Docks and Departures
Posted on Tue Aug 15th, 2023 @ 8:30pm by Captain Björn Kodak & Debbie Gless & Lieutenant Commander Emni t'Nai & Lieutenant Charles Bridgeport & Lieutenant JG Gwenwyn Marwol & Ensign Noah Balsam & Ensign Mei Ratthi & David Mccolugh & Lieutenant Timmoz & Lieutenant Arianna Durand & Lieutenant JG Irynya
Stardust and Sin
Location: The Docks, Hukatuse Tagumik
Timeline: Mission Day 2 at 1800
[MD 2: 1800 Hours]
Captain Kodak stepped down the gangway from the Sojo, his boots thumping heavily on the extendable ramp. For this trip off-ship, the man had left his Starfleet uniform behind, not wanting to draw attention to the fact that he and his crew were from a psuedo-military organization. On a station full of smugglers, that would have caused no end of people clamming up and being unhelpful. If they were going to find Kaldri, they couldn't afford to have their search stalled because of clothing choices. So the Chameloid had opted instead for unassuming clothes that a smuggler or refugee might wear.
Kodak's upper section was adorned in a sleeveless tunic made of tanned leather in mahogany layered over an ochre undershirt that accentuated the cut of his biceps. Dark, multi-pocketed pants of sturdy nylon weave hugged his strong legs, terminating in scuffed black boots that looked old and careworn. And while it wasn't at all visible on his person, the Captain felt some degree of comfort from the small Type I hand phaser in his right pocket. His fingers subconsciously curled around the device, drawing confidence from its concealed presence.
Continuing down the ramp, his other hand gripped the handle of an anti-grav sled that Kodak pushed in front of him. The sled was laden with all of the supplies and trade goods Lieutenant Cross had gathered to pay the Sojourner's docking fees. Looking ahead, the Captain saw the Dock Master waiting expectantly for him at the bottom of the ramp. He would pay their fees and discuss further docking details while the rest of the away team exited the ship and gathered on the docks proper, where t'Nai would begin directing efforts to localize Kaldri's location. The Chameloid hoped it wouldn't take them long now that they were here but one never knew what wrinkles the universe was going to throw at them.
What was Gwenwyn wearing? Going for the smuggler that liked to flirt with every female Humanoid, Mammalian or even Arthropoid or even the males he hadn't swung that way since the Academy. Tight stone-washed jeans that had pockets that only could fit 4 fingers and perfectly outlined his rear bumper, if you looked even lower his toes wear the least bling the 21st century had to offer, Nike Air Max 90 shoes, bits of red splashed over a white canvas. Now, feat your eats above the weight line and he was wearing a basic long-sleeved white t-shirt with a much-loved denim dark whose navy blue had toned to much darker blue. Weapons? The Doctor who swore to peace did not carry except jewellery, just a singular titanium ring on his index finger.
Gwenwyn followed shortly after the Sojo's Captain, walking with a few enlisted crewmen down the gangway, at the bottom he would join one of the scouting parties. Being away from the Sojo, given the last away mission he went on ended with a death of a team member he was feeling a bit uneasy at the thought of seeing someone hurt again.
Mei was a couple of steps behind Gwenwyn and glad for being with someone familiar. They'd been on the same team on the previous mission, after all. Her own clothes were more subdued than the doctor's, favoring more of an urban-explorer chic: loose gray pants belted at the waist, with plenty of pockets; a stretchy dark blue and black shirt with a black jacket over it- again with plenty of pockets; gray ankle boots with soft, grippy soles; a long scarf was draped around her neck and shoulders in such a way that she could quickly pull it over her head like a hood. She had a bag slung cross-body over one shoulder, filled with knickknacks and snacks she might be able to trade in a pinch. Her tricorder was tucked into one of her many pockets, as was the little weapon that had been allowed her. She hoped she wouldn't have to use it, but better safe than sorry.
Timmoz had gone full Orion- in his mind there was little reason or ability to pretend otherwise. His skin, his mannerisms, were a dead giveaway to anyone remotely similar with Alpha-species. And those who did not, his attire and skin would mean nothing. What it absolutely seldom did was associate him with the V'draysh.
He looked more Mad Max than V'draysh: a black leather and metal vest, and a cropped lycra undershirt that midriffed. Small spikes lined the edge of the shoulders. He bore his Xhotal bands made of copper on his thin biceps. He'd painted his nails in bright copper as well. He was gauntlet-ed in leather and metal. Form-fitting pants left little to the imagine and relied on an Orion's arrogant body confidence. He'd finished the look with leather boots with metal-tipped, almost Klingonesque, flare at the toe. He'd even brushed a smoky kohl eyeshadow under his eyes.
In every way, he looked the Orion pirate.
Noah has gone the opposite: so innocuous it was almost bland. His lankiness, inspired by an old vid he'd seen recently called "Battlestar Galactica," donned a soft leather jacket in brown, brown pants and a tan undershirt.
Following just to Timmoz's right was Irynya. Her own look was more subdued than his, but no less sensual. She bore skin tight black jeans artfully ripped to hint at the honey warm skin of her legs without appearing tattered. The pants ended in low slouchy black boots that, despite the appearance of being worn in, somehow managed not to look shabby. A fitted black leather jacket covered the low cut black shirt she wore, allowing glimpses of her curves without outright showing them off. Her hair, normally pulled into a long ponytail, trailed down her back in dark brown flowing locks. Like Timmoz she had also reinforced her own cultural markings with a freshly applied ja'risia lined in a particularly brilliant gold paint that showed off her family's symbol with elegant and intricately small brush strokes. She'd applied a cat eye eyeliner to each eye as well, giving the sensuality a bit of an edge while accentuating her eyes.
She elbowed Timmoz with a meaningful grin as several eyes turned his direction upon reaching the bottom of the ramp. "Just wait until they get a whiff of you," she murmured with a chuckle. "They won't know what hit them."
The wolfishly coy Timmoz curled one end of his mouth at that- along with a surreptitious eyebrow raise. "Indeed." Timmoz replied while he surveyed his fellow pilot's attire.
Arianna followed the pair down the ramp, the heavy clump of her footsteps seemingly at odds with her slender frame. The cargo-style trousers made her look more like a mechanic than a smuggler, but she needed the pockets to conceal her phaser, tricorder and a few small devices that she felt she might need. Belt or strap attachments had been an option, but were more visible and ran the risk of getting snagged if she had to move quickly. Her boots were chosen mainly for the shafts that almost reached her knees since they were capable of concealing all fifteen centimeters of her knife, a partially serrated blade made out of a thicker but durable alloy and reinforced tip. Something that was more suited to prying open doors or sawing through obstructions than for combat, but wouldn't be useless if that situation arose. Although newly replicated, she'd spent some time creasing and weathering the leather of her boots, matching halter style vest and gloves so that they appeared to have been her everyday outfit for at least a couple of years. Under the vest and covering her arms was a tight undershirt that appeared to be nothing special but was actually of an advanced composition whose weave included heavy metals. Initially she worried that a some scan would result in awkward questions about the garment, but figured that its thermal and radiation deflecting properties made a lot of sense for a spacefarer who frequented places like this. To round off the look, she'd gone for an asymmetric hairstyle, the right hand side swept back behind her ear and the left side in its usual chin-length bob. The visible earring and some eye makeup added to the impression that she was unaccustomed to uniform regulations and may have a bit of an attitude.
Though Bridgeport had not been himself of late, today found him in much better spirits. The mission was simple. Dress in nondescript clothing and become the Gray Man. This was intelligence trade craft. It had been a while since he used it, but it would be a welcomed change from what he had been up to lately.
Following the orders of the Capt. He assigned Mia to protect Debbie and Dave and got himself ready to disembark onto the space station. Bridgeport dressed himself in standard black. He had hidden his commbadge under his shirt. He wore a hat with ear flaps that covered a good portion of the side of his face. The humanoid that they were looking for knew him by sight, so he was not going to make it easy for her. He also wore black trousers and a dark Gray shirt. His outer garment came with a hood attached just in case. His foot gear was of a black mesh steal toe bottom concoction like a construction safety shoe but more flexible. In which he shoved a Gerber boot knife in each on.
Now armed with a small hand held phaser, and a hidden tricorder, he was ready to disembark. He had left instructions with a small back up team to be on call for a quick response should the need arise, and to keep a lock on the senior officers as not to lose somebody to kidnapping or worse. As he made his way down the corridor to the gangway to meet with the others, he said nothing. He simply gave head nods to everyone and fell in behind the group. This was going to be fun he hoped.
David's role in this was more procurement, so his dress was casual, some jeans and a casual shirt with a leather duster jacket and a slouch cap to complete the look, all he carried was a padd and a notebook and pen, he carried no weapons, but that was mainly his choice.
Mia, having been assigned to look after David and Debbie was now playing her part. Anything she could do to keep an eye on Charles Bridgeport was ok with her. Plus she was an Orion. She wouldn’t look out of place on a station such as this.
Debbie followed the others down the ramp. She wouldn't admit it out loud but more than a little nervousness pulled at the corners of her brain. This was a big station full of the unknown; the dossier that had been sent over to the Sojourner had warned to expect certain rough elements, despite the Governor's iron-fisted rule of law. As such, the purple-haired proprietress had sequestered away a small (and quite bejeweled) hand phaser, which was tucked in the inner lining of the jacket she wore. The garment was made of black, shiny leather and was studded with chrome snaps and buckles, lending Debbie the look of an old-Earth "biker mama." A flowy, turtle-neck blouse in lavender broke up the look, hugging her roundness and disappearing into the waist of her mom-style jeans. The dark denim terminated at the cuffs of onyx boots that bore the scuffs and dullness of age and wear.
Looking like a leather-clad hawk, the matron swept her gaze over the docks, eyes perked to detect any trouble that might await them. Giant hoop earrings in silver dangled and swayed from Debbie's ear lobes as she panned her sight left and right, drinking in the details visible to her. Most folks on the docks seemed to be going their own way and doing their own thing but a vendor selling some kind of meat sticks -- positioned near the terminus of the Sojo's docking ramp -- was intently looking their way...until he met Debbie's gaze and quickly looked away, feigning busywork as if he hadn't been looking at all.
"We seem to be drawing some local interest," the woman murmured sideways out of her mouth, the words directed to Timmoz as they neared the end of the ramp. Commander t'Nai would be collecting everyone shortly to give out assignments but it didn't hurt to explore potential danger while they waited for her to exit the ship.
The green one chuckled. "Everyone loves a novelty, Kaheedi," Timmoz countered. He too looked to the meat sticks. He put his hand on Debbie's lower back in ushering fashion, encouraging her- and himself- toward the vendor. "Are you open yet, Friend?" Timmoz said with that dripping Orion confidence and charm. "This lovely matron and I are hungry."
Timmoz reached back to rub his neck, his mouth twisting while he observed the wares. And it was an Orion's type of spread- mostly meats. Timmoz, though, was being wholly strategic as the warm, almost sexually relaxing scent of his biochemistry teased at the vendor. And Timmoz, bemused, thought to himself that somewhere behind him, a newly christened Ensign was getting an erection.
Deb, for her part, just smiled as the warm blanket of Timmoz' sex was drawn up over her, the hand on the small of her back a little more thrilling than it might otherwise be. She'd been around the Orion enough to know when his pheromones were doing their thing. It was a heady kind of draw but not an unwelcome one. "Those...uh...kebabs," she pointed at the array of meat-gobbed sticks sizzling on the stove top, "look amazing." They smelled that way, too: every whiff of the kebabs was infused with mesquite smoke and sharp peppers. Truth told, Debbie hadn't really been hungry when Timmoz commented such but, meat staring her in the face, she suddenly wanted it in her mouth. Remember why we're here, she reminded herself.
The alien vendor looked up at Timmoz and Debbie with bulbous black eyes that did their best to appear nonchalant in their gaze. "We are open!" he confirmed with a falsely-enthusiastic grizzle, turning some of the sizzling kebabs on the grill in front of him. "We take izziks, blarkats, water, and metal," the vendor said, pointing to a sign on his stall, which outlined his prices in various local currencies and quantities of standard trade goods.
Timmoz rubbed his neck, settling into something that an Orion was deeply comfortable with- haggling. He listened. He observed as the alien with the glassy black eyes indicated his wares. Timmoz, ever-patient, waited for the waft of his chemical disarm to take full effect. "Very nice," he complimented. His Cluros turned to pleased.
Anticipating the need to barter and perhaps even pay for information, the away team had been furnished with ample amounts of currency with which to trade. This took the form of strips of processed metals that Hukatuse had indicated were in high demand in the information packet they'd sent to the Sojo. Debbie checked the vendor's price list and then fished two slips of said metal out of her coat pocket and held them out in offer. "We'll take two, please," she said, wondering how Timmoz was going to play out his intended game with the vendor.
Said vendor, however, had a curious smile spreading on his face. His eyes were locked not on the money being held out his way but, instead, they were focused on The Verdant One. "Two coming right up," he said a little distractedly, reaching out to take the money without really looking. Only one of the metal strips was pulled from the woman's hand -- despite the listed price being two -- before the vendor reached down to grab two of the kebabs by their ends and hand them over. "Hope you enjoy," he garbled and marbled out, smiling rather keenly at the Orion.
The Orion keenly smiled back. "Thank you Friend. This is perfect," he emphasized the word perfect. And then, deftly, he turned one of the meaty sticks to Debbie's hand. "No wonder they give you such a stall closest to the port. You must do good business," he complimented. Timmoz slid the meat kebab between his lips and tugged the first chunk free. He began to chew.
"It's a good location," the vendor nodded back, still smiling. He seemed more relaxed than he had been before. Whereas he'd greeted Timmoz and Debbie perfunctorily at the outset, the kebab-maker now seemed more conversational. "Always nice to meet new people as they come aboard. You all gonna be here long?" he wondered innocuously, busying himself with further turning some of the meat sticks on his grill. The renewed sounds of sizzling filled the air.
"A few days," Timmoz replied matching the alien's casual air. "Here to trade. It's been a long trip cooped up in a bulkhead." He added.
Debbie -- despite being great with people in general -- was content to let Timmoz handle the bulk of the interaction. After all, it was his musky sex appeal that had apparently gotten them a discount on the kebabs. Perhaps he could get more than just meat from this man? Instead, Deb assumed a support role, playing up the act of eating from her kebab. The first bite included both a chunk of the veiny meat as well as a piece of some kind of pepper: the meat tasted a bit like venison and the pepper was both sharp and sweet with a hint of curry-like spice. "This is delicious," she said despite herself.
"I agree," Timmoz commented, looking appreciatively at the stick. His taste buds tasted things differently- diminished sweet and a touch of something more complex in spice. The veins were a textural pleasure to his senses, "There's something about it." He turned attention back to the vendor. "If you were new," And Timmoz, leaning his hands on the counter enough to flex his ropey chest and arms, "And needed accommodation, where would you go? Cheap and easy to lose yourself in the crowd."
The vendor seemed happy that Timmoz was enjoying his meat. Debbie's enjoyment, however, didn't seem as important. "It's Krogg meat from Delpin VI, out in the Frinnic Expanse," he offered as explanation, though his eyes remained fixed on Timmoz. "And ah, I see," he nodded regarding a trading excursion after being cooped up tight for awhile. "Well, you got a couple options," the vendor said in his gravelly voice, reaching down to snag one of his own kebabs and pop a chunk of meat into his maw. After a few quick chews, he said, "You could stay in a hotel in The Exchange, but you'll pay more than you would in the Habitation Sector. That's on account a' The Exchange being so close to everything. If you want quiet and out of the way, though, I'd try The Blue Barton. Section 12a of Habitation," he added.
"Krogg," the Orion repeated, "First time. I'll remember that." He fished one of the denominations of metals out that would match a tip- a long and spry piece of bronzed copper-like material- and he slid it toward the alien. "Thank you. Hope to see you around," Timmoz said straightening his long and lean body. "Let's choose a place to stay," he said to Debbie.
"Thanks friend," the vendor replied, reaching out to happily take the offered metal. He let his fingers brush against Timmoz' as he accepted the tip and then slid it back behind his counter. "Hope the station treats ya well," came his parting comment. And with that, he was once again focused on his array of cooking meats as the pair walked away.
"Smooth as always," Debbie smirked at Timmoz as they moved back towards the gathering group from the Sojourner. "I suppose a little curiosity never hurt anyone. But I get the feeling there'll be a lot more eyes on us than just his," she commented dryly. "Neat trick, by the way...getting him to tell us a couple places Kaldri might hole herself away in. Maybe the combadge signal will point one of those directions?" she wondered, eyes drifting towards Noah, who'd been put in charge of tracking the signal once they'd boarded the station and could better localize it. As she and Timmoz rejoined the others, Debbie happily chewed at the remainder of her kebab, trying not to think too hard about what a "Krogg" was.
Mia took up a position so she could monitor the transaction and make sure Debbie and David were safe. She wasn’t interested in the food, though she could eat something if the chance arose in a different setting. Right now she was on duty and paying attention to detail.
With a smirk of amusement Irynya had watched Timmoz usher the purple-haired matron over to the meat vendor. The food did smell good, but she opted, instead, to turn toward Noah, closing the few steps from where Timmoz had left her to where he had had paused beyond and to the side of the ramp. A warm sort of relaxed tingly sensation pricked at her senses, simultaneously relaxing her and sharpening her senses of smell and touch as the Orion's particular musky scent wafted her way. Her smirk spread into a grin. "Sex on two legs," she murmured under her breath, unable to help her appreciation for the other pilot's tactics.
Noah brought out of his plain suede brown jacket his tricorder. He cracked it open- maybe more open-handed than other might have chosen in such surroundings. Geek-necking, he held it down against his hip and stared at the panel. he started narrowing down any Starfleet or Federation comm band whilst he also had his sensors hone in on Starfleet materials. "I'm-I'm getting a vague signal... this place is either v-very shielded or the ions from the stars are interfering. But..." His dark eyes narrowed. "I have a faint gold alloy signal bearing..." and he started to twist at his waist. "045... maybe 200 meters down. It looks like the gold alloy we use in our commbadges."
Noah looked up at the gathering.
While the others had gathered below, Emni had overseen the last of the team leaving and double checked the instructions left with the team of two manning the ramp. She had just stepped into the mix of those assembled when Noah spoke. A few steps brought her up facing the young man. "Ok everyone," she said, a small PADD pulled free of a pocket within the mottle brown leather of her jacket. Her fingers dappled the surface of the device quickly, making note of Balsam's findings.
"You've all gotten the details prior to boarding," she began as the group paused to listen to her instructions. "Keep your eyes and ears open and stick to groups of two or three. Remember the reason we are here, as far as anyone else is concerned, is to trade and stock up the ship." Her eyes moved from team member to team member, making sure that each, in turn, understood both what was said as well as what was being deliberately left out. They had been briefed already and personas/needs had been discussed. They were to go forth, make contacts, and see what they could learn. Anything that could lead them to Kaldri, either through finding the commbadge that was missing or the woman herself, was to be reported back as quickly as possible.
"200 meters at 045 looks like it's the Gravity Well," Irynya piped up. She had pulled up the deck listing, tapping into a degree of spatial awareness that she normally reserved for piloting. She glanced briefly at at Noah before turning her gaze on the XO. "The deck listing says it's a bar."
Nodding her acknowledgement, Emni scanned the group again. "Ok, then that's where we start. Staggered departures for each team and staggered arrivals. We don't need folks to ask questions if we all arrive together. And remember, no one sets off on their own. Questions?"
Kodak had quietly joined the group while t'Nai was issuing orders. He felt like the "setting off on your own" comment might have been directed at him: after all, he'd suggested to the Commander that operating alone with his shapeshifting abilities might open up some unique possibilities for intel gathering. But Emni had argued -- perhaps wisely -- that he be accompanied be a security officer while aboard, just in case things went sideways. Thus Ensign Drol had been assigned to him by Lieutenant Bridgeport. The Cardassian had kept a watchful eye while the Captain negotiated and paid the Sojo's docking fees and now stood as a shadow-like sentry while Kodak looked over the away team.
Given that no questions had been asked -- the mission was fairly straightforward, after all -- the Chameloid spoke up with some parting words. "We're here to find Kaldri, yes. But not at the expense of your safety," Kodak relayed. "Do your best to stay inconspicuous and on-task as much as possible. If you get into trouble, though," the Captain added, "do what you can to get out of it but contact us for help if needed, understood?" Seeing the assenting nods, Kodak rasped, "Alright then. Let's get to it. Good luck, everyone," he said.
The away team broke off into their prearranged groups and began moving away. Kodak folded his arms over his chest and settled in to wait until they'd all left. He'd bring up the rear, arriving at the bar last with Drol in tow. Speaking of, the Cardassian quietly cleared his throat to garner the Captain's attention. Turning, Kodak wore a curious expression as he asked, "Something up already, Ensign?"
Drol's countenance darkened, his head and neck ridges pronounced in the orange light of the docks. "That vendor Mr. Timmoz and Debbie were speaking with? He's gone, sir. Put up a 'closed' sign and left his booth unattended." The security officer gestured to said booth which, sure enough, now stood empty. "He rushed off in an awful hurry."
"Good looking out," Kodak nodded slowly. "My guess is someone has already taken an interest in our arrival. We'll have to be careful," he said, letting his feet begin to carry him forward. That was all they could do. With so many people on the station, there were bound to be watchful eyes and ears everywhere. They'd do the best they could given the situation: the Captain just hoped their scavenger hunt for Kaldri wouldn't turn into a wild goose chase.
"Let's go find out what happens when a Chameloid and a Cardassian enter a bar..." Kodak smirked, following in the wake of his crew.
=/\= A joint-post by... =/\=
Captain Björn Kodak
Lieutenant Commander Emni t'Nai
Chief Flight Controller
Lieutenant Charles Bridgeport
Chief Security Officer
Lieutenant Arianna Durand
Chief Science Officer
Ensign Mei Ratthi
Lieutenant JG Gwenwyn Marwol
Acting Chief Medical Officer
Ensign Noah Balsam
Lieutenant JG Irynya
Assistant Chief Flight Controller