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Tense Time For Drinking (Alpha Trios IV, Team One, Part Two)

Posted on 05 Jul 2018 @ 1:56pm by Captain Harvey Geisler & Commander Thiago Teixeira & Lieutenant JG Jazmin Parks & Lieutenant JG Daniella Blake

Mission: The Search Begins
Location: Alpha Trios
Timeline: MD2 || 0945 hours

It hadn't been long since the group left the cyclops' shop and entered the bar next door. The Aketi ordered a round of the local ale for everyone in an act of unusual courtesy. After all, up until this point, the team had been barely mugged and certainly unable to communicate with anyone besides Aketi. He had identified his associates as Triosians, representatives of the nearly extinct species native to this world.

"This bar's been here for centuries," the Aketi boasted, "one of the few businesses that existed before th0e dome." He took a swig of his ale and placed the tankard back on the table. "Being newcomers, I don't expect you'd know that. But what brings you to the center of entertainment in this forsaken place?"

"We're here trying to find some information, and the fact that this place has been here for as long as you say it has been is a big help already," Dani stated, taking a moment to look around. She still didn't feel all that comfortable, but just standing around doing nothing wasn't getting her anywhere. "Why was this dome created?"

The Triosians scoffed, surprised by the child-like question. "If you haven't noticed," the Triosian snarled,0 not noticing or caring that his words were now being translated by the Away Team's combadges thanks to the efforts of the other group, "outside the dome, there isn't much planet left. This dome and what it contains is the last of my civilization."

"As a matter of fact, I did notice, but didn't know if there was some kind of incident that caused the need for this dome to be created," Dani stated. She wanted to reach out and smack the Triosian, but kept in mind that she was a person who healed other... not harmed them. "Since you didn't receive my previous question well, what happened to your planet?"

The Triosian sampled his ale and eyed the others to see if they were more interested in talking to them or the drinks that were before them. "Pretty much what happened to most planets and civilizations here that were caught up in the Great War. Total Destruction."

So, there was a war? That put them one step closer to their reason for being in this place. "We're fairly new to your area and aren't aware of its history, but we'd like to be. What can you tell us about how it started?"

Jazmin watched the other patrons, ready to respond should anyone try to start something. Her hands were clasped behind her back and she fidgeted with the bracelets, conflicting feelings welling up inside. On one hand she wanted to get these off, she had a sense of foreboding that someone would say something about her possessing them. On the other hand, she didn't want to take them off, they were beautiful, they were hers and she didn't have permission to remove them. It was crazy, she knew. So, to keep her mind occupied she did her best to focus on the patrons of the bar and be ready for whatever was bound to happen.

The Triosian eyed the woman in yellow with the bracelets. He wasn't sure about her, especially her lack of interest in the ale. Such a waste. Looking back to the woman who'd been asking the questions, he replied, "No one knows how it started. Little exists from the great war, aside from knowledge that it exists. If you want answers, you'll have to visit the archives in the Kalisa sector. They're heavily guarded, and they don't let just anyone in."

Jazmin knew when when she was being observed. She saw the way the Triosian kept glancing at her. She felt herself tense in anticipation. If he started something, she was certainly more than capable to put an end to it. However, she couldn't afford to provoke what was their first lead since coming here, so she forced herself to relax.

Then the mention of a heavily guarded area kickstarted her brain, and she began assessing their tactical readiness should the Commander chose to go that route.

"And how far away is the Kalisa sector from here?" Dani asked. She already knew the likelihood of traveling anywhere else for answers were very slim, which meant they'd just have to keep looking where they were. Surely, someone had to know something. Wars didn't just break out for no reason without someone knowing why. Stories passed down throughout generations... rumors... someone had to know something. But who?

"Thirty lightyears," came the simple answer. "But the Guardians protect it, and the space around it isn't very safe at all."

The Captain wasn't likely to let that happen, but it was an okay alternative if none of the other teams succeeded. However, she held out hope that at least one group would be successful. "That doesn't really help us at the moment. Is there anyone that might know something?"

Jazmin felt a sense of relief. She had thought the Kalisa Sector was somewhere on the planet. Now that she knew otherwise, she was able to focus more on their immediate situation. The bar looked less and less of a threat the more they were here. More likely than not, no one was really interested in them. They all looked to be too involved with their own lives and matters of importance to pay attention to a few strange aliens. Of course strange was a relative term.

She stepped over to Ensign Tamar, her voice a whisper in his ear. "I think the immediate danger here has passed. Keep your eyes open though. The last thing we need is to get caught up in a bar brawl."

The young Ensign nodded and she stepped away, staying close to the Commander while keeping a surreptitious eye on their "hosts."

"Such information," droned the Triosian before gulping his ale, "doesn't come free."

"And, why would we want to give you anything when you've already established you don't know anything?" the petite blonde asked with an arched brow. "Unless... you were lying to us about what you know. Which is it? Do you know something or don't you?"

"I haven't lied," said the Triosian. "But I don't think you were too clear yourself. The big blue wall? The one that contains a thousand light years of space? Nobody comes out. Nobody comes in. And, while this is a hell hole, there's nothing left to discover here. Which means you and your kind aren't from around here. I'll give you a source. And you tell us how to defeat the Guardians."

Dani arched a brow. "We came in through that big blue wall, and two have made it out. So, it is possible to come in and out," she said. No one said they couldn't give out that information, and if it helped them, then it was necessary. "If we're supposed to tell you how to defeat these Guardians you mentioned, you're going to have to tell us a little but about them."

"The Guardians monitor the wall," remarked the Triosian. "If you breached it, then you would have encountered them. Unless, you have ways of hiding from them, which makes our interest in you even greater."

"Why do you want to defeat them?" Dani asked. "I mean, in a way I understand, but there's got to be more to it than wishing to leave."

The Triosian narrowed his eyelids, halfway wondering why he was so forthcoming with strangers. "For centuries, all we've had are the games. No hope. No growth. All that keeps us from leaving is the barrier and the lack of means to penetrate it. Or, would you imagine that we enjoy living in hell?"

Maybe a new angle was called for. "Okay, what can you tell us about the games? What are their purpose, and how does one become entered into them?" Dani asked.

"You wish to voluntarily enter the games?" The Aketi scoffed. "No one enters of their free will, except those in extreme poverty who dare for a chance at a better life. As for their purpose... it's better than sitting around in what's left in this universe and wait for death to claim us."

Dani looked thoughtful. Obviously, there was money to be made here. "What's the payout?"

The Aketi and Triosian laughed. Seeing an opportunity, the Triosian moved in. "Depends on the game. How many points you score, how many opponents you beat... how long you live."

"I may be small, but I'm not stupid," she snapped at the two laughing aliens. "I would have been willing to join the games in an effort to help you out, but since you want to be nothing more than total assholes, you're on your own. Figure it out yourselves." With that, she rose to her feet and began to walk away.

This could be going better. Much, much better, Thiago thought.

Jazmin watched her start to leave, then stepped forward. She folded her arms in front of her. "If anyone's gonna play, and I'm seriously questioning how we got to this point, then it'll be someone who stands a decent chance. That someone is me. Butt we want answers, good actionable intel, I also want navigational charts."

She turned to look at the Commander, "I'm not risking anyone else here, Commander. Everyone goes home safe."

"Intel?" scoffed the Triosian. If there was ever a shred of evidence that those aliens weren't from around here, that word alone did it. "All right. Compete in the trials. Perform well, and you will earn your charts. Perform terribly..."

Jazmin leaned forward,resting her hands on the table. "Done and done. Just tell me the rules and objective and I'm set." She smiled roguishly. "Just be ready to hand over the charts when I win."

Jazmin felt a surge of anticipation at the thought of the upcoming games. It was a feeling that she had not thought she would ever feel again after leaving Andor with her adoptive parents. While she was glad to finally have a home and a family, the six previous years she spent as an orphan had seen her competing in the games. No one, and by that she meant, not a single individual knew the routes better than she, nor could they navigate the labyrinthine courses faster than she could. Her dominance guaranteed her a spot near the top of the hierarchy of homeless children and the best, warmest and safest places to sleep.

The competitive drive she felt then, and her desire to see her opponents utterly defeated had awakened in her and she couldn't wait to indulge the beast once more.

Dani continued on her way, weaving her way through bodies as she went. The anger she felt was at its boiling point, which made the need to get away from the arrogant aliens even stronger.

The Triosian's eyes briefly followed the blue-collared woman, but gave her no further mind. "Very well," he declared, looking at the defiant woman in front of him. "Starcharts for you, a life of indebtedness for me."

Jazmin saw his gaze dart towards Dani, she frowned. "Tamar," she said addressing the other security officer. "Follow her and keep an eye on her. Last thing we need is...stay out of her way but don't take no for an answer. We all go home safe."

Tamar nodded, "You got it, Chief." He darted off through the crowd after Dani.

Jazmin turned back to the Triosian. "Hmm. Starcharts versus a lifetime indebtedness. If I'm risking my freedom, I want not only the charts but a full library download as well. I want all the information." She held up a hand to forestall any protests from him. "I'm in my prime, just twenty four of my standard years. My species can live well into our eighties or nineties, so I'd say that's more than enough reward."

She smiled and leaned over the table, her voice softening, her face inches from his. "Why say no," she paused for effect, "when it feel so good to say yes?"

"You want a download?" scoffed the Triosian. "Kalisa sector's got the only archive in existence and it's guarded. Other than that, no one has records of what's happened before. You sure you want a library download that's just a collection of recipes?"

"Stand down, Lieutenant," Teixeira said firmly. He looked at the Triosian. "Tell me about the Guardians. You seem to have some issue with them. If we know more about that, we might be able to help. Come up with a mutually beneficial arrangement."

The Triosian grunted at the man. "The Guardians protect the barrier, keeping us trapped in here. The Guardians also barricade everything past the Kalisa Sector, not letting anything in or out. You want to help? Poke a hole through it all."

Helpful, he thought sarcastically. "We might be able to help. But we'll need more information about the Guardians. How can we talk to them? Where do they live?" He paused. "Why have they barricaded this space?"

"The legend says its to keep us safe from the outside," scoffed the Aketi. "But we all know better. They want to keep something in here and not out there. It hasn't stopped a few of us from trying though. We know ships have tried to go through the barrier. But no one's ever heard from them."

He took a drink of the ale before he pressed for more. It was interesting that the locals had been fed stories about the rationale behind the Guardians actions, but didn't believe them. "This legend, what does it say about the danger of beyond the barricade? And why would the Guardians want to keep you here?"

Jazmin, recognizing when she had stepped over the line, stepped back from the table, hands behind her back, alert. "Aye, Commander." She took a deep breath, slowly letting it out. If there wasn't a reprimand for her in the mission report, she'd be surprised. Listening to the Commander's exchange with the Triosian, she wondered how she could have been so naive. She filed the situation in her mind under the heading, "How to look like an idiot on an away mission."

Their source looked back and forth between the quiet, reserved man with three circles on his collar and the seemingly shamed woman with a circle and a half. He assumed the colors meant something, as did the significance of the strange collar garnish. "It's unclear, Commander," he answered. "Some say great danger, others great opportunity. All I know is the war isn't over, even though they say it is. If it were, I don't think any of us would be wasting our lives on this lifeless rock."

They had gotten a bit more information, colored though it was by the locals. Unfortunately, Thiago felt that there were even more questions now than before. "I don't want to keep you from your drinking any longer," he said, standing up. "Thank you for talking with us."

The Triosian nodded before he and his Aketi companion finished their ales. At that moment, a siren sounded, alerting everyone's attention to the fact that the main event for the day would be starting soon. "Betting time," he told Thiago. "Good luck." With that, the natives left the bar.

Dani didn't leave the bar even though she really wanted to, and she was well aware of the Security officer that was given the task of following her. She'd been unsuccessful in gathering any information and hoped that someone on their team would have better luck. As far as she was concerned, the sooner this was over, the better. The petite woman found herself glancing back toward the Commander and Lieutenant, but no longer saw the obnoxious aliens. Should she return to them, or just wait it out? Time would tell soon enough.

"Lieutenant Parks, get the others," Thiago said. "We should head back."

 

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