S.S. Fawkes - CF-142AC
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Cats in the cradle

Posted on Friday April 17th, 2020 @ 13:41 hours by Mayterial Droz & Alexandria Farron

Mission: Safe Passage
Location: Starbase 32, Promenade
Timeline: MD01 - Early evening

All in all, the day had gone pretty well. Mayterial had been able to reel in a new quartermaster, gotten most of the bays filled with goods and she had been able to do all of that while avoiding a drink. She was slowly strolling down the promenade looking for a place to sit down, relax, and have a bite to eat. She had been out and about all day, negotiating, convincing people, and she could use a bit of a solitary dinner. She passed a tailor and saw a cute dress in the display, it made her hesitate a step. She wasn't really a dress woman, she had some, mostly for nefarious reasons. Men were easily distracted when a bit of cleavage was showing. Looking at the modest dress she wondered if it would fit her, if she'd look good in it. Looking at the waistline and the shoulder portion she figured it would put all the attention on the wrong assets and she sighed a bit. Perhaps she should consider something else, something a bit more in line with her work and personality. Ease her way into the realm of dresses like these.

Meanwhile, Jutal Nemz was late. In his twelve years of service in Starfleet he'd never been late. A lieutenant commander, and chief operations officer of the Sovereign-class USS Odyssey, he had a solid reputation for always being right on time. Today he might lose that reputation... all because of a cat.

It wasn't really just because of a cat, of course. Nothing was ever that simple. In essence, it was a promise he'd made, to his daughter, and to his wife. A promise that one day, he would put their needs first, ahead of Starfleet. It was bad enough they'd left to go live with his folks on Betazed. Just one more mission... He'd told them. After that, he'd settle for a desk job, and never put his family second again. But first he had to keep his promise, and he was starting to get desperate.

Then Jutal saw her. The notorious Captain Mayterial Droz. He almost laughed, but there would've been no mirth to it, only irony. He knew her as disgraced Boatswain's Mate Third Class Droz, formerly of the USS Gemini. He'd been a junior officer then. aboard the Gemini, when she'd mired the entire operations department in scandal. Her actions had almost ruined his career. He'd hoped to never see Droz again, after the day they'd led her away in restraints. Now, he needed her to do something very important for him, so that he could--one last time--put Starfleet first. He hated himself for it.

"You! Droz!" Jutal called out from several meters away, before he strode toward her, with purpose in his steps. He refused to call her by her new title... Captain, and he hoped he wouldn't have to before this conversation was finished.

Mayterial turned on her heels at the rather aggressive calling of her name. She was immediately on edge, not being immediately in control of the situation. She didn't recognise the man that approached her, she narrowed her eyes pretending not to understand why he was approaching her, "Can I help you, sir?" She still wanted the opportunity to pretend he was mistaken in her identity.

Droz did not appear to recognize Jutal, which he considered a good thing. The Operations department aboard the Gemini had been large enough that their paths had crossed little... which was probably the reason why his career had continued to advance. As he approached, the uniformed officer held out a hand and softened his tone. Had it been anyone else, and had he not been short on time he would have been more mindful of his tact.

"You are the owner and primary operator of the Fawkes, yes?" Again, a subtle avoidance of the word 'captain.' "I understand you are headed to Betazed within the week, and I need to you deliver something there for me. I can pay you well, but I do not have the time for... proper arrangements." A way of saying he had no time to fill out forms, or go through her crew and wait for authorization. In fact, he was so short on time that he hadn't even considered using telepathy to convey his needs, something Betazoids often did among themselves in private conversations.

"Not entirely..." Mayterial didn't want to go into the super elaborate construction she had set up in regards to the ownership of the Fawkes, but it was true that she was the person in command of the vessel, "and also it seems like you're trying to ask me to do something illegal," She spotted the rank pips in his neck, "Lieutenant Commander." Sometimes she got that feeling of familiarity with either Betazoids or people in a Starfleet uniform. For the most part, that was because of all of the faces that had started to blur together, but in this instance, the two together seemed to amplify the effect.

"What? No!" Jutal said in an incredulous tone. "It's... I mean, he's just a cat. A Terran housecat. His name is Bubbles, and he's my daughter's best friend." He couldn't believe that Droz would leap to that kind of assumption straightaway. But then again, part of him wasn't surprised, given her prior experience with such endeavours. He very much hoped that she would be willing to do something legal... he might have to pay more just to entice her to do something so mundane. What was the galaxy coming to?

"And you're one of those Fleeters that forgot that they promised something and now have to fix it by hiring someone that actually works for a living?" Mayterial was very much interested in wringing this one out for all he was worth, it had been quite a long time since she had taken advantage of the ludicrously naive Starfleet officers from the core worlds, "transport expenses for living specimens are quite high, I do have to say, so I'd probably have to charge you a special rate."

Jutal stared for a moment, giving her a wary look. It had been a while since he'd done business with someone so rude. He hadn't known Droz personally before, but it seemed prison had not improved her professional disposition. Yes, she was right that he had made a promise, but Jutal was starting to get the feeling that maybe keeping it wouldn't be worth the trouble it might cause him. The fee didn't matter, but the quality of service did. Droz was rude and conniving, and after meeting her again he wasn't quite sure he wanted her showing up to deliver Bubbles to his family doorstep. Sometimes the messenger said more about the sender than the message itself.

"On second thought... I'll make other arrangements. Good day." Jutal said as he moved to leave, clearly put off by her aggressive negotiations.

"Look, I apologise if I came off as bitter, I can arrange for the transport, heck I can even have it delivered by a 6-foot cat walking on two legs," Mayterial said referring to M'eral, "Besides, there are not many ships that would want to transport living specimen, of any kind. Let alone on such short notice," she shrugged, ready to see him walk away, "the paperwork involved is annoying and lengthy," She was nothing if not well prepared for business opportunities, "luckily I already have the appropriate licenses for keeping small domestic animals on my ship." It wasn't technically enough to transport them commercially, but one cat could easily be said to belong to one of the crewmembers. A workaround for exactly these types of requests.

Jutal stopped and turned back. Droz's apology wasn't the best, but it was enough for him. He understood why she might be bitter. The thought of leaving Starfleet also threatened to make him feel that way. Even though he'd been doing it for his family. It was very hard to be truly selfless sometimes. "Bubbles has been in the medical bay awaiting treatment for some kind of parasite... common and harmless. But the importation regulations in the core sectors are as tight as they come, as you probably know. So my family had to leave him behind." Jutal shuddered. The memory of having to explain that to his daughter had not been pleasant. "The forms are already filled out. They're just awaiting the medical clearance and means of transport. And my ship is literally about to leave..." He looked around for a moment, as if half-expecting it to have already left without him.

"I don't mind paying extra for fees. I just want this to be legit. Here." Jutal pulled out a handful of latinum from his satchel and offered it without even counting it. It amounted to two bars and five strips. Over half the fee for an entire cargo bay aboard Fawkes.

Mayterial immediately pocketed the money, looking around to make sure there weren't any street rats that might've seen the exchange. From experience she knew that it was at least two bars worth, far more than she'd been thinking to ask, "That should about cover it," She reached out her hand to shake his, "we have a deal then, get me the forms you've filled out and Bubbles will be reunited with the girl before you know it."

Jutal was immensely relieved. There was a small part of his conscience that feared he might come to regret dealing with Droz, but she and the Fawkes were really his only hope. He had to trust that this would all turn out alright. "Oh, thank you. Her name is Aaria, she's seven... eight in ten days." He said, referring to his daughter. He reached into his satchel again, barely noticing the lack of latinum. He'd probably overpaid, but it didn't really matter. He'd been saving the latinum for the next family shore leave, but now that wasn't going to happen. He produced a datapad and handed it over. "The forms are on here, along with the delivery address. Bubbles has a leash and should still have plenty of food. He may be frightened at first, but he warms up to people quickly. He's a very friendly cat." Jutal seemed to realize he was on the verge of going off into extraneous details, so he cut it short. Plus he was also in danger of being late.

"I uhh.... really should get going. Thank you again!" Jutal said, still giving off a sketchy, flighty vibe... probably due to his imminent deadline.

"Think of us next time you need something transported," Mayterial mentioned as he scampered off. She looked at the datapad before something sunk in. Last time Alexandria thought there was a cat on board she freaked out and slept in her bed. She squeezed the bridge of her nose with her thumb and index finger, it was going to be a pain but she would have to make sure Alex wouldn't find out about this cat. She would probably have to include the entire crew in that lie so that nobody would slip up.

[OFF]

Mayterial Droz
Captain
S.S. Fawkes

&

Lieutenant Commander Jutal Nemz (NPC)
Starfleet
(As written by Alexandria)

 

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