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Should I Stay or Should I Go

Posted on Sat Sep 7th, 2019 @ 7:02am by Captain Nycolas Temple & Lieutenant Cailus Griffin & Terrekal

Mission: Death in Paradise
Location: Pandora's Box
Timeline: current

ON

Terrekal had been summoned to Pandora's Box by the Captain himself. He knew what this was about, and he couldn't help but get a little nervous. He wasn't sure if Mindo would be there to play wingman. He had met Captain Temple socially, but had previously been under investigation by the other person in the meeting, Chief of Security Cailus Griffin. Mindo's attitude toward Cailus was seemingly calm, but Terrekal felt intimidated by the man. His authoritative voice and cold eyes during the questioning put Terrekal on edge, and since it was hard to read the man, he wasn't really sure what he was getting into.

Terrekal realized his request to join the Pandora as a civilian passenger was strictly the opposite of the offer he gave to Mindo, to leave the Pandora. That had been before his ship was impounded and his licence for trading on the station was revoked. This put him in bad water, as trading on Paradise made up two thirds of his profits. And then there was his unfinished business with Mindo and whatever "Uno" was...

Walking into the restaurant, Terrekal spotted Temple and Griffin conversing in a booth on the far side of the room. He gave a wave and started toward them.

"Mr. Terrekal." Nyx said as the Fesarian trader approached. He didn't stand, on purpose, and instead indicated for Terrekal to take the open seat at the bench. "Thank you for coming so quickly."

"Thanks for agreeing to see me," said Terrekal, sitting down. "I think I can guess what this is about..."

Sitting ramrod straight, Cailus raised a quizzical eyebrow at Terrekal. A PADD was on the table in front of him, its contents unreadable from Terrekal's height. "You can?" he asked evenly.

Terrekal shrugged. "It's about my request? About my ship being impounded?" He looked back and forth between the two. "Isn't it?"

“I was surprised by the request.” Nyx admitted, his tone hesitant. “But I understand. Paradise is going to be in a period of chaos for some time until Katya can fully regain control. I can see why you’d want to spend some time away from there.”

Terrekal nodded. "And I'm afraid with all of the changes it looks like I'll have run out of most of my favors. Of course, coming with you would put me in your debt, but I always pay my debts. And who knows? I may be of some use to you." He cleared his throat. "I also have another motive for joining you," he said, taking a PADD and putting it on the table. The file displayed on the PADD was the heavily redacted file Mindo had shown to Cailus just a few days ago; it was the one which alleged Terrekal as an operative working for Vice Admiral Bradford Chase, a higher-up in the annals of Starfleet Intelligence. Terrekal shifted in his seat. "Have you seen this?" he asked.

Nyx didn’t blink, but he stared intently at their guest, “Where do you suppose it came from?”

Terrekal's brow furrowed. "I don't know. Mindo showed this to me last night. He said it came from someone named 'Uno.' I don't know who that is."

Cailus sighed, leaning back in his seat as he rubbed his brow. He still looked exhausted from the endless work of the past two days, seeming much older than usual with the added wrinkles around his eyes. "Mindo showed it to me as well, Captain, two days ago. It was a subspace transmission that we received after arriving at Paradise. Neither of us knew who this 'Uno" is, nor could we verify the service jacket's authenticity, so I hesitated to bring it to your attention."

The Captain took in a deep breath, but didn’t keep his eye off of the Fesarian. “The question is, Mr. Terrekal, do you pose a threat to my crew or this ship?”

"Of course not!" Terrekal blurted. "I... no, I don't. Sir."

Nyx nodded slightly, not in affirmation but more just taking in Terrekal's words. "And how long were you looking to stay on the Pandora?"

"I don't know," Terrekal said. "Probably as soon as I can find a way to leave that is profitable to me. I also have the issue of my various cargo, of which I still have claim, which I could give to your ship as a token of thanks. None of my cargo would be illegal in Federation space and all of it was honestly purchased, so no one will come looking for it. I have some various parts for ships and a number of indulgences, such as food, drinks, and recreational items. I believe much of my cargo would be very useful around here. You may check my inventory first, of course."

“That’s a generous offer,” The Captain acknowledged, giving a slight glance to Griffin to see if this piqued his interest too. “As you are no doubt aware, this is not a tour boat. The only true civilians onboard are family members of the crew that Starfleet has given permission to join us. Everyone else is expected to pull their weight in some capacity. We’re on a mission of scientific and diplomatic importance; I would suggest your knowledge of the local area and it’s inhabitants would be far more beneficial to us than your personal storage.”

"I'm willing to be useful in any way I can," Terrekal said. "If you would like, I could serve as a diplomatic adviser, working closely with your diplomatic officer. At least as long as you are here in the Expanse. Mindo did tell me you were headed back to Federation territory, however, where my contacts and knowledge is much more limited."

Temple gave a wry smile. "You never know what the future may bring. Of course, as a civilian, you will only be able to access certain decks of the ship, unless otherwise granted permission from Mr. Griffin. We're also currently undergoing repairs, once again, so we're rationing holodeck credits and replicator use, too." He gave a shrug, "It may be an adjustment for you; going from being totally on your own, independent and self-reliant, to having to share resources and space with a few hundred people. Do you think that will pose a problem?"

Terrekal shrugged. "I admit, it's not my ideal situation. But I've served as crew on other merchant ships before, with no holodecks or replicators. I learned from one of the merchants on Paradise that your computers have an extensive library of various literature. I believe your Lieutenant Mindo was assigned to give such information and more to the peoples of Paradise. I would be interested in viewing or reading some of them. It would be a nice respite from the chaos of this region. Not that I'm coming aboard for some kind of vacation," he added. "I'm only saying this to assure you I won't have any trouble amusing myself when my services are not necessary."

“Very well.” The Captain nodded, “Well, I would be open to having you join our ship, Terrekal. We could certainly use some new faces and more friends onboard.”

"Thank you, Captain," Terrekal said with a nod of his head. "One last thing," he added. "While my cargo has been acquired honestly, I do have a few cases of Romulan Ale. Should I sell these here on Paradise before departing on your ship, or would there be a possible good reason to have them on board?" He didn't say anything about Mindo's own stash of the stuff, but wondered if either the Captain or Security Chief already knew...

"Officially," Nyx began with a serious tone, "If you have contraband on this ship, it must be destroyed. I won't have illegal supplies on my ship, I'm not running a black market through the Inconnu Expanse." He paused a little, trying to keep the smile off his face, "Goodness knows I could use a drop or two, though."

"I'm sure it won't be a problem," Terrekal said, careful to not specify which part of the Captain's statement he was addressing.

Seeing the writing on the wall, Cailus rolled his eyes as he sat back. "Regulations permit the confiscation of illegal class B Romulan contraband pending the personal examination of the relevant authorities," he said with a resigned tone. "Which, in this case, would mean you, Captain, as the senior command-level officer present. By another regulation, you are then permitted to release the aforementioned contraband from custody so long as you have a reasonable expectation that the contraband shall not be distributed or transported within Federation space. Contraband may also be tested, in which case, Starfleet is not liable for any material losses incurred as a result so long as said losses do not exceed 30% of the total inventory."

Nyx nodded along silently, noting the tone in the Chief of Security's voice. He smiled to Terrekal, "Who needs the computer when we have a real-life database?"

Cailus shrugged. "Starship captains have been using that regulation for over a hundred years. There was a time when every security chief in the fleet was required to know that particular loophole."

"Very well. Mr Griffin, do you have an objections to Terrekal staying onboard?" Nyx asked directly, wishing to bring the conversation to a close.

Cailus hesitated, glancing at Terrekal with barely concealed unease. "No sir. Mister Terrekal poses no apparent security risk. This alleged service record is concerning, but unless we can verify its authenticity, it cannot be trusted." He paused, frowning, before looking again at Terrekal. "Welcome aboard, Mister Terrekal."

"Thank you, Lieutenant, Captain!" said Terrekal with much relief in his voice.

"Welcome onboard, Mr. Terrekal." Nyx replied with a smile, bringing the interrogation - well, meeting - to an end.

OFF

 

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