Author's Note: I intend on having fun with this 'logbook' so enjoy the fruits of a bored yet active imagination.
On the agricultural hub of Cubeo - Chelomey Orbital, at the bottom of C-Block. Exhaust vents from the water pumps produce a murky atmosphere for its denizens. Coupled with the staccato of dripping pipes and unhurried footsteps are the sounds of smooth jazz coming from the nightclub on 7th avenue. On trade street a block up stands a pre-Henson era office building. Thoroughly lacking in ostentation like its neighbors, this simple edifice still sports a realtor's hologram. "For sale or rent, call Émilie Maisonpierre"
'The office is now under new management?' Chat the neighbors on their commutes, 'Some Federation ex-patriot who saw the light of our Empire and moved here last week.' A neon sign out front reads in big bold letters: GIANT-SURVEY, LLC: Cartographic and frontier surveying at cheap prices.
Isabella arrived that morning at 8:30 surprised to find the door already unlocked and the lights on in the back office. "John?" Surprise turned to anger when a cloud of smoke smacked her in the face. "For the last time John, THERE'S NO SMOKING IN HERE!"
John for his part was staring at a galaxy map with blood shot eyes and a pipe dangling from his lips, "The Void!"
"The Void! That's where I'm going next!"
"Fortuna! Find me some customers that will follow this flight path. I'm taking the via Colonia then turning to the Scutum-Centaurus Arm, with the ultimate goal being... the Void." He looked ominously off into the distance.
She shook her head and sighed, "I'll make some coffee."
By 11 o'clock about ten different offers were on John's desk but he turned down almost all of them. "Boring, boring, more boring, seen it, boring. Really... the 'Grey Sector' again? Boring! Dammit Fortuna!"
"For the love of Hubbard John! Just pick one, we need to keep the lights on don't we?"
He sighed heavily, "Fine, send me the most expensive one you've got, and an interesting one no matter how cheap."
Without missing a beat she ran in and slapped a folder on his desk, "This one, and give me a few minutes to finish up negotiations with the other one."
He flipped through the dossier to the expenditure page, "Fifty million?! What is this a binary black hole?"
"No it's 'Cool Blue' again." She said with a smirk.
"I hate you."
"Some people have more money than sense."
He knew that remark was mostly directed towards him. "I'm heading over to the space port, could you have Bertuccio meet me there?"
"Yeah, yeah, but before you go. Have you ever been to a place called Rohini?"
"Not... that I can recall."
"Good, as you were then."
He looked at her crosswise, "Where is it?"
"Over near Summer Star actually."
Summer Star, more colloquially known as the system we got paid twice for, is the company's first Garden World discovery. It sits on the edge of Orion's Spur, on the via Colonia.
"Well whatever, have the contractees meet me back here after lunch around 1:30 and we'll set departure for 11 tomorrow morning."
"You got it boss!"
Chief Engineer Hepburn stared bullets through John, "You want to take this tub on a 120 to 140,000 light year trip? Are you high!"
"Come on Fred, she can handle it."
"Not without repair limpets she can't, and we can forget about contractees surviving the journey. Unless you have Bertuccio do the piloting."
"What!" John said taken aback, "Are you trying to say I'm a bad pilot?"
"I don't have to, your record speaks for itself."
"Just get the ship ready!"
Vito Bertuccio walked up and saluted, "Commander, Isabella said you wanted to see me?"
"First officer! Let's grab lunch, tomorrow we're setting sail for the edge of the map!"
Back at the office Isabella greeted Jackie Meyers with a smile, "How are you? I'm Isabella!"
"Nice to meet you in person! I'm Jackie. I'm a little early I know."
"Not at all! We're so glad that you've chosen Giant-Survey. It's not everyday we get to play host to a famous explorer such as yourself and Ms. Wagner."
"Wait... did you say Wagner?" Jackie's face went white.
"That's not a problem is it? We often hire out to multiple contractees on long voyages."
"Just a small rivalry, nothing more. It shouldn't be a problem as long as we can avoid one-another. I'm in it for the discovery, she's in it for the money."
Isabella bit back an ironic laugh, "I see, well then you'll likely get along great with the Commander as he often puts discovery before profit. The good news is we'll have both your teams in opposite compartments. First class accommodations of course, we spare no expense. You'll only see each other if you choose to do so."
"Perfect, that is ideal! So when does the Commander usually return from lunch?"
Isabella directed her to the conference room. "He usually gets back at 12:30, 1 o'clock thereabouts." Jackie's eyes lingered for a time on the Commander's door which read in elaborate script; Sir John "Giant" Grant. "I assume you're eager to sign the paperwork before Ms Wagner gets here?"
"Yes. I know it's a bit tacky."
"Not at all!" Isabella insisted, "Sometimes it's best to avoid unnecessary confrontations. Believe me, we know that better than most."
"Ohh?" She inquired, "Was the move to the Empire not of your choosing?"
"The answer to that is a bit complicated I'm afraid. So i'll just say we are far happier here. More glamor and less glitz."
Jackie changed the subject, "So what about the nickname, 'Giant', where does that come from?"
Isabella rolled her eyes, "The company joke is that John's compensating for something. But the truth is far less interesting. That ugly neon sign outside used to say 'Grant-Survey' but the 'r' kept going out so everyone assumed it spelled Giant. Finally the day came that he adopted the assumed name over the original."
"Wow, that was a boring story."
She heard the door open at reception, "Is that-"
"Hey Bella we're back! Have you eaten?"
She sighed with relief, "-Speak of the devil. I'll bring him in here to meet you and we'll try to get you out of here before one."
"John," Isabella saw Vito blush when she appeared, "John I've got miss Jackie Meyers in the conference room."
John checked his holographic watch, "I thought I said 1:30?"
"Yes well, as it turns out she and our 50 million dollar honey pot hate each other. So let's have her sign the paperwork then get her out of here quickly."
John looked down at his takeout bag, "....But Greek."
"But Mousakka and Tzatziki covered pork skewers."
Bertuccio shook his head, "Come on Commander, money is more important."
"I beg to differ!" Both Isabella and Vito glared at John. "Fine! Since you're both adamant about this."
The meeting augured well until, to Isabella's horror, John and Jackie took a liking to each other. Thirty minutes passed as she found herself checking her watch and trying but failing to get the two back on track. Then the inevitable happened.
"Was that the door at reception?" John checked his watch, "Well I'll be, it's 1:25."
"Yes," Isabella said through gritted teeth, "Must be Miss Wagner your 1:30."
"Well drat," exclaimed miss Meyers, "I had hoped to avoid her, but I guess it can't be helped."
"...Anymore." Isabella said under her breath, "I'll go stall her, would you two please stay on topic?"
"We'll be quick miss Fortuna. Commander I do have a request before we proceed?"
Isabella left and closed the door behind herself.
"Of course, whatever you want."
"You cannot let her know why I'm aboard. Luckily Rohini is one of the few points along the Via Collonia that's inhabited. So if asked could you say that we're in the system for a courier contract or something?"
"Miss Meyers, didn't you know I have family in Rohini?"
She beamed, "Thank you Commander."
Before greeting Yessenia Wagner, Isabella tracked down Bertuccio. "Vito!"
Vito jumped to attention at his desk. "Isabella, I-"
"-Vito, go make sure John and Jackie stay on course and get through the paperwork. Then when they're done make sure you keep her out of sight of Yessenia."
"I... I can do that."
"If you don't we're out 50 million." She did a quick about-face and straightened herself up on the move. "Ms. Wagner! I'm Isabella, it's so nice to meet you!" Before she even opened her mouth to respond Isabella knew she was going to be a bitch.
"I don't like being kept waiting. Ms Fortuna is it?"
Isabella feigned a sympathetic bearing, "I'm terribly sorry Ms. Wagner, we are currently in a meeting that is just going on and on! But, as we both know, your time is precious and we don't want to waste it-"
"Yes it is," the smug bitch reiterated.
"-So luckily I've already drawn up most of the paperwork. If I can go ahead and get you to begin filling that out for me."
After about five minutes of chatting she began to lose all hope when Vito finally peaked around the corner and gave her a thumbs up. "Okay! I think we're about ready for you now Ms. Wagner. If you will step this way." With apprehension she checked the conference room to see if John or Jackie were around. "Okay! So if you will take a seat, I'll go get the commander and we'll go from there."
Like clockwork, one door closed and another one opened. "Thank you again Commander for your staff's discretion. I look forward to our trip tomorrow."
"The pleasure is all mine, miss. Come along and I'll show you out."
"John!" Isabella whispered, "John let's go!"
"The world is conspiring against me this afternoon." He joked.
"John! We can't keep her waiting!"
"You should go commander, I'll show myself out."
"Ms. Meyers will be a welcome companion," He said after the meeting, "That Wagner bitch though, I might end up spacing."
"If you sleep with or space one of our clients I'll put a 50 million credit bounty on you." She started filing the paperwork, "Still, I'm actually glad you two are leaving for a couple of weeks. Maybe I can actually get some work done around here."
"I didn't realize I was paying you that much."
Vito handed them plates and began meting out food, "Did you even bother telling them where you're ultimately going? Or that you intend on staying outside the bubble for an extended period of time?"
"Slipped my mind."
Isabella rolled her eyes. "As long as you get them back before a month has passed we'll get paid. That's why once they signed and dated the contract agreement I no longer care if they see each other or not."
"Well," Vito yawned, "if they're worth their salt as explorers they'll be okay with an extended voyage."
John took a bite out of his food, "Cold... of course."