Episode 601: Triumph
Air Date: 12 Jul 2011
Present: Andy, Bobby, Kim, Maer, and Terri
Friday, 14 Jul 2522
Nouveau Lyon, Beaumonde
Kalidasa (Xuan Wu) system
We see Ah Toy, the notorious war criminal the Devil of Dashan, delivered to justice and spend the next six weeks on the dirt repairing our ship and remodeling it. We finally take care of the volcanic dust contamination. We convert six of our second class forward cabins to five en suite first class cabins. We install a retractable light machine gun mount below the bridge in the hidey hole off the passenger deck. We further disguise the entrances of the missile bays with fake shelving and surfaces. While we still don’t have a pistol stash box on the bridge, we install one in engineering and in the cargo bay airlock. We convert a storage closet under the cargo bay stairs into a secure weapons locker. We do the same for the closet off the conference room behind the bridge and a starboard storage locker in the corridor leading to engineering. Facilitating the work is an infusion of equipment in the machine shop. Rina’s finally got it stocked with the machines to fabricate what needs to be done and repairs if necessary.
Rina assembles emergency kits to stash in various places on our ship in case we're boarded and held hostage. War is brewing and whether it turns into a cold war or a hot one, she wants to be prepared for it, off ship and on.
For herself, Nika has made it clear what her intentions are with regards to the coming conflict. She intends to make some noise. Flying Harbinger during the war wasn’t about ideology. It something she did because she was young and wanted to fly the trickiest, toughest, most exciting ship out there. Now it’s different—she has deeper reasons to get involved, not the least of which she doesn’t like the fact that the Feds are cracking down on the non-Core worlds again, including searching the ranches on Boros. Her Independent leanings are definitely coming to the fore and they’re pointing her toward helping Blue Sun. Starting with the extraction job on Boros, she’s been increasingly willing to get back in the game. During our downtime, she’s told her crew that if they are not aboard with this, they need to talk. So far, no one’s felt the need for that conversation.
Kiera spends most of the downtime saving and repairing Arden's face. It had been burned and partially melted by acid in our operation against Ah Toy and though Kiera was able to save his eyes and restore function to his face, she was unable to retore his likeness. Kiera is, however, a formidable plastic surgeon. She gives Arden a new face. It's darkly handsome and masculine. It's a completely new look for him. When she asks him if he has any misgivings about it, Arden truthfully tells her he's just glad to be alive. Given the similarity between Nika's eye transplant and Arden's reconstructive surgery, he and Nika spend some time talking about their relative experiences and the healing continues.
Between repairs, remodeling, and personal expenses, the money from Potemkin's safe house rapidly starts dropping and before the six weeks are over, we find ourselves back in harness, looking for work. This being Beaumonde, it isn't not long before we find it.
Tuesday, 22 Sep 2522
Kiera uses her underworld connections to find a sharper sensor package for our girl. She finds someone who might have what we need, a purveyor of used parts and ‘unclaimed stuff’. She arranges a meet with one Mr. James Brion. Kiera also suspects that Brion is like-minded with our Captain and that could be an advantage to us. The time is set upon and Kiera announces she might have found our package.
Rina: Do you want me to come with you? I can tell you if it’s worth it or not.
Kiera: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Goody. Cuz I don’t know anything about pricing out this stuff.
Rina steps off the ship wearing her usual suspects and Kiera brings along a pistol. They take the bus. It’s a gritty, grimy, smelly ride but the other options for transportation would be using either Lagniappe or the armored car we’d gotten from Saul Li, which would make us look more kinds of rich than Kiera wants to look. It would screw up the bargaining and she’s in the mood to bargain. So they get on the bus and endure the End-of-Days ramblings of a bum in a thong and a raincoat, then gratefully get off at the nearest stop to Brion’s and walk the rest of the way.
It’s in a bad part of town. Tumbledown warehouses dominate the landscape, as do razor wire. The yards for them are at least a city block large. Byron’s announces it has spaceship parts and they can see that the garage is a rough sort of shop. They have to run the gauntlet of catcalls from the goon squad guarding the yard. The language is as rough as the neighborhood and multilingual. Rina draws breath to answer back in kind and Kiera elbows her to shut up. Rina manages to restrain herself and they make it through without bloodshed.
One of the mechanics approaches and gives the women the hairy eyeball.
Mechanic: Who are you? Whaddya want?
Kiera: (unfazed) I wanna buy some parts. I heard that he sold some. (nods at sign out front) Might be mistaken. Take my business elsewhere.
Mechanic: Jus’ hold on. We’ll see. You brought money?
Kiera: I might have.
Mechanic: Well, let’s see some and maybe we can find out if the boss is interested.
Kiera: Why don’t we see the boss and see if we’re interested?
A couple of the other mechanics walk over in a menacing way. They’ve got wrenches and other hard-looking tools in hand. Rina gives Kiera an are-they-shittin’-me? look. Kiera eyerolls her silent affirmation before turning back to the mechanic.
Kiera: I turn up in this part of town to buy something and you’re gonna beat me senseless with a wrench. This is really sucky for business.
Mechanic: If you just give me the money, maybe you’ll get something nice in return.
Kiera holds up a credit in her hand.
Kiera: I’ve got cash but I don’t have much time. It’s up to you.
Rina unzips her coveralls down to her utility belt. The action gets the men’s attention. Which is what she wants. One of them tries to grab her. Rina pulls her coveralls aside and puts her hand on her gun. The man pauses. He looks at her gun, then at her expression. She smiles a cold little smile and her meaning is clear: make my day.
The men think a beat, then step back. Rina crosses her arms, her right hand still on her pistol and steps back in turn.
Kiera: Good boys. She’s trigger-happy. And I wanna spend some money. So ... it would work out much better if you would let me spend money by telling your boss I would like to spend money.
The men steer Kiera and Rina toward the boss. Taking a look around and searching her memory, Kiera’s fairly certain that the boss was an Independence officer during the war. Now he’s a medium-time thug—bigger than small-time, not as successful as big-time. He’s not handsome, either, as we see for ourselves when he walks up. The war and the years since have not been kind to Mr. James Brion. Still, he’s the man with what we need—or he might have what we need—and he’s in front of us now. Best we get to business.
Kiera: Nice to meet you, Mr. Brion.
Brion: Whaddya lookin’ for?
Kiera: Actually I was gonna let the lady tell you.
Rina steps forward and pulls out a list from one of her pockets. She unfolds it and hands it to him. She pulls out her accent as well.
Rina: I’m looking for these.
Brion looks the list over and looks us over.
Brion: This sort of stuff goes for a lot of money. Seein’ that you walked here, I’m guessing you don’t have a lot of money. We’re talking thousands of credits for this equipment. and I prolly don’t have that sort of stuff handy anyway.
Kiera: Hmm. How hard is it to get it?
Brion: Most people harvest that stuff before they send it to salvage and this is known as a salvage establishment.
Rina: Well, you know there are plenty of idiots out there.
Kiera: Hmm. Darn, now I was lookin’ for an honest one. Damn.
Brion: Well, this is gonna take some money to do it.
Kiera: Mmm. Now we’re talkin’. So what kinda money?
Now that the bargaining’s started, Rina stands back and lets Kiera work her magic.
Brion: Well .... this for a Durance class, that what you said?
Brion: (musing) It’ll be relatively easy to modify ... You’ll be doing the work? You got an engineer?
Brion: Just the parts. (thinks) 5K?
Kiera: I ... just don’t know if we can pull it off. How’s it dangerous to let us come in and just buy it off the shelf.
Brion: Why don’t we comin in outa the ... summer heat and we’ll talk about it.
He leads Kiera and Rina into the garage and once inside, it’s pretty damned obvious they’ve walked into a chop shop. For Rina, it’s like being a kid given the keys to a candy store: lots of shiny goodness wherever her eyes land. Brion says over his shoulder as they go deeper into the garage:
Brion: I might be able to get you one that’s a little older, maybe not in perfect condition but still meets your specs on that.
Kiera: I think used is okay. Old is even okay.
Brion: How far can you go?
Kiera: Mm. Mm-mm-mm. Now see, we’re talkin’ five, before. I don’t know. How about two thousand?
Brion: Eihhhh ....
Kiera: Hey, I mean, it’s used. And it’s old. You said it was older. You know there’s reliability problems with older. I mean I’m willin’ to work with you and not that I don’t trust you. Which I do. Implicitly.
Brion: Where’s your ship fly?
Kiera: Everywhere. (thinks) So far, everywhere.
Brion: Are you, ah, Union flagged?
Kiera: That’s under negotiations right now. (laughs)
Brion: Well, you ain’t gonna get a Union flag on Beaumonde if you are.
Kiera: (agreeing) No. Let’s just say my Captain doesn’t embrace the idea of a Union flag. It is not what her background has been.
Brion: So ... your Captain’s some kinda crazy Browncoat terrorist type?
At the back of her head, Rina’s thinking: No. That would be me. Kiera’s thinking something else—like she’s onto something, something she can use to swing the deal.
Kiera: Okay, let’s just be honest. I wouldn’t call her crazy.
Brion thinks that’s rather funny. He laughs a little bit. Then:
Brion: What’s the ship?
Kiera: Equinox. Once upon a time, it was the Exeter. We have hopes of making it back to its former glory. I told ya. She’s not crazy.
Brion: So you’re sayin’ ... you’re not particularly concerned with Alliance protocols in this?
Kiera: I’ve never been concerned with protocols, period. But she’s doubly not-concerned with that.
Brion: Huh. (a beat) Now if I remember it correctly, the Exeter was a bit of a blockade runner.
Kiera: Oh it falls through atmosphere pretty. Lemme tell ya, comin’ in and outa angle—
She makes a complicated hand gesture but the meaning is simple: Sweet!
Brion: You got a pilot capable of doin’ that?
Kiera: Oh good God yeah.
Brion: Well I might have a job that would be the worth of the balance of the three thousand credits. You pay me the two thousand and we’ll hook you up with the—
Kiera: With the rest of it?
Brion: We’ll give over the sensor package.
Kiera writes down our dock number and contact link for him. She wraps it around her credits and hands it over. Brion makes it disappear and asks if we can take on a couple of containers for him—we built to do that?
Brion: Take a few of those down to Triumph in Red Sun.
Kiera: To Triumph in Red Sun. (nods) Fair enough. Where do I get’em?
Brion: You can pick them up here.
Kiera asks him about if he could acquire a machine gun.
Brion: That’s a bit illegal but … yeah, I could get you one of those.
Kiera: How much more on top of that? Can I get it included in the price for it?
Brion: (mock upset) Included?
Kiera: You said yourself, we took the bus. We’re poor. We got hope and rebellion. That’s all we got.
Brion: Well … you caught me in a good mood. All right. We’ll throw in a surplus.
Kiera: (grinning) I could kiss you.
Rina: (eyeroll) Oh, please. If you’re going to kiss him, let me walk outside first.
Kiera leans in and kisses Brion on the cheek.
Kiera: You’ll contact us when the stuff is ready?
Brion: Yeah. (calls out to his crew) Hey! We gotta a K-Psion-625?
Mechanic: Yehhhh. If we go back and look in the section. (points)
Well, get to it.
Brion: You haven’t modified your computer stuff, I hope.
Kiera blinks over at Rina: help me?
Rina: No. Is fine.
Brion: I’ll have one of the boys drop you off where you said to drop off the equipment.
Kiera: Excellent. I appreciate it. It’s wonderful doing business with you. I hope it’s a friendship that will last.
Kiera shakes his hand and we’re done. We’ve got ourselves a sensor package.
Brion: I’ll get the equipment by tomorrow. It’ll take a couple of days to install the stuff.
Kiera: Fair enough.
And their ride home, courtesy of Brion, is a semi-truck. Kiera and Rina arrive at Equinox with a chatter of air brakes and a cough of black exhaust and jump off. Joshua stands on the cargo ramp and stares. Rina pauses to talk to the driver.
Rina: How’s the engine run?
Driver: It’s all right.
Rina: (grins) Could run better.
Driver: It could. What? You gonna fix the semi?
Rina: Just pop the hood if you don’t mind.
Kiera: She loves fondlin’ engines.
Up goes the hood and down to work she goes. She immediately points out several things that need replacing and the driver counters it’s hard to find parts for this thing. If only he worked at a place like a ... oh, parts shop? Joshua watches for a minute and then says in an aside to his Captain:
Joshua: Why didn’t they take the car?
Nika: Cuz they didn’t want it to get stripped while they were buying what we needed.
Wednesday, 23 Sep 2522
True to his word, the sensor package arrives early the next day. There’s no manual with it or anything. Oops. Sorry, lady. Whaddid ya expect? You got it used. Brion’s men hand it over and take off.
We’re going to have to figure out how to install it ourselves. It’s also too big to carry. It’s about the size of an old 16-cylinder engine. Rina gets a hand truck to cart the shiny new(ish) toy away before Nika totally blows a gasket.
Nika: What the bloody hell? Kiera!
Kiera: Captain? Oh, I got a job for us. Red Sun. Triumph.
Nika: What gives?
Kiera: He’s a Browncoat. Got a job for us. We got the sensor package for two thousand credits. For three thousan—
Nika: For how much?!
Kiera: Two thousand.
Joshua: (Joining in) Actually, that’s not a bad price, Captain. It’s not hideous.
Kiera: It’s normally five.
Rina: (returning) Yes, Captain. She got it for under half price.
Nika: Uhnnnn! (grabbing head) ... Mommy ... And we’re supposed to pay it how?
Joshua: It’s five if it’s retail priced and nobody pays—.
Nika: Nobody pays retail.
Joshua: But yes.
Kiera: We got a job.
Nika: (grim) What’s the job?
Kiera: Cargo going to Triumph.
Nika: And how much?
Kiera: The balance of the amount we owe. And the goodwill.
Nika: I thought you said you got it for two thousand.
Kiera: I did. And a job.
Joshua: She’s saying that’s the only reason she got it for two thousand.
Kiera: Two thousand and the job.
Nika: (Groaning) Oh, Mother of God.
Kiera: He’s a Browncoat. Come on. Don’cha—
Nika: I don’t have an issue with the job. I have an issue with how much you paid for the sensors.
Nika nails Kiera with a gimlet stare.
Nika: What are we runnin’?
Kiera: Ten ton.
Nika: Containers of what? Nobody ever asked.
Kiera: Why would I ask?
Arden: (joining in) Containers of what?
Kiera: Let me repeat again—why would I ask?
Arden: Why wouldn’t you ask?
Kiera: Okay, do you not understand how I work?
Rina: (pushing the package) Because it would make us look suspicious and untrustworthy if we asked.
Arden: Oh, as opposed to looking stupid and unprepared if we don’t ask?
Joshua: I would like to repeat that we really are suspicious.
Nika: Let me rephrase it this way—you got a job from a guy who admitted to being Browncoat. How’d you get the job?
Kiera: In exchange for the three thousand.
Arden: No, no. What she’s asking is why is he going to give us the job?
Kiera: Because he made reference to ‘Hmm. Is your Captain a crazy Browncoat traitor?’ And I said, ‘No, she ain’t crazy.’
Silence. Nika gapes. Arden busts out laughing.
Nika: I’m not sure whether to be amused or appalled at this point.
Arden: Well, both.
Kiera: You are more than welcome to meet him. Quite a delightful man. We’re gonna get up and meet him anyway.
Nika: (disgusted) God. I’m going to gouge out my eyes, here, Kiera.
Rina: (at the stairs) Please don’t. They cost too much.
Nika: (sighs) What’s the time table?
Kiera: He’s supposed to let you know.
Nika: All right.
Kiera: We gave him your contact.
Nika: All right.
Kiera: (soothingly) You know how this thing shoehorns its way into atmo. It’ll be fine.
They’re at the stairs by now and climbing up. Rina calls down.
Rina: And just think, Captain. You’d have to get past any number of Feds to get to Triumph.
Nika: I just said I didn’t have any problems with the job.
Kiera: She has problems with the two thousand for the sensor package.
Nika: Because we ain’t got it!
Joshua: Actually, what are you talkin’ about? Oh. Right. I forgot. I haven’t been telling you anything about our money. (a beat) We have the money.
Joshua: You don’t ask. So I don’t tell. You trust me to keep the finances and I figured this was a good way to expend the money.
They get to the top of the stairs and settle in the crew lounge where Joshua tells her what we have in our accounts, all of them. We’re solid. We got a lot of credits and platinum and gold from Potemkin’s safe house. Even though the sensor package will eat most of the gold, we will still have enough for our repairs and fuel and food.
Rina: (walking in) And now we’ll run half a ton lighter. Because gold is heavy.
Nika: So we’re runnin’ ten ton of crates to where in Red Sun?
Nika: All right. (to Kiera) And he’ll let me know the time table.
Kiera: He’ll be in contact.
Nika: All right.
Arden: (sourly) And no one thinks that not knowing what it is is not a bad thing.
Joshua: To be honest, Arden—
Nika: Does it matter?
Joshua: I think knowing what it is is equally bad as not knowing what it is. I think either way it has its downsides. Nika: Ultimately he’s willing to pay three thousand credits for it—well, okay, it’s fake money but he’s still willing to pay three thousand credits. Point being, I’m not sure I wanna know. Because, you know what? Sometimes you take a cargo and you just do what you’re told with it. Don’t much care what it is.
Rina: We’ve got a job. Let’s keep it.
Arden: (unconvinced) Okay ...
Nika: If we pick it up, if it’s slaves or explosives, we wanna know.
Joshua: Look, if it’ll make you feel better I’ll Read the crates before we put them on.
If there are people being smuggled in those containers, Joshua will know. If it’s explosives, well ... no plan is perfect.
Episode 601: Triumph, Special Features
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