Canopus Station
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A Bit of Lone Digging

Posted on Tue Oct 20th, 2020 @ 6:51pm by Senior Chief Petty Officer Sharona Deluna & Captain Benjamin Ingram Dr

Mission: S0E0: What Came Before
Location: The Medina
Timeline: Before the arrival of Haztor the Myriad.

The strains of an Earth song called Lone Digging played from a PADD held by a beautiful redheaded Orion woman as she wandered the area of The Medina. She wore a silvery semi-translucent grown that flattered her curvaceous figure and a pair of high heels that added a few inches to her diminutive height, bringing her up to one point eight meters.

She cruised the stores but she hunted for a breed of man that she could interact with. One that looked hungry but desperate. She had dealt with such men her entire life and she knew how to handle them. It was a shame she was forced to get the anti-pheromone shot in order to stay on the station, she mused. It would be so much easier to get what she wanted.

As she walked she was passed by a pair of Station Security guards. The pair, a Bolian and a an Andorian no doubt sharing in a blue-skinned solidarity shift, looked her over and stopped at skin level. Most men would have devoured the sight of her, starved for the merest glimpse of her presence. But the shots administered as per her resident agreement made sure that the only look they gave her was suspicion.

Green skin.
Orion female.

As they passed her one of them tapped their com badge and quietly sub vocalised something. No doubt someone or something was now watching her with the dogged determination that she would do something that required her to be 'caught in the act'.

And then, from around the curving thoroughfare of the Medina Level, with its shops and boutiques, came the subsonic purr of a stringed instrument.

Daihnaa side-eyed the two blue aliens and gave them a scowl when she heard the chirp of a combadge even if she didn't hear the message. She got the message but didn't care as she continued on her way towards the sound of the instrument. As yet, she hadn't seen any likely candidates, but she was sure she would soon.

Sat cross-legged on a bench, the busker played. He was dressed in an oddly garish fashion, bright and colourful, with a homespun quality meshing with materials clearly manufactured using a replicator. She had perhaps seen this style of dress before walking the Medina Level, they called themselves Rish. Space vagabonds who had snuck aboard the station at its launch.

This one was human enough, skin pale to the point of translucent, with hair similar devoid of colour as to look like spun glass. His chin was stroked by a pointed goatee. He played with his eyes closed, fingers picking across the strings of the instrument with practised ease.

The Orion woman stopped for a moment to listen to the playing Space Hobo and wondered if he was doing it for profit or pleasure, but had nothing to give him. She also doubted he had anything she wanted, but continued to listen for another moment.

Slowly the plucked string's tune changed, becoming something homely to a native of the Rigel system. There were hints of an old Orion dubl tune, some old ditty sung in prosperous times by the skilled labourers indentured to their masters.

"I hope you mind none, but I thought perhaps a sense of home in this distant place might be welcome," the busker said on the final note.

"What I wouldn't give for a sip of Nazenor right now," Daihnaa sighed, thinking of the sweet and tart Orion rum. "You are well skilled."

"It's please to be told of one's own magnificence, especially form one with such a voice as yours," the busker said with a smile. "I do believe the last time I was in the company of someone who prized the taste of Nazenor, it was somewhere above the cloud tops of Ragin. The cloud cities there are something of a sight I am told."

"It's been years since I've been in the Sector," she said a bit wistfully before a cloud of very real anger crossed her face just as swiftly. "Oh, to have replicator privileges so that I may taste the fruits and nectars of home again."

"You'd not want the replicated stuff, not when there are folks willing to part with a fair few such items in trade," the busker said, rubbing his chin. "Folks who might even trade the names of folk who know a thing or three about the art of finessing a computer lock out."

He looked up in her general direction, milky white eyes set in his pale bewhiskered face.

"You ever find yourself near the docks, and in the company of the find people of the Rish Enclave, you let'em know Blind Tommie sent you in that vague wandering. Reckon that might find you a taste of home and far beyond it," he smiled. "Of course, I mean only fine company and nothin that might make the starched uniforms of the Fleeters get all in there dander if you catch my drift?"

"My thanks and that of my Liege, Bar'soon'fo'da'gree'nars, Third of his Title, holder of the lightning throne, guardian of the sacred skulls of Antiok and ruler of the world of Shishimi and all its celestial companions," the Orion said with a sweeping bow and adoration in her voice.

"A king might wear a crown atop his head, and swaddle himself in titles, but even a blind man can see the fool at his core," Tommie chuckled. "Mayhaps you fair lady might be considered the power behind such a bethroned clown?"

"Remember that when you need sanctuary at the Em`Bar`See," she said with a sneer. "Thanks for the information, Blind Tommie." With that, she headed off to find the Rish.

"T'is but a pleasure, almost akin to the sound of music," the man said as he picked up a spirited jig and let his fingers play.

The Medina Level lacked for in many respects, with its many storefronts and booths closed up awaiting the arrival of commerce from the distant galaxy-locked Federation. A trio of command level Starfleet officers came around the corner, their black collar's a stark contrast to the white of Canopus Station's cadre. These must be from the Task Force ships, the flotilla of ships that had arrived to bolster the defenders of Carpathia. All three were male and human, their rank pips denoting each a Junior Grade Lieutenant.

Daihnaa saw the three Starfleet officers and didn't change her course or her speed. Instead, she looked straight ahead as if she didn't see them and continued to head towards her destination.

Out of the Medina level, up into the wide dome of the docking bay. A transit pod sped her along from the busy core out towards the edge of the dome. And through its viewports, she could make out the scab of multicoloured containers and modules that seemed haphazardly piled against the inner wall. The so-called Rish enclave of Cargo Reef.

The transit pod let her out just past the edge of the hull from the container forest. This was more the dockyard air of a working spaceport, not the clean shopping precincts the Federation seemed to turn all worlds into. Workers in Canopus Station cover all's worked at jobs, one of them even moving a large maintenance mech with slow movements reminiscent of Taichi. But here and there were the gayly attired scrappers of the Rish. Their number grew in relation to the location, and soon a portal of sorts could be seen cut into the pressure hull connecting the station to the motley collection of cargo pods.

A Nausicaan missing one of his jagged lower mandibles, and dressed in a blue silk shirt of all things, sat on a crate by the entry portal. He nodded at those who walked in and eyed those dressed in a uniform warily.

Daihnaa watched the action and back and forth interaction between the Rish and the fleeters and station personnel. Then she saw the Nausicaan bruiser that had seen better days, if not fashion designers for clothing. Maybe he just didn't have any taste. Blue wasn't his color.

After a few minutes of watching more and more people either get a nod or a wary look, the Orion approached him. "Blind Tommie sends me," she said.

The Nausicaan, who did not know that blue was not their colour, looked Daihnaa up and down for a moment.

"Captian Bossa welcome's you to Cargo Reef," he said, standing from his seat and gesturing into the hatch. "Under her banner, you're granted the rights and privileges of a guest, and she as host. Bring argument or harassment to another of her guests, and you will be in violation of her...largesse."

"Naturally," the Orion woman said and continued through the hatch.

Stepping through the hatch was like stepping into a completely different reality. For one thing, the monoculture of grey walls and starched uniforms were gone. The hollowed out and welded together collection of cargo containers made for a large open space, gayly painted in a collection of colours and patterns. This space was divide using scaffolding racks, metal sheeting, and drapes and sheets that ranged from tarpaulin to woven Bajoran prayer mats.

And the smell of the place: a dozen different spices combated for dominance in the boutique, along with the ozone stench of a plasma welder, and the smooth barb of venom root smoke. People milled about in little groups, around tables and displays, a complicated device that looked part hooka part water filtration system seemed popular.

And sat near the middle, affording some level of primacy, was a tall alabaster woman in baggy black coveralls. Deference alone would have marked her out as the oft-spoken of Captain Bossa.

She approached the woman and offered an Orion salute of parley. "Greetings and salutations, Captain Bossa. I am Daihnaa."

"The second to the never-once-king who roosts in his forgotten cargo bay?"

Bossa turned her head like a turret tracking a target and looked upon Daihnaa. Her eyes were solid black orbs, the rumoured result of her upbringing or the punishment of one of the more barbaric star nations of the Alpha Quadrant. Full dilated even the weakest of lights were blinding to her it was said, and only in the depths of space in the grey middling sea far from stars was she ever comfortable.

That dark orbs looked upon the Orion, and with a slight nod of her head she indicated a chair near her court soon vacated by one of the other Rish.

"Have a seat, and know the hospitality of the Rish for what it is: fact." She then said something in a twittering, sing-song language that defied easy recollection. A bottle without providence and two glasses were brought between them, and without moving further away the Rish near them seemed to grow distant.

This was a conversation not heard by those not meant to hear it.

"Impressive, Captain," the green skinned woman said as she took a seat and note and accepted one of the glasses. If it were poison, she'd know soon, but she was there to play the role of a guest seeking favor and poisons usually came after if they acted in bad faith.

"It is a modest working of my crew and I to be sure, not quite the spinning dervish of Tornado Station or the Niume Halo Manufactory, but Cargo Reef is a thing of the Rish. A thing of freedom and promise," Bossa said. She reached out, took the bottle and took out its stopper, pouring a measure into both glasses. Placing the open bottle back on the table, she took up her glass.

"A drink to strangers who've ever been kind," she said with the solemnity of an oath.

"To strangers," Daihnaa said and raised her glass. "And to the kindness they can offer."

"Alongside bountiful opportunities that no doubt spring from between your thighs when the sun rises," Bossa said and turned the glass up, sending the shot down her throat. It was rough. The roughest of rotgut. The sort of thing that, when not used as a cleaning solvent, might well have begun to eat away the glass it was contained in.

And yet, as the flame subsided down the throat there was a fruity aftertaste that was not altogether unwelcome.

"Bajoran schnapps. Its an acquired taste," Bossa illuminated.

The Orion wondered if there were a double meaning to what she said, but kept it to herself. She tossed the shot back without so much as a grimace and smiled. "It's not bad," she said. "My Liege, Bar'soon'fo'da'gree'nars, Third of his Title, holder of the lightning throne, guardian of the sacred skulls of Antiok and ruler of the world of Shishimi and all its celestial companions, would care for such, but alas, the replicator is denied to him."

"As is the will of the master of Canopus Station, the hidden lord who crests this monument to mediocrity," Bossa said, pouring another few fingers of the schnapps. "But then again I am not some dowager here to listen to complaints of maidens gossiping at tea. Name a thing desired, and I have no doubt me and mine can grant you it for a price to be determined."

"He needs the lockouts to his replicator removed and some codes for..unusual things," the green woman hedged and tossed back a second shot of the Bajoran booze.

"Yes, I've heard of his whims. A trumpet they say, along with others that defy even the appetites lauded to your kind. He must keep you busy toing and froing so," Bossa said with a chuckle. She reached into a pocket, pulling out a standardised isolinear chip made of copper metal instead of the usual plastic composite.

She placed it on the table, and slid it across to the Orion but kept her finger on it.

"Fully embedded and vetted identity chip for administrative access. Everything in the manufactory listing, and all protein and carbohydrate mixes. Nothing offensive or on the band replication list, those are hardcoded into the chipsets. It'll last for two hundred standard hours from the moment of first activation."

"And what boon would you request in turn from M'Lord Bar'soon'fo'da'gree'nars, Third of his Title, holder of the lightning throne, guardian of the sacred skulls of Antiok and ruler of the world of Shishimi and all its celestial companions?"

"For now, merely the use of his first name or I will be a dowager before even this meeting done," Bossa grunted. "Consider it a boon in name and deed. Let your never was king enjoy his eight days of gluttony, and when you or he returns we can discuss reparation for the next one. I would have him ponder sites of interest in Messier 4, treasures and bounties that would bring a smile to an old pirates face."

"I will inform him of such," the majordomo for a king that never was responded. "On an aside, do you have any Orion Thorn?"

"We have but a few Orions among our number, but I am sure some Thorn can be found. Consider it a gift, from one outsider on this station to another," Bossa said. "I'll have it sent to your quarters."

"My thanks," Daihnaa said with a slight bow.

"No thanks required. We Rish obey the codes of hospitality, and the roles of Host and Guest are ingrained in," Bossa grinned. "I foresee this as the beginning of a lasting and mutually beneficial friendship my Orion friend."

The Orion smiled and nodded as she came to her feet. "To being Host and Guest," she said before she turned and headed out.


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