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Caffeine, the Great Leveller

Posted on Thu Mar 12th, 2020 @ 7:49am by Petty Officer First Class Sparrow Kells & Lieutenant Commander Talina Sarafian

Mission: Mission 1 - "Pound of Flesh"
Location: Station 314 Civilian Docking Bay
Timeline: MD3

Sparrow returned with the coffee, the good stuff, from the best place she'd found the station. Just a little niche place in a tucked away route that people in the know wandered down only to seek out Gordon. Gordon was old, haggard and talkative in the right mood, or sullen and grumpy the other 23hrs of the day. He liked Sparrow for some reason, so they had a catch up while he brewed the beverages and then sent her back to the dockmaster with two sealed cups and a wry smile.

She handed over the precious cargo, took a seat and readdressed Vic. He'd had the list of names while she'd been gone, and hopefully had something to give in return for the caffeine boost.

"Let's start with Ilyana then," Sparrow said, sipping said coffee and setting her terminal on the edge of the dockmaster's desk. There's nothing on record, what did you find?"

"UNN Correspondent," said Vic, matter-of-factly. "All I got is her name on the register for the Artanis Hotel." He sighed, and leaned back in his chair. "And... looks like another one of your names is on there too. Jasper Pauley."

"Intriguing..." mused Sparrow out loud. "Just those two?"

Vic nodded.

"Okay, thanks."

"Hold up just a dadgum minute!" Vic furiously pressed a button on his touch screen display. "There was a second page here! Looks like two other names kicked out of the registry. A Janpen Yi from Theta Draconis... says here her destination was Decadence, that fancy restaurant. And then Adrian Pimms... older fellow, went to the Pila-Pala of all places. Dumpy hovel, by comparison to most other hospitality establishments." Looking up from the display, Vic said, "That'd be it." Unsure of himself, he pressed the touchscreen display several more times. "Just checking. That's definitely all."

She waited the minute, turning back to smile enigmatically at the enthusiastic man behind the desk. Well, wasn't this just her lucky day huh? She took notes, typing them swiftly into her terminal while watching Vic drag the information from his display. "Decadence and Pila-Pila? Opposites of the spectrum there," Sparrow thought out loud. "Great stuff, thanks Vic. If you hear anything else, drop me a line ok?" She smiled. "Always happy to caffeinate you in return."

Pila-Pila. Well, that sounded like a good place to start then her day could only go upwards from there.

At that moment, Sparrow's comscanner went nuts. It was the new unit chief.

Sparrow stepped out into the corridor to pick up the inbound call and let her speak first.

"Lieutenant Klein said he split up from you," Talina said through the comscanner. "I hope for his sake you turned something up."

"I did," said Sparrow flatly, neatly dodging any personal opinion with regards to Lt Klein's actions. "I have leads on all four names," she confirmed with no sense of selfish bravado in her tone. It was what it was. "Artanis Hotel, the Pila-Pila and Decadence. Headed to Pila-Pila now, ma'am."

"Good work! I'll meet up with you at the Pila-Pala. Do not go in before I arrive." Talina's stare said she would brook no argument.

"Received and understood, ma'am," confirmed Sparrow. She finished her coffee, thanked Vic and headed on out.

Having left Klein and Malone to finish up back in the bull pen, Talina was excited to beat feet on a solid lead. Of course, she had no idea where the Pila-Pala Hotel was. Fortunately the holo-signs were impossible to miss.

The hotel turned out to be its own module affixed to the hull of the station like a tick on a bull's ass. All of the exterior lighting flashed inward, making the Pila-Pala less of a resort hotel and more of a gaudy casino with food service and lodging. The main entrance was a massive blast door converted into a yawning chasm of strobe lights and pulsating music.

All of Talina's instincts screamed it was a haven for scum and villainy, which meant she did not want to enter without backup. But where was Kells?

Sparrow had found the place first, but then she'd been a tad closer than the boss. Unwilling and unable to simply wait outside, the younger woman had gone walkabout some rather than lurking close by. She was on her second pass round the 'block' and back to the garrish hotel frontage when she spotted the unit chief.

"Ready when you are, ma'am," noted Sparrow as she picked up her pace and joined the Lt Cdr. She kept her voice quiet, and her position close enough to still carry the words over the thumping tunes emanating from the entranceway. "Looks shady as..." she added, in case that wasn't already obvious.

"You clearly made a preliminary assessment," Talina said flatly. "Did you find anything of note?"

"Only an external appraisal," Sparrow returned pointedly. "You specifically instructed me not to enter before you arrived on scene." She reminded her boss, then looked from Sarafian to the Pila Pila's overly bright entrance and back again. "I think that was a wise call."

Talina nodded. "Let's go."


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