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Casal epidemic: Just another job, Right?

Posted on Thu Nov 1st, 2018 @ 2:16pm by Captain Raymond Wulfe
Edited on on Thu Nov 1st, 2018 @ 2:47pm

Mission: Mission 28: They do not play nice
Location: SB-214, Talbard Lounge
Timeline: 8 - 20 March 2392

Mercs: Hondo Lane, male Human; Al Matchten, male human; TuMail, male Romulan; Kimmot Saiba, female Betazoid; Depax, male Ferengi; Cuta, Female Romulan; Rescued are two young male humans and one female human (ages 21-23) [[All by wulfe]]

ON:

Hondo sat down across from six people who would normally not even look at him. Now their eyes betrayed an undisguised hope he could do what no one else might accomplish. A woman spoke up, she had an authoritative air about her and seemed to be the leader of the delegation. "Mister Lane I have been made to understand you are skilled in recovering lost people. I will not beat around the bush. My granddaughter, their son, and his son were taken by the Talarians. We have arranged through business contacts to pay one million credits for each of these young people."

The woman watched Hondo's face closely. His expression never changed as he reached for the carafe of the fruity smelling vodka on the table and filled a clean glass in front of him.

Her tone showed her dismay at his total lack of reaction. "The problem is they will not bring the young people here, the Talarian government will not sanction a vessel to go get them."

Hondo interrupted her after he swallowed the last drink from his glass. "So you are asking quite a task. Up front lets say 300,000 credits as a finders fee." He figured ten percent of the ransom paid was fair. "My expenses for the trip would be say another 100,000. I would need say five experts to help accomplish the task. At 20,000 each that would make it an even 500,000. So 300,000 up front, the rest once I return with the kiddos."

A man on the right of the gray haired woman slammed the table, "it is a two week job at the most! You want..." His voice sputtered to an enraged stop as his wife put her hand on his shoulder.

The Gray Haired woman spoke up clearly annoyed at him. "Of course, that would be much the same price of a hazardous salvage operation." She handed him a packet of materials. "This is everything we have to give you, it should be sufficient. It is authorization to transfer the three million to whatever account they wish. All your contact information is also there. The city is Larkana, the Mayor person is Multan, and his contact person is Quetta. All the information is inside on how to make contact and arrangements. Is there anything else you require?"

Hondo shook his head, just a bit here." He continued reading the information and it was mostly professional in procedure. He noted a few amateurish details but it looked just off enough to be not be a set up. "I think we can make this work as is. I will leave within the next thirty-six hours. That is assuming my payment registers in this account by then. I would expect barring problems to be back here with the packages within ten days." He smiled a rather predatory grin. "Do you have any questions for me?"

The Grey hired woman shook her head. Turning to glance at the man on her left she nodded almost imperceptibly. She watched his face for a few moments, less than three minutes at any rate. When he glanced up she turned back to Hondo. "Finish your drink mister Lane, You can leave when you are ready the full amount has been transferred to your account. Do not fail us young man." She stood and the rest followed her as she strode from the room.

Hondo was startled by that, no one paid full price up front? So that meant one they had the money to spare. Two it meant they had the means to get it back if they wished to do so. Hondo poured a second glass laughing at the prospects of dying at the hands of his employers or the Talarians! As he slowly sipped at his drink he made a short list of the people he wanted to take with him for this. He sent a short message to his 1stmate to have the ship ready to leave within twenty-four hours.

Next he would have to meet a few of his chosen team face to face as some would not reply to a call. He finished the drink and noticed the warmth in his belly and he felt a lightness of step. That fruity concoction obviously packed a wallop!

An hour later he was at the door of his first choice. He tossed a recently picked up empty can at the door and saw sparks fly. "Al, Al Matchten. This is Hondo and I have a two week job for you at 20,000 credits. Come on out." Hondo did not trust the fellow to not shock him just for fun if he walked inside the electrical engineer's lair.

A bedraggled and scruffy face appeared at the door. "I am interested, how much risk, how soon do I get paid." Al did not seem to care much but the questions seemed logical.

"I will tell you what Al, if you are on my ship within twenty hours and ready to go to work. I will transfer your pay to your account as soon as we leave the base." Hondo smiled as he tilted his head in invitation. "How fair is that?"

Al frowned, "this is too easy. You must have taken a seeriously messed up job to be that willing? Tell you what make it 30,000, in my account as we leave and I am in." He was not really worried about who might do what, but he liked to think he got the best deal possible.

Hondo sighed, and pretended to make some calculations even though it was a done deal already. "Done, but keep in mind you get nothing if you are not aboard in time to leave." Hondo said no more, and Al was already closing the door before Hondo even turned to leave. He had his trap maker. The guy was a real magician at making non-lethal stun traps. He was also could at shutting down power grids.

Hondo spent the best part of six hours collecting his team. They mostly lived in the back unused areas of the base. Small niches where no one ever went. Some lived like homeless bums, like Al Matchten. He was into electronics, information, hacking, power grids, if it needed power to operate he was interested in it. He had been imprisoned several times for hacking type crimes. Each time he had managed to secure his own release and vanished.

The Romulan TuMail was nothing like Al. TuMail was sophisticated and refined, a gentlemen by any standard. He enjoyed theater, the arts, fine dining, and many other pleasures. He was a sniper and an assassin by trade. He lived in a well hidden area just off from a cargo bay. He had a safe room for his priceless art collection and a the most elegant furnishings anyone might ever enjoy.

Kimmot Saiba was a gambler and a very successful con-artist. If she was a better gambler she would have been a very wealthy woman. She was sort of fickle though. She was Betazoid and had no problem what-so-ever using her skills to scan a crowd for a juicy target for a con. Gambling though she refused to use her gifts and she was far to aggressive to ever win. She was smart enough to never get into debt, so she did control her compulsion to some extent. Whenever she needed credits she would run a scam on some weak minded business type. She would than proceed to lose it all at some gambling table. Meaning she would need to run another con. She was almost out of money when Hondo had approached her.

Hondo made his way to Saiba as she played. He would not even bother to try to scam her, he would offer the full 50,000 credits because he knew she would only laugh if he even tried to lie to her. Hondo knew she had no hesitation to reading an employer's mind. After all information was a key advantage in any dealings.

Of course as expected she had noticed Hondo and read his mind without missing a beat in her gaming. As the man stopped beside her she glanced up at him smiling warmly. "Of course I am in. I also noticed a lovely lady in your life? She has skills does she? I think I might wish to meet her as well." She offered a dainty hand which Hondo accepted and kissed lightly. She giggled recovering her hand. "Ever such a tease Hondo! I will be joining you shortly, I will not last much longer as this table is absolutely frozen tonight?" Kimmot Saiba returned to her gaming, losing yet another pot on an ill advised bet.

Working in the same casino was a Ferengi named Depax. He was down on his luck and trying to lay low. He had been working for the BlueOrchid when the Talarian's had been in control so now he was a very quiet Ferengi. He tried to barter the 20,000 pay up to 40,000. When he tried to play tough Hondo showed the saboteur no mercy and ended with a pay of only 15,000.

His last contact was someone well known to both himself and TuMail. Not to mention she was quite a celibrity even if only a few knew what she really looked like! She went by the name Cuta, she a pixie shaped Romulan lady and she worked as a make up artist in one of the best theaters on the base. Her gift was making anyone look like anyone else. She liked her job but she was both greedy and bored. She hired on for the offered 30,000 without even questioning it. She just wanted a challenge.

His team picked Hondo made arrangements for everyone to be paid. He was not one to feel his own return was a guarantee so he made sure everyone would be paid as soon as the ship left the base. So upon their return they would have their pay even if something nasty happened to Hondo himself.

The team and crew were all aboard twenty hours later. Hondo had the ship sealed up and had the crew prepare to launch. As the crew went through the launch protocols of the base Hondo met with his team in the lounge area. "So this is the deal. We are going into Talarian space, the planet of Casal. We will make landfall using a shuttle. make our way into the city and make contact with someone. We will make an exchange of a hefty ransom for three young adults. We will bring them back here to the base. End of story, job complete."

Hondo handed out the information he had as he added "so each of us has a job to do. TuMail you will pick a spot and cover us. Once we are clear you will make your own way back to the shuttle. Depax, you will also set up some non-lethal toys to hinder any pursuit. I have laid out three escape routes, so you do whatever you have time for." Hondo smiled at Saiba, "you are with me so there are no misunderstandings. Al, you will of course listen in and if there is trouble.. Than you shut down the power grid and cause as much misinformation as possible. Cuta my dear, you have to make us look like locals? I hope that is enough of a challenge? Also once we get the three hostages, you have to disguise them as well. That might be fun for you as time will be critical by then." It will take us three days to get there. So might as well relax and enjoy."

==19 March late night==

Things had not gone well at all!. They had reached the system on the 12th. They had moved in behind a moon and the shuttle had flown down to the planet on the 13th. Al had masked the shuttle from the local defenses well and they had landed in the hills about twenty miles north of Lakana. The group had stolen a farmers produce truck and driven to the city in the middle of the night. They had used their disguises to get into the city and had taken an apartment on a fourth floor over looking the contact place. The young couple who lived there were overcome, bound, and kept out of the way.

Than they had waited. Depax had placed his toys the night of the 15th. The next few days though no one showed up? Al figured it out as he explained "the USS Asgard is arriving tomorrow with two other ships carrying prisoners for exchange. Think out three might have been scooped up?" That was a sobering thought but all they could do was wait and see. They had to feed the captured Talarians twice each day. Luckily the disguises were working and the young couple thought this was some normal illegal endeavor. Not pleasant but not as mind numbing horrible as being held by aliens!

Four more days slowly came and went as they waited for their contact. The group was not idle. Depax set more and more devices, hiding the first ones better as well. Al monitored the comms off world, the news broadcasts, and especially the city mayor's office. He was trying to figure out where the three hostages were held. The health epidemic in the city was a blessing in many ways as no one was out after dark. Even during the days only those who had to go out did so.

That did not help the boredom inside the apartment the team was held up in. They were not the types to live among others in such close proximity. Tensions were getting close to the point of exploding. Finally the evening of the 19th Al clapped his hands as he faced around to look at the others in the room. "They finished! The two ships from the base have gone to warp. The SaraHale has been turned over to the federation. They are moving to the edge of the system as I speak. This might be the break we have been waiting for!"

Sure enough that very night Quetta was spotted at the exchange point by TuMail. Hondo, Saiba, and Cuta went to make contact. The exchange was strained but brief. Hondo did not spend much time bargaining, he turned over the credits and agreed to receive the three hostages the next night. Once Quetta left, both Cuta and Depax followed her to see where she went. When they returned near dawn Cuta and Depax agreed things looked on the up-and-up from what they saw.

So everything was finally coming together! The only problem was Saiba had gone to check on the young Talarian couple when Depax was within their range of vision. Both had to be sedated before they hurt themselves. The next day seemed longer than the previous days altogether! Finally darkness descended and a few hours later Quetta showed up. Hondo went to meet her with the same team as before. Al was busy listening in on the local police networks, Tumail was on watch with his sniper rifle. Things looked to be falling into place finally.

Quetta waved as Hondo and Saiba walked toward her. A small hover delivery van moved forward and the side doors opened revealing three humans, bond hand and foot but their faces were easy to identify. Hondo moved to the driver and told him to get a drink somewhere. Saiba and Cuta appearing at her side moved into the back of the van. The three Talarian guards fled the vehicle.

That was when all hell broke loose! A pair of police walking the beat saw the three flee the van and saw the non-Talarian faces inside the van! They sounded an alert and ran at the van. Hondo grabbed the driver and threw him bodily out of the driver's seat as he replaced the driver. Saiba called out "These are indeed our packages!" The cops pulled their weapons as Hondo gunned the engine and drove off to the North. The one cop got off one shot before Tumail dropped them both. Al Matchten was putting his stuff together to leave when the young couple busted out of the room they had been kept in for so many days! They ran screaming into the hallway and than out into the street.

"Set it afire and follow me." TuMail spoke as he broke down his rifle into a travel case and left the room. Al typed in a command to the local power grid than set the room afire as he ran out into the hall. Al saw Tumail waiting at the staircase. Once he saw Al he ran up towards the roof. Al was much slower but he ran as best as he could. Once on the roof they watched as the van was herded by police vehicles back south! A helicopter was overhead keeping the van highlighted in a bright beacon as the land bound vehicles moved to cut off the escape. TuMail pointed to the North. "Make your way to the shuttle. I would suggest you steal a vehicle." He did not wait for a reply as he reassembled his rifle to take out the spotlight.

Al climbed down the fire escape. The smoke billowing from the window was becoming evident and the various fire alarms were going off inside the rooms. Al made his way down an alley and walked calmly toward the north side of the city. No one even noticed him.

TuMail took only a few moments to prepare. He shot the helicopter's spotlight out on the second shot. He turned to fire on the vehicles herding the van after that. He shot to disable vehicles rather than to kill those inside. He did cause enough of a disruption for Hondo to reach the edge of the city. The van was damaged by the policemen's shooting though and he had to abandon the vehicle.

Driving as he had been had given Cuta no chance to disguise the three packages. They had barely been able to cut them free. So when the van lost both wheels on the one side and the van spun madly into a ditch Hondo just said to run for the heavy undergrowth in front of them. Depax took one long glance at his handiwork and clapped his hands as he jumped clear of the van. He lead the way into the swampy area moving as fast as his short legs could carry him. Cuta and Saiba were intermingled with the three hostages as they followed the Ferengi. Hondo was the last to go. He frowned at the sight they had left behind! The smoke bombs, the fire hydrants busted and spraying, What even looked like a few real fires. The City was in chaos and just at that moment the lights went out! Hondo hated making a scene and this was one for the books. They had sure made a shambles of this escape!

==Predawn 20th==

Even as Hondo vanished into the thick brush of the swampy area the Police reached the van. Dozens were putting on high boots to give pursuit. They were going to catch this band of rebels and make them pay for their misdeeds. Which was good for Hondo that they thought it was local anti-government forces that had caused all this mayhem. Teams of a half dozen each entered the swamp.

When the lights went out Tumail simply put his rifle away and left the burning building by the fire escape. He went to a parking area and stole a vehicle. He was at the edge of the city when he spotted Al walking along the river as if nothing was wrong in the world. TuMail picked him up and drove out of the city heading North.

TBC: Casal epidemic: We are not the only aliens here! Part 1.

 

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