slept that long in his life, sedated or otherwise.

And where the fuck is „Captain Winters‟? This female Atevi sure isn‟t…

A firm believer in being as well-prepared as he could be in any given situation, Ragnar
thumbed the snap off the Vultenna on his right hip without hesitation or any conscious
thought. Still pretending he was asleep, he listened to the conversation continue between
Goldie and the dark woman.

"We are dealing with potentially two dangerous individuals. Sensor scans for Captain
Winters would be more appropriate."

These words, spoken by the organic one, made the mechanic wholly unsure in regards to
this stranger (weren‟t they all right now though?). Was the Atevi talking about Galen and
someone else as the „two dangerous individuals‟ (it‟d make sense, as scanning for the
location of your enemy would be only logical)? Was Galen on the run (with someone else,
of course), and she was trying to save Galen from „two dangerous individuals‟?

Fuck it. Sometimes the simplest plan is the best. I need to know what‟s going on here.
Almost knowing he‟d regret it later, but not in the position to care at the moment, he
gripped the gun with his right and leaned forward. Ragnar found that his body didn‟t
protest too much as he stood up; in fact, he felt more than a little strength in his arm as it
stood, unwavering, leveled at the Atevi. The holotank concealed half of the woman‟s rather
large body (Ragnar knew, no matter how 100% he was, she could probably flat-out kick
his ass in unarmed combat), which Ragnar couldn‟t chance. He sidestepped, almost
vigorously (his adrenals were WOT [Wide Open Throttle] now), and found such a clear shot

“Now,” he finally said, “What the fuck‟s going on here, ladies?” He tried to sound as neutral
as he could, as he wasn‟t even sure the Atevi wasn‟t a crewmate.

Posted by The Serpent on 31.10.2002 at05:56:

 Last post in a few days. n_n Traveling rocks.

“Fucking excuse of a decent rerouter…” indeed, it was a pretty decrepit thing, sides
scorched and with all the luck the poor abused nav station had, it probably wouldn‟t last
for more than a few more runs at the program. Rewedyk‟s words were rather muffled, as
his right hand and most of his grey haired head were drawn as close to the inner of the
dingy terminal as humanly possible. He could even feel the burns that the rerouter and a
bout a bucketful of other essential gewgaws in there had. What a horribly depressive sight,
besides the fact that the inside of the depot seemed to have gone on malfunction mode for
a generous amount of time, Rewedyk could not even check if all the primary systems were
running on at least half of their needed vigour. A few chosen swears and a nice bump on
the forehead later, the lanky Valertrez pulled away from his own personal spot of hell. As
he was just about to climb upward towards the fresher air and softer seat area, the
disgruntled voice of Ragnar The Hun bellowed over the mediocre room, catching the
hackers attention in a moment. He was sitting uncomfortably on the ground, his head
tilted to the side amazedly and one eyebrow being slightly arched, as he went to rub his
chin with the thumb of his left hand, bewildered at the sight that was slowly forming
before him. Rags was obviously discontent with the idea of allowing the ebony skinned
wonder boss around with the ship, though Goldie seemed to be rather excited, considering
the sleek little outfit she was showing at the moment. It seemed that the mechanic had
forgotten about the grey lump on the ground for a teensy bit, leaving the man thinking
malicious thoughts in a bemused way. Mister Argoth could actually have a head as thick as
he was exhibit at the moment?

With a dull sigh, the man pulled his frail self up and with a rather emotionless expression
on his face, Rewedyk leaned against what he still counted as something made up to blow
his mind, a personalised terror machine. “Forgot about the hacker? So tell me, Argoth,
exactly what do you hope to gain from pointing a gun at this girls‟ head, hmm? Don‟t you
think that if there was something wrong, we‟d picked up on it while you were passed out?
Besides, you‟ve been around Winters for an even longer period of time than I have had, I‟d
expect that you‟d note the rather insignificant point that he is not the most shy person you
could run in to and he certainly doesn‟t think twice about getting his crew in unorthodox
ways, right? So, I‟m pretty sure that this ateva here is another prodigy of our dear
captains twisted mind. Now please, lower that fucking gun and start thinking with your
thick head before you go about aiming at people on this ship, I beg of you. You can‟t really
hold us all in one place with that thing.” Annoyances everywhere he looked. The young
man crossed his hands and with an irritated look plastered on his face, continued glaring
daggers at the mechanic. Reasonable doubts, sure. Mindlessly swinging around a gun, you
better forget it.

Posted by Galen Winters on 31.10.2002 at10:04:
Galen's hands flew over the controls, having stolen more than just the security codes for
the heavily modified dropship from Walter's head. What he didn't expect was the way in
which the dropship responded. He had piloted several shuttles, working the Alkes field for
several years, all with different characters and attachments. He had found dropships
almost universally loud, cantankerous, ill-maintained and -designed, and all-around pains
in the ass. Sliding the throttle forward halfway to the stops, there was absolutely no noise
beyond a slight increase in the hum of the microfusion reactor powering the craft.

What the hell? he asked himself, pondering the total lack of engine noise, and for that
matter, the somewhat sluggish response to the throttle. We can't be pulling more than
three G's, tops, and that's being cancelled out by the compensators. What gives? he
wondered, looking over the readouts, confirming that there were no alert messages or
flashing red warning lights anywhere. Pushing the throttle ahead fully, the acceleration
increased only slightly and Galen again went over the instruments, sure he was missing
something there. Wait a minute. There's no fuel readout. Nice work, whoever came up
with this idea. he thought, at last realizing how this ship was moving through space.

Instead of standard chemical reaction jets, whoever had built this had modified a high-
powered gravity generator to provide both an AG field and propel the dropship as well.
Galen let out a low whistle at the realization, seeing how this tied in quite well with the
already stealthy profile of the ship. Do I know how to pick them, or what? he thought
proudly, before returning to the task at hand. He pulled the control yoke around, clearing
them from the small field of ice particles that had formed from the escaping atmosphere.
Taking a moment to orient himself to the station, Galen made his best guess at the
docking bay doors and pointed the sheer black shuttle towards it, gaining speed as he
went. They're going to be coming out hot, with my luck, and I don't want to get left
behind. he thought pessimistically, just as the sleek nose of the Heart of Gold poked into

The speed with which the pulsar left the station was not surprising, given that the
overeager and temperamental Goldie was handling the controls at the moment, and she
was nowhere near used to the amount of power at her fingertips. Seeing that she was at
nearly half throttle, which would smoke most ships in known space, Galen opened a comm
channel to the ship, trying to get hold of the current pilot. The transceiver beeped once, a
tone as subdued as the rest of the dropship's parts were, and Galen saw the green light
ensuring that the link was secure. "Heart of Gold, this is your captain speaking, Goldie, do
us a favor and open the shuttle bay. I'm coming up on your six now, and need a better
target than black on black to aim for."

A short silence followed, before the enthusiastic and vivacious voice of the ship's Artificial
Intelligence answered up. "Oh sweetie, I'm so glad you‟re okay. But where are you? And
who's the ateva who's been running around like she owns the place?" Goldie asked,
petulant as always when she was in a bad mood.

"Salfiri's the new security officer, Goldie, and I'm right behind you in a dropship we
borrowed, about fifteen thousand meters out." Galen said quickly, really not wanting to get
into an argument with the cantankerous AI.

"How nice of you to tell us all you've hired someone else, Galen," she said acidly, clearly
upset with the grey-eyed valertrez. "And that's you?" she added a little oddly. "Oops."

"What do you mean 'oops'?" Galen demanded testily.

"Umm, nothing, hon. Opening bay doors now." she added hastily, and Galen could see a
line of white light open in the back end of HoG, slowly widening into a rectangular opening,
with two short lines of landing light blinking in sequence.

"No, it's not 'nothing'. What do you mean 'oops'?" he asked again, his patience with Goldie
at an all-time low.

"Umm, well, I was kind of thinking you were one of the bad guys. But lucky the missile
racks are empty, huh?" she said, trying with artificial cheer to change the subject.
"Riiiight," Galen said, doubt thick in his voice. "Prepare for arrival, Goldie. Winters out," he
concluded, closing the link more out of a desire to keep from going ballistic on the erratic
AI currently piloting the Heart of Gold than being done talking to her.

The bright target the HoG shuttle bay provided was easy to guide in on, and Galen's only
disappointment was the strange sluggishness that the gravitic drive unit put into any
course corrections he made. This will definitely take some getting used to he thought,
gingerly guiding the jet black dropship into its new berth. The bay's force field flickered
blue light as the dropship passed through it, the speed slow to avoid damage to the bay.
The landing gear, which were mere stub legs, terminated in the magnetic grapples Walter
had used to latch onto Stargazer Station. These took up the weight of the stealthy
dropship easily, given the 0.5 G someone had set the ship's artificial gravity systems to.

Galen quickly shut down the small craft's systems, breathing a sigh of relief as the shuttle
bay doors closed slowly behind him. "Welcome aboard the Heart of Gold Miss de Vries,"
Galen said cordially, sliding out of the pilot's chair and towards the back of the dropship.
Opening the starboard side hatch, Galen slowly shambled out of the craft, his leg still
throbbing painfully. Hobbling over to an intercom panel near the central corridor of the
ship, the tall man nearly fell against the wall, leaning on it heavily. Punching the panel on,
he spoke curtly into it. "Goldie, go ahead and cloak the ship, I'll be on the bridge in a few

"You got it sweetie!" Goldie replied pertly.

"Nadia, you can leave your things there for the time being, they won't be going anywhere.
I need to get up to the bridge right now, if you'll follow me please?" he asked as graciously
as he could, given the urgency of the situation.

Posted by Donen Krell on 31.10.2002 at22:36:

"All crew of the Heart of Gold, report to ship. Departure imminent."

Those words over the ship's speakers jolted Donen awake...which wasn't at all a pleasant
experience for the very hung over young Valertrez. And while supernovas of pain danced
in his skull, the erstwhile medic of the Heart of Gold made a valiant attempt to piece
together where the hell he was, and why the fuck his head hurt so much, and what the
shit was going on.

The answer to the 'where' question was readily apparent as he squinted at his
surroundings: back in his bunk on the Heart of Gold. He wasn't exactly sure how he felt
about that though, since he knew precisely squat about his crewmates and the nature of
Captain Winters' business enterprise. He felt oddly ambivalent knowing that since he was
already back onboard...God knows how...he wouldn't miss the ship's departure and be
stranded on Stargazer Station.

The answers to the 'why' question took a little longer to puzzle out. Oh, he knew he had a
hangover--the physical symptoms he knew from his medical training--but Donen was
neither a frequent, nor a heavy imbiber of intoxicating beverages. The last thing he vividly
remembered was getting Captain Winters' authorization for the purchase of medical
supplies for the HoG and going on a shopping spree.

Well, "spree" wasn't exactly the right word to use, since he had only been authorized on
the barest of essentials. But now the ship would have a reasonable supply of
pharmaceuticals: adequate stocks of antibiotics, antivirals, antipyretics and analgesics
(only up to category III narcotics though, and Donen planned on hiding those since he
wasn't sure what kind of recreational activities his crewmates indulged in). Donen had
taken on much better supplies of materials for treating burns and trauma (it seemed to
him that this crew would be regularly getting themselves into trouble), and a full kit for
doing minor surgeries. He had stared long and hard at the fancy toys he wanted: the laser
scalpel, the micro-regen unit and the cybernetics kit, but Captain Winters nixed those off
the authorized list...some other day, perhaps, when the ship has been properly repaired
and the crew is enjoying a rest from being chased around the galaxy, thought Donen wryly
and chuckled, briefly, since it sent new pains through his head to laugh.

What had happened after that? Oh yes! He had gone to eat at a local restaurant/bar that
served Atevi food, having been intrigued by the Atevi security officer who had come
aboard to inspect the HoG earlier...What was the name of that place? "Wait a minute!"
he said out loud, his own voice rumbling painfully in his skull. "That voice over the loud
speaker...that sounded like the Atevi!"

Stumbling over to the comm unit and hitting the on switch, regardless of the pain of his
movements and speech caused, he shouted into the speaker, "Donen Krell, HoG's Med
Spec, here. Who the shit is piloting this tub? Where is that goddamn Captain
Winters now? And what the blazing fuck is going on?!"

Just then the ship accelerated, heading out into space from the docking bay, and toppled
the already unsteady Valertrez onto his ass.

Posted by Salfiri on 01.11.2002 at07:39:

((ooc: LOL Rags, you got me, I had forgotten you were sleeping on the bridge. :-) Sorry
about that. Now to try to cover that up.:-> ))

The Ateva had paid no attention to the form of the passed-out human in the corner, far
more concerned with getting the Heart of Gold out of Stargazer Station. However, the jolt
of departure wakened him, and Salfiri, busy trying to run the ship, found herself with a
gun levelled at her. She kept her attention on the control panel, pointedly ignoring Ragnar
and his Vultena.

“Now,” Ragnar finally said, “What the fuck‟s going on here, ladies?”

"One wonders, nadi Ragnar, if you always greet new crewmembers in such a manner?"
She asked calmly, as though nothing were amiss. Truth be told she were cursing herself
for having her attention divided and not getting to her own pistol quick enough, but her
iron self-control kept any of that from showing on her face. "Nadi Rewedyk is quiet correct,
nand' Captain Winters hired me just before our departure." She wasn't sure about the
comment of her presence being a product of Winter's twisted mind, but she let it slide.

"Donen Krell, HoG's Med Spec, here. Who the shit is piloting this tub? Where is
that goddamn Captain Winters now? And what the blazing fuck is going on?!"

"Perhaps a formal briefing would be more appropriate, nadiin," Salfiri said levelly,

She thumbed the nearest com switch, still pointedly ignoring the gun that Ragnar had
levelled at her. "This is Salfiri, Security Officer of the Heart of Gold, nadiin." She said,
allowing the ship's com system to carry her message to Donen as well.

"At nand' Captain Winters orders I had Goldie bring us out of Stargazer Station. The
Captain will meet up with us via alternate arrangements." She explained. "Goldie-daja has
the helm. Our rapid exit, nadiin, was necessitated by the presence of at least one sniper,
who's apparent target was Captain Winters." Or possibly Nadia-daja. The others had made
it back alive, so presumably it wasn't one of them. "A full breifing nadiin would best be left
until after Captain Winters' return." She shut the comm system off again, and finally gave
Ragnar her full attention, golden gaze meeting his eyes rather than fixing on the pistol.
"Does that answer your question, nadi?" She asked, and raised one black brow faintly.
It was hardly a warm welcome, but then she didn't expect differently, walking onto the
ship unnanounced and taking command. One did what one must in the circumstances.

Then, as though to villify all that she had said, the comm sprang to life"Heart of Gold,
this is your captain speaking, Goldie, do us a favor and open the shuttle bay. I'm
coming up on your six now, and need a better target than black on black to aim

There were several long moments as the shuttle bay doors opened, then Goldie's voice
came through with a triumphant "Got them!" Given the reaction of the three crewmen to
Salfiri, she wondered how they would react to Nadia's presence.

"Close and secure the shuttle bay doors, Goldie-daja." She told the voice in the machine.
Hopefully the Captain would come straight up, the strained atmosphere on the bridge was

"Way ahead of you hun." Said Goldie smuggly.

Posted by Galen Winters on 01.11.2002 at11:22:

Galen limped his way forward, climbing gingerly up the first ladderwell he found to get to
the upper deck of the Heart of Gold. He trudged forward as best he could, ignoring anyone
who tried to stop him just then, his place being on the bridge at this point in time. Limping
gamely through the door to the bridge, Galen was a little relieved to see Salfiri, Rewedyk
and Ragnar there, even if the tension was thick enough to require a plasma torch to cut
through. Pushing past them, Galen at last dropped into the pilot's chair, the cool
temperfoam greeting him in its firm embrace. "You guys might want to strap in back there,
this is liable to get hairy," he said curtly, fingers moving quickly to return the helm controls
to his own station, wresting control from Goldie, the ship's AI.

The readouts in front of him climbed slowly, the reactor taking time to get to full output,
especially with the added burden of the cloaking field operating. Placing his hands gingerly
on the twin sticks of helm and throttle Galen flexed his fingers experimentally several
times before fully grasping the controls. The multiple VDT's showed HoG's status as green,
and Galen brought the nose of the sleek and deadly pulsar around to the proper heading,
dictated by Rewedyk's calculations. This done, Galen said a quick and silent prayer to the
nameless, faceless goddess of spacers everywhere, mainly a supplication to not die in the
next five minutes, before throwing the throttle forward to the stops.

A particularly nasty lurch hit the ship, tossing anyone not strapped in back a bit before the
acceleration compensators kicked in. The double brace of Phoenix Corp. type VIIa main
engines were now operating at full design capacity, and beyond, the jump booster grafted
to each of them also active. The area immediately behind the ship became extremely
hostile to life, the thermal and gamma radiation from the powerful thrusters creating a
dead zone in Heart of Gold's aft quarter. Galen's eye stayed watchful, minding the thermal
readouts from the engine pods carefully as they climbed to near redline for the ship's
specifications. The beefed up cooling system he had been looking over the day prior
seemed to be installed for just that reason, as the fusion reactor was more than up to the
task of powering the engines.

Several minutes later, Galen's heart stopped beating so quickly, his worst fears about his
new ship quelled for the moment. He dropped the throttle back a few notches, and locked
in the autopilot, the first turn in Videlius' course not called for for several hours yet.

Gods, I'm sounding like a broken record, but there's nothing for it. Galen lamented as he
turned around to address the crew. "Ladies and gentlemen, your captain has turned off the
fasten seatbelt sign, and you are now free to wander about the cabin," he said, almost
immediately regretting the attempt at levity. Based on the sneers directed at him, it hadn't
worked anyway. He sighed heavily before speaking again. "All right, people, we're clear for
the time being. Briefing in the ready room in fifteen," he concluded in a much more
businesslike tone of voice.

The injured, tired, and generally burned out valertrez slid out of the pilot's chair slowly,
testing his gimpy leg and finding it rather unsuited to the task of ambulatory speed. 'Never
let them see you bleed' Tetsuo Masahiko had told him countless times before, the ateva's
words had always . . . Ateva? Galen asked himself. I need a drink he concluded grimly,
finding another inconsistent memory staring him in the face when he probed the latest
mental discrepancy. Opening his eyes, he barely realized that he had closed them, and he
blinked several times to make sure that he was looking at the reality that should be there.
Shaking this off hastily, the tall grey-eyed human stumbled weakly out the door, seeking
his cabin with grim determination.

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