Second Star to the Right

2 years prior to The Force Awakens...
A persistent and interactive galaxy set shortly before the events of Episode VII

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TalRaimi
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Second Star to the Right

Post by TalRaimi » Tue Aug 02, 2016 3:44 am

Kinesh Morova Desch opened her eyes and stretched sensuously. Bathed in the warm sunlight that was filtering through the blinds she luxuriated in those fleeting moments of contentedness between sleep and full consciousness. She was warm, fulfilled, and safe. Too bad the moment couldn’t last; it never did. Slowly, reluctant to break the spell, she slid one pink/red leg from beneath the white silk sheets, curling her toes as the sunlight touched them. For a fleeting second she considered rolling over and going back to sleep, but that would only postpone the inevitable.

With a reluctant sigh Kin glanced to her left at the young human woman that lay there, her dark curls spilling across the pillow, her face a blissful mask of contentment. Kin’s lips creased into a rueful smile as the memories of last night came back to her. Last night had been pure pleasure; however this morning was all about business. Leaning over, Kin kissed the woman lightly on the cheek and Atrassia Olyn smiled sleepily but did not wake. In fact she wouldn’t wake for at least another few hours thanks to the drug Kin had given her last night; she would stay wrapped in a peaceful sleep, oblivious to what went on around her.

Untangling herself from the knot of silk sheets, Kin slid out of bed and padded across to the large ornate mirror that hung on the far wall. She glanced critically at the naked Zeltron who stared back at her. Her blue hair was a dishevelled mess, her eyes heavy with lack of sleep, and unless she missed her guess ...was that was a bite mark on her left shoulder? She shook her head, this wouldn’t do. After all, a thief had to look her best at all times.

Resolutely, Kin headed to the fresher.

Fifteen minutes later she emerged feeling refreshed and renewed and ready to get to work. She paused at the foot of the bed, her eyes lingering on the emerald blue evening gown that lay in a crumpled mess on the floor. While the gown had been fine for the lavish ball she had attended the night before, come daylight hours it was somewhat less practical. Luckily she and Atrassia were about the same size and after a cursory rummage through the woman’s wardrobe she found a pair of figure hugging red pants, blue top and a battered but serviceable nerfhide jacket to match.

Atrassia Olyn, second generation Alderaanian exile, and heiress to the Olyn fortune, would not miss a few simple clothes.

Collecting her shoes and purse from the night before, Kin left the bedroom and gently shutting the door behind her she made her way downstairs. Atrassia maintained a large split level apartment in Coronet City, just one of a handful of the Olyn holdings throughout the galaxy, but like all of them, its computer was connected to the family’s central mainframe. With Atrassia sedated, and having made sure to send the staff home last night with instructions not to come back before midday, Kin had the apartment to herself.

Unhurried, she wandered into the apartment’s kitchen and made herself a cup of Caf before making her way to the small study she had spotted the night before. Seating herself in front of the large flat panel monitor she fished out a small nondescript box from her purse and attached it to the base of the monitor and flicked a switch on the side.

Kin sipped at her Caf leisurely while the computer spike began to hack in to the Olyn mainframe.

She had done her research well. Atrassia Olyn was the stereotypical rebellious daughter, passionate, fiery, quick to embrace new experiences and willing to do almost anything to try and shock her parents into noticing that she existed. She was also bright and fun and Kin had to admit that she felt just the tiniest bit of guilt at her seduction of the naive young heiress. She deserved better. But then, didn’t everyone?

But still what harm will it really do her? It’s not like I’m going to wipe out the family fortune and leave her penniless and destitute. I’ll merely take a small share that her family can afford and with luck she won’t even know it was me, she’ll merely be left with pleasant memories of our time together.

The computer spike beeped, announcing that it had successfully gained access to the system. Kin smiled and reached for the keyboard...

----------------------------------------------------------------

Dustin Bek sat perched on the edge of a battered cargo container, basking in the morning sunshine as he watched the handful of droid workers finish loading his ship, the Even Trade. It was a good day to be groundside. A career spacer, he generally felt more at home aboard ship, the familiar rumble of engines, hissing of coolant and rattle of pipes as familiar to him as the sounds of the city were to a groundsider. Sometimes though, just occasionally, he did appreciate being planeside. He closed his eyes and smiled.

“Daydreaming, Bek?”

In no hurry, he opened his eyes to see Kin striding towards him, hips swaying, a satisfied smile of her lips.

“Good morning to you too, Ms Desch,” he nodded his head in greeting, “I hope you had a productive night?”

“I did indeed,” she replied coming to a stop in front of him and rolling her neck from side to side to stretch the muscles.

“So, who was he this time?”

“She, actually,” Kin replied nonchalantly.

She? Well, that was new. If not surprising. Zeltrons were known for their hedonistic approach to life and in the six months he’d known her, Kin had more than lived up to her species reputation.

“Okay,” Bek smiled, “Who was she?

“Oh, just your run of the mill Alderaanian heiress, nobody special.”

“I don’t know, I’d say that sounds pretty special. Not many Aldeaanian’s left in the galaxy and those few that are tend to be a pretty tight bunch. Is this going to generate any heat?”

“Relax,” Kin balanced herself delicately on the crate next to Bek, throwing an arm around his shoulder and giving him a reassuring squeeze. “I know what I’m doing. The worm I implanted in their system will only siphon off a small amount of credits each day; I doubt they’ll even miss it.”

Bek was less convinced. In his experience rich people tended to be paranoid about their finances and would query even the smallest discrepancy. That said, Kin had been running this same con for a long time and was yet to be caught. Bek scratched at the short beard he wore, uncomfortably aware of the Zeltron’s arm around his shoulders. He did feel more relaxed however.

“Stop it.”

She glanced at him, all wide eyed innocence. “Stop what?”

He scowled. “You damn well know what. Stop trying to calm me down. If I want to worry about us then let me worry about us.”

“Sorry, force of habit,” she removed her arm, but otherwise didn’t sound particularly contrite.

Many Zeltrons had the ability to both read and project basic emotions in other species and Kin was no exception. It was a very useful tool for a con artist and a thief. It had certainly helped Kin when Bek had first met her and she’d tried to steal his ship out from under him. The more time he had spent with Kin though, the more aware he was of when she was trying to influence him, and if there was one thing he resented it was being manipulated.

“I don’t get you,” he shook his head, “All this risk for a few credits? You seduce your targets, hack their accounts, yet you only ever take a small amount of credits. Why not clean them out? Take it all?”

Kin stared into his eyes; her bright blue orbs almost the same shade as her hair. “Is it really so hard for you to understand? Why are you a smuggler and not an honest trader?”

“It pays better,” he replied automatically.

“Yes. But we both know that’s not the real reason.”

Bek opened his mouth to deny it but the look on Kin’s face silenced him, this was a rare moment where she was being completely open with him and demanded the same in return. He thought how best to answer her, how to put his reasons into words.

“Alright, real reason? Because being a legitimate trader would be boring.”

“Exactly! Smuggling is exciting, it makes you feel alive. But it’s still risk verses reward. You’re careful about what jobs you take. It’s the same with me. I take pleasure in the seduction, it’s exciting, but I research my marks thoroughly and I don’t clean them out because that would seriously increase the risk. Even if they do notice the missing credits, and even if they somehow deduct that I was the one to rob them, the amount is so small to them it’s not worth spending too much time and effort coming after me.”

You hope, Bek thought.

“I guess that makes sense. Still, one big score and then you could retire.”

She laughed; a disarmingly lovely sound. “And then do what? Become exactly the type of person I was stealing from? Now that would be a delicious irony.”

“So instead you keep hopping around the galaxy until... what? You get bored?”

“Maybe,” she lowered her eyes momentarily, “Maybe then I’ll find a rich husband and settle down.”

“Poor bugger, I feel sorry for him already.”

“So tell me, Dustin,” a mischievous smile played across her lips, “Do smugglers earn a lot of Credits?”

Bek shuddered. “Don’t even joke about that. And don’t call me Dustin.” I hate that name.

She laughed again, kissed him on the cheek before he could protest and then hopped off the crate. “Who says I’m joking?” she teased as she walked off towards the Even Trade.

Damn woman. His scowl followed her as she ascended the ramp and disappeared into the ship. It still baffled him that he had allowed her to travel with him. After all, she had tried to rob him and he was not normally so forgiving. He wondered not for the first time it had had been her natural Zeltron talents that had played a part in somehow convincing him to let her accompany him. Either way, it was done now and she was part of his crew, the big sister he had never wanted.

And even though I’ll never admit it, I’m better off with her along. It was getting boring being on my own.

Shaking his head and grinning to himself he shut his eyes and went back to enjoying the sun's warmth while the droids finished loading the final few crates onto the ship.
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Re: Second Star to the Right

Post by Pryde » Tue Aug 02, 2016 10:35 am

Coronet City, it felt good to be back in the Core again but Jessica Sterling was well aware that she couldn't stay long. There were people searching for her and she needed to stay one step ahead of them. Glancing around the platform a second time she made sure she wasn't being followed. So far no one seemed to take an interest in her but she kept her eye open anyway until the rocket tram arrived. The tram would take her to the spaceport where she hoped to barter passage off this rock.

She held up her datapad again and glanced at the name that was recorded there. Dustin Bek, he had a reputation in certain circles for being an expediter of rare goods. That's exactly what she needed right now, a smuggler. If anyone could get her safely to Lothal undetected it would be him, she hoped. She stuffed the datapad back in her pocket and glanced out at the city as the buildings flew by. It was funny, all the battles she fought in service to the Republic and somehow it still felt like she was in enemy territory. She hated having to leave the squadron even if it was only temporary, but she owed it to herself to follow the cryptic clues left behind by her father.

As she stared out the window she remembered Maz Kanata's advice shortly before she was given her father's message. There is more to this world than what you can see and there is more to you than what you know. Jess wasn't sure if she quite believed that or even understood it, but there was only one way to find out. A tone chimed and the rocket tram slowed to a halt in front of the spaceport. As passengers were filing off the train Jessica lingered a bit, waiting for the last possible second before darting through the doors just as they were closing. She didn't know if anyone was following her but that move should take care of any pursuit just to be sure.

She walked into the main lobby of the spaceport where people stood in long lines waiting to book passage off world. Jess skipped all of that and headed straight into the terminal, looking for the berth containing Bek's ship. She bypassed security with a few credits and found Bek sitting on a crate waiting as his ship was being loaded. She walked right up to him and cleared her throat to get his attention.

"Are you Dustin Bek?"

The man looked at her. "Who's asking?"

Jess smiled, only a smuggler would be careful about giving away his name. "I'm looking for passage to the planet Lothal, at your earliest convenience, of course," she said, "There's also a bonus in it for you if you can get me there discreetly."

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Re: Second Star to the Right

Post by TalRaimi » Thu Feb 02, 2017 6:51 am

The droids had all but finished loading the Even Trade when Bek found himself being approached by a second woman. He half opened one eye to watch her draw near. This time she had none of Kin’s quiet confidence, in fact she seemed nervous and slightly on edge and he noted the way she positioned herself off to one side of him to improve her field of vision.

She cleared her throat. “Are you Dustin Bek?”

Bek opened both eyes and stared at her. “Who’s asking?” he replied automatically.

She smiled and Bek new he’d just confirmed his identity to her. Damn rookie mistake. "I'm looking for passage to the planet Lothal, at your earliest convenience, of course," she said, "There's also a bonus in it for you if you can get me there discreetly."

“Do I look like the Captain of a passenger liner?” Bek replied dismissively.

“No, you look like a smuggler,” the woman shot back bluntly.

Bek glanced down at the clothes he wore; standard spacer pants and shirt. She had a point, perhaps a wardrobe change was in order. “I’m not going anywhere near to Lothal.” He studied her intently, her muscles were tight, her stance tense, she was defiantly uneasy and that meant she was running from something. Or someone.

“I can pay you well...” she began.

He held up a hand to forstall her. “I’m sure you can, but right now I have my own problems and my own schedule to keep. Even if I could spare the time to take a detour to Lothal, I doubt that it would be worth the risk.”

“Name a figure.”

“What?” Bek shook his head; she was clearly desperate, which was just another reason not to take her as a passenger.

“I said name a...” The woman’s voice trailed off as her gaze flicked to the side, eyes widening.

Bek followed her gaze towards the entrance to the docking bay and the four figures that had just entered.

“Who are they?” the woman asked.

“I was hoping they were friends of yours,” Bek drawled as he appraised the new arrivals, slipping off his perch and coming to stand beside Jessica. Each was human, three men and a woman; all wore plain but well cut clothes and walked with the loose gait of someone who had been combat trained. This made Bek feel distinctly uncomfortable.

They stopped a few meters short of Bek, fanning out into a loose half circle. None were openly armed but Bek fancied they all had weapons concealed somewhere about their person. The woman took a step forward; she had short cropped blonde hair and hard eyes. “We apologise for the interruption,” she addressed Bek, ignoring his companion, “Are you Dustin Bek?”

“Twice in the space of a few minutes,” Bek smiled. The woman looked confused. “He’s a popular guy. I was just telling the lady here, Dustin Bek isn’t here, and he doesn’t own this ship anymore. It’s mine now.”

As a bluff, Bek thought it was a pretty good one to come up with on the fly. He’d at least learned from his earlier mistake. “And you are?” the woman demanded to know.

“Caston Kreger, not that it’s any of your business,” Bek answered smoothly, putting a slight inflection into his accent, “And I won this ship in a Sabacc game three weeks ago. Like I said, it’s mine now.”

The woman glanced to Bek’s companion before her eyes locked back onto their original target. Bek couldn’t tell if she was buying his ruse or not.

“The name of your ship?”

Bek made a show of reluctantly answering, “The Queen’s Folly. Look what is this ab...”

“She’s registered as the Skifter’s Luck,” the woman snapped.

He made a face, “Well I haven’t had time to officially change the registry yet, but that other name’s stupid. She’s the Queen’s Folly far as I’m concerned.”

Throughout this the woman at Bek’s side had thankfully remained silent but now Bek’s interrogator switched targets, “So who are you? And why are you looking for Dustin Bek?”

“I’m Jessica,” she replied, “And I might ask you the same question?”

“Calendra Van, I’m with the Olyn Foundation,” the woman told them, as if that explained everything.

“Never heard of you,” Bek pretended to get annoyed, “Either of you. Now go and leave me be, I’ve got business to attend to.”

“Not until we’ve verified your identity and searched your ship” the woman made a gesture and two of the men stepped forward threateningly.

Both Bek and Jessica backed up a step until the cargo container was at their backs. There were still no weapons in sight but Bek didn’t favour their odds in a fist fight and was regretting leaving his blaster in the cockpit of the Even Trade. He also wondered where Kin was, probably hogging all the hot water in the fresher if he knew her.

“Now gentle beings, I think there’s been some mistake here...” he started, when suddenly there was a sound like thunder and a blinding flash. He was flung to the ground, dirt and rocks pelting him, and when his vision cleared there was a large hole in the ground not far to his right. He glanced behind, blinking the smoke from his eyes to see one of the Even Trade’s laser canons swivelling in his direction. It fired again, this time flashing overhead and blasting a chunk out of the spaceport wall.

Bek looked up again and thought he spied Kin at the control before the smoke and dusk obscured his view. He glanced around to see Calendra Van and her team similarly sprawled in the dirt, taken off guard by the sudden attack. Ceasing his opportunity Bek pushed himself up and struggled to his feet, taking off towards the aging YG-4210 at a run. The laser canon fired one more time before Bek reached the Even Trade’s ramp and bolted up it.

It was only as he reached the top that he realised that he’d also left the girl, Jessica, behind. He felt a brief stab of guilt. Oh well, he hadn’t wanted to take her as a passenger anyway and it didn’t look like the Olyn foundation was after her so she’d probably be safe. Probably...
Last edited by TalRaimi on Mon Feb 13, 2017 7:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Second Star to the Right

Post by TalRaimi » Mon Feb 13, 2017 7:29 am

After boarding the Even Trade, Kin returned to her quarters. She kicked off her shoes, threw her newly acquired nerf hide jacket onto the deck and sprawled full length on her bunk. She stared up at the grey metal of the hull above her and found herself mildly annoyed at Bek. Of course she hadn’t been serious when suggesting he would be husband material, but even so, his almost shocked response irked her. At the very least he should be flattered that she would even joke about such a thing! He’d obviously spent too much time alone on this rust bucket, she decided. Come to think of it, she couldn’t remember him having any romantic entanglements in the six months or so she’d been aboard the Even Trade.

Well then, that settles it, next time we’re in port I need to get him laid.

Grinning to herself, she rolled off the bunk and headed to the kitchen to get herself a mug of Caf.

As she strolled barefoot through the corridors of the Even Trade, she found herself running her fingers affectionately along the bulkheads. The Trade was an old ship, her decks literally stained with the blood and sweat of history; Bek had told her the ship had originally belonged to his Grandfather before being passed down to his Father and then to Bek himself. Outwardly she might still resemble the same old battered YG-4210 that Granpappy Bek had flown, but over the intervening decades just about every major system had either been replaced or upgraded. She was a true smugglers ship now.

Kin swore she could feel the ships history, it gave the Trade a character, a personality, and it was one of the things that had originally attracted her to the ship back when she had tried to steal it out from under Bek. She smiled ruefully at the memory; she had been so very close to succeeding.

Reaching the small galley she set about fixing two mugs of Caf, she figured Bek must be close to finished with the loading of his latest cargo. She wondered where they would be heading next, with all the excitement of planning and executing her latest con she’d quite forgotten to ask. Still, it hardly mattered, for now she had no pressing business and as she’d said to Bek, she researched her marks carefully, making sure her planning was meticulous and as yet she hadn’t selected a new target.

With two steaming mugs of Caf in hand she trotted to the cockpit, setting the mugs down on the main control console and peering out of the viewport to see if Bek was done yet. What she saw immediately made her blood run cold. She could tell instantly by the body language that the four humans meant Bek no good and to her eyes were visibly restraining themselves. The women next to Bek also sent a shiver down her spine... but for a reason she couldn’t entirely figure out.

Her mind whirled. Who were these people? Were they after Bek? Her? Or the women at Bek’s side. And just why was there a strange woman at Bek’s side? Sure, Bek needed a woman, but he could at least have waited for her to find one for him!

Kin slid into the pilot’s seat, her fight or flight instincts were kicking in and she was in no doubt it was time to run. But not without Bek. The Trade was already in idle mode and she quickly keyed for the starboard laser canon to come online, her hand nestling on the joystick as she scanned the scene unfolding before her. She saw the three men begin to advance on Bek and dropped the laser canon’s targeting reticule over them only moving it to the side the last second before she fired, wary the splash damage from the canon might hit Bek.

The ground exploded flinging all six figures to the floor. Kin adjusted her aim, higher this time and fired again, determined to keep the humans pinned down. She peered through the smoke, desperately looking for Bek. She saw him glance in the cockpits direction and then heave himself to his feet and start running hell for leather towards the Even Trade’s ramp. Once he was close enough and she was sure that she wouldn’t hit him she fired a final time, sending up another cloud of smoke and dust to obscure the area. Moments later she heard the sound of Bek’s boots thumping on the deck as he ran towards her.

“Out of my chair!” he barked, appearing in the cockpit.

Kin scrambled sideways and Bek took her place, hands darting across the controls with practised familiarity. He was no stranger to having to make a hasty getaway it seemed. “You’re welcome,” she said smugly from the co-pilots seat.

“I’ll say thank you once we’re weightless,” he replied over the rumble of the Trade’s engines coming to life. “Is anything moving out there?”

She scanned the docking bay, the dust and smoke were clearing but there was no sign of anyone. “Looks like they’ve scattered.”

“Good, but I don’t want to take the chance they’re not got a ship nearby. Spaceport control aren’t going to like this.”

“I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve illegally taken blasted off from a spaceport?” Kin teased.

“No,” Bek gave her a hard smile, “But usually it’s from some rock on the outer rim, not Corellia! Just be thankful we don’t have to contend with planetary shields at the moment.”

“I...” Kind found herself suddenly speechless as Bek lifted the Trade violently into the air sending the mugs of Caf flying and she found herself pushed back into her seat as the ship shot upwards at an almost ninety degree angle. Bek held his course, the Trade shooting skywards on a rocket of flame as all the while the comm unit spewed a torrent of abuse at them from spaceport traffic control. Finally, after what seemed like an age, the blue sky of Corellia darkened shade by shade until the blackness of space engulfed them.

“Thank you,” Bek said suddenly.

Kin, still fighting to get her breath back thanks to her pilot’s frugal use of the inertial damper, took a moment to compose herself before replying. “You’re welcome. Are we clear now?”

“Near enough, there are two Corellian Security ships vectoring to intercept but we’ll be in Hyperspace before they catch us.”

“So who were those people back there?” she asked. “What did they want?”

“They wanted me, but I don’t know why,” Bek turned towards her, “They said they were from the Olyn Foundation. You ever heard of them?”

Kin closed her eyes, cursing inwardly. She didn’t reply immediately until Bek poked her in the ribs. “Yes,” she replied reluctantly, “I’ve heard of them. And they weren’t after you, Bek, they were after me...”
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Re: Second Star to the Right

Post by TalRaimi » Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:03 am

For a good minute and a half after the Even Trade had made her escape to hyperspace no one said a word. Bek sat silently brooding, working through the mix of emotions he was feeling. While anger and fear were initially foremost amongst them, they both finally gave way to a sort of resigned serenity. He wanted to be angry at Kin, wanted to blame her for putting him in danger, but ultimately he was too self-aware for that. He knew who she was, he had known her line of work when he’d allowed her to come aboard the Trade, and he had also known that one day it might put him in danger.

He cast a sidelong glance at Kin. She remained silent, shoulders slumped, her blue hair hiding her face; so different to the brazen Zeltron that was normally so full of life. It startled him, this was a side of her that he’d not seen before. Was she ashamed that she’d put him in danger?

“Alright,” he mumbled, letting out a deep sigh, “Who are the Olyn Foundation and how do we get them off our tail?”

Kin, who had been staring resolutely at her knees for the past minute, hesitantly looked over at Bek, pushing her hair away from her eyes. “Our tail?” she asked softly.

“Yes, ‘our tail’,” Bek forced a reassuring smile.

“You’re not mad?”

“Oh, I’m plenty mad, but I knew the risks of travelling with you when I let you aboard my ship. We stick together, unless you’re determined to go your own way?”

Kin looked away shyly. “Technically you didn’t let me on your ship, I broke in…”

“Kin…” Bek growled warningly, “Do you really think this is the best time to bring that up?”

“But no,” she quickly glanced back, “no, I don’t want to go my own way.”

“Good.”

“Good.”

Silence fell again as they sat staring anywhere but at each other.

“So, the Oyln Foundation?” Bek reminded her.

“Yes, of course,” the Zeltron cleared her throat, composing herself, her exposed vulnerabilities slipping behind her normal mask of confidence and bravado. “Atrassia Olyn was my last mark, very pretty girl, the heiress to the Olyn Foundation run by her father, Gabran. Quite the looker himself so I’m told. The Olyn foundation itself is a charitable foundation devoted to the recovery and preservation of Alderaanian cultural artefacts and heritage.”

“Spare me the extraneous details,” Bek groaned, “I don’t care how they look, I’m more concerned with their private security force.”

“Atrassia herself has two bodyguards who rotate their protection duty.”

“You’re sure? Just two?”

“Positive. We sent the one on duty last night home, though he wasn’t happy about it.”

“Great,” Bek grimaced. “So the four at the docking bay mean that her father’s involved.”

Kin frowned. “I can’t believe she would have told him about me already. I’ve studied her, spent time with her, she’s not the type to run to daddy just because her one night stand wasn’t there when she woke up in the morning.”

“Which means that either your computer worm was discovered or they were watching her closely,” Bek surmised, his mind working the problem, narrowing down the possibilities.

“Did they ask for me by name?”

Bek thought back, “No, they asked for me.”

“What? That doesn’t make any sense?”

“No,” Bek shrugged, “It doesn’t.”

Kin drummed her fingers on the console in front of her. “I need to access my account, find out if the worm has made its first deposit yet.”

“Well you’re not doing it from the Trade,” Bek told her bluntly, “No telling what kind of trace they could have in place. Bad enough I’ve had to burn a transponder ID blasting out of Coronet, I’m not putting the ship in unnecessary danger.”

“All I need is a terminal, it can be anywhere.”

Bek considered his options and decided to kill two mynocks with one blaster bolt. “I’ve still got a cargo hold full of machine parts to deliver. We make the drop as planned and you can find a terminal while I hand off the cargo.”

Kin shifted in her seat, leaning towards Bek. “And just what is our actual cargo and destination?”

“Ever heard of a world called Kamendor?”

“Not even a little.”

“Neither had I. It’s a small Mid Rim world that gained independence during the Civil War but declined to join the Republic. Rumour is that its Imperial overseers saw which was the wind was blowing and succeeded from the Empire sometime after Endor, they declared themselves a neutral system and managed to hold onto power.”

“So it’s an like an old Imperial world in everything but name?”

“Pretty much” Bek nodded. “Officially they’ve outlawed the more extreme Imperial laws in order to placate the Republic, but behind the scenes little has changed.”

“Which means they’ve a thriving black market, right?”

“Indeed,” Bek smiled, “And we’re bringing in the finest Corellian Whisky and Tabac to contribute to it. Duty free, of course.”

“Who brokered the deal?”

“My usual contact, Deljeet,” Bek told her, noticing her pensive look, “You worried the Oyn goons might figure out where we’re headed?”

The Zeltron nodded. “They knew you’re name. That means they’ll be asking around about you.”

“We’ll be fine,” Bek tried to reassure her, not to mention himself, “We get to Kamendor, dump the cargo, you check your account and we’re outta there before anyone’s the wiser. Besides, I know Deljeet, he’s Mr Confidentiality… there’s no way he’d give up a client. ”


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


“Dustin Bek? Why yes, he is a client of mine,” Deljeet Na,mas nodded his bright blue head vigorously at the tall human women who was currently scowling down at him, “What would you like to know about him?”

“You can start by telling me the last time you saw him in person.”

“Of course, of course,” the Duros continued to nod while all the time trying to sink deeper into the confines of his office chair.

Deljeet Thradma Kirascalus Na’Mas Voda, prided himself on his ability to read people. He was a keen student of body language among the many wondrous and varied species of this galaxy, be it the subtle twitch of a Twi’Lek head-tail, the swivel of a Gran eyestalk, or the enthusiastic drooling of a Gamorrean palate. In particular though he prided himself on his ability to read humans, more than just their body language though, he felt he had a sixth sense about them, and right now that sense was telling him to give this women everything she wanted, or else.

“I saw him two days ago, in fact I brokered a deal for him,” Deljeet spilled the details of their last meeting without so much as a second thought. During his long years as a broker the value of client confidentiality had been constantly impressed upon him time and time again, yet that paled into insignificance compared to the cost of his life, and this women, with her cold hard state, left Deljeet very much in fear of that life.

“That’s very interesting,” she purred, absently stroking the blaster she wore at her hip, “Very interesting indeed.”

Deljeet suppressed a shiver. His larges eyes flicking to the three other figures who had barged their way into his office unannounced, a normally unforgiveable breach of protocol, but one that he was sure he could forgive this time. They were certainly intimidating, but nothing compared to the woman with the short blonde hair. The women simply felt wrong.

“So tell me Mr Na’Mas, where was the erstwhile Captain Bek going next?”

Deljeet swallowed, his throat suddenly dry. He did at the end of the day feel a sudden, brief pang of regret for betraying Bek. The human was quite a decent fellow after all. That said, he was nowhere quite so terrifying as the women who stood before him licking her lips in anticipation. “Kamendor,” Deljeet began, “He was going to Kamendor…”
'Would you do it with me, heal the scars and change the stars?'

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TalRaimi
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Re: Second Star to the Right

Post by TalRaimi » Tue Jul 18, 2017 7:46 am

The first thing Bek noticed about the planet Kamendor was the dirty brown landmasses that covered the world; several small to medium continents dotted with far too few specks of green. The second thing he noticed, was the large white dagger shape that was creeping over the horizon of the planet like a deep sea predator emerging from the dark.

“They have a Star Destroyer?” Kin’s mouth dropped slightly in awe.

“They have a Star Destroyer,” Bek agreed.

“And the Republic allows this?”

Bek shrugged. “The Republic has bigger things to worry about than a single Star Destroyer in the hands of an independent system.” For a con-artist and petty criminal Kin could be surprisingly naïve sometimes. Or maybe she was just indifferent to galactic politics. “Senate’s been tearing itself apart from years now. And besides,” he added with a wary glance towards his scanner, “That ship’s damn near thirty years old.”

“True, but an old Krayt Dragon still has more teeth than either you or I,” Kin retorted.

Bek didn’t reply. It wasn’t like Kin was wrong. Instead, he found the comm frequency for Kamendor Planetary Control and announced their arrival. “This is the Freighter Even Trade. I have a cargo of machine parts bound for the Cortralis Corporation.”

“Copy Even Trade,” the replay crackled, then after a momentary pause, “We have you on our schedule, please transmit your cargo manifest and crew details.”

“On their way,” Bek replied, slowing the Trade and adjusting her course slightly so as to put a little more distance between her and the Star Destroyer. Apart from the former Imperial Warship, the space around Kamendor was bright with drive trails as merchant traffic darted in and out of the planet. The place was a lot busier than Bek would have assumed, even for an industrial world, and he found himself wondering about this; it didn’t feel right.

“Even Trade, you’re clear for landing at Natal City Spaceport, follow beacon One Four Seven for your landing vector,” the voice of the Planetary Controller confirmed.

“So far so good,” Kin breathed a sigh of relief after Bek had acknowledged his understanding and keyed the comm off.

“Well, we do have official landing clearance for this one,” Bek reminded her, “And I am actually carrying machine parts.”

“Amongst other things,” Kin winked.

“Amongst other things,” Bek grinned back.

“Will we have to make a separate drop off for your special cargo?”

Bek shook his head. “No, it will mysteriously vanish from the Trade’s hold. As if it had never been there.”

Kin sighed. “Smuggling is so… boring. I had always envisioned clandestine meetings at dusk, daring atmospheric insertions, freighters skimming the surface at breakneck speed to avoid the spaceport scanners, but the reality is so much more disappointing. ”

Bek didn’t know where to laugh or feel offended? Again though, it wasn’t like she was wrong, ninety nine percent of the time his job was pretty routine, boring even, punctuated by one percent sheer terror when things went straight to hell. He settled for a wry smile in the end and waved a dismissive hand, “Well, we can’t all be seductive con-women.”

Kin narrowed her eyes playfully. “Oh I don’t know, a bit of foundation, some lip-gloss, a nice wig and I think we could make a con-woman of you yet.”

“Would I have to shave?”

“All over.”

“Then I think I’ll stick to smuggling.”

“Shame,” Kin replied straight faced. “I think you’d look rather fetching in a dress.”

Bek blinked, half opened his mouth to reply, then thought better of it. He really, really, didn’t want to go any further down that particular hyperspace lane.

The rest of the short journey planeside was spent in silent amusement. Kin’s silent amusement. Bek however managed to occupy himself by keeping an eye on the rest of his fellow spacers and their Kamendor brethren. There were a lot of independent small to medium freighters like the Trade, and that struck Bek as unusual. While any industrial world would attract its fair share of Indies, he would have expected to see a lot more large company ships, yet they were suspiciously absent here.

The pairs of roaming TIE Fighters did little to ease the nervous feeling that was forming in the pit of his stomach. Like the Star Destroyer that guarded the planet, the TIE’s were decades old, repainted a striking red with three black stripes on the solar panels and fitted with shields if the Trade’s scanner was to be believed. He made sure to keep away from the roving patrols as much as possible on his approach to the Natal Spaceport.

The Trade touched down in an enclosed docking bay at the centre of the spaceport without interference and Bek put her systems into idle, ready for a quick getaway should one be called for. As he descended the ramp he was met by an official from the Dockmaster’s office who did a perfunctory check of his documents, before grunting at him and them waving in the cargo handling droids to begin unloading.

As the official wandered off to the next docking bay and his next inspection, Kin joined him at the foot of the ramp. “Everything okay?”

“Seems to be,” he replied. “Shouldn’t take long to unload. You want to wait for me and then we’ll go find a terminal to check your accounts?”

Kin hesitated for a moment then shook her mane of blue hair. “No, I’ll be fine. It shouldn’t take long.”

“Alright, be careful then,” Bek laid a hand briefly on her shoulder.

Kin glanced derisively at the hand before snorting and heading for the exit. “Careful? Where’s the fun in that.”
'Would you do it with me, heal the scars and change the stars?'

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