2ic of the Free Guild vessel Positive Vector
Alaam is a seasoned (some would say pickled) member of the Free Guild. He has served on the Positive Vector since it was commissioned and has always been on hand to support Captain Vogel.
Alaam is a personable Ephrini in his 40s, and is in reasonable condition despite his somewhat hedonistic lifestyle. It is said that he was passed over for his own ship due to his unreliability, but he doesn’t seem to mind playing second fiddle to the younger and less experienced Yan.
Having a lower level of general technical expertise than other members of the crew, Alaam primarily functions as the chief negotiator for the ship, organising jobs, pressing the flesh where required and generally being the person to threaten/cajole/plead with the opposition when things get dangerous.
Recently, Alaam’s attitude seems to have hardened, and he seems to be stuck between knowing the galaxy is still very much in peril and wanting to escape to a quieter life. His motivations for continuing in this line of work remain his own.
Why it’s handy to have someone looking out for you
Alaam sat nursing a drink, which on a normal day wouldn’t have been all that unusual for the Ephrini, but today the sweet beverage tasted like ashes in his mouth, and he felt little enthusiasm for finishing it off.
Across the bar sat Yan Vogel. Alaam had been careful to make sure that Yan couldn’t see him, and with the bandages covering his face, and the amount Yan had been drinking, Alaam was sure that even if Yan had been looking right at him, Allan would have seemed like so much smoke and mirrors.
Things had gone so badly wrong, Alaam could only ponder as he took another sip of his drink. Although the mission has been potentially fraught with peril, the plan had been sound, the crew knew what they were doing and intel was their only goal, madness and death had stalked them throughout, and had followed them back to the Utharii.
What am I even doing here? Alaam pondered as he sat there. He knew that by the standards of the Guild he was a failure, someone of his years should have had a captaincy by now, but his irresponsible nature has ensured that this had passed him by. He was only second on the Vector because no-one would have thought too badly of either Yan or Alaam had they not succeeded when the ship was commissioned. Yan was untested, he was damaged goods, failure would have consigned Yan to retraining and Alaam to the scrapheap. However they’d found themselves at the middle of a hurricane they’d only just survived.
Alaam shuddered at the thought of Nä-lamaalé, her face caved in by things that he’d only ever seen when on the worst of bad trips. Yan laughing madly as they plunged into nothingness, his colleagues incapable with grief or rage, death and betrayal on every side. Ephrini despised being alone, indeed they couldn’t live without having contact with other people, and now Alaam felt a gulf opening up between everyone on the crew. Orma had been growing steadily distant, things revolved around her that she spoke little of but that placed people in danger, Erasmus McQuinn was now missing, Thetwan’s experiences on Batulathras had left him with new experiences to compute, Drew had been sucked into the strateic planning for the fleet and John and Suki were now based far away from the ship. He had little in common with Strontia or the Ursids, a position which was unlikely to change. Michael Bishop had been living a lie for so long Alaam wasn’t sure who he really was anymore.
That led him to Yan. Over the time they’d served together, Alaam had come to rely on the young human. He was a good friend, a scarce thing in these times. More importantly, he’d been someone who believed in Alaam, and consequently was one of the few people Alaam would run through bulkheads for. Together they’d been through a lot and had come out every time ahead of their pursuers. But Alaam knew things were changing, he knew he was too easy to manipulate, he’d been duped like a fool, his base desires placing him and his crew in peril. Now that Yan was wounded in both body and spirit, Alaam didn’t know what to do, for the first time in a long time. He wanted to go over to Yan, put an arm around him and order some brandy. They could laugh about the various scrapes they’d been in and things would be alright again.
As he considered the notion, Alaam shook his head. This was different, things would never be the same. The enemy had been alerted now, the full glare of whatever they had unearthed was now on them and they wouldn’t stop until everything had been eradicated or enslaved, Alaam didn’t care to consider which. I’m no warrior, dammit, I don’t know how to fight a war he lamented, repulsed by the fact that he’d recently fought the enemy at close quarters, and had been seconds away from a fate worse than death. He didn’t yet know whether the Vector would be press-ganged as a warship, or whether they would have to continue to stick their necks out on the sort of special missions that got a person killed.
Alaam left his drink half finished on the table and left the bar without a backwards glance at Yan, no doubt he’d be blearily staring out into space still.
“Lrur, I’m leaving now, can you keep an eye on the Captain, let me know if I’m needed” he messaged through the mesh, as he padded down the corridor. He swiftly traversed the distance to the Vector, which lay quiet in the bay, the crew were all on leave and were dotted throughout the castle ship. It was only once he had made sure the ship was deserted, and that everything had been powered down, that he allowed himself a howl of anguish, hopelessly alone in his quarters.
He wasn’t sure how long he’d been insensible, but he was startled back into consciousness by Lrur’s message over the message, stating simply “Captain’s looking at an airlock, you probably need to get here” He almost flew out of the Vector, all other thoughts urged from his head. He skidded to a halt next to Lrur, who indicated Yan standing a few dozen feet away, looking drunkenly at a control panel. Alaam simply nodded to Lrur and stepped out behind Yan, who didn’t notice him. Alaam reached out with his mind and nearly physically reeled back when he touched Yan’s mind, so horribly bent out of shape was it. Closing his eyes and slowing his breathing, Alaam reached out again and felt Yan’s mind, soothing it as best he could as he gently dropped Yan into unconsciousness. He stepped forward to catch Yan as he began to slump to the ground and motioned to Lrur to give him a hand.
“Let’s get him back to the ship” Alaam said softly, and they carried him back to his home, away from the airlock and any temptations. Soon he was being gently laid on his bed, and Alaam and Lrur left as quietly as they could. “Thank you Lrur, you can go now, I’ll take it from here” Alaam said, and the Ursid duly took his leave.
When Yan Vogel awoke, he would have thought nothing of seeing Alaam slumped asleep in a chair on the bridge, apparently watching the security monitors……..