It’s A Party
00- Family Gathering
Location: Stardust Social Club
The Social Club was transformed for the evening. Designed to look like the first club Ajarah had owned. It was a fitting send off for the woman who was affectionately known as 'Mama'.
The crowd was swelling by the minute. Music filled the room along with the dull sounds of overlapping conversation. On stage were a pair of Cardassian Drag Queens, performing to the song that played. In truth, they weren't very convincing female impersonators. The guests seemed to enjoy the entertainment, just as Mama would have.
The event was being catered by the local Klingon eatery, Qe'Kengoch, and the restaurant's proprietor was there personally to oversee the service. "Show some respect!" he barked at a pair of cater waiters who were fooling around behind the bar. The pair straightened up at his command and took up trays of hors d'oeuvres to serve.
Ashex exited her office and descended the steps to join the party for the first time that evening. She quickly grabbed a glass of champagne from the upper level's bar. The deceased's daughter wore a knee-length pencil dress in deep purple, so deep it was nearly black. Her short lilac coloured hair fell in neat waves which Ashex pinned back.
As she descended the stairs much of the crowd smiled or offered condolences to the new head of the Family.
Hammer had found a corner away from the chaos where he could keep an eye on things. Truth be told he didn't care for the entertainment, flashing lights and loud noises made it that much harder to track potential trouble spots. He would have been more comfortable in the control room, but those times were past as he was now a leader, he would have to be visible. He had employees that would do the behind the scenes work. He watched as Ashex made her appearance. She was born for such a role. He would personally steamroll anyone who caused her trouble, or he would at least oversee the steamrolling.
Ashex scanned the room and spied Hammer tucked away in the corner. She smiled to herself as she continued to move through the party. “Ah, Mister Mayor.” She said to a rather tall man with deep purple ridged skin. “Thank you so much for coming. Mama would’ve been tickled.” She shook his hand. It was fortunate for the local politician that there were no photographers at this event, especially with re-election coming up. He certainly didn’t want to waste campaign time explaining an appearance with a well known crime boss, but he was indebted to the Family and felt it necessary to pay his respects. The pair spoke for a brief moment.
Ashex moved on from the Mayor, but not before offering him a knowing smile.
K’Leo slinked about the room in a short black dress. The Caitian woman brushed back her mane of hair as she approached her colleague Hammer. “Working harrrd?” She asked, rolling the ‘r’.
Hammer smiled at the Lioness. "When have you known me to not be hard at work." He paused for a moment. "Even at occasions such as this, there are always people hoping to take advantage." He looked over towards the mayor, "I have taken measures to keep such people in line."
Even as he spoke, there was an operator in the control room taking video of those such as the mayor who might try to take advantage of 'The Family.'
“I’ve hearrrd that you had to put one of your boys in line.” K’Leo purred with excitement. “My cubs know better then to put a toe out of line.” She have a superior smile.
"He was trying to chase a little extra profit. I tend to reward initiative, but, sometimes, it's like managing a Ferengi. He just had to be reminded of where initiative is welcomed and where it is not."
The Lioness nodded. “What did Ashex have to say?” The smirk on her face betrayed the fact that she knew more than she was letting on.
He briefly wondered what she knew or thought she knew. In the end it didn't really matter, he had dealt with his subordinate. If Ashex had anything else planned for him, that was her prerogative. If Ashex wanted him gone,Felrug could be replaced easily enough. He'd rather not have to break in someone new, but that was life. "She seemed satisfied with the end result."
“I’m sure she was.” K’Leo waved over a waiter with a tray of bloodwine and brûlée zilm'kach, a Klingon fruit. The Caitian took a bloodwine glass for herself and passed one to Hammer. She also took a piece of the fruit and a napkin. “Do you think she would have liked all this?” She asked indicating the festivities around them.
He took the offered glass. It was a fancier glass than he normally used, but then this was a party, even if there was an undercurrent of it being more important than a mere party. "Yes, Mama Oo always liked a good party."
K’Leo found herself staring at a large portrait of the famed former Matriarch of their organization. In truth, K’Leo and Mama has been very close friends, and the Caitian woman was taking her passing much harder than most others, save Ashex.
As the thought of Ashex crossed K’Leo’s mind, the lilac haired Catullan approached her two most trusted lieutenants. “Enjoying the evening?” She asked.
The Lioness purred. “It’s a lovely send off.” She said.
Hammer took a drink while they talked, "It's actually rather relaxing now that the main part of my work for the evening is done, or at least delegated."
Ashex looked intently at her male associate. "Can you send Felrug up to the office?" She asked with a flat tone.
Hammer wasn't happy about sending Felrug to her office, but she was the boss. "Of course." He whispered into his lapel microphone and looked back at Ashex. "Virgil will have him in your office by the time you get there."
“I have someone else who wants to meet him first.” Ashex smiled. She looked at K’Leo now. “Will you send Reskat in to...watch him a moment?”
The Caitian smirk and nodded to a rather gruff looking Lethean man a short distance away from the trio.
“I want to make him feel fear.” Said Ashex, anticipating a line of questioning from Hammer. “Fear that he will remember should the thought of putting the Family at risk cross his mind again.”
Hammer nodded his acceptance. Used properly, fear was a good motivator. "I'm certain it will be a memorable experience for him."
Ashex smiled. “Come, meet the Mayor.” She said to her two comrades , indicating the purple skinned politician.
Hammer followed her over to the Mayor.
As they walked, Ashex spied Reskat ascending the stairs towards the office. She looked back giving a smirk to her Caitian friend.
Purring quietly, K'Leo smiled menacingly while watching the Lethean from the rear of the trio.
They approached the purple skinned man."Mister Mayor, I'd like you to meet some associates of mine. Mister Jack Hammer."Ashex paused.
The Mayor extended a hand to Jack. "Mister hammer, pleased to meet you." He said, with the most soothing voice.
Jack took the Mayor's hand and shook it. "Nice to meet you."
"And Madame K'Leo." Ashex said, indicating the felinoid woman. "K'Leo was a close friend of Mama."
"Ah!" Said the Mayor, taking K'Leo's hand. "I'm so sorry for your loss. Mama meant a great deal to the city."
She was purring lightly. "Yes. Mama was special to us all." K'Leo's nose wiggled as she closed her eyes.
"If you'll excuse us Mister Mayor, we have an appointment to keep." Ashex smiled.
"Of course." Said the purple man with a slight bow of the neck. The Mayor smiled to Hammer and K'Leo before slipping way from the group.
"Shall we look in on Felrug?" Ashex asked.
K'Leo's tail moved excitedly.
Hammer let out a sigh, "Yes, let's go see what's left of him."
Ashex led the way to the office. Winding their way through groups of well wishers, the trio headed up the stairs. The heavy door slid open at their approach.
Inside Nodre Felrug was seated while Reskat stood over him, holding him by the neck. "When you disrespect the Family, you're disrespecting every single member." The Lethean tightened his grip. "And the memory of Mama."
"That will do Reskat." Purred K'Leo. "You may go."
The Lethean nodded and passed the trio on his way out, leaving Felrug seated alone in the office.
Felrug let out a breath and slumped down in his chair when Reskat let go.
Ashex made her way around the desk and seated herself in her usual seat. "Did you and Mister Reskat have a nice chat?"
As the boss sat, K'Leo moved behind the desk as well. She stood to Ashex's left.
Hammer stood off to the side of Ashex's desk.
Felrug's eyes moved from Ashex to Hammer. There was fear and uncertainty in his whole body. He didn't know what was coming, but was worried about his outcome. "It was," he paused and took a deep breath. "very educational."
The lilac haired Ashex sat back in her seat. "And what lesson did you learn?" She asked with a menacing smile.
This made Felrug even more nervous than anything that Reskat had said or done to him. If he got the answer wrong, he could imagine numerous ways Ashex would express her displeasure. He took a deep breath and tried to calm himself before answering. "Ask for permission before I try to exercise initiative?"
Ashex shot a look towards Hammer. "Initiative?" The Catullan turned back towards the Bajoran man. "Is that what you call it?"
"I, I, I," Felrug stammered, then tried to show confidence. "saw an opportunity and acted on it. How was I supposed to know the transport belonged to someone we're not supposed to steal from?"
"Because no one ordered you to do it. " Ashex said, with a sickening calmness. "You don't make decisions for The Family, that's their job." She indicated Hammer and K'Leo.
Ashex's calm was even scarier than her menace. He didn't know how to react, so he chose acknowledgement. "Yes ma'am," he gulped.
"Before we leave here today, I need to have every confidence that nothing of this nature will happen again." Ashex sat forward. "How will you assure me Mister Felrug?" She asked.
Felrug knew he was in dangerous territory. Dangerous as in his life depended on his answer. How would he prove to Ashex that she could trust him to stay in line? "I can only promise you that I will follow orders." He had a bolt of inspiration. "I will accept whatever punishment you choose to give me without complaint." It wasn't like he had a choice, but he hoped that the offer of acceptance would placate her.
"You know, I'm not happy about being up here when I have guests. Guests that are here to celebrate the life of my mother." Ashex tucked a stray piece of hair behind her ear. " I trust that Hammer will continue to keep an eye on you." Ashex stood and rounded the desk to Felrug. She leaned in so her face was next to the Bajoran's. "Because if you ever happen to find yourself across my desk again, mine will be the last face you ever see."
Here it was, the ultimatum. Felrug would either have to stay in line, run, or die. It wasn't like there was a lot of places someone like Felrug could go. Stardust City was more of a last stop than a stop along the way. "Ye, ye, yes Ma'am," Felrug stammered.
"Good." said Ashex sweetly as she stepped back from Felrug. "Now, run along."
It was over, Felrug could escape this room and the intense scrutiny that went with it. "Yes, Ma'am." He bolted out the door.
"Shall we rejoin our guests?" Ashex asked, turning to K'Leo and Hammer.
Hammer was glad to have the unpleasantness behind him also. He didn't like his people coming to the attention of Ashex. He nodded. "Sounds like a good idea. I expect they will have been wondering where we disappeared to."