[UW] Bai the Bai. [Bai, Allevard, Robynne 2.0]

Aglisse 2b is a warm garden world with two and half million inhabitants. One of the riches of the Mayaran system is that there are three primary worlds, equidistant from each other but sharing the same orbit, makeing them all ideally habitable. While bothe Aglisse 2a and b are smaller than Mayara (Aglisse Prime) itself they are more dense, and more metallic overall. The entire arrangment is the result of solar system engineering by some ancient spacefaring species. There are still ruins on all three worlds.

The world itself is held for the Duchess by Lord Askira and Lady Calibar, with the Duchess also having a substantial estate. Kaluga dominates most of Aglissa 2a, more industiralized than either of the other two planets.

The Thousand Blessings is moored at Aglisse 2b's highport, the engineering team doing repairs, clean up and a thorough system by system diagnostic. TXR protocol after such an incident requires a second TXR sign off and the Duchess dispatched a courier to the closest TXR field office one jump away which will then move on to the Imperial Throne with a report.

When you disembarked you discovered that the three crewman who were ejected in escape pods were in fact, not gone. Their bodies were found in Kaluga's quarters and Kaluga himself and the only two retainers he brought with him are instead missing. The Duchess declared him a traitor and summoned half her starfleet to Aglisse 2b. Kaluga is known to have nearly as many ships as the Duchess. The rebel fleet, too, may likely get involved. Imperial reinforcement is weeks away at best.

Lady Calibar is serving as your host, all of you are staying in her magnificent city palace, not far from the lowport and its connecting elevator to the highport.

Aglisse 2b is in the middle of the enormous annual Flame Tree Festival and the city itself is celebratory, the Duchess not having yet publicly announced Kaluga's treachery.

Allevard: It's been three days so far of running back and forth as the crew does its work and you supervise and do the inevitable paperwork in advance of the arrival of the TXR rep. The invitation for a private dinner with the Duchess arrived only an hour ago. You both have been too busy to speak directly, of course. But now you are arriving at the grandiose suite of rooms occupied by Lady Bai and the Princess. She requested this meeting, telling you she had important information about the incident to convey. You arrive at the door only moments ahead of...

Robynne: You've spend what little time you can on the ship, assisting, as well as pursuing the mystery of your hack with Terci. But, like it or not, this is still a PR mission and that part of it is your purview, so you've had to attend one gathering of minor nobility and Lord Askira has promised for you to see his horses up close and personal as well as to see them race in the festival. Bai asked for some time with you, but didn't mention that the Captain would be here also.

Bai: Just what have you been doing these past three days? Xuan is her usual restless self but you can't keep her corralled all the time. Jun informs you both that your guests have arrived and that security has been established.


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    Naturally, as much as I'd like to dig deeply into the problem of my personal hack, I've informed our infosec personnel about the issue and dived into the larger issue at hand; presenting a cohesive, usefully honest narrative of the events while keeping to duties as a liaison. I've told the story several times by now of how we escaped a rebel plot while eliding details that are still under investigation.

    I pause at the door, leaning forward on my walking cane of green sphene - a single, elegant piece from a distant moon. "Captain King, it's good to see you. Have you gathered up any plans for the festival?"

    I'm in a more modest and flexible outfit for planetside travel; a soft turtleneck, easy-fitting denim slacks, layers for when the temperature changes abruptly. My chest remains bandaged and raw; a graft is being grown for me and should be done within the week, barring disaster.
  • imageIs it sad that I'm actually looking forward to a break from the chaos of a full system sweep? I'm sure whatever Bai has on her agenda for this little get-together will be interesting, to say the least, but we've been at this for three days now, and I haven't been able to take in any sights whatsoever. Even the Dutchess' invitation to dinner is a welcome distraction. I'm ruing the thought of what TXR rep will come walking through my airlock in the coming days, no doubt eager to go over every single check we've done... Regulations on ships like these are so much more detailed than surveying out in the reaches. I miss the autonomy... Even if I don't miss the rationing.

    I'm admittedly a little surprised to see mixter Archebelloch will be joining us, but that only makes the stakes Bai has in mind all the more interesting I suppose. "A pleasure, of course — but you can call me Allevard when we're not on the clock." I knock on the door, and shake my head, "I'm afraid not. I've been dying to get out and take in the sights, though — how about yourself?"
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    "Allevard." I correct myself and smile softly. Although I'm sure this meeting will be serious, I have hopes that it won't be as exhausting as the noble functions I've been to. I also have hopes for a good chaise - in this gravity I can hardly go twenty minutes without needing to rest. I don't know if I should move slower or faster to compensate sometimes. It's been frustrating, expecting to get half again as much done but suddenly I lack the energy.

    "Plans unfold without much doing on my part, I find. I'll be taking in the races on Lord Askira's hospitality, and I hope that later today I can take in some of the kite flying just outside the palace grounds. Should I recruit you for something?" The offer is mostly playful. I might have tried to demand some of Allevard's time earlier but to what actual use? I'm fully aware that he's been busy.
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    For the last few days, I have reached out to personal contacts–rebellion and otherwise–in an effort to understand why the Council of Free Suns felt it necessary to attempt capturing Rei. I have always believed we could sucessfully court her into joining the rebellion.

    The strategic importance of the Mayaran system cannot be denied–else Taru would not have gone along–but I mistrust Lord Kaluga’s motivations. I have sought to learn more about him. In parallel, Jun and I have spent several nights attempting to create a model of Taru’s AI and internal security protocols based on technical specs and artifacts in our logged interactions with it. The next time the synthetic general and I meet, I don’t intend to be using its published interface. I fear, however, that the lack of sleep shows on my face.

    Jun notifies me of the guests’ arrival, and I send a servant to the door for the Captain and Mixter Archebelloch. In space, one can’t afford to observe the appropriate forms, of course, but now that we are planetside, there is scarcely an excuse for doing otherwise.

    “Mixter. Captain.” I don’t rise, but I gesture to a formal high-backed wing chair and a new loveseat with unusually deep cushions–I wouldn’t have been on the ’Blessings without doing a little research on her crew first. “I thought we might have a word before dinner with Duchess Soyinko. Please–make yourselves confortable.” I signal the servant with the tea, nodding towards Mixter Archebelloch. “You’ll find this helps with the gravity sickness, dear,” I say to xir. It would be more convincing if I mentioned that the tea isn’t an herbal supplement–it’s a blend of my own, loaded with nanites that will repair and reinforce–and also with licorice root. Feeling better is a matter of mind as well as body. Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of injesting army of machines, however, even if most of those machines have no comms capability. I would not have Mixter Archebelloch refuse based on privacy concerns–for both our sakes. So, for now, we shall think of it as “tea”.

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    I claim the loveseat and arrange myself on it in a careful balance of politeness and comfortable posture. "Why thank you, Lady Bai. It's been more trying than I recall." I exchange my cane for the tea when her servant approaches me, giving Bai a grateful smile.

    Without gawping, I take in the quality of our surroundings. Everything is so spacious, even a personal room feels like a galleria. I feel the presence of Bai's calculated nature in this room.
  • edited February 2016
    imageMy smile reaches up to my tired eyes, and I nod graciously when Robynne offers to "recruit" me for something. "That sounds delightful — recruit me for whatever sounds good. I'll find a way to make it work."

    Then Bai opens the door, and greets us both. I nod, and follow Robynne in, taking a seat in a vacant chair. I cross my legs, and wait for Robynne to receive xir tea before starting up this business about the Duchess. "So then, Lady Bai, what about the Duchess is on your mind?"
  • edited February 2016

    I smile at my guests, perhaps a little distantly, and take a sip of tea, using the cup to hide the slight movement of my mouth as I speak into my subvocal mic. “Jun, please confirm all security and privacy measures are intact. Protocol: Grouchy Auntie.”

    This designation had been a whimsical shorthand between Jun and I for some time–since before Xuan was born, and an inquisitive little Rei was about seven years old. It meant that no one was to interrupt, and that if either of my headstrong young charges thought to assert their “authority”, Jun would remind them that I was their Emperor’s aunt, and until one of them sat under the yellow parasol, they would do well to remember their place–this, and the fact that I controlled their access to the cookies, metaphorical and otherwise.

    I smile at the remembrance, despite the gravity of what I am about to do. Then, composing myself, and putting on a somber face, I address my guests.

    “I am delighted that I can ease your burden, Mixter Archebelloch…though I fear I am about to add to them considerably. Let me assure you both that this conversation is completely private, and once you hear what I have to say, I will not need to caution you to keep it so.” I pause for a beat to watch for panic. I will not stoop to threaten them into silence, though if Mixter Archebelloch knew what was in xir “tea”, and if Captain King knew who was on her way to inspect his ship…and who the shuttle pilot was…

    “We three–four, counting Xuan, should she decide to act the part of a princess and not a lovestruck girl–find ourselves at the center of events that are destined to shape the galaxy for many lifetimes and countless lives. My fool of a nephew–oh, don’t look shocked–you are both intelligent people with less stake than I in believing him to be otherwise–has shown himself unequal to the task that history has set before him. His pride and arrogance have made peaceful change impossible. The empire has become a cancer, killing the people it was meant to serve. It cannot be fixed, cannot be saved. It must be excised and eradicated for us to move on to that which comes after. Rei–the Duchess–does not yet understand this, nor does she understand the forces aligned against her.” I press my lips together in a firm line. “But I am confident she will. In the meantime, the two of you control a formidable piece of technology–and more than that, one that General Taru has attempted to subvert.”

    I smile my kind old lady smile, as if I had just offered each of them a lemon cookie. “I would be delighted to hear your thoughts.”

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    I hug a knee against my chest somewhat crudely and give Bai my full attention, 'completely private' being a very loaded phrase in our usual level of company. As Bai reveals herself as a rebel, I keep my focus staked upon her while balancing my family's history with the empire in my mind.

    We were some of the ones who met with great success upon the reopening of travel and communication channels with 'Those of Terra' or 'The Atavists'. We learned to navigate empire law and mores with the greatest swiftness. Archebellochs serve well, and are well served in return. It has a high cost, and a high return.

    For the station archipelago of Alcyone, the success of the empire called their own into question. Many families and companies were bankrupted by the complete upheaval of our commodities market. We have not, to our eternal relief, assimilated completely, but we have reached an equilibrium. With negotiation. Cohesion. Reciprocity. The same values that have always preserved us.

    This lecture irritates me. In theory I sympathize with the rebellion, but sympathy is different from dedication. Besides, perhaps I'm being tested.

    "I hope you're not presenting working with the unmitigated magnesium shaft fire that is rebellion leadership and logistics as an option for my ship. I don't find having my head cut off to be a novel enough way to die for the privilege of increasing the churn of dead bodies in the wake of a war with Aso."

    I set down my tea. "What's more, I'm not prepared to be even more disposable to the interplanetary bureaucracies in conflict here. Whatever you are to the rebellion, for instance, it is clearly not so precious. If you planned to negotiate rebel support out of me on the mere shock of your lack of filial piety, I'm afraid you'll have to dig deeper."

    I tap a finger against the knot of my knee in irritation. I'll admit to myself that much of my tension comes from knowing that if the empire is a machine for producing stability, it has been leaking crimes.
  • imageI can't help but chuckle at Bai's "security code" — I'm sure better men than I have tried to suppress laughter, and failed. That same amusement is quickly replaced with a grave concern as Bai continues talking, however... Treason isn't something I thought was on the docket today — it would appear that I was wrong again.

    I feel slightly out of place at the moment — I grew up on a planet that was borderline uninhabitable if not for the TXR investments that kept our mouths fed, and our generators running. The Empire, and all its well-dressed trappings, were so distant a thought that I watched an envoy from the nearest embassy get ridiculed in the streets when they arrived in their formal dress. I didn't care then, because I was so engrossed in the rhetoric of "survival first" that I almost didn't even apply for my Imperial citizenship until I decided it was time to sign on with TXR, and start up a career starblazing.

    Now, having found a hidden gem from a civilization that ended eons ago, I find myself in the unthinkable position of discussing the merits of rebellion with the Emperor's aunt — a thought made even more ridiculous by the fact that I'm nursing a crush on her great-niece, the princess of said Empire.

    My very silence emanates distress over the tension in the room... I had no idea Robynne was so politically tied to the Empire. I suppose I shouldn't be shocked, given how tied TXR's profits are to the imperial economy. I sometimes forget that xie's destined to take up that mantle some day... I look to Bai, and wait for her retort.
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    I raise an eyebrow at the vehement display from Mixter Archebelloch and regard xir mildly for a moment. Slowly I turn to study the captain’s reaction. His silence is, in some ways, as full of meaning as his companion’s outburst.

    “No, my dear,” I say, answering Mixter Archebelloch while my eyes remain on the captain. “I do not presume that the thought of schism in the imperial family will shock you into action.” My eyes travel to xir tapping fingers. “I suspect, rather, that talk of revolution makes you uncomfortable. The status quo is not so easily abandoned when one’s status is sufficiently high.”

    I look back at the captain. “I did not ask either of you here to convince you to join the rebellion–though I will do that in the fullness of time. At the moment, it would seem that the character of the rebellion has become rather more faceted than I would like. Concerns about my own place in the rebellion aside, I find Lord Kaluga’s actions unacceptable. Whether or not the Duchess can fend him off, the loss of life will be immense. I hope you will find this outcome suitably undesirable on its own merits and need not share my belief that the accompanying damage to the rebellion will be a tragedy of greater scale, if less immediacy.”

    I take a sip of tea, studying my guests. “I asked you here because I believe our task is to stop Lord Kaluga and the Duchess Soyinko from turning this system into a slag heap and destroying half the rebel fleet in the bargain. Believe me when I tell you that your emperor has no intention of preventing either outcome.”

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    I snort, more pleased than before, but not entirely satisfied. "That's a much more focused proposition. I owe Lord Kaluga a measure of payback, and of course I'd prefer the Mayaran system remain alive and beautiful. I'm interested in your plans for that.""

    I sit up, straightening my back and keeping the same measured tone that I have for this entire conversation. "As for throwing my status back in my face; oh for mercy's sake, Lady Bai. I'm not choosing money over justice, I'm choosing all of my client families over an upheaval I have little faith in. Solve that problem of faith, give me a positive reason instead of a negative consequence and you'll have me. I really thought you might know me better than that."

    Whether Bai believes it or not, my responsibilities are more important to me than clothes and comfortable quarters.
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    “That’s the trick, isn’t it? Easier to see what you don’t want than to know what you do. If my nephew continues to rule, millions will die. He would see worlds destroyed before he would let the empire change. I know this. I have witnessed it.” For the first time during this conversation my voice shakes. I wish it were an act–that I was so in control that I had to feign distress. I take a deep, shuddering breath, forcing away the memories of the “taming” of Kesteron.

    “But who else? This ”Council of Free Suns“–whose first act is to attempt to take this system by force? Who else? Rei? Xuan? I don’t think so. I think the answer is a representative government of some kind. You are correct, Mixter, that the timing is about avoiding a negative, but the vision is of a galaxy ruled by the laws of its people, not by a succession of dynastic autocrats, each unwilling to taint his honor by acknowledging the mistakes of his predecessors. Setting up the alternative to this is something with which I believe you, Mixter, have more relevant experience than I.”

    I turn back to Captain King. “As for the impending battle for this system…I have reason to believe your ship has been infiltrated…and that this is both a reason for hope, as well as for the continued employment of Mr. Bezier.”

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    Bai points the higher capability of producing an alternative at me, and I'm silenced. I'm worried, in fact, that she may cry. I sink back into the seat cushions and return to my tea. She was coming at me with an entreaty and not a full position of power, and I should have read that.

    Me! Form a new government? I haven't even reached the middle of my life's cycle.

    I watch for Allevard's reaction as well, then turn my gaze back to Bai when she comments on the infiltration and Bezier in one sentence, brow quirked.
  • edited March 2016
    imageShe's not here to ask us to join the rebellion... It sure does sound that way, though. If I had a credit for every idealistic proselytizer I've ever come across preaching the espousal of a new government, free of privileged reign, handed down from one increasingly inbred despot to the next, I would be a rich man.

    See? I know big words too...

    This talk of someone infiltrating my ship has my attention though. "I suppose you mean besides yourself, and perhaps her imperial highness? What role do you see us taking on in this conflict, really? Considering the rebellion was all too happy to kill every person on board the Thousand Blessings, yourself included, we have no appeal as a reliable middle ground." I look between Robynne and Bai, considering my next sentence carefully so I don't sound too crass. "I would appreciate intelligence you have regarding compromised securities aboard the Thousand Blessings – and if you have anything you'd like me to discuss with the Duchess over dinner tomorrow, I'd be happy to approach her about it — granted it can help people."

    I lean forward, and address Bai directly. "So what's this about an infiltration?"
  • edited March 2016


    “Certainly, I infiltrated your ship’s systems–nothing malicious, mind you, just staying apprised of the state of things and helping where I could. As it happened, that young man–Bezier–was quite up to dealing with the ship’s troubles. I was involved only briefly.”

    “The interesting part is that I had help from my AI companion, Jun-shi. Jun is very good at compromising computer systems. The second interesting part is that General Taru of the Free Suns is a…relative…of Jun’s you might say. Its AI is a fork off of Jun-ni. That is, its AI and Jun-shi’s diverged only two generations ago. When we entered your ship, my Jun–Jun-shi, that is–immediately put in place a backdoor and a data probe.”

    I fidget–yes, even I fidget–and find that I have to struggle to maintain eye contact with the captain. I look away briefly. Then, steeling myself, look him in the eye and continue. “I think it’s very likely that General Taru used my commlink and Jun-shi’s backdoor into the Blessings to introduce code of its own.”

    I wince at the admission. “For that, I apologize. I have already updated Jun-shi with this in mind. You have every right to be furious,” I say, holding up a hand. “However, this mistake may be something we can use. When we next encounter Taru–when it comes to destroy us–it will likely use the backdoor to download and consume the data gathered by its probe. If we, perhaps with the help of Mr. Bezier, can use that to hack Taru…” I raise my eyebrows. “Captain King, General Taru does not control just one ship. It controls an entire fleet. If we control General Taru, this system does not end in…how did you so colorfully put it, my dear?” I say with a smile for Mixter Archebelloch. “An unmitigated magnesium shaft fire?”

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    "Just to prise the metaphor apart for you, I mean to say that it's a lethal disaster." I show Bai my teeth in return, brightly and with muted humor. Back to reclining, I add a few textual items to my personal slate. I am in fact furious, but I must accept that there are advantages here to exploit.

    "Lady Tzeng, I'm afraid I need something to convince me not to evict you from the Thousand Blessings and to withdraw my hospitality towards you permanently," I pause for effect, "Starting now you are officially on infosec. You'll be a freelance consultant to myself, freeing you from most TXR bureaucracy. That way when you take liberties with the viability of my ship's network, there's a little more truth to the claim that you were helping. Mr. Bezier is very capable and has a crucial breadth of experience, but so do you." I motion to Lady Bai's servant and get my feet on the floor again - I'm ready to trade back my tea for my cane.

    "To be clear, I approve of your proposal. You have my backing on the matter until history has resolved itself."

    With my effects returned, I stand back up. "I'll be contacting you with additional items later on. For now I find I have the energy to take a walk."
  • edited March 2016


    I sit up straighter and draw a breath as if to speak. My eyebrows raise and my mouth opens, shuts. I blink, twice. My head cocks slightly, as I draw a deep breath and my posture relaxes and I smile. “Very well, Mixter Archebelloch. I accept your terms. After all, when one espouses a desire to bring about a new world order, one can hardly expect to remain untouched by change, can one?”

    As xie pulls xirself up and makes xir way out of the parlor and into the hall, I lean toward Captain King with a smile whose full meaning evades even myself at the moment. “I think that went rather well, don’t you?”

  • edited March 2016
    imageI'm dubious Bai knows what "that went well" actually means — but I suppose it could have gone very poorly for her, so I suppose it did from her point of view... I raise an indifferent eyebrow and shrug. "I think xie likes you – despite the heated conversation... Between you and Xuan, I'm not sure TXR actually owns half of this ship anymore..."
  • edited March 2016


    "Hmm… I say, finding sudden interest in adjusting the fall of my jacket. “I’m sure I don’t know. I find that being liked is not so very important in these matters.” I pause as if I’m done, and perhap I am, but then, in a sudden need to preempt anything the captain might say on the matter, I blurt out, “I should be very pleased if Mixter Archebelloch and I remained on cordial terms. Xie is an impressive individual for one so young.” I laugh gently at my outburst. “Not requiring the good opinion of others is not the same as being ill-disposed to it.”

    I take a breath, adjust my posture, and turn in my seat to fully face Captain King. As I do so, my demeanor turns as well–brisk, cheerful, businesslike–my back to any conversation of a personal nature.

    “I commend you, Captain, on your handling of the encounter with General Taru, and with the, dare I say, unusual amount of outside meddling in your command.”

  • imageI'm a little uncomfortable, truth be told, about how little control I have over the ship – a de facto captaincy, if you will – but I'm less concerned with telling people what to do, and more concerned with managing the safety of everyone on board. It's tough to go from running a ship on your own, to managing a team of people who are all more competent than you at their stations. Reminding myself that these people are, in fact, better than me in many respects has served me well.

    Bai's sudden return to her impermeable self reminds me I shouldn't be so candid with her. She is, after all, the aunt of the Emperor. "I appreciate the vote of confidence, my lady." I stand up, and look to the door, thinking I should probably go check on Robynne... "I'll have a chat with Mixter Archebelloch, and try to smooth things over. I trust you'll walk Jek though the security loopholes you've found in the Thousand Blessings?"
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    “Of course, Captain,” I say, smiling. “I am sure Mr. Bezier and I will get on splendidly. I feel fortunate to be in the company of such competent individuals as Mr. Bezier and yourself. On that note, Captain…I could not help but notice that my niece seems to share my admiration for you. She’s a headstrong girl, Captain–so young, and in some ways, quite naive. I hope to find that among your many admirable qualities lies a sense of propriety. Xuan may overlook the gulf between the worlds of captain and empress. I trust you will view the world from a vantage point of greater wisdom.”

  • imageI tense up when she mentions Xuan, and propriety... I'm not naive enough to think such a pairing would survive the scrutiny of noble eyes. I flush at the mere thought of it, then turn beet red at the thought of losing my post by order of imperial decree — I swallow hard.

    "You flatter me," I answer, only half sarcastically, "I would be lying if I said I hadn't noticed something — but I've been dismissing it as wishful thinking. Your niece is a beautiful woman, my lady. Believe me when I say the specifics of our upbringings don't elude me — I wouldn't mistake my restraint for wisdom. Wisdom would be something else entirely..." Like resigning my commission, and returning to a life where such temptations aren't present.

    I bow graciously, and move to take my leave – pausing at the door to make sure Lady Bai is satisfied with my response — but I'd rather not linger, as I'd like to catch Robynne to make sure xie's OK.
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    "I knew my confidence in you was not misplaced, Captain. Farewell."
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    I've eaten up some distance into one of the plazas that beautifies this area. My pace started fast but I've since slowed to admire the trees planted between symmetrical installations of marble and glass.

    I'm dictating a missive to my younger sibling Makynne in a thick galactic patois, lazily holding up my comms slate.

    My presence and the sound of my footfalls punctuated with the crisp tap of stone on stone must make me very distinct.
  • imageThe relative silence of the plaza is broken by the hurried clomp of my boots on the stone pathway as I rush to catch upto Robynne. "Mixter Archebelloch," I call as I come up beside xim, "I hope lady Bai's revelation hasn't spoiled your day..."
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    I turn towards the noise that Allevard is making and end my dictation with a quick sing-songing "Pardi, Makynne, I'll comm again." My comm is slid back into a pocket as I move to offer Captain King my full attention.

    "Allevard. Which one in particular? I understood previously to this that our safety was stolen and temporary. I would have preferred our ship had a lesser role in preserving it, but it's inescapable, really." I sigh, mostly for the theater of it.

    "How about yourself? I realize now I've gone over your head making a staffing decision for the ship."
  • edited March 2016
    imageI huff a laugh, and slow my pace to match. "I'm not so naive to think that I have staffing power over a TXR ship — especially over you. A long line of people have control over the Thousand Blessings when she's docked, and I'm middling at best."

    I sigh, "your people have hired me to do a job, and I would imagine whoever it is coming to inspect the ship before we depart again will remind me of the breaches in security I've overlooked... I don't suppose you know what TXR has in store for the Blessings once the last tests are completed? Whether we'll be inserting ourselves between these rabid dogs?"
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    "Well.." I look away in mock embarrassment, then back. "I do try to respect your autonomy. I'm not dom of anything just yet."

    While Allevard unloads some of his worries, I reach up and pluck an unlucky leaf from a branch above, inspecting its color and pattern. I owe him an honest answer. "My expectation is we'll either be ordered to move far away from here, or to hunker down on a planet if we can't. Standard inspection or not, things are on an uncertain timer. Even if we close a sale by some miracle..leaving the system appears another one entirely. And, after that.."

    "Now is a bad time to have plans, Captain King." I press my new leaf into a small folio.
  • imageI'm not certain know what plans look like anymore. "perhaps we should endeavor to play it by ear, then... I believe there was a mention about kites earlier? I could see myself not having any plans while taking that in... What about yourself?"
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    "I can't really get any work done since I've given Terci the day off, anyhow. She's the one who holds onto my plans. Let's fly some kites." I smile and tuck the folio away, leading us onward to the wide-open park where all of the action is supposed to be. Hopefully there will be some good ones on sale, or a chance to craft my own.

    Of course, under the surface I'm going to be thinking of all these problems, between now and this dinner with the Duchess.
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