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Gossip And Intel

Posted on Jun 27, 2019 @ 5:19pm by Captain Kassandra Thytos
Edited on on Jun 27, 2019 @ 5:19pm

Mission: Last Days of Empire

"Gossip and Intel"

(cont. Cadet Wei, Meet Captain Smooshy")

* * * ***********

Stardate: 2.19.0626.2133
Scene: Corridors

Kane was doing his rounds through the ship, checking up on departments, and just generally making sure that everthing was running smoothly. To be honest, he probably could have done it from his ready room, but he could use the exercise, especially since he’d noticed some of his uniforms were becoming a bit snug. Not so much that anyone else would notice, but enough to bother him. He walked purposefully, although his wanderings did err a bit on the aimless size. As he was walking past the transporters the doors opened and Asta Elgin brushed past him, barely pausing for a haphazard salute, and a muttered “Hello, Sir” before continuing her headlong rush down the hall. Kane was contemplating saying something to the junior engineer, when the door opened again, and Kassandra Thytos ran out, looking uncharacteristically flustered, uniform akimbo, tendrils of hair escaping her normal short ponytail.

“C’mon, Asta, don’t be like that! I’m trynna apologize t’ya, can’t y’ at least hear me out-” the Marine was bellowing down the hall after her niece.

“No. You aren’t my Aunt. Leave me alone, you monster!” Asta’s voice floated back down the hall.

Kassandra’s face fell and she seemed like she was about to yell a retort back at her niece, when she noticed Kane standing there. Her cheeks flushed, and she hastily ran a hand through her hair and tugged her uniform into place as she saluted him.

“Captain,” the Marine said crisply, although Kane could tell from her expression that mentally she was still following her niece down the hall.

“Problems?” The question was out of Kane’s mouth before he thought about it, and he immediately regretted it. He tried his best to stay out of his officer’s private lives in hopes that they’d do him the same courtesy. Kassandra raised an eyebrow at him, a slight smirk on her lips suggesting that she could sense his remorse, but the edge of her lip quickly crumpled back downwards into more melancholy expression.

“That a genuine question sir, or a polite one?” she asked sardonically.

“Yes,” Kane responded. Kassandra snorted. “At the very least, it’s a question of self interest. I need all my command staff on the top of their game.”

She made an unsatisfied grumble, and then left a long pause, waiting for him to rescind the question.

“Ugh. Fine, but we don’t speak of this agin, and you don’t make me go t’ Eve, okay?” Kassandra said, finally. “Asta ain’t talkin’ t’ me anymore. She ain’t pleased that I didn’t let her try to disarm that bomb the alternate me lugged over here, an’ she’s convinced herself that by sendin’ that thing back outta phase I’m responsible fer destroyin’ the other ship.”

“You had to what was necessary to protect us-” Kane began, in his best soothing authority figure voice. Kassandra’s head snapped up and she stared at him with a look of disgust.

“I know that, sir. I ain’t bothered by it, ain’t a sensitive person needin’ yer platitudes to help me sleep at night,” Kassandra said irately, before letting out a long sigh that seemed to deflate her. She leaned against the wall of the corridor. “But Asta- don’t know how it happened, but she’s an idealist through an’ through- SHE’S bothered by it. An’ she’s havin’ some sort of cognitive dissonance bout what she thought about me, an’ what she thinks I did, an’ I guess her mind has resolved that by decidin’ that I must actually be the Kassandra from the other ship, an evil version of her aunt, an’ that’s why I did what I did. Or she’s pretendin’ to herself that’s what she thinks. I’m thinkin’ maybe this is jus’ a long overdue parental fall from grace, if you know what I mean.”

“You mean the moment where you realize your parents are just flawed, regular people?” Kane raised an eyebrow.

“Yeah. Comes to us all. Bet you can remember the moment vividly. I sure as hell can,” Kassandra’s lip twitched up into a wry grin.

“I can at that,” the conversation dropped off in the awkward way of two people who are bad at small talk desperately racking their brains for either an acceptable topic of conversation, or an excuse to stop talking. “Ah, so I still need to eat lunch, and I’d like to pick your brains on The Bazaar and the former Klingon territories, and the Orions if you know anything about them.”

“What, just cos’ I grew up on the borderlands, I’m supposed to have some sort of encyclopedic knowledge of the area, Sir?” Kassandra shot back, hands on hips. It took Kane a moment to realize she was winding him up. He raised an eyebrow at her. “Matter of fact, I do actually know a bit about that part of space, an’ what I don’t know I might know some rumors about, an’ I also eat, so I suppose we kin both eat in the same general area, an’ you kin ask me what ya wanna know.”

“Excellent,” Kane turned towards the turbolift and Kassandra dropped into step next to him. “Do you know anything about a Freeport called the Bazzar?”

“That where we’re going?” Kassandra asked nonchalantly, but he could see her eyes narrow. He inclined his head. “Been there, though not recently. Last time was probably at least two decades ago. It’s Limbo lite, basically, but without Tella Yavin’s iron grip t’ keep the riff raff in control. Safe enough in the commerce areas, the gangs that run the place know where their bread an’ butter is, no one can afford to have people thinkin’ it’s too dangerous to do business there, but outside the safe zones, well, you better hope you’re lucky.”

“Delightful, is there any sort of bigwig there? Someone we should make our presence known to when we arrive?” Kane motioned her out the door as it opened into the Vulgar Tribble.

“I hardly think we need to announce ourselves, showin’ up in somethin’ as big as the Phoenix, sir. Everyone’s gonna know we’re there as soon as we drop from warp, if not before,” Kassandra said dryly. “But, if you’re lookin’ to make it official, and show we’re ready to throw our weight around, then the McCreedy boys told me that there’s a Klingon lady by the name of J’hora that seems to have a lot of clout, or leastways a lot of muscle workin’ for her, so she might be the person to impress. Word is she’s a bit of a narcissist, she’s founded her own house, House J’hora, an has airs a’ bein’ one of the new Great Houses. Which I thought sounded like a load a’ bullshit, but given the Klingon’s seem to be gettin’ ideas o’ reformin’ their Empire, I guess it ain’t such a cockamamie ideas as I thought.”

“The McCreedy boys?” Kane raised an eyebrow. Iphie bustled over to them as they settled into a booth near the window, and plopped a cup of black raktajino in front of Kassandra, and a cup of tea with cream for Kane, bustling away before Kane had a chance to ask for food. The indomitable chef clearly was in one of her moods where you’d get whatever food she decided to make you. Kane would have grumbled, except he knew from experience that Iphie had a knack for giving him something he liked.

“Yeah, next farmstead over from my folks. The two a’ them been doin’ a little bit of sellin’ of the extra triticale, I guess. Think it makes ‘em hard men, I guess, bein’ how they wouldn’t stop braggin, ” Kassandra said, picking her cup up. She sipped at the hot liquid and made a slight face as though it wasn’t exactly to her liking, and cast a brief, longing glance at his jug of cream, before taking another swallow.

“With everything that went on, you had time to catch all the latest gossip on Sherman’s Planet?” Kane asked with amusement.

“Tryin' t’ avoid the latest gossip is the hard part, Sir,” Kassandra smirked. “Now, the other thing I’d heard about that neck of the woods is that even though the Federation ain’t even got a notion of expandin’ its territory there, there’s still a fairly strong human presence in the fringes. Lot of it is just little settlements an’ outposts, an’ the odd mining collective, but what they do got in common is a group a’ semi legal shippers that keep ‘em supplied an’ take their goods to where it can be sold. An’ that’s about all I know.”

“What about the Orions?”

“All I know about Orions can be summed up by ‘good lookin’ ladies that make men an’ some women go stupid. Why don’t you ask Selyara Chen about them? I’m sure she’d love to throw a few wrenches into their works.”

“I’m not sure I’d know how to get in touch with her, and even if I did, she’s not the sort of woman you want to owe a favor, because she never asks for something simple in return,” Kane leaned back in his chair as Iphie brought over their food, a grilled, pressed tofu steak and a side salad for Kassandra, and a delightfully steaming basket of fish and chips for him. Kassandra eyed his food longingly.

“Pretty sure she’s the sort to know you want to talk to her before you do, but point taken. I personally wanna keep myself as far away from this secret squirrel shit as possible. Get in there, do what they ask, an’ get out. Don’t get sucked into power struggles and machinations,” Kassandra shoved a piece of tofu steak into her mouth and grimaced. “Yuuuuuuum. I just love this healthy shit. Delicious. Better than fried fish an’ tato wedges. Yeeeaaah.”

“Did you piss off Miss Bonviva, or something?” Kane asked, raising an eyebrow.

“No, new doctor’s orders,” Kassandra said with a groan. “Plus my armor was gettin’ a bit tight round the middle. You know I’m turnin’ 50 this year? Trust me, once you hit fifty, everythin’ starts slowin’ down. Only thing lettin’ me keep up with the twenty somethin’s in the barracks is cunning.”

"Now that I understand," Kane said with a half smile, and raised his cup of tea. "Here's to cunning."


NRPG: Okay, gotta get back into practice writing!

Alix Fowler
Writing As
Kassandra Thytos


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