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Lost Diaries #2 - The Last Cargo

[Editor's Note: The original of this diary was found aboard the hulk of a corsair of long-obsolete design, and of uncertain provenance. The hulk showed battle scars, and the remnants of the cargos described were still aboard. The hulk was found in the outer reaches of a system in the Imperial core, on a tangential course. It is unknown how long the hulk had been drifting, but all residual power had long since failed; there were no survivors. The identity of "Gibreel" is unknown; the ship's papers specified nobody by that name.]

Day 176

Dear Diary,

We shoved off port yesterday, and I've got that bad feeling that something's not right. Bennett checked the liner manifests and said they were 100% Imperial, but I'm not sure. Client states have all kinds of funny ships out here, and cargoes change hands so fast anyway. How can he know for certain that the cargo is safe?

Port Tomaret was a quiet, shabby space dock. It had fuel and some supplies, but wasn't built to handle real traffic. Heck, it's only really supposed to handle insystem traffic; but since these outer systems tend to be less high-strung than mainworlds, a chap can get fuelled (and sometimes serviced) no questions asked.

Gibreel

Day 178

Dear Diary,

That cargo isn't Imperial; I'm sure of it. Zhenchi and I pried off one of the lids, and it was full of these purple basketballs. They looked organic -- I'm sure they are (or were) alive -- and I hate moving unclassified organics. I mean, what if they got some plague that finds humaniti blood tasty?

Our ship refuelled and jumped for the next system. Captain says it's good policy to jump one ship per system per year, no more. We can run legit cargo too, but we really prefer to find one unique deal where we can make enough money to get us by for months. That way we can cruise around and enjoy the galaxy, you know?

Gibreel

Day 192

A little trouble in that last system: there were old system defense boats there. We toasted one before we even knew what they were, and jumped out with only minor damage. We had to pull an awful lot of fancy maneuvers; I've gotten kind of nauseous because of all the evasive action and watching those boats swirl around in a drunken dance out the viewport.

One good thing about that system was that merchant we sacked. She was a pathetic excuse for a merchant, but boy did she have interesting stuff! We loaded some machinery I ain't never seen before, except maybe in a magazine. Bet one of those is a black globe. Wonder how one of them got way out here?

Gibreel

Day 198

Our trouble ain't over. I'm still nauseous, and half the crew are sick in bed and can't hardly move. It's jump sickness for sure. We misjumped when them defense boats were after us. Astrogator must've been in a hurry.

Gibreel

Day 207

No use asking the astrogator what happened. He died this morning.

I've never heard of someone actually dying from jump sickness.

Gibreel

Day 212

Nice tidy mutiny today. Gunners thought we oughta break out of jump, captain says it'd kill us all. We had a nice battle on board here, five more folks dead and two critical. Hardly enough left to run the ship now.

Gibreel

Day 216

Life support is slowly going stale -- we're way past our recharge date. We're going to have to power down as many systems as possible and freeze ourselves in the low berths and emergency low berths. If we ever pop out of jump, someone's going to have to bail us out. Zhenchi and I repacked the black globe and other machinery, and put them in standard cargo crates marked "farm equip". Should keep interest low. Wish me luck.

Gibreel