Thread: Aftermath
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12.02.2012 , 08:00 AM | #17
Part 13: In which the net is spread, and catches a small fish

As promised, Deuchar had put out feelers for information, using what Quinn and Zier had been able to supply via Taberon and Standtrae, viz:
  1. Phantom class starship, last known name Infinity, originally registered out of Dromund Kaas. (She'd managed to get the full registration and transponder details from a hacker friend on Balmorra who'd downloaded the entire Sobrik spaceport database a year ago (just because he could), before their security net had been tightened again. But of course, the first thing anyone trying to hide would do would be to change the ship's registration and transponder code, so there was no point in including it.)
  2. Last heard of at Voss, with approximate dates.
  3. Crew of seven including the owner: four Human, one Ratattaki, two droids.
  4. Owner: Human female, above average height, shoulder-length dark hair usually tied back, light skin but space tanned, blue eyes, scar across right eye, preferred weapon sniper rifle (much of which could be changed, of course, but the description might help).
  5. Names unknown (that wouldn't surprise anyone, since a lot of people in her circles frequently changed names, usually for very good reasons like awkward law enforcement officers or irritated customers. Virtually all Free Traders simply addressed each other as Captain, it saved enquiring what the current alias was).

Absolutely no mention of Cipher Nine or Imperial Intelligence, that would have freaked everyone out.

Without specifically saying it, she let it be thought that the Infinity's owner had defaulted on payment for a big job, and she was after them for the money. Everyone would understand that and most Free Traders would help each other out for it.

She had a few quick responses back confirming that, in addition to the places they knew about, the ship had been also been seen at Nar Shaddaa, Taris and Belsavis. But all of it was historical, nothing known after Voss.

Then, after a couple of weeks, she had a break. She'd gone to make a drop and a couple of pickups on Corellia, and the second pickup referred her on to a new customer called Suilven who needed something run to Coruscant. The customer turned out to be an old ex-pirate and the something turned out to be himself plus a contraband crate of Corellian brandy which he wanted to give his brother for an eightieth birthday present. The deal was straightforward enough, and she got him and the brandy aboard with only a small bribe to Customs.

She made her other drops first, and it took several days to get to Coruscant. Deuchar found herself warming to the old ex-pirate who loved to chat and was full of tales of his old exploits. She'd never minded being on her own, in fact she preferred it, but it was nice to have someone around now and again and Suilven was good company. The second evening, they were downing a bottle of the brandy (just to check the quality, Suilven had said with a broad wink), and he started telling her about the time he'd pirated an Imperial ship.

“Closest I ever come to Drumond Kaas, that. Heart in my mouth half the time, but our info was good and our man on board come through and we took her sweet as a Corellian candy bud. Right fine ship too, Phantom class, cleared close to half a million on it. Good days.” He chuckled to himself and took another swig of brandy.

Not really expecting anything, Deuchar enquired idly, “Ever seen a Phantom since?”

“Well, now, I have and all, right there on Corellia. Maybe three, four months back, it'd be now. Was that reminded me of the old Starshine. When you get old, it's good to have memories to look back on.”

Deuchar had sat bolt upright in surprise. The old man had started to wander off into other memories, but she gently led him back to Corellia.

“Listen, Suilven, I've been hunting a Phantom class ship, lost it after Voss. This might've been the one.”

“Lost someone, lass?” He chuckled. “Or money, more like, eh?”

She grinned. “Can't get anything past you old-timers. Did you see anything of the crew?”

He pulled thoughtfully at one earlobe. “Hmm, let me think … I was heading up to Coronet spaceport, doing 'business' with a friend in the Customs Office, you know?” He grinned, as did Deuchar. Both of them knew perfectly well that 'business' meant bribery.

“And I see this Phantom come down, was admiring her, beautiful lines. Very neat piloting too, straight down, no last minute adjustments. So anyway, I went on in and found my friend and sorted the stuff out. Dunno which hangar the Phantom went in, but not long after, three people come walking out of one of the lifts. There weren't any other ships come in while I was there, so most likely they come off it. I was waiting for my friend to get me some paperwork done, so I was just standing and looking around, see? So these three …” he pondered. “First one was a fine big Human woman, strapping wench, filled the eyes real nice. If I was forty years younger I'd've been trying my luck.” He chuckled to himself. “Dark hair, tied back nice and neat, space tan, bit of a scar across her face, but it didn't take nothing away from the looks. Striding around like she owned the place, and a big sniper rifle on her back which said, don't mess with me. I always did like tough women.”

He grinned with lascivious invitation at Deuchar, but she only laughed. “You just carry on Gramps, and don't let me distract you.”

“Don't try, don't get.” He chuckled with a shrug and took another large swallow of brandy, emptying his glass. “Where was I? Oh, yes … so, next after her there was a little Ratattaki lady, bit mean and sly looking, I thought, but can't really tell, I was looking at the first woman more. And following 'em both was an older Human man, short grey beard, clever looking, one of them long coats you see sciency types wearing. They come right up past me out of the port, but my friend had come back then.”

He refilled his brandy glass with elaborate care, while Deuchar waited on tenterhooks. “So did you see them again?” she couldn't resist asking.

“I'm thinking, lass, brain works slow when you come to my age, just you wait until you're pushing eighty.” He set the bottle down again. “Well, like I said, my friend had come back, so he passed over the stuff to me, and we had a quick bit of chit chat and then I went on out. When I got to the front entrance, there was the three of 'em standing at the top of the big ramp down into the city and talking, but just as I come out, the big woman told the Ratattaki to go back to the ship and keep them monitored. Called her Calico, or something like that, if I remember rightly. Imp accent, the big woman had, just like the people on that Phantom we pirated, but the Imps hold the spaceport so no surprise there. So the little Ratattaki said something I didn't catch, then she went back in the port, and the other two walked off towards the rocket tram station. And after that I didn't see them.”

“That has to be her, you described them exactly.” Deuchar smiled with delight. “For that, you get this ride half price. And it was three or four months ago, you said?”

“Be about that”, he nodded. “Likely closer to four. Could've gone anywhere after that, of course, but might even still be on Corellia.”

He took another drink and then said, “You know, if you want to find these people so bad, why not just put out a bounty?”

“Mmm... did think of that, but I don't really want it getting out that I'm hunting her. She's got powerful friends, right?”

“Oh aye, I know how it is lass. You've got my sympathy.” He grinned and went back to the brandy. She wondered how much his brother would actually get to drink. Suilven seemed to have an amazing capacity, nearly three quarters of the bottle gone and he wasn't even talking slurred, while she'd only had two measures of it and was already feeling that walking was going to be a challenge.
Control, passion, diligence: these three principles shape your world.

Lord Scourge: To repeat a mistake and expect a beneficial outcome is a sign of insanity.