Onward

Amid much grumbling on the part of Kitty, Beckett McMillan's sleek black car made haste to the transport. After some exchange of information, Spiegel, Enzo, Kitty and her two underlings boarded the transport and the car again disappeared through another series of tunnels... and back to the familiar sight of the auction house.

Beck had stepped up his security. Nods were exchanged between Beck and his men, and the group made their way through the door in the back. Beck's drawing room had been put back together, and three security men stood, looking over the group as they entered, but otherwise staying at ease.

"And how's Jona?" Beck asked one of his underlings. 
 
"Still in a coma," the man answered.
 
"Scarlett, do you mind leaving us alone?"

The man addressed as "Scarlett" nodded his head curtly, and left, ushering out the two security goons. Beck shook his head, slowly. He looked up at Diz. 
 
"This 'Frank Wilson' character's been a thorn in my side for seven years. We have a deal - I stay out of his way, he stays out of mine. I  would say he's not honored his end of the agreement," Beck said. "He had his spies, and I had mine. There's a transponder on his ship. Would you care for anything to eat or drink while I look up the coordinates?"
 
 

Frank

 As per Lek's admonishment, the group found themselves once again in the cold and darkness, safely wrapped in their environmental suits.

"Where are we to be finding this Frank Wilson," Kitty said, her voice coming off a little tinny through her suit's transmitter. 

"Oi 'on' s'pose Beck knows... ah! P'raps yer china knows," Stace asked Diz. "One y' nearly killed? Um... ol wha's 'is name?"
 
  • gmdreia

And then...

The group found themselves on the bridge of the Serial Underseller.

Typical Ferengi craft. Small, a little cramped, musty-smelling.

There were three Ferengi on the bridge. Two of them nearly blanched and raised their hands.

The third, though, raised his blaster and yelled "What is this!" even as his two crewmates shook their heads frantically.
  • gmdreia

Upperside

It turned out that the trip to find the Serial Underseller was going to be more involved than anyone hoped for. Environmental suits were necessary, and at Tom's advising, they were also to be picking up additional tactical support personnel. 

Beck was waiting in his limousine, and brought the group to where their transport was parked. After a quick suit-up, and a nod from the grim Lt. Ekaterina Kchessinskaya (in paramilitary but not Fleet cargo pants) to two of her personnel, the group set off... crowded in the back of Beck's limo.

"Was a transmission these coordinates," Kitty quietly said to Diz, showing her disguised PADD to Diz.

There were a few nods all around, and the result was that Beck's limo dropped the group off at the nearest exit point. Beck assured the group that he'd wait.

"That ship will be 920 feet from that signal," Kitty said.

Hands of Blue

A few looked up when, to their surprise, Stace emerged with the Bolian woman after what must have apparently only been a few moments of conversation.

"It'll be this way," she said, looking at each face assembled. "And do understand... I cannot get you inside. But I know someone who might. I'm only doing this because I owe a favor to a very dear friend. I do not care to be involved beyond that. Do you understand?"

"That is perfectly understandable. Honestly, if we didn't need the help, I'd rather avoid getting anyone else involved, in order to keep the ripples from this to a minimum," Diziara returned with a small frown.

"Dear friend?" Tom muttered to Spiegel. "She couldn't be talking about Stace, could she?"

Diziara shot a look at Tom, and Spiegel bit his lip to keep any remarks to
himself.

"I only have one request," she said. "We'll meet my friend near the entrance. I can't go beyond there. The only thing I ask is if you'd let one or two of your people walk back with me."

Diziara's gaze met Enzo's a moment, and he nodded to her unasked question. "That'll be no problem."

The group walked on in the worsening dimness, and as they did, they learned that the Bolian woman's name was Alba. She spoke little, and whenever Stace looked like he was about to speak up, she laid a hand on his arm, which silenced him.

At about that moment, Dizi's disguised communicator chirped. She slipped it out of the tiny pocket it was in, tapping it as she brought it up to her lips. "Yeah, what?" she hissed, clearly unsure who was supposed to be on the other end.

"Forgive the intrusion," came the vaguely Georgian, genteel voice... "Did you find out where you're going?"

"Of a sort," Diziara admitted, clearly relaxing a little upon recognizing who was on the other end of the comm. "Do you have any information we might find useful?"

"Not yet. Sit tight, if you don't mind. I'm bringing a car. You'll never get there in time."

"I know a gentleman isn't the sort to tell, but I can't help but ask... how do you know where we are?" Diziara's head tilted to the side just a little as she asked this.

"I don't. I was just about to ask."

"I honestly couldn't tell you." Diziara bit her lip as she considered a moment. "Stace," she called to him, lowering her communicator as she did so.

Stace didn't even get his mouth open before Alba said, softly, "We'll be at the corner of Second and H, on the surface. Dome One."

Diziara shugged, and repeated that into the comm for Beck, with a polite nod to indicate thanks to Alba.

"I will be there in five minutes. If I am more than three minutes late, go on."

"Expecting any more trouble we should be aware of?" Diziara's head tilted again as she asked this.

"I'm always going to expect trouble from now on," he said, a little remorsefully.

"Meet you there."

Alba nodded. "This way."

Alba motioned about fifty feet, toward a flight of stairs. That flight was only the first of about four, and finally, the group found themselves on the surface, but still safely within the stinky and humid confines of the dome. Alba motioned in another direction, and after walking to the end of the block, the group stopped. 

"'Ow long'll i' 'a-" Stace barely got out as a large, black vehicle tore out of an alley behind him, coming to a stop and lowering until it hovered two feet above the ground.

Diziara's eyes gave the vehicle a once over, and she smiled to herself.

She wouldn't spot anyone through the tinted windows, but a gull-wing door parted gracefully to reveal the elegant-looking Beckett MacMillan - sporting a gauze bandage across his nose, and a few stitches in his forehead - seated in the first of two rows of seats, behind the chauffeur. "You'd better get in, there's no parking here," he said.

"Whoever knows where we're going, should sit up front."

Diziara sighed softly. "You would have a driver. I was going to ask if I could take the controls," Diziara murmured as she climbed inside.

As Diziara got in, she might notice that the vehicle smelled of very rich leather - several animals died to upholster these seats, their skins dyed black and polished and made buttery soft.

Diziara unconsciously slid her hands along the leather as she settled in, provoking a raised eyebrow from Tom as he noticed this. "Got a thing for leather, do ya, darlin'?" he asked her quietly as he slid in next to her.

Just as the last passenger boarded and the gull-wing door closed, the vehicle sprang to life from a dead stop... cutting through traffic as fast as safely possible. 

"You'd better hold on." Beck said.

Diziara grinned wide, even as Spiegel slunk down into his seat and clung to whatever was near. Tom put a hand on his hat, until he realized how silly this was to do in a climate controlled enclosed vehicle.

"Please excuse me for not offering drinks," Beck mentioned, "You'll see wh-"

At that moment, the vehicle suddenly sped up and lurched upward in an arc, and then took off at what must have been a hundred or more miles an hour. First one tunnel, then another, and a few turns that would've made Pukey lose his lunch if he'd been present.

Diziara's grin widened, even as Tom slid an arm around her to steady himself. She slugged him in the shoulder, as Enzo chuckled and Spiegel shook his head, and instinctively braced himself for the ride..

After going through a series of tunnels, the vehicle shot straight up and out of the dome, and then, much like threading a needle, shot straight down into another tunnel... and went straight down. After a few more moments of fancy flying, the machine gracefully slowed to a halt. It lowered itself to the ground, softly. The door opened with a soft hiss.

"Deja vu, dork?" Diziara said to Spiegel as they climbed out.

"Crazy as a taxi driver," he returned.

Alba climbed out, her blue skin looking a little green-tinged.

"'on' y' fink we o' a' be lea'in some-" Stace managed, and closed his mouth, as the driver reached under the seat and produced a huge weapon of no identifiable origin. "O' a' do 'e job, 'en," he muttered.

They offboarded, amid the sound of rhythmic drumming and massed vehicles and throngs of people talking in a variety of non-human tongues. And most of these people were, themselves, not human: mostly Orions and the occasional Ferengi, and the very rare human would stand out like a bloodstain on a white sheet.

And stand out, he did, with his pale skin and ginger hair. Alba broke from the group and spoke with him for a moment, and he turned, catching sight of the group, his attention focused on Diz. He approached, walking straight up to the group with an even stride.

"Diziara?" he asked, softly.

"Do I know you?" she returned, head tilted to the side.

"Two mutual friends."

He looked over the group. "Good, good. Where are the rest?"

"We're down one, due to unforeseen circumstances. Weorking on retrieving her."

"Come on. We'd better hurry."

"I've already gotten us in. Let's go."

Getting into the auction was surprisingly easy. The red haired man had apparently already arranged things, and people cleared aside to let the group pass.

This was not a civil kind of auction of the kind Beck might have been part of, but it consisted of people standing and yelling and throwing their hands in the air holding money and sometimes weapons.

Many of the people in the crowd were huge... seven feet. Only the tallest in the party could see - and only barely - what was taking place.

"Looks like we got here just in time," the red-haired man said.

"Got anything to help with the visibility problem, dork?" Diziara leaned close to Spiegel to ask, he shook his head.

"Nothing comes to mind, I'll see if I can come up with something... unless Tom or Enzo want to give one of us a piggy-back..."

Diziara bit back a laugh at Spiegel's suggestion, before she came up behind Tom. Laying her hands on his shoulder, she jumped up as she said "giddy-up, cowboy." Tom was quick enough to catch her legs, and she swiped his hat, dropping it on her own head. "Thanks for the lift, stud," she added with a giggle.

She did that just in time to see four people led onto a small stage, all chained up. Two were familiar enough... Orion women, and one of uncertain species, and the fourth - the petite human, in the tattered remains of a long, wine-colored satin gown - was unmistakeable. She wasn't watching what was going on, and her head bowed limply.

"She's up there, right now," Diziara hissed down at Tom, and he started pushing through the crowd towards the front. Enzo and Spiegel both moved forward at the same time, splitting off in different directions to see if either could find a more clear path forward.

She looked up, slowly, as hands held various currency aloft - apparently bidding was going on. Her eyes met Diziara's, but seemed glassy and unfocused. No member of the group was even remotely close to the stage as someone from the crowd stepped forward, and the slaves' handler nodded.

While holding onto Tom by one shoulder, Diziara was patting herself down with her other hand, only to stop and curse as she looked through the crowd in the direction Spiegel had split off to. "The dork's got my money, but it looks like the bidding may have finished... we're going to need a plan B here."

By the time they reached the stage, Noelle had limply been led off of it, and there was no sight of her.

As Diz reached the stage, she caught a glimpse of the handler... and the handler turned back, his back to the stage (which stood in the middle of the hall, not against a wall), to nod at someone on the other side of the stage.

There was a brief flash of a blue hand reaching forward to receive money. Diziara caught a brief glimpse of antennae as she squinted to see.

"Let me down, and keep after the handler that had Noelle, I'm going to check something out," Diziara said to Tom as he let her down. He kept after the handler that'd lead Noelle off, as Diziara headed towards the antennae and blue hands in the crowd.

Friends in low places

Stace's babble was verbose as usual, and nearly incomprehensible over the disguised communicator. He was clearly speaking in a noisy environment.

After a switch to Klingon, all was clearer.

After much walking, the group found themselves in an alley that smelled only a little worse than other alleys they'd found themselves in. Stace and Enzo rejoined the group, and Stace led the way, occasionally stopping and mumbling to himself.

Before long, the air seemed to clear a little. The hubbub told the group that they were near a center of commerce, and the level of trash on the ground had seemed to lessen. The ambient light increased. It was clear that this was one of the better parts of town... at least somewhat.

Stace and the group stopped before a low row of buildings, clearly apartments.

"Ah knows w'o 'an 'e' us in," he said, quietly. "'u' she 'on' know you."
RPG: Diziara
  • diziara

You don't tug on Superman's cape; You don't spit into the wind

Collapse )



"You'd think in a settlement this small, someone as large as Tuck wouldn't be able to hide," Spiegel grumbled, following Diziara and Tom into a bar tucked into the back room of a hole in the wall Klingon restaurant.

"This only makes me sure he had something to do with it," Diziara grumbled. Tom slid an arm around her waist, drawing her close to him. "He has to be here, he'd figure I wouldn't follow him through a place that serves dead gagh," she growled, drawing a looks from people at tables near the door. "What the jay' are you looking at?" she demanded, and they all turned away from her.

"Whoa there, filly," Tom said quietly, pulling her closer. She growled softly, her eyes scanning the place. Suddenly she slipped out of Tom's grasp and strode through the crowded room, murmuring 'excuse me' in a seemingly random selection of Klingon, Andorian and English to each person she brushed past. Tom and Spiegel exchanged a look before Tom followed Diziara and Spiegel made a bee line towards the bar tender.

Spiegel reached the bar before Diziara and Tom reached Tuck. Finding a pretty zhen behind the bar, a scar bisecting her otherwise lovely face, he turned on as much charm as he could. Talk of sweet nothings and money passed his lips as Diziara yanked Tuck out of his chair and threw him across his table, spilling his glass of something orange and ale-like in appearance across the floor. Spiegel quickly produced one of the two wads of cash he'd divided what Diziara had given into. The wad of cash quickly disappeared, and the zhen poured Spiegel a drink. He settled down onto a stool, nursing his drink and watching.

"Where the hell is N- Peggy Sue?" Diziara yelled, leaving almost no space between her and Tuck. It took him a moment to gather himself together, but he got both hands on Diziara's shoulders, and shoved her off him. Tom was there to catch her, and Tuck stopped as he stood up again and took this in.

"I figured that wasn't her real name. You know, Beck'll be hurt you didn't trust him with your real names," Tuck finally said, snorting. Diziara growled, and Tom laid a hand on her shoulder. "You own me a drink, bitch."

"The fuck I do," Diziara shot back, and moved forward. Tom stopped her.

"Where is she?" Tom asked quietly. Tuck's eyes darted to Tom for a moment, then fell back to Diziara.

"I had figured she was going to use you as her bull dog, when she first introduced us. You, or that Italian kid. I should have remembered she's always been a hands on kinda of a girl," Tuck directed at Tom. Diziara growled and tried to move forward again, but stopped when Tom gave her shoulder a squeeze.

"Whoa there, darlin', he's just trying to distract us," Tom murmured softly, stepping close enough he could do so with his lips next to Diziara's ear. She took a couple of short deep breaths, and made an effort to calm herself.

"I'm good now," she said softly to Tom, and he removed his hand from her shoulder. She strode forward, closing the space between her and Tuck again. "We're out of here as soon as we have her back, so if you start blabbing your mouth about who we are, I really don't give a fuck. However, you still have plenty to lose if I blab your secret. You will tell me where she is, or this will get ugly, quickly." She had moved so close to him there was not space between the two of them. She stood on tiptoe, still coming up short compared to him, but it was clear she was not in a position of disadvantage. Her hand rested on the handle of her knife.

He started moving so quickly that Tom drew his phaser, seeming to expect that Diziara wouldn't see it coming, but she had tucked and rolled as Tuck had reached to try to catch her in his grasp. She sprung from the crouch she'd fallen into, and slammed full on into Tuck, her knife drawn. She had it to his neck when she pinned him to the wall.

"Look, fucker. We can do this the easy way, or we can do it the hard way. Talk, or I start cutting on you in the most painful and crippling ways I can," she growled. Tuck pulled away from her gaze, and looked at Tom over her shoulder.

"Don't look at me, she's the one who's right pissed off. Or have you forgotten the discussion the two of you had earlier?" Tom returned, and Tuck's eyes widened a little. "I'm just here to remind her that we do need to get information out of you, not just beat you into a bloody pulp."

"I thought you people were non-violent," Tuck insisted, causing Diziara to laugh and Tom to shake his head.

"We look after our own. Looking for the non-violent solution first doesn't remove the violent option all together. Besides, look at the woman holding the knife to your throat right now. Does she look non-violent to you?" Tuck's eyes met Diziara's again, but he quickly looked away.

"Look, Servais owed this guy from way back. A stupid business move long before he and I met. Hell, I don't even know the guy's name," Tuck finally said, his eyes moving between Diziara and Tom as he spoke. "Servais and I were enjoying a drink at Skanky's, and he pointed out Stace, remembering the hub bub over Christine. I saw you, and told him who you were," Tuck's gaze met Diziara's as he said this, and she was quiet. "He didn't say anything else then, so I didn't think anything of it. There was no point in stirring the shit with the damn cockney bastard if it could be helped, he's somehow managed to endear himself to plenty of people with pull.

"Well, after you disappeared with your Vulcan friend, Servais told me I was going to need to renew my friendship with you," Tuck chuckled as he explained this part, and Diziara raised her eyebrow. "That all I had to do, to see that Servais' debt disappeared as cleanly as someone who crossed the Russian mob, was to stick close to you and your group. That at some point, there was going to be a chance to split one of your group off from everyone else and I was to make sure it happened. That's all the instruction I had, I wasn't told who it was supposed to be. Could have been any of you."

"Then why were you laughing when we left Beck's office?" Diziara moved closer, her face millimeters from Tuck's.

"Despite my insistence I didn't want to know what was going on, that I just wanted to get it done and move on, Servais insisted on telling me what was going to happen. That a couple of Ferengi were to sell whoever it was at the slave market, after using some Orion muscle to nab 'em. I couldn't help but find it funny, in a schadenfruede kind of way, I'd just played a part in sending the nicest person in your team off to likely become a sex slave."

"Where the hell is this slave market?" Diziara demanded, growling at Tuck. He shrugged as well as he could, given the way he was pinned.

"I'll be damned if I know. I generally try to avoid the meat markets. Too depressing, and pushes beyond what I can do and still be able to look myself in the mirror after." Tuck sighed as he admitted this, and Diziara cocked her head to one side.

"Servais is your partner, right?" she asked him, and he nodded. "Business or mate?" She leaned in closer, speaking very softly as she asked this.

"Both," Tuck admitted. She let go of him, and turned to stalk away. Tom looked at Tuck as he collapsed to the floor, dropping his head into his hands, and shook his head softly before he followed Diziara towards the exit. At the bar, Spiegel quickly knocked back what was left of his drink, left another small wad of cash on the bar top, and darted to catch up with Diziara and Tom.

"What's the news?" Spiegel asked, falling into step on Diziara's left side. She glanced over at him a moment, and Tom laid his hand on her right shoulder as he stepped up to walk by her side once they were in a wide enough avenue.

"We have to find the slave market," she said quietly, pulling her disguised communicator out of a tiny pocket on her hip.

"It's ironic that half-pint would be the one to get nabbed, she's the one who overheard the people talking about the market in the Chinese place we stopped to eat while scouting earlier. I should have most of it captured in a rough translation," Spiegel said, reaching into his pocket. Tom raised his eyebrow as Diziara grinned. Spiegel held out his PADD to her once he'd opened up the datafile in question, and she skimmed over it.

"Let me just give Stace a buzz, see if he and Gino found anything else out. Then we'll all meet up and see if we can get her back before she's sold," Diziara was in a little better mood after this exchange, and the three of them continued to weave through the street as Diziara babbled on in Klingon over her communicator.

...and then...

While Noelle and Diziara deliberated, another conversation was going on between Tuck and Beckett MacMillan.

Beck finally cleared his throat.

"Ahem," he said, returning to his seat. "With all due respect to the both of you."

Noelle turned to face him.

"I'll accept the pleasure of your company, Ma'am, as collateral. I'm sure there are things that might approach half the value of one of you, but I really haven't got time to deliberate that. "

Noelle's brow furrowed, and she turned to Diziara, and then back to Beck. "Looks like I've got no choice but to take one for the team," she said. "But I'll have you know that if I'm not back in one piece, you will have a very angry Andorian and a lot of equally angry rednecks to deal with. I promise."

Meet me at the Casbah

As the group neared the entrance to what was presumably the Night Market, Tuck excused himself, indicating that he needed to deal with this privately.

They waited. Tuck had his back turned to them, and was quietly negotiating something with a couple of large, burly men, before he turned to the group and waved them in.

Once inside, they would be pushed and jostled by a press of people for whom the night was clearly still very much young. Stands were set up selling everything from Andorian jewelry to Orion perfume, and the amount of yelling, shoving and waving hands, and lack of indicated prices, indicated that haggling was the way things were done.

The group passed a group of Ferengi who were holding colored paddles with numbers on them.

"Well, there's definitely an auction," Noelle said, quietly, to Diz. "And I'm guessing your friend knows where that is, and that's where we're going."

Reconnaissance and Chinese food

Noelle and Spiegel made their way through the quiet streets of Dome Two, with nothing but a change in the level of ambient noise and light telling them they'd arrived back at Dome One where they'd started.

They walked casually, occasionally exchanging small conversation. Noelle kept her head down for the most part.

Noelle laughed a little. "So... you ever have a nickname?"

Spiegel shrugged. "You mean other than Diz calling me dork and Greasemonkey?"

"Y'know, something like... heh, half my family calls me Shorty... and the other call me half-pint," she said. She giggled just a little. “For the same reason I also got called 'cheap date' by a couple of friends."

Spiegel laughed at this, even has he was looking around at everything around them. "Must be something about you that broadcasts that trait, what with T-" Spiegel paused, coughed, and continued. "With Texas called you half-pint earlier," Spiegel commented. He was being painfully obvious about what he was looking at as they walked around, the gaudy shit hanging on the dingy store fronts, the people barking in the street with the shiny stolen goods, all the stuff that was obviously targeted at the people too stupid to know what they were really looking for. His tinted goggled hid that his eyes were actually looking at the people skulking in doorways, or the ones who'd move too close in the crowd.

Noelle laughed a bit. She caught a faint glimmer of neon out of the corner of one eye, and turned to look at it. "Hey, Goggles. Look."

Spiegel turned in the direction Noelle indicated, and laid a hand on her shoulder as he stepped closer.

The crowd thickened.

"I can't see over the heads. Does that look Chinese to you?"

"Yeah, the English below the signs says something about imports and tea," he answered.

"I'm going to check that out," she said, having to practically yell to be heard. "Looks neat."

"Looks like the shops in China Town, back home. Most likely full of tourist junk," he muttered, but he followed her lead.

"Let's go."

She tucked her hand into Spiegel's arm.

Spiegel stood up straighter, acting nonchalant, leading her forward as if it were his idea to go into the shop. He select the door under the sign that said imports on it, and held the door for her to go in before him.

The first shop - a very cluttered curio shop - adjoined the teahouse by a doorway only, and was strangely empty of shoppers. The smell of ginger, scallions and garlic wafted over. "That's making me hungry," Noelle said. She laughed a little. The shopkeeper in the corner looked at her and Spiegel through lizardlike old man's eyes, saying nothing, merely watching.

The place was a typical touristy shop filled with cheap replica Chinese bric-a-brac, and the occasional replica antique and piece of rosewood furniture.

She shook her head, and tapped on Spiegel's arm. "Don't know what we'll learn here, if there's no conversation to overhear."

Spiegel's eyes swept around the shop real quick, but he didn't see anything interesting at all. "It does smell good next door. Shall we?"

"Sounds great," she said. At that moment, her eye caught something in the corner. "Let me look at this first."

She walked over, espying something in the corner – a rack with various garments. She smiled a little, fingering a piece of black silk. She asked the shopkeeper "Duoshao qian?" softly, after which began a series of brisk exchanges.

Transaction completed, paper bag in hand, she and Spiegel walked into the teahouse.

What was called a "teahouse" and the source of the wonderful smells, was actually a very tacky looking place, but it did seem packed with customers. "Counter look good to you?" Noelle asked.

"Usually the best place in a dive like this," he returned, and strode forward with a purpose.

"Usually the best place IS a dive like this," she tapped.

"No arguments here" he tapped back, laying his hand on hers when they sat down to do so.

The staff unceremoniously plunked a metal pot of tea in front of them then poured, without saying anything. The menus looked about a hundred years old, with poorly translated English in addition to Chinese and two alien languages. Noelle made her decision and listened attentively to the crowd as she sipped her tea.

Spiegel seemed to close his eyes and blindly point at the menu a couple times when he placed his order, and grinned wide at the odd looks he received from staff and anyone else who might have been watching.

"I wouldn't do that, Goggles, unless you're really adventurous."

"Hard to go wrong in a place like this. Got squid one time at a place back home. That was interesting."

Noelle supressed a laugh. "Alright, it's your funeral. Hey, what do you think of this?"
She handed him the bag containing the thing she'd just bought.

Spiegel looked inside the bag and considered a moment. "Didn't I see..." he considered a moment what to say. "See Handlebars walking around in something similar to this the other night?"

She blushed. She mouthed “Handlebars?” silently and chuckled. "That one belonged to my ex husband. I didn't even know I still had it until he grabbed it out of the back of the closet."

Spiegel chuckled. "Just a little awkward. I assume you picked out one a little better suited to his size?"

"Yeah. The other one's getting... burnt, or something. Thankfully he didn't ask about where it came from, just stuck it back where he'd found it."

"You know, you could give the old one to someone else. Don't waste it, and all. Maybe Texas or... Spaghetti Western? They both seem to be fucking Red lately." Spiegel seemed to take some sort of sadistic glee in calling Diziara "Red", as he grinned and softly chuckled as he called her that.

"What if he and Texas or Pasketti, BOTH get called to the ready room at the same time, both wearing the same thing?"

"I would love to be there for it, if Red's there to witness it." Spiegel flashed a wide toothy grin at this.

She shook her head a little. The waiter showed up with the dishes - a big bowl of fragrant soup was placed before Noelle, and a couple of plates before Spiegel.

Spiegel considered the contents of his plates a moment, then picked up his chop sticks and started with the sea cucumber.

Noelle stuffed the package she'd bought into her messenger bag. She smelled her soup, and closed her eyes, and smiled. "Mm. Star anise... five spice... ginger... scallions."

She took a taste. "What's more awkward... oh, geez," she said, trying not to laugh. "He said he liked the feel of it and wanted to get one. He didn't once even think to ask, why I have another man's stuff in my closet."

"He knows you have an ex-husband, he has an ex-bond. Clearly it doesn't bother him." Spiegel considered the sea cucumber as he took his first bite, washing it down with a little bit of tea. He grinned as he picked up his next bite with his chopsticks. "If he doesn't ask, and he doesn't say anything, don't worry about it."

Noelle looked over, with concern, at Spiegel's chicken feet and sea cucumber. "How is that? You like that okay? Want a taste of this?"

"That smells like something Sky used to order all the time. She never finished, always gave the rest to me. She didn't understand how I could play Russian roulette when ordering in these places." Spiegel gestured with his chopsticks towards Noelle bowl. "You're welcome to give mine a try if you want, tastes pretty good."

"Oh, I've had it," Noelle said, chuckling a little. "Both of those. Want to trade?"

"Not on your life, lady. I've had the chicken feet before, so I'm saving that for last."

Noelle laughed and continued tucking away into her beef noodle soup. "You'll probably get half of this anyway, this is way more than I can eat."
Noelle heard something that made her look up from her dish. Two people conversing in Chinese at the far end of the booth.

She whispered, "yahuan".

She tapped over to Spiegel. "Means 'slave girl'."
Then she kept eating, and kept listening.

Spiegel kept eating, slipping his off-hand into his pockets to pull out his PADD. He kept it in his lap, hidden under the counter, and activated the feed to his goggles and his translation program.

"Piaoliang huangbao xiaojie," Noelle muttered. She tapped. "Pretty green girl."

"Not surprised, talking about Orions. they are trouble," he tapped on her knee.

She tapped again. "Somebody's selling."

"No smart man will buy orion girls, their hormones are potent," he tapped back.

Small laugh. Out loud: "Most men aren't smart when it comes to hormones. Think he'll like that robe?"

"I think he'd take a potato sack if you gave it to him, frankly." Spiegel grinned as he said this.

"You think so?"

"Yeah."

Noelle was quiet for a moment. “Hey, um. Could you check this out? My Andorian's not up to par yet," she said. She reached into her boot and produced a knife. Simple hilt, but elaborate inscription on the blade. Holding it by the blade, she handed it to Spiegel. "What's the inscription on the blade?"

Spiegel chuckled as his goggles provided the translation when he looked at the blade. "Where did that come from?"

"You didn't see that? He pressed it into my hand before we left."
She lowered her voice and intoned: "It was my thavan's. You'd BETTER bring this back."

She chuckled a little and went back to her soup, eating and listening to the customers at the same time.

"That shows some trust on his part, handing you something like that," Spiegel commented, as he tapped out the translation for her on her knee: I drink the blood of traitors.

"Hmm," she said. "I can't eat another bite, want this?"

Spiegel silently slid the bowl in with his two plates, and kept eating.

Noelle smiled broadly, sipped her tea, and kept listening.

She tapped to Spiegel. "Market's near 3rd and Esplanade. No further details."
"Can head out once I finish." he tapped back to her.

"Take your time," she tapped back.

"I think I can fit one of those in," she commented, looking at someone eating a dish of fruit. "I swear sometimes I'd sell family members for fresh fruit," she chuckled.

He grinned at her comment, but didn't have anything to add.

After the meal was finished, they found their way outside and managed to cut through the crowd, which at times felt rather like going against a powerful tide.

She tapped on his arm... "I get the feeling the slave market isn't what's going on at the normal night market. You get into the night market and then assuming you know who to ask, they tell you where and when to show up for the... afterparty."

"Understandable" he tapped back. "I assume all the sought after goods are like that."

The two pushed through the crowd, being shoved along at times like they were bobbing on a current.

At one point, there seemed to be an increase in the number of large people with weaponry.

Noelle spotted the occasional human, and furrowed her brow, but the two pressed on.

Spiegel had slipped his PADD into his back pocket when they left the Chinese restaurant, a pocket which was not connected to his pocket space, so his goggles were going at full tilt with translations more than he could keep up with. He continued to look around, appearing to stare at what was designed to attract his attention, but actually paying close attention to the large people with the weapons.

"Wish Diz was here, do not like number of big burly people with weapons" Spiegel tapped to Noelle. "I will not be help if something goes wrong with them," he added.

"If any one gets in close, they'll go down like a sack of potatoes, between the higher center of gravity, easy-to-reach pressure points and being weighed down with all those weapons."

"Unless they painfully outnumber you, all it takes is one more than you can handle. However high a number that is."

"Then it's best to not make trouble, no?"

"Trouble finds me, I do not make it. Less of it without Diz around though."

"are you any good getting into places you are not invited?" Spiegel tapped out, guided Noelle with the flow of the crowd towards a building with a bouncer at the gate.

"No, but I know a certain well-endowed Amazon who might be."

"So we head back to Tom and Enzo to wait?" Spiegel frowned as he tapped this to her.

"Works for me."

Noelle's communicator beeped wherever she had it tucked away.

Noelle, with her hand tucked into the crook of Spiegel's arm, motioned to an alley.
Spiegel guided her towards an empty doorway into what looked like a closed shop, keeping a sharp eye on anyone who moved too close.

"Yeah, what?" Noelle grumbled at her disguised communicator, discreetly pinned to the underside of her collar.

"Hey there half-pint," Tom greeted her, a mild chuckle behind his voice. "You and the city slicker find anything?"

"Bunch of junk if you asked me. Where do we find y'all?"

"We're hopefully headed to you. Ginger," he chuckled as he said this, and Spiegel snorted as he overheard it. "Seems to have found us a local guide."

"That could be good or bad," Noelle said.

"She seems to trust him, somewhat. Told us not to, and the cockey-" Tom coughed. "Cockney bastard doesn't seem to trust him at all. But regardless of trust, she's letting him lead us into the shit storm."

Noelle let out a deep sigh. "The English guy doesn't seem to like me either, so who the hell knows. I guess we just sit tight."

"I reckon his judge of character is better with this guy than it is with you, half-pint," Tom insisted. "He's leading us right now, hasn't told us where we're going. Did you find the place?"

"I reckon... er... believe so."

Tom chuckled. "They we should be seein' you soon, darlin'. Hang tight."

"Alright."

Noelle tapped to Spiegel, "Looking forward to being home... so I can stop being rude."

“Rude? How?"

"You didn't notice?" Noelle tapped, chuckling. "Best we keep moving just a little. Look suspicious if we keep standing in one place."

Spiegel looked around for some sort of gaudy tourist shop nearby they could wait in.

Noelle smiled broadly, shook her head, then, looking at the crowd, went back to the curt cold practiced look she'd been wearing for the mission.

Spiegel lead Noelle back into the crowd, making his way to the nearest shop they could browse in.
They looked around at various items – Noelle found a pair of shot glasses for her dad, and then looked confused at an item – some metal balls on a string – and asked Spiegel what they were, but he said to just ask Diziara when she arrived. Spiegel and Noelle both kept glancing out the window for the group, and when they were within eyeshot, they made their way out of the store.