The Independent Service Starship Collective Bargain; a trade vessel, Tortoise-Class Freighter, one of perhaps trillions constructed, sold, remodeled, and now in service, across the galaxy. They were what became commonly known as a Modular Starship; constructed as a bare hull, each compartment was capable of being fit with almost anything, from simple cargo containers or passenger cabin sections, to more complex things, like firing ranges, food courts, entertainment suites; a Tortoise-Class Freighter could be a city, a fortress, a blasted theme park if it was wanted. They were also, often, used for smuggling. The modular system allowed for all manner of secret passages, hidden cargo holds, and retractable equipment, such as external weapons batteries or corridor-based defenses. The Collective Bargain was an old ship, having had a much celebrated history, being roughly two centuries old, and having gone through six Captains. Captain Mattias was lucky Captain number seven. The ship hadn't had any major overhauls in the past 50 years, and the grizzled young man saw no reason to put the ship under the grid for months now! He'd bought the ship with all remaining hands at a huge bargain, practically half the cost of just a bare-bones Tortoise, from the former old Captain who had a run of gambling and was forced to sell his ship. Most of the old crew had jumped ship with the sale, but a few of the veterans stayed on; the rest were fresh recruits. It was to be a grand first voyage; Mattias secured a few cargo deals, got passengers for a cross-sector and even pan-system transit, and picked got it all done with a positive pocket book. Chief Engineer Felix Granger was one of the old crew; the 'Roaches' as one of the newer recruits had affectionately called them. He was a young man, only 27, who in an age where medical science had improved the average human life-span to nearly two-hundred, was not worried about getting old too quickly, despite his high station. He was six foot even, with all the musculature expected of his trade; weighing, roughly, one-sixty-five, or so. Normally seen walking about in his overalls, he didn't care much for the "regulation" Chief Engineer dress suit, which was quite impractical for day-to-day work. Mattias was very fortunately lax on such procedures as dress code. He also liked to wear an old navy-man's hat over his dark brown, tousled hair. Possessed of a light stubble, he had a small scar in his cheek where a bulkhead bolt had become over-stressed as he happened to be passing by, and, after shooting out of its place, grazed him and took a bit of skin with it. It added some character, he always said in the 5th Deck Tavern. ----- Today, Felix was standing with the rest of the crew in his much-loathed dress uniform. While it was by no means a military ship, the few mercenary Marines and Captain Mattias' past experience in some navy or other prompted some small amount of etiquette for the boarding and launching tasks. Mattias had assembled most of the prominent crew, the Marines, and other important members of the ship's retinue in a parade formation at the loading dock, where the several hundred passengers were waiting to board the venerable old ship. The cargo had already been loaded, so Felix, much to his dismay, was at the head of the Engineering crew. The Collective Bargain was docked on the only station large enough around the back-water planet, where droves of people had flocked for the chance at a once-in-a-lifetime (for people from such a planet) journey.