Campaign of the Month: January 2011

Honour Among Thieves

Shakedown Crews Session Five

Some jobs just don't go smooth. This one in particular.

Still nursing a few bruises and more than a few grudges, YJ manhandled Shenmue into the air and headed for the port city of Newhouse, a few hundred miles due east of the Taros settlement. He kept the Firefly transport in atmo, not wanting to risk another high-altitude tumble with his port engine still wonky.

As the ship made its approach, the crew noted the unending piles of discarded junk that stretched in every direction as far as the eye could see. Worth in particular felt a strong desire to not become a permanent addition to the scrap heaps.

Newhouse itself was carved out of the rusted landscape of debris and disused shipping containers. The bored voice of an operator from Port Control came online. “This is Newhouse Port Control. Unidentified Firefly transport, state your business.”

YJ keyed open the channel. “Uh, this is midbulk transport Shenmue requesting permission for landing. We are scheduled for a cargo pick-up and would also like to see to some repairs.”

“Roger that, Shenmue. You are cleared to land at docking pad D-20. Port fees must be paid before a departing flight plan can be filed.”

As YJ brought the ship in for a landing, the crew prepared to disembark. Newhouse didn’t have the stringent restrictions against smoking or wearing firearms, which suited both Worth and Jonah just fine.

The crew gathered in the cargo hold. “So Worthless, are we going to find anti-Worth merchandise aplenty in port here?” Jonah smirked. Worth coughed. “Well, uh, it’s a bigger town; they’ve probably got less time to sit around throwing darts at my picture than they do over in Taros.”

“Worth, I think there’s probably plenty of work for you to attend to aboard ship,” YJ said. “Go square away some exposed wiring or something.” Grumbling, the mechanic walked back into the depths of the ship.

“So, how are we set for medical supplies?” Jonah asked the Doc. “Why, you want me to go shopping?” The Doc replied.

YJ rolled his eyes. “Listen, you go square up the port fees with Traffic Control, and then go buy us some bandages or something. Painkillers, too, unless you’ve left some for the rest of us.”

The Doc smiled weakly as he hit the door controls. The cargo ramp folded out as the main doors cycled open to reveal of all things a welcoming committee consisting of two uniformed dockside cops and a smarmy-looking fellow whose uniform was that of a man used to being in control of the situation.

“Oh hell,” YJ grumbled.

“Good day gentlemen,” the slickster said, sweating in the midday sun but bearing it no mind. “I’m Inspector Rifkin of Newhouse Port Control.”

“Let me be the first to say welcome to Newhouse,” Inspector Rifkin continued through a Cheshire cat grin. “You’ll notice I didn’t say ‘welcome to Beylix,’ because your ship matches the description of a Firefly transport that violated the no-fly zone around the Taros Reclamation Settlement yesterday.”

YJ and Jonah’s feigned indignation overlapped one another’s.

“Who would be crazy enough to get anywhere near those methane balloons?” YJ finally spit out.

“Ah, so you’re familiar with the landing regulations at Taros, are you?”

“Uh, well, in flight school they used to use Taros as a simulated landing environment, and well I lost count of the number of times I crashed into one of those things.” YJ replied.

“Well, it’s refreshing to hear from a pilot who knows his limitations.” Rifkin said, unzipping a leather-bound notebook that opened to a series of forms. “Now, the penalty for violating the Taros no-fly zone is three hundred credits, so let’s get started on the paperwork, shall we? First I’ll need you to sign this waiver so my friends here can inspect your ship from stem to stern, and then-”

Jonah stepped in. “Listen, Inspector Rifkin, there must be more important things for you and your men to be attending to right now. Is there a way to make some sort of up-front payment that will help, uh, expedite matters?”

Rifkin’s grin threatened to split his cheeks. “I like the way you think, sir. Who needs that kind of paperwork?”

“I was thinking you and your comrades would prefer 150 in platinum apiece instead.” Jonah responded.

“Well said,” Rifkin said, snapping his ledger closed.

Three hundred and seventy-five in platinum later (paid out of the nascent ship’s fund) the police went happily on their way, and the crew got to work. “Listen, there’s no point in wasting time here,” YJ said. “We go in, get out, and get paid while ‘Travis’ here keeps busy making repairs.”

YJ and Jonah took the hover-mule out onto J.W. McClarrin Avenue towards the centre of town, past the city’s eponymous smelter and the eye-watering reek of the expansive chemical storage facility.

Sing’s Skyworks Repair and Restoration was Farnsworth’s Beylix-based supplier, owned by a man named Gerald Sing. Sing’s yard was a chaotic morass of discarded starship components, with a fenced-in area likely holding more valuable items, and a few outbuildings surrounded by landing pads, atop which were parked several starships that looked as though they were trucked in and dumped in place, as opposed to flown.

They found the office easily enough, and Gerald Sing was just as easy to find, wedged behind a desk laden with shipping manifests and salvage agreements. “Nie hao, gentlemen. What can I do for you?”

Jonah explained that they were there on behalf of Jared Farnsworth to pick up a load of spare parts. Sing said that the cargo was indeed ready for transport, and his men would be happy to load it aboard their transport, a process that would take about three hours. Jonah accepted the shipping manifest and cross-referenced it with the purchase order Farnsworth had sent along with them.

There was one glaring omission. Sing had not included an intake manifold in the shipment of parts. Jonah’s heart sank. “Uh, listen, there’s a discrepancy here. You’re missing one Firefly transport-compatible intake manifold.”

Sing coughed. “Oh, that. I sent Farnsworth a wave about it not too long ago. You must have already been in transit. I’ve double-checked my inventory and I won’t be able to include that part in this month’s shipment, but I’ve given Farnsworth my word that it’ll be in for next month.”

YJ groaned inwardly. “Look, there must be some mistake. That part is our payment for this run. We need it to get our ship spaceworthy again.”

“I understand,” Sing said with some sympathy. “However, I’ve had my boys out searching the Yard, that’s the capital-Y Yard by the way, and there’s just nothing available at the moment. It’ll turn up though, whatever you need to turn up always does sooner or later out there. So if you’re willing to wait…”

“We’re on the clock, Mr. Sing.” Jonah countered. “Farnsworth needs those parts yesterday.”

Sing looked nonplussed. “Believe me, if there was something I could do, I would, it’s just…well, I pride myself on being able to fill orders, so imagine my disappointment…”

“There must be a way we can work things out,” YJ said. “Perhaps we can offer our services out in the, er, the ‘Yard’ if it’ll speed things up.”

“I’ll have to speak to my foreman, see if we have any leads.” Sing said, obviously eager to move things along, and out of his office.

“You do that. We can be reached here,” YJ said, giving Sing the number to his multiband.

So Jonah and YJ soon found themselves cooling their heels in the dingy Planetfall Bar a little further back up McClarrin Avenue, waiting for a call that didn’t come for more than an hour and a half. In the meantime they put a call in to the Doc, who told them that a truckload of spare parts had been delivered to the ship, and Worth, or should he say ‘Travis’ was supervising the loading.

YJ informed the Doc of their predicament. “See if you can get the names of some other scrap dealers and repair yards from the locals,” he said. “We may have to go shopping.”

“Geez, it should be easy to track this part down,” the Doc said. “After all, we’re sitting on the biggest scrap heap in the ‘Verse.”

“Yeah, you’d think so,” YJ hung up and then called Gerald Sing.

“Oh hello there,” Sing said. “Listen, my crew’s locked up slicing and dicing a cruiser out in the Yard, so we can’t spare the men for a guided tour.”

“Maybe we didn’t make ourselves clear before, Mr. Sing,” YJ said, gritting his teeth. “If you help us out here, we’ll owe you quite a large favour, no questions asked.”

There was silence on the line. Then Mr. Sing spoke. “Well…as the old saying goes, ‘are you fer the law, or agin’ it?’”

YJ considered for a moment. “Well, I guess it depends on whose law we’re talking about, Mr. Sing. But like I said, if you can get us the manifold we won’t be asking any questions.”

There was more silence on the line. Then Mr. Sing spoke again. “Why don’t you come back to my office and we’ll talk business.”

YJ and Jonah soon found themselves sitting in Gerald Sing’s office being served tea from a dragon-shaped pot. Gerald settled behind his desk and sighed.

“Let me tell you how the salvage business works around here. Unified Reclamation owns property all over Beylix and has turned them into some of the biggest scrap yards in all the ‘Verse. The principal Yard is just a stone’s throw from Newhouse and covers practically half the continent. You may or may not have noticed the security barrier outside of town that fences the Yard in from those who would like to pick it over. People like me. To get in, you first have to get a salvage licence from Unified Reclamation, which doesn’t come cheap. But once you’re in, any piece of pretty you manage to recover has to be brought back through one of the gated entrances to the Yard, and UR gets to slap a princely salvage duty on it before it can get moved to a shipyard or warehouse. So you can appreciate how scaring up an extra intake manifold on demand for you boys is a rather costly venture on my part.”

“So why bother going through all that paperwork?” YJ asked.

Gerald smiled. “Because without a valid salvage licence, anyone UR catches in the Yard is made a permanent part of the landscape, and someone else gets to salvage their remains, which get taken through the gate, which means an export duty. It’s a lesser-of-two-evils situation. But if you’re willing and able to skirt the official entrances and pull some extra parts out of the Yard for me, there may be a way we can come to terms about the intake manifold.”

“Sounds good to me,” YJ said. “Does that sound good to you, Jonah?”

“Perhaps you’re forgetting what I do for a living,” Jonah replied. “I’m the resident acquisition specialist, remember?” Taking a sip of his tea, he turned to Gerald. “So what kind of security are we looking at, Mr. Sing?”

Gerald’s smile didn’t waver. “Well first there’s the security barrier. 40 feet high, studded with sensor antennae and guard towers. The gated entrances are all patrolled by UR prods and you have to flash a legit salvage badge to get approval. They can spot a forgery from a mile away, and plus anyone trying to smuggle stuff out of the gates has to contend with scanners that would make the Alliance green with envy.”

“Sounds real pleasant,” Jonah said.

Gerald continued. “That’s not all. There’s air patrols, skiffs, satellite sniffers. The only ships UR allows to land inside the Yard are those that are being scuttled, or officially-sanctioned dumpers.”

“So no flying, then.” YJ sounded disappointed.

“On the ground there are sentries and ATV patrols, but they’re easier to avoid than their airborne compatriots. Once you’re in, as long as you don’t make a lot of noise, you’re golden.”

“So how do we get in?” YJ said.

Gerald demurred. “Well now, that’s the trick isn’t it? That’s where my man Barnes comes in.” He passed a slip of paper over to YJ. “If you’re feeling up to it, give him a call. But don’t waste his time. He’s not much for small talk.”

“Sounds to us like a good plan,” Jonah said. “We’ll be in touch.”

Back the hover mule, Jonah keyed in the number Gerald had given him on his multiband. A gruff voice answered. “Go ahead.”

“Call me JR. We’ve just been talking to a mutual friend, Gerald Sing. He says you can help us locate an intake manifold if we pull some parts out of the Yard for him.”

“You boys got a good wheelman?” Barnes replied.

“You’re talking to him,” Jonah said.

“My boy Duster will be waiting for you at Emmet’s Bar. Look for a guy chewing toothpicks like some people chew gum.”

As the pair drove towards Emmet’s bar, YJ called the Doc, telling him to make sure the cargo was secured and the rest of the bay was cleared. Jonah noted that ‘Travis’ might be useful to help with the salvage operation.

The two men strode into the dingy bar and made a beeline for the guy at the back of the room who was busy devouring a mint-flavoured toothpick. He introduced himself as Duster. “So you’re the boys looking for some quid pro quo? I’m sure we can accommodate you.”

“Wherever there’s a will, there’s a way,” Jonah said.

“Good motto.” Duster scratched out some marks on a piece of scrap paper. “The first set of coordinates will get you in, the second set is where we’ll meet to exchange the goods, and the third is the drop point for the delivery of the extra parts. As long as you don’t bring the Law down on you, everything will be fine. Just stay clear of the sentries and don’t attract any attention.”

“See you tonight then,” Jonah said, pocketing the scrap paper.

Back on Shenmue the crew prepared themselves. YJ’s plan was to file a flight plan with Port Control to Fueling Station A-21 as scheduled, with the addendum that their ship was experiencing some engine difficulties so their air speed would be significantly reduced before they broke atmo. Then he would get the ship clear of Newhouse air space, find a spot to set her down gently, and take the bus the rest of the way. Then he told Worth to get his tools.

“Good, I finally get to do some work. Newhouse doesn’t have much of a nightlife, anyway,” the mechanic responded.

YJ and Jonah explained the plan to Worth, who was familiar with the way these sorts of operations worked on Beylix. “So you’re dealing with Barnes, eh? I’ve never heard of this Duster fellow, but Barnes’s operation is solid. He doesn’t like to get his hands dirty, though.”

YJ said, “Well, he’s got us going over the fence, anyway.”

Worth examined Duster’s coordinates. “Under it, actually. See, a few miles from here there’s an old hydrogen tanker, a Danube Mark II, buried near the security barrier. The ship’s stern is on this side of the fence, but its bow is way the hell on the other side. Smuggler’s have been using it for years.”

“Shiny.” YJ said. “We get in, pick up the goods, and get out. If we get hit, we split. Less chance of all of us getting captured, as long as we’ve got a good cover story.”

“Won’t matter,” Worth said. “UR will riddle us all full of holes if they catch us with a mule full of their goods.”

“That’s a real pleasant thought.” YJ said.

The crew took to the air, Shenmue limping out of port in keeping with the flight plan. Once clear of the city limits and air space, YJ looked for a likely spot to put the Firefly down, none too near the fence, but none too far either in case a speedy getaway was needed. The Doc stayed aboard with one eye on the ship’s sensor and security systems.

The trio then packed their gear aboard the bus and set out for the first set of Duster’s coordinates as the sun set. Soon the crew could see the battered bridge of the Danube Mk II freighter rearing up out of the surrounding scrap like a submarine’s conning tower breaking through a sheet of arctic ice. Except instead of ice, the ship was breaking through a uniform layer of rusted scrap metal that covered the ground in all directions.

“Battered” didn’t even begin to describe the state of the derelict. The bridge viewports were glass-free, its hatches had been torn out, and every inch of exposed exterior hull plating was covered in lurid graffiti, with most of the tags detailing profane conjectures about UR’s lineage.

Worth eased the bus through the gaping bridge viewport, and the crew noticed that everything worth anything had been stripped clean out, and not only the stuff that was worth anything – chairs, deck plating, everything. There was another gaping hole in the deck big enough to accommodate the hover mule, and the vehicle descended into darkness.

Suddenly they popped out into a huge cavern, a massive hollow cylinder that in better days served as a hydrogen storage tank. The mule’s running lights showed that the bottom of the tank was covered with debris – everything from jagged pieces of hull plating to plain old boulders. Above them was a narrow, twisted catwalk that ran the length of the tank, with a few open hatches here and there along the centre track. The crew made their way more than two hundred feet in the pitch darkness before they could make out a semi-circle of slightly-less-dark at the top of the hydrogen tank. The could make out a debris-choked exit cut into the hull of the buried derelict.

Then they were out into the forbidden zone of the UR scrapyard. Dotting the landscape were the stripped superstructures of ships that used to ply the spacelanes of the Verse, but now looked nothing more than the broken, discarded toys of a giant. Heaps of tangled, rusted metal leaned precariously over stacks of broken machinery and looked as though they would topple over at any moment. Fields of disused shipping containers and packing crates that had spilled their contents created uneven terrain as Worth drove the hover mule onward. Everyone’s eyes watered as they passed near the shore of a large lake of caustic hydraulic fluid, with the hull of a derelict freighter standing at its centre like a forgotten pleasure cruiser.

Standing out in the semi-darkness like the skyline of a demented city the crew could make out the gargantuan profile of one of UR’s many mobile reclamation centres that acted as hubs for salvage activity, festooned with multitudinous cranes and sweeping searchlights as it moved a few inches at a time towards the next derelict that needed breaking.

YJ tapped Worth’s shoulder and he brought the mule to a stop. “This is where you get off. They’re only expecting two of us.”

“What the hell?” Worth barked.

“We need you to bring up the rear and keep an eye on these guys in case things go squirrely on us.” YJ said. “Relax, find a hiding place and we’ll be back for you in a jiffy.”

Grumbling, Worth hopped down from the driver’s seat as Jonah took his place behind the controls.

Following Duster’s coordinates, they soon found themselves at the meeting point, where a trio of rough-looking customers stood next to their ride, which looked like the offspring of a forced mating between a muscle car and a tow truck. A tarp covered some crates nearby, and sitting on the crates was none other than Duster, who was calmly working a toothpick around his mouth.

“Didn’t think you were going to make it,” Duster said easily. “Anyone catch you crossing over?”

”Would we be standing here if they had?” YJ retorted.

The second contact, who looked like he’d been dipped from head to toe in engine grease, pointed to a nearby wreck, its gooseneck still pointing proudly skyward. “That bird should do you,” he grumbled. “Not more’n 800 million miles on her. Ship zigged when it should have zagged and she ended up here.”

Duster’s men loaded up the crates into the hover mule, and then climbed back aboard their truck. “Time for us to get back to more legitimate endeavours,” Duster smiled as he flashed the laminated salvage badge that hung from a lanyard around his neck. “See you at the rendezvous outside the Yard.”

Soon Worth emerged from the darkness, rifle at the ready. YJ pointed to the wrecked Firefly transport. “Our intake manifold should be waiting for us in there.”

Jonah pulled sentry duty as Worth hefted his tool kit and climbed inside the derelict Firefly’s starboard engine. “Time to earn my pay,” he grumbled to himself as he turned on his cutting torch.

“Just keep the volume down,” YJ hissed from his perch aboard the hover mule.

On his lazy walkabout, Jonah kept one eye on the horizon and the other on the lookout for anything worth picking up and adding to his collection. He soon found quite a prize – a mint-condition anti-Worth flydart board complete with a spare set of customized darts. His keen ears, however, soon picked out the sound of approaching engines.

YJ heard it too, and killed the mule’s running lights. “You hear that?” he whispered into his comm unit.

“Yeah. At least two vehicles circling around,” Jonah said, doing his best to hide in the shadow of a crashed shuttle pod.

Inside the engine, Worth continued to disconnect hardware and cut away what he couldn’t disconnect to clear a path for the intake manifold, a vaguely x-shaped unit made from pristine steel that weighed near a ton, or so it seemed. He finally got it loose and crept back out to where the mule was waiting.

Jonah made his way back to the Firefly in a running crouch just as Worth got ahold of the intake manifold with the mule’s forklift tines. YJ did his best to hold the heavy unit steady as it was slowly, ever so slowly, pulled from within the cavernous engine. “Keep it steady, Worthless!” he hissed.

Worth pulled back on the controls, and the unit slid out from the engine. He almost had it fed into the cargo bed of the hover mule when it shifted suddenly, and slipped free from the forklift. It fell and skidded into the cargo bay, YJ leaping out of the way to avoid having his ankles pulverized by the steel component. Less fortunate, however, were the three crates that Duster’s men had loaded into the bed. The manifold crushed and pancaked them in a split second. The three men cursed in surprise.

“Uh oh,” Jonah said as he climbed aboard, slapping Worth’s shoulder irritably. “Way to go Worthless!”

“Just check the crates. Maybe the goods are still okay.” Worth said hopefully.

YJ and Jonah crawled over the intake manifold and inspected the shattered crates. To their shock and surprise, the crates were empty.

“What the hell?” YJ said, puzzled.

Jonah’s heart sank. “Worth, go go go!”

Suddenly, there was a whistle and popping sound as a magnesium flare shot high into the sky, bathing the area in false daylight. The source of the approaching engines was revealed as the crew saw two ATVs tearing through the scrap towards them. The ATVs looked like jumped-up dune buggies with large balloon tires that carried them over the rough terrain with an obscene sort of grace. They featured enclosed cabins raised up on modified suspension lifts with large protruding coil springs that absorbed the worst of the bumps and rattles. The most worrisome modification however were the machinegun turrets built into the roofs of the ATV cabs. Those machineguns were pointed directly at the crew.

Worth threw the mule into drive as the pair of ATVs raced towards them, putting the bulk of the derelict Firefly between them and the UR goons.

Jonah and YJ crouched low on the mule’s rear deck, aiming their pistols at the offending dune buggies, but the range was long so there wasn’t much to do but aim and hope for the best.

As Worth opened up the throttle, one of the ATVs opened up with its mounted .50 calibre cannon, spitting fire at the hover mule. Worth banked and weaved, and the stream of lead instead perforated the corroded exterior of a discarded shipping container.

The ATVs began to close the range, and YJ continued to aim his pistol at the gunman sitting in the closest buggy’s turret. Jonah looked at his pistol, evaluated the range, then holstered it and grabbed for Worth’s favourite assault rifle. “Hey!” Worth barked. “You treat Katrina right, you hear me?”

Jonah thumbed the thermal targeting lock and checked his sights. “Much better,” he said to himself.

YJ snapped off a shot that ricocheted off the gunner’s weapon but did no damage to the UR security man. The light from the magnesium flare was so bright YJ could see the man’s feral grin from behind the .50 cal. Another burst from the machinegun tore through the air over everyone’s heads.

Jonah fired a burst at the front tire of the second ATV, but the driver was too good, swerving out of his field of fire. Jonah’s blast instead shattered a pyramid of half-crushed Blue Sun Cola cans.

YJ changed tactics and fired a flechette at one of the tires on the first ATV. The armor-piercing round smacked home, puncturing the tire, which engaged some sort of self-sealing countermeasure. The ATV wobbled but stayed in the chase. YJ cursed.

Jonah switched targets and fired into the tire of the approaching buggy. The assault rifle’s rounds were too much for the self-sealing rubber to handle, and the tire loudly deflated. The ATV spun out, kicking up dust, rust and debris as it came to a screaming halt on the scrap plain. An enraged UR prod popped the dorsal hatch and sent a burst of tracer rounds after the escaping hover mule.

“One down!” shouted Jonah.

Then the gunner on the second ATV got the hover mule in his sights. He sent a spray of heavy fire into the guts of the bus, shredding the port ducted fan and sending bits of plastic fairing flying in every direction. Worth grimaced as the hover mule began to lose power as well as speed. “I’m not going to be able to get her over the fence, not with the weight we’re carrying!”

“Forget the fence, let’s use that tunnel again!” YJ shouted.

“Hell with that! If word gets out that I led UR straight to the scrapper community’s biggest trump card, they’ll start sending people after us! Dong ma?”

YJ gulped as the offending ATV began to close the distance and decided he wasn’t going to give the gunner another shot. He aimed for the man’s head and snapped off a round.

The gunner flopped back in his restraints, but held onto the firing studs of the machine gun. The cannon barked again, nearly finishing the hover mule off. Jonah raised his assault rifle and finished what YJ started, pulping the UR goon’s head in a burst of gore.

The heavy cannon may not have been a factor anymore, but the ATV driver wasn’t out of the fight. He redlined the engine and attempted to ram the mule, but Worth slewed the ailing hovercraft sideways, giving the dune buggy the slip.

At point blank range, YJ and Jonah both shot at the exposed front tire of the second ATV, which popped like a party balloon. The driver spun the wheel as the ATV went into an uncontrolled slide, then threw up his hands as the ATV flipped end over end, scattering itself all over the scrapscape.

Trailing debris, the limping hover mule threaded its way back through the buried Danube freighter and the crew finally breathed a sigh of relief. YJ gave the Doc a call.

“What’s our status?” the Doc said.

“We’ve got the part and we’re heading back to Shenmue.”

Turning off the multiband, YJ turned to Jonah. “Should we give Barnes a call?”

Jonah smiled. “Yeah, when we’re in space.”

Worth chimed in. “Can we finally get the hell off this rock?”

The trio got the bus aboard their ship, and YJ got her into the air. When they were well on their way, Jonah sat in the co-pilot’s station and called Barnes’s number.

The voice on the other end was flat and tight with anger. “You didn’t make the rendezvous.”

Jonah shot back. “Yeah, well your cheong bao ho tze pal Duster set us up and led UR right to us.”

There was silence on the line. “So you say. How do I know you didn’t just grab the goods and run for it?”

YJ jumped in. “You don’t. This is just a courtesy call on our part, letting you know what’s what. Either you’re involved in this setup, and if so, then nah mei guan shee, but if you’re not, then you’ve got double-dealers on your payroll and you’d better watch your back.”

There was more silence on the line. Then Barnes disconnected.

“You know,” YJ said. “One of these days we’re going to have to go back and figure out who set us up, and why.”

“Right, right, a revenge mission. That’s great and all, but we should be looking forward, not back.” Jonah said. “Let’s drop these goods with Farnsworth, and see that he makes good on his end so we don’t fall out of the sky anytime in the near future.”

“Let’s also send McKittrick a wave, tell him his goods have been safely stowed.” The Doc offered.

YJ contacted McKittrick as he laid in a course for Fueling Station A-21.

“Glad to hear the job went smooth,” McKittrick said.

YJ considered for a moment. “Yeah, it was a real milk run.”

“So listen, I need to lay low for the next little while, so you’ll be sending your ship payments through to my associate, Wes Ferris,” continued McKittrick. “He works out of Beaumonde, but he’s easy enough to get a hold of. I’ll send you a wave when I need to make use of your services again. Good luck, and keep flying.”

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