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The Needle In The Haystack [Part One]

Posted on Tue Jun 7th, 2022 @ 8:49pm by Captain Elijah Rutherford & Lieutenant Andrew Callaghan & Lieutenant Hadir Prenar & Lieutenant JG S'anra Shalakar

Mission: A New Beginning
Location: After Burner Bar
3043 words - 6.1 OF Standard Post Measure

S'anra arrived at the After Burner bar and found an open table and she took two chairs one on either side of her and leaned the tops in so others knew she was expecting others. She busied herself by painting her nails a light rose red for contrast her skin and ordered a saurian brandy from the waitress and nursed her drink while she waited for the others to arrive.

The tall Cardassian took notice of his Orion compatriot as she sat alone. He walked over and played the part of an interested suitor. "Evening m'dear this seat taken?" When she accepted him he made a point of sitting down with a broad smile and leaning in as lovers may. "Start looking around for the contact. We will have to play the part for the time being."

As he leaned in he noticed a faint sweet scent coming from her and she whispered into his ear and smiled warmly as she spoke. " Understood, but do be careful with how close you get, the pheromone inhibitor has been deactivated. No Orion woman in wild space is going to have an inhibitor, that and it's one more weapon in my arsenal. "

Hadir smiled and nodded imperceptibly in acknowledgment of what she said. It was lucky for him the Cardassians were racially immune to Orion pheromones. He knew that it had to do with their cold blood. However, all of that was for another time. He took her hand and stroked it in an attempt to seem flirty. All the while he kept his eyes peeled for their contact.

Andrew somehow was the last of his team to arrive. He'd taken note of his fellow Officers arriving and sitting at the table together, but something in his told him not to join them. Two was a party, three a crowd; or something like that. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision but three strangers walking into a place like this and all sitting together, it was bound to draw unwanted attention. He approached an empty barstool only a few feet from the others as he looked around the room.

"Aldebaran whiskey," he gestured to the barkeep as he looked at Prenar and Shalakar.

"Aye..." The bartender grunted getting the requested whiskey.

There was a slight commotion at the entrance, as there was a man with two females, the man laughing and pulled both women close to him giving them a kiss each. "Well now my lovelies, thank you for the delightful evening." one more kiss and a friendly pat on their behinds and he staggered over towards the bar and sat down. "Give me a whiskey, nay, not just a glass but a whole bottle!" slapping down several strips of gold-pressed latinum. On his hands, he wore several rings and a leather wrist band upon his arm.

The barkeep grunted, "You seem in good spirits tonight." as he brought out a bottle of Aldebaran whiskey and placed it down in front of the man along with a glass. "I heard you lost two or three of your crew."

"Aye, sadly tis true. They thought they'd try to cheat me out of the profits. I sent them packing with their tails dragging. And gave them their bare minimum as was agreed upon." he popped open the bottle and poured himself a drink from it, then slugged it down in one gulp. "I don't want to talk about business right now, I want to have just a little bit of fun before it is back to business."

He swiveled around, his back to the bar, and gazed around the establishment. "Looks like you are doing some rather good business here. I am glad." he glanced over towards the man who was seated not too far away, "I've not seen you here before." taking a look at Callaghan. "Are you new to this fine establishment? The name is Rashad."

S'anra moved in a little closer to keep up the appearance and whispered. " Looks like something interesting going on, I believe that our pigeon has arrived. " as she nuzzled his neck with her nose to keep up the act.

For the briefest of moments, the part of Hadir's neck where her warm breath touched turned pink. It was an uncontrollable reaction from cold blooded Cardassians. However, this biological reaction helped serve to further their ruse. "I believe so, let's see if Callaghan can get what we need. If not we will have to jump in. For now just keep your eyes peeled." Hadir was glad that Andrew had taken the hint of what he tried to establish and sat elsewhere. It seemed that played to their benefit as well.

S'anra got up from the table and looked to Hadir. " I'm going to get another round, do you want another one? " She asked and awaited his reply before going over to the bar.

Hadir smiled. "Of course m'dear you know I cannot resist a good kanar." He turned to watch her leave, which also gave him the advantage of watching the conversation Andrew was having unfold.

Andrew nodded, as he picked up the glass, "Mike," he replied it was a simple answer. He wasn't going to give too much away at this point, "not sure I'd call it fine but I have certainly been in worse I suppose." He downed the glass, "another," he demanded. "Lying cheat of a girlfriend left me stranded here, no money, and no way off," he hissed. "Now, I'm looking for work and if the pay is right I'll get out of here."

"Me and a large rather slimy Trill have a meeting planned, once I find him," Andrew added, picking up the glass.

"You don't say." Rashad turned his stool to face Mike. "Well..." Rashad took a keen look at Mike, noting some the man's 5 o'clock shadow and the cut of his hair, which looked rather scruffy looking. " I am looking for a crew, who won't cheat me on the profits. Like the other three did." giving a cold smile. "I make good profits and I give good shares to my crew. Except when some greedy s.o.b.'s decide they wanted more than their share, that is when I get angry." he turned to pour another glass then offered the bottle to Mike, "Care to have a splash?"

"I'm just here to work, earn my share, and get what's coming to me if you understand," Andrew added, "I don't ask questions, the less I know the better. You need help, and I need off this rock therefore I suppose there is a deal to be made."

"Before we make an agreement, do you by chance know of someone by the name of Eli? I've been looking for him for quite sometime, the black hearted man that he is. He stole my prized jasmine flower. One that had won me several blue ribbons in a contest." He tossed back his drink then poured himself another, refilling Mike's glass as well.

Hadir heard the exchange and remained steely faced. However, internally he hoped, he prayed that there was more here than a stolen flower. The Cardassian would hate to think that the Captain risked their lives of something as meaningless as this.

S'anra listened in to the conversation as she went towards the bar and smiled as she walked towards the two men. " Excuse me gentlemen, I couldn't help but overhearing that you are looking for some crew aboard your ship. My companion and I are currently between jobs, He is a rather talented protector and I'm a talented pilot. If either of these are positions you are looking for, then may I join in your conversation? " Sha asked with a warm smile as she brushed some hair back over her shoulder.

"Pheromones aside," Andrew took a swig of his drink as he set the glass on the bar, "tend not to trust your type, don't like people getting into my brain." He looked to the man next to him, "but it's not my ship."

S'anra looked directly at Andrew and shrugged her shoulders while keeping the warm smile in place. " Can't fault a girl for what she's naturally born with, but the fact remains I can fly anything from a shuttlecraft to a capital ship and do a damn fine job at it. And like you I'd like to earn some coin and get out of here myself. You can't object to that can you? "

Rashad looked at the delectable woman there, giving a salute with his glass. "I can't fault you for wanting to make some coinage and get away from here." He took a gulp from his glass then set it down. "I suppose I can speak with your significant other," nodding towards the Cardassian still at the table. "It seems that you don't know the man I am lookin g for but." He picked up the bottle and his glass, "Lets talk business at your table and see what we can come up with eh?" flashing a brilliant smile. He looked at Mike, "Lets talk."

Hadir took note of what just transpired and planned on putting an Intelligence Commendation in Lieutenant Shalakar's file. She waltzed over there and took control of the mark and brought him in all the while bringing her team together. Hadir appreciated someone with that kind of skill. He watched as the group came to the table and when they arrived. "Well m'dear it seems that you brought company with the drinks. What can I do for you gentlemen?" A trademark Cardassian smile sprawled across his face.

S'anra had a hunch and went with her feelings. She looped her arm through his and escorted him back to the table, as they walked she whispered into his ear. " The flower you seek is his wife." She sat down next to Hadir and laughed as if they had shared a joke. " So please tell us about this job you might have for us. " She said with a stunning smile.

The only reaction she would have felt would be just a slight pressure from the hand he had placed upon hers, then he turned his gaze towards the Cardassian that greeted him and Mike. He pulled out the chair for her to sit down and then, fixed the chair for him to seat at the table, and placed the bottle of whiskey upon it as well. "So, the three of you are possibly interested in signing on to my ship? I do treat my group of space rats rather well." giving a congenial smile.

" Well, I'm glad to hear we'll be paid fair and treated well. " Said S'anra. " I know I'm up for heading out and earning our coin, As I believe the other two are as well. I imagine you could fill us in on the details once we're aboard the ship, my only other question would be is when do we leave? "

"Well mine is what are we going to do, and why. We Cardassians make it a habit to get to know who we are working for." Hadir said as he sipped his kanar.

Mike looked at the exchange and personally wanted to tell the Orion and Rashad to get a room but he knew it was all part of the act. "Frankly, unlike my Cardassian friend here I couldn't care what we do. If it earns pay and it gets me off this hell sign me up."

"Perhaps this would be a better conversation aboard the ship. " She said looking around. " There is competition with other merchants and crews to get a product or shipment to it's destination without having someone beating you to the punch. Let us be practical about this dear. " She said as she laid her hand on his arm.

Hadir did not like the look of things. He did not like that they would be boarding this guy's ship with little to go on. The only piece of information that they had was that he somehow knew the Captain. He sipped his kanar to cover his thought process. "Yes perhaps an adjournment to the ship in question is appropriate. However, I still would like to know who we are working for and what we will be getting up to."

" Can we go to the ship please? " she asked with pleading eyes. "We'll be safe. " She spoke softly. " It's not like he can just take off with us on board, First one has to call control and request departure and have the docking clamps released. And even if he did manage to break away from the docking clamps, do you know how fast we'd be tractor beamed? We're at a starbase with federation ships docked here, How fast would we be pursued? Besides, wouldn't you like a little more privacy for our conversation? I want to know more to, I'm not so desperate to get off this station that I'd jump at the first thing that comes along, I want us to be safe to. " She whispered to him with eyes downcast.

Rashad actually shot a rather sharp look at the Cardassian, then gave a slightly drunken smile, "Or if you wish, could go to my Hotel room, and we can talk there. Though one never knowssssh, that walls may have ears." he poured himself another shot of the whiskey, then looked at the bottle. "Its almost gone, and I don't like talking business, when I am off business. Atleasht... Not where other ears are present." giving a slight hiccup. "Thish is good stuff."

"Beshides..." his next sentence was interrupted by a man and two women walking up to the table. Their garb even though it looked like it would fit anywhere their demeanor was more... just.... too clean cut, just something off.

"We heard you were looking for a crew, we'd like the positions and want to be part of it." the man demanded, and the two women were looking back towards the door, they had just come in from.

Rashad's eyes panned down towards the man's hands then towards the women's hands. "You heard wrong, I'm not hiring at this time." his voice going cold.

"Then who are they? Are they trying to get a job with you?" the man retorted.

"You just ruined a chance for my getting into a poker game." Rashad snarled, "Just get out of here and leave me alone." he rose from the chair, "I am getting another drink." he wavered slightly then turned and slapped down some creds, ran his finger along S'anra's cheek and leaned in to whisper "Firecloud is the name of the ship, dock 42. Either you slap me or your boyfriend punches me, your choice, meet me there." then he plants a kiss and stands up with a laugh. "Thanks for the good time"

S'anra looked very surprised when Rashad kissed her, She hauled off and slapped him across his face. S'anra stood up quickly as the chair slid back she pulled one of her daggers and the blade began to hum and glow. " You are being far to familiar and I am not some trollop that you can rent, nor am I for the likes of a drunken PIG!! " She growled at him. She looked at Hadir and Andrew. " Let's leave before I remove his manhood and security becomes involved. " She grabbed her bags and stormed out the front door.

"I do so love a woman who can take of herself," Hadir said with another trademark Cardassian smile. He stood up and proffered his arm for S'anra to take. Although he wished they could have stayed. The two newcomers were people of interest, it seemed that their new Captain Rashad was afraid of them. Hadir took special notice of that fact.

Just out of sight of the after burner bar S'anra moved in closer to Hadir. " He said for us to meet him at docking bay forty-two at a ship called the Firecloud, Do you want to go directly there or do you want to see wants going on? I'm curious myself and their hands weren't right for space rats. " She stated.

"Let's do some reconnaissance. Perhaps we want one more for the road." Hadir said as he pointed toward the bar. He knew S'anra was right. They were no space rats, and it seemed that their new friend knew them. All of this did not add up well for Hadir.

Andrew was a Security Officer, first and foremost. Yes, his training did include missions of this nature however to date he's never been involved in an undercover mission. This was a first, as they say. He'd been trained but knew to follow S'anra and Hadir's lead; they were experts in these things. He didn't like the idea of going back into the bar, he worried it would draw too much attention to themselves. "I'm not sure that us going back in there is a good idea.. at least not all of us. We've already drawn some attention, and the three of us walking back in there will only draw more. Why don't I head down to docking bay forty-two see what the local help has to say about the Firecloud?"

"So do you want to go in on the pretense of getting a bottle of kanar to go to see how our contact is doing? We can't get off this station using a federation ship, besides he might need some help getting out of there. " She turned to Andrew." Excellent idea on scouting out the ship. See if anyone is watching the vessel or if he has crew there, we might be coming in fast if they decide to pursue and you'll be an unwelcome surprise for them if they do. I think we'd all like to get underway and take care of this assignment for our captain. " Said S'anra.

"A bottle to go is always a good idea. I will head to the bar to purchase a bottle and you see if you can pick up what if anything those two have to offer." Hadir said with a smile on his face. He always loved this kind of intelligence gathering. It always made the job seem that much more glamourous.

TBC

 

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