Something Fishy
Summary: Nathan Parias has betrayed Boss Cabrerra, and Cabrerra's henchman - Colin Neidermeyer - has sent two assassins to G'ahnlo, where Parias now recovers in a hospital after injuries sustained trying to escape a botched vandalism effort. The assassins, a pair of Timonae named Kazira and Papoza, pose as orderlies to get the job done...
Cast: Kazira (Niesa Galar), Papoza (Askeboz), Parias, Neidermeyer
Air Date: 2001.08.15

Residential and Service Level <Ahndar Subcity: G'ahnlo>

An expansive plasteel dome attached to an angled armature that rotates slowly around the central trunk of the Ahndar subcity, some two hundred feet beneath the surface of the ocean.
Pale green light strips illuminate the dome around the clock. The air smells of salt and seaweed.
Residential areas in the dome are primarily reserved for air-breathing surface dwellers visiting the city. Actual G'ahnli habitats must be accessed via airlocks.
This dome also houses the city's recycling and air circulation facilities, as well as medical centers for both G'ahnli and offworlders.

Papoza walks out of the lift, scratching his side through his hospital clothing. The Timonae looks around the dome slowly, yawning.

Kazira approaches the lift just about the time you exit. She says in Timonese, "There you are. I thought maybe you'd decided you don't need Neidermeyer's money and gone off to spend...well, you know."

"No, girl. Just taking a break." Papoza says with a little shake of his head. He reaches up to run his hands over his goatee. "You'll never guess who I saw up on the landing pad: our lizard friend."

Kazira cocks her head. "Really? Just now?"

"Talked with another lizard for a few minutes, then hopped a shuttle." Papoza says with a nod of his head. "That don't really mean nothing, though. Might just be here for his ship.

Kazira nods. "Hrm...Yeah, that and to put on a good show of having nothing to do with Parias. I'll lay odds he knows he's being watched."

"Or just waiting to pay the G'ahnli off and get his ship back... Speaking of Parias--" Papoza waits for a few moments, then takes a few steps away from the lift and towards a less populated area of the dome.

Following your lead, Kazira allows herself to be led away from the lift. "Yes?"

Papoza stops after a few steps and looks over to Kazira once more. "I talked to him earlier today, he stuck to his guns about not being a member of EMS. Still... I'm not sure I believe him. In addition, he mentioned he was planning an escape attempt. Don't worry, though. I saw his chart. He's not going anywhere for a while.

Kazira folds her arms, and shifts her weight to one leg, "You had this conversation posing as an orderly?" she asks casually.

Papoza nods his head slowly in a reply. "The man's a moron."

Kazira nods, centering her weight again, eyes scanning the passers by. She says, "In the end, if he's lying, then he stole the EMS ship without orders from Boss Cabrera and he needs to be taught a lesson about biting the hand that feeds him."

"He's not worth the trouble, girl. I say we just get rid of him anyway... anything we try to teach would be lost on the little shit." Papoza states simply, reaching down to fiddle with his tag a little.

Kazira lets out a long breath, then nods. "You speak truth. Do you think it will be hard to get a moment alone with him?"

"Here's the problem, girl..." Papoza starts, glancing off towards the hospital. "He's got guards on his cell and monitors on his vitals. If we kill him, buzzers and shit gonna go off, bring the guards in. So we gotta either start, and be out before it actually happens. Or do it, and convince the sensors that he's still sleeping or something..."

As she listens, Kazira moves her hands to her hips. "Was he hooked up to anything besides the monitors? An IV drip?"

Papoza nods his head slowly. "Little shit couldn't evens stand up. Damn right he had an IV."

Kazira stretches her back as she speaks, "Well, then. I don't suppose any of your art supplies would be appropriate for that kind of work, eh? It seems a little subtle for your area of expertise."

"I mean, I could just slip something with a timer under his bed while I'm changing the sheets... but yeah, I think it would be a little much." Papoza says with a nod of his head.

Kazira straightens. "Uh, yes, I'd say that's pretty much out of the question," she says. "What do you know about poison?"

"Don't drink it... but that's about it." Papoza says with a little shrug of his shoulders. "Can't we just call out people and get something delivered?"

Kazira scuffs a foot on the ground. "Yeah, as much as I hate to call back and ask Neidermeyer for a third, I would hate to botch this even more. The last thing I need is for this guy to make a heroic recovery."

"Lets do some shopping first. All sorts of fish got venom and shit, right? Maybe we can find someone that'll sell it." Papoza muses aloud. "Not like it'd be illegal or anything..."

Kazira slowly smiles. "I'm with you."

Perched beneath one of the roaring air conditioner vents, a lone G'ahnli in a hovertank sits bathed in the glow of an amber lantern. He is encircled by a kiosk of sorts, with a variety of wares arrayed upon them. When the patrol G'ahnli whir closer, he burbles pleasantly at them, and they go on about their business.

"Jus' follow me, girl." Papoza says to the other Timonae, rubbing his goatee as he turns and heads off towards the mysterious G'ahnli. He raises his hand in greeting. "Evening, guy. Or morning, whichever."

The G'ahnli waggles its flukes and releases a burst of bubbles from its gills. "A profitable morning to you, airbreather. How may I be of assistance?"

Hands stuck in her back pockets, Kazira walks slightly behind her companion.

"Right... And that depends, fellow." Papoza says as he starts to look over the different items hanging around the kiosk. "What's good this time of year?"

"Grml," the G'ahnli replies. "That, in your propicious turn of phrase, depends. What is it you seek?"

"Wait, allow me to rephrase..." Papoza pauses for a dramatic moment, putting a fist to his mouth as he thinks. Finally, he lowers his fist and asks. "What is fast-acting fatal in small dosages this time of year?"

The G'ahnli's glossy black eyes bob within their sockets, and his fleshy mouth opens, closes, opens, closes. He watches in silence as a patrol hovertank whirs past. The hovertank continues, although the does show an interest in the transaction. But he seems to try not to see *too* much, accelerating. The merchant, once the constable has departed, returns his attention to Papoza. "How much do you have to spend, good airbreather?"

Kazira clears her throat behind Papoza. "Not /too/ fast acting, my love," she mutters.

"Enough." Papoza says simply. "I would, of course, like to see the, ah... merchandise before we start to discuss price..." He adds.

The G'ahnli opens a small door in the floor of his hovertank with his manipulative digits, and eventually produces a slender green vial. "Formorak," he blorbles. "The sacred fertilization fluid of our race, it sparks growth in dormant eggs laid by our females. Although harmless to G'ahnli, it is toxic to airbreathers. Within minutes, airbreathers suffer a shutdown of the respiratory system, as well as renal failure." His fleshly lips form a curved smile. "This is from my own personal stores."

Kazira grimaces and mutters, "Fish jiz?"

The G'ahnli releases a burst of bubbles from his gills, tilting his body and staring curiously at the female.

Papoza leans forward and looks at the bottle for a few moments. "Makes hummers difficult, I bet..." He murmurs to himself, then looks up again. "Now, we can discuss price."

"As I stated," the G'ahnli blurbles, "this comes from my own personal stores of formorak. I come from a distinguished and long-standing G'ahnli bloodline, dating back to the revolutionary profit-minded ancestors who fled the atrocities of the Nall so long ago. I could not possibly part with it for less than, say, 10,000 clax."

Kazira whistles.

"10,000? You're serious? You go into a public restroom for a few minutes and you'll have another vial." Papoza says with a little shake of his head. "I'll give you 4,000."

The G'ahnli flubbers his lips, bubbles trickling from his gills. "Four thousand? It is not so simple - or undervalued - as that, airbreather. The formorak of my family is precious and rare. I am, sadly, the last of my line - without an heir, it seems, because I have turned my excreted fluid into a profitable product. I may, however, part with this vial for, shall we say, 7,000 clax?"

Kazira hangs back, hands still in her back pockets.

"How's this... I pay four thousand now, and another three thousand if it works." Papoza says as he folds his hands over his chest. "That means you'll have your money by tomorrow night, Wednesday at the latest."

"That is unacceptable," the G'ahnli says, opening the drawer and preparing to deposit the vial.

Putting a hand on her friend's shoulder, Kazira shakes her head. "Come on, darling. There are plenty of other places we've yet to try. If he can't give us what we need for $5,000, then we can go elsewhere."

Papoza nods his head slowly in agreement, turning to walk away with his peer.

The G'ahnli studies Kazira quietly for several moments, flukes waving, the vial dangling above the opening. Finally, he says, "You could not go elsewhere on G'ahnlo to acquire formorak. It is considered biologically unprofitable to put the fluid to such dark use. You will find I am the only G'ahnli selling it. If you ask anyone else - they will have you arrested and burdened with severe fines. However, since you have been somewhat agreeable to encounter, I will agree to your offer: 5,000 clax."

Kazira inclines her head. "We have to make a trip to an exchange console. Will you be here when we return?"

"I would prefer one of you remain," the G'ahnli replies.

"S'alright, girl." Papoza says, shaking his head slowly. "5,000 clax is 3,000 credits, right guy?" He asks the G'ahnli.

The G'ahnli does some calculations in his head, muttering and spewing bubbles as he computes, and then he finally concludes: "That is correct."

"Good..." Papoza reaches into a pocket, counting out credits. "Split it 50-50, girl?" He asks with a glance to Niesa.

Kazira nods. "Yep."

Papoza hands the credits over in with hand, the other held out expectantly.

The G'ahnli confirms the amount, then deposits the vial in the drawer, closes the seal, and then extends the drawer - water sloshing in the containment area, exposing the vial for retrieval.

Papoza winces, mutters something, then reaches into the drawer to take the green vial. "If I catch something from this..." He grumbles softly.

Kazira puts out a hand to Papo. "Wait." She addresses the G'ahnli, "How quickly does this act? You said 'minutes'."

Papoza sighs softly, glancing betweek Kazira and the G'ahnli. "It's alright, girl..."

The G'ahnli bobs within his tank. "When the fluid comes into contact with membranous tissue - such as the lungs of you airbreathers - it begins to break down the membranes, as it would in the process of fertilizing a mass of eggs. The result is a condition that, under the right circumstances, appears to be nothing more than a fast-acting virus. It may take as long as an hour, or as little as 30 minutes."

Kazira looks from the G'hanli to her friend. "Thanks. That's all I wanted."

The slender vial is slipped into the inside pocket of his jacket. "Alright, then. Lets go find a bathroom... Gotta wash my hands." Papoza says with a little frown.

Kazira says, "I'm with you."

"Really? Wanna spend some time in the bathroom with me, girl?" Papoza asks with a smile as he walks away from the G'ahnli.

Kazira heads toward the lift with an exasperated sigh.

The next day...

G'ahnlo Landing Pad <Ahndar Sea: G'ahnlo>

An emerald green sea stretches from horizon to horizon, gentle waves slapping against the metallic columns that support this broad gridwork landing platform.

Streaky pink cirrus clouds drift overhead, and blue-feathered seabirds caw and wheel on a breeze rich with the salty tang of the ocean.

Piscinoid sentients in water containment suits use special manipulator tools to service some of the ships that are berthed on the platform. An automated lift provides access to the city beneath the surf.

Eyes narrowed against the bright outside light, the Timonae woman draws deeply on the brown cigarette, then holds her breath as someone preparing for a deep dive.

Vriik suns himself on the roof of an unused shuttle, hissing to himself. He rolls over occasionally, scratching at his scales.

A swift but drenching wall of rain roars over the upper deck of the G'ahnli undersea city, bringing with it winds that cause ships perched her to strain against their berthings. Waves crash rumblingly against the support columns.

Lips pushed forward as if kissing the air, the Antimone woman exhales a small white cloud of sweet-smelling smoke. "Hi there," she says to Papoza.

Nubblar uses forward fluke manipulator digits to call up a display that shimmers within the water containment vessel. The display shows a geographic map pinpointing the ocean city of Ahndar, the surrounding sea, and a closing storm wall, some miles out. The G'ahnli turns toward a group of technicians and warns: "Strap down all loose effects and prepare the storm dome field! Bad weather incoming!"

Vriik jumps a bit as the rush of wind from the oncoming storm hits him, jerking him awake. He hisses as he slides across the shuttle roof. Grumbling, he leaps down from the shuttle and begins to make his way across the pad.

"Girl." Papoza says with a little nod of his head. "What are we smoking, honey?" He asks as he takes a few sniffs at the air. "Regular or special?"

Still sitting in her spot against the wall, Kazira taps ashes onto the pavement next to her. "Nothing special enough," she says. "Just something to take the edge off waiting on all those sick fish."

The piscinoid chief technican on the landing platform speaks through an electronic vocalizer: "Greetings and welcome to Ahndar, the largest of G'ahnlo's undersea cities. I am Chief Technician Nubblar. We welcome all free-thinking offworlders to our watery abode. One will find our government and commerce facilities on the second level, residential and service facilities on the third level, and recreational amenities on the fourth and lowest level. Please enjoy your stay."

"Mind if I take a drag, girl?" Papoza asks, pinching his thumb and forefinger together a few times. "I moped up enough shit for a day, need a break."

Kazira holds the cigarette out - but not very far - at once inviting the Timonae to both share the cigarette and sit beside her.

Papoza sits easily enough, chosing to lower himself on the side that hasn't had ash dropped onto it. He takes the cigarette graciously, brining it to his lips and inhaling. "Oh... that's nice, girl..." The Timonae comments, smoke escaping his lips as he speaks.

A bulbous-looking transport descends from a cloud-puffed sky and settles on the landing platform. Several piscinoid technicians in hovering water containment vessels move in to begin service checks of the newcomer.

Kazira lets her head loll to the side just a little, not enough to be totally out of control, but enough to show just how drained she is. She says in Timonese, "So what's the situation up there? Still busy?"

"Right up until... now." Papoza says, handing the cigarette to Kazira as he struggles to his feet. "Come on, girl. Gotta finish up our work."

Taking one last, deep inhale from the cigarette, Kazira pushes herself up to stand. "Sometimes I don't like you very much."

"We're so near the end, girl. Lets go." Papoza says as he walks into the lift, allowing Kazira to follow.

Ahndar Medical Center <Ahndar Subcity: G'ahnlo>

The Ahndar Medical Center is designed to provide care primarily for offworlders, as much of the health care for G'ahnli is accomplished within their sea environments. The first chamber is a spacious lobby with chairs in a waiting area, examination rooms and an adjacent emergency ward.
A lift provides transportation to the second floor (which contains critical care recovery rooms), the third floor (which contains the surgery theaters) and the fourth floor (which contains a maternity ward).

Kazira arrives from Residential and Service Level <Ahndar Subcity: G'ahnlo>.

Kazira has arrived.

Kazira enters, standing slightly behind Papoza.

Parias is lying in his bed. He sees the orderly from the other day enter, this time bringing a friend with him. He tries to grin but a wave of pain washes over him and he grimaces for a moment. The bandage covering the gash on his head has almost soaked through. His broken arm isn't looking good either and the cuts on his hands look bad still. As the TV goes to a commerical he says simply, "I see you brought help this time."

"Kazira, Nathan Parias. Parias, Kazira." Papoza says lazily, motioning back and forth between the two. "Kazira here is going to take you on a brief trip around the floor while I change your sheets."

Head peeking from behind the other orderlie, Kazira winces at the patient's injuries. "Hello," she says in a young-sounding voice. "Looks like you got hurt pretty bad." Then to the other orderly, "You sure he's okay to move?"

Parias stays silent for a moment before saying, "But I'm in the middle of my favorite soap opera." He shakes his head slightly and says, "I have a better idea. How about you get me a god damn doctor? You bastards are going to kill me from wounds that could easily be treated.

At the mention of soap operas, Kazira walks around Papoza and crooks her neck to look up at the monitor. "I don't know this one. What is it?"

"Doctor Lopobo said to take him around the floor once, just to make sure he can be moved." Papoza says with a little shrug. He then turns back to Parias. "They aren't sure they can move you for tests and such. So have a good showing today and you'll be out of here in no time."

Parias listens to Papoza but doesn't reply. He turns to Kazira nad says, "It's the one where the doctors actually help the fucking patients!" He turns back to Papoza and says, "Doctor Lopside or whatever the hell his name is needs to get his ass in here and fix me, damn it. Even known felons have rights!" He is becoming a bit fluttered at this and the heart rate monitor begins to slightly increase.

"Mister Parias, work with us here. We're trying to help. Getting all worked up isn't going to solve anything." Papoza says softly, head tilting to the side a little.

Kazira blinks, eyes wide. She glances over her shoulder at Papoza.

Parias sighs slightly and says, a bit calmer, "I would have worked with you the day before, or maybe even yesterday. But considering a god damn doctor hasn't as so much walked by the door and glanced inside I'm a bit pissed off. I figure if laying here and waiting isn't solving anything maybe getting worked up will!"

"Kazira, while you're out, can you take Mister Parias to see Doctor Lopobo?" Papoza asks politely, "I think that might make mister Parias feel better."

Kazira bites her lower lip, then says, "I think I know where that is," she says. "This won't get me in trouble, will it?"

"I don't think so, Kazira. If Doctor Lopobo is busy, take Mister Parias right back. Okay?" Papoza says lightly. He then turns back to Parias. "Is that acceptable, Mister Parias? Kazira will take you right to the doctor."

Parias looks at Kazira as she answers and notices her biting her lip. He then turns to Papoza and says, "Yes. That will do just fine."

With just one final glance at the Soap Opera, Kazira moves behind the bed and starts to give a push. "Oh, wait. You need to unhook him from the monitor."

"Oh, right..." Papoza moves beside the monitor. He presses the button on the intercom and says. "This one's being taken for a walk. Don't be alarmed when his meter goes dead." The Timonae then casually turns the monitoring device off and motiong to Kazira. "He's all yours."

Parias shakes his head slightly and says, "I'm going to die in this hospital. I can feel it. Incompetence is abound." He mutters a few more things under his breath but then goes silent.

"Almost forgot." Papoza leans over and removes Parias's IV as well.

With a grunt almost too large for such a small woman, Kazira gives a push and gets the bed moving. "Uh to steer.

Parias just stays relaxed and calmly in his bed as the orderly tries to push him around.

Papoza slips around Kazira to open the door for her, offering a smile. "Good luck on your treatment, mister Parias." He says with a wave.

Pushing through the doorway, Kazira seems to have an easier time of it. "So were you in a rockhopper accident or what?"

"Thanks," Kazira says over her shoulder.

Parias almost laughs but stifles it as pain overtakes him. He says, "A rockhopper accident? What the hell do they do, keep you orderlies in a shell? Or should I say a bubble?"

Papoza closes the door behind Parias and Kazira as they leave.

Kazira blinks at the response. "Well, I was just trying to be friendly," she says as her lip begins to tremble a bit.

Papoza quickly makes his way over to a small supply desk as he is left alone, Kazira having pushed Parias out. The Timonae slowly and methodically searches for a syringe.

Parias shakes his head as much as he can, which isn't much considering the pain he is in. He says, "Had you been paying attention to the news you would know that I was captured while trying to escape from the god damn authorities on this god damn planet. Friendly? What the hell does that mean anyway?"

Papoza comes upong a syringe after a few moments, still wrapped to be clean. The syringe is carefully unwrapped and set on the desk while he fetches a small green vial from one of his pockets. The top is removed from the vial and the needle point of the syringe is inserted. Papoza then slowly pulls back on the plunger to draw the green fluid into the syringe.

Kazira sighs deeply, still pushing the rolling bed toward the end of a long hall. "You just don't know what it's like, Mister. Everybody on this planed is either..." she lowers her voice conspiratorially... "Is either a fish or rude like that orderly back there. I guess I just hoped you would be different."

Parias can't see the female Timonae but he looks up as though he could anyway. He says, "What what is like, exactly? Want to know about the last friend I had? He had be surronded by Demarian marines and tried to arrest me after lulling me into a false sense of security. And the friend before that? She was brutally murdered by Cabrerra. So what the hell do you mean I don't know what it's like?"

Papoza sets the vial on the desk as he takes the full needle over to the IV that he took out of Parias just moments ago. He inserts the end of the needle into small feeding point on the side of the tube and slowly pushes the plunger in. The green fluid slowly disolves in the clear fluid already in the IV. Papoza takes the syringe over to the counter and starts to clean it with anteseptic wipes.

At a large set of gleaming double doors, the young orderly stops the bed's forward motion. She walks around to the side of the bed and looks closely at your face for the first time. "I'm sorry," she says simply, then takes ahold of the bed's footboard and pulls, backing through the doors. "I'll get you to the doctor even if I do get yelled at for it, OK?"

Parias shakes his head, apparently shaking off the conversation. He does add, "Don't be sorry." He then stays quiet for a long moment, but eventually says, "Why would you get in trouble for taking me to the doctor?"

Papoza cleans the syringe thoroughly, then drops it into a medical waste bin. The vial is stuffed into one of his pockets. Papoza then walks over to the IV and starts to massage the bag gently, helping the green liquid to dissolve.

On the other side of the doors, behind a large wall of plas-glass, is doctor Lopobo. He looks up as the pair enter, and sends telepathicly, ~What is going on here? I was not scheduled to meet this patient?`.~

Arms at her sides, Kazira clenches her fists. "I...I know, Doctor. But this man says he needs attention."

Lopobo looks down at the man in the chair from the other side of the transparent wall. He blows a few bubbles through his gills, then nods. ~Well, alright, drop him in the tank, then.~

Parias stays still in his bed, listening to both sides of the conversation.

A look of relief washes over the young Timonae woman's face. A wide smile spreads beneath her delighted eyes.

Kazira says, "The tank, Doctor?"

Papoza concludes his massaging after a moment. He then casually moves over to a chair and sits, his attention shifted to the holovid.

The doctor nods quickly, ~Well, yes. I can't examine him out there. Just roll him up the ramp there...~ he motions with a fin to a ramp in the corner of the room, ~and plop him in, and I'll look him over.~

"Yes sir," she says, pushing the bed up the ramp with a mighty grunt. "Here," she says, putting a hand out to help Parias into the tank.

The ramp leads up over the top of the wall, so items can be moved in and out of the tank. It doesn't, however, look like it's made for people.

Parias reaches out with is *right* hand since his left arm is in pieces. He grimaces as pain shoots through his body anyway from the cuts on his hands. He grinds his teeth together.

Just as Parias is about to the water, the doctor gulps. ~Wait! I forgot he has no gills! We'll need to get him one of those...what are they called...oh, those things that let airbreather breath under water like a normal creature.~

Kazira blinks at the doctor. "Huh?"

Parias looks blankly at the doctor and Kazira and says, "I knew it. I'm going to die here. I can't think straight enough to keep myself alive and those that can are incompetent."

Lopobo frowns, motioning through the wall with his fins about his mouth. ~Oh, you know, those...mouthy things.~

He then swims over to a screen on the wall past the clear wall, and starts looking at some charts of human anatomy. Without looking back at the others, he sends, ~this one is a human, yes?~

Parias summons up a deal of strength and yells, "Yes, I am human, Dr. Lopsidlly, or whatever the hell your name is. Are you sure your capable of helping me?

Kazira takes ahold of the bed and backs down the ramp. "I think maybe the patient is feeling tired now," Kazira says. "The best thing for himis probably rest."

Kazira turns her back to the doctor and mouths exaggeratedly to Parias "Are you sure this is your doctor?"

Lopobo turns from the screen to look at Parias with an amiable smile. ~Oh yes, yes, quite capable. It has been a while since I took xenobiology in med school, but I'm sure it'll all come back to me. Now, which gender are you? Could never really tell by just looking.~

Parias looks at Kazira momentarily and says calmly, but coldly, "Remember, I haven't seen a doctor in 4 days. I don't know who my damn doctor is." He then turns to the doctor and says, "I am a male. I think I'm going to die. Your an idiot.

The doctor nods, and goes back to his screen. ~Ah yes. There it is...'humans cannot live long under water.' Hmm, good thing I remembered that one, yes?~

Kazira grimaces slightly and moves to an unobtrusive corner.

The doctor taps a few keys with his fins, and the screen changes, though the symbols are all in G'ahnli. ~Well, I'm thinking you probably need some resting...and some fish heads...a bit of kelp oil...and, what did you say was wrong with you again?~

Parias looks at the doctor blankly and says, "Do you think?" He turns to glance at Kazira and sees her heading towards the corner, he gives her a quick smile, weakly as it hurts to smile, but never the less a smile. He then turns back to the doctor and says, "Perhaps you should get a specialist on human anatomy to do this? I really don't want to die because of someone elses incompetence.

Noticing the patient's smile, Kazira walks back over to the bed.

Parias says quietly, "That may not be a bad idea. This doctor is the dumbest creature I've met since...since...I can't remember when. If I had my gun I'd shoot him for spite.

The doctor frowns a bit to Parias. ~Come now, I'm a trained professional. No point in wasting your money on something more expensive like a specialist. Besides, they'd say the exact same thing. Fish heads and kelp oil. Fixes airbreathers right up, everytime.~

Kazira tries to stiffle a laugh at Parias' comment. "I just remembered, Doctor, this patient is due for his afternoon meal and he gets very cranky if it's late." She steps behind the bed again and with a mighty push gets it rolling through the double doors. "We'll come back again later when you have more time," she says back over her shoulder.

Lopobo nods quickly, ~Yes, yes, good idea. And see that he gets extra doses of fishheads and kelp oil. He'll be over that...well, whatever it is that's wrong with him, in no time!~

Parias says loud enough for only Kazira to hear, "Hurry. He is going to get me killed."

Kazira gives the bed a straight-armed push down the hallway, stopping only when she reaches the patient's own room.

As the pair leave, Doctor Lopobo goes back to his screen on the back wall, blowing more bubbles through his gills as he works.

Walking around the bed to open the door, Kazira pauses to look at Parias. "I think maybe you're not the only one who made a mistake coming here."

Parias says before she opens the door. He also says it rather softly, "There is always a chance to fix the mistakes we make.

Papoza is sitting in a chair back in Parias's room, watching the holovid. The room doesn't seem to be that much cleaner than before. He turns to the door as it opens, standing quickly. "Welcome back, Mister Parias." He says, moving over to help with the bed.

Kazira opens the door and props is open with her foot. "Uhm... can you give me a hand?"

Papoza just steps to the side and holds the door. "You got it, Kazira?" He asks softly.

Kazira grunts again from the weight of the door. "Yeah. Don't put yourself out too much holding the door, though."

Parias glares at Papoza and says, "You all have the dumbest fucking doctors in the universe. It will be a miracle if I do not die here.

"They have their moments." Papoza says to Parias with a smile, he then glances over to Kazira. "Better hurry, Kazira. Don't know how much longer I can hold this door."

Kazira pushes the bed back into place with a relative minimum of difficulty, "Oh, I'm not from here," she says. " Kazira moves to get a better view of the video monitor. "I think you even missed the rest of your show."

Papoza moves over after the bed is in place once more. The Timonae hooks up the sensor equipment and the IV once more, then leans over to speak into the intercom, "Mister Parias is back from his little outing. Might take him out again later on, so don't get too excited." He says in a mirthful voice.

Parias shrugs to Kazira and says, "Then your a lucky one. Dr. Lollipop is a moron." He glances to the television and says, "No. I didn't miss it. Someone turn the channel." He glances at Papoza and then back to Kazira.

Papoza glances over to Kazira, then over to Parias. "Damn, look at the time. Lunch break." The Timonae says, casually handing Parias the clicker as he strides to the door.

Kazira smiles widely. "How would you like to have that lunch I told the doctor about?, she asks. "It will keep me from being a liar." Kazira says, "I can bring my lunch back here and we can finish the show."

Parias lets the clicker lie on the bed next to him. He says to Papoza, "Have fun with your lunch." He then turns to Kazira and says, "That sounds nice. But I'm actually pretty tired from arguing with that dumb fish. Perhaps we could do it tomorrow instead? You seem decent enough to maybe actually talk to."

"Don't be too long, Kazira." Papoza says as he walks out of the door. He rides the lift down to the first floor, changes his clothing, then strides out of the hospital with a wave to the receptionist.

The Timonae bites her bottom lip again, then smiles. "I'd like that."

The assassins depart, making their way up to the landing pad.

Parias feels a tightness in his chest. Parias' lungs start getting phlegmy, and he feels the need to cough to try to get the crap out of his throat.

Parias coughs, trying to get the "crap" out of his throat. What he does cough up he attempts to spit or sorta drool into his bedpan.

What comes out appears to be a brownish mucus membrane...Parias' lung tissue.

Parias looks at the...crap...that has come out of his mouth. Parias knows bad crap when he sees bad crap so he mashes the call button down, several times.

The tightness increases in Parias' chest, and he feels a heaviness in his lungs - like he's drowning.

Parias mashes the call button more intensely.

A nurse, human, comes running into the room. "What's wrong?"

Parias can't exactly speak. But does he really have to? As he coughs more of the lung tissue comes out. It will be difficult for Parias to talk as his lungs continue to turn to some kind of pudding.

Parias can't exactly speak. But does he really have to? As he coughs more of the lung tissue comes out.

The nurse cringes. "Oh, God." She runs to the door. "Code Red! Code Red! We've got a potential contagion!"

Alarms begin to wail, then the nurse goes back to Parias, trying to help him sit up. "The doctors are coming. They'll have a breathing apparatus for you."

Parias continues to hack and cough as the tightness in his chest gets tighter. He isn't really conscious of what is going on around him. He is still unconsciously mashing the call button. He still can't speak and the nurses words are of little comfort.

A human doctor comes into the hospital room rolling a thoracotamy tray. "Give me the bullet."

The nurse says, "Patient just returned to his room and began exhibiting signs of respiratory failure and internal sloughing."

Parias doesn't notice the human doctor. He is still coughing and is still unconscious as far as what is happening to him at this point. The heart monitor is steadly increasing as well.

The doctor checks the displays over the bed and his eyes widen. "Jesus, his lungs are turning to soup." He looks down at Parias. "I...I don't think there's anything we can do. It's too advanced." He glances back to the nurse. "Full contagion lockdown. We're going under quarantine."

Parias is still coughing? He is unaware of the very serious situation brewing around him.

The monitors go flatline as Parias expires.

Meanwhile, we return to the assassins aboard their shuttle...

Shuttle Reduced Rates for Clearance

The passenger cabin of the OtherSpace Drive-equipped interstellar shuttle has two rows of cushioned blue seats divided by a single aisle that leads from the aft engineering compartment to the forward cockpit (which is separated from the passengers by a closed door). Above the seats are parallel luggage compartments large enough to handle carry-on bags.

Kazira moves to the back of the shuttle and takes a seat on the aisle.

Papoza moves into a seat beside Kazira and buckles himself in. He waits quietly.

The shuttle pilot asks everyone to strap themselves in, then the shuttle fires its sublight thrusters and launches from the pad, beginning its voyage to Tomin Kora Landing Aerie.

The shuttle pilot announces: "We are now preparing to switch to OtherSpace Drives." The sublight thrusters cut out, and then a low hum begins to emanate from the back of the shuttle. Moments later, the ship lurches forward and begins its voyage down the knife edge of time and space.

"Feeling better?" Papoza casually asks, hands folded in his lap.

Kazira pulls at the collar of her shirt and tries to see out the window. She says in Timonese, "It's hot in here."

"Or maybe it's just me?" Papoza comments with a little smile. "I'm sure there's a pool somewhere on Tomin Kora that we can relax in once we arrive..."

A flight attendant moves down the aisle, offering drinks and snacks to the passengers.

Never having strapped herself into the chair, Kazira leans forward and pulls off the green top of her medical scrubs off over her head. The white sleeveless undershirt beneath seems brighter for the contrast with her flushed skin. "I just don't know why it's so damn hot."

"Because you're all fired up, girl." Papoza says with a little nod, leaning back in his chair. "Just take a few deep breaths. Went off without a hitch."

Kazira tosses the blouse onto the floor and buckles her seat restraint. "Yeah, it did. You should have seen that guy," she says in Timonese. "I had him eating out of my hand."

The shuttle glides along through OtherSpace, blue and white coruscating energy whirling past the portholes.

"Really, I would've thought that I'd have better chance with that one..." Papoza says, scratching his goatee slowly. "Oh well. Maybe I can get the next one."

Kazira looks over at you, serious for a moment, then presumes you must be joking and gives a short laugh.

"Damn fish doctor nearly did our work for us," she says flatly. "Wanted me to drown him in a tank to see how his injuries were progressing."

Papoza cracks a little smile. "Yeah, but that way the words "fish semen" never would've made it to the news." The Timonae comments lightly.

Kazira shakes her head again. "That's some pretty powerful stuff, I guess. Hope it didn't make you nervous to carry it around all that time."

The shuttle makes its final sweep, heading toward the destination on approach vector.

"Just had to keep my hand out of the spunk pocket, problem." Papoza says with a little shrug. "So what do you say we get washed up once we arrive, change of clothes, then go to see out employer?"

Kazira says, "Definitely. I also want my money back for the fish juice."

"He already gave you shopping money. In fact, he gave us 500 credits /more/ than we needed." Papoza says.

Kazira screws up her mouth. "Yeah, well we won't mention that part."

"Don't go off an argue over a few hundred, girl. Take what you got and call it good." Papo comments with a slight shrug.

Kazira unfastens her safety harness and grabs the shirt off the floor. "Easy for you to say after the great suit caper," she says. "Anyway, it doesn't matter very much, I guess. I have a place to stay now anyhow."

The shuttle settles onto the landing pad with a thump of extended landing gear.

Papoza nods slowly as he stands. "I'd like to see it sometime, girl." He says as he moves out of the hatch.

After a shower and a change of clothes...

Penthouse <Cabrerra Industries>

A spacious plasteel dome covers this luxurious apartment atop the Cabrerra Industries tower in the midst of Shadowheart. Although an opaque pearlescent color most of the time, it is possible for the occupant to activate an electromagnetic clarity field that grants a breathtaking view of the violet and blue Tomin Nebula, and the sprawl of the city below.
The penthouse features a green-veined marbled floor, well-tended ferns in brass pots, and a massive free-standing plasma space heater made of black obsidian surrounded by plush leather couches and chairs.
In one sector, near the balcony, is a large mahogany conference table surrounded by padded black leather chairs. Off in another, opposite the conference table, is a wet bar.
Guards stand on either side of the main door. Two more pace on the balcony. The only visible security cameras are aimed at both the door and the balcony, but it would be the height of naivete to assume these are the only monitoring devices in place.

Neidermeyer is standing near the counter in the kitchen area, pouring himself a glass of whiskey. "Fish squeezins?" He doesn't even look up until he finishes pouring.

Niesa folds her arms and looks over at Askeboz. "Turns out our bartender is the resourceful type," she says flatly.

"It was the most available at the time." Askeboz says with a modest shrug of his shoulders.

Neidermeyer arches his eyebrows. "Believe it or not, I don't want to know any more than that. The job's done, and it was done well." He smiles grimly. "I'll offer you a drink, but you'll have to wash your hands first."

"Taken care of," Niesa says approaching the wet bar. "What are you pouring tonight?"

Askeboz follows a few steps behind Niesa, cracking his knuckles on with a little wince.

Neidermeyer smiles faintly. "Whiskey." He slides one glass across the counter, then begins pouring another.

Niesa takes the first glass offered and downs half of it in one shot. "You want us to lay low for a while, I assume?"

Neidermeyer smirks, finishing the second glass, which he slides over to Askeboz. "Yes, that would make sense." He glances toward Askeboz. "But, I think you've shown you have no business being behind a bar. The drinks you serve tend to be corrosive."

"I'll leave the drink pouring to that midget that was covering for me then, Mister Niedermeyer." Askeboz replies as he takes the glass and sips it.

Neidermeyer nods. "I have other uses for a man such as yourself." He then turns and picks up a credicomp. "First, however, you both deserve a bonus. You did well." He begins to tap away.

Niesa lifts her glass again, looking over at Askeboz. "Thank you, Sir."

Neidermeyer pours his own glass of whiskey, then drinks from it. He sets the glass down and nods. "The only regret I have is that I couldn't be there to let him know who was behind his demise. Maybe he figured it out before he died. Ah, well."

"I'm going to miss cleaning up vomit and blood... something both of my jobs had in common." Boz comments, mostly to himself, as he continues to sip at his glass.

Neidermeyer quirks a smile. "So, what would you like to do for a living now?"

Niesa sits at a barstool, sipping at her glass.

"What would I like to do for a living..." Askeboz repeats the question softly as he considers it. The Timonae then just shrugs his shoulders. "As long as we can manage to avoid fish spunk, I don't really mind, Mister Neidermeyer."

Neidermeyer chuckles. "Right, then. I'm assigning you to Falkenberg's crew. I don't trust him or his boss. I want you to keep an eye on them."

Her eyebrows raise at this, but Niesa keeps quiet.

Askeboz shrugs his shoulders a little. "Fine with me." He answers easily enough, "Though Falkenberg will probably get pissed, I don't think he likes me."

Niesa says, "He doesn't."

Neidermeyer smiles and nods. "I know." He then looks to Niesa. "And because I don't know your punk friend, I don't trust him, and I'll need you to watch him. So, you're joining Johnny-Boy's crew too."

Niesa puts her glass weakly down on the bar. "Oh, man," she says quietly.

Neidermeyer sips his whiskey, then holds the glass. "Don't thank me all at once."

Niesa says, "So where are we supposed to be going on this ship," Niesa asks, her voice a bit edgy, but not quite impertinent.

"I better not have to deal with Tito what's-his-name either..." Papoza mutters between sips of his drinks. "That stupid, fake accent of his..."

Neidermeyer lifts his eyebrows. "Fake?" He sighs, then shakes his head, looking back at Niesa. "For starters, he's supposed to track down the rest of these little pirate bastard Nemoni. I want to complete my collection. After that, you'll be in charge of reinforcing his percentage payment to the Boss."

"Acquisitions," she says. "Terriffic."

Neidermeyer shrugs. "I could still use a bartender in the Last Call."

Downing the rest of her drink, Niesa stands. "That won't be necessary, Mr. Neidermeyer. I've always wanted to travel the galaxy. See the sights, as it were."

Neidermeyer nods. "All right. I'll leave it to you to break the news to Johnny-Boy." He smiles, then says, "Again, good work on G'ahnlo."

"I've always wanted to destroy little people..." Askeboz adds as he finishes his drink on cue., moving towards Niesa. "Well, at least I'll have a good story to take to my grave with me. Goodnight, Mister Neidermeyer."

Neidermeyer smirks, then sips his whiskey.

Niesa wordlessly turns toward the door.

Niesa approaches the door to Penthouse Level <Cabrerra Industries> and inserts her card into its slot. The door slides open with a muffled hiss.

Niesa has left.

Askeboz follows behind Niesa, just as wordless.

You approach the door and insert your card in its slot. It slides open with a muffled hiss.

A few minutes later, they arrive at the Last Call Tavern...

Last Call Tavern <Shadowheart: Tomin Kora>

A place like this makes a person wish every chair sat with its back to a wall.
The tavern is a dark and shadowy place, the outside glow of the nebula filtering in weakly while pale blue plasma lanterns gleam in the center of most tables (some seem to have run out of juice, but the complaints department doesn't care and the maintenance crew doesn't get paid enough to intrude on conversations better left in the darkness).
The room stinks of sweat, cigarette smoke, and spilled alcohol and blood.
Fifteen tables and six booths are arrayed around a central C-shaped bar counter, which has eight stools in front of it.

On her way to the back bar, Niesa pushes at least one chair out of her way by tipping it over. "Dammit!"

V-C474x stays in standby mode in a corner, passive scanners only.

"Damn, girl... Calm down. S'not that bad." Askeboz says as he follows behind the other Timonae.

Niesa closes her eyes tight, her mouth a tight line beneath them. When she finally speaks again, she spits the words. "I... hate... him."

Askeboz raises his hands a little. "Whoa there, girl. Just take a few deep breaths..." He says in an attempt to be soothing.

Niesa plops up onto a barstool, hands between her knees and head lowered.

Askeboz slowly sits in a stool beside Niesa. "It's not a permanent assignment, girl. Just roll with the punches for now. It'll turn out alright."

Niesa makes a gesture as if pushing hair behind her ears. She says in Timonese, "Yeah, but I've been telling myself that for a long time now. It doesn't seem to be getting much better."

Askeboz tilts his head to the side a little. He says in Timonese, "Lady Fate embraces the patient, girl. You have a long life ahead of you, no need to get stressed out."

As her face clears and her back straightens, the Timonae looks to her companion. "I still hate him," she says simply. "Let's have a drink."

"Sorry, girl, but I think I'll go blow some of my paycheck on getting blown. Not gonna do anything stupid without me, are ya girl?" Askeboz says, raising his eyebrows slowly.

Niesa says, "I'm mad, not stupid. I'll see you later."

"If you find yourself drunk and lonely, feel free to stop by... Night, girl." Askeboz comments as he stands and moves towards the door.

Niesa turns to the bar and orders a double.

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