((Docking Bay, Labyrinth’s Scream))
::Despite the many protractions that seemed to reach for them, somehow the hybrid pilot had ensured they didn't smash into the side of the bulbous green ship but rather slid along the side of it, like a dorsal fin riding a wave. Large docking bay doors had opened up to allow the adapted Klingon shuttlecraft through, amid a flurry of warning alarms, bells and whistles. The shuttlepod hummed as the bay’s tractor emitters took control over the final landing position, setting the craft down onto the deck.
::All very... meticulous. Precise. Practised. Punctilious.
::Bear leaned his hand on the edge of the still sealed doorway, fingers drumming away impatiently on the metal. Through the small window, he could see the crew of the ship scurrying around on the shuttle bay floor — those, he remembered, who were referred to by the higher-ranking members of the Syndicate as the j’hordak1 — there to be seen and not heard; to follow, not to lead. Stomach jumping in a series of leaps and bounds, Bear glanced over his shoulder and stitching of his dark jacket, briefly to Valesha, but settled on the dark curls and bronze eyes of Lena in the cockpit.::
O. Marshall: Where do you land on the hierarchy here? How much latinum did you lay down?
Josett: It's not about size, it's what you do with it. ::She gave Bear a sly smile, drawing up beside him and resting her wrist on his shoulder. After a peek through the window, she continued on.:: I'm one of the captain's favourites. Which means there are plenty who like me, plenty who pretend to like me and plot to take my head, and those who absolutely despise me. You know, the usual.
O. Marshall: The usual sounds like hard work. Murder, mayhem, and backstabbing until the buffet opens. ::His finger drumming renewed with vigour, adding the thumb in for a beat as he watched the unfolding scene outside. A thought ticked in his head and he returned Lena's sly grin in kind.:: What's this Captain of yours like? If you're only one of his favourites, I'd hate to assume.
Josett: He's a decent sort, so far as pirates go. Looks after his people, ruthless with his enemies. Keeps his promises, so he doesn't often make them. Very canny, which is why he's managed to get to an age he can think about retiring. Definitely a silver fox, ::she glanced toward him,:: that's the term, isn't it?
O. Marshall: That's the term. ::The words exhaled with a laugh. A roguish handsome devil of a criminal Captain. His charm always seemed to fall flat with men, though it escaped him why.:: Here's hoping he's in a congenial mood.
::It was a bit too late in the day to ask the question that was so prevalent in his mind in that moment, however, it managed to set heavy on his brow, turning his grin down with it. The silver fox might have sympathies extended Lena's way, but that didn't mean there wasn't another high-ranking Syndicate member on there ready to strike. Bear stepped back from the doorway, crossing his arms, concerned frown evident.::
O. Marshall: We’re playing with high stakes here, Lena. Once we're out that door, you're in just as much danger as we are.
Josett: I know the stakes, little spoon. Maybe even better than you do. ::With a smile, she patted him on the shoulder, and then looked toward the Romulan.:: You alright back there?
::Valesha turned away from one of the shuttle's viewports, and looked toward the pair with a frown. Uncertainty was playing around the edges of her carved features, insecurity in the flit of her eyes as she looked between the two. Now that they were aboard, with a whole crew of Syndicate pirates right there in front of her, the reality of her situation had truly hit home.::
Sienelis: I'm a little out of my depth.
O. Marshall: Me too.
::The smile he offered the Romulan soft snore machine was hardly encouraging or confident, touching on commiseration instead. Limited options and a reckless sense of endangerment had brought them to the brink, and staring over the edge of the chasm, it seemed like a long jump down to the bottom. His teeth chewed on the inside of his cheek, rolling his lips between his teeth.::
O. Marshall: How do we do this, then? Wait for him to come get us? Wait for an introduction?
::Lena wheeled on the spot, her eyes darting along the compartments lining the walls above their heads. With a couple of steps — all that was necessary in the small space — she opened it up and pulled out a bag. The contents rattled and clinked, and she dropped it onto a seat with a thump.::
Josett: We go to him, bearing gifts. What *do* you get the Andorian pirate who has everything?
::Pulling open the duffel bag, she retrieved a large, elegant bottle of arctic blue liquid, setting it aside before rooting through the contents further. Next to it she set a book that looked as though it should belong in a museum, gilt letters stamped on the hard leather cover and yellowing pages. Finally, she pulled out an isolinear chip, and turned to face the other two, considering them a moment before passing the book to Valesha, and the chip to Bear.::
Josett: This should get you in his good graces.
::Valesha squinted at the book in her hands, a strange parade of emotions marching across her face; curiosity, recognition, hurt and then resignation. She breathed out a sigh and shook her head, reconciling herself to the fact that the universe did love a cruel coincidence. Turning the isolinear chip over in his fingers drew a huffed snort vaguely resembling a laugh from Bear. All the way there, into the middle of the black, onto a ship in the centre of the deadliest space available in the region, and he held in his hand a representation of the very thing the Syndicate had wanted from him in the first place. The irony wasn’t lost on him. Slipping it into the inner pocket of his jacket, Bear grimaced at the thought of what was to come next.::
O. Marshall: A literal bargaining chip. So much for a wad of latinum and a night on the ale. ::He glanced out of the shuttlepod’s porthole again, steely courage settling somewhere deep.:: Shall we make a move, then?
::Smacking her fist against the controls, Lena grinned at the pair while the shuttle door rattled and squeaked its way into a lowered position. Bottle of blue booze in one hand, she strode out of the small craft without a glance behind, fully expecting the pair to fall in line and follow. Valesha glanced toward Bear, heaved a sigh and lifted her chin, squaring her shoulders, injecting her posture and demeanour with as much Romulan arrogance as she could summon. He suppressed a tight smile at the expression crossing her face; staunchly of her species, a sight to behold.::
O. Marshall: Into the lion’s den. We’ll be fine. ::He nodded, swallowing, rolling his own shoulders back.:: I haven’t let you down yet, have I?
Sienelis: Me and you versus the world. ::She frowned toward him, though it seemed not so much *at* him.:: That's not a comfort.
O. Marshall: I don’t think it’s meant to be. Keeps you on your toes.
::Bear ruffled her hair with the flat of his hand before he stepped out after Lena, following the example she’d set. Attempting to look like he belonged among career criminals and organised mafia wasn’t as difficult as he thought it was going to be. The crew shuffling around in the shuttle bay barely paid him any mind as they readied another shuttle for an outgoing flight. Glancing over his shoulder, halfway down the ramp, he glanced back to Valesha, who looked back with an unhappy, sour caste to her features. If she'd wanted to be on her toes, she'd have let Chris teach her to dance.
::And with that subtle knife of hurt and regret twisting through her heart, she pushed off the balls of her feet and added some swagger into her stride, walking alongside the taller blond while they followed Lena through the halls of the ship.::