Deep Space One

Another Day
...Another Star System:

Mariner…

…where rumors say peace has broken out.

Not content to simply buy as much of the rejuvenation drugs as she could, Maeve O’Reilly set out to corner the rejuv supply.

“Alright boys,” she told the bridge crew, “lets give it a lash on this rejuv market.” She wanted the drug’s supply chain to promise to sell her more rejuvenation products than local production could supply. “And since Cyteen is the only place that it’s produced, that means the O’Reillys will have the market cornered.”

No easy task, which was why Maeve wanted to try it.

She expected a new market to be opening up for rejuv: Earth, perhaps the most lucrative market ever.

Two things had long prevented rejuvenation drugs from being sold on Earth: The Hinder Stars, a string abandoned star systems that strung between the Mother Planet and Pell; and the War, a conflict between the Earth Fleet based at Pell and the Union Fleet based at Cyteen.

Maeve knew something the markets didn’t. One of those things was about to go away. The war was almost done.

“In fact,” she thought to herself, “it’s probably already over.”

For Maeve had been invited by Captain Patrick O’Reilly to take part in negotiations with the supreme commander of Union’s Fleet, Ariane Emory. As the mover and shaker behind Union’s Council of Nine, Emory was one of the main reasons why the war was even fought. She sought Union’s dominance in the Beyond.

With Captain Patrick helping her, she was able to ignore the risk of complications from the market-maker who was aware of her efforts to corner the market. The side effects of those transaction distract from the grain and chemical markets.

“Precursor chemicals that are crucial to making rejuv.” Selling those would also also give her the resources – monetary, anyway – to buy rejuv. “Alright boys, lets give it a lash on this rejuv market.”

Dandin O’Reilly was hacking the markets with his Communications Array.

“With some success.” Not a lot, but his attempt to spread rumors on the local ’net did help some with Maeves effort to corner the rejuv. “Mainly with the power of the Communications Array. Nobody expects those dishes on the outside of Dublin to be active during dock.”

Except Maeve, who was watching the rumor mills assiduously.

“On the tear Dandin, sound move,” the chief cargo officer told him. “After this, lets have a few gargles. Alex and Kieran say its jammers down there.”

Dandin was already setting up a deal for an early departure. He told the data hub they would be collecting mail for Mariner.

Kieran O’Reilly decided that his usual dive bar just wasn’t going to cut it.

“It’s a fancy place for me this leave,” he told Alex, the commanding officer on their watch. Which was actually not really a watch, since they were both Unposted crew. “We’re Command Track so we should be looking for an upscale bar with stationers looking for a good time with some real spacers.”

As they waited in the crowded space where everyone who had station leave was piled up, Alex eyed him warily.

Kieran knew what that meant: His CO would be tagging along on the expensive strip of bars and sleepovers he was headed for.

Alex was OK. A good time, even. Just as bored as Kieran was with being Unposted, so he was willing to take chances when partying. Chances like hanging out with Kieran, the wild man of the Command Track.

The reason? They were bored with their roles as the two oldest crew among the ranks of the Unposted.

“What we get for going for Command Track,” Alex told him, quoting his mother once again. “Only one gets to be The Old Man.” As cool and powerful as Captain sounded, there were only 16 posted slots on the Command Track. As opposed to over 250 in Cargo.

“All the more reason to do a little bragging,” he told Alex, after he had a couple of stiff drinks in him. Soon he was telling the whole room their captain had been invited to talk to Ariane Emory herself.

Alex O’Reilly was glad he followed Kieran to the expensive restaurant he had chosen.

“Jeez, the captain is here.”

Kieran was bragging a lot.

“Unfortunately, he’s bragging about Dublin business.” Alex’s executive officer was not known for discretion when he was drinking. “That’s why I followed him, after all.”

Glad that Kieran slept through the meeting with Ariane Emory, he tried to steer the bragging to Kieran’s fighting abilities and sexual prowess.

“Hey, remember than time on Mariner, when you….” he began.

The next thing he remembered was waking up in a sleepover with two burly cargo handlers.

“And a hangover.”

Wait a minute. He did remember something else from the fancy bar. Maeve had been there. Working on her PADD.

“Musta been there to take advantage of the captain’s fancy dinner party.” To manipulate the market through the other captains Captain Patrick had invited.

And their communications officer had been there as well. Probably hacking the local computers. Alex knew Dandin liked to help out when Maeve was trying to do some market manipulation.

“Looked like Maeve was having better success than her erstwhile help.”

Captain Patrick O’Reilly was trying to ignore the hubbub the Unposteds were creating over by the bar. At his very private table he was hosting several of the most important captains currently in port. He felt this was important work, hosting dinner parties to improve the reputation of Dublin Again.

“And it’s working.” He could see several of the most influential captains were here. Neihart from Finity’s End. Chin from Little Bear.

And they didn’t know that Dublin would soon be headed over the line. Where he hoped to pick up even more influence.

“In the Merchanter’s Alliance.” Which might prove to become the third great power in the Beyond. “After the Earth Fleet and Union.”

He heard Dandin talkintg about suppressing a complication that had arisen.

“I hope that has something to do with the ruckus at the bar.” He saw Kieran was arm-wresting a stevedore at a table in the darker section of the cocktail lounge. “Glad the other captains can’t see his shamrock.”

Turned out that Dandin was helping Maeve spread rumors at the dinner party.

“Something about the rejuv market.”

Which Maeve seemed to be happy with.

“A grand auld stretch,” she called Dandin’s effort.

Maeve herself was tied into her market computers back on the ship, using her PADD. She had all the money she needed now, having sold the chemicals and grain.

The captain was wishing she had spent a little more effort manipulating the grain markets before she jumped into rejuv.

“The grain market on Cyteen is notoriously tricky,” he told another captain. “The planet produces some of the grain they need. My cargo chief thought bringing in feed grains for the livestock they are trying to get started as part of their terraforming effort.”

From the smile on Maeve’s face, he was guessing she had been right. Again.

“Here let me introduce her to you.”

Walking over to Maeve, he introduced Captain Reinhart. Who was was definitely impressed.

“So, I finally get to meet the famous Maeve O’Reilly,” Reinhart said. “I heard you were selling grain.”

“Selling rejuv, right now,” Maeve told him. “Got a tip the war is heating up, so my rejuv may soon be worthless.”

Patrick could see others were listening in. Some even pulled out their PADDs.

“Thinking they’re talking to their own cargo officers.” Not that there was any truth to Maeve’s rumors.

“All hands in the club,” Maeve told Dandin. “It’s a deadly buzz down here.”

He saw Dandin wander out of the restaurant.

“Probably didn’t like their version of apple pie.”

“Came from a plastic bag labeled ‘Fruit Pie’,” somebody observed.

“Dandin can be picky about his apples.”

Then he heard Hamish over the comm, “Maeve, what’s the story? Rejuv apples? Ya out of yer head?”

“I’d prefer that than getting a shot in the ass,” came the retort from Dandin. As always, the comms officer was monitoring communications.

“Are you having notions?” Maeve shot back. “I need everyone who’s able to buy Rejuv stock.

“We may not be back here for decades….” Dandin mused. “Ya know, Rejuv stock might not be a bad idea. Just think of the value after reinvesting the dividends for a quarter century!”

Captain Patrick decided he was going to have to explain to his communications officer how station taxes were designed to make sure absentee-owner spacers couldn’t take advantage of compound interest.

“A lot of Merchanters tried to take advantage of that in the early years.” Couldn’t ever be sure, however, if the stock exchange you invested in would still be around the next time you came through. “Especially when the owners of the stock exchange could be light-years away on your money.”

Jaeger was apparently out trying to buy rejuv from a corner pharmacy. He reported that the pharmacist told him the drugs were in short supply.

“Maybe someone’s trying to corner the market.”

“Do not take rejuv if you are allergic to rejuv,” Hamish advised.

Maeve told him it was harder than he thought for 145-year-old men to impress people with their dance moves. She also said Dandin was helping her with the markets

“Hamish, you want to get on this Market Computer for me?” he heard her ask. “I’m out of my head with these screens.”

“Sure, Maybe,” the chief engineer replied over the comm. “Happy to help, like. If it’s just numbers, I’d imagine I’m good for it.”

Next thing he knew Maeve told him Hamish was providing her an advantage in the markets. He still wondered if she understood how much of the available drugs she was buying.

Hamish may have created some complications as well, but as a parental figure he was able to paper over it.

“As long as we’re all working together as a big, happy family,” he told Maeve, “we should be fine.” Just don’t expect me to do it again or these other captains will get suspicious.

He saw the text come in from Hamish: “Well, here’s some numbers crunched, Maeve. Easier than my yoke of a project. I’m in state up here.”

After helping Maeve with the other captains, he sent a message to Hamish about his project.

“Something about making jumps a little easier on the body, as I recall.”

His chief engineer reported an actual breakthrough on the project.

“Not what I was hoping for,” Hamish reported. “Everything I do to reduce the strain of jump sickness comes with greater risk of jump failure.”

“Failure?” he texted back. “As in being stuck forever in hyperspace?”

“As in being stuck forever in jumpspace,” the engineer confirmed.

Dandin reported the local apple market was trickier than he expected.

“For a space station orbit a planet, anyways.”

“Even a planet being terraformed?” he asked.

“Even a planet being terraformed,” the communications officer confirmed.

Patrick was glad he was helping Maeve use her sharp tong at the dinner party.

“Didn’t take long for the two of us to convince the other captains to order their cargo officers to stop trading in the ‘volatile’ rejuv markets,” he told Maeve.

She admitted she hadn’t cornered the market.

“But we do have all the drugs for rejuvenation therapy that are available.”

“So nobody was willing to sell you drugs they don’t have,” he consoled her, “and couldn’t find.”

Dandin was already collecting data cargo commission jobs when they returned to the ship the next morning.

Hamish O’Reilly was ready to help the helmsman push it past the red line for the jump itself.

“Unfortunately, I tried to push it a little too far.”

He had to settle for the usual help he gave Jaeger in feathering the vanes for the pulse drive.

“That worked way better.” Because it was less daring. “At least we had no complications.” Complications were bad when you tried to push the safety tolerances.

Captain Patrick even lent a hand with the feathering adjustments. And Hamish felt his neck flush with embarrassment.

“Probably noticed my gimmicking the operating margins.”

Jaeger O’Reilly heard the comm officer talking to Medical: “Prepare for Jump. Please make sure that protein packs are supplied,….”
and a double for Hamish, if you please."

Glad he didn’t have to listen to their response, the helmsman knew the youngers responsible for restocking the jump tranqs and snacks were very diligent about their duties. Nobody knew the importance of jump stocks better than those training for Medical.

“They’re the ones who clean up when someone gets sick.”

“No complications lining up jump,” he reported. The helmsman knew the jump to Mariner was tricky. “But we’re a big ship, capable of deep dives into jumpspace.” And Jaeger knew they were running light. His calculations took into account the exact weight of the ship. “And drugs are expensive but light.”

Maeve had spent all their money on rejuvenation drugs. Which should bring a good price on the other side of the line.

“Oh Stop the Lights,” the cargo officer was talking back to Dandin. “Its just another spacejump.”

“Bring me a shot of whisky instead,” Hamish was playing along, even if the joke was on him. “It’ll see me right.”

Jaeger had Mariner lined up in his sights.

“I think he was slagging you, Hamish,” Maeve’s laughter rang out. “He’s a real gasman.”

“I’m just scarlet for last jump.” Hamish was always willing to go along with the joke.

“Hey now!” came the comm officer’s reply. “I only get gassy when I haven’t had my daily apple.”

“You should be scarlet for the shipyard for making the ship.”

“I’m scarlet for you, Maeve. You wrecked old bag.”

At least Jaeger was getting help from the captain. The cargo officer was usually no help in jump prep, but she was distracting his chief engineer.

“Who are you calling wrecked?” Maeve shot back. “You shoulda seen Alex and Kieran last night, they could do with a great bit of drying out.”

Jaeger keyed in the final coordinates for the jump to Mariner.

“I’m getting a lot of proverbial fist-shaking from the system.” Dandin was apparently monitoring the in-system communications from Cyteen. “I think they all finally figured out what we just did.”

“The head on them” came from Engineering. “Feckin’ eejits.”

“Let em shake themselves silly. I’m just ragin’ that we couldn’t have cornered the market before buying out the planet.” Maybe Maeve was mad. “Eejits they were, but kin they be. If the captain don’t eat their head off, I will.”

Jaeger didn’t think the captain’s diplomacy would be helped any if the other captains could hear these three bragging. He hoped Hamish would be more use at Mariner.

“And on the other side of the line.”

“You know, I’m thinking we should only sell a bit of this cargo at Pell.” He knew Dandin was speculating far outside his areas of expertise. “I bet the real demand will be in Sol.”

“The feckin’ apples?” He could tell Hamish was confused. “On Sol?”

“Right, I bet the apple market us up to 90 on Sol.” Maeve was playing along.

“Everybody’s ragin’ for apples on Sol. Deadly popular, those apples.”

Jaeger was hoping the captain would take this as a joke. The war was over, but the Hinder Stars had been shut down for centuries.

“Decades by my own internal clock.” The helmsman could remember visiting them, before Earth had stopped funding its fleet. Before the Earth Company fleet had turned pirate. “Just privateers, back then.” Of course, they still called themselves privateers. “Even still call themselves Earth Company.” Up until recently they called themselves the defenders of Pell.

They called the tribute they took from Pell “taxes,” too.

“Nah, but I hear Sol is where they originally came from,” Dandin admitted. “What I wouldn’t give to try one straight from the homeworld.” Dandin’s apples came from the orchards of Cyteen. Which was part of the terraforming project there.

“Speaking of, you better cop to an apple, Dandin,” the chief engineer said over the comm. “Give me a shot of that.”

“There’s a whole ton of them in the larder,” the comms chief shot back. “You want one? Talk to the cook!”

He announced they were going into jump.

“Everybody take your tranqs.”

His own drugs were starting to take effect, so he slammed them into jumpspace.

“Has Mariner always had that batty of a sun?” Maeve wanted to know.

Of course, it had. For a very long time. Jaeger knew K-class stars had been around almost as long as the class Ms.

“Which are as old as the Milky Way.” Our galaxy. The helmsman also knew others didn’t know as much about astronomy as he did. “Maeve didn’t have to be able to identify a class-K from jumpspace and pull us out near enough to survive.” But not too close. Burning up was not a good way to go.

That was why he always tried to bring them out of hyperspace well away from the star he was aiming for. In Mariner’s case it was a bright orange class K. Easy to look at, so Maeve could see all its roiling energies.

G-class stars like Cyteen’s actually poured out more energy and seethed with stronger storms. Which made them harder to look at. And Maeve couldn’t tell how “batty” they were.

Hamish was jumpsick again, along with Jaeger himself. Which was a shame, he like to count on Hamish for help with system entry when he was feeling the stress of jump. The chief engineer was the one who understood pulse drives better than anyone.

He felt Hamish feathering the vanes and performed the first braking pulse.

The captain was watching the security boards, and Dandin was listening to the news.

“The secret’s out,” the comms officer announced. “Rumor’s all over Mariner. Peace has been declared, and Union is no longer at war with Pell.”

All that from the jump-range buoy, Jaeger was thinking. I guess Emory wasn’t lying.

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A Powerful Person
...With Important Information...

…Has a Request for Dublin Again

Jaeger O’Reilly was mildly annoyed when he heard Maeve babbling over the com as they were about to come out of jumpspace.

“I’m fecking gargled on trancs.”

“Yeah, and I’ll bet you were gargled when you bought those feed grains on Fargone, too.” Cyteen produced grain as well. "Just not enough for their consumption.

He knew he shouldn’t be thinking about the risky trades their Chief Cargo Officer was so fond of. He had to get them out of Jump.

Concentrating his swimming vision on the computer screen – currently set up as Helm – Jaeger saw the familiar signature of Cyteen star coming up fast. Lining up on the stellar signature, he slammed them out of hyperspace.

As the real world coalesced around them, his real stomach lurched.

“No food or liquids for three days in jumpspace does bad things to a body,” he noted. “Better get some electrolytes into the system.”

His exit from Jump had been smooth enough that few members of the crew would be sick. Still, he was glad his cast-iron stomach took it so smoothly. He reached for the squeeze bottle of juice next to his console.

Over the comm he heard someone retching in Engineering.

“Probably Hamish again. I wish he’d use more Scope before Jump.”

The captain also had some trouble with jump sickness, Jaeger heard him munching on an energy bar. As usual, the rest of the bridge crew provided some much needed support to that chair.

“That was a grand kip!” Maeve’s voice rang out. As usual he had a hard time telling how serious she was. “Fair play on the helm there, Jaeger.” He decided to play along.

“Thanks Maeve. But it’s nothing for a helmsman as gifted as I.”

The comm in his left ear – tuned as usual to the below-decks chatter from the Division Chief – seemed to indicate Hamish was going to need some medical attention. Captain Patrick was fairing better.

He did pulsed the drive vanes once and brought the ship’s velocity down to about two-thirds light.

“Even without Hamish’s magic.”

By then, however, Hamish had his stomach under control. And was feather the jump vanes for maximum efficiency as a Pulse Drive.

“Invented it, after all.”

“Stop the lights,” Maeve was still editorializing on his Helm duties. “The Caoilte drive has always given us a smooth landing.”

She and Hamish were always pushing to name the Pulse Drive after some obscure Irish privateer. Jaeger didn’t think it would ever catch on.

“Pirates aren’t too popular these days.” What with the war and all.

Maeve, of course, thought of herself as a different kind of pirate.

“And Hamish doesn’t hesitate to encourage her.”

Maer Lynn O’Reilly figured they oughta head over to Engineering. Much as they would prefer to do some reading on side projects.

“Sounds like Hamish could use some medical attention.”

“Ship ID broadcast,” came over the comm.

“Mr. Drake, scan for possible threats.” From the captain.

“Automated ID sent,” Dandin reported.

“Ship’s speed at normal inner-system cruising level.” That was Jaeger.

When they got to Engineering, their first worked wonders on Hamish’s stomach.

“Less sure about his head.”

“En route to Cyteen Station,” Jaeger announced over comm.

As they returned to the Science section, sounds of crew getting out of the bunks they spent Jump in could be heard. Showers were turning on and off. Dublin Again was getting ready for a wild shore leave in port.

So was Maer Lyn.

They didn’t get the chance. Captain Patrick ordered some of the bridge crew and all of the Division Chiefs to go with him down to the surface of Cyteen.

“The surface?” they asked the captain. Maeve was busy with her trading computers making deals to sell the exotic metals before news got out about how much they were bringing to the station.

When she wasn’t listening to whispers from Hamish and giggling.

The captain explained the reason for their meeting on the surface. “I expect they are trying to get us discombobulated.”

“Spacers are notoriously put out by their first view of an horizon,” they admitted.

And, indeed, when they got their feet on the “ground,” they all found it hard to deal with a horizon that disappeared down, instead of curving upward.

“Like a ship or a station.” The way it ought.

“The planetary authorities are known as the Council of Nine,” the captain explained. “They’ve requested a meeting with us.”

The Captain Patrick turned to Maer Lynn and Hamish.

“That’s why I asked the two of you to come along. Cyteen’s government and its power are based on their scientific and technical superiority. They have the most advance science – especially psychology and tape training – in the area known to humans.”

“Even better than Earth itself,” they pointed out.

“Their government,” the captain continued, “reflects this. Scientists run the show. We’ll probably be meeting with scientists today, even if they introduce themselves as government officials.”

Captain Patrick O’Reilly announced their arrival in the system in his usual stentorian tones. His voice echoing through the ship, he told everyone to be on their best behavior.

“My Executive Officer will be in charge.” As usual. He didn’t need to say that.

She had put in a special request when he told her he was not taking Drake or Jaeger down with him. She had a pair of unposted crew from the Command Track who were chafing under the delay they had experienced getting posted to sitting crew.

“They know the reasons,” she told him. “They just get tired of working the simulations and shadow bridge. I think you should take them along. I’ve instructed the to keep quiet and observe how diplomacy works.”

He agreed to take them. And she agreed to keep an eye on Drake.

Before they left the ship to board a Union shuttle down to the planet, he heard Hamish over the comm.

“What’s the craic, Maeve? Anything arseways up there?”

Of course, the Chief Cargo officer was deep in her Trading Programs. Patrick saw she was studying the grain markets, which could be tricky on planets that produced a lot of grain themselves, even if they relied on feed grain imports for their meat production.

His helmsman set them down on the dock at Cyteen Station as smoothly as he had expected.

“Docked at Cyteen Station, you may disembark,” Dandin announced when he gave the Comm Officer the high sign.

Maeve asked Hamish how he felt about metal.

“In general like?”

“Or in specific.”

“I prefer hard rock,” Dandin interjected.

“I did ma Academy thesis on the resonant qualities of crystaline alloyed meshes. So, I’m rather keen on it.”

He announced the names of of the people going down to the surface, which included the two chatterboxes.

“Exotic metals, you think you could…” Maeve started before interrupting herself. “Nevermind, looks like you might be coming with us.”

“Right, time to crack on.” Hamish sounded a little disappointed.

Well, everyone would be disappointed to miss the shore leave on Cyteen Station.

Jaeger was looking over Maeve’s shoulder as she tried to sell some exotic metals.

“Jing Maeve, that’s pure dead brilliant!”

Patrick thought that sounded like they made a good profit on their exotic metals.

“The deal I have set up for us is up to 90,” the Cargo Officer announced

In fact, she was still working the programs on her PADD as they assembled in the conference room.

The preliminary discussions were handled by two members of the council, who seemed to be smirking at them. The Ariane Emory strode into the room. The other council members sprang to their feet.

“And stopped smirking,” he noted to himself.

He knew Ariane Emory was the real power on the council. And he had hardly expected her to be here. Emory seldom met with ship crews.

“Even those from ships as important as Dublin.” It was looking like one of their unposted crew was a little wobbly on his feet. “Probably the first time he’s ever been on a planet.”

He was proud, however, how they all kept their composure when the most powerful human this side of Earth itself walked into the room.

Security_Screen_-_entry_Cyteen.png

Drake O’Reilly had his Security Computers set up to show his the potential danger of every ship in the Cyteen System.

“At least the ones the buoy reported to our computers.” The Chief Security Officer didn’t trust anyone. “Least of all, an automated buoy.”

When they entered the system from jumpspace, the biggest icon on his board was a Union military vessel which the buoy showed as just arriving from Russell’s Star – “Or Mariner,” he had noted since they both used the same jump range. Not only was it big and dangerous, it was traveling as fast as they were.

“Near light speed.”

If it hadn’t bring it’s speed down soon, it could be in their vicinity before he would even see it on scan.

“Not that I expected them to do that.” The military craft was cutting its speed almost as fast as Jaeger was cutting theirs. He knew a high velocity made attacks possible that neither ship was likely to have any good reason to actually execute.

As soon as he had a scanner reading from the other vessels, his security screen reflected that.

Also for the other high-speed ships showing from the other jump ranges. By the time Dublin Again got to Cyteen, those ships also showed how much they had slowed.

Security_Screen_-_docking_at_Cyteen.png

Dandin O’Reilly knew he could sense the emotions of most people.

“I might even be able to communicate non-verbally with an expert psychologist like this.” He could do so with other empaths – as well as crewmates with whom he was extremely familiar, which included most of the bridge crew in the room.

He sensed Maer Lynn trying to promise to stop complicating the conversation.

“Right before they nodded off.”

Ariane Emory’s fame and fortune didn’t worry him much. Still, he wondered one thing.

“How sure is she about her claim of ending the war?”

He was certainly sensing no doubt from Maeve.

“She’s already planning how to exploit the markets at Downbelow Station, the space station orbiting Downbelow.” A fertile planet, also known as Pell. Of course, Downbelow Station was known as Deep Space One.

“On Earth. Out here no one calls it that.” Dandin knew it as the closest station to the Hinder Stars. And Earth.

“I have sent diplomats to accept the treaty the Alliance has offered,” Emory told them. He was sensing no doubt in her words. “They have offered to allow Union traders free access to their markets.”

He was wondering what Union would get out of telling them this.

“Certainly hasn’t been broadcast widely to the Merchant traders,” he mused.

“This Merchanter Alliance on the other side of the line is shaping up to be a major player in the Beyond,” Emory told them. “Union has a strong interest in getting good, honest Union Merchanters into the group. They are offering membership to any Merchant who visits them at Pell.”

Captain Patrick was asking her the question they were all wondering about.

“What exactly do we get out of this Alliance?” Dandin could see why Emory wanted it. The captain was demanding answers.

Maeve wanted money to act as Union’s agent. Or spy.

Dandin figured it was in Union’s best interest to get people they knew – like the O’Reillys – into this new power structure. He could tell she was under no illusions that Dublin was as loyal as a military vessel manned by her programmed clones.

“But she’s sure we’re more loyal than a Pell-based Merchanter who’s been fighting her for a dozen years.” Emory could not be naive enough to believe a treaty would change that.

Hamish O’Reilly could see the negotiations were a little out of hand.

“Our captain seems a bit upset at this lady’s brusque demeanor,” he thought to himself. Speaking calmly, he cut through Emory’s domination of the conversation.

That gave Captain Patrick an advantage: the chance to issue a daring gambit for a bit more respect. Which the captain did.

Emory glanced at Hamish and smiled. Friendly. The captain had turned her friendly, even if she maintained her brusque demeanor

“Hmm. Complication.” She was smiling at Hamish himself. Almost as if she appreciated his tactics.

Maeve O’Reilly saw Emory looking at Hamish with a newfound respect.

“The manipulator respects his skill,” she told herself as Emory wrote something on a piece of paper. “As a fellow manipulator.”

Hamish was mumbling.

All Maeve understood was “…politic. Gobshite.”

When Emory refused her suggestion they could be bribed, the Chief Cargo Officer suggested espionage. And Emory smiled. Again.

Emory asked the others to leave, inviting Maeve and Hamish to stay behind. Hamish glanced at Maeve out of the corner of his eye.

Emory folded a piece of paper and handed it to Hamish.

Maeve was able to see a name on the paper before she folded it. “Josh Talley.” And a codephrase.

“Does the Union have agents in the Alliance?” Maeve wanted to use the advantage provided by Hamish’s calming gambit. And she saw that Emory like to dominate – and control – the conversation.

“It’s well known that I have the ability to train agents for that kind of role.” Agents who might not even know they were agents, if rumors were true. “I do have superior tape-training capabilities for my clones.” With the ability to be perfect moles, according to what Maeve had heard.

“Yes, and you did just come through a war with the Alliance.”

“Which is why I desire to have people I can trust on the inside of the Alliance,” Emory told them as she ushered her and Hamish out to the shuttle where the captain and the others.

Captain Patrick seemed to have a strong interest in keeping control of the situation.

“He would have more control if he delegated more.”

Dandin was equally dedicated. To the Security situation, by what Maeve could tell.

Alex O’Reilly had held his tongue all the way through the meeting, His curiosity got the better of him when they were no longer under the watchful eyes of Union authorities.

“I don’t get it,” he told the captain. “We gave her everything she wanted. What did we get in return?”

The others nodded in seeming agreement.

Maeve smiled.

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Welcome to Deep Space One
Also known as Pell Station

It has many names.

Pell.png

  • To its inhabitants, it is Downbelow Station
  • To Earth, it is Deep Space One
  • To the Merchanters who keep it alive, it is simply Pell
  • To the Earth Company privateers who prey on it, it is Pell Station
  • To the inhabitants of the planet it circles, it is Upabove

Norway.png

  • To the renegade pirates of Norway, it is home base
  • To us, it is the start of adventure

Star_Map.png

The first thing we’ll do is create characters .

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