00- Family Gathering
Location: Violet Cloud Casino
I left the hotel and asked around to find where this Smeezo was at. I hated dealing with Ferengi. I guess it came from my Starfleet days, but I could never trust them. In this place, I wasn't sure I could trust anyone. That was a good thing. I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into yet. So I headed out to the Velvet Cloud Casino to talk to the bum that was going to give me the answers I needed.
Arriving at the casino, the noise and lights instantly annoyed me. These people were just throwing their money away. Disgusting! I asked around for Smeezo, but no one wanted to tell me a thing. They were too busy with this and that. Finally, I grabbed a Tongo dealer and demanded to see Smeezo. A couple of people looked at me with a bit of horror. I didn't care. A shaky hand pointed me to an office door. I knocked...loudly!
Smeezo had followed Miraya camera by camera as soon as she entered the casino. She didn't look like the sort that would be at the casino to gamble. She looked like trouble. As soon as she started asking for him, Smeezo summoned his security force. They would stand by in case she caused trouble, but out of sight. He didn't want trouble as it wasn't good for profit, but then the greater the risk, the greater the profit. It wouldn't hurt to see what she wanted. He had sent a message to the dealers to send her his way. He was waiting when she knocked on her door. He was standing at the door when she knocked. He put on a toothy used car dealer smile and opened the door. "Welcome to the Violet Cloud Casino. You've been asking for me." He made his smile even bigger. "What can I do for you?"
Ugh. The very sight of Smeezo made Miraya want to punch him in the face. "I have been asking for you. I respectfully request a private audience with you," she said as politely as possible. Fake smiles annoyed her to no end, but she wasn't going to lose the one opportunity to find out about Ashex Oo. "I will make it worth your time and effort." She opened her hand to reveal two bars of gold-pressed latinum.
Rule number two hundred three came to mind, New customers are like razortoothed grubworms. They can be succulent, but sometimes they can bite back. "By all means, come on inside and we can talk." Smeezo motioned her inside while holding his hand out for the latinum.
Miraya flipped one of the latinum bars towards the Ferengi as she entered the room. She figured he would kill himself trying to catch it, which gave her a moment to survey the room. "Nice place you have here," she said as drippy sweet as she could. She knew of only two ways to deal with Ferengi - flirt with them or threaten them. She would try option one first, then quickly move to number two if necessary. She wondered how many rules were going to pop into this guy's head during their interaction.
Smeezo couldn't help himself, he had to catch the bar. It only required him to step out of the way for a moment to catch the bar. Smeezo recognized it for what it was, a bully tactic to try to push him around. Whatever Miraya wanted, it was going to cost her. Another rule came to mind, Rule 94: Females and Finances don't mix. "It's just my cozy little office."
"It is a testament to your decorating skills," she smiled. "But of course I didn't come here to discuss decorations with such an esteemed man." It was killing her, but she was trying her best. "I hear that you are a man of many talents and lots of information. It is information which brings me here for the first time. I hope not the last time, though." The smile was killing her, but she had to know about Ashex in as much detail as possible.
Rule seventy-four came to mind: Knowledge equals profit. "Information is one of the commodities I handle. It just depends on what information you are seeking. Some types of information costs more than others."
"Have I been unclear? My apologies," she said, still smiling. "Money is truly not an issue if someone has the right information. Oh, you wouldn't happen to serve Stardusters here, would you? It's one of my favorites." She got closer to him. "Your lobes are sexy. May I?" she asked, reaching for his left one.
Rule 229 immediately came to mind: Latinum lasts longer than lust. He turned his head away from her touch. "Business first, then pleasure. If money is no issue, then lets move forward. What is it you want to know?"
"Okay, let's get to it. I met a woman named Ashex Oo. I want to know everything about her. Is that within your power?" She was still talking nicey-nicey, but with a slight edge now. "And the drink, too, please."
Smeezo tapped on one of his padds, then set it to the side and tapped on another one. He slid the padd across the table to her. "And how will you be paying?"
Just at that moment the door opened and an Orion waitress walked in and placed a drink in front Miraya.
"Thanks for the drink," she said as she drank almost half of it immediately. Gods, she needed that. "I can pay in whatever you want. You want latinum? Done. You want gems? Done. You want something a bit less legal? Done. I have resources." Her tone was all business now. "I need to know who she is, what she is and who she works for. Does she have family? Friends? Who pays her salary? Why does she need a high-powered bodyguard? Last but not least, why are people afraid of her? If you can give ma all of that, state your price, within reason." She drained her glass and awaited the answers.
"Latinum is always the currency of choice." Smeezo thought for a moment. "Those answers will cost you ten bars."
"Okay, now that we're settled." Smeezo tapped some keys on his chair. "The padd in front of you is now unlocked. It contains a complete dossier on Ashex, but I'll give you the executive summary. Ashex doesn't work for anyone, she is the head of a local interest called 'The Family.' I've had dealings with them recently. Ashex moved up in the ranks and took over after her Mother died. Her top employee, Jack Hammer, has moved up with her. Don't let his brawn fool you, while he is a capable enforcer, he also has considerable intellect and business skills. She has consolidated her power and now they are expanding their reach. I expect this is why she needs a new bodyguard, Hammer is too busy managing some of their new businesses to protect her." He paused for a moment. "What are people afraid of her? It goes back to her businesses some are legal and some are extra-legal. If you get in her way, or even cross her, you have a tendency to disappear. That's the frightening thing. Some of the other people in her position make an example out of trouble makers. She doesn't. One moment they're there and the next they're gone."
"The Family, huh? How cozy sounding," Tiala replied with a snicker. She took the PADD and got up to leave. "You have electronic deposit here? Or is it pay as you go? Actually, never mind. I might not be around long enough. Good doing business with you."