Blackfold

A free-form writing forum set in the Star Wars Universe...

Moderators: VagueDurin, Nichalus

Post Reply
Xalsin
Posts: 3187
Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2003 12:24 pm
Location: WA, USA

Blackfold

Post by Xalsin » Wed Jul 30, 2014 2:54 am

"Two hundred meters and closing."

"Slow us down."

"One hundred and fifty meters and closing. Velocity dropped to 10 meters per second. Docking range in approximately 13 seconds."

Rulu Lucannas drew a practiced breath in as he stood watching the ship in front of him draw closer at what could have been taken as an alarming rate. Rulu, however, found it more exhilerating than alarming; that thrill of anticipation of waiting for the mission to begin. Knowing that in mere minutes, he would get to flex his skills against a series of challenging tasks with rewarding payoffs. There was no feeling quite like it.

He couldn't help but smile.

"Seventy meters and closing. Tractor beams readied." Hedley's voice came over the earpiece Rulu was wearing, coming from the Gunship's bridge.

"I want a nice, smooth dock. Not a scratch on her, Hedley, or I'm taking off one of your limbs." That voice was the Captain's, Captain Lioa Shasnere, with her smooth, golden voice that bespoke a Selonian of rich charisma and belied a woman of a lightning sense of retribution. The sort of woman that it always paid to be on her good side.

"Of course, Captain." Hedley replied. It was hard to read too much into the mechanical nature of the droid's voice, but he sounded almost smug. "Thirty meters. Reducing velocity to zero. Tractor beams on target. Stand by for successful docking."

A tremor ran through the ship as the main drives shut down, the tractor beams beginning to slow the craft in relation to the other vessel.

"Rant, you ready?" Lioa queried, somewhat unnecessarily. The captain used Rulu's comm-sign Rant, just in case there were listening ears anywhere. It was a little unnecessary, given that if they were being observed right now, they had much bigger problems that simply having someone know their names.

"Yes ma'am." He held his blaster rifle at a low ready, pulling a breathing mask up over his face and activating the infrared sensor mood on his goggles. Even though he wasn't expecting much resistance, it was always better to be prepared.

"Docking collar attached. Relative velocity at zero. Ready to slice main doors on your mark, Rant."

"Mark." Rulu didn't hesitate, signalling the droid to begin its work of slicing in to the security computer of the ship.

"Task begun." Hedley announced. "Estimated time to completion: already done." There was no mistaking the smugness in the droid's voice this time.

The hatch in front of Rulu popped open with a hiss of air as the two ships' exchanged atmospheres like a breath shared between kissing lovers. Rulu couldn't smell or feel the difference in the air behind his breather mask, but he couldn't help but imagine the staleness of the other ship's atmosphere.

"Making entry." He announced over the comms as he began to creep forward carefully. The ship was completely blacked out, but that was fine with Rulu. He could see well enough with the IR sensors he wore. A couple of the lights tried to flicker on in response to his movement about the vessel, but were largely unsuccessful. Thick layers of dust had accumulated next to the air outlets, showing a lack of cleaniness aboard the ship, a lack of willing and able hands available to put things right.

Rulu stepped cautiously and carefully around the accumulated dust piles, avoiding as much as possible leaving any foot prints. He was a slender man, one who was very comfortable in his own skin, who took care of his body. His was a physique that favored speed and agility to pure strength, subtly and stealth to brute force.

"Entering aft control center." He reported to the rest of the team on comms. "I will be uploading the LogJam momentarily."

Reaching up to the load bearing vest he wore, Rulu removed a small datachip. Contained on it was one of Hedley's creations: a program called LogJam, which would execute, and reprogram the ship's logs to say whatever Hedley had designated it to say. It would also, in this instance, change the ship's IFF marker so the ship would broadcast itself as being a different ship, belonging to a different owner.

The bridge was as deserted as the rest of the ship appeared to be. Here, though, there were signs of a struggle; blaster scorch marks, damaged equipment, scattered personal possessions, but a noticeable lack of bodies. Rulu stepped over a holo-cube, showing small pictures of a smiling family on some green, fertile planet. He forced himself not to look at it or think about it. There was no point in sympathizing with the dead.

Once he reached a small command terminal, he plugged the chip in. "Okay, LogJam uploading."

"Acknowledged. Banshee, what's your status?" Captain Shasnere's voice asked calmly.

The comm crackled a second before Banshee, or Selena Bjoru, responded. "Hanging by a thread in Zero-G, making this look easy. I've got the aft identifier marks removed and new ones painted on. Heading for the bow markings now. You sure you don't want any murals or artwork on the side? I don't charge extra for embellishments."

"Stick with the plan, Banshee. We are on a time table."

"You got it, sir." Banshee crackled again.

She sounded calm and collected, which was a good thing. Rulu did not like EV work, whereas she loved it, so it worked out well. The idea of being separated from the very undignified death of space by a small suit did not appeal to Rulu. While he acknowledged that being in a ship was not hugely different, there were many more failsafes and options inside a ship. What Rulu could never decide is whether Selena liked it because she had a secret death wish, or was just an adrenaline junkie. The latter was definitely true, the former... still uncertain.

"Logjam complete. I'm going to kill the ship's gravity to remove any visible evidence of my intrusion."

"Roger."

Rulu removed the chip from the computer and moved over to the Enviro Controls. With a few quick button presses, he deactivated the gravity plates. There was no immediate reaction, as most of the objects in the craft were on the same relative speed and trajectory as the craft itself. That would change, however, as minute variations in ship's course would begin to dislodge items and dust.

"Gravity off. I am returning home."

As soon as Rulu pushed off of the floor in a natural seeming stepping motion, the lack of gravity was very evident. It turned into a game of bouncing himself down the hallways in effort to get back to the air lock.

About the time he was reaching the hallways of the ship, Hedley's voice came over the comm. "Captain, we may have a problem. We seem to have drifted into the range of a Proximity Sensor Mine. It has signaled an alert of detecting our vessel, although I cannot calculate the odds of anyone monitoring its communications."

"Let's hurry, people." Lioa barked.

"I'm still working on the forward markings." Banshee commented, sounding more irritated than anything.

"Well, work faster."

Rulu reached the airlock, and slammed the "cycle" button, causing the hatch to the derelict shut behind him. "I'm back on board."

"Waiting on you, Banshee." Rulu removed his breather mask and goggles, letting them fall to the floor for now. The door deeper into the ship opened and Rulu re-entered the ship. "Hedley, where do you need me?"

"If you wish to man the turbolasers, I am detecting two inbound vessels. One is a Delta Class Imperial Transport, the other is an HT-2200 Transport. Both appear to be modified. They are not transmitting any IFF data."

"That means pirates." The captain said. "Banshee?"

"I'm working, I'm working. You don't want it to be shoddy, right?"

Skidding to a halt next to a viewport, Rulu checked the situation. The Gunship was still docked to the derelict vessel, an old miner's transport that had been victimized a while ago out here in a small cluster of asteroids. He could see Selena about thirty meters away on the exterior of the large transport, using an etcher to engrave new marking symbols on to the bow of the ship. Between that and the IFF data that had been uploaded to the ship's computer, the ship's true identity was being erased. Selena was just finishing up, attached to the hull of the ship by means of magnetic boots and clamps, a safety tie attached to her EV suit.

"Alright, I'm done. If someone wants to winch me in, it'll go quicker." Banshee reported, detaching herself from the hull and pulling herself in on the safety line.

"On it." Rulu responded and took off at a sprint towards the maintenance airlock on the upper part of the ship.

"The vessels are closing, captain. Ten kilometers. They will have projectile firing range in under two minutes. They are demanding that we surrender."

The Captain growled in irritation. "If they mess with the derelict, this was all for nothing. Get us underway, Hedley, but slowly. Fluctuate the shields up and and down and intermittently shut down the engines like we've got some damage. We need to stay just ahead of them, but look like a much more interesting target. Change our manifest to 'Engine parts' and doctor up some sensor readings to show we have spice on board if they get close enough to scan."

"I will do what I can, Captain."

"What about just engaging and destroying them?" Rulu asked as he reached the maintenance airlock. "Hang on, Banshee, pulling you in."

Lioa responded flatly. "Negative. If there's evidence of a fight in this area, it's only going to arouse suspicion. This needs to look as clean as possible. The more they take things at face value, the better."

Pressing a button on a panel next to the airlock, Rulu started the winch extracting, pulling Selena back to the hatch swiftly but smoothly, eliciting a cry of enjoyment from the woman. As soon as she reached the airlock and was inside, Rulu reported everyone inside.

"What's the play, Captain?"

"We keep stringing them along. Shut down all but one of the turbolasers. Rant, get to the laser and if they get in view, fire at them, but don't be too good about it. We're trying to keep them interested in us. We've got about fifteen more minutes on the clock, which means if we can keep them chasing for about five to ten minutes, they won't have enough time to return to the derelict."

Rulu reached the turbolaser turret, sitting down in the gunner's seat and powering up the targeting system.
"Incoming proton torpedoes. raising shields."

The shields of the small capitol ship were weakened by Hedley's game of playing the wounded prey, and so the torpedoes smashed through them, managing to deliver minor damage to the Gunship's engines. Alarms flared to life all over the ship as the ship tremored lightly from the damage.

"Engines at 85% capacity. Re-energizing rear shields." Hedley reported calmly.

Swinging the turret around, Rulu targeted the Delta Transport, firing off a lance of energy. The shot impacted against the transport, splashing against the shields but also making the pilot realize they meant business. Both of the aggressors began to weave in an evasive pattern as they closed distance.

"Mission time?" The captain asked.

"Nine minutes and forty one seconds remaining."

"Close enough. Banshee, get yourself to the helm and swing us around. Hedley, get shields up and then get us a hyperspace vector out of here. Rant, open up on them, get them to start considering their options."

There was a chorus of acknowledgements, and Hedley went silent, devoting his computational power to the immensely complicated task of hyperspace calculations. Banshee would take over helm so as to free him up from having to focus on any more tasks than necessary.

"Rant, I'm at helm. Swinging around now. Shields charging." Banshee said, even as the ship began to turn.

The Corellian Gunship was certainly no match for the transports in terms of maneuverability, but the small capital ship was surprisingly agile for its size. It executed a turn and a roll, bringing a turbolaser loaded broadside to bear, even as the two attackers made another run against it.

Rulu quickly slaved the other turbolaser turrets to his targeting computer, meaning that all four of the double turbolaser turrets on the topside of the ship would follow his target and shoot with him. The turbolasers were slow to track and fire, making them less than ideal for small craft warfare, but the transports attacking them were no snubfighters. It would take some work for the pilots to stay ahead of them.

The golden-red light laced the emptiness of space, causing the transports to focus strongly on evasive flying to avoid the strong punch of the turbolasers. It took only a minute for them to realize they weren't dealing with a crippled capital ship that was trying to limp to safety, but rather a fully armed Gunship that wasn't likely to roll over for them.

Once that realization sunk in, they turned and began creating some distance, considering other options.

"They're bolting." Rant told the rest of his team mates.

"Let them go. We can't risk a debris cloud that would raise more questions. Let's hold position. Our presence should make them nervous enough that they might not want to mess with the ship until the time is up."

"Roger that." Rulu slipped out of the turbolaser gunner's seat, and began making his way towards the bridge.

"Mission time will elapse in 35 seconds." Hedley announced, about the time Rulu was striding on to the deck. He smirked over at Selena, who smirked backed as she was climbing out of the helmsmen seat.

"That was some nice work you did on those hull markings. They looked just like the originals." He said to her as they both moved over to the sensor table which had a holographic map of the sector.

"I know." The blond woman was still wearing her spacesuit, minus the helmet and gloves. "Maybe next time you can try crawling along the outside of a ship, and I'll go do the easy part."

"No thanks. I like the easy part."

Rulu looked over at Hedley. The droid had presumably started out his life as a protocol droid, if the generic humanoid body was anything to go by. He had, however, been graced with four additional arms that ran down his sides like insect legs, and two wing like appendages coming from his back that contained about a dozen interface devices, allowing him to jack into almost every time of computer and electrical device possible. His bulbous head contained a myriad of optic sensors, allowing him to keep track of what all of his multiple arms were doing.

Right now, all eight appendages were busy using the various controls of a custom built console, which put all of the ship at his finger tips.

"How are we doing, Hedley?" Rulu asked as the Captain Shasnere likewise approached, looking at the map.

"We have moved out approximately 50 kilometers from our mark, the derelict ship. The two pirate vessels have kept range on us, firing a few more proton torpedoes before realizing that our shields are not as weak as they thought. They have since given up and are closing in on the mark. Mission time has now elapsed."

The bridge fell silent as the rest of the team assembled around the map, watching.

"Mission time is now minus ten seconds."

Shasnere crossed her arms and drummed her fingers on her bicep. "Any second now."

More than a few seconds passed.

"Mission time is now minus two minutes. The transports are closing on the derelict ship."

"Maybe our intel was wrong." Rulu suggested. "Or maybe they were delayed."

"Be patient. They're not going to miss a stop."

Another thirty seconds passed, and suddenly it happened. A new sensor contact appeared on the map, followed by another, than six more.

It was an Imperial patrol, or at least the advanced scout of a patrol. Two Corellian Corvettes, the bigger brothers to the Gunship, and a half squadron of Assault Gunboats popped out of hyperspace, less than twenty kilometers from the mining derelict and the two pirates.

The transmission was aimed at the two transports, but the distant Gunship picked it up easily: "Attention unidentified craft: you are in Imperial space and subject to search and seizure of illegal assets. Stand down and prepare for boarding." It was said in that Imperial accented Basic, the kind that seemed to be almost dripping with distain for everything.

If the transports had thought that fighting their way out was a reasonable option, that thought was soon crushed by the arrival of the next wave of ships. An Imperial Star Destroyer, escorted by a pair of Nebulon-B Frigates also emerged, bringing with it the thunder of hundreds of fighters, ready to launch. The two transports did the prudent thing given the circumstances: forgot about the mining derelict, and ran, putting all available power into their engines.

The captain smiled a needle tooth smile. "There they are. Like clockwork. Transmit an encrypted message to the pirates; I don't care what it says, they won't be able to decrypt it anyways. I just want to those Imperials to think we're nothing more than scavengers, like them, bugging out."

"Of course, Captain."

"And then, get us out of here. Soon that taskforce is going to be dining on misinformation, and I would like to be gone by then."

The ship, christened the Blackfold even though it often operated under alias IFFs, rumbled as the hyperdrive spun up, and then shot into Hyperspace.

"Let's get to the rendezvous point. We have some payment to collect."

User avatar
Starlight
Daughter of Epona
Posts: 1992
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2003 10:00 pm
Location: Between Heaven and Earth

Re: Blackfold

Post by Starlight » Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:47 pm

”Attention, passengers. We have begun our descent to Storinal. Please remain seated until our shuttle has completed docking procedures. “

The pleasantly banal droid voice drifted out of the River Princess’ intercom and stirred the passenger cabin to life. The dozen or so passengers of the shuttle began collecting belongings, stowing datapads and other paraphernalia, or just chattered among their groups about what sights or venues they wanted to stop at first.

Beaches, lush and exotic gardens, convivial nightlife, and picnics on the hillside. Storinal was infamous for all that and pretty much only that, which meant if the tourist trade ever dried up, so would the planet.

The passenger in seat 7C turned up a lip at the thought. Not that such a particular scenario was likely to happen any time soon, which was just as well. Slimmer pickings would make the job harder, and not in that fun sort of challenge-type way. Looking like any other tacky tourist with bulky sandals, oversized sun shades, a baggy tropical shirt in a particularly virulent shade of green, Cor followed the example of the others, packed up her personal belongings, and brought out the necessary travel documentation cards. Customs, no matter the planet, was a pain in the brain-tails.

As she jostled her way into the line to disembark, the Twi’lek took the opportunity to smoothly relieve a few tourist pockets of their weight in credits. It killed the tedium of travel. Somewhat. And when Cor found a piece of carefully-wrapped caramel taffy, well… That was just prime. She was careful not to lift any identity cards or valuables. Nothing that would add a delay to this interminably slow shuffle through the cattle line of security checkpoints.

Popping the taffy into her mouth, Cor shifted her back to a more comfortable position on her shoulder and waited her turn to be questioned by the planetary rent-a-soldiers. A particularly harassed-looking but middle-class wealthy family of five bustled up behind her. She smiled at them and moved aside so they could go first. The mother bounced a red-faced baby on her hip while said infant tried its level best to impersonate a Wookie opera tenor.

“Looks like you’ve got your hands full, Ma’am.”

“Yes, well. After ten hours of shuttle time, I guess I should have expected it. Risha, stop poking your brother!”

The middle sibling made a face and crossed her arms over her chest. “Tain started it!”

“Did not!”

“Did too!”

“Did not!”

Before the argument reached galactic proportions, Cor held out her arms. “If you want to wade in and referee, I can old the littlest one for a bit.”

The mother gave the Twi’lek a skeptic look and shifted away. “Thanks but I don’t-“

Risha interrupted her mother by kicking Tain in the shin. “Oh for –here. But just until I get these monsters under control.”

Cor suddenly found herself with two armfuls of human infant that looked up at her, his big blue eyes blinking owlishly in suspicion at a new face. But at least he’d stopped crying.

She contented herself with making hover-boat noises and crossing her eyes at the baby while the group slowly inched forward in line. Just as they stepped down the plank, Cor gave the quieted baby back to the mother so they could go through checkpoint.

“Welcome to Storinal,” the guard grumbled in a bored monotone when it was Cor’s turn. His enthusiasm bubbled over like a stopped up sewage pipe. The Twi’lek amped up the wattage on her candy-sweetened smile and handed over her identity chit.

“Sophi BaKar. Children’s nursery help.” The guard looked up and arched an eyebrow. “Where’s your employer family?”

She blinked her guileless black eyes and pointed toward the family heading toward the space port to grab a taxi-skiff. “Why that one of course. Risha and Tain are terrors, but they’re not so bad once they have naps.”

Rent-A-Guard grunted at that and looked down at the flight manifest. Skimming through the list, his shoulders relaxed a little and he nodded when the names checked out. “Alright, you’re clear to go. Be aware that not all establishments allow to non-Human species. Check for signage outside establishments. Your hotel concierge can also advise your employers."

“Appreciate the warning.” You dirt-licking egg-sucker.

Cor didn’t even get an apathetic “Enjoy your stay!” before she was pushed along past security. She waited until she was sitting in the back of a taxi skiff (paid for by those recently liberated credits) before grinning to herself and rubbing her hands together in anticipation.

“Destination?” the driver inquired.

“Hotel Sanguine, please.”

Phase I, in the bag. Now for Phase II.
My horse's feet are as swift as rolling thunder,
He carries me away from all my fears;
And when the world threatens to fall asunder,
His mane is there to wipe away my tears.
~Bonnie Lewis

User avatar
Starlight
Daughter of Epona
Posts: 1992
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2003 10:00 pm
Location: Between Heaven and Earth

Re: Blackfold

Post by Starlight » Mon Aug 04, 2014 12:21 pm

For most of Storinal’s population, nighttime meant cantina crawls and disco hopping, getting tickets to the latest hot entertainment show, or enthusiastically losing money at gambling venues. The flipside of that were the unfortunate people who actually had to earn a living on the isolated planet. Their days and nights were filled with slinging those fruity cocktail shooters, cleaning up hotel rooms after nights of debauchery, or serving table after table the fantastic gastronomic concoctions of what passed for celebrity chef on this world.

Or, if you were Hilt Tabbernick, you watched security monitors show the same damn images every night that never changed on iota from the time you clocked in until you punched out in the morning to head home.

Not that it was bad work, the middle-aged human mused, checking one of those monitor image feeds as it cycled through snapshots of the corridors. Just damned boring. What Hilt never considered was the small fact he’d never faced anything more eventful than the occasional drunk tourist banging on the front entrance to the Storinal Museo d’Artifice (which was a snooty name for an arts and artifacts museum, he always thought) mistakenly thinking it was some sort of casino or club.

As usual, the cycling feed showed him the same corridors, hallways, and storerooms full of unexciting nothings it always did. Continuing the routine, he followed up by checking the infrared, motion, and pressure sensors. Those were really only in the main exhibit halls where the more expensive or rare pieces were showcased for culture-hungry visitors to fawn over and pretend to be experts on esoteric whatever.

And that’s when things took a swift detour out of boring.

A motion sensor triggered a shrill alarm klaxon and lit up his screen like the Theatre District. Hilt yelped and just barely managed to not spill his mug of caf all over the control board as he scrambled for his comm unit.

“Control to C175! We have a breach in Exhibit Hall – uh – 3. Repeat, Intruder Breach in Exhibit Hall 3.”

“C175 copies, Control. Keep your duty belt on, it’s probably just a malfunction or a rodent.”

The night guard – who actually did have some law enforcement experience as was more than happy with the monotonous evenings – set his small holdout blaster to ‘stun’ and carefully made his way into Exhibit Hall amid more alarms and flashing sensors. Rounding the corner, he sighted down his blaster at the intruder.

“C175 to Control. Your big bad art thief is a Crocos parrot. Want me to get out the stun cuffs and call for reinforcements?”

Hilt frowned within his control bunker. “That’s all? A bird?” He wasn’t sure whether to be relieved or disappointed.

“Yeah, a bird. Now turn off those damned sensor-alarms, get off your ass, and help me catch the thing before it crashes into a painting or something.”

“Control copies. Disengaging heat and motion sensors. On my way.”

In the now empty control bunker, the monitors flicked back to a feed of the main corridor, where a figure slipped down out a ventilation shaft and pressed itself up against a wall.

Beneath a fitted black mask, Cor grinned and hugged the wall a little closer. Works every time.

While Schutta 1 and 2 were busy chasing parrots, the blue-skinned Twi’lek silently made her the way in opposite direction toward the curator’s office.

Director Antonin, as he liked to call himself, had grand plans for the Museo. Not content with being a little niche establishment, he wanted to land the museum on the must-see-must-patron list of every art connoisseur in the quadrant. Part of that meant rubbing elbows with high-class clientele and part of it meant getting his hands on unique and sought-after inventory. The methods of procuring that inventory were flexible. As a result, Antonin had a nice little list going of black market contacts, smugglers, and procurers of equally flexible moral compasses.

He also had a growing list of antiquities patrons eager to acquire unique inventories for their own private collections – and paid Antonin hefty sums for his discreet assistance.

Counting off the doors, Cor stopped at the third one on the right and set to work. From a slim backpack she produced a small datapad and a set of connector cords. It was pitifully easy to use the datapad’s slicer algorithms to break the door panel code. She didn’t risk turning on the overhead lights, and didn’t need to. She’d already cased the museum and studied technical specs for the building. If needed, Cor could find her way by memory through the corridors, ventilation shafts, or service lifts.

Humming a tune in her head, she got to work on the computer terminal, using the datapad to slice and dice her way through firewalls and encryptions to copy shipping manifests, three sets of accounting files, inventory logs, invite lists to every fundraiser event in the last two years, and several contact lists.

That done, she disengaged from the computer terminal and began searching for the final item on her to-do list.

People like Antonin were like hoarder rats. They liked to keep their most precious shinies close by. Which meant a safe or secret compartment of some sort.

Time was running short, so she made a quick scan of the desk for shortened drawers or odd dimensions. Then she checked behind the artwork on the walls, lifted scrolls and other ancient documents off the shelves. Cor huffed out an impatient breath and tried to think like Antonin. Where would she hide the best little trinkets?

She grinned fiercely when the answer came to her. Cor strode over to a crystal vase sparkling on a curvy-looking pedestal. As soon as she lifted the piece up, the pressure sensor activated a hidden panel in the wall.

So very predictably clever, aren’t you?

Illuminated only by the moonlight filtering in through the window behind the curator’s desk, Cor took several pieces of jewelry, a clay figurine, and three rolled up vellums. Each item she took was replaced with a decoy copy, carefully constructed and delivered to the Twi’lek by her current employers.

Ten seconds later, she was gone from the office along with any trace of her nocturnal visit.

She was almost back to the ventilation shaft she heard footsteps approaching.

Cursing silently, she scrambled behind some gaudy statue of a four-armed humanoid – probably a deity idol – and bent her arms at awkward forty-five degree angles to match its pose.

“Why do we have to check all these places? We got the parrot.”

“Because, Hilt, that parrot got in somehow. We need to find out where or there’s going to be more of them.”

“Oh, right.”

Cor didn’t even risk exhaling until they were down the hall and their footsteps nothing but a memory. Then she was shimmying back up into the ventilation shaft and crawling like a spider toward freedom.

Her extraction would be arriving at the spaceport in less than one standard hour, which meant she had half that time to rendezvous with her contact at the Howler.

~+~+~+~+~+~

“You’re late,” hissed the Trandoshan as Cor slid into the booth opposite him. Gone was the blackout mask and black jumpsuit. Now her skin gleamed a deep turquoise in the sketchy lighting of the Howler’s lounge and reflected off the violet sequins scattered over her cocktail dress.

“Am not. Made it with two minutes to spare.”

Her contact made another hissing noise. Cor privately thought he sounded like an overheated tea kettle.

“Your evening was a success?”

Cor merely smiled and signaled the nearest waiter for a drink. “Smooth as silk,” she responded after the server left. “I trust my transportation is in order?”

“Indeed. You depart from Docking Bay 7 in twenty minutes.” He slid a thin envelope across the booth seat. “Your identity cards. Look for the Serpent’s Fang.”

The twi’lek nodded and stowed the envelope in her bag then toasted him with her drink once it arrived. “A pleasure as always, Tarrsst.”

The trando hissed again and tossed back the last of his before sliding out of the booth. Cor took her time finishing off her own. She tossed a few credits onto the table and made her way out of the Howler. It was time to deliver the goods and collect on her payment.
My horse's feet are as swift as rolling thunder,
He carries me away from all my fears;
And when the world threatens to fall asunder,
His mane is there to wipe away my tears.
~Bonnie Lewis

Xalsin
Posts: 3187
Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2003 12:24 pm
Location: WA, USA

Re: Blackfold

Post by Xalsin » Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:22 pm

"Storinal." Lioa said the name like an explicative, which about summed up her feelings downwards the place. "A nominally Imperial world a little off the beaten path. It has a token Imperial presence, but almost all actual security is left to the locals. And since the economy of Storinal is driven almost exclusively by the trade and tourism industry, security's primary concern is making sure everyone is safe and not inconvenienced. As long as you don't look dangerous, they usually wave you through without incident."

Rulu smirked a little. "Usually, right?"

Lioa eyed him for a moment. They were all sitting in a circle on the bridge around the holotable which functioned as their briefing room, card table, and dinner table more often than not. It was probably strange that in a ship this size that had accommodations for all of those separate functions, yet they still found in more comfortable to use the same area for all such tasks. Perhaps it added to the sense of comradarie. Or maybe it was just too much walking.

Lioa held her gaze on the slightly arrogant human for a moment longer before continuing.

"One of Storinal's delightful features is it's gentle, good natured racism. It is an Imperial tourist planet, but mostly in the ideological sense. There's a token Imperial garrison in the capitol, but you're not likely to see any Imperial troopers, and definitely not going to be seeing any Stormtroopers around here. That being said, nonhumans typically are servants at best when they are seen on Storinal. To that end, Rulu will be handling the exchange."

Selena scoffed at this. "Are you serious? let me do it, Captain, you know I'm better at people than he is."

Lioa's fur expanded slightly, than slimmed against her taut, sinewy frame, in what might have been a gesture of annoyance or amusement. It was hard to tell with the Selonian gestures, which she often used when she was concealing her emotions from those around her.

"No. These clients have certain expectations, and unfortunately your appearance would be... startling to them. It is best not to startle the people who are going to pay you."

Banshee snorted at that. She was about 1.6 meters of solid attitude, with laser etched tattoos covering most of her skin. Despite her tattoos, the ring that ran through the columella of her nose, and her brazen demeanor, she looked young. Granted, she wasn't as young as she looked, but that didn't matter when people where dealing with her.

"Whatever. You know I could do the job better than flunky here." She hooked her thumb towards Rant before she folded her arms in a pseudo-pout.

Rant almost fired back a retort, but Lioa beat him to it. "Selena, if you insist on your petulant speech, I will task you to assist Rulu by attending to him as his subjugated mate. And that is not something I'm sure your ego could endure."

Selena's mouth worked open and closed a few times before she snapped her jaw shut.

Rulu would have laughed, but he knew that drawing Lioa's attention would probably not bode well for him either. It was all in good fun, but still, it was better to not be a target.

"Rulu, you will head down to Crystal Sands Resort. At the outdoor café of the resort, there will be someone sitting alone, reading a copy of Obscura Codex: Hidden Tomes of Mezloc VI. You will sit down and offer to buy them a drink. If they refuse but ask you to sit because they are homesick, then they are your contact and they deem the situation safe enough to talk. If they accept your offer for a drink and tell you that they would like a Coursca Glimmer, then it is not safe to talk, and they will provide pick up instructions for the payment in conversation."

Rulu nodded, ignoring Selena's muttered comment of "you'd better write that down for him, he's not going to remember".

The captain turned to Hedley. "Hedley, you have an ID for Rulu?"

Hedley whirred as one of his hands extended with a ID chip. "It will suffice for any surface scrutiny. Try to avoid any Imperial entanglements, however, as it will not stand up to any Imperial database searches."

Rant pocketed the chip. "Easy enough. Are we expecting any trouble from the client?"

Lioa shook her head. "I wouldn't send you if I expected trouble. They aren't the types that can afford to double cross."

Rulu wasn't quite sure if that was an insult or not, but he went with it. "Let's roll then."

************
The Luxury Yacht Scintilla, set down effortlessly in Docking Bay 6. The Yacht rode piggy back on the Black Fold most of the time, operating as their space to surface ship or the "make a good impression" ship when needed. Of course, she wasn't all sensual curves and smooth lines; in a pinch, several portions of the plating would jettison, revealing some very nonstandard laser turrets underneath. Granted, they were nothing super powerful, but they certainly did the job of repelling the unwary.

Rulu followed the protocol, making his way towards the resort café that was the meeting point. Customs had been a breeze of dull eyed locals, and all appeared to be going well.

Up until Rulu found a copy of Obscura Codex: Hidden Tomes of Mezloc VI laying discarded next to an empty table. Keeping himself as casual as he could, he walked past the table, sending a quick text message on his communicator to Lioa.

Might be a problem. Looking in to it.

No one seemed to be paying undue attention to the table in question, so Rulu decided that if something had happened, it was over. Maybe someone had seen something...

He saundered back over to the databook that had been left on the ground and picked it up. No one seemed to be particularly interested in him, or perhaps they were just better at this spy stuff than he was. In truth, this was not his forte; infiltrations, sure. Doing the spy stuff in public, not so much.

He did take note of a one woman who looked like she was simply walking along the edge of the resort grounds in a rather eye catching turquoise dress. She didn't appear to be in any particular hurry, but he did cue in the fact that she was very alert to what was going on around her. It was subtle, but it was her seemingly aimless glances which allowed her to stay on top of where everyone around her was in relation to her.

Maybe, if she was the sort who paid attention, she had seen something that had stuck out.

Trying to seem nonthreatening and casual, he approached her. "Excuse me, miss. I don't suppose you happened to see who left this book behind? They were sitting at that table right there."

Post Reply