As Richter proceeded to the hallway at the rear of the line of Dabo tables, he took another drink of his ale and smiled. As soon as I get back to the Perseus, I'm ordering a dozen cases of this stuff, he thought. He still wasn't certain what he would do with the information on this hidden club, but he was leaning toward leaving it alone. Section 31 knew about it and he was fairly certain that it was important to their operations. So, it had absolutely nothing to do with maintaining a source for this Romulan ale, no matter how much he loved it. Even a good man has his vices.
Richter turned down the hall and a new music washed over him. Soft, dulcet notes pulled him toward the source, and a faint, enticing odor that he couldn't identify began to sexually excite him. "Sneaky bastards." The club was using pheromones and subliminal messaging to encourage their clientele to use their services. The half-naked women lounging in comfortable sofas and milling about told him that he remembered the bartender's directions correctly. There were females from nearly every culture that Richter had encountered and a few that he didn't recognize. In the center of this part of the club was yet another bar and he headed toward it.
He placed his glass on the bar and called over to the barkeep. She was an Orion and she was just as efficient as the bartender that introduced him to his new love. "Need another Romulan ale, babe?" "No, but I want 12 cases of it." The Orion smirked, "you do know that this stuff is really expensive, right?" Now it was Richter's turn to smirk, and he showed her his card. "Send it to the location on this card, sweetness." "Right away, sir," and as she turned to fill his order Richter stopped her. "One more thing, I'm looking for an entertainer. A specific one, actually. Her name is Tabitha. Do you know where I can find her?" "I know her, let me look for her." She turned to the computer in her bar and brought a screen up. "She's with a client right now, but it looks like they are done. Go down to room 31 at the far end and she will be out soon." "Much obliged" and Richter headed toward the far end of the bar.
He chuckled to himself when he learned that the room number was 31. Not exactly subtle, he thought. As he was walking toward Tabitha's room, he noticed that there was a series of booths with numbers that matched the rooms. Arriving at 31, he took a seat and waited. He took another swig of his ale and relaxed. He had always heard about places like this, but had never experienced any of them. At least, not until now. If anyone had told him that he would be drinking an excellent Romulan ale in an alien cathouse waiting to see a prostitute and actually enjoying the experience when he was sixteen, he would have laughed in their face. It's been one hell of a life so far and I'm only a little over a year out of the Academy. And once again, he took another drink of his ale. He thought about his first battle and the fight that followed with the Borg, the evacuation of Vega colony, and standing tall in front of Admiral Quinn. Yup, a hell of a life. Then the door of room 31 opened and the most beautiful woman he had ever seen exited with an Andorian female. They kissed and the Andorian headed away while the woman sauntered over to the booth. She smiled at Richter, "Hey there, handsome! Looking for some company?"
Richter got over his shock fairly quickly, "Depends, are you Tabitha from Topeka?" "Allow me to answer that in a way that you will understand." And she grabbed him and pulled him up from his seat, pressed herself against him and kissed him deeply. Richter was surprised, but he returned her embrace and returned her kiss. When they parted, she sat down in the booth and invited him to return to his seat. "A pleasure to meet you, Admiral." Richter smiled, "you know, I was half expecting a slap." Tabitha laughed, "maybe later. Has Drake briefed you?"
"He told me some of it. That seventeen Starfleet officers have met their ends in various and sundry ways, but that each were headed for key positions in the command structure. He also told me that you recovered a termination packet with me as the target, and that you would complete the briefing." Tabitha shifted to the darker part of the booth where her face was less exposed to the light and her demeanor took on a more serious affect. "Correct. I had been investigating another issue when I came across an operative involved in this incident. He was a known assassin that was targeting an operative that I had an interest in and you were his next assignment. Your packet was heavily encrypted, but our decryption technology is far more advanced than that of Starfleet Intelligence. I entered it as a new Klingon encryption and ran it as such for operational security. Drake informed me of his investigation and launched a false flag operation against the Klingons to provide me cover, and here we are."
Richter took a moment to mentally sort through what she had told him and its implications. "How do you know that your own investigation isn't related to mine?" "It was too blatant. The terrorists wanted to use a biological agent to attack Earth. The deaths would have been in the millions and the contaminant would have spread to other worlds. That's way too high a profile for our people. If they wanted to operate at that level, they would not have been so worried about keeping the elimination of those officers quiet or had the assassin terminate my target." Richter's face was grim, "so they killed him to protect their own operation. That isn't good. How did you acquire that intel on your target?" Tabitha's eyes narrowed, "we're compromised. Follow me and play with my ass as we walk."
They got up, and out of the booth and Tabitha slipped her arm around Richter's waist while he did as he was told and headed for her room. "Come on love! I'm going to show you the time of your life!" She exclaimed as she opened the door to her room. After entering, she locked the door and spun to the Admiral, "Do you need a weapon?" "No, I have a type one phaser in my pocket that has been modified for today's enemies." She dropped her robe and revealed an impressive form. Richter quickly turned. "You are a bit of a prude, aren't you?" He felt blood filling his cheeks as he blushed. Tabitha laughed, "I'm just teasing you, Admiral. I don't usually consort with good people." When Richter found his voice again, he replied "You aren't like any Vulcan that I have ever met before, you know that?" "If I were, I wouldn't be of any use to you." Tabitha brought up a console in the wall and began furiously entering data. "They will be here any second now." Richter drew his phaser. "You shouldn't need that. We are heading for my safe room." And she once again pressed herself tightly to him, and a second later they had dematerialized.
The door opened and two burly Nausicans entered Tabitha's room with weapons drawn. "Where the hell are they?" The other Nausican shrugged in response. "Search the room!" It didn't take them long to find the console. They had found the beam out coordinates and attempted to follow the pair by activating the transporter, but that was a mistake. Instead, they found themselves in a stasis field. A hologram of Tabitha appeared and asked them who had given them their mission. The Nausicans laughed. The hologram replied, "very well." And they were both beamed into the station's reactor core.
When the two dots on the tracker disappeared, the dark figure clinging to the shadows of the cathouse put the device away and departed quietly.