Friday, 22 June 2012

Solo Traveller - Aloin's Saga #2


The main hatch of the Iridium Queen swung open just as Aloin reached out to push the call button again. A small, grey-haired man looked out, and then up. He kept on looking up until Aloin wondered if his head was going to fall off behind him.

“Hello,” Aloin said politely, trying not to loom over him. “My name is Aloin Grathikka. I was told to report to here. Meccan Vesukka sent me.”

The little man swallowed and blinked. “Aloin?” he said weakly. “Meccan sent you? I was expecting someone a little …”

“Shorter?” Aloin suggested. The little man grinned.

“Kiirgun Atmai, Cargo Master,“ he said. “Come meet the Captain,” he added, inviting Aloin on board.
Walking down the corridor, Aloin found himself ducking instinctively to avoid the overheads and service runs. Stepping into the lift, they were whisked to the upper deck, and then Kiirgun ushered Aloin into the crew common area.

Pushing Aloin into a seat, Kiirgun passed him a fizz drink from a small chiller, and then took one for himself.

Captain Elera Lukk, Iridium Queen
A tiny, elderly woman sauntered into the common area and hoisted herself up onto a stool. Staring intently at Aloin, she produced a curled, edron wood pipe from a pocket and tamped some dry leaf into the bowl. Producing a hot wire from a ring on one gnarled finger, she lit the pipe and drew heavily on it. “What have you brought me, Kiir?” she asked Kiirgun while continuing to examine Aloin through the cloud of sweet smelling smoke she wrapped about her.

 “New crewman, ma’am, Aloin Grathikka,” Kiirgun replied.

“From this dust bowl? Recommended? “

“Yes, ma’am. By Meccan Vesukka, my shuttle pilot on the Arch of Heaven.”

“Pain in the arch, more likely,” the little old woman replied. “Why did she end up here?”

“This is her homeworld.” Kiirgun shrugged. “Not enough people here to make it worth bombing during the war, and during the peace it’s a good place for a quiet life.”

“Or to hide,” the old woman grumbled, relighting her pipe. She looked Aloin directly in the eye. He felt as if she was seeing right through him. “All right, lad, I am Captain Elera Lukk,” she said. “I am master of this ship, the Iridium Queen, and represent the owner aboard. We are a free trader, out of Celephais, and we are honest. We don’t steal, we don’t smuggle, and we steer a course that’s straight and true. If you can abide by these rules, you will have a berth with us for as long as you like. Otherwise? And you will walk home. Understood?”

Aloin straightened up. “Yes, ma’am,” he said. “Thank you, ma’am.”

Captain Lukk permitted a half-smile to flicker across her face. “You may be a little premature with your thanks,” she replied. “You brought him in, Kiir, so you can process him and see to his basic training.” She slid down off her stool and tapped her pipe out into a waste chute. She glanced back at Aloin. “We have a little time, dirt-side, while we’re waiting on a cargo. Use this time wisely and learn this ship,” she said sharply. “When we lift, we won’t be carrying passengers.” She strode out of the common area, heading forward.

Aloin looked downcast. “Cheer up, lad,” Kiirgun said, slapping him lightly on the shoulder. “She didn’t throw you off the ship, so you have a berth and a job. Let’s go get the paperwork squared away, and a bunk sorted for you. And then we’ll get to work.”



Commentary
So, that’s sort of how Aloin ended up as an apprentice crewman on the Iridium Queen.

His father’s partner had served with the Gunner/Cargo Master Kiirgun Atmai (oh, he didn’t mention that he is also the ship’s gunner? That was a bit remiss of him when meeting a young man he doesn’t know) on a previous ship. The fact that “the war” was also mention would seem to indicate that their mutual service was during, or soon after “the war”. The last war to affect the Miazan Subsector was the 4th Outrim War which ended in 1085. The Kalar-Wi War, which occured just to Coreward in Gamelea Subsector, finished in 1105, and as the current game date is 1107, and Aloin’s father and Meccan Vesukka have been together for at least four years, it is unlikely that “the war” Kiirgun was referring to is the Kalar-Wi War.

Captain Elera Lukk and Kiirgun Atmai would appear to have some history in that she trusts his judgement with regards to new hires, and she knows, or knows of, people that he knows. Lukk’s age and physical size changed a lot as I generated a bunch of Merchant characters to get the skill-set I wanted. I’m quite happy with the final result I achieved for her, and I’m starting to get a feel for her and what she is like as a character. 


I have found a piece of freeware called 'Traveller Character Generator', which is available from, amongst other places, CNET, and have been having some fun generating Book 1 characters to flesh out the crew of the Iridium Queen. I used to have a little programme that would generate Book 1 and Supplement 4 characters, but I seem to have lost it when my old computer died.