Leaving Buddy Bricker’s Salvage yard the crew of the Whippet are treated to the sight of an old school Grav Ball game being played in the open hold of a large cargo carrier. The game originated with spacers playing it in much the same manner.
As they leave Mika gets to work repairing the mining laser. She does a bang up job and completes the delicate work in 5 hours.
Not long after the work is finished Neurog picks up a double echo from one of the asteroids they are passing by. Examining the anomoly he detects that there is a ship not 15 meters above the asteroids surface. It is a 200 ton Fat Trader.
The crew divert from their course and examine the ship. They are a mere 7,000 Klicks from the ship and asteroid. They don’t detect any hotspots on the ship either in the drive section of the ship or where it’s turrets should be. They ping the ship but get no response. Using the ships telescope they are able to see a couple of guys on a space walk setting up a torpedo launcher of the asteroids surface.
Upon seeing he torpedo launcher Skeet quickly swings the Whippet into the shadow of the asteroid so that the other ship has no visual on them.
At 5k from the asteroid Skeet nudges the Whippet above the visual horizon. They quickly detect a heat bloom in the other ships engineering section, they must be firing up their engines. They get a comm from the other ship, “Unknown ship, identify yourself! If you continue on your present course we will defend ourselves.”
Mika is able to observe that the torpedos look like resupply ones, which makes everyone feel a little better but wonder about what these guys are doing. At this range Mika is able to read the ship name, it’s the Emerald Dawn. Neurog runs a search on it, it is registered out of Dorlass. She is registered to a Rince Manc. Searching him they find he has a couple of smuggling arrests and has a brother doing a long sentence on Van Killa for the same offense.
The space walkers fire up the two torps in their launcher. The Whippet crew decides to send a message alerting the authorities to this very suspecious activity and then moves away from the area.
30 hours after they left the asteroid the Whippet receives a communication:
“Whippet, this is Dr. Miriam Sophie of the Gaen Research Vessel Dianah. We would like to request your assistance in a research project. Would you be willing?”
“We would like to acquire some biological samples from all male members of your crew. Your assistance will be compensated.”
Mika De Klerke: Hey sure no problem the’d love too. Do you supply jars?
Neurog: What is the nature of the research?
Dr. Sophie: “Ah…it’s good to hear a female voice out here…and yes we do supply jars and an assortment of pornography to assist in the process.”
Kimba blurts out over the open Comm: “Hang on isn’t this the women that hate men and live without them?”
Neurog Does a search on the doctor ((checking credentials.))
Results: The Dr. is a highly respected researcher. She investigates testosterone sensitivity in women. There are some women who have developed a mutation where they are simply unable to tolerate testosterone.
Dr. Sophie: "That sounded like a particularly purile male. You may inform him we live appart because of necessity so he should not allow his ego to feel hurt.
After visual communication is opened Dr. Sophie sees for the first time that Kimba is acutally and uplifted Gorilla: “Oh…I see” Suddenly as if a light went on for her, she says, “It might be advangageous to obtain a sample from you Mr…oh whatever.” Turning to someone off camera she says, “do we have any Gorilla pornography” Turning back she says to Kimba “what exactly do you find stimulating?”
Dr. Sophie: Is that supposed to be some sort of threat display? I’m not sure how you would expect to feel threatned by a 5 foot tall human female but if it helps to stimulate you, I’m all for it.
Kimba: Right that does it. People are going to start dying any second now. I like lady gorillas, in season, at home.
Dr. Sophie: Well we don’t see many Gorillas of either gender around here normally. Tell him we would be able to offer him a bonus of say 1,000 credits for a specimen.
Kimba: We gorillas didn’t escape centuries of extermination at human hands to be taking part in your sick litle experiements. I don;’t care how much money.
Dr. Sophie: Shame, it really would have been quite enlightning to see what were the tolerances to Gorilla testosterone were. Are you sure…would 2,000 credits incent you?
Kimba: What part of NO did you not hear human female.
Dr. Sophie: You see it is just that we are so desperate to find a cure…would you not consider it for the sake of those less fortunate?
Kimba: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO………… N………… O………….Nooooooooooo. Get your ears checked you bunch of deaf female wanabe chimpanzees.
Mika De Klerke: I guess he’s too shy.
The three human males (Hiram, Skeet and the Colonel) volunteer to donate and so the Whippet docks with the large (about 1,400 ton) Gaean research vessel, Dianah.
The three men are lead away by Dr. Sophie to seperate rooms where they can provide their “samples”. While they are gone a young girl who looks not more that 15 or 16 comes into the room. After a few seconds she kind of sheepishly saddles up to Mika and whispers “please, can you get me out of here”
They go out into the empty hallway to talk,the girl identifies herself as Melanie: “Ma’am please can you get me off of this ship! I’ve spent my whole life cooped up in the colony. The only men I’ve ever met are the ones who come to give samples and they’re usually gruby miners. They’re not like the ones I see in the Tri-Vids. I want to have a normal life…please help me.”
After a few minutes of pleading Mika seems to have managed to convince the girl that she needs to stay with the colony until she reaches legal majority. As their conversation is ending Mika sees a Gaean researcher and a miner coming down the hall. The miner is being very beligerant towards the Gaean women yelling that the Gaeans stole his mining claim and that no he will not provide them a sample.
Mika walks up to the confrontation between the two and the miner immediately insults her and takes a wild swing at her. Kimba has come running and a fistfight ensues between the miner and another who ran out of the waiting room presumably to help his friend. In the end Kimba and Mika have little trouble with the two miners the first one they feel may have been drunk or drugged up.
Collecting their money the crew makes there way back to their ship where they head towards their final destinatin now only 6 hours or so away. They make it without any further encounters and deliver their cargo and collect payment.