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IC: STARFINDER: HEROES FOR HIRE - EPISODE ONE "YOU MEET IN A TAVERN..."

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Starhome Station, outside AbadarCorp

The waning hours of the Night-cycle revealed an empty Concourse before the tall spires which housed the combined offices of the mighty corporation and the temple to the god Abadar. A few security bots could be seen making their symbolic rounds but otherwise there was no one about. The stations lights were dim and the stars shown through the great panes of Transparent Adamanitium casting shadows on what was normally a well lit and very busy thoroughfare.

But all was not as empty as it seemed. After the security robots had passed a little used maintenance hatchway and were well and away the hatch open slightly. Then it opened a bit more enough for a slender figure to pass through and into the shadows of the street. Moving slowly and carefully keeping to the shadows this figure moved following the path of the robots as far as an access way to the Stations inter-transit system. Checking that the access way was empty the figure, a young woman, crossed the light and suddenly she faltered and grabbed her throat which was now red and shiny with blood. The woman collapsed her life blood pumping from the severed arteries in her neck, feebly she tried to staunch the torrent of blood with one hand while she reached for something in her coat but before she could reach it a black gloved hand closed on her wrist and pulled the hand back. Another hand pulled out the communicator and the badge of a Steward. The woman struggled weakly then stopped her yes staring blankly the life gone from them. The black cloaked figure tossed aside the com unit and the badge and produced a purple crystal with swirling green mist inside. The killer placed the crystal on the woman's forehead and the mists swirled and changed from green to deep red. Satisfied the killer stood stepped back into the shadows and vanished.

 

Eight Pieces Port, unknown star system

 

8-Pieces Port one of the most legendary pirate ports to offer safe haven to the Free Captains and other independent freebooters which prey upon the Pact Worlds and beyond. It is the only pirate haven to never have been raided successfully by the Stewards

The approach to 8-Pieces Port is treacherous in the extreme, and only captains who have been taught how to navigate the deadly asteroid belt can do so with any feeling of safety. Others must either rely on the ports pilots’ guild or their own innate abilities at the helm to get through the approaches to it. But 8-Pieces Port doesn’t rely only on the natural defenses of the area, as several nearby asteroids have been hollowed out, and turned into both gun-emplacements as well as free-floating, enormous mines capable of moving into the path of an oncoming ship, attacking all ships that approach with their weapons powered up, or without their beacons turned on, to prove they are known to be a friendly ship.

Here it should be noted that 8-Pieces Port, and the asteroid belt, is a neutral zone. Anyone caught attacking anyone else in the belt will be permanently banned, and fired upon. Long-standing tradition dictates that only overt uses of force causes this to happen, and underhanded methods of taking out one’s rivals are applauded though not encouraged.

Ironically, the physical structure of 8-Pieces Port, does not consists of only eight asteroids, but of nine. These nine asteroids are interconnected with gigantic girders, holding them together in a rigid structure, with the central, and largest asteroid serving as the anchor point for the whole structure. The asteroids are held in a locked grid pattern for added stability, and each of the asteroids also has its own defenses set up, to cover an arc of the surrounding area, in case of attack. This Construct offers a safe haven to any true pirate who can impress the council which rules it.

 

The club was called Beyond the Farthest and as such clubs went it wasn't a bad one. Located in the asteroid labeled as Upper it served a better class of clientele than the bars and taverns found in any of the other eight Asteroids. Evana had been brought here by one of the high ranking members of the council of 8Peices Port who had seen her performing at Starhome almost two weeks ago with the promise of a big payday at the end of a three week engagement in his club. Of course she hadn't known at the time that it was a pirate haven but everything being equal it wasn't a bad gig. The club was first rate and sported a live house band who were very talented. She of course had had to put up with some fairly crude customers which she probably could have handled herself (at least that what she keeps telling herself) but didn't have to.

Garunta Hemok of the Veskarium had been born to be a warrior to crush his enemies and win honor and glory for the Empire, but he couldn't control his mouth. He didn't lie or insult but he didn't know when not to speak. In the creche he had been in almost constant fights due to not filtering his thought and once in the ranks that led to more serious altercation. After one serious duel left the son of a fleet admiral crippled Gorunta's commanding officer gave Gorunta a head start to escape the base and the empire. Which led him in a roundabout way to his most inglorious job ever that of a bouncer in a club on a pirate base.

Echo looked at the chip in her hand. It was promotional chip inviting the holder to a free dinner at Beyond the Farthest a classy nightclub in Upper. Hands had given it to her as she had left the ship after getting put ashore because she wouldn't put up with the prejudices of several members of the crew. Hands had been a pretty good shipmate and had handed her the chip with some words “I know it taint yer thing echo but it has a better clientele than most the places the likes of us would go to fine a ship. Give it a try you deserve better.” She looked up from the chip at the big Vesk standing beside the door and headed in showing the chip.

Jordayn and Jexa had been off loaded without much fanfare. Their ordeal of having the ship they had been on captured by pirates was one thing the fact the neither had been ransomed had spelled what could have been a fate worse than death. But Jodayns history with some of the pirates or at least a version of Jordayn had been their succor. But still they found themselves stranded in a star system where the longer they stayed the riskier it became for them. At least they weren't heading to the slave pens thanks to some crew that had not really recognized Jordayan as himself but did believe that he or at least his god had saved them on they're last cruise. One of them had mentioned a bar located in the Upper asteroid where they would be likelier to find away out of the mess they were in here at 8 Pieces Port.

Gorunta followed the Elf and the Lashunta into the interior of the cub motioning for Gerb to take his place at the door. He took his station near the stage where Evana was in the middle of her first set. The place wasn't packed but it was early and the middle of the week a lot of regulars and a mixture of other port residents but the three unusual ones had his attention The Android, The Elf, and The Lashunta didn't have the unsavory look of the rest of the clientele so he kept his eyes one them knowing instinctively that if there was going to be any trouble it was going to start around them.

Spoiler

Jordayn and Jexa the only table is one next to Echo's table. Echo is the only Android in the club and is getting her share of looks some good (she is cute in an androidish way) some downright hostile. The two of you will start getting looks simple because it's obvious your not pirates. Eavana is on stage and Gorunta is by the stage.  Nothing is currently happening but take this moment o give us a sense of your characters. You can do inner monologue or talk to anyone if you have any questions just ask

 

 

 

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Evana had managed to stir the crowd of the immediate vicinity of the stage.  While nearly the entire club could watch her perform from the various holo projectors all around the place, those closest had to admit she was more heavenly to look at in person.  Her 'fans', the local pirates she'd managed to utterly woo in he couple of weeks she'd been here, cheered and roared her on song after song she played.  They were regulars, and well into their cups but, hey, they left tips like you wouldn't believe, a drunk and their money made for greats profits.

Her heel tapped the stage as the band ran through a few chords for the next song of her set.  This place was a like a sauna, which she'd learned the hard way her first night performing here when she completely over dressed in clothing that didn't breathe.  She looked great, but damn did she sweat her ass off.  After a few nights she knew what sort of crowd she was dealing with and had them pegged.  Tonight's color was black.  Her halter held in enough to keep the dream of seeing what was under it fresh in their minds while her skirt was short enough to keep them leaning in towards the stage every time she stepped too close to the edge only to see nothing but workout booty shorts with a winky face emoji underneath.  She was caked in sweat, her neon blue hair was a sweaty mass that dripped like melting icicles.

Say what you want about pirates, these guys were a blast to hang out with.  They were loud, fun, and always ready to stand for their own when the drek hit the oscillator.  Despite being thieves and criminals, they held more honor than most lawmen she'd met in her day.  Sure, some were down right terrible, but the brighter the light, the deeper the shadow.  "Wow," she kept tapping her foot to the thunder bass drum.  Her voice, despite being a bit raspy from the first couple of songs "And here I thought you guys would be boring tonight."

They cheered and held up their cups and bottles, roaring for her next song and shouting a hundred or more obscenities directed at what they'd love to do if they had just ten minutes alone with her.  She laughed and corrected them that she needed far more than a ten minutes man.  "You're all so filthy, I'm blushing.  Really, I'm pure as the driven snow, I assure you..."

"Bullshit!" Those closest to the stage all shouted in unison.  And everyone shared a laugh.

"This one's for Gorunta, that massive pair of walking luggage you may or may not have seen wadding though the crowd keeping you degenerates in line.  He's been a doll these last couple weeks, so buy the guy a drink, Besmara knows he deserves it."  Name dropping the goddess of pirates always helped when singing in a club full of them.

She rolled into the song, losing herself to the music.

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It might seem bizarre that the ones who looked halfway respectable were the ones expected to cause trouble, sitting in the midst of all the pirates and n'er do wells, but there was sound reasoning when you knew 8-Pieces. The station was the epitome of a neutral zone, and the same ethos of cracking down on violence and conflict in local space applied much the same to on-station interactions. 

The council would come down hard on gunfights or knife-fights no less than dogfights, and even those who acted in self-defense could suffer just as much penalty. Drunk and disorderly conduct, however, was acknowledged as a different and inevitable thing, which was why Gorunta had a job here. Well, it wasn't the most pleasing of jobs, but it suited his talents, and even with past years of mercenary companies, this was a truly free environment to be able to air his voice.

That was what made those three a potential problem, outsiders who didn't know the rules, the customs and codes, could trigger something even without knowing what they did. At least he could be here, keeping an eye on them while being in the best place to hear Evana. Her music was phenomenal to be honest. And someone who could take this place in stride.

When she name-dropped him and dedicated a song for him, Gorunta couldn't help but smile - a teeth-filled grin, but genuine, and flash her a thumbs up. Now as long as the android, elf and Lashunta were sensible, this might just be a good night.

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Echo leaned back in her chair and looked up at the ceiling (there were MULTIPLE hairline STRESS FRACTURES at the corners of the load bearing supports) idly as she went over in her memory what a long, thoroughly fucked-up day it had been. And Hands! Good old Hands. Always quick to apologize on behalf of his species once the shitshow was over, but never putting his neck out when it counted. Free dinner though. That was one free dinner more than she'd expected to have, so profit was profit, even if it was petty profit.

She closed her eyes to stop her exocortex from compulsively building an itemized list of all the maintenance the building needed, and just listened to the music. She couldn't tell if she liked it or not. Would she pay to hear it? Mmmm...no. But it was nice to be sitting here, not having to care about what other people were thinking. They were staring, a lot of them. Fuck'em. Didn't matter for once, and that was a soothing ointment over the raw soreness of her bruised ego.

Soon, Echo knew, she'd have to go back to trawling postings for ships seeking skilled hands. Then would come meetings and interviews, and the countdown would begin again.

But for now she could let go of all that and just drift atop obnoxiously bright colored lighting and music by people who seemed to confuse volume for talent, and the smell of smoke and booze and sweat and other less identifiable things...and it was wonderful.

Someone cleared their throat behind her, and Echo's eyes popped open as she let her chair fall forward to sit up straight again. "I have a chip," she proclaimed, opening her palm and showing the waitress. "I'm here to...cash it in, or...use it to do the thing..."

The waitresses' impatient expression (her ordering tablet's low-battery light was starting to glimmer) abruptly struck Echo as amusing, and she broke into a helpless titter as she shook her head, "No, no...nothing. I just...is there a menu? Complimentary snacks? Whatchu got here? Lemme get the whole 'Beyond the Farthest experience.' Rock my world. I didn't even wear socks; consider them pre-emptively knocked off."

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Jordayn watched the singer with open and appreciative interest, rather than the lascivious lust of most of the patrons. She'd obviously had some work done, but it was tasteful rather than overwrought and her icy blue mane of hair was very fetching. She'd do well at the Grand Cathedral to Arshea on Verces, he thought, though something of her verve and manner led Jordayn to believe she'd chafe at the politics, much as he had.

Jordayn wasn't that concerned about the muted attention he and Jexa were receiving from the other patrons. While slavery was anathema to Arshea and too many pirates engaged in the practice, skilled engineers or technomancers and doctors were rare. Doctors who were willing to share a bed regardless of gender or race were rarer still.

True, many of them were vicious and murderous scoundrels, but on the whole, they lied less than corporate executives. If not as honored as Besmara, his own Goddess Arshea was still common among Pirates and just not for her sensuality and carnality. She was also the Goddess of freedom and liberation and many pirates became pirates to slip the strictures - justified or not - of corporations, nations, and militaries.

There was much pain among them. Pain itself wasn't bad - it meant you were still alive, could still feel. But pain unrelenting was impairing and detrimental to one's health. He would relieve them of their pain if he could, but their covered it with scars, physical and emotional, and one couldn't be free of hurts unless they gave it up willingly and Jordayn would never take that choice from them.  For some, pain was all that kept them together and functioning.

Still, he would be glad to get off the station and he believed Jexa would too. He was glad some of the pirates he had saved in a previous life were still living and recalled the aid he and his Goddess had given them. Death was far from the worse fate he had or could suffer. And while he lived for experience and the joy of living itself, even he wasn't eager to learn what was the worse thing he could live through.

Jordayn cheered with the others for another song, though shook his head and chuckled at the other patrons' crude ideas for ten minutes in the company of the sensual woman. Lasting only ten minutes was a very poor way to repay the woman for her performance. "You don't just need more than a ten minute man, you are entirely deserving of one," he bantered cheerfully back, raising his drink to her. "Or several."

He took a sip of his drink, choking a little at the harsh synthetic booze, his new-ish body not yet hardened to such rigors. He did prefer the real stuff and had made it before to pay for his travels but he supposed finding the materials were harder out here on the remote, pirate spaceport.

At Evana's shoutout, Jordayn looked around and noted the hulking Vesk paying particular attention to their table and the one next to theirs, where the singular Android in the bar was sitting. Jordayn gave him a direct nod and said in surprisingly fluent Vesk for a smooth-skin, "We offer no threat or trouble."

He added no assurances or promises to his declaration as they mattered little to the Vesk. Actions were what mattered and reprisals tended to be quick, hard, and bloody. Then he glanced over at Jexa.

"This isn't so bad, Jexa. Much better than being sold as a slave."

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"Slave? Ohhh.. You thought I was actually going to go along with that rubbish? That's awesome." Jexa said as she tapped her drink to Jordayn's while gesturing with her other hand, causing the beverages to shimmer for a moment.

"That should help with the taste of this synth." she commented and then took a gulp of her drink.

"I am not sure how somebody like you ends up on pirate ships, but  more power to you." Jexa said with a shrug and a raise of her glass once more and took another drink.

"Next step is figuring out how we get out of here and get together some scratch to replace the gear I lost. I had just built that computer too. At least whoever tries messing with it will be in for a few nasty surprises." she sighed.

Jexa sat back, looking around the room, setting her legs up in the chair beside her and crossing them, her black metallic ysoki refractor suit hugging her legs like a second skin down her her heavy boots.

< What's the deal with the Vesk looming over us? He an old friend from a previous life too or something? > she asked Jordyn mentally, not even looking or gesturing towards Gorunta.

 

Spoiler

Jexa had cast token spell to flavor the drinks to cut the synthetic taste and make them easier to drink.

 

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They brought a plate of food out for Echo and it was not the typical club food but fare that was obviously prepared by a master chef. Jordayn and Jexa were so impressed that they checked the menu and say that the prices were very reasonable (good food at low prices makes people of all species spend more on drinks) so they each ordered a good meal as well.

As for Gorunta he watched but didn't see any trouble spots and thought that maybe his original assumption was over cautious. Then it happened but not at all like he had expected.

It was the middle of Evana's set, when a man entered the club followed closely by a floating mechanical. Pirates by default have an abiding mistrust of any type of thinking mechanical, Androids are somewhat tolerated simply due to their having mostly organic brains and are not easily hacked. But pure mechanical's, they can be hacked six ways to seventhday and that's why you don't see robots on pirate ships.

So there being one floating in on some sort of a-grav behind a dandified looking human drew attention. Oh yeah the human almost forgot about him. He was of average height with sparkling blue eyes and feature which could only be bought and paid for in the best sculpt shops of the richest worlds. His skin was tanned a deep golden color and his perfectly coiffed hair was of the whitest of white. Looking at his hair made you want to wear sunglasses. He looked fit but not overly so. He was dressed, well... dandy might be being too kind. He was wearing Gold colored Shorts the kind men want to see on a woman on stage. They left very little to the imagination. His shirt was of synth silk and was a diaphanous red, opened to the navel it revealed a very hairless chest deeply tanned as mentioned above. He wore Golden boots that were thigh high and form fitting. And to top it all off he wore more jewelry than any ten whores in the red light sector. Multiple rings on every finger. Earrings, necklaces bracelets. It was a lot. And it all looked very expensive.

To say that every eye was upon him was not an understatement. Gorunta knew that there would be trouble and with a glance up at Evana started to head that way.

For his part the man strode in like he owned the place and didn't miss that the largest most deadly looking being (in a building full of deadly looking beings) was coming his way. But after a quick glance around the room his eyes had locked on to the beauty on the Stage and he raised a finger as if signaling someone and the clubs sound system died.

“Pardon me,” He said into the suden silence. “I would like to discuss a business proposition with you,” he points at Gorunta who was only steps away, “And you three,” a wave of his hand indicates Jordayn, Jexa, and Echo.” And then he smiles up at Evana on stage. “and most of all you, you rapturous beauty you. Please join us down here. The rest of you leave.”

As Gorunta closes in on the obvious trouble maker, the Vesk notices knives, truncheons and small arms of all sorts are being drawn by the other denizens of the club and at the back by the bar the duty bartender has finally summoned the owner. At that moment the Robot slides to the side in a defensive posture several weapons now visible and powered up.

Spoiler

There are about twenty patrons, servers and working girls/boys in the club aside from the PCs and the man and robot. So far we are not in combat and the situation can be difussed if that is your wish. if not Gorunta or someone else can throw the first punch or what ever. If not diffused the regular patrons all of them pirates will likley murder the man.

The robot images.jpg sorry couldnt find a picture of the man... his tan is deeper than George Hamilton's and gold toned and his hair is as peroxide blond and spikey as Guy Fieri's

 

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"Wow, how about that outfit, eh, boys?  It's so loud I heard it coming twenty minutes before he got here."  Evana mused, her voice didn't rock the walls through the microphone, but it didn't need to, the place was quiet enough (aside from the gun clicks and humming of powered weapons) that she didn't really need it.  Although everyone was very serious about killing, if there was one thing cut throats loved it was making fun of their victims... and this guy?  Oh, he had it coming.  The club roared in a volley of laughter.

"Seriously though gents," she continued on.  "I do so love performing here, and you've all been positively wonderful these past couple of weeks, so, can we not kill the guy in gold lame', please?  This is neutral territory, guys... I can't perform for all of you if you die here in a blaze of glory, or die later because you broke The Code... so, come on... lemme hear him out, please?"

She walked towards the edge of the stage and two pirates took the time to help her down, practically with hearts in their eyes.  "Besides, he called me 'rapturous'..." her smirk could have enticed Pharasma to live a little and her glare practically defined why people went to the Heavens for the weather, but went to the Hells for the company.  She approached him, letting her gaze meet his.  "...consider me intrigued."

If one didn't know any better some would think she was the Queen of the Pirates.  She'd only been here a few weeks, and they seemed to love her, or at least accept her as one of their own enough to listen to her.

Spoiler

Diplomacy Check:

Roll(1d20)+12: 20,+12
Total: 32

I hammed it up a bit for the Nat 20.

 

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"Besides," the Golden Man held up a hand which had a black translucent credit chip held between two fingers. "I'm taking care of the bills for tonight and the rest of the week for all of you that leave your names with the doorman on the way out." The guns and knives slide back into holsters as the crowd tries to get to the doorman.

He holds out his hand to Evana then notices his robot and Gorunta having a standoff. "X-X, The Vesk is with us I hope stand down." Then to Evana, "Madam?" He takes her hand and leads her, followed by Gorunta and the robot, X-X, to the tables of The other three he singled out.

"Do you mind if we join you?"

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Jex was ready to vanish if things went bad, or to at least change her apperance. People looking for her was rarely a good thing. Bt when the singer calmed things down she relaxes just slightly, and took in what was happening before her. She looked over to the android the man had singled out, looking her over before returning her attention to the man.

< This should be... interesting. > Jexa thought to Jordayn as the man in gold, his robot and the others approached them.

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Before the human could address himself further to those he had singled out the Flustered club owner had approached the two stepped away for a minute and the cridit chip was exchanged then the manager went back to the kitchens.

The man took a seat next to Evana and eyed her up and down before speaking. “Allow me to begin by introducing myself, my name is Atuz Gelt and I am the Heir to the Royal House of Aquitaal.

I have a proposition for you all, one that will leave you much richer than you are today.

I need you to rescue my princess.”

 

Spoiler

Anyone who makes a Culture roll DC 10 will know that Aquitaal is a world in the Vast that is someone backwards and not very technically proficient. It is a resource heavy world which was discovered by AbadarCorp about five years ago. while they had developed space travel they had not unraveled the mystery of the drift engine even though they had received the same Celestial transmissions as everyone else. They are considered some what backward as a culture.

 

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"Aquitaal, huh? That explains why you were so stupid as to walk in like that in front of a whole bunch of pirates." Gorunta figured Gelt was lucky that he had done so on neutral ground and with enough credits to keep the pirates mollified. But the mercenary Vesk wasn't going to turn down the offer right away. It did however, set some caution as to the wisdom of accepting a job from this client.

"And why is it that you need to go to Pirate Grand Central to seek rescuers?" He asked in that derisive but considering tone.

 

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Echo glanced down at her plate and rather deliberately finished off the last of her free dinner before going to see what it was going to cost her.

It also bought a little time for a datasearch.

Aquitaal, she told her exocortex. Everything we have.

In the time it took her to put down her fork information was returning. Abadar. Resources. Backwater. Missing 'princess.' You didn't have to have the full picture to see how these pieces might fit together.

"Hey," the android said as she showed up at Gelt's table. "So...I love throwing darts with my eyes closed so lemme take the first shot. Abadar abducted this princess to get leverage to impose disadvantageous trade agreements on your world and you want her back not only because you want her back, but to maintain some shred of self-sufficiency in the face of economic and cultural domination?"

"Annnnd since busting her out will involve an attack on the assets of a powerful transplanetary corporation, you need outlaws to take care of it."

"Thanks for dinner, by the way."

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"Gorty, sweetie, one doesn't send incompetent law enforcement to do the things that seedy unscrupulous types like ourselves are willing to do for a lot of money and very few questions."  When not singing she had a definite accent, rich with a posh tone that hinted she wasn't from any of the pact worlds.  "Ugh, it would figure... all the rich, eccentric ones are taken."

"See?"  She motioned to Echo.  "She gets it."

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45 minutes ago, Gorunta Hemok said:

"And why is it that you need to go to Pirate Grand Central to seek rescuers?" He asked in that derisive but considering tone.

 

11 minutes ago, Echo said:

"Hey," the android said as she showed up at Gelt's table. "So...I love throwing darts with my eyes closed so lemme take the first shot. Abadar abducted this princess to get leverage to impose disadvantageous trade agreements on your world and you want her back not only because you want her back, but to maintain some shred of self-sufficiency in the face of economic and cultural domination?"

"Annnnd since busting her out will involve an attack on the assets of a powerful transplanetary corporation, you need outlaws to take care of it."

"Thanks for dinner, by the way."

 

1 minute ago, Evana said:

"Gorty, sweetie, one doesn't send incompetent law enforcement to do the things that seedy unscrupulous types like ourselves are willing to do for a lot of money and very few questions."  When not singing she had a definite accent, rich with a posh tone that hinted she wasn't from any of the pact worlds.  "Ugh, it would figure... all the rich, eccentric ones are taken."

"See?"  She motioned to Echo.  "She gets it."

He stares wide eyed at the android and the perfect woman sitting next to him and says, "No..." Shaking his head in the negative, "The House of our Lord Abadar was most generous but as there is no profit in rescuing my princess their help could only encompass so much."

Facing Gortuna, "No my mountainous Vesk warrior, it is because  my family are a bunch of cruel, hartless...,” he pauses as emotion overwhelms him, takes a deep breath, “While I am the heir and will one day rule the planet that day is far away. An evil cult has taken my princess along with many others and intends to sacrifice them in a magical ritual in an effort to bring greater power to their malicious god. My parents will do nothing have forbiddionme from using any of the crowns resources or personell in whatthe think is a waste. My fathers very words to me were “Atuz, there are many princesses in this world, just go out and get another one.” He stiffles a sob, “You see heartless.

But that is why I am here with my own resources and my own wealth which is not inconsiderable. To find Heroes as told of in tales of old. And here you are!” He spreads his arms wide to take all of you in with his expression.

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"Fuckers!" Echo slams a fist on the table, somewhat unimpressively. "Fucking evil cults. That was like, my sixth guess too. Damnit!"

She shakes her head.

"It doesn't explain why you'd come here looking for heroes, but...I guess money doesn't buy brains."

The android shrugged. "Might buy us though. How much. Where. What are we up against"?

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"Well, he makes a point,"  Evana shrugged, agreeing with the man's father.  "Out here in The Black there are millions, if not billions of princesses.  So tell me, Atuz, what makes this princess so special?"

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Atuz stares at the android a vacuous look on his face, then he seems to shake a bit. "Why everything I have left will be yours. All of the credits remaining in my accounts and my undying gratitude which will be worth quite a lot once I am crowned Premier of Aquitaal." 

He smiles broadly then opens his mouth in surprise as if suddenly remembering something.

"Oh! And the ship. You get to keep that too."

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Jexa had been sitting back, listening as she nursed her drink and finally spoke.

"I have a question." she said as she set her drink on the table, leaving her hand empty. "What made you single us out? I mean, this place is fully of unsavory types of questionable morals. Soooo... why five of us?" she asked.

She had certainly seen clever ways of gather several people with bounties on their heads before, and just because she didn't know of one being placed on her, didn't mean there wasn't one.

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3 minutes ago, Evana said:

"Well, he makes a point,"  Evana shrugged, agreeing with the man's father.  "Out here in The Black there are millions, if not billions of princesses.  So tell me, Atuz, what makes this princess so special?"

"Because she is my Princess and I love her with all of my heart. you will too all of you will." his smile is so genuine all of you can almost see the hearts in his eyes.

2 minutes ago, Jexa Brae said:

"I have a question." she said as she set her drink on the table, leaving her hand empty. "What made you single us out? I mean, this place is fully of unsavory types of questionable morals. Soooo... why five of us?" she asked.

She had certainly seen clever ways of gather several people with bounties on their heads before, and just because she didn't know of one being placed on her, didn't mean there wasn't one.

Hearing Jexa's question he nods sagely "Yes, yes, a wise question and I will tell you why.

I met a man on Starhome who gave the beacon coordinates to this place and the name of this establishment. He told me that I would find what I was looking for here. When I asked who i should look for here he said you will know and then I asked how would I know and her said you will.

So I came here and when I came in the club and saw all of you so very different from all the other miscreants here, well I knew."

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Echo stared at him for a long moment. So he was crazy. The question was...dangerous crazy, or exploitable crazy? The promise of 'all his money' felt like it was probably as vacant as his stare, but the ship...that was a tangible asset.

"Before we go any farther, is the ship here?" she asked. "I'll need to see it before I agree to anything."

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"Sugar, you're stuck on this rock with no viable prospects at the moment," Evana offered the android stranger.  It was wasn't hard to guess who was here by choice and who was stuck here by circumstance.  "Whether the ship runs or not, it would still be more in value than what you had prior to his offer."

"Besides," she perked up, smiling wide and letting that accent of hers award the table with a measure of class and credibility it certainly didn't warrant.  "He's in love.  Willing to sacrifice all he has for his beloved.  It's positively romantic, not to mention it'll be a blast, I'm sure.  So, come on... I say we do it.  Five strangers, pulled together into a quest for true love and adventure among the stars... plus, stomping cultists on their cash n' prizes is always fun too.  Some might even pay us to do it.  Get with me before you do though, I'll help you configure an appropriate hourly rate.  It's absolutely... story book."

"Oh, what the hells, I'm in,"  She grinned.  "Although my contract here is still good for another few days, so you may have to deal with the owner about that.  Just, be sensible, please?  It is my reputation as a professional, after all."

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"Yes of course, Its how I got here. Once we settle up here we can go to the dock and you can see her." He says to Echo that stupid grin still plastered on his face.

Then nodding vigorously at Evana "Yes of course my dear I would never do anything to harm your reputation or prospects. Not that I could of course your voice is like the most splendid of the Deva.

So,"he switches gears abruptly, "Are the rest of you ready to be heroes?"

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"I do too," Jordayn agreed, his slow smile for Evana and Atuz both. "As all are consenting, let there be no barriers to desire," the priest added, a common maxim among adherents to Arshea. "I hope your princess feels the same for you as you do for her, Atuz Gelt, and I'll willing to give you the chance to find out. I'll sign onto the crew for this fantastic endeavor." The half-elf glanced around the table with merry interest, lingering perhaps a little longer on Evana, but who would blame him? "Looks to be fine - or at the minimum, colourful - company to me."

<Besides, it not like have any prior commitments or prospects at the moment, Jexa,> Jordayn replied. Though not telepathic himself, Jexa had noticed Jordayn had a facility and experience with it that few non-telepathic races possessed. <Interesting is an understatement. But it will get is off this grey spaceport.>

While Atuz's attire was far more... fabulous than Jordayn's preference, he had to admit the prince owned it, which had an attraction in its own right, even if it wasn't all that outlandish for Aquittal with its abundance of wealth in minerals and heavy metals. While Jordayn had no objections to the prospect of an excellent payday, it wasn't the main reason he was signing on.

His reasons were two fold. First, as a dedicant of Arshea, he was a proponent of finding desire, love, joy, whichever one was seeking at the moment wherever one could, and helping others do the same. Second, the deprecations of the Dark Cults were in diametric opposition to all he and his Goddess held dear. Disrupting their foul plans when he came across them was only natural. Right.

And doing it in such lovely company, how could he saw no? Besides, he hadn't been to the Vast much.

"Looking down on us, Arshea will be pleased," Jordayn proclaimed, lips twisting wryly. "And likely amused, I'm sure."

 

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"Then Let us finish up here and Go to the ship. Once my little Android Peach is satisfied that she is in good order and well worth the price, We can make preparations to depart." Atuz spoke gleefully as he stood and went in search of the Owner to make good his promise to buy out the contracts.

*****************************

A short time later after taking the Tube from Upper Asteroid to the Core Asteroid and navigating the labyrinthine tunnels to the appropriate stardock the find themselves at the Blast doors. Pulling a coded card out and letting the locking mechanism scan it Atuz faces the intrepid adventurers as the doors split one half rising into the ceiling the other dropping into the floor revealing the dock and a ship and oh what a ship it is.

649e219efe124b7eebab8f24f165b1d9--concept-ships-concept-art.jpg

"My friends the starship Solenya!"

Spoiler

The ship is obviously a custom vessel nothing about her says anything about who made her or anything she is obviously not a mass produced ship. Inside you find that the ship is very comfortable and well stocked with good if not very extravagant items. Assuming you all take the job Atuz will give each of you 10,000 credits to get additional equipment. you may pool this money. this is additionl you already have your original purchases regardless of how you came to be on the station. you can explain it as addition l money he gave you to equip your selves or whatever.

Go ahead and post a bit of RP I will jump in if nessecary however I won't be around until the evening for a few days so bear with me. as always pm or whisper if you have questions

 

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It was a crazy, foolish, absurd offer, which spoke volumes about those who accepted it. But some, namely Gorunta's parents and former commanding officer - felt that if he wasn't, he would have been still in the Veskarium. Various epithets had been thrown about in many communiques and conversations. The money itself sounded undefined, but a bit of a stretch. Though Prince Atiz's previously demonstrated outlays suggested still sizable personal wealth.

"Fuck it. There are more exciting things than bouncing at a club, 8-Pieces or not, and it would be the first time someone would call me a hero without laughing." Gorunta looked like he would laugh at the concept himself. "I'm in."

When he saw Solenya, Gorunta gave an appreciative look over. With that, and 10,000 credits to start, well, at least he could say he hadn't blindly flung himself into this without fair recompense.

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"Now that's a beautiful sight," Evana muttered under a very awestricken breath.  Her volume rose when she turned to Atuz.  "Does it come in ice blue?  Or maybe a purple?  Oooh, or both."

She waved her hands dismissively.  She slung her pack over her back and extended the handle on her two rolling travel cases.  Sure enough they were a gaudy combination of ice blue and purple.  "Never mind... I'm going to find a room!"

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Echo walked around the ship in a kind of daze.

It doesn't have a manufacturer code in the registration, her exocortex noted, and the hull configuration matches no model in current databases. Expanding variance tolerance to find near-misses...

The human 'prince' still seemed off to her, but Echo was the first to admit she'd had a very limited sampling of humans to base assumptions from. And she herself...well...maybe wasn't the best judge. Even so, it wasn't a bad offer at least. Cash up front and the possibility of a shared ownership in a ship when it was done. Shared ownership. That made her head spin a little. Even if she DID have to leave at some point, it wouldn't be empty-handed. They'd have to buy her out to get rid of her. For a ship like this, that wouldn't be chump change either.

How big a risk was this worth? Pretty big, really. It was a wild shot, and almost certainly had virtually nothing to do with what he was saying it did, but she'd dealt with bad deals and surprises before...and for considerably less payout.

No matches in hull configuration greater than 70% reported her exocortex, It's either custom made or dramatically modified from base stock to the point I can't identify it anymore.

Echo nodded slowly. That'd make it harder to maintain, more expensive...they might have to machine their own parts, and if it didn't have a way to do that built into it they'd need facilities to do it too. Complete deckplans might or might not be available, so she'd have to exhaustively explore it to make her own set. But...no one would know what it could or couldn't do. There'd be no expectations of where vulnerable systems were, or what its internal layout would be.

Yeah, she could work with this.

She headed up the lowered gangplank to take a tour.

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Jexa listened as she took in the ship and strolled over to it. As she neared the ship small micro thrusters concealed around her refractor suit engaged, boosting her up to a flat-ish part of the side of the ship and then another boost to the top. She walked along the ship, looking it over for exterior damage as she tried to place the manufacturer.

There was some minor surface damage, the type you would expect on any vessel that has seen even limited use, but it was mostly cosmetic and not of any real concern. She strode to the back of the ship and stepped off the top, letting her jump jets slow her fall. She then inspected the exterior of the engines, which seemed to be the same shape. Aside from that, at least on the exterior, the ship seemed to be in rather good shape.

As far as make, Jexa had no clue. Totally custom ships were out there, but they had a bigger price tag. They had both advantages and drawbacks, but her mind the advantages of unknown capabilities far outweighed the hassle of extra work keeping a custom ship running.

< Huh. He's just going to give us fistfuls of credits and this ship for doing this job? Either he is a suck, so in love he cannot see straight or duping us. Probably a bit of all three. But hey, it gets us off this station and into a ship of our own, so fuck it. I guess I'm in. > she thought to Jordayn with both a mental, and physical shrug.

"Sure. Whatever." she said as she strode up the ramp and into the ship, seeking out engineering and giving systems a quick glance as she passed them.

Hopefully this was just what golden boy made it out to be. Because that had to actually on occasion. Right?

 

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As everyone looked over the ship and one by one made their way inside Atuz called to them "Have a look around I'll be back Just need to go clear some things with the Dockmaster." and with a wave he and his Bodyguard were off.

The first thing that struck Jexa when she cleared the Airlock was the smell. The air was clean and didn't have the usual built up Ship smell, nor did it have a just out of the shipyard smell. But rather there was an underlying freshness which was highly unusual and there was a hint of something familiar, Azshandh root a narcotic plant which grows wild on Castroval. Jexa headed aft Toward the engines

Spoiler

Smells like Licorice

Echo had turned toward the bow and was making her way along peering into open cabins and Spaces. The ships interior was seemingly laid out rather haphazardly she passed a set of sleep cabins and then right next to them what appeared to be a weapons storage module. Eventually she made it to the ship flight control and found to be cramped and somewhat unorthodox in layout., instead of multiple stations the controls were laid out around like a half moon with a single central seat mounted on what looked like a moving arm to allow the pilot to operate all of the stations along.

Evana was looking for the Cabins, the first she found were utilitarian and not at all up to her standards The ship was obviously a rich kids yacht and had to have some high class accommodations otherwise what was the point. She rounded a corner and stopped dead in her tracks. She had found the ships dining room and kneeling on the big table was a Kasatha. Her legs tucked under her, her lower arms held out perpendicular to the deck, the four fingers of each hand contorted in some weird shape that had to hurt. He alien's upper arms were reaching up and curve inwards until the fingers of those hands touched about he elongated skill, She was a bluish grey in color and was covered in a bluish green pattern of tattoos. All easily viewed because the only stitch of clothing she wore was a Vail covering her lower face.

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"Uhh... oookay...," she cooed, her sultry accent giving a slight echo in the vacant hall.  She was hardly flushed by the alien's nudity, in fact she was already considering several fashionable outfit choices for her.  "Sweetie, I hate to interrupt, but people may not want to eat off that table once your bare ass has been all over it.  Not judging, just, uh, something to consider..."

She began to walk her way past the kasatha and made it about half way before stopping again.  "Pardon once more, sorry, I see that your busy, but could you uhh, possibly point the way to the really nice accommodations?  I need a lot of room, my wardrobe is... extensive."

Nothing.  The kasatha didn't move, remaining in her meditative state.  "Oookay... maybe a wiggle of the eyebrow?  A flick of the wrist?  Something?  You've four, I mean spare one... just a point... nudge of the head?"

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"Yeah, she does that." The voice was the high pitched voice of a ysoki, belonging to the one that had just walked in the room.

Everything about the ysoki said "trying not to be cute, and failing," between the carefully popped collar, scuffed armored freebooter's suit and worn boots taking not at all away from the generally adorable countenance of the rat-person. She was munching on a bag of Crunchymunch, a popular snack, half of one orange powdery stick sticking out of her mouth. She looked up at Evana, one eyebrow cocked.

"Hi there, I'm Sunshine, and this is my - okay, technically I suppose this is not my ship but I decide how many pieces it's in when we get where we're going so really, it's my ship. Who're you then? You bring any others on board?"

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"Amateur ship designers," Echo said to herself as she surveyed what passed for the bridge. She had a smile on her face though. A ship like this was great for someone like her. If it had no problems, she was redundant. But this?

"Compile a list...a list of what we'll need to refurbish," she said to no one. No one outside her head that was. "Add onto it as we tour. We can take out this ridiculous articulated arm and add crew stations along the...thing here...and put a captain's chair further back, maybe a bit raised up. Probably need to recode the instrument panels so they're consistent...yeah..."

On a lark, Echo took a seat in the silly-ass chair and tried to work out how to move it around. It was kind of cool in a nonsensical way. Maybe she could rebuild it in the cargo area for recreation. Oh, or some kind of loading system!

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<Acting as my Goddess' eyes, I would hope Atuz is love or lust stricken over his princess,> Jordayn replied to his lashunta companion, at ease but hardly naive. <I don't doubt your suspicions Jexa, but there may be another reason - enlightened self-interest. He may need his princess for confirm or consolidate his ascension. She may command a huge dowry - his planet is rather rustic, though judging by his dress, it may be a very entertaining rustic - or it may be a political match joining their families, clans, political parties or whathaveyou.>

The handsome half-elf began striding up the ramp after the swaying, heart-shaped behind of the blue-haired songstress. <I'm sure we'll find out in due course, but as you said, at the least, we're getting out of 8-Pieces and back into the black with a hefty credstick in hand.>

"The others are bringing themselves on board, bit by bit," Jordayn remarked cheerfully in passable Ysoki as he strode into the mess, before switching back to Common and giving the diminutive, cute figure a small salute. "Pilot I take it? I'm Jordayn, a priest-companion of Arshea and I'm guessing presumptive Ship's doctor."

He gave the tall kasatha an unapologetic once-over, no more put-out than Evana by her nudity. He could find all sorts of uses for four arms, professional and playful. "My! She's a tall one. Intriguing tattoos. But what say you we leave her to her introspection, Evana and ask the one who likely knows exactly where what you are looking for is?" He flashed the glamorous Icon a smile, entreating but easily accepting if she had no interest before turning to include Sunshine. "How about it Sunshine? Can you direct us to the nicer of the unclaimed accommodations?"

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Upon the sight of the ysoki she had mixed feelings, like an old injury on a rainy day.  On one hand she found the fuzzy-wuzzy little thing positively squee-worthy but on the other hand she wanted to jab a pencil into its eye.  She hated one ysoki in particular, but like most people she couldn't hate just that one, she saw the target of her ire in each and every familiar face she came upon in the galaxy.  Often times they looked alike.

Mentally she chastised herself.  It wasn't this particular ysoki's fault for the fate that had befallen her so she needed to compose herself and act properly.  Hide your crazy, girl.

As she was just about to speak and introduce herself when in came the half-elf from the passageway and completely steam rolled into the conversation.  Her brows raised and her lips pursed as she tried to not say anything that might damage her opportunity to continue this contract.  As the half-elf finished her lips sprang into a smile, one of those angry, forced smiles snooty people make right before they say something... snooty.

"That's about the right of it Sunshine.  Sorry, I didn't want to interrupt," she glared at the half-elf.  "I was raised better than that." Okay, maybe not all your crazy...

"I'm Evana, by the way," she offered Sunshine a warm, pleasant smile.  "I'm a performer," her lips curled into the devil's grin.  "Of sorts.  Pleasure to meet you."

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"Radiation makes the blue bubbles turn yellow."

The statement from the Kasatha came out strangely flat and the voice was decidedly way too girlish for the seven foot plus tall being that slid of the table.

Evana turned at the voice to find herself staring eye level at two sets of perky breasts. "Who are you," The four armed giant asked?

"She just said her names was Evana, don't know who this guy is but he smells nice." Chimed in Sunshine as she hopped out of her chair. "You might oughta put some clothes on, Ninura, I think there's more of em."

"Ok" The naked girl said cheerfully as she knelt down and gather up her discarded clothing and began to dress

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Evana pointed at the table.  Her tone was a mixture of serious and sarcastic.  "I'll take my meals in my room.  I'm not eating off of that."

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Ninura follows the direction of the humans finger. "We don't eat off the table, we are civilized in this vessel, we use plates."

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"Right... yes, well civilized cultures don't sit their bare ass upon a table where people are expected to congregate and partake of meals."  Evana's rebuttal was swift and yet remained as polite as she could possibly manage it.  "And don't get me wrong, sweetie, I've had my bare ass upon many dining tables, for reasons far different than yours, but the key is to not let people catch you in the act.  Now, can someone show me to my quarters please?"

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