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A: The Diplomatic Do

Episode 03

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#21
Vertigo

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"Indeed, madam.  Though you had better bring your tanker with you, for I fear most of our supply is being consumed to keep our side... amicable."  He gave a short, formal nod to Olga and went back to his side.

 

The security team gave Tiff some rather incredulous looks as Eric and Dwer plopped her down on the sofa in the security room.  Portable stations linked to cameras all over the dance hall and building perimeter, feeding data through the main router and into the Sari network.  Tiff's locator beeped the playboy's location in the men's lavatory, relieving himself of the excess fluids he had consumed.  The feedback on the audio bug left something to be desired, the mixture of water pops and deep sighs of relief provided for a less than ideal listening experience.

 

The security chief approached the trio.  "Well, not exactly the most orthodox way to break up a confrontation, but effective enough.  We've got team two cycling into the hallway to make sure Miss Instigation doesn't cause any more fuss."

 

The next hour was uneventful.  Olga returned to the staging area for the full sized members of the group.  Eric went out to talk to here regarding the incident, though mostly it seemed unnecessary.  About that time another one of the Jagerkin arrived, bearing a message that General Breull was looking for her and had a rather large container of dark alcohol waiting on the northern terrace.  Supposedly he was already three tankards in and seemed no sign of slowing.

 

Meals had begun in earnest, with so-called 'mixer' tables seating planetary diplomats with yakuza and zentreadi delegates.  The kitchen staff was dutifully carrying out trays of food as the patrons ate, the hustle and bustle somewhat impeding the observations of the security in the backroom, but leaving the main floor relatively the same as before.  Most of the security team took this time to grab refreshments of their own.  Eric brought back an arm full of plates for Tiff and Dwer, plopping down in a chair and digging in to a makeshift sandwich.  The food was good, better than what they were used to on board the DR.

 

"Sir?" one of the security observers called to his chief  "Table 14."  He pointed to a screen as one of the cameras zoomed in.  Two of the patrons there, one yakuza, one zentreadi, seemed to be in a heated argument.  The zentreadi soldier was pounding the table, and the yakuza seemed to be making dismissive gestures.  Eric walked over to watch the screen.  "Where's our coverage at?"

 

The Sari network brought up an overlay of the concert hall.  Most of the teams had gone upstairs to watch the extra seating, trusting the main room to cover the main floor.  Eric grimaced.  "This is going to turn ugly.  Tiff, come on, I think we're going to need a woman's touch on this."

 

They weren't even half way out the door before the alert blared across the network.  By the time the duo made the dance floor the Yakuza was on top of the Zentreadi and was raining blows down.  Friends on both sides got to their feet and eyed the opposition, daring the other side to make a move, and CCS was right in the middle.



#22
CrazyDreamer

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Olga permitted herself the indulgence of getting very mildly buzzed with the General. Nothing that a good adrenaline surge can't overcome. When the alert sounded in her ear, she pushed herself upright and sprinted for the nearest set of full-sized doors. Her boyz started moving towards the fracas but arranged themselves facing perpendicular to the other full-size Zentradi's lines of approach, neither backing them up nor directly opposing them but still able to step forward and restrain someone if necessary.



#23
gradius

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"Ah bugger!"  Tiff exclaimed as she got up to follow Eric.  Her aches and pains mostly gone, from a combination of medication and rest.  She'd been hoping however, that things would proceed smoothly from then on.  Too bad things were going downhill again.

 

On the upside, nobody outside of CCS would recognize her as the same person from earlier.  Tiff had made the conscious decision to get off her bum to  change into another outfit earlier, despite her aches, with a new face and hairdo as well.  She was thankful for weathering all the extra pain right now as they started running to ground zero.

 

As they emerged onto the dance floor, Tiff accessed the situation and dashed forward.  With her riding crop in hand, she brought it hard across the rear end of the Yakuza.

 

Wiip-Piish!



#24
Vertigo

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The battle lines formed as CCS personnel ran into place.  Tiff snaked ahead of Eric.  What had been turning into a volatile situation broke as she paddled the taller man.  The crack of the rod hitting the man across the buttocks silenced the entire room.  Even the musicians stopped playing.  They strained themselves to get a better look.  The Japanese man look incredulous a Tiffany stared defiantly back at him.  The Jagerkin moved in at that time, dominating the dance floor.  Everyone held silent.

 

A laugh broke the silence.  One of the Yakuza bosses rolled out a boisterous laugh at his underling's expense, and his laugh was slowly caught up by the rest of the miclone side of the room.  Yulgren walked in behind Olga, brushing by her.  He was chuckling himself, and lightly cuffed one of his subordinates in the back of the head.  It was the Zentreadis' turn to laugh at their own spectacle.  The mere presence of the laughter seemed to break the tension.

 

The young Yakuza started stammering and sputtering, looking this way and that, before his escort calmly guided him away from the table and into the background.  Eric hefted his Zentreadi opponent to his feet, grabbing him in a firm lock to keep him from going off after his nemesis.  /Come on, I think you need to freshen up./

 

He guided the orange haired alien towards the bathroom, but as his hand met the door, a weight hit it.  Someone pushed out between Eric and his charge and stumbled into the dance hall.  Gurgling, the man hit the floor at Tiff's feet, rolling to his back.  Sticking from his chest was the grip of a thin blade.  There were a dozen more stab marks all over the torso.  The victim tried to say something, his eyes focusing on the ceiling above, but only a sickly wet bubble of blood and spittle emerged from his mouth, bursting over the floor around him.  His eyes glazed over and he went limp.

 

Tiff was in the best vantage point to see who the corpse was:  it was her playboy companion from earlier.



#25
gradius

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Tiff was shocked.

 

Shocked but knew that being right next to the body meant that she was right next to ground-zero of everyone's attention.

 

That knowledge was enough to keep her moving.

 

Tiff knelt next to the body, ostensibly to get a closer look at the body.  To check for a pulse and surreptitiously check for her bugs.

 

"Tee to Control, we have a situation here.  Review the logs, flag everyone who left the bathroom twelve o'clock of my position within the last hour."



#26
CrazyDreamer

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Olga stiffened, took a quick glance around, then tapped her comms. "Pull de 'clone tank logs, too. Eyes open, boyz."



#27
Vertigo

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"On it" one of the sensor techs responded.  The network shifted and then rezzed information to the CCS PDAs.  The tech was smart enough to have the video fast forwarding and a tally keeping facial recognition for everyone entering the bathroom.  In the last hour there had been the playboy (several times), eight members of the Yakuza, four micloned Zentreadi, and ten of the Tatsu planetary government and CCS personnel.  Of interest were one of the Yakuza bosses relieving himself about five minutes earlier.  He had entered with a rather large bodyguard who looked upset when the pair had left.  The Meltrandi wild girl had gone in earlier, but had left before the boss had gone in.  She had followed a Yakuza in, and the man had left looking somewhat disheveled.  At least two other women had "mistakenly" entered the men's room, but they both had been much earlier.  The last suspicious party had been a TPG official.  The man had carried one of the monogram towels out and was furiously scrubbing his hands with it.

 

The pods came back negative for any recent usage, so no one was hiding by changing size.  The murder weapon itself was a small stiletto type blade, with no cross guard or wrapping for the handle.  It had been made to be concealed.  From Tiff's vantage she could see several of the Yakuza quietly checking their persons', suggesting they too might actually be having blades.

 

The silence held for a moment longer, but broke as one of the full size Zentreadi near Olga cursed aloud in Zentran.  "/Damn scum killed Zoral!"  He slammed his foot down, scattering a nearby buffet table.  Several of the other Zentreadi, obviously squadmates of his, took up aggressive postures.  If no one intervened they seemed to be intent on stomping all the Yakuza flat.  The Yakuza, likewise, glared at the Zentreadi delegation.  Several men moved to cover the bosses, who merely glowered at the scene.  Eric's words from earlier had been prophetic: this had turned ugly.



#28
CrazyDreamer

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"HEY!" Olga whipped off her hat and threw it across the room, spinning over the heads of the Zentradi preparing to fight. She started stripping off her long gloves as she talked. "Hy em Olga uf de Jägerkin, formerly uf Skull Sqvadron. De Zentradi security here are my brodders. Perheps hyu've heard uf us? Ve, along vith our miclone comrades in CCS, vill investigate dis murder before ve decide who to lynch. If hyu don' agree vith dat, vell . . ." She finished pulling off her second glove and threw it off to the side, then spread her arms wide and growled in Zentradi: «Come on if you think you're hard enough.»

 

As she talked, her brothers slid further into the spaces between the Zentradi and the Yakuza.







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