Quinn cradled Mitka, now three days old, he held her bottle up and she gulped the formula down greedily, dribbles running down her bright red chin, her large yellow eyes stared up intently at him. Malavai cooed quietly at her, exclaiming how big she had gotten, and how good a girl she was for eating all of her breakfast. He told her how proud he was of her for being so good for aunty Vette. Vette yawned, good, she was up at least 4 times a night with the rug rat, and she had savored every moment. Captain Isiz was due today, Quinn had noted the fabricated com signal entering Imperial space yesterday and had tracked her since.
Quinn and Vette where in a small cramped flat on the out skirts of Kaas city, in the alien sector, barely patrolled or looked at by law enforcement, except when hunting for an appropriate scapegoat for some crime or another. It had devolved into a veritable ghetto, the flat itself was garishly decorated Quinn noted, all purples and greens, but it was Vettes home, and it was one of the safest places to hide Mitka while they waited to smuggle her away from danger. Quinn had visited daily, was there to rock her to sleep every night, trying to commit her every feature to memory. He took countless holo images but deleted them as soon as they were taken, the risk of keeping one too great. Vette had never seen Quinn, who was so typically stoic, smile so much then he did in the past three days, nor had she ever seen him so sad.
Mitka finished the last of her bottle, Quinn had dosed it with enough sedative to ensure Mitka would not wake when they reached the space port. Not for the first time did he swallow a lump forming in his throat. Vette had packed the small, soft animal carrier with a familiar blanket, and Quinn tucked a letter, hand written, into the folds, and he placed the sleeping babe into the bag. Vette checked her pistols and handed Quinn his, they nodded to each other, grabbed the bag and headed for the space port.
The holo blipped with an incoming call, Ainsley appeared, “Captain Quinn, your shipment of Orokeets is here, just waiting to settle up and we’ll be out of your hair.”
Quinn nodded curtly, “I’ll be there shortly, with your pay Captain Isiz.”
Those damnable birds where all the rage with the Kaas city nobility, it was rare to see a highborn lady without one of the squawking, preening birds, the two creatures so alike he mused, he was thankful for the near constant rain lest the streets be stained white.
He strode into the space port, flashed his ident chip and was welcomed with crisp salutes and no questions, advantages to being married to one of the most powerful sith in the Empire. Vette followed close behind. A young officer saluted him at the hangar doors, handing him a data pad.
“All credentials check out sir, you didn’t have to come, we could have had the birds delivered to your estate.”
“Ensign, these birds are a personal gift for my wife, I would inspect the goods before accepting them, dismissed.”Quinn replied, signing his name at the bottom of the datapad.
“Yeah, and one of them’s mine!” added Vette
Quinn passed his hands over the security console when the ensign left, shutting off the security cameras. He and Vette entered, with a nod Vette fell back and began a perimeter sweep.
Standing by her large freighter stood the Captain Isiz, hands on hips, long leather coat only partially concealing the two vintage pistols, the gleaming durasteel glinting in the light. Quinn recalled her dossier, 4 bounties on her head, three for smuggling, two from the Hutt Cartel, one from the Exchange and one bounty for privateering from Imperial High Command. She was also a champion gunslinger, he read the reports of soldiers who had fought against her in the battle for Corellia, she had almost single handedly taken down the Voidwolf and turned his fleet of pirates against the Empire. It had been a devastating loss. She was an opponent to be respected.
A large Zabrak woman carried out a cage with two Orokeet chicks.
“Well Captain, as promised.” She nodded to the birds, then handed the Zabrak a datapad.
Quinn transferred the remaining credits, then place the bag on the floor gently, unzipping it, and lifted his sleeping daughter, cradling her protectively.
“Oh my staaars, you forget how little they are!” Ainsley squeaked gently.
Quinn started listing off all the necessities he had packed for her, he looked at the cage, as if reading his mind Ainsley put his worry to rest.
“Don’t you worry, I have my oldest sons old crib in there, she’ll be safe and comfortable.”
The Zabrak collected the bag that they had brought Mitka in and took it into the ship.
Vette circled, now on one of the high platforms, scanning for anything out of the ordinary, not much escaped her keen eyes. Then she saw it, a form, a shadow, she drew her pistols, crept closer, it was above her, all dark, blending easily with the pipes, wires, and beams of the hangar bay roof. She followed the form, and noticed the long graceful edge of a sniper rifle, Vette shot the form, in the knee.
“Quinn we’ve got someone up here”
The assassin fell hard onto the platform floor, grunting.
Quinn pulled his pistol and aimed it at Ainsley, Mitka still in his arms.
Ainsley pulled her pistols, aimed them both at Quinn.
“I think we might have ourselves a problem here Captain Quinn.” Ainsley said, a hard edge in her eyes.
“I dare say we do, Captain Isiz”.