Early Lunch on Martin
Location: Eavesdown Docks
Timeline: Mission Day 20 at 1130
The restaurant was mostly known for its dinner, not its lunch. Morgan was well aware of that fact when he chose it. A lot of the spacefaring types were used to the relative solitude of a ship and grew jumpy in crowds and so, by Morgan's estimation, the quieter, more empty setting would serve them well. A low-tech hydroponics bin in the front - with herbs and leafy greens growing through holes cut out of a foam sheet that floated on top of water - served as much to actually grow ingredients as it did to try and lure in customers with the idea of fresh food. Beyond that pretty section in the front, the atmosphere was dimmer, less clean, more utilitarian. It was a nice little place. Not as good as the places that Morgan had grown up around, but good when compared to some of the other establishments found around the docks.
Morgan had a vivid memory of a nice conversation he had with the waiter the last time he was here; a young man, perhaps in his late teens, who spoke to Morgan with passion about wanting to get off planet and see the 'verse. Morgan did not see that waiter when he glanced around. Maybe the waiter was off shift. Maybe he had quit. Maybe the kid actually had managed to get off planet - Morgan's last visit had been, what, two years ago? Four? Instead the only staff in the front was an older waitress, who quickly found Morgan a table for three.
Poe hung back, so that Addy could precede him, and took the time to scan the restaurant. That was habit and as far as he was concerned, common sense. He followed Addy and Morgan to the table and took the seat that gave him the best view of the room with the wall at his back. He settled in and turned his attention to the menu which was worn and used with changes to the prices done on tape over the original printing. He chose a dish on the lower end, price-wise, and waited for their host to start in on whatever he wanted to talk about.
Addy settled between the two men to Poe's right. Her eyes roved the place, taking it in. In the time since she'd left Sweethome she had little occasion to eat in an establishment like this. But much of it was fascinating. A quick glance at Quinlan brought her eyes down, though, and she perused the menu, picking something simple and low cost that she suspected would be filling. Like Poe she waited, letting the quiet stretch.
"So-" Morgan started, only to be interrupted as the waitress came to take their orders. The man did not seem as concerned about the price point as Addy or Poe, instead ordering whatever sounded best to him. He made sure to smile at the waitress when she arrived. Sure, she wasn't that same young man that Morgan was expected, but she seemed nice enough and honestly, Morgan had nothing but respect for people who worked diners next to docks. "Tell me about your ship." He turned his attention back to Poe and Addy.
"Why," Poe said, head cocked slightly to one side. "You wanted a private meeting but I'm not sure I get what you're after? You looking for work? Or to hire us on? If it's the latter, then we'll do transport jobs, move things from place to place, but if you're looking for hired thugs to take care of a problem, then maybe you should look elsewhere. That make it a bit clearer?"
"I'm looking for work but I want to, like, make sure the ship is the right fit, you know?" Morgan shrugged. "After all, I'm going to be living on the ship. I want to be happy there. What's the atmosphere like? How does the crew get along? And-" Morgan looked at Poe. "When you say you move 'things', where do you draw the line? You don't move human cargo, do you? Or, unwilling human cargo that is." Morgan hated obtrusive laws and regulations, but there were some things that even he refused to take part in, and human trafficking or slavery were two of them.
Poe's eyes narrowed, ease sliding away, at even the thought of that. "Let me be clear. I would never consider human beings cargo nor am I interested in becoming a gorram slaver. I don't do murder but I will defend myself and on occasion, have helped those that couldn't defend themselves. That make it clearer?"
Addy's head was doing a fine impression of a door hinge, swiveling back and forth between the two. She could see the tension build in Poe and so she slid one hand under the table and placed it gently on his leg.
"We're a new crew," she interjected. "So there's a lot of getting to know each other still going on. And we are taking on some new folk, so there'd be that to consider. But generally speaking everyone has been amiable enough." Her hand tightened slightly, squeezing Poe's leg just above the knee and hoping that the move was reassuring.
"And as Poe said, we wouldn't stoop so low as to take anyone in unwillingly."
"Thank you." Morgan nodded. The man had none of the same tension that Poe might have, instead as relaxed as if he secretly lived in this diner and was just having a casual chat with some friends over for tea. "I wouldn't able to work with you if you had said otherwise," he responded. "But these days, you have to be sure." He shrugged. The waitress bringing over their food interrupted him for a moment, and Morgan took a bite before continuing. He looked over at Addy. "Are you the first mate, then?" He asked, wondering why she was brought along to the lunch. Morgan's guess was either that she was the first mate, or that she was involved with the captain romantically.
With a quick glance at Poe, Addy shook her head. "Not as such," she answered. "I'm the mechanic for the moment as that's where I'm needed." She hoped that last would obscure any lack of clarity on this front and, as if to punctuate the statement, she shrugged.
The smell of the stew in front of her finally succeeded in diverting her attention for a moment, then, and she dipped her spoon in snagging a bit of the broth with something that resembled vegetable and meat though it was hard to say what it was with certainty. The spices added by the cook were sufficient to alleviate any curiosity, though, and she swallowed quickly spooning another mouthful before setting the spoon down and looking back to Morgan.
"Addy's ... in training ..." Poe said as he accepted his bowl of fried rice. "So now that we've satisfied your concerns, what sort of a position are you interested in?"
"Ah. Well," Morgan smiled at Addy. "Good luck." He turned back towards Poe, taking another bite of his food - what looked like some elaborate sandwich. "And, well, I'm trained as a pilot." He shrugged. "I can do some deck work, but I'm really best suited as a pilot. Though I heard you already had one of those." The shepherd mentioned as much, while they were talking on the ramp. "Still, this is the kind of ship I'm interested in. A diverse crew, different jobs, not just a freighter that flies the same route thirty times a year."
"We already have a full-time pilot," Poe said. "Ashe Sparrowhawk. Not sure if you're acquainted but it might be that pilots are close knit enough that word gets around."
"Oh, we're not that close knit," Morgan responded with an amused shrug. Hm. This was not very promising. A lot of captains liked having a copilot, so that they could, like, safely land if something happened to the main pilot but the way he spoke it seemed like Ashe was enough. Maybe he or Addy or that shepherd had some piloting experience too. "Only, really, if you trained up on the same planet. Or, I guess, served in the same... what's the term? Squadron? In the war. I don't know. I'm no soldier. And I think Ashe went to flight school on Osiris," that, at least, Morgan had pulled from her public record but if the captain would be more comfortable thinking that all pilots just knew everything about each other, Morgan wasn't going to correct him. Some folk got touchy when you mentioned looking them or their friends up. "So I've not met her before."
"Fair enough," Poe said. "Only met her once before and that was back in the war. She was one of the pilots assigned to deliver teams to their assignments. Ancient history now, I suppose." He turned an assessing eye on Morgan. "How long you been a pilot?"
"Man, must be like... I started flying back in '02. What is that, fifteen years? Boy. Now I feel old," Morgan chuckled. While he talked, a part of him tried to sort out through what Poe had said. Ashe had flown for the Alliance. Her pilot license and training certificates were given to her by the Alliance military. Osiris only trained people for the Alliance. Poe did not seem like the Alliance type, yet he said they met each other back in the war... The man's smile faded just a bit with the concentration of his thinking. Damn, humans were complicated. Math and computers were much easier. "You fought against Ashe in the war? Or alongside her?" Morgan asked for clarification.
"I fought for the Independents, 75th Rangers," Poe said. "Not sure which outfit Ashe was attached to but she was a Browncoat same as me. Why?"
"Oh, sorry," Morgan took a couple more bites of his food. Despite the confusion he remained cheerful and friendly. "I didn't realize she had switched sides. What with the Osiris flight school being Alliance military, I guess I had just assumed she was with them throughout the war." That made sense. Morgan didn't mind working alongside folk of differing views, but he had the feeling that Poe was one of those more zealous Browncoats and he couldn't imagine Poe working alongside an Alliance veteran.
Addy had listened to the exchange, taking in most of it rather than interjecting. But when the conversation turned to Ashe she set her spoon down, focusing on the exchange. Her eyes darted to Quinn, pulling up fragments of the conversation she had with the woman a few days prior. She could see why she hadn't mentioned her training.
"You've seen her records," Poe asked. His voice was held a wintery sort of calm as he spoke. Thoughts and suspicions floated back up to the surface, held back in his need to get things clear in his mind. "Her being Aliance military?"
"Yes. I-" Morgan hesitated for a moment. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to pry, but it is in public record on the cortex-" As long as you knew where to look, that was true "-and I like to get a bit of an idea of who I might be working with before applying for a job. I swear. No bad intentions here." He gave an apologetic grin as if to confirm that last statement.
"It's better to know than not," Poe said. "If it's a public record, then to my mind, you weren't prying. But I have to ask, this record you found? Not easy to locate? Took some doing to find?"
Morgan was quiet for a moment as he ate more of his sandwich. These were very specific questions. Either Poe was suspicious of him, or maybe Ashe, or maybe Poe had somebody else he wanted to look up. But, oh well. Morgan had the picture in his mind of somebody pausing and saying 'why do you ask' but that just wasn't him. That would never be him. "Yeah," he shrugged. "I mean. No. It was fairly easy to find. That is, if you have a cortex terminal and know where to look. There's a public pilot database. Most the folk that fly the rim don't register with it, but if you got your license in the core worlds you're there." Not like that was the only place Ashe showed up, but it would be enough to assuage some of Poe's questions.
Honesty was important to Poe. Loyalty more so. He was reaching a point where that feeling in the back of his mind was getting a bit stronger, leading him down a path where Ashe Sparrowhawk would no longer be flying his ship. "Look," Poe said, "I appreciate the information. If there's something to be known about the pilot who is flying my ship, then I'd like to know it. Especially since I entrust lives to her care and I've no interest in having a potential threat sleeping right down the corridor, if you get my meaning."
Appreciate this information. Had Poe not known it beforehand? Morgan wasn't quite sure what to think. At first, he had respected Poe for working with somebody who had Alliance ties. As much as Morgan was not a fan of the Alliance, he liked seeing people with open minds towards the 'opposing side'. This here made it seem like Poe did not, in fact, know about Ashe's past. This was not a good sign for the social health of the crew. Ashe was probably lying. Morgan didn't like lying. But he also did not like Poe's accusatory tone. Not like this would be the first vehemently anti-alliance, closed minded captain Morgan had served under, but... well... Damn. Morgan also didn't want to mess up whatever sort of equilibrium the crew must already have established. The blonde man took a bite of his sandwich to buy himself some time to think before a response.
Nah. Morgan would tell the whole truth. No matter what harm might come from it - be it to Ashe or to Poe or to the crew - people deserved to know things. To make informed decisions. Besides. It was public knowledge.
"I mean," he shrugged again. "I don't know you and I don't know how much you already know. I really wasn't trying to snoop, but, like. Ashe got her pilot license partway through the war at the Osiris flight school. Good pilot, according to the notes. After that, the record is pretty fuzzy. I mean, military records aren't super easy to look into, but I have a bit of experience with that respect. Nothing for years until she's given a medal from the Alliance after the war for her service. The medal ceremony; that was public as well. I bet if you looked you could more information. Like, education or homeworld or what not. But I didn't look that hard. I just wanted to know a bit about the pilots I might be working with, so I looked up any I could find that were docked here in Eavestown."
"Well, I do appreciate your honesty," Poe said, "and the lunch. We're looking for a cook so it's mostly been heated up protein of late. This makes a welcome change." He turned to Addy, keeping his tone genial, easy. "You about ready to go? Or do you need more time?"
Addy's bowl had been long emptied as she watched the two men converse, resuming her spoon as they dove in with a fervor. She set it gently in the bowl now, looking to Quinn before looking back at Morgan. "That medal ceremony," she said quietly, "It say what she was being awarded for? Something specific or..." She glanced back at Poe, a sick feeling settling in her gut as she put together pieces into a fuller picture. Poe's face, the careful schooling of his features is what cut her off. "Nevermind," she said with a forced chuckle. "Sure we can look it up." A turn and a nod back to Poe and she was pushing her chair back. "Ready," she said.
"I didn't see anything specific that it's for, but I didn't look very hard." Morgan responded honestly. This was... concerning. "And if you need me, I'll be on the Immortal. Ship will be here for a few weeks yet; some of the sheep it was transporting got stuck in quarantine."
"Maybe it's something you should be thinking about," Poe said, "what with your desire to vet the crew and be sure of your fit. You're welcome to visit on the Xiao Jin while we're here." He held the chair for Addy as she rose and nodded toward their host. "Again, thanks for lunch."
Morgan nodded at the pair as they left. Only after they left did he pause in thought. Hm. Well. He wasn't sure what to make of that exchange. Then again - in the scheme of things, did it matter? "Waiter?" He asked, as the woman came to grab their empty plates. "Do you have any desserts this early in the day?"