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Posted on Mon Jan 16th, 2017 @ 7:08am by Crew Eli Toth & Crew Zhong Qi & Hired Help Serena O'Rourke

Mission: A Fast Way Off of Windlam Reach
Location: Sinful Grace, Cockpit

The blue skies of Windlam Reach had slowly turned to black as the Grace found its way into the black. Eli and Serena wandered into the cockpit and closed it, safe from any listening ears.

"I ain't a real big fan of the sudden influx of civilians aboard," Eli grumbled as he entered the cockpit. "This job better go smooth or we're going to end up with a lot of explaining to do," He said, no hiding his grumpiness at the situation as he flopped lazily down in the chair next to Qi. "We got the wave from Tomcat yet?"

"No waves yet. When did we take people on?" Qi gave Capt'n Eli a look out of the corner of her eye. "I miss everything when I'm sittin' up here all lonesome, waitin' for someone to tell me when I can hit the black." She poked at a gauge as Gracie continued her ascent.

"Three came in just as I was closin' the doors," Eli said, sounding annoyed. "Got a Doc, at least... not sure how gentle he'll be, but he's got experience. Got a purser, and a core world brat that I'll be dropping on the first world we stop at after we pick up our payment on Windlam," He explained.

"How good is your former Captain, Serena?" Eli asked, looking over to the other woman in the cockpit.

"I aint like the idea of passengers." Serena commented as she stared out the front of the ship, "He's got a good nose, he's a decent shot and the man has drive. Hes proud too, your exclimation of excellence hurt his pride. He's gona work hard to win at any cost."

" Any cost?" Qi repeated, tilting her head to the side. She leaned over the arm of her chair, and stage whispered to the captain, "I think what she's sayin' is he'll cheat, capt'n."

"Then we cheat better," Eli replied, flatly. "Tamade Hundan already has a head start," He grumbled.

The communication center chimed and Eli nodded for Qi to answer the call, "Let's see if that's our bad boy," He said.

"Eli's Luxury Liner, Sinful Grace. Pilot and cut rate ambassador, Zhong Qi speaking. How may I help you?" Qi grinned widely at the face that appeared on the small screen when she accepted the wave.

The skinny man with a meager beard akin to a teenage boy who hadn't quite finished puberty narrowed his eyes at her and seemed to reflexively adjust the bow tie on his neck, "I see formality isn't high on your skillset," He quipped in clipped British accent. "I'm looking for Eli. Where's he at?" He said, sounding impatient.

Eli was fighting laughter, and motioned Qi to continue as he leaned back in his chair and shrugged.

"My apologies sir, I have taken to imitating my surroundings. The folk on the rim believe I'm putting on airs if I conduct myself like the woman of proper breeding that I am," Qi returned, her face turning very serious as she sat up straighter in her chair. She caught a look at Eli out of the corner of her eye, and cleared her throat. "The Captain is indisposed at the moment, but if you would be so kind as to tell me your name and intended business, I will make the effort to impress upon him the urgency of your call."

"Tomcat," The man replied, flatly. "And he damn well knows why I'm calling," The man said, flatly.

Eli had a hand clamped over his mouth at this point, but waved for Qi to continue.

"Very well, Mr. Tomcat. If you could hold a moment, I will see if the Captain knows this business you speak of." Qi smiled broadly at the man, and pressed the button to put the wave on hold. "He's a Wu Ming Shao Jwu, what sort of Cheong Bao Ho Tze job have we got ourselves into? You know, if he scrubbed hard, he could wash that beard of his right off!"

Eli laughed out loud for a minute, but composed himself quickly, "Lord, I gotta let you do that more often," He said, clearing his throat and trying to set his face again. "Okay, open up the channel, for me. I think I might recall the business at hand," He replied.

"Ambassadorial services requires a bigger share," Qi insisted, standing from her chair. She waved her hand to indicate the Captain should move there, and waited for him to sit before opening the wave again.

"Tomcat. Bout time you called," Eli replied, in his best impatient voice. "What's the job."

"First off, keep your little brat on a leash. I don't need a run around when I call you, I'm a business man," Tomcat replied, flatly.

"So am I, and I don't need to be told how to run my business. Now, what's the job?" Eli replied, gruffly.

Tomcat glared for a moment, but finally spoke, "I'd like to make a note that I'm not a fan of this 'competition'. Ego fueled dick comparisons complicate easy jobs. Still, two ships scaving means more for me," He said, a greedy little grin slitting his face. "I'm sending you the coordinates and a payout sheet. You'll find a wrecked Alliance Cargo hauler at the coordinates that the Alliance hasn't had time to pick up yet. Scav what you can, and you'll be rewarded with payment based on the sheet inclosed. Whoever has the biggest haul will also get an additional $5,000 credits," He explained, "AND bragging rights over the other vessel, or whatever you worked out with the other fellow," He said, waving the idea of the competition off again. "Sound sufficient?" He asked.

Eli looked up to Serena and Zhong Qi for any objections.

Qi met eyes with Eli, and mouthed out 'brat' with a raised eyebrow and a frown. She then directed a withering look at the small screen showing the face of Tomcat. She leaned against the wall, shaking her head and crossing her arms.

Serena simply shook her head as she stared out the front of the ship. The Black was all encompassing just stars and nothing else. She honestly had to agree with Tomcat that competitions would make this messy but she wouldn't say it. She had signed on to make sure it went smoothly so that meant going with the Captain. Alliance ship meant possible complications though, they tended not to like to leave their stuff around for the vultures. "Any Alliance in the area?"

"Who's that then?" Tomcat asked, trying to peer around to see if he could see anything.

"Crew," Eli replied, flatly. "And that's a question I want to know about, too."

"No, none," Tomcat replied, quickly.

"You sound pretty certain about that," Eli replied, his own suspicions growning.

"There won't be, trust me. That's been takin' care of," He explained.

"How do you 'take care of' the Alliance?" Eli asked, skeptically.

"Do you want the credits or not?" Tomcat asked, sharply.

Eli waved it off, "Fine. You better pay up," He said, cutting the comm call short.

Eli stood and looked at Qi and Serena, "Ever feel like everything is about to go to shit?" He asked, bluntly.

"You mean a job we took over heated words after a bar fight, with us hitting the black without properly preparing first and we've got a boat full of people we don't know, might actually not go well?" Qi shook her head as she took her seat back after the Captain had vacated it, and she looked over the controls to make sure Gracie was still holding true. "I don't like it, but I just fly the ship, what do I know? At least you said we got ourselves a Doc... sounds like we might have need for him in time."

"Yeah... it'll be fine," He said in a tone, not quite bestowing trust and confidence. "Give me a shout when we're almost there, and let me know if anything gets interesting, okay?" He said, nodding for Serena to follow him off of the bridge.

"It'll be fine... There was a quote from Earth that was about feeling fine. How did it go? Freaked out, insecure, neurotic, and emotional. Yeah, we're fine." Qi shook her head slowly. "I'll yell when we're 'proaching the purple belly husk, or if somethin' liable to kill us floats along. Don't you worry your pretty little head."

Eli stopped and looked back, giving her a wry look, "It's a damn good thing I didn't make you my morale officer," He quipped before chuckling a bit and leaving with bridge with Serena.

Once more, into the black.


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