Journal of Christian Edge (1)

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From the journal of Christian Edge...

I admit, I am beginning to wonder if something about me just attracts problems. First Osiris, then the mess at the Heart of Gold and now this...

Let me explain. I have been hired by Potemkin Colonial Services as a steward aboard their flagship, the MakeMake. Or, at least, that would be the title I bestowed upon myself. I perform, essentially, those duties, cooking and tidying up, trying to look after the psychological welfare of the crew and those colonists heading for the Rim.

That, of course, would not be the trouble. Gainful and legal employment never is by itself. My problem stems from my legal employment straying into what is likely illegal territory. I get ahead of myself, though...

There are four of us aboard this ship who aren't old hands. Myself, a pilot named Nika, a man named Arden who is aboard as a passenger, and a temporary engineer named Marina. There are also quite a few colonists but they stay in their respective modules, waiting to be deposited on the soil of their new home.

Nika was hired as a backup pilot, as I understand it. Someone to take a second shift so the bridge is manned at all times. I suspect, however, that there is more to her story than might meet the eye. There exists an air of authority around her one would not expect to find in a simple pilot.

Arden seems a curious sort. And by that, I don't mean he is a mystery, though he is. No, I mean he seems curious about what goes on around him. Marina, aboard simply to fix a few mechanical difficulties and not as a full-time mechanic, has obviously had difficulties with men in her past. I have been especially careful to avoid any appearance of impropriety around her, for worry that she might take offense... and then perhaps take my head as well.

As I said, there were four of us aboard who were not either colonists or a long serving crew member. Perhaps that explains why we gravitated towards each other when the crisis began. I admit feeling more kinship for these three than I do for most of the others.

Things turned south when, partway through our journey, we slowed down. Dropped from hard burn, I believe is the correct term, and changed course. For various reasons, the four of us gravitated towards the bridge. Myself, I followed Arden. I did say he was the curious sort and perhaps his curiosity infected me as well. Briefly, we conferred, but were interrupted by the captain. He insisted Nika and I help move crates in one of the cargo modules. We were making room. The question was for what?

I spoke to those crew members who were aiding in the task and put the pieces together quickly enough. Apparently the captain occasionally did business with one sort of criminal or another, stopping in the middle of space to meet another ship, taking aboard cargo, perhaps selling it later. The crew seemed quite upset about this. Not the illegality, mind. These are hard men who likely care little for the niceties of the Core. Rather, they were upset that the captain wasn't sharing the take from these side jobs with the crew. Even worse, the side trips make the MakeMake late. This incurres fees and adds expenses for extra fuel. That, of course, cut into profit and profit shares for the crew. It didn't take my Companion training to read the crew. Things were going to turn ugly if the MakeMake didn't move soon.

I said as much to Arden, Nika, and Marina. They agreed and agreed it was only going to get worse. It turned out that the ship that was to meet us at this stop hadn't even been signaled. Nika and Marina had rigged the communications system to make it seem as if a beacon had been lit without lighting the beacon at all. Nika had sent a message to Josef Potemkin, the company's owner and the captain's brother, but as yet there was no definitive reply. The captain seemed determined to sit the ship in this spot until his contact came.

Ideas were discussed. It seemed likely, in our minds, that a mutiny was boiling. The cost to human lives should the conflict spill over to the colonists was unacceptable, as was the loss to our employer. We did, after all, owe the company our loyalty in this situation.

As I write, little has happened. The next meal is coming. At that time, our plan is to lace the food with sedatives. I have some chocolate I can use to make the food as attractive as possible. With luck, both captain and crew will be rendered unconscious. That will avoid trouble... at least for a while. Hopefully, it will be long enough for us to determine a proper course of action.

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