Canopus Station
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The Man With the Golden Member

Posted on Thu Apr 2nd, 2020 @ 11:14pm by Stephen Spires & Lieutenant Commander Mara Ricci

Mission: S2:1: Into The Drowning Deeps
Location: Spires' quarters
Timeline: MD 4 - 2100

"And I'm telling you that is a load of bullshit!" Spires chuckled at his pithy retort in the latest petty squabble between him and Mara. "You can't deny it."

“It’s not bullshit and you now it!” retorted Mara. “You just don’t want to admit you’re wrong!”

As they walked into Spires' quarters, all hot and ready for another sensuous makeup session, the lights failed to illuminate.

"Computer..." Spires said warily. "Where are my damn lights?"

Jinn had been sitting in the dark for some time. He hadn't quite expected it to take this long and had been starting to doze off when he sensed his quarry approach the door, so it was that he was upright and aware, left leg crossed over his right, hands on his lap when the door opened and Squires stepped into the room.

"Good evening, Stephen," he said, smiling. "Been a long time."

"Oh, shit!" Spires spared but a moment to recognize the face before springing into action. There had been several degrees of nasty people between them once upon a time. Showing up inside Spires' quarters without triggering his internal camera network or personal alarms? That was bad news of the worst kind. In Stephen's mind, there was no question as to Jinn's intent.

First Spires shoved Mara toward the far corner. "Stay down!" With his other arm, he simultaneously reached for a micro-flashbang -- roughly half the decibels and candela of standard military issue -- and flung it toward Jinn. Finally, he dove forward into a tucked roll, counting down the detonation.


When the flashbang detonated, the concussive force hit Spires in the back as he rolled to his feet just outside arm's reach of Jinn. His ears were shell-shocked, but he didn't need them to swing the telescoping stun-stick that had found its way into his hand.

“What the hell, Spires!” exclaimed Mara, ducking even though she was well out of reach of the stun-stick.

Jinn had sighed when he saw Spires reach for the flashbang and was in motion as it left his hand. The blast seemingly not affecting him, he met Stephen as he was swinging the stun-stick.


He jumped back avoiding one swing.

"I'm not-"

He side-stepped another swing.

"Here to hurt-"

He ducked and stepped forward under another swing.


Realizing the man may not actually hear him, not having the benefit of wearing ear plugs during the blast as he was, he stepped within Spires' next swing and struck out, his palm hitting the wrist of the hand holding the stun-stick. The blow caused his hand to open, the stick falling harmlessly to the ground. Jinn was already following up the blow with a shot to the man's gut, doubling him over. Spires had ferocity, but nothing that could compare with Starfleet Intelligence combat training. As he doubled over, Jinn shoved him hard to the ground and leapt backward, hands spread out wide trying to indicate he wasn't a threat.

"Stephen, cher, take a seat and a breath," he stated loudly. "We need to talk."

With the wind knocked out of him, Stephen couldn't do much more than suck air from the floor.

"Fuck," he said through a gasp. "You!"

Stephen pushed himself up to his knees and lunged at Jinn from a half crouch.

Jinn rolled his eyes and Spires came at him again. He truly had no intention of damaging the man, or his property, but his level of resistance was, while slightly expected, starting to get aggravating. He caught Spires as he got close, shifting him to his right side, driving his knee up into Spires' abdomen, winding him again. He carefully lowered the reporter to the ground.

"Cher, let's talk," Jinn said, softly. "SFI, not Orion Syndicate."

It was somehow oddly satisfying to see Spires bested so easily, but Mara had had enough. This time, while he was still stunned, she crossed the room quickly and positioned herself between the two men, facing Spires. “Enough,” she ordered. “He said he wants to talk. Now sit down and talk.”

"Fine..." Stephen said, fingering his ear canal as he collapsed into an armchair. If Mara wanted to risk getting potentially murdered by this man, then he wasn't really in a position to argue at the moment.

Jinn smiled and nodded in thanks to Mara. "Lieutenant Commander, you are the very voice of reason. If we could all adjourn to your seating area, Stephen, I assure you that no murders will be taking place here."

Mara rolled her eyes and took the seat nearest Spires. "Or anywhere else, if you know what's good for you," she muttered under her breath. This was all she needed. After all, what girl wouldn't want to have a chat with two men who had so recently been attempting to kill one another?

Jinn gave Mara a wink. "Let's not be too hasty, the night is still young." He popped out the earplugs he'd been wearing and held one up by way of explanation. "Nifty little gizmos, these. They filter out any localized sounds that would be damaging to most beings, but amplify ones that would normally be too quiet to register. We get the best toys at SFI."

He sat across from Stephen in another chair and leaned back comfortably. "Let's start with an explanation: You knew me as Aron Orelaan, mid-level human operative for the Orion Syndicate. I apologize for any unpleasantness our previous association may have caused you, but in actuality, I was deep undercover those years ago aboard DS5. I must admit, your dogged pursuit of that organization hampered my own work somewhat, and I can respect your skills. Lieutenant Jinn Tevran, Starfleet Intelligence. Pleasure to meet you."

This was a lot of information to process all at once, but Stephen was always quick on the uptake. "Bullshit," he said. "You wouldn't be the first triple agent to play both ends against the middle. Are you a mendor yet or are you stuck at astatu? An alasho wouldn't risk coming out to Messier 4 just yet, what with Starfleet controlling the sole means of ingress. I don't know what you're selling, pal, but you can tell your story walkin'." He cocked his thumb over his shoulder toward the door.

Jinn raised an eyebrow. "So your issue isn't with me being Starfleet Intelligence, it's that you think I'm undercover with SFI as a member of the Orion Syndicate I was undercover with while a member of SFI?"

He laughed. "You should write fiction, you may be better suited to it than journalism. And for your information, if I was going to go rogue, I'd do it for my own profit, not for some trumped up criminal enterprise that's constantly getting broken up by Starfleet. Bloody amateurs, the lot of them."

"I think you're full of shit no matter who you say you're working for," Stephen countered. "Why else would you be here? I bet you ain't even sanctioned." He let out an angry sigh and got out of his armchair. Resorting to violence hadn't worked, and Mara seemed interested in hearing the man out. Stephen resigned himself to a wasted evening. "I'm going to pour myself four fingers of this here bourbon whiskey. You have until I down it to speak your business and get the fuck out of here, or it's gris gris for you."

"Funny thing, that," Jinn replied, crossing his legs and lacing his fingers together on his lap. "Whether I'm sanctioned or not, you don't have the clearance necessary to confirm it."

Stephen dropped an ice cube in the glass, nearly making the precious liquid splash over. The clinking sound made his opinion clear.

He gave Stephen a grin. "Consider my methods a sign of respect. I needed you off-guard and unprepared. It makes my job easier. And besides, once you hear what my goal is, I'm sure you both may be fairly cooperative: I'm going after the Myriad, and by proxy, the Reka. I hear you've had a nasty bit of business with them. I'd like to hear what you have to say about the whole experience."

"They're animals," Stephen said. "Nasty, fucking shitbirds of the lowest order. They got some kind of hive mind that falls apart under stress and isolation. You'd fit right in."

Mara simply removed her uniform jacket and rolled her left sleeve up past her elbow, revealing the thin silver band that gave her arm away as a prosthetic. “They’re the reason I have this,” she said. “Indirectly, but even so. I intend to return the favor a thousand fold if I can.”

"Oh my, seems like you had a very disarming experience," Jinn deadpanned. Without pausing, he continued. "You say the hive mind falls apart under stress and isolation. Do you mean for individual members or small groups of them? And how did you come about finding this out?"

"Hell if I know," Stephen said. "I can only speculate because I never saw more than a dozen in my life. The Reka we encountered seemed to respond to strong, dominant personalities, and deprived of that they were borderline feral."

Jinn rubbed his chin. "And were these personalities other Reka? The one I spoke to seemed remarkably well-spoken and level-headed."

"The leader of the Reka was a bloated toad aptly named Gastarox," Stephen said. "He hired them as his crew. They didn't seem a talkative crowd. How did you speak to one?"

"Well, these beautiful brown eyes of mine were a cosmetic adjustment done by my parents that now serve me quite well in my current line of work," Jinn replied with a wink. "They belie the fact that I'm actually Betazoid."

So, my dear Stephen, Jinn broadcasted into Spires' mind. I spoke to him like this.

The telepathic outreach made Stephen jump out of his skin--and nearly out of his chair. He thrust a commanding finger at Jinn.

"Stay the fuck out of my mind!" he yelled. "And if you can read minds, why are you here talking to me about the Reka? Go brain squeeze one of them."

Jinn held up his hands in defense. "I wasn't really in your mind. I projected some words in there. Trust me, if I had wanted in, you wouldn't even realize it. You seem like the type that it would be more trouble and more damaging to me than it would be worth."

"And to be honest," he continued. "The Reka are just alien enough and their telepathy different enough to my own, that I don't know if I could brain squeeze them. I'd rather not do something that could telepathically lobotomize myself."

He turned to Mara. "You've been quiet, Lieutenant Commander. Are your opinions on the Reka similar to Mr. Spires'?"

I think far more highly of the Reka than I do of Mr. Spires, Mara thought jokingly. It wasn’t true, obviously, as she found the Reka to be utterly distasteful at best, but the errant thought made her grin. “Pretty close,” she admitted with a shrug.

"Hmm," Jinn was disappointed. He'd hoped these two could offer more insight into the Reka, but they both were still raw from what had transpired, it seemed.

"Well, if that's all, then that's all, I suppose," he said, standing. "Stephen, I'll be in touch. We may be able to help each other down the line. Oh, and get a better security system. Lieutenant Commander, it's been a pleasure. Feel free to come visit and/or tinker with the Black Bird anytime you like."

"Trespass into my quarters again and I'll have a bounty placed on your head," Spires said.

"Spires!" said Mara, rolling her eyes. Then she shook her head. "No, you know what? actually, that's fair. Don't break into people's quarters."

Jinn tossed a wave over his shoulder as he made his way to the door. "Be seeing you both."

Taking a chance, Spires threw his empty glass at Jinn's back. In one fluid motion, Jinn turned, caught the glass and set it down gently on the stand by the door. He completed the turn almost in stride and the doors parted before him.

"That would have been quite the mess to clean up," he stated. Then, continuing to walk out the door, he tapped the side of his head, not looking back at Spires and added, "Remember, mind-reader."

The doors whooshed shut behind him.

"I knew that asshole was reading my mind!" Spires shouted. He turned to Mara and only dropped his voice by a few decibels. "I knew it, Mara! I knew it!"

"He's a telepath, Spires, he's probably reading everyone's mind at all times," she pointed out wearily. "Now will you please calm down already?"

Spires threw his hands up. "Calm down? I am calm! Don't I sound calm to you?!"

Her eyebrows shot up. “Do you sound calm to yourself?” she asked by way of reply.

"I sound mad as hell," Spires said, "and I make no apology. You don't know that guy. I do. I don't care what uniform he's wearing. He's bad news." He flopped onto his sofa and groaned into his hands. "And he's a telepath to boot. I don't like this at all."

Fearing that she would sprain her eyes if she rolled them one more time today, Mara opted to close them and sigh this time. "All right," she allowed. "Keep track of everything he does. Including this. If nothing else, we can pin him with harassing a civilian." She doubted Spires would be able to come up with any sort of case, though. And even if he somehow managed to come up with enough compelling evidence, she didn't suppose Ingram would pay any attention to it.

"I still prefer the bounty idea." Spires was still fuming but couldn't help chuckling at the suggestion.

"Whatever," she replied. "Just don't tell me about it. Plausible deniability. You know."

"Aw, shucks," Spires said sarcastically. "Because I was going to leave it on your tab."

"I'm not paying for your hits," she replied deadpan, standing from her place on the sofa. "Are you hungry? I'm hungry."

"I am," Stephen said seductively, feeling aroused by her taciturn expression. His hands slid around her waist and pulled her toward him. "And afterward we can get a bite to eat."

She gave him a smug grin, glad he understood her meaning. “Sounds like a plan,” she replied, stretching up to press her lips against his.


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