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The Immortal

Posted on Thu Jun 9th, 2022 @ 9:28am by Addy Weysmith & Morgan Martin
Edited on on Mon Jun 13th, 2022 @ 10:17am

Mission: The Xiao Jin Chronicles
Location: The Immortal, Eavesdown Docks, Persephone
Timeline: Mission Day 21 at 1500

The Immortal was docked within sight of the Xiao Jin, but at this point Addy had been awake for more hours than she cared to think and she was tired making the walk feel longer than it was in reality. She'd gotten back from the supply run before Clayton, though not by much and after talking with Poe they'd agreed that she would go pay a visit to Martin. They were without a pilot now and that was in no small part because of the information he'd shared. Not to mention he had the skills and they needed them.

The freighter had looked large from the distance, but up close it was even larger, looming in a way that made the Xiao Jin's close quarters feel downright quaint. Addy straightened her shoulders, chin up, and made her way for the ship's ramp spying one of the ship's crew and acknowledging them with a nod. "Looking for Morgan Martin. Said I could find him here. Would ya mind pointing me his way?"

The closest crewman was a teenager. The ramp was down and most of the crew hung around it or the cargo bay, trying to get some fresh air while still sticking to their beloved ship. The teenager glanced at Addy for a moment then, without addressing her, turned to look at his crewmates. A card table sat nearby the ramp where two women and a youth his age were dealing some cards. One of the woman smiled at him, and then directly at Addy. "Come on in-" she called from her position at the table, talking even as she shuffled and cut the deck. "We don't bite. Charles-" she turned to address the teen. "Can you go fetch Mr. Morgan?" The kid nodded and ran up.

"Take a seat," the woman offered, pulling out the fourth and final chair around the table. "It might be a moment." She grinned, and the expression exaggerated the lines of age in in her face. "Morgan usually takes a bit of a afternoon nap 'round this time."

Addy nodded her appreciation and made her way over to the empty chair, settling into it. "My thanks," she said. "Can't say an afternoon nap doesn't sound awfully nice to me as well." She looked over the table, taking in the cards and taking care to make eye contact with and smile at each of the people there. "I'm Addy," she said by way of introduction.

The two women smiled back at Addy, both friendly as can be. The teenage girl, however, didn't seem to notice Addy's gaze, instead looking intently at her new hand of cards and moving them back and forth as if to organize them. "I'm Mable," the first woman said.

"And I'm Sam." The second woman grinned.

"And that's my daughter, Lin." Mable nodded towards the teenager, who glanced up for only a second at the sound of her name. "You thinking about hiring Morgan?" The woman asked. "I know he's been asking around about jobs."

Sam chuckled "Or is there a different reason that a cute girl might come to the ship looking for him?" To which Mable just rolled her eyes, clearly both amused and familiar with such comments coming from Sam.

Addy's cheeks flushed at the implication of being cute and the bits that would go along with that. It wasn't a compliment that was regularly leveled her way nor something she had often had implied about herself. "Pleasure to meet all of you," she said, warmth in her tone. "Suppose whether we hire Morgan will depend a bit on what I have to share with him first." She looked at Mable who seemed to be the leader, at least in this conversation. "If he's still interested at that point then we may have a spot for him."

"Pleasure to meet you." Mable smiled, while Sam asked "What kind of ship do you fly?"

But before Addy would have a chance to respond, Morgan finally arrived. Unlike at the diner and earlier on the docks his hair was down, reaching a couple inches past his jaw, instead of tied back in a bun. It did indeed look like he had recently woken up. The kid who had been sent to fetch him followed a few meters behind and returned to his post by the ramp when Morgan approved Addy.

"Good afternoon," Morgan nodded to Addy.

"Mr. Martin," Addy said with a nod. "Sorry to interrupt. Have a moment for a word?" She stood as she said it, inclining her head appreciatively to Mable and Sam in turn. They were nice enough, but what she had to say was for Morgan's ears only. "Someplace privately if you don't mind."

"Yeah. Sure," Morgan shrugged. "And please. Call me Morgan. Mr. Martin makes me sound like my father," he grinned, despite the faint tiredness about him which was quickly wearing off. "The dining room should be empty right now. We can talk there." The man turned around to lead the way. Morgan was not quite sure what all Addy had to talk about - and why it her here, instead of Poe - but he was never one to turn away a conversation on any basis.

Up the ramp and into the freighter, Addy followed behind Morgan trying her best not to gape as she entered the ship. She'd only been in the Baby Bessie and then the Xiao Jin. A freighter felt monstrous by comparison. Addy was quiet until they reached their destination, pulling up a chair at the table when indicated and sitting. She threaded her fingers together and set them atop the table. "I appreciate the time," she said. "Your discretion as well."

Morgan shrugged. "You should ask Sam or Riley to let you see the engine. They love showing off their engine room. Now-" the man took a seat, leaning back in the chair. "What was it you wanted to talk about?"

"Thought you might like to know that the information you shared turned out to be correct," she began. She was watching him as she spoke, taking his measure to see how he reacted. "Ashe Sparrowhawk turned out to be the turncoat who gave away the Captain's position on Sweethome during the war. Nearly got him killed and got others killed besides. She was a spy for the Alliance. That's a ten year old mystery solved and I wanted to thank you for it." She paused for a moment, expression serious. "So we find ourselves without a pilot. The job's yours if you want it, but thought you ought to know why that information had the Captain all prickly yesterday. Wasn't nothing to do with you having the information."

"Hm," Morgan responded simply, taking a moment to think. Morgan had no doubt that his information was correct; he had simply assumed that Poe had already known and had already forgiven Ashe for it. But apparently he was not the type of man to forgive this. Did that change Morgan's opinions about getting the job? A bit hypocritical, in Morgan's mind. Poe was in the war, right? It wasn't like Poe was responded for no deaths, then. Morgan's ever present smile faded just a touch as he thought. In his mind, everything that happened in the war was behind them. Morgan, despite being a pacifist, was not going to hold this old violence against anybody. After all, certain ideals aside, war was just a product of their culture. In the scheme of things, where you happened to live had more sway on what side you fought on than whether you were in the right or in the wrong. Poe apparently felt otherwise, and was that really the kind of man that Morgan wanted to work for?

Then again; they need a pilot. They probably already cargo lined up and routes planned. Cargo ships and supplies were the veins and lifeblood of the outer planets, and who was Morgan to clot that up? Besides. He was always one for giving people a second chance, not making decisions off of first opinions. If worst came to worst, it's not like Morgan was living paycheck to paycheck. He could afford to quit. The man shrugged. "If you are still interested in having me as a pilot, I can go grab a copy of my employment contract. You and Poe can take a look at my terms." That was one thing that Morgan had become very familiar with after running his own ship for a while - all the paperwork of it. Honestly, he didn't even mind the paperwork.

Addy'd been quiet while the man thought, wondering what was going on behind the expression on his face. "That'll work," she commented. "I can look them over. I know what we're in a position to offer."

"Alright." Morgan stood up a bit. "Let me grab the contract. And, well, if you want coffee it's in the pot right there." Morgan motioned towards a counter which had not one, but two coffee makers. "Decaf is on the right." The decaf pot was almost entirely full, and the normal coffee pot was about three quarters empty. "And, uh. How soon would you be planning on departing?" Morgan was no light packer - not to mention that the crew of The Immortal had threatened him with physical violence if he left without having a going away dinner.

"Tomorrow or the next day," the redhead commented, eyes drifting to the coffee and wondering at the kind of ship that could afford such a luxury. "We're waiting for a passenger, but once they're aboard we're ready to go."

Morgan nodded as he stepped out of the room - that farewell dinner would have to be tonight then. He returned after a couple minutes holding what looked like an encyclopedia tablet - a portable cortex terminal. All things considered, the technology was quite fancy. And not cheap. Morgan had studied computers and the cortex in college, before he dropped out. He still worked in some open source code on the side, so having a good device to work on was worth the money, in Morgan's eyes. Besides. It was his parents' money he had spent on it, not his own.

He handed it over towards Addy, with the contract already pulled up on it. "Pretty standard stuff. For a ship this size, the rate would be four and a half percent of the profit. After accounting for fuel, food and maintenance, of course." Not like Morgan cared about the money. His family still sent him spending money because they didn't think of his pilot work as a 'real job' - and anything he couldn't afford with that money, he simply had to ask them for. "I require the privacy of my own quarters. I will not be forced to join in combat or hold a gun. I will be accessing the cortex during the time of our employment. And if you decide to fire me, I have to get free passage to the next freighter association registered port."

Addy skimmed the contract, taking time to make sure she'd touched on all the key points. This, contract negotiation, was something she knew. Sure, hiring a pilot was different then signing on with a supplier, but the end goals were the same. Services rendered. Pay and benefits. All the same.

"Four and a half is fine," she said finally. "You get your own room and limited use of the cortex can be arranged. No combat is required, but if the ship's attacked I can't speak for how that will go down. Still, no one's going to force a gun into your hands. Termination of employment details should be fine. We'll give you free passage to the next largest port we come to. Nobody's getting left on a backwater somewhere." She offered the terminal back to him. "Are we in agreement?"

Morgan raised his brow slightly. Was this ship getting attacked a common occurrence? Morgan took the terminal back. "I'm not sure about that 'limited use of the cortex'. How exactly will that be limited?" The pilot was no longer, nor was he ever, really, the sort of eager young pup to jump onto a job offer without thinking about exactly what it entails. He might jump onto a bad offer anyway, but he would at least think about it first.

Addy held his gaze, expression even. "We don't aim to do jobs that put us in the way of any kind of trouble, but our last one involved getting someone badly mistreated out of a bad spot. There may be times when it makes sense to keep quiet and that may constitute a limit. It's a common sense measure is all. If you're looking for a ship that only moves freight between core worlds we might not be the best choice for you and I can certainly respect that you might need to consider based on that."

Though she'd considered the coffee, Addy hadn't gotten herself a cup. The gesture was appreciated, but at the rate she was going she might be made of coffee by the end of the day. Still, she felt the weariness of being up so long press down on her again and she sighed. "I am not trying to pull anything over on you Morgan. We're a good ship with a good captain who aims to put more good back into the 'Verse than bad. You can come with us and see for yourself or take my word for it and we part as friends. No hard feelings either way."

"If I were looking to just move cargo in the core, I would never have stopped by and chatted with you on the ramp," Morgan responded with a casual shrug. He gave a slight, reassuring smile. "You don't have to worry about me, Addy. For six years during the war, I flew under the radar - quite literally - delivering goods from the Core to the rim. At the height of the tension, I was flying right under the Alliance's nose. I know a thing or two about keeping quiet." He grinned, his reassuring smile turning into a vaguely proud one. It's not like Morgan was going to send out cortex broadcasts while they were under radio silence, but he did want that to be his decision to make. Not the Captain's. He wanted trust in that. To be fair, even his normal communications were rather under the radar as well, what with how paranoid some of his tech friends were these days. "But if your Captain doesn't trust me about that yet, well, I am sure I can earn it." Maybe. Poe did seem pretty guarded. "Over time." That is, if he decided to stay with this ship.

"Then we have an agreement?" Addy asked again. She appreciated his assurances and tucked the information about running goods away for later. That would be something Poe would want to know and it was something that gave her some comfort as well even if rationally speaking it shouldn't have mattered. She unclasped her hands and set them flat on the table as if poised to move, and waited for Morgan's reply.

"It seems likely," Morgan nodded. "Just need your Captain to sign off on this." The man grinned. "I can send a written copy of it back with you, if that'd be easier."

It was Addy's turn for her eyebrows to creep upward. "I can do the signing, but if you'd prefer Poe do so I can take a copy along with me. Your call."

Morgan gave a shrug, but he did not budge on what he was asking. He wasn't sure how legally binding Addy's signature would be, especially if she were only, at the moment, in training as first mate. Normally Morgan wouldn't worry so much about stuff like that, but he had used to run his own ship and knew just what a pain all the employment paperwork could be... not that he ever had more than one or two crew. "I'll send you with a copy for him. And by the way - you really should ask one of our mechanics to show you the engine. They've been getting bored stuck here at this port. I think they'd be over the moon to talk to somebody else who knows ships."

The redhead chucked at that. "I'll do that then," she confirmed and pushed back from the table. It seemed, with a bit of paperwork left to clear, that they had a pilot.

 

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