[SWAW] Double Identities (3)

edited December 2014 in SWAW
NarShaddaaSkyline

You're on Nar Shaddaa, the Smuggler's Moon, with Hosk and the crew of the Libation (without Squall, who's "watching the homefront"). Leeadra asked you privately if you'd come along for the pick-up of this cargo, which she said was "rough, but profitable."

The manifest for the cargo:
Four full pallets of heavy munitions, heading for the planet of Raxus

The underground compound where the stuff is being stored is slightly off the docks, which is why Seesk is driving a small hoverlifter. Seesk is slightly behind you while you walk up to the pick up the shipment.

warehouse

Hosk and Seesk hang back, watching the door, while you, Leeadra and Jojee walk up to the foreman, a purple Rodian named Alyxx.

Alyxx

After some exchanges with the Rodian, who seems half awake, repeats himself, "Listen, I'm telling you... I already handed off that cargo! We're just middlemen, so I guess you're just out of luck, baby."

Leeadra photo Xbbrfbj_zps5260bb2b.jpg
Leeadra looks at you, worry on her face, "Ladro... we need to get that shipment. Somebody must've stolen it local. Right?"

What do you do?
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Comments

  • Ladro Eyes

    "We'll handle it, Captain." I start tossing questions at the Rodian. Who picked the shipment up, when, what did they look like. I ask to see the paperwork. I never give him a chance to recover between questions and requests. I want to see how he reacts, how much he's not telling us.
  • Observe a Person

    (Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 2, 4. Total: 7)
  • Alyxx shows you the pickup receipt, clearly signed in Captain Leeadra Navarro’s name and listing the Star-Crossed Libation. The signature is a complete forgery, absolutely no attempt was made to make it resemble the captain’s actual signature. Alyxx really doesn’t seem to care that the cargo was given to the wrong crew.
  • Ladro Eyes

    "Describe the crew that picked up the cargo, Alyxx."

    How can I get Alyxx to actually help us find the cargo?
  • Alyxx
    "I dunno, all you pink folks look the same to me. Listen, I did my job, alright?"

    He'll only respond to bribes or threats. He's technically right, just really lazy.
  • Ladro Eyes

    I'm through with this pile of poodoo. "You have your job, Alyxx, and I have mine." I crack my knuckles in conscious imitation of Captain Sark preparing to pummel me. I let my fists hang at my sides and move into a ready stance.

    "Think really hard, Rodian. Really hard."
  • edited September 2014
    Alyxx
    The Rodian, who looks quite small right now, gets the hint. He nods a couple times, "Wait, wait. There's nothing I can do, okay? But there's a cam. You could pull up the feed from today. I'll, ah, point out the ones who took the crates."

    Leeadra photo Xbbrfbj_zps5260bb2b.jpg
    Lee looks over at you approvingly. She answers him, sharply, "Let's see the video feed, Alyxx."

    Leeadra brings you into the warehouse's dingy office, and you both watch the Rodian cue up the last hour and zip through the feed. It's grainy, a cheap camera that needs repair, but you can make out a few details, including the human who comes into the warehouse, and uses load lifters to take four full pallets. Alyxx fingers the guy, does his best to zoom in.

    "Kriff me... that's Taft Largo." Leeadra says with a bit of shock, mostly derision. She looks to you, "He's a Left Fist hood, a local sprawlgang here, has ties to one or more of the Hutts. He must've spliced the ship manifest or something. Poodoo. How're we gonna find this street rat?"
  • Ladro Eyes

    "As it happens, Lady Captain, I speak street rat." I give Lee my most disreputable smile. "I don't know Taft Largo, but I do have a few... acquaintances, let's say... that might be able to help us find him."

    Before we leave, I turn and give the Rodian a little bow. "Thank you for not making me actually hit you, Alyxx. I hate working that hard."
  • Lee smirks when you mention you speak Street Rat, then openly chuckles when you thank Alyxx. On the way out, she fills in the crew on what's happened.

    image
    "I know Largo, from back in the day. He was a sleemo then, too."
  • Ladro Eyes

    I give Hosk a quick look. "So, The Slag Pit, or the Meltdown?"
  • edited September 2014
    image
    Hosk pulls out a deathstick and starts searching for his lighter, "As long as it isn't The Burning Deck. I karking hate that place.... plus we're probably still banned. heh."

    image
    Jojee offers,"I've been to The Meltdown Cafe a few times, let's start there." She looks over to Lee, "The Tatooine Sunburns are really great. Plus I know a few of the people there."

    Leeadra
    Leeadra listens to Hosk and Jojee, then looks over at you, "Meltdown Cafe. Let's start there." She sends Seesk back to the ship to keep watch, just in case Largo wants more than the shipment.

    Anything you do before heading to Level 88?
  • Ladro Eyes

    Nothing else here. The four of us will head to the Meltdown Cafe, but I'm not drinking a Tatooine Sunburn. Ever again. "Hosk, you think that Nautolan, Firax whatsiname, still keeps office hours at the Meltdown? He might be some help. And he owes me for distracting that over-zealous Gotal femme while he scooted out the back."
  • Everyone finds a lift to the lower levels. Jojee is tapping on her datapad, while Leeadra's listening to your conversation with Hosk.

    image
    With a chuckle, Hosk shakes his head. He doesn't answer right away, still fiddling with his deathstick. Once it's lighted, he says, "Unless someone blasted him, Firax will be there. He's sweet on that server, Chi'iiin."

    The lift isn't vacant. When you get on, there's a Wookie with a shoulder-plate and a large blaster on his back in there looming over a female Devaronian with bright yellow goggles. They're talking quietly. Well, she's talking mostly.
  • Ladro Eyes

    I don't make an attempt to eavesdrop on the Devaronian and her companion. "Oh, yes, Chi'iiin. Didn't that winged hussy make a move on you, once, Hosk?" When the lift pings at our level, I walk out.
  • image
    The Devaronian is hard to not eavesdrop on. She's chattering, "I'm telling you, Chak, once we get those boosters installed, the Liar's going to cook. Cook, cook, cook! I can almost taste the exhaust fumes we'll be kicking out, you know?" The Wookie grunts agreement, but doesn't seem quite as impressed.

    image
    Hosk arches a brow dramatically, "A move? Lad, she made multiple moves.... not all of which were rebuffed. heh." He takes a prideful puff of his deathstick.

    image
    That gets Jojee's attention. She looks down at Hosk,"Are you saying you coupled with a s'kytri like Chi'iiin?" Her tone is very dubious.

    Hosk blows out a ring of smoke, a smile creeping on his face, "I don't kiss and tell. But yes, I am saying that."

    The Wookie exits with the Devaronian as well. She's not paying attention to your group at all, but you can feel Chak's eyes on you.

    The pair of strangers hang back, the girl chattering excitedly to the Wookie, while you walk ahead with the crew. The Meltdown Cafe is across a well-lit walkway overlooking about thirty levels down. Some bright neon lights, lots of smoky areas and colored lasers. This is a seedy, but bright place.

    There's no line outside, no greeter, so you head for a booth? You spot your Nautolan friend, but not the winged beauty Chi'iiin. Leeadra and Jojee head for a booth unless you direct them otherwise.
  • Ladro Eyes

    I'll let Lee and Jojee head to the booth while I head over to the Nautolan. "Greetings, friend! Can I buy you a Sunburn?" I incline my head toward the booth.
  • Firax
    Firax looks up, does that NAutolan double-blink thing, then huffs a laugh, "Ladro... you've got a lot of nerve coming here after what you pulled..." He pauses for a moment, then his face splits with a grin and he laughs a thick, heavy laugh, "How you doin? And yes, by the way, a Sunburn would be lovely."
  • Ladro Eyes

    I head to the bar and order a Sunburn for Firax and a Mandalorian ale for myself. Bitter seems right. I lead the Nautolan to the booth and introduce him to Jojee and Leeadra. Not by name, mind you. As Captain and First Mate of the ship I'm currently running with. "So... what can you tell me about Taft Largo? He has something that belongs to us..."
  • Firax
    "I can tell you a good bit about Largo," Firax says, pausing to take a long draught of the sunburn. "What's innit for me"

    Some bouncy Bith jazz comes humming through the speakers. You see Leeadra watching you while Jojee is drinking from a tall glass. Hosk isn't far away, watching, too. But he is too far to overhear.
  • Ladro Eyes

    "My eternal gratitude? And maybe a small commission." Not sure how much this delivery is paying Leeadra, so I don't want to commit to much. "Why don't you come have a seat with us and we can talk."
  • Firax gives a head shake of agreement and pulls himself up out of his seat, walks over with you to approach Leeadra and Jojee.

    Leeadra photo Xbbrfbj_zps5260bb2b.jpg
    Leeadra stands up, introduces herself to Firax, introduces "Jojee, her first mate". He shakes Lee's hand, nods to Jojee, has a seat. A small conversation starts up, but it's a little stilted. Lee looks irritated, not at Firax, more anxious than anything.

    Firax
    Finally Firax says, "I hear you're after Largo. I know the guy, a two-bit hood and hustler... so, WIIFM?"

    Leeadra and Jojee blink. He clarifies, "What's In It For Me?"

    Leeadra photo Xbbrfbj_zps5260bb2b.jpg
    Leeadra works her mouth a bit without talking, annoyed. "We're shipping some ponfar fruits here. I could slip you a few of them." Jojee makes a face of surprise, but quickly hides it.

    Firax
    Firax nods quickly, "Oh, that'll do. Ten, please." Lee doesn't object. Jojee looks like she wants to object, but doesn't. "Largo's an alias. His real name's Hal Valenst. He has a "garage" where he and his crew pretend to work on hoverlifters, but really, they move stolen cargo. It's three levels down."

    Leeadra finishes her drink, gives Firax a handshake and promises to bring him the fruits in the next standard day. She looks ready to go. Jojee stands, too. "Ladro, you ready>"
  • edited September 2014
    Ladro Eyes

    Ten? Leeadra's giving up ten ponfar fruits without blinking? She's more desperate than I thought, clearly. Who the hell are we delivering to? I keep my face neutral, though.

    "Firax, thanks for the help. I'll try and stop in to buy you another Sunburn before we leave."

    I give Lee and Jojee a nod and stand.
  • Firax gives you an approving look at the offer of more intoxicants. You all leave, , Hosk following, and head for a set of back-stairs out of the place.

    Leeadra photo Xbbrfbj_zps5260bb2b.jpg
    On the way down the stairs, Leeadra asks. "Suggestions on how to play this, Ladro?"
  • edited September 2014
    Ladro Eyes

    "From what you say, he's not much trouble on his own, but he's connected, right? So we'll need to do this some way that doesn't piss off the higher-ups enough that they come after us. To me, that means making it look like he's either incompetent or two-timing a bigger fish. Or, just stealing it back when he's not looking."
  • edited September 2014
    Hal Garage photo HalsGarage_zpsed4cff67.jpg
    Hosk calls up a set of floor plans for the garage on his datapad.
  • image
    "You know, Ladro?" Hosk says casually, "This guy knows Lee, but he doesn't know you. And he probably doesn't know I'm with Lee. We could just... walk right in." He gives you that "let's cause some ruckus" look.
  • Ladro Eyes

    I wonder if Hosk realizes that his plan also has the advantage of keeping Lee and Jojee out of harm's way. I certainly do. "Hosk, I'd give you a raise if the rent on our shuttle wasn't so scandalously high. That sounds like a plan I can live with."

    I look at Jojee and Leeadra, waiting for objections.
  • edited September 2014
    Leeadra photo Xbbrfbj_zps5260bb2b.jpg
    Leeadra narrows her eyes playfully,. "I heard your rent has a sleemo up-charge." But then it's gone, "We'll stay back. We both have blasters. If you get in trouble..."

    image
    "We'll back you up." Jojee finishes. She even pulls out her little holdout blaster from her vest to make her point.
  • Ladro Eyes

    I nod. "This is refreshing. For once, we're just going in through the front door." I'm my usual glib self, but I really do wish we had time to make an actual plan. As we leave Jojee and Lee behind to approach the office door, I tell them. "The signal that we need backup will be screaming. Probably. Or maybe just blaster fire."
  • Lee nods to your "signal", Jojee chuckles lightly at the joke, shaking her head like "you're pretty stupid", but doesn't say it.

    You walk with Hosk towards the garage, like normal paying customers. The exterior sign reads CLOSED, but you find the door isn't locked. Walk right in?
  • Ladro Eyes

    I rap twice on the door, then open it and walk in, knowing as always that Hosk has my back.
  • He does.

    You enter Bay 3, which is dingy with oil and used barrels and cans, dirty rags, discarded parts. It smells, too. Like spent fuel and dried oils. You hear some conversation ahead of you, bouncing off the concrete walls from somewhere deeper inside.

    Hosk fingers his rifle, but keeps it slung. You know he's not going to fire unless there's trouble, but you can make out at least four different voices. You head towards the offices out of Bay 3, passing through a narrow room with a few displays on the walls, none of them are on. Probably an area where you could pick out or choose options for your hoverlifts.

    Just inside the next room, you spot Largo. He's got his crew, all "official employees of the garage" with him, but they're hanging back. Largo's chatting with the Snaps cousins. You know them from some scuzzy work before, right, Ladro? A couple of Chiss scum who are probably working to buy the munitions right kriffing now.

    Largo's crew consists of a Rodian, a Trandoshan and a near human. The Snaps cousins are alone, but they're well armed.

    What do you do?
  • Ladro Eyes

    I step into the room with a booming laugh, playing like it's making me nearly helpless, squinting like there are tears in my eyes. "Oh, Largo, you are so karked! Do the cousins here know that was a protected shipment you stole? Hontu's not going to be a happy Hutt." I belt out another short burst of laughter, then let it trail off and wipe my eyes.
  • taft
    Largo cocks his head at that, while the Snaps cousins put hands on blasters. Largo says slowly, "Heyyyyy, Ladro. I'm not sure I know a... Hontu?"

    Hosk is sliding to your left, getting a good angle on the whole room in case he needs to open up.
  • Ladro Eyes

    "Karking sure Hontu doesn't know you, and you want to keep it that way, stoopa. He's vengeful even for a Hutt. Best solution here, return this protected shipment to its contracted carrier and wash your hands. Actually, maybe just wash in general."
  • Manipulate +1 XP

    (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 2, 5. Total: 9)
  • Hosk Bond +1, for a 10
  • Hssh the Trandoshan says in a loud whisper, "Largo... Hontu's bad news. My eggmates crossed him once. Once."

    Largo looks over at Hssh, then back to you and Hosk. Hosk's making this tsk tsk noise in such a convincing fashion, he looks bigger than he is, and very dangerous.

    The Snaps cousins don't seem to completely buy it, but then, they haven't purchased the munitions, so it's easy for them to just back off. "Kark this,
    sleemo. We're not crossing a Hutt on Nar Shaddaa. Keep it, Largo."


    taft
    Taft Largo eyes you, Ladro. You get the feeling he knows you're lying, but he just lost his sale. He turns to you, "Well... what about a finder's fee?"
  • Ladro Eyes

    "Hosk, show the gentleman his finder's fee."
  • image
    Hosk's rifle is out, telescoping into full rifle-mode, in a heartbeat. He fires three shots around Largo, landing each in the concrete wall behind him. Largo flinches, too late to actually avoid the shots. Hosk says, "How's that fee? Want another ten percent?"

    taft
    "I'm good! That's all!" Largo says, raising his hands, then realizing Hosk isn't SecOps, so he carefully lowers them.

    Hosk stares at the Trandoshan, and the Rodian, who both back off. The Chiss leave the way they came. You hear some running from Bay 3, Leeadra and Jojee are coming.
  • Ladro Eyes

    "Where's the shipment, Largo? We'll be taking the hauler you stole it on, as well. I'll leave it at the docks, care of Hal Valenst." I pause as a thought strikes me. "I'll tell Hontu you did the right thing once you had all the information."
  • taft
    "Bay Four, it's in Bay Four." Largo says without looking at you, his eyes on Hosk and Hosk's rifle.

    Leeadra and Jojee come in the lounge by the office where this went down, their blasters out and ready. Leeadra seems pretty collected, but Jojee's eyes are wild, not exactly panicked, but it's obvious her adrenalin is pumping hardcore.

    You head to Bay Four, which is just around the corner. There it is, the munitions.

    Leeadra photo Xbbrfbj_zps5260bb2b.jpg
    Leeadra breathes a sigh of relief, "Thanks the stars we got this before those Chiss took it. Those guys are serious movers. My uncle had a run-in with the Snaps before. Bad news." She looks over at you, "Good work, Ladro. What do I owe ya?"
  • edited September 2014
    Ladro Eyes

    There's a long moment where I consider telling her what I really want, but it passes before I say anything stupid. Instead, I shrug, "It's why I'm here, really. Just remember this next time I'm late with the rent, and we're even."

    Hosk won't like that, but I'll have to live with it.
  • Hosk grumbles lightly at that. Jojee makes a promise of buying you both a round at Meltdown later, which Hosk accepts, grudgingly.

    You're able to fetch the palettes of munitions and cart them back to the Libation without any further incident. Seesk and Squall both come out of the ship to help get them aboard.

    Leeadra photo Xbbrfbj_zps5260bb2b.jpg
    "After that bit of fun, I'd like to leave now, if nobody objects." She's mostly checking in with you, Ladro. Anything you want to do before take-off?
  • Ladro Eyes

    "I'm fine with that, Lee. I think staying any longer would just be borrowing trouble right now."
  • While the munitions are being loaded, Leeadra and Jojee head to the cockpit to get clearance. Squall heads in for pre-flight checks, Seesk finishes the work of loading and securing cargo.

    image
    "Lad," Hosk begins while you're walking into the Libation, "Why was that a freebie? That was legit business."
  • Ladro Eyes

    "I'm capricious, Hosk. You know that." I sigh, knowing he won't buy it. "It's Leeadra, partner. Most days I can remember that it's just a business relationship now, but the look on her face when she saw those pallets were gone... she seemed scared."
  • image
    Hosk does that head shake he does when someone he likes is being stupid. He's got it down to a science for you, it seems. "Didn't you just tell me she begged you off Jojee? And now, you're... oh kriff it all. I'm heading to the shuttle."

    What about you? Heading to the shuttle, too? Doing anything in the ship?
  • edited September 2014
    Ladro Eyes

    Hosk is right. I'm just being stupid. What am I going to do, though?

    Regardless, I prefer to be in the midst of something more substantial than the shuttle when we're leaving the gravity well. It may be superstitious, but again, what am I going to do? I head to the galley and dial up a cup of klava. Not nearly the quality of Ahji Dar's, but the aroma does call back a memory.
  • edited September 2014
    The Libation lifted off after your first cup. Captain Navaro suggested buckling in, so I assume you buckled up in the galley?

    Once you hit hyperspace, the lithe little engineer comes into the galley.

    image
    Squall gives you a wide grin, "Hello, Mr. Hero." Ze pours zirself a warm drink, then comes over to sit near you, "Guess who was singing your praises for getting our cargo back? ... wrong, it was Jojee! I know, I thought she hated your handsome guts, too. Weird how things change, huh?" Ze pauses to take a big slurp of ziir drink and waits for your response.
  • edited September 2014
    Ladro Eyes

    "I'll be back on Jojee's druk list soon enough, I'm sure. What'd you do while we were out scampering after our cargo, Squall? I'm guessing you and Seesk had a tea party."
  • image
    Squall giggle-snorts and nearly loses some of zir drink, "Yes! Tea parties with frilly hats! Seesk looked adorable and I was the Grand Madam of the party. We made tiny sandwiches and cut them so small, Seesk could barely pick them up. Then, we made up limericks about hydrospanners and the space-time pair o' socks. It was brilliant fun until the lot of you came here to put her back to work. Grumble grumble." Ze reaches over to pat your forearm in a mocking reproach, "All work and no play makes Ladro a sour Kiffar."
  • Ladro Eyes

    There's something about Squall laughing that's so different from zir intent focus when ze's working. Unguarded and charming. "Were they dirty limericks, Squall?" When ze gives her reproach, I hold up my hands. "Hey... many uncomplimentary adjectives have been used to describe me, but dull is rarely one of them. Say, how long to Raxus, anyway?"
  • image
    With sudden seriousness, Squall responds, "They were the filthiest limericks, Ladro. I can make you blush, that's a promise." Ze holds the super-serious look for a few moments, then snickers a hissing laugh and drinks another gulp of zir glass. "Raxus Secundus was big poodoo during the Clone Wars, it was even the capital of the CIS. Now, Raxus Prime and Secundus are in an extended conflict that is unofficial. It's the perfect set-up for gunrunners and mercs. I'm surprised Lee wanted a piece of this action, but the creds are good. Might be a nice set-up for future biz, pay for some much-needed upgrades." Under the table, Squall's right foot gently, accidentally, brushes against your shin. Ze smirks and looks away, like "that wasn't me".
  • Ladro Eyes

    I follow along with Squall's explanation. Does seem like an opportunity to make some bankable creds, but uncharacteristically reckless for Lee. I wonder if there's something going on I don't know about.

    When I feel the brush of zir foot, I have to admit that there's a momentary reaction, but just a momentary one. With a raised eyebrow, I say, "It's going to take more than a little footsie and the promise of dirty doggerel to make me blush, Squall. I am tougher than cured Bantha-hide."
  • image
    Squall snickers zir hissing laugh and pats your forearm, "It's all foreplay, Ladro. All of it." Zir hand runs along your forearm softly, "You don't feel tough at all, Ladro. You feel rugged." Ze smiles like a sabercat, then takes another drink from zir glass, finishing it. Squall touches your shin as ze hops up to take the glass over to the autochef and clean it. Zir butt does that nice little bounce you noticed before and ze stands there cleaning the plate and humming for a bit.
  • Ladro Eyes

    I stand, too, bring my empty cup over to clean. I come up close to Squall and give zir the full treatment, hand on zir shoulder so the pinkie just brushes the neck. I lean in and start talking right in zir ear, using my "Results 100% Guaranteed or Your Creds Back" sexy voice, low and husky. "One of these days, Squall, you're going to push my buttons in just the right sequence, and you will... not... know... what to do with me."

    I reach around her to rinse my cup and set it down to dry.
  • image
    Squall stiffens for a moment, closing zir eyes and savoring the moment. Ze delights in little flirtations like this. Ze doesn't flirt with anyone else on ship but you, though. Well, maybe ze does with Seesk? Probably not.

    Squall puts zir cup away, walks past you, and touches your side gently, replying in a husky voice dripping with sex, "I look forward to figuring it out." Ze tries to keep zir composure, but giggle-snorts and covers zir face. "I've got some calibrations and druk to check. Ladro, I'm really glad you're in good with Lee now. I like having you around." Ze bounces out towards the engine room.
  • edited September 2014
    Ladro Eyes

    That being... I was mostly joking. I think. The right combination of alcohol and timing... I shake my head.

    I think about checking in with Lee and Jojee, seeing what the plan is once we hit Raxus Secundus, but decide to head to the shuttle. Time on the Smuggler's Moon always makes me feel the need for a trip to the refresher. I'm no paragon, but...
  • The course Squall's astrogation calcs plotted avoided any of the trade routes since it would only waste fuel and force the Libation to take a course to the Mid-Rim, thereby increasing the chances of "Imperial Entanglements".

    You hit the shower and tool around in the shuttle. Hosk is "busy", which means he's cooling off a bit. the rest of the crew spends the handful of standard hours doing normal duties.

    Over the ship's loudspeakers, Leeadra says, "Crew of the Libation, we are coming up to our last plot point. We will be entering Raxus space at that point, and will have a straight shot to Secundus. As long as there are no Prime patrols, we should be fine. If we do run into a patrol, I want an assessment on their threat level before we decide to engage. I'll need eyes on and opinions from all of you. Primers like to use ion cannons and boarding actions, so that means we all need to be ready to act. Let's cross digits and hope it doesn't come to that. Captain out."
  • Ladro Eyes

    I listen to Lee's words carefully, then put on my full kit. Check the charge on my blaster, check the knives. I leave the shuttle and head for the bridge. Dead serious, I say, "Reporting, Captain. Where do you want me?" I give Jojee a nod. Business is business, but ion cannons and boarding parties are serious business.
  • Leeadra photo Xbbrfbj_zps5260bb2b.jpg
    Leeadra glances behind her at the pair of fold-up seats against the wall, "I could use someone on turret. Should that be you, or Hosk?" Why didn't she mention Seesk for that task, Ladro?
  • Ladro Eyes

    Seesk decided at some point that the Scorekeeper doesn't award Jagannath points for enemies she can't see, so the Trandoshan prefers being in the thick of things. Since boarding is a possibility, Seesk will be ready to be the first line of that fight.

    Either Hosk or I could take the turret, certainly, but I prefer the freedom to move around and respond as the threat evolves. "Let's put Hosk in the turret, Captain. I've got longer legs—more mobile if there's a boarding action or you need damage control."
  • edited September 2014
    Leeadra nods, starts to say something else, but Jojee calls her back to the console. The streaming white stars of hyperspace suddenly stop moving and the forward momentum of the engines abruptly halt as the Libation comes out of hyperspace.

    There's that feeling of weightlessness before the sub-light engines spin up and the ship begins moving again. You see both Raxus Prime and Secundus in the viewscreen ahead of you.

    image
    Jojee says quickly, "Well, someone's casting a wide array, looking for new arrivals. We're already pinging on someone's sensors. Question is, Prime or Secundus."

    In moments you see a flash on the comm display, an incoming link message. Seconds later, a wide blaster bolt screams past the front of the cockpit, a very precise warning shot. Jojee curses in surprise.

    Leeadra activates the comm link and over the speakers comes a slightly monotone voice,
    Unidentified craft, this is Captain Neegus of
    the RPIF-Endricus, Raxus Prime. Your transponder code
    does not match any of our approved arrivals for this
    standard week.Prepare to be boarded and searched.
    This is not negotiable.

    The transmission light winks out.

    Leeadra photo Xbbrfbj_zps5260bb2b.jpg
    Leeadra hurls a string of curses at the dead comm link about rotten luck and of course it has to be Raxus Prime, then says, "Let's play along and see if we can avoid the ion cannon. Hosk, power down the turret so it drops off sensors, but use the mechanical back-up to line up a shot. Ladro, you, me and Seesk will repel boarders. They should belly up to airlock, and once I give the signal, we'll close the airlock behind their boarding party, Hosk powers up and blows a hole in them and Jojee, you blast off and head for Secundus as fast as you kriffing dare." She looks around. but mostly at you, Ladro. "Any questions?" You can tell she's hoping you're on board with this.
  • Ladro Eyes

    "No questions, Captain. It's a good plan." I almost ask if she learned it from her father, but bite my tongue just in time.
  • edited September 2014
    The RPIF-Endricus is a broad and squat thing, built as a gunship rather than a starship. It probably has a poodoo hyperspace drive to give room for deflective shielding and the engine compartment needed to power their weapons. It doesn't look terribly maneuverable, but when you fire ion cannons, that isn't top priority.

    True to Leeadra's plan, the Endricus sidles up to the Libation, starts scoping out the airlock connectors. Jojee continues her chatter with their pilot while Hosk lines up a shot with winch and lever, waiting for the right moment. Turns out his small size made him almost invisible to anyone looking out of the cockpit. Which they weren't.

    image
    "Ladro" Squall calls over your private comm. "I can manually override the airlock controls from my position. You need to make sure and remove any braces they might stick in on our side, or once they pull out and the umbilical breaks, you might get sucked out into space. Sorry to druk on your parade, but I thought you would wanna know."

    Meanwhile, you are standing in lower decks at the "bomb bay" cargo doors with Lee and Seesk. Jojee has directed them to link at the airlock by the port escape pods. Seesk has a gigantic two-handed hammer in her massive hands. You've seen a grav hammer before, right? The thing uses hoverlift tech to add thrust to strikes. Sustained use will shatter the bones of most beings who wield it, but every strike from a grav hammer is pretty unforgettable. Lee has a heavy blaster pistol, one you gave her, actually. How did that happen?

    Leeadra photo Xbbrfbj_zps5260bb2b.jpg
    "We're repelling boarders. We are not out for blood, we can take prisoners and trade them in at Secundus. My blaster is on stun. I won't judge if yours isn't."

    image
    Seesk pats her hammer fondly, "There isss no sssstun for thisssss." You think she added S'es for effect.

    Anything you do as the airlocks sync up?
  • Ladro Eyes

    A grav hammer? That's some serious poodoo. I'm sure Seesk is an artist with it, though, she seems to have a loving relationship going on.

    As for me, I'll keep my blaster on stun, as well. Prisoners would be as valuable as cargo at this point, I think, and I have no intention of making this one a freebie.

    Back to Squall, "Don't let them rig the inner lock so it won't close. Gotcha. Hey, why did the angry Jedi cross the road?" I don't wait for a guess. "To get to the Dark Side."

    Blaster out, attention focused. I'm ready.
  • edited September 2014
    "Good one, Ladro!" Squall says as ze snickers over your channel. Then, with a surprisingly fond tone, ze says, "Be safe, big guy. It'd be real lonely in here without ya."

    You cut the comm chatter and wait. It's several minutes of trying to keep loose, not clenching too tight, just waiting as the sounds of the ship's coupling, the umbilical extension being secured, all the steps of joining these two beasts in the middle of space.. You see beads of sweat on Leeadra's forehead. She's trying to stay frosty, look calm and collected, but it's obvious to you that she's nervous. This is her ship now, things are different. She's got to lead this dangerous gambit to protect your cargo. You're smugglers and gunrunners now, and while Raxus system is out on the Outer Rim, this action is very dangerous.

    image
    Jojee calls over the ship's loudspeakers, but it sounds like she's patching you into her conversation with the pilot of the Endricus, "Yes, sir. I see atmo in the umibilical, too. We're green all through. Want me to open our airlock, sir?"

    "Yes, pilot. Open the airlock, and let's get this over with." the pilot calls back. He sounds completely relaxed about this, it's routine.

    image
    "You got it, sir!" Jojee's reply is crisp and pleasant, a tone you weren't sure she even knew how to use.

    The airlock's outer rim rotates in a half circle, then the door retracts, two pieced pulling from the middle. Inside the coupling you see a full squad of men in rough uniforms that are decades out of date, patchwork, but still functional. They're carrying slugthrowers, which will be bad for the ship if they really unload on you.
    Raxus-Prime-soldier

    Leeadra photo Xbbrfbj_zps5260bb2b.jpg
    Leeadra gives the signal, "Hit it!" Then she starts firing right into the group of soldiers, who were already starting to react and move into your ship.

    Seesk is hanging off to the right, she is letting you and Leeadra get some shots in before she strikes. Her mere presence, and that hammer, is enough to scare the poodoo out of the first soldier who charges in.

    What do you do?
  • Ladro Eyes

    I start firing, but not before I take a split second to make sure they're watching me. Lee's good with the blaster I gave her as a "six month anniversary" present (don't look at me like that—she thought it was romantic), but she'll do more damage if their attention is on other threats.

    I take a stance that intentionally evokes countless holovids about dangerous outlaws (with or without hearts of gold), letting my concern for Lee and the crew show in my eyes as a combination of anger and contempt. Then, I fire.
  • You hear the autocannons from the Libation's turret firing like mad as Hosk opens up. The airlock iris whirs and you can see it trying to close, but something's happening.

    The first half of the squad rushes into your ship, as they're trained to do. One falls to Leeadra's shots, two are tagged by Seesk and you draw a bead on one. Why don't you roll Dangerous and Sexy and let's see how things work out?
  • Dangerous and Sexy +1 XP

    (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 6, 5. Total: 13)
  • edited September 2014
    Ladro Eyes

    If Squall says "don't let them block the door," then I won't let them block the door. I'll take a shot at the one I've got in my sights, but I'm heading to the airlock, laying down covering fire as I go.

    I look in through the whirring airlock, focusing on whoever seems to be in charge. "You picked the wrong ship to kark around with, boyo." I look to see what's blocking the airlock.

    Spending 1-hold from D&S
  • edited September 2014
    You may eyes with a hard-looking soldier about your age. In almost any other situation, he'd be charging in, but there's something special about you. Maybe you are that holovid renegade he loved as a boy. Just maybe...

    The airlock iris is being held by a pair of locks. You can try to shoot them once your gun is off stun, but that's a good shot and a failure will be bad. Seesk's grav hammer would work, if you trust her aim.

    Tell me what you do, and let's see you Act Under Fire to free the airlock. I assume you're leaving the other two soldiers in the ship to Lee and Seesk?

    image
    Squall's shouting over the ship's comms, "I can't close the airlock, guys!"

    image
    Jojee replies, "Lee, I'm not pulling away until the airlock is closed!"

    And Hosk is still firing away. You can imagine the Raxus Prime ship is trying to bring weapons to bear right now.
  • Ladro Eyes

    I'm using my blaster, flipping it off stun. Seesk and Lee can take care of the two that have already boarded.

    Act Under Fire +1 XP

    (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 4, 5. Total: 11)

  • edited September 2014
    You hear the grav hammer fire for a fourth time, and the reverberations send the squad inside the corridor falling backwards. You fire a couple of bolts into the clamp, just enough to split it.

    image
    Immediately, the airlock closes, and Squall yells over the loudspeakers, "We're sealed!" Behind you, you hear automatic gunfire.

    image
    "Pulling away now!" is Jojee's reply, and you feel the ship moving, banking hard and keeping the turret gun at an angle for Hosk to continue punishing the ship from Raxus Prime. Jojee had already cut the feed from the ship, but you can imagine what that pilot is screaming at you.

    You turn to check out the rest of the firefight and see the six soldiers are down, some stunned, others quite dead. The Libation's skiff has several new holes, and Seesk is standing there, leaning on her hammer. She must've been shot, since you see her midsection covered in some slimy brownish blood.

    Leeadra photo Xbbrfbj_zps5260bb2b.jpg
    Leeadra barks an order, "Ladro, get her to the med droid while I help Jojee with shields, alright?"
  • Ladro Eyes

    When I say, "Yes, Ma'am," it's not sarcasm. Lee's getting good at the command voice, and she's clearly saying the right things. Fortunately, despite her mass, the 7 inch difference in our heights puts my shoulder at the right level to support her as we limp to the infirmary.

    "Nice work, Seesk. You're an artist with that hammer. We'll get you patched up just fine in a minute."

    How bad does the damage seem? I'm no expert on Trandoshan anatomy, but, just a round guess?
  • Round guess is "not great". Seesk is heavily injured. Lucky for the Trandoshans, they have very little sensitivity and she seems to have a high pain threshold. You're able to lead Seesk to the infirmary, but she is kriffing heavy. Occasionally, the Libation lurches to one side, or the other. Jojee and Leeadra are trying to evade that gunship.

    image
    "That was a good fight, yes?" Seesk asks the question as the infirmary lights kick on when you enter the room. The 43-B Med Droid powers on, seeking instructions. You're able to instruct the droid while Seesk moves over to the table and lies down. She tries to grasp the straps on the table to strap herself down, but she doesn't seem to have the manual dexterity to do it.

    As you're doing this, of course, Hosk is still firing the auto-cannons are hard and heavy as he can. The pulsing of the cannon is like a constant low rumble of thunder on an open plain.
  • Ladro Eyes

    "A very good fight, Seesk. You earned serious jagannath points today."

    I hurry to strap Seesk onto the table, securing her against the unpredictable delta-vee of our evasive actions. I report to Lee on the open channel. "Seesk is secured in the infirmary, Captain. I'll stay here and do what I can to help unless you need me elsewhere. She's lost a lot of blood, but Doc's starting work now."

    I turn my attention to the droid. "Can I do anything to help, Doc?"
  • image
    Seesk doesn't look at you when she answers, "Points don't matter... I'm zeroed out." Her voice is becoming thinner.

    The medical droid, which is a low-cost version of the popular 21-B Medical droid. It looks to you and answers in a raspy, metallic voice, "Thank you for your offer, Ladro. I am capable of extraction of the foreign objects from Seesk. Now that she is secured, I will be able to complete the operation."

    You've got a few stunned guards you can deal with, or you can strap yourself in, since the Libation is flying hard and under attack.

    Leeadra photo Xbbrfbj_zps5260bb2b.jpg
    Over the loudspeakers, Leeadra says, "We've got a second bogey coming in. Hosk, are you..."

    image
    In an annoyed tone, Hosk cuts her off, "Yes, Captain, I'm dialing it in now. The Endricus is dead in space, by the way."

    What do you do?
  • Ladro Eyes

    Zeroed out? I make a mental note to ask Seesk about that when she's not about to pass out from blood loss. "Thanks, Doc. Page me if it turns out you do need an extra pair of hands."

    I'll go make sure that our unconscious friends are secure.
  • You head back into the main bay. The bumpy ride has slid the six men around. Blood stains smeared across the deckplates where Seesk did her grisly work. It takes some effort to drag the four still living to secure them. The Libation is taking fire and Jojee and Leeadra are flying as hard and fast as they can.

    Where do you stick them, into one of the single-occupancy dorms to the aft or into one of the escape pods (which, of course, you can lock down so they can't wake up and eject)?
  • edited September 2014
    Ladro Eyes

    I drag them to the escape pod, and I must be having a good inner-ear day, because I only fall once, when the ship goes through what feels like a full barrel roll. Finally, all four are in and locked down, and I secure the two bodies so they're not in the way. I hit the intercom. "Captain, our visitors are locked down in the aft port-side escape pod, and Doc's working on Seesk. Where do you need me?"
  • edited September 2014
    image
    Over the comms in a desperate squeal, you hear Squall, "Ladro, I could use some extra hands back here! Trying to manually re-route power to shields and maneuverability is kind of hard! It wasn't built for this level of tweaking!"


    Leeadra photo Xbbrfbj_zps5260bb2b.jpg
    Leeadra chimes in, "Please assist Squally."
  • Ladro Eyes

    "On my way, Squall!" I make my way to the upper deck, taking the stairs two at a time and jogging through the galley to the engine room. As soon as I'm in, I'll jump to whatever job Squall gives me.
  • image
    As you run, the ship does a couple barrel rolls, the rat-tat-tat of the auto-cannons a staccato rhythm that never seems to end. You swear you can hear Hosk howling and cursing at his targets through the ship.

    When you come into the engine room, you see several areas in the walls and on consoles are lit up, red lights of warning. There's an open panel and Squall's crawled down into the crawlspace with a wrench and a hydrospanner. Ze looks up, oil smeared across zir cheek, "Hey sexy! Flip those green toggles and hot swap board eight with board fourteen. Scream when you're done and don't get shocked, kay?" She ducks back down and starts hurling imaginative Huttese curses at inanimate objects.

    Why don't you give me an Act Under Fire here? If you pull it off, you can help Squall repair the ship and make good with your escape from the Raxus Prime forces.
  • Ladro Eyes

    Act Under Fire +1 XP

    (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 6, 5. Total: 13)

  • edited September 2014
    You're able to follow Squall's sequence, but realize at the last junction that if you rewired the fifth sequence on board fourteen, it would reduce feedback, and do that by prying the wires off the connector. You give zir the signal and Squally flips a couple toggles. You literally feel the ship's extra thrust, and Squall starts giggling with delight.

    Leeadra photo Xbbrfbj_zps5260bb2b.jpg
    Over the comms, you hear Lee, "We're pulling away from the third ship! Secundus forces are coming to our position. We're home free!"

    image
    Jojee adds, with some obvious relief in her voice, "We'll hit atmo in five. Hosk, you can power down the cannons."

    image
    Squall pushes zirself up out of the crawlspace and jumps into your arms, "We kriffing did it, Ladro!" Ze plants a flurry of kisses on your cheek and jaw and ear with zir thin lips.
  • Ladro Eyes

    Squall catches me by surprise, I dance zir around in a little circle for a few seconds, both of us laughing with relief, before putting zir down with a little smack on the ass. "We sure did, Squall." I hit the intercom. "What a team! Captain's buying the first round, I assume?"
  • edited September 2014
    image
    Squall wiggles zir ass for you and continues giggling, reaching a little hand up to cover zir mouth, "If she knew what I did, she'd kick me in the head!" Ze hops back down to the crawlspace, "I'll buy you all the rounds, Ladro. Just keep the re-wiring we did between you an me, kay?" Ze starts reversing all the stuff you both worked so hard to put in place.
  • Ladro Eyes

    I smile. "Strictly between us, Squall. She'd kick both of us in the head, wouldn't she?" I'll head back into the rest of the ship. First, check on Seesk, then congratulate Hosk, then head to the cockpit for a moment of celebration with Lee and Jojee.
  • edited September 2014
    Seesk is asleep, but the medical droid assures you extraction was successful.

    Up in the cockpit, Leeadra and Jojee are all smiles. Jojee is busy bringing the Libation down to dock, but Leeadra turns her head to look over at you.
    Leeadra photo Xbbrfbj_zps5260bb2b.jpg
    "How's Seesk? Squall and my engine room alright?"
  • edited September 2014
    Ladro Eyes

    "Doc says Seesk should be fine. The slugs are out and she's sleeping. Squall is very pleased with zirself, and the engine room is right where you left it." I take a chance on a compliment. "You did great today, Lee. Your uncle would be proud."
  • edited September 2014
    Leeadra photo Xbbrfbj_zps5260bb2b.jpg
    There's a definite beat as Leeadra seems taken aback. It's just not a thing anyone says to her. Her mouth hangs slightly open as she processes it.

    The corners of her lips curl into a smile and she accepts it, "Thanks, Ladro." She doesn't add "that means alot." but you practically heard it. She holds your eyes for a few beats longer, looking at you differently than before, like maybe something's changed. It could just be the moment, the adrenalin, the excitement. It could be that.

    As the Libation dips below the clouds of Raxus Secundus, you see farmlands and forests, lakes and rolling hills. It's a beautiful land. And not very industrialized. Jojee brings her down in a small city with a tiny starport. That starport has gigantic silos of grain, spices galore and a number of other agricultural bounties.

    image
    Noticing your looking at the surroundings, Jojee says, "Prime was the military side of the movement during the Clone Wars, and Secundus was the breadbasket. But when CIS went down, the worlds fell to infighting. Now Prime has all the gear and guns, but nothing to trade, and Secundus has tons of trade, but they're blockaded. It's a mess. But it could be a profitable one for us." Leeadra looks back at her copilot and nods.
  • Ladro Eyes

    Lee... I don't know if I even really want to hop on that roller coaster again, but the thought that it might be possible is equal parts sweet and painful.

    I nod appreciatively at Jojee's explanation. "It's a good setup, if we don't get boarded every time we come in. Does Prime restrict all travel to Secundus, or just trade?" Just thinking out loud.
  • edited September 2014
    image
    "For as long as they can hold the solar system with superior military force, they're going to squeeze every ship that comes out of hyperspace. Like now."

    Leeadra photo Xbbrfbj_zps5260bb2b.jpg
    "Not to sound all patriotic, cause I'm not." Leeadra adds, "But every delivery we make, the easier it gets to make the next."

    image
    "And the less we get back in payment, too."


    Leeadra photo Xbbrfbj_zps5260bb2b.jpg
    Lee shrugs, like she's considered this, came to a decision, "It's not a forever job. But it's a hell of an add to our circuit for now."
  • Ladro Eyes

    "It's great, Leeadra. Just let me know what you need. You want me with you for the delivery, or are they coming to us?"
  • Leeadra photo Xbbrfbj_zps5260bb2b.jpg
    Leeadra grins, happy to reveal a bit more of her plan.
    "They're coming to us. The only wrinkle is that they fear espionage, so they only gave us a delivery window. We'll be in port for a day or so waiting for the agri-cargo on the trip out. The good news is that they can ferry us close to a hyperspace point on the way out." As she's talking, Jojee begins the landing sequence, and the Libation begins final approach.

    Anything you want to do during a day's furlough? Hosk is still a tad grumpy about the freebie work. You get a Cred for the four Prime soldiers.
  • Ladro Eyes

    After we land, I head to the shuttle. I compliment Hosk on his fine shooting, then spend a few minutes checking out the city on the holonet. I want to find something to do that will appeal to Hosk, snap him out of his grumpiness at me.

    There's a big open-air market, so a little shopping could be good, even if it's mostly food and wine and handicrafts.

    There's also a local sport, called flunge, that sounds like it might be fun. It's played with two person teams, and it's a sort of a cross between dodgeball and kickboxing. Apparently there are a couple of parks that always have pickup games going.

    There's always entertainment, as well. Maybe the whole group (those of us that aren't recovering from being shot, anyway) might like to see a show? Looks like dance is a big thing on Raxus Secundus, there are a few events tonight that seem promising.

    I cross the corridor to knock on Hosk's door, and I'll lay out my menu of choices when he answers. I'm not taking no as a final answer, and I figure giving him three options means he can complain about two of them and still feel like he has to accept one.

  • edited September 2014
    image
    "Dance? hah hah, Lad!" Hosk grumbles, "Is that a short joke? Kriffing dancing..." Then he goes on with, "I'd be happy to shop if only we'd been paid for facing off with that sleemo on Nar Shaddaa, OH WAIT! That's right, even though we name dropped a Hutt that doesn't exist, IN HUTT SPACE, and probably torked the Snaps, we did the work for fun..."

    You suck it up and let him vent, which was your plan. Finally, he grumbles, "Flunge probably won't suck." Feels like victory, don't it?

    Who came with you? Other than Seesk, who didn't?
  • Ladro Eyes

    I invite everyone, of course. In the end, oddly enough, it's just Jojee that tags along. I figure with three possible pairings, one is likely to work well enough to find a way to beat the locals.
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