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‘Not to Dwell on Matters'

Aubrelis Dwells, Aubrelis

"So this is the infamous Aubrelis Dwells. It doesn't seem to do its reputation justice. When we were in training for our advanced security some of the officers spoke of this place being a true testing ground for a security officer."

The two security officers walked in tandem eyes constantly scanning their surrounds with every appearance of casualness but really masking their alertness. Tac shook his head at his new crewmember's bravado. It was the type of bravado that got security officers killed.

"One of the reasons the Captain chose you for assignment aboard the Kestrel was because of your evaluations and scoring in those courses. He was under the illusion you understood the criminal element and could work in an environment such as this and see the engrained criminality of the people who live here. I guess he was mistaken ‘cause you speaking like a fool."

"Hey, I was only giving an opinion. My Academy training ..."

"Kid, the Captain didn't hire you for your Academy training."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"You've a wealth of experience and knowledge that he wants to call upon." Sebastian stopped in his tracks. "Hey don't get offended. He thinks you the best candidate for the post because of that experience. No need to get personally affronted. Asides from the fact, someone in your position cannot afford to be offended or affronted when their past is thrown in their face. Do the crime and pay the time."

"What like yourself sir?"

Constantly surveying his surrounds Caleb Dexter casually replied, "Hey, no point comparing our records. I did what I did as a kid in order to survive and help my family survive. What was your excuse?" Sebastian ground his teeth. "Yeah didn't think you had one. You sought out your thrill seeking crimes for a high and a buzz."

Templar balled his fists up in anger. "Wishing to speak freely sir, but you don't know enough about my past ..."

"I know enough. All I need to know is whether you can do the job. Your past might be of interest to the Captain but it ain't to me. I'm more concerned with the here and now. Are you still hooked on sex and stimulants? On the other hand, can you focus on your job? Answer in the affirmative to the latter and I am content."

Templar looked at the security officer trying to gauge the sincerity of his words. Was he trying to bluff him or did he not judge him on his past?

Caleb sensed what the look was about. He answered for Sebastian's sake. "I don't approve of your past mistakes Templar. But I'll give you credit for trying to change things around. Far too many cadets signing up to Starfleet are too squeaky clean. They cannot possibly comprehend the dirty underside to most worlds. You have a unique world view, if you will, and it might just serve you to the better. As I said, your past is your past, my past is my past, and as far as I am concerned, none of it is of immediate concern. What matters is here and now." He hefted his phaser rifle and beckoned the ensign to follow him.

"And right now we have trouble ahead."

* * *

"Ok Nestyquan, fess up. You know you want to."

Commander Cartwright belied her age pinning her snake against the back alley wall. He struggled to move but she held him tightly in place. Nestyquan tried to squirm free grabbing her arms with his reptilian claws. Molly Cartwright merely shoved her face up to his her nose mere centimetres from the ridge of tiny horns that traversed the centre of his green scaly face up and back over the top of his head.

"You promised me credits Molly! This isn't fair."

"You promised me ten crates of suspicious materials were to be found on that Ferengi tug last time I saw you. I guess our promises aren't holding up. How about we call it evens once you impart me with the information you know I want. Otherwise, I will bear a grudge and if I should meet your clapped out rusting hulk in space, I will use it as target practice and shoot it apart piece by piece by piece."

"Ok, ok. What is it you want? Then we're evens yes?"

"So long as your information is correct and you know what I want, where's Cassie?"

He paused unwisely to consider. He appealed to Cutler but as queasy as he felt about the modus operendi employed by the Commander the nefarious character of Nestyquan upset him more. So the sooner this was done with, the better. He was obviously a weasel with base selfish interests at all times his guiding principles.

"She's over at Hellem's Wharf."

Molly released him letting him fall to the ground. "You had better be right. How long ago?"

He made as if to run off but she kicked up dirt in his face as if stopping herself from kicking his face. It caused him to reconsider. "Just a few hours ago. I was there completing a few transactions. I saw her. I decided to get out before you guys showed up looking for her."

"Well lucky you didn't get too far away. I would sorely have missed meeting you again. We must have drinks the next time." She nodded towards the other end of the alley giving him permission to scarper. He scrambled on all fours before gaining a stooping run.

"Come on Cutler."

"I thought you said we had to bargain for information."

"We do but as I said there's lot of ways to bargain and pay for information. Trust me you would have found out except we have to act on this information quickly before she moves on someplace else."

She trudged away leaving Cutler to ponder in what ways she meant and who Cassie was. Molly just thought back to the fan Cutler had made in the bar. The pervert feeling himself in growing ecstasy at the sight of Cutler was a rogue trader at the best of times and Molly was sure he would talk to Cutler. However, that could wait until another time.

* * *

"Hey Commander! What you doing here?"

"I'm here for you."

"You are? That's so kind. That's sooo groovy. That's sooo fantastic. Of all the people I say it to, out of all of them, when I say it to you, I mean it the mostest!"

"Is that right? Ensign, take her other arm."

"Are we going? Oh hello. I don't think we've met."

"I'm Ensign Noah Cutler of the USS Kestrel. Careful."

"Careful yourself there Noah. Sorry, Ensign Noah Cutler of the USS Kestrel, of the deep lovely eyes and cutest baby cheeks. Let me see your bum."

"Time for that later Cassie."

Noah blushed. "Mmm, I can't wait. Wait, where are you taking me again?"

"To the ship."

"The ship?"

"Yes Ensign Noah Cutler's USS Kestrel."

"I know that ship!"

"Of course you do dear, you're the science officer."

"I am? I love science. I love Aubrelis. I love alcohol." At this stage, Cutler and Cartwright were dragging Cassie with her head hanging, her feet creating two continuous troughs in the mud. "I love your bum Ensign Noah Cutler. It is really nice."

"Sorry ma'am did you say she was a science officer onboard?"

"No I said she was the Science Officer onboard. This is Lt. Commander T'Vel, second officer of the Kestrel, aka Cassie when planet side on Aubrelis. This is Cartwright; we are at the transport coordinates. We have three to transport let the Captain know." The ship transporter took them.

"I feel all tingly. Wow, mega scenery change. Let's do it again. Hey Eddie! Hey Judy!"

The Lt. Commander reacted exuberantly to Judith Monroe and Eddie Gardner awaiting them in the transporter room. It looked as though Gardner had beamed them up himself despite being in charge of the bridge. "Hey Eddie, cool transport. You are the best. Of all the people I say it to, out of all of them, when I say it to you, I mean it the mostest"

Monroe gently crouched beside the drunken female and pressed a hypo into her thigh. "There, there, daughter. It will all be fine in a bit."

"In a bit? Sure Judy, it is all fine now. Oh, I feel woozy. Judy did you stick me with something? I'm so disappointed." Then she hugged the doctor. "Of all the people I say it to, out of all of them, when I say it to you, I mean it the mostest! Live Long and Prosp ..."

Monroe caught her up in the hug as she passed out and quickly checked her vitals. "She's fine. Just drunk."

"Can you site to site transport her and the doctor to T'Vel's room Chief?"

He headed back behind the controls. "Already programmed in. You ok to go Judith?"

"Yes thanks Eddie." In a moment, the doctor and the Vulcan science officer beamed out of sight to the Lt. Commander's quarters.

Cutler turned in confusion and looked around at the Chief and XO. "What was that all about?"

"She's returning from her leave ensign. But we count on your discretion. Make no mention of this to anyone not even your friend, Ensign Jex. Nor indeed to Lt. Commander T'Vel herself. By tomorrow she will have forgotten it all."

"But, but, but she's Vulcan." He wanted to yell, Vulcans do not get drunk. Ship's second officers do not get drunk. He wanted to but knew that he dare not say those thoughts aloud.

Cartwright looked to the now empty space on the transporter pad. "Yes but damaged too in some ways. Just don't mention it ever. Right go back to your quarters and clean up. Get the muck and smell of Aubrelis off of you."

"Yes ma'am." Still unsure of himself Cutler hesitantly left the transporter room.

A disgusted frown crinkled her forehead. "Damn, I hate that planet."

"Yeah but she only ever goes with you. The rest of us end up in a scuffle with her." Molly chose to not respond to Eddie's comment that had plenty of truth in it.

Stalking towards the door, Molly groused, "I'm away for my own shower before he arrives back."

Gardner joked, "Who the Captain? You two still fighting?"

Yet Molly could find no mirth. She frowned as she thought back to her ‘conversation' with McGregor after they had left Starbase 49 and informed him of Paul's actions. She decided not to dwell on the matter or stand around waiting for the boy. "No, the Captain is merely insufferable. It's the boy. I let Stanley know he was planet side, so he'll be able to track him down to whatever dive he is in."

Gardner watched her go and knew it was not just the mud and smell she was trying to wash off. "I better man the transport for that one too."


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