The way’ was twice the size of the Harvest, and about 150 years newer. As a Klingon vessel, it was armed, but far beyond what would be required for a hull of its size — or function. It’s captain, Gor’tog, claimed that the weapons were “for defense against pirates”.
Anthony had always liked Gor’tog. He was far more jovial than any other Klingon he had ever met, which had been thankfully few, but the captain’s friendly demeanor was most certainly a tactic affected to serve him at the negotiating table; no one expects a pleasant Klingon.
“Anthony!” Gor’tog shouted over the conversations of the three dozen other conversations in the reception hall of the way’ when the delegates of the Harvest entered. “‘aD on your bloodless ascension!”
Anthony actually blushed a bit. “Thanks, Gor’tog, I…”
Darcy, standing beside her son with her hands folded in front of her, cleared her throat gently. Anthony paused, then reconsidered. “Thank you, Captain.”
“You will undoubtedly bring honor to your house,” Gor’tag bellowed. “And generous profit, no doubt!” The Klingon’s eyes flitted beyond Anthony’s shoulder, and he shifted position as Malcom Olivar sidled up to the other side of his son. “And ‘aD to you, old friend, on your…”. The Klingon seemed uncharacteristically lost for words.
“Retirement, Gor’tog,” Malcom said as the two men clasped arms. “It’s like Sto’Vo’Kor for humans.”
The Klingon laughed with vigor, causing other parties to shift away slightly. “Then it is truly well deserved! Come, let us celebrate with the others!”
Gor’tog lead Malcom into the crowd. Darcy squeezed Anthony’s arm gently, and then followed, leaving Anthony on the edge of the action. He made his way to the refreshment table and picked himself out a drink. Members of a few other delegations nodded, smiled, or offered low-volume congratulations on his promotion, but everyone was in constant motion, and no one stopped to talk with him. Through the crowd, he could see his parents, surrounded by other captains and crew, laughing and regaling one another with stories of the past year’s profit and loss. Loosely arranged on the outside of this nucleus were the less important members of each ship’s delegation, mostly clustered by ship with occasional intermingling as the halo swirled around the gravity of the captains. Beyond that were the functionaries, the security details, cargo jockeys, and other attendees that congregated in twos and threes to continue the flow of business amidst the conversations. Anyone further out than that were staff who were ensuring that there was enough food and drink on the tables, or that trash was collected and thrown into the replicator bins. Also, Anthony.
A voice chimed in from behind Anthony’s shoulder. “This sucks”. Another replied with an obvious mouth full of food, “but we get to eat on someone else’s tab, so that’s a plus.”
David was the youngest of the Olivar children, and worked in the cargo bay as he had since he was old enough to be trusted to understand how dangerous working in the bay could be. Darcy and Malcom had always hoped that some day he might desire to earn a promotion to a more important position on the ship, but Anthony had never known David to really want anything bad enough to work for it. He had never been to one of these events, and was only here to “fly the Olivar flag” on this important occasion.
Kendi, however, would never turn down a free meal. As she was the Harvest‘s head of security, she always accompanied the senior crew when they left the ship, and she took to a buffet table as a dowsing stick took to water. Like the Olivar children, the young Trill had grown up on the Harvest as the child of crew members and knew no other life. She hated business dealings, but really liked to fight, so she fell into security by nature. Neither she nor her parents had ever even been to Trill and had no desire to or be tested for joining. Anthony, David, and Kendi had been inseparable early on in their respective lives, and Anthony considered them both to be his best friends.
“Status report, Kendi?” Anthony asked. He suddenly felt authoritative, but like they had all played at when they were younger.
With a Betazoid tea-cake half-way in her mouth, she inclined her head to rear of the hall. The room was large enough and the crowd thick enough that both Anthony and David could turn their attention to the indicated direction without being noticed.
A small cluster of five attendees stood in corner, just outside the reach of the hall’s main lights. They appeared to be thick as thieves, their body language telling Anthony that some kind of negotiation was taking place, and right in the middle of it was Sonia — Olivar middle-child, pathological trouble-maker, and Anthony’s responsibility during this event. He didn’t recognize those with whom Sonia was whispering: two humans and two Ferengi. As a group their body language was mixed, so it was difficult to tell exactly what was going down. Knowing Sonia, though, it was probably nothing good.
Sonia threw her head back and laughed, her high pitch cutting through the ongoing buzz of the crowd. A few of those around her laughed as well, but the others seemed to double down on whatever part of the exchange they were uncomfortable with. Little by little, the cloud shifted, and then moved slowly and deliberately to the hall’s rear doors.
“Shit, they’re moving,” Kendi said. She quickly put the remains of her cake back on the table and moved to shadow the group. Anthony and David followed behind. Darcy had made it clear to Anthony that they were to keep an eye on Sonia at all times. It was never explained why, but it was painfully common for the peripheral crew at these events to drink a lot, which sometimes lead to trade secrets being spilled freely or under coercion.
Did Sonia notice she was being followed? [Somewhat Probable] = 11 (No)
They waited a few beats before approaching the doors. When they did, the doors slid open to a corridor; low voices could be heard from the right. Being a Klingon vessel, the hallway was unnecessarily dim and accented by angry red lights which made it difficult to discern whether or not someone was hiding in the darkness. As they entered the corridor, they could see the shadows of Sonia and her group meandering away seemingly without purpose, but their conspiratorial conversations continued.
“We probably don’t want to get lost in the bowels of the ship,” David whispered. “Klingon ships have a lot of…sharp edges. And their layouts make no sense.”
“Sonia!” Kendi shouted, her voice echoing. “Your mother has requested your presence.”
The far group stopped and turned. Sonia, standing in the middle, reminded Anthony of a spider in the middle of a web. “Fuck off, Kendi, she is not.”
“You shouldn’t be wandering around someone else’s ship,” David added. “Especially a Klingon ship.” That was a fact. Klingons frequently had targs on board their vessels, and a run in with one of those would not end well for any of them.
“Awww,” Sonia pouted, which drew some laughter from her companions. “Afraid you’ll have to file a report? Maybe have to write me up for mommy?” She flipped her middle finger at Anthony with a scowl and turned away.
Anthony assesses the situation: [ INSIGHT (8) + SECURITY (3) = 11 (14/5) ]
This was not going to end well, Anthony knew, and it would fall on his head if something happened to Sonia, or if she had plans to betray the family and crew of the Harvest. Her companions outnumbered his own, but two of her group were Ferengi, and both had been nervous from the get-go. If — when — something went down, it might be easy to scare them off, evening the odds. Doing some mental math, Anthony picked one of the remaining two strangers to focus on. He assigned the other to David with a whisper. Ultimately it would be up to Kendi if it was going to be their group that started a fight, because a foreign XO couldn’t be seen throwing down on another crew’s starship. If Sonia’s group started things, then all bets were off. Anthony knew that Kendi would be more than happy to have to take on Sonia, which would not end well for Sonia.
Anthony attempts to flex his new authority: [ PRESENCE (11) + COMMAND (2) = 13 (13/6) ]
One thing that Anthony had been more than happy to take from his father’s lessons on being an executive officer was how to choose the right de-escalation method for the situation. Anthony decide that with two Ferengi on the fence about their chances in a confrontation, and the other two being, at best, low-level freighter crew, establishing dominance while he had the muscle to back it up was the best option here. “Crewman Olivar,” he said, voice raised and deepened to affect what his mother called a “command voice”. “Return to the event hall immediately.” On his right, David theatrically cracked his knuckles; it wasn’t an idle threat, as Anthony knew that when boredom set in, the cargo crew often boxed or wrestled. On his left, Kendi moved into a sprinting stance indicating that she would be the first on into the fray should Sonia decide that it had to come to that.
There was a pause which Anthony decided was more for posturing than it was for real thought, and then Sonia sighed heavily like a child. She pushed through her companions and stomped back and through Anthony’s cordon, and back into the event hall. The others in her party grumbled, but slowly continued their way down the corridor and vanished into the darkness. Anthony counted to five before he exhaled, and hear David do the same. Kendi just frowned.
Back in the event hall, the crowds had become more homogenized. Darcy and Malcom had left their central clutch and were now migrating from smaller group to smaller group, shaking hands, slapping backs, laughing and discussing. Sonia was stationed at the far end of the buffet table, arms crossed and eyebrows knit. If she wouldn’t have looked stupid doing it, Anthony decided, she’d probably be holding her breath in defiance. Kendi took position on one side of Sonia and David took the other like security officers boxing in a known criminal.
“Mo…” Anthony started as he approached Darcy and Malcom. “Sorry. Captain. Kendi, David, Sonia, and I will be returning to the Harvest.” He emphasized Sonia’s name, which told Darcy all she needed to know. She nodded gravely and shot Sonia one of her signature poisoned looks. The younger girl seemed to ignore it, but Anthony knew that she had seen her mother’s challenge and knew exactly what that meant.
E1 S2 sees the Olivar family (and Kendi) on board the way’, Captain Gor’Tog’s freighter, for the annual meet-and-greet among ECS ships.
As stated in the previous post, I had really planned this out and written it as you see it above without performing any rolls. I needed it to end a certain way, so I couldn’t really take the chance that things would go significantly different; later, I tried to roll twice to see what would happen, and was pleasantly surprised to find the rolls supporting my direction. Of course, had a roll not supported the narrative already in place, I’d have to re-write a passage, but also then to find a way to bring it back around so it could end where I’d need it to.
I’ve added the rolls in-line with the story so it’ll be obvious where they occur. Each explains the reason for the roll, and then provides the roll context and results. There are 2 formats used above.
The first is the “automated determination system” format, or ADS (I made that up). There’s a table which allows me to choose a probability of something occurring — in this case “Did Sonia notice she is being followed?” I figured that there was a “somewhat probable” chance, since she or one of her party might be checking their surroundings. I rolled an 11, which on the table equates to “No”.
The second is a task roll which I’ve listed as “attribute (character value) + discipline (character value) = [SUM] (d20 #1/d20 #2)” After adding the two character values, I get to roll 2d20. If one of the die rolls is below the sum of the character values, then it’s a success. If they both succeed, that earns 1 point of momentum. If they both fall below the sum, that’s a failure. In the first case, Anthony successfully assesses the situation and assigns targets should a fight ensue. In the second case, he successfully exerts his authority as XO to get Sonia to return to the event hall. In a normal STA game, the second roll would be an opposed roll against Sonia’s stats, but as this is a narrative experience, everything relies on one character’s success or implied failure.
Finally, I tried to add a few Klingon words in here, but relied entirely on the fact that Google translate actually lets you convert from English to Klingon. I don’t know if the sprinkling of words is accurate or not, so send any rabid emails to Google, not me.