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Making Friends (Alpha Trios IV, Part 1, Team Two)

Posted on 02 Jun 2018 @ 2:08am by Captain Harvey Geisler & Senior Chief Petty Officer Charles Stephens Jr. & Lieutenant JG Catherine Cooper & Ensign Kelly Khan

Mission: The Search Begins
Location: Alpha Trios IV
Timeline: MD2 || 0930 hours

Kelly looked at Cooper, T'Lan and Chief Stevens as she secured the runabout. "Ready to go see what we can see?" she asked.

Cooper's attention shifted from the XO to Khan, "We are..." She gestured to T'Lan, "Do we have a meet up time and place with the other team?" She asked, thinking that might be useful to know before they went to recon. She glanced at Chief Stevens for his input as well before returning her attention to Khan.

"I am sure if and when we need to meet we can just use coms to coordinate things." Charles said as he looked around trying to take in the scene.

Once everyone gave the nod, Kelly headed off towards the southeast and took a breath. You commanded a busted Intrepid against a Valdor, she reminded herself. You can do this, too. As yet, they hadn't encountered anyone, but she knew that was subject to change once they got past the docking area.

Cooper had nodded at Stevens, supposed that worked just as well. Then followed the others out. Senses alert, she stayed near, but not too much, to Khan. T'Lan did the same for Stevens.

Ahead of the team was an unusual, one-story complex with a wide-open pavilion. Several tables and benches were strewn aboard in a haphazard fashion, much of which were occupied by persons in average dress. Along the furthest edge of the pavilion were a group of cages, behind which were several individuals, each in their own cell. Many were left alone, but a few others attempted to talk to loved ones through gnashing and tears. The community around them seemed not to care much for those in the cages. Armed guards stood in sentry mode, ensuring that no one tried anything stupid.

Kelly took note of the armed guards about the same time she saw the people in cages. "I wonder what's going on over there?" she asked out loud as she paused. "I really hope we didn't enter the wrong way and ended up in their jail." She looked for any shops or anything that would make it less than a jail it appeared to be, then back at her team. "Shall we go find out?"

Cooper looked, her attention on the crowd and the look of the guards. One could tell a lot from the look of a jails guards and these looked like they had an even less sense of humor than was usual, "Those guards do not look like the friendly type." She observed, they looked more tough merc like than anything else to Cooper and therefore best to try not to get their attention, "Definitely to be avoided." Then she continued, "Maybe we could make our way by the edges, see if we can overhear anything useful as we make our way, through." She suggested. "See if we notice anyone...approachable." She glanced at Khan and the Chief as T'Lan kept a quiet visual lookout.

Kelly stood for a moment and then frowned. "Look at those people by the cages and then the ones that don't seem to care," she said. "It looks like a separation in their social or wealth structure," she said. "What do you think?" she asked the others.

"On the surface it looks like either some sort of Caste system or primitive form of punishment for something." Charles chimed in. "Either way it does not look all that humane."

Cooper glanced over again at the prisoners, "In some societies prisoners are the one class everyone else, no matter how poor or downtrod can look down on. And the Chief is right, regardless of crimes there's been a standard of treatment in the Federation that we aren't seeing here..." She puased to think, "They are on display, what? To mock? Shame?" She shrugged looking at the room. T'Lan remained silent, keeping up his vigil.

"I suggest, it may not be best to confront the obvious issues at face value. I would like to keep out of one of those pens." Charles said as the group continued to move and observe.

"Then let's see if we can skirt around the edges and see what we can learn," Kelly said and headed towards the left of the group towards the largest gathering of the wealthier looking aliens.

Cooper nodded and glanced at T'lan to make sure he had the rear guard position. He did, so she returned her attention to her surroundings.

One of the wealthy looking aliens, a stocky one with a kind of teal skin and four arms. Two of which were folded over an ample stomach area covered in finely made and brightly colored clothing as was the rest of his body. Spiky, black 'hair?' stood up in agitation as the other two arms were gesturing for emphasis. "It's obscene I tell you!" he said talking to his partners as a few caravan guards stood nearby obviously bored, "What they want for luxury goods, we risk life and limb to bring it and yet they want to underbid. How do they expect us to do business?!" One of his partners a nervous looking lanky and pale alien turned his bald head to toward the guards at the far end then back at his friend, "Ch'atek, you must calm yourself. Remember disturbances will not be tolerated..."

Kelly saw the four armed teal alien and listened for a moment before she headed his way while motioning for the others. "They probably don't appreciate you, either," the young Ensign said and hoped that the universal translator didn't decide to offend his ancestors in the translation.

The stocky, teal alien looked around at who would have the effrontery to talk to him thus. At first he didn't see her, then he caught sight of the oddly dressed, pale bipeds who seemed to be led by a child? Small at any rate, "Brave words coming from such a tiny biped." He replied undaunted though not angry even as he noticed the three taller bipeds with her, and all four of which seemed to be armed. He tried and failed to place the species. These were not ones he normally did business with. Spiky, hard 'hair' stilled.

Cooper and T'lan kept alert to the surroundings but were seeming doing their best impression of 'I'm to tough to mess with', slightly behind Khan and Stephens. Cooper had not had a chance to work with Khan much but had heard good things about the Ensigns work, she was curious to see how this would pan out.

Kelly smirked."I never said that I didn't appreciate you," she said. "Or what you may have that I want. They say fortune favors the bold."

Charles was close enough to Kelly to talk under his breath. "Before you go negotiating to much I have a crate of food stuffs on the shuttle. I did bring a sample in my bag. Also have some synthetic whiskey that may be popular. These people seem up tight" He wanted to make sure she knew what they had before conversations got to deep.

Ch'atek tried to listen to the sotto voice of the large male and though his hearing was good he missed it, disappointing as he sensed business afoot. He folded two sets of hands over his stomach as he looked consideringly at small biped who seemed to speak for the group. 'Little one has you there' the pale, thin alien signed using his hands and Ch'atek made am amused sound before returning his attention to Khan. "Fortune favors the bold? I suppose that can be true as can caution. You are merchant, come to trade?" He asked, he'd not seen the like but if this were a new opportunity he would foolish not to learn more.

Kelly listened to the big Chief, then looked at the alien again with a smile on her face. "I am and not just for goods, but information," she said. "Shall we find a place to negotiate?"

Ch'atek looked at the fine make of their clothes and the equipment they carried. Yes no poor relations these and his business senses were tingling with the chance at a pathfinder opportunity. That being a chance to break into or make a connection with a brand new market. He nodded, looking forward to the upcoming haggling, his profit margin was going to be thin on this trip perhaps this would turn things around. "Let's." He replied. He glanced around looking thoughtful, then led the way.

The alien was certainly eager and with his current negative profits, if she read correctly into what she had heard him and his partners talking about when they approached, Kelly felt he would be quick to offer a good amount of information for just a little of what she had to offer. She followed the four armed teal alien and gave a nod to the others to come along with her.

Cooper and T'Lan fell into step near the other two as they walked, keeping alert.

They would end up in a nearby bar. It was of decent quality but not too much, a place that looked like many others of its type throughout the galaxy. There were others who looked to be merchants or ship crews, huddled about tables. Some drinking, some talking quietly. No one looked like they cared much what went on at the other tables. One alien played a musical instrument as another manned a bar. Ch'atek waved with all four arms, "Torok's Place, come in peace or leave in pieces. We can talk here." He gestured to a nearby empty booth.

Kelly gave a nod to Lieutenant Cooper and T'Lan as she moved to the booth to sit where she could see the door. "Thank you," she said. "I"m Kelly. What's your handle?"

Though he wasn't familiar with the term 'handle' not for nothing was he an experienced traveling merchant, from the context he got her meaning and smiled broadly from his section of seat, "Of course if one is to do business one must know." He placed two of his hands, both left side to the right and gave a little bow. His spiky hair flattened non threateningly, "I am Cha'atek Third of My Name of the Clan Mylek, Caravan Master, this is my Cargo Chief and First Assistant, Filo of the Hegemony." He gestured to the tall, pale alien who had been quietly tapping on a device. He looked over and nodded, his bald head almost reflecting the limited light as he moved. He did not bother to introduce his guards, he didn't think of it.

Cooper and T'lan kept up with their own guard routine, letting Khan and the Chief take point.

"My friends here are Cooper, Stephens and T'Lan," Kelly said before she looked at Stephens. "Why don't you break out one of those samples you told me about and give our new friend here a taste?"

Charles took his bag off his back and set on a nearby stump. As he opened it up and he looked inside. He had a stash of double chocolate chip protein bars. He took them out and approached the trader. "These are a sample of our food stuff we have much more for trade."

Ch'atek politely took the box with a nod then looked inside, "Prepackaged foodstuffs? You have much of these?" he inquired as Filo took out a device and began scanning it. He could always move prepackaged food with energy and space being a premium on space ships with the shelf life of prepackaged stuff it was not something he had to worry about having on hand for lengths of time. It wasn't exciting but it would sell, depending on what it was. He spoke in low tones to Ch'atek, "There are parts we don't recognize but my associate assures me it is safe. So now if he's not just angling for a promotion, we shall see.." He took one of the bars and unwrapped it taking a small bite. His face took on a look of deep concentration for a moment as he considered.

"I am unsure what the gooey brown bits are but the flavor is intriguing. You try..." He held it out to his Cargo Chief who took a bite and made a face, "I don't think it agrees with my pallet.". He said flagging down a waitress.

"I always knew he had no taste." Ch'atek joked, "So there are some we may not be able to sell this too but perhaps others we can." His tone was interested but only mildly so, his merchant face on. He closed the box and put it to one side of the table. The waitress came over to take Filo's order and paused looking questioningly at the others, Ch'atek looked back, "Anything? My treat to bless our business." He offered, it was genuine and good business. As this is a station he considered a home port, it was polite tradition among his people to offer at least once at the onset and once at the conclusion of business.

He was eager to see what else they had, it was common tactic that one never led with their best stuff out of the gate. Though the little one, Kelly, seemed eager it wouldn't do to push things too fast.

"Where I come from, water is considered to be the ultimate form of a trade," Kelly improvised. "It is the basis that almost all life has in common."

Ch'atek couldn't help himself, his lips quirked upward briefly, "Not a drinker eh? Wise move, oh this will be fun." He nodded to the waitress to disappeared to get multiple waters. "Well spoken Kelly of the...what Clan are you with?" the question was innocent but his eyes alert, he was paying close attention.

"Rabid Weasel," Kelly said nonchalantly, unwilling to name the Black Hawk or what planet she was from. "Do you have any idea what happened to this system? We were passing through here and saw that most of it looks destroyed."

His face looked somber, "Oh yes Kelly of the Rabid Weasel, it was quite something..." Just then the waitress returned and placed waters in front of everyone. Filo, who had been making notes quickly drank his and part of the actual drink he'd ordered. When the waitress bustled off again, Ch'atek smiled, "So on to business, you said you had more to trade?" His mind was chewing over the fact they didn't know, it had been hard not to be aware of it so that meant they were new, how new and from where? He wondered much about his new business partners but it would be unseemly to be too obviously curious. To those unaware he'd just skipped to another topic, to anyone paying attention it was the same discussion.

Kelly took a sip of her water. "So about the system...?" she asked, refusing to be sidetracked. "I'd be willing to trade for that information."

"Trade what?" Was Ch'atek's first question.

"More of those protein bars for starters," Kelly said. "Other stuff, depending on how much you have to tell me."

"Ah you kill me Kelly Weasel" He said joking in a theatrical tone. She wasn't tipping her hand, though he hadn't had this much fun in ages. "At least how much have you to trade or what else? I am happy to tell but we must be clear on terms."

"You wish for me to kill you?" Kelly asked in a flat tone while staring intently at him. "Trading works like this. You offer me something, I offer you something. If you don't offer me something, I don't you you anything. You're acting like you want nothing, so that's what I'm going to give you. Now tell me something other than meaningless words or I'll find someone else and spread the word that Cha'atek Third of My Name of the Clan Mylek, Caravan Master is without honor."

That Ch'atek took seriously, if he wanted to move ahead in his Clan he had to establish greater business ties and a trader could live and die on his reputation, "Talk wisdom, wanting to know what is for trade is a basic desire of all traders. However, you have shown me some so I will show you some in good faith and we will proceed yes?" He said not entirely annoyed his gambit to find out more without giving anything quite yet failed. Sometimes you tried things and they didn't work. These Weasels were an interesting lot, "You asked about the damage yes? We call it the Cataclysm. Long time ago there was a great conflict, affected many species. The Triosians were central to it, they would know more. I could see if my contacts have someone you can approach, for fair trade..." He offered. To be fair it was fairly basic information but he hoped it would get the negotiations back on track.

"Thank you, Ch'atek," Kelly said with a smile. "Chief Stephens, can you please show our new trading partner some of our other samples?"

Ch'atek nodded an acknowledgement to her thanks even as he thought, "Well done Kelly of the Weasels." . With a new respect he waited for her Cargo Chief to proceed.

"Do you enjoy something to drink with the food stuff?" Charles pulled out a bottle of Synthahol that was a berry flavored brandy. He produced a small cup form the bag and poured a small amount in a cup and put it in front of Ch'atek

Again Ch'atek waited for Filo to scan it then nod before Ch'atek nodded to the Chief and he nodded to the Chief with a smile, "I thank you." he picked up the small cup and tried it, "Fruity flavor, this is alcohol?" he asked rolling the flavor around his pallet, "Has body..." He said consideringly.

Before he could proceed with more thoughts he was distracted by loud voices from another table. Cooper and T'Lan, who were alert but had settled in for the 'long guard' had shifted protectively along with Ch'atek's two as a fight at another table got loud, "You lie! And are cheater!" Yelled one alien as he grabbed the shirt of another, "I told you.." the other replied, "I've never even met your sister, let alone dated her!" With roar of anger the larger alien punched the other in the face but before he do much more bouncers showed up and grabbed the pair, "One week ban, next time we tell the sentinels!" before proceeding to drag them out.

Kelly looked over at the sound of trouble, but then back at Ch'atek when she saw it wasn't coming there way. "There's a special secret to it, too," she said with a sly smile.

Ch'atek had been watching concerned at the fight beyond their table and started to turn toward Kelly to say something about it but changed gears when she spoke again, he then tilted his head briefly to one side curiously, "And what is that?" he asked. He gestured for his guards to stand down, which they did though Cooper and T'lan continued to keep a look out.

Kelly poured a glass of the synthehol for herself and tossed it back, then turned the glass upside down on the table with a smile while she mentally shrugged off the effects. "This stuff will let you shake it off with a thought, but no one has to know that but you, I and a few select few. I can give you the formula for leading me to a Triosian and all the other information you have."

Ch'atek supposed he could do something with that and was thoughtful a moment taking the statement seriously, Food and fake alcohol were useful trade goods in the right markets but what he hoped for was something truly exceptional, that would stamp his mark on the trade routes. Still perhaps this was the first step in a longer business arrangement, food and drink may be all she had now but who knew what the future may bring. He would trade most anything except sentient beings or weapons, a merchant he was but a reasonably honest one at least. After a few moments he nodded, "The bargain is fair. Kelly of the Weasels." And held out his left hand palm up.

Kelly raised her left hand out in the same gesture. "Sealed, Cha'atek of Clan Mylek," she said. "Now about the Triosians and what you know." She gestured to Chief Stephens. "Get the formula for the synthehol and a full inventory of what we have."

Ch'atek nodded, "Filo will accept the information." Filo nodded looking up from his device he'd been working on.
Then Ch'atek returned his attention to Kelly, allowing Filo to work with the other man to conclude that bit of business. "For my part, first and most immediate to avoid the gladiatorial games is to not get arrested by the Sentinels." He looked around making sure no one seemed overly interested, "You have no money or business you get arrested, you cause trouble you get arrested, you fail to show proper respect and you get arrested. If you wish time to finish your business you will need to keep that in mind." He was being earnest, "You lot look like fighters..." He gestured to include all four of them, "Just the kind they'd want to have in the games."

"Fighters? Us?" Kelly gave a laugh that she didn't feel at his words. She lowered her voice. "Is that why everyone was in those cages we saw? We just want to do some trade, get some information and be bone again. Nothing more, nothing less. If you have language matrices, I'll throw in some rare and exotic recipes for you and the seeds for ingredients."

Charles kept listening to the conversation between the two as he made notes on a padd to transfer the recipe for the sythehol and a modest amount for protein bars both to the shuttle and then gave the list to Filo. "You will find a standard agreement is set forth transferring everything discussed." Charles said. He had promiced three quarters of the food stuff they had brought. It should be plenty for an initial deal. It also left them more to bargain with. Ch'atek's words about needing money or business to stay out of trouble was sticking with him.

Filo thanked he man as they worked to conclude their business.

Ch'atek just nodded, it wouldn't do to show surprise, "Just traders, yes and I can walk in space..." he thought himself as he spoke, "This I can do, moment." He muttered to Filo who frowned in thought and nodded, tapping away at the device he carried after another moment a record chip popped out. Ch'atek then handed it to Kelly. "You see those that run this station dislike troublemakers and those without purpose, like charity cases and the games are popular with some..." He said it vaguely distastefully and waggled his fingers as as if to shrug, "It is best to have friends or Clan to look out for you. As we are friends." his smile returned.

Kelly accepted the chip and inserted it into her tricorder to verify it. "Clan Rabid Weasel thanks you and considers Ch'atek of Clan Mylek a friend as well. May the water flow freely for your clan." she said gravely. "Now then, to the Triosian?"

Ch'atek nodded accepting her words equally gravelly. Survival out here was every much ties to others as it was technology. "Driaan." He pointed to another alien roughly three tables over, "He travels much, is into this and that. If anyone can help you find the ones you seek it will be him. You can approach and give my name or I can introduce you if you'd prefer but before either as this concludes our immediate business, I offer a final drink." His tone ended on a questioning note and glanced briefly toward a nearby waiter.

Kelly took note of the other alien and hoped the language matrice would work. She fiddled with her tricorder for a minute to link it to her universal translator and hoped it held at least one language that everyone would understand. "A drink to the future so the water supply never goes dry."

Ch'atek nodded with a pleased smile of a deal well made and a new business partnership well struck, "Well said, and may a storm never find you without a well stocked haven." . He gestured to the waiter who came over, he gave them his order and Filo's then glanced politely at Kelly. Orders were placed and the waiter returned quickly, Ch'atek was a long time patron of The space.

Kelly accepted the water and drank it. "May your name bring credit to your clan," she said. "It was a pleasure." She got up and motioned to Stephens, Cooper and the Security person, then headed over to where Driaan was. "Greetings," she said. "I'm Kelly of Clan Rabid Weasel and I was told you could help me."

Ch'atek nodded and held up a hand in parting as the eager young woman headed off to speak to Driaan. He wished her luck in her search, "She reminds me of my niece..." He said to Filo and Filo nodded, "I can see that, I hope they know what they are about, looking for the Triosions." Ch'atek nodded. "You got what you needed from their Cargo Master to transfer the goods." Filo nodded, "Then Pass the word among the Clan that the Wild Weasels are business allies and aid should be rendered if suitable. Once we have taken possession of the materials" Filo nodded as they quietly conducted their business.

Charles gave a bow to both as he followed behind The Wild Wessel leader. It made him snicker each time she said it.

Cooper and T'lan spun about, following Kelly and Stephens as another link in the chain of information was forged.

Hearing the unfamiliar voice speak to him in a broken tongue, the Triosian simply grunted and did not face the newcomer. "Leave me," he spat. "I've lost too much to the games today. I have no desire to compete among them again."

"I come to offer, not to take," Kelly said simply.

Driaan was about to chug his ale, and paused just before the tankard reached his mouth. Offer? He turned to see the young woman and her motley crew. She was petite, but he couldn't think she could offer a man who was down on his luck very much. He took in a sizable gulp and swashed the remnants around in his tankard. "Very well. What are you... offering?"

"Trade goods for information," Kelly said. "Liquors, food stuffs, medicines, metals. What are you in the market for?"

"Goods," snarled Driaan. "Daaliks are what I need to pay my debts, not trinkets. What do you have that will fetch a high price?"

Charles stepped up anticipating the need to know what they had left to offer and handed Kelly a inventory file of everything that was not promised in their last deal.

Kelly took the PADD and looked at it. "How about a Dynamic mode stabilizer?" she asked. "It's a tool used to analyze computer systems, and scan for anomalies."

"Do I look like a computer expert?" Driaan spat. "I show up with something like that, people will think I'm a thief and I'll be forced into the games for sure. I need something small and valuable, but not too suspicious."

Kelly didn't know what a computer expert would look like, but had a feeling it would be best to take him at his word. "How about a formula for a new kind of booze?" she asked, thinking of the same offer she had made the other alien. "You could sell them to multiple people and make a fortune."

Driaan was not satisfied. "I do not have time to work." Sighing, he added, "What sort of information do you seek?"

Kelly motioned to Chief Stephens. "Could you give him everything we have left that we brought with us?" she asked him before she looked at Driaan. "Just what happened to this system's planets and if anything has every gone through that big blue hole in space."

Her inquiry caused Driaan to actually look up and see who was speaking to him. The sight of four similarly clothed aliens explained the stupidity of the question. After all, one would have to not be from around here in order to not know what happened. But, he couldn't stop himself from saying, "You're kidding, right?"

"We have crossed a great distance to get here," Kelly said seriously. "And we plan on going further, but knowledge of this system would be of great help to us."

"A great distance?" Driaan spat, his surprise still not evaporating from his hairy face. "Sorry," he said, rising from his table. "I can't be seen with you. Go back the way you came. Only death awaits you."

Kelly blew out a breath in exasperation. "By the Great Bird of the Galaxy, it's just information," she said through gritted teeth. "Do you know everyone to know that you're wanted for crimes in three systems?"

Driaan snarled at her. "Nice try. You come to a strange planet and pretend to know a local? No. My debtors know where I am, and if they'd wanted me to compete by now, I'd be in the games. They'll lose more if that happens."

"Look, I'm sorry," Kelly said. "I offered you pretty much everything we have for trade for this information, but you don't want to do the work to offload it. You asked me what I wanted and I told you. Is it a crime to want to know something for our safety?"

Charles could tell that the heated exchange was not going their way. And it was starting to draw attention. "Ma'am, I suggest we leave this one be." He said quietly to her as he saw a bouncer heading their way. "I think we have stayed our welcome here."

"Your safety is not my concern," Driaan stated, noticing the armed individual coming their way. The individual wasn't heading for the group of aliens, but for Driaan. Perhaps his time had indeed run out. "Vouch for me," he said, trying not to make eye contact with the individual.

Cooper had been watching along with T'Lan but did not interfere with Kelly's negotiations. T'Lan kept look out behind mostly while Cooper watched the front. And they did their best 'We're just part of the wall' impressions while staying alert. Cooper did tense a little when T'lan quietly noted the approach to her. Cooper shifted a little to better protect and keep related persons in sight, otherwise visibly not reacting as the individual approached. Noting the persons body language and focus, along with Driaan's statement that the other was not here for them but him was something though she wondered how this might affect their only contact.

"What was that about your safety not being my concern?" Kelly asked in a quiet voice. "Think fast and I'll vouch that you're my guide. For free. Until I leave this system. You have seconds to decide." Yes, she admitted, it was a dirty thing to do for a Starfleet officer, but the alien was giving her no choice.

He scowled, wrestling with his options in his mind for longer than he should have. "Fine." he said through gritted teeth.

The armed individual arrived and clamped a hand on Driaan's shoulder. "Come with me," a deep voice said, pulling the Triosian backwards.

"Do you mind taking your hands off of my employee?" Kelly asked as she looked up at the bouncer. "Driann works for me."

"He works!?" the newest arrival gruffed. "You must be mistaken. Driaan doesn't work."

Kelly looked at Driaan. "Who do you work for?" she asked him.

"I..." Driaan stammered. "I work for you. Tell him."

"Prove it," demanded the brute. "Present his wages, and hope the garnishment is enough to not just keep him out of the games, but you as well."

"Wages?" Kelly asked in indignation. "I just hired him and I don't pay anyone until they earn it. Driaan is my employee and that's that." She really hoped her bluff worked and they wouldn't have to go to the games or shoot their way free of the dome.

It was just as the brute thought. This was merely a scam to keep Driaan out of the games. Why anyone would even attempt to vouch for this pathetic Triosian was beyond him. He tightened his grip on Driaan's shoulder and forced him towards the exit. "He's no longer your concern. And that's that."

"chaq 'etlh qetlhchugh je DeS je ngaj ghol SIch*," Kelly muttered as she watched the only source of information she could find being dragged away. She looked at Cooper and Stephens. "Well, are you two going to help find another Tirosian or just look pretty?" she asked them.

Cooper responded immediately, hands away from weapons and moving non threateningly close enough to talk to the guard now nearer the exit, "Excuse me please. Perhaps in this instance we could give you an advance on his wages. It is not the normal way we do things but with honorable gentlemen such as yourselves I feel we can consider an exception? What are you owed? We are but beginning our trading so we have much in the way of items for equal exchange.". She directed herself at the senior guard but her questioning glance took in Stephens and Kelly as well. T'lan stayed back to overwatch. Her tone was respectful and polite. Not what they deserved but she hoped it would help placate.

"An advance?" asked the brute. "How can this scum be worth anything to you?"

Kelly motioned for Stephens and the Security woman to follow her and approached Cooper. "You know what, Driaan isn't worth it," she said. "He'll be better off in the games if he owes everyone. He would have just ended up there with his wages, anyway. We could place bets on him instead and get more value."

T'lan followed behind watchful. Cooper started to answer the guard then glanced at Kelly as she spoke with a small acknowledgement. Cooper wasn't entirely sure to take the words on surface value or if there was a greater plan she wasn't aware of. She'd seen enough lately to give to give some benefit of the doubt though. She had been addressed however, and felt not answering might look odd to them, So she answered her voice polite, "We had desired to hire him to assist our trade missions.". Attemping to answer but preserve options.

"You should choose more wisely," scowled the brute, pushing Driaan out the door. "Lest you too compete in the games." With that, the brute and Driaan were gone.

Kelly waited until the guard and Driaan were gone before she turned to Cooper. "We have no local currency and you countered what I had told him," she said. "That could have gotten us all arrested. Now we have to find another way of getting the information we need. We need to sell what we have left and go to the games and hope that we can find another Triosian."

Cooper looked back at Kelly, debating responding then continued talking quietly, "Other options include attempting to pay off the guards with items or bringing in Ch'atek who is still across the room, he seems to hold business partners in some esteem. Now, as you say, we must start again." Her voice was mild, restrained. She was keeping others thoughts and expressions to herself as she moved back behind Stephens and Kelly.

Outside the room, a loud horn fired off three short bursts, followed by two sustained blasts about half a second each. Much of the establishment's patrons left some of their currency on the table and began to move outside. The first major competition of the day was about to start.

Kelly flinched when she heard the blasts and saw most of the patrons leaving, then looked back. She paused and then swallowed her ethics. "Ladies and gents, let's help clean the tables," she said. "Discreetly. T'Lan, cover our backs." She moved over to the closest table and made sure no one was watching and quickly scooped whatever leftover currency was there and stuffed it in her right boot since her uniform didn't have pockets.

T'lan, replied in a mild tone, "Understood." The first word the other security officer spoke the entire mission. She proceeded to turn around to watch as many patrons headed out. It took Cooper a second to figure out what Khan meant to do, mentally concerned over getting caught headed to another table.

Charles took a more discrete route of thievery as he 'accidentally' backed into a table which happened to knock the monies over the edge. He put on an act of it hurting as he moved to pick up the fallen currency.

"Okay, let's get out of here before someone catches up," Kelly said after clearing another table.

That clock was shorter than she thought as one of the waitresses started to clean a table and saw that the tab hadn't been satisfied. Another check at another table saw that it too was devoid of currency. "Thieves!" she cried out to no one in particular before her Triosian eyes started to look around the room for the culprits.

Kelly looked up and sighed. It was too good to last, she thought as she reached up and tapped her combadge. =^=Away team to Mississippi, four to beam back.=^= she ordered the runabouts computer.

The team was surrounded by four columns of blue light, disappearing totally just as the waitress turned towards the door. Another second, and alerts would have been issued to arrest all four of the Starfleet personnel and be conscripted into the games.

In the runabout, Kelly muttered about how stupid she had been before she emptied her boot and put the currency on the replicator console. "Computer, scan item and replicate," she ordered it.

As the team prepared to depart the runabout, now armed with currency and the ability to communicate with a few more species, little did they know what they were about to encounter.

~to be continued~

= = = = = = =

Klingon* May your blades be dull and your arms too short to reach your opponent


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