Procurator’s Journal

In-character Subject: Errands (Chapter 2)
Submitted: 2007-3-9 17.12

The co-ordinates glowed there, in the middle of the screen. How many times had he looked at them now? He shifted in his seat when he noticed his face yet again grinning back at him from the monitor. He closed the terminal and got up to leave, pausing briefly to compose himself properly. It’s not as if he should appear too happy about this. Once outside his room, the captain of the HvCFT Aggregator looked around the hallway. Failing to see his target, he started towards the short flight of stairs which would lead him down to the broadcast bay and ultimately the bridge.

‘Ah, Jerry!’ he exlaimed in a friendly tone as he saw the ship’s temporary pilot sitting in his chair, idly flicking a few switches.

Jerry looked round. ‘My designation, sir, is JE-R3.’

‘Eh-heh, right. Yes, of course.’ Procurator gave the pilot a hearty pat on the back, and withdrew his hand in pain, immediately regretting his friendly gesture. JE-R3 was a robot, assigned to the Aggregator for the duration of Frotee’s absence from the ship. The latter had contracted abscedosis months ago, and the crew feared they’d soon need to find a permanent pilot to replace him. Jerry, despite his best automated efforts, simply wasn’t good enough.

‘Jerry, my lad, it pains me to say it, but I’m afraid you’re going to have to leave the ship.’

‘Am I being dismissed from duty, sir? Are you unsatisfied with my performance?’

‘Oh, it’s not that. And you won’t be gone for good – probably – but the crew’s got a little something we need to do together. As a unit, you understand. It simply… wouldn’t be appropriate for you to be aboard for that.’

‘Very well, sir. Has proper clearance been issued by flight control?’

Oh blast, thought Procurator. He hadn’t thought of that.

‘No, not quite yet. But we won’t be leaving the dock before getting an approved pilot! No worries there.’

‘I can file the request for you, if you’d like.’

‘Eh… no! No-no, that’s quite all right. I’ve got some other forms to send them anyway.’

‘Very good, sir. Thank you, sir.’

Jerry rose from his seat, nodded stiffly, and proceeded out of the bridge and towards the access ramp. Procurator watched him leave, then hit the button on the nearest shipwide communications panel.

‘Attention all hands! Meet me in the bay for a quick briefing.’

Assorted cries of ‘aye’ came back through the panel. Satisfied, the captain headed through the hall and back to the broadcast bay himself. Once everyone he was sure was on board appeared in the bay, he leant casually on one of Flare’s monitors and grinned at the gathering.

‘Alright, boys and girls? Just want to let you know that we intend to head out of Zero-One in a few minutes. So…’ He trailed off, and scanned the crew, noting the few absentees. ‘So someone go grab Jedi and Fray – God only knows where they are – and we’ll get going.’

Gookin nodded and made for the ramp out of the ship. SixTwoFive piped up.

‘We going to be up to anything special on this mission, Proc, or just more Merv scouting?’

Procurator looked thoughtful for a moment, then said: ‘Well now, you know that virus I developed? The one a lot of us have been using to compromise the General’s access nodes and get data on where the Commandos are coming from?’

‘You bet!’ enthused Flare. ‘It found the location of their base, didn’t it?’

‘Believe it. Well, it’s taken its own sweet time, but it’s finally reported back to me here. Now Gray wants us to go on a little errand using this data.’

‘So where are we going?’

‘Where the hell do you think?’ Procurator laughed. ‘Stalingrad!’


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