Location: Starbase 102 "Pirates Haven"
Timeline: MM3 MD2 1524hrs
Starbase 102 - the 'jewel' of the Triangle. The station had originally been constructed by trade groups independent of the Federation, but had traded hands so much by this point that there was no clear line of ownership. The closest anybody could tell was that it was owned collectively by all the independent trade organizations in the nearby star systems. It was run, however, but the smugglers, pirates, syndicates and low-lives which inhabited every part of its superstructure. They were 'tolerated' as long as they kept their heads down, and didn't do anything overtly illegal, but the line of the law was a tough one to spot on this station.
A Troy-class Starbase, the station looked externally like a large spoked wheel, with an overly large hub. Designed as a low-cost alternative to the Stardock stations, Pirate's Haven was scant more than gigantic docking areas, which befitted its original design purpose as a trading hub. The outer sections of the starbase were, from inside and out, clearly neglected. The farther one reached out from the core of the station, the more lowlifes one was likely to encounter.
The blue and silver effervescent transporter effect dissipated and Drex looked around the cramped compartment. His shin immediately finding a bit of conduit near the bulkhead. "Well hello mister conduit, and what a fine afternoon it is to you too." He sputtered, grabbing his shin through the bulky fabrics. He straightened again, biting back the soreness of the encounter and mentally reminding himself to keep from howling like a sissy."Let's see what we have here..." He muttered, mapping the mechanical workings of the various circuits contained within the maintenance closet. It was going to take some time to figure them out, given that some of the power taps were done by what looked like a pack of amateurs.
And then he saw it--a dinner-fork, acting as a capacitor in the secondary bypass node. It looked as if someone had just jammed it in there and left it. Drex shook his head and didn't bother it. It might have been holding a terawatt of power for all he knew. Mentally, he added it to his list of noteworthy engineering mods he'd seen in his 31 years.
[Hostel Complex - Corridor]
Jordan, or Ryant as he was now required to be known as, had barely seen so many people cramming a corridor before. It was like walking down a street in one of Earth's major cities during a shift change. So many people were milling about in and out of what he could only assume were merchant shops that he was surprised the shuttle hadn't beamed him inside someone else's body.
He glanced round at Sara... Marissa to find her with a look of little more than bemusement at the number of people. He'd known her for a good while now and had never seen a look of anything more than mild surprise cross her face.
"It's going to be bloody difficult to find Romulans in amongst all these people." He muttered, more to himself than his companion.
The operative nodded. She was never a fan of large crowds. She did her best work when it was quiet and she could be alone. Still, she had her share of missions on crowded space stations. "It shouldn't be too hard. Just look for the ears," she answered, her deadpan delivery a rare attempt at a joke.
Jordan looked around himself at the myriad of different species who milled around him. "I suppose it'll be worth a try."
Drex, or Garvin, hovered the modified mode stabilizer over the shambled circuit board. "I've seen Ferengi trade negotiations that make more sense than this computer interface. With all the modifications they've done here, this could take me a while. Internal sensors are routed through a hundred different secondary systems. ... As well as other things." Suddenly a flash of light illuminated the dark, indicating he'd found a live circuit, also shocking him. "21. 21's a winner..." He muttered. "Ow." He brought the singed fingertips to his lips. "Try and mingle for a while while I get this network figured out. You might get lucky."
"You got it, Garvin." Ryant said as he pushed further into the crowd with the unusually glamorous Intelligence Chief on his arm. "I'll keep the channel open. Give me a shout if and when you get something."
"I recommend we with the commercial areas, notably restaurants or clubs," Marissa added to neither one in particular. "Romulans tend to stay to themselves, but we may be able to ask around and see if anyone else has noticed them. We need to make sure we ease into it though. Simply asking about Romulans might attract attention."
"So we get to have a drink and a bite to eat? This is turning into a terrible mission." Gunning replied.
"I wouldn't volunteer you for anything else," Sara responded. A slight smile was a tell that she was gaining ground on being more open with her colleagues. She even took another shot at a joke. "Besides, it could be worse than having a drink and dinner. We could have beamed into a closet."
Jordan flashed his colleague a glance. There was a joke that he could have made but the last thing he wanted to do was get himself shot for being inappropriate. He wouldn't be surprised if the Commander was willing to shoot someone for making an inappropriate joke. He chuckled to himself.
"What about over here?" He asked, beckoning toward a rather shabby little restaurant.
"That will do nicely." Sara gestured towards one of the tables. "That table there should give us the best vantage point."
Garvin shifted his weight to the other foot in the maintenance closet, which was seeming more cramped by the minute. Each time he applied a bio filter on the internal sensors, it seemed to send waves of non-relevant information. "Too many green-blooded species in this quadrant..." He mused to himself. He ran the coil fuser over another length of tangled optical cabling "Come out come out wherever you--" He started, but was cut off when the hatch started to rattle behind him. It popped open, revealing a stout Ferengi.
"Whoo are youu?"
The Bolian bumped his head at his sudden discovery. He spoke up, rubbing his head.
"Maintenance worker three two six zero. Just fixing a faulty ODN junction."
"I'm the maintenance consultant for this section. Why wasn't I notified?"
"Look, do you want the service done or not? I've got three hundred forty five additional repair jobs that need doing on this level alone today."
The Ferengi paused, and then piped up again. "How come I didn't see you come in here?"
Garvin gave an irritated sigh. "I guess you've never heard of site-to-site transports before. Were you born in the Gamma Quadrant or somethin'?" He delivered in a sort of cockney accent.
"My brother owns half of the Gallamite mines on Caldus IV." The Ferengi bristled, padding over his extravagantly colored suit with his small hands. As if that was some sort of vastly significant role. "And I put in a work request six months ago on the primary plasma network. I had to do it myself. Just wait until I report you to Central Logistics."
"Really, so you're the one who stuck a dinner fork in the secondary plasma buffer." Garvin stepped aside giving the Ferengi space to enter the closet. "Do me a favor and pull it out for me. My hands are too big, and I can't reach in there. Don't worry. The power's been bypassed."
"Watch and learn!" The Ferengi quipped, shuffling into the closet and grabbed a hold of the handle of the flatware. A green bolt of current quickly leapt from the conduit and into his arm. His body seized and spasmed in air before he collapsed on the small floor.
Garvin closed the hatch, making sure no one had seen, and knelt down next to the Ferengi, finding a pulse on his neck. "Or maybe it wasn't. My mistake." He pushed the body into the corner so that he could continue to operate without stepping on his new tenant. As he looked up, he noticed the computer had isolated Romulan life signs.
Stake-outs, as they were commonly known, were never hugely exciting experiences. Once the thrill of the chase descended into the spirit-crushing inevitability of having to wait around for the target, one began to question the choice to wait around helplessly while the quarry had the chance to leave via the many exits available or, worse, not turn up at all.
Archer was pleasant company but in their current guises with fairly limp cover stories, there wasn't a huge amount that they could actually discuss or mull over together. As it stood, they had to make it look as though they were on a date. Jordan could think of more romantic dates than sitting around a greasy little restaurant waiting for some Romulans that may or many not have murdered a number of Starfleet officers.
Sara scanned the room while they tried to think of small talk. So far, she's had no luck trying to locate the Romulans. "Garvin, have you made any progress with the sensors?"
Before the Bolian could respond, two figures walked past the restaurant doorway. In truth, many figures did, as they had continued to do so since the two undercover officers arrived. These two were particularly distinct, however. They were Romulan, and wore what were clearly a set of uniforms, similar to though not the same as any current uniform known to be worn in the Empire.
Ryant nudged his companion and motioned subtly toward the Romulans. "Got them."
Marissa kept her gaze on the Romulans, though not directly. It was difficult for someone watching her to really tell where she was looking. "They appear to be heading towards the cargo holds. We may be able to cut them off if we move quickly."
Garvin waved the smoke away from his face. It smelled like singed Ferengi, which wasn't that much better than regular Ferengi. "I'll try and fool the system into thinking there's been a hull breach in that section. Emergency force fields will go up, but I don't know how long it will take the command center to realize something's up. You two will have to tail them. If they take the most direct route, they'll pass through an access hallway by section..." He ran his finger along the station's layout. "...47 A. That's where I'll set up the fake breach. You tell me when they're in the hallway. Hopefully I activate the right ones..." He said quietly, opting to not elaborate on what could go wrong.
"You'd better do better than hopefully, Garvin," Jordan said as he moved toward the exit, staying in close proximity to the Romulans before inclining his head slightly towards Archer, "How do we take them?"
"I can probably take them out pretty easily from behind, but it might be easier if we had a distraction." Sara took a look around their surroundings. "Garvin, is there another path around that Ryant could use to get around in front of our friends?"
"Yes," Garvin replied. "Detour down 39 C. That'll bring you right up infront of them."
"Got that." Ryant said as he tore off round the corner. As he ran he checked his pocket for the makeshift weapon he'd been given. Hopefully it would be enough to stop them if he needed it to. "He reached a familiar looking area of corridor and stood in a doorway. They'd soon be coming toward him.
Sara keeps her distance behind the Romulan duo, making sure she is not seen until Gunning is in place. She stays quiet, keeping to the shadows.
His hand gripped the small weapon as he heard the steps of the boots. He span out of his position. "Hold it, gentlemen." He snarled. "You're coming with us."
The flash of realization in the eyes of the Romulans was blatant. They could either fight or turn tail and run. They clearly didn't see eye-to-eye on the outcome. One dived for cover while the other tried to run.
The glint of a disruptor showed in the hand of the braver Romulan. His cover wasn't quite what he had hoped, clearly. Ryant fired into the bulkhead next to the Romulan's head. "Drop it. I don't miss twice."
Sara calmly steps out from the shadows just in front of the running Romulan. A well time sucker punch to the jaw dropped him to the ground.
With the Romulan targets down and secure, Sara reaches for her hidden communicator pin. Holding it for five seconds activated the transport signal, and in a flash of blue light, the five individuals had left "Pirates Haven."
A Joint Post by:
Lieutenant Commander Sara Archer
Chief Intelligence Officer
Lieutenant Commaner Jordan Gunning
Chief Tactical/Security Officer
Lieutenant Zim Drex
Chief Engineering Officer