Maddox Airfield, Emris IV
Free Worlds League
5 May 3052
The day went from Chistmas to Halloween in a hurry for Tim Stantz. For weeks now he's stressed absolute secrecy on his latest projects, forcing all purchase orders to go through his personal supervision, rearranging shipments, and especially removing -anyone- who could have remotely mentioned -anything- about his new toys. And yet already on the tarmac, even before Stantz himself had gotten there, stood the one person he hated most. The man who had managed somehow had the leverage to get an Avenger-class Dropship out of Federated Commonwealth space without it falling into the grabby hands of FWL's SAFE. This dog had also somehow gotten into Blackthornes on the basis of 'historical research' and yet been assigned to Hearth Guard almost immediately.
He was also quite certain this was the one person who would have dared such a malicious joke as he'd stumbled upon last night.
How did he know?! Stantz had even gone so far as to use specially created hard-copies with important data redacted rather than allowing another hack job like the last one! He had accused Marcus weeks before of hacking into his noteputer for early access to the GRF-2N model they were to receive for testing. Security had at last taken this threat to his sanity and Blackthornes' safety seriously and conducted a supposedly 'thorough' search of Marcus's activities for the day in question. Of course they found nothing, which made them useless! The report being read openly was further insult to injury, making Tim look all the more paranoid while increasing the smirk across that Lyran jackal's face.
"Good morning Tim! Like the new look." Marcus stated with a smirk as he watched the expressions across Tim's face shift from anger to torment, fighting the frustrations not to lash out give the man exactly what he wanted. Tim had spent hours trying to wash away the stains, but this particular kind of ink was hard to remove for a reason.
"I don't know when you did it, but I know it was you." Tim fired back, struggling with every fiber of his being not to lunge for the man. The cleaning staff were having to work overtime cleaning and repainting his office after his noteputer's hard drive had been replaced with a dye-pack rigged to go off when someone went to inspect why it would not come on. Tim could still feel the twitch of adrenaline from hours before, sitting there bent over his chair while his mind tried to process why everything suddenly went purple and yellow. He'd found his hard drive an hour later, slipped under one of the feet of his desk...a perfect fit to keep the ancient furniture from rocking.
Yet neither the threat of the technician's stance nor his accusation seemed to make any impact against Marcus, despite being dwarfed by almost a full head and shoulders height. The man turned casually away from his accuser, looking down the tarmac at the Union trade ship finishing its landing preparations. "How odd, I thought most of our cargo was handled by the Alurak. I had no idea that the Claudius had switched from the black market business." He would then turn his gaze toward a man who Stantz had not even noticed was standing a short distance away from them. It was more than a few moments before he would recall the name of the captain that Marcus had hired to man the Avenger. Even then the only thing he could recall was that the man had come from Capellan space, and Marcus would only call him "Mr. Fisher."
Stantz realized suddenly that Marcus had turned to him, waiting for the technician to look back again before continuing. "Unfortunately, Capellan black market transports are pretty limited. If you know them as well as him, it’s pretty easy to get a heads-up on what is going where. You're getting better though, this time it cost me a bottle of Glengarry." Marcus was now moving past him, patting him on the shoulder even as Stantz stiffened from the renewed temptation to strike at the man.
"Seems you've been making a lot of purchases from outside our vendor. Not a bad idea considering the pressure we're under to take it to these 'Clanners' in their teeth, but I had to make a few alterations to the orders. Hope you don't mind..."
And with that he was off again, leaving Stantz to biting against his lip. Not just in frustration or embarrassment of being caught so easily. He would never dare admit within his own mind just how curious he was about these 'alterations.' In his anger he found his gaze returning to the dropship, his stare boring so deeply that he could almost see what might lie beneath the ferro armor within the cargo hold. Just what had that snarky son of a-
"Um, sir?" An unsure voice called out from behind him, turning the lead technician with a start. "WHAT?!" He bellowed without a thought as to who the man was or what he was there for, only to be nervously handed off a thin noteputer. "Th-the inventory report? It’s all as request-" The man did not dare finish the sentence from the look Tim gave him, snatching up the report to allow him to slink away quietly.