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Down on the Star Base the bounty hunter that was searching for Dr. West was in professional civilian clothes. He did not stay in one area too long and made his way around to the library and some of the outdoor parks around the base.

He had been there all day looking for her. It was boring but Noxx was still paying him and his associates and sometimes part of his job was to blend in and observe things. And if he was going to observe Dr. West that wasn’t a bad thing.

He had been there all day and had not eaten. He was getting hungry and went to one of the many public dining facilities on the base. He sat down ordered a drink and took out a padd . He acted like he was working on something while often looking around the place trying to find his target.

His food came and the bounty hunter took his time and enjoyed his meal. He was about half way through it when three Starfleet officers came in and sat down at a table all in blue uniforms indicating medical or sciences. One of them was a man with hair who looked to be in his sixties, the other was an Andorian male and the third in the trio was a tall woman with auburn hair and attractive features.

It was her. The bounty hunter was disappointed she wasn’t wearing the Starfleet mini skirts. She had on the black uniform pants instead. The bounty hunter didn’t look at them too long. He went back to his meal only glancing up at the doctors occasionally. The older man got up and went to the bath room. The bounty hunter got up and followed the doctor.

The men did their business, and the bounty hunter made sure to wash his hands next to the older gentleman. The bounty hunter put his hands into a glowing blue energy screen below the mirror that sterilized the hands.

“Excuse me, sir,” said the bounty hunter. “The red head doctor you are with?”

“Yes,” replied the older man replied.

“She patched me up after the bar fight the other night. Could you give me her name again?”

“Dr. Veronica West.”

“West…that’s it. Thank you.”

The bounty hunter left the bathroom. He finished his dinner, paid and left. He waited outside for the doctors to leave. He managed to follow Dr. West undetected to her apartment on the residential wing. He watched her enter her apartment then pulled out a communicator.

“Noxx, I have her. Her name is Veronica West, she just entered her residence,” said the bounty hunter.

“If we are going to do this, now is the time. She is alone. I am sending you co ordinates.”

Veronica was stunned by what she found in her apartment. The Orions were gone, but the girls had put all the food away, cleaned the kitchen and laundered and folded all the bedding which was stacked neatly on the couch. The Orions left Veronica’s apartment in better shape when the arrived. She had to smile.

Maybe she would give Rick another chance before he shipped out. Veronica walked across to her bedroom to change. There was an odd humming sound like a swarm of insects buzzing around followed by a shimmering green light. Two men materialized one in front of Veronica and one behind. She didn’t have time to react.

The man behind grabbed her quickly and was trained in how to apply the Vulcan nerve pinch which was painless, but rendered Veronica unconscious. As quickly as the men beamed in they were out with no evidence that they were there.

Dylan was the last to join Rowe and Tyler in her quarters for the card game. Tyler was surprised to see Dylan after his long day. Gina had drinks and snacks out for the game, Dylan helped himself before joining his friends at the table.

“How are you holding up,” asked Tyler.

“I’m fine. Deal the cards, man,” replied Dylan.

“How are the repairs coming,” asked Rowe.

“All right. You should see the new QEV-335 they are installing,” replied Tyler.

“I didn’t think those were ready yet,” commented Dylan.
“We are one of the first in the fleet to get them.” Tyler gave a proud smile that his ship was getting the best equipment in the fleet.”

“Boys are we gonna talk,” asked Rowe. “Or are we gonna play cards?”

Veronica woke up to find herself on a long black leather couch. She tried to get her bearings as she sat up. She didn’t know how long she was out or where she was. She saw Noxx sitting across form her. He put a glass of water and a plate of food down in front of her. Noxx was smiling.

“You better eat something,” Noxx said. “You may be here a long time.”

“Where’s here,” asked Veronica as she looked around.

“You are a guest on my vessel. My name is Noxx. These are my associates.”

Veronica nibbled at some of the food and saw the bounty hunters and Noxx’s crew. She remembered the one guy that asked her to dance. He smiled and waved at Dr. West.

“How about that dance now, honey,” he said.

“Listen mister, the name is West and the title is Doctor,” said Veronica. “You got that? What do you want with me, Noxx?”

“We want you to call your friend for us. The one you were making out with outside the club.”

“He’s a Starfleet officer. He will bring help.”

“I don’t think he will. Not if you to want to see each other again. You see your friend stole some of my property and I want it back. He has also caused me to lose a great deal of money over this.”

“The Orion girls? They are not anyone’s property,” said Veronica.

“Actually they are. I bought them at a slave auction some time ago.”

Veronica took her water, shaking her head. Veronica knew her country’s history with slavery and couldn’t believe there were worlds that still practiced it. She sized up the situation. One girl against Noxx, four of his crew and the three bounty hunters was not favorable odds. She would not try to fight them. Better to sit tight and await rescue.

The threat of harm was there, but Veronica picked up that they needed her for something. Kidnapping a Starfleet officer was also not a good idea. Noxx could have the security from the base on him and his men or the forces of the Enterprise to bear, if they even knew where Veronica was.

“Ya know, Noxx,” said Veronica. “I am due back at the base tomorrow and if I miss too much work people are going to start asking questions.”

Veronica lied. She was off for the next three days, but Noxx didn’t know that.

“We plan on keeping you here no longer than we have to,” replied Noxx. “How long you stay is really up to your friend and what he says.”

“What are you talking about? What friend?”
Noxx handed Veronica her communicator. She took it.
“The man I saw you getting very friendly with the other night. Call him. Get him down here. Do this and no harm will come to you.”

Veronica didn’t trust what Noxx was saying, but she thought that getting Dylan on the surface was a good idea. Veronica held the communicator before she opened it. She sat back calmly and crossed her legs. Even though Veronica was wearing pants and kitten heel boots, Noxx enjoyed looking at her legs. Noxx sat back.

“Nice boots,” said Noxx.

“I’m glad you like them,” replied Veronica. “Perhaps you’d like to find out why I call this pair “the nutcrackers.”

The men laughed. Noxx laughed for a moment, but didn’t take to being insulted well. He got enough of that from the Orions. Noxx changed his expression suddenly and was now absolutely business. He leaned forward in an aggressive posture.

“Call your friend. Right now,” said Noxx in a threatening tone.

Dylan, Rowe and Tyler were well into their card game by now. They were enjoying the game and each others company. Rowe had just won a hand at five card stud and Tyler was shuffling for the next game. Dylan’s communicator chirped. He flipped it open.

“Dylan here,” he said.

“Hello Rick, it’s Veronica,” replied Dr. West. “Are you doing anything tonight?”

“Just playing cards with some friends, what’s up?”

“Feel like meeting me for coffee tonight?”

Noxx rolled his eyes and grew impatient. He grabbed the communicator aggressively from Veronica and stood up.

“Rick,” asked Noxx. “This is Noxx. I have your pretty little friend here. Before you get any funny ideas of rescuing her, she is safe and she is being treated well. For now. Now, listen to me very carefully. I want my property back and you are going to deliver it to me.”

“Why should I Noxx,” asked Dylan.

“Consider it pay back for when you assaulted me. Deliver my women and this will end and I will release your friend. If you don’t play my game my way, I can’t be sure how safe the pretty doctor will be with me. It’s up to you.”

“I will not be intimidated by you, Noxx."

“I’m sending you a beam down location. Have the Orions with you, no tricks. Be there in an hour.”

The transmission ended. Rowe and Tyler heard every word of the conversation. Gina put her cards down on the table and gave Rick a raised brow. Rick paused a minute.

“Are you guys up for a little rescue mission,” asked Rick.


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