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Much Ado About Something

Posted on Tue Apr 25th, 2023 @ 11:34am by Captain Mrazak & Commander Arianna Frost & Lieutenant Sophie Xiong & Lieutenant Commander T'Bela

Mission: Season 1 Interlude II (E5.5)
Location: Temtibi Lagoon Central Resort, Risa
Timeline: ID 4 - Afternoon




"Jane-Doe, join us for Andorian night! Free drinks for Shens and Zhens!"

"Qapla! Glory to the House of Jane-Doe!"

"Forget the needs of the many, Jane-Doe, and tonight let us focus on the needs of the one..."

The responsive advertisements that were meant to target passersby through their registration were completely lost on Sophie. If anyone actively ran her ID, it would come up with an alias unless they possessed a sufficient Starfleet authorization. Passive ID scanning, such as the virtual sandwich boards hawking the various shops and booths along the pedestrian boulevard, could only render her as an anonymous ghost in the machine. The resulting Jane-Doe glitch took all of the razzmatazz out of the otherwise interactive advertisements.

And this right here was another reason she hated this planet. All these annoying monitors screaming at you everywhere you went. And this whole Jane Doe nonsense was particularly annoying. Would it have been so difficult to program her ID with her chosen pseudonym of Meghan Chu? Seriously!

"Jane Doe, you have not registered for any activities. Think you've seen and done it all? You haven't experienced this!" When Sophie made eye contact with the floating holographic banner, it morphed from a flashing arrow into a ransom note with text blocks in the style of old-fashioned newspaper clippings. The text-to-speech output turned gruff and gritty with an obscure urban accent from North American Earth. "Our crew gonna' kidnap you! If youz don't wanna sleep wit' da fishes, then youz better wise up and do exactly as we says. Respond to this promo and book your personalized Corporate Kidnapping Excursion! Openings for today are available!"

She had been ignoring these ads after a single glance, but this one held her attention a bit longer. When she glanced at the screen, a thick canopied jungle showed on the screen, complete with birds flying every which way and the call of multiple animals. The view switched to a waterfall, which quickly approached, revealing a passage behind it. The view showed the caverns behind the waterfall and while they were nowhere near as cool as the caves she had just come from, she supposed they were probably interesting in their own rights. Writing on the screen indicated that none of these sights were open to normal tourists and could only be seen by escort- hence the kidnapped adventure. “I’ll do it!” she decided at once.

"Outstanding! Report to the front desk of the main lodge to begin your adventure, Jane-Doe!"

“My name is Meghan!” she snapped at the screen, but turned on her heels and headed towards the lodge all the same.




"Your drinks are on the house," said the overly friendly server as she set two glass flutes in front of T'Bela and T'Sen. The attached café was just off the main lobby where the front desk had informed T'Sen that her reservation had to be reassigned to another room due to an undisclosed sanitation issue from a Bolian bachelor party the night before. "And housekeeping promises your room is almost ready. Temtibi Lagoon Resort appreciates your patience and understanding."

T'Sen rolled her eyes. "D'you know, it's always something wrong with the rooms. Every time we come for the Conference. You'd think they'd learn about their mistakes by now." Then a wicked grin etched into her features. "Speaking of mistakes, how was last night?"

“Surprisingly enjoyable,” answered T’Bela honestly. “Although I don’t think multiple partners is for me. Far too much happening at once.”

"Just need one good one and you're set." T'Sen grinned and raised her glass to T'Bela. "So, tell me do you have eidetic memory like most Cardassians I met?"

“Of course,” replied T’Bela. “In fact, it’s so common on Cardassia, I was surprised to find that it isn’t as common on other worlds.”

T'Sen sipped her drink and nodded, "it's very odd in fact in most species to have such a high rate of eidetic memory. Do you know why this is so? I mean have your people ever researched it?"

“I wouldn’t be surprised if they have not,” replied T’Bela with a slight grin. “They’ll have likely just chalked it up to Cardassian superiority. Just another proof that they’re better than everyone else.” She rolled her eyes in obvious irritation of her people’s arrogance.

"Begging your pardon," said a member of the staff who approached with his hands clasped in front of his chest, "but I am delighted to inform you that your room is ready."

T'Sen perked up instantly, "thank you, so...so...so...much Risan person!" She exclaimed cheerfully and took her drink flute. "Coming?" She looked over at T'Bela from over the rim of her flute.

“Of course,” agreed T’Bela with a slight grin, also rising from her seat.




T"Sen hated heels, and she hated stairs, but you suffered for beauty. So she stumbled up from the cafe, a semi full drink flute still in her hand. As she tried to keep her balance, she headed over to the front desk now that her room was finally ready.

The clerk paid no attention to T'Bela since he had already identified T'Sen as the offended guest. "Yes, hello, thank you for your patience! All of our rooms are accessible only via transporter. This is your transporter key." He discreetly slid a flimsy polysteel card across the desk. "Wear it upon your person, and you and anyone within your vicinity will be transported to the appropriate floor where your room is found. Just make sure the transporter resets to a new cycle, otherwise you could end up on the wrong floor."

"What in the strong nuclear force of fusion is going on here?!" Mrazak, who appeared to be slightly intoxicated himself, had sidled up to the two ladies with his finger waving in the air, pointing upward at nothing in particular. "Are you so obsessed with me, T'Sen, that you have to go chasing after everyone I assossossociate with?!"

“I believe you will recall that she offered to mentor me,” T’Bela pointed out, obviously amused at his outburst.

T'Sen rolled her eyes, "Tukh du, du shal yauluhk za' shaht!" She hissed at him, "what do you want?"

"First you try to prey on my ensign." Mrazak's wagging finger was less accusative and more festive, and his intoxicated eyes struggled to keep focused on T'Sen rather than his own dancing finger tip. "Now you prey on my prostitute. The joke's on you. We never sealed the deal!" Mrazak threw his head back and laughed far too loudly, the spite rife in his tone.

Sophie arrived in the midst of the nonsense, but opted to ignore it. She neither knew nor cared what Mrazak’s business was with the two women. She wanted to get started on this super secret adventure. She turned to the clerk. “I’ve just registered for the Kidnapped excursion,” she said. “It should be under Meghan Chu.”

"I'm so sorry," the clerk said apologetically with a shake of his head. "We have nothing under that name. Perhaps it was registered under a different name?"

“No!” snapped Sophie. “It should be under Meghan- oh, wait. The stupid screaming heads were having trouble reading my ID. They kept calling me Jane Doe. Is there a way to fix that?”

The clerk smiled upon further review of the reservations. "Ah, yes, we have one right here for Jane Doe. I'll just confirm with a quick bioscan..." After reaching over to activate a thumbnail scanner beside the lobby terminal, the clerk beamed even brighter. "Yes, identity confirmed as Jane Doe. Here is your transporter key. Present it to the nearest transporter and you will be beamed to the proper floor."

Sophie, who had been eyeing the arguing Vulcans and Cardassian, absently reached for the keycard. “Thanks,” she said, vaguely curious as to what it was about, but also not really caring.

While Sophie had been her transporter key, Mrazak was growing louder and more obnoxious in his taunting. "I just wanted you to think we performed the sexuals. And you fell for it! Guv duhsu!"

But as he threw his head back to laugh even more, he lost his balance and stumbled backwards into Sophie. "Hey, I'm trying to stand here!" he shouted, not recognizing her. "But now that you've touched me, my guv duhsu friend over there will probably inter the course with you if you aren't careful." He stuck a shaky finger somewhere in the general direction of T'Sen but never quite pointed her out.

“I… think he’s drunk,” muttered T’Bela, loud enough to be heard by everyone in the vicinity.

T'Sen was trying very hard not to laugh in Mrazak's face, so much so a tear of laughter slid down her cheek. "No...he is drunk and he believes he's right." The laugh colored her tone. "Go back to your room, you big za' shaht. You're causing a scene!"

Mrazak scowled so hard his lip nearly curled over his chin. "You don't give me orders. I'm in charge here and I give the orders. And I order you... to..." Rather than fumble over his words, he snatched Sophie's bag and flung it at T'Sen.

“Hey!” protested Sophie hotly, punching Mrazak in the arm lightly. “You’re really are drunk, aren’t you? You might be my dir- er… friend, but you’re a complete asshole when you’re drunk.”

T'Sen rolled her eyes, "seriously? You're involving your own people in this pointless show of superiority? What happened to the Vulcan I used to know? One who could put his money where his mouth is as the humans say?" To Sophie she mouthed, "sorry!"

"I am right here!" Mrazak shouted as if it had been a serious question. "You've gotten stupid! What happened to the smart Vulcan who used to organize geological planetary periods by prime factors? Too much guv, you guv dushu!"

The front desk clerk had stepped around his post and walked directly into the situation. "Begging your pardon, but I am afraid I must ask you all to go to take this somewhere private or I will be forced to alert resort security."

T'Sen sighed dramatically and rolled her eyes. "Fine! Whatever!" She wobblingly stomped over to the counter and grabbed a key. "Sorry for the disturbance, Risan Employee." The Vulcan added, not even bothering to actually read the poor man's name tag.

Sophie also took her key and stomped over to where her bag now lay, glaring at Mrazak. “I should report him for this,” she muttered, glancing around for a sign or something that would tell her where the nearest transporter was.




Sophie blinked as she materialized in a room that was certainly not hers. “Must be the kidnappers’ room, I guess, she muttered, glancing around. “It’s nice, though.”

Heavy breathing bordering on snorts filled the room. "She's here! She's here!" squealed a number of voices to one another.

The lights clicked off, leaving Sophie defenseless against the blind rush of bodies that pressed against her. Her hands and feet were bound while some kind of fabric got pulled over her face.

"Lights!"

Very faint illumination pierced the head covering, just enough to faintly reveal the inseam of whatever had been pulled over Sophie's head.

"As you can see, there is no escape for you now!"

“Wow, you guys are really playing this up, aren’t you?” replied Sophie. “Blindfolded, bound, and everything. You don’t do things halfway, do you? Anyway, let’s get this show on the road.”

Assorted grunts and snorts filled the room along with the sound of shuffling boots. "Yes! We are strong! And smart! And strong! There is no escape! Don't think about it!"

"Uh... chief?" One of the slow-speaking kidnappers said with hesitation. "The beamer is no good here."

The lead kidnapper bellowed in anger. "Why no good?!"

"Ah-unno," replied the other with minimal enunciation.

"It worked on the roof," said another. "Maybe we go back there."

"What about her?" asked the chief. "We kidnap her from room, not from roof! How do we get her to roof?!"

"Ah-unno," the others said in unison.

“Uh, I could walk,” suggested Sophie as if this were the most obvious solution in the world. “You guys aren’t very bright are you? Seriously, what are you? Pakleds?”

"She knows!"

"How does she know?"

"She's Vulcan. She's smart."

"Okay, Vulcan. You no walk to roof."

It was difficult to tell the voices apart for their slow cadence, but there were at least three speakers. Footsteps of one clearly dragging their feet shuffled across the suite, made a horrible racket, and then came to stand so close that his body odor could be tasted on the air.

"Climb in here," he ordered, seemingly obtuse to the fact Sophie could not see.

“Wait, Vulcan?” replied Sophie. “I’m not Vulcan! Didn’t you notice the distinct lack of pointy ears?” But she realized immediately what must have happened. One of the Vulcans that had been near the desk must have also signed up for the excursion. Probably the woman, seeing as how they weren’t concerned with the fact that she was the wrong gender. And also because she couldn’t see Mrazak signing up for something like that. They must have gotten the keys mixed up. “Whatever,” she said. “I suppose it’s all the same thing, isn’t it? What exactly am I supposed to get into? I can’t see,” she reminded them.

"Stupid Vulcan won't shut up!"

"Bop her. We're running behind."

Blunt force trauma prevented any retort Sophie might have delivered.




As the light of the transporter finally cleared around them, T'Sen wobbled a little in her high heels. "Woah...why is it so dark in here?" She blinked as if that would help clear the darkness or the fuzz from her brain.

“It seems someone has pulled the shades,” answered T’Bela, already heading towards the windows to draw them.

When the lights clicked on, they were surrounded by four masked men armed with phasers. "Freeze!" shouted one of them. But they all paused for a moment.

"Wait... Three? Only one registered."

"It's fine. We'll just take the one and let the others do whatever."

"Yeah, fine." With that sorted between them, the leader said, "Where is Jane Doe?"

"I've got your Jane Doe right here!" Mrazak jumped forward and punched the leader in the face with the sloppiest haymaker that only a drunk man could summon. Despite his weaker-than-average Vulcan physique, he was still able to overpower the average human. The masked man, not expecting the attack and doomed to be forever ridiculed for not seeing it coming a mile away, fell to the ground in heap, but not before the other three masked men ganged up on Mrazak.

T'Sen stumbled backward, grabbing T'Bela's forearm as she did so. "By Shael, what is going on here?" She wondered loudly. "Get them, Mraz! Get them!"

“Oh, for the Great Bird of the Galaxy!” sighed T’Bela, shaking T’Sen’s hand off her arm, obviously exasperated. “Stop for half a second so we can sort this out!”

But the attackers were too busy trying to subdue the Vulcan. “I didn’t sign up for this,” complained one of them as he attempted to duck behind their attacker, lunging for his arm at the same time.

"Unhand me or I swear to Fusion I will see you die in a transporter accident!" Mrazak screamed.

He got a swift punch to the jaw for his insolence, followed by a trio of gut punches and a heel kick to the sternum

"You will regret that," Mrazak said with blood dripping from his mouth. "ANON!" He began flailing so spastically that he broke free, but he was in no state to keep his feet under him. He shouted a wordless battle cry that made everybody back up a few paces out of reflex. After a few wild swings that weren't even in the right direction, Mrazak spun in a wobbly circle on his heel before falling to the floor. "That will teach you to trifle with Mrazak Tow'Lasha," he muttered into the carpet.

The would-be attackers just stood agape in stark shock at what had happened.

"Enough of this." One of them accessed a handheld communicator from his pocket and keyed the side. "CKE to Resort Security requesting emergency assistance. We have a drunk-and-disorderly in our immediate proximity."

"This is Temtibi Security. We have you on internal sensors. What is the status of all present?"

A soft snore drifted from Mrazak who had not moved from his prone position. One of the masked men retorted with a snide chuckle.

"Attacker is subdued, no one is harmed."

"Received and understood. Stand by for Security personnel."

T’Bela’s hands had wound up on her hips as she stood, shaking her head at the prone form of Mrazak. “If he weren’t so good in bed, I’d be sorry he hadn’t been killed,” she muttered. “Anyway, who are you guys? What’s going on here?”

All of the men removed their masks. "We're actors," said the lead. "One of you signed up for the Corporate Kidnapping Excursion, but consider it cancelled. Attacking the staff violates subsection 2 of the Resort Agreement."

Security guards beamed into the room. It didn't take long for them to assess Mrazak's prone body on the floor and the others standing around awkwardly but otherwise unharmed. "Temtibi Lagoon offers sincere apologies," a guard said while his partner slapped mag-cuffs on Mrazak's wrists. "We request that you get checked out by a staff medic and that you file a waiver with the front desk if you decline a medical evaluation."

“But none of us signed up for an excursion,” T’Bela explained. “I’ll bet it was the other girl that was at the desk same time as us. I’ll bet we mixed up the keys.”

T'Sen blinked, trying to get her mind back on track. "Wait...why would someone sign up to be kidnapped? Who is that bored in life?" Words ran away from her as she looked down at Mrazak. "Look he was just trying to defend us. In a dumb, irrational, emotion fuelled way - yes, but trying to defend us none the less. I'm sorry if anyone got hurt, but please don't press charges."

"We're just taking him to the drunk tank to sleep it off," said the Security guard who had scanned their biometrics for his report. "You can check with the resort's magistrate office about any potential charges, but without damage to persons or property it's likely to be a textbook cite-and-release situation. You're free to collect him from the detention center if you don't want to wait for him to be released under his own recognizance."

And, with that, Mrazak was hauled away through the service doors like a common drunk, only half conscious and barely able to keep his feet under him.

T'Sen looked over at T'Bela, ignoring the actors. "Alright, let's go to the magistrate's office. Should let him sober up, then we'll go get him from the detention center. I still can't fathom why anyone would want to sign up to be kidnapped. Crazy people!"

“Search me,” replied T’Bela. “Although I have heard crazier things.” She gazed in the direction Mrazak had been led. “I’m tempted to just leave him there,” she commented dryly. “But, I suppose that would be rude, wouldn’t it?”

T'Sen shrugged, "he's an ass, but he's our ass, I suppose. Come on! I'll show you where the magistrate is."




While the Vulcan and the Cardassian inductee into the V'tosh Ka'tur made their way out of the mistaken room and back to the transporter hub for that floor, they passed a group of Pakleds who were hastily carrying a black bag between them. The fervid whispers were anything but whispering. Only one of them made eye contact with T'Sen, and he paused long enough to drop his corner of the duffel bag. Whatever synaptic recognition he was about to make while staring at T'Sen was cut short by Pakled profanity showered on him by his accomplices. Like ships passing in the night, T'Bela and T'Sen beamed back down to the lobby while the Pakleds carried an unconscious Sophie through the rooftop access door.

 

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