Wynter Quarters 2200
Jasmine reached over and picked up her personal communicator. “So much for surfing Bang,” she groaned taking a sip of her coffee. At this time of night, it had to be either her mother or Max’s. They tended to take turns every other night or so to call and check in with their kids. Unfortunately, Max was in the shower after getting off the evening shift so it was up to her to answer. If she didn’t then they would both be calling in the morning assuming they were dead or assimilated by the Borg. Mintaran’s mother’s worry always gone from worse to ten feet underground if their kids tended to ignore them. Once Jasmine saw the caller, however, Jasmine wished it was her mother.
“Darn it,” she cursed under her breath as she looked over her shoulder to see if Max was anywhere near her. Jasmine debated on whether or not she should take the call.
The problem was the caller would not stop. If she didn’t answer it now they would call when she was on duty or when Max was around. Taking a deep breath she finally answered the call. “Hello. Long time no hear from” she said in a friendly tone. Ten seconds into the call Jasmine’s face grew more somber and she again glanced over her shoulder. “Look I would really like to help. Really but I told you I am out,” she said in a firm but low tone.
In the next room, Max turned off the water and stood for a moment letting the damp drip from him, then he stepped out and picked up the towel. He heard a voice from the next room, it was Jasmines, clearly, and as no booming cheer was accompanying it he guessed that Bob wasn’t around. That could mean only one thing, either his or Jasmines mother had called again. Holding the towel, he looked back at the shower and almost hopped back in to let Jasmine take one for the team this time. He couldn’t do that however, couldn’t let Jasmine handle whichiver one alone so he began to quickly dry himself and dress.
=/\=No one is ever out. No one with a conscious,=/\= the voice replied. The tone was firm and authoritative. It had a hardness to it that did not fit the physical characteristics of the owner. No one thought the person was capable of doing the things they did until you spent time with them. By then it was too late. You were in too deep both morally and legally.
“I am married now. Max is not going to,” Jasmine cracked her fingers on one hand as she spoke showing her tension increasing.
=/\=What understand? =/\= the voice was harsh and condescending. =/\= If he can’t understand then you have a real winner, there Jasmine =/\=
“Stop you don’t know him. He is a good guy,” Jasmine’s tone was laced with frustration and getting angrier by the sentence.
=/\=I’m sure he is a regular peach. Just do your job and then you can go back to your life. I would not ask you but finding someone to do the work is hard to come by. You know that as well as I do. So stop your witching and do your job. The job you swore an oath to or close your eyes and bury yourself in the sanitary life you have that others don’t =/\= the voice said icily on the other end of the call.
“That is not fair,” Jasmine said in a heated tone. Her volume had risen just loud enough to make Jasmine look over her shoulder. If Max came out now it would be too late to end this anyway and him being privy to the call would do nothing more than problems. Sometimes things tipped past the point of return.
=/\=Life’s not fair. Just pick up the box and do your job. Then I won’t bother you again. Agreed,=/\= the voice said in a firm but slightly nicer tone.
Jasmine bit her lip hard trying to physically hold back all the things she wanted to say. The list was long but at the end of the day, there was only one thing to say. “Agreed,” Jasmine replied and ended the call.
“Well that sounded decisive,” Max said as he walked out of the room and up behind her. “Which one was it love? And what did we just agree to?”
“Dinner,” she said effortlessly. “An old friend from my academy days is going to be arriving at the starbase soon and she wants us to meet up with them. I would love to see her but she gets so caught up on our way of getting married at times. I just get sick of hearing the mail-order bride joke,” Jasmine clicked off the screen and stood up facing him. She knew Max wouldn’t ask questions. The last thing he wanted to do was the couples hangout for the evening yet a little bit of distracting and confusing couldn’t hurt. She had never lied to him and somehow found this first time rather easy. It unsettled her which is why she covered her queasy with the mail order bride story. Few cultures understood how Minataran’s married so it was a joke they all knew and never found funny.
“I, however, would love for you to remind me of your answers to questions 15-165 on,” she lifted her lips to his ear detailing the exact section of the test she wanted to cover. They were alone but whispering it seemed to make it sound naughtier and more risque. “So what do you think chief?” Jasmine wrapped her arms around his neck as she spoke. With their height difference, this made her stand on her tip toes to reach his lips. She was off balance and pressed her body forwards against his for stability. the scent of his cologne was strong and she inhaled deeply letting it fill her. Quickly her mood changed. She was no longer faking that she was in the mood to distract him. She wanted him to distract her from what had to be done tomorrow. Jasmine wanted his hands on her body, in her hair, and finding those spots that made her dizzy. She loved Max far more than he could ever know. After this mission, she would never do anything to jeopardize their happiness again.
“Ready for bed,” she said softly glancing at the clock on the wall?
“Hey baby,” Jasmine pulled her hair to one side as she leaned down to kiss Max’s cheek. The chief was dead asleep but she felt weird just leaving a note on the table. “Baby I am heading to the starbase to meet with Melandra,” Jasmine sat on the edge of the bed. “You remember that girl I went to school with at the Academy. Turns out she got married a few years back and she and her husband are at the Starbase transferring off the Lexington to some other ship. I won’t be too long but probably all day. Stay out of trouble and don’t get hurt,” Jasmine said standing up. “The last thing I need is you getting busted up and me not here to fix it. Love you,” she said bending down one last time and kissing him. She stopped a few inches from his face after breaking the kiss and looked at Max lying on his back in bed.
“I do. Love you,” she said softly. “More than you know. More than that stupid test said. Okay,” she said leaning in and laying her head on his chest for a second for an impromptu awkward hug.
The only answer Jasmine got in return was a quiet snore. It was the snore of exhaustion, of a long days work and a late night where he attended to every need his wife had while he played devoted husband, the perfect image of Starfleet Officers and the matchmaking efficiency of the Mintaran system. The snore was accompanied by his head turning towards her and his hand moving to lay on her shoulder. Even asleep, Max knew the touch of his wife and the woman he loved deeper than anything.
“Purge that grid,” Max told his team as they worked on one of the EPS lines to a console in the communications hub that was malfunctioning. “The gel-pack with the virus corrupted the memory banks in the console, now we have to clear the line to run a diagnostic.” He moved aside and began to run through the commands as the other’s in his team worked on redirecting the flow of energy and data so they could remove the gel-pack.
“What is this?” Max said as a bunch of files began to appear on screen. Most were standard, computer files of various types but a number of communications logs came through, especially some of the later ones. He shouldn’t really, the communications log was restricted although he had clearance. A file caught his eyes and he paused, went back to it. It was the record of calls to his quarters the previous night, the only communication showing being from another Starship in another quadrant, hardly a possibility for the friend Jaz had spoken about wanting to meet on the Starbase, no technology existed in the Federation to travel from there to here in a night. Swearing at the corrupted files, Max shut down the console and began the diagnostic.
Jasmine forgot how thorough Shan was when it came to her missions. Starfleet intelligence had nothing on the 5‘4” dark-haired doctor. She paid the right people, blackmailed the bad people, and guilted the good people to get what she wanted. Stepping off the shuttle that she had taken from the starbase to the small moon world of Mundai Colony, Jasmine pulled the collar of the black leather coat tighter around her neck. The wind had a bite to it whipping lose strands of hair about her face. No matter how many times she swept it out of her eyes, several more lose strands seemed to find their way back to blur her vision.
The surface was a dark twilight even though it was late morning. The small amount of filtered light cast shadows in areas that on other worlds would be brightly lit. The sky did not hold clouds but more a gray fog where the brightest stars could be seen at all times of the day. Today there was a slight drizzle making the day seem even bleaker. A misting rain made Jasmine feel wet but not able to actually slough any water from her body. It would eventually soak through her clothes but hopefully, she would be off world and back in her uniform before then.
Passing through the Colonies port with the other arrivals, Jasmine would be ushered through the scanner and checking systems quickly and almost wordlessly once the first person had scanned her ID, only the blunt greeting of “Follow me Miss Wynter” was uttered. Shan seemed to have everything thought of and arranged as the man escorted her directly through the remaining security and medical checkpoints without stopping at them, and then handed her the papers to a vehicle parked just outside. “When you are finished with it, just leave it. It will be recovered.” With that, the man nodded and turned away without a backwards glance at the beautiful woman with the intense eyes of a person who had a purpose.
Inside the door of the building they had left, a Colony administration uniformed Ferengi man watched the pair while half covered by a large potted plant. His eyes narrowed as he paid attention to the woman. The man he paid no heed as he opened his communicator.
The colony itself was exactly as she expected it would be: Sleek modern buildings with clean streets that were well lit with plenty of food and lodging places around the spaceport. As she drove further out in the rented vehicle the buildings would become prefab, the streets would become a mix of half paved and half hard-packed dirt as the colonists worked to expand their city. This was still not where Jasmine would stop. Her spot was specific and found on the outskirts of every glistening city in the galaxy. No one spoke of it yet everyone in power knew it existed.
Behind her, in the distance another vehicle followed. It had left shortly after Jasmine had pulled out. Through the turns and streets of the colony the vehicle had been at the edge of her rear vision, there and not there. Through the pre fabs of construction the vehicle had dropped back until it was only a ghost among the mist of grey gloom of the planet. The figure behind the wheel content to let the woman lead him to where they needed to be while they watched and waited. The game was patience, cat and mouse. It was all the more simple when the mouse didn’t know it was being stalked.
The place past the polite pedestrians and officers on every corner was where she stopped the vehicle. Jasmine glanced at the clock and let out a breath she didn’t realize she was holding. Missions never took long. Usually only a couple hours. Then this would be over and she would be out of the job for the rest of her life. She could support the cause in other ways. Ways that wouldn’t ruin her life if she was ever discovered.
Lt. Jasmine Wynter CMO
Jasmine pulled the vehicle into a shadowy garage which the computerized directions had indicated on her map. This area was not any place someone like her should be even with a police escort. Luckily her contact knew why she was here and the reason. Moving to the back of the vehicle she opened the hatch and found several bags. Opening the backpack she shuffled through the contents. At first glance, it all seemed to be there. Rifling a bit longer she found what she needed. Removing the new PaDD, Jasmine set it aside and gripped the one she used to arrive here in both hands. Bringing herr knee up sharply, she snapped the device and tossed half one way and half the other.
Slipping the pack over one shoulder, Jasmine spun the metal suitcase around and input the code to open it. The loud pops of the security locks disengaging caused Jasmine to look around her. People would steal anything in this section of town and the contents of this bag would sell for thousands of credits if not more. Closing the suitcase up, Jasmine hoisted it out the trunk and closed the lid. It was heavy but not unbearable. Activating the PaDD found in the backpack, Jasmine set off following her new set of directions to the location indicated.
In the gloom and shadow of an alley across the street from where she stopped and got out of the vehicle, two short men watched from lowered hoods her as they sat slumped against the wall trying to shelter from the murk. “Is that her? That’s the female Hooman we are waiting for?” The first person said and glanced at the second, his sharp teeth flashing and wide, flat and scarred nose coming close to the other figure. The second figure uncovered a PaDD from under his cloak, revealing a deadly looking disruptor lying beside it. On the Padd, was a picture of a beautiful long haired human woman in Starfleet Medical uniform. This Ferengi looked at the picture, then at the woman for a long moment as his nose wrinkled and lips curled in thought.
“That’s the Hooman,” the second said and his voice was notably more unpleasant than the first. A rasping hiss that made the first look away and back to the woman. “I love it when they are on time. She’s pretty, it’s a pity we can’t keep her.” The second one looked at the first and licked his lips, tongue darting between the sharpened teeth. The first man just grinned back, “We have our instructions, you know what happened to the last team that didn’t follow them.”
“Pah,” the second said dismissively “Her kind are more trouble than it’s worth anyway. We do our job, and move on.” The second man put the PaDD away and gripped the disruptor casually and tucked it under his cloak, his eyes searched the streets continuously from alley to window and rooftop. The Ferengi had an air of dark experience about him, and danger. “Are you sure it’s her? They all look the same.” The first asked, his small eyes watching the slim woman from the hood. “We don’t want to make the wrong delivery.” The second hissed his impatience, “It’s her. Look at the lips and the fingers, and those eyes. Just do what you’re told idiot, try not to think too much. It’s not healthy in this line of work. Just deliver the package when I tell you and you can spend your Latinum on as many joy girls as you like.”
Further down the street, the second car pulled over into a side street. Out of view for a moment, the figure of a person wearing dark hooded clothes appeared walking. Taller than the Ferengi and with the wiry form of someone who kept busy, the figure moved casually from shadow to shadow as they neared the car Jasmine had parked. Still further back, the figure escaped the notice of the two Ferengi sitting in the alley looking at Jasmine. Most of the people here had hoods and cloaks to ward the murk and gloom, and hide faces from people who would take too much interest. Looking left and right as they came, the figure took in the area they were in.
Lt Cmdr Max Wynter, CE
Jasmine began to walk down the street focusing on the PaDD and not her surroundings. It was as if she knew that no matter how bad the area was, no one was going to touch her. Jasmine was right about this. She was untouchable at least for the short term. Once she delivered the contents of the suitcase things might take a decidedly different shift. That, however, was a problem for later. Right now she had a job to do.
The directions led her down several alleys and bum filled streets. Jasmine walked for several blocks until she came to a dead end alley. There was a door on the right wall that did not fit in with the dilapidated decor of this part of town. While the door had the required amount of dirt and filth on it, the control panel Jasmine flipped up the access was nothing but the newest technology. Anyone giving the door more than a passing glance could see it was only a thin disguise on an entry that was sleek, modern, and impenetrable to anyone not invited to enter it.
Lt. Jasmine Wynter CMO
Further down the street ahead of Jasmine, two small figures stopped their stroll and leaned casually against a wall under a makeshift sun shelter. Because of the drizzle the shelter wasn’t exactly doing it’s job, and drips of water sploshed down from torn corners where the fabric strained against the weight of too much water pooled on the surface. Cloaks up and around their heads, nothing was seen of their faces, their hands tucked under the cloaks for warmth. The didn’t seem to notice her disappear into the alley way, or if they did, they showed no sign of caring.
Behind her the figure of the second person stopped. It had grown closer to her but as she turned down the alley way the figure itself stopped for a moment. After a minute, it carried on following her to the entry to the alley, and glanced down. Seeing Jasmine approaching a door, the figure carried on past the alley and stopped at a rickety street vendor who appeared to be selling a variety of goods. Shoes, clothing and some food. None of it looking very new or edible.
Lt Cmdr Max Wynter, CE
Thirty minutes later Jasmine emerged from the building. Her expression was a cross between angry and worried. She no longer had the large case with her which allowed her to tighten the collar on her coat. The drizzle of the night was icy and felt like pin picks where it hit her exposed flesh. This was the last place she wanted to be tonight. She could have been home in her quarters, under a blanket snuggling with Max but instead, she was on a corner lying to him about having an amazing night with an old friend. Activating her comm she sent out her first message. It was simple and to the point stating what she had dropped off, to whom, and when. Since no one was going to actually talk to her about the events it was easy enough to just leave a message and be done with it. The next call was going to be harder.
=/\=Hey sexy. I am having so much fun but I miss you. Can’t wait to be home with you. Love you,=/\= she left a message for Max on his personal communicator. He was still on shift and only left it at his desk so at least he would have a small smile tonight unlike her. At least the slightly sad tone to her voice was easily hidden by the fact she really did miss him. Walking towards the end of the alley, Jasmine only had to hail a vehicle, catch the next shuttle to the Starbase, and then put this night behind her. Her footsteps were hollow clicks against the pavement that seemed to echo all around her. The sound was unnerving and only noticeable now because she had completed her task. On the way to the warehouse, her mind was fixed on getting the night over. Now it only contained loose thoughts about how she was going to lie about what she ate and what her mystery friend talked about. As she neared the entrance to the street Jasmine suddenly had other things to worry about.
“Mrs. Maxwell Wynter. Chief medical officer Wynter,” a deep but slightly squeaky voice called out from about three yards ahead of her. Jasmine would have kept walking but the voice was in the only direction she could go. Behind her was a dead end and the people in the warehouse would be long gone. She needed to get to the street.
“I’m sorry but you have the wrong person,” she replied still moving forward but lowering her head some. The best-case scenario here was the voice belong to the local authorities and her meeting with Max would be at the local detention center. The worse case was Max would be picking her up in the hospital or morgue.
“I think not,” the voice said as strong arms clamped around her waist and pushed her towards the wall of the alley. “I think you are exactly who I think you are.” The man did not descend on her which was the most typical action for this section of town. Instead, he leveled a phaser at her.
“Oh okay,” Jasmine slowly raised her hands. “I am not sure you realize what you are doing here. Lauren sent me and that woman will rip you from tip to tail if you mess up her opera,” she stopped talking as the weapon discharged. The pain began to radiate from her mid-section and spread outward. Jasmine felt like the world stood still yet the entire process only took a few seconds. Barely enough time for her to reach her wound before she was gone.
Lt. Jasmine Wynter CMO
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