A Whole New World
Posted on Tue Jun 23rd, 2020 @ 4:58am by Lieutenant JG Vecon Fick & Mauricio Arnaldo & Ignatius & Raven Mattel
Edited on on Fri Jul 10th, 2020 @ 5:29pm
Death in Paradise
Location: Paradise Outpost
Timeline: Early evening
It started with an idea. A brilliant idea, if you asked Raven Mattel, but mostly because she had thought of it. Fick, Ignatius, and herself were last seen strolling arms linked through the Recreation Deck on their way to Mindo's Arcade, after what had proven to be an interesting afternoon. Raven was looking forward to spending time with the young Chief Helmsman, especially after Fick had stood up for Dorian Rochester, but mostly because the officer appeared to be a big fan of hers. And there was nothing a queen liked more than being complimented. But Raven believed today's events needed to be topped, that their adventures would not end in the same holographic bar she worked at. She wanted more fun.
"Instead of going to Mindos." Raven began thoughtfully, tilting her head to the side, "How about we explore this fabulous, big space station next door?"
Ignatius gave a nonchalant shrug, "It seems remiss to ignore it," he agreed, and that was about as much of an endorsement as the ever-cool clothier would give.
"K'Laus is on duty, if you need more company," Fick added. "But I need to run to my quarters real quick and change. I don't want to go over there in uniform. Not if I'm gonna hang out. That is unless you mind."
Raven looked down at her sundress and gave a knowing wink, "Very good thinking, Mr. Fick. A lady cannot go to drinks in such a dress."
"That oaf crumpled my jacket," Ignatius complained, pointing out the smallest of folds in his sherwani. "It's bad enough half of the Recreation Deck saw me fall on my behind, I shan't be visiting Paradise with creased attire."
"That settles it then. An evening of fabulous company deserve fabulous style. Cocktails and formal wear." Raven smiled. "Let's meet again in say... half an hour?"
Fick nodded in agreement with an amazingly innocent grin. "Thank you. Contrary to popular belief sometimes I have good ideas. Half an hour!" He ran off to gather his autograph book and change into something more casual.
An hour and a half later, Raven Mattel sashayed out of the Turbo Lift and towards the Docking Corridor that connected Pandora to Paradise. Now she was wearing a black, figure-hugging body-con dress with a sprawling fish-tail. Laced into the fabric were shimmering gold sparkles, just subtle enough to catch the light given the correct angle. Her hair was sleek, straight and jet-black; her eyeshadow giving shades of metallic glitter and her lips a rich gold to match. The fishtail was hiding her feet so it appeared as if this glamazon was merely gliding across the floor. Ignatius was coiffed and poured into a fitted black tuxedo with a charcoal shirt, though he added a metallic gold bowtie so as to compliment Ms. Mattel.
Ignatius raised an eyebrow as Raven slowly approached, "You're late, Raven, but it was worth the wait."
"I know." She cooed softly, her golden lips parting into a smile.
Fick leaned over the counter where he had been standing and looked Raven up and down. "That's a pretty amazing dress there... I feel a little underdressed now," he chuckled, smoothing the front of the tunic-like shirt he was wearing. It was almost a rust color, but toward the lighter end and his pants were the cargo sort and a soft grey in color. They had a lot of pockets.
Raven looked the young officer up and down, raising an eyebrow slightly, her lips pursed. "Hmmm," she replied, withholding her opinion on the pants. "Shall we?"
"I'm ready." Ignatius nodded.
Fick hopped away from the bar and grinned. "I'm ready too!"
Not long after, the trio were on Paradise Outpost, gliding around the transport ring in a glass travelling cube. The station swished by them at incredible speed, though just enough to marvel at the many venues, lights, and people inside. After several attempts at speaking to the station's computer, Raven throwing in a few choice curse words for the system to learn, they eventually commanded the cube to head for the entertainment district. Soon they were circling around above the area, the station providing a 360 degree window so arriving guests were shown the impressive premises as they spiralled down to the cube terminal.
The district was actually around four levels high, all open plan, and with a domed ceiling that displayed environmental scenery - in between the occasional advertisement for a local business. The area was divided into four quadrants, with a large fountain in the middle. One section was for the casino and high-end establishments, one was more generic family-friendly with bistros and cinemas, the next was a kid's zone full of colour and holographic characters, and the fourth was the adults-only area. Raven instructed the cube to stop at the Casino quadrant.
The doors opened and a silver-helmeted guard nodded to the three as they disembarked. Soft music was playing in the background as swathes of well-dressed, elegant people sauntered around the place. Waiters strolled by with silver trays, handing out flutes of pink, yellow, and purple drinks. Everyone seemed to be generally heading towards the brightly-lit casino ahead. A holographic advertisement popped up from the floor, revealing a concert was to be performed tonight in the casino ballroom, and it showed a leather-clad Ferengi woman loudly warbling over a dance track.
Raven smiled, "Now that's the kind of promotion I want for my shows."
"The hologram?" Fick asked. "I totally bet that you could get Mindo to make one of those for you. He could put a little hologram of you singing or skating... or singing and skating. Do you think they're all going to see her?" He snagged a purple drink off of a tray when he thought the waiter wasn't looking and started to drink it immedately. "Mm... not bad."
Ignatius was offered a pink and yellow drink from a waiter, and he politely received them both. Handing the pink one to Raven, he observed, "The casino itself houses a hotel, amphitheatre, restaurants, and ballroom. I hear there are private clubs only open to the most exclusive clientele."
"More exclusive than us?" Raven smirked as she drank her pink cocktail. She turned to Fick, "Where would you like to go first?"
Fick shrugged. It wasn't really all that glamourous to him. He was from Risa. They could put on quite a show on his homeworld. He grinned. "I'm just along for the ride and down for just about anything." He was eyeballing people as they walked by him. "Do you think Ferengi can actually sing?"
As the trio approached the entrance to the casino, Ignatius noticed a man cursing in a foreign language as he and his date walked back through the crowds of people towards the exit. He regarded this with a quiet frown but they continued forward anyway. The main foyer was a grand circular room decorated with far too much gold and black. The walls were gold with black floral stencils, the furniture was gold with black cushions, the carpet was gold with the word "Paradise" written in every conceivable language in black, the guards had gold helmets (instead of their usual silver) and black suits, and there was a black onyx fountain with liquid gold (or some imitation) cascading out of it in the centre of the room.
"Even for me, this is a little much," Raven commented.
Even Fick nodded in agreement. "Uh... yeah. I mean Risa can put on a show with all sorts of stuff, but this is a little over the top." He chuckled and downed the rest of his drink, looking around.
At the far end of the room, ahead of a grand gold staircase, there was a row of small booths with a teller in front of them. Each teller desk had a monitor and a station employee sitting behind it, a smile seemingly permanently on their face. Fick, Ignatius, and Raven approached the teller nearest to them. She was a young looking alien with orange scaled skin, wearing a black tunic. Her monitor displayed a list of languages on it, much like the ones present in the transport cubes, and Ignatius reached over and selected Federation standard.
"A prosperous evening, gentle people." The teller smiled. "How many credits will you be depositing today?"
Fick's eyebrows shot up. "Credits?" he queried.
"Yes," The Teller replied, cocking her head to the side in confusion. Then her smile seemed to defy physics by growing even larger. "Oh! Is this your first time visiting us?"
"Yes," Raven replied, perplexed and a little alarmed at the woman's mouth size. "What do we have to do?"
"It's especially easy." She beamed as she indicated to the monitor, which began to display a series of 'Experience Levels' on the screen, with figures next to each one indicating how much it cost to receive them. The price seemed to double with every level. "Every guest deposits a chosen amount of credits to determine the level of experience you'd like to have. Our Entry level is a mere fifteen thousand credits, and each tier provides you with more entertainment options, access to exclusive areas, bonus rewards, and all-round more memorable evening."
"Fifteen thousand," Ignatius scoffed, taking a step back as he shook his head. He began to realise why that couple he saw earlier were making for the exit. "And we have to pay up front?"
"Of course, gentle male." The Teller nodded enthusiastically. "Casino policy. It also insures your stay against any losses, breakages, and use of the facilities. This way, you can just relax and have fun!"
"Honey for fifteen thousand credits I could make my own damn fun," Raven shot back with a sassy eyebrow raise. "Can I at least buy tickets to the concert tonight?"
"Oh, I'm deeply apologising." The Teller sighed, her voice going up an octave. "But concert performance tickets are only for Excellence Level and higher."
Raven mumbled something that sounded like an old curse word before turning her back on the Teller and looking to Fick and Ignatius. "What do you say, gentlefolk, should we find somewhere a little more fun?"
"Uh yeah," Fick replied and turned on one heel, walking away from the counter. "That's a little too rich for my blood, considering I'm from a planet that doesn't really use money anymore. So, what else is there to do around here?" he queried over his shoulder with a grin. "Surely there's someplace we can get a drink for less money..."
"I hear that." Ignatius nodded, his mind already made up.
Raven turned back to the teller. "Sorry, my girl, but we're going to take our gentle-selves elsewhere."
The woman looked to either side of her and leaned in closely, "May I suggest Rulaskatox, in the mature-age quadrant? Cocktails with a kick and it's always Party Hour." She whispered this in a hushed tone and gave a conspiratorial wink, before returning to her seat.
"Now that's a party," Raven replied with a firm nod. She immediately swooped up Fick and Ignatius and they headed towards the exit. Raven began to sing an old Risian song about drinking cocktails as they exited.
Fick joined her, knowing all the words. He wasn't a super great singer, but he wasn't off key either and could generally keep time. He linked arms with Raven and sung as long as she was singing.
Thanks to Paradise's moving walkways between the districts, the trio had arrived in the Adults Only quadrant quite quickly. There was pulsating music from the rows of bars and nightclubs around them; each themed to specific alien species or random concepts like "Fizz" - which was a held in an anti-gravity chamber, or "The Collective" - which looked like a Borg cube. People flocked around them, dancing, laughing, heading off to the next establishment. Neon lights and holographic advertisements were everywhere, creating an almost-overwhelming feeling of activity and life. They were a world away from the pomp and gold of the Casino.
Finding Rulaskatox wasn't hard. It was a three-story building with a front facade covered entirely in bright green neon light strips, giving the surrounding area a green glow. As they approached the building, a section of the lights faded off, seemingly creating a black entryway. Raven stepped forward with her hand raised in front of her, unsure if she was going to touch solid wall, but was surprised to find it was indeed a doorway now. With a giggle, they passed through the black tunnel and emerged into the bar. Rulaskatox was a similarly bright affair on the inside, with neon strips and colourful laser lights everywhere. The drinks were served in glasses which lit up when they were full and dulled as the person drank. It was a house rule to never carry an empty glass.
Sitting down in a corner booth, Raven, Ignatius and Fick received their drinks and settled in. Raven turned to Fick looking at his glowing glass, "What did you get?"
Fick laughed, sipping at his drink and making a face that suggested it was fairly good. "I don't know really... but it's very blue and sort of fruity. Sort of tangy. What did you get?" He leaned across the table to look closer at Raven's also glowing drink. "I don't imagine that it's easy to get the two of you drunk..." he suggested with a sly grin.
"It's true, I've built up a resistance," Raven remarked with a laugh, staring at her drink. It was a purple affair with a swirl of yellow throughout, and tasted like children's bubblegum. There was the potency of alcohol in it, though not overly strong. It was more for the fun of the drink. "Ignatius here, however, well not so much."
"I prefer a quiet champagne accompanying stimulating conversation," Ignatius added, his tone haughty, but still light. He was holding a fine, long glass of pink alien-version of Chardonnay. "I'll have you know I am capable of kicking up my heels from time to time. This place looks like quite the venue for it too."
Fick looked around the place with interst. There were a lot of different kinds of people in the bar, so there also wasn't a shortage of things to look at. "I agree... I'm totally satisfied with this location. I wonder if anyone around here does karaoke?" He drank his drink rather quickly and obtained another. "So what do you two want to do now? People watch? Drinking games?" Fick asked, sipping at his third drink of the night.
"Karaoke!" Raven cried, clapping her hands together with glee. "Oh I hope they have a bar here that does karaoke. Although, from what I gather, they're unlikely to have any of my staples on their playlist. Probably some Ferengi warbling nonsense."
"I may be inclined to dance," Ignatius suggested with a slight shrug. "If the right music were playing."
"Ah! Yes, we need to find a dance club," Raven enthused. "A few more drinks here and we will go bar-hopping until we find one we like, yes?"
Fick nodded enthusiastically with a grin. "Yes, yes and more yes. I'm down for just about anything. Dancing, karaoke... more drinking... you know I've got quite a tolerance for this stuff too. They let us drink pretty young on Risa." He swirled the bit of drink he had left in glass and then downed it and set the glass on the table. "My mother always said that by doing that they were teaching us responsibility concerning alcohol... I never really understood until I spent time on Earth. They don't let those people drink, at least not real alcohol, until they're way old..." he laughed.
The light on Fick's glass dimmed as he drank. As the empty cup was hitting the table, a member of the bar staff was already making his way around to them. He was wearing an outfit made out of neon tubes, which flashed different colours in a random patterns. "RULASKATOX boys and girls!" he shouted, "My name is Berlitz, I'm thrilled so serve you! I see your glass light is off, what can I do you for?"
Fick seemed surprised at the shouting, but he held it together. He picked up his now unlit glass and held it out to the waiter. "Something sweet this time! I trust you!" Fick exclaimed happily.
Raven downed the rest of her drink too and waved it in front of the waiter, "Another purple thing please."
Ignatius shrugged, "I'll try the purple thing, too."
Before the waiter could get away, Fick leaned over to him, his body language was sort of flirty. "Sooo... I know this bar rocks, but me and my friends are sort of new here and might be looking for a little more action... maybe dancing... singing... do you have any recommendations? Pleeeease..." he begged cutely.
Berlitz raised an eyebrow, and the colours of his neon tubes all changed to a bright red. "Only because you asked so nicely, sweet stuff. The best dancing club is Fremulon, but it doesn't open for another two hours. You've got DTBY on the west end, too, cheap drinks there. For singing? Hmm, there's not really a singing-only bar, but - "
His sentence was cut off by a sudden round of rambunctious yelling and laughter from across the other side of the room. It sounded like a group of human men celebrating; there was a smash of glass followed by another group cheer. The other patrons were looking around in disapproval, some began to move away from that area.
"Ugh." The waiter frowned. "I knew those boys would be trouble."
"What's going on?" Ignatius asked, casting a disconcerted look to where the source of the noise was coming from.
"Marines. From your ship," Berlitz replied with a little bit of sass on the 'your ship' part. "We try to be hospitable here, but they're pushing our house rules."
Fick frowned and looked over toward the table to see if it was potentially anyone he recognized. He really only knew one marine really, but he looked anyway. "Sorry about that..." he said offhandedly, while he looked. "You know these military types..."
"We've had a few too many military types lately," the waiter commented, before catching himself. "I'll get your drinks," he said quickly, before disappearing.
Raven was busy fiddling with her dress, having felt, since leaving the casino, that she was over-dressed for the evening they were going to have. "If we're going dancing, I may need to adjust my attire," she commented.
A few moments later, a small group of Paradise's security team sauntered through the room. After looking around the room for a moment, they headed to the bar where they spoke intently to Berlitz. He pointed over to the table at the far side of the room, but he seemed just as displeased at the guards being in the bar. Over the noise of the loud music and crowds of people, it was hard to determine what exactly was being said, though it was obvious the waiter didn't want security around either. Finally, the guards disappeared into the crowd and strolled over to the Marine's table.
"Looks like security have come to speak with our people," Ignatius commented, straining his neck to see what was happening. "Hope they don't cause any trouble."
"Those types always cause trouble. Sometimes it's harmless trouble, sometimes it's not, but any time you hear a group of people carrying on like that... it's probably trouble." He chuckled, still looking over at the marines. "Think I should go say something? It's not like they have to listen to me though... I could threaten them with their commanding officer and a comm badge." He turned his attention back to Raven and Ignatius. "So... dancing in two hours... eh?" He wiggled his eyebrows. "Do you think you need to find new clothing... or are we talking returning to the ship?"
"Boy, you talk a lightyear a second," Raven replied with a laugh. "And no, I don't need to go anywhere."
With an athletic twist, the queen slipped out from the booth and was now standing before the two men with a smirk. The music happened to changed to a more upbeat number and Raven began to dance in the spot. The crowd around them started to notice and cheer her on. She loved the attention and began shaking the skirt of her dress like a can-can dancer. She stomped the floor in the tune of the music, incorporated a bit of old-Earth voguing, before finally twisting into a series of high-speed twirls. Around and around she went until suddenly, with a flourish of her hand, she tore the skirt from her dress away, revealing a bodysuit underneath with a pattern of gold-encrusted jewels. She flung the skirt into the audience, who received it with a loud cheer and a round of applause.
Finally Raven stopped dancing and posed, striking one arm in the air as she breathed heavy breaths. The applause grew louder again, with Ignatius standing up and whistling loudly. Raven bowed several times, sending kisses out to the crowd.
Fick was on his feet, clapping as loudly as he could and interjecting with whistles. He had always been a fan of Raven's, when she had spent most of her time performing on Risa and she did not disappoint him. She never failed to deliver a great performance.
In the background, the Paradise Security guards had not been deterred by the impromptu show, as now they were forcing the group of Marines to leave under threat of their pointed weapons. The Marines were cursing loudly in their drunken tones, slurring comments of 'unfair' and 'discrimination'. At the head of the group, an especially intoxicated Mauricio Arnaldo was stumbling as he made his way to his feet.
He saw Raven's dance and cheered raucously, "BELLA DAMA!" while the Paradise Guard pushed him to keep moving.
When Fick heard Mauricio shout he recognized his voice immedately. It brought back a rush of emotions and reminded him of the shouts he had heard on the other side of closed door he'd been shoved through back in the bubble universe. It made his blood run cold for a moment. He whirled around and only caught a glimpse of the marine as he was being forced from the bar with the others. For a moment he was torn. He thought briefly of running after Mauricio, just to see what was going on, then thought better of it. He should leave it alone.
One of the guards saw Mauricio stop to shout and responded by giving him a heavy shove in the back to keep moving. Angered and drunk, the Marine turned and pushed the Guard with a heavy jab at their shoulder, shouting various curse words in Spanish. The other Marines quickly gathered round to quell the situation from getting out of hand, telling Mauricio to relax.
As he was being pulled away, Mauricio scowled at the Guard and slurred in an angry tone, “Nobody pushes me around!” Before he was finally led outside.
Despite the show that Raven had put on, the rest of the bar couldn’t help but notice the exchange between the guards and the Federation Marines. After a pause, Raven stood again and shouted, “Who wants to see me cartwheel?!”