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Ens Vausse & Ens Varik - "What Are These Crazy Questions That They're Asking of Me"

Posted on 2017-08-16 03:26 by Ensign Varik & Ensign Kaylhan Vausse & NPCs

Mission: Cup O Noodle

Kaylhan and Varik sat in a quiet corner of a coffee shop in San Francisco. Their spot was understated and not one likely to be disturbed. It also hid them in plain sight and made them inconspicuous.

The Betazoid had ordered an ice-coffee while the Vulcan was enjoying a fruit juice. This however wasn't a leisure outing.

“She should be here soon.” Said the blonde.

Varik nodded, placing her glass back on the table and fighting the urge to take another look towards the door. In any case her view was partially obscured By the long bar that ran down One side of the coffee shop. The pair had chosen one of the more secluded tables towards the back of the space rather than one of the many small tables overlooked by the Baristas who moved up and down purposefully behind the bar making any number of hot drinks from any number of different worlds. Instead she studied the grain of the wooden table under the dark varnish, thinking it bad form to study either the door or her companion which were both far more interesting but also somewhat obvious.

Varik was generally a fan of wearing dresses in her personal time and today was no exception, although for the sake of practicality her dark grey figure-hugging dress was accompanied by black tights and flat boots and a rather square shouldered buttonless jacket in a shiny grey/green material very reminiscent of the kind of items many Vulcans wore day-to-day. In a return to form her trademark high pony tail was in attendance and she idly played with the end that laid over her left shoulder as the pair waited in silence, occasionally taking a sip from their respective drinks.

Jalys entered the coffee shop, looking around a little nervously. After the two Starfleet officers had left Kag's office, chaos had broken loose. Kag had made an excuse to leave early not long after and hadn't been back since then, and Jalys had seen the security patrols increased around the building and the estate at large. She didn't like it. So when the Betazoid woman — Ensign Kaylhan Vausse — had sent her a message, Jalys hadn't hesitated to meet up with her. She spotted Kaylhan finally, and she frowned softly when she noticed the Vulcan with her, she hadn't been expecting her to be there. With a deep breath she crossed the coffee shop and approached their table.

Perceiving the Bajoran's state of mind, Kaylhan stood up and offered her a smile. She reached with her two hands to take the Bajoran's own in between hers. Her touch was meant to be welcoming – perhaps the Betazoid had a little bit of a soft spot, or perhaps she wanted to reassure Jalys that she was safe. Either way her intent was to calm Jalys down and offer some stability after all the commotion.

The Betazoid wore a black low-cut top underneath an open leather jacket and a pair of skinny jeans which were tucked inside her heeled boots. The heels weren't very high, though.

"Jalys, thanks for coming here. I am sure you'd like some answers, and we'll get to them, but not before you make yourself comfortable and have that drink."

Kaylhan pulled Jalys gently towards her to encourage the her to have a seat, before leaving her hand and adjusting her top as she sat down.

"This is Ensign Varik, as you know already. And don't worry, we are not here to interrogate you."

Varik nodded in agreement as she stood. "Indeed we are not. Might I order you a beverage?" She decided to keep things fairly Vulcan and logical, Jalys didn't know her very well and an unexpectedly emotional Vulcan would probably not help the situation.

"I, uh, a chai latte, please?" Jalys replied to the offer of a drink. Something easy to focus on while sorting out the rest. "After you left Kag's office, things have been tense. I don't know what's going on, but there's something wrong. I though this was going to just be a coffee date, and I needed an excuse to not be there. I mean, I know I should be taking advantage of Kag's absence to do research, but I can't focus, and I haven't gotten a response from Mr. Carrington since my last update... And he doesn't usually take this long to respond."

"I am sorry if this seems like a subterfuge – I did really just want to offer you a coffee at some point, but urgent matters have come up and seeing your distress I think we should address some things. I didn't want to disclose the reason for our meeting through channels that could have been potentially intercepted, and encrypted communications could have raised suspicion."

Kaylhan sat back down and settled at the table, wrapping her hands around her glass. She waited a moment to see if either of the two women wanted to say anything at that stage, while she decided how much she wanted to tell Jalys. The thought that Jalys might have been in danger flashed in her mind for a second and protection by Starfleet was likely necessary, seeing how Alex Silver was ready to dispose of Starfleet Officers without so much as a blink.

Varik nodded to the new arrival and after briefly flirting with the idea of removing her jacket and deciding against it so as not to attract more attention she moved down the side of the bar to collar of one of the servers, leaving Jalys alone with Kaylhan whom she knew rather better.

"Ms. Stewart has been watching private communication, I've seen her over her shoulder at the front desk, so it was probably good you didn't warm me." Jalys shifted in her seat, and glanced over at Varik as a barista approached her. "Do you know what's happened to Mr. Carrington? His daughter keeps insisting he's fine, but I haven't known him to be out of contact this long without at least warning me. He was pretty concerned about Kag, so I have a direct channel."

Kaylhan nodded. "Do you remember when I said to you we thought Mr Carrington was in trouble? The lack of response is a confirmation of that. You said his daughter would have known about his whereabouts. Why did you think the daughter would have known? I am just trying to figure out what is going on with her, really. She wasn't very co-operative."

"I haven't been a part of the company for long, but everyone tells me he's been grooming her to take over the business ever since she was old enough to understand it. She's involved in everything that happens. I think she's even the reason why Lucy is still there." Jalys leaned closer to Kaylhan, lowering her voice. "I get lunch sometimes with Thriss, the Andorian zhen on the security team, and she tells me that things went really bad during the alarm after you left Kag's office. Lucy would have been fired if Mr. Carrington heard about it, it isn't the first time there's been a problem with her, but I guess Ms. Carrington always talks her father out of letting her go?"

Kaylhan's lips pursed, while her gaze was focusing on nothing in particular. So Lucy was involved. She relished the opportunity to throw her in a cell herself some day, but that was likely to be an unrealised dream.

She focused her attention fully on the Bajoran once again.

"Well, Jalys, here it comes. I might have to put you under protective custody. Mr Carrington is missing. He can't protect you. He won't answer. When we came to investigate, the people who are behind his disappearance tried to get us out of the way, too. And those people aren't exactly the most welcoming of non-humans."

Kaylhan paused for a moment to take Jalys's hands between hers again. Her only intention with that gesture was to try and comfort her after what she had just heard.

"You are not human. And you work for Carrington. Would his daughter know this? I need you to tell me everything you know about what he was doing when he left and what deal he was working on. His life isn't the only one at stake, trust me on this."

Kaylhan let that sink for a couple of seconds.

"I need to know."

Jalys sat up straighter, a determined look across her face. "I'm not going to run and hide if I can do something to help. Mr. Carrington has been good to me, very good. My last job was as a Dabo girl, that's where I got my head for numbers..." She made a face, she felt like she was rambling. "I don't know where he went on this trip though. I do know there's an area of manufacturing and R&D that has much higher security than everything else and Ms. Carrington seems to come and go from there a lot. She also comes to visit Kag a lot, which considering the look of disgust she wipes from her face before going in and falls right back in place as she leaves, tells me she's probably using him for something. I did suspect that she might have a hand in Kag's illicit transactions, but Mr. Carrington thinks the world of his daughter so I couldn't mention the suspicious to him without evidence. And I haven't found any, yet."

"Since he trusts her so much, he might have told her about you." Kaylhan withdrew her hands and brought one to her glass. "Where is that facility? Do you happen to know what they worked on last?"

"It's one of the buildings on the estate. I don't know what's going on in there, I just got lost when I first got my job, and I met with some scary intense scrutiny for getting lost." She shook her head. "These days I know most of the people on the security team. As long as Ms. Stewart isn't around, I should be able to get in and look around."

Kaylhan thought about Jalys's words for a time. "You want to go there? You do remember what I said about not being kind with non-humans? We got away because we have Starfleet to back us. You might not be so fortunate if they catch you. Would you at least put on a tracker?"

"Clearly something is wrong, and if there's something I can do..." Jalys answered the first question, trying to smile in a way that spoke of confidence. "I grew up hearing my grandmother speaking of the occupation of Bajor and all the things she did to fight the Cardassians. I wouldn't be much of a legacy to her fight if I didn't do the same and fight for what's right, would I? If there's something you can do to help ensure I can be successful in helping, I will gladly take it."

"Like I said", Kaylhan began "I would like you to at least put on a tracker that would alert us of your vitals and position. Maybe a transporter booster - apparently we were prevented from beaming out last time. I am not sure how well equipped the Carrington's residence would be to intercept communications, do you know?"

"I know that security often gets their hands on prototype and surplus weapons, so I know that anything Carrington manufactures would potentially be available to anyone there. I also know there are shield generators for all the buildings and main outdoor areas. They claim this is to prevent the theft of equipment, and I believe they leave them online in the manufacturing buildings all the time with the other buildings only being shielded when there's a security alert. As for communications, I'm not sure. I know Ms. Stewart intercepts anything that routes through the estate's communication systems, but I don't know what capabilities beyond that."

"So that rules out my plan A." Kaylhan took a moment to think.

"Ensign Varik and I will have a little cosmetic 'help' from our doctor and we'll come with you posing as engineers. I am sure Varik can make it sound convincing too. That way we shouldn't be recognis–" The blonde edged forward towards Jalys. "Someone's watching us." She whispered.

"What? No." Jalys looked around, trying to spot who might be watching. "I don't see anyone..."

"Don't look!" Varik placed a mug of Chai Latte in front of the Bajoran and sat, looking at her colleague, her facade of emotionlessness slightly disrupted by the unfolding drama.

"Human female, dark hair, grey suit and sunglasses sat by the door. Too close for us to make an easy exit." She told them, the calmness of her posture and subsequent drink from her juice glass at odds with the animation in her voice.

Jalys started to look at the door and then quickly turned her attention to the Chai latte. "Do we have any idea who she is?"

"Any ideas?" Kaylhan said while smiling the widest and most casual smile to the approaching Varik.

"Are we in danger from this person do you think?" She asked Kaylhan, including Jalys in her question. "Has she told you anything that would compromise her safety at any point?"

Kaylhan nodded briefly. "I'll explain later, but no, our human 'friend' hasn't heard anything yet, but I know she wants to."

Being a Betazoid came with perks.

Varik looked between the two.

"I believe I have a valid evasion tactic. It could also be adapted to capturing her if you feel that is necessary Kaylhan?"

The Betazoid had no doubt in her mind that they needed to capture the spy, but whether they had a sound legal reason to do so was an entirely different story. Yet she couldn't allow the human to come in the way and alert her terrorist friends either. Jalys needed protection and many Romulan lives were on the line.

"We capture her. Go right ahead, Varik."

Varik nodded and stood again, making her way quickly to the bar where the Barista who had served her before greeted her with a slightly surprised look.

"I wonder if you might help us" she asked him in her purest of pure logical Vulcan manners. "Please do not look in that direction but our friend, the Bajoran, the woman in the suit sat by the door is her former lover and has been making life very difficult for her. We are going to attempt to leave, I wonder if you might go over and ask her for her order, clean her table or something of that nature to allow us to slip away without her following?"

Varik was relying on the reputation of pure logical Vulcans who as most people knew never lied.

The Barista's look of mild surprise continued. "Sure, I can do that" he replied, picking up a dish cloth.

"Most kind. We will just be a moment." She returned to the table and sat again, reaching into her handbag and pressing the communicator inside.

"Starfleet Headquarters this is Ensign Varik. Please respond."

The badge fuzzed into life.

"Starfleet headquarters, go-ahead Ensign."

"Myself and another officer require an emergency beam out plus one Bajoran and one human at our location on my mark. Are you able to comply?"

There was a brief pause.

"That's affirmed Ensign, awaiting your signal."

"Understood, stand by." Varik outlined her plans to the other two women. "Once out of the door turn right and there is an alley immediately to your right. Wait there for her to follow. If she does I shall render her unconscious at which point we will beam out. Questions?"

Jalys shook her head quickly, taking a sip of her latte to keep her from looking over at the woman who'd followed her. "I don't suppose you can give me any tips on avoiding being followed in the future... after we're safely out of here, of course." She looked down into her latte as she asked, and could feel color rising in her cheeks.

"Certainly. Now look calm and casual as we leave and don't look at the woman in the suit sat by the door."

The three quickly assembled their things as they stood and started to make their way towards the exit. As they walked with Varik leading the way she turned to the barista and gave him a nod. It could have been a "thank you for the coffee" nod but the two of them knew better, The barista returning a courteous smile. On cue he moved in front of them and collected an empty mug from the table by the door.

"Can I get you anything?" He asked the woman in the suit as Varik opened the old-fashioned style door and safely out on the street herself held it open for the other two to pass through. They turned to the right and quickly disappeared from the view of the coffee shop window.

"Oh, no, I'm fine, thank you," she insisted as she stood up. She laid her hand on the barista's shoulder as she started to step around him to head for the door. As her hand touched his shoulder, he took a step backwards, placing himself in her path so they bumped into each other. The mug in his hand tumbled to the floor and shattered.

"Oh, I am so sorry," he said quickly, laying his hands on her upper arms. "Are you okay? None of the mug shards cut you, did they?" He looked down at the legs of her suit pants as he asked.

"I'm fine, excuse me." She roughly shrugged her shoulders to release herself from his grip.

"Let me get you a complimentary drink as an apology." He stepped in her way and smiled wide at her. She took a step back in surprise, looked him over from head to toe, then pushed past him without another word. He turned quickly as he watched her walk out the door. "I could make it to go!" he called after her before kneeling down to clean up the mug.

As she emerged through the door, she looked left and right. No sign of them, and the block was too long to get around the corner in that little time, but there was an alley just a little ways down the block. She started towards it slowly, palming a small phaser.

Kaylhan was indeed hidden in a nook in the alley. Having now perceived the threat from their chaser, she pulled her concealed phaser from the inside of her leather jacket. With a gesture of the hand she motioned Jalys to hide in the nook behind her, while she readied up to shoot in case the human emerged in the ally. They could have easily just beamed up, but now that she had confirmation that the woman was after them, she wanted to make sure she was taken in custody. Her holstering of the phaser, which the Betazoid had seen in her mind, now gave them the perfect justification for the interrogation.

The woman in the suit turned the corner into the alley, raising the phaser as she moved further from the street. Everything was quiet save for the cat in the dumpster near the far end of the alley. She didn't think they'd gotten enough of a head start to make it through to the other side before she'd at least see them leaving, but she didn't think there was anywhere else to go. She walked quickly ahead.

As she did so Varik emerged from her own hiding place in a shop doorway on the other side of the Alley entrance. She padded quietly in stocking feet behind the woman, boots held in her left and stretched out her right hand towards the woman's neck as she stopped to survey the alley. As her target looked left Varik skipped the last step and quickly dropped her with a Vulcan nerve pinch, catching her under the arms as best she could to stop her collapsing onto the hard floor.

"Kaylhan, she's down" She hissed to her Starfleet Colleague further down the alley as she scooped up the dropped hand-phaser their tail had been carrying.

The Betazoid first ventured a quick glance in the direction of Jalys and once again she gestured to stay put with her hand, hidden out of view. She couldn't perceive anyone else's presence, but she wanted to make sure just in case an army of Ferengi charged from the corner shouting, "THIS IS FERENGINAR!" Clearly the blonde had watched too many human movies.

She walked suspiciously towards the human, and despite her senses confirming she was unconscious, she kneeled over to double check, her phaser at the ready. Her actions were dictated by her training. Satisfied, she finally allowed herself a smile and turned to Jalys.

"Well, let's get out of here, shall we?"

Jalys nodded, glancing at the unconscious woman and the phaser Varik had picked up after it'd been dropped. She moved closer to the others, looking up and down the length of the alley as she did.

Varik extricated her arms from the unconscious tale, her weight had posed no problem for the alien strength of the Vulcan. She pressed her badge deliberately.

"Varik to Starfleet headquarters, energise."

The team dematerialised in four bursts of blue light and appeared again a moment later at one of the transporter rooms at Starfleet headquarters just across the city.

=/\= End Log =/\=

Ensign Kaylhan Vausse
Reconnaissance Specialist
USS Joshua Norton

Ensign Varik
MEP Specialist
USS Joshua Norton

NPCs by Amy: Brinn Jalys, Compliance investigator/Secretary; Woman in Suit; partial writing credit for barista


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