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…"
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."
"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.