“One might get the impression that you are trying to avoid me, Dukk. It is almost as if you haven’t joined the dots,” Thumpol announced calmly.
“What dots?” Dukk replied, willing to play the game for now.
“The dots that join my influence with you securing what you needed to buy out Rachelle’s share of the Dinatha! You didn’t think the line of credit just appeared before you as if by magic!” Thumpol responded.
Dukk stared ahead.
“So, one might hope one would honour said favours in order to avoid any unpleasantness, of which I am not a big fan,” Thumpol continued.
Dukk turned and made a comical face at Thumpol.
“Ok, point taken, however I am pretty sure you won’t share my appreciation from your perspective of the unpleasantness I have in mind for you!” Thumpol retorted.
“What do you want, Thumpol?” Dukk demanded.
“Simple, I want to support and help you as you get started as a rig Captain! After all, it appears no one else is interested in passing any contracts in your direction,” Thumpol shared in glee.
“I gather you had nothing to do with that,” Dukk replied sarcastically.
Thumpol continued, “I am going to ignore that and put it down to long haul fatigue. Perhaps I have wronged you in the past. Let’s put that behind us. And seeing as I am feeling particularly generous today, how about we put the favours behind us too?”
“What’s the catch?” Dukk interjected.
“No catch. I will even provide you with 12 months of contracts to get started?” Thumpol replied.
“What are the terms?” Dukk asked.
“The terms are simple! 12 months’ worth of work for a fixed payment of 750000 EUs on top of fuel, interest, fees, and sundries. Easy work and a fine offer some would say. I will even connect you with four of my finest people to make up your crew shortfall. And to top it off, I might even put in a good word with other brokers after the 12 months is up”.
Dukk said nothing.
“Not ready to decide? Take your time. I look forward to your decision tomorrow evening, when you officially take over as Captain,” Thumpol added.
Without another word, he then rose and headed for the door. The goon followed.
Dukk was gobsmacked.
His self-talk was racing, “Over 12 months, with five qualified crew to pay, the deal would make me less than I’d make in a few months as 2nd in command. And I’d not be in any position to start clearing my debts. It would certainly increase my visibility and experience, but I’d risk being trapped taking Thumpol’s contracts for ever. Of which, the terms would certainly worsen once I had no other options. And what did he mean by ‘four of his finest’? My current crew shortfall is two, maybe three!”
Dukk felt like he was between a rock and a hard place. He wasn’t ready to decide. Something wasn’t right. His gut told him to hold off for now.
Dukk had lost the taste for the rest of the drink. He paid his tab and made for the street. He decided he needed somewhere else to think. Somewhere that he didn’t now associate with Thumpol and his goons.
As Dukk made his way away from the bar, his comms sounded. It was Larinette. Dukk answered but didn’t even have the chance to say hello before she got started.
“Dukk, you missed out. There were some great bargains to be had. I got a fab outfit for this evening and found you a new shirt. And that isn’t the best or biggest news. I am just of the comms with Kimseeti, the captain of the Plinthat. I’ve been offered 2nd in command and the likelihood of captain within 2 years! Can you believe it, Dukk? My very own command in 2 years. I know you will miss me terribly and I will be hard to replace, but I would have to be crazy not to take up this offer! Look, we can talk more later, I’ve got to get ready for tonight. See you back at the h-pod. Bye”.
“WTF,” thought Dukk.
No sooner had the comms gone quiet when it chirped again. This time it was Rachelle.
“Hi Rachelle, what is wrong?” Dukk asked.
“Wrong? No, nothing. Dukk, are you okay?” Rachelle replied.
“Yeah, I’m fine, ignore me. Are you done?” Dukk said quickly as he caught his tone and corrected.
“Yes, all unloaded and ready for the inspection tomorrow morning. But that isn’t why I am calling. As a parting gift, I decided to get those starboard heat shield locks fixed. I’ve organised for a crew to be on the Dinatha tomorrow afternoon. They will get them sorted after the observer’s inspection. Come 5pm when the legals are all in order, you will be captain of the Dinatha in the best shape it’s been in, for ages,” Rachelle shared.
“Oh, thank you,” Dukk replied trying to hide his shock.
“You are welcome. Time to get showered and into some finery for our little party. See you soon, Dukk,” Rachelle said as she disconnected.
“That is totally out of character for Rachelle to be so generous! The world has gone nuts!” thought Dukk as he continued down the road in search of a place to think.
(to be continued...)
[Rule of Twelve, Double Take, Chapter 3- Grounding (Passage 3 of 5)]
All Rights Reserved. Copyright © 2021 BJ Allen
If you are looking to catch-up by reading entire chapters, find them on ThinkSpot.
Passages will appear here in Locals first, but I can’t put the entire chapter here because of post size limitations. So, I am publishing the chapters via ThinkSpot. You don’t need an account to read the chapters. Just follow the link and scroll down.
Chapter 1 - A routine descent
Chapter 2 - Perspective
Chapter 3 - Grounding
Chapter 4 - Cause and effect
Chapter 5 - The first meeting
Chapter 6 - Staying goodbye
Chapter 7- Instability
Chapter 8 - Orientation
Rule of Twelve, Double Take - Ch15 (Passage 5/5)
“Hi,” came Luna’s voice as she bounced into the suit locker.
Dukk turned around.
“Are you alright? You are all flushed?”
“Yes, I am fine. I was practicing some yoga in zero-G. I lost track of time. Quite challenging and not what I expected.” Luna replied.
“Yoga?” Marr mouthed silently at Luna from behind Dukk.
Luna smiled cheekily.
Marr held her hands up and looked away as if to say ‘I don't want to know’.
Dukk laughed. He’d been an apprentice too once. He knew what was on his mind the first time he was in zero-g. And, he could tell an intentional lie.
“Are you sure you want to try this now? I can go alone and you can get back to your ‘yoga’?” Dukk asked in gest emphasising the last word.
“Nope, I’m good. Let’s do this.”
Thirty five minutes later, Luna stood at the port outer doorway. She was in awe.
Dukk and Luna had completed the same process Bazzer and Marr had done earlier. Marr, with ...
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