(2530-05-29) Trouble on the Docks
Summary: The Seraphim returns to a … cold welcome on Persephone.
RL Date: 29 May 2020
Related: None
abigail feng valentin 

Docks - Cargo, Eavesdown

Home sweet home. For some, at least. The mission was a success, the new crew-members mostly shook out okay. Certainly, they didn't crash, and although there were some hiccups when installing the massive new thruster, Feng handled the electronics fine and helped the local crew fix the problems. And Abigail didn't die, or mess anything up. It's about the best that could be hoped for!
They approached Persephone in the evening, local time. And that's about when things started to not be quite so shiny. Once again, they are told that the company docks are full, and they need to land at the public ones. That's issue number one. Issue number two is that it's /exceptionally/ busy on the docks right now. There's only one free berth, and they are given the location rather hurriedly.
Issue number three comes when they've actually landed. As the ramp lowers, a very harrassed-looking Persephone dock-worker comes running towards it. "No, no, no!" He's waving his hands around as he shouts. His grey hair, thinning, looks like he's been running his hands through it. "You can't leave your ship here!"

Valentin happens to be the one opening the cargo bay ramp, and he looks out at the crowd and the dock worker rushing at them. "And why in blazes can't we? It's the slip we were given." He immediately goes rather stern.

"Because!" The man waves a Cortex pad at Valentin. "We've got an Alliance spot-inspection! Nobody is supposed to be landing until it's done! You're just going to have to take your ship back up and go into orbit for a few hours until there's another free one!" He peers past Valentin, "And don't let anyone off it, either!"

Valentin's scowl deepens, and he grabs the mic for the inter-ship comm system. "Cap'n, but of a SNAFU down here, if you've got a minute." (That's simply broadcast to the whole ship.) Hanging that up again, he starts walking down the ramp toward the worker, ignoring the plea that nobody leave the ship. "Your inspector should have blocked the landing spot so it wouldn't be used by dispatch. And now we're here, through no fault of our own. You want us to take off again? Someone's buying us a tank of gas to say that happens. Who's in charge of this?"

The dock worker looks even more distressed as Valentin walks forward. "No, no, no!" He flaps his hands. "Back in. Right now. Right now! Local Alliance, they're very strict, you'll end up arrested. None of you need to come out. Back inside!" He checks his pad, then swallows, his expression most unhappy. "Don't need your captain out here, you just need to /leave/."

Valentin strides right up to the man, and gives him a good hard glare. "This sounds like a whole lot of not my problem," he answers coolly. "We were given this landing spot… we landed," he explains, matter-of-factly. "That not supposed to be what happens? It's on whatever ~pack of monkeys~ is too busy flinging shit at each other to not communicate properly. So as I said, this needs fixing? It's on someone else."

The man swallows, looking up at Valentin. His adam's apple bobs up and down in his skinny neck. "I-I'll… Look… if you just… take off, and accept the next docking position, then you'll avoid a whole lot of trouble…" He's faltering. "I - …" He lowers his voice. "I…I can pay you..?"

The ship has landed, and a flustered dock worker has approached the ramp as soon as it opened. Valentin has squared off against the man, and gives him a shake of the head. "Like I said, we're not the ones in trouble here. If our roles were reversed, you'd be saying the same thing. So… we need a solid 200 tons of fuel to launch back to orbit for this retry you're so keen on. Plus time in orbit, food supply for an additional day, water, and the wear and tear on my girl here, making her jump through hoops. Every launch costs us four grand and change. Round it up to five, since you didn't even ask nice. Authorize that, transfer it to URRS right now, and we can be on our merry."

<FS3> Feng rolls Alertness: Good Success. (2 2 6 9 8 6)
<FS3> Valentin rolls Alertness: Good Success. (7 2 4 10 6 7 10)

Feng hesitates for a moment at the top of the ramp, looking to Valentin and then the scowling, gruff worker. "Did something happen while we were gone? If we need to prove that we were elsewhere, I can arrange that quite quickly." His hand dives into his satchel and he produces his tablet. "Just tell me where to send our navigational logs."

The man goes even more pale and takes a step back from Valentin. "I don't have that sort of money," he says. He's starting to look very worried, now. His eyes dart around the area, and then come back to the Seraphim's XO. As Feng appears, he flaps his hands at him, too. "Look - it's life and death. I can try and get you the payment, just not… right now. /Please/. I need this berth free." Our two sharp-eyed crewmates may well notice that there are a couple of Big Men in dark clothes shoving their way through the crowd towards our little scene.

Valentin turns, hearing Feng contribute to the conversation, and flashes him a quick nod of acknowledgement, then brings his focus back on the dock worker. "We don't spend that kind of money on needless launches, either," he answers. His eyes flick over to the two Big Men, sizing them up, then back to the worker, eyes ablaze with ire. "Feng, best if we stay aboard for a bit, and let this play out," he says, backing off from the worker to step up onto the lip of the ramp again. A bit of pity breaks through the gruffness, and he adds, "whatever this is… we were given this spot to land, and we landed."

"Life or death?" Feng questions. "If it is truly that grave, why do you talk about money and not explain just what the emergency is?" Like Valentin, he glances beyond the worker and spots the two men lumbering toward the area like personifications of the very death that the worker mentioned. He glances to Valentin and nods. "Perhaps the others should know that we might have some trouble."

It should probably be noted that Abigail /is/ around. She's hanging out in the cargo bay, having a cigarette by one of the air vents. Much easier to do now that they're planet side. She's just far enough back to have not heard the commotion.
The docker gives Tin and Feng one last pleading look, but before he can answer anything further, the two guys are there. One puts a hand on his shoulder. "You said this berth would be free," he growls, in a voice so deep it seems to pass through the ground. "Our boss is in orbit, not at all happy." The dock worker looks like he's about to pee himself.

Valentin takes a couple of steps back, and calls over his shoulder, in a firm tone, "Feng, raise the ramp." He knows just what he's asking there, and he'll stay on the ramp for a minute as it move, to be sure none of these goons tries to rush it. Then he'll back himself farther onto the ship, even willing to take a tumble to get aboard without this mess following. "And announce nobody opens a hatch."

When the bruisers arrive and one claps a heavy hand on the dock worker's shoulder, Feng eyes them and then the dock worker. "I think that we can see whose life is in danger," he guesses. He steps back from the upper edge of the ramp and to one side. "Aye!" He answers while flipping the toggle that activates the hydraulics to raise the ramp. He glances to one side, to Abi, and nods. "Trouble outside," he hisses to her.

Abigail takes this news without much panic. She raises an eyebrow, and flicks some ash off her cigarette into a little ash-tray she tends to use when she's on board. "Looks like it's been decided it ain't /our/ trouble," she opines, buy she gets up so that she's got a better view of things anyway.
Valentin has a view of the dock worker being dragged away as the ramp goes up. One of the big men looks up at him and makes the universal 'watching you' motion with his fingers moving from his eyes towards the XO. And then the ramp is too far up to see any more, and the dock worker's fate is a mystery.

Seraphim Cargo Bay

<FS3> Valentin rolls Body+Reaction: Good Success. (5 9 7 10 5 9)

Valentin walks the rest of the way back the ramp in good time, breathing a sigh of relief as it shuts, and he steps over to the comm box to make an announcement to the ship. "Attention crew. Seems we have a bit of local color happening. Best nobody go opening up any hatches right away. Let's sit tight and make sure there's no imminent violence." Grumbling he looks to Feng, then over to Abigail, suddenly rather pained. "Seems we stepped in a pile of someone else's crap."

Feng sighs. "He was a dock worker. He shouldn't have authority to assign berths. That's a job for the dock manager unless he's doing something behind the dock manager's back. By the look of those men, and what they said, I think that someone promised more than he could deliver."

"Eh, great." Abigail moves closer to the ramp, and leans against a shelf. "You reckon this is gonna be somethin' that comes in to bite us on the ass?" She glances between the two of them as she asks, since she didn't see it herself.

Valentin nods grimly in agreement with Feng. "Yeah, that was my sense too. He was expecting to let his buddies land something here." Taking in Abi's question, he says, "it very well could. I figured we needed to just contain things, and then see what happens from here. We should check the cams, and be ready for a warm greeting whenever we do step out again." That's if some sort of attack isn't launched at the ship while it's sitting there - but ramp closed is far better than ramp open. Turtle defense.

"Talk to the dock manager, too," Feng urges. "If something is happening, he needs to know. He will alert higher authorities if it is something that he cannot manage." Again, he removes his tablet from the satchel. After a few taps, he confirms, "Sentry cameras are active."

The security cameras show the usual hustle and bustle of an evening on the docks. There's now no sign of the dock worker anywhere nearby. One of the big guys has gone, too. But one of them is still there, and he's standing around by the Seraphim's ramp. He's watching it, in the manner of some big predator, patiently awaiting his dinner.
"How do you wanna play this, boss?" Abi looks over at Valentin, and she loosens her gun in its holster, making her /own/ opinion on the matter fairly clear.

Valentin scowls a bit, looking at the camera feed that Feng has just brought up. They're standing just inside the closed cargo ramp. "I'm inclined to loop in the dockmaster next. And headquarters. We can get reinforcements of our own on the move, if necessary." He mutters under his breath, "this is not how today was supposed to go."

Feng nods to the wall-mounted display. "The bright side is that we're safe and in one piece. The stalker is out there." He glances to Abi and her weapon. "Still, we should be ready to defend ourselves or to launch if the pot begins to boil."

"Ah, we won't need to launch," Abigail says. She looks at the display. "Like the boss-man says, just a bit've local colour. There's plenty've patrols around these parts, they can't do nothin' large-scale. Prob'ly jus' tryin' to scare us off. Once they see we ain't movin', they'll get lost. We'll jus' haveta make sure we've got folks watchin' the ship while we're here, in case they decide they want revenge. Figure if it's somebody wantin' to dock, a space is gonna open up b'fore too long. Just maybe not as soon as they'd liked."

Valentin takes in Feng's notions, and Abi's, nodding to the security hand. "Agreed. If we switch to offense, we run the risk of antagonizing and bringing more trouble out o'this. Right now, we're just an inconvenience to them, and they'll find something else soon." He looks at the stalker on the screen again, frowning, and states, "we let it sit, and keep a weather eye on it. Feng, can you make the call to headquarters, tell them what's going on? I'm calling the dockmaster." He steps back from the others to do that, all handwavey like.

Feng nods. "I'll send a full report, including our logs and the chatter between Docking Control and the ship, as evidence that we did everything properly." He looks to the feeds from the cameras. "I'll also program the system to send automatic alerts to us if someone comes too close to the ship."

By the time all the calls are done, it's a little while later. The dock master says something about local gangs and criminals and has a bit of a grumble, but there's not a lot to be done about it. Maybe because they pay their docking fees and don't usually cause too much trouble. Headquarters also get back quickly, and they send out a couple of local security guards to back the Seraphim up. The guy outside vanishes the moment they come into view. They check in with Valentin and Raven, and say that the company will provide a little extra security in the short-term to make sure there's no repercussions. It's all a little anti-climactic, although there's a sense of this not being quite over. All in all, about an hour after they landed, it seems safe to leave.

Valentin stays active int he cargo bay - making calls, keeping an eye on things directly, or just pacing when there's nothing to do. As things finally seem calm, he announces on the ship's comms, "arright folks, I reckon it's time to open the front door again. Requesting backup in the cargo bay." He waits a minute for whoever wants to show up and assist… then plants his hand on the button. The ramp slowly lurches into motion.

Before the ramp can budge from its closed position, Feng reaches the top of the stairs with tablet in hand. "Headquarters advised that they'll discuss this further with the dock master. Also, if either of our visitors return, we're to try to get high-res pictures for further investigations." Then he adds, glancing to Abi and Valentin, "Chow is waiting in the galley. I'll stand guard here."

Abigail hadn't gone far, so she's there when Valentin requests backup. She moves to stand by the hatchway, partially covered as the ramp opens. She doesn't draw, but she has a hand on her gun. The ramp opens, slowly, a yawning door that reveals the vulnerable people inside the ship … and nothing happens. The security men from headquarters are nearby, and they wave to the crew.

Valentin glances up to note Feng's chosen position, guarding the path to the chow. "Thank you, Feng," he says to all of that. And then he trains his focus on the descending ramp. As it touches down and he sees the colleagues from headquarters, he smirks. Waving back to them, he walks outside again. If any goons are still harboring a thought of attacking, his is the mug that would get them swinging. Of course, nothing happens… they're gone. "Well, NOW we can begin our evening good and proper. Thanks for coming to meet us," he tells the other security. Word will be disseminated that all appears to be safe.

Feng crosses the cargo bay while the ramp lowers, and waves to the guards when they are visible. "If the other captain was that eager to land, I'm sure that he found a suitable nest elsewhere." He strolls to the end of the ramp and takes a deep breath of what passes for air at the smoggy docks.

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