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[Starkin] The Edge of Civilization - Chapter 01

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Mach 0235.1 was annoyed. This taken-by-gremlins ship was a wreck. He'd bought it just yesterday from a merchant who said that she was a fine ship, and he was sad to let her go, but he had to settle down. For his health, you understand. Well, the deal had turned out the Oraki's metaphorical pockets, and now he had very little hard cash left. He was going to need to find a job, and soon, if he was going to get this crow-begotten ship working more than a third of the time. At least the merchant had included a full tank in the deal. He wouldn't need to fill up any time soon. Combined with the nice stores of food paste he had accumulated, he could survive for a decent amount of time, until he was able to pull in a deal of some sort.

Which, of course, still left him stuck here in this stupid docking complex at the partially-finished orbital elevator, with a barely-working transport ship. So much for 'a fine ship'. A sigh was all the expression he could give to the matter. He was good with mechanics, but he didn't have experience with ships. How could he have known this one was little better than scrap metal? It had looked fine on the surface. Perhaps if he went into the elevator, he could find some sort of transport work. There was even a 'cantina' somewhere around here. Mach was curious to check it out, and perhaps even have one of these 'beers' that he'd heard so much about. It was doubtful that getting drunk was a possibility, but the taste was most of the point anyway.

<OOC: Ship is docked at the elevator, Mach is headed towards the cantina. He's packing both his knife and his Firefly, but doesn't really intend to need them. He's looking for work, transport work being preferable.>

Her move had put him on the proverbial knife edge. Rarely had he battled such a skilled opponent. Deploying all his skills with n-dimensional matrices, he began to calculate the current potential landscape. Clearly, This would be a make or break move.

Making his move, Barnaby 'Alice' Brevil saw it reflected on the bridge's holo-deck. The abstract shapes danced, shifted, and returned to stillness. Presently, his move was followed by her mellow voice coming over the bridge's speaker:

"Hooo, You're in good shape today professor"

Lying through his teeth, he teasingly replied: "Well, Maia, Your move was quite elementary."

"Very well. Let us see whether you truly appreciate the fineries of N-Chess"

And so, for a while, The battle continued, Him thinking himself victorious, her, aided by the millions of simultaneous calculations from her carbon-boron-silicon processors, knowing Herself victorious. Until the knife edge was crossed:

"I dare say, Checkmate, professor."

"Very well, Maia. I salute you. A  flawless game, as always. I await the revanche, and this time, you better be prepared"

"I await it with trepidation!" A long pause followed while Barnaby looked around the bridge, savouring his freshly squeezed orange juice.

"Say, Maia, is Old Ben anywhere near Sabrontir II?"
"Just show me on the deck."He added quickly

The Holo-deck shifted again, this time revealing the elliptic lines of a system map. Two dots were highlighted in red brackets, the smallest, labeled "46g.64e.09f3.23 (Benjamin Franklin)" slowly advanced towards the almost stationary planet, labeled "Sabrontir II". In a small box in the corner, information scrolled down. In large letter one could see "ETA: 00:00:00:04:37"

"Very well. Maia, I'll go water the plants in the green room, then I'm going for a small nap. Would you wake me up when we're docked?-oh, and Remind me to take my cards when I set off, too."

And so the professor stood up, and left the bridge. The infinite expense of space stretched out beyond the viewport, the stars only more noticeable as the room's lights automatically switched off. Soon, the view would fill with the beautiful crescent of a waning planet, but until then, the comfortable bridge was silent, bathed in the faint glow of the instruments.

Siren no Orakio:
The Cantina

As they arrived, each of the Oraki were greeted in turn by the cantina's bouncer, an enormous brute of a human, fully six and a half feet tall, with what parts of his nut-browned skin visible covered in exotic patterns of neon-purple tatoos. To Kestrel, the man nodded, waving him into the Canteena, with a half rumbled, "Have fun, Pinnochio, but yer toys needs ta stay stowed, gawt it?" The first man-machine through the door, he fell back against the wall, leaning there and waiting, at least until the second, Mach, arrived, drawing a blink, and even a gape from the muscle man.  "Two uv yinz in a day?" Still, he just stood agape, not making any motion to stop the Oraki as he arrived.

An odder hive of dancing scum and drinking villainy cannot possibly exist, and if it did, it was not likely to be equipped with multiple disco balls sticking out of seeming random surfaces, casting their spotted, colored lights about the room in throbbing, whirling flashes. Nor was the music likely to be the same, with an all Salvorathan band on the stage, in the final stages of tuning up, a sound not entirely unlike the demonic crossbreed of a tactical nuclear weapon and an electric guitar. With a mere early evening's crowd, only a few dozen eyeballs turned to the Oraki as they entered, most out of the habit of sizing up potential trouble, though more than a few stayed in open stares, while a small compliment of human and Salvorathan waitstaff darted among them. At least none had that drilling, hateful stare that some zealots managed. Mostly, they seemed to be curious.

Manning the bar, as Mach approached it, was a single tender, his long, silvery hair tucked behind pointed ears, while ruby eyes flecked with emerald lit up a moment, his sing-song voice calling out over the twanging and crashing of the tune-up. "Ha-la! Na Kel'Ora! The stars, have they perhaps yielded up a challenge to my fair art at long last? What have you come here for, oh Ironman? Is it indeed to test my skill, to see if I can succeed where many another keep has surely failed? To feel my delicate weavings of the spirits upon your tongue? They do tell me you gentlemen have those, right? ... Ah. No? Then what have you come here for, my friend? Ahh, yes, yes, of course. But you may as well sit a spell, and enjoy my elixers, for that comes in its own time here, and if it really is what you're after, he's usually not here until a touch later in the day. So what may I craft for you today?"

And the band exploded into metallic noise.

Space - just another frontier

With the fringe atmosphere of Sabrontir I, a common comm band crackled to life a moment with a brief moment of static, as another ship passed below the Karloff. "Hey, yinz alive up 'der in dat bucket, or is we coming up ta salvage?" At least the voice was relatively friendly, as it addressed the ship, a touch of actual concern in the voice, masking a little bit of the opportunism.

Elsewhere, with the passing of time, more bands and beams came to life, landing clearances being granted for the Franklin and the Souhait, while automatic mechanisms brought them to bear along the partly-finished docking ring, hanging weightlessly in orbit at the geostationary level, the larger ship mated to an airlock, the smaller, arriving in a bay, each granting access to a busy port-side, cargo and parts carts moving here and there amongst a cacaphony of beeps and horns. Chaos in a bottle, it would seem.

Meanwhile, in deep space, several ships continued their slow drift, each almost imperceptible against the background radiation, despite  the vast differences in their size, one small and tiny, carrying a single, fae-like creature, the other enormous, and betraying its presence only with a simple, repeated signal in a tucked away corner of the radio spectrum, nearly Morse like in its nature.

Hmm, another of us in this armpit of a system? How extraordinary!

However, apart from their common ancestry, Kestral had nothing to do with the second man-machine, and simply contented himself to observe.  Looking about he doubted any of the furnishing were Oraki rated, so he leaned up against the wall and watched. 

He actually turned down his audio input slightly, really nothing more then an act of will, as the audio assault began.  Funny what these beings consider music, though it does have a unique timbre....

Mach unknowingly agreed with Kestral, declining to take a seat, unsure as to whether one could even support over half a ton of metal and not in the mood to find out (nor the financial capability to replace said seat). He could, however, afford a drink or two. "I've heard much of this so-called 'beer' Terrans have come up with. Might I purchase one?"

He grinned at the tender and looked around, sizing up the crowd. What sort of hauling work he could find here, he wasn't entirely sure. "Tell me, do you happen to have any information about hauling jobs?"


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