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Investigations and Inebriation, Part One

Posted on Sat Oct 3, 2020 @ 1:57am by Staff Warrant Officer Rayland Pierce & Lieutenant Commander Briar Tovan & Lieutenant JG Gairon Jaggar

Mission: Episode 1: The Milk Run
Location: The Cheerful Charger Tavern
Timeline: Mission Day 4 at 2100

A while after local nightfall, a trio of Starfleet officers materialized in one of the streets of Clarion, not too far from where the spaceport was located. In accordance with their instructions, it wasn't obvious that's what they were, as they were dressed in civilian clothing to blend in. How successful that would be might vary depending on which one you were talking about and how drunk the observer was at the time.

"So I talked with a few people," Ray said. He was wearing a dashing flannel shirt, for some values of dashing, although it certainly fits the local aesthetics. "A bit of peer to peer banter with my counterparts down here. This is the general area where there's been trouble, and also the place that supposedly has the best food and drink."

Gairon knew there was no way was going to pass himself off as a local, not with the way he looked and he hadn't felt like going through an elaborate disguise attempt. But, he hardly looked like a typical Starfleet officer either.  He was dressed as a civilian.  Both his grey slacks and black, short-sleeved tunic were a little snug. It wasn't deliberate on his part, he wasn't looking for the companionship of either gender, it was just how he always dressed.

"So, where do we try first?" he asked.

Briar looked around. He had seen plenty of bars and watering holes during his travels and depending who you asked, was fairly good about spotting good ones. He scanned the street with his eyes and settled on a small establishment near the end of a row of shops. Standing directly across from the bar was a pair of officers, engaged in a conversation with a local merchant. 

"How about we start there?" Briar asked, pointing to it.

"An excellent choice, sir," Ray said, with the warm feeling of an NCO who'd made sure the transporter chief set them down with his preferred destination as the first thing the officers would see. "It looks like exactly the sort of hive of scum and villainy a bunch of college students would wind up in."

Briar arched an eyebrow. "Scum and villainy? I feel like I've heard that line somewhere before."

"I don't think any of us could pass for college students," Garion said, "but I'll try to channel my inner cadet."

"With in reason please," Briar cautioned, as they started walking that way. "I'd really like to avoid having Mr. Pierce get shot, beaten up, or stabbed."

"Why are you singling me out?" Ray asked.

"I'm assuming you started it," Briar replied. "I was given permission to use you as a human shield should you actually start something."

"Yeah, that figures," Ray said. "Joke's on the captain, I'm wearing low-profile stab armor under my shirt. My blood is staying on the inside this time, thank you very much. Oh, and I'm not starting anything. In my experience, it's redshirts who kick things off."

"He probably knew you were wearing said armor," Briar replied. "For some odd reason, he seems intent on keeping you around."

"Oh, he can't let me die. It'd be incredibly embarrassing, especially after all the work it took to put me back together the last time."

"Also might have something to do with the fact that he harbors some strange emotional attachment to you."

"Gentlemen, shall we go in?" the Orion suggested.

"Sure," Ray said.

The interior of the Cheerful Charger was about what you'd expect for a place that called itself a tavern and had a horse-themed name. There was lots of wood, from the wall panelling to the furniture, with exposed support beams and rafters and various faux-rustic decorations. It was mostly one long hall. The end of the left side of the main hall was the bar, with several shelves full of exotic drinks packed full behind it. To the far right was a stage where a band was just starting up, two human men and two Andorian women with stringed instruments playing something that vaguely resembled bluegrass but angrier. Directly opposite the main entrance was a stubby side area that housed a number of billiards and card tables.

Also notable were the customers, or maybe more importantly the arrangement. Running a rough line down the middle was an invisible line, mostly noted by a few empty tables in an otherwise loud and fairly packed environment. On the one side was a mix of people of many ages, mostly wearing variations on denim pants and natural cotton or wool shirts. On the other were a bunch of twenty-somethings, almost entirely humans and tellarites, dressed in what currently passed as fashion in western Europe, essentially sportswear that was too nice to actually do sports in. There seemed to be little or no interaction between the groups, even in the games area.

"This seems... rustic," Briar said, after taking a moment to attempt to sum up the atmosphere. "Looks like they've already staked out their area."

Gairon looked at the other two officers, and said, "Since I'm dressed, more like them, do  you want me to head over there, or try to talk to the natives?"

Briar considered Gairon's statement and looked over at Ray before responding. "Well, what's your professional opinion as a highly valued and traveled security officer?"

"My opinion is that you pretty boys can do whatever you want," Ray said, "but I'm going to chat up the bartender. They always have the juicy gossip."

Gairon ran a hand through his short hair and grinned coyly at the pretty boys remark.  "Then I'll go for the locals. I'm pretty sure  I can get them talking."

"Try and not get stabbed," Briar called after Ray. "Same goes for you. I'm going to go sulk around in the shadows... or at least that very dark corner over there."

"The vibe I'm getting here," Ray said to Briar, "is that even if you look young, inside you're every bit as much the grumpy old dude that your age says."

"Maybe," Briar said with a shrug. "Just means I have years of experience on my side."

"Sure, tell yourself that. Back in a bit." Ray weaved off through the crowd in search of booze and gossip.

OFF:

 

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