Eclipse Phase: Flotilla
Sufficiency Part 2
From the GM:
“Fish? Fish! What the fuck, man!? What the fuck! You better get in here, Fish!” Despite the cacophony of voices coming through your suit comms this one is loud and clear. Your muse automatically muted all the one-to-many broadcasts and let you focus on this one-to-one. But maybe it has more to do with it being from your friend Auggie.
You’re not sure if you like the nickname “Fish” or not, but you do have a fondness for Auggie. Everyone on these construction crews has a nickname, so it was only a matter of time before they shortened Sufficiency to just Fish, especially once they heard about the people who raised you. The mocking died down after a while but the name stuck. You’ve been working with Auggie for a few weeks and enjoy his company, perhaps because he’s the only other person here who also speaks Russian, or maybe it’s just his easygoing, friendly manner. Mostly the two of you just share dirty jokes and complain about The Man. He thinks you and your art projects are a little weird, but he enjoys the spirit behind them. And Auggie, when he’s not working, makes a mean moonshine from a still that uses the heat of the fusion generator. No one else has figured out how to do it in zero-g quite like him.
Before you have time to think about your next move another voice comes over your suit, this time on the priority override.
“This is the captain speaking. All vac-workers are to stop activities immediately and return to the ship. If you are unable to do so, activate your personal beacon and await recovery. I repeat, all vac-workers are to stop activities and return to the ship immediately. If you are unable to do so, activate your personal beacon and a rescue craft will be with you shortly.”
You look over to the ship. The bright orange rescue shuttle is already coming on-line. You see the thruster nozzles rotating around as they test the propulsion system. Looking around you see several of your coworkers floating adrift, having lost their oxen in the, um, proceedings. You’re still holding onto the outside of the ship. All you have to do is make your way to the airlock using the handholds.
By the time you get there the rescue shuttle has already begun picking people up in its net, the rescued workers hooking in to the shuttle and plugging into its life-support from the outside, just to be safe. The remaining couple of workers with functional oxen are gently piloting them back to the ship and docking them in the hangar.
You make your way through the airlock and see Auggie floating before you. Construction ships like this don’t bother with artificial gravity; it just complicates things. If you’re trained in it, it’s easier to get things done in zero-g anyway.
“The 1st mate is coming down hard. There’s going to be a big investigation. Everyone is confined to quarters for a return trip, though damned if I know how they can enforce something like that on this bucket. The company’s going to be pissed this project just got so far behind. We’ll probably all lose our jobs,” Auggie fills you in.
The two of you make your way to the all-hands and find seats. You stop paying attention to the 1st mate’s tirade, like, half a second in. He just yells a bunch about finding out who’s responsible for the loss of life, how the company will fire your ass, and everyone is in trouble.
You know the investigation shouldn’t take long. The ship’s AI was tracking everyone’s location, so it’ll know that you and Executive AssFace were in communication shortly before the incident. It could possibly look like an accident, but your coding fingerprints are all over the subroutines you manipulated. Plus, everyone else on the crew knows your knack for getting the oxen to do things they were never designed to do. It won’t take long before you’re prime suspect numero uno.
So, you go to your quarters to think and figure out what your next move is. You can’t take out everyone on the ship, nor would you want to, but maybe if you captured the four officers the rest of the crew would follow you? Maybe you just admit what you did and take the punishment like a man. Or maybe you can hack the ship AI and falsify the record.
Hack the ship AI? You realize your time allowed on the mesh might be short. Better check your messages.
[Incoming Message. Source:Hypercorp Gorgon Defense Systems]
[Public Key Decryption Complete]
We, Gorgon Defense Systems, were duly impressed by your actions sabotaging the efforts of Starware. Please accept this small sum of money as a token of gratitude. Your deposit of these funds acts as de facto acceptance of an ad hoc contract between yourself and Gorgon Defense Systems. This contract can be terminated at will by Gorgon Defense Systems. This contract, among other things, provides for the contacting of you by Gorgon Defense Systems employees, contractors, or associates for future industrial sabotage assignments which will be contracted on a per-assignment basis. No trace of this message will remain on any mesh hardware one (1) minute after opening and no Gorgon Defense Systems employee, contractor, or associate will admit to any knowledge of its contents.
Have a nice day,
V.P. Covert Operations
Corporate Espionage Department
Gorgon Defense Systems
[End of message]
[Incoming Message. Source: First bank of Ganymede]
[Security Certificate: Valid]
This is an automated message. There has been a deposit made to your account with First Bank of Ganymede in the sum of:
It may take up to three business days for these funds to become available.
If you think you have received this message in error contact us at the link below.
[End of Message]
_OOC: You are bound to your quarters. However, there really isn’t anyone forcing you to stay in your room, yet. For now, you have mesh access and can poke around the ship virtually. If you want to narrate leaving your room, assume that you have to do so sneakily or you’ll get caught and forcibly put back in your room, possibly under armed guard. The ship doesn’t have very many people on it, maybe 20 tops. But it is large enough to have hidey holes and whatnot, as it’s designed to carry materials for habitat construction. Leaving the ship isn’t really an option as you’re far enough from anything else that the ship is your only way back to civilization. Or you could try stealing the rescue craft but it doesn’t have the range to get you anywhere. Let me know if you want feedback on other options before you put down any text.
Also, it might be worth noting that 100,000 credits is a metric fuckton of money._
I close out the message from Gorgon much impressed.
Monies? Monies for my artz? Don’t mind if I do… Holy Lolcat, I mutter, invoking a minor data-deity from Earth That Was, I CAN HAZ PATRON!
hee. It’ll bite me in the ass later, no doubt, but happy is the life which can be founded on any certainty, even certain doom. A bemused calm suffuses me as I consider my options. First off, time to uninstall Sufficiency from Starware hardware post-haste as doubtless their Whitehat Asshats are aiming to archive me unto obselescence.
Sure enough, the Ship’s AI fingered me as the prime suspect. Hell, to its credit its gotten far enough along so’s I wouldn’t’ve caught it were it not waiting on sub-ether transportation protcols to ring back from some corporate penitentary of doom ‘n’ gloom. I suborn the communication lobe of the Ship’s AI by convincing it I’ve got a dick as thick as a beer can and as long as the highest prime number and set it to calculate the suction lift to get me off. Time was when you couldn’t sweet talk a machine this way, but now its just a matter of knowing how to feed dirty data via the slang interpreters. Honestly, if they can’t be bothered to sanitize their input, then I’m certainly not going to do it for them.
Anyway. This ship’s not talking to anyone at this point and ought to be bouncing messages back. Usually this sort of communications interrupt only happens when there’s a Moderate to Severe Incident, the sort which generally necessitates the evacuation of all hands. Guess I’d better get on that, then.
Gobbless the Lords of Modern Sanitation who have bestowed their predictable bounty upon the good ship Hottentot (as I have pre-emptively re-christened her) for the subsystems are powered by shite. Appallignly efficient bacteria farms convert the feces into hydrogen, which means our toilets are cleaner than our mess hall and there’s a fairly abundant supply of unstable gas waiting to be processed into the portable hydrogen fuel cells that power everything from the OXen to our nightlights.
Granted, that most combustible gas is meant to be stored safely but, you know. Accidents happen. Sometimes they’re happy even convenient accidents which can be easily helped along, should someone have basic knowledge of Aerospace systems. And, go figure, as it turns out a fellow only needs one stonkingly vast explosion and some strategically placed flaming jets to convince everyone the ships oxygen is getting sucked off faster than a Vesuvian john and anyone with a vested interest in breathing same ought to hie aboard the good ship fuckawayoff and disembark for the safety of the half-finished habitat they’d just left. The rusters opt to cling to the outside of the escape capsules rather than deal with re-stantiating somewhere and then having to hoof it back to the job site.
They all watch the construction ship spiral erratically, the death-throes of the hulk quickly receeding into the inky blackness of space.
“Lazy gits,” I mutter to Auggie.
“Slackers,” he agrees. “They were trying to leave their job half-finished.” He raises his glass of homebrew in a toast. We’re relaxing in the Hottentot’s greenhouse waiting for the rest of the oxygen to thaw; hull breeches have been patched and bulkheads sealed so she’s holding air again. The engines busily accelerate us away to… well, just away, mostly. Escapes first. Destinatations later. Things are good – I’ve got a ship and a First Mate.
“Why me?” he asks, settling back.
“Волк не будет есть волка**,” I reply, picking at a brass brad lodged in my chair’s armrest. “And what, I’m going to leave you with the assholes?”
“Fish, Fish,” Auggie shakes his head slowly. “You feel nothing for them, condemning the many to a slow death of oxygen starvation until attrition leaves the few to suffer the privations of thirst and hunger?”
I roll my eyes. “You and me both know the life support systems are all but online. They can’t muster the wherewithall to bang two rocks together and complete that work before their personal supplies run out, they don’t deserve what comes next. Series of slingshot payload from the local station zeta is destined to impact in 48 hours. Everything required to bootstrap a resort from soup to nuts is en route, same as it has been lo! these many months. Mana from the heavens, then beer, then pleasure-synths. Don’t play dumb, we’ve all been drooling over those manifests for months now. I just gave them an excuse to be the first tourists is all. If they’ve got any common sense, they’re going to discover some hitherto unknown glitch in the com-sat which is going to delay their rescue that much longer.”
“Suddenly half a share of a leaky, burned out husk of a tub does not seem so appealing,” Auggie recants, before winding into a lament that indeed, life has once again left him holding the shitty end of a schtick. I’m reasonably certain he’s bullshitting me but suspect he’ll still take the paycheck I’m offering in return for the assistance he rendered.
**A wolf won’t eat wolf.
OOC – ask questions as needed. I’m pretty sure all the stuff I’ve tried to do uses things I’m pretty good at. I’ll pay Auggie pretty much whatever he wants, though no more than 1/2 of what I got from Gorgon. I have no idea what skills he has other than vodka brewing but, you know, if he can put up with Fish than I think that’s about all I can ask of a potential partner in crime at this point.