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Shift after shift, check after check.

Pylo and Tunie journeyed onward.

Pylo occasionally took a break in her chamber to relax, let her pores open up and just recoup from the stress and strain of the cycle.

[​IMG]Some Motiles were getting grungy and not behaving properly. Something probably messed up their receptors or perhaps they were just getting worn out?

It happened but to track down the squirmy little interlopers Pylo had to squeeze, reach and hunt across tunie's bulkheads in some of the most uncomfortable spots.

And it’s not like she was even sure she had got all of them!

Still the heaping clouds of the rogue circulatory system had been dealt with and their corpses fed into Tunie’s stomach to be recycled into fresh and hopefully less erratic motiles.

“◈◆◈▃ ▃▄▂▃▂⎌”

“Eh? What do you mean check on the Terran Cargo? I just did that in the last acceleration burn.”

“◆◈◆▄▃▇ ▃▄⎌”

“Can’t you secure it? This shouldn't be hard to glue it back down”

“◍◇◭⑆◎⇝”

“It’s trembling from inside? That’s not really our business, we followed all the care instructions...”

“█ █ █ ◈◆◈ ▃ ▃ ▂ ◭ ▂⎌”

“That’s what emergency inspection clause meant? Uh right, let me track down the contract. It had some instructions on how to open the thing properly...”

Pylo did not much like special care instructions, especially not ones that snuck up on her like this had.

Okay to be fair she had skimmed the contract, made sure nothing awful was snuck in regarding her or Tunie’s rights and that none of the cargo were dangerous.

So it was not like it was strictly speaking ‘snuck in’ but Tunie had been in the trade game for enough runs to know that some of the brokers could completely turn you around in a contract that you thought you understood.

Sometimes they would even try to sneak in clauses to work side deals with crew members too.

That was always a bad time. It was not precisely honor that governed the Trade Ships.

Every traveler of the reef was by simple stint of isolation an island. The ships and their crews were potent forces as well.

Any individual could honestly act with impunity and no care of reprisal from the locals/habitats that they exploited.

But doing that hurt the trust of locals in the Ships. And ships needed that trust, maybe not with any given habitat.

But Ships needed to be able to trust that a surviving port would work civilly with them on arrival. And that trust was strained every time a crew when rogue or failed to deliver on the contracts.

There were of course pirates, conquerors and destroyers.

There were the horrors of the wars that reached out beyond the meagre reach of a single world.

But on the balance unaffiliated Ships like Tunie and their crews such as Pylo needed trust.

And so Tunie and all the ships like her would enforce their own justice on cheaters.

Pylo had already had to face and plead a case regarding a broken contract. It had been in Tunie’s Best interest and she and Tunie had even sought out to convene the investigation themselves on the matter.

But it was perhaps only because of Pylo and Tunie’s good behavior that the trade vessels and crews had not declared her and Tunie un-civil and outlaw vessels, To be shunned even in times of distress.

To be considered little more than scrap, and free to be attacked or exploited by all other vessels without fear of reprisal.

In other words a near certain death sentence.

Pylo hated contracts, but she always sought to fulfill them.

For Tunie.

So She was scrounging around looking for the crystal that held the instructions for the special care package.

“◈◆◈▃ ▃▄▂▃▂⎌”

“I’m trying to find the instructions! We don’t want to crack it open and break whatever’s inside! It would VOID the contract!”

“▂▃▂”

“I’m sorry, I’m looking as fast as I can it was right here... and AH!”

Right there’s the crystal... and it’s not the right fit for the reader? Oh no it’s just turned the wrong way around. Okay.

“Okay I got it, I’ll read it on my way over”

“◈◆◈”

“Let’s see, container, contents under pressure... Of course. Keep pressure balance of Nitrogen, Oxygen, Carbon-dioxide. Oh good they provided a thing to sustain the balance themselves... But if that starts breaking I’m supposed to hookup a backup? Did we even get backups in the shipment?”

“▁▂◬▂▁”

“Is it in the same hold?”

“▁”

“Could you track down which hold it’s in?”

“▅▂▃ ▁█▂◈↷!!!”

“Okay fine I’ll track it down after this whole crisis... If we don’t need it right now... Um hmmm... Oh they have error margins that can be sustained temporarily. Erring on the oxygen is better than the carbon-dioxide. Huh Okay I guess in a pinch we could probably split some water for this. You’ve still got that one hold full”

“▁▂◬▂▁”

“Right um oh interesting there is an inspection panel? Uh I guess we can probably use that before doing anything drastic. Could just be normal behavior for whatever their shipping”

She finally reached the hold, careening into it at a bit more speed then probably was wise, but it was ‘emergency care’ for a special care package. And it was under contract... speaking of this bit tasted suspiciously like...

Oh dear.

Pylo rushed over to the care package and prodded, poked and twisted the requisite pattern into the panel. Then tilted her head and frowned before realizing it was turned the wrong way around. Who designed a system that only worked one way like that?

Or that needed you to be paying attention to certain lights or have nitrogen soup all around you to feel the vibration?

Couldn't they have just made it ping resonance? Or done some other signal?

Something harder to miss?

Either way pylo got it right around and the thin film of radiation shielding started pulling back to allow ‘inspection’.

And Pylo’s suspicions turned out to be true.

The special care package was LIVE cargo but apparently whoever wrote the contract had not made that very clear or gotten distracted trying to ‘translate’ it and gone way overboard being super technical.

Or maybe Pylo should not skim the cargo manifests so much.

“I found why there was a rythmic jostling from inside the care package”

“??? ◬⑆ ↻ ???”

“It Appears some of our cargo are passengers...”

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Morgan J Heacock
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