Jump to content

  • Log In with Google Sign In
  • Create Account
Photo

Off to the Races...and wait

- - - - -

  • Please log in to reply
7 replies to this topic

#1
Marina DeVoe

Marina DeVoe

    Not a flight attendant... please take your seat.

  • Writers
    • Character Bio
  • 3,064 posts

Beep...beep…beep….

Marina opened her eyes to the sounding alert. Ahead of her she could still see the starlight tunnel, dimmed, through the shaded cockpit glass. She discovered herself dozed off, sitting there, waiting for the hyper-drive countdown alarm, to alert her when the ship was coming close to dropping out. 
Glancing at the crono displayed, it was more like she had fallen asleep for hours, rather than just a few minutes of shut eye. Just as well, for coming closer to the last hours of the jump, she couldn't relax. Marina had about 4 hours left before reaching her destination and had taken up waiting for it in the cockpit, as everything else that had whittled down the 2 day jump she had already exhausted.
Nevertheless, to her surprise she had fallen asleep at the controls. Well, now at least this 2 day haul was reaching its drop-off.
Giving a good stretch, she prepared for auto-drive shutdown in minus 9 m - 37 s to final drop out.

Destination;Brentaal, Core World Systems.

Her ship had come out of hyperspace at a good distance from the system, as it wasn't Brentaal IV she were set on approaching, but the orbiting Zel Zon Station.
Her orders were to deliver her cargo to JSMD Enterprise, a distribution company that mostly dealt with small system commerce. Their main hub were located on the station.
Marina's ship manifest indicated the cargo had been already prepaid and just needed her to deliver it to JSMD for distribution.

 * * * * * * * * *

"What do you mean, you're out of business?!" Marina stood there with her ship's manifesto on her holo-pad, with what now appeared to be the receptionist of JSMD clearing out her desk.
OUT OF BUSSINESS… It appeared that JSMD in as short as two days, (since Marina jumped) had sustained too many lost profits for it to continue operations and was bankrupt.
"But what am I to do with the cargo?. Its already paid for?!" Marina was pointlessly arguing, as the receptionist, with last crate in hand, just shook her shoulders and bade her good luck with it, as she headed off into the main avenue strip of the station.
Marina could do nothing but walk inside herself to see if there was somebody else that could help her. The ensuing offices within seemed they had all been quickly vacated.

"…son of a bitch.." She uttered in helpless frustration.
The walk to the related transfer hub, the company's warehouse docks, also levied all essential stock and equip had been recently removed. Other than discarded palettes and worthless support transfer equip, nothing was left of JSMD.

"Miss?..." Came an echo, that for a moment eluded her in finding its source.
"Can I help you with anything?…" A man she then made, approaching her from the stacked palettes.
"I don't know…can you?" she replied, looking him over. The logo on his shirt was from the company.
Waving her holo-pad for him to look at, she gave him a moment to go over the manifest.
"I don't know what to tell you, but there's no one left here to take your shipment. The company just went belly up yesterday and…" he handed her back the pad, shrugging his shoulders, " …that's it. There's no one left that can take delivery here."

"Well, how about you? You work for JSMD!" She pointed out the obvious.
"No…sorry, not anymore. I'm just getting my personals together and I'm out of here, next shuttle out.
Seriously….I can't help you…sorry…"

"Sorry?
Come on, please, you're the only one left here that maybe can do something about this.
Look, this cargo's registered. There's got to be some link that still exists as to who owns it!"
She couldn't just unload it, or even take it back to the place of origin, as it had also been a JSMD facility. She was just transporting a prepaid shipment from one hub to the next, as a subcontractor. Now she had a prepaid cargo and no drop off point.

The ex-employee seemed at a loss too, as he too could see her dilemma. 
"Yea, I do see what you mean. It's prepaid and certainly under official registry…but that registry is only JMSD's code for NR registry. Its some company anti-hack loop that assures the rightful owner's claim to it. 
If it's not delivered, it'll be considered either lost or stolen. And you're the last one that held the cargo." 
He now seemed to understand and became somewhat more sympathetic.

"Hmm…" he scratched his head.
"Marina, I don't even know if JSMD's database is still up and functioning, let alone still having access to it." He seemed to be figuring something out.
"I could maybe see if at the very least, I could pinpoint where JSMD had this shipment destined next to be distributed to. But really, I don't think any of the company's data base is still up. I mean... well, they paid me yesterday...in full hard credits… not electronically."

"Look, please…Marek…" She pleaded, looking at his nametag. 
"Any information or destination you can dig up will help me out. I've no means of storing this load and then wait till someone claims it through insurance or reports it's stolen." She explained.
"Ok, ok…it's along shot, Marina, and like I said; I'm not sure I still can log on...but what the heck. Come on, and let's see if my log in still works…" he motioned her to follow him to one of the abandoned data hubs that still looked like it could be powered up.

And power up it did. That is, after looking for a missing power connector.
"Eh, look at that. I 'm still in." Marek was pretty impressed with the fact.
"Ok….lets see…lets see…" he got laid up on a few dead connections at first, but finally found the registry files.
"Ok…yea, I think this is it. You have the manifest number?"

Marina had it on her holo-pad and Marek put it through. Again, the shipment were to go to another closed JSMD transfer hub station in the Inner Rim, near the Denon system, as it then would have taken the Correllian Way trade route to-…

"Ah, here it is…Tatooine!. " Marek was so proud of himself for finally finding it.
"Yep…looks like your cargo is some farming equipment.
Like what the heck could they grow in the desert, laughing out loud…
" He then said chuckling, as if it were some kind of joke.
But to Marina it were no joke.

"Tattoine?!" She exclaimed, pulling a bit away from the console in disbelief.
"Yea…looks like that's the cargo's final destination, Marina."
"Tattoine?..."
"Tatooine." He nodded, confused as to why she looked so estranged. Wasn't that what she wanted to know? The owners of the cargo she had?
" Gershal Lansdrat, of Ware's and Supplies is the owner." He pointed to the registry.

"....Tatooine…" Marina shook her head. She wasn't too thrilled. Not one bit, as the color in her features faded.

"Yep…Tatooine" he shrugged his shoulder, confirming it again. Hopefully this time it would sink in the poor girl's head.

 

 

 

 

cyYj7rD.png


Edited by Marina DeVoe, 15 February 2018 - 12:23 PM.


#2
Marina DeVoe

Marina DeVoe

    Not a flight attendant... please take your seat.

  • Writers
    • Character Bio
  • 3,064 posts

"…copy that, control. 
Mariner IV leaving Zel Zon station."
 Marina reported to traffic control.

Approaches and take offs had to be coordinated, unlike landing on a system with much leeway. The station orbiting Brental IV was massive, but with so many crafts coming and going, it needed traffic control to assure that no two crafts came to occupy the same space; crash.
She still couldn't believe a shipping company like JSMD Enterprises could just belly up like that and not see it coming? There were some bad business ethics at work here, that much was certain. Why would a company subcontract a shipment to another carrier and not know they were going out of business a few days later?
So many things just didn't add up.
Now she was left holding the shipment and being the one responsible in getting it to its's final destination; Tatooine of all places.

Marek from JSMD…or rather the former employee had managed to get the tracking orders on her shipment. The next JSMD distribution hub was near the Denon system…another station.
Marina's jump calculations required her to drop out of hyperspace near Denon to re-angle for the final jump to Tatooine.
Maybe there was a small chance that the other JSMD hub was still operational and willing to take hold of her cargo, saving her the ordeal of nerving up to land on Imperial occupied Tatooine. Oh, how she loathed the Empire, much less having to deal with them in her business. 
But business was business and many times already she had to dredge through their formalities on a few deliveries to systems under their jurisdiction. Or at least what they claimed it to be. But it was more like forced occupation. Still, commerce always seemed to flow to systems even under their iron rule, including Tatooine. After all, if there was no commerce, then what would the Empire levy their tax on?

The Mariner IV banked, following the station's departure coordinates and was soon facing free space. Marina maneuvered her ship to the calculated jump angle point and then punched it. The Mariner jumped into hyperspace and left Brental IV system in the blink of an eye.

68wkRKM.jpg?1

The jump time to Denon system by route of Hydan Way was two days. This established route would take Marina from the Core systems to the Inner Rim systems.
Checking all her post jump system components in the green, she left her cock-pit and headed back toward the galley. She hadn't bothered to take a moment on Zel Zon Station to grab a bite, as she had been too pre-occupied getting her shipment in order. Well, that didn't happen. But at least she had the cargo's final destination and the other JSMD hub that it was supposed to get shipped to, after she made the drop on Zel Zon Station. 

Half into the jump, a day later, Marina had managed to get a hold of her grandfather. The Setril Transport Division, was part of Setril Enterprises. It had been an Alderaani off world family owned business of the DeVoes. Marina was registered as one of the carriers of Setril Transport, although it were a family owned company. But that was kept low key, as it was safer to do in these continuing dark times. Besides, working for the company was just temporary. She needed some time to explore the galaxy, before she settled on practicing law, as she had a doctorate degree in political science and Galactic Law. She was just taking time off between graduation and diving neck deep in the political arena.
Ok, so she was still doing deliveries two years following graduation. But it was difficult to give up exploring the galaxy, jump after jump. It had gotten in her blood and she just couldn't put it down.
Well, this one perticular shipment and those like it (Imperial entanglements) at times made her rethink her postponed career again. But Marina was no quitter, not by a long shot.

"No, grandpa…. It would still require someone else to deliver it. I don't feel right in passing this over to someone else, if I could do it myself."Marina replied to her grandfather on Duro.

"I'll be coming out of my present jump near Denon system. There is another JSMD distribution hub located there. Maybe its still open, despite no one seemingly picking up on their business line.
I figure I've got to re-angle to take the Corellian Run, if I'm to go all the way to Tatooine.
Might as well check out the station near Devon to see if someone's left from JSMD to take the shipment, otherwise…
Yea, Tatooine."
 Marina sighed.

Her grandfather had wanted Marina's dad to get on the line, but Marina insisted for him not too.
She knew he wouldn't want his daughter any where near those murderous swine. But her grandfather understood her better than her father. After all, Marina was as spunky as her mother had been. Smart, intelligent….full of life and adventure. Only that Marina's mother had come to take up her duties as Duchess and could not openly support Marina in her adventures.

 

"I'll be careful, grandpa. I'll figure it out…promise.
Love you. And please don't mention it to dad. Just tell him I called to say hello and wish him my love.
Marina out."
 With that she terminated the holo transmission. It had been of barely even poor quality as it was difficult to maintain a strong connection while transversing through hyperspace. But the link had been sufficient enough to relay all that had transpired and Marina's intentions.
Marina then checked her ETA. 18 more hours before she would drop out of hyperspace and on to the Denon system.

She rubbed her neck from fatigue. It had been hard to get some shut eye knowing that most likely she'd have to go the distance on her own. Tatooine wasn't a place she would have ever wanted to visit, regardless if it had even been under Republic jurisdiction, much less Imperial occupation.
But she was hauling equipment detrimental to the system's farmers; evaporative condensing equipment and such. And Heaven knew that these poor farmers couldn't scratch much of a living without evaporative condensers on such an arid system.
Marina got up and this time headed to her berth. She was feeling too exhausted staying awake for so long. Maybe she figured she'd sleep most of the jump…maybe.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * *

'...beep...beep... beep… Beep...' The sound of the alarm plucked her from a good dream…a damn good dream too!

"Aww, shoot..." Marina reached over and silenced it.
It was the proximity alarm she had set for Denon system.
An hour to go, and counting down to final emergence.
Laying there getting her bounds together, she realized she had nearly slept well over 12 hours. But wow was she still tired. Too tired, to get up at the moment. But there was much to do before she'd come out of the jump…and a good shower was on the primary list. 

'…4…3…2…1…Disengaging Hyper-drive.' 
The nav-comp had counted down to the end of it's drive cycle and the Mariner IV suddenly dropped out of hyperspace, near the Denon system.
Marina had been at the cockpit controls readying to switch to her sub-light drives.
The immediate sector data mapping was already on line and filling in all moving objects within her ship's envelope. This took but a few seconds and from that, Marina was able to plot her way over to the space station which supposedly had another JSMD distribution hub. Her aim was to see about relieving her ship of the cargo and responsibility, as her contract had called for her to deliver the cargo to Zel Zon Station in the Bretal system. But the JSMD facility there had closed up. Right now, Marina was hopping that the one near Denon was still in operation.

It didn't take but a few minutes to reach the station. Her inquiry as to JSMD resulted in disappointment. That hub there was also closed.
With permission to dock at the station, Marina made her approach and settled the Mariner in one of the docks.
If anything, she'd now need an official Imperial commerce pass to even think of going to Tatooine.
Marina secured her ship once docked at the station and headed toward the station master's office. Since this and pretty much all space stations were registered provinces of a given system or sector, the station master could well apply and secure her a pass to systems requiring permission to enter…Tatooine being one in particular.

"…yes, that would be fine. But I need to be present." Marina replied to the station master.
As it turned out, there was a middleman right at the station, that by a proxy license could give Marina such a pass. But her cargo had to be inspected for him to notarize the pass.
She had no choice but to agree. That or get stuck with the cargo, as no pass, no Tatooine landing… much less escape getting netted by an SD, as Tatooine was under Imperial Marshal Law and a blockage was currently in affect, as a means of not only curbing smuggling, but collecting tariffs for the Empire.

 

The entire holo-registration and inspection took a few hours. Mostly waiting for approval by transmission from the Imperials. But her cargo seemed to satisfy the requirements necessary to attain permission to approach Tatooine. 
But it didn't give her the rights to just drop out and make an approach on the system. There were some criteria and procedures to follow once she reached Tatooine system.
Needless to say; Marina did attain the pass, but it would only assure that her ship would not be fired upon.
The Imperials there would most certainly require her to be boarded and re-inspect her cargo.
With nothing to hide and with farming evap condensers as her cargo…sure, why not? Last she heard, the Empire wasn't taking over condensation farming. And besides, for Imperials to allow such basic essential farming equipment through, was good PR relations…or propaganda, depending on ones point of view.

 

 

cyYj7rD.png


Edited by Marina DeVoe, 16 February 2018 - 07:37 AM.


#3
Marina DeVoe

Marina DeVoe

    Not a flight attendant... please take your seat.

  • Writers
    • Character Bio
  • 3,064 posts

The jump to the Outer Rim had seemingly gone by faster than she would have preferred. But as far as real time, it had been a 4 day jump. Just that knowing she was to encounter the Empire at the end of her jump was quite trying for her.
But Marina was Alderranean… a survivor. To bow down to these conquistadors would be no different than to give into the plague. One had to have the will to endure. And she was no exception.

Marina had taken the Hydian Way from Brental IV to the Denon system. From Denon’s cross-routes, she acquired the proper proxy Imperial code permits from the sector’s space station; she then jumped on the Corellian Run route, and was now just coming up nearing the Tatooine system.
She had done much homework on Tatooine and the current crisis afflicting it. It was now more apparent that it was a strategic occupation and not one of levying taxation for the purpose of keeping its war machine turning.
This did change a few aspects of what she originally had based her delivery run on.
For certain she would most likely be boarded...maybe even have her cargo confiscated right there in orbit.
Well, this would still morally relieve her of her obligation to have her cargo delivered, as she did provide a good faith effort in trying to deliver it to the rightful owners. Even in a confiscation, the Empire kept records. This too Marina could put down in her ship’s log as the reason for her delivery falling short.
But handing it freely to the Empire was not her first choice by far. It was the worst case scenario…

 

* * * * * * * * * * 

The Mariner IV dropped out of hyperspace distant enough from Tatooine for the Empire to not think her ship was trying to make a run through the blockade.
She dropped out while still on the Corellian Run route and using sub-light engines headed toward the Tatooine system. She was in plain sight of any scanners monitoring the sector, as was her intention.

She had deactivated her droid, as she wasn't going to take any chances if it started with the 'No weapons on Board' thing. This wasn't the time to have a feisty droid about.

“Mariner IV to Imperial border patrol…” Marina started to send out a hail call.
Her transmission receiver crackled, letting her know she had been connected. But for the moment, it did not immediately respond. Her current distant to Tatooine was about 6 billion miles, and at the Mariner IV's current sub-light speed of 0.9 she was approximately an hour distant and closing. This she had well calculated in her safety factor. No way a New Republic or smuggler craft would give that amount of lead time to an Imperial blockade, if their intentions were to infiltrate the system. No. 
Marina was approaching Tatooine from a far enough distance and hailing the Imperials so as to give them plenty of time to evaluate and confirm who she was and her intentions.

“Mariner IV to Imperial border patrol… this is a private carrier transport on a delivery run to Tatooine.
My Imperial proxy registration permit is now being transmitted… (
fjighryi4ju49857ty59g8g8589u889uewnj7874y47755)
Please respond, as I am maintaining present course and approach...”
 Marina again transmitted; this time copying and putting to cycle as a repeater.

The code transmission contained all that she had registered with at the station near Denon system to attain An Imperial permit by proxy, to approach Tatooine system.
This repeated over several times before she received a reply.
They recognized the code as one recently validated and instructed her to angle her current approach to coincide with an ISD that was to inspect her cargo.
Marina rolled her eyes, drumming her fingers on her console a few seconds before replying. The devils were calling her. She needed a moment to compose her demeanor.

“Will do. Changing course angle to ISD coordinates. ETA in 34 minutes.” She finally replied.

‘Damn it… damn it… damn it’… she cursed to herself. But she knew the probability of just transmitting those validated codes and allow her to be on her merry way had been a long shot. 
Still, she had hoped in not having to come face to face with any of these bastards. But they were a reality here in most parts of the galaxy. To avoid them was like avoiding a trip to the refresher. It was something unavoidably to do, but best do it in a sanitary manner just the same.
And for the most part, it was the way Marina felt when dealing with any of them. She did her best to deal with them without getting their stench get to her.

The ISD was at a good distant, yet it could easily be seen as it were one of a few crafts of that size, as she decreased her sub-lights to .005. This of course had been relayed to her, as per the approach procedures the Imperials transmitted from the ISD, as she got to within visual sight of it.
Without any warning whatsoever; two tie interceptors suddenly appeared from either behind, above or below her.

Surprisingly enough, her scanners had failed to pick them up. She didn’t know where the hell they had come from...but they were there now, and getting closer to her ship. 
‘Oh..poodoo me…’ she said to herself, getting caught off guard as they had suddenly appeared on both port and starboard…
A quick aft monitor check, and sure enough there was another Tie at her tail and closing in fast.

“Uhm…Mariner IV to...uhm… Imperial border patrol!… what’s going on? Did you not confirm the pass?... over?...” she then asked as the interceptors tightened up on her.

The response Marina received was for her to release control of her ship and allow the Mariner IV to be towed near the ISD.
“Er…sigh....Ok, sure.
Pilot controls released. Opened link up for remote navigation control”
 Marina complied.
What choice did she have now?
Did they say tow her near the ISD?
Well, this was of some relief, as maybe she wouldn’t be swallowed up in the belly of the beast.

Her ship shuddered for a moment as the link up took effect. The escort fighters were taking her ship closer to the orbiting ISD. As she got nearer, she started to not only see, but also pick up other ISDs orbiting the system. They were spaced far enough apart to be in visual of each other due to their mass and forming a sort of shield…the blockade of Tatooine.
The Mariner IV slowed by way of remote and came to about 50km of the ISD before she seemed to stop. There marina waited as the escort then departed, melding in with other small formations of ties going in and out of the ISD.
Most of marina’s monitors went static; likely some sensor jamming frequencies the ISD was emitting to her ship. This, marina expected, as whatever communications at any coded levels, her ship’s system would not be able to record and de-scramble later. 
It was no sense even asking what next, as her communication console was displaying an order for her to stand by.
So Marina, stood by and waited…quite nervously.

Perhaps it was 10, maybe 30 nerve racking minutes passing, before she visually picked up a smaller patrol ship. One almost the size of her own, making an approach to dock with her.
The com console then changed its message and the order was now for her to open up her port airlock after the patrol ship docked. She was going to be boarded.
‘…just wonderful…just wonderful Marina...' She muttered as she prepared to do just that.
The light shudder and the docking light confirmed the marriage. Marina released the locks on her airlock.
Her leg was jittering a mile a second.
Oh what a time to suddenly have a need to pee…

She knew enough to stay put in her chair as the sound of storm boots resonated inside her ship. 
'Identify yourself..' came an amplified voice from one of the storm troopers.

“Ahem… Marina DeVoe, Captain of the Mariner IV. Commerce registration; Setril Transport, primary 2-ST2314 Duro system.” She replied with her company’s ship registry as filed on Duro, its current company location, as calm as she could.

‘The whereabouts of any crew member or passengers’ The trooper more demanded than asked. "your bill of lading' Then on and on...'manifestation'....weapon and armaments' Naturally none on board.

“No, no crew or passengers…just me.” Marina replied, now seeing the other troopers behind the one asking her, moving about. They had some sort of hand held scanners, most likely checking for other life signs, or stored energy packs. The former a good indication of weapons. But Marina never carried any energy weapons, as she disliked them. The scanners nevertheless honed in on many wireless instruments, emergency ship power and lighting…but no weapons cache.
It was impossible to know if these troopers were disappointed in not finding anything of what they were scanning for, as they hid their faces behind their masks.
For humans, they were the lowest form in her eyes. Reminded her of the colonies of swarming insects she had studied in biology. The similarities were uncanny….drones, most all of them… with a high matriarch at its center…and soldiers and workers spreading across the galaxy like a plague, like swarms of insects devouring everything. This was the Empire in her eyes. 

“Huh?..wha?...I didn't get that...” Marina in her dark thoughts had slipped out for a moment.
The trooper at her cockpit door repeated what he had said. They wanted to check on her cargo and wanted Marina to present to him her ship’s manifesto...the bill of lading of all she was transporting.
“Oh…er…yea, here it is…” She popped the small disk from her console, then got up to hand it to him.
Gloved white armored extremities…like that of an insect. 
How detached this human was inside his shell from her…
Even its voice which now commanded her to unlock the ship’s inner cargo bay door for the boarding party was modified through an amplifier. The words were basic, but the tone was electronic making one sound like the others…

Marina punched in her code and the cargo door opened. Instructed to stand aside outside, the other troopers entered the bay to examine her cargo.
The one trooper that had spoken with her remained outside with her. It was obvious that Marina couldn’t maintain a neutral poise. Her dislike of him and of the others in her ship showed in her eyes… even if they never once looked into any of their polarized lenses. 

“Gasp!...” Marina froze in her boots.
The trooper knew she was Alderaanean, as he simply stated it.
“H…how do you know that?” She asked; her back against the hull was more for comfort than support.
The trooper didn’t respond. Rather he continued to face her without even moving. It made Marina feel small…vulnerable…insignificant. She hated herself at that moment for giving him that power.

The group of troopers that had gone inside her cargo bay for inspection were now filing out.
Again not a word from any of them. But at least they were taking their stomping boots off her ship and through the linked airlock. The one trooper that still stood there finally stirred and informed her to stand by for further instructions, before he himself took leave.
Marina couldn’t close the airlock fast enough.
“..frak me...” She said, bending at her waist and using her hand on her knee for support. Lord she needed to sit.
No, wait.
She still had to pee like real bad.
But she had to get back to the cockpit, as the Imperial ship detatched itself from the Mariner IV. 

Well, one thing was for certain, she was either going to get permission to land on Tatooine...or sent back on her way. Seemed the Empire wasn’t at all interested in farming equipment.
But God, she hoped they would say so either way in a hurry, as she needed to visit the refresher....


Edited by Marina DeVoe, 19 February 2018 - 12:06 PM.

cyYj7rD.png


#4
Marina DeVoe

Marina DeVoe

    Not a flight attendant... please take your seat.

  • Writers
    • Character Bio
  • 3,064 posts

She splashed some cold water on her face.

God, it had been so un-nerving with them trampling about. 

Even now, all around her, were Imperials. Well, actually their patrol ships and Ties were around her ship, the Mariner IV.Sure, some of them were going about their orbital patrols. But she still had the patrol ships that were keeping an eye on her still....and that damn ISD. Couldn't forget that. Not when it shadowed her, or rather blocked out one of the twin suns.

And if that wasn’t enough, they had just given her clearance a few moments before, to land. Only, she had to take care of something urgent first, before committing to the descent....

Flush...

Now with water running and Marina just getting over the ordeal of having them so close, she wasn't yet ready to get going…not just yet.
To think, they were just here in her ship like rodents scourging about. In Marina's mind, the Imperials who had just boarded her, were no better than having a mynok infestation. Both were as bad, and each were no better than the other…
But she had gotten through it. Took most of her willpower and determination to get through it, but she did.

Marina had fought her demons and now just needed another moment…or two, to get over the ordeal. And the cold water on her face was certainly helping.
But that annoying steady beeping coming from her cockpit drew her out of the refresher, reminding her that she had best be on her way, lest they decided otherwise.

Finally patting her face and hands dry, she then headed back up to her ship’s controls. There, awaiting her were like three curt messages... all from the ISD that loomed ominously just above her tiny ship, They had given her clearance, to proceed, yet she had not moved.

“Affirmative, received first time. Getting my systems on line

No, there is no problem….I had to-
...uhm, refresh."
 Frak, was she about to tell them she had to pee too?

" Ahem...you know, refresh....boot up my nav comp...” She responded to their inquiry as to why she was not firing up.

“Yes, doing that now…enabling drives on command …”

Of course her comp had never gone off line, but there had been quite a few minutes delay from them giving her authorization to proceed toward landing on Tatooine, and the Mariner IV now just firing up her sub-light drives again... 
“Proceeding to Tatooine, as per instructions. System destination vector approach; Mos Espa Space Port...” Marina repeated the coordinates and flight pattern which they had transmitted over to her with the authorization.

 * * * * * * * * * * * * *  

Her ship hit the dark side of Tatooine’s atmosphere under power, slowing the Mariner IV so as not to scorch the paint on her ship. Not the quickest descent, but then again she never did like to come down in a blaze of particle ionization that resulted from the friction of a high velocity space craft, hitting an atmosphere from space.
Such a descent was best performed by the pilot, giving her total control of the descent.
There were no clouds to break through, so the surface of the planet just came up on her graphic monitor in progressive detail. Mos Espa’s lights below slowly took on more and more feature and characteristic as she got closer.

All the while, she sent out her ship’s transmission to the space port control. There were several in operation, but all linked together, giving the first responder preference if their channel were not already handling another approaching space craft. But the Mariner IV happened to be coming in during Tatooine’s night, and not many crafts usually dropped in legitimately during the night. At least not announcing their arrival like Marina did. But she was a legitimate registered transporter and that meant business. Business, in a sense of new commerce in this system out here in the Outer Rim. 
Marina’s monitors had all come back on line when she was released from Imperial block control and had gotten a bit away from the fleet. During her boarding and inspection, the Imps had jammed her ship’s sensors, so as for her not to take count as to the extent of Imperial ships and of the military presence in the system. 

Now, her monitors were cycling through many free port invite ads. But she wasn’t going to pick one from random; Marina had a destination…a titleholder to the cargo she carried. That proprietor according to her records was Gershal Lansdrat, of Ware's and Supplies (GLOWS). This company, she had also been hailing once all her ship’s communications (which had also been scrambled while awaiting Imp permission) resumed back to normal operation. 
It didn’t take long for her to get a response from them.

“Negative, this is not a JSMD carrier, but a subcontractor, Mariner IV of Sentril Transport Division. I’m currently in control of your shipment; MC 7897. 
Can you transmit your PO confirmation code for the cargo I’m carrying, please?..” 
Marina relayed her half of the info.

They responded with the correct PO codes, matching up with her cargo.

“Confirmed that. Where would you wish for me to put down…over?” She then asked.

GLOWS then transmitted the port number they were currently contracting with. At the moment it came through to Marina, the port itself confirmed they were readying for her to land in bay 3. 
Marina then linked up her navigation comp with that of the port, guiding her ship in. 
‘…geez…finally something’s going right...
In and out, Marina…unload, collect, and skedaddle it out…’
 She said to herself as she piloted her ship toward the designated port bay 3. 

Her nav comp guiding her through the twilight of the system’s late evening. She had reached Mos Espa just after the settings of Tatooine’s two suns.
She eased the Mariner IV down gently into a recessed bay, just below ground level, then powered down her sub-light drive, cycling them through their cool down stage. 


cyYj7rD.png


#5
Marina DeVoe

Marina DeVoe

    Not a flight attendant... please take your seat.

  • Writers
    • Character Bio
  • 3,064 posts

It wasn’t at all much of a wait to talk about, as GLOWS company reps seemed to almost arrive just as Marina was coming down her ship’s ramp with the manifest.

The below ground bay 3 was lit much like it would appear during the day…only that Tatooine’s desert night air carried a chill, without the twin suns on her side.. Marina took to wearing a short waist level open jacket to take the chill out.
The two men whom greeted her were both human and seemingly came prepared towing their holo-pad and a handful of workers…some not so human to speed things up.
With no difficulties in confirming that all the codes and PO’s were in order, Marina gave them the go-ahead in unloading and inspecting the cargo. 
Again, every crate unloaded from her cargo bay went without a hitch. Seemed this trip, however the amount of twists and turns it took for her to get here, was finally coming to a rightful conclusion.
Even the porters handling the cargo seemed to handle it as labeled… HANDLE WITH CARE: THIS SIDE UP IN GRAVITY

“I deliver…what more can I say.” Marina replied, as to taking the initiative to deliver what the general contractor couldn’t.

“Besides, it’s C.O.D.... credits on delivery.
I had to stake my own credits on it for insured delivery. JSMD was to take it from me and compensate for the cargo and my delivery charge to its facility way back in the Core Systems. My luck, they had gone belly up a day before I got there to cash in on the delivery."
She continued to explain.

 

"Took some effort, but managed to track the final destination to the cargo…you.
It’s all calculated here…see. Part of the delivery contract that was to be JSMD has now become mine…ours now, actually, according to the initial contract order.”
 She pointed out.

The man nodded, in agreement. All was in order, following good business ethics, which clearly indicated she should rightfully and legally be compensated.
Only…

“Druggats?!" It wasn't what she was expecting....

"I’m sorry, but no! I can’t take druggats….I’ve no use for them. Not outside this system. And I don’t at all deal with Huttese in these sectors. Truthfully, I tend to avoid such systems..including those that are Imperial infested. I made this delivery because of humanitarian reasons; Farming equipment… Moisture evaporative condensers?…badly needed here?..get me?” She tried making it quite clear, as to the why in her effort in getting here.

“Republic credits. 
That’s what I was personally contracted by JSMD for, to deliver the cargo to Zeldon Station on Brentaal IV.”
 Marina now seemed to come to a tiny snag in the deal again.
The rep pointed out that it was not what they themselves had contracted out with JSMD, as the main contractor had agreed to take druggats on the COD.

“Right. But according to your company’s authorization order, it does state that delivery conditions can change accordingly and fairly compensated for. States so here… in section 4; unconditional delivery to be guaranteed by insurer/carrier…that’s me, and I delivered. “ She started to read the contract.

“… and in turn, the carrier is to be reasonably compensated accordingly.
This latter portion then falls under subpart c; fair currency exchange should final destination be sub-contracted to guarantee delivery.
Your company wanted guaranteed delivery and insurance of the cargo…and that portion has been fulfilled by me.”
 Marina flawlessly read through the contract with the rep.
“Fair currency exchange means; Republic credits.... in my case.”

There was no denying she had done her part and now the compensation in all fairness fell on GLOWS. Should they default on their deal with a registered Republic carrier such as Setril Transport, they could well lose future business with Inner Core Systems. 
“The accrued delivery charge from Brentaal IV to Tatooine...here… is fully documented in the bill of lading...” Marina patiently took the rep through the invoice and the multiple jumps in the delivery route.
It was all laid out clearly and according to the contract. Without an argument, she had the right to proper compensation... and again, that meant Republic credits.

The rep conceded. But at this time, it was not feasible for him, nor his company, to access any Republic credits; not until sometime the next legitimate business day. And tomorrow happened to be the start of the Banta eve Classics…a local festivity. This meant that all banking were on credit hold, as there was to be a pod-race coming up. This meant that all credits were essentially on credit and all hard money were on hold, locked, so as to prevent any losers from withdrawing their credits and taking off. The upcoming pod race was heavily waged on and that all bank or otherwise large credit holders held them locked until the end result of the race. This now meant that Marina had to wait for Republic credits and even druggats for that matter, until the end of the Bonta Eve Classics to get paid.

“Say what?!” exclaimed a surprised Marina.
The rep pointed her toward the posters scattered about, pasted all around the bay. She took to looking a few over. Many were from individual contestants advertising their stats, pods and promise of winning. They were promoting, enticing the readers to bet on them. And of course the general ads for the race and festivities themselves by the local proprietors…

“Sigh… I see…” She replied, shaking her head.
And she had thought this was it..the final leg of this ordeal.
Nope.
Nope, she would have to wait till after the festivities, after the Bonta Eve Classics were over to get her money…

“So, when will that be?...you know, getting me the Republic credits, exactly?”The credits were not so difficult in acquiring, as per the rep. It was just that the means of acquiring them after the race was over. They would be able to get Marina the full amount as per her invoice then...not before. 
The man did seem sincere and she quite understood that not much large legal credit exchange was done before the race Just her luck again, in landing on Tatooine during the Classics.

But what choice did she have now? She most certainly didn’t want to reload that cargo back on her ship. Besides, they were badly needed farming equipment. Marina didn’t let in on the fact that she’d just as well throw in the towel, as the credits weren’t the real issue. Her grandparents had been set on taking the loss rather than have her deliver the cargo to Tatooine. But coming here to the end of the line, had been her idea. But business ethics in play, she had to see this through. After all, she wasn’t in this game to give up when she ran into snags. She had wanted to experience the galaxy first hand, and working for her grandparent’s company as a transporter certainly was a way to do it.
Besides, all this were going to be experiences she would draw from when she finally pursued what she had her doctorate degrees on…and that would be the legal system and politics.

But since her graduation, Marina had been on a sort of space trip; to see, experience, the galaxy, in all its diversity; including, when it couldn’t be avoided, that of Imperial occupied systems such as this one. All these experiences would later help, guide, even direct her career in providing a real means of understanding the different cultures and common laws governing the galaxy, when she finally entered into law. She was after all destined to be a Republic Representative, like that of her father and of her family ancestry (on former Alderaan).

It was late evening and all of the cargo had been unloaded and inspected…and quite chilly too, as it normally is at night even in the hottest of deserts.
“Fine…” She finally sighed.

“…I’ll expect full payment in Republic credits after the festivities.” She succeeded.

“Now if you don’t mind… I’ll be getting back into my ship, lock it down and call it a night.
I’ll see you guys whenever…”
 She disappointingly waved her hand, turning back toward her ship’s ramp.

The Mariner IV welcomed her with her warm interior. It felt warm, although it was set to a normal occupancy. But coming out of the cold Tatooine night air, her ship certainly felt like a warm adobe.
Tomorrow when the twin suns of this desert world took to rising would be another story…


Edited by Marina DeVoe, 27 February 2018 - 12:23 PM.


#6
Marina DeVoe

Marina DeVoe

    Not a flight attendant... please take your seat.

  • Writers
    • Character Bio
  • 3,064 posts

Funny how quickly the temperature outside not only climbed once the surface of the planet came under the twin suns, but how it created a domino effect not only to the ship, but to Marina. 
She actually awakened to the change in tempered air her ship’s support system was supplying her cabin with. The change from heating to cooling mode was quite noticeable enough to bring Marina to awaken.

She lay there a moment with closed eyes trying to reclaim that path she inadvertently took in her dream that triggered her to awaken. Remnants of her good dream was fading fast, much like mist in dawn’s early light. The dream could not be salvaged, no matter her effort to replay the last few dream moments over.

But even to hold fast to a few conscious moments to bring forth a continuum, was to no avail. It wasn’t the same as free dreaming. Fantasizing only worked for a moment or two before the original dream dissipated altogether, along with their felt emotions.

 

She let out a sigh and finally opened her eyes, before sitting up to look over to her crono. She hadn’t set it as it rarely ever needed to be. Marina was naturally an early riser, one set to an internal clock so to say. Somehow or other, no matter the system she happened to be in, her set morning was always the trigger for her to awaken at dawn. 
As she let go of the surrealism her imagination had tried to hold on to from a dream now lost, the day’s events started to tally up in her head.
1) The race.

2) The payment of her cargo.

3) And the grand finale; the exit off of this desert world.

So much to her dislike;no exiting until she got her credits for the cargo. And most likely it meant sometimes late into Tatooine’s infernal day. That is, after all the race bets were settled and the credits allowed to be released by the Hutts, as it had been explained to her.

The water cascading down her features in the shower was the start of readying for the day…A very hot day, as she expected it to be. She was on tatooine after all.
This meant using not only UV protection but a moisturizing ointment so as not for her to dry out like a raisin in the sun.
But that soon proved a little bit more difficult than she normally would expect, as she normally and religiously always took care of her skin; only she didn't have the right kind. It was not due to the lack of moisturizers or UV protection, as there were plenty of different varieties right there in front of her... no. She didn't have one for such a system like Tatooine.
“Shoot!” She uttered, going through them all. “Really?”

There wasn’t one in the bunch that she was looking for. Even checking her reserve in the ship’s stores, proved futile. Not one non-tropical scented moisturizer in the bunch!

All her UV moisturizers were pretty much geared up for warm beach resorts on water worlds.
All were scented in one manner or another in a variety suited specially for sunning on the many tropical worlds… worlds with beaches or water oasis.
No denying she was an off-worlder…a way, way, off-worlder here on dusty arid Tatooine now.
“Oh, that’s just great…” Marina sighed, as she settled for one of the UV block moisturizers with something of a nutty sweet scent (like that of tropical coconut oil).

Tropical coconut scented or not.... no way was she going to step out under the twin suns of Tatooine without skin protection. 

 

"Tropical coconut for nutty Marina...perfect...sigh..."


Edited by Marina DeVoe, 27 February 2018 - 07:37 PM.


#7
Marina DeVoe

Marina DeVoe

    Not a flight attendant... please take your seat.

  • Writers
    • Character Bio
  • 3,064 posts

The hermetic doors of the Mariner-IV opened and the hot Tatooine air was the second thing to hit her.

 

First and foremost was the brightness of the morning light itself, prompting Marina to done on her dark eye-wear, which she had at the ready. Yes, the girl was prepared as best she reasoned. After all, she had done her research on this dust bowl of a planet.

Then the hot gust of what she could only describe as a furnace blast ...the relentless heat of a smelting factory. Well, that were best as she could compare without actually visiting a smelting factory.
It didn’t take but a moment walking out of the space dock to take in the early morning hustle and bustle. Marina had put her ship down under Tatooine’s cover of darkness last night. And hat a big difference in the active population this morning as compared to last night’s. Marina had come to find herself in the middle of the marketsquare, as most all docking bays were.

Looking down the avenue left, then right; it was strangely busy for early morning and getting fuller by the moment. Seemed the locals got out early in hitting up the marketplace. And good reason too, as she stood there observing her surroundings the ambient temp was steadily rising. It didn’t take long for Marina to also realize she had to either get moving or get bumped into, as standing in the mainstream of a busy marketplace wasn’t something anyone did…at least not on Tatooine.
Spotting one of the race posters nearby, she headed toward it. It was at least one place to head to, instead of looking out of place just standing there, she figured…

“Huh?...say what?” She turned to the proprietor who was calling her attention. The poster was hanging on the side of his ware stand. He had picked up what appeared to be one of the earthen wares and gesturing for her to purchase it in a dialogue she had never heard of before.
Marina looked over it a moment, then the man.
“Huh?...what are you saying?” She asked, in basic.

The man broke into a smile and nodded happily.
“ Yu kore gurl.” He then answered.

At first, Marina didn’t pick up the slang, but he was also speaking now in best basic he could.

“Yu frum kore wold…. Yu lyk drik meed?” He kept offering the earth ware to her.
It took but a moment for her to realize what he must have been trying to say to her.

“M...meed?...” she then said, nosing closer to the jar like pot.
“What’s that?...” 

“Dis gud…yu lyk. Yu lyk..” he tried enticing her to take the ware.

“It’s, uhm… a pretty – pot? 
I’m sure it’s made well. But I don’t understand what meed is.” 
Marina was now gesturing a sort of no-thank-you with her hands. 

"Yu trai… sveet… yu drik…drik…” he persisted, as he made the motion that its contents were good to drink.

“He’s selling mead, Miss..” Came a voice from her side.

Marina turned for the voice was quite human. It was a man. One not at all sporting local attire. Another off-worlder like herself, she quickly surmised.
“Meade… honey wine?” She had to ask. Like, what was such a think even able to exist here, let alone be available on a desert world. 

“Yes, it’s quite good really. Not at all concocted as some of the toxins pouring out of the local cantinas. The stranger replied, as he walked around Marina presenting the merchant with what looked like local credits. 
“Chimbu-ka” He said holding up 4 fingers.
The merchant happily took the credits and picked up another 3 jars from the stand giving them to the man. It most certainly looked like the man liked his mead.

“I’m curious…” Marina just had to know.
“How does honey… or mead come to exist in a world like this?”
The man broke out into an amusing laugh, maneuvering the 4 jars he was now committed to lug back to wherever.

“This is Tatooine… anything that can be shipped, can be bought or sold here at a price.”

“Can’t argue that... 
Say, could you tell me when it would be a good time to hit the stands? I’d hate to overcook out here waiting for the races.”
 She then said.

The man’s smile momentarily dulled as his eyes seemed to pick up something in the morning crowd. “You could tag awhile with me, I’m heading toward the pits.” He made a gesture as to why he bought the meade.

“You’re inviting me to come drink with you?...this time of the day?” She chuckled, shaking her head.

"And this pickup line of yours actually works with the ladies around here?"


cyYj7rD.png


#8
Marina DeVoe

Marina DeVoe

    Not a flight attendant... please take your seat.

  • Writers
    • Character Bio
  • 3,064 posts

“No, Miss-uhm….. “ The man cued for Marina to give him her name.

Cute, but Marina wasn’t about to fill in the blank; at least, not yet. 
“Sigh...Ok look, I’m inviting you to a first hand viewing of the pod races, where the excitement first begins… the pit area.
“ The meade, by the way, is for the victory celebration, after we win the race.”
He corrected her.

“You’re in the race then?” She replied with newfound interest, not quite picking up on what had distracted the man.
Yes, she would certainly be interested in being in the front lines, so to speak. The pits were just as exciting as the race itself. There, she knew all up to the minute engine statistics of the particular pod were live fed. She would be right there in the midst of excitement, instead of just another spectator in the crowded stands.

“Here…” he then offered her two of the jars. “…take these and follow me.”

“Excuse me?...” Marina replied, as to what made this guy think she was just going to do or go with him, on command?.

“Look, just do yourself a favor; take hold of these two and look like you’re out here buying something.
Otherwise you just might get stopped and questioned as to what you’re doing out here wandering around…you especially, being a fresh faced and nicely scented off-worlder..”
His eyes cued Marina to the small detachment making their way around the market. Imperial troopers.

The group of troopers were slowly making their way around, looking over both merchants and shoppers…stopping anyone that was a bit out of place. And Marina was certainly dressed out of place and certainly not one from the Outer Rim. 

“I’ve got nothing to hide. Why wouldn’t I be here like a lot of other off-worlders for the races?” She reasoned with him.

“Ok, sure bet if you are putting it all on that.

You be sure to tell them that when they come around. That is, if you won’t mind missing the race altogether going through a long session of questions, should they decide to take some interest in you. “ He continued, still offering for her to take the jars.
“Look, just take these and at least walk away till you're out of their scope."

“I already went through that getting across the blockade. Why would they want to question me again?” She answered, but this time reaching to take the two jars from him. Somehow she had a feeling this man was right.

"Grrr...fine, they're not much for conversation anyway. Well, you just going to stand there or what?"

“Totchi…totchi..” He then thanked the merchant as he took to lead.

“So you know...the blockade is charged under the Imperial Navy. These ground troops are under the governing task force. Tatooine is under Marshall Law if you weren’t aware. Which should lead one to conclude that the only reason a pod race would be allowed by the Empire would be for the opportunity to question all off-worlders that support the New Republic.” He spoke as he casually walked away from where they had met.

“Really?...and what would give them the idea that I wasn’t a supporter of the Empire?” She too, spoke in a casual manner, walking alongside him.

“Well, for starters…you did just avoid them…” he replied with a smug, before he came to a stop. They were in the clear now and he motioned that he could take the jars again. But Marina held on to them.

“Ok...right…" her eyes did a small roll. He caught her. "...If i could smell them, I'd probably give myself away by vomiting...
Sigh....So your offer still stands?” she then asked, hefting the jars.

“The race pits?...of course.” He replied, reveling a smile. 

What was there to lose? She was out here to catch the pod races while waiting for the credits owed her to be cleared. It was either alone and out of her element in the stands, or closer to the excitement in the pit area….and away from curious Imperial troopers. 
Oh, how her skin could crawl when they were around.

“Marina…name's Marina...” She accepted his invite with a smile, finally giving him her name.