Cold down the river!

Started by Mugwumpuk, May 13, 2020, 10:56:42 am

Rigger "Riggs" Mirton

May 13, 2020, 10:56:42 am Last Edit: May 15, 2020, 02:13:53 am by Rigger "Riggs" Mirton
The door banged shut and roused Riggs from the thousand-yard stare he was giving his drink. He turned to follow the sound and, in the doorway, stood a miner, its identity hidden behind the soot and dust of the core of the planet. Sliding in behind the miner was a draft of bitter cold air that danced through the room causing Riggs to shudder and hug himself even tighter than before, he shivered again and downed the brown luke-warm sludge they called coffee.

He'd been stuck on St Albans for a week now, it felt much, much longer. A week since that qing wã cão de liú máng captain, Mercy Walkins left him stranded here. Stranded because she promised something, something she knew she couldn't deliver! A delivery time of less than a week! Despite the smell of the coffee, the animal carcass he was wrapped in and the locals, Riggs would swear he could still smell the rotten food that had filled the "Lot's" hold.

The journey on that goú shí freighter "Lance's Lot" had taken nine days, NINE days to make the journey from Eavesdown Docks to St Albans, it shouldn't have taken half that! The Shu-Fu class freighters were never considered the fastest or most reliable, but the fact their "engineer" didn't know a coolant catalyst from a fuel exchanger, he should have known it wasn't going to end well. He'd worked almost constantly for the entire journey just to make sure they arrived at St Albans.


The door banged again, another chill waltzed its way up to him, he turned to the bar, not caring who had entered this time, raised his beaker and jiggled it to the person behind the bar. He'd been here a week and he still wasn't completely sure which sex the bar person was, it seemed that everyone on this frozen hell hole was either covered in ore dust or wrapped in as many layers as they could cover themselves with and still move.
The bar person appeared at his shoulder carrying what could only loosely be described as a coffee pot. Riggs placed 4 coins on the table and a sticky hand reached out and swept them into an apron pocket. The coffee pot was tipped over his beaker and the coffee slowly meandered from the one to the other. It was compelling to watch, the liquid appeared, for all intents and purposes, to be trying to resist being poured. It was as if, even the coffee knew how cold it was.

A muffled ping forced its way through the thick fur jacket he was wearing, Riggs pulled out the battered, barely functioning cortex reader, the only think he'd left the "Lancer's Lot" with and thumbed the screen into life. As the display began to glow Riggs took a double take. A ship! A ship was coming here! And it needed a mechanic! He didn't bother to see what type of ship, after a week wrapped in barely washed animal skins, it could have been a garbage scow, it wouldn't matter, it just needed to get him off this rock and from there he could find his way back to Persephone.

He had known this kind of thing happened when working as a freelance mechanic, but it seemed to happen more times than seemed regular, maybe he should rethink his chosen career path!

For now, none of that mattered, the ship was in orbit!

The storm currently battering the northern hemisphere would no doubt be problematic and slow their arrival, but it would give Riggs just enough time to get cleaned up, well as much as he could, before the ship made planet fall.

He called up the ships name, the "Darling Francine", he nodded and tapped the "Contact" icon.

Rigger "Riggs" Mirton

May 20, 2020, 02:41:54 am #1 Last Edit: May 20, 2020, 03:21:59 am by Rigger "Riggs" Mirton
The street was empty. Light sliced through shuttered windows and carved into the milky grey maelstrom of what passed for weather on this rock. The wind realised that Riggs was trying to get to sanctuary and pounced, buffeting him left and right desperately trying to make the journey as long as possible. Another moist slap focussed his mind and pulled him away from anthropomorphising about the storm having a mind of its own and back to the fact he had finally arrived at his destination.

The sepia glow and relative warmth of the bunkhouse enveloped him as he secured the door behind him. Like much of Southern Claim, the buildings were repurposed industrial units or containers used to transport the terraforming or mining equipment to St Albans. Riggs was familiar with them, they were all over the 'Verse. This particular structure looked like smaller container units crudely welded together to make a larger disjointed whole. Ol' "Lazy Eye" Joe was slumped in his usual seat in the entrance hall, "lazy eye" was a bit of local colour, it appeared that Joe's eye was so lazy one mornin' it stayed on the pillow when he got up, it just lay there lookin' at him. Joe of course is also happy to tell folks this any given opportunity, as well as scaring the local kids with the gaping puckered socket that was left behind. More likely it was just the result of one of the many maladies that crawl out of the heart of terraformed planets, it was still grimmer than most folk needed to hear.

The thought of it made the "food" in Riggs belly complain and he quickly changed his thought process. Riggs began the time consuming process of removing the strata of fur that made up the cold weather gear he was wearing, three layers in he reached into his pocket and removed the cortex reader and delicately opened it. He honestly didn't know how it was still functioning it looked like it had seen more action in the Unification War than he had. As the screen throbbed into life, his heart sank. Three words on the screen pulsed at him sarcastically. "Connecting, Connecting, Connecting". Gorram it! His request to Captain Barnaby hadn't even been sent!

Trying to stay calm, he raised the cortex reader up to the sky as if that would help the signal in anyway, he lowered it and checked the screen, "Connecting, Connecting, Connecting". Riggs stood in the hall motionless while he racked his brain for a solution. The main problem was the storm itself. If it was too strong, then the ship would probably end up diverting to Northern Claim. If it did he was humped. There was no way he could get there in the storm and even if there were transports going there he didn't have enough credits to pay for it.

Riggs realised his choices came down to two. He could accept he would spend the rest of his days covered in foul smelling animal parts, waiting for the morning he woke up and some body part of his own decided to be "lazy" and leave itself behind. Or he could get wrapped up and head down to the prospectors office and ask, ever so very nicely, if he could use their cortex. He was sure they would understand and help him, wouldn't they?

With the last buckle tightened he reached for the door handle when a familiar electronic chime called out to him, he rapidly removed his gloves and began grasping at the buttons, clasps and belts of the dead animals. He retrieved the source of the noise and gingerly lifted the cover.

"Transmission Complete".

He punched the air, "Yes!". A grunt behind Riggs made him spin round, there was Joe, still in his seat, but lookin' all discomboblulated like. Riggs had obviously roused him from whatever dream the cycloptic ol' timer had been having. Riggs elation quickly fell away as he noticed that as he'd slept Joe had been dribbling and, bathing in that dribble, was food and chunks of who knows what, that had begun the decent from his mouth over his stubbled pointed chin and onto the waist coat Joe claimed was his best finery.

This was enough for the substance Riggs has come to accept as food in his stomach, it packed its bags and decided it was leaving. Without so much as a "by your leave" Riggs sprinted for the Head.

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