Onboard the Celestial Jewel
The Grand Duchess Cruises ship Celestial Jewel dropped out of FTL and cruised towards the planet that the Alliance had dubbed Jotunheim. Outwardly the ship had a pretty plain design. It was a refitted and completely renovated cargo freighter with the cruise line’s logo painted on the side - a very posh-looking elf lady with a crown and the words Grand Duchess.
The interior was much more lavish. There were crystal chandeliers, real wooden floors, the whole works one might expect from a luxury cruise. A balcony overlooked a dining area with a massive screen displaying a view of the planet below. It was growing closer by the second. Soon they would dip into the planet’s atmosphere and drift through the clouds, giving the passengers a view of the ice planet’s unique features.
Jotunheim was known for gargantuan monuments of unknown origin built into the mountains as well as mile-high towers of ice. Scholars had debated the meaning of the structures for years. The prevailing theory claims they’re nothing more than cosmic graffiti left by mischievous aliens to confound future sentients.
A Tortoise Jongwu stepped into the second-floor hallway. Claude Xiao had been looking forward to this moment for weeks. Ever since he’d learned that he could get a free vacation to a few of the locations he’d been dying to visit, he’d been having difficulty sleeping. The possibility of making a new friend was a secondary bonus. He was supposed to meet his chosen match in the dining area.
He took the elevator down and walked to the appointed table. He took a seat and waited. Wild Hearts had told him nothing about his match, though the larger chair on the opposite side gave him a few hints about the species of the match. Claude just had to trust that the organization knew what they were doing. Hopefully, his companion would provide an interesting conversation.
Adan Balar Der-Khan was a sailor by trade, at least before he retired from it. Kishargal built ships were capable of both interstellar and aquatic travel, and this just made him uncomfortable. His old ship almost fouled up on an ice pack hunting what the humans of the sector had nicknamed 'space whales' and it took four weeks to seal up the gouges on the pressure hull to run without half the bulkheads closed. It was a costly affair and the ship would have been written off if it wasn't privately owned and the only ship they could afford. Still, this was supposed to be a vacation away from his bustling bar aboard Port Endeavor and he already had begun doubting the Wild Hearts company's track record. It was only when he entered the room, looking at the gentleman sat at the table that was obviously his due to the Kishargal sized chair.
His presence was given away by a quiet sigh and a simple sentence, "Well, so much for me wild heart."
No doubt this man had paid to be here, or at least warranted it enough to actually show up and still play the game. He had no idea the man would be Jongwu, a reptile subtype at that. He rolled his eyes and walked over to the table.
"Ye must be Xiao Claude." His pronunciation was correct, but horribly covered with an accent that would make even the Queen of the Dominion blush.