JT wakes up feeling refreshed in her reasonably sized and priced private quarters. The bedroom does not come with a butler or personal waitstaff like the fancier rooms on the higher decks, but it is more spacious than her engineer’s quarters aboard the Rye Smile. She chose that room for its proximity to the engines and workspace, not for its square meterage.
She yawns and stretches, enjoying the excessively comfortable bed, then rolls over and opens her eyes. “Oh no!” she gasps. She forgot to set her alarm, and it is already 1000! She had been hoping to get an early start today on all the gala arrangements. Maybe a room with a valet would have been a good idea. As JT hurriedly gets ready, her mind drifts to the spherical rooms for the non-oxygen breathing elite. Those rooms probably do have butlers, and they certainly have credits. She adds trying to talk to some of those passengers to her mental to-do list. But for now, decorations!
Before she can decide on the décor for the dinner, JT needs to check out the space itself, the cargo hold on deck B2. After all, she can step into the observation deck at any time, and the steward told her the ship staff can set up little tables there. The cargo hold is a complete unknown, though, and needs her attention first. Maybe there is some cargo in there that she can integrate into the set! At the very least, she will need a stage, as it is unlikely a cargo hold has one. Stages of a rocket, maybe. That would be interesting…
As her mind jumps from plan to plan, JT navigates the halls, stopping only long enough to grab a muffin and caf from the booth advertising, “We Proudly Brew Jawa Java!” She does not bother checking in with any of the ship’s staff regarding access or permission; she has an event and a right to look over the space. JT gets on a turbo lift and looks at the access panel. It is of a standard manufacture that she has seen in dozens of lifts. No problem. She flips open the panel, then fiddles around with it until it accepts a passcode of her choosing, 1337, as having permission to stop at deck B2. I could give out the code to the gala attendees at the cocktail hour… maybe print it on the little napkins? This sort of skulduggery would fit with the illicit theme of a speakeasy, though maybe an Outer Rim cantina would be a better idea. Still a little wild, but without the illegal overtones. Of course, she will have to make sure the attendees could also just get the code from her if for some reason they are not going to the cocktail hour. Fancy drinks are not a prerequisite for dinner.
JT walks the corridors of deck B2 as if she has every right to be there, which she does. She is running an event here, and she was told she could use this space. That is what she will tell anyone who asks, and it will not even be a lie! As she turns down one hallway, doors swish closed farther ahead. She pays them no heed, leaving the ship workers to do their work. I’m working too, she thinks, reiterating to herself that she is doing nothing wrong by being here. She continues on her way to the cargo hold door, where she is dismayed to find that it will not open. “Oh, this is miserable,” she complains under her breath. “I gotta inspect this space.” JT lets out a sigh, and for a moment she appraises the lock. But then she reminds herself, No, don’t have to use those sorts of skills here.
She heads back down the way she came to the door that recently closed. It is also locked, and she tries knocking on it. When she does not get a response right away, she turns to the intercom. “Uh, excuse me… I’m Jai Tessa. I’m here to check out cargo hold B2 for an upcoming event. The door seems locked, though. Is there anyone in there who can help me?”
A voice crackles over the intercom, “Cargo hold B2, you say?”
“Yes! Are you able to help me out with that?”
The door opens, revealing a person in the uniform of Dame Metropolis. “I’m going to have to see some identification,” the male Pantoran tells her, “as well as evidence that you are allowed to access these areas.”
JT offers the code cylinder for her room and pulls up the events schedule to show him which activity she is running. He asks her to tell him about the event, and JT wonders if he is testing how well established her story is. But it’s not a story, it’s the truth! “Oh! You probably haven’t heard of it because you’re not getting all the messages that are sent to the passengers, of course. I run the War Orphans Fund. It’s a charity for those who have lost their families in much of the warfare across the galaxy these last several decades.”
“What does that have to do with the cargo hold?”
“Well, your ship the Dame Metropolis graciously agreed to host a charity dinner event—a gala, if you will—to help raise funds for this charity. I’m running this event. We’re going to have dinner in that cargo hold.” JT points down the hall with one arm and then up at the ceiling with the other. “We’re going to have a cocktail hour up in the observatory. We’re going to be auctioning off some artwork by one Jeppo, Jr, a fantastic artist from Corellia. I think you guys are running the food. Whatever your usual gala food is I’m sure will be fine… I still need to find decorations; that’s why I really need to see the space, so that I know how to decorate it, since it is a cargo hold, which I think is going to look great, but other people might have different ideas, and maybe it shouldn’t look like a cargo hold, it should look like something different… If you have time off, I have a raffle, if you want to try to win entry into it. If it’s your night off and you wanted to go to the gala, you’d be totally welcome.”
When she finally runs out of words, the man asks, “What sort of people are going to be at this gala?” The tone of the question is intense, rather than casually curious.
“All kinds of people! Hopefully people who will donate money to this charity.”
“Is there a guest list?”
“I am currently selling tickets. I have a couple folks lined up already. Do you know one Ms. Emla Phozlo?” JT was not really expecting an answer to that question, and she does not get a verbal one, but from the flicker of recognition that moves across his face, it is clear to her that that name does have significance to him, and the association is not positive. Thoughts of Emla conjure up in JT’s mind the scene in the First Class lounge, with all the fancy people and fabulous hoverdroids… and a Pantoran of the same build and height as this crew member. Only, he was not dressed in the ship uniform then, he was wearing well-cut clothes. This is the man whose entry to the lounge clued her in to its existence.
This does not all quite add up; it just feels a little off. JT herself was not actually admitted to this level by anyone, however much she justifies to herself her right to be here. Something is also already a little screwy on this ship, what with a moff being here and commandeering her ballroom. And now there is someone who seems to be where they are not supposed to be… beyond just herself. But perhaps she should give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he is one of the captain’s aides? “Didn’t I also see you in the First Class lounge?” JT asks.
“That is very unlikely, since that room is entirely serviced by droids.”
Unbeknownst to him, this is the perfect thing to say to derail JT. “Oh, yes!” she replies. “They were absolutely fantastic! HV-3R was such a skilled scrubber-droid, and 0R-DV, A+ service. Such a great job with the snacks….” As she rambles on happily about the droids, the Pantoran ushers her down the hall back to the cargo hold. “Oh, do you know PD-101?” JT asks. She did see them talking together at the ticket counter.
“Ah, yes. Our receptionist droid. Were you satisfied with his service?”
“Ten out of ten! If he hasn’t gotten a raise in a while, he should totally get that. I already put in with BN-CR that he should get the premium oil bath. I want to make sure people know that I got excellent service from PD-101. I hope to see him at the gala.”
Her escort shoots her a glance she cannot quite read. “Why?” he asks.
“Because I asked to have him be the emcee since he was such a good protocol droid. That’s a related field, and something different and interesting for him to do.”
“Do you need the services of other ship’s staff at your gala?”
“Probably I need some of the catering staff, but I was told that was a different department than recreation. Oh, and people to set up and take down tables and chairs and such…”