You are Allen Starwind, a starship captain and veteran of the Great Interstellar War. Your starship is old, yet (mostly) reliable, and you must take on jobs in order to bring in enough cash to keep it flying. Last time, you met with a reclusive techie, returned to Allie’s shop, and got a phone call. Good luck, and fair skies. Twitter: https://twitter.com/ZapQMArchive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?searchall=Starcaller
You frown, answering the call on your communicator. “Hello?” “Yes, is this Allen Starwind?” A man’s voice speaks expectantly on the other line. “It is. May I ask who is calling?” You frown. “This is Chris Robinson, from the Galactic Informer.” You nod upon hearing the name. That journalist finally decided to call you himself apparently. “I just wanted to get some preliminary questions out of the way before our interview.” “I never agreed to an interview,” you reply. “Ah, yes. Yes…” The reporter mutters something inaudible. “Well, I’d like to speak with you for a moment regardless. Is now a good time?” You grimace, looking around. In the time since you started speaking on the phone, Tom has walked over to some of the mechanics, and is speaking with them. You notice Allie directing a crew of welders, obviously very busy with your ship’s refurbishment. Cynthia is still standing nearby, and she raises an eyebrow as you look over to her. >”Uh… I actually can’t talk right now, working on my ship. Very important stuff!” >Hang up on him.>”Sure. I’ve got time to talk.” >Write-in.
>>2113973>Yeah, sure, why not. Although I can’t promise you anything interesting.Dealing with a Martian journalist. What can possibly go wrong?
>>2113973>Yeah, sure, why not. Although I can’t promise you anything interesting.
>>2113973Oh god what.I can't remember if this is in connection with anything, we are just kicking around waiting for ship upgrades right?Our reputation is important to us but if he wants to get us to comment in politics or organized crime or piracy we are going to piss someone off.I say we play hard to get a little, to jeep him keen>i can't talk right now, I need to find a gap in my schedule. How about you call me back?And then in the actual interview been add bland as possible. Talk about our humble new venture all the time, don't emphasize the aliens b or crew, if politics come up praise everyone for forging forward from a difficult conflict (including Blackheart), if the mob or clams comes up praise private industry.
>>2113973>No, its not. Have a nice day.Mr. report will probably come himself if he wants a scoop, and then we can talk to him on our terms. That and I think both we as a voterbase and Allen himself aren't looking for too much media attention at this point.
“Sure, I can talk.” You shrug. “Can’t promise it’ll be too interesting though.” “You underestimate yourself,” the journalist says. “You’re practically the model for successful people. From humble beginnings, to being a war hero, and from what I understand now you’re something of an entrepreneur.” “I wouldn’t say that much. I’m just a spacer. Same as the countless others out there.” You frown. “True enough,” Robinson says. “But so many people go their entire lives wanting to be spacers. In a way, you could say you’re living the dream.” There is a pause on the line. “And some people dream of making their fortune in space. Would you say it is a lucrative business?” You shake your head. “Depends on luck more than anything. The expenses are pretty large though, so you spend most of your time focusing on the business aspect of things. A smart captain keeps people around to help him manage finances though.” “So it’s not exactly the gravy train most people think it is,” Robinson concludes. “I’m sure your time in the military gave you some skills that help as well.” “Certainly,” you nod. “It helps to know how to take charge of people when you need to.” “I see. Well I’m sure you’ve got a lot of interesting stories about your experiences in the military and as a spacer.” Robinson trails off, and you hear a pencil scratching across paper. “But it would probably be better to talk about that stuff in person. Would you want to do an interview? I’m putting together a piece about spacers, and your perspective would be valuable.” >”Sure.” >”I’m not a big fan of giving interviews. You’ll have to find someone else.” >”Have you interviewed any other spacers yet?” >”I wouldn’t expect the public to be that interested in spacers.” >Write-in.
>>2114064>I wouldn't expect the public to be that interested in spacersI just drive a space truck, honest! No nerve wracking combat or delicate political arrangements.
>>2114064>”I wouldn’t expect the public to be that interested in spacers.”
>>2114064>I wouldn't expect the public to be that interested in spacersI'm not opposed to interview as long as we don't let slip anything classified, like that ill-fated party, and don't let the guy dig into personal business of our crew.As long as it's generic shit about experiences of a starship captain with exotic crew we can humour him. After all, we have nothing to hide :^)
“I wouldn’t expect the general public to be so interested in spacers,” you remark. “You might be surprised,” Robinson begins. “There are people all over the galaxy becoming spacers. It’s looking like people, especially the younger generations, are more interested in that sort of lifestyle than ever before.” You fight off an amused chuckle. “What’s prompting that sort of worldview?” “Well, what prompted you to become a spacer?” Roberts asks a hypothetical question before continuing. “But as far as I could guess, it’s because people are tired of being told what to do. There are also larger populations moving out to the Frontiers than ever before, likely for the same reasons. People are sick of the status quo.” He hums thoughtfully. “Plus there’s a certain cavalier attitude among the young men and women who are just now entering adulthood.” “I see,” you nod. “So, would we be able to set up that interview?” Robinson sounds almost impatient, though quite excited, over the line. >”Sure.” >”Sorry. You’ll have to find someone else.” >Write-in.
>>2114170>SureWe should bring tripe along, he doesn't get out often.
>>2114170>”Sure.” >"You'll have to bring some good bourbon though, that's an essential part of any good interview."
>>2114170> Fuck you pay meWe ARE busy. What can he offer us in regards to making it worth our while? Advertising, introduction to contacts, information we could use to make money etc.Also we would have to vet the final edit. We need to make sure our business is properly represented, both for our own protection but also to ensure that people thinking about getting into it aren't mislead about the challenges and risks the lifestyle brings. Your ship is your entire world in space and functions to keep you comfortably in a an environment you can survive in; probably safer then you would be on a planet- but if it stops functioning you die, and the ships system is much less robust than a planet. You can't skimp on maintenance costs or knowledge. "Working" isn't the same as "Working reliably" and just because your backup systems kick in doesn't mean you're okay. You NEED that redundancy.So it takes work just to live on the ship. You are responsible for keeping it a bubble of comfort and safety, it's not just something you learn as you go, and it's definitely not like a car where you can keep driving for a while when the engine light goes on. It's not cheap either, but you have to pay the costs because you definitely can't afford for it to fail in space.It's not a job or an adventure, it's an entire lifestyle that requires an investment in education and training, developing new habits, and money to keep you flying until you can get a stable cash flow and even then you need to have a reserve for expenses. But if you do all that, you get to be free. You can travel between worlds, seeing the universe. You can find somewhere you want to stay for a while, then leave when you want to as well. Be the first person to see new sights, space is big and there's a lot to see. Meet people from all sorts of places and lifestyles. Carry part of your home with on your ship as well so it's never too far away, and if that isn't enough you can always return for a visit. And while it's expensive to own and run a ship, you can make good money if you work hard and keep an eye out for opportunities.
>>2114170>>”Sure.”who knows maybe we'll get paid
>war>I'm glad I made it out alive, and I'm glad some people I know did, too. I hear some people want a repeat performance. This may seem cliched, but don't. Anyone who pushes other people into meat grinder certainly doesn't do it for their benefit.>spacing>it's pretty much what I imagined it would be and then some. But it's not for the faint of heart. Space is cruel and uncaring, and help is usually lightyears away in case something goes wrong. It's not something you can do on your lonesome, either, good crew is absolutely indispensable.>exotic crew>yeah, it's true. I don't really have a political or racial restriction on my crew. On an indep vessel these things are not really an issue, and mutual dependence glosses them over even further. Of course, they have to be trustworthy enough to begin with.>No, I'm not letting you in on their personal affairs.>New Albany>Yes, I've been there. On business. Briefly. And would you look at the time, I need to check in with my mechanic. No, seriously. You know about as much from the news as I can tell you.
“Alright,” you answer. “Great, great,” he replies. “I’ll set it up. Do you have a specific time you’d like to be interviewed?” “I’m here for a while, so any time works really.” “Duly noted.” You hear the sound of paper and pencil again. “Are you open tonight, say around eight?” You raise an eyebrow, that is less than four hours from now. You frown. “I mean I am, but-!” “Excellent, eight it is!” There is a sound of something being set down forcefully. “I’ll send a driver.” With that, he hangs up. You sigh, pocketing the communicator. “Shit, I had wanted more time…” “Something wrong?” Cynthia raises an eyebrow. “Some journalist wants an interview with me,” you reply. “Looks like I’m going to meet him tonight.” “I thought you didn’t like interviews,” Tom says as he walks over. You shrug. “Well the reporter didn’t seem like he was trying to hound me too much.” “What publication does he write for?” Tom crosses his arms. “Uh,” you trail off, rubbing your chin. “Oh, the Galactic Informer.” You snap your fingers as you remember the name. “Must not be a huge publication. Never heard of them.” “Neither have I,” Tom nods. “Let’s go back to the motel. I need to do some stuff on my computer.” >”You think something’s fishy?” >”Sure.” >”Not yet. There are still some things I’d like to do today.” (write-in)
>>2124728>>”You think something’s fishy?”
>>2124728>”You think something’s fishy?”
>>2124728>Sure... Nerd.Guys, we get like one update a week. Don't waste it on useless speculation on a plot point that we are definitely not going to be avoiding because the alternative is more boring shopping trips.
>>2124728It does sound fishy. We better come prepared and have the crew ready with the car.
“You think something’s fishy?” You raise an eyebrow at Tom. He nods. “I’d be foolish to think otherwise. A journalist we’ve never heard of, from a publication we’ve never heard of, is contacting you and asking for an interview at an undisclosed location.” You grimace. “Well, when you put it like that, it does sound suspicious. Still, if someone wanted to do something bad to me, you’d think they would just show up at the motel and get it over with.” Tom lights a cigarette, inhaling deeply. “It’s possible they aren’t intending foul play. Maybe this journalist wants you in a disadvantageous position so he can force our hands.” You sigh. “I see. So what would you recommend?” He points to the truck. “Well first we get back to the hotel so I can do some research. If it’s a legit newspaper, I can find information about them. Not only that, but it makes this much less sketchy. Plus I can run background on this guy if I need to.” “And if it’s not legit?” Tom frowns. “Then we call off the interview. If there’s no Galactic Informer to begin with, then it’s an obvious setup, and foul play is likely intended.” He takes another drag of the cigarette. “And if they’re legit, I take the truck and follow you to wherever the interview is taking place. That way I can intervene even if things go south.” >”Well then, let’s go.” >”I still have some things to take care of before we head back to the hotel.” (write-in)
>>2139363>>”Well then, let’s go.”
>>2139363Alright, fine, you paranoid folks. We will make a mission out of it. Get air support ready, snipers on the rooftops, cyanide capsule, body doubles, hostages. Not like we've got anything better to do.>well then let's go!
>>2139363Let’s go then>>2139797Well you remember what happened last time we went to a party
>>2139363>”Well then, let’s go.”
>>2139363Nobody among the parties we might be worrying about would be incompetent enough to not build a credible cover for the (fake) reporter so superficial background check won't do anything, unless it's just some random scammer #10553... maybe if we got the nerd to do a more thorough probe, if we feel it's worth the effort and he'd be willing to.Tom with the truck and rest of the crew on comms should be enough of an insurance policy.
“Alright, let’s go.” You nod to Tom, and both of you start walking towards the truck. Tom wastes no time getting back to the hotel, and as soon as you both arrive, he goes over to his computer setup and pulls up a program. “This should help us out. It’s a program Solfrid developed a while back for tracing people and things that we might come across. Uses a bunch of different databases.” He leans back in his chair. “This would’ve come in handy back on New Albany.” You frown slightly. “It didn’t exist yet,” Tom retorts. “That psirinean is one hell of a programmer, I’ll give her that. She cooked this up during the weeks after we left New Albany.” He types some things into the program, then minimizes it. “Now to look up the Galactic Informer itself…” As Tom does his thing, you go over to the couch and sit down, turning the television on. It’s the same old stuff that’s always on, so you put it on mute and pull out your service pistol. It’s been a while since you field-stripped and cleaned it. Laying a rag down on the coffee table, you begin taking the firearm apart. This thing has been with you ever since you bought it on Pallus so you could have some personal protection, pilots didn’t normally carry sidearms back then. The weapon carries various nicks and scratches from your military days, as well as the various scuffles you’ve been in since then. As you finish the procedure and begin wiping down the gun’s individual parts, Tom speaks up. “Looks like the Galactic Informer is legit. They’re just a local publication.” You begin oiling the slide and internal parts. “They been around very long?” Tom shakes his head. “Only since around the end of the War. Looks like they were formed by some journalists that broke off from a larger company.” “And what about Robinson?” You begin putting the gun back together. “Seems like he’s legit,” Tom begins. “Looks like he was… A war correspondent?” Tom raises an eyebrow, as do you. “Says here that he was embedded with the Marines during the failed assaults on Ganymede and Titan, as well as the campaigns on the Frontiers.” “So he’s seen the worst that the War had to offer…” You finish putting your gun together, releasing the slide with a loud click. “Anything else of note?”
“Recently he got in some hot water after accusing the CFP’s top officials of rampant corruption.” Tom shrugs. “Seems like he was right though, if the amount of organized crime here is any indication.” Tom turns toward you. “Well everything here seems to suggest that this will just be a normal interview… I still think something’s not right.” “You always think something’s not right,” you reply. “Maybe so, sir.” He crosses his arms. “Regardless, I think I should follow the car they pick you up in.” >”You’re right. Better safe than sorry.” (commence planning)>”I doubt it’ll be necessary.” (start getting ready for the interview)>Write-in.
>>2142247>”You’re right. Better safe than sorry.” (commence planning)
>>2142250Alright, better safe then sorry.Let’s not get overboard though, would be funny if the reporter was legit and took our insurance for the spooks.
>>2142250>You're right. Better safe than sorry.We can call it an exercise in preparedness. Maybe he's going to ask us about that mafia dickhead.
“You’re right,” you agree. “Better safe than sorry. Let’s put a plan together.” Tom nods. “Okay, so the way I see it, we can go about this in three ways.” “Let’s hear them.” He lights a cigarette before continuing. “Alright, first approach is the least suspicious on our end. I tag along posing as your attorney.” You raise an eyebrow. “My attorney?” He nods. “Yeah, people bring compliance lawyers along to interviews all the time. Even on televised interviews they’re typically standing just out of the shot.” He takes a drag of his cigarette. “And it’s not unreasonable for a self-employed spacer to have an attorney on his staff.” You frown. “This is the first I’ve heard of that. If it’s the case, why don’t we have an attorney?” “We do. Well, sort of anyway.” He points to himself. “I got a law degree as part of OCS. Not that I’ve ever practiced law officially…” He grins. “But it means I can play the part effectively. I know all the necessary terminology.” “And what about our other options?” “Well, I could tail the car you ride in, obviously. That could arouse suspicion, but it’d allow me to carry more weaponry if things went south. Plus we’d have a getaway vehicle at our immediate disposal.” He shrugs. “But at the same time, you’d have to wear a wire so that I could know what’s going on in there. Not to mention that we have no idea what kind of place the interview is being conducted in. If you were, say, on an upper floor in a skyscraper, it’d take a while to get to you.” “And door number three?” Tom sighs. “This one isn’t subtle. At all. But it is the safest approach.” He takes another drag of his cigarette. “I go along with you as a bodyguard. It’d allow me to carry more weapons than the attorney approach, and allow me to be closer than with the truck plan. However, being escorted by a bodyguard is a massive red flag. If there was a hidden agenda involved, it’s possible that me tagging along would land us both in a trap.” Tom rubs his chin thoughtfully. “Though, if you have any suggestions, I’m all ears, sir.” >”Let’s go with the attorney thing.” >”Having you hang back in the truck sounds like the most reasonable option.” >”Looks like you’re tagging along as my bodyguard tonight.” >”Actually, I have a plan of my own…” (write-in)
>>2142293>Having u hang back in the truck sounds like the most fun option.
>>2142293>Having you hang back in the truck sounds like the most reasonable option
>>2142293Terminology and general principles won't cut it here I'm afraid. The reporter could pierce the disguise if he referred any recent events a lawyer should be paying attention to...>"Hang back with the truck"
“Let’s have you follow me in the truck,” you decide. “Right,” Tom nods. “I’ll get the truck loaded up and prepped.” He goes over to one of his bags and begins rifling through it. “Here,” he tosses something to you. It is a bundle of wires, with a battery pack and what appears to be a microphone. “Oh, right. A wire,” you say. “Yeah,” Tom nods. “You know how to wear one?” “I think so. I’ve seen a few movies where characters had to wear them.” Tom sighs. “Stand still, sir. I’ll get you set up.” After all that is sorted, you and Tom part ways. He goes to get the truck ready and you stand outside the hotel to wait for your ride. Just after dark, a large sedan pulls up. “They’re here,” you whisper into the hidden microphone. The sedan comes to a stop in front of you and the driver rolls down their window. “You Allen Starwind?” A young woman, likely just out of high school, sits in the driver’s seat. “I am,” you nod. “And you are?” “Your ride,” she says flatly. “I’m here to drive you to Chris’ place. You can ride shotgun if you like.” You nod, getting into the car. The young woman accelerates from the hotel quickly, making you instinctively grab the oh-shit handle on the door. “So are you his assistant or something?” The girl nods. “I help him with things. Still don’t get why he wants to interview a spacer.” She looks over at you, raising an eyebrow. “That’s a Federal Navy insignia on your jacket… You’re the real deal then. I wasn’t sure he’d found the real Allen Starwind.” “Yep. I'm the real deal,” you say with a sigh. Glancing in the rear-view mirror, you see your truck following far behind. As your driver pulls onto the highway, you grimace. Hopefully all this cloak-and-dagger is for nothing. Still, if your prior experiences have taught you anything, it’s that nobody ever tells the whole truth to you…
And that's where we're going to call the thread. I've got to go to work in like twenty minutes, but I can answer any questions when I get back. Next thread will be next Monday, and I'll be able to run Monday to Wednesday without any major interruptions.
>>2142355Cool.Just to be sure, we did leave message with someone else, right. It's not just us and Tom playing The Game and stuck in some deeply uncomfortable situation if things go downhill more than anticipated...?
>>2142364The crew specifically Virgo and Cynthia knows.
>>2142364Do you really want to tell our crew about our spy larping hobby? They might laugh at us!>ask her if there are many fake Allen Starwinds around