Obsidian Command

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Free Range: Come to the Table

Posted on 20 Feb 2022 @ 9:35am by Commander Calliope Zahn & Lieutenant Commander Lance Quinn & Lieutenant Theodore Winslow

Mission: M2 - Sanctuary
Location: Stardust City, Freecloud
Timeline: Following "Free Range: Back to Free Cloud"
1832 words - 3.7 OF Standard Post Measure

The tower block was modern and looked more expensive than what looked like Indigo could afford. The Fenris Ranger would never admit the truth was but she had brought it out right years ago with inheritance from the two hackers who had brought her up. “Just up here.” Indigo said breaking the silence as she was scanned for the third time by a security droid coming out the lift.

“It me. You stupid thing.” Indigo said with a hint of annoyance as the thing turned and went down the corridor. “This way.”

Calliope followed after, glancing back at the hover bot as it bobbed away down the posh hall. There was something of a disconnect between Indigo and the expensive styling of the building. A bit of a taste mismatch. Not that Calliope was judging. Money and personality weren't always matched according to stereotypes.

The apartment was large and spacious as they stepped inside but that might have to do with the fact there was not much furniture other than the large dining table and sofa area in a space built for much more.

Calliope circumnavigated slowly half way around the lonely table, taking in the breadth of the place and accounting for the echo-y feel off the walls for every rustle or throat clearing.

“Drink?” Indigo stopped mid thought and laughed. “I forgot you aren’t really here.” She added as she took her boots and coat off. “Anyone around?” She called knowing that at least one of her room mates would be there.

Calliope's lips pursed. "What gave it away?" she asked, not so much out of disappointment that Indigo had assumed she was puppeteering a hologram— she would have been more disappointed if the watchdog failed to spot it— so much as she wanted to understand where the seems of the well made disguise showed.

“You are not shivering.” She laughed everyone dealt with the cold different but the woman despite the coat looked just to warm. “You look far to snug to have been outside in that kind of weather.” Indigo smiled as she set about fixing her own drink as she heard noises further into the apartment signifying someone else was in the apartment.

"Got to work on my cold acting." Calliope muttered to herself, but smiled. She was pleased all the way around that It wasn't a flaw in the hologram. She'd not been stopped by the droid and Indigo's instinct was more of a credit to her excellent observation and instincts than a lack of convincing photons and field harmonics. Both quality assets for working together. Again. So long as Calliope could keep down her bruised ego at Indigo's final interference in their last mission.

Indigo just offered a smile as she set about making an old fashioned tea in a tea pot instead of using the replicator. It was not that she did not like it she just liked the process of tea making. Pouring the water into the pot, organising the tea bags, letting it all stew. It was all a familiar process that calmed her nerves. She returned to the table and sat down. “Who ever is in should not be long. They were likely sleeping.”

Calliope was left wondering how many roommates came and went from the sparely furnished upscale apartment, but didn't ask. In her experience with bunk mates there was typically a lot more furnishings and clutter. Maybe they were just guests. She returned her focus to Indigo's tea making process and then took up a seat as her hostess did.

“So how have you been?” Indigo ventured pouring the tea pots contents into an old faded mug that looked well loved.

Calliope stretched. "Bit of a loaded question with me, honestly," she chuffed. "Had some health challenges and some scrapes since last we met. I'm making the best of it. I'd have been here in person if it weren't for the all that nonsense." Calliope minimized it, knowing that Indigo was hardly going to play counselor and, while some honesty was called for, neither did she want to play the invalid and end up looking too weak to see her own mission through to the end.

"Well, you look like sh..." The words were lost as Indigo turned to the door hearing a noise.

The door opened without a chime and two people entered: the first a stern-looking Romulan woman who held herself with a natural authority. She was flanked by the imposing physique of a Reman, dressed in elaborate black-and-silver clothing that looked part-armour and part-leathers. His beaded eyes rested quickly on the two already present, but he said nothing; just hovered close to the door.

"Indigo. You were supposed to call me when your contact arrived." Kaylin Jaal fixed the two of them with an intense stare, assessing and judging them before continuing. "This must be her."

Indigo just stared back at her Captain before shaking her head. "I did. I assumed you were here and not outside." Indigo glanced back into her apartment and realised it must have been Teav moving around making noise. He was the one staying behind this time whilst they went on an adventure.

Kaylin glared momentarily, but said nothing. Indigo was different to the others, she had to remember. That was useful, despite being an annoyance for someone used to a more Romulan-style approach.

"But yes this is Calliope," Indigo said indicating the woman. "Calliope these are my fri... team." The blue-haired woman shrugged at the complex that was Kaylin and Krynn. Sometimes they liked her and sometimes she was pretty sure her antics were going to get her killed in her sleep so 'team' was a better term. She did not want to risk annoying Kaylin when the woman looked like she was temperamental that day.

"Calliope Zahn." She smiled while taking in the posture and mannerisms of these two. They had a sort of edge that made Indigo doubt herself, she noted as the outgoing lady self corrected her introduction. "Pleased to meet you."

"Kaylin Jaal. I run the Thrai." She maintained her stand-offish stare at the Orion woman. Their type were usually untrustworthy - especially the females - but from what Indigo had hinted this one was with Starfleet, and a little less...amoral.

Smiling, Calliope nodded at the Captain, and then looked to the leather clad Reman. "First mate?" She asked, fishing for a name and waving for him to join them at the table.

Krynn just glared in the corner, saying nothing and not moving.

"Anyways," Indigo murmured quickly trying to move on from the brustle attitude and introductions. "You said you need to liberate some information and funds from some pretty shady people involved in trading?" Indigo explained for the two new people who had not been there at the initial explanation.

"Yes. I assume your apartment is secure enough. My mission is somewhat of my own. I'll try to explain. You may have heard of the battle for Obsidian Command a couple of months ago. I've been investigating some of the parties connected to that plot. One of my methods was, of course, sniffing out the financial aspect of gearing the incursion forces. Their streams of income are benign for the most part, but nefarious in other aspects. Trafficking people being one of the very worst, aside from some rumors of illegal weapons trade and development. Of course the banking isn't going through any central member worlds. Out here in the free states, the low regulation and private security for banking means regular legal avenues to freeze funds are not available. But even if they were, it wouldn't be the right approach to the problem."

"Why's Starfleet even interested in this? They made it clear they wanted nothing to do with the Free States," Kaylin shook her head, not quite interested just yet. "You're the ones with the power and the money."

"The funding is only one aspect. If you stop the flow you might choke them out a while, but it will just find some other avenue. Besides, we suspect they have sympathizers or co-conspirators or some other leak in the official system. It's been allowing them to stay ahead of the curve. Which is why I'm acting on my own, coming to you, and not through Starfleet Central Security, proper. If the banking clients smell the Feds they'll just have their accounts erased and any trace of their Identities or locations or transfer actions irretrievably redacted from the system. They'll go deeper and we'll lose track of them. "

Kaylin's eyes narrowed. Perhaps this Orion was more like the others she'd encountered before, and less like the Starfleet she presented as. "You want to go after the names. Take the heads off the organization."

Calliope nodded. "That's right. The heads down to the toes. I need the the whole dirty network of transactions. What you get is the entire balance of anything we can grab the physical key codes to. Well—" She stopped herself. That wasn't quite right. "Because we'll ultimately be acting under a code developed for mercenaries to grab illegal goods in free space... you'll have to report the income so.... The feds will have their slice in the tax code. But," She smirked. "I assure you, it's a very, very big pie."

"I'm not interested in money," Kaylin retorted. "You mentioned the attack on Obsidian. That was Tal Shiar-backed, and part of a bigger plan to disrupt the Railroad." She folded her arms as she leaned back. "I'm more interested in trimming a layer off their operations. If it's a...what do the humans call it...? If it's a screw you to the Tal Shiar, then you have my attention."

"There are certainly some Tal Shiar interests I expect to shake out of the accounts," confirmed Calliope. "You really don't want the money?" She looked a little perplexed as she'd expected that to be the carrot that sold the Ranger captain on it. They always seemed to be a little short of funding, at least those she'd encountered so far in her career.

"She is not interested but we will still take the funds that are freed. It will go a long way." Indigo corrected. "We all have our motives for coming along." The blue hair woman said looking deeply into her mug of tea.

So Indigo had no personal conflicts between principle and gain. Her upscale place of residence made a little more sense to Calliope, although she had to wonder what Indigo wasn't saying. "Alright then. If you're interested in starting right away, I can tell you what I know about our mark."

“All ears.” Indigo assured glancing at the other two. The looked that was shared spoke volumes between the three. They needed the cash to help their part of the the railroad and at the moment one of them needed to be thinking of the future even if it was Indigo.

 

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