Yulo finished his call and headed back to the table. A few of the other patrons called out in greeting, slowing his progress.
H'lassta set about serving the food. Quan's dish appeared to be some sort of tentacled fish-like thing in a dark sauce with a mass of noodles heaped to the side. The pungent smell of spices reached his nose, making it tickle.
Three plates went to Jarven and he dug in without hesitation.
Once back, Yulo placed a pitcher of foaming black brew in the center of the table.
"Sorry for stepping away like that; still finalizing some of the details on the cargo. Now, I hope you don't mind, but I ordered a pitcher of Viss'tak. A hardy brew. Drink up!"
Yulo set into his own dish with vigor, stopping now and then to speak.
"I'm sure you have a lot of questions and I'll do my best to fill you in on the details.
"First, let me break the ice with a story of my youth.
"I crewed on a corporate line back when I first earned my piloting certs. The Assyr, I believe it was. I, and a good buddy of mine named Terence, used to terrorize the shift leader. We were both creative types feeling stifled by all the red tape and strict chain of command. Our shift leader was this German fellow, a right prick who'd yell at us for the slightest infraction. Now, Terence and I both knew a little German. Not much, but enough to thoroughly butcher the language when we set our minds to it.
"Whenever this fellow came in range, we'd start talking to each other in this horrid blend of English and our limited German vocab. We made sure to mispronounce all the words and to mangle them as much as possible. It wouldn't have been quite so fun if the man wasn't such a perfectionist. You could actually see him cringe with every word we spoke.
"The day finally came when we pushed him a little too far. I believe we were waxing poetic on the topic of mothers. His face turned this beautiful reddish-purple color and he began screaming at us. I think he cuffed Terence, but the memory is a bit fuzzy.
"When he finally ran out of invectives to spew at us, he finished it by yelling at us, 'Geh zur hölle!', or 'Go to hell!'
"Without skipping a beat, Terence says, 'Don't you mean geh zur hollen, sir?'
"I can tell you, the three of us were separated by force. Terence and I left the ship at the next port.
"It became a joke between us until our careers took us on different paths.
"When I had a chance to get my own ship, I knew right away what to name it. Hell's Prize. Because Hell is the only thing that could take my pride and joy away from me. And because I wanted to remember to keep my sense of humor. I'm a firm captain but if I ever forget my roots, I hope to be spaced.