Club Vertica Casino, Nar Shaddaa
Zero had lost track of how long she had been waiting for the criminals that had the holocron to show up. Where are they? Mean has not spotted them inside yet, and really, I had expected them to get here first, since they had their own ship, while we had to take a shuttle. Something is not right...
At that moment, Zero’s holocom went off. She picked it up. "Yes?"
"Agent, this is Keeper. We have a positive ID on the photos you sent us. The male is Quintus Akroma. He works in the direct service of Darth Thanton. We assume he is skilled at his job since he was picked for the job over Darth Thanton's apprentices, so don't underestimate him. The female is Soleta Zashare, apprentice to Darth Serevin. She seems to serve him as an archaeologist. Both will probably have received similar, if not identical instructions to yours. I must remind you, Agent, that you are to allow no one other than Darth Jadus to get the holocron. That includes other Sith. Are we clear?"
Zero nodded. "Perfectly. I must go, Zero out." She hung up and started to think, processing the new information. She quickly came to a decision, and reached for her earpiece, filling Meanken in on the recent developments and her plan.
Mean smirked as he heard it. "Bold. I like it. I am going in, just give me a bit.” Mean grabbed a fresh drink from the bar and made his way to the table that Quintus and Soleta were at. "Hey, dealer, cut me in on the next hand!" he yelled as he took a seat at the table and waited to see if the two took notice of him.
As the new hand was dealt out, Soleta turned to look at Mean. "Oh, isn't it just precious
, sitting up and speaking Basic just like a real person," she gushed. Turning her attention back to Quintus, she wrapped her arms around him and looked up, pleading. "You'll win it for me, won't you darling?"
In response, Quintus sensually laid his free arm on Soleta's shoulders. "My dear, of course. Anything
for you." He too noticed Mean's arrival at the table, but made no indication of it.
Well, two can play at the insult game
. "I would be careful if I was you, buddy. Women like that, they tend to have a lot of diseases and such, if you know what I mean." Particularly if they are Sith
, Mean thought, smirking as he was dealt his hand.
Soleta smiled indulgently as she snuggled in closer to Quintus' side. "I do hope it doesn't teach the others bad habits. Perhaps we can find it a little playmate. A matched set would be so charming."
"Lady, I may start taking you mildly seriously once you stop humping that guy." Mean picked up his cards and stared at them, thinking more about the current game than about the idiot Sith.
"Is that... jealousy I hear?" Q mocked as his next hand was dealt. "Poor blueberry..." he mused aloud.
"Be nice, darling," Soleta murmured. "The poor thing can't help not having been trained properly. You can take care of that for me once it's ours." She let out a bubbly, childish giggle.
Zero spoke from the earpiece, "Mean, stop screwing around and get on with it!"
Mean acted as if no one had spoken as he picked up his next hand. "So, I am here searching for a particular object. A holocron, in fact. Tell me, would you two happen to know anything about it?" Mean's face was hidden behind the cards he was holding.
"Neither heard or seen the likes of it," Quintus discreetly denied as he continued to let Soleta nuzzle closer to him.
"Oh, really? My people tell me differently. You sure you know nothing? May want to check again," Mean smirked as he laid his cards down.
couldn't find snow on Hoth," Soleta replied, her tone dripping with boredom. "If it's a holocron you're after, I suggest you turn your attentions to the Academy's library. The archivists should be able to use small enough words for you."
Mean pointed at Q, his voice deadpan, with a hint of annoyance. "Your name is Quintus Akroma. The one acting like a ****** is Soleta Zashare. I could go further, but something tells me you wouldn’t want me to go into it in public. So, you see, my people know plenty. Now, you could just sit there and continue to insult me with insults I expect from a 5 year old, or you can come with me, and maybe we can get the damn holocron we are all after."
"Think you can simply extort me with my identity?" Q growled. "Ask me nicely. Oh, by the way... nice bust."
"Ya, well you didn't do much better, did you? No real room to talk, and at least I did not get injured. Okay, fine. Please
come with me so we can get the stupid holocron we are all after."
"I need a drink," Soleta sighed as she disentangled herself from Q. "Did you want anything from the bar, darling?"
"Oh, of course, dear," Quintus replied while keeping his eye on Mean. "Just my usual Juma. This blueberry's pretty persistent."
Soleta stretched herself up to stand, trailing her fingertips lightly across Q's shoulders, to which Q visibly portrayed arousal, smiling wickedly at Sol while staring down her backside. Her hips swayed as she sauntered over to the bar, smiling enticingly at the bartender. The tender smiled as the two shared a quiet conversation, punctuated by bright, teasing laughter from the Sith.
Mean looked over at the Sith, not really bothering to hide the fact that he was staring at her ***. "Look, I have all day here to do this. What, exactly, is the issue? Do you not trust me? Understandable, but I can’t exactly tell you who I am and who I work for here, you know? Too many ears."
Quintus continued to gaze at Soleta, clearly enamored by her continued seductive movements, even clearly displaying to her a face screaming attraction. When Mean finished talking, Q turned to him, but not before he stood his current hand. "You're still here? I feel even if we are looking for the same thing, I feel you are a liability."
Zero chimed in on the earpiece, "Mean, repeat after me."
Mean rolled his eyes behind his cards, but went with it, since this was not really his strong point. "Think of it this way. We are all going to be chasing this object anyway. We both know none of our bosses are just going to let this drop. Now, would you rather we be separate, and probably interfere with each other, making both of our jobs harder, and possibly causing the criminals to get away with the object, or would you rather have us work together, where you can know where we are and what we are doing at all times, and increase our odds of getting the object?"
Quintus quietly contemplated for a while before he finally replied, "We can work together, yes. However, I cannot guarantee that our agenda will wholly coincide with yours."
Zero started taking her rifle apart as she heard Q speak. "Okay, bring them outside, Mean. I will pull around and pick you up."
Mean finished the drink in his hand. "Great. Call your... whatever you want to call her over, and we will get out of here. Someone is coming to pick us up so we can plan our next move."
While Q and Mean discussed, a quiet, withdrawn little man had made his way up to the bar. Soleta chattered happily with him, resting a hand on his shoulder. He gave a nervous laugh before moving her hand gently away and leaning over the bar to speak in hushed, anxious tones to the bartender. Soleta flounced back to the pazaak table and sat beside Quintus. "Lose the little toy spy," she pouted, "I want to go."
"Lemme cash out. Got a good sum
of credits this game," Q said cheerfully as he discreetly switched his fabricated pazaak chip with a genuine chip and cashed all his credit chips in, ensuring the bugged chip remained in the cantina long enough. "Alright, dear. Ready whenever you are," he winked while looking at her.
Soleta took Q's hand as they both stood, leading him through the crowded casino. Once they were out of sight of the pazaak table, she pulled him tight to her side and whispered, "Stay close until I say otherwise." She wrapped a Force veil around them, hiding them from sight, and changed directions sharply, weaving through the crowds as she headed for a side exit.
Mean keep up with the two until they went around a corner, where they disappeared. "Crap. They are gone."
"WHAT! HOW DID YOU LOSE THEM? THEY WERE RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU!"
Mean flinched from the yelling in his ear. "Tone it down, damn. They were here one moment, and gone the next."
Zero had a feeling she knew what had happened. The Sith must have went invisible, and took the other one with her. "Okay, make your way toward the side entrance, I will be there." Zero finished with her rifle and flew down to the side entrance of the casino, where it would be hard for someone coming out to see her, but where she could see those coming and going without much problem. Invisibility may help them in an isolated hallway, but it would be virtually impossible to get through the mass of people at the main entrance without being noticed, so the only course of action that makes sense would be to try for the side entrance. But no form of invisibility is perfect. An unexplainable gust of wind, people seemingly getting bumped by no one, there is always a way to find someone.
Zero started watching the entrance, barely even blinking as she searched for any sign of their presence.
"Game is up,
Chiss," an elder Miraluka Jedi Master tapped Mean on the shoulder. "Care to explain why you were on Coruscant when a valuable package was stolen?"
"Eh?" Mean turned around to face him. Jedi. Great. Always show up when you don’t need them.
"Huh, I was not informed that it was a crime to be on a planet when a crime happens, even if you were not involved with said crime. If so, I think you have several billion other people to arrest." Mean was dead sure the Jedi had nothing on him, mostly due to the fact that he had nothing to do with the robbery.
"I don't think so. Not necessarily," Xon retorted. "Republic Security and some of my good friends in high places identified you, your Chiss companion, and a Sith on and leaving Coruscant the exact time parameter the artifact went missing. Coincidentally, Chiss do not
come to Coruscant on holiday. Based on these figures, among others, you and your friends will stand accountable. Lay down your weapons, and you shall not be harmed."
"Do you think I am a moron? You are going to try to arrest me because I was on Coruscant at the time of the theft, and I just so happen to be Chiss? What happened to things like, oh, I don’t know, proof, warrants, the sort of crap your republic tries to use to say it is better than the Empire? Even if that was not the case, your Republic has no jurisdiction on Nar Shaddaa. This planet belongs to the Hutts. If you try to take me in here, every bouncer in this place is going to attack you for assaulting one of their customers. Hutts don't like this sort of thing in their businesses, fights don’t do well for gambling, you see. But, I don't expect Jedi, who spend all their time hiding from the galaxy on their little planet to know this sort of thing." Mean smirked at the Jedi, waiting to see what his next move was going to be, and preparing in case he still attacked.
Soleta spared a brief glance back over her shoulder at the newly-arrived Jedi as she hurried down the corridor with Q in tow. "Force-sighted," she muttered under her breath, "bloody fantastic." She paused, briefly, at a junction between two hallways, and peered down each with an intent, searching expression. "He went this way," she whispered, leading Quintus forward once again, to which Quintus grunted slightly. "Why chase after him?"
"If you are so confident in your innocence and that our evidence is lacking, why hide behind the Hutts?" Xon asked inquisitively. "We have sufficient evidence to prove that you were at least an accessory to the heist." Xon sighed as he made a hand-waving motion, "you will stand down and come with me."
"I heard him talking at the bar," Soleta replied. "The buyer sent him to inform the bartender that he already has the holocron in hand. We follow him, we find his employer." As they reached the door at the end of the corridor, a faint electric tingle played over their skin as the Force veil faded, replaced by a more substantial illusion. The door opened, and a pair of Twi'leks stepped out onto the street. "There," Soleta announced, nodding toward the man from the bar as he scurried along the sidewalk.
Mean fell under the effects of the Force persuasion. "I will come with you." He walked over to him.
Zero heard all this in her earpiece, and adjusted the sound so it would create an ear-piercing sound to break the control. Mean shook his head a bit as the sound went through his head, breaking the control. Zero spoke before he could do anything, "Mean, pretend to still be under his control, I will tell you when to run." Mean made no response, since he was standing next to the Jedi as ordered.
Xon kept an eye on Mean. One subdued. Now, time to find the Sith.
Xon beckoned over to Mean, sensing a Force presence, and stalked towards the side door where he sensed it.
Still holding tight to Q's hand, Soleta took off at a run, hurrying to catch up to the messenger. "Prey before us and Jedi behind us," she breathed through a manic grin, "more fun than I could have hoped for." As they rounded a corner, the two Twi'leks turned into a pair of Rodians; a few blocks later, a Zabrak couple followed the messenger down a narrow, hidden staircase.
"Getting closer now...," Quintus mused. "This is quite the extensive underground network..."
Zero had made it over to where the jedi and mean were, and saw the jedi was apparently busy tracking someone else. Now is as good as a time as any.
"Mean, retreat at once! Move north, I will meet you!"
Mean quietly reached for a grenade while the jedi's back was turned, and turned it on, waiting until there were only 2 seconds until it exploded, then he dropped it and started running at a full sprint. In a split second response, Xon sensed the grenade, used the force to push it back, then went on his way to track the force presence he was seeking.
Mean kept running, surprised that the jedi apparently did not care to chase him after all the crap he must have went through tracking him down. Suddenly he was blindsided as a taxi almost hit him as it pulled up in front of him, only to see Zero driving it “Get in!” She yelled as Mean leaped over the door, and Zero flew away.