Meeting the mysterious Aunt
Mission 2: Heaven On Earth
Location: Anje choice
Things added up, then they didn't. And when they didn't, they made Phoenix's head hurt. So she had, rather quietly and after an invitation from her new Legate, beamed down to a remote property in the Russian western Mountains.
The house was, as expected, large and elegant. Phoenix walked calmly up to the front door and pressed the chime. Time to talk to Anje about the things that didn't add up.
Anje pulled up from the other side, she'd gone to visit her Grandparents' grave before coming to the house and was surprised to find Phoenix had managed to not only find the place but beat her there, "Oh, Captain, hi!" She said, rushing over, not yet having removed her bags from her vehicle.
The door opened, a woman not much taller than Anje Brett opened the door in a dark red dress made from fairly heavy material, even in summer this part of Russia was cold. Ignoring her Aide's screams not to answer the door herself, Ambassador Anje Zhukov smiled to her visitor, "Ahh, at last the lovely Princess Phoenix comes to visit an old woman."
"Auntie, this is Captain Lalor, I invited her to join me here for a..." She began, then stopped, "I wasn't expecting you, Auntie."
"Oh, child, I'm the Spanish Inquisition." The elder Anje laughed, "Nobody expects me." She turned to Phoenix, "Well, while it's a lovely door, you might like the inside of the house just as much and an old woman who's spent the last couple of decades on Vulcan is freezing to death. Come, come, warmer in here."
Phoenix smiled at the elderly woman and gave a correct curtsey. "I have heard much about you Ambassador. I do hope my visit is not going to take up too much time I know you will want to visit with your Niece. "
"Oh, of course I will, but you are no bother, no bother at all." Zhukov protested, "I was just about to sit down to some lunch. My grandson, Nikita, bagged a large boar yesterday, he's dressed it out and ready to serve it to his old grandmother. A good boy, Nikita. Smart, considerate, handsome, tall..."
"You've no idea how rare that is in this family." Anje said, indicating her own diminutive form.
Phoenix smiled at that, and there was obvious humor in her eyes.
A young woman with short, sandy blonde hair in a Marine dress uniform stepped out into the parlor, "Madam Ambassador, you shouldn't be answering doors yourself! What if that had been an assassin?" Lieutenant Rebecca Stafford protested, knowing already it was to no avail.
"Well, if she was the last thing I saw before I died it wouldn't be all that unpleasant." Zhukov shrugged.
"Oh, geez, Auntie..." Anje began.
"Pssh, child." The older woman blew her off, "I'm a crazy old woman, let me enjoy myself."
Grinning now, Phoenix considered letting the younger Anje twist a bit more but chose instead to bring her visit topic to the fore. "While I appreciate the fact that I would make a very pretty assassin, I think you would be more than a worthy adversary Madam, and I'd most likely loose any battle against you." She paused. "I was hoping to discuss recent events with your niece, as I am sure you have been briefed on our most recent... mishap?"
"Oh, damn it, what did Milla do this time?" Zhukov said, then stopped, "Sorry, automatic reaction. Yes, your recent misadventure. What would lead you to believe I would know anything about that?"
Phoenix smiled casually. "Well I do know that because it involved another intergalactic power, all ambassadors would have been briefed. Its common procedure."
"Well, yes, we do receive daily briefings and updates on important events." She replied, taking a seat as her timberwolf, Vladimir, took his spot beside her, ~Is this pretty young thing trying to bait me? Of all people...~ "And, I did become a little more hands on in the situation due to that dreadful.... Anje, darling, what was that imbecile's name?"
"Albright." Anje answered.
"Yes, that's the fool in question." Anje the Elder recalled, "I'm planning on offering him a position. On the Grogan campaign." She motioned Rebecca over, "Rebecca, be a lamb and send Nikita into town, tell him his poor old Grandmother simply must have honey for her tea. He can take Ivan."
"You want him to do a twenty kilometer round trip on horseback, Madam Ambassador?" Stafford asked, "That'll take hours."
"Well, it's good honey, dear." The Ambassador replied, making the message plain that her beloved grandson needed to be gone for a couple of hours, just in case she needed to share things with the Princess he simply couldn't know about.
"Yes, Madam Ambassador." Stafford nodded, excusing herself to send Nikita on the way.
"Now, where were we, dear?" She asked, "Old minds tend to scatter things a bit, you know."
The likelihood of that, Phoenix surmised as very slim but she played along. "The incident with Albright..All I got out of my sister was a lot of swear words and threatening to skin him alive. Jaeih t'Noramei-McKinley was more forthcoming with details but she was pretty skittish around me due to being on report herself. From my understanding, Albright without waiting to see if there was any legal documentation around the care of my minor sibling, contacted the embassy on earth, run by, and you'll pardon my laugh here, a female Erisian - More like cardboard cut out - to come collect my sister." She paused and looked at Anje the younger. "Is this correct?"
"Basically, yes." Anje replied to her Captain's question.
"At which time she called in heavy artillery." The older woman said, pulling a bottle of vodka out from beneath her desk, "Take a touch with a very senior citizen?"
"Of course, Auntie." Anje gratefully accepted, that was primo booze right there. She got three glasses down and set them on the table.
"So, yes, we did assist with keeping your sister safe from Eve's three ring circus." Zhukov sighed, filling the glasses and taking hers to her lips, sipping deeply and saying in ecstasy, "Heavenly."
"Which I appreciate greatly, believe me. I have logged a complaint against Albright and Commodore Mountbatten knows I am not messing around. I know she had to do the inspection. I know it was bad timing, and I know that the Romulans really did not care who they took out in their ..zeal.. to capture the person they were after." Here Phoenix looked at Anje the younger, the Vodka untouched in her own hands. "I also, heard that while Gary is being very tight lipped about why he was the target, that you Commander Brett maybe able to spread some light on the matter. It would.. be of assistance to myself, Commander Qwyyn and Commander Holmes I believe to enable us to lay it to rest."
~Well, shit, she's got some idea, she's not just fishing, she's on a trail.~ "Yes, well, I wouldn't expect that complaint to go too far, as Little Anje traded Percival Albright's skin for someone named Jaeih's." The Ambassador informed, "As for why some Romulan wannabe strong man would want to kill Gary Taylor, it's hard to say. I mean, I've made plenty of enemies myself in the century plus I've spent protecting the Federation, why poor Rebecca panics so much every time I open the door or take the first bite of my meal without her scanning it." She sipped her vodka, "I'll probably be the death of that girl..."
"Auntie," Anje the Younger began in Russian, "maybe the time is now. She's no fool."
"I know she isn't, little one." The older woman smiled, draining her glass and pouring another, "My last vice. So, yes, Cdr. Taylor has definitely made some enemies, as have you, my dear. Rest assured, lovely Phoenix, the attack on Taylor was a message to another, a message received that will be responded to in kind. With interest."
Phoenix studied the older woman carefully, her blue eyes clear. "very well." She said softly. "I do hope they feel everything they did 1000 fold."
"Only 1000 fold?" The Wolf Queen smiled, "You've never met their banker, my dear. A much higher interest rate will be demanded." Rising to her feet again, "I do hope you're going to get to spend a few days with us, you'll find it quite enjoyable I would think, especially if you're a lover of nature."
"I am a lover of nature, but I unfortunately have booked time on a ranch in Montana, and will be unable to stay longer than the couple of hours booked. A friend of mine owns a massive spread out there and offered me the use of her guest house for a few days." Phoenix smiled "And I intend to spend the time riding horses and relaxing." Phoenix rose as the ambassador did so.
"The Taylor Ranch is lovely, dear." The Ambassador nodded, placing a hand on Lalor's shoulder, "Do come sometime when you can spend more time, there's so much for us to discuss..."
"Of course Ma'am. It would be an honor." Phoenix inclined her head and looked at the younger Anje. "Thank you both for your time today."
A tall, handsome young man of about nineteen entered, "Okay, Grandma, I'm going for your honey now..."
"Oh, never mind the honey, dear, I think I've another jar somewhere here." The Ambassador said, "Walk the lovely young lady out while your cousin and I have a chat."
"Okay, Grandma." He sighed, she was always doing this, "This way, ma'am." Once through the door he shut it behind them, "Sorry, Grandmother is getting a little weird in her old age."
Phoenix smiled at that. "I am sure she does it to keep you on your toes." She let him lead her to the door. And then when he opened it, she stepped out. "Thank you." She said politely.
"Uh, hey, ya know..." Nikita began nervously, "There's a little taco place a few kilometers from here, if you were, you know, hungry or whatever?"
She held back a laugh but gave him a smile, which held friendly humor. "Unfortunately, I am due back on the Elysium. But thank you. Maybe when I am single." She stepped clear of the beautiful house. And turning she tapped her badge. "Elysium, One to beam up."
And with a smile and a nod to him, she was gone.
Nikita sighed and walked back inside, the beautiful visitor having vanished into the ether, where Lt. Stafford awaited, smirking, "Very smooth, 007..."