It was a short time spent on Zursk, the crew of the Rum & Swagger all had their own reasons for arriving on the disputed planet in the middle of the Klingon-Kzinti Neutral Zone Mira K’Niri found herself there after making her way there as a stowaway on a mining vessel from the Kzinti Hegemony. Fate put her in the middle of a bar brawl that erupted after some smuggler lost his ship gambling with an Orion at a smoky table in the corner. During the brawl which she was thoroughly enjoying a pinkskin dared to speak to her without any of her accustomed honorifics.
“You look like you want to get off this planet as bad as we do.” he said, gesturing at the Orion who was weaving her way to the door. “You should come with us, we could use some muscle in case we run into trouble. We have a ship now.”
It was true she wanted off-world and to put as much distance between her and Kzinhome as possible. He smelled strange for a human, not fearful like the others she had encountered here. She decided to assist him in getting out of the bar, she picked up her sling bag and started flinging brawlers out their way.
Squeeg’s master was a nice enough master as far as masters go. He owned the ship and smuggled illicit goods and black market items through out the Neutral Zone. He often left the engineer aboard the ship when he went planet side to conduct business and he never interfered with his other activities. He fed him and kept the ship in decent shape, though the old freighter was temperamental and often required repairs. Zursk was a common stop and Squeeg so enjoyed the solitude of having the ship to himself.
It was rather alarming when the ship was suddenly hailed by his master’s shuttle three days early. Even more curious was the Orion female now on the display claiming that she was the new owner and to h1. prepare the shuttle bay for landing. Once the shuttle landed and it was clear that the giant Kzinti and the human were following the Orion’s orders. Squeeg escorted them to the bridge. With a heavy sigh he set about making himself useful to them. They had so many needs, rename the ship, create fake IDs, manufacture registrations, operator’s licenses. The ship would be ready for take off soon enough. So much excitement, so much hurry. He wouldn’t mention how fast the ship could go, maybe they don’t know.
Now that the ship had broke orbit and set a course for Mad Jack’s Hole, Declan had plenty of time to pursue other distractions. For the first time in a long time he felt like he was reasonably safe, he had new friends, and a new destination. He spent several days relaxing, spending nights and mornings in the captain’s quarters. He spent time getting to know Minx better and trying to get Squeeg to warm up to the three of them. He had been on the ship for several days before it occurred to him that they should start searching the ship to see if there was anything of use or value that they could trade in Mad Jack’s Hole. Minx was the first to find something. A case of 12 disruptor rifles hidden behind a secret panel in the transporter room. Declan himself found a hidden stash of hallucinogenic spices divided into 20 small boxes below the deck in the ship’s galley.
Perhaps the most startling find came in the shuttle bay. NaRissa found a locked door secreted in the shuttle bay. Summoning her crew she asked Squeeg to open it. Using his tricorder he was able to circumvent the security protocols and release the seal on the door. With the hiss of air rushing into a vacuum the door slid open and tumbled the body of a Rigellian. Alive but unconscious and either in stasis or cryogenically frozen the body show critical wounds that while hastily treated still seemed potentially fatal. Declan reached out with his mind to to try and read his memories and learn his name. He made contact but there were no memories save for pain, a bright light, anger and a sense of betrayal. Fearing that they didn’t have adequate resources to treat his wounds, NaRissa ordered that he be sealed back into the chamber.
That’s when Declan realized he had never even scanned the ship to see if they were alone, having simply taken Squeeg’s word for it. They hadn’t even checked the ship’s logs to see what was going on before they came aboard. What fools they had been, he thought, treating the ship like they had just picked it up from the shipyard. Declan began scanning right away his feeling of safety shattered for the moment.