Okay. Now, time to really kick things off.
A couple notes: Continuity hawks should recognize Code 47 as Starfleet's most secure channel from "Conspiracy" (TNG).
The look of the Palais de Mystère was partly inspired by the look of the Museam Of Science and Industry (MOSI) of Tampa, Florida--and partly by the exterior of the "Living Seas" pavilion in Epcot ....
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
"From Risa With Love"
He walked her to the door of her suite, and Cynthia Holland found herself often glancing in his direction as they discussed their plan for the following day.
Finally, she stood outside the entrance. “Well…I have to report to my superiors.”
“All right. I’d better turn in, too, I suppose.”
“It was an excellent dinner, Julian. I enjoyed it.”
Bashir nodded. “As did I. Good night, Cynthia.”
She returned the nod. “Good night.”
And she entered her code into the wall, and stepped into her room, the door closing between them.
Cynthia sat down in her chair by the desk, leaning back with a sigh. She reached upward, brushing back her hair.
He’s so charming…so…caring.
She shook her head. You let him get too close. Remember your training—do not let your missions
ever become personal. You should not have asked about his family—did you
really think he wouldn’t find out you were an orphan?
Enough, Cynthia. You have to report.
She sighed, and turned to her console, setting it for Code 47. She heard the deep female voice of the Starfleet computer service, giving the normal instructions. She drove her emotions away, and gave her access code.
The voice of her contact, Mr. Burns—she had never found out if he had a first name—came, “We read you.”
“Holland. He’s in.”
“Well done. Director wants schematics of Palais by tomorrow, at 2100. Keep note of all secured areas in building.”
“Noted. Anything more?”
* * *
The Palais de Mystère is an exercise in waves, spreading out horizontally in nearly all directions from the massive blue globe in the center. These wings, colored in streams of silver and gold, cause the entire structure to vaguely resemble a Terran octopus. They reach out as if seeking to engulf the entire region, wrapping it all in a tight embrace. Standing before it, it is easy for one to feel like a mere insect—insignificant before this massive structure.
The entrance plaza is a gap in the building’s “arms”, spreading out like a “V” to the street. In its relative center is a large circular fountain, having one ten-meter tower of water, surrounded by a circle of fifty smaller siblings, rising and falling in patterns.
The plaza leads to a giant antique-style revolving door, in a cylindrical foyer on which rests the globe. The blue sphere makes the building at least 250 meters high at the top.
“Palace of Mystery” indeed
, Bashir mused, as he traversed the plaza. Cynthia walked close by his side, dressed in a dark green knee-length dress, and carrying a small black purse. She was clasping hold of his arm with both hands, her head leaning on his shoulder—certainly throwing herself into the role of a hopeless lovebird.
The irony is…she’s technically my superior in this mission.
Cynthia had informed him, that morning, of their exact duty this day—to obtain complete and exact schematics of the entire structure…from the top of the globe, down to whatever lower levels there might be.
Easier said than done. But then—spy missions rarely aren’t.
Inside, the main lobby was a vast open space, with a high ceiling. The floor was of a dark green marble, or something similar—a material matching the oval counter for the black stone information desk.
Bashir turned to Cynthia, who gave a slight nod, and headed for the women’s restroom.
He walked over to the information desk, where there sat an attractive, youthful Boslic woman. She looked up at him, completely professional. “May I help you, Mister…?”
Bashir smiled. “Yes, my name is Bashir—Julian Bashir.”
The woman nodded, and returned the smile. “Ah. Well, Mister Bashir, how may I be of service to you?”
Bashir noticed she didn’t say, “How may
we be of service?”
He replied, “Well, I’m looking for future accommodations, for my next leave. I’m…in the market, as it were.”
The receptionist nodded again in apparent understanding. “I see,” she said, leaning forward a bit with a smile, narrowing her eyes slightly. “Well, sir, I would be happy to provide any—information
you would care to obtain from me….”
Bashir raised an eyebrow at this. So that’s her idea, is it? All right, two can play at this game…
“Well, I suppose in this
case…a tour will suffice.”
Her smile grew. “A tour?”
Bashir leaned forward, and returned the smirk. “An extensive
tour…as detailed and extensive as possible, if you please.”
The woman nodded again, slowly. “Well,” she said, lowering her voice to a near whisper, “I believe I can arrange that…Mister Bashir….”
“Very good,” Bashir replied in the same tone, returning the nod. Now for the kill.
He straightened up, and said in a normal, slightly cheery voice, “So—if you’d be so kind as to contact management, and arrange a tour of this hotel, for myself and my associate, that would be wonderful.”
She blinked. “Your associate?”
should be here in a few minutes.”
He resolved to keep his chuckle internal, upon seeing the barely-suppressed look of crushed disappointment on the receptionist’s face. “Um…yes, sir. Right away.”
Bashir walked off, shaking his head with a silent chuckle as the woman carried on in her duties. I actually enjoyed that
…. I wonder—was this how Jadzia felt, all those times with
He briefly glanced in the direction of the restrooms. A few more minutes…and Cynthia would be done. So far, so good.
* * *
Cynthia Holland entered the woman’s restroom, and went straight to the sink. She set her purse down on the counter, and lowered her hands into one of the many bowls cut into the pink marble. There was a slight gap cut along the entire rim of the bowl, from which came a soft “waterfall” of a cleaning solution—a replicated mixture of hand cleanser and water, at precisely the right temperature for comfort—which, once “drained”, would then dissolve back into the system’s energy stores.
As she washed, she looked around her, at her surroundings. No one else was inside.
The water stopped, and a gust of hot air dried her hands in a matter of seconds. Holland reached into her purse, pulling out a small rod of pink lipstick. She squeezed the bottom, twisting it.
She felt a brief buzz, indicating that the device was activated.
Holland smiled, and turned to the mirror above the counter, applying the lipstick in a casual manner. When she was done, she was in no real hurry to close the stick—not even when she felt it buzz again, in completion.
She put it away, as if it had no significance, and pulled a compact out of the purse, opening it. She held it at different angles, as if checking her face. After a moment, there scrolled at the bottom of the small circular mirror an only just perceptible message: Area clear.
Of course…that was what she expected. It would be a most twisted and disgusting mind who would plant bugs or scanners inside a restroom—even if the owner was
a member of the Syndicate.
Satisfied, she walked into one of the stalls, locking the door. She sat down, and pulled out her tricorder, scanning for a general outline of the structure of the Palais de Mystère.
* * *