<< This is my reworking of the Action post including the inclusion of 'Frank Harris "On Petrol"' and 'Cmr Niples "Calm stroll".' >>
Harris watched as the families, crewmembers and techs moving about the promenade, even spotting the odd scutter dotting their way through the jungle of legs.
Who's crazy idea was it to allow families onto a mining ship and all those bloody restaurants, where the hell were they going to get new stock from when they run out and no one was going to make any money. One coin spent at a restaurant could easily end up back in the pocket of the spender by the end of the week.
Harris' gaze fell upon the MacDonalds, how he hated that giant yellow M and the restaurant that came with it. They got bloody everywhere. Even in jail he wasn't safe from MacDonalds as they supplied the jail's canteen with burgers every Thursday. He could imagine where they would get their new stock from, well at least it will keep the rat population down.
It was only the second day aboard the Blue Dwarf but he had already busted a tech that had tried to steal a chocolate bar from one of the vending machines with that coin-on-a-string trick. He'd of got away with it expect he was too business trying shut out the vending machine to do a runner and he had failed to notice him while threaten to pour chicken soup down the machine's speaker.
Not only that but someone had also tried to steel Jill, or rather the watch she came with, he was easy to catch, as Jill never stopped shouting. "Help, help! I'm being nicked by a thief!" Thank god they were in the lower levels where no one could hear that draft computer. In the end he finally gave himself up to security, Jill was driving him right round the bend. There where almost times Harris felt like shooting himself then having to deal with her.
His gaze fell upon a man dressed in black leather jeans and jacket, trouble, he throught. He watched him for about another two minutes until it happened, he bumped in an old lady or rather the old lady bumped into him. She swung out with her handbag and knocked the unsuspecting man off his feet, she grabbed the wallet from his jeans, hitched up her skirt and took off, surprising Harris with her bust of speed he didn't believe her to be capable of.
He pulled the gun from his belt, which he wasn't meant to have, fired one round into the air and shouted. "Stop right there, granny!"
Almost everyone dropped to the floor with their hands over their heads, the old lady stopped in her tracks and slowly turned to see Harris aiming the gun at her. She dropped the wallet and stuck her hands up in the air.
Harris started to approach the old aged pickpocketer but then she took off and he mutter to himself. "Shit!"
As Commander Niples didn't have anything to do before the ship set off from the starbase he decided to go for a walk down the promenade. He stood on a balcony above the main walkway and watched the people walk by, minding their own business, eating, shopping, pickpocketing....
He looked up quickley as he heard a gunshot and then a voice shouting loudly. Everyone ducked to the floor and he saw who it was. Major Harris was giving chase to an OAP (old-age-pickpocketer)
Calmly, Niples reached for his notepad and scribbled a short report, underlining Harris' name twice.
The Mining ship Blue Dwarf was still attached to the gigantic Jupiter station, silhouetted against the glowing planet. All of the crew had now come aboard the ship from the station, the stations technicians were making the finishing touches to the rickety ship.
Sydeny Van Threck, the Blue Dwarfs new chief doctor had found the medlab and was busy sorting out the medical records. The medlab was full of technicians, the doctor had had to kick three men and two scutters out of the way just to get to her office.
Harris looked at dismay at the pile of paperwork that sat on his desk. He had forgotten how much paperwork there was for the chief of security to fill in just for one case of minor theft, let alone three counts of it and one protestor, who had been protesting against protesting, must be on something, Harris throught chewing on his gum.
Harris looked up as the door rang and he shouted. "What?!"
The door slide open and Nipels entering the office not looking too pleased.
"Let me guess what this is about." Harris started. "This is about the distasteful use of a firearm on the Promenade."
Nipels crossed his arms across his chest and started. "You know the regs about the use of firearms."
"And the Captain knows about the regs about animals aboard spaceships but his still has that rat of his." Harris replied.
"That is no excuse for the use for what you did!" Nipels snapped. "Someone could have gotten hurt!"
Harris pulled open a draw in his desk, pulled out the gun and it to Nipel, resisting the urge to fire the weapon at the Commander.
"Blanks." Harris commented. "I haven't carried a weapon with live ammo for over four years!"
Nipels removed the ammo clip to check what Harris had told him was true and when he was happy he slotted the clip back into the gun, then handed it back to Harris.
Harris told the gun and put it away in the draw.
"Anything else, Command." Harris demanded to know.
"There is going to be meeting of the senior staff at 1200 hours." Nipels told Harris. "Be there."
Harris watched as the Commander left, great, he throught, having to sit through a senior staff meeting. Maybe going to jail wasn't such a bad choice as he first throught.
Final preparations were being made to set sail. The communications officer finished her chat with the station and the navigation officer cleared all docking struts and slowly piloted the large ship away from the station. The Blue Dwarfs mission had commenced.
All of the senior staff was assembled in the conference room, all except for Major Harris who was late. He walked and snarled an excuse.
Commander Seymore Niples stood, and addressed all officers sat at the table. Captain Cannon was looking mildly uninterested as he tucked into a ham-sandwich.
"Thank you all for coming" announced Niples. "Harris spit out that gum!"
Harris aimed and spat out the gum he had been chewing, it went flying through the air and finally landed in a potted plant that was located in the corner of the room.
The Commander then pointed to a computer display behind him.
"As you know, the Mining ship Red Dwarf disappeared three months ago. It is our mission to find her and bring her back to Earth space. The ships last known heading took it into uncharted space, space that may be dangerous "
"Oh great!" interrupted Doctor Van Threck
"May be dangerous!" said Harris alarmed. Now he knew why he was assigned to this ship, nothing to do with second chances or the Captain may of really pissed someone off, but it was the fact that the ship may not come back at all and throught to himself. 'Should have gone to jail!'
"Oh bugger!" said Captain Cannon as he spilled some mustard on the table, he wiped it with his hand and quickly licked it. The doctor gave him one of those that cant be healthy looks.
Commander Niples sighed. The Captain was busy with that damn sandwich, Harris and Van Threck were chatting to each other and he swore he heard the word mutiny. The only person in the room who seemed to be paying attention was the scientist Mahok Yolandon who was probably also calculating the engine intake, momentum of a class- twelve quasar and re-writing Macbeth in his head. He was probably clever enough.
"As we are going into uncharted territory, the Jupiter Mining corporation wants us to investigate any planets we encounter along the way to see if they are worth mining."
"Greedy bastards." Harris commented. "Always looking to make a quick buck."
Commander Niples touched a button on the display screen behind him and a map of space filled the screen. (It was just a black screen with a few small dots.)
He pressed another button, which showed a more close-up view.
"The nearest planet is 24 hours away." he said, indicating the position on the screen. "We will send an away-team down to the surface when we get in range, the team will scan the area and return as quickly as possible."
"Who will the team consist of?" asked the scientist Mahok Yolandon.
At which point the captain immediately spoke up "Im going to lead the mission." He said.
"Oh bloody hell!" Harris commented.
The Commander protested "but sir, what if its dangerous?"
Captain Cannon ignored him and started picking everyone to be on the team.
Seymore protested again, "With all due respect sir, it is inappropriate for the captain to go into any situation which may be dangerous."
"Space-core directive 677 paragraph two" finished the captain. "I do know my directives you know." He said bitterly, Seymore blushed slightly.
As the captain spoke, Seymore thought he could hear a small squeak emanate from his pocket, he decided it would perhaps be better if he ignored it. This was turning out to be worse than he had expected, he had hoped that Captain Will Cannon had matured a lot since they had last met- if anything, he was worse. He had already directly ignored two Mining core rules and was already planning another- and they had only been out of spacedock for half an hour.
What was next? Declaring war on a new race? A small insurrection against the entire Earth-force how was Niples supposed to cope with this? He had ran his life by rules and regulations for so long and now these rules were being shattered (and ground into fine powder) by an insubordinate Captain Cannon.
Niples held his head and groaned, then walked straight out of the room.
"Where are you going?" The confused staff shouted after him
He turned around and replied, "To the Pub!"
Security officers Ensign Ned Meat and Ensign Robert Donover stood waiting, there had been called there roughly a hour ago and Major Harris had yet to show up.
Donover checked his watched and commented. "Five more minutes and then we go."
"Go where?" Came from behind them.
The pair spun round to see the Major standing in the open doorway.
"Nowhere sir." Meat quickly answered.
"You wanted to see us, Sir?" Donover asked.
"There's going to be a planet survey in less then 24 hours and that deranged Captain Cannon is leading it himself." Harris told the pair as made his way behind his desk and finally settled into his chair. "You are going along to make sure nothing happens to the Captain!"
"Why us sir?" Meat asked.
"I've looked over your records." Harris told the pair. "When anything nasty happens, it usually happens to you two."
"We're going to act cannon fodder for the Captain." Donover said. "Aren't we sir."
Harris leaned back in his chair and simply answered. "Yep."