Archive for August, 2010


The Haxnar Deal

Sal finally had some time to catch his breath as well as catch up on his life. He was beyond tired and moving with pure adrenaline. The smell of fresh brewed coffee danced in the back of his mind. He wondered if Pher had any on hand; if she’d mind if he made some. He looked around the room that she had which was sparse in refinement. She was occupied with Nickles and he wasn’t about to go nosing around in her cabinets.
The last thing that he wanted to do was to pore over legal documents but it had to be done if the sale of Haxnar Industries was going to go smoothly. With his PADD linked through the hotel network, Sal plopped himself on the chair by the desk and put his feet up. He paused for a long moment and sighed as he tried to get his mind refocused. With a couple of quick taps he was staring the first of three documents that Harry had sent.
Sal didn’t trust lawyers but he trusted Bill. After 5 annuls he had proven his worth many times over. Sal knew that Bill was duly compensated but felt that there was also a closer bond. Being a native K’Normian which simply meant that he was born there but he lived and breathed the cultural subtleties. Sal had brought him in on Haxnar late in the game after the previous firm had caused them to lose a very lucrative account with Galdwen Supplements on Betazed. With Bill’s help, Sal was able to recover quickly and purchase the K’Mondu properties for 20% under market value. It was a sweet deal. Of course, Bill stood to gain a chunk of latinum for its sale as well.
After he finished reading the documents, Sal dictated a message to follow up his business with the sale. For Sal, in was concise and brief. He was not known for being either. But he was true to form with his bottom line requirements. Regardless of his current situation, Sal still felt a strong obligation to his family and to their welfare. They had always come first.

To: Bill Swanson
From: Sal
Via: SHJ-Rosetto Personal Network

I’ve read over the documents on the purchase by Douglas & Dawson that Harry sent. I concur with the sale of the main properties in Roseland and Southgate. Six million credits is a fair price and I’m certain that we can come to an equally fair agreement with Rosenbloom and Wiess. As long as they are retaining the controlling interest in the Roseland facility they will be satisfied. I am more concerned with the buyers’ credentials. I know that you have assured us they are clean but you know that I have never found trust in offworlders. Can you forward me more information on them?
As for the sale of the properties on K’Mondu to Danberry Industries I have a few objections. As you well know, there are five self-sustaining geothermic power cells on the Thiberian coast and three more at the secondary site in the Valkrit plains. The sites were fully funded by the UFP and remittance had been received two standard years ago. On the Federation Market their net worth is 3 million credits, alone. Further, each site house 15 families and term contracts were signed with these families. The sites have been fully manned, productive and operating black for close to six years now. The families have been guaranteed 35% split of the net and so I cannot agree to anything less than five for our controlling interest there.
Are these buyers going to maintain the pension accounts? We are legally bound to those funds and I don’t know what you have drawn up to release us from that obligation. Some of those families are friends of ours and personally, I want to do right by them.
Now this deal with the cash flow needs some work. I’m not running on fumes here, but currently there is no positive income either. Things have been a little dicey out here and until I have secured employment, I will have to have full access to the funds in the October account. If there are issues with this then please let me know as soon as you can. You have my signature on the release of the vineyards. Control has been transferred to Harry as we had agreed. She is provided for with their margin and the Blac Deice trust fund should cover Joia’s schooling and college expenses.

Next on Sal’s list was Joia’s letter. He looked up and the room was quiet. A quick glance around confirmed that all were busy with their own tasks at hand and after a couple more taps Joia’s letter was on the small display. He read quietly to himself and its content was much the same as the others that he had received. He did note one thing in her message.
It would seem that things were not as calm and settled as what Harry had presented. According to Joia, Harry had hired a new manager who was frequently welcomed to dinner. Sal could sense a bit of jealousy in her words and he really didn’t know how to respond. This was not some kind of business trip where he’d be back at home in a couple of weeks. It had been settled for five mons between Sal and Harry. They knew that this was going to be a permanent arrangement and had set Joia down to try to explain. It seemed to Sal now, that their little chat wasn’t as successful as they had hoped. He audibly sighed.
Although he had not given much thought of exploring new relationships he could not fault Harry for seeking companionship. In fact, he was a little pleased by the news. The divorce would not be finalized for several mons, as is required by K’Normian law, however it was also not considered unfaithful for one or both to seek outside companionship during this waiting period. Actually this method had saved more marriages than one might think. At any point during this six-mon wait if both parties agreed then the divorce process was reversed. It was dissimilar to other cultures only in that it was an absolute waiting period. There was also a legal requirement for periodic counseling. They had attended several sessions together prior to Sal’s departure and completed their obligated hours of face-to-face. They were both still required to submit a report every mon to their counselor but it was more formality at this point.
The one thing that they definitely agreed upon was that they did not want to subject Joia to the worlds of the cluster. It was that the daily details of these worlds were not widely known that made them seem untamed and unsafe. It was obvious to Sal from his brief conversations with locals that there were families out here however it was definitely not like the calm suburban life they had in Southgate. If Harry knew that he’d risked his life not once but twice in the same day she’d have a cow. Tranquility City, at least, was not a place for an adolescent child. Sal seriously doubted if any of the other worlds were more settled.


Joy Ride

Her arms were wrapped around his waist and fear ripped through her mind but she couldn’t close her eyes. Her hair was whipping in all directions and she could feel the sun beating down on her scantily covered body. She didn’t care. Not even the adventure to Harrington Sky Bridge could match the adrenaline surging through her veins. Chen Hai Dozo was 8 annuls, very handsome, golden yellow skinned and broad shouldered. Joia could feel his heart pounding with hers as they sped through the busy park.
“You like this?”
“Kidding, right? This is fabulous! I’ve never gone this….Whoa!” Chen leaned into the jetcycle and they were both pulled violently but the bike safely avoided a small group of people having a picnic. Joia panicked and Chen felt her tense up. He chuckled and accelerated down an empty foot path.
“Chen, be careful!”
“NO! er, yeah, a little bit.”
“I know exactly what I’m doing, babe.”
Joia looked at him for a moment and seemed to be in agreement. She’s really impressed by how Chen had been handling the jetcycle. Sure, she was scared but no more than she’d been at amusement parks. Joia felt all twisted inside and squeezed her legs tighter as he banked the jetcycle hard to the left and they headed off into the farm lands of inner Southgate.
There were fields of wheat and barley as far as the eye could see in every direction and the hills rose and fell like motionless ocean waves as the two daring adolescents skimmed the crests of wheat. Several times they’d dipped low enough for the stalks to brush their grains against her bare legs but it was only for a moment and then Chen would pull back on his mechanized thunderbolt and it would rise up making the grasses out of their reach again.
After a while as the town disappeared beneath the rolling hills there appeared a small grove of trees. Chen pointed the bike in that general direction. The cycle was moving so fast that they were on top of the trees in a matter of decons and Chen brought the cycle to a stop right under a nice tree.
“Sweet”, commented Joia as she climbed off the bike. She was actually a little relieved to be back on the ground and her legs were quivering. She watched as Chen powered down the jetcycle and set its auto-stabilizer. He then opened up the saddle pack and pulled out some Gorken Ale. When he turned around he had a big smile on his face and Joia was a little surprised but also excited. Her father had given her sips of Romulan Ale before and although it was bitter, she liked the bubbles.
Gorken Ale was based on barley malt mixed with a hops brew. It was a unique flavor for ale giving it an extra tang on the palette and Joia seemed to like it very well. They both sat down against the tree and swigged their brews.
“Nothing like a nice cold brew after a hard run, ay little one?”
“I’m not so little anymore there, mister”, Joia replied with a smirk. “Besides, if my dad were here he’d tan your hide for this.”
Joia laughed and Chen, knowing her dad very well, paused in thought and then joined her in laughter.
“How’s your dad doing?”
“He’s been really busy, I guess. I write him every day but his work keeps him pretty occupied. I have no idea what he’s doing. He keeps telling me that it’s just boring star plotting but I know my dad. If he’s bored then he finds something interesting to do!”
“Do you think he’s…?”
“Nah, I don’t think he’s that interested in other women.”
“Joia, I think you’re kidding yourself. Wake up.”
Joia looked at him with a concerned frown but didn’t want to fight with him. They had been having too much. She looked over at the bike and widened her eyes.
“So how fast have you had that thing going?”
“7.5, but a buddy of mine had one up to 9.3. Of course that was on an open beach area and he was alone and…”
Joia felt a buzz from her pocket and she pulled out her PADD as he continued to explain why his friend could go faster. She didn’t want to interrupt him but this was an urgent call from her mother. It was a recorded message that would instantly contact her mother after Joia had listened to it.
“Chen… Please excuse me; I have to take this, okay?”
He nodded politely.
“Joia D’Cel Rosetto? I am tired of being ignored. We gave you that PADD for a reason and again you’ve shut off your locator function. Young lady, I am not pleased with your performance.”
The device immediately contacted Harriet and she knew who it was but simply answered, “Yes.”
“Mah…um… I’m not ignoring you. You gotta learn to trust me, okay? I’m not that little girl of 3 annul any more. Besides, I got your message and responded right away…”
“It’s not that I don’t trust you, Joia. It’s all those other offworlders who fly in and sweep you away with their unbridled charms! You never know WHAT those wackos are thinking.”
“Chen’s not a wacko. He’s a nice boy…”
“You’re with Chen right now? You are barely six and he’s eight going on twelve! I want you to…”
“Mom, He’s not like that… Geez…”
“Well, you know the rule. If your father was here, he’d be pretty upset. A message would have been nice to calm your mother though.”
“Yes Ma’am. I’m sorry. I forgot…”
“Well, I want you home by 15 dami; no excuses. That gives you 30 daki to say goodnight. Oh, by the way, just WHERE are you two? And it better be a public place.”
Joia cringed and didn’t know what to tell her. She looked at Chen who had been unintentionally listening and he was shrugging his shoulders. She’d get little help from him.
“We’re in the park. We have his jetcycle and will be home in 15 daki?” Joia looked for confirmation from Chen and he nodded.
“Jetcycle! Errrrggggg…. Girl, you frustrate me. You tell him to be careful and to keep it under 3.5 with you on the back! I’ll see you in 30.”



The two men sat opposite each other at a small table. The restaurant was quite busy and severs were in constant motion between their station, the kitchen and the floor. Both men clad business suits of the day, grey and grey-blue, and held menus in front of them. They weren’t reading them. It was all part of the façade on this ordinary late morning just passed light moon. Dishes were clanging and orders were called out as each man paused, looked up and around, at each other in silence and returned to their contemplations.
“He’ll believe anything that I tell him.”
“Are you sure?”
“Of course. I’ve worked with their family for years. He trusts my judgment. Besides, contract law was never his strong subject. That’s why I’m in his employ.”
Their eyes met and both smiled. K’Normians were shrewd businessmen, highly conservative and ever conscious of the bottom line. Aside from the Westen, there were no natives on K’Normia. The Terrans had been the dominating species for nearly 150 years. Native simply meant born on the planet. Their culture was primarily of Federation tradition, however, over the years they had developed their own unique customs and adapted some of the Westen ritual and pomp. Business meetings over a mid-morning meal were one such adaptation.
“But how are you going to convince him not to sell? The offer is highly reasonable and it is obvious that his interest in the business has waned.”
“Just leave that all up to me, Barclay. I know how to cast lures.”
A young server approached the table with a bubbly charm,
“Are you two gentlemen— Mr. Swanson! How are you today?”
He looked up from his menu and was staring into Joia’s bright blue eyes.
“Good Morning, Joia. When did you start working here?”
“Today’s actually my first day”, she claimed in an almost apologetic manner as she clutched her PADD close to her chest. “Mom thought I needed to get out of the house this year during first break. I am 6 annuls now, Mr. Swanson.”
There were three major breaks in the school year, one in late Koon that usually ended after the first week of Lapi, the second was post-Kie during mon of Sela and the third was the Neannul break which straddled Sune and Anna.
“Indeed you are, Joia.” He looked at her with a kind eye. Although he had no offspring he felt parental pride for a moment. “Please forgive my rudeness; this is Mr. Barclay, a business consultant. And this,” he paused with a quaint hand gesture, “is Mr. Rosetto’s daughter, Joia.”
They nodded to each other as Swanson quickly glanced at the menu again.
“I think I’ll just have coffee and a cheese Danish, Mr. Barclay?”
“The same, I should think. With lemon.”
Joia jotted down their order and walked away with a huge smile.


Attention Span Deficit

Sal wasn’t paying much attention.  He was still concerned about Manning and his attitude.  Trust was understandable however in Sal’s eyes he had now risked his own life twice in the same night and was still no closer to getting a job than he was 16 hours ago.  Manning was hiding something.  There was some other reason why he was intentionally being vague about signing Shane and him on.  He also didn’t know who this Parson character was that had seemingly dropped out of the sky.  Was he a member of the crew as well?  Sal did not remember seeing him earlier at the Maze.  He seemed willing enough to help, seemed to know Nickles as well as Pher.  Sal could only assume that he was indeed a crew member.

There was a buzz in his pocket and Sal knew who it was.  He had half expected it to occur at a less reasonable time.  Reaching in with his free hand, he pulled out his PADD and looked.  It was a message from Joia.  Her button-nosed face had filled the display and it brought a smile to his face.  It was accompanied by a frown because right now he really wanted Harry’s results.  Two full days had passed on K’Normia since he had sent his message.  As they see each other on a daily basis, Sal knew that she had had plenty of time to ask her father about Manning.  He put in back in his pocket knowing what ever it was it would have to wait until they got settled somewhere.


The Titanium Ribbon

    Sal thought about the last 16 hours and could not believe the changes that had transpired. Back at the Maze he was a stranger. It was obvious that he didn’t belong in this painting. He could have easily past for a travelling businessman speculating new frontiers in the Cluster. Tranquility was hardly a ‘Club Fed’ resort spa but there was booming commerce there. The City spanned nearly a 25-kilometer radius and many of the buildings rose to 50 or more stories in the Federal District.

    The whole scene had reminded him of Platte on Goren IV. The Goren system edged the Briar Patch and contained three habitable planetoids, two of which were minor planets that loomed above the huge gas giant of Daugant. The third was known as Helbosia by the natives and categorized as Goren IV as it was the fourth world in the system to be surveyed. Platte was one of the larger settlements on that world and a major space port in the area. Helbosia was an arid world and barely met the classification requirements to be considered class-M. It was nearly 30 degrees warmer year-round and life outside man-made structures was brutal.

    The El Paso was sent to Helbosia in ’98 to investigate some geological phenomenon that was occurring there. They had picked up Dr. Gail Winters, PHD and her entourage on twenty geo-physicists at Starbase 216 and taken them to Platte. The El Paso was stationed there in standard orbit for nearly six weeks while Dr. Winters collected data on the geothermic ribbon that lay just beneath the planet’s crust. Sal served as the liaison between Winters’ surface team and the El Paso and so he had several opportunities to beam to the surface. Sal learned that the ribbon actually contained pure molten titanium and was 5 kilometers wide in some places. Dr. Winters wanted to tap into this resource that lay 450 kilometers below the planet’s surface. Although the phenomenon was interesting to Sal, the work was extremely tedious and often boring.

    Platte, however, could not be described as boring by anyone. Like Tranquility City, it was contained beneath energy domes that maintained a stable atmosphere. Although it was smaller in size, Platte had several different sections and they all had their unique flair to them. The populous was mostly made up of titanium miners with a smaller municipal group that governed and managed the city. Sal’s temporary assignment included escort duties and so he had spent a week prior to Winters’ arrival studying the local culture and customs of Helbosia. One thing that was never boring about being a Starfleet officer was the many hats that one had to wear. The infamous 32nd Avenue was well known for its open-air bars that lined the street and Sal had spent many evenings with members of Winters’ group who required time away from their terminals and mundane data streams.

    The Helbosians were a brutish people and why Sal was assigned this duty baffled him. He was thankful that a detachment of security officers were at his disposal. Although the expedition was essentially funded by the UFP, Winters’ group were not Starfleet officers and so sometimes their actions needed to be restrained. The games that the Helbosian miners played were a little more extreme than what the naïve scientists had expected and that usually resulted in trouble. There had been many times that the mixture of drink and low oxygen content had gotten the better of peoples’ morality.

    Sal shook his head and brought himself back to his present surroundings. He hadn’t thought about Helbosia in at least 10 years and often wondered if, Franks, that young scientist who had stayed behind, had ever adjusted to his new life with the woman he had met there.

    The one thing that stuck in his mind and wouldn’t let go was the Titanium Ribbon of Tranquility. After Winters’ visit and the subsequent development of the drilling rigs that released that vein of pure, the planet Helbosia had changed. The planet was the center of attention for nearly five years as it contained the largest natural resource of titanium within Federation borders. The UFP had placed two research facilities, R-1 type orbital platforms, in permanent orbit in the system. McCormick Station was now15000 kilometers above Platte in geosynchronous orbit and the Edison-Blake Research Facility hung about the Goren sun which was known on many Terran star charts as Wasat, at approximately 1 AU distance. With this new found wealth came speculators and developers from across the Federation who built hundreds of cities that climbed out of the harsh Helbosian deserts. Fortunes were made and many peoples’ lives changed almost overnight.

    Tranquility had been abandoned by the Federation and yet the Taurians, the natives of this cluster, had focused vast amounts of wealth in developing this unforgiving landscape. Sal wondered what it was that had kept the investor’s interests salivating. He wondered about this Minos character and he also wondered about Manning. Had one or both discovered Tranquility’s secret? Sal needed time in front of a terminal. He needed to get the information promised him from Harry’s father on the Captain. He needed more data and running around chasing bad guys in rough neighborhoods was not filling in the blanks fast enough for him.


Pain By The Hour

Shane rolled his eyes and turned around abruptly near the end of the alleyway, almost causing the other two to run into him. “We’re eliminating possibilities,” he said in a low annoyed growl, locking his stony gaze onto Sal, “If our man is not at his or the Deltan’s room, then we can easily assume that something is indeed up. If the Deltan lied about her quarters here or told anyone a different story than what she told the Captain, it indicates that she is up to something.”  


Turning back towards the end of the narrow walkway, he spoke over his shoulder as he pulled the wide brim of his hat to shadow his face, “Now either shut yer trap or pipe down, the place is just down the street. Orion, link your ODRI to commlink 552791 and I’ll let y’all know what I see.” Stepping from the shadows onto the busy street, he blended into the traffic of party goers and pleasure seekers unnoticed, stumbling a bit and mumbling under his breath. Within a few yards of the alleyway, he sat down in a heap with his back against the brick wall with his knees scrunched up to hide the communicator in his organic hand and his bionic arm tucked into his jacket across his lap. His head hung down as if he was falling into a drunken stupor and he observed the entrance to the pleasure hotel half a block down.   


In the misty and almost non-existent rain that sprinkled the dimly lit street, Sal met her gaze and there was an instant and unspoken understanding between them. As for Muscle, who had chose to sit down against a wall, Sal knew that he was rough but that came with the territory. Sal was still very happy to have him with them. Pher was right. Timing was everything.    

The picture was starting to become clearer to Sal. The QoB was most likely the only non-Guardian vessel with extended Warp speeds, those beyond Warp 5. If Minos needed a means to escape the system then the QoB would be a perfect choice. One thing that Sal knew was how fast and maneuverable the Klingon Bird of Prey were. He had chased far too many of them. That was why they had been in service for as many years as they had been. They were very versatile ships. And that was yet another piece of the puzzle, a bit of random data that Sal needed. It was one answer to why?    

Enough talk and enough thought. He could appreciate Shane’s comment which basically indicated that actions were needed, not words. Sal stood in the street and tried not to be so long winded.    

“First of all, Pher, you’re in charge. We’ll follow your lead.” He nodded to Shane and continued as Shane grunted. He chose his next words carefully because he was not too familiar with the capabilities of her implants, “I think that you and Audrey would get farther without our chaperone. That being said, I could start be looking for clues in Baldy’s room and I believe that Shane here could convince the manager to give us access to it. Shane?”    

Standing up, as the option of pre-observation seemed to have been decided against by the others, Shane nodded to Sal, “He’ll give us access, one way or another.” Pher gave him a look and he assured her, “I know, I won’t kill him.” Peering back towards the hotel he said, “If we’re splitting from you, Pher, then we should enter separately.”    

Pher looked at them and considered. Maybe she was wrong. She shouldn’t underestimate their life experience. They were well travelled sentients of the galaxy. Maybe they did know more about talking to night managers of sleazy rent by the hour hotels than she did.    

She’d give them the benefit of the doubt.    

“Just watch out for the bomb on Baldie’s door,” she said. “Two blocks past the hotel, there’s the Busted Flush. I’ll be there in a bit. I’ve a few other bases to touch, and I’ll walk Audrey some.”    

[LIVE SIM]    

[Sal and Shane attempted a frontal assault which failed miserably as the Klingons were not very inviting to them. After being literally thrown out, Shane came up with the idea of entering via the roof. They went to the hotel next door, walked up to the roof and then jumped onto the roof of the Klingon Hotel. They then entered the hotel’s sixth floor to find a Klingon woman refreshing rooms. ]    

The female Klingon, dressed in a normal Klingon uniform, stood there with the pistol in her back. She heard 2 behind her but knew not of who they were. She was tempted to turn and look but wanted to see what they wanted of her first. Maybe they wanted her for HER. But then again no species could ever handle what a Klingon female could dish out but a Klingon Male. She froze for a moment then decided to speak. “What is it you want? I do not have anything of value to you here. I only have supplies and new spikes for the beds.” She then went silent waiting to hear what they had to say before she decided if she would call for her companion that was in another room just down the hall.    

As she spoke Sal froze. She had spoken in English or a form of it and wasn’t screaming. He knew very little about their culture. While the Klingons were a member of the Federation, they rarely served aboard mixed cultural vessels. He thought about what he’d told his daughter, about tolerance and diversity. The spike that was in his hand dropped back to the cart from where it came. He knew that Shane was all action, this required words and he chose them carefully.    

“Ma’am, we’re not looking for trouble. We’re actually looking for a friend. He would have been in acquaintance with a Deltan woman. She had mentioned that she was staying here. The front desk was unoccupied so we just came up to look around for help. Sorry about my friend here. He gets a little excited, if you know what I mean…”    

Standing behind the Klingon with his Gauss pistol in his real hand and his bionic ready for any moves on her part, Shane sighed in frustration at Sal’s politeness. ‘So much for seeming like a threat’, he thought, keeping the pistol in place. He spoke in his low voice, “Just tell us what we need to know about the Deltan and we’ll leave without blowing a hole in your chest.”    

The Klingon woman thought for a moment. There had not been another Terran here but the Deltan had been. She took a long deep breath and motioned for the two to follow her into the next room so they wouldn’t be seen. She grabbed the cart and pulled it in with her, watching as the two followed, the weapon still pointed at her. She knew she wouldn’t have time to pull her own weapon if these two meant what they said about using theirs.    

After entering the room she motioned for them to close the door. They were in the room alone, and she kept her hands where they could see them. She didn’t want any mistakes.    

“The dalten you speak of was here but no one of Terra was with her. And Yes I do speak your language as SOMEONE needs to be able to translate your words. The Dalten has not been seen in a few days. She managed to use her TRICKS to sway the manager to allow her to stay. This is a KLINGON Hotel only. So I suggest you make your retreat before someone sees you.”    

Sal moved slowly with the group and closed the door behind them. He spoke quietly in reply to the Klingon’s comments and motioned for her to remove her side arm; that in doing so the weapon in her back would also be removed.    

“Yes. That is what we feared happened to our friend; pixie-dusted. Since we have also lost communication with him, he fails to respond to his ODRI, we also fear that he may be in danger. Do you know which room is-was hers? And can you give us access to it so that we may look for clues as to her whereabouts?”    

“Did you not hear me? This is a Klingon Only Hotel. ONLY Klingons Stay here. If you are caught here you will be killed. I doubt you would be able to fight your way out of a crew of upset Klingon males.”    

Stepping back from her cart of spikes, she crossed her arms and watched the two, waiting for the opportunity to take her weapons back. She then gave a huff and wished to be done with these fools.    

“Fine. THIS is her room. Look it over. But do not blame me if you find yourself face to face with the Klingon Sec detail.”    

Sal motioned for the Klingon to be quiet. He had heard motion in the hallway. He waited for it to fade away before he spoke quietly.    

“First of all, thank you. I can tell from your generosity that we share similar opinions toward the Deltan species. Like I said, we mean you no harm so please be still and we will all come out of this unscathed.”    

He then began to survey the room. Redera was correct. This wasn’t exactly ‘the Ritz’. There was a single window that appeared to be frosted but might have just required attention. Below it along the floor was a space heating environmental control device of sorts. It was all labeled in Klingon but its purpose seemed obvious to Sal. The double bed had two opposing sideboards that provided light. One had a glass half full of a clear liquid. Sal assumed it to be water. The other had a book and a couple of brochures scattered about. It also had a lower shelf that had various Klingon magazines. He pulled one out and flipped through the pages. It was obviously an ‘adult’ magazine. He stopped at one photo in particular and showed it to the Klingon, “You wanna explain that?”    

He smiled at her and waved his hand not expecting a response, placed the magazine back where he’d found it and continued his search. Opposite the bed was a bureau with three drawers. He opened the top one and found it empty. As he opened the second one, Sal asked quietly, “How long has she been here?”    

In the second drawer he found various tunics and outfits folded neatly and he looked beneath each one trying to be careful not to disturb their arrangement. In the next stack of clothing Sal found a single slip of paper. He looked at it and although it too was in Klingon, it was obviously a sales receipt of some kind. The paper was crinkled slightly but had been smoothed out again. He turned it over and it had Klingon characters written by hand. His first clue! He could not read it presently but was certain that it had something of importance on it.    

Sal closed the drawer, opened the third which only contained a single pair of slacks. He closed it and looked around at the rest of the room. The slip of paper found its way into his pocket for later evaluation. There was a closet next to the entry and he opened it. Two outfits were hung. One was long and of a blue silky material, almost translucent. The other was more of a business suit, grey and tan in color. He checked the inside breast pockets which were empty. On the floor next to a device that he did not dare to ask the purpose, Sal found two cases. He pulled them out, went to toss them on the bed and stopped in mid-throw. The bed was not a reasonable surface with its spiked adorations.    

He set one on the floor, looked around and set the other in a chair next to the bed. He opened it. It was another obvious item, personal stuff, feminine stuff. Sal felt like he was going through a woman’s purse and we all know what odd things a man finds there. What he did find that he bothered to show Shane was a single key and also a key-ring that contained some interesting and perhaps useful items. Sal pocketed those, closed the case and set it next to the other one. He then set the other one on the arms of the chair as it was a bit larger. It was empty barring two spare hangers and a business card. He looked at the business card and it was written in English. Unfortunately it was only the business card of the sales person who had sold her the suitcase. He closed the case and then placed them both back into the closet.

Sal rose to his feet and closed the closet then turned back and walked toward the Klingon. Something had shifted in his attitude as he had searched the room. He knew that they were hardly free and clear of danger. As Shane had said, at any moment someone may find this Klingon missing. But was she really that important in the grand scheme of things. She was a chamber maid, a servant class. Sure she had a weapon. From what Sal knew, all Klingons carried weapons of some sort. He looked into her eyes and could see her disgust in the situation. She had told them immediately to leave, that their lives were in danger. The actions that she had taken thus far had put her own life in danger. She could plea duress but would the Klingon warriors buy this. If they were caught she too may loose her life. Sal believed that she knew all of this as he reached her. He pulled the slip of paper out of his pocket and handed it to her,

“Translator, huh? What’s that say?”

She looked at the paper, grunted and replied, “It’s just a sales receipt from the local chemist.”

“The back please. What’s written on the back?”

“Looks like delivery instructions. Do you know the city?”


“Because the instructions give reference to the ‘Walking Bridge’ between this district and the Mercenary district. Time was set for 3 chronos.”

“What was purchased?”

“Some drugs I guess, look, I don’t know anything about this stuff. You guys need to leave before the patrol makes their rounds.”

The big man glanced to Sal and said impatiently, “Are you done here?”
At the other man’s nod, Shane held out his bionic with the claws open with a low whir of machinery, “Give me your gun.”
With a puzzled look on his face, Sal took the girlie gun out of his pocket and placed it in the outstretched claws of the artificial appendage. With practiced ease and without hesitation, the cyborg switched Pher’s gun with his Gauss pistol in his real hand, pointed it at the Klingon woman and pulled the trigger. The blast knocked her back into her cart of spikes, tipping it over in a loud clatter. Shane tossed Pher’s gun back to the dumbfounded Sal and moved to the door, stepping over the Klingon on the floor.
“Come on,” he said, cracking the door open and peering out, “back to the roof.”

Sal looked at the motionless Klingon woman lying on the floor, bent down and retrieved the slip of paper containing the Klingon text. ‘Perhaps the Doc could determine what the drugs were for’, he thought. He then quickly followed Shane out into the corridor.

August 2010
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