Dirty business

“Excuse me, where would I find bay four ninety one?”

“Stay on fourth street. It’s on your left about half way down”

Cass thanked the Duster and continued on her way, feeling self-conscious and out of place in the suit she’d bought for this meeting. Carrying a briefcase stuffed with close to a hundred thousand Vargas didn’t help much either; it felt like everyone she passed knew she didn’t belong here and that she was well worth mugging.

The two big guys loitering outside one of the loading bays marked it as the one she needed, better than the unfamiliar alien numerals stencilled on the wall above the door. Cass approached, warily.

“You got business?” one of the heavies inclined his head in a very human fashion.

“I’m here with the money for Captain Twoso”

“Is that right?”

“It is”

“I haven’t seen you before. Who the fuck are you?”

This sort of thing was only to be expected, Cass supposed; she was, after all, trying to blag her way into shady underworld deal with little idea what it was for, other than a ‘special consignment’. Pulling rank was probably the best bet.

“I’m your fucking boss while the Grand Poobah isn’t around” she snapped “Now are you going to let me in, or am I going to have to make a call and get you pushed out of an airlock?”

“Better do what he says” the other heavy said, incorrectly guessing Cass’s gender “If he’s here for the Captain, we should let him in”

“Yeah, yeah. You the boss” his companion sighed and waved a keycard over the door scanner “Twoso and Sin are waiting for you” he stepped aside to let Cass enter.

Inside, the loading bay was gloomily lit, it’s walls lined with shelves, piled high with goods. In the centre of the space, around forty metal crates were scattered in the middle of the floor The air smelled stale and faintly of chlorine.

“Who the fuck are you?” a tall, insectoid creature chirped at Cass as she walked in.

“Your new boss” It was looking like this was going to be a regular question “The Grand Poobah sent me with the money” Cass held up the briefcase she was carrying

“That’s all I’m here for” a large, round-bodied tripedal creature rumbled.

“Captain Twoso, I presume?” she eyed his heavy fur and three, large amber eyes, bobbing above his body on eyestalks.

“Indeed” he performed a complicated movement with two of his tentacle-like hands, that Cass took to be a greeting of sorts “And you are?”

“Kaitlin Yamamoto” It was never best to use your real name. Cass gave a perfunctory bow “I’ll need to inspect the merchandise to ensure everything is in order before agreeing payment”

“That will not be necessary” the insectoid, Sin, chittered “Captain Twoso is one of our most reliable agents”

“All the same, I’m new here and don’t want to screw up my first assignment. Humour me this once. May I see the manifest?”

“Of course” Twoso rocked forward with an ungainly gait “You’ll see that everything is in order”

Pulling out a terminal, he activated the screen and passed it to Cass.

“In English?”

“There” Twoso reached across and tapped the screen a couple of times. Up close, he smelled sweet and musty.

What Cass read made her heart sink. Forty four stasis pods, each containing a sentient being. Guns and drugs would have been fine, but people trafficking was a bit beyond the pale, even for her. To make matters worse, one of the pods apparently contained a human.

“There are a range of conditioned individuals, as per Madam Sin’s specifications” Twoso murmured “Most destined for her brothels, but there are many that will do nicely in the pits as well”

“I assume you’re not just shipping us corpses in stasis?” Cass asked.

“Heavens, no” Twoso’s eyestalks bobbed in horror “I have my reputation to think of”

“Good, good.” Cass nodded “I’ll just need to verify the conditioning and then the money’s all yours. If you can pull the human out of stasis for me; she’ll be the easiest for me”

“There really is no need” Madam Sin chirped, but Twoso held up a hand.

“Of course, Ms Yamamoto” he rumbled “As you say, this is your first time. I'm sure there’ll be no need on subsequent occasions”

“Thank you Captain” Cass glanced warily at the bristling Madam Sin “This will only take a moment”

“Crate thirty six” Twoso lumbered off “This way, I think...”

It took a few minutes to locate and open the crate. Worryingly, the blonde woman inside the stasis pod appeared to be in some distress.

“Are you ready for this?” Twoso asked, his tentacled hand hovering above the deactivation button.

“Do it” Cass nodded.

Nim - over to you.
I guess this will go one of two ways - either a shoot out here and now, or reactivating the stasis pod and us coming to rescue your character later.
On the one hand, the shootout will allow Cass to keep the 100k, but will probably blow the dwarfers cover much sooner; whereas on the other, you get to inflict whatever hardships you like on your character and we can work on a rescue from there
Of course if you have any other ideas - go for it :)

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