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Formal Request of the Galactic Underworld (IC)

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Community Content > Roleplaying > Roleplay and Play-by-Post
Formal Request of the Galactic Underworld (IC)

LogicLoup's Avatar

11.29.2012 , 01:35 PM | #31
The Heist! Part 1 of 2

Republic Security Headquarters, Coruscant

The duty officer at the first checkpoint stepped forward, blocking the entryway as a man and two women approached — all three well-dressed and looking grim. "I'll need to see some identification," he said, holding out his hand expectantly.

"Identification? Do you not recognize the woman who checked your security not two days ago? Spice, no wonder this place is having such trouble," the man swore, reaching into his left pocket with a feigned nervousness to reach for a cloth to wipe his forehead. "You can't even tell who your allies are when they've helped you before."

"Oh, calm down, Alecs," said Serlynne and smiled to the guard. "The officer is just doing his job." She handed her ID to the man. "I am Aziure Lyris, security inspector. I have been monitoring your systems since my first visit and have detected that someone gained an unauthorized access to your mainframe a few days ago. I am afraid I have to check your security systems again, but more thoroughly this time. And, of course, I'll need to see the artifact itself." She gestured towards her companions. "These two tech specialists are here to help me."

The officer nodded as the second woman passed him her ID. "Thank you for your cooperation, Inspector Lyris. You're on the list for today, so as soon as I can check your assistant's identification, you can head on in." He glared at Alecs as he continued, "I would have expected an SIS subcontractor to understand basic security protocols."

"You would also expect Coruscant Security Officers to be competent at their jobs. The last few days? Not a good indicator," Alecs smirked back.

"You're welcome to your opinion, of course," the officer replied, returning the ladies' identification to them. "Doesn't change the fact that no one's putting one foot past this checkpoint till I see your identification." He crossed his arms, settling in to out-wait the surly technician.

"Here, take it, Officer. Can I do my job now?" Alecs angrily grumbled.

The officer looked over Alecs' credentials with leisurely thoroughness, taking his time before finally handing the documents back. "Don't bother putting it away," he said as he stepped out of the way, allowing the three to pass. "You'll need to check in again at the entrance to High Security."

"What the hell, Boss?" Maneera whispered once they were out of earshot. "Were you trying to get us kicked out?"

"Think of all the crazy crap that's happened here recently. I needed to gauge exactly how alert they were going to be, and the analysis doesn't look good," Nayar responded grimly. "They're on high alert status, and its better to know that before we're too deep to back out. Things need to be crystal smooth from here on in to avoid suspicion."

"Oh, that's just great," hissed Serlynne. "So your idea of checking how alert the man is to annoy him so he could become suspicious of your person in particular. Wonderful. Let's just stick to the plan, okay?"

"Don't sweat it, Az," Maneera replied. "We made it through, and now we know a little more about what we're dealing with than we did when we started out. It's all good." She quickened her pace a bit, pulling ahead of the others to lead the way to High Security.

"Ner, is it really the best idea for you to run ahead?" Nayar slyly pointed out. "I think it's best to let our new friend handle the guards. They'll be too busy staring at her assets to notice us."

"Oh, you're volunteering to bring up the rear?" said Maneera, grinning. "Prince among men, Boss." She fell back into place between Serlynne and Nayar, watching the assassin's hips with decidedly more than professional interest.

Nerama's look hadn't escaped Serlynne's notice, but she ignored it, just like she always did, while smiling inside. After all, this was one of the main reasons the Hutts had picked the girl to carry out their death sentences — while people often did gaze on a beautiful woman, they almost never expected her to turn into a death machine in a blink of an eye, while those who had seen the transformation never lived to tell about it.

And that was just the way Serlynne preferred it to be. Besides, she liked when other people saw nothing in her, but admired her natural gifts at the same time. It made the assassin's following actions much more satisfying.

You can stare all you like, sister. And you, Alecs, whatever your real name is. For one day it's gonna be my turn to look into your eyes and see your last surprise as all life flees from your dying body.

Of course, mostly only the men looked at Serlynne like this, but she didn't care one bit. Everyone was entitled to have their own likes; as for Serlynne, well, she didn't need anyone at all, not since the orphanage on Nar Shaddaa.

- Don't worry, Sheila, I'll take care of you. Come closer, don't be afraid. I won't hurt you, I promise.

- What? Are you insane? Leave her, you idiot, can't you see how weak this girl is? Here she's a goner, for sure!

- Shut up, Sairus! Don't listen to him, Sheila. I swear, I won't let anything happen to you.

Of course Sairus was right. He even turned his words into self-fulfilling prophecy later, when he killed Sheila on a whim, after Serlynne refused to hand over to him the most needful thing in that place. But it didn't make his own death at Serlynne's hands later feel any less sweet.

Come to think of it, he was my first victim. First big victory. Oh, the irony...

Serlynne smiled while thinking about her past accomplishments and all the way she had come since, and kept smiling till she reached the lift to the High Security Section.

"And the creepy-*** smile appears," Nayar muttered to himself as they all turned to stand on the lift. "And whenever the creepy-*** smile appears, me, you know that said person is probably not thinking about how adorable Kushiban are."

The lift doors opened onto the receiving area for the High Security section, and the three shuffled their way off the lift. Once again, Maneera maneuvered herself to stand between Serlynne and Nayar, even though her attention had drifted onto the bank of unmanned computer terminals beyond the reinforced window. She crossed her arms tight, holding in a shiver.

The man at the checkpoint leaned heavily against his counter, a hand to his temple, face contorted in pain. "I'm... ughh..." He shook his head, then seemed to regret the action as he winced, forcing himself to look up at Serlynne. "I'm gonna need to see some ID." He fumbled at one of his pockets, pulling out a blister pack of small white pills. He popped out three and swallowed them dry.

"Rough week, sir?" Nayar queried, carefully handing over his "documents" for verification.

"Huh? Oh... no, I..." He peered down at the documentation, trying to focus. "Headache just kinda snuck up on me."

Still looking through the window at the empty banks of terminals, Maneera passed her identification across the counter. "Where's the rest of your crew?" She fought to keep her tone light and casual. "Everyone up for a caf break?"

"Rest of... they're..." He winced again at a fresh stab of pain. "No, it's... short shift today. Just me on the clock. Just me."

"That's too bad," said Serlynne, handing her ID to the officer. "I'll have to speak with your top brass about proper organization of workers' schedule, because right now it doesn't improve the security of this place like it normally should. Now let us inside, we must check everything here."

While her calm and confident tone gave no indication of it, Serlynne herself started feeling a little nervous. I have a bad feeling about this. Is it possible someone else is already trying to steal the artifact?

"Of course." The officer handed back all three sets of identification, then reached under the counter to flick the door control switch. There was a heavy metallic 'clunk' as the blast door slid out of the way.

Maneera dropped back to walk beside Nayar as the three of them passed by the deserted computer room and entered the High Security vaults. "Things are gonna get real bad, real quick, Boss," she whispered, quietly enough for only him to hear.

"Do I need to take care of our friend then?" Nayar glanced at Serlynne, "or should I ready my blaster for who's ahead?"

"Priority on the blackrobes," Maneera whispered her reply. "If she's with them, I'll deal with her." Tense and watchful, she moved back into position between Nayar and Serlynne.

The corridor was eerily still and silent as the trio advanced. The steady electronic hum of surveillance equipment was hushed to a barely perceptible whisper. Rather than panning to track their movements, the cameras overhead remained fixed as they passed. The faint smell of ozone threaded through the air; midway down the corridor, sparks of electricity flickered from a scorched control panel.

Nayar drew a small pocket-blaster from inside the pristine suit he wore. "Lyris, I don't know if you have any other special talents, but we're going to need them in the next minute. Mans, take the left side, spark the panel. I've got right."

Serlynne didn't fail to notice a brief exchange of words between her companions that took place a minute ago, but right now she had more pressing concerns than to worry about its meaning. Like, preparing to fight with an unknown enemy, whose presence here was now obvious.

"Oh, don't worry, buddy," replied the assassin, swiftly drawing her twin blasters, "I have plenty of them. Just don't get in my way." And don't even think about striking me in the back.

Maneera nodded silently as she circled around to kneel in front of the control panel. After prying away the scorched cover, she carefully picked out two frayed bits of wiring, wincing as stray sparks leapt to sizzle against her fingertips. She looked over her shoulder to Nayar and, at his nod, brought the ragged ends of the wire into contact.

The blast door slid slowly open. The room beyond was dark; the light from the hallway and the dim, lavender glow of the holocron revealed two silhouetted figures gathered at the pedestal in the center of the room.

"I'm sorry, that holocron? It belongs to me. So if you'll kindly hand it over. . .?" Nayar lightly threatened, lifting the small blaster, flipping a switch so the gun made a high-pitched whine before receding to a lower-leveled hum.

Quintus lifted his own blaster and primed it as well. "I'm afraid this holocron will see better days."

"Oh, I am quite sure it will," agreed Serlynne, while quickly aiming both of her weapons at the man's head. "But you won't."

Maneera pulled a clip from her hair, using it to pin the frayed ends of the wire together, holding the door open. Pressed as tight to the wall as she could manage, presenting as small a target as possible, she stood and eased her rifle out from beneath her coat. There was a pair of faint clicks as she folded the stock and power cell into active position. With her eyes closed and her forehead lined in intense concentration, she watched and waited for the moment to fire.

Inside the vault, Soleta stepped forward, stopping halfway between the pedestal and the door. "Gentlemen, ladies," she said, her voice warm and welcoming. "I'm sure we can all work through this situation like reasonable, civilised beings. Let's just set our weapons aside for the moment, shall we?"

"Normally, I'd agree to such a request from a lady. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any such woman here, so I'm afraid I'll need to rephrase my earlier statement: That holocron you're holding? Belongs to me now. So, kindly hand it over, and everyone leaves intact." Nayar lined up his shot on Quintus.

"My, aren't you the charmer," Soleta replied, grinning impishly. She turned slightly, gesturing toward the holocron; a faint purple haze surrounded the cube as a Force shield shimmered into place around it. "And I was so looking forward to a nice, cosy chat," she added, her voice echoing in the vault as she faded from view.

"As were we all," Quintus mused, chuckling as he reached into his labcoat with his free hand and held onto a flashbang grenade, "unfortunately, neither civilization nor intelligence rubs off on everyone." Without warning, the operative activated the grenade then tossed it to the ground that is mere inches from Nayar.

"Scatter!" Nayar yelled as he punted the 'nade away from him. A blaster shot discharged from his pistol, a loud burst of energy that surged out if the small firearm as Nayar leapt backwards, shielding his eyes. His shot went wild, passing a good two feet above Q's head, impacting the ceiling above.

Serlynne instinctively dived aside to get away from the grenade, made a quick somersault, got on one knee and opened fire from both of her blasters, still aiming for Q's head.

As the grenade detonated, Maneera darted into the vault, letting the sudden, brilliant flash wash out the "normal" portion of her vision. If she concentrated, she could still make out the pale lavender glow of the holocron and Q's hazy form where he stood half-concealed by the pedestal. She sprinted forward, ducking low out of the line of fire.

Q noticed the stray shots hitting the ceiling and blaster bolts coming for him. He instinctively rolled behind the holocron's pedestal to cover until he saw Maneera sprinting towards him and the holocron. Smirking, the operative unsheathed a profoundly honed vibroknife and took a swift slash at Maneera's legs.

Maneera stumbled as the knife sliced across her thighs. She threw herself at Q in a clumsy tackle, swinging her rifle up to club him across the chin with the stock.

Nayar stumbled to the floor, his ears ringing loudly from the blast, his eyes temporarily blinded. He discharged the core of the blaster he was using, the charged shot having wasted its energy. His hand fumbled in his belt for another shot, grabbed it, and slammed it in by touch just before his eyesight returned. He charged for the holocron, his hand out to snatch it from where Q and Mans were struggling.

Soleta re-appeared as a sudden burst of Force energy pushed Nayar away from the pedestal. "Your friend needs you," she said, planting the impression of a gasping cry of pain and a splash of bright arterial blood splattered against Q's spotless white coat.

When Q disappeared from her sight behind the pedestal, Serlynne's stopped firing and run to the opposite corner of it, intending to attack the man from behind while he was fighting Nerama. However, when Alecs was thrown back by now-visible Soleta, the assassin had to switch her attention to a new, more dangerous threat. So Serlynne turned to the Sith woman and opened fire, aiming for her head with right blaster while the left one was pointing at Soleta's legs.

Quintus continued to struggle with Maneera, clearly somewhat dazed from the clubbing he received earlier. Merely seconds after Soleta reappeared, Quintus launched a barrage of vibroknife assaults, intent on bleeding Maneera and getting her off him.

Nayar quickly looked to where Mans struggled, his blaster aiming at Quintus to shoot, but froze when the image of Mans in his head contrasted with the reality of her fight. The images warred within his mind, until with a shout, Nayar turned and open fired on Soleta as well, blood dripping from his left eye after fighting off the Force persuade.

Maneera jabbed at Quintus' stomach with the stock of her rifle, hopping back out of his reach. She spun the scattergun back around into a firing position and snapped off a quick, unaimed shot that caught him high on the shoulder. Circling around to position herself between Q and the holocron, her back pressed against the pedestal, she launched a spinning kick at his hand in an attempt to force him to drop the knife. This barely missed.

Now under fire from two angles, Soleta pulled a thin shield of static energy around herself. The lightning bubble around the holocron dissipated with a gentle 'pop' as she drew power into herself, sparks beginning to dance across her fingers.

Nayar continued to fire as he slowly got up, only stopping to swap yet another clip with the burnt-out core of his pistol. He slowly inched towards the pedestal where Mans was fighting, then reached out, snatching the holocron from the small pillar. Immediately, alarms blared throughout the entire building, Nayar having triggered a pressure plate on the pedestal.

Serlynne's face twisted in frustration when she heard the alarm.

Great. The last thing we need is Republic security officers attacking us from behind... assuming these two haven't killed everyone here already.

She began to move slowly towards the exit from the room, while still firing at Soleta and trying to keep an eye on Quintus at the same time.

Startled by the sudden noise, Soleta let loose the power she had been gathering together, the lightning crackling as it arced at Serlynne. She turned sharply toward Nayar, drawing up a vortex of dark energy to surround him, holding him in place. "I thought you had everything powered down," she said, glaring at Quintus.

Quintus made a quick grab for Maneera and slashed towards her torso, hoping to bleed her once more as he turned to Soleta and grunted, "Well then, apparently not. Who was it that insisted I keep moving when I said the slicing was nearly completed?"

Maneera bent out of the way of Quintus' grab, but the following slash of his knife slid in under her ribcage as she turned to call to Serlynne. Biting back a scream of agony, she yelled, "Az! Get Boss out now!" She brought her rifle to bear on Quintus and fired again, focusing the spray at his center of mass.

Serlynne attempted to leave the trajectory of upcoming Force energy, just like she was once taught, by jumping to the side and landing on her chest. Unfortunately, the energy was moving too fast — while Serlynne's torso didn't catch it, the lightning enveloped her left hand. For a moment that seemed to last an eternity, it felt like Serlynne's hand was burning from inside, then it went numb, hanging lifelessly from the woman's shoulder. I really hope its only a temporary effect. Serlynne quickly got on her feet and continued to retreat, but not before resuming to shoot at Soleta's head with the blaster in her right hand.

Soleta's shield dissipated under the sustained fire from Serlynne. Her concentration shattered, the Sith acted on instinct, pulling back the energy of the vortex and using it to cloak herself. Invisible once again, she moved swiftly and silently to the edge of the room, following the wall until she approached the open door. She nudged gently at Serlynne's mind, pushing memory of her presence to the back of the assassin's consciousness.

Serlynne froze for a moment, uncertain what was going on. Her left hand was still numb and now the assassin had a strange feeling that she had forgotten something extremely important. Then she noticed Alecs was holding the holocron.

"Alecs, grab Nerama and lets get out of here!" shouted Serlynne and started shooting at Quintus.

Nayar fell free of the constraining Force, before reaching up to Mans, grabbing her shirt collar, and yanking her away from Quintus while shoving the holocron into her grip. "No. Both of you, back to the ships. I'll hold off our knife happy friend."

Maneera stood still, tucking the holocron against her side as she watched Nayar. "Damn it, Boss," she muttered, "come back safe." She turned and, with one hand pressed tight against the wound below her ribs, ran clumsily from the vault.

The guy wants to play hero? Well, it's his funeral, not mine. Serlynne gave the room one last look and followed Nerama.

"Your meddling does not bode well for you, cretin," the normally stoic Quintus snarled as he glared down Nayar. "My associate abandoned me, you allow them to escape with my prize, this will not be quick," the operative vowed as he made a grapple at Nayar, with a knife in hand.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but don't think for one second that I am one of them."

LogicLoup's Avatar

12.11.2012 , 09:14 AM | #32
The Heist, part 2 of 2

Coruscant Security HQ, High Security Vaults

"Your meddling does not bode well for you, cretin," the normally stoic Quintus snarled as he glared down Nayar while briefly clutching three small wounds on his side. "My associate abandoned me, you allow them to escape with my prize, this will not be quick," the operative vowed as he made a grapple at Nayar, with a knife in hand.

Nayar caught the grapple, twisting the knife from Q's hand to fling it across the room before disengaging himself from the agent. "C'mon, egghead. Fight like a real man, and leave that toothpick in the corner." Nayar grinned at Q, putting his fists up in a ready position.

"That 'toothpick' would merely have hastened your silencing," Q chuckled as he put his own fists up. "Come, swine."

Nayar grinned as he flashed a quick jab at Q, who readily blocked the blow. Nayar stepped in close, his elbow coming in at a hard swing. Quintus took the blow to his wounds, then hissed in pain. The second he somewhat composed himself, he unleashed a swift uppercut. Nayar barely caught the fast blow, his forearm stinging from where Q's blow bounced off. Nayar stepped back, then leapt up, unleashing a spinning heel kick at Q's head. Q barely managed to dive and dodge this blow before he unleashed a roundhouse kick of his own.

"Bit off a little more than you can chew?" Q mocked.

"If I had cred for everytime I said that to a woman, I wouldn't need this holocron!" Nayar joked, rolling backwards under the kick. He drew his blaster, and aimed at Q, only for a click to sound. "Of course, I'd be out. TR, you little- OOF!" Nayar let out a grunt as Q's foot smashed into his chest, sending him sprawling backwards.

"Bringing a gun to a fist fight now, are we?" Quintus growled as he assaulted Nayar with another kick.

"I'm just surprised you actually took the bait," Nayar snarled, catching the kick on the ground, then twisting Q's leg to make him fall. "I guess Imp Intel doesn't really focus on that second part, huh?!"

"Heat of the moment," Q retorted as he grunted in pain, got up, then swept a barrage of jabs at Nayar.

"And here I thought it was just my winning charm!" Nayar stumbled back as he tried to fend off Q's ferocious assault, three solid jabs landing of his chest. At last he countered, grabbing Q's last jab and pulling him in close to jab his elbow into Q's neck. It connected, with Q hissing in pain.

"No, just your mere dumb luck." Quintus rolled behind Nayar and unleashed a quick kidney punch.

Nayar stumbled back, and Quintus saw his opportunity. He grabbed the back of Nayar's suit, spinning him around to repeatedly smash his face into the pedestal. Nayar brought his elbow back to stop the slams, but Q overpowered him, slamming him once, twice, thrice, four times into the pedestal. Q let go after the forth blow, where blood had splattered over the holocron's holding.

Nayar fell, pulling himself up just enough to flip himself around, sitting with his back against the pedestal. He was breathing hard, and looked at Q with the one eye he had open. Q smirked, leaning down to cup Nayar's chin. "Foolish cretin. Now to take care of your friends." He stepped back, and spun once more, his foot flying out to smash into Nayar's face, knocking him to the floor. Quintus then fixed his labcoat, retrieving his knife before leaving the vault, limping as a result of the blaster wounds and Nayar agitating them.

Security Headquarters, Coruscant

As quickly as their injuries allowed, Maneera and Serlynne made their way to the ground floor along the emergency route Serlynne had mapped out after her first trip through the building. Taking advantage of blind corners and infrequently used corridors, the two were able to find and leave through a side door.

Maneera managed another few steps before stumbling to lean heavily against a wall. She turned, wedging the holocron between her back and the wall, and began rooting through her pockets. "Give me some cover here, okay Az?"

"Sure," answered Serlynne, reluctantly turning her back to Nerama and starting looking around for any sights of chasers or shadowing. "I hope you realize that your boss made a stupid move which in the end may cost him his life?"

"Boss doesn't take stupid risks," Maneera snarled. After a moment's search, she pulled a small tube of adhesive from one of her pockets and flicked off the cap. Holding the tube in one hand, she reached the other through the tear in her shirt to press the wound closed. "He did what he did because he weighed the odds and made the best call he could." She carefully ran a bead of glue along the cut in her side, pressing the flesh back together until the adhesive set, then repeated the process with the shallower cuts on her legs before tossing the empty tube away. "There. That'll have to do for now."

"Let's go, then," said Serlynne. "We should get you to your ship before any more hostiles will find us."

Maneera shook her head. "Better if we split up. I can make it back on my own." She pushed herself off from the wall, holding one hand beneath her to catch the holocron as it dropped free. Tucking the holocron against her unwounded side, she pulled her coat closed; the fabric hung heavily around her, hiding the cube from view.

Mean and Zero had been quietly waiting for something to happen for quite a while. Zero saw two people go out a side door, unusual as the only people she had saw use that door was a deliveryman earlier. One of them was holding her side, as if injured. Then, Zero thought she caught a glimpse of what appeared to be a cube shaped object.

The holocron, she thought. "Mean, I think I have found the target." She nudged him and moved her head ever so slightly toward Maneera. "You recognize her?"

"Ya, that’s the chick from earlier who broke out of the drunk tank. Must have been busy scouting out the location. I don't know the person she is talking to."

"An accomplice, most likely. Irrelevant. Our objective is the holorcron, not their capture. Besides, they seem to be splitting up." And why is that, she thought. Safety in numbers goes a long way in an event like this. Chances are they are both criminals. Perhaps they don't quite trust each other? Interesting. "Okay, here's the plan. I am going to follow the one with the holocron. Even if spotted, chances are they won't perceive the skinny Chiss female as a threat right away. You, go to the Club Vertica cantina. If I lose her, that will have to be where she goes to get paid. We can pick up the trail there." The two got up and departed, Mean making his way to the bar while Zero took up an out of sight position standing at a nearby bus stop, as if she was simply waiting for it.

Meanwhile, Serlynne quickly turned to Nerama, genuinely surprised by her words. "No, splitting up is unwise," she said. "We don't know how many people are looking for us right now. No matter how skilled you are, it's obvious to everyone that intercepting you on the way to the ship is the easiest way to get the holocron. I can't let this happen, so I am going with you."

Maneera glared at Serlynne. "Fine." After a stumbling start, she took off at a quick walk. "Just try to keep up."

"Will do", replied the assassin. As long as I don't need my left hand for it. She began to follow Nerama, carefully maintaining a distance of few meters between herself and her companion, while looking for any potential threat that could lie ahead.

Zero noted that the two seemed to change their minds about splitting up Smart. But it makes my job harder. One person unaware, I can take without much problem. Two people, one of which looks rather heavily armed, will be much more difficult. She followed the two, carefully maintaining a long distance between them. She also looked around aimlessly, as if she was lost.

Quintus proceeded as far as his wounds allowed him to go, having mapped out his own quick escape route using a combination of the security cards and schematics of the complex, leaving from a side door. He proceeded down relatively the same path Maneera and Serlynne did, but took a higher path to ensure greater stealth. He passed a speeder which he was capable of hijacking, but decided against it.

Subtlety over speed gives greater results.

Slightly clutching his wound, the operative reached into his coat pocket and brought out a kolto medpack and proceeded to spread its contents across his wounds, ensuring they would seal up. Once done, he continues to walk until he spotted two women below his rise, one of them being Maneera, and the other being the assassin who foolishly interfered earlier. Quintus stealthily hid among buildings and objects among the rise he was on and set his eyes on Maneera.

This miserable woman will know pain for stealing my victory.

Maneera's brisk pace slowed to a halting, uneven stagger. She fell behind Serlynne by a few paces, then hustled to put herself back in the lead, over and over again as the pair traveled down side streets and back alleys on their way to the spaceport. Each time, Serlynne was able to pull a little further into the lead, and it took Maneera a little longer to catch back up again.

Zero noticed Maneera's walking pattern as she followed, resorting to peeking around corners and hiding behind walls to keep from being spotted Trying to get away, are we? Not a bad method to go about it. It might even work. Let's see if the other criminal is smart enough to pick up on it.

It took Serlynne some time to figure out her companion's strange behavior, but when she did, the assassin nearly burst out in anger. This schutta! She is trying to lose me even after I explained why we must stick together!

It was the last drop. First a Force-user messing with her mind (by that time Soleta's influence had effectively worn off, and Serlynne had little doubt about who she should blame for her strange amnesia), then Alecs deciding to play hero against all odds, and now Nerama behaving like a spoiled child. So be it. If some smart mercenary or Imperial agent gets her and takes the holocron, I'll just have to track it and take the artifact back. After stopping and giving Maneera a death glare, Serlynne abruptly turned and headed for her personal shuttle, and never bothered to look back.

Serlynne's glare was met with a grin and a cheery little wave as Maneera turned sharply to proceed down a narrow, trash-strewn alley. Careful not to overstress the glued-together tear in her side, she reach back under her coat and drew out her scattergun, folding it out into firing configuration with practiced ease. She kept her back to the wall as she side-stepped through the alley, alert and watchful.

Zero saw the two separate on what looked to be rather bad terms. Excellent. That makes my job easier Before Zero could act, Maneera ran down a dark alley. Clearly she is trying to smoke out anyone following her. Smart. Were I the common criminal trash she expects to attack her for the holocron, that might even work. Zero flipped over to a wall just around the conrer from the alley, taking out a hand mirror, one any woman might be carrying for makeup, and used it to look around the corner without Maneera seeing, watching her to see what her next move was, and waiting for an opining.

Quintus continued to stalk Maneera, now that Serlynne has left her. Good...with no one else interfering, she and the holocron are mine. But I would be of low intelligence if I ambushed her right this second. The vengeful operative instead elected to continue to stealthily track her back to her ship and perhaps ambush her there.

Just before the end of the alley, Maneera scrambled up to the top of a pile of garbage, putting herself into position to climb up onto a fire escape landing. After a moment's pause for consideration, she tightened up the belt on her coat before shuffling the holocron around to rest at her back. There, back to being mostly hands-free. She climbed up the rickety metal steps for a couple more stories before tucking her scattergun against her back and stepping out onto a narrow ledge of ornamental stonework. Carefully, Maneera tiptoed along the ledge, her bloodied fingers leaving smudges along the stone where she clutched at whatever hand-holds she could find, until she dropped down onto an awning, and from there to the ground below.

****, Zero thought. Going to be hard for me to stay unnoticed if I follow her doing moves like that. Zero took out her holopad, checking a local map she had downloaded on the way to Coruscant. Let's see... if I circle around out the alley onto the connecting street from where she is going to end up, I may be able to catch up with her as she continues. Without any further hesitation, she quickly began circling around to Maneera's location.

Maneera continued along her winding path, spending as little time actually on the street as she could manage. Sometimes she ducked through buildings, passing in one door and out another. Sometimes she climbed, edging carefully along open balconies. She took a few moment's shelter on a bus, until the driver noticed she hadn't paid her fare and kicked her off again a few blocks later. By the time she reached the spaceport, she had traded her coat for a short, battered jacket and a watchcap which she tucked her hair into, pulling the bottom down nearly low enough to cover her eyes. Drifting around the edges of the crowds of disembarking passengers, she cautiously made her way toward the Hawk's hangar.

"Organic = bad clothes // Why?" TR beeped as he bumped into Maneera's leg from the side, indignantly whistling at her. "Organic = take too long // Other organic = back already."

"When did Boss get back?" Maneera demanded, crouching down so she was eye-to-lens with TR. "Is he okay? Did anyone follow him?"

"Organic = arrived 4 minutes, 53 seconds, 21 milliseconds // Organic = alone // Organic = bruised face and angry," TR beeped timidly, not expecting Maneera's question assault. "Organic + waiting = ship ready."

"Good." Maneera let out a heavy sigh of relief as she stood. Visibly relaxed, she strolled alongside the droid to their hangar.

Meanwhile, Meanken had been running around the city, trying to locate the cantina Zero told him to stake out. Eventually, he was informed that the cantina he was looking for did not exist on the planet. Annoyed, he quickly looked the place up on the holonet, only to find it was on Nar Shaddaa. Now extremely annoyed, he figured he would go to the spaceport. After all, if the woman wanted her pay, she was going to have to go back to Nar Shaddaa at some point. He called Zero to fill her in, not really caring what she was doing.

Zero had managed to lose Maneera after she jumped on a bus. The agent was also annoyed, but she had also respected her target's skill at losing tails. Not many would be able to lose Imperial-trained agents like that. She got a call: "Honey, how did it go? Why are you calling?"

"The bar we agreed to meet at is not on this planet. It is on Nar Shaddaa."

Oops. That was a rookie mistake. But, if it is on Nar Shaddaa, then... "Okay, honey, let's meet up at the spaceport then." She has to go there to get her ship. I will pick up her trail there. She hung up and started making her way to the spaceport.

Inside the spaceport, Quintus rolled into the hangar with Maneera inside and found what he guessed what is her ship and an astromech, using a stealth field generator and nearby crates to shroud his movements. He froze upon spotting the astromech.

That astromech is going to be a liability...ah well. The operative reached into his labcoat, grabbed an EMP grenade and a throwing knife. With his left hand, he threw the knife in Maneera's direction while casually activating the EMP grenade and bowling it towards the astromech with his right. "Where are you going?"

TR gave a panicked squeal as he wheeled back and away from the grenade. Maneera dropped into a low crouch and kicked at the grenade as the knife clattered to the floor behind her. "Thought I'd take a quick walk around the block," she called back as she dove for the knife.

Mean and Zero met up at the spaceport. The two started to walk around the spaceport, seeing if they could track down the ship. As the two were walking around, Zero heard a sound. "Hold it. Did you hear that? Sounded like a grenade. Come on." The two ran to the entrance of a hangar, where they saw Maneera and Q. "There she is. And who is that attacking her? I feel like I have seen him before." Mean shrugged in response. "Oh well, let's wait, see what happens. No reason to make a move too soon."

"Mockery becomes you," Quintus sneered as he gripped onto another knife. "Taking a quick walk and thwarting my plans?"

"Nothin' better to do, figured I might as well give it a shot." Maneera rolled to huddle behind TR. "Go get 'im, buddy," she said, elbowing the droid. There was a low, grinding whirr as TR leaned forward, straining to move, and then fell still and silent. "Thanks, canner," Maneera muttered. "Couldn't have picked a better time for it."

"I'm going to suggest you drop the butterknife, Skulker, and move your hands up real slow," Nayar drawled, pressing a blaster into Q's back, his targeting visor strapped to his right eye. "This little eyepiece I got here? I could hit you dead between the eyes across the spaceport riding 150 klicks on a speeder if I wanted. So. . . drop the butterknife."

Mean groaned, "How long are we going to wait?"

"Okay, move in now," Zero replied. The two drew their guns and walked in, pointing at Nayar's back. "Funny, I was about to say something along those lines to you as well. Drop your weapons, you and your accomplice, unless you want him to take a few shots to the back of the head."

Still hunkered down behind TR, Maneera slowly held out the knife she had picked up, then tossed it aside, sending the blade skittering across the floor away from Nayar and the agents. "Just calm down, sweet cheeks. No one's gotta shoot anybody today." With the same cautious motions, she pulled her scattergun from the back of her jacket and slid it toward the knife. Stupid pulse bomb probably fried it anyway.

As Maneera moved to surrender a shot rang out in the air, the visible blur of light passing mere centimeters from Zero's face. The shot was no miss, and clearly deliberate. Accuracy only an obvious professional could muster.

"Weapons down, Chiss." An amused voice called, its smug tone echoing off the hangar's walls. "Quickly now, before I put a hole in the female's face. And you, Cowboy." The sniper turning its call to Nayar. "Be a pal and collect them for me."

Zero raised her hands, not about to press the issue. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter which criminal scumbag gets the holocron. We know exactly where they are going. "Okay, okay, let's be civil about this. Mean....." Meanken showed no signs of lowering his gun. After Zero glared at him for a moment, he groaned again and put the gun on the floor next to Zero's. "I hope you know what the hell you are doing," he grumbled.

Nayar looked for the source of the voice, failing miserably as he tried to to keep an eye on Quintus as well. "Wait, wait, wait, hold up, I'm confused. The new guy's on our team? No four-way standoff?" He gave a questioning look towards Maneera.

Maneera stood, shrugging widely before hooking her thumbs into her beltloops. "Hell if I know, Boss," she replied. "Not gonna look a gift sniper in the mouth, though." Keeping a close watch on Quintus, she began slowly sidestepping toward her rifle and the thrown knife.

"This would be much simpler had you cretins not touched the cube," Quintus sighed as he dropped his knife and held his hands up. "But at the end of the day, the holocron will not remain in the hands of vermin."

"Yeah, yeah, keep whining, Skulker. Oh, and by the way. . .?" Nayar commented as he holstered his blasters, confident in his hidden sniper's aim. Nayar spun Q around, and delivered a hard punch to the side of his face. "And for the record, I would have won the last fight if I hadn't been distracted!"

"So you think," Q growled as he reeled from the hit. "But so was I." The operative stomps his right foot, revealing a hidden blade in his boot, which he used to kick at Nayar in retaliation.

Zero had been trying to place where she had seen Q before, and she finally remembered. The shuttle. He was there, in the next seat over. Based on the stance he was holding that knife in, and his general manner of speech, he must be an Imperial. An agent, perhaps? He had a partner as well. Perhaps if I can stall them, she will find us. She was about to start stalling when the other agent attacked. Well, that works too.

Nayar caught the boot in his hand, grimacing as the blade punched through his skin, before wrapping his arm around Q's leg. "Big mistake," Nayar bit out as he drew one of his blasters, jammed the barrel into Q's previous gunshot wound, and fired, having Q collapse.

Halfway to her discarded weapons, Maneera stopped for a moment, her posture becoming tense and wary. When she started moving again, she circled cautiously around Nayar and Q, staying well out of their reach. Picking up her scattergun, she took aim on Zero. "I think now would be a really good time for you two to get your blue butts out of here."

"This confrontation is costing more time than we can afford," Quintus heard from somewhere just behind him. "We need to regroup and tend to your injuries."

We can always jump them later, Zero thought. But, I shouldn’t make it too easy. They may wonder why we just walked away so easily after all the trouble of getting to this point. "I am afraid I can't do that. We have a job to do, and I fully intend to do it." Mean leaned over and whispered in her ear. "Much as I would relish a good fight after this long *** wait, she does have a scattergun pointed at your face. You sure it's smart to push her?" Zero frowned, annoyed at Mean "Do I need to remind you who is in charge of this operation? I have it handled"

Another shot passed inches from Zero's face again. "Enough talk, take the lady's advice and scram." The sniper was clearly no longer amused. "Don't make me count to ten." He warned. "You do not want to know what happens when I get to ten."

Ugh, I've wasted too much time. I cannot win, Quintus thought as he clutched his wounds. Knowing that he no longer has a chance of winning, Q stumbled out of the hangar and onto a nearby speeder, going the opposite direction. Either way, the holocron will be out of the hands of the cretins eventually. It's just a matter of time.

"Okay, okay, calm down, trigger happy. We are going. Come on, Mean." The two walked out, grabbing their guns and hiding them as they left. Zero turned to Mean once they were a good distance away. "The man, the one attacking the targets? I think he may be Imperial."

"No, really? What gave it away, the condescending attitude, the knife style most Imperial agents use, or something else?" He rolled his eyes. "Now, they are going to Nar Shaddaa, yes? I took the liberty of getting us two tickets off this planet to Nar Shaddaa on the way here."

"Huh, good foresight. Well, no time to waste. We need to get there as soon as possible. We will not have any restriction on Nar Shaddaa, so long as we stay clear of the Hutts." The two started walking toward the transport landing pad.

Back in the hangar, Maneera watched the agents go, not moving until they were out of range of both sight and sound. Still tense, she circled around to TR, kneeling behind the droid so that he sat between her and Nayar. Though her eyes were tilted down toward TR as she opened an maintenance panel on his chassis, she kept careful watch on Nayar. "So... yeah. You okay?"

"Nothing generous applications of kolto can't handle," he grimaced as he flexed his left hand, where Q's shoe knife had punched a hole straight through. "Canner's gonna make it. He wasn't in the kill radius of that EMP." Nayar stepped away from TR, looking around for their mysterious sniper. "So, Sir Miss-a-lot, I'm going to take a guess you're here for 'cron. Right?"

"Partially," came the response.

The sound of a jetpack roared as the sniper made his location known; he quickly flew down from his perch in the storage racks near the rear of the room, landing directly in front of Nayar and Maneera. He was tall and covered from head to toe in what seemed to be charcoal and red Mandalorian armor.

"I am to ensure your, and the package's, safe arrival in Nar Shadaa." Their unknown savior allowed as he removed his helmet, his attractive face marred by a large burn scar down his right cheek. "Name's Dredd, Dredd Kal." He forced a weak smile as he extended his unarmed hand.

"Oh... okay. Sure," Maneera stammered. Her hands shook as she reached into TR, pulling out irreparably baked components and setting them aside. "You're passing on your shot at the prize out of what, the goodness of your heart?"

"So, your boss knew we were grabbing the artifact? That's some serious resources he's got. That, or the Force." Nayar drawled, suspicious.

Dredd retracted his outstretched hand, a scowl replacing his poorly acted smile.

"You would be surprised, Cowboy." He stated as he slung his rifle over his shoulder, unwilling to divulge any details. "However, it would be unwise to mistrust me now. You have the artifact, you want the money. I'm here to make that happen."

"Fair enough. Let's hit the hyperlanes then," Nayar grumbled, turning down to TR. "Stupid Canner. . ." He bent down, picking up the astromech, slowly lugging TR back to his ship.

Maneera stopped to pick up Q's knife as she followed Nayar; by the time she had stood back up, the blade had disappeared. She scurried anxiously up the gangway and onto the Hawk, not letting Dredd out of her sight till the hatch had closed behind her.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but don't think for one second that I am one of them."

LogicLoup's Avatar

12.11.2012 , 10:46 PM | #33
Centurial Hawk, en route to Nar Shaddaa

Once pre-flight and launch sequences had been completed and the Hawk had jumped to hyperspace, Maneera fled to the galley, where she collected the spare first aid kit from under the sink. Perched on the counter with her back firmly pressed against the wall, she shrugged out of her jacket and tossed it aside, then began the painstaking process of peeling her shirt away from the dried blood that held it to her side. For the first time since picking it up back in the hangar, her scattergun was out of her hand, lying across her lap.

"Not a fan of our Mando friend, Mans?" Nayar grunted, a kolto strip wrapped around both his head and left hand, both blasters still strapped to his side.

Maneera froze, her eyes flicking anxiously down to Nayar's blasters. "Not... not really, no." She fumbled one-handed in the medkit and pulled out a tube of kolto gel while drawing the recovered knife from her boot with the other hand. "Our luck's not that good."

"Sometimes it might be. Like, perhaps. . . predicting we'd be fighting a SITH?" Nayar crossed his arms, leaning against the doorway. "Plus, you seemed unaffected by that flashbang. Maybe you weren't close enough to it. I don't know."

Maneera paled, gripping the knife tighter as she tried to press herself closer against the wall behind her. "Come on, Boss," she said with a brief, nervous chuckle. "You saw the guy at the checkpoint, same as I did. Didn't know if he was coming or going. Had his head kriffed with pretty bad. That plus Force crap in the vault means Robe shenanigans, right?"

Nayar stared at Maneera hard, the vein on the side of his head bulging out as he obviously rolled her explanation through his head, before nodding. "Yeah, ya got a point. Jedi seem to at least take care when kriffing guys' heads up. And the Sith was something creepy."

"So yeah." Maneera let out the breath she had been holding, but didn't otherwise relax. "Everything... everything's good now, right? Between us?"

"No problems here. I just came to check how you were doing, considering you were that Agent's personal stabbing dummy. Little paranoid too, I guess," Nayar quipped before tossing a change of clothes at her. "Hey, you okay? That kolto is kinda cold, but you don't need to bunch up all them muscles."

Maneera flailed for a moment, trying to decide whether to drop the kolto or the knife. The unopened tube dropped into her lap as she snatched at the flying clothes with one arm. She gave another anxious, high-pitched laugh. "Sure thing. Everything's grood. Good. Great. Great and good."

"Uh. . . Alright then. I'm just going to go and fix TR." Nayar gave her one last quizzical look before leaving.

"Too damn close," she muttered under her breath once Nayar was out of earshot. She carefully cut through the line of adhesive holding her side closed, squirting a glob of kolto into the wound before smearing more along the cut and sealing it up again with a bandage. With that taken care of, she turned her attention to the scattergun. As she'd expected, the power cell and firing mechanism were both fried, but she could replace those easily enough once Nayar was done with TR. No way am I getting that close when his weapon collection's right there. He suspects too much, I can't trust him. Something felt vaguely wrong about being so afraid of the Boss... but she pushed the feeling aside, instead running through a checklist of how to avoid being killed in her sleep.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but don't think for one second that I am one of them."

Gelious's Avatar

12.12.2012 , 06:21 AM | #34
“Ghost Shadow”, low orbit above Coruscant

By the time Serlynne finally got to her ship and slipped into a hot bath her left hand slowly started to come back to life and her anger has passed, so the assassin was feeling herself somewhat guilty.

I should have stayed with Nerama no matter what she said or did. Retaking the holocron may turn out to be a pain in the ***.

Serlynne reached for the datapad she purposefully left nearby and breathed a sigh of relief. According to her tracker, the artifact has successfully reached the spaceport.

Huh… maybe those other guys were not so smart and skilled as I originally thought. Nice.

The assassin was just about to leave the bath and start dressing, when her ship’s comm suddenly sprang to life.

-Serlynne Windshield, - said a calm, cold voice, - what do you think you are doing?

Serlynne felt her heart skipped a beat. Rainbird… crap.

- Right now, nothing, - answered she, trying to sound as much calm and casual, as possible, - What, you have a job for me?

-Stop playing games with me, Banshee, - now Rainbird’s tone was harsh, - Twice this week, you have visited Coruscant Security under false pretences and used my name for credentials to get into High Security wing. Now the most valuable thing that was kept there went missing and we have evidence that a Sith was involved. So I am going to ask you one last time. Where is the holocron?

Damn. The last thing I need is to be accused of a collaboration with the Empire and declared a traitor to the Republic when in fact I was the one who fought with that Sith!

- Yes, I was checking this thing out, - said Serlynne quickly, - There is a huge reward for it’s delivery to Nar Shaddaa so I wanted to know what’s this fuss is all about. But I swear I didn’t take it and I have no idea where it is now.

Which is half-true by the way

- Except for the fact that you were there, when it was stolen, so you most likely know who and where have took it. And now you will get the artifact back to us.

- Whoa, buddy, wait a minute! – protested Serlynne, - This is not how I work, and you damn well know it. Besides, why should I even bother with your toy? And how much do I get for it?

- You have no idea what you have helped to steal, do you, Banshee? – sighed Rainbird, obviously angry because of Serlynne’s lack of knowledge on this subject, - You have no idea what is on this holocron, do you?

- Well then, why don’t you just go ahead and enlighten me? I won’t tell anyone, I promise, - joked the assassin.

- Let’s just say, should you refuse my offer, I will order the planetary defense systems to blow your ship to pieces before you manage even to sneeze.

- You are bluffing, Rainbird, - retorted Serlynne, unhindered, - If you really have that kind of resources at your disposal, you don’t need me to know where the holoron is.

- Maybe I do, maybe I don’t, feel free to guess, - dismissed the man, - However, this is an excellent opportunity for a significant insight into our enemies plans. You will follow the stolen holocron, find out who and why placed a reward for it, as well as what do they need it for, and then return the artifact to us. If you succeed, the Republic will forget all the crimes you have commited against it. Should you fail or abandon your task, you will be declared a traitor and an Imperial spy and placed at the top of the Republic’s Most Wanted list for the rest of your life.

- You are insane! – exclaimed Serlynne, - There is no way I will become your slave like this.

- Who said anything about becoming a slave? – laughed Rainbird, - If anything, you can consider yourself a temporary supernumerary SIS agent. Welcome to your new assignment, agent Windshield, and good luck. Raibird out.

The comm went silent. In the next minute something, probably a small missile was detonated near the “Ghost Shadow”, so she ship shuddered from rock to bottom. Obviously it was Rainbird showing how serious his words were. Serlynne sighed.

I knew this mission will be trouble. I just didn’t know how ugly it can get. Well, agent Serlynne, time to do something about it.

Then the datapad Serlynne was still holding in her hands, produced a few loud beeping sounds. According to the tracker, the holocron was moving away from the planet’s surface.

My so-called allies are leaving Coruscant and they didn’t bother to warn me first. How typical of them. Now I have to pretend that I bugged their ship to keep the real tracker safe and hidden.

The assassin quickly dressed up and hurried to the cockpit. However, before she was able to plot the hyperjump to Nar Shaddaa, the ship’s comm once again went live.

-Tuk’ata to Banshee, please respond, - said a pleasant female voice, - are you there, Banshee?

- Babshee’s here, Tuk’ata, - replied Serlynne. Tuk’ata was the name of her contact inside Imperial Intelligence, - what’s up?

- As you probably already know, someone offered a large sum of money for delivering an artifact locked inside Republic Security HQ on Coruscant to Nar Shaddaa. Our sources indicate that this artifact was recently stolen from its vault and is currently en route to people who placed this offer. You mission, should you choose to accept it is to locate the artifact, eliminate both the kidnappers and the clients and deliver the item to the coordinates, listed below. Your reward shall consist of 600000 credits along with full pardon from Empire for each and any crime you have committed against it . Is it clear, Banshee?

- All clear, - replied Serlynne, trying her best to suppress a grin,- Anything else I should know?

- Yes, - admitted Tuk’ata, - Be advised, at least 2 other agents and a Sith are trying to obtain the artifact. If they manage to do so, your mission is to assist them in any way possible. The amount of your reward will be set according to your actions. It is also possible that you will encounter SIS agents trying to return Republic its property. We are willing to pay extra for any Republic agent you take out.

Then I should start with killing myself.

-Fine, I get it: help your guys, kill the rest. No problem, - assured Serlynne.

- In that case, we wish you luck and hope for your soon success. For the Empire!

Serlynne waited a bit to make sure no one listens and then burst in laughter.

They have a **** load of people looking for the holocron and the Empire still came to me. What in the name of all Hutts is on this holocron? Shematics of some superweapon? Tips about how to set up a mass production of Force Sensetives?

Still laughing, Serlynne set up the course to Nar Shaddaa and “Ghost Shadow” jumped to the distant star.
"They will not! I command them to know fear! To raise me to my throne! They can not!" - Soa. The Red Eclipse:
Gelious - Sith Marauder; Helimana - Mercenary; Nellios - Operative; Mellas - Sith Assassin; Xatra - Commando.

meanken's Avatar

12.12.2012 , 05:15 PM | #35
Transport shuttle, on route to Nar Shaddaa

Mean and Zero had managed to find a relatively empty part of the shuttle to sit in, meaning they could talk somewhat freely, so long as they were quiet. “Well, that was a bust” Mean commented

“Hmm? Not at all. We have more information then when we started. That was the objective.”

“We could have just sat in the bar and waited for them to show up.” Mean pointed out

Zero shook her head “No, then we would not have known what they look like. The transfer could have happened right in front of us and we may have missed it. Now, we know what to look for.”

“Whatever you say.” Mean pulled out a holopad and started messing around on it to waste time while they were in transit. Meanwhile, Zero pulled out a holopad of her pocket and started reviewing intel. In her head, she went over the call with keeper she had placed right before they left

Coruscant, earlier

“....And that is what we are doing now.” Zero said, finishing filling keeper in on recent events. Keeper was quiet a minute as he took the information in. Finally, he spoke “I see….there were three, you said?”

Zero nodded “Correct. Mean got a picture of one earlier, we forwarded it to you.”

Yes. We ran it, no match so far. We are stll having our underworld contacts try to work out who would take this kind of job. We will have them show the picure around, try to identfy the woman. We will keep you updated."
Zero nodded at all this “Understood”

“As for the other criminals, keep an eye out, they may turn up again. reguarding the man you said attacked them, I am afraid we have no information to give you. You two were the only agents intelligence deployed actively in the field for this mission. It is possible he is a rogue, a former agent perhaps. Do what must be done to get the holocron. Darth Jadus does not tolerate failure. Also, we feel you should know we have contacted an old asset to assist in this mission. Goes by the name “The Banshee.” We have used her in the past. She is an assassin by trade, and has been instructed to assist you if she runs into you. However….she has also been known to work for the republic in the past and her loyalties are…..suspect, at best. Do not hesitate to kill her if she becomes a liability. Understood, agents?”

“Understood, we will move now. Zero out.” Zero replied, and hung up Mean turned to her “Wonderful, now we have to deal with some random bounty hunter too? This job keeps getting better and better.”

Zero looked over at him, annoyed “Complaining about it is not going to help. Let’s go, we have a shuttle to catch” The two walked off to the shuttle

Transport shuttle, on route to Nar Shaddaa

Zero was still looking over the files on the two criminals. Not much here, sadly. Guess these two are rather low priority for intelligence. Still….that woman….one does not pick up skills like the kind she was showing during that walk casually.

“You really should take some time to let your head cool off, it is going to explode from overuse if you do nothing but think and plan” Mean commented

“Better to use it then let it go to waste, unlike some people”

Mean looked directly at her “In the time it takes you to make a plan of attack, I could usually storm in, grab or kill the target, and be back out getting drunk”

Zero rolled her eyes “Only that’s not how we work, and you know it”

“Yes, yes, I know” he rolled his eyes back “Seriously though, we have been partners for how many years now? I have never seen you try to have the slightest bit of fun on the job. For your sake, I –really- hope this is not how you act off the job too.”

Zero did not respond to that, only causing mean to go on “That’s it, when we get this job done, I am going to try to teach you how to have fun. You need it.”

Zero said blankly “Didn’t we try that before? If you definition of fun for me still includes the integration sessions you so enjoy, you can stop now. ”

Mean groaned “No, no, no, I mean go to the bar. Get drunk. Maybe get laid, I don’t know. That might help. Hell, just find a hobby. Something to get you to stop being so damn sour all the time. It’s getting on my nerves.”

“I am not here for your entertainment.”

“Damn it, that’s what I am talking about! You need to stop being so official and stop acting like miss imperial all the time. Seriously, it’s not good for your completion. You want to end up having wrinkles all over your face from stress when you get old? You have a good looking face; you don’t want to lose it.

Zero raised her eyebrow at him, not sure if he was joking or trying to hit on her in some indirect way. Mean waved his hand at her “Forget it, we will talk more when we get back” He picked back up his holopad and returned to what he was doing, Zero doing the same.

LogicLoup's Avatar

12.12.2012 , 06:29 PM | #36
(( cross-posting for Tabor ))

Nar Shaddaa


Dredd's head turned, a smile dawning on his face as he looked up to see a lovely Twi'lek running towards him. He had been looking forward to this moment for months.

"What did you get me this time, big guy?" The young woman asked as she barreled into the large warriors chest, knocking the wind out of him.

"G-Get offa me and I'll show ya Tannia!" He struggled out between gasping breaths.

Tannia giggled as Dredd finally regained his breath. It was a game she loved to play, and it's not like he hadn't experienced worst working for the Hutts, so he allowed her little game to continue.

She obliged and he pulled out a beautiful silver necklace, with one large blood red stone in the center and placed it around her neck.

"I-It's beautiful!" Tannia exclaimed as one of her hands came up to touch the stone in the center.

"To think of me when I'm gone." He smiled as she turned now, forcing him into a quick kiss her arms dr*ped around his neck. "It's very important to me, I've had it for years. I think it's time you had it."

"Let's go upstairs, I think it's time give you a little something to remember me by." She winked slyly and grabbed his hand, leading him up the stairs to her apartment.

************************************************** ********************************

Dredd awoke, shaking his head as he tried to clear the cobwebs, and pushing the dream to the back of his mind. He sighed slightly then, as his eyes fixed on the necklace which now hung from a hook near the Captain's chair which he had passed out in. Its red stone flashing with reflected light.

You never could leave me alone, could you Tannia. He smiled, it had been a good dream this time. Unusual for a man that had seen and done the things he had.

Directly in front of him sat Nar Shaddaa, and work was to be done there. But, so far things had not gone as expected. The two who had gotten the artifact seemed capable enough, but he was concerned about their trustworthiness. Their questions were good, and the girl had seemed flighty, and nervous. They would have to do, though, as all others present had been Imperials. Slaves to their Lords, the Sith.

Sith, the word alone set his teeth on edge, his blood seething with hatred. He smiled slightly then, perhaps a Sith would be along after the artifact.

Now that would just be too lucky, wouldn't it. He smiled slightly as he laid back against the captain's chair, hoping to catch a quick wink on the descent to the surface.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but don't think for one second that I am one of them."

LogicLoup's Avatar

12.15.2012 , 03:11 PM | #37

Quintus' holocom beeped, alerting him to an incoming text transmission:
Please return to the spaceport so we can prepare for departure. I've forwarded you a list of the ships we have to choose from; please select the one you would most prefer so I can make the necessary arrangements. — Soleta

Q examined the transmission and the choices of ships to choose from. The agent paid special attention to the XS Stock Light Freighter, and sent a transmission back to Soleta:
Received your transmission, on my way back. XS Stock light freighter in Hangar 18, by the way. Will look into a more... sophisticated ship later. -Q
Once finished, the operative slabbed a medpack on his shot wound to alleviate some of its pain and jumped back on his speeder.

Soleta smiled brightly as she entered the hangar Q had selected. "Excuse me," she called to a dockhand. "Terribly sorry to be a bother, but there seems to be something wrong with the locks on my ship, here. Could you open the door for me so I could check the system from inside?"

"Oh... uhh, sure thing, miss," the young man replied, sweeping a hand through his hair. "No trouble at all." He swiped a keycard through a hidden slot on the side of an access panel, then keyed in an override code, and the door hissed open. "There you go."

"Thank you so much," Soleta gushed as she stretched up on tiptoe to plant a demure kiss on his cheek. "You're really too kind." The door slid shut behind her, and the saccharine smile shifted into an expression of disgust. "Idiot."

Minutes later, the door briefly slid open, then closed as Q entered, twirling the keycard. "So foolish," he mused aloud as he joined Soleta on the bridge. "At least now you wait on me and not run off," he spoke with hint of frustration.

"We were outnumbered to begin with," Soleta replied icily, "and I will remind you that I was under fire from two shooters, while you only had to deal with one idiot and her gun. The alarm had been sounded, which would only have further imbalanced the situation against us. You can't honestly tell me you wouldn't have done the same."

"Retreating when all odds are against you is one thing. Abandoning and leaving me to die, however... is another. Need I remind you that the cretins went to Corellia and back on me even before you retreated," Q shot back. "I was in no position to viably retreat until the smuggler schutta got the holocron and ran off."

Soleta was silent for a long moment, frowning thoughtfully as she started up the launch sequence. "You may as well have a seat," she said at last, without looking up at him. "Check my computations for the transit to hyperspace, if you like."

"Of course, it's what I'm here for," Q sighed as he took a seat and began to examine the navicomputer. Seeing no faults so far, he allowed himself a smile. "They thoroughly check out."

"I suppose that's something right," she murmured under her breath. As the pale blue of the afternoon sky faded into the deep black of space, she sank back into her chair and stared out at the stars. "Jump when you're ready, then."

"Jumping in 3... 2... 1." Q announced as he had the freighter jump into hyperspace. Once the white beams of light faded, the freighter hovered in Hutt space in the vicinity of Nar Shaddaa. Q sank back into his chair as well. "And there we have it."

"How are you?" Soleta asked, glancing sidelong at Q. "Medically, I mean. Injuries and whatnot."

Quintus slightly dozed off at first when listening to Soleta's question. Once she finished, he replied, "Oh, medically I've been abusing medpacks just to alleviate damage the cretins did to my stomach with their blasters. The wounds are malleable, yet still are incredibly painful. I also have some head trauma, but not nearly as detrimental as the wounds."

Soleta stood quickly, circling around to stand beside Quintus. "Look at me," she ordered sharply. She leaned in close and peered into his eyes, listening to the chatter of his surface thoughts. "Not concussed, thankfully, though I expect the painkillers aren't doing you any favours. Pull your shirt up."

Q obliged, lifting his shirt, revealing four blaster wounds and six smaller circles, two of the wounds being relatively infected, one of those being the largest wound. "That fool with the scattergun laid into me, though her filthy companion pulled the biggest shot."

Soleta's frown deepened as she knelt down beside Q. "This will hurt rather a lot, I'm afraid." She pushed her sleeves up past her elbows and laid her bare hands against his skin. Her eyelids slowly fluttered shut, faint purple light gleaming from behind them as she pushed Force energy through his wounds, consuming the infection and forcing the injured tissues to regrow. Quintus hissed and even screamed in pain at times while Soleta channeled her energy into healing him, but it was working. Once Soleta finished, Q took a deep breath.

"Well then, I'm impressed. I believe that I am in your debt, Sith," Q smiled.

Soleta pulled her hands back sharply, then stood and backed away, smoothing her sleeves neatly back into place. "As you like," she said, her tone stiff and formal. "Is there anything else before we make final approach?"

"Logistically, nothing," Q sighed. "Have I become a liability?"

"This is still your area of expertise more than mine," Soleta replied. "I'm just a digger. Perhaps I should be asking you the same question."

"Oh no. No. Not at all," Quintus responded. "If it weren't for you, I would have perished earlier. We wouldn't have even set foot in the compound if not for your talents. You are more than just a digger to me and are a very valuable asset to this team."

"Ah, I see." Soleta settled back into her seat. "Since we have that settled, we'd best be back to work. We'll want to be in position quickly if we're to make the switch."

"Indeed," Q nodded as he activated the ship's comm system, "this is the Ulterior to the Mezenti Spaceport, requesting landing." The operative submitted the appropriate docking codes through the navicomputer.

"Copy that, you are clear to land," an operator spoke.

"Thank you, Mezenti," Soleta answered, closing the channel and guiding the ship into the dock. "I'll explain the plan on the way to Club Vertica," she added, grinning.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but don't think for one second that I am one of them."

LogicLoup's Avatar

12.21.2012 , 08:14 AM | #38
Nar Shaddaa

Meanken and Zero stepped off the transport shuttle, quickly walking away. Zero turned to Mean. "Okay, here is the plan. I want you to go to the bar they are meeting up in. You should have no problem blending into the people there. I am going to go to the ship to grab my rifle and set up overwatch on the entrance. With any luck, we can take out these criminals and get the holocron. Otherwise, we should be able to track their employer and take them out.

Mean nodded. "Fine, I need a drink." Mean saw that Zero was about to go off again, and he raised his hand. "If I don't drink in a bar, it will stand out, and be noticed."

Zero considered this. "Fine, but don't go overboard. We still have a job to do."

"Ya, ya, I know, I know. Just let me do my things. I need to get my gear from the ship first."

"Me as well, let's go." The two walked back to their ship, and started grabbing their gear. Mean armed himself with an extremely large number of knives, all strapped to a knife belt, as well as a stealth belt and some grenades for good measure. Zero grabbed what looked on the outside to be a briefcase. On the inside was a collapsible sniper rifle, her favored weapon. Zero went to find Mean. "You ready? We need to get into position."

Mean finished strapping the knife belt on. "Ya, ya, let's get this over with." The two walked outside the spaceport to the taxi terminal, and got on a taxi, headed to the Club Vertica cantina.

* * * * * * * *

"Do you have everything you'll need?" Soleta asked as she stood, pulling her hooded tunic up and over her head to reveal a closely-fitted sleeveless shirt beneath. "Perhaps something else to wear? You're rather... hm. Distinctive."

Q slightly froze in distraction at Soleta's sleeveless appearance, but composed himself. "Shouldn't be for too much longer," Quintus replied as he got out of his lab coat, revealing a relaxed red collared shirt. He then proceeded to adorn his eyes with a pair of framed spectacles and to flatten the spikes in his hair. "How's this?"

Soleta gave Quintus a long, appraising look, then nodded. "Different enough to allow us to get close in the confusion, I think." She reached into her bag and pulled out her lightsaber, clipping the hilt to her belt. "I have this, I have you... I suppose that's all I really need right now. Are you sure you have everything?"

Quintus transferred a sufficient amount of grenades, medpacks, and a stealth field generator to compartments abundant in his belt and pants, as well as a droid remote. Finally, he placed his sheathed vibroknife in his right pants pocket and tested his boot knives. "I have everything I need."

"Excellent," Soleta responded, smiling. "We'd best be on our way, then."

* * * * * * * *

Mean and Zero arrived at the casino, the taxi stopping in front of the place. Mean nodded at Zero and the driver, handed over some credits for the ride, and walked into the building, taking a seat at the bar with a view of the main floor, ordering a drink and settling in. Meanwhile, Zero was still in the taxi. The driver looked over. "Is something wrong, miss?"

Zero looked up, flustered. "Oh, I seem to have lost my earring. Could you help me look?" The driver rolled his eyes and leaned over to help. Zero quickly grabbed him and knocked him out by injecting him with a tranquilizer. "I am sorry, but there was no avoiding it," she whispered in his ear. She dumped the man out of the car, knowing he would be out for a few hours. She took the taxi and flew it up to a good vantage point of the main entrance, quickly taking her briefcase and assembling her rifle, training it on the entrance and waiting for the targets to arrive.

Moments later, Quintus and Soleta arrived, stepping from their taxi to blend seamlessly with the small crowd milling around the spacious lobby. "Where do we want to set up for this?" she murmured, quietly enough that only Quintus heard. "In here, or nearer the bar?"

"A little bit of both," Quintus replied just as silently, "we can get a little closer if you want."

"Close would be better. I'd like a view of the bar in case — oof!" A very drunk Devaronian staggered through the crowd belting out off-key show tunes; a boisterous swing of his arms knocked Soleta against Q.

"My friend and I do not appreciate that, alien," Q growled at the drunken Devaronian just as he shot a sleep dart at him in close range. "Are you alright?"

"Quite alright, thank you," Soleta replied as she steadied herself again. She nudged the unconscious drunk with her toe, flashing Q a mischievous grin. "That was certainly direct."

"Indeed." Q returned the grin as he and Soleta cleaved their way through the crowd until they came across a pazaak table in the vicinity of the bar yet not in completely plain sight; off to the bar's left. Having decided where they should set up, Q tossed the dealer a 500 credit chit. "Let's go...gamble," Q whispered as he casually flashed a fabricated pazaak chip and winked at Soleta.

Soleta laughed brightly as she stood beside Quintus at the pazaak table, bending a bit to rest her head on his shoulder. "Hardly a gamble when you know fortune's on your side."

Mean was lounging at the bar, downing drinks and looking over the crowd when he saw a drunk Devaronian bump someone and quickly fall. Curious, he looked over and saw the man from that hanger earlier. He casually reached for his earpiece and contacted Zero. "Spotted your agent from the hanger, looks like he is staking the place out too. Orders?"

Zero quickly considered their options. "Get a picture of him; we can use it to figure out who he is. Do nothing else for the moment."

"Okay." Mean took out a miniature camera, aiming in the man's general direction and snapping the picture, then grabbed another beer and started downing it while he waited for the criminals to show up.

"We've been noticed," Soleta whispered into Q's ear, pausing to giggle faintly. To the rest of the table, she looked like nothing more than a vapid bit of arm candy. "The surly Chiss from the shuttle."

"Let's keep an eye on the blueberry." Q replied with a soft whisper as he stepped closer to Soleta. At the same time, he split the two nines he was dealt in this hand. "The second he tries to interfere, we bust him." Q snickered when a Trandoshan player ended up busting as he was dealt a ten on his second nine, pushing him to 19.

Mean noticed the woman hanging on the guy he was taking pictures of. Hmm... just another piece of @ss to hide behind, or someone more? Wait... that woman... wasn’t she the one from the shuttle? A partner? Mean started taking pictures of her along with the other guy as he continued to drink.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but don't think for one second that I am one of them."

drfumblez's Avatar

12.21.2012 , 07:39 PM | #39
Nar Shaddaa, Docking Port 6957C

"There ya go, Canner, good as new. Kinda," Nayar shrugged as he turned TR back on. "Hey, Mans, go ahead and bring me your scatter, and let's see if I can't fix it," he yelled.

"It's fine," Maneera called back. "I got it covered, don't worry."

"Repair = substandard // Primary motivator = 0.95 of expected performance," TR hooted. "Female organic = predicts organic will damage weapon // TR = agree."

"Tell ya what, you hate my repair job, I'll just turn ya back off-line for good, maybe get a not so stuffy droid. And the last time you handled a gun, the barrel melted, so I don't think ya have a right to criticize me," Nayar scolded, bopping the droid on its head with a wrench. "Hey, Mans, go ahead and send our thief friend Miss Leather the rendezvous coordinates we got from Dredd. Tell her we meet there in an hour."

"It's okay, you can do this," Maneera muttered to herself as she headed for the holoterminal and dialed in the contact frequency Serlynne had left them. "No matter what she wants to do to you, she probably can't do it over a comm line. You'll be okay." She took in a deep breath and held it while she waited for the connection to resolve.

Serlynne was just finishing checking her gear before heading to the shuttle when her personal holocomm sprang to life. Probably Rainbird again. I wonder if he intercepted Tuk'ata's messages. I keep Imps and Pubs on two separate secure channels to avoid such complications, but you never know...

Only it wasn't Rainbird. It was Nerama and Serlynne got a distinct impression that the woman was nervious and trying her best not to show it. Is she feeling guilty for ignoring my warnings? Doesn't seem the type.

"Hey there," chirped Maneera, forcing a smile when Serlynne's image appeared. "You're looking remarkably agreeable and un-mugged."

"And you are looking relatively alive and happy," replied Serlynne, "which I personally find a bit strange. Do you still have the artifact?"

"Wow. Your faith in my ability to not die is just so amazingly underwhelming," Maneera snapped. "Yes, we've got the box. We'll see you in an hour, sending map data now." She leaned down and tapped in the coordinates. "Got any questions, you can ask them then."

She said "we." So Alecs survived. Lucky bastard.

"Only one, actually," admitted the assassin. "Has anyone already tried to take the artifact from you?"

"What's it matter?" Maneera asked, her eyes narrowing into a suspicious glare. "We still have it. See you in an hour." Without waiting for a response, she closed the channel.

So someone indeed tried. I wonder whether it was a duo from the vault or we have a new player... And why such a strange reaction to a simple question anyway? Serlynne sighed and started to check her equipment again. She had a feeling she will need it all very soon.

"And who was that?" A voice came from the doorway.

Maneera turned sharply to see the large Mandalorian, Dredd, still in full combat armor. "A contact," she replied, circling around to the far side of the holoterminal as if she'd meant to do so all along. "Helped Boss and me get into the vault."

The soldier nodded, taking her at her word. "Be prepared," he warned. "I fear we haven't seen the last of those Imperials."

"Yeah... that seems like a pretty safe bet," Maneera said, forcing a laugh. "Hey Boss!" she called. "Big guy's here!"

Nayar strolled into the room, walking past Maneera to grab his blasters, which were sitting in his holsters on his belt. Strapping them on, he turned to Dredd, and drawled, "Well now, time for us to collect our rightfully earned pay, eh? Guess we should head to that bartender-"

"At Club Vertica, yes. We could do that." Dredd interrupted, not bothering to veil his sarcasm. "Or we could follow the big guy directly to his boss, that might work too."

"Wait, what?" Maneera squawked, looking anxiously from Nayar to Dredd to the door. "Wait, no, we're not changing the plan, you don't get to make that call. We do this by the numbers, out in the open."

Nayar raised an eyebrow at Maneera, crossing his arms as he looked at her. "That seems pretty stupid when we've got a free ticket straight to our payment. Are you sure you read the offer? Because scum across the galaxy know where to jump us."

"And going off the map with someone we only just met is so much smarter?" Maneera backed away quickly, reaching down to draw Q's knife from her boot. "Why, Boss? Why now? And why bring Chuckles here into it?"

She stood straight, knife in hand, to see the Mando's blaster trained on her from across the room, his draw lost in her own movement.

"Tell your friend to put the knife down, Cowboy." Dredd spoke calmly, eyes trained on Maneera. "Or I'll put a hole in her pretty little face."

Nayar looked incredulously at Maneera. "All right Mans, go ahead and put the blade down slowly. Neither Dredd nor I have any intention to harm you." He motioned for Dredd to lower his gun as Nayar stepped slowly closer to her. "The reason why we're going to go with the Mando is simply this: being out in the open increases our chances of dying. You like life, right?"

As Nayar advanced, Maneera sidestepped along the wall, trying to keep her distance. "He's gonna sell us out." She shook her head wildly. "You're gonna let him double-cross me. You could have just said you wanted to get rid of me, I would have left. Gotten out of your way, gone back to Corellia."

"Mans, do you even hear yourself?" Nayar soothingly argued. "You're acting paranoid. If Dredd wanted the artifact, he would have just killed us and taken it already. Why wait?"

"I don't..." Maneera slowed, stumbling to a halt. Still holding the knife, she slowly lowered her hand. "How can I trust you?"

Nayar dropped his blasters to the floor without a second thought. "If you don't trust me by now, I don't know what else will do."

Maneera drew in and held a breath. After a long moment, she nodded. "Okay. I can do this. Look at me, bein' all calm and reasonable." Glaring over Nayar's shoulder at Dredd, she added, "You sure about Chuckles, Boss?"

"More sure than I was first going after this 'cron."

Nodding again, Maneera crouched to tuck the knife back into her boot. She scooped up Nayar's blasters and handed them back to him, grips first, as she stood again. "Congratulations, you passed the test," she said to Dredd, forcing a grin as she crossed the room to pick up her scattergun. "Be right back, just need to swap out a couple parts real quick." Without a further word, she scurried out of the common toward the cargo bay.

"I already offered to do that- Jeez," Nayar called after her, only to sigh. "What has gotten into her?"

"I'd be lying if I said I knew." Dredd deadpanned, obviously annoyed.

Maneera returned a moment later, unfolding and refolding her scattergun to ensure everything still fit together properly. She no longer looked wound up tight enough to snap, but Nayar recognized the nervous ritual; some people paced, some people cracked their knuckles, Mans fidgeted with guns. "So," she asked, in the same cheery tone she had used when calling Serlynne, "do we still have a meeting to get to, or are we skipping that, too?"

* * * * * * * *
Much to her own amusement, the coordinates provided by Nerama led Serlynne to an abandoned warehouse, much like the one where the assassin had met the woman for the first time. Wary of Nerama's strange reaction to her question and generally being a cautious person, Serlynne arrived at the site of the meeting almost a half of an hour early in order to avoid a possible ambush. Having found no sign of one, she soon took cover in the attic of one of the empty buildings behind the warehouse.

Now the assassin was lying there on the floor, observing the area in front of the meeting place through the scope of her sniper rifle, until she finally saw three vague silhouettes approaching the building. As they came closer, Serlynne was able to recognize two of them as Alecs and Nerama. The third, however, was a complete stranger — a tall man in red Mandalorian armor. So I guess he was the reason behind Nerama's strange behavior? Who is he — just another bounty hunter who wants credits or a friend of the duo they didn’t bother to tell me about?

For a moment Serlynne was tempted just to pull the trigger and be done with this whole charade. Surely one of them had the holocron, so lifting it from the corpse wouldn't be a problem. But then the assassin restrained herself. If she had been here for her own entertainment, Serlynne most likely wouldn't have hesitated even for a second before ridding herself of the tools she now no longer needed, but both the Empire and the Republic were interested not just in the artifact, but in people who were ready to pay for it, and so far Serlynne was okay with Alecs and Nerama leading her straight to them. Besides, keeping an eye on three different people is more difficult than watching one woman. They may provide a distraction for my future victim as well.

So Serlynne got up, reluctantly put the sniper rifle on its rightful place behind her back, descended to the first floor and left the building through the front door, not caring that Alecs and Nerama would see her the moment she was on the street. Once outside, the assassin went straight to the trio.

"Hello, you two," smiled Serlynne. "Care to explain who your new friend is and why he's here?"

"Damn it, Az," Maneera snapped, glaring at Serlynne. "Do you have some kind of natural gift for not being where you're supposed to be when you're supposed to be there, or did you have to work at it?"

Serlynne only shrugged her shoulders. Among other things, the Hutts taught her to act unpredictable each time she was supposed to make an obvious move — not that Serlynne was going to tell Nerama any of this. She is avoiding my question. Again. "Consider this an old habit of mine," replied the assassin. "And do you have a habit of ignoring all questions you don't like or only mine?"

"I've been as straight with you as you have with me," Maneera replied, smirking. "You want to get some answers, you might want to consider laying out a few of your own. Otherwise..." She shrugged as she flicked her thumb against the safety catch on her scattergun, bouncing the barrel lightly against her shoulder.

Serlynne required all her willpower in order to resist the urge to reach for her own weapons. "I honestly don't see why would you need to know more about me, much less why should I tell you anything. Besides I am not the one who brought a stranger without so much as a simple warning."

The armored man snorted loudly at Serlynne's comment. "If you know nothing of her, and she knows nothing of you." He smirked slightly as he idly kicked the dirt off his boots. "Then it looks like we're all strangers."

"I don't mind working with strangers," replied Serlynne. "As long as they know what they are doing and are not trying to screw me over. Now, who the hell are you and what's your angle in all this?"

"I'm getting there lady," he breathed, as he shot Nayar a look of disbelief. "I'm the only reason your 'acquaintances' here are even alive."

"If we're all done our with our periods, ladies? Az, Dredd here works for the man who wants the cube. Dredd, Az was helping us get the artifact. Nerama, mind calming down? I know that your paranoidness wants to shoot the living **** out of anyone who comes near, but try to keep calm? For me?" Nayar nudged, glaring at all of the gathered crooks. "Now, we can all keep trying to figure out who can piss the most, or we could get inside and get paid."

"Fine by me," agreed Serlynne, while silently wondering just what exactly Dredd was talking about. "As long as this guy doesn't try anything stupid."

Maneera nodded, grudgingly, and re-engaged the safety on her scattergun. Without a word, she dropped back a few steps from the others and tilted her head toward the warehouse doors.

"Alright, Dredd, you picked this spot. Where do we go from here?" Nayar questioned as the 4 moved into the warehouse, stopping a few meters from the entrance.

"Down." The large man grinned widely, entering a 5 number code onto a panel in his armor.

The floor panel they were standing on dropped a couple of feet and stopped, the shock of the movement sending everyone but Dredd to the ground. After a few moments of stunned silence there was a sharp hissing noise and the panel began to descend deep into the ground.

Dredd didn't look up, as he entered a few more numbers into the device in his armor.

"Shoulda warned you about the drop," He apologized with a chuckle, helping Nayar to his feet. "But that's not nearly as fun for me."

The ride went on for a another few seconds, before the area around the lift opened up and before them sprawled a large hanger, mostly empty, but no doubt in its ability to host a decent number of ships. It was an impressive place, and clearly money was little to no object for the Mando's mysterious employer.

"No doubt he will be waiting for us, there's no way he doesn't know we're here by now." Dredd idly wondered aloud as he scanned the area before them, the lift coming to a stop at the floor of the hangar.

A man quickly ran out to greet Dredd as the other "criminals" got their bearings together. "Sir, Mr. Kole's been expecting you for several days now. Do you have his package?"

"Yes, the Package is safe." The large man nodded as he began to loosen the straps of his armor. "And I've brought the freelancers he asked for as well."

"Very well, shall I send someone to inform the bartender he is no longer needed?"

"Might as well, and make it discreet, there will be eyes watching."

Serlynne said nothing during this exchange, but she was listening to every word. So the mysterious "he" specifically asked Dredd to bring hired guns to him. Does he simply want to pay us in person, or is there something else we are needed for? Of course it could also mean a trap, since smart people prefer to leave no witnesses of their crimes, but Serlynne had no choice. For her own sake, the assassin had to learn more about whoever was behind all this.

"Alright then, Hunter, let's go meet your boss. Nerama, you okay? No sudden desire to blow anyone's head off?" Nayar checked.

Maneera shook her head stiffly, white-knuckling the stock of her gun. "Not really a sudden thing, as such. This feels bad, Boss. Everything feels bad."

"Alright, well, try to keep calm. Dredd, let's get this over with, alright?" Nayar pressed.

LogicLoup's Avatar

01.05.2013 , 08:45 AM | #40
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.

"Your people 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."


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.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but don't think for one second that I am one of them."