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Pirouettes and Hushed Words [CD]

Posted on Mon Jul 13th, 2020 @ 8:40am by Captain Malcom Llwyedd & Lieutenant Commander Rhiana t'Aegis
Edited on on Fri Jul 24th, 2020 @ 11:39am

Mission: Interlude 4
Location: Empok Nor
Timeline: 26 April 2395 - 2000 Hours


"I am concerned about the boy's safety, Bokot" Rhiana stated. It was probably not necessary for her to do so, given that it was her who had initiated this meeting and chosen the location: Down Below. In a corridor that was semi-heavily used and lead to the Blood Pits. Here, they were just two Romulans speaking with each other while making their way in a leisurely fashion towards the fights. Wisely, Rhiana had left her uniform aboard the Firebird and was wearing inconspicuous Romulan civilian garb. "Have you been contacted by anyone about him yet? Have you heard anything?"

Bokot's eyes roved over the chaotic space that was the Down Below of Empok Nor. He'd been in the place many times since coming to the station. Mostly his visits were for meeting contacts but sometimes he just liked to watch the mass of different races as they interacted. It allowed him to find patterns. "I have not been directly contacted by anyone," he replied. "But I have heard rumblings that, as I predicted, Xavi's name has caused a disturbance. I have a contact in the Denebian system, a weapons dealer, who said a group of Klingons asked him if he'd heard of a criminal fugitive named Xavi."

"Klingons!" Rhiana's voice was just a little too loud and some passers-by glanced at the two Romulans. But fortunately, that one word was not enough to cause them trouble. Probably only because there was no Klingon in their immediate vicinity. "Three different groups, Bokot. The Elements know how many more there will be." She wanted to kick the wall in frustration, but this was neither the right time nor the right place for such a lack of self-control. But all of this was her fault and her fault alone. Had she not asked Bokot to make inquiries, Xavi would still be safe. "Sooner or later, they will find you. You may be able to fool them the first time, but you know as well as I do that they will return to you. How much torture can you bear before you give them what they want?" There was no accusation in Rhiana's voice, no mocking. It was a simple question she expected an honest answer to.

Bokot waited for the group of strangers to pass, leaving the two of them alone for a moment. He'd scanned the corridor before the meeting and was relatively certain there were no listening devices. "I'm certain I can withstand torture. And if not, I have precautions in place that will allow me a way out that will ensure no information is given. Except the information I want them to have," he said. Even though his voice was low, the sound amplified it. He motioned for Rhiana to follow. "If it is Klingons or Sela's forces, I don't think they will be able to locate Xavi. But my... people already know where I am. And they will send someone sooner or later to ask me more."

Rhiana gave Bokot a sharp look. She had a good idea what those 'precautions' he mentioned entailed. While she still did not trust him completely and probably never would, she had kind of grown accustomed to having him around, to be able to speak her native tongue with an adult who was not immediately out to kill her. That raised other questions, of course. The mere fact that Bokot was his brother's - even after almost seven years, she avoided saying or even thinking his name because it still hurt too much - brother was not a good enough reason. She knew that his brother would never have hesitated in killing her or handing her over to the Tal Shiar had he ever known her to betray their people. So she had to believe that Bokot was not merely keeping her around because they shared this particular link. He certainly had ulterior motives.

But none of that was too important. Right now, the only thing that mattered was Xavi's life. If they could keep him safe while also remaining alive themselves, that would be an added bonus. "Very well. Your people will come here and I assume that this will be sooner rather than later." She pondered for a moment. "As much as I would like for him to be close to me... would it maybe be safer for him on Empok Nor? I could alter his features and no one aboard the station would know."

Bokot considered Rhiana's suggestion for a moment. "There is certainly safety in anonymity in a crowd. But you couldn't stay with him if you decided on that course of action, nor could I. And certainly someone would notice a young, unaccompanied person," Bokot said, shaking his head. "I believe the closer you are to him, the safer Xavi will be. The added protection of Starfleet, even if it is unwitting, is also beneficial. Have you considered discussing this situation with your captain? My behavioral profile of him indicates he values familial connections, including his crew, above almost everything."

Rhiana was not surprised at Bokot's words. Or rather, she was not surprised that he had files about her captain. He probably had files about most people on Empok Nor and certainly about every single member, past and present, aboard the Firebird. She was surprised at the suggestion of discussing the situation with the captain. "He does. But this does not concern him. Even if I spoke with him, what could he possibly do that I cannot? I am the Firebird's chief of security. If I cannot keep Xavi save aboard my own vessel, then no one can."

"I wasn't questioning your abilities. I was simply exploring a potential ensnaring of your captain. He has resources at his disposal that you and I do not. Those resources could do much to help our cause. But," Bokot said, holding up his hands. "I will, of course, defer to your judgment. For the time being, I think confining him to the ship is the best course of action." A group of three Ferengi hurried by. They all wore large, toothy grins on their faces and the glint of latinum was clear, even in the dimness of the Down Below.

Rhiana looked after the Ferengis until they were out of earshot and then a moment longer while she pondered Bokot's words. She felt inexplicably annoyed about the suggestion to 'ensnare' the captain. But Bokot was still a full and proper Romulan, quite unlike her. He did not owe the captain his allegiance. "If the captain begins using his resources, it will implicate more people. It might even drag Starfleet into this matter. Do you want that?"

Bokot eyed Rhiana and then raised an eyebrow. "The boy is being mentored by a Starfleet officer. He lives on a Starfleet ship. I don't know that we could drag Starfleet further into this mess even if they were a hnoiyika. But I do understand your point," Bokot said. "And even with that threat, I don't see any other good alternative except perhaps stranding him on a deserted planet, which I doubt is something he or you would accept. Therefore, as our Vulcan cousins would say, logically he should remain where he is."

It took Rhiana's brain a second to realise that Bokot meant her when he spoke of a Starfleet officer. "I am not...," she rose at the perceived insult. Then faltered and took a deep breath. "You have a point," she admitted somewhat grudgingly. "Nevertheless, this is not a Starfleet matter. We will keep them out of this." For as long as possible, at least. "I am confining the boy to the Firebird and you will warn me when you have been approached by those looking to find him."

"Agreed," Bokot said. "Now, would you care to watch some of the fights? Or shall we part ways?" Bokot said. He hoped she'd say yes. He rarely was able to speak with another Romulan these days. He felt a sudden longing for home, even though home no longer existed. It was just one more bit of sadness that he carried with him and refused to let go.

"No," Rhiana replied after a brief hesitation and in a softer tone of voice. "Watching the fights should be interesting." Bokot had kind of grown on her and she, too, enjoyed speaking with a fellow Romulan adult. Besides, she could gauge the skills of possible adversaries for future fights and maybe bet on some of them to increase her far too slowly growing stash of latinum.


Lieutenant Commander Rhiana t'Aegis
Chief Security/Tactical Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Bokot i-Ra'tleihfi tr'Llhaenn
Empok Nor Trader
(NPC by Captain Llwyedd)


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Comments (3)

By Lieutenant JG Owen Woodhouse on Fri Jul 17th, 2020 @ 7:02am

So much underworld goodness in here. Really enjoyed reading it. -Liam

By Captain Malcom Llwyedd on Fri Jul 17th, 2020 @ 8:01am

I find writing Bokot to be a lot of fun. He's interesting and complex and has mixed motivations. I also enjoy writing with Rhiana, even if I often feel like I don't know enough about Romulan culture :) Thank you!

By Warrant Officer Arlan Harlan on Mon Jul 20th, 2020 @ 7:41pm

I always love a certain amount of cloak and dagger and this one delivers. Great stuff!