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Rue Wydown

Privateer Education> Observation & Intuition

Privateer Education> Observation & Intuition

Holovision Announcer: "…with our course schedule you'll soon have the skills needed to have a successful career plundering and pillaging…."

"So who am I to be, mate?"


"Here," Thatch shuffled through a set of ID cards, then dealt them out to his companions like an expert card shark. Two of the pirates shuffled away once procuring their falsified documentation, leaving Mason Rhomer, Rue and Thatch standing alone in the corridor junction.


Rue took one look at her card then smirked at Thatch, "Seriously, Thatch? Seriously?"


"Whatz wrong?" Thatcher rifled through his pack, clearly unconcerned by Rue's sarcastic tone or by his protégé's caustic expression.


Mason leaned over Rue's shoulder, reading her card. "Barbara Dahl." He leaned back. "What's wrong with that? Barbara not to your liking? "


Rue folded her arms and stared at Mason, waiting for the name to sink in with the muscle head. When that didn't work, she snarkled, "Think about it Roamer…" Rue emphasized the pun in Mason's surname. Mason just stared at her blankly. Rue sighed, "What would you call me for short? Barb…"


"Barbie?" Mason offered with a smirk. Rue motioned him on with a roll of her wrist. Another blank look from Mason. "What's wrong with Barbie Dahl?" Then it hit him. "Oh. Barbie Doll. I got it."


"Took you long enough. " Rue shook her head sadly. "You're awfully thick, are ya mate?" She elbowed Mason, smirking.


"That's enough you two," Thatch snapped. "C'mon, let's go." The old man glanced from one end of the corridor to the other, then slipped into the traffic stream of the promenade. Rue followed a discrete distance, Mason just a few feet behind her. The term "walk casual" had been bantered about between the pirate crew, with only Rue seeming to understand the concept. She walked as if she hadn't done anything wrong, because today she hadn't done anything wrong…yet. So while Thatch drew a few stares for his lumbering and twitchy walk, Rue breezed by unnoticed.


After a bit of twisting and turning, they came across the seedier side of the space station. One look at the establishment they were supposed to enter and Rue knew. If it didn't scream stereotypical illegal trade, she didn't know what else did. The Doctor tugged her cloak straight and followed Thatch inside, while Mason took up a position outside in the shadows. The interior of the shop was obviously well maintained. Rue picked up a doodad, examining it with interest, half listening for Thatch's introduction to the proprietor.


A young Trill woman pushed passed the draped doorway to appear behind the counter. She smiled tersely at Thatch. "Something I can do for you?"


"Hello Kwai, luv. How are you doing?"


"I'm fine. What can I interest you in today?"


Rue glanced up, the hairs on the back of her neck prickling. While Thatch's banter sounded normal, something in the Trill's was wrong. It wasn't the same banter she'd heard exchanged on the two previous trips. Rue set the rickrack down slowly, taking the opportunity to peruse the store as a customer. She watched the Trill casually. Yes, something was wrong.


"Oh, I'm just looking for something for my…..niece. Thought we could work out a trade."


"That depends. What is that you have to trade?" The Trill asked silkily.


Thatch motioned for Rue to step up to the counter. In a split second, Rue had two choices. She could continue with the transaction, ignoring this sense of doom, and hope that this wasn't a trap. Or she could leave, taking the product with her, and hope that she was right or she'd be severely punished. The Doctor took her cue from the Trill, who was fidgeting more than normal. She smiled warmly, but called with acid dripping from her tone directed at Thatch, "Sorry uncle, I'm not really seeing anything here that I want." Turning on her heels, she left the junk store.


She jerked her head to Mason to follow her as soon as she was out the door. Thatch burst out moments later, she could hear his stomping and knew he was seething. She led both back behind the various booths and stores to a back corridor, then stepped into the shadows of an alcove.


"What's going on?" Mason took the edge of the alcove so he could monitor the traffic. Thatch steamed passed him, grabbed Rue by the upper arm and slammed her up against the wall. Rue reached back with her free hand to rub the back of her head, which was fortunate because Thatch threw against the wall again for emphasis.


"You stupid cow!" Thatch slammed her against the wall for a third time. "She went mental on me and pissed away the deal. Do you have any idea…"


"She was twitchy."


"They're all twitchy!"


"No! Twitchy, twitchy. There's something wrong. Kwai's being watched!"


"Bloody hell. You daft witch – you should be sectioned." Thatch raised his hand to smack Rue, "Going to lamp you one…knock some bloody sense into ya're worthless hide."


Rue squinted her eyes, anticipating the smack that didn't come. Thatch too was surprised when, without even looking, Mason grabbed Thatch's writs to prevent the strike. "Agents." Mason, his voice a low rumble, nodded towards the long corridor as two plain clothed Terran Empire intelligence agents exited the back door of the Trill's establishment. The three pirates pulled further back into the shadows then froze in place as two men passed by. Once Mason gave them a nod of head to indicate that the coast was clear, Thatch started passing the small alcove, using every curse word in his vocabulary. Rue bit back the "I told you so".


Once cooling off, Thatch explained the plan. "Okay, time to head back. We'll split up." The group started to alter their appearance by trading clothing and turning tunics inside out to reveal a different contrasting color. Rue caught Mason watching her quick change and elbowed him. She stuffed her brunette wig into a nearby trash receptacle as Thatch continued his instructions. "I'll head out first. Mason, you and this cheeky nutter will follow." Thatch glanced nervously about. "I'll tell the Cap'n what happened, don't you worry none, luv." Rue's eyebrow twitched but she said nothing, only nodded at Thatch as he faded into the traffic. The two remaining pirates stood in the alcove waiting until Thatch was nothing more than a memory.


"Ready Doll?"


Rue paused for a moment. "Mace, I got an idea."


"Oh no you don't. We're going back."


"Please?" Rue leaned against security officer, wrapping her arms around him in a way that passerby might mistake them to be involved in a lovers tryst. She laid her head on his shoulder, whispering in his ear. "You know as well as I do, if I try to sneak this stuff back onto the ship, we'll get caught. And if I dump it, I'll be lucky if I'm just punished and not killed."


"Thatch will tell the Captain what happened."


"Oh, come on, even I'm not that naive. Even if you back my side, I'm still screwed. We lost the profit and Thatch still blames me, even if I saved his hide." Rue leaned back, flashing a lopsided smile. "However, if I come back with the coin the Captain wanted. Maybe with a bit more profit…."


"You're not seriously thinking of going back in there?"


Rue's grin grew wider, she leaned in a brushed her lips against his. "The goons are gone. She's my best chance. Worse case scenario – I get caught. Here, at the airlock with our product or with the Captain – the outcome is the same. I'm dead if I'm caught. But if I can make this happen,.."


"You just want to see how far you can push it."


Rue leaned in as if she was going to kiss him, feeling Mason respond in kind. Then she smirked. "You betcha." She slipped out of his grasp and sauntered down to the Trill's backdoor….

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Loving this series. By the time we finally get to play in the AU sandbox, we'll be well-educated privateers... :o

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