It is small, smaller than the Earth. Sparkling like a jewel around its star named Naescu. Toivo has an atmosphere as well as water and life. Its small problem is that local life is currently not very widespread and varied and two that storms have a nasty tendency to be a little too violent. The installation, called Javak, is perched on the brown rocky landscape between the water and the strange "forest" of mainly black plants. It has almost the entire population of this world in it. Its external appearance is that of a grey dome connected in a star shape to 5 small stations. The spaceport is hundreds of meters from there, in small pieces and somewhere underwater. It was destroyed and washed away by one of the many thunderstorms of this world. At the same time, people protected by their windbreaks are trying to get inside the shelter while another storm is brewing. Staff carry as much as they can of the equipment that was floating in one of the many pools they have installed. Due to the lack of spaceport and immediate equipment, they have built basins capable of supporting the controlled drop of capsules dropped from orbit. Saving a considerable amount of fuel. Access to Javak is only through the dome. Inside is a huge space that fills with various materials and agricultural production greenhouse. Damien is below it, where Javak really is. The settlers dug a network of tunnels and underground cavities quickly after their arrival, the latter offering better protection against natural and regular anger. Damien quickly checked an inventory to make sure everything was in place. This is not the kind of work he usually does, but this time he can make an exception. The warehouse in question is a simple piece that digs into the rock, no larger than a pantry on Ganymede. In fact, except for the common living space, the only larger room than this one is the labs themselves, which are paired with agricultural production greenhouses. Having finished his job, he returns (on foot) to the living area. The latter is an enormous cavity in the shape of a circle arranged like a mini-village. Above them is encrusted with the rock of huge projectors supposedly simulated natural light. With a mediocre result for the moment. The ground was laid out and covered with a thick layer of soil on which grass was grown. So people live here, either they are lucky enough to be in one of the dormitories or houses on site, or they are in one of the many tents that pollute the area and make it look like a shantytown. The situation was really desperate when he arrived here. It was a corporation that installed this site first, promising a stable future for all its participants. To then go bankrupt due to logistical and internal difficulties. The staff on site quickly find themselves helpless and without help but find a solution. Together they form a Cooperation that takes legal possession of what is there and organizes itself for their survival. Everything goes well at first and no one starves to death. Seeing that storms (the power and size of the thunderbolts) are unbearable. They begin the construction of underground facilities. That's where the problems happen, their equipment is bad and one of their excavations is missing drowning everyone. About ten people lost their lives that day. That same week, their landing platform was destroyed and the ship they were waiting never arrived. Limit they took the ship with which Damien arrived as a divine miracle. It takes place in one of the available seats of the colony's Bar/Auberge. They may be in serious difficulty when he arrived, but they manage a lot of things. Starting with alcohol, local plants are full of alcohols in their chemical compound and local biologists have brilliantly used this advantage to concoct drinks that even Damien hallucinates. That and their food. Who knows how, and he doesn't care, they have more agricultural equipment and skilled labour than any other colony. Their production is amazing and does not just limit itself to the vegetable/grown fruit. No, some of the staff members are real geneticists and biologists who enjoy making interesting things. The Coop specializes in food and beverage production. Without their expertise, they would have had a hard time paying for the equipment they so desperately needed. His grey glass is full of an acre-purple liquid while his plate offers a dish of synthetic red bean egg grown on the spot. The drink is not bad and tastes even better than some alcohol than some idiot from the beer belt call it beer. Enjoying his meal and drink, he gives little attention to his immediate surroundings. The piece is round (as if they only know this shape) and the plastic seats are arranged around the table in the same material. For the moment, the majority of them are redirected to a corner of the room where a COOP meeting is being held. He didn't give a shit what they were talking about, or what decisions they were making. All he cares about is the fact that he gets paid. From time to time, the sound of thunder is so loud that it forces people to raise their voices to speak, even if they are underground. As he was about to ask for another drink, a drunk man got up and started screaming at whoever was gathering at the meeting. By pure reflex, he carries his hand to his belt to take his weapon. To remember that he no longer has it, Javak's security confiscated it when he arrived. The latter arrived on the scene to control the drunk man and drag him into one of the containment rooms. Those who make up the security team appear to be the former guards paid by the corporation. Following its bankruptcy, they found themselves abandoned as unemployed hundreds of light-years away from civilization. Working for the nascent Coop was an excellent idea. Two other people appeared in the Auberge/bar and also started yelling at the gathered people and guards. Damien has just understood which group the indvidus belongs to. There was more than one group of settlers on this planet. Almost all of them cut off the contact one after the other quite quickly. However, there was still another group that was large enough and rich enough to literally compete with Javak. From what he had heard, it was a real petty little war between the two sides. But one day the opposing side (he forgot the name) was destroyed by a disaster. A large part of their population lost their lives, including their crazy governor. Who did the survivors come to take refuge with? Among Javak's good friends! That explains the tents everywhere. Most of them try to live as workers for the Coop, a much in demand resource here. Others just exploit their hospitality and mumble to injustice. Either pray, their colony was the initiative of religious believers who believed they had found the Promised Land... Or such bullshit. The meeting ended and one of the organizers approached Damien. -"We would like to thank you again for your help, Mr. Verban." -"It's nothing, don't forget that you're paying me to do it, so is it really help?" She seems destabilized by her answer, who wouldn't be? She mentally swept away his answer to continue on what she wanted to tell him. -"Are you still available to do something else for us?" -"Depends on the mission and whether my usual employer finally gives me a mission." -"As soon as our "spaceport" is repaired, you know that we will immediately start filling our spacecraft in orbit. It is imperative that the latter leave as soon as possible in order to bring our merchandise to New-Tycho for sale. We need this money to reimburse our purchases and pay for all the equipment we urgently need." He empties what's left in his glass and observes the organizer. Nothing forced him to accept or refuse, especially since a little pocket money wouldn't hurt. -"So? What do you want? " -"Two things, the first one will be communicated to you in different places. The second is different, can you take care of the protection of our ship?" -"What? Like against pirate?" -"Yes and no, As you know, one of our ships was supposed to come back here after shopping in New-Tycho. However, he never returned, some reports indicate that he crossed our gate, but there is no trace of it. We thought of some very clever pirates, but still this track doesn't hold up. The Coop seriously believes that it was the crew that hijacked the ship. Think about it, the hold is full of resources and very expensive equipment on the market and its destination is a colony weeks away from travel. They know that it is easy for them to change the transmitter and disappear into the void." -"What makes you think I'm not going to steal the ship and its cargo?" -"Your reward is in an electronic account that a lawyer manages on New-Tycho, the amount is already paid. If you come to New-Tycho with the entire ship and its cargo hold intact, your account is debited." He wanted to take another sip of his drink, but he found it empty. She shows him on his handheld terminal a nice amount of money that is actually on an electronic account based on New-Tycho. The mission sounds interesting and doesn't seem to be very upset, in addition to making him a free return trip and pocket money. -"So if I understand correctly, I'm being paid to hit your crew if they try to get their hands on your merchandise?" -"Yes" -"I accept" -"Excellent, happy to do business with you, Mr. Trevan Verban. Of course, your accommodation is free and we will be happy to fill your glass as many times as you need. We will come back to you for the description of your first "task" before your departure as well as your price." As she gets up, she waves to one of the employees on site to fill Damien's glass. Happy as a child, takes comfort in his chair and listens to the impressive sound of the thunderstorm raging on the outside.