Iced over: Teaser

Iced over: Teaser

Postby Ricker » Sun Feb 22, 2015 8:00 pm

Forced Perspective

“We’re fifteen minutes out Admiral, we already have the Heimdall’s permission to dock and they are standing by at the rendezvous coordinates.”
The attachés voice and body language are nothing but efficiency and professionalism. Good, he knows his place and how to behave.
“Very well Commander Jacobs, I’ll meet you in ten minutes at the docking port.”
The young gun Commander turns smartly on his heel and begins to leave.
“And Jacobs,”
He reverses his spin quickly hiding his surprise and a touch of annoyance, “Yes, Sir?”
“You’re sure about these people? You’re sure they can handle this?”
His face relaxes, “Absolutely, Sir. I have an uncle who runs a souvenir shop on Starbase 27. This is this only ship that he uses. Sometimes he gets some, shall we say, atypical requests. The Heimdall never disappoints. They can adapt to anything, get anything, and get it to you intact and quickly. They shouldn’t have any problems with this.”
“And they can keep their mouths shut?”
Now the Commander has an incredulous face, a break in his proper decorum. “The Captain is a former Lieutenant Commander from Intelligence. I’ve already checked him out, he isn’t a risk and besides, in the merchant business, discretion is a necessary ingredient to success.”
He could do without the sarcasm and lecturing tone but the Commander had done his homework well, maybe there was some redemption for him after all.
With a simple wave of the hand, Jacobs leaves. A second security check on former Commander Erickson confirms Jacobs report. He better be right about everything else too. What time is it? Time to go.
Docking was smooth. Good piloting. Maybe the pilot needs a promotion or something. Chauffeuring an Admiral around should come with its privileges. Speaking of which, his voice is coming over the combadge.
“Docking is complete, we are go for opening the hatch.”
“Thank you Lieutenant, I’ll let you know when we are ready to go.”
“Jacobs, let’s go.”
“Aye Sir, opening the hatch.”
The hatch opens and reveals a clean cut young man in professional dress standing ready to receive clients. A welcoming grin accompanied an extended hand. The man’s grip is firm and his eyes contact doesn’t waver.
“Admiral Ledford, welcome to the S.S. Heimdall, I’m José Tyler, the lead sales agent here.”
“It’s nice to meet you Mr. Tyler, this is my adjutant Commander Jacobs. Why don’t we just get down to business?”
The salesman’s reaction is picture perfect, he doesn’t even miss a beat. “Sure thing Admiral, will you and the Commander please follow me?”
Tyler leads a path that must be the scenic one because there is nothing straight about it and it so happens to pass all of the important areas of the ship.
“You’ve docked on deck 3 of 10 in our cargo section. We have several environments available for storage and transportation, enough to fit whatever needs our clients may have. In total we have 270,000 cubic feet of storage space available for hire.”
“That’s very nice Mr. Tyler. Do you have an office that we can speak in?”
“Yes Admiral, I do, and please call me José.”
“Very well José, let’s get there.”
“No problem Admiral, I just wanted to make sure that you were able to see the capability that we have to handle anything you want to ship. I want you to have no qualms with trusting us, its an important consideration for many clients.”
He never stopped walking but he didn’t stop talking either. Sales people… they know nothing of efficiency, and they always want to force their terms on people. An annoying yet necessary evil in the civilian world.
A young boy materialized out of the peripheral and almost entirely ignored everyone but the salesman.
“José, do you have next week’s expected manifest? I need to make sure Parim and I make room for everything.”
“Elliot, can’t you see that I’m with an important client? Come see me later and I’ll get it for you.”
“Ok.” The boy gives a sideways glance, he still doesn’t seem to care, but he walks on toward one of the bay doors without saying another word. “You have a child working in your cargo bay and making decisions?”
“Actually Admiral, Elliot is our cargo master, but the Captain and engineer keep a close eye on him. That’s Elliot Erickson, his father, Marcus, is the Captain of the Heimdall and CEO of Erickson Enterprises.”
“What if I’m not comfortable with a child looking over my cargo?”
“I assure you Admiral, he may be doing the immediate work, but he is well supervised and knows to not divulge the content of the cargo bays or the identities of the company’s clientele.”
This is still suspicious but Jacobs is giving a reassuring nod. There are not a lot of options available, like it or not, this may have to do. What has the galaxy come to? Trusting high value cargo to a pre-pubescent runt?
“Alright José, proceeded, let’s get to the nuts and bolts in private if you don’t mind.”
“Of course Sir. Right this way.”
The route seems to get more direct as Jose’ passes through several sparse, industrial corridors. After a trip on a turbo lift, the walls and floors become more decorative, attractively appointed in a modern style. That’s a good sign. They have money to update their look regularly. That speaks to regular business, which speaks to quality, trustworthy work. Jose’ passes a set of stairs leading up and says that the bridge is up there. The end of the hall provides a door to a comfortable seating area with a forward looking view of space. José offers a seat.
The chair is comfortable and reminiscent of an ancient overstuffed leather chair in a western mountain lodge, José leans forward and presents a business like pose.
“Ok Admiral, your brief said that you would discuss the particulars of your needs when you got here. I’m all ears.”
“Commander, give Mr. Tyler the details.” A PADD changes hands. “As you will see José, we would be sending 52 cylindrical containers about 2 meters long. They will be going to the Armus planet. You will be given permission to break the quarantine in order to transport the cargo to the surface and then leave.”
The salesman has one ear inclined to hear the instructions but has his eyes intent on the PADD. “What will these cylinders contain Admiral?”
“That is, and will remain, classified Mr. Tyler but it will need to be maintained with a cryonic stasis chamber. Do you have that ability?”
“The Heimdall does not, at this time, have any cryonic equipment.”
“I can provide the equipment if you can maintain it.”
“In that case, let me ask our engineer, he’s a great mechanic. If it’s possible to power and maintain you equipment, I’m sure he can make it happen.” He toggles a dial on his wrist band communicator. “Paul? José.”
A gruff voice replies. “Go”
“If we were to get a contract for some cargo that needs cryonic storage would you be able to handle that?”
“José, we don’t have the facilities to do that.”
“Client is providing the chamber Paul, all you have to do is keep it running.”
A thoughtful sigh emanates from the communicator.
“Yeah, I should be able to figure that out. I’ll get Su’resh on it as soon as you get ink.”
“Thanks Paul.” His gaze comes up. “There you have it, Admiral. For you, we will make it work.”
“Alright then, everything seems to be in order. I’d like to meet your Captain now José, can you arrange that?”
“The Captain is a busy man Admiral, but I’ll ask his secretary if he has a moment.” The communicator gets toggled again. “Ms. Finster, we have a perspective that wants to meet the Captain, is he available?”
The other voice rings of age and strength, “I’ll send him right down Mr. Tyler.”
“Thank you Ms. Finster. “ “He’ll be here in just a moment Admiral.”
The wait is longer than expected and produces an awkward silence in the room as everyone waits. The door finally opens and the Captain strides in.
“Commander Erickson, thank you for coming. I’d like to speak with you for a moment.”
“Civillian life has given me a promotion Admiral, I’m a Captain now. But you can just call me Marcus.” The man had a charming smile that belied his youth, only in his mid-thirties. “What can I do for you?”
“I am looking into hiring your ship to move some cargo of a confidential nature. As you understand Starfleet’s standards for confidentiality, I’d like your word that the cargo will not be inspected or scanned for its contents in any way and that the contract will be kept as a strict secret.”
“Of course Admiral, you have it.”
“I understand that you have a son that assists the cargo master, I trust that he will be kept away from the deck where our storage will be at?”
The man’s eyes narrow. He doesn’t like anyone else telling him what to do with his children. “Elliot is our cargo master and this is my ship with my rules, with all due respect Sir. He knows what can and cannot be said about our clients and cargo.”
“I also understand that your ship is not equipped to transport cryogenically stored materials, are you positive that your engineering crew will be able to keep my equipment and cargo adequately without that experience?”
His eyes narrow more and the edge in his voice sharpens. “They are fully capable of doing just about anything Admiral. Now, I understand you have some concerns but if you don’t want to use us, good luck finding another shipper with a Starfleet intelligence security clearance.”
A heavy tension hangs in the air as the Captain shoots icicles from his eyes. He had a point unfortunately.
“You have some guts talking to me that way Mr. Erickson.”
“Another luxury civilian life has afforded me. I don’t have to care about rank all that much on my ship.”
Another good point. “Very well Captain, you are right. I just need to make sure that this doesn’t get messed up. Name your price and I’ll sign the contract.”
“Thank you for your business Admiral, José will take care of the details and draw up the paperwork from here.” He offered a solid handshake. “I need to get back to the bridge, have a nice day and we’ll take care of you.”
The salesman wears a toothy grin, he smells a large commission and he’s probably right. Secrecy is expensive.
Cadet 2nd Year
Cadet 2nd Year
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