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Drinks Before Dinner (Part 1)

Posted on Fri Nov 26th, 2021 @ 11:23am by Lieutenant Xia Idris

Mission: Chapter V: The Calm Before The Storm
Location: Drozana Station/Bazaar
Timeline: 238703.03

Xia was dressed in tight black leather pants and a black t-shirt with a graphic of a palm tree and red bikini-clad feminine silhouette on it that read ABUELITA’S HOUSE. Over the band shirt she wore her black leather DuraWeave jacket. It was fairly standard freelance wear, made with a mesh weave lining to both disperse energy and blunt physical trauma. It wouldn’t save you from a direct hit by a disruptor or bat’leth, but it might save your arm or kidney from a glancing blow. It was a little warm for running around on the station though, but it concealed the Romulan disruptor rig under her arm, a pair of combat knives at her belt, and a dozen small throwing knives lining the jacket. Her long brown hair was up in a ponytail, revealing the tattoo on the back of her neck, a black circle around three wavy horizontal lines, a thalion, an ancient Betazoid symbol for the mind, specifically Betazoid mental abilities.

Xia kept her mind roving, just lightly touching those around her, keeping alert for any threats. A normal Betazoid would just block out the thoughts, but her Thalion training had meant learning to handle a certain amount of noise in her mind. It kept one alive, and one never knew what little tidbits might alert one to valuable intelligence.

Of course, the mind of the Ferengi bazaar merchant in front of her was blank, the insufferable aliens being impossible to read. Fortunately, they tended to have other weaknesses one could exploit. Currently Xia was examining a bracelet. It was Betazed silver, fairly valuable, rare outside of her homeworld, a metal that was slightly psycho-reactive. When touched by a sentient being, it would give off a slight glow, not too bright. The effect was lost in the bright lights of the bazaar, of course, though the Ferengi had a nice black back to prove its worth. It wasn’t much more than a candle’s brightness, but Xia knew that with a bit of focus, it could glow much brighter, blindingly bright, if one channeled enough mental energy through it.

She also knew its origins. It matched the one she wore beneath the sleeve of her jacket. “Where did you get this?” Xia demanded of the Ferengi as she noted the ancient Betazed symbol glowing on the piece. It matched the one on her neck, though with a couple additional runes that personalized it.

The Ferengi shrugged. “My cousin picked it up offa some pirates in the Triangle,” he said.

“The Triangle. Who’s working out of there now?” Xia ran through her knowledge. The Triangle. Azure Nebula. A lawless zone stuck between the borders of the Klingons, Romulans, and Federation.

“Who doesn’t?” the Ferengi said with a laugh.

“Yes, but someone is always top targ,” Xia reminded.

The Ferengi shrugged. “Last I heard, the top boss in the Triangle was Miavek, a Reman female.”

“Thanks,” Xia said, slipping the bracelet into her pocket.

“Hey! You gotta pay for that!”

“How much?” Xia glared.

“Twenty-five.”

“Ten.”

“Twenty. Five.”

“Fifteen.”

“It obviously means something to you,” the Ferengi said, steepling his fingers.

Xia almost reached across the counter and strangled him. Damn Ferengi and their impenetrable minds! Damn herself for reacting to the bracelet as she had and revealing its importance to her.

“Twenty-five,” Xia finally agreed, digging out her credchip. “And how much are the earrings?” She indicated a set of surax earrings with jevonite stone.

“Twenty,” the Ferengi said.

Xia picked them up and studied them in the light. They would look nice on Renee, and there was a Tholian silk dress over at the tailors that would look perfect with them.

“Okay,” Xia found herself saying, even as she mentally cursed herself. She and Renee were just supposed to be...fun. She wasn’t supposed to be getting close with the Ouranavassa’s chef and quartermaster. Buying her gifts would be crossing a line.

Maybe she’d pass on the dress and just get the earrings. That was a good compromise, she fooled herself.

Walking from the Ferengi’s stall, Xia pulled out her personal Social, opening a private message to Jack Pierce.

Jack,

Do you still have contact to Dobri Tora? Can you find out if he had anyone working the Triangle? Thanks. Hope the team is well.


Xia sent the message and then winced. Asking about the team had been another weakness. She slipped her Social back into her jacket and got a raktajino cold brew from a coffee stand and thinking about Dobri Tora. She hadn’t contacted him since she left Starfleet. He wasn’t pleased at losing Thalion’s operative in Starfleet and made it clear she should come back into the program. She hadn’t.

Xia was jolted from her thoughts by her Social. Jack had replied.

I don’t have contact with Tora, but I’m sure Artemis does. I’ll let him know you’re asking. Be safe, kid.

Xia smiled fondly and just sent back an emoji before tucking her Social away. It was about time to consider what to have for dinner and decide what to do for the evening.

TBC

 

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