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Off to the Docking Bay

Posted on Tue Feb 11th, 2020 @ 6:38pm by Lieutenant Nathan Klein & Petty Officer First Class Sparrow Kells & Civilian Cetus Lapetus

Mission: Mission 1 - "Pound of Flesh"
Location: Station 314 Civilian Docking Bay
Timeline: MD 3

Adrian Pimms. Janpen Yi. Jasper Pauley. Ilyana Gorky. Those were four names of individuals who had passed through Station 314 and were never seen nor heard from again. All of them had missed their scheduled departures, though supplemental information was available for others. Unfortunately, the details were not included in the actual missing persons reports, which meant someone had to go collect them and connect the dots the old fashioned way.

The civilian docking bay was bustling with columns and queues of people that clashed in their haphazard directions. While the commercial bay was a bit cluttered at times and the Union was perpetually full of haste, they at least maintained some semblance of order. Commercial haulers tended to be cluttered yet organized while the Union vessels were always in a hurry. By contrast, the passenger vessels were filled with hordes of people who didn't seem to know where they were going. As it was, even the direction signage was difficult to follow.

Sparrow undertook this challenge as she did everything from shopping malls to investigations. She took note of the flow of people and made mental notes as to the patterns in the apparent chaos. People moving, but bouncing through the challenging signage in predictably similar ways. Aiming at the wrong locations, following others despite not knowing where each individual was going. Like animals being herded through a confined space, reacting rather than proactively checking their path.

"This way," she said, and dove into the mess with confidence, clearing a temporary path through the sheep towards the dock manager's office.

Klein followed behind Sparrow, letting her take the lead. Klein was a fan of Sparrow she was a good worker, was going to be a shoe in to make chief, and she wasn't bad to look at. Sure he wasn't proud of that last part being on his mind but he was human, right?

Inside the dock manager's office, they came upon a cacophony of snide bitching as could only be mustered by someone of generations of privileged inbreeding.

"I do not give two monkey's hindquarters about your policy," said the irate man. "Listen and hear me now: you will give me the information that I want, or I will immortalize you in the most scathing manner possible, one which is beyond the comprehension of your meal-ridden brain!"

The harangued dock manager saw Nathan and Sparrow and perked up immediately. "Oh, good. Station Security. Take this man away."

With a click of his heel, the irate man spun to face them and unleashed the full weight of his practiced tirade.

"You jackbooted lawmen do not intimidate me! I came to this station to find my colleague, and I will not rest until I do so. If you lay one ham-handed finger on me, I will have your your badge!"

With a stern glance to the dock master, Sparrow caught his gaze and offered him the merest of professional nods. Her full attention then focused on the other man, the clearly irritated individual making his presence known in all the wrong ways.

"I strongly suggest, sir," Sparrow told this vocal character. "That you tone down your attitude, and humbly apologise to our colleague here for your inappropriate rudeness and overbearing presentation of your case." Her expression didn't waver from deadly serious once during this address, neither did she give any physical ground.

"Should you speak properly and cease the unfounded allegations of oppression and disinterest, then I assure you, your questions will be addressed. When you can be civil, I will need your name, and the name of the colleague you seek." She waited, impatiently, for the man to comply, intending to relocate them then to a private office for a conversation.

"Alright," Klein said, his voice commanding. "We're all going to have a breath and calm down..." he pulled his tablet from his cargo pocket of his uniform and pulled up the picture of the names he took from the board. "I don't suppose, sir," he said, with an emphasis on the word sir. "That you could tell me the name of your missing colleague."

The irate older man in posh, tight slacks and dazzling lapel scoffed at Sparrow. "See here, madam, that I am going precisely nowhere with the likes of you. As for my name and the person I seek, I shall repeat myself for the hundredth and final time: I am Cetus Lapetus, renowned senior correspondent with the Union News Service, and I am here to ascertain the fate of my colleague Ilyana Gorky. Her last known whereabouts were on a shuttle which arrived at this very dock not a week ago, and I demand to know where she is."

He then struck an accusing finger at the dock worker. "And this unhelpful fellow seems to be under the impression that his arse is a hat!"

At Klein's vocal shift, Sparrow bit her bottom lip and stood tensely in the space between the Lieutenant and the complainant. She visibly flinched at being called 'madam', but settled for clenching both fists within the loose ends of her long jacket sleeves.

"You have not," she said, tersely. "Said his name even once to us, never mind one hundred times. This is literally the first time you're mentioning it. Under duress I might add."

But that name was on their list, and that piqued her interest enough to not break this rude man's arm when she purposefully reached out to gain control of it. Gently, but firmly, she held Lapetus' wrist. "Leave him out of this," Sparrow said. "And tell us every detail about your friend."

"Ilyana Gorky is a junior field correspondent with the UNS," Lapetus said, yanking his arm free. He gave his sore wrist a good rub. "Normally she pursues fashion trends and other frivolous fluff, but her last check-in said she was on to something big. Wouldn't tell me over a public channel, so we agreed to meet here." Hands on his hips, Lapetus turned irate again. "Except that when I arrived, Ilyana was nowhere to be found! There was a record of her shuttle arriving, but it's like she vanished! How is that possible, officers or agents or whoever you are?"

Klein gave a look to the petty officer that offered displeasure at the attitude given to the man after he'd told them to both calm themselves. He looked over the list he held in his hand and saw the name it was one of the missing people that the unit was just beginning to investigate. As far as he knew this was the first person actually looking for someone on the list though he was disappointed it happened to be a reporter.

"Sir, I'm Lieutenant Klein," he said, stepping a bit forward to be forward of Sparrow. "I'm with the Union Criminal Investigation Division. Our unit just got wind of the missing report, the station's security department hasn't yet looked into it, so my unit is stepping in. Can you please come back to the office with me so we can talk and get some more information that may help?" he asked.

Sparrow showed no sign of apology, but she did return Klein's look with a neutral gaze and silence. Seemed the best move forward in the circumstances. She knew the name was one of theirs without physically needing to check it, but didn't interrupt the Lieutenant's flow by interjecting that piece of information. Rank was important, and perhaps this reporter would respect it. Quietly, she kept her place slightly behind Klein and scrutinized every detail of this stranger, his appearance and their interaction.

"I'll not be going anywhere with you, thank you very much." The news correspondent wrapped his feathery boa around the collar of his tweed jacket and made a soft harrumph. "Go play detective with you in your little precinct for precious hours while all the leads grow colder by the second? I think not!"

"So she vanished sometime between boarding the shuttle and reaching here?" Sparrow asked, ignoring everything else the reporter had said. "Or she never got on the shuttle?"

Lapetus turned his scowl upon her. "Oh, yes, my dear, she certainly got on the shuttle, but what happened after that is a mystery for the ages according to the twats running the terminal here."

Klein gave Kells a supremely annoyed look, she was cruising for the riot act, "Mr. Lapetus. You can come back to the station with me and we will discuss what you know. If you do not want to help the investigation and I find out that you have information that could have helped I will be sure that you're charged with obstruction. Your choice."

"You fink bastard!" Cetus flinched after the insult, yet his eyes burned no less intensely. "I'm the one here asking questions. Why in the bloody hell would I know anything when I just got here? I can already see you will be of no greater help than the docking bay personnel. I will come along with you in hopes of finding someone who is not a complete shit-heel."

She hadn't missed The Look from Klein, but Sparrow didn't react to it verbally. If the Lieutenant wanted to take this reporter away for questioning, then he would. It seemed to her that it might be better to keep him here, but also, if they both left, she could talk to the dockmaster quietly. A simple shrug was offered to Klein, and Sparrow spoke calmly and directly to Cetus. "Lieutenant Klein," she said. "Is neither a fink bastard not a shit-heel. He is, however," she pointed out coolly and with a softly reptilian smile. "The one who'll be asking the questions. My advice would be just do as he asks, you'll be back out here in a much shorter period of time that way."

"I think I am quite finished speaking with you, darling," Cetus said dismissively to Sparrow. "Lead the way, sturmf├╝hrer," he said to Klein. "If you insist on having my time wasted, I would much prefer it to be done by your superior."

"She was a lot nicer about it than I planned," Klein said. "This way," he said, his tone an order and not an invitation. "Petty Officer Kells meet with the dock personnel as planned and report back to me when you've completed it."

"Yes, El-Tee," Sparrow confirmed with the addition of a curt nod. She turned her attention then to Vic, the dockmaster, offered him her best attempt at an encouraging smile and waited for the other two to leave.

"Thanks," he said, turning to Cetus, "with me."

Cetus scoffed. "I heard you the first time, you jackboot."

Klein turned to face Cetus his anger now evident on his face, "Listen here old man," he spat. "I am the expert on these matters, I am the one who calls the shots, you can help or you can be punished for being in the way of my investigation. Keep your attitude and your snide comments to yourself or you can reflect on them from a cell, got it?" he said, trying to put the image of choking the man out of his mind.

"You have wasted five minutes of my ever dwindling time already." Cetus sighed impatiently. "If you have more speeches to give, I beg you to give them walking."

"I advise you to figure out that your attitude is your biggest barrier, sir," he said. "I'd suggest you stow it by the time we return."

"And I hope your mug shot is updated in your file," Cetus said, "because if my colleague perishes while you play at military police, then I will make you famous right before I have your badge."

"Consider that strike two," Klein responded.

Quietly walking around the desk to stand much closer to the dockmaster, Sparrow leaned in and discreetly asked him a question at the same time as making a valiant rescue attempt. "Buy you a coffee, Vic?" She raised an eyebrow and nudged her head in the direction of the exit.

 

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