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Steiner: And these children that you spit on - Part 1

Posted on 27 Apr 2022 @ 11:45am by Chief Deputy Marshal: Ridge Steiner - FMS

Mission: M3 - Into the Deep
Location: Promenade
Timeline: MD 3 12.15hrs
2545 words - 5.1 OF Standard Post Measure

“Thieves! Stop them! Thieves!”

Steiner, Lofthammer and T’Sar whirled around in their seats. The cry came from a portly Andorian, the owner of a food cart, some twenty yards away from the café area where the three were having lunch.

A figure cut through the crowd of lunch time patrons on the promenade food court, a young Romulan boy, maybe twelve or fourteen, thin and disheveled, but lightning fast and coming towards them

Another figure was breaking to the left, a third and fourth going right. All young Romulans, two other boys and a girl, like the first, they were thin and unkempt.

“I got this one” Steiner said. “T’ Sar get the girl, Sven-Eric try for the other two”

Lofthammer and T’Sar moved off. Steiner remained seated. The boy running this way was looking behind him, his attention more focused on any pursuit, than what was ahead of him.

He closed in fast. Steiner put his foot on one of the other chairs at their table, he’d have to time this just right, because he knew he’d never catch the kid if he had to chase him,

The boy dodged around another table, nearly knocking over a female patron. The woman screamed and yelled, swinging her purse at him. The boy stumbled and as he went to regain his balance Steiner kicked the chair out. It clattered across the floor right into the boy’s path.

The youth saw it coming at the last moment and tried to hurdle it. He failed, his backfoot caught the chair and he collapsed over it, slamming into the ground. A small parcel of something dropped from his hand and went rolling away.

Steiner was on him and grasping hold of the boy’s tatty jacket, hauled him up on his feet. The youth tried to wriggle out of his jacket, but Steiner got a solid grip on the boys right forearm and easily moved it into a rear-armbar. The boy was not done yet, he said something in Romulan and tried to mule kick Steiner’s shin.

“Ouch! Dammit!” Steiner raised the boy’s elbow, and tweaked the wrist over, putting on a pain compliance hold “Cut that out!”

The boy bent forward to relieve the pressure on his elbow and fumbled in his jacket pocket with his left hand. It came out holding something sharp looking.

‘Oh no you don’t!” Steiner leaned back, put the outside of his left foot behind the boy’s knees, pushed forward and drove the youth down on the ground again. “Drop that now! Drop it!” He lifted the elbow a little more. The youth cried out and a short blade went skittering across the floor.

“You got anything else?!” He demanded starting a pat down search. “I just got over one trip to Sickbay, I better not cut or stick myself, so tell me now!”

The youth shook his head, muttering something in Romulan

“Standard! You speak standard?”

“No! Yes!... No nothing else”

Steiner completed his search, placed the youth in handcuffs and hauled him up. “These are stun-cuffs, so don’t run you understand me? You run, I’ll turn them on and you’ll be out. You understand?”

The boy glowered but nodded, “Yes”

“Alright, stand there and don’t move” Steiner glared at the boy until he nodded and looked down. Steiner retrieved the weapon. It was indeed a knife, but just barely, it looked more like a something from a tool box and had a short, bent blade, with the tip broken off. Not something you would want to get stuck with but unlikely to cause serious injury.

Then he retrieved the other item the boy had dropped. It turned out to be a sandwich, some kind of sub; meat and vegetables in a long bun. The kid had been stealing food he realized and took a long look at his prisoner

Romulan, a little over five feet tall, skinny, grubby and in clothes that hadn’t been washed in while either. He certainly looked like he needed a good meal in him.

“What’s your name?” He asked

“Vrekov”

“How old are you Vrekov?”

“Fourteen”

“You took this from that stall?”

The boy nodded and looked own at his feet.

“Alright c’mon, let’s go see the owner”

He walked the boy through the crowd of onlookers. “We’re done here people” he told them “Go enjoy your lunches, excitement’s over”

He saw T’Sar coming in too, with the girl in handcuffs. Romulan, younger than Vrekov, maybe twelve, but just as thin. She was still squirming and wriggling around. The Vulcan had a firm grip on the girl’s left bicep, there was a tear in the left sleeve of T’Sar’s tunic.

“She tried to bite me” She said holding up the sleeve.

“Huh, this one wanted to stab me” he replied and showed T’Sar the broken knife.

“Quite the gang of dangerous felons” Lofthammer added walking up, one boy held in front of him, about the same size and age as Vrekov, another smaller and younger boy held under his arm. This one was crying and wailing in Romulan. Vrekov said something to him and he stopped wailing but continued to cry quietly,

They moved over to the waiting Andorian who was stood by a mobile food cart. Urak th’Zulas Andorian Sandwich Express a sign announced.

“You caught the little thieving beggars!” He proclaimed. “Everyday for a week they try to take food! But Urak is too clever for them until today! Five Redbat rolls they take! Five!”

“Redbat? Isn’t that like some kind of... er.. Flying Squirrel?” Lofthammer asked

“Yes! From Andorian second moon! Is great delicacy! Five rolls they steal, with extra pickled vegetables! Premium quality! My most expensive sandwich!” Urak exclaimed

"They are street rats! What do they know of premium quality! Thieves and rogues they are! We do not tolerate thieves on Andoria! I demand justice! These urchins must be removed from the promenade! I will press all charges! They must be locked up! Urak’s premium quality Redbat rolls are for my beloved customers, not to be stolen by street rats! The best Redbat rolls for fifty lightyears made by Urak!”

Rather than dispersing, the crowd around the food cart was getting bigger as Urak continued to expound on his personal view of law and order and culinary proficiency.

Moments later a Security Team arrived. The leader saw Steiner and came over for instructions. “Kids stole some sandwiches, I’ve got this covered, but let’s move the crowd on ok” he explained to her

The Ensign nodded and set her team to break up the crowd and with his audience gone Urak finally calmed down.

Steiner sat the four children sat down, Lofthammer and T’sar interviewed them, while he spoke with the angry Andorian. “Ok so what’s been going on? You said they’ve tried to take food before?”

“Yes! Everyday, they hang around, they try to steal from me, from other vendors. Thieving street rats! I want to press all charges!”

“They’re kids, Urak, Children! Hungry children” Steiner tried

“I don’t care! I have children of my own! These rats are stealing form me and my family! You bring them here! Starfleet brings them here! They take over the atrium and then they let them run wild down here! Stealing! They must be removed from the station, send them down to the planet like they meant to go!”

The Security team had dispersed the onlookers but a couple of other street venders approached and joined in. One, a Human woman, was more understanding. “They can’t go down there, you know that Urak, they revoked their settlement plans. These people have nowhere to go and these kids don’t even have families to look after them. Of course they are hungry”

While the vendors argued amongst themselves Steiner went over to see what his deputies had found out about the children.

Lofthammer had recorded their prints, iris and details through his tricorder and cross referenced the station’s refugee database. He listed them off “Vrekov fourteen; Pardec, thirteen, his sister Llunye, twelve and Taiebok, ten. They are all orphans, no known next of kin”

“And over there is Vrekov’s sister, Rhaeina, she’s eight” T’Sar added, pointing out a small Romulan girl trying to hide behind a pillar, her wide and worried eyes peering around it. She gestured for the girl to come over, but she ducked back behind the pillar.

Steiner helped Vrekov to stand up. “I’m Steiner, I’m a Federation Marshal and Assistant Chief of Security. I’ll take the cuffs off, but don’t run, you understand me? Cos we know who you are now and your sister over there”

The boy nodded cautiously. ‘I will not run, don’t hurt my sister, she did not do anything”

“Nobody is going to hurt your or her. I just want to talk to you, find out what’s going on. Where are you all living, on the environmental levels?” Steiner asked

“We were but sometimes is not safe up there, we find other places” Vrekov replied

“But you get fed up there, they set up replicators for the refugees, right?”

“People take our rations, so we come down here”

“You get robbed up there and then become the thieves down here?”

Vrekov shrugged “We do not want to be thieves, but we are hungry. If I had credits I would pay!”

“When was the last time you ate?”

“Two days ago”

“You steal that too?”

“No, there was food left over, on some of the caffe tables. People don’t eat it, they leave their plates, we took some before it was thrown away”

Steiner shook his head “What about the people who look after you, were you with other orphans? There must be somebody caring for you all? Somebody who brought you here?”

“They left, they got on a ship, not everyone could go, some of us had to stay. They said they would come back, that was many weeks ago”

"Sounds like they just fell through the cracks” Lofthammer observed

Steiner nodded grimly. “Seems that way. Let me go sort this out. Get them up and uncuffed” he motioned to the other children.

He went back over the group of vendors, Urak was still demanding the children be arrested, a couple of the others were now supporting the woman in a less harsh approach.

Steriner explained what he had found out. “They are all orphans, no next of kin and it seems they even been abandoned by the people who brought them here. They didn’t feel safe on the environmental level and so came down to the promenade looking for food. They are hungry children, just wanting something to eat, you want me to detain them for that?”

Urak was unconvinced so Steiner tried another tack. “Who else helps with your business? You said you have children, your wife? You have employees?”

“No is just me!” Urak declared proudly “My wife looks after our children. I do all the work and I cannot afford an employee. Especially when I am being robbed! And I am down five premium quality Redbat rolls, premium quality! With extra pickled vegetables!” He began working himself up again

“Ok well let’s solve that issue right now. What’s the bill? Let’s pay that off”

“What?” Urak was confused

Steiner pulled his own credit chip and tossed it to Urak “The bill, put it on my account, In fact, take for ten rolls, premium quality, extra pickled veg ok. The five they took and give me five more!”

Urak looked a little confused but did as Steiner instructed, coming back with five more rolls in a bag and the credit chip. Steiner took the chip and the bag. “Ok so you’re all square now right Urak? I paid for the five they stole and five more”

Urak nodded, unsurely

“Ok, so the loss has been covered” Steiner tossed the bag to T’Sar and pointed to the kids. “Feed them. And Vrekov, call your sister over”

Urak began to protest.

“They haven’t eaten in two days Urak, the last thing they ate was left-overs that were going in the recycler. I just paid you for those rolls, so give them a break!” Steiner told him.

“Now, I’ve got a proposition for you, for all of you in fact”. He included the other vendors there. “We’ll get them out from under your feet and they won’t steal from any of you again. But you find them work to do and you feed them in payment”

Urak opened his mouth to object, but others agreed and moments later they are coming over with drinks and pastries for the children.

Urak still looked grumpy. “Think of your own kids Urak, if you weren’t around to care for them. Wouldn’t you rather they worked and were fed, than went hungry and had to steal?” Steiner tried.

“Perhaps..” The Andorian grudgingly acknowledged. ”Very well Urak agrees! But no shirking! They do proper work!”

“No shirking, proper work for proper good food” Steiner agreed

“Urak only make good food!”

‘I know, premium quality right”

"Right!" Urak stomped back off to his card, now fully embracing the concept, which quickly became his idea and he proceeded to tell a line of customers how he had personally solved the street urchin issue.

Steiner went back to where the children were, happily tucking into a considerable quantity of donated goodies.

The smallest girl, Rhaeinam, was clinging to Lofthammer’s leg and working her way through what looked like a large chocolate chip cookie. She saw Steiner watching her and shyly gave him a wide grin.

He winked at her and turned to explain the situation to Vrekov.

“We help them and they will feed us?” The boy asked, not sounding convinced.

"That's the deal, you come down here each afternoon. They will find you all some chores and then they will feed you in return. " Steiner nodded. "You guys get fed, they get some help. Nobody needs a file a report and nobody gets in trouble"

"How long do we work?" Vrekov queried

"I don't know" Streiner admitted "An hour or two maybe, depends what chores they have, but hey it'd not like you've got a full schedule or anything right? I guess you don't attend school?"

"No, not for over a year" Vrekov nodded "There is not much to do here"

"I guess not, so you get up to mischief. Well this will hopefully keep you out of more trouble until a resettlement plan is worked out for you and your people" Steiner replied, knowing that was not going to be any time soon.

He looked around the small group, something had to be done but what?

"Alright, lets get them back to the office, get them cleaned up and replicate them fresh clothes" Steiner decided. "Then we'll take them back up to the environmental level and try and find some responsible adult"

Continued...

 

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