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Red Letter Day

Posted on Sat Feb 13th, 2021 @ 1:42am by Commanding Officer Mickey Serendipity & Client The Narrator & Passenger Emma Yonkers

Mission: Ring's Of Gold & Palladium
Location: Rhea Hilton, Industrial Six, Rhea, Saturnian Confederacy Freeport
Timeline: Just after 'Lay Down Your Burdens'

The Rhea Hilton was the sort of upmarket hotel that prided itself on a border control policy any nation would be proud of. Designed and built so that visiting executives, corporate officers, and various controlling shareholders had a place to stay that didn't rent by the hour with showers as a luxury add on, it was opulent to the point of poor taste.

Real living staff in neatly pressed uniforms, their accents and manners discreetly aiming to assure any guest that this was an Inner run establishment. The real sign of wealth came with the floor space the lobby had, with enough room for five people to mill around aimlessly, and the glass-enclosed water fountain. In the low gravity of Rhea the water was able to arc up to three meters before slowly falling down in languid overlapping fronds.

Literal First World problems.

The Martian Congressional Republic had paid lavishly to take up one of the penthouses, a suite of apartments where the 8 survivors of the people trafficking ring as well as the two Martian citizens involved could be housed away from Earther and Belter eyes. Two levels, couches, hot and cold running net traffic and real honest to goodness Marcon Red whisky from Hebe Dome.

There was even an MCR flag hanging from a pole along one wall. A bisected circle with two white dots denoting the moons of Mars. Less accurate now, given there was really only one moon left.

"I hope you don't mind," the consulate staffer said as he pulled a recorder from a pocket. "We just have some questions to answer first. Can I have anything brought up for you? Tea? Coffee? Miss...Yonkers? Isn't it?"

"You can bring me a case of Marcon Red whisky, you hear that a CASE... Then 'ALL' my back pay from the time I was kidnapped until today. A secure hand terminal so I can send and receive from my family and others on Mars. Finally you can get me a lawyer." Emma Yonkers looked at Alex then Allegra, "Anything you two think 'I' might want or need?" She winked at them before getting up and starting to pace.

Emma was tired and still had a headache from the combat they were in. The Consulate folks were nice enough to allow her to be accompanied by the two Martians from the ship, but she still felt like she was in a cell. Sure the cage was gilded, but a cage nonetheless. They had shuffled her from the ship quickly after they made it to the sub pens, and she hadn't even had a chance to talk to Wulf, let alone say goodbye.

The consulate staffer smiled, his lips parting to laugh but then stopped as he looked her in the eye.

" sure in good time we can arrange secure communications back to Mars for you, and the matter of back pay is something I can look into on your behalf. As for the lawyer, you don't need one. This is not a criminal investigation as such, it is a more nuanced situation," the staffer said. He'd introduced himself as Standish, no first name. At an unspoken order one of the hotel's wait staff, who had been standing in the corner, stepped forward and poured Emma a glass of Marcon.

As the waiter offered to add ice to the drink, Standish leaned back and steepled his fingers.

"You have put us in a somewhat precarious situation, through no fault of your own you understand. But the United Nations Navy saving the life of 8 Martians nationals, all ex-service personnel like yourself...well you can see the sort of political capital that gives the Takers," Standish said with a tut at the end of the derogatory slang for an Earther. "Martian criminal syndicates, working with corrupt Confederacy officials...the Prime Minster's office is naturally sensitive given the current war footing we're on. Especially after the attack on Deimos. The loss of the Deep Space Array, as well as the collateral damage to the Hepheustus Fleet Yards and the High Eylisium Tether Station. And in the span of a month, they get to look like heroes saving some of our best."

He shook his head.

"I see I see. This is quite embarrassing for the Martian government... Wowwee, that really vents right out into the vacuum. Letting her finest be kidnapped and sent off to who knows where... And some little podunk ship saved us and then the UN came to pull the Saturn navy off us. Am I missing anything?" She turned and looked back at Standish, "Also the lawyer isn't for my defense, oh no, you see I want to know what legal recourse I can take. As an employee at the terraformer I feel my safety was taken seriously."

as she paced by she picked up the glass of whisky, "Oh I did really mean a case, It can be delivered to the Albatross."

"The...Albatross, yes," Standish leaned forward and glanced at his terminal. "A privately owned courier ship registered out of Vesta Station, with an interesting design pedigree going back to the last century. A little in the red due to their legal troubles given their connection to ProtoGen."

He sat back up and smiled.

"As for the case, if you're wanting it stowed for the ride back to Mars I can assure you it will be made available to you. The MCRN Haboob will be breaking orbit tomorrow morning, taking you all home to Mars," Standish said, looking at Alex and Allegra. "Given the devolving political climate between Earth and Mars, we must insist on bringing such crucial members of our population with knowledge of a criminal conspiracy home at quickly as possible. You understand?"

"I'm wanting it deliver to the people who saved me and the rest of the Marines, thinking of that I would like a second case delivered to the UNS Alan Turing, with my complements" She was about to continue when she realized he was saying she was going be be shipped back to Mars.

"Well I am going to insist that IF I must burn back down the grav well to Mars, I am sure the Martian Government would be willing to allow such a crucial member to choose her own mode of transit. And seeing how unlike our government's ability to guarantee my safety on the ground on Mars itself, the Crew of the Albatross not only rescued me and the others, but also got me here, at great risk to themselves."

"A risk they put themselves into when they committed an illegal act. By their own admission, their job was to transport illegal arms to the Rhea black market, hardly saint worthy," Standish admonished. "And their risk was mollified by the fact they were already facing a capital offence, the transportation of human cargo is a felony poorly looked upon by either planet."

He held up both hand.

"But...your point is made," he made a show of looking at the terminal again, "I must inform you that remaining in the Outer System and not Mars is now dangerous, and the MCR will not be held accountable for your personal safety. As for your decision to...mediate on behalf of the crew of the Albatross, I can at least assuage you. The Martian government will not seek charges against them. Right now the climate is not right, and the information gleaned means we have more pressing matters back home to deal with. The UNN is paying for their repairs, the MCR is cleaning their slate of this mess."

He looked at the other two.

"I assume that both of you will be taking up my offer to return home?" Standish inquired. Alex nodded, and whilst Allegra did not make a commitment to any particular answer there was something in the tone of her voice that settled it in Yonkers mind. Come the morrow, the Albatross would be short a pilot and a medic.

"And is there nothing I can say to help you change your mind?" Standish asked of Yonkers. "War is coming to us sooner rather than later, and Mars needs as many of its sons and daughters at the walls when the flare goes up."

"Right now I feel I am needed else where, if Mars and Earth start lobbing missiles around the crew will need all the help they can get to stay out from the middle." Yonkers took a sip of the whiskey she had in her hand. "They an't perfect, but damn it maybe with me aboard they might become better. So give me a hand terminal and you can cover a second room for me for the night, and I won't darken your doorstep for a while."

"Well, given you have divested yourself of us, we can do no more the same for you. Your back pay," Standish said as he reached into a pocket of his jacket and slid a credit chit across the table to her. When she touched it, the little LED screen on its cover lit up with a suitably padded amount. "I assume with the funds there you can see to purchasing your own terminal. After all, the MCR is not a charity. We all work to the greater good of Mars. Now, if you don't mind I need to discuss travel arrangements with these two...unless either of you want too stay on sunny Rhea? No. Excellent."

Picking up the credit chit, Emma frowned and looked back to the pilot and medic. "I wish you two well, be careful, if this guy is right Mars might get very dangerous." She shrugged finished her whiskey, grabbed the bottle from where it sat and headed out of the door.

The former Marine wondered the station looking for a few things. Once she found a place to get a new hand terminal she sent messages to her family telling them she was still alive but will be spending some time off world. She left them with her new comm ident so they could reach her. Then she sent a message to Mickey.

[em] "Hey boss, well I just finished up with my "debriefing..." I want to meet with you, Ken, and if he is willing Wulf, I have preposition for the three of you. Meet me at..."[/em]

She a gave a listing to a bar near where the ship was birthed. With the time she had left she went and bought 5 black tank tops, some pants and overalls, and one old Martain Marine space suit. it needed a bit of work but she figured they could help her on the ship getting it up to par.


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