Captain Calvert - "A quiet Christmas Eve"

Who: Captain Jed Calvert
Where: The Promenade, Blue Dwarf
When: Christmas Eve, After the riots
Captain Calvert stood outside Parrots bar, blowing smoke from a badly
rolled cigarette towards the glass door in front of him. He wiped
away the smoke and looked through the dirty glass.
It was Christmas Eve, and this was the most popular bar on the ship.
But right now it was empty all except an older woman who was
polishing the bar, and that four-armed alien who was mopping the
Jed knocked on the door, barely restraining himself from knocking it
down with his own rage. The mild mannered Ffionian ran to the door to
unlock it for him. Jed pushed past him and stomped to the bar where
he faced the owner of Parrots Bar, Peggy Marwood.
Peggy was a woman in her late 50's, with permed hair that probably
bore no resemblance to it's original colour. She was a definite
businesswoman, intelligence shone from her aging eyes.
"Ma'am." Jed nodded his hat to her as a greeting, but his face
remained in an angry grimace.
"Hello Mister Calvert." She said, being one of the only people on the
ship that addressed him as anything other than `Captain', as she
wasn't technically part of the crew. She just ran her business on the
ship that he commanded.
It took a special type of person to run a bar on a spaceship. She was
hard-nosed and determined, and had the opportunity to make plenty of
money. Jed tolerated her prescence on his ship because it was easy
money. For every pint sold in Parrotts bar, he got a commission.
"Peggy, ah can't help noticing it's Christmas Eve, one of th' busiest
nights of the year, an' yer bar is closed."
Peggy gave a solemn nod.
"Ah have t' remind yer miss Marwood, that ah let you run yer business
here as an opportunity fer the both of us. But if you're not making
any money, ah can ask you to leave this hyar ship."
It sounded like a threat, and Peggy immediately got on the
defensive. "What would you have me do Mister Calvert? I'd love to
stay open tonight, but if you've not noticed there's a beer shortage."
She pulled on a beer tap to demonstrate. All that came out was a few
bubbles of froth, which she quickly wiped away.
"The beer storage tankers ran dry yesterday, and due to this week's
riots, the backup tankers are empty."
"What about the backup-backups?" Jed asked.
"Empty!" the woman almost screamed at him. "Do you think I'd not
tried Mister Calvert? This is my livelihood on the line here. And I
don't appreciate you coming in here telling me how to do my job just
because you're worried you're not getting your precious commission."
Jed shrugged. "Starships are expensive to run ma'am. Wages to pay,
damage repairs. It's not cheap."
"And what about the funds you waste on gambling eh Mister Calvert?"
she said accusingly.
Jed was taken aback by the woman's brashness. If she was one of his
crewmembers he would have sacked her immediately for making that
comment. And then given her a bunch of fives across the face (Jed was
no sexist, he would readily punch a woman as easily as he would punch
a man).
But Peggy was an employee who performed a very important job on the
ship. She kept a stable income for Jed, and replacing her would be
too much hassle. He gritted his teeth as the comment sunk in, then
slammed his fist on the bar. Glasses rattled.
"That be none of yer business missy. Jus' you do your job as we
agreed, and ah'll do mine." Right now the repairs to the cargobay
have to be paid for, as well as the increased pay I'll have to give
to the Security officers doing overtime to prevent more riots."
Peggy remained quiet.
"So if yer can't sell beer, Find some other way of making money!" Jed
said and stormed out of the bar. As he walked, she shouted at
him. "You can't blame me Mister Calvert – Your Security Officers
should have stopped the riot sooner, and stopped all that beer being
Jed slammed the door. He knew she was right, but right now there was
nothing he could do. He felt as useless as she did.
Or was there? The alcohol had been stolen by his own crew, which
meant that it was hidden on the Blue Dwarf somewhere.
He ran up to the Security Office to find the Chief Security Officer
Chris Harris. "I want security tams searching every single person's
quarters now."
"But CaptainÂ… It's Christmas Eve?"
"NOW!" Calvert demanded.

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