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Posted on Tue Sep 22nd, 2020 @ 3:17pm by Major Cornelius Tremble & Captain Larta Daughter of Shog
Edited on on Thu Sep 24th, 2020 @ 8:11am

Mission: Episode 10 - New Home, Same Pioneers
Location: The Vault, Marine Country, USS Pioneer
Timeline: MD008 2000 hrs

The smell of cleaning solution filled the air and, strangely, made Neil feel the most at home..

Finally (if only mostly) caught up (because you were really never done) with the paperwork for the Cure, Neil was in the Vault, checking over kit.

He’d field stripped the Nova Special sidearm he preferred, followed by the M67 pulse carbine and it’s underslung grenade launcher. This gear hadn’t seen much use since the Cure had picked up the M-Mobile tag. He was responsible for it, and the gear had always been there when he needed it.

All of his body armor had been run through the fresher and scanned for weaknesses and was now ready in a pile to go back to his office. Remembering his talk with Tyler, he stopped and changed his mind. The sidearm and armor would go to his quarters, just in case.

He heard the blast door cycle open and looked up.

Then did a double take.

Stalking toward him in tight fitting leather armor, black high-heeled boots and ambassadorial cloak was Larta.

And there was a dangerous glint in her eyes.

“You’re here,” she stated in her deep voice.

Neil considered that and said, “No I’m not.”

She glared at him, and said “You were supposed to join me on my tour of the RDF.”

“Wasn’t me,” Neil replied. She was mad already, might as well push things.

“Neil,” she said, her voice raising more than a few octaves and he held up his hands, though he was fairly glad there was a workbench between them.

“Easy, madam ambassador. Ma’am. There’s a very good reason I wasn’t there,” he told her placatingly.

“And what might that be,” she snapped back.

“Because I really wouldn’t be welcome and you don’t want the RDF brass-hats thinking we’re chummy. Especially, you don’t want that getting back through to the KDF,” he explained in a reasonable tone.

“Why would they care?” she said, her voice thundering in the chamber and Neil closed one eye, wincing.

He wasn’t about to close both of them who she was within punching distance.

“Because, madam ambassador. A lowly captain of marines does not escort the representative of the Klingon Empire around someone else’s shop at her bidding.”

“I mentioned it to the General,” Larta said, still with daggers in her eyes.

“Clotting wonderful,” Neil groused then. “And dressed like that, the General is probably wondering how close we are.”

The Klingon stared at him then and asked, “What does the way I dress have to do with anything?”

“You were spray-painted into that outfit, right. C’mon Larta. I know the tricks, you’re deflecting. Making people think of anything but how xaxdamned sneak you can be.”

She gave him a dangerous smile then, he chin dropping and arms moving akimbo. “You don’t like how I dressed?”

“Don’t try and play me, Larta”, Neil said, again glad to have the bench between them. “I know the games.”

Her arms folded then and she half pouted and he Neil began softly clapping. “Trying mannerisms that aren’t Klingon. Nice Tactics, and you’re doing them well, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Klingon pout before.

She snarled then and the marine grinned, “There’s what I expect. How is the Ambassadorial business?”

Her arms folded again and it was her turn to shake her head, her dark locks flicking back and forth. “Dirty. I have to wash frequently.”

“Politics,” Neil said sympathetically. “Makes for strange bedfellows.”

“Gods no,” Larta stated. “Have you seen some of the officials? All of them too soft or too stupid.”

Neil grinned then, “It’s a saying, Larta. It means that your job requires you to be around and spend hours with that you normally wouldn’t.”

She cocked her head at him at that and said, “Sounds like a sex worker.”

The marine did his best to bite his lip to control his laughter and after a few beats, said “You said it sister, not me.”

The klingon glowered at him then and he held up his hands, “Easy. Why don’t we get back to why you really wanted me with on your tour?”

“Trust,” the Klingon said immediately. “I wanted to know what you thought of the RDF and the forces. Are they adequate. Is this idea actually workable? Should the Empire be involved?”

Neil winced and said, “I’m just a company grade officer, despite the trappings that have been hung on me by Malbrooke.”

“But you’re an experienced warrior and you have an opinion,” she countered.

“Sure, and that and a couple of strips of Latinum will get you a mug of blood wine on the promenade,” Neil responded.

She crossed her arms under her breasts and stood tall, just staring at him and he sighed. “Fine. The RDF is a good ideal. It’s the Federation realizing that it’s better to share information and responsibility with other races, all who have an interest in this area. From what I’ve been able to put together, all of the component officers are fairly good and seem to be trying to work together. Even the Ferengi.”

The Klingon’s lips curled in distaste and Neil didn’t respond. “The marine and fleet units seem solid. They’re mostly intel gathering and light troops out of a concern that anything more would give the Romulan’s hives and cause the diplomat’s problems.”

“So,” the marine continued, “If they’re deployed and the component troops from the KDF, Ferengi, or Federation member worlds slack, they’ll get eaten alive after a few days.”

She considered that and said, “So that’s why the Federation hasn’t brought in, say General Sobel’s brigade?”

Neil nodded, “Someone tried and the idea got shot down. That’s why the RDF’s actual rapid deployment element is three battalions with an semi-dedicated air-group. I tend to agree that the likely hood of needing to take a planet is low. So that turns everything to coordinating starships. Which is definitely not my strong suit.”

Larta nodded and said, “The command and control element is interesting. The Klingon forces are not sure they could trust the orders from the RDF, even with the KDF representative being involved. That’s one of the things I’ve been told to look into. And the captain’s aren’t happy with the thought of having to rely on the Ferengi.”

“Sounds like the Nagus has taken a personal stake in sending one of his family,” Neil remarked. “Though, I haven’t heard yet what kind of political game is being run there.”

Larta chewed her lip on his words and said, “In truth, I don’t know either. The Nagus seems to be pushing the ‘Peace is Good for Business,’ line. From what our trade envoy’s have told me, the Ferengi have been pushing that line with several Federation and other races.”

“So, they’re trying to show that trading with them can also benefit security wise too. I’ll have to ask our diplomatic officer if they’ve gotten a more favored stance from the Federation for their participation. I’d almost bet they have.”

Larta nodded and said, “Intelligence tells me that the Daemons have been expanding their trade routes significantly throughout the Alpha and Beta quadrants.”

“But, whether they’ll be there when the nut-cutting starts remains to be seen,” Neil said, using yet another obscure Earth reference.

He could see her work at that and make a choice not to ask and he bit back another grin. She focused on him and saw his humor and scowled again. “You think you’re funny.”

“I know I am,” Neil said with a shrug. “It just takes some beings longer to get there than others.”

The klingon uttered a curse and then laughed unexpectedly. “You are irritating. I think that’s part of why I like you, Neil.”

“You like me,” Neil asked curiously. “Since when. The first time we fought.”

“And you lost,” as I recall, she reminded him.

“I usually do,” Neil acknowledged.

“So I heard. The counselor walked away without even telling you,” Larta said, no emotion in her voice.

Neil felt his face color and his jaw moved as he tried to come up with an answer an finally, he shrugged. “Yeah. Nothing I can or really want to say about it, Larta.”

The Klingon barred her teeth in a nasty smile and said, “You still owe a blood oath and I like you. We could kill her?”

Neil shook his head then, “Not really worth it. The only damage was to my pride and trust. Not my honor.”

She pursed her lips at that and snorted, “And you’re dwelling on her.”

“No,” Neil protested. “But some things take a while to get past.”

The ambassador considered his words and then fingered the D’k tahg at her belt and said, “Well, if you need distraction, we could fight.”

“No thanks,” Neil said, holding up his hands. “I don’t think I could handle another beating, or another kick in the groin.”

She laughed again and said, “That first fight of ours was fairly memorable. You got me angry!”

“You were angry to begin with,” Neil reminded her. “I just had to push a little to get you not thinking clearly.”

“Hrm,” Larta mused. “Maybe you need distraction the other side of the pendulum. Get drunk and chase down that Warrant officer, Jayna was it? Or let her actually catch you.”

Neil’s eyebrow shot at that and he said, “You seem to know a little too much about the crew on Pioneer, Ambassador.”

She made a rude noise and said, “I take an interest in you, Neil. You should know that.” Then she got a look a sly look on her face and put both hands on the work bench and leaned forward, giving him a rather magnificent look at her cleavage. “Or, perhaps I should drive the Counselor from your mind.”

Her look on him now was appraising and for some reason Neil felt his mouth dry out. “Probably not a good idea. The effects would be about the same as if we were to fight.”

“No,” she half purred, “But I can guarantee we would demolish more furniture than you and that puny counselor did.”

Neil shifted slightly and folded his arms now, “I don’t think so Larta. It’s really tempting, but how would the rest of the diplomats react if they saw you dragging around the day after.”

She laughed then and Neil thought perhaps being funny had been the wrong move, her hands gripped the workbench and then she laughed again and straightened. “Now you may have tempted me, Neil. I will have to think on this.”

Abruptly, she turned on her heel and began walking toward the hatch. As it cycled open for her, she turned and gave him a sultry look over her shoulder and said, “Qapla’” before walking out.

Neil continued to stare at the hatch after it had cycled closed and said, “Sweet thraggling universe. That’s all I need.”

Still part of his brain got ahold of the notion and after fifteen beats, he shook the thoughts away and attempted to concentrate on his gear.

A joint post by:

Captain Cornelius Tremble
Marine Commanding Officer/Second Officer, USS Pioneer

Ambassador Larta, Daughter of Shog
Commanding Officer, Ram Cha' Par
House H'rell Bird of Prey


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