Confederation Date: Tuesday, 15 Mar 2405
Local Time (24hr): ~05:30
Early in the return trip, JoJo receives a recorded message from the clinic regarding the guy he rescued; evidently, this man – who the clinic knows only as “Dirk” – checked himself out with warning or forwarding address. Some days later, Tulk then receives a message from “Walt” (the guy he rented the habitation module from) who advises him that he’s calling in that owed favor: Walt wants him to go to Laughing Buddha to find and pick up his worthless, good for nothing son, Jake. For that, he can hold onto the hab module for the rest of the month. After receiving this message, Tulk then informs the rest of the Crew about this job although he does not tell them that this is due to an owed favor.
A day and a half from Tambo, the USS Bunker Hill breaks off from escorting them. Orbital mechanics puts Tambo closer to Laughing-Buddha and as the Bad Omen is running on fumes, it is decided that they will go ahead a dock at the station, fuel up, and look for any cargo that may need to go to LB. Early on 15 March, AJ is woken with alert that they are entering ATC controlled space and he handles the docking without difficulty. Fuel-up is scheduled and, per Tulk’s request, AJ posts an intended departure date for their trip to LB. The Crew depart the office to attend to personal matters.
The two Moss’ immediately begin looking into getting rid of the weapons seized from the rockjumpers on the Tohre-Chi ship. During this time, one of Calista’s old associates contacts her regarding her ongoing search for illicit side-jobs and advises her that the Guthrie Trade Company on LB is interviewing crews for monthly runs. As it turns out, Calista knows about the Guthries, having spent much of her formative years on LB: they have a reputation as a good business with lots of in-system work and some that takes them out of Helene; they also have a rep for selling anything to anyone. There is also some minor scandal regarding them as Ella Guthrie runs the company and is the daughter of Midway’s Vice-Proxy. Calista contacts Tulk about this job opportunity and the two scheme to keep AJ in the dark because they’re both low-down dirty scheming schemers.
While seeking out potential cargo jobs, Tulk discovers only one intended for Laughing Buddha – 6-tons worth of dry bulk freight – and arranges a face-to-face with the broker where he ultimately ends up bribing the guy to ensure that DSD gets the job. He also checks for potential passengers and the first one he locates simply seems too high maintenance, so he passes.
JoJo is still settling into his new apartment so his time off is consumed there, but AJ goes home and finds the front door unlocked which almost causes a moment of panic until he hears two voices he recognizes: Bella and Julie. Knowing that the two women really don’t like each other, he’s surprised (and then really worried) at how nice they seem to be toward one another. Unable to discreetly escape, he learns they are making wedding plans and abruptly remembers the still unopened invitation on his desk at the office. Bella, who is being uncharacteristically territorial, accepts the invitation for both of them. Julie then declares that the Sophie crew is back on Tambo, having completed a job, and arrangements are made to meet up at Hard Vacuum as per normal. Once she’s gone, AJ demands to know why Bella promised that they would go to the wedding and she gives him a cryptic “You need closure” remark.
At the bar that evening, the new engineer of the Sophie, Jeremiah Powers, drunkenly challenges Zennith to an ‘engineer-off’: whoever can get a jury-rigged rocket crafted from only materials on-hand from the bar higher is the winner. Steg then donates two 10mm explosive tip rounds and the building begins! Unfortunately, Zennith crit-fails his roll so his rocket explodes and causes a great mess; Powers is overly exuberant at this victory but too drunk to really do more than gloat. Meanwhile, JoJo makes an effort to chat up the Sophie’s medic, Desi, with regards to medical stuff – because sick people are high-larious – and appears to hit it off with her.
That evening, Tulk gets word than a new passenger is looking at transport and meets with the man who is extraordinarily wishy-washy about whether he wants to actually go. Tulk tries to talk him into it but is not very successful. He shrugs it off.
The crew assembles in the morning at the dockhouse – Bella insists on accompanying AJ so as to go shopping and play the slots. They secure the newly delivered freight and, while AJ goes forward to plot the course, Bella and Calista chat before the former talks the latter into letting Bella do Calista’s makeup.
An hour later, the Omen arrives at Dodge Colony on LB, which is like Las Vegas under domes, a veritable wretched hive of scum and villainy. The Crew gears up and exits the ship, then arranges for the cargo to be delivered. It is very early – about 0600 local – and their planned meeting with Guthrie is many hours away. Once the cargo is off-loaded, the Crew seek out a place for breakfast then break apart to conduct searches into Jake Dorn’s activities where they find out that he is going by “Carter” now. There are also several social media references to Guthrie’s bar.
AJ and Bella wander off themselves so she can lose money on the slots and shop at the various small markets. While in those markets, she taps a guy on the shoulder to get directions and, unluckily for AJ, this man turns out to be none other than Samson Bale who recognizes AJ. They exchange words – there is a reference to their past encounter, “Captain’s right, I believe,” the pirate states – and Bale suggests they meet the next day with cutlasses to resolve this. Just to keep AJ honest, Bale and his many armed men take Bella hostage. Furious but unable to act without getting dogpiled, AJ warns Bale that if she is harmed at all, he will burn them all down. As she is escorted away, Bella tells Bale that AJ is going to gut him like a fish.
Tulk and the rest of the Crew scope out the Guthrie’s bar and happen to notice the two survivors of the Blue Neptune who escaped when they tried (and failed) to rob the Hard Vacuum; these men are leaving the bar. AJ rejoins them, advises them of the Bale issue and then, on Tulk’s recommendation, breaks away again (since he won’t be of any use to them in these negotiations), muttering under his breath about getting a cutlass. The rest of the Crew meet with Ella Guthrie where Tulk does most of the talking; she wonders where their pilot is, then when informed about the planned duel, declares that if AJ kills Bale in this duel, she will consider this a plus in her book. Tulk also asks about Carter and finds out that he’s digging for some sort of buried treasure; when asked why he’s interested, Tulk tells Ms. Guthrie that “there’s money riding on it.” She tells him that she would like to know how that conversation plays out.
Once the meeting concludes – no decision has been made yet, of course – AJ rejoins the crew, having purchased a cutlass and looking decidedly grim. As the Crew entered a dangerous-looking area, the Blue Neptune crewmembers step out of concealment along with several other thugs. “You killed two of our guys,” one of the Neptune men says. “We’re here to take it out of your ass.”
- More paperwork at the beginning! Evidently, annual maintenance is 3 months away and will cost more than we have in the bank.
- GM was unaware that Tulk also has Unluckiness – no wonder DSD can’t get a break: the two main owners are both Unlucky!
- AJ once challenged Bale to a duel when the Crew was mostly captured, but nothing came of it. Until now. Thankfully, GM allowed me to retroactively purchase the appropriate skills so as to be at least competent with a cutlass since it’s a Navy thing and AJ is former Navy.