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The Man In Black

Posted on Mar 12, 2017 @ 12:37am by Xana Bonviva
Edited on on Mar 12, 2017 @ 12:37am

Mission: Aftermath

“The Man In Black”

=/\=
Location: VULCAN
Scene: Councilman from EARTH (Karimi) -- Chief of Staff’s Office
SD: [2.17] 0311.1800

One of the things that happened when you had a disengaged leader was that a lot of items got delegated to the next highest person. Since Karimi was often was disengaged that often meant a lot of was delegated to Xana.

“We have to get through these ‘thank yous’ to people who sent well-wishes to Councilman Karimi,” Henry Hayes, Xana’s latest office assistant, a Human man in a crisp suit said as he stood next to Xana who was sitting her chair looking pained.

“Can’t we--” Xana asked for what felt to be the tenth, or perhaps one hundreth, time.

“People far and wide in the galaxy sent Councilman Karimi well wishes, they expect the Councilman or, barring that, his Chief of Staff, to send a note of thanks,” Henry explained. Looking up at Marie-Claire Martine who walked in, he said, “Good Morning, Marie-Claire.”

“Good Morning. Well this is quite the operation,” M-C said, smothering a smile, enjoying the sight of Xana being ordered around by the latest assistant. Ever since John Hiram had died, Xana had gone through several assistants. So far Henry Hayes had stayed, but mostly because Marie-Claire was secretly convinced Xana was a little afraid of the quirky, if strict, assistant.

Looking down at the message she was signing, Xana said, “Who the hell is Horatio, and why do I care if he gets a message from me?”

Henry looked at his PADD. “That’s your brother.”

Xana signed her name after a pause. “I knew that. I was just testing you.” After signing her name and adding a short note she said, “Leave us, Henry.”

“But you have--” Henry protested.

“Leave us,” Xana ordered louder than before.

Sniffing as if he nose was physically out of joint, Henry picked up his PADD and walked out the door. Before he could finally step through, he pivoted, looked at Xana and said, “We will get back to this.”

“I know,” Xana sighed as she flopped back in her chair.

As the assistant marched through the doors leaving Marie-Claire, her lips never quivering but her eyes bright. “I see Henry is working out,” she said.

“Don’t,” Xana warned. Rubbing her brow she said, “In the last 24 hours, Gavi has gone off to start his own life so I’m obsessively monitoring the news to make sure he’s not in a warzone, Erika announced over breakfast that she doesn’t want to apply to SFA next year but become a go-go dancer on RIGEL, Dahlia has decided to change her name and shave her head, and Benito wants to up his game in skipping his classes.”

Xana got up to get Marie-Claire some refreshments who was sitting. “So I appreciate the staff trying to do their best in vexing me but I’m raising the hellions of the universe. But amuse me -- what do you have?”

Martine took the drink and pastry in exchange for the PADD she held. It was then she noted that Xana didn’t have any food or drink, which was unusual . “You’re not having any?”

“Bolian mourning custom,” Xana murmured. The death of Nykye, her old research assistant on BOLARUS IX, weighed heavily on her. “I heard from...an old friend of mine that a mutual friend of ours died.”

“I’m so sorry,” Marie-Claire said.

“Yes, now well I need to make sure she didn’t die in vain,” Xana said, as she made a note to go back to investigating the misuse of the Fund to Save BOLARUS IX. Looking up from her lost thoughts she said, “But you’re here for another reason.” Taking the PADD she began to read what Marie-Claire gave her.

Martine watched intently as Xana read it. It wasn’t very long nor in-depth; it was a list of names that was cross-referenced with research that she and a select few had done.

“So if I’m reading this correctly, and I like to pretend I am,” the Chief of Staff said, “it seems that we weren’t the only ones visiting Karimi when he was in the hospital.” Leaning back she said, “I don’t trust that Councilman Drass was visiting him quite so much.”

“No,” Martine said. “But that’s only one of the two unexplained, at least to me, entries.” Tapping the PADD to bring up another series of visits she explained, “All these visits simply says Pangeos Pathways.” Leaning in she whispering, “If you remember when we were investigating Karimi that was--”

“--the only non-Federation deal he did. And it...questionable at best,” Xana nodded. “But the hospital shouldn’t allow a corporation to sign in; it should have been a person.”

Martine leaned in and said, “We got one of the orderlies to tell us that Pangeos Pathways was always the same person: a Tellarite male, older. He referred to him as “sasu nesh-kur”.” When Xana looked at her Martine explained, “It translates to, colloquially, “The Man in Black”.”

The Bolian/Human Chief of Staff looked at her strategist. “Who is this “Man in Black”?”

=/\=
Location: ACAMAR III
Scene: Interrogation Room
TI: Overlapping with the scene below

“Ma’am, you’re making this very difficult on yourself,” Sgt. Curly explained. “You’re looking at smuggling charges. That’s some serious time.”

Evangeline Montoya sat in the poorly lit room, tapping her foot under the small metal table, not because it was cold in the room but because she was feeling on edge. “I-I-am-but-that-I-well...ya know--that is….I-I-I-I’m not a ma’am.”

The burly Marine furrowed his brow, leaned against a wall as if his massive weight was the only thing holding up the wall and thus the building. “That’s what you have to say?”

The Human woman looked around. Still no more lights came on, there was a mirror that even she was sure looked out onto somewhere else, a table with two chairs, her and a bald man named Curly. Licking her dry lips, Montoya wanted to ask who was on the other side of the mirror but figured Curly wouldn't say anything.

Also she was not trusting herself to speak. This is was becoming a problem. She had Tribbles for Brains but there was a thought floating in her brain that she had to grab a hold of. There was so much wrong and she had to tell him that but she couldn’t find the words. Evangeline Montoya thought through her options as she repeatedly raised and lowered her arms on each side.

Curly opened his mouth to say something but realized that opening his mouth was setting off the strange woman. Walking over to the table, he grabbed a chair, turned it around, and straddled it. Waving a hand in front of Montoya to get her attention, once her chocolate eyes focused up and sharpened enough in their hollow sockets Curly held up his index finger and began tapping on the metal table:

tap-tap-tap…tap...tap-tap-tap

Montoya nodded rapidly as she focused intently on his finger and then looked back at her own fingers, as if she had to stare at her fingers to make them work. Pursing her lips in deep thought she raised her own finger:

“YO! Curly, you gotta bounce her,” Lt. Moe Modesto said as he walked in.

Sgt. Saul Curly glared at the door where Lt. Modesto walked in. “NOT now Moe,” he snapped.

“Yeah now,” Moe nodded.

Montoya recognized that officer as well as the next one who walked in. “Yeah the orders came in from Cap,” Lt. Larry Todd, Jr.

Sgt. Curly held up his hands in a Human gesture of “wait” to Montoya as he got up to talk to the other officers. Although her brain had problems processing speech, Montoya’s hearing was just fine. “Tell Cap I was close to getting more info,” Curly whispered.

“I can but he’s not going to care,” Moe whispered back. “The planet is all up in arms. They want their shipments. And they’re whispering about “The Man In Black”.”

“And we got an earful about planetary rights,” Larry pointed out. “I’m not going through that again.”

“I want to know who this Man In Black is. I keep hearing about him, keep getting crap shoved over because of him, but no closer to know what’s going on,” Curly said ignoring the others. Looking at Montoya he said, “You’re free to go.” Walking over he said, “But if you ever feel…” and he began to tap on the table, “you come find me. Ok?”

Montoya nodded at that, “S-s-ure.”

But she knew, that despite the Sergeant’s offer, her time for turning to officers for help was long gone. So she stood up, walked over to the door, looked at the officers blocking it and said the only thing she could, “Who took my lollipop? Gotsa make a run.”

=/\=
Location: VULCAN
Scene: Council Dining Room -> Cargo Storage Area

It had taken several clandestine vid calls, dead drops, and everything short of smoke signals to get this meeting but here they were. Drass with the man he secretly referred to as “The Man in Black”.

Here they were in the Council Dining Room -- open only to the Council Members. No pesky aides, snooping reporters, or interlopers allowed here. That was fine, they were both members of the Federation Council, sent by their home planets.

Nothing to see here, folks.

Councilman Drass from BOLARUS IX and Councilman Gavaar from TELLAR PRIME were meeting for breakfast; everything was perfectly normal. There was any number of topics they could be discussing. That bill on judicial reform or the sub-committee on small intergalatic businesses both would have been understandable reasons why the representatives of BOLARUS IX and TELLAR PRIME were meeting early in the morning.

And then Gavaar said something to the wait staff, and had them shut down the Dining Room for “repairs” to all other Council Members. The wait staff hovered on the side, after having served breakfast, anxious for some kind of sign.

Drass knew the power Gavaar had over him, but he was curious what power Gavaar had over everyone else. But clearly not over EARTH since they were here to discuss the problem that the EARTH delegation had become.

Nothing to see here, folks.

“You have to be prepared to do things that are outside the bounds of conventional morality,” Gavaar said as he thoughtfully chewed his fruit.

Drass, the Councilman from BOLARUS IX, sat there. This was not how he imagined this meeting going. “How do you think I got here?” he asked incredulously.

“You know I’ve been studying EARTH history,” Gavaar said, not acknowledging the other man’s comments, as he leaned back to look out the window. “It’s best to know who you’re dealing with. One figure I think worth knowing about is Stalin.”

Drass sipped his water. “Let’s presume I’m not a historian. Of any planet.”

“Convict first, then have the trial. Allow the leaks, the insinuations, the ideas seep into the public that they’re dirty. Terrans have weak stomachs for such things,” the Councilman in black said to look back at the Bolian Councilman “The proceedings then will be a formality.”

Drass played with the food on his plate. “As a tactician...I admire it.” Giving a look he said, “But if I were the object of it, I’d fight back.”

Gavaar leaned in. “In the old days of the Federation, when the man with the starship used it for his own purposes instead for the Federation’s...what happened?”

“That man ended up on the wrong end of the squad,” Drass said.

“But not before he got off a lot of firings of his own done first,” Gavaar drank his rajinko. “So we’ll need to get to them first.” With that he stood up, tossing his napkin down as he did so. “And remember...I have the bigger phasers. Not them and definitely not you.” Giving Drass a look he said, “Don’t ever fucking call a meeting again. You had one chance for me to do you a favor and this was it. Remember, you do as I say. But otherwise this was a waste of time.” Pausing for a moment he said, “Except for the fruit. That was good.”

With that the Tellarite nodded at his breakfast partner, and walked off towards the back. He walked through a dizzying array of hallways, doorways, and tunnels, until he finally made his way through a channel into a cargo area. Sitting on a stool was T’Kem, the Human/Vulcan who performed odd jobs for Pangeos Pathways, tapping away at a console.

“Is he prepared?” T’Kem asked.

“Yes,” Gavaar answered. “He’s ready to do whatever he has to.”

T’Kem nodded impassively. “I will meet him at your signal.”

Gavaar nodded as he looked around the cargo room. “Anything come from the surveillance?”

“Karimi is clean,” T’Kem said. Glancing up at Gavaar he said, “The rest of them: Bonviva, Martine, the others on staff are not exploitable at this moment. No openings.” When Gavaar gave a look he said, “It’s not worth the effort to begin the next phase unless I can find an opening.”

“Who’s the most likely?” Gavaar asked.

T’Kem typed away. “I’d say Bonviva; she has the most varied history. That tells me she will give us an opening again. But she’s been careful lately. They all have lately.” Looking up he reiterated, “As I stated, they are not exploitable at this moment.”

“Find one,” Gavaar ordered. “T’Kem, I hear their names in my sleep. And under every thought I have, they’re there. It’s like a mantra, always running. *Find* *an* *opening*.”

T’Kem nodded.

As he continued to pace Gavaar said, “What’s going on with your little girlfriend?”

T’Kem raised a dark eyebrow. “We are not involved.” When Gavaar glared at him, a soft sigh escaped from T’Kem’s lips as he tapped furiously on the console. “Montoya made the first stop on the planet.”

Gavaar paused in his pacing. “That’s it? I would have expected her to be further along.”

T’Kem paused his typing as he considered the words on the screen. “She was...detained.” When the Councilman gave a look he asked, “May I use the...appropriate pressures to move things along?”

Gavaar nodded. Walking out the door he said, “I want something on the others. I’ll let you know about Drass when it’s time.” Shrugging his shoulders he then said, “If I find Drass is...less than helpful...then I may tell you to disperse of him.” Giving a look he said, “Don't use the same people you used for Karimi; clearly they were not effective.”

T’Kem looked up, a puzzled look sweeping his features. “I thought Drass was maybe not an ally but something approaching one.”

Gavaar pursed his lips, as if the taste of the words were sour. “T’Kem, I thought you understood. Everyone is cannon fodder; only Pangeos Pathways matters. And I am Pangeos Pathways.”

=/\=

NRPG: There you go folks -- behind all the political machinations is the Councilman from TELLAR PRIME -- Councilman Gavaar! He (or rather his people) were behind the attempted assassination on Karimi, he’s behind the smuggling going on, and more machinations in the works. The question is...will people figure it out? And how many more people are under his influence?

=/\=
Sarah Albertini-Bond
~writing for~
Xana Bonviva

“For those of us climbing to the top of the food chain, there can be no mercy. There is but one rule: hunt or be hunted.”
--Frank Underhill, “House of Cards”

 

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