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Nothing To See Here

Posted on Jan 13, 2018 @ 1:34am by Marie-Claire Martine & Selyara Chen & Xana Bonviva
Edited on on Jan 13, 2018 @ 1:35am

Mission: Bramatine: Truth, Justice and the Federation Way

“Nothing To See Here”

(Continued from “Experimenting”)

=/\=
Location: VULCAN
Scene: Xana Bonviva’s Office


What Xana Bonviva told Marie-Clare Martine was true -- it really was the Bolian holiday of Epiphany. That meant most of Xana’s staff was out; even if they weren’t particularly religious, this would have been the equivalent of a planetary holiday back on BOLARUS IX. As such the Bolians (or if they were like Xana and part-Bolian) had taken off.

Except for one woman who was not Bolian at all.

She hardly worked “normal government hours” which led to some grumblings amongst the staff. Given that Xana hardly the most normal of staff which included a Chief of Staff that routinely tattled on her to the President of Bolarus, a Chief of Security who was paranoid about her security, a Press Secretary who was afraid of the media and interns who were trying to figure how to throw a coup learning how to forge her signature and passcode, one more who was “unusual” was…well...to be expected.

Walking into the office, Xana followed by Martine there were low lights coming from a back room. Calling out to the lone recipient who was in the office, the Bolian Councilwoman called out, “It’s just me. Don’t kill me.”

Martine looked at her friend. “Your staff tries to kill you,” she whispered, not so much as a question but a statement of incredulity.

“Just this one. I think there’s more plotting but I’m not sure,” Xana sighed as she walked back to her office.

As Martine walked into Xana’s office she realized she had never been in it. There was a large ebony desk that you saw as soon as you came with a large white chair behind it; on the ebony desk was a comm and various PADDs were strewn on it and in front of the desk were two gray chairs for meetings. On the desk were the various pictures that Martine recognized as Xana’s 4 children; the only other item on the desk was a large jar with cookies. The wall behind the imposing desk had a large picture of the planetary map of BOLARUS IX. Looking around Martine saw various small plants that she would have guessed were from the planet that the Councilwoman represented, as well as artwork. To the left side was a small sitting area with a sitting area including a small table and a tray of food. To the right of the door was…

“Is that a hammock by the windows?” Martine asked as she stared at the wide brown is a sling made of rope suspended between two points from the ceiling; it had been piled with pillows and clearly looked well loved.

Xana smiled at that as she walked over and jumped up. “I’ve always had one in every office I was in. Except for Karimi,” she said with an eyeroll. “He said it wasn’t “Council-like.””

“You had that in Starfleet,” Martine asked.

“My offices, my rules,” she grinned. “It never stopped me from doing my job.”

A slim woman with long black hair and Vulcan ears came in; with a severe look she marched over to Xana. “You’re not supposed to be here,” she accused softly.

“Again this is *my* office and you work *for* me so I don’t need to run this by you,” Xana pointed out.

“I work *with* you,” the woman replied. “Occasionally near you.”

“For me,” Xana sighed rolling her eyes. Dahlia would have been proud with that epic eye-roll.

Martine darted her head back and forth fascinated by the exchange. Sitting down in a chair, and grabbing a cookie out of the jar she said, “Don’t mind me.”

The dark-haired woman whirled around to stare at Martine and then turned back to Xana. “You’re now entertaining visitors?”

“Again it’s *my* office,” Xana sighed dramatically, thrilled to have teenagers to draw upon.

The Canadienne crossed her legs. “Do you have a drink I can have to go with this?”

The Vulcan woman frowned at that. “No. You’re not staying.”

At the same time Xana said, “Replicator is hidden behind the picture.”

Martine watched as the two woman bickered while she got some water. Finally the comm rang. [[Incoming communication from USS PHOENIX; Captain Michael Kane for Councilwoman Xana Bonviva of BOLARUS IX]]

“I can’t answer that like this,” Xana said. Exhaling she said, “Selyara, you need to answer that.”

If she was pissed at her real name being used (and she was) the Vulcan/Betazoid said, “I can’t answer that either.” Giving Xana Bonviva a glare she said, “Just because you haven’t figured out how to work the comm yet--”

“You still haven’t figured that out yet?” Marie-Claire asked while noshing on her cookie. When both the Bolian Councilwoman and the head of Section 31 looked over at her Martine gave a look. “Oh no, I can’t answer it. Karimi is stupid, but not that stupid; if he finds out that I played admin for Xana because she broke the comm again all hell will break out.”

“Really all of you are hysterical,” Xana muttered as she threw up her hands. “They upgraded the system and it’s different now.”

[[Incoming communication from USS PHOENIX; Captain Michael Kane for Councilwoman Xana Bonviva of BOLARUS IX]]

“I’m not answering it,” Selyara pointed out.

“I’m not answering it either,” Xana muttered.

“So you two are letting it go to message because you’re both stubborn,” Martine muttered.

Selyara and Xana glared at each other. “That’s not the only reason,” Xana admitted to Marie-Claire. Looking at the Head of Section 31 she explained, “Martine is here because she knows about Gavaar. Do you think that’s why Kane is calling too?”

[[Incoming communication from USS PHOENIX; Captain Michael Kane for Councilwoman Xana Bonviva of BOLARUS IX]]

“Oh for the love of… Fine. I’ll answer it,” Selyara snapped, stalking over to the comms as though she intended it bodily harm. “You know I *did* schedule you to take the 15 minute equipment tutorial, but you completely ignored it…”

“I was busy, I didn’t have time” Xana glanced over at Martine whose lip twitched.

“Maybe you’d have time if you laid off the biscotti and coffee breaks,” Selyara said archly as her hands moved over the console.

“She’s only upset because she has a crush on Captain Kane,” Xana said sotto voce to Martine, just as Selyara opened the communications. Despite whatever self control Selyara had, there were limits, and she reflexively turned back to Xana, the proverbial flames coming out of her mouth.

“I do *not* have a crush on Michael Kane!”

{{I’m glad we cleared *that* up.}} Kane’s voice said dryly as his face flickered up onto the screen. His face registered surprise, as he recognized Selyara. {{Selyara? You’re working for Councilwoman Bonviva now?}}

“Oh for… I work *with* her, not *for* her,” Selyara said sulkily, glaring at Xana. “Working for her would be unfair to all the other politicians, and I’m fairly sure Admiral Koniki would have my head if he thought I was in the business of king making. *I* am …*helping* Councilwoman Bonviva by organizing her schedule, while *I* go hunting.” Xana raised an eyebrow. Selyara had be remarkably close lipped about why she’d wanted to work for Xana, this was certainly the first inkling she’d given that she was searching for rogue agents. It appeared that Selyara was showing off, just a little bit, for Captain Kane. “But don’t let me bore you. You’d better talk to the Councilwoman, since that’s what you called for.”

Xana moved over to the comm and sat at her desk as she rolled her eyes. First speaking to Selyara she said, “Well honestly as I’ve said you can do better, Selyara--”

{{I’m still here,}} Kane fumed from half a universe away.

Settling down in her chair the Bolian Councilwoman settled down and looked across at the comm. “Yes, and I don’t think you were calling to wish me a peaceful Epiphany either. So what is so urgent that you needed to contact me?”

The CO of the USS PHOENIX leaned forward in his chair, his eyes clear, one green and one cybernetic gold, as they bore straight into the comm on his side. {{We were called to assist with a humanitarian disaster on ACAMAR.}}

The Councilwoman looked over to the other woman who were sitting in her office. Blandly she offered up, “You don’t say.” Silently cursing that it was Epiphany and she couldn’t have her beloved biscotti and coffee (to quote Selyara), she leaned back in her chair and said, “Let me guess you have already run into Pangeos Pathways.”

{{You know,}} Kane glowered.

Selyara muttered, still smarting that she her any of her life was on display, “Someone thought she could play at being Intel.” Leaning over she threatened, “Do you know how much work you cause me?”

“That’s because you--oh never mind,” Xana retorted. Focusing back on the screen she said, “But yes, I do know and so does Selyara that Councilman Gavaar is behind Pangeos Pathways and they have been unusually interested in bramatine. Until *very* recently we didn’t know it came from ACAMAR III; we hadn’t been able to trace the logistics line back that far.”

“Save them the trouble,” Selyara sighed. “It’s either going to DENOBULA to the medical facility--”

“Or it’s going to BAJOR to a weapons facility,” Xana finished off. “Both places have interests held by their respective Councilmembers.”

{{Clearly you two have been discussing this,}} Kane said crisply.

Xana shrugged. Selyara did keep her up to date on the goings on of her own investigation; although clearly the updates did not extend two ways. “So yes, we are aware of a potential gray market ring and we’ve been gathering evidence before bringing it forward. He’s quite powerful and influential. Bringing charges against a sitting Councilman is serious, and there’s only one shot at this. Why is the PHOENIX involved?”

Michael Kane appeared to weigh his options before responding. {{We were not the only ship involved; and not all of them from a humanitarian response,}} he finally said. {{I wanted to see if you knew anything about Starfleet involvement.}}

Xana looked up and over not only at Selyara but at Martine; it would appear that none of them had heard anything concrete judging from Martine’s shocked look and...well Selyara never showed anything on her face so the azure woman had to hope that she’d say something if she knew. “I was not aware,” she said. Leaning in she asked, “Let me ask you this -- I don’t think the same ore could be used for both a medicine and a weapon. So...what is bramatine used for? That would help us greatly.”

{{The humanitarian crisis has most of our resources focused but we do have our best looking into this,}} he responded quickly.

Xana thought about that, her mind working toward what was the connection between Starfleet and bramatine when she saw that Martine slid a PADD in her direction. The Chief of Staff was out of the view of the comm, but clearly had been listening to the conversation. On the PADD that she slipped to Xana she wrote a question:

WHAT DOES ACAMAR GET OUT OF THIS?

Nodding at that, the Bolian Councilwoman shifted in her chair and asked, “Captain Kane, since you’re there I’m hoping you could be our liaison with the ACAMAR government.”

Kane looked wary at that. {{Our main focus is to assist with the injured children and to assist with research.}}

Closing her violet eyes at the mention of the injured and deceased children, Bonviva nodded. “I completely agree.” Inhaling and opening up her eyes she said, “But someone with your experience and expertise in diplomacy and interplanetary matters certainly can be a contact between the Acamarians and the Federation. We need to understand why a government would not proceed with the usual and customary timelines for planetary acceptance into the Federation. Their application, quite simply, has stalled but I think it’s because it’s they feel there’s a better offer somewhere else.”

The CO of the PHOENIX looked at the Bolian Councilwoman for a long time. {{And you think I can go to the Acamarians and find this out?}}

Holding out her hands wide she asked with a charming smile, “Who better to represent the Federation?”

=/\=

LOCATION: USS CAIRO
Scene: Bridge*Interrogation Room


Lt. Jasmine Yu walked back out onto the Bridge after her conversation with Captain Kane. She scanned the area quickly, making note of who was on duty before walking over to Ensign Ryan. “How are things?”

Lynette frowned at that question. She understood that Jasmine was trying to be oblique but there wasn’t much more she could tell her. Motioning to the screen the aCEO sighed, “It would be a long slough.”

Sgt. Curly came back over. “Any more you find?” he asked, his deep baritone in a hushed tone.

Lynette looked up, startled. “Uh...no.”

Sgt. Saul Curly nodded once at that. “Come with me, I’ll take you to where you need to go.”

Jasmine folded her arms and stared hard at the Marine. “With all due respect, Major Curly, Ensign Ryan and I will continue our work here.”

His demeanor did not change; instead his head tilted in slightly towards his colleagues from the USS PHOENIX. “You will find the information you are looking for on another deck.”

The officers from the PHOENIX exchanged a glance before nodding at the Marine. “Very well then. But this better be worth our time,” Jasmine warned.

With that the 3 left the bridge, went into the turbolift and then through a dizzying array of corridors, more turbolifts, and at one point through a Jeffries Tubes.

“Is this really necessary?” Lynette asked midway through the Jeffries Tubes.

Sgt. Curly didn’t even stop his crawl. “Keep moving,” he barked.

Jasmine sighed as she kept up her crawl. All through the strange march through the USS CAIRO it was clear that they were seen as interlopers; wherever they were being taken it better be good.

Finally they got to a hatch and Curly stopped. “I’ll go first.”

Jasmine waited at the hatch, listening while also peering through small opening.

“What can you tell?” Lynette whispered.

Lt. Jasmine Yu held up a hand, indicating she needed silence. What she was seeing and hearing below was too surreal.

Suddenly the hatch opened from below and it was clear that they were above an interrogation room and there were 3 members from the USS CAIRO there -- Sgt. Curly with 2 Security officers. “You’re fine to come,” Curly said.

“No,” Jasmine announced. “We are not going I don’t know where--”

One of the Security officers -- a mostly bald man -- peered up. “I don’t know is on duty.”

“What?” Jasmine asked.

The dark haired Security officer came over and looked up. “Officer What’s in the Crew Mess.”

“Huh?” Lynette asked as she started to shimmy her way over.

The two Security officers looked over at each other. “Huh? got transferred, right.”

“Well what are you asking me for?” the other officer asked.

“I’m not asking, I’m telling you,” the first Security officer yelled.

Sgt. Curly looked like he was close to throwing the two Security officers in the Brig. “These two are Lt. Moe Modesto and Lt. Larry Todd, Jr.” Watching the two continue to yell at each other he shook his head and said before looking up, “Come on down it, because believe it or not they are your best shot of staying safe here.”

That got the Security officers attentions. “Why they gotta stay safe with us?” Moe asked.

“They know about the Hungry Pits,” Curly explained. “They’re the ones that the PHOENIX sent over.”

There was a hush in the room before Larry said, “Come on down. It’s the only safe place on the ship. We promise.”

“You don’t want to go with Huh?. I mean it,” Moe said. “No one really gets transferred from the CAIRO.”

Curly looked up. “We can tell you what you need to know. But you won’t ever find it in a computer. Because it’s all been erased.”

“Files can be retrieved,” Lynette pointed out as she leaned over. She was taking Jasmine’s lead in whether or not to go down but she couldn’t help but point out the very obvious in what was her specialty. “Nothing is ever gone forever.”

“There are clearances above you. Above me. Above all of us put together,” Curly sighed.

Jasmine watched and waited. She thought through why there was a cat-and-mouse game. Why everyone was watching them; why there had been such interest in them on the Bridge. Why there were *some* missing files but not others. “But no order can be carried out alone. Someone has to build something...deploy something…”

“Everything must be executed, by a person. Yes, ma’am,” Sgt. Curly nodded. “And you’re looking at who knows the most about it.”

=/\=

Location: VULCAN
Scene: Cafeteria
TI: Later that day


It was too late for lunch and too early for dinner. Marie-Claire, nonplussed, settled down to a chicken salad sandwich on a fluffy croissant and a glass of orange juice. It allowed her a much needed break from babysitting the Council delegate from EARTH and gave Gideon the chance to deliver any statements or responses that might need to be made about Karimi's latest faux pas, of which there were always several to be addressed. It also afforded her the time to think about how she had spent her day. Her position was precarious, but necessary. Karimi was doing whatever he wanted; he didn’t take any advice on how to look or act like a proper candidate. He expected to win, and there was enough pulling at strings behind the scenes to give him a better chance than his attitude or behavior should have allowed. She hadn’t believed in the man for quite some time, so it was natural to collaborate with Xana in an effort to expose the truth, such as it was. Ironically enough, that choice bound her to the infuriating Councilman to ensure her access to the channels of information sorely needed to unravel this whole nightmare. “Desondré,” she muttered.

She was dining alone, which wasn't unusual. Her job, although an inherited position (as she wished to remind Xana yet again before they got caught up in Captain Kane’s interspace call), made her by and large a social pariah in government circles. Being Karimi's Chief of Staff was not an endearing quality, and her desire to keep most things to herself gave others the impression she was a little "prickly".

So, it came as a surprise when the elderly Zakdorn came ambling near her table, and even more so when he languidly sat across from her, offering only a disinterested snort in greeting. He looked calm and stately, but chances are he was completely sotted.

She put her sandwich down and wiped the corner of her mouth with her napkin. "Councilman Betello."

“Good afternoon, Ms. Martine,” he said, adopting a facial expression the Canadienne hadn’t seen before from the ornery Zakdorn- it was the suggestion of a smile.

She mirrored his niceties. “To what do I owe the pleasure of your company?” MC asked, truly curious.

“I wanted to apologize for misjudging you,” he said quietly. “I may be an doddering fool but that does not mean I can’t admit when I’m wrong.”

“Really?” she feigned ignorance. “I didn’t realize I was being judged.”

“We’re all being judged.” He took a flask from his jacket pocket. “Would you...?” He offered hesitantly.

“Thank you but no,” she answered as kindly as she could, knowing how much the man prized his liquid courage.

He swigged a sip before returning the metal container to the folds of his jacket. “Xana,” he said, as if that meant everything.

“What about her?” Martine asked coolly.

He laughed. “You can't fool me. You're her friend.”

“What if I am? How is that your business?”

“Making sure Karimi doesn't get elected. That's my business.”

“Those are fighting words.” She tried to sound stern.

“You can’t fool me. You're on our side and nothing you can tell me can convince me otherwise,” he bragged.

“Then why are you *here*?” she shot back crisply.

“Okay, alright. I simply wanted to say your secret is safe with me,” he grumbled. “But I was expecting you to have a better humor about it.”

“You know as well as I do if we both jumped up and started celebrating that everything we’re working for would disappear faster than the ‘Save Bolarus Fund’.”

“Then there's only one thing left to say before I take my leave. May the best candidate win.” The old man then winked at her.

To his chagrin, she winked back, grinning. “Exactement.”


=/\=
NRPG: Threep ahoy!

Sarah Albertini-Bond
~writing for~
Xana Bonviva
Councilwoman for Bolarus IX

And

Alix Fowler
Writing for
Selyara Chen
Director
Section 31

And

Susan Ledbetter
Writing for
Marie-Claire Martine
Chief of Staff
Councilman Hussein Karimi

 

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