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Smokin'

All alone in the night

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Darius has led his 2 colleagues into Dark Star. This bar has already gained a poor reputation as a bit of a sleazy dance bar, specialising in human and centauri exotic dancers, although it also sports a thriving poker scene, which rivals that of the official casino not too far away. Despite it's reputation, most gamblers know that cheating is not tolerated at the Dark Star's tables. A beautiful shaven-headed centauri girl is dancing on the rostrum, attracting appreciative attention from her audience of centauri and other races alike.

 

It's also believed to be considered 'neutral' territory by most of Babylon 5's criminal classes, and a pair of sharply-dressed men with several bodyguards is not an uncommon site sitting at one of the many tables. One such man, smooth black hair down to his collar, is sharing a table with a short, tough-looking drazi. On the other side of the bar another human, older and heavier set with thick bushy eyebrows, sits in serious conversation with a narn. Each table is flanked by at least 2 obvious guards. Perhaps some of the other tables are hosting such meetings but only those two appear obvious.

 

Also not uncommon is the site of Ambassador Londo Mollari sitting watching the dancers or trying his luck at the tables and, in fact, the characteristic hair crest of the ambassador is just visible over the crowds around the card players. His voice can be heard in full flow - apparently the ambassador is being lucky tonight.

 

The bar is very busy, a mixed crowd of humans, centauri, narn and other alien races. None of the humans are in uniform, the station personnel usually preferring to drink in Earharts or elsewhere where they are more welcome but who knows who is watching who from the shadows? The barman serves the drinks, returns Darius' credit chip and moves off to the next customer.

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Drink in hand Darius turns to his colleagues "Lets head over that way." pointing in the direction of where Lando is sitting. "I just delivered some goods for him and normally would avoid him as he whines about the price, Mr Darke could you not see your way to adjusting your prices for me, afterall I am an ambassador of the CENTARUI REPUBLIC. But seeing he is in a good mood could be worth enduring it. Might be able to get some useful information from him."

 

Darius then starts to thread his way through the crowded bar heading towards the area of the ambassador.

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"what's the deal with these two humans?  is there a warrent?  a bounty?  or are they just in the wrong place at the wrong time?  It shouldn't be too hard for me to track them from the ship,  I just need to know what I'm getting myself into.  make sure I got what I need to get the job done."

 

the whole time Reagan was talking he watched the game with practiced ease spotting the tells of the players at the table.

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"The deal on them, nothing really just something didn't fit about them. They could be trouble, blips or just a mismatched couple who fell in love. I honestly don't know which however I like to be informed just in case they turn out to be trouble."

 

Darius makes sure that his seat is just in the eye line of Londo.

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"No sweat bossman, I can find something to do around there and see if I can't get my hands on the crew/passenger manifest. That should atleast give me a name or two to work with and it should get easier from there” anything else you want me to do?  Or look out for?  Like maybe the ace up Londo's sleeve?"

 

He catches the shocked look on Darius's face and smiles from ear to ear, "just kidding, cheating is less tolerated here than down the way at the casino, just keeping you on your toes"

 

Reagan finishes down his water and pulls his comm pad out and starts checking the maintenance manifest for the newly docked Centari ship in question.  Picks a quick job that would put him inside the ship and logs himself for the job.  one of the better perks of being higher on the engineering foodchain

 

Reagan shakes hands with Jack "see ya around Jack, and if you need any work let me know, I could use someone to help with the big stuff."  Reagan turns to Darius with a smile, "I'll check in regularly and you have the secure COM link number so please keep me posted.  and if that part doesn't work out let me know, I find the supplier and really give it back to him."

 

As Reagan is leaving he maneuvers his path where he will pass behind Londo,  Reagan leans down and says,  "Always a pleasure to see you are well Londo.  I see nothing wrong with your current situation. His eyes shooting to the table and back at him, his voice never waivers.  And from the ship that just came in I got the good news that your three sisters  eyes look to the seedy guy sitting to Londos right are all feeling much better.  have a nice day Londo"    Reagan winks at Londo's expression that he finally caught on that the only threat for this hand was the guy that is holding three of a kind and he had him beat with the straight he is holding now.    And Reagan makes a quick exit and heads to the docking area to see what

and heads to the docking area to see what other trouble he can avoid and get the job done he was asked to do.

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Jacks shakes Reagans hand firmly with a friendly smile on his face. "It was nice meeting you too. Thanks for the offer, I'm always looking for some extra work. Humping cargo doesn't pay that well."

 

Jack sits back, sipping his drink and watching the game.

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The gambler on Ambassador Mollari's right looks up at Reagan's cryptics but, luckily for Reagan, doesn't seem to recognise any know Gambler's code in his words. The Ambassador too looks confused for a moment until a recognition dawns on his face.

 

"I thank you, my good, dear friend. It was very good of you to think of me.. Raise you 20, no!"

 

The hand won and the other players beginning to eye each other suspiciously, Londo collects his winnings, which have been sizeably increased by the last hand, and disentangles himself reluctantly from the bevy of adoring centauri girls who have been accompanying him. "Run along, now, my dears. Yes. Off you go"

 

"So, Mr. Darke. To what do I owe the undeniable pleasure of having your friends help me win at cards." A fresh drink arrives, unbidden, as though the barmaid knows the Centauri diplomat's thoughts. "Have I not been generous enough with today's shipment, or was he simply, ah! , how do you humans put it.. 'doing me a favour'?"

 

MEANWHILE, in a corridor between red and blue sectors....

 

A few moments pass, both Missy and the stranger pressing themselves flat against the grey walls, eyes focused intently on the corner of the corridor. A few more moments pass - they hear nothing. In fact it's several minutes before they hear 2 distinct human voices quite clearly.

 

"Definetly looks like PPG fire. You check down that end. Witnesses say she ran off that way"

 

"Sure, just cover me." The second voice is closer, and comes closer as it speaks.

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"Londo what a pleasure to see you, I wish I could claim credit fot the actions of my friend but that would be unfair to him. I guess he just wanted to help you out. As for today's shipment well after paying the required import duties and other expenses there is little profit left for me, and you know I give you a special price compared to others I aid on the station. Afterall what are friends for. I am glad to see the the affairs of the Republic are such that you are able to spend your time here enjoying yourself, or is your governement still under utilising your talents."

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In the Corridor, Missy looks towards the man who seems to have been willing to help her in her flight from her attackers. She raises an eyebrow, as if to ask "Think it's a ruse?"

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Jack quietly slips his shock stick back inside his jacket and changes his posture to an apparently casual leaning against the wall with his arms crossed. He's still ready to explode into action if need be, but he has no desire to get himself shot by mistake by a nervous Security officer. He turns to give a thumbs-up sign to his client to signal that he believes the situation is safe, then awaits the arrival of Security.

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Around the corner, edging nervously and staying behind the largest packing crate, comes a PPG pistol, held firmly in the hands of a blond-haired man clad in the blue-grey uniform of station security. As he sees first Missy, then Jack, he freezes, pistol sweeping from one to the other and for a horrible moment Missy thinks he is about to fire when instead he orders them "Hands where I can see them! Miles, get down here. Who are you and what's going on?" He continues to cover the pair whilst he waits for his comrade.

 

*************************

 

"Special Price? Yes, I know Mr. Darke, you always charge me much more than your services are worth, don't you? Charge the Ambassador more, he won't mind. You're a thief, Mr Darke,that's what you are - I should report you to Mr. Garibaldi - how would you like that, eh? Then I would have to bring in everything through the diplomatic bags, like all the other ambassadors, and that would lack... style." Mollari is in fine form, flushed with his winnings and the Brivari he is throwing back he doesn't care who hears him talking. "Whatever else we've lost, we Centauri still have style. And who is this?" he indicates towards Daw. "A new client you can fleece with your prices?" No one knows if the Centauri had knowledge of irony before contact with the humans, but they are certainly masters of it.

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"Londo how can you think such a thing of me. Allow me to introduce Jack Daw he helps me in certain matters. Now can I buy you both another drink ?"

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Meanwhile, in the corridor

 

"Easy, I'm the victim here." Says Missy in a calm, reasonable manner as she raises her hands. "That's my boss over there, you know, the one with the gunshot wound. We're here on business, and if this is what happens to random business people here on Babylon 5 I think we might just be taking our business elsewhere."

 

Missy does a good impression of the 'quietly angry' businesswoman, crossing her arms over her chest and nigh on daring the young security officer to shoot an unarmed and unthreatening woman.

 

She then turns to the strange man standing beside her. "He's a good samaritan who came to my rescue when he heard the shooting. Good job he was here, cos there's never a security man around when you need one."

 

She knows she's taking a chance by laying it on thick, but she's unsure of how her cover will hold up without Lewis to back it up and is trying to bluff and bluster through this. "This isn't my area, and my boss is bleeding on the deck of B5. What have I gotten myself into?"

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"My name's Jack, officer. Jack Handy. I'm a bodyguard for hire. Businessmen, like my client here," he nods to his client standing a safe distance behind him, "hire me to help protect them while they're on the station. Not to impugn the fine job that Security does," (Jack's also laying it on thick, but in a different direction), "but it's impossible for Security to be everywhere, and that's what I offer my clients: I go everywhere with them." (Except when the client decides he wants to meet with someone privately, but it wouldn't be a good idea to mention that right now...). "That's what I was doing here: I was just escorting my client to his shuttle when we heard gunfire from somewhere around the corner, and here comes this young woman bursting round the corner, looking like she's running away from something. She needed help, so I decided to help her out. I was thinking that if her attackers pursued her around the corner I could jump them before they could shoot, but they apparently decided to beat it; I never saw them."

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Jack looks blankly at the Centuri embassador. He drains off the last half of his drink and puts it down on the table. He looks at Darius and nods.

 

"Yeah, another." He grimaces suddenly and twicks to the right. Exhaling slowly he reachs into his jacket and pulls out a small plastic bottle. He pops the lid and dry swallows a small green pill. "Yes, definately another."

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