Monday, June 16, 2014

Blood on the Stars - Part 1: Secrets & Lies - CH. 5 (2)

It was a few days before Duke’s contact in the Dregs could meet with them, but he had seemed eager to do trade with them when Duke had told him what they were willing to trade with him. It was late at night when he came to the centre to check things out. Hans had been sure to make extra paperwork for himself that night. He had overloaded himself with lessons and charters so that he would have an excuse to stay late.

As 2200h approached he told Alice to stop recording for the night. He had expected the usual objections and got them. He assured her that he would turn on recording before he left for the night. As soon as he was sure that they were no longer being recorded he let Duke and his friend into the hangar.
Hans hadn’t been sure what to expect, but a man in business formal dress was the last thing he had expected to see. He could have been anyone from any respectable business, but he was a trader on the black market, a member of the Dregs. It was a little disconcerting to Hans, but he did his best to take it all in stride.

Duke handled the introductions. “Chimmey this is Hans, Hans this is Chimmey.”
Hans shook the man’s hand and greeted him as an equal. “It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I’m sure you’ll be satisfied with the quality of the merchandise we’re offering to you, Chimmey.”

Chimmey smiled as he took Hans’ hand in his own. “I have a feeling that you will not disappoint. I only hope that you will view this as a fair and even trade on your end.”
“Please follow me.” Hans lead the way to the back of the hangar where they kept their decommissioned stock before it was sent out to be destroyed or sold. Chimmey went over the ship with a detailed eye, occasionally making notes on his pad. After a few minutes he smiled and turned his attention back to Hans and Duke.

“I’m going to say that I can get close to five million creds with the right client. So that leaves us with a small deficit in your favour of about two million creds. I can pay that out or we can do a deal for some more product. I’d rather do a straight out trade to be honest. Although I could pay you in even for cred it would take a bit of work to get that kind of cash together.” Chimmey glanced at his notepad for a few minutes as he took inventory of what he currently had in stock. “Is there anything I could offer you in trade?”
Hans glanced over at Duke to see what he was thinking. Credit would be nice, but it would be hard to explain away a sudden influx of that much money. Duke took the hint and nodded at Hans. “Let us see what you can get us and we’ll let you know. I trust you enough to let you take the ship now. In fact, we’d prefer if you could take it off our hands now considering it is already registered as destroyed.”

“What?” Chimmey didn’t sound impressed at the least. “I can’t sell this with out papers. You told me that it would be legit Duke.”
Hans smiled. “It is legit. This ship is registered as destroyed; however, the Juniper is not registered as destroyed. All you have to do is change the markings to match the paperwork that we’re going provide you with and it’ll look entirely legit.”

“I like you. You’re smart enough to know how to cover your tracks. If you ever want to do business in the future, let me know. Duke has my information. In the meantime, look over my inventory and let me know if there is anything I can do for you.” Chimmey shook Hans’ hand, smiling the entire time. He held out his notepad and Hans, touched his own notepad to it. It took only a few seconds for all the information they needed to be transferred.
“You have the merchandise that we requested with you?” Hans put his notepad away without looking at it. There would be plenty of time later to look over the list, but Hans also had another idea that he hadn’t discussed with anyone yet.  He wasn’t even sure it was possible.

“Of course, if everything went well I’d need a pilot to taxi this to my hangar for me. He’s got your goods with him. I’ll page him in.” Chimmey pressed a small button on the device he was wearing around his wrist. It was only a few moments before there was knock on the door to the hangar and Duke walked over to let the person in.
Hans gave the newcomer a good look over. He was so thin and tall that Hans was given the distinct impression of person that had been stretched out. When he got halfway between the door and where they were all standing he stopped dead in his tracks, his mouth hanging open. There was no mistaking who he was looking at, his eyes were fixed on Hans.

Chimmey reacted with lightning reflexes and pulled a gun out from a hidden holster and pointed it Hans as he took a step away from them. He glanced back at his associate who still staring in silence and then back at Hans who had immediately raised his hands at the sight of the gun. There was dead silence in the hangar for a few minutes as they all tried to process the sudden change in events.
“Oh my word, you’re Captain Hans Beaulieu!” It was the newcomer who spoke first, his vocal cords being the first part of him to unfreeze. “Shit.”

“Do you know him Szelok?” Chimmey demanded.
“Know him? He’s only the best damned Armed Forces pilot that ever existed. That man is a legend.” Szelok’s whole body twitched as if he couldn’t decide what he wanted to do or where he wanted to go. Finally, he dropped the case he was carrying and saluted stiffly.

Chimmey glanced between Hans and Szelok in obvious confusion, but he his gun didn’t move an inch. “You’re Armed Forces?”
“Retired,” Hans slowly lowered his arms not wanting to make any sudden moves. “I was injured on the job and I couldn’t fly for them anymore and I wasn’t willing to give up my wings. I can still fly commercially though so that’s what I decided to do.”

Chimmey lower his gun and after another moment put it back away. “Sorry about that misunderstanding, but I’ve got to be careful in my business.”
“A man can never be too careful.” Hans glanced back at Szelok who was still frozen in a salute. “At ease already. I’m retired.”

Szelok relaxed and bent to pick up the case that he had dropped. He walked over to where the three men stood waiting and placed the case carefully down at their feet before taking a step away from them. Duke reached for the case, but Hans caught his arm and shook his head.

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