03
Aug
10

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?”


“Why?”

“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.

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