Watching the Captain in the Lounge

Characters: Vincent & Dougok
NPC: Soks
Location: A passenger lounge at GSC-37 Space Station belt
System: Gemid

1126.41.3 - 17:00 Imperial Time, 17:00 Vilani Time

Vincent turns to Dougok and says, "I'm just gonna walk to the rear and grab a seat, gonna grab some food while I start drinking."

"I'll get us started," Dougok replies to Vincent. He nods at the window. "It's a nice view of the ship."

At the bottom of the entrance ramp, they split up. Dougok walks up to the bar, tail wagging, and dips his head slightly to the captain.

Gvarokh glares at Dougok for a moment, then turns to look at Vincent.

Dougok turns a bit to catch the attention of the bartender. "Two beers, dark. Also a menu."

"Menus are at the tables," the bartender politely replies. "I'll bring your beer over."

"Thanks!" Dougok replies, then heads over to join Vincent at the table.

Meanwhile, Gvarokh has established eye contact with Vincent and shakes his head. He then turns back to face Soks.

Vincent has figured out how to operate the menu holo and is looking at it when Dougok arrives. Vincent shows Dougok how to cue it up.

The menu is basic pub fare, segregated for both human and vargr stomachs.

Vincent orders some wings and a burger. Dougok likes the sound of that and does likewise.

The bartender comes over with the beer, notes that their food order has been placed, and says, "If you need refills on your drinks, you can do it through the menu.

The duo thank him, and he returns to the bar.

They clink their glasses in a silent toast and proceed to watch the captain, peer at the hard to see crowd in the bar, and look out the window at the ship and the space above the planet.

At one point the captain clinks glasses with Soks in a toast. The captain stands as if to leave, but then Soks says something that makes him sit back down.

The food arrives, and the pair dig in, savoring the aroma of tastes. While it's still vat grown meat, it tastes better than what they normally get on the ship. While they eat, they order another round of beer, which is delivered.

After about an hour, Vincent and Dougok have finished their meal and their second beer. As they're thinking about getting a third beer, the captain stands, says what appears to be an amicable goodbye to Soks, and heads towards the exit. He glares at the two of them on his way out, but doesn't say anything.

Vincent turns to Dougok and says, "I don't know about you, but we don't get off ship much for some plain old R-n-R. Cap's probably gonna rip us a new one when we get back, so I think we should make this worthwhile. Thoughts?"

"Sounds good to me! Judging by my assignments, I've been in the captain's doghouse from Odinaga up until last week's raid at that base in Daama's outer belt. I need to get out."

The pair order another round. Midway through that round's beer, Soks saunters over to the table.

"Vincent Velandro and Dougok. We didn't get to chat at my party back on Daama. Mind if I join you?"

The pair exchange glances over this unusual occurrence.

"Don't mind at all," Vincent says while Dougok sniffs the air.

"Thank you." He sits down in a chair opposite the pair, a cocktail with a straw in his hand. "I have to say that I admire your devotion to your captain. I know that he didn't order you to come here and keep an eye on him, that this was something you did on your own initiative. It was very thoughtful.

"So tell me, what is it about Captain Gvarokh that inspires such loyalty?"

The pair look to see who wants to answer first. Dougok gestures to Vincent to go ahead. Vincent replies, "Truth be told, Soks, I'm pretty sure Dougok and I are in a world of trouble when we get back. The captain will not be very happy we came down here, but we needed to get off the ship, grab some food and alcohol, and just relax. He runs a tight ship, but at the end of the day, he's just trying to make us be the best ship we can be, and as such, we worry about him. He won't just send people to do the work; he gets right in the middle of it with you, and I find that hard to come by. Too many captains I've known would rather just sit on their ship and let the men on the boat do all the work and fighting, but not ours! He's the boss, and he hasn't put us in a situation where I would question his ability to run the ship or do what's right for our group. I just hope our actions here today don't damage our relationship with the captain or damage his relationship with you. It's one thing for the captain to be pissed at us for something that could make him look bad, it's another thing to ruin business arrangements. Both could end up with someone looking for a new job or even worse, dead."

Soks sniffs the air a bit, then says, "That's a lovely story, Vincent. I enjoy hearing stories about captains inspiring loyalty in their crew. And it's not every day that a vargr can evoke such loyalty in a human, well outside of Archduke Brzk or the Julian Protectorate. This far spinward... well, there's no need to re-hash that."

He turns to Dougok. "And anything from you, good wolf?"

Dougok mulls the question over a bit longer before answering. "He's tough, but fair. I've had my share of lousy captains, whether looking to nip at anything that might be perceived as a challenge or setting the crew against one another to make himself look like the better wolf. Gvarokh does neither. He knows how to get the most from each member of his pack. He is quick to praise, slow to scorn." He pauses to chuckle. "My only complaint is that he needs to relax a bit more. He can be too serious, but I guess that's comes with great responsibility."

Soks sniffs the air when it appears that Dougok is finished. He nods, then says, "Very good." He stands and makes ready to leave.

"In the future, if either of you should find yourselves in need of a new pack, feel free to contact me. Happy hunting."

And with that, he departs the lounge. Shortly after he leaves, the two human males who were sitting in the area near the bar also leave.

The Captain Returns to the Ship

Characters: Slade, Lakir, Simrii, Gvarokh
NPC: Chuck, Vlad, Kagfak, Uengghae, Elloekothe, Irma Arsashaammu
Location: Pack of Daggers, docked at GSC-37 Space Station
System: Gemid

1126.41.3 - 18:35 Imperial Time, 18:35 Vilani Time

As soon as Gvarokh steps on board the ship, Elloekothe is there to apologize. "I'm so sorry. They were talking about following you to provide backup, and I thought that I'd talked them out of it. And then they just left without saying a word. I hope they didn't screw anything up."

Before he can reply, Gvarokh notices that Vlad, Kagfak, and Uengghae are there, suited up in combat armor and armed with heavy weapons.

Elloekothe acknowledges the armed trio. "I didn't know if there was going to be a problem, so I had them prepare for a possible extraction.

"How did it go?"

Gvarokh says, "It went very well, and the unexpected visit not only didn't cause a problem, but might have even made a positive impression. They were at least smart enough to keep their distance. So, no matter how annoying, no harm was done.

"However, why the freak-out?"

Elloekothe explains that they lost comm signal about the time he entered the lounge. "And then when I noticed that Dougok and Vincent were gone, not knowing their mindset heading into the lounge, I didn't know if they were headed in to stir up trouble due to the comm signal loss or what. I just thought that it made sense to be prepared.

"I'm relieved to hear that no harm was done. I think we all remember the last time Dougok decided to stroll around off-ship."

Gvarokh lets out a sigh as he recalls that escapade.

Vlad says, "Welp, I guess we'll stand down, assuming you're sure that nothing's going to happen, Captain."

"Yes, you can stand down. They'll be fine."

Lakir walks alongside Gvarokh as they make their way to the top deck. "I've been analyzing traffic patterns. Most ships are using transponder codes, even the corsairs. A couple of ships jumped in without their transponders on, and when a naval ship moved to intercept, they turned 'em on. Apparently, the navy wants to know who's coming and going here."

"Well, considering what they have here at Gemid, I guess we shouldn't find that surprising. I can easily imagine they want to keep this as under control as possible." He shoots a conspiratorial smirk at Lakir and says, "So, you know, something like us doesn't happen..."

Lakir nods, offering a knowing grin in return.

20:45 Imperial Time, 20:45 Vilani Time

After his brief conversation with Lakir regarding local traffic patterns, Gvarokh returned to his quarters to read up on Gemid.

He promptly dozed off in his chair.

He woke with a start when the doorbell to his quarters chimed.

"Enter!" Gvarokh barks and then attempts to pretend that he was awake the whole time.

Elloekothe enters, tilts her head to the left, and sniffs the air. "Did I disturb you?"

"No, not at all. I was reading." Gvarokh looks around his desk for something, hoping to find something that he can pawn off as what he was supposedly looking for. "What time is it anyway?"

"20:45."

"20:45. 20:45?" It suddenly dawns on him that he's been asleep for almost two hours.

"Yes. Judging by your expression, it seems that the time got away from you."

Gvarokh nods. "Yes. Yes it did. What can I—" Something clicks. "Are they not back yet?"

"No. And they haven't reported in either."

Delinquents Having Fun

Characters: Vincent & Dougok
Location: A passenger lounge at GSC-37 Space Station
System: Gemid

1126.41.3 - 18:35 Imperial Time, 18:35 Vilani Time

Vincent turns to Dougok and says, "I don't know about you, but we don't get off ship much for some plain old R-n-R. Cap's probably gonna rip us a new one when we get back, so I think we should make this worthwhile. Thoughts?"

"Sounds good to me! Judging by my assignments, I've been in the captain's doghouse from Odinaga up until last week's raid at that base in Daama's outer belt. I need to get out."

The pair order another round. Midway through that round's beer, Soks saunters over to the table.

"Vincent Velandro and Dougok. We didn't get to chat at my party back on Daama. Mind if I join you?"

The pair exchange glances over this unusual occurrence.

"Don't mind at all," Vincent says while Dougok sniffs the air.

"Thank you." He sits down in a chair opposite the pair, a cocktail with a straw in his hand. "I have to say that I admire your devotion to your captain. I know that he didn't order you to come here and keep an eye on him, that this was something you did on your own initiative. It was very thoughtful.

"So tell me, what is it about Captain Gvarokh that inspires such loyalty?"

The pair look to see who wants to answer first. Dougok gestures to Vincent to go ahead. Vincent replies, "Truth be told, Soks, I'm pretty sure Dougok and I are in a world of trouble when we get back. The captain will not be very happy we came down here, but we needed to get off the ship, grab some food and alcohol, and just relax. He runs a tight ship, but at the end of the day, he's just trying to make us be the best ship we can be, and as such we worry about him. He won't just send people to do the work, he gets right in the middle of it with you, and I find that hard to come by. Too many captains I've known would rather just sit on their ship and let the men on the boat do all the work and fighting, but not ours! He's the boss, and he hasn't put us in a situation where I would question his ability to run the ship or do what's right for our group. I just hope our actions here today don't damage our relationship with the captain or damage his relationship with you. It's one thing for the captain to be pissed at us for something that could make him look bad, it's another thing to ruin business arrangements. Both could end up with someone looking for a new job or even worse, dead."

Soks sniffs the air a bit, then says, "That's a lovely story, Vincent. I enjoy hearing stories about captains inspiring loyalty in their crew. And it's not every day that a vargr can evoke such loyalty in a human, well outside of Archduke Brzk or the Julian Protectorate. This far spinward... well, there's no need to re-hash that."

He turns to Dougok. "And anything from you, good wolf?"

Dougok mulls the question over a bit longer before answering. "He's tough, but fair. I've had my share of lousy captains, whether looking to nip at anything that might be perceived as a challenge or setting the crew against one another to make himself look like the better wolf. Gvarokh does neither. He knows how to get the most from each member of his pack. He is quick to praise, slow to scorn." He pauses to chuckle. "My only complaint is that he needs to relax a bit more. He can be too serious, but I guess that's comes with great responsibility."

Soks sniffs the air when it appears that Dougok is finished. He nods, then says, "Very good." He stands and makes ready to leave.

"In the future, if either of you should find yourselves in need of a new pack, feel free to contact me. Happy hunting."

And with that, he departs the lounge. Shortly after he leaves, the two human males who were sitting in the area near the bar also leave.

Pleased with what he heard from Soks, Vincent turns to Dougok and asks, "Shots? I figure we should get a good buzz on so when we get back to the ship, the ass reaming we get from the captain won't be so bad."

"Yes!" Dougok replies with laughter.

"What do you want?"

"Have you ever had uekhfarsal?"

"Yeah. Last year, the vargr who used to be our merchant bought some for the ship. It was pretty good."

Dougok selects two shots of uekhfarsal from the menu. "What happened to the merchant?"

Vincent takes a drink of beer from his glass. "He mutinied. Made a power grab for control of the ship while we were in the middle of battle. No one took his side. Gvarokh was pretty merciful. After the battle, he gave him one of the undamaged ships. I hacked its controls and transferred command over to him. After that, we left. Never heard from him again."

The shots arrive. Dougok raises his in a toast. "To the ever merciful Captain Gvarokh. May we meet as kind a fate."

"Hear, hear."

They down their shots.

After another rounds of shots and beer, Dougok points towards the entrance and sniffs the air. "Ahhhh, look at that." Two females, one vargr and one human, enter the place and make their way to the bar. They're wearing matching jumpsuits, indicative "Wait here."

Vincent watches as Dougok walks up to the bar and introduces himself to the ladies. After a minute or two of conversation, he gestures to Vincent and returns to the table alone.

"Awwww. You struck out, but I give you points for trying."

"Just you wait, my friend."

A couple of minutes go by when the two ladies stand up with their drinks and walk over to the table.

"You sly dog," Vincent says low enough so that the ladies don't hear him.

Dougok introduces them to Vincent: Rael (vargr) and Mina (human). It turns out that they work on Soks's ship and are on shore leave as their shift is over. Once they find out what you're drinking, they insist on another round of shots. And then another. Plus more beer.

They talk about how great Soks is and some of the fun things they've done. They ask about you and you guys talk up your past as bad ass mercenaries and pirates.

"Hey! Do you guys want to go to the arcade? They're got Zombie Hunter Four in the VR suites."

'Yeah, that sounds great! Let's go!"

"Wait. We gotta pay first." Vincent looks at the tab. It says zero. He heads over to the bar and asks for an explanation. "Did I pay already?"

"Oh, Mr. Dhunkul told me to put your tab on his bill."

"We told you he was great," Rael says proudly.

Vincent and Dougok agree. They promptly head on out of the bar to the arcade with the ladies leading the way since they have no idea where to go and too buzzed to disagree.

21:30 Imperial Time, 21:30 Vilani Time

It's been a fun couple of hours. After drinks, the group went to the VR suites and played Zombie Hunter Four. It was a blast. The graphics were so lifelike, it was difficult to not think it was real. The laughter and smack talk and utter lack of pain when bitten were all giveaways.

Afterwards, Vincent's and Dougok's heads have begun to clear and they're a little less susceptible to suggestion. Rael and Mina want to know if they want to keep on partying. There's a club where you can go to dance 24/7 or 32/5-25.

"I'm all up for partying," Vincent replies.

Dougok's tail is wagging up a stiff breeze. He enthusiastically nods.

So the four head to the club. It has an ambiguous sign by the door, "Section 19". The door slides open to reveal a foyer with a bouncer and an admissions agent. There's another door in front of you. A steady, muffled beat emanates from the far side. It's ten credits to get in, and a sign says, "No Weapons."

Feeling comfortable, you pay the cover charge and sign over your weapons. The bouncer takes pictures of them with you in the photo and hands them over to you with a number he tells you to memorize. Once set, the four of you are all set to head inside.

The doors slide open, and a blast of thudding beats wallops you in the chest. Dougok sniffs the air. A heady mix of floral scents, spicy aromas, and smoked herbs washes over his nostrils. It's so strong that even Vincent gets it.

After shuffling inside, the door slides closed behind Dougok and Vincent. Lights are synced up with the beat, creating a hypnotic effect. Dancers gyrate, some of them quite provocatively.

Rael and Mina have already made their way to the bar and back with drinks. Something called a "cosmic blast". It's difficult to determine its color as the surrounding light keeps changing. It has a slushy consistency. There are so many flavors on the tongue, running the gamut of several fruits but ending in peppermint which morphs into an icy chill that numbs the tongue.

The girls hold their drinks in one hand and lead their dates onto the dance floor with the other.

The Fun Ends

Characters: Gvarokh, Lakir, Simrii, Slade
NPC: Elloekothe, Irma, Vlad, Chuck, Kagfak, Uengghae
Location: Pack of Daggers, docked at GSC-37 Space Station
System: Gemid

1126.41.3 - 20:55 Imperial Time, 20:55 Vilani Time

Gvarokh's voice comes out over the comm, "Sorry to wake anyone who might be sleeping, but it seems that two of our boys are still out partying and haven't checked in in over two hours. Hopefully, they're just passed out at the bar, but we need to make sure.

"I want Vlad, Lakir, Simrii, Chuck, Kagfak, and Uengghae to meet me in the cargo hold in ten. No bad ass armor; civilian armor is fine. Simple weapons are fine. Don't go crazy. Bring commdots.

"Slade, you're in charge while we're gone."

Once everyone is assembled in the cargo hold, Gvarokh says, "We'll send an initial pair to recon the bar to see if they're still there. Everyone is required to report in anytime they go through a doorway. A simple beep is fine. If you don't get a return beep, you're to exit again and establish you are and what you're going to do."

Elloekothe says, "We might get that a lot. After you got back to the ship, I checked with an on-duty station admin. He said that many places have signal blockers to maintain privacy, and there aren't any station regulations that prohibit it. Privacy is a feature about this place."

Lakir grumbles, "Fuckers are late for their shift, now we get to track them down, instead of boozin’ it up."

Gvarokh continues, "Alright, I want Lakir and Vlad out on the first run. Simrii and Uengghae can go next."

Lakir and Vlad give a curt nod to acknowledge the order and depart. Vlad is wearing his flex armor underneath a light jacket and pants. He's got his body pistol and non-metallic knife. Lakir opts for his load bearing vest with metallic plates. He brings his gauss pistol and hard plastic knife.

They cross the empty passenger terminal and the concourse, venture past the closed ticket desks, and enter the central corridor. Turning to the right, they take the stairs up to the passenger lounge where Gvarokh last saw them. Once they enter, the comm signals disappear as expected.

The place looks well maintained, and there's an undercurrent scent of a meadow in the air. On the far side of the space is a sunken dining area which looks out on the dorsal half of Pack of Daggers. No one is seated there. To the left are bathrooms. To the right is a rectangular bar surrounded by a perimeter wall of faux wood and plants. Small tables line this perimeter wall, and the bar has sixteen stools.

Inside the bar area is a human bartender. He appears to be the only person in the place.

"Hey," Lakir says to him. Have you seen either of these guys?" He holds up his super PDA to him. On the screen are pictures of Dougok and Vincent.

"Yeah, they were here for a while. They left a couple of hours ago though."

"Were they with any one else?"

"Yeah, two fems: one human, one vargr. They hung out for a while."

"Did they leave together?"

"Pretty sure."

"Did they say where they were going?"

The bartender smirks. "No. I'm not a babysitter. They sat at that table over there." He gestures to a table in the lower lounge that looks on Pack of Daggers. Definitely too far away for him to hear any conversation short of yelling.

After Lakir and Vlad are done with the bartender, they re-enter the central corridor and relay this information to Gvarokh and the others.

Gvarokh sighs heavily. He then asks, "Is there a hooker district that can be checked?"

Lakir goes back inside and asks the bartender if the station has a hooker district. The bartender nods yes then tells him where it is.

Once back outside, Lakir updates Gvarokh.

Gvarokh says, "Ok, Simrii and Uengghae will head out to meet you. We'll have the two teams coordinate in getting around dead zones."

"Roger that." Lakir sighs, then says, "And we're off to the hooker district."

Lakir and Vlad meet up with Simri and Uengghae in the central corridor. The four of them then head toward the main station.

An LED sign above the entrance states, "Welcome to GSC-37! Need help getting around? Visit any one of our information kiosks." The message repeats.

The holomap at the information kiosk doesn't list a "hooker district", but it does list an "entertainment level." Figuring that it's safe to assume the former is included in the latter, the group decides to head there. They find the closest empty elevator and get inside, telling it to take them to the entertainment district. It's a short ride as the elevator moves relatively quickly and it's not too big of a station.

The elevator arrives at the entertainment level near what we're going to call the "southeast" corner. This level isn't as spacious as the one where they got on the elevator. It seems like they're trying to maximize the space. The corridor is five meters wide. On the left wall is an ad for VR suites indicating that it's just around the bend. On the right five meters up is a door to a bar. Twenty meters after the bar entrance is an intersection. According to the information kiosk, the "hooker district" is to the "west" of here.

Turning left at the intersection, the corridor gets lightly crowded with people coming and going. The entrance to the VR suites comes up on the left. A sign brags that they now have "Zombie Hunter 4." On the right is a section containing various sporting spaces. The group walks through another intersection. On the right there are signs for the auditorium and exotic dancers. On the left is a sign for the "Love Lounge."

Vlad says, "This must be the place." He turns to Simrii and Uengghae. "You wait here. Lakir and I will go inside."

"Of course you are," Simrii says with wry grin.

Vlad scowls but says nothing.

The doors slide open at their approach, and Vlad is hit with a variety of scents. Even Lakir notices the place is done up with a bit too much floral perfume.

An attractive, middle-aged human woman with long auburn hair greets them on their right. "Welcome gentlesophonts. Welcome to the Love Lounge. How may I make your day more pleasurable?" She's dressed in black pants and a blouse with a modestly plunging neckline.

Lakir says, "We're looking for these two." He shows her a picture of Vincent and Dougok. "Have they been here?"

"I'm sorry, but we're very strict about maintaining our guests' privacy. We don't divulge who comes and goes."

Gvarokh and Elloekothe roll their eyes.

This isn't what Lakir wants to hear. Dripping with sarcasm, he says to her, "Thanks. You've been a real help." He and Vlad then join Simrii and Uengghae out in the corridor.

"Ok," Lakir says, looking at Simrii and Uengghae, "I want the two of you to watch this place for them. Vlad and I are going to scope this level in case there's something else they're doing."

Lakir and Vlad keep walking "west" and soon reach the end of the "southern east-west" corridor. Up ahead is a door leading to "Kimaa's Klub," a members-only casino. To the right is the "western north-south" corridor. A sign reading "Retail Promenade" points "north".

Lakir says, "I don't think that they got into the casino, but I'm gonna ask anyway." He walks up to the casino door. It doesn't open. He spots a sign that states "Ring doorbell for service" and does so.

A voice over a speaker says, "Yeah?"

"We're looking for these two." He holds up a picture of Vincent and Dougok to what looks like a security camera.

There's a pause of several seconds and then a reply. "They're not here."

"Have they been in there at any point over the last few hours?"

"No."

"Ok, thanks." To Vlad, he says, "Moving on."

They walk past the retail promenade. Lakir looks inside while Vlad sniffs the air. Lakir shakes his head. "Nah." He's confident that they're not in there.

At the end of the western north-south corridor they reach the junction of the northern east-west corridor. The door at the corner has an ambiguous sign which says, "Section 19." Other signs pointing east indicate that the arboretum and auditorium are that way.

Lakir ponders the door. "Let's give this a shot."

The door slides open to reveal a foyer with a bouncer and an admissions agent. There's another door behind them. A steady, muffled beat emanates from the far side. It's ten credits to get in, and a sign says, "No Weapons."

Once again, Lakir holds up the picture of Dougok and Vincent. "We're looking for these two. They might've been with two women. Seen 'em?"

"Yep."

"They still here?"

The bouncer shrugs. "Not sure. It's possible. Haven't seen them leave."

Lakir and Vlad make to go in but the bouncer stops them. "No weapons. And you still have to pay the cover."

"How much extra cover to keep our gear?"

"It's not even up to me, pal. There's sensors built into this doorway. A.I. kicks in about where I'm standing. I'm not even armed."

Vlad sniffs the air, then whispers to Lakir, "I don't think he's lying."

"Man, I'd hate to have to leave it at the door, if we need to leave quick. I'll give it up, if we have to though."

"You go on ahead. I'll wait here with your stuff."

"Ok." Lakir hands his weapons over to Vlad, pays the cover, then heads on in.

The doors slide open, and a blast of thudding beats wallops Lakir and Vlad in the chest. Vlad sniffs the air. A heady mix of floral scents, spicy aromas, and smoked herbs washes over his nostrils. It's so strong that even Lakir gets it.

After shuffling inside, the door slides closed behind Lakir. Lights are synced up with the beat, creating a hypnotic effect. Dancers gyrate, some of them quite provocatively.

He scans the bar and then the dance floor. Sure enough, Vincent and Dougok are there with two women, one human and one vargr. He texts to Vlad that he's found them. Vlad, in turn, notifies everyone else.

The two couples are dancing, gyrating to the beat, when suddenly Vincent spots Lakir. He's standing in front them, arms crossed, his face scrunched up like he just caught a whiff of an elephant fart. Vincent taps Dougok on the arm and points to Lakir.

Lakir shouts in order to be heard over the music. "You two need to comm the boss right fuckin' now. He's pissed, and you almost got your asses left on this tin can."

"Yes, Lakir" Vincent says. He turns to the woman and shouts, "Sorry, we have to go," and gestures to Lakir, who is standing like there like the grimmest of statues.

Vincent exchanges contact info with the woman, and Dougok does as well with his dance partner. They each get a kiss on the cheek.

The delinquent duo exit the club with Lakir right behind them. Once outside with the club door closed, Vincent comms the ship, "Sorry boss. Dougok and I are on our way."

Lakir collects his weapons and walks with Vlad behind Vincent and Dougok. They meet up with Simrii and Uengghae at the elevator. It's a bit snug with all six on board, but they manage. The silence is deafening.

The group returns to the ship with Gvarokh and the remaining crew awaiting them when they exit the airlock.

Gvarokh is frowning, his arms crossed in front of his chest. He opens his mouth to yell, but catches himself. He changes his tact, but can't help but growl anyway. "Look, I get that we have been cooped up for way too long, but this is the absolutely wrong place to go out and play! Let's keep the bigger picture in mind before running off. While I do appreciate that no one was arrested this time," pausing to look directly at Dougok, "think before chasing some tail."

After a brief pause, he ends by saying, "And in the future, at least have the decency to call in so we don't have to wonder where the fuck you wandered off to!"

To everyone, he says, "Ok, let's be ready to depart at 7:00 Imperial, 31:00 Vilani. Dismissed."

[...to be continued...]