The Devil You Know (Part II)
Location: Starship Matthias
Timeline: MD 4 - 1850
The sleek Orion interceptor glided out of warp into the very edge of Pangaea's Solar system and over to the SS Matthias, stopping off its port bow and coming to a halt close enough not to miss, but far enough to not get caught by a tractor beam.
A moment later a group appeared on the transporter padd of the Matthias. There were a couple of Orion men and a Nausicaan, all muscular and bristling with weapons. They stood in a loose half circle around a less intimidating looking Andorian. One side of his face was marked with a network of fine white tracery - the last remaining scars of a long repaired radiation burn. The real give away was the fake eye. Instead of trying to look organic, it was a polished black ball, the iris rings glowing a frosty blue.
The Andorian looked at the waiting team from the Matthias. It was quite the welcoming committee. He gave a wry smile and his antenna twitched towards the humans. "Mr Raddon? I'm Oded Veyr."
Raymond stood before the transporter padd as the visiting aliens dematerialized. He shared a rather glanced with Dorian that seemed to describe his opinion of the recent-arrivals as rather unimpressive. However, Raymond painted a smile on his face and threw himself into the role of gracious host.
"Mr. Veyr, welcome aboard The Matthias, I am Raymond Raddon, Chief Operating Officer of Raddon Corp." He said as he approached him with his palm open. "This is our Chief of Security Operations, Dorian Gabriel." He indicated over his right shoulder.
Dorian, accompanied by his own small detachment of Security personnel merely nodded in response. The fact that the Andorian had the nerve to beam aboard with a small squad of goons spoke volumes about his level of trust in the invitation.
"You can hand your weapons to Ms. Telfair as you step off the platform." Dorian said in a flat and direct tone. He had to restrain his look of utter disgust and contempt as he noticed the Nausicaan in the group.
The three bodyguards didn't move, looking to the Andorian, who nodded. "Don't be rude boys, its just business." He unholstered a slim, evil looking disrupter, let it swing down on his finger and offered it hilt first to Dorian's minion. After a moment the two Orions and finally the Nausicaan offered up their own weapons, glaring at Gabriel.
"So," Veyr turned to Raymond. "It's been a while since my people heard from your people. I was told you were thinking of getting into livestock?"
"I guess you could say that." Raymond replied jovially as he directed the group out of the room and down the corridor. He noticed out the corner of his eye the particular look of hatred that was emanating from Dorian's eyes towards the group. Undoubtedly, Dorian had placed the whole ship on alert that aliens were coming onboard. The little performance concerning their weapons was merely a way for Dorian to remind them that they were a long way from home.
"Hopefully our choice of rendezvous was not inconvenient. Considering you have a Cardassian and Federation fleet slowly amassing near the starbase, we wanted to take the necessary precautions to avoid any unnecessary conflict." The man replied as they made their way down the long corridor.
Veyr waved a hand. "These things happen. And I've not been out this way before. Travel broadens the mind."
They came to a stop just outside the conference room doors and Raymond turned to the group. "For the sake of confidentiality, we ask that your associates remain outside. We wouldn't want to spook the old man at his age." Raymond said through a rehearsed smile. "We planned ahead and invited several guests of our own for entertainment." He said as he gestured to the four women who were standing on the other side of the foyer, casting inviting smiles towards the gathered individuals.
The Orions glanced at the women, then to Veyr, who was watching Raddon with cool calculation, the iris on his fake eye slowly rotating. "These are all Witnessed men, Raymond. Their discretion is absolute."
Raymond's smile remained fixed. "Personally, I wouldn't have a problem with it, but. . .the old man is set in his ways." He said.
"And I'm afraid so are mine. We've come to you. Surely, on this, you can come to us?"
Raymond could see that this conversation was going no where. "O-ok, fine. . ." He said, his smile once again appearing. "I do not believe that Melvyn will be too put off by their presence." He said as he pressed his hand to the door's reader and waited for the doors to open and whisk apart. "In fact, why don't we all come in he said to the four women of morale that were present.
He gestured for Dorian to stay outside of the doors and keep an eye on anyone coming that might interrupt them.
"Thank you." Then he walked into the conference room, his guards filing in after him.
"Mr. Veyr, what a pleasure to finally meet you." Melvyn said as he stood from his chair and approached the Andorian to shake his hand. "I trust that Raymond and Dorian have done their best to make you and your guests comfortable?" He asked.
"Absolutely." Veyr agreed, his antenna dipping respectfully and shaking with a confident, but not aghressive grip. "A credit to you."
"Good, good, let's get down to business shall we?" He said as he gestured for one of the women present to bring a glass and a bottle and set it on the table between the two men. "Terran Brandy, 2274 vintage" Melvyn said proudly as he allowed the woman to pour his glass and hand it to him. "You just can't get such quality spirits out here on the fringes of civilized space." He said as he allowed the drink to flow through him.
Veyr took it ad tasted it. "Worth the trip out here for that alone. You must have an excellent sommelier. Now, what can i do for you?"
Melvyn took another sip and placed the glass down and nodded. "It has recently come to my attention that a rather. . .peculiar situation has developed and it involves a prior transaction with you." Melvyn said in his same calm and relaxing tone.
"Several years ago, my company had developed a prototype of a transwarp hybrid system that would allow current-generation warp engines to achieve near-transwarp capability." Melvyn began. "Due to its experimental nature, we partnered with other enterprising individuals to test its feasibility." Melvyn said, more slowly and maintaining eye-contact with the Andorian.
"One of those individuals were you." He said.
Veyr leaned back in his chair, "It was an excellent idea, and if your product worked, I'd have ordered ten of the things." He said, a little wistful. And then his expression flattened, and the prosthetic eye glowed for a moment. "Alas, it wasn't quite as advanced as hoped. Your system lost me a ship, an eye, some good men, and all the cargo, worth well over a hundred bricks of latinum."
Melvyn bristled at the accusation that the device had failed due to his Engineer's negligent design as opposed to the absolute incompetence of Orion slaverunners. His company had been responsible for countless innovations in Federation propulsion and Dilithium mining and processing. To even imply that the transwarp device failed because of his manufacturing capabilities was enough to send a pang of anger to flash through the elder gentleman.
But Melvyn kept his emotions in check and pressed on with the conversation.
"That's why I've brought you here today." He said. "The cargo that your crew lost has become a significant inconvenience to my interests." Melvyn said as he paused to take a sip from his glass. He placed the glass on the table in front of him and leaned back in his chair. He nodded to his son and waited as he brought up the desired holo-projection.
"I'm certain that you are familiar with this character by the name of Yolanthe." Melvyn said as her image came into focus.
The andorian went preternaturally still, good eye going wide. He even started to lean forward, to reach out to touch the image, before he caught himself and forced himself to sit still. "Adanae," he breathed. "You survived." He looked sharply at Raddon. "You have her?"
"She is the current operator of a hole-in-the-wall bar onboard Deep Space 5. But more importantly, she has begun to poke her nose into affairs that do not concern her. . .my affairs" Melvyn said as he gripped his glass. He paused for several moments, gathering his thoughts. "Tell me everything you know about the Bokkai, in detail." He said
Veyr's eyes had gone back to the image of Yolanthe. It had been taken in the Box of Delights at some point, She was standing at the bar, pouring out a drink, whilst one of her absurdly beautiful waiters stood patiently for her to finish. "What did you call her? Yolanthe? That's not her name. Her name is Adanae. Adanae, of Jalenna, of the Silver Stars."
Melvyn watched with particular interest as the Andorian responded to the image before him. It was obvious that the Bokkai meant more to him than just some lost cargo. Such information would prove to be useful. "Silver Stars? What is that some family name or caste-designation?" He asked.
"I don't know. Beyond that, there's little to tell. Cherulan is backwards. And for a society that's ninety five percent women, they're a bloodthirsty bunch. Their biggest sport is gladiatorial combats. And she was the champion." He paused, searching for the word, and the UT translated it. "Gladiatrix Maxima." he gave a short bark of dark humour. "She went through the men I sent after her like a force of nature. Of course, I'd banned them from using phasers, so it was my own fault. But it was worth it to see her in action."
Veyr let out another nostalgic sigh. "And I'm not surprised she's giving you trouble. She was awkard for all twenty days we had her. The trouble with bokkai is they don't have any respect for men, and she was a slow learner."
"hmmm..." Melvyn said as he contemplated the information he was gaining. "Well, it looks like you'll have a chance to correct that prior mistake." He said. "In fact, you'll be able to fix your mistake and repay me for the loss of sensitive equipment at the same time." he said as he set his glass down.
"Yolanthe or Adanae, or whatever the hell she calls herself, you are going to pay her a visit and deliver a message to her from me." He said as he leaned in close. "There is a high price to pay for meddling in someone's business." he said as he maintained eye-contact with the Andorian for several seconds.
Veyr held his gaze without fear, and smiled, "I can go one better than that, Mr Raddon. I'll reclaim my property, and then she won't be meddling in your business any more. She'll be a long way from here, and far too busy trying to stay alive to give you any further trouble. Would that be an acceptable offer?"
Melvyn sighed in satisfaction and contentment. The Andorian was much more cooperative than he expected. With an almost unnoticeable glance towards the other women in the room, Melvyn let them know that they would not have to quickly and brutally dispose of the Nausicaan. Personally, Melvyn was grateful. He hated the thought of having to scrape Nausicaan blood from the carpet.
"Quite frankly, I don't care if you take her dead, alive, or anything in-between." Melvyn said as he erupted into laughter. "I want her to know that there consequences to crossing me." Melvyn said as he placed his glass down.
Veyr nodded. "I will certainly make your displeasure clear to her." He sipped at the excellent brandy. "And if you have any special requests, feel free to let me know, otherwise I can see her being nothing more to you than a fading memory by.." Veyr considered, contemplating what was needed. "Seventy two hours. I trust that is acceptable?"
"Yes, 72 hours will do nicely." Melvyn said as he nodded towards his son. Raymond walks cross the room and handed a padd to the Andorian. "On there you'll find the basic schematics for the station including the duty schedule for Station Security. My sources tell me that the station is undergoing some kind of wargames exercise, so things should be a lot looser than normal." Melvyn said as he rose. "I trust that you have everything you'll need?" He asked as he extended his hand.
As the assembled group left the room, Raymond walked over to his father. It was obvious by the look on the younger man's face that he was not 100% confident that the Andorian was worth the effort. "Are you certain that we can trust him?" Raymond asked.
Melvyn smiled as the doors hissed shut and Dorian led the group back to the the transporter room. "Trust. . .has little to do with this exercise, my boy." Melvyn said gentley. "Either A) He'll kill Yolanthe and she'll be out of my hair forever; or B) He captures her and thus she'll be out of my hair forever; or C) She kills him, and she'll be forever known as a blood-thirsty murder with 3 bodies at her doorstep. At that point the Promenade Merchant Association will have no choice but to revoke her license." Melvyns said as he placed a reassuring hand on his son's arm.
"Trust me, in 72 hours, Yolanthe will learn the conseuences of crossing me." He said as they exited the conference room.
Chief Operating Officer