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Scum And Villainy (Chapter Two)

Posted on Jan 13, 2019 @ 8:41pm by Raxl Dreyton
Edited on on Jan 13, 2019 @ 8:42pm

Mission: Section 31

= Scum And Villainy, Chapter 2 =


STARDATE: [2.19] 0114.0254

Rax hadn't caught the name of the bar when he walked in, but it didn't matter; along this particular stretch of the narrow band of habitable land on MIRA V's surface, there was no abundance of watering holes to get lost in. Most of the nearby buildings were dedicated to hangar-space or storage, no doubt to house the large amount of illegal cargo that trafficked through MIRA V on a weekly basis. The whole idea of the place was that people didn't stay long if they didn't have to; though the planet was a valuable part of several criminal organizations, no one attached to those organizations drew a permanent post on MIRA V without having gotten on someone's bad side.

This absence of consideration for the colony's permanent members was obvious the moment Raxl Dreyton stepped into the bar, the heavy case still cradled carefully in one arm. The lighting was low, a byproduct that came from the pittance of energy resources the establishment received from the nearby power station. The decor was abysmal - a healthy layer of planetary dust coated the entrance, likely shaken off the boots of a thousand different visitors and never once given meaningful attention from the dive's owner. When Rax finally made it to the bar, resting his hands on the warped wooden surface, he immediately noticed how sticky it was.

Yeah. The place was a mess.

But though it had to rank somewhere in the top 10 of Raxl Dreyton's "Worst Bars Ever", it was still packed. This almost certainly was because it was the only game in town (the nearest alternate section of habitable buildings was at least 10 kilometers away), but Rax was still surprised at the sheer density of life packed into the ramshackle building. From where he stood at the bar, he could see at least 30 other beings, crowded around the wooden bar top or at nearby tables. The mass of humanity obstructed much of Raxl's view of the rest of the premises, but the dull roar of the crowd had him guessing at least 30 or 40 more, assembled around the dabo and dom-jot tables in the back rooms of the building.

Yet for all the life that surrounded him, each of the dozens of beings locked in private conversations with dozens more, Rax saw no signs of the being he was there to meet. He had to admit, the details that Brak had furnished him with were sparse. His contact was a Ferengi; short, stocky, dressed to impress while somehow failing to impress most anyone who might care to look. That description might fit any number of Ferengi that Rax had known in his professional life, but that wasn’t the problem. The immediate issue was that Rax couldn’t see *any* Ferengi, not from where he was standing.

Luckily, Raxl Dreyton had long considered himself a man of many contingencies. He caught the bartender’s eye and laid a slip of latinum down on the sticky wooden surface of the bar. The barkeep, a fat human with pock-marked cheeks and thinning, formerly curly brown hair, looked down at the slip suspiciously, then back up at Rax.

“Your order?” he asked.

“I’m not thirsty,” Rax said, giving the barkeep his most disarming smile.

“I see,” the barkeep said. Stubby fingers wrapped themselves around the strip of latinum, which then then disappeared into the folds of the barkeeps apron, so fast that it might have been a magician’s trick. “What else can I get you?”

“Lookin’ for a fella,” Rax said, leaning nonchalantly against the bar and casting his gaze over the collection of beings packed into the room. “A Ferengi.”

“Lots of Ferengi here,” the barkeep shrugged, managing to look as nonchalant as Rax did.

“You might know the name,” Rax said, turning to look back at the barkeep. “Brass?”

The pockmarked barkeep tilted his head. “Might have heard the name.”

Rax sighed. “You want my to say it a little louder?”

“I heard you fine, friend,” the barkeep said. “It’s just my memory’s a bit fuzzy.”

Rax rolled his eyes. This was what happened when dealing with middlemen. He had no doubt that Brass, whoever he was, had already slipped the bartender a few slips of latinum to pass his name along to anyone carrying a heavy case that might come asking. But even so, the man was looking to feather his nest. In the old days – the days when he’d been independent, the days before his prized ship was growing a layer of algae at the bottom of an alien ocean – Rax would have resented the extra expenditure. Now he was working for Brak, and though that arrangement came with a good deal of baggage that Rax could care to do without, it at least also came with a marginal expense account.

Rax laid a second strip of latinum down on the bar.

“How about now?” he said.

The second strip of latinum vanished as quickly as the first. Then the bartender pointed with his chin towards a back corner of the bar, beyond where Rax could see.

“Back there,” the barkeep said. “Corner table. Only Ferengi in the place. Can’t miss him.”

“So I could have just wandered around and kept the two strips,” Rax said. He didn’t wait for the bartender to reply; instead, he turned and began picking his way through the crowd, in the direction the bartender had pointed.


Jake Crichton sat a few feet away from the dabo table. He wasn’t really watching the game. His attention was on the table just beyond the dabo game, where his arrogant, impulsive, and unfortunately necessary partner in crime was seated. Brass looked like he was having the time of his life; a row of empty liquor bottles was arranged on the tabletop, and he had two off-duty dabo girls seated on either side of him. Brass was spending lavishly – again – which meant he was cutting into their eventual take on this job – again. Crichton had discussed this with him before, but Brass had always insisted that appearances must be maintained. Brass was the nephew of a powerful crime lord, after all, and though he was making his own way in the world, it was important to put out an image of importance and success.

Crichton had a few objections to that line of thinking. It was true that, in the two years since he and Brass had gone in together as the co-captains of the “Annabelle’s Lament” (officially captain and first officer, though Brak knew full well he couldn’t keep the ship flying without Crichton’s expertise), many of their contacts had bowed and kowtowed to Brass, Crichton was willing to bet that had more to do with every double-dealing neer-do-well between here and the Delta Quadrant already knowing what family Brass came from. And for those that didn’t, Crichton had a feeling that getting rid of Brass’ ostentatiousness would only help them pass more effectively under the radar. Though they’d had a few big scores in the months they’d been together, they’d lost more than their share too; cargo dumped when law enforcement agents got too interested, potential contacts spooked by Brass’ occasionally erratic behavior, and those elements of the criminal underworld so unimpressed by the Ferengi’s bravado that they began upping their percentages out of sheer spite. All in all, the situation remained a hair’s breadth away from becoming wholly untenable. Crichton had to admit that the job had kept him fed and drunk, but it hadn’t made him rich, and he was, as ever, on the lookout for the opportunity to upgrade to something better.

But such dreams would have wait; for now, Crichton once again checked the reassuring weight of the phaser on his hip and did his best to not look like he was watching Brass’ table too closely. They didn’t have much information about the courier for this job; the facilitator on the other end of the deal (another Ferengi, Crichton mused ruefully) had told them to expect someone scruffy, grumpy, and more dangerous than they looked. That last bit had probably been added to help secure a smooth transaction – more than once, Brass had tried to pick up cargo without paying the agreed-upon amount, usually while quoting a Rule of Acquisition – but Crichton still had a bad feeling about this whole thing.


Rax picked his way though the crowd, past the dabo tables, until he finally spotted the wide lobes and toothy yellow grin of his Ferengi contact. Rax redoubled his grip on the case under his arm, and made his way towards the table.

The Ferengi was busy blowing into the significantly less-impressive lobes on the dabo-girl seated to his left, and didn’t notice Rax until he let the case drop onto the table-top with a significant *thud*! The Ferengi whipped his ahead around, his expression immediately suspicious, as Rax lowered himself into the seat across from him.

“What is the meaning of—” the Ferengi started to say.

“Sorry to interrupt the grab-and-tickle,” Rax said, leaning back in his chair and flashing a toothy smile. “Thought you might be interested in doing some business.”


NRPG: It’s been a lot longer than I intended, but I thought I should probably get back to and eventually finish this here novella. But hey! You might remember Evil Jake and Brass from the mission “Promethean”!

Shawn Putnam
Raxl Dreyton
Former Bounty Hunter


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