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Cassie Granger

Deep 36

“Deep 36”


Starbase 36 wasn't exactly the best place to recuperate. It was big and it was busy, with almost too much to do, but at least it was a break. So after assigning herself two days' rest Cass ventured out. Avoiding the places that attracted brass, she wandered toward Squid Alley where she was pretty sure she'd find the teams. Hopefully they'd still be above ground and not too far under the table.


Bars, bistros, cheap dives, and a few places Cass knew to be pleasure traps lined the thoroughfare, but at one end, far enough away from the lesser establishments, sat Wahlburgers, "a shining light in the firmament of hamburger heaven" her mom had said when that family opened one on Bertaria. Cass knew that, no matter where she was, she could count on Wahlburgers to make the grade.


A shout of, "Cass!" greeted her while the door was only half open. Within seconds a pair of massive tattooed arms had her in a bear hug and pulled her through, then released her just as fast. "It's been how long?"


"Hey, Matt," she grinned after catching her breath. "Only a few months by my clock."


"Too long then," he insisted, leading her to a table. "The usual?"


She nodded. "Forget the foam. I'm on the wagon."


Feigning disappoint, Matt frowned, but passed her order on anyway.


In keeping with a long line of Wahlburgs, Matt had inherited the family business. By the early 23rd century they had a few restaurants off - planet. By the time Challenger docked at SB 36 Matt and Co had one at most major ports of call and raked in profits, most of them from Starfleet on liberty. They'd succeeded in maintaining their quality, thanks to Matt who'd proven he could pop up at any time, anywhere. And he was one of the best agents Cass had come across.


"So last time I saw you was… Bertaria, right?" he said, slipping in next to her.


“Right. With my mom, soon as it opened.” A good-natured accusatory finger pointed in his direction. “And no guff about ‘on the house’ this time, okay?”


Hands up, he grinned. “Yer killin’ me, Cass, but... you got it.” He paused as the wait staff slipped Cass her BBQ bacon Wahl, extra fries, extra crispy onion strings. Sharing the fries was a a Matt - Cass tradition; she swiveled her plate toward him.


“Delta made quite a mark last night,” he said, the pilfered fries disappearing one by one. “Or was it early this morning?”


“So I heard.” She flicked a smile. “A little welcome for the new El Tee, Sylvanis.”


“A tad more than a little welcome, Cass. Hope she’s still alive. You got a good pilot there. Wouldn’t want anything to happen to her.”


“Same here,” Cass nodded between bites. “She’s one of the Fleet’s best, and don’t worry - she can handle herself, not just in the bird. And she’s not ‘mine.’ Squad Leader for Shadow.”


Another pause for the waiter to refill her glass and fries. Matt ordered his own.


Several stories later, Cass pushed the plate to the side and relaxed with the satisfied look Matt always waited for. By then most of the tables had emptied, and when only a few stragglers were left, their conversation took a more serious turn.


“What you got?” Cass began, speaking of Coridan.


“It’s peaceful.” Matt’s clasped hands spread casually. “We have eyes on. No one’s following. Looks good from our perspective.”

“Principal player?”


“War Lord called Obsiah. Not sure of the exact meaning or where he came from, but he’s pretty badass. Probably why it’s so quiet at the moment.”


She nodded. “Teams?”


Matt’s tilted head and apologetic sigh said it all.


“Right. No problem. So long as you have ‘em down there and he’s tracked.”


“He’s… not exactly hard to follow, Cass. It’s got me worried. Sticks out like a sore thumb.”


“Bad enough to look like a tourist?”


He sucked in a breath to think, then relaxed. “Yeah. Could be. Except there aren’t many tourists that go there.”


“But there are some, right?”


“Ummm… a few.” He looked skeptical. “Lot of ruins. Some interesting artifacts to be had, but nothing valuable. Maybe…” his hand waggled… “a good resort or two. That’s it.”


Cass checked the chrono, then placed her napkin and credit slip on the table.


“Sorry I don’t have more.”


“Enough for my purposes, Matt. Just do me a favor and keep eyes on?”


“You got it.”

Edited by Cassie Granger

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