Like Associates With Like
Like Associates With Like
Arc: Cloaks and Daggers
Summary: Paz and Pickett catch up on old times, and discuss their undercover mission
Date: 2659.010
Related Logs: None
Participants: Paz Pickett

What a long, strange trip it's been… but apparently this is the end destination for Paz. A small office above a gun shop that's already closed for the evening. What should be housing the local mercenaries guild representative instead houses only Lt. Colonel Thomas Pickett, TCSF. He's presently leaned back in the chair behind the 'borrowed' desk, resting his feet on the edge as he waits for the latest of his recruits.

Ostensibly cashiered by the TCSF for gross insubordination and conduct unbecoming, Paz has put up with a lot of shit to get this far, re-routed to different ports, bumped for active-duty military and given dirty looks and mutters behind her backs by civvies and soldiers alike. Needless to say, by the time her boots hit the tarmac on New Detroit, the young Latina was in something of a foul mood. The two beers she had at the spaceport bar have helped mitigate some of her wrath, but apparently not enough to prevent her from stalking up to the door, pausing to knock at it and then saying 'screw it' and just flinging the thing open and stomping inside.

Pickett can't help but give an amused smile at the way that the door flies open and Paz makes her way inside. "Careful, it's a rental" Pickett greets in a less-than-serious tone, slipping his feet down off the desk. "Glad to see you made it ok" he adds, in a more genuine tone.

"You ain't the only one, Archangel." Paz huffs, pushing the door closed and locking it behind her. "So, what's the story here? All I got was that this was some kind of special op." she explains. "Good to see you, by the by." she smiles, giving the man the barest of winks. "So…what gives?"

"Good to see you too. Hope you got the Christmas card" Pickett replies with a little wink of his own. "And you're right. I needed a few disreputable officers we could convincingly remove from the service on short notice. Somehow your name just sprang to mind" he jokes, before waving her to a chair. "Pull up a seat and I'll give you the whole story"

"Thanks, sir." Paz grins sarcastically. "I'm honored." she says, flopping into one of the chairs before Pickett's desk.

Pickett can't help but give a little grin of his own. "At least you're not the only officer in the room guilty of a little 'conduct unbecoming'" he teases, before leaning back into his chair. "But here's the deal. While you were playing around in Tingerhoff, command got the bright idea to try and slip a force into Perry and catch the Kilrathi napping. Except when the recon screen jumped in, the Kilrathi had six capital ships plus fighters waiting with guns pointed at the jump. We lost fourteen of the sixteen fighters, plus the corvette TCS Foreman. Someone tipped the Kilrathi off."

"Ouch." Paz winces. "How many scouts did we lose?" she asks, grimacing at the thought of that much firepower in Perry. "So, this is an elaborate mole hunt?"

"Something along that line" Pickett replies. "TCNI is going over the fleet elements right now. But, we needed someone to check things out on the civilian end. Especially since they've got reason to believe an organized group calling themselves the 'Society of Mandarins' are behind it. So, we're here to look like an attractive option for one of their contacts. A group full of ex-confed officers turned mercenary, each with their own reasons to begrudge command…"

"Neither am I, neither is anyone near as I can tell. Either that, or Confed's giving us the mushroom treatment. Again. But evidently the name's come up in a few espionage incidents coreward, and… well, the spooks have reason to believe they're operating out here as well I suppose" Pickett explains, before adding. "I hate this groping around in the dark shit as much as you do."

"Oh yes, 'feed 'em shit, and keep 'em in the dark." Paz grumbles. "That is one of their very favorites, isn't it? Has anyone ever pointed out to those clowns that, gasp, we might actually be better able to do our jobs if we knew what the hell was going on?" she grouses. "Well, we do know there's more than a few resistance movements when it comes to the Confed, but who the hell'd be crazy enough to cuddle up with the Fuzzy Wuzzies? I mean, we're all pretty much Meow Mix to them."

"Probably because it's really bad form to say 'no idea' to the poor bastards getting shot at" Pickett replies with a shrug. "And so far as I can tell, Confed's still looking for that answer themselves. But, be that as it may… we've got a team here with a variety of talents we can put to use. So we're going to find some work, look like troublemakers, and hope that someone's dumb enough to bite. If they do, we follow the food chain up as far as it can go, and give whatever's at the top a nine millimeter headache."

Paz chuckles throatily. "Heh, So, no real support…large chance of getting killed… low probability of success…" Paz says, ticking the points off on the fingers of her left hand. "Sounds like fun." she grins. "Now, Sir Locksley, where, might I ask, are the other Merry Men?"

"Mostly over at the Titan hotel. We've got the seventy-second floor reserved for our unit members, so safe to assume anyone with a room up there is one of ours. I'll be calling a little meet and greet once everyone arrives, as well. We scattered you all through half a dozen different ports, so you'd blend in to the regular traffic." Pickett explains. "Also less suspicious if I met with each officer personally to 'hire' them instead of dealing with one big batch"

"Yep, sounds like you've gt this one reasonably thought through…so far." Paz smirks teasingly. "Don't tell me any names." she adds quickly. it'll look better if I'm genuinely surprised." she explains. "Also, is there any place to get anything to eat around here?" she asks, patting her softly growling stomach. "The flight attendant on that last flight couldn't get off her fat ass to hand out pretzels."

"Careful Tizona, you're almost starting to sound like you doubt my track record" Pickett replies jokingly. "And yeah, I'm sure there's probably some place serving ditch water and calling it soup nearby. If you want something that doesn't taste like shit, the west part of town's at least mostly not toxic."

"Heh, considering the mighty fortune the Confed gave me before unceremoniously dumping me off the ship, I think I'll take the ditch water." Paz snickers. "But, being poor'll make it easier for people to think we're desperate." she shrugs. "Cause, soon enough, we will be."

"I've got a bit in discretionary funds to hand out to keep folks going here and there. Just think of it as a signing bonus, or however you want to" Pickett replies with a little laugh. "Whatever story entertains, really, long as you can stay consistent with it"

"Heh, no worries, boss-man. I'm a woman." Paz winks. "We learn lying at a shockingly young age."

Pickett can't help but give a little laugh. "Just don't go around calling it the 'boss thinks I have a great ass' fund, alright?" Pickett retorts. After all, no point in being /entirely/ serious, right?

"No….that's just stupid." Paz scoffs, waving her hand. "I mean, I know you think I have a great ass, but there's no need to advertise the fact." she grins. "So, anything else I need to know to help get me in character?"

Pickett can't help but give a little laugh. "Well, as long as we're clear on the important part" Pickett jokes. "The big thing to remember is that we're trying to come off as /ex/ military. So don't worry about the regs, feel free to pick a fight if it entertains you. Get loaded if you want, just not so loaded you start talking mission details." Pickett explains. "We're supposed to be unprofessional, so fleet's not going to get at you on your return for playing the part."

"Heh, so, basically what you're saying is 'shore leave without the shore patrol'." Paz interprets with a grin. "Outstanding. Please tell me the hotel at least has a pool." she adds, making puppy dog eyes. "It could me a micro pool, I don't care. Just somewhere I can get some decent exercise in."

"That's about it" Pickett replies. "And yes, it has a pool in the fitness center" he explains, before giving a little laugh. "And shore leave without shore patrol's a great way to think about it. Just don't do anything I have to come after you for, alright?" he asks with a little grin.

"Why, Archangel, would I _ever_ do something so foolish as that?" Paz replies with mock wounded pride, then giggles and holds up a hand. "Don't…..don't answer that….not even in your own brain."

"Don't worry, my brain's still way back on unprofessional comments I can make about you in a swimsuit" Pickett assures her. "Just to warn you, we're probably going to be flying some Talons while we're here, too. So you might want to spend some time checking up on the tech specs before it's time to get shot at"

Paz nods. "Do we have any?" Paz asks. "Cause I forgot to pack my copies."

"Not yet. I'll see about scrounging something up if I can" Pickett explains. "Hopefully we'll be able to take care of that with some time to spare before we take delivery on the fighters"

"Oh, so we're shopping as well." Paz muses. "In that case, I want the…..Burgundy interior, manual transmission with a _proper_ gear box, none of that silly flappy-paddle shit, air conditioning, sat nav, AM/FM/Sat radio with a ten disc changer. Definitely want the sun roof. Fifty thousand hour nose to tail warranty and don't let 'em pull your pants down about the price."

"Rusted out shitbox with flat tires, was that? I think we can arrange it" Pickett replies with a little shake of his head. "But, I guess there's no harm in lofty expectations" he replies, before giving a little grin. "Just prepare to be disappointed"

"Huh, sounds like some of the planes I learned to fly in." Paz chuckles darkly. "Well, if you need me for anything, I'm gonna go have a bowl of toxic ditch water, some sawdust bread and take a nap. Damn shuttles were all too crammed full to get any sleep."

"Don't I know it" Pickett replies, pausing for a moment and giving her a little smile and adding genuinely. "And for whatever it's worth, it's good to see you again Paz."

Paz smiles back and offers her hand, then just hugs the guy. "You too, Archangel." she replies warmly. "This promises to be a hell of a lot of fun."