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The Begining

 
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bronze
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:25 pm    Post subject: The Begining Reply with quote

Click-clack Click-clack Click-clack Click-clack. Wallowing in boredom, Ski sat comfortably in his leather high-back chair staring the swinging spheres of the Newton’s Cradle centrally located on his desk.

His new office at the museum was lavishly furnished in exotic hardwoods and leather. Kaagira saw to most the decorating. She was insistent that the office was inviting but also projected the power and authority of the Chancellor of Antiquities of the Rhylanor Subsector. There were a few exceptions however. Ski was insistent that his statue of Icarus, gift from Mac, and his rabbit painting, created for him by C.J., was prominently displayed among the office décor.

Suddenly his office door burst open. Ski nearly jumped out of skin. Victoria Tabris, the Director of the Museum of Rhylanori History, stormed up to his desk, swatted the Newton’s Cradle, and slammed a data pad on Ski’s desk.

“Sign this!” She demanded.

Ski picked up the data pad and glanced at it. Setting the data pad back onto the desk he looked back at Victoria. “Is there something that I have done to offend you that I’m not aware of? Since I’ve been here your all “peaches and cream” in front of other folk, but when we’re alone you’re all “fire and brimstone”.

“I don’t like you.” Victoria said rather pointedly.

Taken back by her directness Ski stammered “Y-you don’t like me?”

“You have no right to be in this office! You know nothing about running a museum! You don’t care about the history or cultural treasures of the Imperium! I have dedicated my life to the preservation of Imperial history; from interning as a Docent all the way up to Director! You’re a political hack, a puppet, a new toy to be added to the nobility’s toy chest! You’re nothing but a space jockey! You don’t belong here!”

Ski sat and stared at Victoria in astonishment. Never before had he felt such a degree of contempt. “You’re wrong about me. I may not have a fancy degree but….”

“Spare me your fairy tales “Chancellor”. Victoria said with extreme sarcasm. “I’ve heard how you impressed the Duke with your vague knowledge of mythology. Just sign the form so I can get on with doing “your job”.

Ski took up the data pad, submitted his biometric signature, and handed the pad back to Victoria. When Victoria grabbed the pad Ski did not let go. Ski looked Victoria in the eye and spoke with a calm and even tone. “You’re wrong about me. I do care.” Ski paused for a moment. “You know, your job is to help me do my job. If you took the time to teach me, things would run a lot more smoothly around here.”

Victoria yanked the data pad from Ski’s grasp. “Trying to teach you anything would only be a waste of our time Chancellor. Things will run more smoothly without you getting in the way. Besides, we both know this is only a temporary position for you."

“What do you mean?”

“I mean you’re here for parties and kissing rings. I mean that you aren’t qualified for this job. I mean that more than likely you will be made accountable for some gross error, be it yours or someone else’s, made a fool of and shamed out of office. And before you know it, you will find yourself back in the pilot seat on some tramp freighter carrying a cargo load of rubber Eiyosa sh** out of the Aotrei Subsector.”

Ski was speechless and did not respond.

Victoria seized the moment. Holding up the data pad she said “And this is the perfect example! Do you even know what you signed do you?!”

Again Ski didn’t answer.

“What you signed is your endorsement supporting the Emperor’s new program.”

Ski was starting to worry. “What program?”

“The Imperial Reclamation Service. A new program designed to recover lost and stolen art and artifacts. Of which YOU would be responsible for the entire Rhylanor Subsector. And when expectations are not met who do you think will catch the blame?”

Ski continued to remain silent.

“You Chancellor! You will be the scapegoat! This is what I mean when I say that this is only a temporary position for you. You are being set-up for failure and you don’t even know it!”

Finally finding his voice Ski said “Why do you think I'm being set-up? What makes you think this program will fail?”

“You are out of your league. You have no idea what is going on around here or how this place works, let alone run a pilot program. Let me make myself perfectly clear, I will not go out of my way to see you fail, but….”

“But you need to give me a chance.” Ski interjected.

“Here is your chance Chancellor, help us make the I.R.S. program work.”

Victoria turned on her heels and marched out of Ski’s office.

With the weight of the world on his shoulders, Ski sat heavily in his leather high-back chair. Agnes, Ski’s elderly secretary, made her way into the office and closed the door behind her.

“Now don’t you let her get you down Mr. Kowalski.” She said as she placed a gilded cup in front of him.

“Thank you Agnes.” Ski said as he stared at the ceiling. “I think I’m gonna need something a mite more powerful than black coffee.”

“Oh I know. That’s why I spiked it with a little 151.” Agnes said with a motherly smile on her face. “I know that “look”. I’ve seen that “look” hundreds of times before.”

Ski took a sip from the gilded cup. As he felt the mixture of alcohol and caffeine race through his veins he let out a sigh of relief. “Thank you Agnes.”

“Don’t mention it. And don’t let Tori get to you, she’s just passionate about her job.”

“You think I’m being set up? “

“Oh no my dear boy! Not at all! I think you are just what this place needed; someone a little unconventional. That’s why Tori’s got her panties in a bunch. She can’t think outside the box.”

“The vote of confidence is much appreciated Agnes.”

“Don’t mention it Mr. Kowalski. Is there anything else I can do for you sir?”

“You said Miss Yanagi was request’in that we meet. Could you set something up?”

“Of course sir. Is lunch at Terrazooi acceptable?”

“Terra-what?”

“It’s on Kaagira’s list of acceptable eating establishments. I went there for my 50th wedding anniversary. I personally recommend it as well.”

“Well that is indisputable logic right there.” Ski drained the remaining contents of the gilded cup.

“I will notify when your calendar is updated.” Agnes said as she stood up collected the gilded cup, and began to exit the office.

“Much obliged Agnes.” Ski said in a more relaxed tone.

Agnes smiled gently at Ski in acknowledgement and closed the door behind her.


Last edited by bronze on Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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bronze
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a joint post from Bronze and Dorym

Yanagi pulled up in front of the restaurant in her FGM grav car. A young male valet opened the gull-wing door. “Welcome to Terrazooi.” Said the valet has he assisted Yanagi out of the vehicle.

As the valet drove off in the grav car, Yanagi was greeted by the maître d’. The mature male smiled broadly and escorted Yanagi into the restaurant.
As they entered the restaurant, Yanagi addressed the maître d’. “Ms. Yanagi Slanke. I’m…”

“Ah! Ms. Slanke!” The maître d’ interrupted. “Of course, of course! The Chancellor is expecting you! This way please!”

“Color me impressed yet again Mr. Kowalski.” Yanagi said to herself as she followed the maître d’.

The restaurant was decorated in an old Vilani country style with rough cream colored walls, dark wooden beams, and stained glass windows. Strategically placed candles completed the scene.

Yanagi was escorted to a table in the back of the restaurant where she found Ski patiently waiting.

“Mr. Kowalski.” Yanagi said with exaggerated interest.

Ski rose from his seat and greeted his friend with a hug. “Miss Yanagi, it’s been far too long.”

Still smiling broadly, the maître d’ assisted Yanagi with her seat. Recalling his etiquette, Ski took his seat once was she comfortable.

“We’ll start with the Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes.” Ski said addressing the maître d’.

“Excellent choice sir!” Said the maître d’ with his ever present broad smile.

Once alone, Yanagi looked at Ski and said “Who are you, and what did you do with my friend Ski?”

Ski just smiled.

Yanagi surveyed her surroundings. “How did you find this place?”

Before Ski could answer, the waiter returned with a bottle of Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes. The waiter poured two glasses after Ski gave his approval. Once the waiter departed Ski and Yanagi had a toast to good health.

Yanagi gave Ski a look of approval after she took her first sip. Relieved, Ski sat back in his chair.

“I took the liberty of ordering for us before your arrival. I hope you don’t mind.”

“If everything else is as good as the wine I don’t mind at all.” Yanagi quipped.

The next two hours consisted of telling new stories and reliving old ones.

Eventually Yanagi snapped back into her business minded self.

“So Mr. Chancellor… You graciously accepted my meeting request and I have been wined and dined, what do you wish of me?”

Not nearly the business minded individual as Yanagi, Ski was stalling to collect his thoughts. He took up the bottle of Scion Port and refilled both of their glasses to buy some much needed time.

“There is a new initiative that entails the recovery of lost and stolen works of art and artifacts.”

“Go on.” .Yanagi said with mild interest.

“The folks at Hortalez et Cie are a key element in this program and I hear tell that you’re up for a promotion.”

“Hortalez told ‘you’ that?” Yanagi said with skepticism.

“Not me specifically, my people.” Ski said sheepishly.

“Oh! So you have people now?” Yanagi said in mock surprise.

“Oh com’on Miss Yanagi!” Ski said in protest.

“Go on ‘Chancellor’.” Yanagi said with a playful grin.

"I want you for this program. You were the first person that came to mind. You’d be perfect for it. The folks at Hortalez seem to agree. If you agree to sign on they’d promote ya to Project Manager, and you’d be entitled to a commission plus your new salary.”

“I do like the sound of that, but what project would I be managing?”

“It’s called the I.R.S., Imperial Reclamation Service.”

“And I’m in charge?”

"You would be representing the interests of Hortalez et Cie. The ship is com’in from Tukera, and they saw fit to send a captain along with it to oversee their interests. The rest of the crew is up to you and the captain."

“So who has final say then?”

“The captain always has the final say, but you both have common interests so I don’t foresee much conflict.”

“Well the last captain we worked with was an idiot. Is this new captain intellectually deficient as well or were you able to find someone actually competent.”

"This captain is actually an experienced captain and comes highly recommended by folks at Tukera Lines, a long standing shipping company, not the likes of the Brotherhood.”

Sarcastically Yanagi said “Yes I believe I’ve heard of Tukera.. I mean we do own a sizable financial interest in the company after all…. Does this highly recommended captain have a name?”

“Dallas Korben.”

“Not sure I’m familiar with him….Competent you say? I have your word he will not frustrate me to point of screaming?”

“Now Miss Yanagi! Would ol’Ski do that to ya?” Ski said smiling.

Yanagi’s eyes narrow. “Wait a second… he’s not from fluffy bunny land is he? Scrawled with ancient sigils and runic tattoos or anything like that is he?”

“Nah that's the First Officer! All jokes aside, I need this program to work. I have put forth my best effort to find a compatible partner for you.”

“Mr. Kowalski, If I didn’t know any better I’d think I was conferencing with a bureaucrat. Of course you need it to work. That’s why I’m here. I make things work.” Yanagi feigns consideration, “I guess I could be persuaded to help out an old friend. Promotion sounds good and the idea of finding rare artifacts does intrigue me. And at least I know you’ll appreciate what we recover.”

“Do we have an accord then?”

“Indeed we do Chancelor. When do we start and I assume you have contracts and figures available that I will not find insulting?” Yanagi grins.

“Indeed I do. I will have everything forwarded to your office.”

Ski and Yanagi both hold up their glasses in a toast and simultaneously say, “To old friendships and new ventures.”

As they both laugh Yanagi says “Is this where I say you owe me a bottle of Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes?”.


Last edited by bronze on Thu Oct 29, 2015 8:05 am; edited 1 time in total
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bronze
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dallas entered through the massive glass doors of the Tukera Lines corporate headquarters located in city center of Olavopolis. The cavernous foyer was decorated in lightly colored gray toned tiles and exotic flora. A waterfall with the Tukera Lines logo was prominently displayed in the center. As he approached the reception area he was recognized by one of the employees.

“Captain Korben! It’s so good to see you again sir.” Said the attractive, smartly dressed woman behind the desk.

Dallas managed a small smile. “It’s Mr. Korben now Gracie.”

“Now, now, you left with a pension, so it’s still ‘Captain’ in my book.” she said as she checked Dallas into the visitor’s log. “Mr. Spears is expecting you. 129th floor.” She said as she handed Dallas his guest pass.

The office was very modern and very “new” looking. Minutes went by as Dallas sat patiently waiting for his meeting. He looked over at a holo-screen on the wall which read ‘No Smoking’. He placed his e-cigarette in his mouth and removed the name plate from the desk to inspect it. “Director Ronald J. Spears.” He said aloud to himself. He replaced the name plate, and took a drag from his e-cigarette. The azure light dimly illuminated his face. There was a pleasant sounding tone that came over the office speaker followed by an equally pleasant sounding male voice. “Greetings visitor, Tukera Lines corporate policy prohibits smoking in this facility.”

Dallas exhaled the water vapor. With a look of annoyance, he looked in the direction of the speaker. “Override, Korben, Charlie Xray 927.” He said defiantly.

“Authentication not recognized.” Replied the voice.

“Com’on Dallas!” Said Ronald as he entered the office. “It’s been two years! Do you really think that the system hasn’t been updated?”

Dallas placed the e-cigarette between his teeth, and got up from his chair to shake Ronald’s hand. “Thanks for coming. Glad you can make it.” He said sarcastically.

“You know Dallas; it’s that attitude that got you in trouble in the first place.” Ronald said as he took his seat behind the desk.

Ignoring Ronald’s remark, Dallas took another drag from his e-cigarette. “What’s this about Ron?”

“I’m trying to get you back in the saddle Dallas. We got a contract for a new government program. It entails recovering lost and stolen art. You’ll get to keep your old rank and I have a new state-of the-art ship for you.” Ronald said optimistically.

“Am I being reinstated?” Dallas said with a small glimmer of optimism.

“No. You won’t be back with the Vemene. You will be operating as a government contractor for the I.R.S. under our subsidiary Blue Sun.”

“I.R.S.?”

“Imperial Reclamation Service.”

“What kind of crew am I getting stuck with?” Dallas said drily.

“This is a joint contract between Tukera and Hortalez et Cie. You will have to work with the Hortalez rep, but as captain you will have the final say. The rest of the crew is up to you.”

Dallas stared at the floor for a moment processing the offer. He looked up at Ronald and said “Director huh?” referencing the name plate on Ronald’s desk.

“The Vemene has been good to me.” Ronald said with pride.

“Yeah, well, at least they’re good for something.” Dallas said sarcastically.

Irritated, Ronald raised his voice “Listen, I’m try to make up for past indiscretions. You got shafted Dallas, we both know that.”

Dallas raised his voice as well. “Do “we” Ron? As I recall you didn’t do sh** for me during my inquiry.”

“You ungrateful son-of-a-bitch! I did what could at the time! I nearly lost my job trying to save yours!” Ronald said defensively.

“All you did was hang me out to dry!” Dallas’ words dripping with venom.

“I don’t give a f*** what you think Dallas! That's why I don't have an ulcer, because I know when to say "I don't give a f***."

Dallas got up and began to exit the office.

“And Dallas!” Ronald shouted.

“What?” Dallas said defiantly.

“You know what that says?” Ronald said referencing the ‘No Smoking’ holo-screen.

“Yeah, the same thing as that.” Dallas said referencing the speaker the scolded him earlier. “But I don't give a f***!”

As Dallas exited the office Ronald called out after him “So do we have a deal or not?”

“Forward me the contract!” Came the response from down the hall.

Ronald sat back in his chair and smiled to himself. “Hasn’t changed a bit.”

Dallas exited the lift, walked back to the reception area and handed the visitor’s pass back to Gracie. “It’s good to see you again Gracie.” He said with sincerity.

With a smile Gracie accepted the pass and replied “Welcome back Captain Korben.”
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bronze
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a joint post from Edr1 and Bronze

Ski sat in his leather high-back chair reviewing the latest overview of museum operations. The amount of information to absorb was mind numbing and he began to glaze over and nod off. The intrusive tone of his office intercom startled him out of his reverie. Ski fumbled his data pad as he answered the intercom.

“Yeah! Uh, hello Agnes! “

Agnes smiled to herself as she heard the chaos on the other end. “Mr. Kowalski, Ms. Slanke would like to speak with you.” Agnes said in calm and even tone.

“Uh, yes of course! Put her through. Please. Thank you Agnes.” Ski said as he collected himself.

“Ms. Slanke I have you connected with Mr. Kowalski. Have a pleasant day.” Agnes said with the utmost professionalism.

“Hello Miss Yangi! To what do I owe the pleasure of your call?” Ski said in a cheery voice.

Yangi grimaced to herself, still bewildered by the fact that she has to ask to speak with Ski. “Mr. Chancellor…” she said dripping with sarcasm. “Thank you for so graciously accepting my call.” Before Ski could respond Yangi continued. "We have a problem which you are going to have to fix."

"Me? Why?” What did I do?" Ski replied defensively.

"It's not so much what you did as who you are.” Yangi said.

"OK, so 'why me' is still applicable."

"It's the archeologist.” she replied. "The rest of the crew is coming together nicely but the archeologist is a problem."

"I'm beginning to think we should have done this over a bottle. Why is the archeologist a problem?’ he said expecting another cryptic answer."

"They all work for you.” Yanigi said dryly.

"A straight answer that still manages to be cryptic.” Ski thought to himself. “What do you mean they work for me? Just go over to the University. The place must be full of them."

"A solution which ignores the true state of affairs Mr. Chancellor. Did you not know that all Professorships in Archeology, and History for that matter, at the University of Rhylanor also come with an appointment to a post to the Museum of Rhylanor, Department of Antiquities? And since archeology is, pretty much by definition, a search for antiquities they all ultimately must answer to the Chancellor of Antiquities which would be you. Now is there anything else that I may educate you on regarding your position Mr. Chancellor?”

Ignoring Yanigi’s sarcasm and misinterpreting Yanigi’s beratement as a request for permission, Ski said "So, go hire my employee! You have my blessing."

"I tried. They hang up on me." Yanigi said defeated.

“‘Now why are they doing that?’ he asked knowing he was going to regret it."

"These positions are highly prestigious and coveted. No one is willing to risk their appointment by being involved with something that doesn't arise directly from the University. They won't even bother to talk about it."

"Well, did you tell them it's an Imperial program?"

"They don't care. They didn't come up with it. They didn't set the parameters. They are not interested.” she explained.

"I can't believe that you have so little persuasive power, Yanagi. You can't tell me that you can't wrap these academics around your little finger."

"Rap them with my fist is more like it. Most of the time, I can't get past the students who are so completely terrified of offending their mentor and blowing any chance they might have of ever getting one of these jobs themselves, that they will not take any initiative. And before you say it, an introduction from you is not going to help. I tried dropping your name and it didn't work."

“Didn’t work?!" Ski said in disbelief.

"Sorry Ski, but they don't seem to have a lot of respect for you. Anyway, this is now your problem. If you want this to work, find us an archeologist."

"Thanks. Ski in a flat tone"

Cheerfully Yanagi said "Happy to be of service Mr. Chancellor. Bye now!"



Weeks later, Ski was even more unhappy as he reviewed the latest interview in his mind. As he walked through the hall towards his office, he caught sight of the rather broad south end of a northbound professor, and he pondered how the ol’ geezer was still mobile at all. As he approached the reception area the glass door silently slid open to allow him passage.

Agnes took notice that Ski appeared to have the weight of the sector on his shoulders.

"Agnes, could you bring me some of that fortified coffee, please." Ski said as he slumped past her desk.

Ski sat heavily in his leather high-back chair and stared at the ceiling wallowing in despair. A moment later, Agnes was handing him a gilded cup.

"Rough interview?" she stated.

"Pretty bad. No, really terrible is more like it. She wasn't even remotely interested in anything I had to say. She didn’t even attempt to hide her utter disdain for the project or me for that matter. That was the seventh interview. All of them! All of them the same! I'm beginning to wonder if Victoria intentionally gave me a bad list of candidates. I'm thinking it was a mistake to ask her. At least you tolerate me. Think well of me when I'm gone."

Agnes sat in one the facing chairs and just stared for a few moments.
"I didn't peg you for a quitter.” she said quietly.

"I'm not quiting. I'm just taking a moment to feel sorry for myself.” Ski said as he took a sip from his gilded cup. He set the cup down, leaned back in his chair and stared at the ceiling again.
“I don’t get it Agnes!” Ski said as he thrust his hands toward the ceiling as if pleading to the gods for help.
“There are so many new discoveries to find! All these guys talk about is the umpteenth dig at site gone over with a fine tooth comb looking for an irrelevant fossilized bowel movement they might have missed. And! And! They have the gall to be contemptuous of me!"

"Good. At least you still have some spunk. So, what do all these professors you interviewed have in common?"

"They all hate me.", Ski replied pitifully as he placed his hands over his face.
"Maybe, but not the answer I'm looking for. How about, who are they?"

"What do you mean? They're the most highly respected archeologists around, leaders in their field. All of whom want nothing to do with me or this project."

"Good. So what does 'highly respected' and such translate out to for your purposes?"

"Agnes, I don't get where this is going. These are the top people, recommended by Victoria for their achievements. She hates me too. I'm starting to think she's trying to sabotage me."

"And what did I tell you about Tori? She is staid and conventional. I've been here a long time my dear boy. All of these great professors are just like Tori, staid and conventional. Did you bother to look at the history of any of these sites they discussed? All those sites are their sites, the ones that got them recognized a long time ago. Look at the list Tori gave you and compare it to the seniority list for archeology at the University. It's exactly the same. You're looking at old, tired professors with little to gain by participating in your program. You need somebody who' is energetic and looking for a challenge. This Department needs shaking up. Your program needs someone like you, unconventional. Don't look to the old guys and gals to do it."

“I wish you said something earlier. I wasted so much time.

"Oh my dear," Agnes said, “I can’t do everything for you. The only way you're going to succeed is if you learn and get good at this yourself.”

Ski sat back in his chair and thought about Agnes’ words of wisdom.
"I’m thinkin’ asking younger archeologists would be the way to go but I also think that maybe I should ask somebody who knows the Department, somebody like you Agnes."

"Good thinking. You're going to need to work on establishing more sources. Talking with the young protégés of the old guard won't do you any good. They're trying to ride their master’s coattails up the ladder. Like I've said, the whole Department has gone stale, stuffy, and stagnant. But, I know of one man who may fit your bill. Unconventional and the old guard hate him. He may just be what you need."


Ski was fairly certain that he had gone beyond the bowels of the University and was somewhere deep down by the rectum.

“I didn’t realize there were so many sub levels in this place." Ski thought to himself.

He exited the lift and peered down the long foreboding hallway. He stepped into the dimly lit hallway and looked back at the lift making sure he would remember where the exit was. Somewhere ahead, he could hear noises that sounded like something alive was moving.

"Could be a person, could be a rat, could be a Cthulhu." he thought as his imagination was getting the better of him.

Pressing forward, he began chanting prayers of protection and subconsciously he gripped his muslin bag filled with Anise Stars. Ski finally came upon an open door framing an extremely small and over stuffed office. Inside was human inhabitant sitting at a desk overflowing with all matters of research related items and muttering to himself as he tapped at a computer. Ski was fairly certain that the room used to be a closet.

"Beg your pardon sir," said Ski,"Could you direct to Professor Wolf?"

" 'Ho wants to know?," said the rooms inhabitant as he whirled to face the door."Who set ya? Look, if you're here to whinge about your kid waggin' school and buggeren up my class you can head off beyond the black stump and disappear into the bush. I don't feel all clucky about your dill progeny and don't care if you spit the dummy."

Confused, Ski said, "I'm Dan Kowalski. I'm not here about any student."

"Oh, sorry then. Too many galah's lobben in actin' like a fruit loop cause their kids' not the full quid. And here's me actin like a yaboo. I'm Wolf. Long hike for you to get all in down here. Let me get you a
coldie. Take a load off. What can I do you for?"

Professor Wolf gestured toward a small chair Ski hadn't seen before, reached under his desk, came out with two oil cans, planted one in front of Ski, popped the tab on his can and started sipping with obvious relish. Ski sat down, opened his can and took a sip of the crisp ale while he took in the situation and thought up a plan. Ski decided to just go straight at it.

"I'm looking for an archeologist for the Imperial Reclamation Service. It’s new initiative that entails the recovery of lost and stolen works of art and artifacts. The Imperial Court feels that the Museum may have not been properly pursuing many artifacts and archeological sites. The I.R.S. is tasked with aggressively pursuing places and items of historical importance. It was recommended that I come and to speak to you regarding the projects' archeologist position."

"Too right! You come to the correct bloke. I've got a new lead on the site of the wreck of the Gigantic. Everybody knows she went off course, struck an asteroid, and got off that one message drone before disappearin' foreva. Last year, I was gummin' with an old asteroid miner who gave me a lead on where she ended. No go? How about the Eyes of the Devil? Legend is you put these two rubies in your sockets you can see a man's soul, and heal it or shred it. How about the lost city of Arbaze, home to an ancient and powerful race what for no explainable reason up and left this city full of loot."

"Whoa! Slow down friend. You've got a lot of good ideas. If you're open to pursue other things as well, I think you're our man. There's a small stipend plus you get a percentage of anything found. I can arrange for your sabbatical from here. We're starting immediately."

"Well, I'm stuck here until the end of the semester but I can bounce out commercial soon as that's done. And I do get to wave all we find before those drongo's upstairs, right?"

"Most definitely, the Museum will prominently display all you find."

"Right then, I'll give it a fair go."

"Good to have you aboard Professor Wolf."
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