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Making Arrangements [CD]

Posted on Tue May 14th, 2019 @ 5:00pm by Captain Malcom Llwyedd & Lieutenant Commander Rhiana t'Aegis

Mission: Interlude 3
Location: Empok Nor
Timeline: 1 November, 2394 - 1800 Hours


[ON]

Bokot was sitting on a bench, outside of what was soon to be a new business venture of his on Empok Nor. Oh, nobody would know that he was behind it but it was his nonetheless. He'd noticed that there was an abundance of shops catering to the crews of the Starfleet and Cardassian vessels but not many that focused on the civilian families of Empok Nor. So he'd signed a lease and would soon open up a store selling civilian clothing, trade goods and arranging excursions to vacation spots. Empok Nor, like DS9, wasn't exactly a destination for relaxation.

Bokot's eye roved over the light crowd and then stopped. Well, well. he thought as he recognized the familiar form of Lieutenant t'Aegis. He smiled. Commander t'Aegis apparently. He stood up, straightened his tunic and walked towards her. As the crowd shifted, he saw another figure standing next to her, a young Romulan male. Too young to be a mate. A child?

"Ah, Commander, t'Aegis. Congratulations on your promotion," Bokot said with a half bow.

Rhiana's expression lacked any surprise as she returned the bow. "Bokot. Thank you." She did almost not hesitate before she gestured to the young Romulan at her side. "Meet Xavi, my ward." Looking at Xavi, she indicated the other Romulan. "Xavi, meet Bokot. He is a businessman with interests on Empok Nor." She had not previously told Xavi about Bokot, she had even hesitated whether or not it was a good idea for the two of them to meet. She still was not certain, but now it was too late.

"Hello," Xavi said in a guarded tone. "It is a pleasure to meet you, Bokot." Xavi eyed the new arrival with both great interest and concern. There was something about him that reminded the young Romulan of the six legged cats back on the Techlon planet.

Bokot bowed again to Xavi. "And you," Bokot said before returning his attention to Rhiana. "Commander, I didn't know you had other family in this sector. Are the two of you taking quarters on Empok Nor? If you are, I can help you locate authentic Romulan furnishings. It's always better when the surroundings are more familiar." In truth, Bokot was certain he did know where Xavi came from. He was hoping that one of his schemes was about to come to partial fruition.

"We are currently indeed residing on Empok Nor while my vessel is undergoing repairs," Rhiana replied. She was matter-of-fact about it, certain that he probably knew the extent of the damages and the repair schedule by heart. "Our quarters aboard the station are temporary, but I might be interested in Romulan furnishings for our quarters on the Firebird." She smiled briefly. Just two acquantainces making small talk. "Small pieces, of course. The quarters are not exactly spacious. I take it your business endeavours are successful?" Bokot's semi-question about Xavi's origins remained unanswered.

"Oh yes," Bokot said. "I've been very fortunate to make new friends who are in constant need of help. I expect that relationship to bear fruit over and over again. What about you? How did your ship manage to become damaged so severely? I'd heard that Captain Llwyedd was somewhat reckless but nothing that would indicate such an outcome."

Xavi frowned. "Captain Llwyedd is not reckless. He's a very brave man and I think you shouldn't talk about him like that."

Rhiana refrained from raising an eyebrow. Could it be that Bokot really did not know? It was unlikely, but not impossible. "It had nothing to do with the Captain's character. We had an altercation during our last assignment. The Firebird sustained some damage." She gave a shrug as if it was a mere few scratches and not damage extensive enough to almost send the Firebird to the scrapyard. "It is good to hear that your affairs are keeping you busy. Actually, would you mind giving me your contact information? I can then send you approximate measurements for furniture and also what exactly I am looking for."

Bokot ignored the boy's comment. It was clear he had need of a mentor like t'Aegis. He wouldn't last long if he didn't learn to control his emotions and words. "Of course," Bokot said with a smile. "I'm always glad to be of service to you, commander. Are you planning to remain on the station for some time then? I'd heard that your ship was going to be in the Antares Shipyard for some time. Of course, my sources do, occasionally, make mistakes." The promenade traffic was beginning to pick up as ships docked and disgorged their passengers. Bokot felt like he was standing in the middle of a river.

Xavi sighed. Rhiana was good to him. He was grateful for her protection and teaching but she treated him like a child. He'd tried on more than one occasion to remind her that he'd managed to survived, mostly alone, on a primitive planet. He wondered if she'd respect him more if he'd fought beside her back on the planet. He looked around, ignoring the conversation between her and Bokot.

Rhiana noticed the increase in traffic as well and began to move to the sidelines. "We should continue this conversation elsewhere. Maybe you have an office nearby?" She glanced at the youth, noticing his detachment. "You do not need to accompany me, Xavi. But be on time for your lessons."

Xavi smiled. "Thank you. I'm just going to wander the Promenade and look at some of these shops. I will not be late," Xavi said and, with a nod of his head to Bokot, walked off.

Bokot watched him walk away, wondering why the boy looked familiar when he'd certainly never met him before. He turned back to t'Aegis. "Of course. I have a small office right this way," Bokot said and made his way through the crowd to the storefront of his soon to be open business. The front was covered with a metal grate but it had a security door set into it. Bokot held up his palm to the door and a red scan washed over his hand. There was a whirring sound and the security door slid aside, revealing a moderate size room full of gaudy furnishings and a handful of plush red chairs.

"Please ignore the hideous furniture. It is from the previous establishment, which closed rather quickly and fled. I hear they were in some serious trouble with the Orion Syndicate and somehow they were found here on Empok Nor," Bokot said, still walking. He crossed the main space, stepping around a few smaller crates, until he reached the far side where a door stood open. The interior couldn't have been more different from the outside. All of the walls were covered with black tapestries, one of which was emblazoned with the symbol of the Romulan Empire, but instead of being a bright color, it was a charcoal grey, giving it a subdued feel. The rest of the room followed suit. An expensive computer console, more akin to something one might find on a starship than in a merchant's business, was against one wall. Two large couches clustered around a low curved table, forming a comfortable seating area near the computer system.

"Please, have a seat," Bokot said, gesturing towards the couches. "Can I offer you some refreshment?"

A rare smile illuminated Rhiana's face briefly when she saw the office's interior. It immediately felt familiar and she experienced a sudden bout of longing. Not for the stark, utilitarian vessel she had spent all of her career in the Romulan Navy on, but for the home she had once known that had had similar tapestries on the walls and similar furniture in the sitting room. Of course, there were differences. One of which, the most noticeable when she sat down, was that the sofa she settled on was new. Maybe not brand new, but it certainly felt that way compared to the couches in her House's manor that had been sat on by generations of s'Aegis and their guests.

Suddenly, she remembered that Bokot had asked her a question and she chased away the memories, slightly embarrassed that she had let herself be sidetracked so easily. "Ah, yes. Some water, please." She was not really thirsty, but niceties and rituals had to be observed sometimes.

Bokot walked to a small replicater and produced two large glasses of water. He walked to Rhiana, handed her a water and then sat down nearby. He held his glass with one hand and leaned back against the couch. "So, you need furnishings? Or were there other things I could help you with?" He was comfortable in this familiar feeling space, meeting with someone who he held in high regard.

Rhiana, on the other hand, was tense again. She did not lean back or made herself comfortable, preferring to keep her rigid posture. To avoid having to answer right away, she took a sip of water. She had tried to imagine this encounter ever since she had first brought Xavi to the Firebird, knowing that it would be inevitable. And that it might very likely put her into a position she had tried to avoid. "The boy is not a relative. We found him during our last assignment, stranded on an unchartered planet. From what we were able to learn, he crashed there with his mother twelve years ago. She died not long thereafter." Rhiana took a breath. "Can you make inquiries as to the identity of the boy? Whether he has any surviving family?"

Bokot raised an eyebrow. "Of course I can. It's what I'm good at, besides being an able businessman. But I need to know more about the boy and the mother. How did they crash?y What ship were they on? Do you have any records or other items that might yield more information?" Bokot asked and took a drink. "And I'd like to talk to the boy as well. He might know some things that will be crucial to finding out who he is." Bokot smiled. Everything was working out just as he'd hoped. As long as Rhiana never found out about his little cloaking device deal with those New Maquis idiots, he would be able to achieve his goal.

Had Rhiana known about his deal, she would not be sitting here. Or maybe she would. Bokot was, after all, her only link to home, even if she did not exactly trust him. "I will speak with the boy first. But if he agrees, I will provide you with the information I was able to retrieve. If that is not sufficient, you may question the boy in my presence." She had no intention of leaving Xavi alone with Bokot, fearing that the latter would use the occasion to poison the youth's mind.

Bokot nodded. "Very well. I'm sure that I can discover something about him. Many of our resources were lost but I retain much and have made new inroads as well," Bokot said. "Tell me about your recent adventures. I have heard so many rumors."

"Is that so?" Rhiana sounded almost astonished. A hardly disguised act. "And what did those rumours say?"

"That you were attacked by Borg. That your captain caused the crash. That your ship suffered a catastrophic engine failure. There are so many rumors, which is why I asked you for the truth. Or as much of the truth as you care to share. Or not. I'm perfectly content to discuss something else. I don't have the pleasure of talking with another Romulan very often out here in the middle of Cardassian space," Bokot said.

Rhiana nodded slowly and looked around the room again. It was pleasant to be in familiar-looking surroundings and in the presence of a proper Romulan, even if that Romulan was Bokot whom she did still not entirely trust. "I doubt I would be sitting here had the Borg attacked us," she eventually said as her eyes met Bokot's again. "But were were indeed attacked and had to abandon ship. Thankfully, it happened in the vicinity of a populated class M planet." She took a sip of water. "Populated with descendants of Terrans, many of whom were hostile to our arrival. Due to their level of technological development, it took us several weeks to account for all crew members and manage to repair the Firebird sufficiently to be able to leave the planet again."

Bokot took in Rhiana's story with his normal calm expression showing. On the inside, he was pleased that everything had turned out as he'd expected. Dealing with the New Maquis was a delicate line for him to walk. "Well, it sounds like you and your crew have proved your mettle. Congratulations on escaping that planet. Of course, I would expect nothing less of someone with your talents," Bokot said and took another drink. "You know, perhaps you would be inclined to put those talents of yours to use, assisting me from time to time?"

Rhiana inclined her head slightly at the praise, wordlessly accepting it. It was quickly followed by a slight frown and a sip of water of her own. She knew - or at least strongly surmised - that most of Bokot's affairs were illegal to some degree. 'Assisting' him could mean the end of her career and worse. On the other hand and if she was completely honest with herself, which she usually avoided, she longed for contact with her own people. "What exactly would this 'assisting' entail?"

"I hear a suspicious tone in your voice," Bokot said. "I don't have anything immediately to offer as an example. But as you know, I have resources available that I use to further the interests of those who support a restored Romulan Empire. Sometimes people find themselves in dangerous situations. I try to help where I can. I know that you are a member of Starfleet now and while I can't fathom why anyone would want to do something like that, I respect your right to choose. I wouldn't ask you to do anything that would put your career at risk."

"It was not as much of a choice as you think. Had I not been accepted into Starfleet..." Rhiana shrugged as she trailed off, as if it had not been a big deal, though the opposite was true. "In all likelihood, and given the circumstances back then, I may well have turned to crime." She took a sip of water and when she spoke again, her tone had changed, sounding a little more animated. "In any case, I thank you for respecting the boundaries of my career. If my duties allow, I will lend you my help, but I reserve the right to refuse if whatever task you have in mind would put my current way of life in jeopardy."

Bokot felt like he'd made progress. It was the first time that he could remember her agreeing with him. He nodded. "That seems fair. It will take me a few days to make inquiries about Xavi. If I discover anything I will contact you immediately," Bokot said and then finished his drink. "Would you care to stay for dinner?" He'd love to have her stay and lower her formidable guard. Who knew what he might discover.

Rhiana's smile was a genuinely amused one. She emptied her glass as well and placed it on the low table in front of her. "One step at a time, Bokot." She rose to her feet. "How much will your services in regards to the boy be?"

Bokot let a sly smile slither across his face as he stood. He'd had to try. "I'm dealing in two kinds of currency these days: latinum and information. I'm sure you know many things that I would find valuable. Sadly, your oath would also prohibit you from divulging them. Latinum it is then. Let us say one bar of latinum. We can adjust as needed. I'm going to have to access some databases that are... difficult. Does that sound agreeable?"

"Yes." It was not inexpensive, but she did prefer latinum over information or favours. "I am not carrying that much latinum with me. Will you still be here in the next hour?"

"Yes. I will. After that, without a dinner partner, I will be forced to resort to work as a distraction. I have a rare shipment that needs seeing to and I am forced to resort to Ferengi merchants. I will see you soon, I hope," Bokot said.

Rhiana flashed a grin at Bokot for that overly obvious hint about dinner. It almost worked. But she needed to be careful with him. Accepting to occasionally work with him was already dangerous enough - in more than one way. "At least you can rely on them trying to cheat you," she commented wryly before she bowed her head a fraction deeper than previously. "I will be back shortly."

[OFF]

Captain Malcom Llwyedd
Commanding Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298



Lieutenant Commander Rhiana t'Aegis
Chief Security/Tactical Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298







 

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Comments (2)

By Lieutenant JG Murril Na on Sat May 18th, 2019 @ 6:06pm

I liked this one, and I'm not sure why.

Favorite line: "Populated with descendants of Terrans, many of whom were hostile to our arrival. Due to their level of technological development, it took us several weeks to account for all crew members and manage to repair the Firebird sufficiently to be able to leave the planet again."

Well, when she puts it THAT way, it all sounds so routine. :) Meanwhile, let's leave out the parts about death due to landing in the middle of an ocean, starving, cannibalism, infection and/or poison from local fauna, gang warfare, and torture. Morrison is going to have her hands full for a while.

I liked how Xavi served as an unknown variable. If the conversation had only taken place between the two adult Romulans, there wouldn't have been as much tension or as much possibility that somebody would give away too much at the wrong moment. His presence gave it an extra kick that woudn't have otherwise been present.

I have to admit I liked the thought of a what-if Rhiana managing her own organized crime syndicate if Starfleet hadn't accepted her. The dropped hint made her overall character so much more interesting than the usual ice queen stereotype common in similar characters.

By Lieutenant JG Yikete Oggt on Wed May 22nd, 2019 @ 6:08am

I really enjoy reading these exchanges between Bokot and Rhiana. They're so subdued on the surface yet churning with so much undercurrent-- makes me want to know where this will take them. -Liam