These weekend, my husband, The Gryphon, and I played Confed, the role-playing game created and run by our friend, The Cheshire Cat. Due to scheduling difficulties, we hadn't played since July.
When we last left our heroes, they were trying to arrange two wedding ceremonies for Tim, a reformed pickpocket who was finally marrying his longtime fiancée, former jewel thief, Steffie Kohl.
They were having two ceremonies because she'd always wanted an extravagant wedding on her home planet of Freya in the Rimhold Empire, and he'd promised his mom he'd marry in his hometown church on Loki 4.
Participating in this session were myself as Carmella Maylock, a cheval trader (or gypsy) who's been made the default ship's captain; The Gryphon as Stephen Graff, a computer hacker extraordinaire contracted by the Confederation to do intelligence work; The Dormouse as Tim, a reformed pickpocket who'd been made a baron in the Rimhold Empire due to service to the emperor; The White Rabbit as Alauzhi, a large female cat creature skilled with weaponry, who is also a Rimhold baroness; Batman as Stephen's girlfriend, Tina Balthazar, a female mecha pilot who's a bit on the wild and crazy side; Batman's roommate as Johann Wolfcastle, an eight-foot-tall genetically-engineered goon with a cybernetic eye, a penchant for weaponry and a thick Austrian accent; and The Martial Artist as Taiwan MacGuyver, the idiot savant ship's engineer and my character's second cousin, twice removed (also a Rimhold baron).
The last time we played, Stephen had called in a favor and gotten the emperor of the Rimhold Empire to agree to assist them in the Freya wedding, including allowing them to hold it in St. George Chapel at the palace. He was also allowing them the use of his super-fast packet ships in order to convey selected friends and family to the second wedding, on Loki 4.
Seeing an opportunity to use her business skills and perhaps receive a commission, Carmella had volunteered her services as the wedding planner and had been put in touch with a Rimhold protocol expert, Boris, who would help to ensure the Freya wedding would befit the location and the VIP guests. She was working, as well, with a Confed protocol expert to plan the Loki 4 wedding.
As we began this session, we were a little closer to the wedding, and preparations were well underway. Carmella was deep into the planning process and overwhelmed with details, though reluctant to admit that she might be in over her head. She periodically ran up to Tim, talking quickly and giving him lists of details that had to be finalized.
"Peacocks?" he asked, looking over one such list.
"Yes, they're a symbol of the royal court. Boris says we have to have them."
"Well, all right then."
Johann had worked himself into a tizzy over the security arrangements, when he realized that several VIPs, including the emperor, would be attending at least one, possibly both of the ceremonies. He felt better after making some calls to ensure both planets were aware of the situation and that a proper security detail would be provided.
Stephen, likewise, was busy trying to prepare his ceremonies for the couple, since he was a Shinto priest as well as a super spy, and Tim had asked him to marry the couple. He would work with the pastors at both locations, who would take care of some of the religious rituals he was not qualified to do, such as communion. Unlike Carmella, though, who was beginning to look a little wild around the eyes, Stephen was cool as a cucumber. Stephen is always cool as a cucumber. In fact, cucumbers envy him his coolness.
Everything was going relatively smoothly until the bride's father called Tim, requesting a sit-down. "Uh-oh," his shipmates teased. "You're in trouble now. The wedding's off." Somebody suggested the bride's father might be concerned about the expense of the ceremony, until Carmella reminded him that the emperor was providing most of the additional perks, as per the agreement with Stephen.
Fearing the worst, Tim entered the meeting with his future father-in-law, alone. (The rest of us, though, providing "big brain" suggestions from the sidelines, a practice that The Cheshire Cat encourages, since he asserts that genetic improvements ensure that our characters are each about five times smarter than we are.)
Tim was clearly uncomfortable during the meeting, but certainly didn't expect the subject matter. His future father-in-law asked for his help in a union negotiation at his business. He runs a trucking company, and business had been good, leading the employees to ask for more money, even though their contracts weren't due to be renegotiated for another 19 months. Although the other players pointed out that Tim should lower expectations and not promise miracles, Tim agreed to meet with the union rep. After all, he wanted to repair his relationship with his future father-in-law, who had never approved of him.
In the meantime, Taiwan and Tina had been talking about what to do for wedding gifts. They knew that he was having a new house built on his homeworld, Loki 4, and they wanted to give him a suitable gift. However, both of them have atrocious taste, and were both considering getting him ornate fountains. Another possibility they considered was to pool their funds to provide a honeymoon trip to Tree National Forest, a remote location that was a year away from the Rimhold Empire. Taiwan argued that it would make for some nice, relaxing quality time away from their in-laws.
They started drinking on the ship, then had a brilliant idea and continued their drinking in a neighborhood bar in the same district as the shipping company. There, they loudly announced that they were looking for jobs and wondered what people could tell them about the shipping company. Some workers, who were drinking in the bar, told them the company was a good place to work, especially since they were doing so well lately. But they also made it clear they weren't interested in striking, even if they didn't get their way. They returned to the ship and shared this important information.
The next day, as Tim began the meeting with the union rep, Taiwan and Tina came up with their own urgent question for him, texting him to find out if there would be an open bar or a cash bar. Tim told them he'd get back to them about this, but Carmella, overhearing their conversation, told them it would be an open bar. According to Boris, she explained, a cash bar would be tacky on an event of this size. They cheered this news and went back to drinking, which is how they were occupying themselves while Tim met with the union.
Although Carmella, Johann and Alauzhi attended the meeting with him, Tim led the show. Tina, who has experience with contract law, had examined the contract beforehand and told him they were exemplary contracts, solid and fair. But even after this was pointed out, the union rep insisted that, since the business was doing so well, their compensation should be increased.
Tim tried reasoning with them, but the union rep kept repeating his demands, and Carmella could see he was floundering. Simply to move things along, since she regarded this meeting as a distraction from the all-important wedding planning, Carmella offered her own business advice. As a jack-of-all trades who had traveled around the galaxy, living by her wits, Carmella had learned as much about business as she had about dealing with the underworld. She suggested to Tim that he needed to stop talking about the current contract and start talking about the next one.
As a "big brain" suggestion, The Martial Artist added that all that was required of Tim during this meeting was to listen to the union concerns and take notes, showing his concern. So Tim asked them what they wanted to see in the next contract and asked them what they wanted to see happen right now. The union rep said that really, they just wanted some assurances that Tim's future father-in-law would meet with them soon to begin talking about the next contract. Apparently, he had blown off promised meetings in the past. Tim promised he would relay their concerns and impress upon his future father-in-law the importance of beginning negotiations.
He also appealed to their patriotism, the Rimholders being a very patriotic people, reminding them that the empire had only just ended a devastating war and that it was important to build up a future for their family and kids. The best way to do that, he told them, was to work with management in order to reach a deal that was livable for both sides. Whether or not they will ultimately agree with him, they at least seemed momentarily placated.
Carmella stepped in, then, reminding Tim that he had a tux fitting to get to, thus ending the meeting.
A few more important details needed to be hammered out. Carmella purchased her own wedding gift. As a cook, she understood the importance of fine cookware, and she purchased them a set of pots and pans, along with a booklet containing some of her own personal recipes.
Steve met with the pastor of St. George chapel, along with the wedding couple, to discuss the ceremony, and held a similar teleconference with the pastor at the Loki 4 church. Both meetings went smoothly. After all, Stephen was running them.
Tim, who had forgotten one very important detail, asked some of the members of the crew to be part of his wedding party, including Taiwan. He asked Alauzhi to be serve as Best Man, or Best Woman er, Lindewahl, I suppose. She agreed and asked Carmella what her duties would include. Basically, Carmella explained, hold the rings during the ceremony and be there to back Tim up in anything he needed.
After a brief discussion with Tim, it was agreed that Alauzhi should simply wear a version of the bridesmaids' dresses, which were being sewn by the emperor's tailors. For a little guidance on styles, since Steffie wanted the latest fashions, Stephen did a little hacking and tapped into some of the latest designs currently on the server at the lauded University of Design. Steffie chose an elegant floor length dress, a derivation of one of the current styles, and her bridesmaids would wear tasteful floor-length dresses in champagne.
This detail settled, and the tailors busy working on the dresses and on special suits for Taiwan and Johann, Carmella said to Alauzhi as an afterthought: "Oh, and you should probably throw some sort of party for Tim."
Alauzhi decided against a traditional bachelor party, being uninterested in strippers herself and also being fairly certain that it would not be well-received by Steffie and her family. Instead, she talked to Taiwan and came up with a great alternative: a hunting excursion on the local gamelands, with all the members of the crew invited, as well as the emperor and Stephen's superior, Lieutenant Blank.
As the crew members arrived at the gamelands, Jenna Starfall (another one of The Gryphon's characters), who is a weapons expert, checked everyone's weapons to fit them with a few added safety devices, such as a "friend or foe" sensor.
The emperor arrived, along with Lieutenant Blank, and Johann's face turned red as he began to stammer, not knowing how to behave in such company. Lieutenant Blank took him aside and assured him that it was perfectly fine for him to socialize with the emperor and even to call him Rudolph, as he had requested for the party to do.
Since it was getting close to midnight, we agreed to call it a day and pick it up the next time we play, which given that we're approaching the holiday season, might not be for some time.
Further adventures from Confed: Confed adventures index
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