For Ranor aka R’Tor to uncover the power behind the pirate attack and raids taking place in areas near the Caradassian border he and his crew would need to pass themselves off as smugglers and characters of ill repute. With themselves and their ship in disguise, this first high level trade would set the tone for all future exchanges.
Ranor sat in the command chair staring at the view screen, but not looking at anything in particular. He contemplated the different uses that the small amount of bio-mimetic gel they were carrying could be used for. He rubbed his chin and his thoughts strayed from the gel for a moment as he was struck by the odd sensation of bare skin. Not having fur was going to be more of a challenge then he thought to himself. Plus, he missed his tail. He pushed those thoughts aside and focused on the task at hand.
He looked down at the PADD and reviewed the information on the substance he was taking for the illicit trade. After passing through the history, warnings and lengthy notations about violations, he scrolled to the point that concerned him the most.
Due to its innate properties Bio-mimetic gel is often used in the creation of biogenic weapons, no to mention its use for genetic and cloning experiments, which is highly illegal . Special Note: Highly regulated as contraband by Federation law. Its sale or attempt to obtain the substance is a felony for civilians in the Federation.
“What are pirates doing trafficking in this stuff.” Ranor wondered aloud. “Well, due to its restricted nature, bio-mimetic gel is rare and valuable as a commodity.” Dr. Valerias stated. As a Vulcan it was easy to make a few minor alterations to make her look like a Romulan.
Ranor tilted his head sideways, “Sure, but there are other commodities that are less likely to raise concern.” Before she could respond, the debate was cut short as Colt spoke up. “Sir, we are coming to the designated coordinates.”
“Slow to impulse.” Ranor responded.
Colt looked over his controls, “We are at the rendezvous point, sir”
“All stop.” Ranor requested. “Do a full sensor sweep of the area.”
“Sensors are clear, no energy readings.” Colt replied. “However, we are getting some anomalous readings from a nearby asteroid field.”
Commander Russell stepped over to the science station. “Sir, it looks like they contain deposits of Magnesite, Uridium and Chrondite.” He paused and looked back to Ranor, “This would be an ideal hiding spot for…” He was cut off by Colt, “Sir, a ship just appeared on sensors. It’s exiting the asteroid field.”
Russell returned to his post next to Ranor. He wanted to know what they were dealing with. “Identify.” Russell looked back at the panel, “Confirmed, ship of unknown power signature and configuration. They will intercept us in four minutes.”
A few moments passed and Colt gave a perplexed look and turned back to his command officer. “I don’t understand this, it is clearly Cardassian, but it is unlike any vessel on record.” He shook his head “Sensors are not penetrating the hull, sir.”
“On screen.” Came the reply. Colt turned and activated the screen. The entire bridge crew watched as the strange looking vessel; half the size of a Galore class appeared on the screen. It had the look of a horseshoe crab.
“Did we cross into Cardassian space?” Ranor wanted to know. “Negative sir” came a response. “We are two light years from the border.” Ranor did not like the idea of a strange Cardassian ship prowling beyond its own borders.
“We are being hailed sir.” Ranor thought a moment. “Ah..Audio only.”
“Tansport vessel, this is Gul Vissan of the Mak-Tellar.” There was a short pause “Is there something wrong with your viewscreen?” The Gul questioned.
“This is Captain Ranor or the The Dealer’s Gambit.” He put on an air of annoyance “We appear to be dealing with some minor technical difficulties.”
“I am so sorry to hear that.” Came the insincere reply from Gul Vissan. “If you like, I could send a repair crew to your ship and help make any repairs that are necessary.”
Russell rolled his eyes, knowing full well that it would be more likely the Cardassians would take over the vessel.
Ranor gave a small laugh, “That is not necessary, but I think you for your generous offer.”
“Well, this conversation has been most pleasant, but I believe you have some stem bolts?” The stembolts were a cover for the gel and now Ranor knew he was dealing with his contact.
“It would be beneficial to see the person I am doing business with.” Came the smarmy request of the Cardassian Gul.
“Certainly.” Ranaor gave a nod and a moment later the view screen activated, but Ranor had requested that his engineer make it look like they were still having difficulties, so the screen was mixed with static and wavy lines that gave the impression of a system malfunction.
“The stembolts are all yours.” Ranor stated with a broad smile, knowing full well that the cargo they were interested in was hidden inside one of the containers.
“Thank you, if the contents meet our standards – you will get what you deserve and perhaps payment enough to fix your screen.” Ranor thought it curious that pleasantries and threats sound much the same from Cardassians. A moment later the view screen switched off and a report came from the cargo bay that the containers of stembolts were beamed off the ship.
Both ships hung in space together, Ranor felt the tension on the bridge. It was no doubt during those moments when the Cardassians were checking for the gel and the purity of it. Ranor guessed if it didn’t check out, his ship would come under attack. While the thought to contaminate the contents had occurred to him, he needed these people to trust him.
Eventually the Cardassian ship moved off and disappeared as it entered the asteroid filed. Russell looked perplexed, “Is that it?”
Ranor gave a short shrug and then gave the orders to take the ship back to the planetoid and collect their payment. With his arms crossed, Russell complained, “We did not learn anything from that.”
Ranor smirked and looked at his first officer. “We actually learned a great deal.”
“What was that?” Russell shot back.
“We learned Cardassians have a new type of ship, they and are not afraid to venture outside their boarder and that they are building weapons.” He looked at the XO, “Why else would they want the gel?”
“Quite a logical deduction.” Dr. Valerias commended.
Russell gave his commander a look of surprise and of understanding.
While it was not a lot of information, it was a piece of the raider puzzle that Starlfeet Intelligence did not have prior to this encounter. The Dealers Gambit returned to the dark asteroid called the Black Rock of Fortune. Ranor collected his pay and would continue to do little trades similar to this one. Each encounter gave him more clues, but the full picture still remained hidden.
The best thing R’Tor aka Ranor and his crew could do, was to bide their time, until they earned enough trust to be allowed into the inner works of this nefarious web of shadows, but for now they would have to deal with skimming the surface.