NCC - 81102
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Target Acquired

Posted on Wed Nov 11th, 2020 @ 2:27pm by Lieutenant Commander Bear Jasper & Lieutenant Aurora 4827/A & Commander Magnus Hawkins & Five of Seven

Mission: Mission 1: Dirty Little Secret
Location: Dalia Station
Timeline: Mission Day 13 - 1932 hours

An hour had passed since the team had left Khalexis’ inner sanctum, leaving the three officers on the quest to find the former Borg drone. Luckily, communications had been restored upon leaving the inner ring.

“I feel like you’ve been in every shop and spoken to every person on the promenade,” came the Captain’s voice, sounding tired and just slightly annoyed. “You’ve been there for hours, I’m sure you’re hungry. Should we think about bringing you back and trying again tomorrow?”

Hawk considered it, then pitched an alternative. "Perhaps. Or we could find accommodations here on the station. Maybe we'll get lucky and turn up a lead."

Aurora tried to imagine how filthy the accommodations on the station might be and wanted more than anything for all three of her to curl up in her bed back on that ship. But...

"Someone might try to approach us with information," she said via the communicator, "I think we should find a place to eat, then lodgings."

She paused, then asked, "If this person is a rescued Borg is there any way we could track them via their implants and nanites?"

The comm link was quiet for a moment, then Tavis' voice came back, "We could if we had the signature of his Borg systems. Without that, I think it's a dead end. But good idea."

On a long exhale, Bear turned where he stood and slowly took in the station around them. That itch between his shoulder blades wasn't easing up any, but he'd chosen to ignore it since they'd left Khalexis' lair. So far, it seemed, she hadn't shared her inside information with anyone else, and, moody as he still was, the security officer begrudgingly thanked the woman for that.

"Going and coming back ain't gonna help, Captain," Bear agreed with the others. "Better we stick around, see who comes out after hours." He sighed, and pushed down his bad mood. "I could definitely eat though," he agreed with Aurora. "Best way to eat around here is just to follow your nose..." He pointed down a side corridor. "Down there I reckon."

"You guys enjoy a meal and get some rest," Tavis said through the comm link.
"We'll be waiting at the edge of the system on grey alert. Hopefully this moon we're hiding behind should continue to mask our signature. Inahri out."

Hawk figured it wouldn't hurt to get a bite to eat. "Lead the way," he said to Bear with a nod.

Purposeful strides took Bear off in pursuit of the scent of sustenance, and as he led the other officers past a few more vendors and into the food section of the concourse. Variety threw itself at them, so the security officer stood still for a moment and weighed up their options.

"Praxis Josh," Bear stated with a smile as he sniffed the spices wafting towards him from one of the retail units. "I could use a pint of warnog and a really good Klingon curry..." He looked to Hawk and Aurora.

Aurora both felt the rumblings of hunger and the unsettled tummy of one imagining what the Klingon cuisine would taste like. Some had talked her into eating gagh(!) once and she experienced dry heaves for hours. Reluctantly she followed the two men.

Sat on a bar stool, a short while later, Bear spooned the lava-hot curry into his mouth on the back of a broken piece of leavened bread. One leg hung down to his side, boot swinging just short of the ground, the other was bent up, foot anchored to the metal ring circling about the upright of his seat. His head mostly clear, he cast his gaze absently through the wandering, tidal crowds meandering past their outward position.

Aurora had no idea what the thing she ordered was, but it was most certainly not lasagna. Despite that she was hungry enough to consume it. It was hot, and spicy and the texture was all wrong. However, once she got past all that it was only mildly terrible.

"So," she said after a bit, "You have a brother, Commander? What's having a sibling like?"

"Two," answered Bear. "I have two brothers and a sister." His free hand formed a fist that thudded briefly into the table as punctuation for that response. "Right now," he said. "I'd really just like to know where he is." Regardless of whether Khalexis was lying or not. It felt... it felt like he'd been cheated of his answer on that score, dismissed on the mere technicality of her people outnumbering their paltry three. It wasn't fair.

Hawk didn't know much about Borg technology, much less how to track it, and he would be damned if he sat here making small talk.

"Excuse me." He left the table, his plate only half eaten, and approached the host.

"You," he said with the harshest growl he could summon from his half-Klingon larynx. His finger thrust toward the establishment's host. "Come here." Not waiting for compliance, he said, "You see him over there?" Hawk indicated Bear with another pointed finger. "He's my friend. And my friend has a dirty fetish for XBs. Borg drones that left the Collective. He gets rowdy if he doesn't get his cybersex." Hawk's hand gripped the staff member's shoulder and squeezed tightly. "Now, do you know where I can find an XB around here or am I going to shove a phase compensator up some unlucky bastard's ass and hope my friend is too drunk to know the difference?"

Bear didn't need to work too hard to deepen his existing scowl as he listened to Hawk. Black eyes regarded their patron with an apparently remorseless frustration, that gaze direct as the security officer wrapped a curved palm about his dinner bowl. Without a break in that stare or a word spoken, Bear punted said bowl off the table to smash on the floor, a physical punctuation to Hawk's play.

"Is there a problem here?" a large Orion man said as he slammed the door to the kitchen opened and walked into the dining area. "This is a nice establishment, take your filth elsewhere," he said with a gruff scowl.

Aurora rolled her eyes and quickly slid off her stool. Smiling, she approached the Orion and tried to push down her trepidation. She had always had to deal with a trace of xenophobia as she had been raised in a society of not only humans, but humans who were largely homogeneous. She said to the cook/owner, "Our apologies! My friends are simply a little frustrated; we've had a terrible day and they're just venting plasma. You see, they're looking for a friend of ours, a former Borg, and we haven't had any luck at all."

The hulking man grumbled, "I haven't seen a Borg in many years," he said.

With a heavy sigh coupled with a palm momentarily covering his eyes at the way this day was playing out, Bear stood and walked back out onto the concourse. Across the way someone was cooking fresh churros so he aimed himself in that direction and placed an order. "Permission to get very drunk, Captain?" He asked wistfully while he waited.

"Listen," Hawk said to the Orion. The indirect route hadn't worked. The direct route hadn't worked. Starfleet officers, even those undercover as the dregs of the universe, still had a duty to comport themselves as such. There were so many options left to him. "I'm trying to secure services for my friend out there. Somebody will know where to find an XB and they will be compensated handsomely. Do you petaQs want to do business or do I need to go visit your Ferengi competitor down the way?"

The Orion took a few steps towards Hawk, towering over him as he grabbed the man by the front of his shirt. "I run a respectable restaurant here, not some information hub. If you want information, go elsewhere. As you clearly aren't hungry, then you no longer need to be here."

Hawk brushed the man's ham hand away from his chest with both of his own. "Don't touch me," Hawk said menacingly.

The giant Orion took a swing that Hawk easily dodged by shifting his weight to one side. In the same movement, Hawk dropped into a kidney punch into the big guy's flank. Once stunned, Hawk unleashed a volley of chain punches from his solar plexus up his chest into his chin.

While the display had been impressive, Hawk was not ready for the four others who walked up and encircled him. He managed to drop one of them in a sucker punch, even landed a hit on a third, but soon lost the upper hand. The two Orions he'd bested got their feet back under them and delivered a savage beatdown.

Dragging the man towards the door, with a grunt, the big Orion threw Hawk out of the front doorway, causing the half Klingon man to fall back on his ass.

"And stay out," the Orion said as three more Orions walked up behind the him, each with a disruptor rifle pointed at the Commander.

Spitting some blood pooling in his mouth into the ground, Hawk grunted, "Point taken."

Aurora was shocked at how easily Hawk had been manhandled, she was even more surprised at the back up the Orion had at his disposal. She was beginning to think there was nothing remotely like law enforcement on the station and people had to fend for themselves.

And then an idea struck her.

"All right, we are going," she said to the Orion, heart hammering in her chest at facing the four Orions, "And we apologize. We did not mean to cause any trouble. It is just that we are strangers here and we very much want to find this person. I realize you have no motivation to help us, but please tell me this; if someone were missing, or if something were stolen, is there someone on the station whose specialty it is to find people and things for others? There is an ancient term for it: a private detective..."

"I don't know any such thing," the man said, grunting at the woman as he shoved his chin in the direction of the door, clearly asking her to leave as well.




Outside, Bear couldn't fail to notice Hawk landing hard on his arse at the pleasure of the Orion squad. He strode over, and, expression curiously amused, offered a hand to help the Odyssey's XO up from the ground. "Not the first time I've had someone pimp me out," Bear said with a raised eyebrow and a wry grin. "But how's that working out for you?"

"The real question is, how is it working for you?" came the sly voice of a Saurian man who stepped out of the restaurant. "I would assume three undercover Starfleet Officers would try not to make such a spectacle of themselves. And yet, here you are, being thrown out of restaurants."

Casting his attention beyond Hawk to the reptilian figure behind him, Bear's dark gaze hit those much larger eyes with a studious scowl. "You seem well-versed in current events, friend," said the security officer with a slightly wary edge to his tone. "Clearly we're not living our best life right now. Any chance you're in a sharing mood?"

Please, please, please do not start a fight, Aurora murmured. On board the ship she turned to the Captain and said, "We've made contact with a Saurian who seems to know something. Hopefully this is whom we were looking for."

The Saurian slinked closer, "I heard you were looking for an XB on board... I happen to know there is one and I may even know where he is. If...you're feeling generous?"

Bear didn't shift his position in the slightest, allowing the Saurian to encroach on his personal space. "I can be generous," he suggested coolly, taking responsibility at least initially for this exchange. "What sort of payment are you after?"

"There's nothing in the galaxy as iron-clad as the exchange of hard-pressed latinum..." the man replied.

"True," Bear agreed. "But that's a steep price considering you haven't told me anything yet." He looked pointedly to Hawk, then skimmed a glance across Aurora's eyes too before raising his eyebrows and locking gazes back with the Saurian. "We need something up front."

Tired of playing games, Hawk pulled a single strip of latinum out of his boot and tossed it to the Saurian. "Consider that a down payment. Now you'd better deliver, or we're going to take it back -- with interest." The guttural Klingon tone he had spent years repressing came back now only all too natural.

Aurora closed her eyes and gently rubbed her temples with her fingertips. Hawk had no idea how fortunate he was that she did not have a phaser because she was almost certain she would have stunned him then and there.

"Look," she said, attempting to maintain an even tone, "Could we all just be civil and conduct this business transaction in a rational and reasonable manner than profits both sides?"

Ignoring Aurora and her character-breaking plea for civility, Hawk stared at the Saurian with his best grizzled Klingon expression. "Well?"

The Saurian took the strip of Latinum, sniffing it for a moment before he ran his tongue over the smooth surface. "Not the best quality, but it'll do."

He started to walk away, "Follow me, quickly," he said as he slinked into a side corridor off the main path.

The three Officers followed the alien man as he slid through the back alleys, taking multiple twists and turns before they eventually reached a small junction with an open maintenance hatch.

"He's in there," the Saurian whispered as he stepped towards the hatch. Clearing his throat, he bent over to look inside. "Mister Borg, are you in here?" he asked.

A few moments passed before the head of a young man poked out of the opening. "Skrillik Khel, what do you need?" he asked, not looking towards the others in the room.

"Well, these people have been asking for you. I was doing them a favor by bringing them to you," Skrillik said as he moved aside, gesturing to the three Officers.

Climbing out of the maintenance hatch, the young man stood up, looking between Aurora, Hawk and Bear. From this vantage, his artificial eye was quite visible, as well as the webbed implants on his right hand. "Is there something I can do for you?" the young man asked.

"Daschiel," Bear said, ignoring any of the tech and simply meeting the young man's gaze with a nonchalant ease. "He's a friend of a friend. We were told you're in contact with him, and we need to speak to him."

Thankful to have finally found the only lead they had, Hawk contented himself to remain silent while Bear took point for the time being.

Aurora-the Aurora who was with the Hawk and Bear-kept her mouth shut but her eyes sweeping between the two men. She had expected one of them to do or say something to frighten their only lead and was prepared to intervene if necessary.




On Odyssey's bridge another Aurora said to the Captain, "We've made contact and Commander Bear is attempting to question him in regards to the whereabouts of Dash...Dasc...Da-our guy."




"I'm not sure I'm familiar with this individual," the bionic man said in reply. "I'm sorry I could not be of further assistance."

"He's blind," Bear said, simply, his gaze locked on this stranger. "But he compensates well for it. And he uses the shadows to hide, just like you. You know him. What do you need? Payment of some kind? Help getting off the station?"

Five looked at the man with a look of utter disgust, "I resent the implication that I somehow hide in shadows. I am standing before you in the light of this room after being disturbed from my job on this station conducting repairs. I do not know this person and no bribes you offer is going to change that fact."

"I see," Hawk said. He had grown quite tired of blending in with the local color and was more than ready to resume his proper Starfleet persona. But to do so, he had one last breach of personal ethics to enact.

"Hawkins to Odyssey," he said with a tap to his hidden combadge. "Four to beam out," he said, grabbing FIve and pulling him close to the group.

"What about my payment!" the Saurian said, griping to the Officers, but it was too late.

Five struggled against the grip on his arm as the four bodies were quickly surrounded by the shimmer of lights.




It didn't take long for the 3 officers and their kidnapped drone appeared on the transporter room pad, the Ensign at the console slightly confused.

"Sir, the Captain is expecting you 4 in the conference room on the Bridge," the young Trill man stated.

"I am practically there already," Aurora told the others with a wink as the one with gray eyes headed to the conference room off the bridge. The one with green eyes glanced at Hawk and Bear and said, "As for this one, I am getting a sonic shower."

She glanced at their captive and said, "Please cooperate. I swear we mean you no harm. It is imperative we find our friend."

As she left the transporter room she thought 'friend' was stretching it a bit...

"Hawkins to Bridge. Initiate remote recall of the docked shuttle." With that final piece of business completed, Hawk looked to Bear. "Our guest is in your hands, Commander Jasper."

Well, that had happened quickly. Externally, Bear took this improvisation by the Odyssey's XO in his stride. He nodded at the direct acknowledgement of his own place in the proceedings and, with deference to Hawk's position, added a quiet. "Yessir."

There followed a swift, but reasonably thorough search of their newfound travelling companion, any weaponry (or tools that might be used as such) beyond Five's obvious implants, being removed. Then Bear wrapped a firm hand about Five's right shoulder, by which means he intended to guide him towards the conference room meeting.

"Ready when you are, Commander Hawkins," Bear confirmed.

And with that, Hawk led the way to the bridge.

END

 

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