NCC - 81102
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Going In Deep

Posted on Fri May 28th, 2021 @ 1:11pm by Five of Seven & Commander Tavis Inahri & Lieutenant Commander Bear Jasper & Lieutenant Aurora 4827/A & Maximilian Dedeker

Mission: Mission 1: Dirty Little Secret
Timeline: Mission Day 39 - 1127 hours

The small freighter swept forward through the nebulous Traverse, it's destination quickly approaching. The sweeping colors melted away as the ship entered a small pocket of space where a rogue planet lay before them.

Tavis sat in the center chair, his fingers tapping on the armrest as he shifted in the uncomfortable seat. He missed the Bridge of the Odyssey. Along the side stations sat his Chief Engineer Aurora and their guest drone, Five of Seven. Behind him, Bear and his three officers stood resolute. All of them had doffed their Starfleet issued uniform for more appropriate civilian attire to match their story.

"We're being scanned," Five stated from one of the forward seats.

"That's alright," Tavis said. "Let them take a look."

Aurora thought it a bit amusing that she seemed to spend as much time out of uniform as she did in one. At this rate she thought she might have to attend "spy school" or something. Not that she was complaining; as much as she loved her engine, her beloved warp core, she was beginning to enjoy these unusual away missions.

"How often should I report back to H...Commander Hawkins, sir?" she inquired, "He is naturally going to be curious."

"For now, we can keep him updated as things happen," Tavis said. "We don't want to bo-"

Tavis' words were cut off by a chirp from the Ops panel.

Five looked up at the Commander, "We're being hailed."

With a nod from Tavis, the viewscreen sparked to life with the face of an unfamiliar man.

"Newcomers," gruffed the man through his beard that appeared matted despite the copious amount of oil clearly brushed into it. "At least your ship is. Yet yall managed to skip the last leg of Charon's trail and live to tell the tale, no less. Such a risky maneuver says you must have urgent business here at my cozy little haven." His mouth spread into a smirk that was mostly obstructed by his beard. "If you have something to wet my beak, then I'd be happy to extend a VIP guest pass to skip the line at my spacedock." The glint in his dark eyes shone with devilish intent. "Sometimes the wait can be downright intransigent."

Tavis raised an eyebrow. "Good evening. May I ask with whom I'm speaking?"

The bearded man started laughing, his tone obviously derisive. "Yeah, you won't last long playacting with that weak sauce." Turning more grave, his voice turned deeper. "I don't make offers twice and the clock is ticking. Pique my interest further or take your chances with the gate admission. What's it gonna be?"

Sitting there for a moment, Tavis considered the offer. This wasn't Starfleet and things worked differently out here past civilization. Such was the price of doing business.

Tavis looked to Aurora. "Please transport 50 bars of latinum to this man's location," he said.

Aurora grimaced. Fifty bars was a lot of currency and she wondered what they were going to get for it. She suppressed an urge to say 'yes, sir', because pirates didn't go for that stuff. She locked on to the stack containing fifty bars and sent it on over.

A few moments passed and suddenly on the viewscreen, the bars appeared next to the man.

Tavis gestured to the man, an inquiry as to whether their transaction was complete.

The bearded man looked offscreen and nodded to someone else. "Heh. Latinum. How quaint. I suppose that will buy you a day on the Green. Maybe when you arrive, we can work out a more long-term arrangement. Like a membership so to speak."

The freighter's console beeped as the comm channel received a file.

"There's today's IFF frequency. I don't suggest entering atmo without it. Keep it on continual broadcast for guidance to my executive landing pad and..." He couldn't hold back a husky chuckle. "... to keep the hounds on the leash." Then he smiled wide enough to show teeth. "Welcome to Fiddler's Green, my friends." And then the channel dropped.

Tavis looked towards Bear. "That was quite the interesting interaction," he said. "I'll go out on a limb and say that he's the proprietor of this space. Either way, money well spent. Seems Commander Hawkins had a great suggestion by bringing the latinum with. It came in quite handy."

The look on Bear's face suggested he'd processed the same information into an identical response, with the possible downgrade of Magnus' idea from 'great' to 'alright'. Now they were down 50 bars of latinum when perhaps an alternate gift might have bought them more time. "It got us an in at least," Bear agreed. "But it won't get us any further. We're gonna need alternatives."

"I hope we have enough," Aurora noted worriedly, "What other goods would he be interested in? Fissionables? Antimatter? Weapons? Bio-mimetic gel?"

"No," said Bear with a hard sigh that implied a certain inevitability he'd experienced before in this life. "This 'membership' thing he's suggesting? I believe that will be more of a 'people services' kinda transaction." He grimaced and turned his attention from Aurora to Tavis. "All those other things, I suspect he can get from anyone. He'll be looking for something unique to us."

"I'm sure he will," Tavis stated. "But I don't anticipate us being on the surface long. Between us, I suspect finding our target will happen quickly enough."

Aurora was not so sure of that. She imagined their "host" to be a lethal spider and they were flying right into his web...

The small ship came to land in the docking area. The door opened, sending a landing ramp down and soon Tavis, Bear and Aurora were making their way down the stairs and into the large dome that housed the docks.

"Alright, let's keep an ear out. We're all familiar with the man we're looking for and his alias here," Tavis said, keeping his voice low. "I figure the best bet is to head to the more social areas of the port. Even if we don't find our man, we may hear of him."

"Right," Aurora murmured. If she had known she was going to be doing so much covert work she would have chosen different electives at the Academy, she thought wryly. She wondered if perhaps she should have gotten a garish tattoo around the eye, or maybe a scar. She drew her hood up over her head and followed the men into uncivilization...

The trio made their way through the various passageways until coming to a large area that looked to be quite social. People milling around, going about their business, but music could be heard from one of the central buildings.

"This looks promising," Tavis said as he gestured towards the entry. The three officers, clad in their undercover clothes, walked into the bar.

With the lazy tension of someone responsible for others' safety, Bear stood tall and didn't bother to hide his searching gaze. Their quarry didn't (to his knowledge) know him by sight so Bear took that moment to gauge the crowd. "I'll get a round in," he suggested, giving Tavis a quick but serious gaze that silently asked 'any sign of our boy?'

Understanding the look Bear was giving, Tavis looked back and slightly nodded, motioning his eyes to the left.

Aurora saw the two men exchange some sort of visual cue and felt a bit out of her element. More. A bit more out of her element. She tried not to make it obvious she was looking around for the target as she scoped out the drinking establishment...

Aurora's thoughts were interrupted when Tavis slipped his hand into hers, gently pulling her along with him. "Care for a drink?" he asked, smiling at her. He's here in the room, I can feel him. But I haven't seen him yet, so keep an eye out, he said in her head.

Aurora was mildly surprised by the intimacy of the Captain's touch but she went along with it. Deciding to play the part of the "girlfriend" she leaned a bit closer in to him and, "A drink sounds nice."

She gave a start when she heard his voice in her head and felt an instinctive dread regarding telepaths. Her xenophobia had always been a bit of a problem, one caused from living not only among exclusively humans, but humans who had a very limited variation in appearance. It had almost prevented her from entry into the Academy. Her visual response was a jerky nod as she glanced about the bar again...

While Tavis led Aurora literally by the arm, Bear didn't waste time in scouring the crowd too deeply. The visual cues had told him that - yes - Kaz was here, somewhere, and he knew his friend would give him the heads-up when necessary. Bear let the Oddy's captain choose his own spot and took up residence at the end of bar, taking a moment to scope the availabilty and options with regards the selection of beers. Once that decision was made, Bear offered a friendly smile to a server and impatiently waited his turn.

Tavis and Aurora ordered a drink as they walked to the opposite end of the bar.

"Didn't think we'd be in situations like this when you got the offer, did you?" Tavis asked Aurora with a slight smile, his eyes glancing around the room.

Aurora found the smile to be disarming and she wondered if the knack of knowing what to say and when was something natural or somehow learned. She found herself smiling in return and replied, "Well, they promised me strange new worlds, now didn't they?"

She looked about, "Granted, not the 'strange' I was expecting, but..."

She scanned the room, looking for the sentient in question. The question on her mind was, what were they going to do with him once they found him?

Long fingers wrapped about a cold beer, Bear couldn't help but relax into the role of relatively innocent customer, at least outwardly. His gaze tripped lazily about the bar caught in the simple practise of people-watching and lingered on a pretty or interesting face wherever they were thrown into the random mix of clientele.

Near the entrance, he's leaving, Tavis stated to Bear in his head. Follow him at a distance, we're right behind you.

Those words spoken directly to his brain without passing through the usual eardrum route were comforting purely because Tavis' voice was well-known, familiar. Bear didn't react in any overt physical way to said instruction, merely finished his drink with a slow steady pull of liquid quenching a very definite thirst, gave a friendly nod to the bar staff, and left.

Tavis looked at Aurora, reaching for her hand again. When he had it, he slid a small metallic device into her palm. "He's leaving and Bear is going to follow him. Walk around the opposite side of the building to cut them off and try to slip this onto him. It'll transport him back to the ship."

Aurora resisted the urge to look down at her hand, instead she nodded jerkily and slid off her stool. As she walked her fingers examined the device and she deduced what it was. She sped up her pace, hoping she did not look too conspicuous, wondering how she was going to slip the darn thing onto their target. Hopefully he was wearing a jacket with pockets, or a coat. Could the device transport two people at once? She desperately tried to recall the specifications.

Outside she rounded the corner, attempting to spot their target...

The man he sought wore a dark coat, features fleetingly recognisable as he turned through the exit, and Bear lurked back at that doorway for a moment, made a show of checking his pockets. He ran a hand across his head in a comforting gesture of thoughtful meditation, half-watching the man's direction. He let their target move ahead some, let others wander between them, and then, with a natural, easy gait, the Oddy's Chief of Security followed in Kaz's wake.

The target turned a corner to round the building they were just in, the others behind him moving directly forward past the alley.

Bear nonchalantly walked forward, taking a step around the corner to follow his target. But what Bear was not expecting was the elbow to the nose he received once he'd rounded that corner.

Reeling back from the blow, Bear used his back leg to push himself forward towards the target. He landed two good punches, one to the cheek, the other to his jaw as he felt the man's skin split open and blood coating his knuckles.

The target swung around, kicking Bear squaring in the side abdomen causing the larger man to groan slightly.

Bear moved to the side, landing a kick of his own with his knee to the man's gut. He jumped back slightly, punching forward with a right hook.

With a quick grab of his arm, the target flung Bear over his shoulder, making him land on the ground with a thud onto his back. He kneeled over him, knee on his chest as the man took the upper ground.

"I don't know why you're following me, but tell Tavis if he wants to talk to me, he should do so himself," Kaz said through gritted teeth as he looked directly into Bear's face. The gaze was off-putting as Kaz's eyes didn't focus as a normal person's would.

It happened so swiftly that Bear felt the pang of humiliation kick in about the same time as the warm, coppery taste of blood in his mouth. His face hurt ever so slightly less than his pride as Bear sucked in a breath beneath that weighty knee on his chest and reached up to wrap his right hand around his attacker's ankle. His left went to his own nose.

"Hey," he said, with amused sufferance. "You know what they say about messengers and not shooting 'em, right?" There was a muted smile as Bear contemplated sweeping the blind telepath's legs, but he didn't bother. "He just wants to help you," he said.

Kaz leaned in closer, "Your little phrase won't help you," he said. "I've taken down plenty of messengers in my day."

"I'd rather you didn't," came the voice of Tavis Inahri as he rounded the corner. The black jacket he wore was pulled close and the lapel flipped up to try and make him as inconspicuous as possible. "He's not just a messenger, he's also my friend. I've lost enough friends in my life."

The man loosened his grip on Bear, standing to "look" at Tavis. "After everything, you consider me a lost friend?"

"You're the one who disappeared, Kaz. Not me," Tavis said, taking a small step forward. "What happened after you joined Intel?"

A smiled crossed the man's face. "We may have a long history together, Imzadi, but you should know that some secrets even we cannot share."

Tavis nodded, knowing full well Kaz wouldn't notice the gesture. He stepped towards Bear, helping him up from the ground. "I understand. But I have orders, as did you as one time. How should we proceed?"

"Easy. I turn and walk away, and you report that you never found me," Kaz replied, taking a step backward.

"It's not that simple, Kaz." Tavis reached a hand out to him, pushing his emotions towards the man to express himself. "Whatever's going on, let me help you."

Kaz looked physically conflicted as he tried to resist feeling what Tavis felt. "Tavi, I can't," he said, his voice sounding drained and defeated. "You're in way over your head here."

"And so are you," Tavis stated. "You can't do this alone. Please...for me."

Aurora came around the corner and saw the tail end of the fight, it was all she could do not to rush in and do...something. Anything. She was not a very physical person but she imagined she could distract the man and give Bear time to-

And then the captain had shown up and began talking to the target. The body language was, well...intimate? conflicted? And then she realized she was missing a perfect opportunity. She quickened her pace to cover the distance between herself and the trio, and with luck she attempted to drop the widget in an exposed pocket as she passed...

Kaz grumbled at his friend. "I'm fine on my ow-" and his words were cut off as the man was surrounded by shimmering light. After a moment, the light disappeared and the man was no longer standing there.


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