Catch up

<ooc>Backpost of a few bits I had roughed up before Brogan posted and I got back to a complete shitstorm at work - happy days!</ooc>

"Hmurrrggg." Tanaka grunted. Then wrote down on the stall. "We need to get the smeg out of here. Plan?"

“Hoy” the Community Service supervisor pointed his stunstick at Jamie “You shouldn’t be in here! Stop fraternising with the work detail”

“Yeah, yeah, alright” Jamie held up his hands “I was just going” as he turned to leave, he murmured to Tanaka ”We’ll catch up later, okay?”


“And the rest of you:” the supervisor shouted “Quit slacking and get back to work!”

The diminutive, blue-skinned alien went back to leaning up against the hand sanitisers and boredly fiddling with his terminal, leaving Cass to shake her head and give the vaculav she was working on a vicious buffing.

She was absolutely fucking livid.

How the hell were Jamie and Thomas even here?

By her own estimation, after her three week stint of struggling to stay alive on that dead colony ship, she was currently suffering from post traumatic stress; so why the hell hadn’t her so-called ‘friends’ come and rescued her?

The only mitigating circumstances she could think of was that they were dead; so the very least they could do was to actually be dead.


She bad-temperedly squirted cleaning solution on the suspicious green stains smearing the back of the vaculav and started scrubbing hard. Bits of slimy, partially dissolved gunk flew from the brush and splattered her overalls, making her even angrier.

For fuck’s sake. Fucking. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

Cass scrubbed and seethed for another twenty minutes, before their supervisor finally called time for the day.

“Tools and equipment in the red bins” he shouted, the translation burbling through the earpiece Cass was wearing “Strip off and place your overalls in the blue bins. Scrub up and retrieve your civie bags from the yellow bins. I will see you back here for tomorrow’s session at thirteen. Failure to attend will result in an automatic arrest warrant”

“What did he say?” Dick asked. They were still working on modifying his quantum field so that he could wear a translator “That was all guttural grunting to me”

“Just follow everyone else’s lead” Cass said, tiredly tossing her brush and detergent into the red bin.

“Humans!” the supervisor approached as they were busy scrubbing up ”Only another three days of this and you’re done”

Cass looked down at the wrinkly, little alien “I’m utterly thrilled at the prospect”

“Now, don’t be like that” his thick black tongue rolled around in his mouth as he spoke “You could have copped for a much longer sentence, like old Tallaber over there - She got more than three hundred hours for embezzlement.” he held out a couple of sealed plastic bags “These belong to you and your walking corpse, miss. Now, just remember: It’s easier not to skip town, so I’ll see you tomorrow”

“We weren’t -”

“I’ve been doing this job long enough to recognise the signs” he blinked slowly, one eye after the other. Lizard-like. “Just make sure you don’t”

“I’ll bear that in mind” Cass accepted the bag containing her clothes.

With the none-too-subtle warning ringing in her ears, Cass toweled her hair dry and fumbled the bag open to start pulling her clothes back on. They were cheap shapeless things, designed for a generic humanoid rather than a human, but they were all she could afford after she had been released from custody with nothing but the vaccsuit she had been arrested in.

They had elected to sell the ‘suit at a knock down price just to be able afford to eat and rent some budget accomodation, but they were down to the last few hundred vargas.

All things considered, they needed money fast.

Cass had briefly considered taking the money from the sale of the ‘suit and just ditching the others, but figured that doing so wouldn’t be entirely fair; especially since they had risked their lives to save her.

The old Cass wouldn’t have even thought twice before doing that, so all in all, she felt pleased that she was was definitely changing for the better.

At this rate, she’d be doing volunteer work by the time she was in her hundreds.

“Hey there” Jamie and Tom hailed them as they emerged from the vaculav cluster, out into the humid, late afternoon heat. Outside, beyond the geodesic dome, the light from the larger sun caught the coiling, poisonous clouds outside, illuminating them with an iridescent purple.

“Alright” Cass said, cooly “You already know Tanaka, but this is Belvedyr and Dick” she made the introductions before pausing to glower at Jamie “Now, where the hell have you been?”

“We thought you were dead”

“I nearly fucking was!” Cass exploded “Hour by hour and day by day for three fucking weeks! I was down to fewer than thirty minutes of oxygen on no less than five occasions! Have you any idea what that’s like!?”

“Cass...” Jamie tried.

“No! Don’t fucking ‘Cass’ me. What happened? Where did you go, and why didn’t you come back for me?”

“We don’t know what happened. That’s the simple truth of it. We woke up in the ‘Giant to find that it had been smashed off the Eliro by one ot the asteroids. We were without power for days and even now, comms and other systems are still on the fritz. We genuinely thought you were dead”

“But...” Cass could feel the fight draining out of her - she was still none the wiser about what had happened to her on the Eliro, so why should these guys be any different? “Yeah, alright”

“We were drifting for the best part of a month before we got the warp drive fixed up enough to manage a jump to this, the nearest inhabited system”

“It’s true” Tom nodded “It was a last ditch effort too. Our thrusters are still okay, but the warp drive’s completely buggered now. They reckon somewhere in the region of eight to ten thousand vagyrs to fix it - and then there's the fuel and docking fees.”

“It’ll probably be closer to fifteen, twenty thou before we’re done fixing everything” Jamie nodded

Cass groaned ”I’ve got about three hundred to my name”



“Jeez” Jamie grimaced “Remind me - Who’s idea was it to abandon the Dwarf?”

“It seemed like a good one at the time” Tom said “The thing is, though: What are we going to do? - We need money”

“Hnnnnngggh hhheg nnnnniorrgh” Tanaka suggested

“What I think our dead friend is trying to say,” Dick said “is that we have three options: One...” he began counting them off on his fingers “Skip town and use the ‘Giant to run supply contracts in the outer system to raise enough money to repair the ship

”Two: Sell the ‘Giant - Okay, it needs a bit of work, but I’m sure we’d be able to get at least half a million for it

“Three: Carry on as we are and let the ship get impounded”

“Hhhnnngh” Tanaka was impressed he’d got all that from a few groans and moans.

Cass shook her head “As much as I hate scrubbing alien piss out of vaculavs, I really don’t want an automatic arrest warrant for skipping town. The Hegemony consists of more than two hundred systems, so that’s a lot of space to have to avoid. I say we carry on as we are and see if we can raise the funds for the repairs at the same time - There are bound to be some dangerous or shady jobs that we can do for some quick cash”

“Failing that,” Belvedyr smirked “You could all go and sell a few organs, or rent out your orifices down the red light district”

“Not helping”

“Listen,” Thomas said “Where are you staying?”

“Oh, just some cheapo hostel at twenty a night, and no personal privacy”

“Come back to the ‘Giant then - It smells funny and the food’s crap, but it’ll save you some money”

Cass shrugged. She didn’t really see that she had much choice “Yeah, sure..”

**** Insert the first part of Brogan’s post here….

**** And then, in the market...

“Sa, sa - Nem tak nehaya” Cass tried a bit of faltering Trade “Agress, nopu?” she gestured towards the electronics arrayed on the blanket, laid out before the cross-legged market trader.

“Sumallalon, tor nadrada. Nish tevana rak nalellu” the trader sighed and shook his head ”Tish”

“Oh, fuck off” Cass grinned. She was enjoying herself immensely “Now you’re just taking the piss”

“Nah - You’re giving it away” the trader grinned back, showing a mouthful of razor sharp, ebony teeth “What do I want with that trash that you’re offering? This is last cycle’s top terminal“‘

“If it was, you wouldn’t be selling it here”

“You’d be surprised at the things that pass through my hands” the trader said, airly.

“Oh, is that right?” Cass knew this game from the black marketeers she used to deal with in Tokyo.

“It is indeed” he nodded “Many things for many people”

Pursing her lips, she scrutinised the slender copper-skinned humanoid in front of her. He didn’t look to be an undercover cop, but then, what would she know, in this unfamiliar corner of the galaxy?

“I have information for sale,” she said slowly “but it’s worth more than just that terminal”

The man smiled “Why don’t you let me be the judge of that?”

“Alright” Cass fished a memory stick out of a pocket and held it up in front of him “Eliro schematics. A salvagers dream. There’s detailed scans on here showing reactor locations, heavy element deposits; you name it - it’s all there”

How the cops had missed the scans she had recorded when they impounded her vaccsuit, Cass would never know, but she certainly wasn’t complaining,

The trader nodded “If that’s legit, that would be worth something to the right people”

“It could be worth millions. This is the only copy” This was bollocks, but there was no way to disprove it.

“And what would you want in exchange for such a prize?”

Now that was a question. Cass took a deep breath “Nanites?”

“Fuck no” the trader laughed “Those things are illegal almost everywhere”

“Wait - What?” That was a surprise.

“You humans are sure are funny. I don’t deal in weapons of mass destruction.

“That said, if what you’ve got is legit, I’ll offer that terminal you wanted, and an unregistered weapon. No more”

“Well, that’s a start” Cass was more than a little concerned that some of the knowledge she held had just been rendered a capital offence “Let’s discuss this...”

<ooc>Continues next...</ooc>

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