Well, that was one hell of a ride. I acquired a new skill! It's call the barroom bribe. Take large wad of cash, apply it to bar tender or other authority figure, and watch your friends move with a get out of jail free sort of immunity. Handy when hunting down assholes who try to hide in said barroom to avoid answering tough questions. Questions like 'why'd you set our friend up to get nabbed?' and 'what do you mean she's likely on a slave market auction block?'. However, I did find out that this bribe technique comes with a complementary glass of booze, especially when you flirt with the cute girl hiding behind a scar.
After a wild goose chase uptown, downtown and crosstown, we finally managed to find Noelle again. Much worse for the wear, but it looks like we got her to fed med facilities soon enough they'll be able to patch her up. Only required a visit to said slave market, through a Ferengi ship, and then out to visit the ship of another of the unsavories who operate out of that hell hole. Odd thing happened as we picked her up though, the guy who appeared to be behind this... or at least so we thought, my information's leaning towards not now; he was beamed right out from under our noses. Diz was literally talking to him when suddenly, shimmer shimmer, gone. I was in gargoyle mode, watching what was going on through my goggles that were patched into the clunker's computer system at the time, so I got flashed by a ship dropping out of cloak just long enough for the beam up, then disappearing off to parts unknown. Attempts to get anything useful to track them down were flimsy at best, and with the way Noelle came back to the ship, there was no chance to pursue.
Understandably, Diz was seeing red. Shit, I don't think I've seen her twisted enough to actually start barking orders at people. Usually when she gets mad, she just gets quiet, does everything herself and you just want to stay out of the way. This time? She was yelling at Therav Kitty's goons, barking orders like a marine sergeant. Hell, Tom warned me she'd even barked at him and shit man, she's fucking him! Once we got in the air, and I asked about Noelle, then gave her a report on what I knew... she calmed down quite a lot. After that update, she had me do what I could to kick up our ride's speed more than a little, then spend the rest of the ride seeing if I could find out anything about this Frank Wilson character and why anyone would want to nab him. I found a heaping dose of jack and shit.
Therav yelled at Diz when we got back to the station, after the med team carted Noelle off to take care of her. Oddly enough, she took it much better than I expected her to. MUCH much better. Tom wanted to kick his ass for yelling at her, and she stopped him. I took that as a cue to exit stage left, and find the bar. I am glad I did, the buzz I had going into the debriefing helped stomach the interrogation I got. Now, you'd think they'd ignore me. I'm just the geek who processes the data, but apparently I had all the information they had about what the hell was going on. Orders coming from on high that didn't make sense, the objective of our mission to acquire a box that had Saf in it, and apparently we did a fantastic job acquiring exactly what it was they wanted us to acquire.
I lost count of how many times they had us run through the whole story from top to bottom. They split us apart, they grouped us together, they had us run it backwards, forward, middle out and then asked random questions about all the different segments, all out of proper order. Then when they finally finished that, they brought in the ship's logs and requested a copy of my data from the whole mission. Well, requested would probably be too polite of a term, it was more like a demand. Luckily I had archived it all together into one nice and neat little packet while I'd been sampling rainbow colored alcohol in the bar. Made it a little quicker and easier to offer it up, cross reference my bits to theirs, and all that jazz.
Soon we drew near to the end of the interrogation, and shit was it one... the only thing missing was the bare bulb above my head and the hard wood chair in an empty room. I let it slip that I'd found bugs on the transport, and got an interesting reaction: "Are they like the ones we put on the ship?" from Sharad, his voice level, calm, but almost hesitant. "We who?" I return, eyebrow cocked. I thought I had him when there was a pause before he responded, but eventually he came back with "It's an order passed down through some of the officers, from Starfleet Command." "Interesting" was all he got for his troubles. He did have the gall to ask me how I found the bugs, but dropped the subject when I laughed off his question.
When they finally let us go, I caught this little exchange between Sharad and Diz: "All that swagger. You don't think he's sexy?" It was clear that he was talking about Therav, and his question caused Diz to stop in her tracks. "Hard to consider fucking someone who'll shoot you in the back. Makes you wonder if they'll drive the knife in before or after the orgasm," was what she finally returned. Tom had come up behind her by this point, and laid a hand on her shoulder. "What makes you think he'd do that?" Sharad seemed genuinely confused by her reaction. "He has." She stalked forward past Sharad quickly, and Tom shot him a look as he passed. "You must've done something naughty," Sharad called after her, a chuckle in his voice. I raised my eyebrow at him as I passed him and followed her and Tom out of there.