Canopus Station
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Buyers Remorse

Posted on Mon Jul 1st, 2019 @ 4:25pm by The Narrator & Commander Wolfgang Ritter & Lieutenant Commander Mara Ricci & Lieutenant Commander Meilin Jiang & Staff Warrant Officer Blaise Birch

Mission: S1E3: Moments Of Consolidation
Location: The Sleepers Bazaar, The Mire, Messier 4
Timeline: MD9 15.00PM

The Ferry detached from the side of the Sleeper's Bazaar and began its glass elevator impersonation almost instantly. This allowed the now freed Starfleet personnel to get a good look at the true scope and scale of the Sleepers Bazaar. Its insect-like colouration and appearance, clamped onto the side of the gargantuan bone like spar of the Prior construct, made it appear all the more parasitical. It also gave a lovely view as a second ferry left the Bazaar at the same time.

Given the Myriad could just upload themselves back to their ship leaving behind their puppet body and their bruising body guard, that left the other part eager to return to their ship as the Concordance.

Ritter stood the moment he could, turning to the now-freed officers he'd never met before. "I'm Commander Ritter, Canopus Station's new XO. It's good to see you're all in one piece." With a tight but seemingly sincere smile, one could even believe he was a devout officer who was tired by these tribulations, but above all pleased that Starfleet lives were being saved. "We recovered the rest of the team already. I'll comm ahead to the Resolute - is there anything I should alert sickbay of?" He studied Birch and Madrid as he talked, noting the obvious signs of physical hardship - but he wanted to take nothing for granted of their condition, considering where they'd been.

It didn't take Meilin long to see a major problem. The Corvan was off his meds. "Hopefully Sickbay has completed the NOS-4-A2 synthesization. Otherwise we may see more casualties."

"I...can...hear...you..." Blaise's voice was a hoarse whisper that rose up from his supine position on the ground. Eyes closed, arm thrown over his face, blocking out as much sensation as possible like a man hungover, he held on to his last threads of sanity like a dream evaporated by waking.

"Rollin's here lost a foot to these nasty bird aliens, called Reka? They used some sort of pole staff that vaporised his ability to play soccer. Not had much in the way of medical aid since it happened," Calhoon spoke up. "Myself, Storm and Sidim here are all in line for the PTSD shakes in the after action report. But Madrid here, he saved our bacon. Well, him and the Dr Acula here."

The pilot nodded towards the shaking Blaise.

"Guys going crazy, but he held it together long enough to keep us from getting shanked in that pit,' Calhoon shook his head again. "I mean we're free right?"

"Click"

The nightmarish millipede Proxy that had not left the ferry when the team had disembarked leaned its head free of its alcove, the brass rings around its camera lenses moving.

"Honoured Sentient. Upon the successful completion of this transaction, you will be free to leave the Bazaar. Exit instructions have already been provided to your ships navigational computer." it recited in its odd accent.

Ritter gave the Proxy a sidelong look, disguising his disgust as best he could, and tapped his comm badge. "Ritter to Resolute. Away team is returning, with our people. Have sickbay standing by for multiple injuries." He ran brusquely through what he could see and what he'd been told that might need advance warning, though as-yet had no idea what the NOS-4-A2 was. "Is there an update on Chief Ricci?"

=/\=Ricci here,=/\=” replied Mara from her place on the bridge as she typed in a quick message to sick bay on the control panel on the arm of the center seat. “=/\=The Holodoc cleared me for bridge duty. I’ve got a temporary prosthetic, but I’m still getting used to it. It’s itchy, but I’m assured that’s normal at this point. Sick Bay is standing by,=/\=” she added, noting the quick reply from the holodoc.

"...hurrah..." Rollin's paste sweat soaked face said.

"Yeah beer and confetti time soon buddy," Calhoon said. "Doctor on the Resolute gonna patch you hey did she say holodoc? Did we not install a medical officer for this trip? Is it a Tuesday or something?"

"=/\=Resolute TacOp's here. Commander Ritter, Commander Ricci? The Concordance ship is showing increased power output. She's lit her drives and is beginning to depart the Sleepers Bazaar, looks like she's heading for the portal and will pick up the ferry in transit. I'd also point out that her sensors have gone full active, and are scanning the hull hard enough to scrub the paint from our registry. No weapons lock's yet=/\=" The cool voice of the sensor operator reported.

Elias had been silent thus far. His face was bloodied. His good left hand was clutching his injured right, which was swelling to unnatural proportions. It hurt but he wouldn't complain about it until a proper doctor was in front of him. At the mention of the word "depart" he stirred from his exhausted reverie. "Sir," he said to Ritter, "there are people down there who helped us. A man named Fenris and his crew. They saved our lives. Is there a chance we can secure their release too?"

Ritter cast the briefest look in the direction of the Proxy as he considered Madrid's point. His first thought was always to the bigger picture, the strategic concerns, and he had no hesitation in making his decision from such a perspective. The problem was that he usually got to make those choices from a desk, a long way away, without this sort of immediacy of personal experience or direct pleas. "We're in no condition to place further demands on the hosts," he said at last, a voice supremely lacking in emotion, though this part was more for the Proxy's benefit. Then he added, with a softening none of them likely knew him well enough to spot, "My mission is to bring this away team back. That's what I'm doing."

He tapped his comm badge to pick up the link to the Resolute. "Ritter here. Monitor and scan that ship; if they want everything on us, I want everything on them. If they so much as twitch in the direction of you or this ferry, you will defend with great prejudice."

"=/\=Resolute TacOp's, copy that. Things the size of a barn, should be easy to paint it up. And we took the liberty of running readiness drills for the tactical department, as it happens both fore and aft launchers are loaded and phaser emitters are charged. And Manticore Flight are on launch readiness five, as we couldn't put them out in space and had to keep the flight deck clear for the returning ferry Sir. Resolute TacOp's out.=/\="

A fail-safe option occurred to Meilin, but it went against everything she stood for. At least on the face of it. From another perspective, it could right the terribly wrong aberration that was this Sleepers Bazaar. Everything about the Mire, the tormented neutron star that was prevented from collapsing on itself, defied wu wei. As a devotee of the Tao, it might not go amiss for her to be an agent of correction. Especially if lives were saved in the process. Such was the balance of all things.

"I recommend a polaron scan in every direction, modulated on all phases," Meilin said to Ritter. "We are best served by having a complete picture of what is out there aside from the obvious." If fortune was with them, the gruesome Proxy would not deduce her ulterior motive. Balance must be served.

The wall's dimmed from their holographic projection state, revealing the taut gut like ribbing of the craft's interior as the ferry began to dock. With a clunk and rumble of landing jet, the craft came to a complete halt and the gangplank lowered, revealing the shuttle bay of the Resolute. Two of the Gryphon fighters of Manticore Flight were tucked into the side of the bay, technician's clumped onto the crafts hull like seals basking in the sun. In reality, they were just keeping the machine from tearing itself to pieces, as a lot of its coolant and fuel systems didn't like to be left in standby for long.

At the foot of the gangway a host of Starfleet officers stood. Most wore the teal of medical, an antigrav gurney and trauma team burning as much nervous energy as children at the candy store. And at the front of the procession was one of Meilin's understudies, holding in their arms the Xilosian slug thrower.

"Click Payment in full before debarkation of purchases," the Proxy intoned gravely.

Meilin nodded at Uxteara, her CWO and faithful curator. Along with the gesture was an unspoken encouragement not to wince in the rancid cyborg's presence. This would be over soon. "I trust you find it in fine condition as promised," she said to the Proxy.

The Proxy scuttled down the ramp, rearing up as it had before to look down over Uxteara and the waiting medical team. From its folded limbs small manipulator arms reached out, surrounding the slug thrower in its spider legs of meshed silver. A host of worm-like probes and gauges flowed around them, pulsing as it moved them over the gun, from stock to barrel, inspecting it.

"Click Payment verified. Thank you Honoured Sentient for your purchase. It is hoped that this will be the first of many fruitful visits to the Sleepers Bazaar," it turned, carrying the weapon, and scuttled back up to the ferry proper. It slinked past Ritter and Meilin, and settled back into its alcove holding the gun protectively. "Click Please exit the ferry."

Meilin did not need to be told twice, yet she deferred to Commander Ritter to debark first.

She was not alone.

 

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