[SWAW] The Merchant's Cabal [Kelb S3]

edited December 2013 in SWAW
You head off down the halls of the station for your client, and Jazz follows obediently. He's walking a bit stiff today, but he's in a decently good mood. You're rounding the last corner into the market district of the station when he finally asks, "so you hoping Tott will stick around? I thought you were looking for a few other people for the crew too."


  • I slow a bit, so we can talk privately, "This is a cake job, no need to bring in too many grubby hands for it. It gives us a chance to see if Tott is still as good as he was when we worked for Fourteen." Is he intimidated by Tott?

    As we pass by a wallscreen showing an advert for some new trid, I add, "I have to say, here on Kestic, pickings are slim. I think there are a couple more we can add to the team on a trial basis. What about you? I know you checked out the ones I interviewed. Who feels like a good fit to you?" I want Jazz to buy in on this, he's the heart of the team.
  • He shrugs, "That washout was hot as poodoo, but just as dumb. That ex-spy might be a good bet — we aren't so good at infiltration, you know? It'd be nice if we could have someone go in, and set up some diversions for us before we lay the hurt on 'em."

    You enter the main stretch of stores, and are greeted by the hustle and bustle of people chatting, vendors yelling, and lights flashing. It's warm in here, and the light from the sun is shining down from the windows above. Your employer, a Falleen gentleman named Xixys, is expecting you in his shop — Xixys Imports and Exports — any moment now. It's the big, well lit box store in the center of the hall.

  • edited December 2013
    I pull up short before we go in, look to Jazz. I nod, "You're right. Infiltration is a weak spot. I think we need more support, too. So, after we wrap this up, I'll bring on Nill and Macks."

    I punch him in the arm playfully, "Now, you aren't asking for Nill because she's so pretty, right?" I wink.
  • Jazz shoves you back, equally playful, "you know our rule, Kelb — no kriffing team-mates. I mean don't get me wrong, she's real pretty to look at, but I don't think I could be with a woman that could sneak around on me, you know?"

    You get to the door of Xixys' shop, and he holds the door open for you. "Ladies first."
  • Exactly! No sleeping with team-mates, just like I said! Must not sleep with Tott. Or Squall. No sleeping with team-mates.

    When Jazz offers to let me in first, I punch him in the arm, a nice snap to it, "Thanks." I walk in, giving him a smart-alek smile, then look for Xixys. Once I spot him, I'll walk up, Jazz trailing behind me. "Hoi Xixys." I pronounce it "Ksei-kseas", I hope that's right. Never been good with Falleen names.
  • Xixys doesn't correct your pronunciation. It's possible it's wrong, but it was close enough that it didn't bother him. He walks over to you gracefully, almost like he's floating, and bows respectfully. "You are the mercenary who responded to my ping, I take it? Kelborn? Please. Come with me."

    He leads you into a small back room, filled with crates, and a small table where you can all sit. He offers you and Jazz a chair before sitting himself. "So you are going to send our Gran friend a message then?"
  • I return the bow, equal respect. I like this guy, he's pretty clever, I think. When he heads towards the office, I follow him back, have a seat. I answer his question with a few of my own, "My team is interested. I'd like some more details, if you please. What has the Gran done so far? When did he arrive? Do you know who is backing him? Who are his men, common locals or did they arrive with him? Lastly, how strong of a message are you wanting to send?"

    I don't hit him with all of those at once, mind you, but my intent is to get them all answered.
  • Xixys looks over to one of his workers and waves his hand to summon him over. "The Gran has sent people to assault and harass several of my workers. Some more than others." A young Twi'Lek gentleman walks over with a broken nose, and several bruises on his face. He stands there demonstratively at Xixys command before being released. "He arrived a few moons ago, and started buying up space down in the lower decks. He's been trying to get into the upper levels here with us, but we're stone-walling him until we can decide whether he's a threat or not. He's mostly brought his own thugs with him — "old friends" he calls them. A pair of Gamorrean and a Trandoshan."

    He dismisses the Twi'lek boy, leans forward, and lowers his voice, "I have no idea who is backing him, but I presume it is someone important... I would guess a Hutt given his lineage. I would like to send him a very strong message — decisively so. I want him to learn his place here — under us, until he has proven himself to us."
  • Good. This is good, we don't need to send him a final message. He keeps saying "we". "Has he caused problems with any of the other merchants?"

    I'm hoping to get a read off of this guy while we talk.
  • Reading Xixys
    (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 2, 6. Total: 10)

    (+1 XP)
  • • is Xixys telling the truth?

    (holding two)
  • He's totally telling the truth, even Jazz seems convinced. Xixys continues, "Yes, some. I am a member of the Merchant's Cabal here on Kestic, and he has attempted to intimidate us all into voting him into our little organization. I am one of the few with a veto who will not cave."
  • I nod. I like this guy. I'm considering making Kestic our main base for a bit, it's located pretty well. I'm going to work this job right. Then the Merchant'c Cabal will feed us cake walks like this down the path. "I already have my tech looking into our friend's backers, and a pair casing his place right now. We will take care of this in a few days. Do you need any protection here? It isn't part of the original request, but I would recommend it. I can leave a guy here once we start working, in case of blow-back. No extra charge for the first week."

    I'll see if Marks can work it.
  • If you want to spend 1-cred right now, Marks could be up here standing watch in no time flat. Otherwise it'll take some time to organize. Xixys nods appreciatively, "I would be a fool to turn down an offer like that. There are three others that could use protection as well — the other veto members. Would you be able to service them as well?"

    Jazz struggles to hold in a chuckle — and just barely succeeds.
  • Jazz, you almost made me bust out! I keep my cool, but man, I'm gonna punch Jazz in the arm on the way out. "I want to focus on your job with my primaries. I can organize protection for the other three with some auxiliary members. I will need one cred from your partners, and their permission to set it up, of course. I want to build a bridge with your Cabal, we might be setting up shop here, it's a good neighbor policy, don't you think?" I figure he's curious if I'm giving the store away out of desperation. So, might as well let him know why I'm working cheap.

    "I don't want to bulk up you or your friends with muscle right now. I'd rather my team do their work setting up the job, and we make the first move. That will happen in a day or two, at most." I assume he can wait out a couple days, I plan on doing this tonight, but no reason to give him that info. "Once we've delivered our message, my team will move in to protect you and your peers. Then, if he's stupid enough to pull something, we will deliver a harder message." I stress the last bit. I won't kill anyone unless I have to, but I may secure passage with Jaina and drop the guy somewhere off station to let him reconsider his actions.

    "Can you last a couple days?" I ask curiously. I assume he can, but it is polite. "Also, what about station security? What have they done so far?"
  • Xixys nods a few times at your intentions, "It is an honorable intent. We are in need of protection, and the Cabal would be thankful to have someone competent around. We shall see how your services stack up in comparison to previous mercenaries. If the need arises, the Cabal might be able to supplement your income with a small stipend."

    When asked about holding out, he answers, "we have held this long, but with the next meeting being tomorrow, I would imagine he will be pressing hard. Station security is largely non-existent. They are a small force intent on keeping the richest of the inhabitants here safe on Deck 1."
  • edited December 2013
    Deck 1? I'll have to check on what's there sometime. Might be interesting.

    "We'll let our actions speak for our competence." I say in answer to his insult of previous mercenaries. I'm not going to stand here and boast of what we've done when very shortly, he'll see it.

    I assure him, "We're on it. I need to pull in my auxiliary guys. Here's my comm channel, ping me if something happens. Its not encrypted, so you reach out to me, I'll come to you." I keep the encrypted channel with my team, that stuff is expensive!

    If he's got nothing else, I'm heading out of his place. Once we're a respectable distance away, I fill Jazz in on our conversation. After he gets it, I look up at Jazz, "Alright, Jazz, can you reach out to Nill? We're hiring her for this job. I'll follow up with "Macks ", that male Kel Dorian Ukuun and Tezzik, the female Rodian. We'll hire them each for the muscle to watch the other merchants. I may put them on it now, but have them hang back until we need them to be obvious. Should be a couple days. I'll foot the bill. I figure we can invest in this place a bit now, then pull more cake jobs as we go along. Plus, if these screwheads can't watch a store, then they can't watch our backs, right?"

    I punch his arm, preemptively, "And no cracks about watching Nill's back!"
  • Deck 1 is just a bunch of housing. Rich person housing — sure — but just housing.

    Xixys takes your comm ID and slips it in a pocket in his robes. "Excellent."

    Jazz is already standing, getting ready to leave. Xixys shakes his hand, and offers you the same courtesy. You leave, and fill Jazz in on the details. Jazz was about to answer to your spiel when you punched him preemptively, he chuckles and shakes his head. "Sure, Kelb. No back watching."

    You part ways, and eventually find Macks in a bar down on Deck 9, having a drink alone. What do you do?
  • I come up in his peripheral vision, so he knows I'm coming up. "Hoi Macks. This seat taken? Got something I want to offer you." If he is so inclined, I'll take the bar stool next to him.
  • Macks nods his head a little lazily, and grumbles, "that one is — but this one," he points to the one on the other side of him, "that one's free." They're both empty, of course. "Didn't 'spect to see you 'round so soon Kelborn. Somethin' I can help you with?"
  • edited December 2013
    I take the other stool, which doesn't block his view of the door, smart. "I want to hire you for some muscle here local for a few days. Got a new merchant trying to muscle his way in, and I expect blowback when I tell the new guy no. Emphatically. If you're interested, you'd be watching the shop of one of my client's allies in case the blowback spills over."
  • He nods, "so I'm paid to sit and pay sober until someone causes trouble? What kind of shifts are we talking about?"
  • He makes a good point. Shifts, I didn't think about that. "Three shops, three guards. I pick the other two. You run the op. One cred for you, the other two split a cred each."
  • He shakes his head, "full-day shifts? Or just working hours? If it's just during the day then I can live with that."
  • For one cred? He's got to be kidding. "While the shops are open." I'm not budging on price, this is coming out of my own pocket. I really should have thought this through.
  • He nods again, "Sure. How can I contact you? You know what shops I gotta be at?"
  • I feed him my ident and the names of the shops. "I need you to lay low until I contact you. We don't want to tip the new merchant off until the team has moved." I look at him for a moment. "Are we good?"
  • Macks takes a drink of what might very well be rocket fuel, and nods again. "You've got it Kelborn. If you need me, I've got a room upstairs."
  • "Zeng. glad to be working with you." I didn't order a drink, so I'll head on.

    I'm going to go look for Ukuun. He should be down with his cousin at the docks. If he agrees to the job without a fuss, then I'll catch up with Tezzik, who is at that club, unfortunately.
  • Ooh... Ukuun will definitely take the work, but I think it would be good to see what's up in Underground! Let's go there next.

    It's not exactly prime hours for the club. There's something a little softer playing in the background, and nobody is on the dancefloor. Where do you meet up with Tezzik?
  • She's right where she said she'd be, in the kitchens. She buses tables to make ends meet. Evidently, she's got a bad rep, lost her guild card over some stuff. I'm taking a chance on her, but I do think she was set up. The way she tells it, she was pinned for something a permanent guard of a place let slip through. I've seen it happen, and she cleared Squall's checks.
  • Tezzik isn't really given breaks or anything — the service industry being what it is — so she has to walk and talk with you. She's prepping some glasses for the washer when you approach her, "What's up Kelborn?"
  • edited October 2014
    I follow her in. We've all had to work menial jobs before. It sucks, it's life. "I need you for work for the next few days. If it works out, it will open us up for more jobs that are local. Can you free up for playing muscle for some merchant's shops?"
  • She looks frustrated, at the short notice and timescale. She shakes her head. "I've got bills, Kelborn... How much pay we talking? There promise of longer term employment?"
  • "Half a cred," I answer. Not much, but for a few days, it's good. "No promise, Tezzik, I'm kiting things along as we speak." She'll take the job, I gotta push on her to take it. I'm not able to promise more.
  • She shakes her head, "No can do Kelb... I'm on a thread here as it is, and half a cred won't pay the bills."
  • edited December 2013
    I close my eyes for a moment, like that's just too bad. "What bills do you have? How short are you?"
  • She chuckles, "the kind that happen every month, and involve eating and sleeping in places that aren't a dumpster... Well... Not far from it, I guess. My rent's due at the first of the season, and I'm still 1-cred short for that. That doesn't even include my food and debts. If I work every shift I get here, I'll get by — but if I lose this job, I'll be out on my ass... And they will sack me for missing 2 days work."
  • I stop her from working, just a hand on her arm, "Hold on a sec here. We just talked earlier about you wanting to do more, to be more. I know you got a raw deal the last time you were a hired gun , and your name is mud in the guild records. And I'm offering you a chance, Tezzik. Help me on this job, and I'll work you into the team."

    I narrow my eyes and lean in, "Most folks don't think you're worth half a cred to do anything. But I saw something in you, and I'm willing to take a gamble. Are you saying you aren't willing to take a risk?"

    I push just a little harder, "I'm offering you a chance to trade in the thing you're doing, for an opportunity to do what you want to be doing." I let go of her arm. I'm tempted to tell her to give me a call when she's thought about it some more, but you know what? I don't have time to play footsie. "So, Tezzik, are you seriously walking away from this?"

    You know, I realize I could shuffle my finances around and pay her a full cred, but I offered her a half cred, and I'm sticking to it. If she bends now, I'll know more about her. If I bent, she'd know more about me.
  • Tezzik was under the impression that this was a one off job, and that the half-cred was all she could possibly get here. If you are indeed offering her the promise of possibility joining your team, hit up a Manipulate!
  • Manipulating Tezzik:
    (Rolled: 2d6-1. Rolls: 6, 6. Total: 11)
  • edited December 2013
    Well Kelb, you can see that Tezzik doesn't want to say no. She wants to say yes, and pick up a rifle and cause some mayhem again... She needs credit, and she needs it bad, but the promise of maybe getting in on your team? Even just the hint of it? That's hooked her...

    She sighs loudly, and puts a glass down onto the counter. "Alright... Alright, fine... I'll help. I mean, I guess if I can just prove that Nikto was full of shit, you might take a chance on me, right?"
  • I nod, offer her a smile. "Good deal. Tezzik, gather your gear and meet me back at my place, we'll sort out details." Got my crew lined up, I am ready to roll. I'm going to check in on Squall, see what she's dug up.
  • Tezzik starts drying her hands and taking off her apron, "you're at 14's right? I'll be there in a few hours."

    Some time later, back at 14's, you find Squall sitting on her bed, focusing intently on some things she's sifting through on the cortex. The scene probably reminds you of when you found her that night you went clubbing together. "Hey Kelb," she says, her eyes not really leaving her datapad, "good news, or bad news first?"
  • I quirk a brow, "Bad news first, like usual." I sit on the bed beside her, looking over her shoulder.
  • She pulls up a picture of Tivudi smoking a hookah with none other than "Jabba" the Hutt. "I found his backer..." She lets you sit on that for a second, before pulling up a second photo, "the good news is, I spliced Jabba's bookie's records. Apparently Tivudi's in it because he's in deeper debt than an Imperial Noble before the Emperor swept in. So I'm guessing this is a personal favor to Jabba, rather than a mutually beneficial business opportunity."
  • Urk.

    "Nee Jabba no badda." I mutter as I lean in to Squall's back to look at the surroundings of that photo. Where are they? That looks familiar, and it isn't the desert of Tatooine.

    "Personal favor? Wonderful. Are his thugs from Jabba or his own? What does he like to bet on?" She may not be the best in a firefight, but I likes my little techie!
  • edited October 2014
    You catch Squall's eyes wander to you when you lean into her back. She doesn't seem uncomfortable, but you do notice she's trying to stay professional. "I've never seen his thugs before... I'd guess they're Jabba's. Tivudi's a dork who could barely keep himself fed before he started hanging out with Jabba and his crew. He's apparently into pit-fighting — most of Jabba's goons are."
  • What? I'm not touching her in inappropriate places? I thought we established boundaries and a working relationship, and... ugh, do not sleep with team-mates, do not sleep with team-mates. I slide back on my butt, no longer against her. "What's Pem and Tott up to? Did Nill report in yet?"
  • I did say trying right? "Nill said she's busy working a quick job, and she'll check in tonight. Pem and Tott are out handling something... Didn't say what. Want me to try and find them on the cams?"
  • I grin, "I like a peep show every now and then. Bring them up on the cams."
  • Squall brings up the cams, and there are a few holos of them chatting with some bozos across from Tivudi's stall — they go off frame for a while, down a side alley, and there's no footage of them for a bit. Eventually, Pem and Tott emerge alone in another section of the station, moving deeper into the bowels of it. You know where they're headed, Kelb — Piri's spice den. It's the only thing worth while down there.

    Have you ever been?
  • Yes, I went there a few times. Did some work for Piri when Fourteen ran the show. Collections work, standing looking tough, which meant hours of standing around in my armor, since out of it, I'm, well, not so intimidating at first glance.

    I got trashed there a few times, too. But Jazz doesn't know, don't tell him!

    I playfully punch Squall in the shoulder, "You wanna come to Piri's, Squally?"
  • Squall hesitates, clearly uncomfortable with the proposition. She puts the datapad down, and scratches behind her ear a second. "Well... I mean, I could go. I guess. I need to be able to face these things, right?"

    She bites her lip, and thinks on it just a moment, "Alright. Sure... Just... Give me a second, OK?"
  • edited October 2014
    I let her ponder, just watching her quietly. When she decides to be brave, I offer her a hand up from the bed after I hop up. "You can do this, no problem, Squall. I have your cute little butt covered."

    If she needs to change, I will give her space, no peeking, even though I am sorely tempted.
  • edited December 2013
    Squall blushes when you compliment her posterior, and giggles coyly, "I bet you do." She takes your hand and slowly rises from the bed. She doesn't change — but rather slips over to the wash basin to splash some water on her face. When she's done, she grabs her gun belt, and joins you in heading out the door...

    Seems like you'll be interrupted in a moment.
  • == END SCENE ==
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