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    Flostam – A continuation of Genique for Finish It Bingo

    After Taking Chances, Betting on it, Betting Time, Bunking Arrangements, and Accidental, for my Third Finish It Bingo Card. And this means I’ve finished another card!!.

    “One year.” Marsey Wilswoodronny sat down on Genique’s bunk and looked up at her. “How did you win that hand? That was an impossible hand! I knew Darretchon had the Captain, and I knew I had the Red Spear, and you – and you -”

    “Declined to be cheated out of a year?” Genique’s cabin had very few amenities; she sat down backwards on the sole chair, leaned on the back of it, and looked at him. “I knew you were cheating with Darretchon. You two both have very good poker faces, but your fingers twitch and his earlobes wiggle. And your signals were very nice, but they weren’t quite as subtle as you thought they were. I find patterns,” she added, to soothe his chagrined look a little. “I’m an accountant. That’s what they have me doing, digging out patterns, putting them back together.”

    His look got speculative. “That’s going to ruffle some feathers and make some people worried.”

    “I think that’s the idea. First Mate Clyd has been pleased with me so far.”

    “And the Captain?” Now he looked worried.

    “I don’t think he knows what to do with me quite yet,” she admitted. “Which is more than a little concerning, but it works out well enough. What about you?”

    “I’ve been here for years. Volunteered, actually, not conscripted. I do good with this sort of work. But now – now you’ve got a year.”

    “POor baby.” She patted his back companionably. “I’ll have to fill out a form, won’t I? This is the most beuracratic pirate ship I’ve ever been on.”

    “How many pirate ships have you been on?” He eyed her sidelong.”

    “…this one,” she admitted. “So. You were trying to cheat me, and-”

    “-it backfired. So now you get a year of me. What are you going to do with me?”

    “If we were home, I’d have you cleaning my house and cooking my food and, hrrm, doing my laundry, but-”

    “BUt we’re on a pirate ship, and those things, someone already takes care of.” He looked more concerned. She couldn’t say she really blamed him for that.

    “What were you going to do with me?”

    “Well,” he blushed and looked away.

    “Mm. That’s what I thought. So?”

    “So?” He shifted backwards. “So, what?”

    “So what exactly. What are you still wearing clothes?”

    “Oh, no, nooo, that’s not fair.”

    “Who said anything about fair, handsome boy? Come on, you agreed to a year. Clothes off.”

    “but-” He sulked at her.

    She reached over and tapped his forehead. For a Trenciscot boy, that was the equivalent of – he flinched and leaned backwards – slapping him on the face. “Clothes. Off. Come on, now, just think about what you were going to do to me.”

    “You can’t…”

    “Nope. But I could go out there and tell your friend you backed out of our deal.”

    He held up both hands. “All right. You win. I agreed, yeah. Anything, for a year. Is this going to be like the Pit?”

    “Oh, I hope not.” She let a small smile cross her lips. “No. Nothing like that. As a matter of fact, I think we’re going to enjoy it. But I’m going to see if I can get a bigger bed, first.”

    ~~

    She looked at Marsey. He looked at her.

    “You signed the form,” he shrugged uncomfortably.

    “You did, too,” she pointed out.

    “You told me to! Remember that part where I agreed to do whatever you said for a year?”

    “… Right. So. New clause. If I am doing something you think I’m going to regret, tell me, immediately if possible, soon afterwards otherwise. Can you do that?”

    “I can. but.” He looked at the wedding banns, frowned, looked at their new room – bigger bed, at least, and a nicer cabin in a nicer location – and looked back at her. “Do you regret it?”

    “Regret what? Not getting caught in the trap you were setting? No. The rest…. well. Look. It appears we can’t have private finances when we’re married, so let me say very clearly – the money you bring in is yours to spend, the money I bring in is mine to spend, and never the twain shall meet. All right?”

    “You’re…” He took a moment, staring at her. “You’re bringing money in? In your first year here? What did you do, have blackmail material on the First Mate?”

    “No.” She couldn’t help the grim smile that crossed her lips. “I’m an accountant.”

    All of that, however, wasn’t answering the actual question. She flopped down on the nicely bigger bed and looked up at the ceiling. Ceilings shipboard were so low. Marsey was not a short man, and his head nearly brushed the ceiling in many places. “No. You’re right. This is a new experience, and as long as it doesn’t delay the amount of time it takes me to get back home, to buy off my contract, no, I don’t really regret it.” She glanced over at him. “You’re a sweet boy… no. I’m sorry, Marsey, that wasn’t fair. You’re a nice person, so far, kind, sweet, and even if you were going to cheat me, you’ve been sticking to your word once it turned out you’d be, well, stuck with it. And you’re gorgeous, that helps.”

    He stared at her. SHe wondered if nobody had told him he was gorgeous before.

    Not, it seemed he’d gotten stuck before that. “You’re really planning on heading home?”

    “I am. I was a kidnapee, you know.”

    “Yeah, Basi brought you in. Felt horrible about it for weeks when nobody ransomed you.” He looked around at the things she’d brought over. “You’ve got stuff.”

    “Not from spending my salary, though. The silk was from Basi. Some of the other things came from here and there. I’m a really good accountant,” she added, a little proudly. “

    “And you’re really good at Flotsam. If we got you playing Flounder, too, you could probably decorate this place nicely.”

    She looked at the four crates he’d brought over. “What about you?”

    “Mostly stuff I’ve stolen, you know, pirate. Some of it I won in Flotsam and Flounder games.”

    “Cheating?”

    “Only sometimes, only when the stakes were high. Come _on_, I wasn’t going to…”

    “Oh, you might as well not bother lying. It’s going to be a long year if you do.”

    He slipped off the bed, and for a moment, she thought she’d offended him. But he was going through the smallest of his crates, the one with a lock on it. “So. We agreed. My things are mine and your things are yours, right?”

    “Right. Separate finances.” it was the only way she was ever going to get out of here, especially if he liked to gamble.

    “And one year, right? I’m yours – your bound husband – for a year, no matter what?”

    “That’s what we agreed to.”

    “Then here’s this, for your home fund.” He handed her a gaudy but clearly expensive necklace, the sort often worn by heiresses. “That ought to get you closer. And um. This is because you beat me at cheating at Floatsam.”

    The second piece was much less gaudy – it was actually lovely, understated, and matched the red silk of her favorite camisole perfectly. “Marsey…”

    “It’s still mine. Both of them. So they’re mine to give.” He smiled up at her. “You’re my first wife. It seems appropriate.”

    Want More?

    This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1310271.html. You can comment here or there. comment count unavailable

    LadiesBingo: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

    Written for my [community profile] ladiesbingo card and my Second Finish-It Bingo Card for [community profile] allbingo. Genique is the title character of my Space Accountant setting.

    Background: Genique just wanted to go on a nice cruise. She never anticipated being kidnapped by pirates… and when that happened, she never really expected to become their accountant. Now that she is, though, she’s going to do a good job as a matter of course.

    Genique had been working all day on a particularly tricky set of paperwork, pausing for a ration bar at noon but not really tasting it. It was well into the evening, but she wasn’t sure, still, about this contracted husband she’d ended up with, the problems were particularly thorny–pirates might be awful at accounting but they were far too good at hiding money–and, besides, she was having fun.

    “We don’t actually pay overtime, you know.”

    Genique looked up to see First Mate Cleonorayen Clyd standing in the door of the closet Genique was using as an office. “You should,” she answered absently. “Maybe then three-quarters of your crew wouldn’t be embezzling.”

    “We don’t have time cards,” came a voice from behind Clyd. From the accent, it had to be Quatermaster Marist Irio. “They’d just embezzle time, then. I mean, if we had paychecks.”

    “I don’t quite understand how this place works as a business.” Genique stared at the tablet in front of her. “That is, by all rights, it ought to. I mean, according to most of your books, you haven’t repaired the ship in twenty-five years.”

    “Come on, we’re going out for a beer.” Clyd stepped into the small room and took Genique by the arm. “Before your poor husband comes to claim you again.”

    “About that…”

    “We’re not talking about him, not yet.” The Quartermaster shook her head. “We want to talk about the books, first.”

    Genique let herself be led out. “I thought I didn’t get paid for overtime.”

    “Oh, but this isn’t work.” Clyd was smiling with too many sharp edges. “This is… well, gossip.”

    “Gossip,” Irio agreed. “And some explanations that will probably make you want to pull your hair out.”

    “So also we brought you a new cap,” Clyd offered. “And we’re going to buy you some beer.”

    “And a pair of shipsocks,” Irio added. “You don’t look like you have any yet, and you really need them.”

    Genique looked between the two of them. “How badly am I going to regret this conversation?”

    “Wellll,” Irio offered slowly, “Donnye the ship-boarder and engineer owes me a really good haircut…”

    “Okay, so you really do want to talk to me,” Genique twisted her lips thoughtfully. “All right, beer and a conversation. And those shipsocks.” Her hand went to her hair. “We’ll hold the haircut in reserve, mmm, because if it’s important for you to tell me, chances are it’s important for me to know, too.”

    “I told you she was a smart one,” Clyd commented.

    “Who told whom, mmm? She’s a bright bulb, best thing Basi’s done so far.”

    “Standing right here,” Genique reminded them.

    “Well, why are you doing that?” Clyd mock-scolded with no shame. “The beer’s this way.”

    “Ma’am, yes, ma’am.” Genique let herself be steered, listening but not paying too much heed as Clyd and Irio discussed various crewmates.

    It wasn’t ‘till the beer was poured, they’d sat down, and Clyd and Irio had both gotten halfway through their mugs that they looked over the edge of those mugs at Genique.

    “You’re brilliant at paperwork. You find missing numbers nobody even knew were missing.” Clyd took another swig of her beer. “That’s good. We need that. Problem is…”

    “Well, two, maybe three problems. First problem,” Irio picked up, “is that you’re going to find numbers someone did know were missing. It’s some junior officer who’s skimming the till, yeah, we want to know. But, uh…”

    Clyd picked up. “If it’s the Captain, you don’t want to know and neither do we.”

    Genique considered that. “All right. So there are lies in the numbers. And some of those lies, I need to find. Some of them, it’s okay if I find. Right so far?”

    “Right so far. I mean, we do need the ship to run, and we need it to keep running. And, well, you found our first lie right off — the ‘wages’” she explained to Irio. “She figured out first thing that if you work the way we hire on new captives, you’ll never be free.”

    “Some people take years to get that one.” Irio smiled. “Well done. But,” and her smile vanished, “that’s the problem. You’ve got your lies and your damned lies. And the damned ones can kill you.”

    Genique frowned. “Right, so, I want to be careful what I ‘find’ and where I find it. And then there’s stuff I need to be very sure nobody finds…” she sipped her beer and found herself smiling. “Well, that part’s easy. I mean, once I don’t find it, then it’s damn simple. I’ll just hide the numbers.”

    “You can do that?”

    Genique smiled broadly. “Of course I can do that. Text summaries, statistical analysis, double booking… I’m an accountant.” She lifted her chin. “And, it appears, a pirate. Of course I can hide a little booty.”

    This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1178439.html. You can comment here or there. comment count unavailable

    Some Paperwork… a story of Space Accountant for the Summer Giraffe Call


    Written to kelkyag‘s prompt here for my Summer Giraffe Call. Um… before the accidental marriage timeline, after the initial first-day timeline in Space Accountant

    “You have have records on paper.” Genique stared at the Moneykeeper with a look that was fifty percent horror and fifty percent dry amusement. She was still getting over the fact that this so-called pirate ship had a Moneykeeper, in addition to a Quartermaster and a full rank system.

    As she looked around Moneykeeper Jeffer ReemMickey’s office, Genique came to the slow realization that the ship didn’t really have a Moneykeeper. They had… an old man who had probably been a brilliant pirate – maybe a hitter, maybe something like a tech expert – when he was younger. He hadn’t died the way pirates were supposed to, early and violently, and they’d given him a sinecure position, something to keep him out of the way.

    “Well, and what else would I do?” ReemMickey stared right back at Genique.

    “The fire hazard alone…!” Genique shook her head. “The weight on this poor ship. How did you even get all this paper?”

    “And how do pirates get anything?” The man was wearing enough jewelry to consist of a weight overage on its own, much of it likely stolen from kidnapped space-cruise travellers. “I took it. And I made the notes like the captain wanted, and tracked the money.”

    “So how much money does the ship have right now?”

    “And how should I know that?”

    “…You know what? Never mind. What I am going to do is track every piece of this paper, and then we are going to have a bonfire. I think the attack bay can handle it.” Genique sat herself down in the center of the mess. “Thank you, Moneykeeper. I’ll be getting to work now.”

    She thought he might be swearing at her, but Genique didn’t care. She was already logging in notes.

    This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1146225.html. You can comment here or there. comment count unavailable

    A Reason, a continuation of Space Accountant

    This follows after: Taking Chances, Betting on it, Betting Time, Bunking Arrangements, and Accidental.

    It is a partial answer to Kelkyag‘s question here and is only a year and a half in coming…

    “Spill.” First Mate Cleonorayen Clyd flopped into the spare chair in Quatermaster Marist Irio’s bunk without asking or even knocking. She made up for it by thunking down a thick bottle filled with a bluish liquid.

    Marist grabbed two heavy-bottomed glasses and poured generous shots. “You’re talking about the little accountant, right?”

    “Bunk change. Bunk change, Marist, what on earth possessed you?”

    “What? She wanted a bunk change, I gave her one. Pretty Marsey there is going to be a happy-if-confused young man for the next year.”

    “But he could have been that without a marriage contract. What are you up to?”

    “Pitmaster.” Marist threw back her drink in one swallow. “If the girl is in a marriage contract, she doesn’t go to the Pit. And none of us want her going to the Pit… do we?”

    This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1092113.html. You can comment here or there.

    A Meme and a Writing Game – ask my characters things!

    Okay! I stole this from [personal profile] balsamandash, whose post is here; they stole it from [personal profile] thebonesofferalletters, whose post is here. And because October goes up to 31, I have 31 characters. The characters are from 15 different settings (Counting Fae Apoc, Addergoole, & Doomsday as separate…) so there’s a good chance your favorite setting is on here.

    Here’s the game. I have a set of characters numbered from 1 to 31. You may ask them any questions you’d like, and you can keep the conversation going. You can ask them ICly or just as yourself. They will respond with an honest* answer and as people ask questions, I will update the post with who correlates to what number.

    * they might lie!

    You can:
    ask multiple questions to one character.
    ask questions of as many characters as you’d like.
    ask the same question to different characters.
    ask more questions of characters that have already been revealed.
    ask additional/clarification/tangential questions in response to answers.
    jump in on another answer/conversation if the subject sounds interesting to you and/or your character.
    use original or fannish characters to ask/comment
    leave your own character for people to ask questions to if you want, be it as a list form or as a singular character who you would like to play with.

    1. Tess – The Planners
    2. Rin – Reiassan/Rin & Girey
    3.
    4. Aoife – Vas’ World
    5.
    6.
    7.
    8.
    9.
    10.
    11.
    12.
    13: Basimontin –Space Accountant
    14. Aquilina – Doomsday Academy
    15.
    16. Reynard – Fae Apoc
    17.
    18.
    19.
    20.
    21.
    22.
    23.
    24.
    25.
    26.
    27.
    28.
    29. Evangaline – The Aunt Family
    30. Edora – Things Unspoken
    31.

    This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/989105.html. You can comment here or there.

    Bunking Arrangements

    This follows after: Taking Chances, Betting on it, Betting Time, and is before Accidental.

    It fills the “Sleeping arrangements” square on my [community profile] ladiesbingo card and was prompted by [personal profile] kelkyag.

    559 words by MSWord.

    “There have been, ah, some changes in arrangements.” As openings went, Genique had done better. But this was the Quartermaster. “I need to change my bunking arrangements, that is.”

    Genique was growing familiar with all of the officers on the pirate ship, but she had not yet entirely figured out Marist Irio, the Quartermaster.

    For instance, the way the woman was looking at her now, on Genique’s home planet, would have been a leer. But there was something about it that seemed almost innocent, compared to the way, say, Genique’s older brother had once leered about a gentleman caller.

    “You know, you are my type, but I didn’t think I was yours, cougar-lady. But I do get a nice plush bunk as Quartermaster.”

    Ah! Genique ducked her head and hoped she wasn’t blushing as badly as she thought she was. “Marist…”

    “Relax, relax! I wondered what you’d do with that. Farm folk, land folk, can be…”

    “Prudes.” Genique forced herself to meet the woman’s gaze. “Yes, they can. But I’m here now, aren’t I? I’m a pirate, now.”

    “Or at least a pirate’s accountant. So, who’s the lucky pirate?”

    “I don’t know if he really counts as lucky…”

    “Listen, pretty cougar-lady, he’s shacking up with you. I wasn’t kidding about the offer of my bunk, even if I was trying to get a rise out of you.”

    Genique studied the woman, head tilted. “I’m ‘normal,’“ she reminded her. “Boring.”

    “Normal’s different than boring, kitten.”

    A month ago, Genique would have swallowed the pet name. Now, she shot the Quartermaster a smile she’d copied from the First Mate Clyd. “’Cougar’ is fine. ‘Kitten’, however, not so much.”

    Marist Irio simply grinned at her. “Go you, cougar, you’ve got spine. Now. If you’re not looking for a room with me, are you going to tell me who it is that you’re asking to bunk with?”

    “Well, I was hoping you’d tell me what the procedure was.”

    “And, what, have you try to bypass it?” The Quartermaster was still grinning. “Gossip is gossip, cat-lady. And if I’m going to give you a bunking form, you’re going to tell me why you need the form, and the bunk.”

    Genique looked at the wall behind the Quartermaster’s head and gathered her thoughts. “Okay. You still have a box of forms that needs detangling. I need a copy of – hunh. Do you not GET bunking change forms? I haven’t seen one yet.”

    “They really don’t come up all that often.” There was something weird about the way Marist Irio wouldn’t quite look at Genique, but then again, there was something a little weird about everyone here. “It’s form Q12-18. Maybe when you’re done in the Pit we should have you redo our forms, too.”

    “I’d like that.” It would make sorting out the next mess so much easier.

    “You really would, wouldn’t you?” Marist shook her head. “If Basi had only known what he was grabbing…”

    “Well, that doesn’t matter now, does it?” And why was she a what, anyway? “Can I have the bunk-change form?”

    “If you tell me who it’s for.” Marist reached behind her, hands on a stack of forms.

    “Marsey Wilswoodronny.” There couldn’t be any harm in telling, could there?

    The Quartermaster’s hands moved down a form. “Ah, I see. Here’s your form.”

    “Thank you.” That hadn’t been that hard.

    This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/810013.html. You can comment here or there.

    Betting Time

    This is to [personal profile] kelkyag‘s prompt to this bingo card.

    It fills the “Greed” square.

    It is part of my Space Accountant setting and comes before Accident and after Betting on It.

    They were playing Flotsam, Genique and the two young men, wagering with time, their own free time, and Genique was losing.

    She was losing, it appeared, badly. She was down thirty-six hours and a massage, most of it to Marsey the hitter, but a few hours here and there to Darretchon the hacker.

    And Marsey had plans, she could tell, for every one of those hours. He was licking his lips. It would have been flattering, if it wasn’t a bit scary.

    “One year.” He flicked the chips in.

    Genique tried not to smile. The boy was hungry.

    “One year.”

    This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/691458.html. You can comment here or there.

    February is World Building Month. Day 16: Space Accountant

    [personal profile] piratekitten has declared February world-building month.

    Every day in February, I will answer one question about any one of my settings.

    The question post is here, please feel free to add more questions!

    The sixteenth question comes from [personal profile] kelkyag and is for Space Accountant ‘verse.

    What do the external economics and logistics of the pirate ship Genique is stuck on look like? Do they actually make most of their money on ransoms? How do they make contact to make those exchange without getting caught? Are they being grossly overcharged by their suppliers, and/or have wonky and unexpected expenses? Are they a one-of operation, or part of a larger organization??


    This plays in well with the earlier question on What do the pirates pirate? here.

    The ransom rates have been carefully calculated to maximize income: they are set at a rate that most families (of cruise-ship travelers) will be both willing and able to pay, but high enough that they bring in about fifty percent of the ship’s income.

    If they plan and train properly, they can actually make more money off of a kidnapee either in free labor “working off their ransom” or in straight slave sales on one of the luxury slave markets; the slave sales make up about 25% of their income.

    As for their suppliers: there are a couple suppliers who overcharge, thinking that they can get away with it because, really, who’s a pirate ship going to complain to? Of course, that comes with its own inherent problems like, when you piss off pirates, what do they do to you? Mmm?

    The vast majority of the ship’s financial problems, however, come not from their suppliers, but from graft, as Genique is beginning to find out. At almost every level of accounting on the ship, someone is skimming from the till. After all, they are pirates.

    I believe the ship is a one-off organization, although they sometimes work with other pirates in a very loose confederation, and they do have “sister organizations” – a couple land-bound fences and a couple of ship-based traders who push the pirate ship’s merchandise.

    As for making contacts on the ransoms, the pirate ship works through a Bonded Drop Person/Ship. There are many of these throughout the galaxy; they serve as “international waters” sorts of people and are used by the law-abiding and the law-ignoring alike when they need to make deals. The Bonded Persons are universally discreet, free from subpoena or prosecution for their Bonded actions on almost all planets (and do not do business on or with those where they are not), and known for their reliability.

    This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/671203.html. You can comment here or there.

    February is World Building Month. Day 14: Space Accountant

    [personal profile] piratekitten has declared February world-building month.

    Every day in February, I will answer one question about any one of my settings.

    The question post is here, please feel free to add more questions!

    The fourteenth question comes from [personal profile] moonwolf and is for Space Accountant ‘verse.

    What do the pirates actually pirate?


    The pirates’ primary and first trade is people, at least this particular ship (or possibly a small fleet, but I think it’s one independent ship). Space cruises are notoriously easy to board, because they are built for beauty and smooth sailing, not for security. Once on ship, more than fifty percent of the time, the pirates manage to take a few people without ever being noticed, slip back to their ship, get out of dodge, and then demand ransom.

    About seventy-five percent of the time ransom is paid; the rest of the time, they train and sell their captives on the extensive black market, or employ them as cheap labor (as discussed in one of Genique’s first stories).

    As a side effect of hitting primarily luxury cruises, the pirates do a brisk trade in fine gems and fakes thereof, often pried from jewelry pieces, drugs, both legal and not, and fancy clothing, often cut down or otherwise altered from those things confiscated from prisoners.

    When, as it occasionally does, the atmosphere in space gets a little to hot to handle around the cruise ships (after, say, they accidentally kidnap someone who is a little too famous, or accidentally steal a president’s narcotics), the pirates “winter” on trade routes, picking off luxury shipments or, sometimes, even other pirates, liberating slaves from other traders only to turn around and resell them to different markets.

    In short, Genique’s new employers make a lot of money skimming off of people who have lots and lots of money.

    This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/670533.html. You can comment here or there.