Saturday, 30 Sep 2519
Mid Bulk Freighter Space Otter
En Route to New Melbourne
Red Sun (Zhu Que) system
07:30 hrs, ship’s time
We have a dead man to take care of. Oksana’s patient has died due to complications from a medically induced coma and emergency surgery. She asks Captain Allyne Stone if she may autopsy the body to pinpoint cause of death. Permission given, she gets to work. She spends pretty much the balance of the trip in on this task. Her findings are pretty much as she suspected.
- Long term cumulative effects of the coma meds had caused micro-seizures in the patient’s brain. The seizures were undetectable in his unconscious state but over time the damage accumulated. An aneurysm caused the Grand Mal seizure that had him code blue in the recovery ward.
- Had Oksana managed to prevent the aneurysm or the Grand Mal seizure, he would have been a vegetable anyway.
- Bringing him out of the coma via pharmaceutical means for his interrogation and quickly putting him under for the emergency surgery created a lethal drug interaction, touching off a chemical cascade in his system that triggered the micro-seizures.
She tells the Captain her findings and ask him if the Merchant’s Guild on New Melbourne would take a dead body and the autopsy report instead of the live prisoner they’d been expecting. Allyne Stone waves ahead to the Guild and the answer comes back: yes. Oksana promises to have everything ready for the Guild once we make landfall. With the crew’s help she installs the body (now closed up, properly shrouded and bagged) in one of the guest cargo lockers in the cargo bay, with the locker environmental controls set to freezing to preserve the remains.
The remainder of the trip is not all blood and cuts, of course. Xiu wakes in her quarters, snugly cocooned in the zero-g webbing of her bunk. She calls out via comms that she needs to PEE-EEEEE!
Oksana releases her and offers to make the woman breakfast. The offer is taken up enthusiastically and as everyone aboard was awakened or otherwise disturbed by Xiu’s announcement, Oksana makes breakfast for everyone. Xiu wants miso soup and an omelet. Stone has bacon and an omelet. Verity declines the offer of food but Oksana makes toast and tea for her anyway.
As they eat, Oksana questions Xiu what she remembers of her episode. Xiu remembers nothing but lying down for a nap and then waking up in her quarters. Why? What happened?
Oksana explains that she thinks Xiu suffered from a waking nightmare or a night terror. She seemed to be reliving something and she said things that were odd.
Oksana tells her: “Students are experiencing an emergency in the tutoring room.”
Xiu is puzzled. The students weren’t usually tutored together as a group at the Academy … but the statement seems to refer to her Academy days. Odd.
Plans are made to adjust Xiu’s medication and Oksana asks Xiu to let her examine her again—a full scan and another work-up of her numbers. Xiu agrees. Oksana schedules it for a time after the engineer has eaten.
When we get near enough, we are informed over proper channels that the Alliance is inspecting all ships prior to landfall on New Melbourne. We should prepare to be boarded and inspected. Verity is not pleased with the news.
Later that same day:
The Alliance waves us with a flight plan that we are to follow and informs us we will undergo a full scan. Stone gets on the horn and replies to the Feds:
Allyne: Is this as annoying for you guys as it is for us?
Fed: Please stay off this channel. It is for official business only.
We’re boarded and scanned. The Feds announce the results after they leave.
Fed: Space Otter. You are cleared to pass. Your docking space is Syndey-23
We find it on the schematic waved to us and we notice it’s right near an Alliance garrison.
Stone gets on the Cortex to check local tea prices and checks with the Merchant Guild for any leads on customers for the tea we’re carrying. They tell us that tea is a luxury item and as no one ordered our cargo, we’ll have to sell it to the Feds. Their price would net us a 3% profit margin, after expenses. Unsatisfied with the percentage, Stone asks around some more and finds someone who can net him 10%.
The Merchant Guild also arranges a time to pick up the body and the paperwork. They warn us that a mandated Alliance representative will accompany Guild when they take possession of the body. They tell us to expect them to arrive 3 hours after we land.
Stone thanks them and looks on the Cortex for cargo and/or passengers leaving New Melbourne for our trip out. He also looks for scuba gear, still intending to test our ship’s amphibious abilities and offering passengers an underwater diving adventure. He finds the gear. It’s 75-100 credits per person as a custom rig. It’s 50-75 credits for a non-custom rig.
Meanwhile, Xiu updates the engine systems. She manages to find a bypass through the compression coils that will net us a 5% improvement in efficiency. It’s a 5 hour job to get that hack in, but she does it.
Verity scans the ship for bad stuff that might have been left behind by the inspectors when they boarded and scanned us: bugs, hacks, the works. Finding nothing amiss, she occupies herself with the astrogation charts. She thinks that the inspections and the boardings and the scannings were never this bad or frequent during her days on Redemption. There are more Feds and hoops to jump through now.
Times have certainly changed.
Saturday, 30 Sep 2519
New Sydney Spaceport 23
18:00hrs, local time
Guild Sergeant John Sheppard arrives to take possession of the body. He looks just like the Ident photo he waved ahead to us. We let him in.
Right behind him is the Fed representative. He’s Eurasian, dark haired, and doesn’t give us a name. Oksana formally hands over the body and the reports she’s drawn up to the men. The Fed informs us that all investigations into the matter will have Alliance Security Council oversight applied. We will be required to stay a week on-planet for the duration of the investigation. We’re ordered to stay in the New Sydney area and if we need to leave, we need to clear it first.
Stone tells the Fed that we need to test our ship underwater for hull integrity. Might we fly out to a remote area of New Melbourne’s oceans to do it? The Fed tells us to wait until the end of our week’s stay before leaving.
Sheppard tells us that the Merchant’s Guild will cover our docking fees.
Stinging from the restrictions the Fed’s placed on us, we thank Sheppard for the kindess.
The officials leave with the body and the crew gets back to work.
Fixing the windshield on the shuttle will take 100 credits. Stone pays for it out of the ship’s fund.
We sell the cargo. Stone divvies the proceeds to the crew. Everyone receives 150 credits. Oksana gives 75 of it right back to cover the loan she’d taken off Stone for meds on Harvest. She also hands him the other 75 to buy a samovar. It would make the ship more like home, she explains, and it would be a good way to have hot tea always on hand. Stone asks if she would install it in her quarters or in the lounge. She tells him the lounge, as everyone would have use of it. Stone gives her back her 75, saying it can be paid for out of the ship’s fund, not her personal one. Oksana thanks him and gratefully pockets her pay.
Stone buys a nice looking one in short order and informs Oksana that it is being delivered. She suggests that perhaps once they have the samovar, they could offer tea tastings for their passengers, serving fancy teas and finger foods. It would be a welcome perk on the long stretches. They could combine it with themed entertainment events—we’ve got the game and A/V equipment to offer a lot of options.
Xiu’s on board with the idea of a tea party. In fact, she suggests we do one aboard our ship while we’re ordered to stay in port, just to annoy the Feds.
Stone seizes this as an opportunity to have the Guild members over. Why not wine and dine them with our fancy tea party?
Sunday, 01 Oct 2519
New Sydney Spaceport 23
12:00 hrs, local time
Two days later, the samovar arrives and plans are made to have Guild guests over. Oksana plans a menu of special teas and the traditional Russian sides to go with it: jams, zakuski, sour cream, blini, crackers. If she can get it, she wants to serve caviar, too, but understands that it might not be possible. Price might be the prohibitive factor, despite New Melbourne’s primary industry being fishing and fish products.