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Day 10 [2000 hrs.] - Holonovel Club - Book 1: Storm of the Century

[ Lt. RraHnam a.k.a. Lydia Gladstone | Holosuite 2 | Below Decks Lounge | Deck 28 | Vector 3 “The Stallion” | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz 

[D10|2000] Holonovel Club - Book 1: Storm of the Century

April 28, 2381
20:00 hrs.
Stardate: 57680.35

For days, the clouds hung low over the city and prevented the sun from drying the wet ground with its heavy rain. Only those who absolutely had to dared to go out into the weather that future generations would call the worst storm of the last century. Public life came to a virtual standstill. The harbor was closed and unemployed dock workers, unable to find a place in one of the many bars, squeezed into the narrow doorways near the harbor to find a reasonably dry spot.

A car drove through the rain-soaked streets. Its tires pushed the water to the left and right. Again and again, the driver had to step on the irons to keep from lurching off the road. His windshield wipers could barely keep up and often he was just guessing where he was driving to. One could tell he was an experienced driver because he didn't let himself get sidetracked and steered his vehicle safely through the streets. The elegant car stopped in front of a building with a plain gray-beige facade.

The driver got out of the car, which’s engine continued to run unperturbed with stubborn power. He looked appraisingly down the sidewalks at the dockworkers who were hugging their coats tightly around their shoulders for a bit of protection from the weather. The man was not just a simple chauffeur, no, his broad back and muscles tensing under his shirt and coat, spoke to the fact that he knew how to handle himself in a duel. He briefly adjusted his slider cap, then spat and stretched out a large, black umbrella. In one elegant movement, he opened the door and offered his hand to his passenger.

A delicate, gloved hand placed itself in the man's hand, and he gently grasped it and helped the woman out of the car. She was elegantly dressed. A long, fur-trimmed brown coat, and a matching felt hat protected her from the rainy evening. In her free hand she carried an inconspicuous clutch. The woman nodded her thanks to the driver and asked him to wait nearby. She wouldn't be too long in coming. He nodded and bid her farewell as she changed men on the sidewalk and the doorman with another large umbrella welcomed the woman.

Muted jazz music could be heard coming from the nondescript building, its intensity increasing as the doorman opened the door for the woman and invited her inside. Inside she met another man, the receptionist, who greeted her with warm words and helped her take off her coat. She left him the coat and her hat, as well as her gloves, and waited a moment until he returned and led her with precisely measured steps to the salon of the bar of the 'Golden Flamingo'. There she was alone for the first time that evening. The receptionist led her to the doorstep and then recommended himself with best wishes for the evening.

The woman, now in a beautiful black evening gown, opened her clutch and took out an elegant cigarette holder. From a nearby side table, she took one of the proffered cigarettes and had one of the nice gentlemen present lights it for her. She smiled gratefully and paid with a seductive eye-blink. An eye-blink that she immediately followed up with a practiced glance of her yellow eyes over the guests present.

There in a far corner of the room were a couple of gentlemen in the company of good-looking young girls, enjoying the evening over whiskey and cigars. They were laughing and talking loudly, while on the stage a lone saxophonist was playing, sending out into the saloon somewhat forlorn sounds that encouraged a slow dance. In another corner sat some businessmen, celebrating their business deals.

And in a third corner, in turn, at a small group of tables near a side exit, were to be discovered the Russo brothers who, with their delegation of capos and enforcers, had set up shop in this establishment a few weeks ago. One of the two brothers, named Fat Tony, was holding one of the hostesses in his arms and was visibly pleased with the situation, while his younger brother, Giorgio, was taking in the scenery. Compared to his brother, Giorgio was the calmer, more level-headed of the two, and anyone who caught a glimpse of the two men's demeanor immediately recognized that he was in charge. When their eyes met, the woman turned away with a shy smile.

Finally, she took a seat at the bar. Between a man who belonged to the port supervisors and could well afford an evening at the 'Golden Flamingo' and the representative of a mafia-funded workers' union, the woman found a few free stools. There she could present her elegant, athletic figure, turn the heads of the gentlemen present and freely choose her conversation partner.

"A very good evening to you, lady." the bartender greeted her as he cleaned the bar in front of her with a clean rag. "What may I offer you."
"A dry martini and the time, please."
"Of course, ma'am." he replied, placing an ashtray on the bar. He mixed the drink and poured it in one elegant draught into the cocktail glass, garnishing the drink with an olive and placing it in front of his new guest without spilling a drop.
"Here you go." He then reached into his vest pocket and pulled out a silver pocket watch. After a quick glance, he told his guest the time and then returned to his other activities.
"Thank you." the woman said, taking her drink from the bar. She pushed a strand of her silver-gray hair back behind her furry ear, which twitched gently when she touched it. Then she took a sip of her martini and brought the cigarette to her lips. The smell of nicotine rose to her nostrils, fully rounding out the experience of a smoky bar of the late twenties or early thirties. Again, she let her gaze wander around the salon.

"Earth. Early twentieth century. Not quite what I ordered, but I'm excited to see what the evening brings." Her tail slid gently from side to side as she slowly bobbed the foot of her crossed leg in time to the music.

"So, I'm Lydia Gladstone, a wealthy heiress in search of my missing brother, Jamie. Here at the 'Golden Flamingo'I am now waiting for the detective I've would hire to find him. All this while a mob war rages in the streets and a storm of the century threatens the city." The woman gave a short laugh. "I can't wait to see who's going to play detective."

"Come again?" the longshoreman inquired, confused.
"Oh, nothing." she smiled, showing her sharp fangs, one of which reflected the light in a flash. "Just a little soliloquy."

Re: Day 10 [2000 hrs.] - Holonovel Club - Book 1: Storm of the Century

Reply #1
[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Holosuite 2 | Below Decks Lounge | D. 28 | V. | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Nero

Thick waves of rain slushed in rivers over the protective covering of his black trench coat. Mindful of the ankle-deep puddles populating the rain-slick sidewalk, Cross carefully picked his way around person and puddle alike, trying to keep from submerging his burgundy-colored loafers. Even in a holonovel, wet socks were far from fun. A young Bolian couple, clutching one another under a single umbrella, bumped against Cross in their haste to escape the storm's increasing ferocity. Grunting in response, Cross gripped the edge of his black fedora tighter, angled low over his forehead to aid against the storm’s clutches. A startled city-feral targ darted across his path, nearly colliding with a Ferengi merchant cart idling along the curb while its owner flirted with the Deltan baker under the awning of her shop. Cross paused, smiling to himself when he noted the smokey melodies of smooth jazz coming from within his intended destination.

Undoubtedly it was a trap, whatever the hell he was about to walk into, but pressed for cash like he was, and no other dossiers coming across his desk worth a damn, Cross had accepted the job from his Son’a contact cum enemy cum friend. Ga’ra had told him to rescue some dame at the Golden Flamingo, take her by force, if necessary, to a safe location until her family came to collect her. Apparently, her brother had fallen on the wrong side of Boss Heinthen, the local Trill crime lord who, like Ga’ra, waxed and waned in how amiable he was toward Cross’ existence as he plied his trade on the crime lord’s doorstep.

Stepping inside the anteroom to the Flamingo’s main hall, Cross removed his hat and knocked it against his knee before replacing it. Untying his trench coat, Cross noted that the neckline of his dark brown pin-stripe suit was wet in patches where the trench coat and hat hadn’t been able to protect him, but his hunter-green shirt, beige vest, and maroon tie with golden polka-dots were none the worse for wear. He knew better than to hang his hat or coat in a place like this; he’d lost too many favorites to thieves doing that. Instead, he took the time to shed the sodden coat, similarly shake it out, then draped it over his forearm.

As he was enveloped into the wispy interior of the nightclub, Cross recalled Ga’ra instructions.

“She’ll pretend not to know anything about anything. Typical dumb broad. So find her, tell her who you are, and get her outta there before things take a turn for the worse, ya hear?”

Cross knew better than to trust Ga’ra’s instructions to the letter. He had no intention of merely throwing his coat over the woman’s head, hoisting her kicking and screaming over his shoulder, and marching back into the dark of the night with a storm raging overhead. There was no telling if the woman was the trap or if she was the bait. In truth, there was only one way to find out. With his .38 special still tucked safely in his gun shoulder holster, both of his spring-load knives hidden on his wrist and in his boot, and his cigarette sleeping powder all secure on his person right where they should be, Cross entered the Flamingo and looked for his mark.

There was no missing the shiny fur of the Caitian dame, sitting solitary between two groups. The black down hugged her svelte form and enhanced the myriad of hues in her fur. From this perspective, he could see her profile but not the whole of her face. Nodding to the bartender, who knew Cross’ drink from his regularity to the joint, Cross approached the woman with a sly smile tugging at his lips. When she turned, and he caught sight of what looked like a permanent snarl on her lips due to a scar, Cross paused. There was something vaguely familiar about her. Had he seen her in one of the previous holonovel chapters? Forcing the friendly smile back on his face, Cross nodded his greeting as he edged between one group and the woman, not bothering to fight for a stool when he had no intention of staying long enough to sit.

“Quite a storm out there,” Cross tipped his head in thanks to the bartender, dropping coin on the wooden bar before taking the screwdriver. “Makes one wonder what else may be brewing in the corners of our lives.” Sipping at the screwdriver, Cross studied the woman over the brim of his glass, still getting the feeling that he’d seen her before somewhere. “Vinton Lee Cross,” setting the half-drunk glass back on the bar, Cross held out a hand toward the woman, “private eye and neighborhood problem solver. And you are?”


Re: Day 10 [2000 hrs.] - Holonovel Club - Book 1: Storm of the Century

Reply #2
[ Lt. RraHnam a.k.a. Lydia Gladstone | Holosuite 2 | Below Decks Lounge | Deck 28 | Vector 3 “The Stallion” | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz 
She enjoyed the slow tones of the saxophonist, who gradually got reinforcements from the rest of the band, who came back from a break. Together they made sure that the tempo of the music increased. More and more gentlemen asked their ladies to dance. The dance floor was visibly filling up. Still sitting in her place at the bar, she let herself get a little carried away by the music and enjoyed her martini.

Finally, a handsome man entered the bar. He was wearing a fine pinstriped suit. He wore his coat over his arm. He obviously did not intend to linger long. She watched him out of the corner of her eye. Pointed ears, head and face clean-shaven. A Vulcan, she wondered. This could get interesting. His line, however, fit the picture perfectly. He introduced himself as Vinton Lee Cross. Private detective by trade. Bingo thought RraHnam. There's our teammate.

She held out her hand to him. "Lydia Gladstone." she introduced herself to him. "It's nice to finally meet you in person, Mr. Cross. I've heard nothing but good things about you and your detective agency." She allowed herself a drag of her cigarette. She looked the man in the eye and searched the archives of her memory for a moment. They had not met before. Still, she recognized him from a dossier she put on to get to know the ship's senior staff. She recognized him as Lieutenant Commander Cross, the ship's chief tactical officer. A smile stole onto her lips.
"Word on the street is you're the best at finding missing people."

Re: Day 10 [2000 hrs.] - Holonovel Club - Book 1: Storm of the Century

Reply #3
[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross aka Vinton Lee Cross | Holosuite 2 | Below Decks Lounge | D. 28 | V. | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Nero

As she spoke in the humming accent he associated with most Caitians, Cross suddenly remembered where he recognized her. During a recent briefing on the fight in the First City, leading up to the revelation in the Great Hall, this…Lieutenant RraHnam had been a part of the success of that team. Having made the connection of why she seemed so familiar, Cross momentarily paused. Normally, when he shared a holonovel with someone, it was something they started together, with clear role parameters. In this instance, she was poised to be his “mark,” and if he were to follow through with the scene, he would have to potentially get physical with her to complete the story mission.

Gaze moving over her features, then off to take note of the surrounding characters of the novel; he was curious if anyone else had come into the suite with her or if it were just the two of them. While he’d noticed some odd new features to his programmed holonovel, he hadn’t realized someone else had entered the holosuite until now. Perhaps the lieutenant had planned on using the holosuite after him but had decided to enter during his time? Or, worse yet, had he overstayed his scheduled time? So far, she seemed keen on continuing the story, introducing herself according to the story’s parameters and keeping to her assigned character. Perhaps she would be keen on continuing the story even if it required them to be not exactly enemies but certainly at odds with one another.

Cross dropped her hand and grabbed the glass with the remainder of his drink. “Jack of many trades, Miss Gladstone.” Polishing off his drink in one swig, Cross pushed the empty glass away from him before leaning heavily against the counter, his body working as a shield to the men sitting closer to the door. The real threat lay further inside the bar in the guise of Fat Tony and Giorgio Russo. They often did work for Boss Heinthen, and since Ga’ra had ‘warned’ him this Gladstone woman’s brother had fallen on Heinthen’s bad side, it wouldn’t be too crazy a thought if the Russo’s were to try something. Calm gaze flickering back to RraHnam nee Lydia Gladstone, Cross smiled. “Enlighten me on what you’ve lost that you’d like found, Miss Gladstone, and I’ll let you know if I’m the man to help you find it.”

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