The Boxing Kangaroo was felt crowded, with the Solomani locked in the bunk room, and the crew forbidden to associated with them outside of the OOD and Marine. The survivors set up a rota, to ensure there would be one of them ready to meet with the crew. The most junior would have had the overnight. In the starport’s morning, Brickley found himself negotiating with the Starport Warden, an unpleasant cretin named Bretodeaux. They spent most of the time bandying about what responsibilities and authorization would be allowed for landing the crew of the Heartbreak Hill.
“You see Lieutenant, I am under no obligation to allow ANY non-Imperial personnel on to this world, even if they stay inside the XT line,” was how it started after brief introduction. Self-importantly, the man continued, “I’m not even sure where this whole idea comes in, you know, that spacers whose craft can still support their lives…”
“Except it cannot support their lives for the MINIMUM three weeks that it would be to get an official ship out here, with a diplomatic representative, to repatriate them.” Brickley calmly responded, at the man. “Additionally, my orders do not authorize me to maintain personnel onboard outside of ship’s company for any longer than required. Your starport is on an inhabited world in the Imperium, and the High Laws require that distressed starfarers are allowed to be landed at the starport and granted a minimum of parole around the starport vicinity. Additionally, I will inform my superiors that you were not willing to assist the Navy in standard missions.” His unspoken addendum was this would end Bretodeaux’s career, as the Navy in many ways was the authority with quick teeth in the Imperium.
“Gah! I just want a nice easy time here,” came Bretodeaux’s response.
“In that case, grant my ship or boat clearance. I know the only other ship in system is a safari ship!”
“Fine, fine, we’ll take them,” Bretodeaux replied, seemingly resigned. They shifted the call to communications specialists, and Brickley called for the Marine Sentry to escort Mr. Strnad up. He took the half minute to think about what he had to say.
As the door opened, and the Solomani official entered, Brickley waved him to a seat. “Mr. Strnad, we’ll be able to get your crew ashore on Dismal. At this point, you’ll be covered under the Distressed Starfarers provisions. You can land on Dismal, and there’s a moderate hotel in the Starport that should be able to put you and your crew up for a few weeks. It may be a while, maybe the 130th or so, before you can get back to the Confederation.”
“That’s some good news,” Strnad replied, his guarded features not showing a reaction. “I take it we’ll be limited in our movements?”
“I’m afraid so. The Starport Security Officer will require daily check ins. I’d like to think this would be true for an Imperial ship unable to leave the Confederation under its own power.” A moment, and Brickley thought of misadventure BM3 Zabiyah told him of, having been in Mirabillis/Capella accidentally.
“Well, at least there won’t be any S-men bugging the suites. Thank you for offering something positive for my crew, Lieutenant, and showing me a positive side of Imperials.” Strnad replied, with polished look. “May I take my leave, and return to the bunkroom?”
“Of course, I’ll have the boat take you down later today,” as the two men parted.
Corporal Afari found himself loading up his entire fireteam for the short flight down. A routine flight path, with a published approach, made this a piece of cake. Franke was in the other chair as systems operator, with Yap and Binici making sure the passengers sat down and didn’t rock the boat. Yap was the lead for passenger section, and the passengers wearing their vacc suits for the very thin atmosphere when they landed. Nice and easy, no major weather patterns. Coming in with minimal flare, he stuck the landing, making it look easy. But then, the contragravity and computers made any landing look easy, but he did it with style. “Thank you for flying with the Imperial Marine Force. Please enjoy your stay on Dismal!” he said over the loudspeaker as the port connected the boat to their pressurized concourse. The first person Binici let aboard was a security officer.
Entering, the officer came aboard and entered the flight deck. “Alright, corporal, do you have the papers?”
“Here’s their papers, and the required docs from the Skipper. Any questions?”
“Not really, let me see,” as the security man flipped through the docs. “Huh, that’s interesting.”
“Looks like your ‘Mr. Strnad’ may be under an alias. Something clicked with him in my database. We’ll take him, but I’ll be watching him as best we can.”
“What, nobody else around here security?”
“Pretty much. I’m one of eight, we don’t have much out here that happens. The occasional border trader goes big, but that’s it. I’ve been authorized to tell you as soon as you’re ready, you can request clearance for launch.”
“Well good luck with them.” As the security officer steps out, and the three other Marines moved to remove them, and their baggage that was removed from the wrecked courier. The return trip to the Boxing Kangaroo was routine and uneventful.
A day later, a single seeker from the belt came in, to refuel and replenish some stores and then jump for Ember via Loki. Catalogued as routine, Sublieutenant Hassan noted it, and allowed the ship’s routine to continue for the rest of the day.
Once again, Sublieutenant Hassan found himself on watch when a ship entered the system, this time the midwatch, when the courier came out of Jumpspace a mere 500 km from the Kangaroo, coming in with the mail. Make way for the Imperial Scout Service, indeed! Logged and noted, they continued their lonely reverie. Consulting with the captain, they move their orbit in from the 100-diameter limit, closer to the geosynchronous orbit over the starpot.
Running an afternoon training exercise for Owen, Chishan ended up noticing a comet in the system, and adds it to the astronomical database. While not a requirement, it costs them nothing in the long run.