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Free Range: Get Into Character

Posted on 31 Mar 2022 @ 11:24am by Commander Calliope Zahn
Edited on on 06 Feb 2024 @ 8:13pm

Mission: M3 - Into the Deep
Location: Stardust City, Freecloud
Timeline: tbd following "Free Range: Come to the Table"
2222 words - 4.4 OF Standard Post Measure

The apartment was sparse looking but Calliope puttered around the livingroom while she waited with Indigo's friends.

"Do you know if Blue has any board games?" She asked as she stuck her head into a coat closet. "Or cards or dice or anything? Do either of you even play games? You said you were a ship's captain, right?" Calliope stepped back out into the middle of the room and looked between the Romulan and the Reman. "You've gotta know something about killing time between the stars. What do you guys play?"

Kaylin looked at Krynn. Then back at Calliope. She shook her head silently.

Calliope moved to the kitchen and kept opening the drawers until she came across a deck of cards. "Ah! Here we go. Well, let's see. I think I remember all the rules to Hearts. Or there's Black Jack." She started cutting and shuffling the deck on it's side. "How about Go Fish? I mean, everyone starts with Go Fish. Or Spit."

Krynn looked at Kaylin, confused about whether he was being instructed to actually spit on the ground, but she shook her head with a slight eye-roll.

"We don't play recreational games as such," Kaylin responded. "Growing up, any sort of game would involve far greater stakes than what the humans call 'bragging rights'. However...I am proficient enough in three-dimensional chess."

"See, you and my husband would probably enjoy 3-D chess. I only know half the leveling moves. Lance tells me I keep breaking the rules. Apparently there's no 'being creative' in chess. At least not *my* kind of creative." Calliope started dealing cards at the one table in the room. "Go Fish, you'll love it. Low stakes, no body loses an eye or anything."

"What's the fun if nobody loses an eye...?" the Romulan grumbled, reluctantly taking a seat.

Calliope smiled at the grumbled reluctance. These tough-as-nails type hauled their chips around on their shoulders but clung to their damage all the same. "Your pal here is probably gonna clean us out of pairs. I can tell. It's always the quiet ones." She proceeded to explain the classic elementary game. Everybody got some cards, everything else formed a pond in the middle, you had to ask around to make matches- part of the essentials of every elementary kid's pass time. But these two didn't look like they'd had a childhood, so Calliope assumed nothing as she outlined the rules without judgement before she proceeded. "I'll start." She looked at the Reman and then back at Kaylin. "I didn't get his name.." She cued, wondering if he even had a voice as he hadn't made as much as a peep. Not that he had to say much to emanate threat.

"He's Krynn."

"Right," So Krynn," Calliope fanned out her cards and raised her eyebrows. "Do you have any fours...?"

Indigo had not wanted to go off and pick items up leaving the trio in her apartment but needs must. She was pretty sure green blood came out of furnishing right? She questioned to herself as she found a girl sitting on the stairs as if she belonged there. She looked just as out of place in the building as her but was waiting for her.

"Are you Blue?" The girl asked, between blowing and recapturing a chewing gum bubble.

“Calliope sent you? Of course she did. Come on then.” Indigo indicated up the staircase and back to the apartment. She could not even give her some of the cases as she had her own hands fall with whatever she was carrying. “Everyone alive I hope.” She called as warning putting the cases down down and shrugging out of her coat with a shake of snow out of her hair.

"Hey, Lolly." Said the girl with a slight wave to Calliope. She was barely twenties looking, with a very exotic Flaxian face. Her make up and piercings leaned towards a punkish look but seemed to still be holding on to something of her childhood with occasional touches like the row of plastic star barrettes and gumball machine quality bracelets lining her arms. She was toting a backpack made up more of overlapping patches than anything else. Around her neck she wore a hi-tech collar with bright optic patterns firing through thousands of tiny filaments and a technical monocle was hooked over her right ear to display augmented reality to her right eye.

"Elshi! You made it." Calliope hugged her and the girl smiled, just a little, while trying to stay cool in front of the new people.

"It'd be hard to pass up, Loll. You always have the best jobs." As the two women leaned back Elshi looked at her and seemed to intuit something was off. "Wait, I made it, but where are you, Lolly?"

"I can explain it later." Calliope promised, turning to Indigo as she set down the shopping. "How is that other contact coming along?"

“He will be here soon. He was getting off shift when I spoke to him.” Indigo assured thinking on the man who had been her partner in her younger days for the watchdog. His allegiances were as split as hers was so it was no issue for him to be involved. He seemed intrigued by it all and helping them.

"Excellent. He'll be needed for stage two, but we should have a little time for that yet." She rubbed her hands together before unzipping the the length of one of the clothing bags and holding it up by the hanger. It was a dark, silken dress with a warm inner lining and a full fur stole. She held it up in the direction of Captain Kaylin as if to eyeball the measurements and seemed pleased. "Yes, that should work."

Calliope handed it to Kaylin and peeked into a second, handing it to Krynn to open for himself.

Krynn eyed the purple-black leathery suit silently. It looked like it would enhance his natural size and bulk, and for that he was unlikely to protest. Saying nothing, he merely accepted the offering and stepped away.

"This one is yours, Blue." Calliope handed her the hanger. "I know it's not your typical style, but I think you can pull it off."

Indigo looked at the dress and grinned. The dress covered just one of her shoulders left the other uncovered and flowed down into a stylish neckline. It was a snug fit which gave the dress a relaxed, yet graceful look. Paired with the fur-lined cloak as what the fashion for the coldness of Freecloud was going to be perfect.

“Well, they are a lot nicer than the last outfit I had when I met you,” Indigo commented as she set about getting some herbal tea to warm up.

"Did you get the shoes?" Calliope called after her. "Shoes always give people away."

“Shoes. Yeah, that case was heavy.” Indigo indicated towards the door and where everything else was set about. Once it was opened saw the shoes that matched the dress and grinned over the steam of the herbal tea. "Well, they can certainly be used as a weapon if I need it." She commented seeing the heels. "How did you get the sizes? You are good but I do not think you are that good to get that correct." Indigo questioned

"Easy." She shrugged. "Tailor's scans. I learned a lot of tricks from a Quartermaster who worked for me a couple of assignments ago. Chief Fossman. Really observant guy. Nothing escaped him. Was always one step ahead of what we needed. Spoiled us in mission prep phase. Speaking of the props, Elshi, tell me you got the transaction I sent you."

"Yeah." The Flaxian dropped her backpack on the table like a kid with her afterschool homework and slipped a slender hard shelled case from one of the zippered pockets. She set it down on the cards spread over the table. and spun it around for Calliope to inspect.

"Go ahead Kaylin," Calliope said with a little flourish of her hand, "It's your prop. And the most expensive part of this op. Have a look for us."

Kaylin popped the case and eyed the contents. Rows upon rows of credit markers, a small fortune in digital currency. She doubted it was traceable, either. The momentary thought occurred to her that she could just take the case and leave; the funds would do the Rangers some good. But she was no Ferengi. She glanced very quickly at Calliope with a raised eyebrow; this must have cost some considerable sway for the Starfleeter to raise.

"They're the real deal alright." Calliope affirmed. "It's a good thing you're in this for more than money, or I'd have to worry about you walking with it. We do have some pretty convincing spoofs though. See if you can tell the difference."

Elshi drew out a second, identical case, swiveling it around beside the first for presentation, and opened it to display.

"You Federation types and your 'pairs'." Kaylin snorted. She looked at Calliope. "What was the expression you used? 'Go fish'?"

"We've got to get our mark to take our money," Calliope explained. "Ostensibly for the laundering. He's going to run an authentication on them. And after he takes the bait—"

Indigo raised an eyebrow as she defrosted enough to catch up. "We switch the cases." She laughed not able to believe it was as simple as that.

"Ten points to Indigo. It's not our money we need in his vault. It's our code. Elshi has programed the spoofs to load some of her own artistry into his vault core."

"I am liking your style Elshi." Indigo said impressed by the thought of the coding. As a daughter of two hackers, she could really appreciate it if it worked as well as Calli gave her credit for.

"What kind of door security are we expecting?" Kaylin asked. "I'll be carrying a disruptor and a blade in obvious locations; they'll expect that. But in terms of scanning and weapons detection, what are we up against?"

Calliope held out both hands in an easy-now gesture, not especially fond of the nasty effects of disruptors. "His security is going to arms-check on the yacht's gangplank. You'll be scanned and patted down again before you get in to talk to the mark. I'd like to avoid any confrontations. You're going to talk your way in and out in stage one. You're our pretty face in this act. Your role is a shadow financier for a Tal Shiar cell."

"Then I'll definitely need to be armed," Kaylin replied, ignoring the comment about her appearance. "No chance they'll believe a Tal Shiar agent came in unarmed. Or not looking for a fight, either."

"See, that's the kind of insight I'm glad you're bringing to this." Calliope was experienced enough to know what she needed to lean on others for.

Kaylin crossed her arms thoughtfully. "What's your role in this, then?"

"This mostly." Calliope motioned to all the preparation materials. "But if you mean during the op, while you're talking I'll be in the party with Indigo, setting up the switch."

“And my friend the muscle? Oh that might be him.” Indigo wondered as she heard the knock at the door that might be the man in question. She got up and grinned at the user display that told her indeed it was the man who would be the muscle for the operation. Indigo opened the door with a grin ushering the man into the room. He looked around at the familiar players and nodded in greeting at Kaylin and Krynn after all. They did not need introductions but he looked at Calliope and Elshi waiting for something from Indigo. “This is Calliope and Elshi. Guys meet Reuben Gregnol… he is the friend I have that is going to help.”

In greeting, Calliope reached out a hand to Gregnol while Elshi blew a bubble with her gum over which she gave a Judging eye.

Gregnol narrowed his eyes but took the offered hand and shook it firmly. Something about the whole set up in the room was different than the New Year’s Eve party that he had attended there. Something felt off about it all but he could not put his finger on it at all.

"How long can you hold your breath, Mr. Gregnol?" Calliope asked with interest, looking fairly straight up at the taller gent. 'The muscle' just about summed him up by the look of it, with his scruffy square jaw and his bulk of a frame.

“Just Gregnol or Reuben is fine.” The man countered quickly. He did not like being addressed as mister. He had not been a mister in a long time that it felt strange. “Five minutes but if I could get a rebreather I can make it make it longer.” He said narrowing his eyes to look at Indigo who was inspecting her new clothes purposely ignoring the inquisitive gaze of the man.

"That should do nicely then," Calliope approved. She checked the chrono readout on her wrist display. "Let's get you briefed and outfitted and let everyone change for the party." She motioned for Gregnol to follow to the kitchen where they could sit down with her stage two plans...


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