With departure time set for just 36 hours’ time, there is not a lot of time to make arrangements for the next leg of the journey to Jewell. By 10.00am, there is still no sign of Sinclair and the rest of his commercial crew and so Francois is sent around to wake them all up.
A groggy looking Sinclair and Co. stumble into the crew common area for a late breakfast and are instructed that it’s time for them to earn their keep once again, looking for some passengers and freight. Still not looking that great, the four of them steel themselves with several black coffees and head off to their business.
Professor Ron stays on board and waits for delivery of the Ferritanium. Once the consignment arrives late morning, he checks the contents of all the containers. Once he has told Dev that they all seem to be genuine enough, he give Dev the all clear, and he pays for them.
With there being no oceans locally for scooping from, and the nearest gas giant more than a day’s travel away due to the QLoK’s poor maneuver drive, they need to pay for unrefined fuel, which Nthak arranges. Francois and Dev see to restocking the ship’s fridges after the goodies got decimated by the non-stop partying.
It’s a little after lunch when Dev gets a call on the radio. It’s Sinclair.
“Good news, old chap, there haven’t been any departures to Jewell since we got here and everyone who came with us from Esalin is more than happy to carry on with us to Jewell. The only exception are the two from TAS who got off here.”
“Apparently though there’s a chap by the name of Doctor Felix Ramguteran who’s in the market for a couple of high class tickets to Jewell and I’ve been told he’s prepared to pay over the odds for them. He wants someone to go round and meet him at his surgery. Do you want to go and see him?”
With nothing else much better to be doing, Dev tells Sinclair that they might as well check it out and gets the address of the doctor’s surgery from him. The rest of the party want to come too – Splinter is particularly interested in checking the doctor out.
The five of them take the metro back to the commercial area and find Dr. Ramguteran’s offices located in one of the town’s more expensive shopping streets. The doctor must obviously be doing quite well for himself for his office to be located in such an exclusive area.
It’s just before 17.00 when the party members arrive in the doctor’s waiting room where they meet with the doctor’s young and attractive receptionist, Lucille Barness. Dev tells her that they are here to meet with Dr. Ramguteran regarding his passage to Jewell and Lucille tells them to please wait until he has seen the last of his patients for the day.
There are three patients waiting to be seen, all of them female. The party members sit down and look through the dog-eared magazines while they are waiting. Looking around the waiting room at the holoposters displaying sad women with big noses transformed into happy women with small noses, and sad flat-chested women transformed into happy large-breasted, it’s not hard for them to figure out that Dr. Ramguteran is a
vet plastic surgeon.
It takes over an hour before the last of the patients emerges and Lucille finally tells the party members that Dr. Ramguteran is free to see them now. They file into the doctor’s office and are greeted by a gray-haired professional looking chap who is approaching sixty. Smiling, he thanks everyone for coming and asks them to take a seat before starting to give them details as to what he is looking for.
“Basically, I need passage to Jewell for myself and a patient of mine, Miss Juliette Brussman,” he starts to explain.
“The reason why we are heading to Jewell is to participate in a competition which starts in ten days’ time. The competition was to take some from an underprivileged background and “improve” them to give them a better chance in life. Each of the doctors who were chosen to participate in this very prestigious competition were given one year to alter their patient via surgery, genetics and/or education before returning to Jewell where our peers will vote in order to decide which doctor has been most successful."
“The winning medical team will get a major write up in the subsector’s main medical journal as well as a grant for further humanitarian engineering, not to mention how good for future business it will be for the winner. The patient gets a one year tour of the hotspots of the rich and famous while should serve as an introduction into their new and higher social standing.”
“As a result, I am looking for two adjoining staterooms; one will be shared by myself and Miss Brussman while the other I will use as an office for finalizing my presentation to the judges.”
“With such a lot at stake in this competition, I would also need your assistance in providing security from the starport to the hotel. Although Jewell is a safe world, I would prefer it if someone was to look after us as I am worried that some of my less-scrupulous competitors might try and do something to scupper my chances as I am one of the favorites for winning the competition, having been the runner up when the competition was last held five years ago.”
“Once we arrive at the hotel, then the organizers of the competition will take over security and so I will not be in need of your services after that time.”
“For this, I can offer you double the regular cost of two staterooms – Cr. 40,000. Would this be acceptable to you and do you have any questions at this time?”
“What kinda Captain would I be if I didn’t enquire what lengths these ‘less-scrupulous competitors’ of yours might go to…?” asks Dev, “Your answer will go a long way towards determining our ‘rate’, as it seems we’re being asked to provide a Security detail. This isn’t something we’re incapable of doing, quite the contrary. It’s just that 20k CrImps is a little below our going charge for that kind of service…”
“Well my competitors will have sworn the Hippocratic Oath and so I would very much doubt that they would cause physical harm to anyone or so order someone else to do it,” the doctor replies. “In addition, all weapons are strictly controlled on Jewell and so I think it unlikely that anyone would be armed.”
“My main fear is that someone might kidnap Miss Brussman,” he continues. “They would only need to hold her for 72 hours for her to be ineligible for the competition.”
“I only require you to escort us from Facet Down to the Four Seasons hotel which is just thirty minutes away by air/raft, so it should be too onerous a task to be worth Cr. 20,000 for you.”
The party members discuss the situation with one another for a while. They seem more concerned about not having access to their beloved weapons on Jewell than the likelihood of encountering any trouble when they get there and so they agree to the doctor’s proposal.
“Splendid,” says Doctor Ramguteran. “I was planning on heading out to dinner now. Perhaps you would care to join me? It’s on me.”
The party members have nothing else better to do and so they agree to join the doctor. With the receptionist having left, the doctor locks up the office and escorts the party to a very pleasant restaurant called the White Horse a couple of blocks away. The Maitre d’ fawns over the doctor and his guests and the party members spend a pleasant couple of hours together before they head off, shaking hands with the doctor and telling him that they look forward to seeing him again before 20.00 the following evening when the ship will depart.
The party members then head back to the ship.
They have only been there for half an hour when the doctor calls Dev on his communicator.
“Hello,” he says, sounding a little perturbed. “Unfortunately, while we were out at dinner, someone broke into my office and tossed the place. Nothing is missing and so I can only assume that they were looking for my medical secrets which, fortunately, I had already transferred to my datapad.”
“It is a concern though. I’m worried that someone might try and follow us on the ship. As a result, please can you make sure that my name and that of Miss Brussman are changed on the passenger manifest and that no one other than your companions who were in the meeting with us know the purpose of our trip to Jewell?”
The party members don’t have a problem with this and agree to change his details and Miss Brussman’s on the passenger manifest.
There’s not a great deal more to do in the evening. Several of the party members head on over to Ruby’s to see how Sinclair and the Vargr are getting on. They seem to be doing fine – entertaining a lot of the passengers. Ruby’s is nothing particularly special so no one stays out too late – not even Sinclair and the Vargr. Everyone is ready to move on to the more populous world of Jewell as they are already starting to find the small and enclosed town of Sawaiu to feel rather claustrophobic.