S.S. Fawkes - CF-142AC
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Pernicious Prologue

Posted on Monday August 12th, 2019 @ 05:24 hours by Taben Natal

Mission: Hot Couture
Location: DS7, Zakdorn Sector, Federation Territory
Timeline: 10 Days Prior to MD1

Taben sighed as he reached the docking port of DS7. He had hoped to avoid this entirely--the last thing he wanted at this point was to be at another fucking Starfleet outpost. He simply hated the atmosphere--the stale colors, the self-righteousness oozing from each and every one of the nitwits clad in crimson, gold, or teal--not to mention the stifling rules and regulations which made it hard for a man to get his job done.

As he approached customs, he handed his UFP ID chip to the young Ensign. The Ensign nodded as he placed the ID chip inside his tricorder. Taben took a moment to admire the Ensign's figure through the Starfleet uniform--the young guy probably fresh out of the academy was certainly a cutie. It was an odd thing--as much as he hated Starfleet, he was a sucker for a guy in a Starfleet uniform--but fuck, he wasn't about to sleep with a customs officer. Last thing he needed was something going through his things and charging him with smuggling and theft--though hell, the idea of getting handcuffed by this guy wasn't a particularly bad one.

Fuck it, pull yourself together Taben--behave, the Trill thought to himself as he feigned a fake smile. This was taking too long--why the hell wasn't he waved through yet?

The handsome Ensign looked up with a inquisitive expression as he kept looking up and down from his PADD. "I'm sorry sir, I just need to talk to my supervisor for a minute," the man said in a hesitant, yet professional tone. "Please wait here."

Fuck, Taben thought to himself as he immediately began looking around the docking bay for escape routes--he saw three. Hell though--this was a huge Starfleet station--where could he go--what had they found out--how was he going to get out of this one?

Panic set in as his heartbeat began to quicken until he could feel his heart expanding and contracting in his chest. His adrenaline began to kick in as he argued with himself on whether or not to roll the dice and stay here--hoping that it was nothing or to make a run for it, knowing that if he ran he would immediately become suspicious.

Just as he was about to bolt away, the cute Ensign returned to the docking bay and handed his ID chip back.

"I'm sorry about that delay sir," the Ensign stated warmly as he gave a slightly nod, "Your Starfleet credentials were somehow still present on your card, which wasn't consistent with our records showing your resignation. I had to have my supervisor remove those credentials so you won't have any problems in the future. You're good to go now, have a pleasant stay."

Taben resisted the urge to let out a giant sigh of relief as he instead gave a stoic nod, calmly walking past customs and out of the docking bay. Fuck--that had been a close one. His heart was still pounding hard deep in his chest as he let out some deep breaths. He calmed himself as he reached the turbolift, activating the small control panel to summon the next available lift.

It had been an interesting few years since he had left Starfleet. After getting some odd jobs from place to place, Taben had trouble finding someone who would take him on. Oh, his skills were legendary in the Starfleet Marine Corps--but the sort of civilian Captains who actually liked taking on former Starfleet officers were usually the same sort of sanctimonious twats he wanted to avoid--the sort who would undoubtedly turn their nose up at his past "side businesses" and the very notion of smuggling in general. Fools--how the fuck could they make a proper profit doing things entirely on the up and up?

After going between post to post looking for work--he finally got a lead. A quirky but seemingly capable Captain might be looking for workers--for an old Cardassian freighter with an SS registry, no less. Such a Captain could no doubt use an accomplished former Starfleet Marine--or at least, so Taben hoped. The catch, of course, was that in order to set events in motion to make the acquaintance of this Captain, he'd have to meet a contact on this Federation Starbase. Still, Taben felt it was worth the price of being back under Starfleet's nose and having to put up with their sanctimonious prattling to find a steady job. He was about to meet his "agent" who would set him up with the Captain of the Fawkes--hopefully things would go well.

His train of thought was interrupted by a gentle time indicating the arrival of the turbolift. The doors gently whooshed open, revealing an empty turbolift which Taben quickly stepped into. He had the man's location memorized, "Deck 448, Section Delta." The computer happily chirped in acknowledgement as Taben closed his eyes, taking in the beautiful music of the Turbolift gently singing a soft lullaby as gentle hums interspersed with a "wooshing" sound filled the small carriage. After about 40 seconds of song, the Turobolift slowed down, calming its song until the familiar gentle sound of the doors opening filled the carriage.

Opening his eyes, Taben looked out onto a desolate deck of the Starbase--largely filled with various cargo-bays and auxiliary support systems. Following the directions given to him by memory, he eventually ended up in an out of the way cargo bay, tucked into the corner of the deck. Taking a deep breath, he went through the cargobay doors to met his contact.

"Stop right there," the voice Taben remembered from the subspace transmission ordered as two men approached him. Taben tensed up, balling his hands into a fist instinctively.

"Calm down there, tiger," the voice replied in a tone of mild amusement as the two men began scanning Taben, "Just checking for weapons." After a few moments of scanning, the men pulled out two hidden type-1 phasers from Taben's belt and a knife embedded in his left sock.

"Always prepared and all that," Taben said sheepishly with a smile as the weapons were removed.

"Quite sensible," the voice agreed as he approached Taben, "They'll be returned to you once our business is concluded. I don't like strangers being armed in my presence."

Taben shrugged as he waved his briefcase in front of him, "So--I have your commission fee--what have you got for me?"

"A meeting with the Captain of the Fawkes," the voice said matter-of-factly as he placed his arms over his chest, "I don't know why you want to serve on that piece of shit though--you realize it's a mess?"

Taben grinned, "I like messes," he said sheepishly as he thought about all the work he could get lost in aboard one of those old, Cardassian beauties, "Anyhow--it's no concern of yours."

"True, true," the voice admitted as he pulled out a PADD, "Here's your date and time and the details of how you will encounter each other--now, for the payment..."

Taben raised his eyebrow, "Yeah--we agreed, you get a quarter of your commission for setting up the meet and the remaining balance once I get the job."

The voice chuckled, "Yeah--that's right man, but I take the whole commission as a deposit. You'll get the rest back if I don't deliver."

Taben scoffed as he shook his head, "Fuck, you're either incompetent or you think I'm a complete idiot--which is it?"

The two men who searched Taben began walking towards him again slowly, assuming a hostile tone.

"Tell your bitches to get the hell away from me--and let's actually conduct business properly. I was told you were a professional...my contact sure as hell better not be wrong about you..."

The broker waved his minions off as he sighed, leaning back on some of the cargo crates in the bay. "Good, good--just making sure you aren't a pushover." He grinned slightly as he looked down at his PADD, "I'm always cautious with you former Starfleet types--you usually don't know what the hell you're getting into."

Taben ground his teeth as he let out a grimace, "Well, if you knew what the fuck you were doing, you would've run a proper background check on me and know that I know a hell of a lot more than you do about what I'm getting into."

After a few moments of tense silence filled the cargo bay, Taben sighed as he opened his briefcase, taking out a small-quarter sized canister of Alyzarine Dust and placed it on a nearby cargo container. The dust was a drug, of course--heavily prohibited and regulated by all the major governments of the quadrant and, therefore, quite valuable.

"As we agreed, there's your quarter payment for the meeting," the Trill said matter of factly as he closed his briefcase, "I've already placed the remaining balance in a trusted courier's possession, and we'll be splitting the cost for her fee."

The man nodded in agreement as he motioned to his minions to pick up the quarter payment.

"Great," he said as he threw the PADD at Taben. Taben's reflexes kicked in as he managed to grab the PADD shortly before it hit his face, "There's the details of your meeting with the Captain. The rest is up to you. Now get the hell out of here."

Taben nodded as he turned to exit the cargobay, wondering where this journey would take him...


Taben Natal
Master at Arms


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