Posted on Monday, 4 January 2021 - 5:24am by Lieutenant Alex Kingsley & Captain Barret Stillwater & Lieutenant JG Adrianna Eberhardt
Location: Italy, Rome
Adrianna Baciami decided to do this venture alone as it would be dangerous. Well, sort of alone. She donned her head scarf once more, covering her mouth as she made her way through the crowds and found herself in a busy bar. Her eyes scanned the crowd, knowing she'd find Giovanni's security there on a break. There was one, they had a fling once, that she knew would definitely be there, on the prowl.
Adrianna stepped over and stood next to him at the bar, "seems being promoted to Don's security looks good on you, I mean look at those muscles." She pulled her scarf down to reveal her face.
"I wish I could say the same of you and your life choices and recent promotion so I heard," replied the man. "You look too pristine. Don't make the mistake of convincing yourself that you anyone other than who you are. You may look like Starfleet, you may have the scent of Starfleet, but underneath it all? Nah, you are just as rotten as the rest of us. You are a Baciami."
" Isn't it wonderful," Adrianna grinned," a wolf in fleets clothing. I need some information, and I was hoping you could provide it to me. I'll give you whatever you want." it ended with an almost flirtaciously look.
"You know what I love about the business, Addy?" the man replied with a smirk. "Doesn't matter whether it is the 1920s, 2020s, or the 2390s. This is a business of large personalities. It is a flamboyant business full of people who are not afraid to be an exaggerated version of their lesser suppressed and oppressed selves." He looked her over. "The merchandise is fine, but you aren't in the right place to find a customer for what you are pushing."
Adrianna looked him over, "I'm not selling, I'm purchasing information. I want to know why I found a few things in the Baciami residence. You know anything about that?" She tapped the bar and the bar tender looked up. Having recognised the face, the tender went a little pale and quickly offered a bottle of grappa and two shot glasses, pouring the both," 1920s, 2020s or 2390s, you know it doesn't matter the Baciami, we all pay highly."
"Eh," the man replied shaking his head. "Your brother is ambitious and I would follow him to an early grave, but he does not have your father's sense of business." He smiled at her. "Could not keep your nose out of family business? Your brother was gathering information, plans for different locations on Earth. He has a client or two who had been looking to launch an attack, make a statement, but if you are suggesting we had anything to do with the Federation shuttles that had 'accidents,' we did not. Your brother would never put business over patriotism, a few lives, a building or two sure, but that? Never."
"Once a Baciami, always a Baciami," Adrianna nodded," I think that's one thing I could count on - patriotism. Any idea who the buyers are?"
"Of the plans we gathered? Yeah, plenty. Flaxians, a Ferengi or two, Humans who are members of a small radicalized group who want the Romulan refugees to be removed." He shrugged. "No idea about what happened with the Federation shuttles. I've only heard rumors and murmurs "
Adrianna sighed, "know anything worth my time?"
"Andorians," he replied. "Keep your eyes on their twitchy blue antennas. That is all I have to say."
Adrianna smiled, "interesting." She poured another shot for the pair.
A light rain shower had offered an ideal excuse to leave the market square and follow Adrianna into on of the bars along the side streets. Having never visited Italy before, she was easily able to blend in like every other tourist. Feigning interest in the handmade crafts on offer while keeping one eye on her shipmate. The plan was a simple one. To watch her friend's back while she attempted to obtain the information Commander Stillwater had asked for.
Stepping over the threshold of the bar she found a table near the window which offered her a view of the room and the square outside. Picking up an old fashioned printed menu, she pretended to study the food on offer while trying to search the sea of unfamiliar faces for -
There she was. At the bar. Still in one piece.
How long it would stay that way, she had no idea.
"Thank you for your help," Adrianna smiled and went to leave, but her eyes caught sign of something shining in the man's pocket, "I thought the information was a bit too easy to pry from you, handsome. Are you planning to get the alive or dead bounty?"
The man scoffed. "That depends on who I want to hand you over to. Some want you alive, others want you dead, one wants you somewhere between the two..placed in stasis or put into the deep freeze of a carbon freezing chamber," he replied. "I don't know a Baciami to be taken alive though. So, I do not anticipate you are going to make this easy."
Adrianna nodded, "I mean, depending on who the highest bidder is, I might help and walk with you easily. At the end of the day, I'd be happy to have a family reunion again. I'm sure Giovanni would to see me again after our last encounter. Did he tell you about that?" Adrianna slowly started reaching for her concealed phaser, just in case," either way, would you not prefer to take me alive? You'd get a double reward then. One from me for the information and one from whoever is paying?"
"I may be your brother's Don, hun, but even I know there are better offers," replied the man. "Go ahead, reach for your phaser or whatever toy you've brought. I may be loyal to your brother and the family, but I have debts to pay."
Adrianna smiled, "such a shame you're money orientated. I was going to offer to do that thing you like which your wife refuses to do." Adrianna left the phaser where it was and instead picked up the bottle. She poured two glasses and then, looked the crowd over, before looking back to the man," by my count, there are at least twelve in here that would fight you for my head, but what Baciami do you know who would be willing to step into a shark's nest alone?" Her eyes, we're fixed on his. She was even flinching in fear. She knew this city.
"None," he replied. "Though by default, use the same logic. I am here and I work for your family. Would I come alone?" he chuckled. "The wife was a showpiece, a distraction. Your brother purchased her for me and made her disappear when she became too much of an annoyance. She was never good at doing that. Didn't have the right touch."
Adrianna smiled, reminiscing "that was an entertaining birthday party." She downed the shot of grappa and looked to Alex a moment before picking up the bottle, "you were always bad a poker. So dead or alive?"
"I'd prefer not to have to kill you," he replied. "Unfortunately, I do not think I really have much of a choice, Addy. You may just have to die tonight."
"There are worse ways to die," she shrugged, "where we going." She pulled her face covering back up. Turning over her empty shot glass.
"You want to take this outside, keep this lovely establishment blood free?"
"I think it wise, I think your blood would not match the decor," Adrianna smirked.
Alex set down the menu as she saw Adrianna turn over the glass and set it down on the bar. Leaving her bag on her chair asked the nearest woman where the bathroom was and headed towards the far side of the room on a path that would take her right past Adriana. With a hand in her pocket she depressed the trigger as she neared Adrianna and even knowing what was coming, the shockwave almost knocked her to her feet. In it's path, in all directions, glass shattered and rained down upon all of the patrons, all of whom were too busy clutching at their ears in agony until the moment had passed. Behind her, where her bag once sat, smoke billowed out, moving to quickly fill the room in a dark haze before beginning to seep out of the now destroyed windows and into the town square.
Alex grabbed Adrianna's arm and ran towards the hints of daylight from the nearest open window, ripping out the ear buds and tossing them aside. The shock would not buy them too much time and from what her friend had told her, they would have to use it wisely. And for now she was completely reliant upon Adrianna's knowledge of the city.
"We need to move," Adrianna barked, pulling down her face covering. She spotted a cobbled dead-end alley very close to the bar and yanked Alex in. "Most will run out. Anyone who saw me will start running to the transport hub. If they go first, we can be more subtle. That said, there's three people in there, including that informant that work for Baciami and know this trick, but three is better than 12, right?" Adrianna pulled a phaser ready, arming it, her eyes watching the bar empty.
"Definitely better odds," Alex agreed as she retrieved her own phaser, not pointing out that the alley had previous few areas that could be used for cover. "This trick has worked for you before though, right?"
Adrianna nodded, "It's better to walk into a sharks nest, knowing where the sharks are than attempting to escape from them." Adrianna noted the last man to leave, but her informant was at the door, "you ready to run? Our looselipped man is my brother's security. He's armed with something that, trust me, hurts."
"I'm wearing my best running shoes," Alex assured her. And it was true. "Just say when..."
Adrianna nodded over to a fountain, just visible at a corner of a junction, "head to the fountain, turn right at a coffee bar, then it's near enough straight. There's plenty of signage if I lose you. He hasn't seen your face properly, so you should be fine..." She paused waiting for the man to look the other way, "one... Two... Three." Adrianna darted out, heading straight into a crowd of tourists to try and blend in.
"So we're going on three," Alex muttered under her breath as she took off, mindful of her footing on the wet cobblestones. Her focus on the fountain and trying to find Adriana in amongst the throngs of people. The colosseum was not far, and the closer to the fountain, the busier it seemed to get. Which was good for them. Of course she was the only one with red hair that stood out like a sore thumb. But she was, equally, shorter than most of the people around her which offered cover. And made it difficult to see anything. So all she could do was keep moving.
Adrianna ran straight into someone she recognised. The pair fell over, slipping on the cobbles. The man instantly pulled a phaser. Adrianna fought back hard, thankfully having the upper hand, since she was ontop. The phaser soon scattered and Adrianna scrambled, less than gracefully to her feet.
She heard some phaser firing sounds and looked round, just about spotting Alex. The Italian screamed, "duck!" Gawd if Alex died or got hurt, she knew Soral would murder her.
The warning did reach her as quickly as the person who fell into her, hit by one of the shots in the shoulder which had him spinning around and sprawling to the ground. Caught on the back of the leg she was sent crashing onto the cobblestones as cries went out and everyone seemed to start running. Weapons fire often had that effect, she mused as the world spun wildly. Blood dripped from her forehead as she hauled herself out from under the hopefully just very badly stunned man, almost losing her balance again as someone grabbed for her arm. All she was sure of was that the hand she caught a glimpse of was not that of Adrianna and instinct took over.
She shifted her weight and kicked out, making a solid connection with a kneecap which gave a somewhat satisfying pop followed by a less than masculine howl of agony. The grip disappeared and she turned, driving her knee up into the face of the man who was almost bent double. Blood exploded onto the cobblestones as his nose was shattered and as he fell to the deck she stumbled back, wiping blood from her eye as she looked for Adrianna.
Adrianna watched Alex fall, cursing under her breath. She fraught her way through the panicked stampede. She ignored her own safety. A Baciami would have left her behind, but Adrianna had outgrown the name. She located her comrade, grabbing Alex's arm and pulling her, "come on, I know a safe space."
Adrianna pulled Alex's arm once more and dove with her to an alley, behind some barrels of wine. Adrianna put back on the wet brickwork and closed her eyes, taking a moment to breathe and gather her thoughts. There were a few options and Adrianna had accounted for all. She removed her head scarf and handed it to Alex to tie herself as Adrianna thought with her hands, mapping out the various routes.
“Thanks,” Alex said as she took the scarf. “I’m guessing you aren’t expecting security to show up?”
"Ours?" she asked, "no, this meet was a semi off the record one. Plus, the majority of the Standing Bear security staff roster are not human, nor could pass for. It seemed easier to just bring you. Way more subtle." Adrianna finally caught her breath and looked to Alex, "we have a few options, but how injured are you? Graze or I need to get you to a doctor?"
“It’s fine, bleeding has stopped,” Alex smiled ruefully, “fortunately I’m only half human. Okay, where to now?”
Adrianna pointed up. "If we can make it to the roof, we'll have the upper hand. It's near enough all terrace to the transport hub, now." She paused and pointed to a sewer cover, "alternatively, we go under, but it's less subtle coming back to the surface and dangerous if you have an open wound. I'm reluctant to continue in view with us both compromised." Adrianna looked back to Alex, "so options: up and leap rooftops, but as a plus you can see most of Roma, so at least you can say you've seen everything. Or under, which whilst safer, would hold issues long term for your leg and when we get there and you don't see Roma."
“Sightseeing. Every time,” Alex grinned. “Besides, champion gymnast as a kid, we can do this.”
Adrianna nodded, impressed," well, alright then." Adrianna pointed to a ladder," set the pace. I’ll meet you at the top."
Alex eyed the ladder, the first rung nearly two meters off the ground. “To be taller,” she muttered, pushing off and running at it. She launched at it, propelling herself up high enough to snag the first rung. Her weight brought the ladder down towards the ground and she jumped back to let it reach ground level. As soon as she could she began climbing as fast as her legs would carry her. At intervals there were small platforms intersecting new ladders, so that they could pull up the lowest section once Adrianna had started the climb. Not that it would buy them much time.
“You know, it’s like Italy is on a different planet or time to the rest of Earth,” she said as she offered Adrianna her hand to help her off the ladder and onto the roof, “We didn’t even lock our doors but here! This is insane. Love the view though.”
Adrianna chuckled a little and looked round, "Italy well a few places on Earth, opted to keep some heritage sites. Italy is very routed in it's history. This is why the mafia still exist, albeit in a different capacity. This place is built on tradition and passion. You'll find nowhere else like this. That I can promise you." She then pointed out some key landmarks like trevi fountain, the Spanish steps and a few weirder ones like 'best coffee house' and her old apartment.
At the end, Adrianna pointed to the transport hub," the nearest building is that one, but there's no ladder if memory serves. The person that owns it is... Well, lets say that we can't walk through. I suggest we head to that building, where there isn't a ladder, but it's currently vacant, so we can go through. The front door opens to the transport hub, where it'll be a two minute sprint to our freedom. Only three jumps over rooftops, don't look down."
“Just one thing,” Alex said. “Never tell my husband of this. He will lock me up.”
"I think he'd kill me anyway, so you have a deal, and I owe you a 'no questions asked'," Adrianna replied.
Alex grinned. Saying no more she moved to the far side, gauging the distance before taking many steps back. “See you on the other side,” she called over her shoulder before takin off at full speed, planting her foot on the ledge and launching herself towards the next building. Her stomachs trailed a few seconds behind and as she landed she dropped into a roll to help avoid any impact on her right leg. It kind of worked. She was going to end up black and blue.
“Your turn!” She called back.
Adrianna muttered a shirt prayer under her breath. It had been years since she'd done this and last time she almost slipped. With a quick amen she ran, kept and stuck the landing. Gladly, she avoided looking down to see the vertigo inducing height and death trap below.
"When we get back, we are heading for the nearest bar," Alex told her as she rolled her shoulders and set her sights on the next jump. "Last one to the transport hub is buying."