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Dead Man's Hand - Family Values (Chapter Cover Art) 1

Chapter 2[]

Dead Man's Hand: Family Values[]

Recharge Station Nardia Jump-Point, Inarcs
Bucklands Province
Federated Commonwealth
August 25th, 3057

"Well, this is bullshit." Joker lent back in her chair, "We've been here a week now, and no JumpShips headed for Kowloon?"

"It's politics." Scilicorn shrugged, sipping his iced-tea, "Duchess Ngo's made more than a few enemies..."

"She's killed most of them." Aung pointed out.

"Well, yeah, but from what I've read, they kind of deserved it!" Joker pouted, "And that doesn't change the fact that none of the local ships going there have an open collar, and we can't afford to contract a ship for even a single jump without a client footing the bill." she frowned, "We really need to see about getting our own JumpShip. Just a Scout will do, I'm not greedy."

"We'll look into it." Kelso promised, looking across the table, "You going to finish that croissant?"

"Yes!" Joker grabbed the half finished pastry and shoved it in her mouth whole.

"Changing the topic, I checked our MercNet account this morning." Scilicorn placed a data-pad on the table, "Someone's lodged a formal complaint against us with the MRBC."

"What did we do?" Kelso asked.

"Killed a bunch of pirates." Aung picked up the pad and read the official communication, "Someone seems to be of the impression that we were...overly enthusiastic."

"Well, that's even more bullshit!" Joker protested, "Since when was killing pirates a bad thing?"

"When one's gunned down in a prison cell." Aung offered her the pad, "They have the CCTV footage."

"You thought going back was a good idea?" Joker asked Kelso, ignoring the offered pad, "No, we burned our bridges there."

"Funny thing is, the MRBC isn't investigating." Scilicorn added, "They only notified us because the complaint was filed, but made it clear that it's not being followed up on."

"Okay, now I'm interested." Kelso grabbed the pad and looked it over herself, "... insufficient evidence to take formal action?"

"Yeah, which is indeed bullshit." Scilicorn looked at Joker, "We get why you did it, Boss. Not one of us wouldn't have done the same or worse under the circumstances. But you really shat the bed that time. It's bad enough that we're not rated, meaning a lot of people don't consider us a legitimate unit. If word starts getting round that we broke the rules..."

"But it's not, is it?" Joker asked, defensively, "You said it yourself, the MRBC isn't investigating us."

"The complaint will still be on our records." Aung warned, "Mud sticks."

"Doolally was a bastard. None of us question the fact that the universe is a better place without him using up good oxygen, but you should have let him have his date with the hangman." Scilicorn warned, "Without an official rating, our reputation is everything we have. And right now..."

"We're a bunch of loose cannons." Joker admitted, "Okay, message received loud and clear: keep my temper in check." her com unit chirped, and she looked at the screen, "Okay, good news for once: Guild ship just arrived, headed for Kowloon, and they have a free collar. Does say they're trying for a pirate point closer to the planet..."

"The Guild kind of weirds me out, but they know their shit." Scilicorn shrugged, "I say we take it."

The others nodded in agreement, so Joker quickly booked the transport.

"Okay, six days for them to charge their drive, then we're in business." Joker opened the MercNet app, "Best warn them to expect House guests"

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