4. Owner Aboard
Date: 135-993 Imperial.
Location: Shanape system (1023), Shanape highport, aboard the free trader Avarice Rewarded.
The new owner took it pretty well. He came aboard, said hello, told them he was David and not Sir David, listened to the bad news, and finally responded with "Anything else?"
"Do you need any more?" asked the Fish, grinning a bit.
"That seems like enough trouble to be going on with..." he rubbed his chin.
"What do you want to do?" asked Silea, biting off the "sir".
"Well, we'd better find some business hadn't we. Better business than our friend Hayeck managed... Did he really try to make a living as a free trader this far from the frontier?"
The two existing crew nodded glumly.
"Well, perhaps we can sort something out. I know a few people here, between the scout base and the navy base." He stopped rubbing his chin and started stroking his upper lip. "Maybe it's time to buy a few drinks for my old pals... see if they can put me onto something. With all the reserves called up for the Solomani war there must be some holes they need to fill." He came out of reverie. "Would you two be up for that?"
The Luriani looked at each other, and looked back at him. "Why not" said Silea. Fish nodded assent.
"Alright, I'll get onto it when I'm stowed. And we'll need the four sacred cows aboard. Which are you two, pilot and engineer?"
"Right," said Fish, "and Hayeck was supposedly the astrogator when he wasn't losing money, but Silea did the real work. The medic quit, she couldn't stand him. We had a gopher too, he looked after the passengers if we had any. He liked to think he was a gunner."
"Well, I don't know if we're going anywhere that needs a gunner, but I did get basic training once upon a time. About 20 years ago... And I can get wavered as a qualified astrogator. I don't think anyone will quibble with 12 years doing exploratory surveys..."
"We'll need a qualified medic, if we're to do any general merchant trade with passengers." Silea knew her interstellar law, at least where it pertained to merchant starships.
"I'd like a medic aboard anyway, just on principle. We'll have to recruit one. It's a big starport, it ought to be possible."
"Alright..." said Silea, slowly "but we haven't got the credits for fuel since Hayeck ran, never mind speculative cargo or wages." Her voice rose a little on the last word, as she realised how long in was since payday and how soon the next one was due.
"I expect I can sort something out" said the new owner. "Let me get my stuff stowed and I'll get on it." He reached for the one modest bag he'd brought aboard and looked at the hatch leading back into the body of the ship. "Which cabins are you two using?"
Fish looked at Silea, who looked at Sir David and spoke. "Cabin. We're a couple. We're through the hatch on the port side. First to starboard was Hayek's, it's got a command terminal."
"Oh right," he said, "I'll take that one then." He grinned as he headed for the hatch, bag in hand.
"Hey, who's cooking if we get passengers? We need another trainee" called Fish.
"I'll do it. Scout's cooking won't kill anyone. Too often."