Star Trek: 31 Pickup

Episode 2

More often than not, it's hotter than hot.


After decoding the encrypted message from their Orion contact within the Federation, Amry, the Rebel Priscilla turns her sights on the planet Draylon, home of the notorious space pirate, Jilhari. The crew of now-mercenaries are tasked with retrieving Isik, a thing unknown to them due to data corruption within the mission file, for Ferengi merchant Tash the Thrifty.

From there, our mission begins with a bang…

The bang of Rebel Priscilla’s hull against the dense terrain of the planet. Perhaps it was a fault in the Harmony-class ship, something ‘special’ that its cock-sure pilot hadn’t quite gotten used to dealing with. Perhaps the aforementioned pilot was simply being cock-sure, despite the physical lack of the aforementioned appendage. In any case, no one stays seated. Fortunately, everyone seems to have survived.

A fact which Chief Engineer Nyx celebrates by surging out of the depths and slapping Helmsman Rush across the face. Not one to take a hit lying down, Penelope throws herself into a squabble with Fierri, leaving Major Annella Winters to do some quick damage control of her own. Using her considerable empathic powers granted to her by her Betazoid lineage, she is successfully able to quell the bickering women and focus them back on the task at hand. The door to the ship is opened after confirming the atmosphere suitable for breathing and Annella and Penelope peer out.

The environment is hot, humid, and rocky. Spires in the distance indicate civilization, carved from the natural rocks rather than built between. In the distance, an ivory tower acts as both beacon and sentinel. Zenith. Mixed cultures make their way through the streets – they seem strangely despondent.

There is one man who looks over the crowd, smiling widely. As they make their way through the oppressive heat, the group tries to avoid him, but he has already been attracted by the pilot and the engineer’s continued, if softer, contention one another. He approaches and introduces himself as Benaren. Annella attempts to discern his intentions with her empathy, but she has either been fatigued by the journey or he is of a race that can block her probing.

They talk and Benaren is a total skeeve, as silently (and maybe a bit verbally) agreed by all. Still, he does seem to be well-traveled and knowledgeable enough of their surroundings. As it happens, the team has landed on the eve of a celebration that Jilhari is throwing… well, perhaps not so surprising. She is an Orion. The women make some noise about wanting to join the party, and Benaren ushers them towards his ship, offering them goods and a change of clothes (what’s wrong with our clothes???) supposedly in order to secure himself a lovely entourage. Annella is surprised to find a relic from her colony, a music box. Fierri spies just the part she needs to make a fix to their ship. Penelope procures a springball, after dumping aside a nice sweater.

They change into desert robes, and no sooner than that, hear a gong in the distance – the festivities have begun. Fortunately, all have forgotten the initial idea involving green paint somewhere along the line.

Joining Benaren up to the ivory palace, the crew encounters a small opposition from a Cardassian guard. Annella gives her weapon freely, Fierri tries and fails to smuggle hers in, and Penelope succeeds in hiding hers in the midsts of that distraction. Once inside, the women observe a lavish affair: a buffet and a wide array of party-goers intermingling. Among them are grey Orions, which Annella informs the crew to be of a significantly lesser rank among their kind, especially those that are green. Strangely, that pariah status does not seem to be in effect in Jilhari’s palace. Among them, the Major also notices the presence of another Betazoid, one which seems to be directing the servants of the palace.

They totally need more info, so the group takes three different strategies to try and get it. Penelope hip-hop dances her way into someone’s good graces. Fierri drinks (great ‘strategy’, girl). Annella looks for the other Betazoid.

Hip-hop dancing leads to a strange encounter with Ghatt, a large reptilian dude who seems to walk on the wild side. Ghatt leads Penelope out to the courtyard (followed by Firerri) and ambushes two grey Orion guards- drawing Lt Rush and Lt Nyx into his covert agenda. Eventually, the Major meets up with her missing crew, and the group spys upon a young Orion boy also in the courtyard. When Ghatt tries to leap at the boy (attempting to steal the Isik) the child reacts fearfully and time stops.

The boy and the Ba’ku Rhyl (named Isik) run off back towards the Palace and the Major chases after them while Fierri and Penelope strong arm some answers out of Ghatt.

He explains that the mission to reclaim the Isik is important and time sensitive, because the palace is going to blow up! Working for Benaren, or with him, this is just a shade unclear, but one this is for certain; This disturbing news prompts the duo to reunite with their Major and they let Ghatt go.

Back in the Palace, Annella and the child, Artros, have reached a place of relative safety (and in the protection of the Cardassian Head Guard, Dejar) There is little risk to them. The same can’t be said of the crowd of party goers and the Space Pirate Jilhari herself. Who has begun to accept gifts.

While Fierri and Penelope make their way through the main hall, they spot Benaren among the line of gift givers and they debate whether the safety of ‘innocent’ people is worth risking their own life at Jilhari’s hands. Coming to the conclusion that they cannot just let these people die, Rush and Nyx intervene and call Benaren out as the terrorist he is. They also inform the Major that Artros’ mother is looking for him and she returns with the child.

The price for Benaren’s efforts is swift justice, in the form of Jilhari’s sword.

Curious, and a little suspicious about these strangers, the space pirate queen questions Major Winters. She knows that they are working for Tash based on their purpose for being in Zenith, she also suspects that they are more than they seem. (So how exactly does Jilhari know the team??) The Pirate poses an ultimatum to the crew. Give her information that will lead to capture of Amry and they can take Isik as trade.

They have one solar day to decide.



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