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Into the lion's den

Posted on Tue Oct 20th, 2015 @ 11:30pm by Lieutenant Thomas Stills

Mission: Trouble on the frontier
Location: Moonfleet spaceport

Titus Bruttius Praecens leaned back in his chair and plonked his feet on the console in front of him. He stretched out a hand and idly stroked the arm of the woman in the chair beside him.

“You sure you want to be doing this?” he asked, not for the first time.

“And miss all the fun? Life was getting boring back on Moonfleet. Now that Peter Mohune has taken over and cracked down on any form of dissent, there’s all too little outlet for fun. Even that delectable Maalen has been keeping her head down. No, I’d much rather be here. But if you ask me once more, Titus Bruttius, I will put you out an airlock.”

Praecens was about to respond but decided to forebear. Kareel only used his formal name when she wanted to make a point.

He had first met Kareel Pren that night of the big Moonfleet celebration. It had been an on again/off again relationship since then; more off than on as each had been away on missions or involved with other partners. Slowly, though, they had come to know each other better and mutual respect for each other’s abilities had grown into a certain liking and then into a more steady intimacy.

When the ‘offer’ came to go on this mission, Praecens could think of no-one better to accompany him.

"We can do this" the symbiote told him "It's a good place to start . All you have to do is walk into the ship."

After a shower and a shave, Kriss Maxx looked half decent and yet there were still dark circles under his eyes, remnants of a losing battle with sleep. He had felt sure that this was the answer; to go back into space. But he was losing his nerve and going without a drink for twelve hours didn't help much either. He had changed his mind so many times go, stay, go, stay, go. If it wasn't for Maxx's insistance in his head he would never have gotten this far.

He slung his back pack over his shoulder and felt something nudge his leg. When he looked down he saw a black cat with the most incredible green eyes looking back up at him, almost willing him to take the next few steps.

The cat was no ordinary cat. S'kitty Maines was a Flamecat from the planet Blaze. He was one of the best 'free runners' on the planet and was also an intelligence officer in the fleet. Flamecats have a unique ability to change from cat to human form which can have many advantages. As he was, at the moment, he looked the size of any other small domesticated cat but could grow to become the size of an Earth type panther. He scratched Maxx on the leg. This Trill was in the way; why didn't he just move?

"Ow, what are you trying to do to me," whispered Maxx. "You're not supposed to be here. If you get caught, you're dead. " No use talking to a cat; they cant understand anyway.

"You have something against cats?" a voice said behind him. "What's he done to you?"

Cat and human turned at the same time to see a large man standing there. Just as broad as he was tall, Reg Fistinhand seemed to tower above them. S'kitty had to crane his neck to get a full picture of him but cat instinct took over and he rubbed against Reg's leg. May as well say hello, he thought.

"No," replied Maxx. "Just this one."
"I like cats and they like me." Maxx told him

Reg Fistinhand, part time hood of Mac Mohunes nemesis. Cracky Jones. Reg had been 'bought' by Jones and sent to Moonfleet to gather information on Mohune's activities. He kept undercover as his alter ego (OOC: Can't remember his name.) who was an opera singer. It had been the perfect cover but nothing much got passed the Director of Moonfleet and it wasn't the first time that Reg had wondered why he was picked for this mission.

"I think were supposed to go aboard that," he said pointing to the ship ahead of them.

The Flamecat went first as all cats generally do before anyone else, followed by Kriss and then Reg. Kriss had no chance to change his mind. They stowed away their gear and made their way to the bridge.

Praecens was still stroking Kareel's arm. “Carefully, I might get to....”

A noise behind them in the small bridge disturbed them, leaving whatever she had been about to say dangling.

They turned to see an unusual trio; a cat, a ghost of a Trill on the edge, and another who seemed to take up most of the air in the room.

“I thought this was a small group on this voyage,” Praecens said. “Or are we taking passengers now?”

“Or is this part of the cover?” he added, sotto voce to Kareel.

"We on the right ship?" asked Kriss.

“A trading run out to Anderan,” Praecens replied, “then a quick loop to Mederath on the way back and hope we don’t get ambushed along the way....”

TAG (OOC: I’ve just taken and executive decision and that’s the official cover story. Cheers. ;) )

“I’m Titus Bruttius Praecens, by the way.” He sketched a rudimentary salute. “This is Kreel Pren. I take the Helm and Pren handles Ops and Tactical. Are you just passengers or are you of some use?”

The three looked at each other and waited for Kriss to answer. "We've been told we can be of some use." replied Kriss though he didn't know what a cat, a heavy weight wrestler and an amnesiac could possibly do.

“All well and good,” Kareel replied, “but in what way...precisely...can you be of use?”

She looked at each of the men in turn as she spoke as if trying to gain some appraisal of their merits. The cat she ignored.

"Look, do you want us or not?" snapped Kriss Maxx back. He was tired of this pussyfooting around each other. "Either way, I couldn't care less, we go, we stay. Which is it to be?"

Reg and S'Kitty felt the same way. The two men looked from one to the other while the Flamecat kept his eyes firmly on Kareel. He hated to be ignored.

“Fine, go,” Kareel said with a dismissive wave of her arm. “See if I care.”

Kriss Maxx muttered something under his breath; somewhere in a bar was a bottle of whiskey with his name on it. "Knew this was a waste of time."

The edge of Reg's mouth raised almost into a snarl as he turned to leave, the cat could't care less and was about to follow them put.

“No, wait.” Praecens said. “Where we’re going, we could do with some help,” he said to Kareel. “Especially expendable help,” he added softly. “I don’t know about a cat but there’s sure to be rats around somewhere he can catch. Most ships have vermin aboard.”

He turned his attention back to the newcomers. “Bunks are in the back. You’ll see which ones Kareel and I have chosen. Stow your gear there then come forward again and we’ll chat about what’s ahead.”


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