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Scum And Villainy (Chapter Six)

Posted on Aug 03, 2019 @ 1:33am by Raxl Dreyton
Edited on on Aug 03, 2019 @ 1:34am

Mission: Section 31

= Scum And Villainy, Chapter 6 =


LOCATION: Annabelle’s Lament
SCENE: Brig -> Transporter Room
STARDATE: [2.19] 0731.1910

After a short time had passed, Crichton reappeared, this time flanked by a pair of grim-looking humans holding phasers. Crichton deactivated the cells, and his henchmen stepped in to bind Selyara and Raxl’s hands, then signaled for them to step out. They each did so; Rax could see that Selyara was still hamming it up as the terrified Aella, and he felt a little jealous at the idea that her terror was just an act. For his part, the dread gnawing away at his stomach was very real, because if they were being taken out
of their cells, it meant they had reached their location. That meant Riss would be waiting for them.

“We’ve arrived at the rendezvous,” Crichton said, as his men forced Rax and Selyara to walk a few steps ahead of them. “Riss’s ship is the Vorte’mol. Not sure what the name translates to. It’s a converted luxury liner… got some cozy accommodations, though I don’t think that’s where you’ll be staying.”

“You get chatty when you feel guilty,” Rax observed. His pace apparently was too slow for the guards’ liking; he felt the tip of a phaser press roughly into his back, shoving him and causing him to stumble forward a few steps.

“Not guilty,” Crichton said. “Nervous.”

Rax risked a glance back over his shoulder. “Nervous?”

“Never liked dealing with Riss,” Crichton said. “He’s a little too… let’s say ‘changeable’... for my liking. You know, you’ve met him.”

“Yeah, don’t remind me,” Rax said.

“But his checks clear,” Crichton said. “So it’s usually not a problem. My partner Brass does the deals and I stay out of the way. But this time, Riss wants everyone front and center. I don’t like it.”

“Whatever’s in that box you stole must be real valuable,” Rax said, cutting his eyes sideways at Selyara. If she noticed, she didn’t react.

“We didn’t steal anything,” Crichton said.

“Funny, I don’t remember getting paid.”

“You got next of kin, I’ll be happy to forward your cut,” Crichton said. “Your problems with Riss are just that: your problems.”

They rounded a corner, and the guards ushered them through a door. They found themselves in a small transporter room. Crichton’s Ferengi partner, Brass, was already waiting for them. Rax immediately noticed the familiar case tucked under the Ferengi’s arm; the very case he’d been sent to deliver, and which apparently contained something so important that the head of Section 31 had come herself to retrieve it.

“There you are,” the Ferengi said, scowling at Crichton. “My uncle is waiting.”

“Dreyton was dragging his feet,” Crichton said.

Brass eyed Rax and gave him an ugly, toothy smile. “I don’t blame him. Riss is going to be very happy to see you again, Dreyton.”

“A transporter?” Selyara asked. Rax turned to look at her, as did all the other eyes in the room. It was the first time she’d made any sound beyond a terrified whimper since they’d taken her out of the cell. Rax noticed she was still playing the part, but he thought he heard a sense of real urgency in her voice, and he noticed the way her eyes seemed to fix on the case tucked under Brass’s arm.

“What’s the matter, sweetheart?” Crichton asked. “You got a phobia?”

“I think we just expected a shuttle,” Rax said quickly, doing his best to play along with whatever game Selyara was running.

“The Vorte’mol is already docked with a Klingon Bird of Prey,” Crichton said, looking at Rax now. “No room for our ship. Sorry you won’t get that extra few minutes, Dreyton, but Riss isn’t a patient man.”

There was another rough jab from a phaser into the small of Raxl’s back, and he stepped up onto the transporter pad with Selyara beside him. Crichton and Brass stepped on as well, and Brass, still holding the case, turned to look at the guard standing at the transporter controls.

“Energize,” the Ferengi growled.


LOCATION: Modified luxury liner “Vorte’mol”
SCENE: Transporter Room

After they rematerialized, Rax could immediately see the difference. The ship they’d beamed away from, presumably Brass and Crichton’s ship “The Annabelle’s Lament”, had been run-down and a little dirty. The bulkheads had been scuffed and scratched, and a thin layer of dust and grime had seemed to cover everything. By contrast, this other ship was, at least at first glance, immaculate. The walls and bulkheads were a pristine cream color, with mustard-color detailing here and there. Instead of an analogue console, a blue-green holodisplay hovered gently above the transporter controls. Instead of exposed metal deck plating, the floor surrounding the transporter pad was a soft carpet, colored only slightly different from the walls.

The only thing confirming that they were still aboard a crimelord’s spaceship was the brutish Nausicaan manning the transporter controls.

“Buuzu,” said Brass, now leveling his ugly, toothy grin at the Nausicaan. “A pleasure.”

“Boss Riss is waiting on the bridge,” the Nausicaan, Buuzu, growled back. Rax had gotten into enough fights with Nausicaan tough-guys to recognize barely-contained violence on a Nausicaan’s face when he saw it: Buuzu didn’t think much of Brass, or Crichton.

Rax had worked among these sorts of people for a long time now, and he’d arrived at several conclusions about how crime bosses organized their staff. Call it Dreyton’s Theory of Criminal Dominance Displays: the biggest, beefiest person in an organization was usually tasked with physical protection of the nearest VIP, and would often be on hand to “greet” anyone entering that VIP’s sphere of influence. They wouldn’t necessarily be the most dangerous in a given crimelord’s employ - Rax had found that those agents were often off-site, seeing to various aspects of the crimelord’s business - but they would invariably be the kind of person you wouldn’t want to find standing between yourself and a room’s only obvious exit. They also, at least according to Raxl’s informal theory, would be highly suggestible. This didn’t always mean dumb, though that was a useful enough shorthand to describe the phenomenon: crime lords wanted huge, meaty guys with huge, meaty fists protecting them, and if those huge, meaty guys could be easily swayed into loyalty and generally too dim to understand the underworld’s frequent political shifts, so much the better.

What all that amounted to was that you could often get a pretty good read on how a particular underworld VIP felt about a situation by looking at how their “muscle” was responding, since they’d probably been more or less *told* how they should feel about it.

Which meant that, given Buuzu’s grim expression, things maybe weren’t looking to good for Crichton and Brass.

Brass and Crichton didn’t seem wholly oblivious to this realization, but there really wasn’t anything for them to do but carry on with it. They stepped forward, and shoved Rax and Selyara off the transporter pad.

“Let’s go,” Crichton said, taking Rax by the elbow.

Rax turned to look at Selyara. She had maintained her cover, which was good, though Rax noticed the way her eyes kept flicking uncertainly towards the case tucked under Brass’s arm. The case itself didn’t seem changed, though given how much Selyara seemed to know about it without telling him, Rax couldn’t ignore the altogether new sensation of gut-chewing that had manifested in his stomach.

Rax and Selyara were forced off the pad by Crichton and Brass. Buuzu followed a few steps behind them, stepping out from behind the transporter console to reveal a long, savage-looking Nausicaan knife hanging from his belt. Rax didn’t have too long to admire it before being shoved roughly through the door and into the corridor beyond.


SCENE: Bridge

The Vorte’mol was originally a luxury liner, not designed to house anything but the most basic of defenses. That would never do for a crimelord like Riss, and one of the modifications the crimelord appeared to have made was to install a full-fledged tactical console at the center rear or the bridge, in front of the communications console. This meant that the bridge was somewhat cramped, with a lot of intended negative space now used up by the tactical station, and the addition of several Ferengi and Klingon guards standing in various places around the bridge didn’t help.

But Rax was less interested in them than he was in the short, fat Ferengi seated in the CO’s chair at the center of the bridge. For the first time in over five years, Rax found himself standing face to face with Riss. The diminutive Ferengi had not grown in physical stature - if anything, he’d packed on a little weight - but his dress sense, as well as the quality of his hired muscle, had improved tremendously, all signs of Riss moving up in standing in the Organization, a loosely-organized criminal enterprise than spanned a wide swath of inhabited space. Rax had formerly dealt with them quite a lot, though after falling out of Riss’s favor, he’d gone from bringing in their bounties to having one slapped on his own head, which made it hard for him to keep on internal gossip.

Riss, for his part, didn’t look very happy to see Rax. The Ferengi’s cold eyes bore into Rax as he rose slowly from his captain’s chair, momentarily oblivious to everything else on the bridge.

“Dreyton,” Riss said, through clenched yellow teeth.

“Hi Riss,” Rax said. “Long time.”

“Do you have any idea,” Riss started. “how many credits, how much latinum, how many favors I burned through trying to find you? For five years, I’ve looked for you, and now here you are on my ship.”

“You could have just called,” Rax said, smiling.

Buuzu stepped forward and slammed a heavy fist into Raxl’s stomach. Rax’s knees buckled and he dropped to the floor. He gasped for air, his vision blurry, while two of Riss’s Ferengi goons hauled him back to a standing position. They had to stay there, holding Rax by the arms, to keep him from sinking back to the floor again.

“I told you I found him for you,” Brass said, lifting his chin pridefully as he smiled at his uncle. “I even kept him in good condition while we brought--”

Riss held up a single finger, not even glancing in Brass’s direction. Brass abruptly shut up. Riss stepped up, having to stand on tiptoes to look Rax in the face, and finally his expression broadened in a wide and sinister grin.

“That’s just the start of what I have planned for you, Dreyton,” Riss said. “You’re going to be with us for some time, and I promise that you aren’t going to enjoy any of it. We’re going to start slow, at the edges- fingers, toes, other… ‘appendages’- and then we’ll gradually start to work our way in. It’s going to be very interesting, Dreyton, that much I can--”

Someone on the bridge cleared their throat, stealing Riss’s thunder. The Ferengi crimelord dropped back to the flats of his feet and turned. Rax followed Riss’s gaze, and saw that he was looking at a tall Klingon woman standing at the other side of the bridge, flanked by a small cadre of Klingon guards. The female Klingon had her arms crossed, and she looked bored. Rax noticed she was drumming her fingers impatiently on one of her thick biceps.

“Is this going to take long?” the Klingon woman asked, her voice a low basso. Rax noticed the armor she wore; it looked old, almost ceremonial, though the scuffs and scratches that covered it suggested it had been tested in combat more than once.

Riss turned, his demeanor at once completely different. He spread his arms wide, to match an unctuous smile.

“Apologies, my lady,” Riss said. “The hu-mahn is an old enemy of mine, one I have sought for a very long time. I confess, I got caught up in the moment.”

“If he is an old enemy, you should kill him,” the Klingon woman said, still sounding bored. “There is no honor in torture.”

“Ah, yes,” Riss said, glancing back at Rax, then returning his gaze to the Klingons. “Of course. But if you knew the whole story, I think--”

“I don’t care,” the Klingon woman said, waving this off. “Your honor is your own affair, Riss. Did your men bring *my* package, or have they only brought yours?”

Riss glanced over his shoulder at Brass, who stepped forward, holding the case out.

“It’s undamaged,” Brass said. One of the Klingon woman’s flunkies stepped forward to block Brass from getting to close. Brass glanced back at Riss uncertainly, and Riss nodded. Then Brass allowed the Klingon to take the case from his grasp. The Klingon held the case up, inspecting it on all sides, before handing it to his mistress.

“Very good,” the Klingon woman said. “If it is as powerful as advertised, it will bring us much glory in our battle against the Orions.”

“Yes,” Riss said. “Your war. Well, eliminating the Syndicate will create new opportunities for me and my associates, so take it with my blessing! That is, after you’ve paid for it, of course.”

The female Klingon turned and said something in Klingon to her nearest henchmen. That Klingon turned and hurried out of the bridge, while the female Klingon returned her gaze to the case.

“My men will bring your payment aboard,” the Klingon female said absently. “500 bricks of gold-pressed latinum, as we agreed.”

Riss began to rub his hands together eagerly. The mention of the cost for the case enough to bring Rax a little way out of his stupor.

“500 bricks?!” Rax asked, looking around in disbelief. “What the hell’s in that case? You have a Q trapped in there or something?”

Buuzu stepped forward again, this time delivering a savage backhand that split Rax’s lower lip. Beside him, still playing the part of the fainting waif, Selyara cried out in fear.

“Excuse me, sir,” Crichton said, stepping up to Riss’s side. “It’s a little crowded in here. Did you need anything else from us? If not, we can go back to the Annabelle’s Lament and await our payment.”

"Fine, fine,” Riss said, barely sparing Crichton a glance. “You and Brass are free to return to your ship. Good work on bringing me Dreyton, boys, you’ll see a nice little finder’s fee added--”

“Wait,” the Klingon female said.

Rax looked at her, expecting her to have found some problem with the case. But to his surprise, she was no longer looking at the case. She wasn’t looking at Riss, or Brass, or even Raxl himself. Her eyes were fixed on Crichton, and slowly her lips pulled back in a snarl.

“You,” the Klingon said.

It took Crichton a moment to realize who she was speaking to. He blinked at her. “Me?”

“What’s the matter, little duck?” the Klingon female said. She handed the case to one of her remaining guards and crossed the bridge to stand in front of him. Riss backed up quickly, barely getting out of the way in time to avoid being bowled over by her advanced. She stopped in front of Crichton, looming over him, her teeth still bared. “Don’t you remember me?”

Crichton rolled his one blue eye. “Here we go again. Listen, lady, I think you have me mixed up with *urk*!”

He couldn’t finish, because the Klingon woman’s hand lashed out, seized him by the neck, and lifted him up off the deck. His feet kicked uselessly at the air as the Klingon brought him closer, so close that their noses nearly touched.

Now the Klingon woman smiled, though there was nothing friendly about it. "Don’t you remember Kalenda the Black?”


NRPG: You may remember Kalenda the Black from our mission “Limbo” from several years ago. Jake (the real Jake) and Russ BaShen robbed her of all the gold pressed latinum in her hold so they’d have something to use to barter with the Shadow Master. Of course, things went a different way and they never wound up using it, but that doesn’t mean Kalenda forgot about it!

Of course, we have a case of mistaken identity; Kalenda thinks mirror-Jake is the same one who robbed her way back when. Will mirror Jake be able to convince her it’s all a misunderstanding? Will Raxl and Selyara escape from Riss’s clutches? And just what’s inside that case to make it so valuable?

Find out… the next time I get around to writing for this story!

Shawn Putnam
Raxl Dreyton
Professionally in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time


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