|Twas a good day
||Docking Bay 4, Outpost 42, Rogue Moon
||A few months ago
Docking Bay, Bantha in the background
The Outpost was busy that day - most likely people working from the outer rim to the western reaches. Takodana, Sullust, Naboo, Bespin - these were all key destinations and Rogue Moon was right smack in the middle. And, aside from the backwater world of Takodana, it was the one place to get out of the way of any imperial remnants or republic bureaucratic policies. And thus, the outpost could get busy some days.
Joh had just made a major purchase. He had bought a ship, after all these years of working and slaving away with various crews and ships. Now, this wasn't the best deal. He had to pay a premium. And the ship he bought, a Ghtroc 720 freighter, was supposedly smuggled without taxation or scanning by the republic or the core worlds. And that doesn't mean it was obtained illegally, it's just not on their registries any longer. Especially after the job Joh had done to her once he paid for it - clearing her serial number and name, reprogramming communications channels, new computer core. It was costly, but would give him a fresh start.
The man had a few crew members in mind, but he still needed more. It was time for him to get that going as well, once he got his hands on the ship. Time to make some money of his own. Time to help Rogue Moon and the surrounding systems as best he could.
Joh's long hair waved a bit as he turned his head at the sound of footsteps. "Oh, it's just you." He didn't know why he was jittery - general paranoia, he presumed. "Finally ready?"
The Ithorian smuggler from whom he had bought it strolled over and spoke with an automated voice box. "Yes, finally." There was an air of contempt in his electronic words. "Remember, Filo doesn't know about this. And he doesn't know I'm involved."
Spivak grinned and nodded. "Who? What?" He accepted the datapad extended to him from the comrade, looking over the details. Joh signed off and gave a nod to physically confirm. "Good, I'll be on my way."
The Ithorian shook his head. "You have always danced the line of good and questionable, Captain Spivak." The emphasis was on the word captain, a new title. "I hope you continue to dance well."
Joh nodded and handed the pad back. "I don't hope, Kthor. I simply make it happen." He clapped his heels together and took a bow like a performer. "I bid you good day."
As Joh spun around to head onto the ship, the Ithorian muttered something in his native tongue. Joh would normally be able to pick up on that, but it was quiet enough and Joh was not fluent enough, to escape him. But the two parted ways and Joh boarded his new ship.
Captain Joh Spivak - it had a good sound to it. The Coruscanti native, backwater-working trader was proud to have his own digs. But now what to do. He had inquiries into his own friends to see if he could bring any over to his crew, but had not heard back. He had posted a few pings on the holonet to see if he could get any nibbles. Nothing yet, although he would soon realize something would be falling in his lap soon.
"Well, you beast... just you and me for now." The captain took in the sounds and smells of a parked ship. It was musty, still smelled of the cleaning and mechanical crews, and yet felt like home.
And maybe that's all he needed for now: crew, jobs, money - that would come later. For now, he delighted in the fact that he had made it, as they say. His parents, where ever they might be, would likely be just a bit proud, Joh wagered. Twas a good day...
|Still Here, Dreaming..
||Rust Alley, Rogue Moon
“You just keep your chin up, kid. Tell ‘em you were part of the Tanium Star’s crew. That name’s got pull. Been around forever. Just like me.” He’d mussed her hair when she’d just stared, trying hard to read between the lines with what was being said. It was raining and late- more than that, the expression on his face looked a lot like surrender. Somewhere between her gut and his tired eyes was stark finality. She saw it. He knew it. This was forever, not goodbye.
Dahvie winced and looked towards the door. “Come on kid, just let me go. Captains don’t live forever. Ships don’t run on dreams. It was a good haul, but it’s over. Go on home, Rhanda. Forget the credits, just- save your heart and go on home-”
“Go home, kid-“ the bartender huffed, his pinched nostrils flaring as he groaned in her direction. “I don’t give handouts.”
“No handouts, sir. ‘M just looking for w-work. Do you-“ Dodging the tray that he walked out with as the taller man brushed past, Rhan mumbled a quiet apology to the man she’d brushed too close to.
“I said no handouts. Get!” he bellowed again as bowls hit the table with a sloshing of stew and many complaints from the patrons.
Rather than explain herself again, Rhan groaned in frustration and headed for the door back out into the dismal gray evening. It was raining again fitfully as if it couldn’t make up its mind whether it would commit to a downpour or just sulk around a bit. The constant chilly sputtering of an undecided cold front just seemed to hang over the evening, weeping out its heart to a moon that was far too industrious to care. People still filled the streets even as late as it was, milling about and hurrying by with such purpose amongst the ramshackle quick build bars and markets, sagging shops and lean-to homes. None of them faces that she knew. Off in the distance some real buildings rose like black fingers stabbing up into the storm above the sea of slums that bled away from the starport, but that wasn’t where she needed to be. It wasn’t her world.
Here- sitting on the edge of a half constructed fountain long gone to rust and pit- watching the ships take off in the rain: that was where she belonged. Out there witnessing someone else get off the rock. Following the glow of the engines until they faded out under blankets of clouds. Spinning her thoughts over how she’d find a way to have that, too, when everyone else seemed just as eager to get off world. ’It’d happen,’ she thought. She just had to try harder. Speak louder. Stand straighter. Push confidence even if she didn’t feel it. Try not to talk too much, just the words that she needed. ’Make it count,’ she told herself. ‘And don’t trip over the words.’ Like it was really that easy..
Still, with a sniffle and a sneeze and a rub of her soaked sleeve across her face to push her wet hair out of her eyes, Rhanda straightened her shoulders and put those thoughts away. Tomorrow she’d hit the port with more enthusiasm. Every day new ships came in: one of them had to be the right one for her. Until then, there were men and women breaking free with every muffled boom of a ship tearing past the point where sound itself could keep up with it. Maybe tonight she could afford to just sit back and enjoy those little victories for them..
|Test Run Complete
||Rogue Moon Orbit
"Alright, let's bring her down into low orbit," Spivak said as his hands cascaded across the control panel in the cockpit. He still had no crew - most of his pals went off with Filo or one of his buddies. Filo was a decent boss, although he was more interested in money or saving his own hide, which actually allowed him to survive so long and be quite successful. Joh followed in his coattails actually and made a good living as well.
But Joh was alone now, at least for the time being. He had borrowed, for a steep fee, an astromech droid to help him take the Bantha on a test run into orbit of the strange Rogue Moon. It was a place of industry and mining, but also of smuggling and trade deals. It had no real political affiliation, and thankfully was never run by your typical Hutt. Credits owned Rogue Moon, and the people who saw almost none of those credits made it run.
Spivak had risen above that over the years, but he was not of the moon. He was born elsewhere and chose this life. And he worked hard to get to the spot he was in. And thus given that strife over the course of his life, he respected the people of Rogue Moon, as well as other planets. There were many suffering in this post-imperial landscape. It had been almost 30 years since the Empire was mostly defeated, but things were not great. And here the Republic was already talking about cutting down its navy, which would eventually continue to harm places like Rogue Moon.
Joh flipped a few levers up and behind him, switching the main thrusters off and letting the craft float into place. "That should... do it..." He took the helm control and corrected their path slightly, heading into a more or less perfect low orbit.
A beep came from the communications panel and then a screech of static, not even giving him time to reply. That was nice of them to interrupt without a choice. "This is Tower Control, and we see you, Ghtroc Seven Two Zero. Please confirm your destination and landing permit."
Spivak sighed. "Tower this is the Bantha, just doing a test run up here, ready to come down again. Transmitting data now." He flipped a fairly commonly-used button to send the ship's credentials over the open channel.
There was a pause and then the quick static again. "Bantha, you are cleared for landing. Thank you." It was actually a well-organized orbital control service. Any group with a few cruisers could come in and overtake the moon with ease. But why would someone waste their time here?
The Bantha did well, and landed just fine back where he had purchased her. He had nothing to hide from Filo, even if the seller could have gotten in trouble. Something to do with Filo wanting the ship, but not wanting to pay the full amount... the debate was lost on Joh so he ignored the conflict for the most part.
After returning the astromech droid, Spivak was feeling more sentimental. His test run up in orbit had him thinking about things like Rogue Moon's station in the galaxy, his own upbringing, his journey to owning a ship. That and the fact that he needed to crew up made him want to look around a bit. And for certain types of people that wouldn't demand the world from him, Rust Alley was the perfect place to start.
||Rogue Moon - Spaceport
Gam Wessel walked down gang plank with Narr, his hand resting on the man's shoulder. He'd been smuggling and shipping for most of his 58 years, and was walking a little slower these days. Less seat of your pants daring due and more over the table shipping had become the norm, and even though he'd never admit it... that was fine with Gam. Saying goodbye to crew - no matter how brief - never was.
"It's not like you won't find your place on the Pearl, Izzy," The older man said. "You sure you won't give it some consideration?"
"I'm sure, Gam," Izzy replied, smiling broadly. "I appreciate it, and I appreciate the last six months. You've taught me a lot... I just..." Izzy sighed heavily as he looked around the multi-leveled starport, an easy feat from their perch on one of the upper landing pads. "I want what you guys had 30 years ago. Fresh people on a fresh ship... I want the... the family," He explained.
Gam grinned a bit, "I'm pretty sure you'd get there, here, but... I understand," He said, shaking the man's hand before pulling him into a bear hug and patting his back. "I hope you find what you're looking for, Izzy," He said, his voice a bit husky now.
"I hope so, too," Izzy replied, making his way down the ramp to the platform.
"Send me a holo if you change your mind!" Gam called, grinning as Izzy turned back and gave him a thumbs up.
Gam felt tender hands rub down his shoulders and a familiar set of lips resting a kiss on his jaw, "You always take losing crew so hard, husband of mine." His wife spoke gently.
"I know, Aine," He said, chuckling a bit at himself, "We have to pass this on to someone some day. Crix and Winter are going to need someone with experience to help them when they take over. We can't do this forever," He said.
"I know, my love. And we'll figure it out," She said, smiling warmly up at him. "Besides, we've still got some fight left in us," she teased, patting his belly.
Gam laughed, "I guess we do at that," He said, laughing as he turned and lead them back into the ship.
"I guess this is it," Izzy was saying as he approached his fellow crew members, prepping cargo on the edge of the platform .
"Oh, darlin'," Risi said, "I wish you'd change your mind," the Twi'lek woman pleaded, coming over and wrapping him in a fierce hug. "It's not really that bad serving with a bunch of old farts is it?"
Izzy laughed, "No, you know that isn't it," He said, hugging her back.
"I know, honey. But you can't blame an old woman for trying," Risi said, smiling brightly. "You will be sorely missed."
"Yeah," Cebel, old when this crew first got together years ago, nearly ancient now, approached and offered Izzy a hand to shake, "Whenever you find a new ship... You send us a holo so we're not worryin' about you, okay?"
Izzy laughed and nodded as he shook the man's hand, "Count on it, Cebel. Thank you, both, for everything."
"Good luck, kid," Cebel said with a simple nod.
Izzy walked down the stairs, his astromech trundling faithfully behind him, to the rest of the hangar as his old crew watched him go. Risi sighed heavily, "He sure is pretty." She said, wistfully.
"You're fifty-one you dirty old woman," Cebel said, laughing playfully.
"We got the orders, boys and girls! Get us loaded up and let's get moving!" Gam yelled, his eyes drifting to Izzy walking away in the distance for just a moment before he turned and headed back into the ship.
"That's our cue," Risi said with a grin, double-timing her work on prepping their cargo.
Down the stairs, Izzy paused and turned back to look at the ship he'd spent the last six months on as the familiar whine of the engines powering up filled the air. Pre-flight checks, he figured. Risi and Cebel were already out of sight, no doubt already in the belly of the ship. Somewhere in the back of his mind he heard "Run back! Don't let them leave! The gangplank is still down! They'd stop and let you back on if they see you coming!" But he stood firm. These people had been good to him, they'd been solid friends in addition to good work, but it just wasn't meshing... It wasn't there. Not what he was looking for.
He watched until the ship closed and lifted into the air, waving as it did, unaware if they saw him or not, and not particularly caring. He was saying goodbye to that segment of his life a much as he was to them. He almost felt bad, leaving them worried about him, but how could he explain that he'd been lying for six months and their buddy the moisture farmer from Tattooine with his plethora of stories about Jawas, Dewback, and Tusken Raiders was actually a Prince from Hapes.
Pulling his cloak around his shoulders he turned back to going down the stairs. The pilots he wanted wouldn't be on this side of the city. They'd be in the poor side, trying to scrape together a crew to start their career as smugglers. He'd find something here just fine, or pull transport to another word, no hide off his back.
"Come on, buddy," He said to the little droid bouncing around at his feet. "Let's go find someplace new, huh?"
The little droid tweeted a mounrful sound, and Izzy sighed, "I... I know that was home, but... we're going to find a better one, I promise."
Arty whistled an affirmative, and fell in behind Izzy as he walked.
He'd find what he was looking for eventually, and maybe then he'd have home to stay.
|And Then There Were Two..
||Near the Port, Rogue Moon
Quite early the next morning Rhanda set off to the port, just as she’d said she would. With her duffle over her shoulder she threaded through the crowd quietly, squinting up through the bright sun to study ship names written across the bows written in blocky letters from afar. There were so many people, so much moving freight, droids, noise and movement. Keeping track of all of it impossible, yet dizzying and exciting all it the same time. There was hope coiled up in all of that energy and it buoyed her along down the rows to ask that familiar string of questions in her small voice. ‘Is this you sh-ship? Are you hiring?’ Each no was just another bump down the line.
“You’re too small to haul freight, girl.”
“My crew’s not a good fit for a young woman.”
“I don’t think so. Why doncha move along?”
The words rolled right down Rhan’s back, after which she’d turn around and hit the next partially opened bay with her chin held just as high. Even if there were a hundred ‘nos’, eventually there’d have to be at least one yes. And as it happened to be, “Hey you! Girl! Hey girl!” A thin woman with braided light colored hair ran up behind Rhanda and tapped her on the shoulder. “Hey, you were just at the Ofelia asking about work, right? The captain said he changed his mind. Meet him at the Squinting Blurrg in fifteen minutes to negotiate. I can lead you there if’n you want.”
“Really?” Rhanda’s smiled all but beamed. “Thank you! Y-yes, please.”
“Come on then!” Peeling off without another word, the light haired woman darted off through the crowd, leaving Rhanda hard pressed to keep up on much shorter legs. She weaved a bit then cut into a side street- when rough hands grabbed Rhan from behind the minute she crossed the alley and lifted her off of her feet.
“Got ‘er! Get ‘er bag! Get it!” The guy holding her yelled, prompting the woman to spin back around and sprint back towards them.
Rhan got out a shrill ‘no’ and a scream before one of those large hands covered her mouth- then again after she bit a chunk out of that large hand and slammed the back of her head into the man who grabbed her’s face. She kicked at the woman and connected, before a third person opened a door for her grappler to roughly toss her inside of. It was dim and dirty and smelled distinctly of stale beer and copper. More than that- it was inhabited by a third man who laughed as she hit the floor hard. All the wind rushed out of her lungs with the impact. Again a meaty hand grabbed her by the hair and pulled her upwards until she was standing on tiptoe.
“’Nother friend for the day, Raj? Not much meat on this one,” the one who laughed commented dryly. “Guess she’ll work well enough. Have to cut close to the bone to pack the drugs in tight-“
With her lungs still burning, Rhan didn’t wait for the rest of the speech, she bypassed trying to free herself directly to claw at the man holding her’s face, digging her short nail into the delicate dip of his eyes. As intended he released her, but not before the other three rushed in to try and get her under control again.
Suddenly there were four angry woofs from a blaster from the back of the room, something large and most likely capable of vaporization setting given the noise a simple blast made, and plaster fell from the grungy ceiling as it was burned away by the blasts. There stood a man, silhouetted in the door way against the stark light outside, only his outstretched arm and blaster visible within the dim room. He stepped in slowly, calmly, coming into the light. He was built like a warrior, strong and muscular, but with a face like a Coruscant model. Still, the fierceness behind his eyes showed he was not to be taken lightly.
“I am having a very difficult time remembering that people who err on the side of the just don’t simply riddle people like you with blaster bolts at the moment,” He said, his voice strong and booming, powerful. “So let’s pretend this is all just one big misunderstanding, shall we?”
“What if we DON’T?!” One of the men replied, arrogantly.
“I’ll fill all of you so full of blaster bolts there won’t be anything left to arrest,” The man said, turning his blaster toward the one who’d spoke. “Now. Let. The Girl. Go. Immediately,” He said, firmly. He wasn’t scared, he didn’t quake, but the righteous indignation burned hot behind his eyes.
“Buddy, you’re making a big mistake..” The skinny man in leather said. Rhan watched as he met eyes with the woman, who backed off first. Her long fingered hands opened, flexing as the others let go of the girl and started to slowly back off.
“Knife!” Rhan yelled in warning, recognizing the telltale wrist flick that the woman gave a moment before a blade slipped out of her jacket sleeve.
The blonde man never took his eyes off of the man who was talking to him, just merely flicked his gun to the size and burned a sizable hole in the woman’s chest before bringing it back to bear on the men holding Rhan.
“No, you did.” He said, flatly. “I’m going to ask one. Last. Time,” He said, his tone dangerous. “And then I’m afraid I’ll have to insist.”
The big man buckled first, moving far away from Rhan with blood on his face and more on his hand. His companions took another second longer before stepping back, though they did, which gave Rhan the opportunity to scoop up her bag and skirt towards the wall away from them. She wasn’t sure who the large man with a gun was or even if he was there to help her or just get back at the gang. Either way, she was getting out of the way of the potential standoff.
“You’re calling the shots now, big guy? What next?” the man in leather asked now that they were all spaced out, nerves coiled, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
The man stood there for a long time – what seemed like an eternity – before he spoke, “I want to say go away and we’ll be good, but you’ll just keep doing this tomorrow… she’s not the first girl, and she won’t be the last… So let’s just take care of this now,” He said, firing off shots at each of them before diving behind a counter and pulling the girl down with him.
Rhan hit the floor, again, with an undignified squeak. She scrabbled to pull her bag closer and clutched it to her, whereupon she unfastened it and quickly started rifling through the contents.
Of her mysterious rescuer's three shots, two rang true. One made a quick end of the one who'd snatched her up, the other removed the arm of one of he others who fell to the floor shrieking for a moment before shock over came him and he passed out.
The third, unfortunately, was a little too fast and managed to jump behind cover before the man's third shot was fired. He was now shouting obscenities and shooting back furiously from his hiding place.
The man who'd shown up to the rescue was chuckling a bit as he checked the power settings on his blaster, "I think I've made them angry. What do you think?" He mused.
Hand closing on what she was looking for, the tiny woman pulled a slim little blaster out of her bag which she shoved to the side out of the way. Clenching her teeth, Rhan turned around on her knees with a determined look on her face. "P-prolly won't last long."
The man smiled a winning smile and gave her a wink, "One sec, my dear. I've got this," He said, rolling around the corner of their cover onto his belly and firing an even angrier sounding show that blew a hole through the wooden counter their assailant was hiding behind and - after a loud shriek of pain - left the room silent.
The man laid there for a moment, his gun trained on the hole, waiting for any sign of movement or life, then nodded and stood up, "I figure the last one won't get into much trouble missing his crew... and his arm," He said, nodding sagely. "Funny to think he's the lucky one in all of this," He said, shoving his gun back into its holster as he observed the unconscious man.
A moment later Rhan stepped out as well and looked down at the last survivor. She was shaking- but not in the way that someone frightened would shake. More like little spasms that jerked an arm here, her neck there, a hand then without rhyme or reason. "His b-belt," she said after a few heartbeats of looking down at him. "If you w-want him to live, tie off 'is arm."
"Should be cauterized," The man said, stepping over to check. "Yep," He said, holding the flap of charred sleeve aside so she could see. "I use a Blastech DL-89 blaster, love. It's hot enough that it cauterizes what it hits," He explained. "He'll be fine... It will hurt impressively once the shock wears off, but he'll be fine." He assured her.
He stepped over to her slowly now and rested a hand on her shoulder, "Are you okay, my dear?" He asked, concerned with the way she was twitching.
Rhan nodded quickly."Y-yeah. I'm not hurt much." Her lip was busted pretty good and she knew that she was bruising in a few spots. No broken bones, though, no yawning wounds. "J-just really- I get this way."
"Nerves?" The man asked, gently. Not a note of ridicule or pity in his voice. Just earnest concern.
Back tracking to her bag, Rhanda scooped it up and pulled the closure tight. "Nerve damage. It's f-fine. Thanks- for busting in, I mean. F-for helping."
"Of course," The man said, looking at her oddly. "I'm Izzy, by the way. Izzy Narr." He said, giving her the fake name that felt more like his own than his real name every day.
"R-rhanda D-d-d-" The girl stomped her foot in frustration at the exacerbated lisp. "Spast! Just Rhanda for now. We sh-shouldn't stay here in case there's more."
He let her gather her things, then knelt in front of her and jerk a finger toward his back, "Hop on." He said, leading no room for discussion.
The girl stopped dead in her tracks and just stared at him. "'Cause that won't d-draw more attention. I c-can walk. It's okay."
"And if I lose you in a crowd, I'm going to be far more worried than I should be for a girl I've only just met," Izzy said, arching an eyebrow. "I promise, only till we get someplace safe and I can check you over. You have my word," He said. "Please."
"Couldn't I j-just hold your hand or sleeve?" If she seized even for a moment, she knew that she'd lose her grip and fall. That wasn't going to help anything either- despite the fact that she felt like a fool for being carted around on the back of a stranger.
The man sighed, but stood, "Hold it _tight_," He said, seriously. "I don't believe you understand the side of town you've walked into," He told her, earnestly. "It is very, very dangerous." He said, holding out his hand.
Understanding dawned on Rhanda suddenly. Between her baby face and seeming fragile, he thought she was some breakable doll and not just embarrassingly duped. "I've been here for th-three weeks," she said as she took his hand anyways. Her fingers curled around one of his tightly. "I made a s-stupid mistake. That's all."
Izzy lead them into the street and took off at a run she could match, "Then you know why I want to make sure we're a long way from here before I risk losing sight of you, right?" He asked as they ran.
Actually, she didn't, but she didn't argue as he led them through the crowd.
They ran wordlessly for a long while, finally hitting an area of nicer cafe's and restaurants. Izzy pointed to one with an outdoor seating area and pointed her to a chair as he headed toward the inside, "Stay here, please. Just a minute. I'll be back," He said, disappearing into the restaurant.
As directed, Rhan sank into a chair, though she wasn't sure why. All that she knew was that she needed a minute to catch her breath and get control of herself again. The moment had passed- she was okay- and... black bones that was close. How had she been so stupid? Breathe, she told herself. Just breathe and focus on calming down.
True to his word, a few moments later, Izzy returned with an arm full of sandwiches and a first aide kit, "I wasn't sure if you were allergic to anything so I got... everything, I believe," He said, looking down at the bundle of food in his arms. "And some sparkling water to calm your stomach if you're still nervous," He said, dropping a bottle on the table in front of her. "Do you have a preference of meat?" He asked.
Rhanda's dark brows climbed. "You what?" She didn't even know what sparkling water was, much less what a few of the sandwich types were that he spread out on the table top.
"I got... everything... are you not hungry? I thought after that, you might be..." He said. "I got roasted nerf, and oven baked clunbird, and... I think this one doesn't have any meat at all," He said, looking at the label closely. "Do you not want one? I can hand them out to the workers if you don't," He said. "It's no problem to me."
Rhanda picked one without looking and slid it close to the edge of the table. "Thank you. I d-don't mean to be unthankful. I'm just stunned."
"I can't blame you," Izzy replied, opening one of the waters for her and sliding it over. "You're lucky I was passing by when I did," He said, sounding concerned. "Let me fix up your lip before you try to eat," He said, opening up the med kit. "Not much we can do the the bruises unless you've got access to a bacta tank," He said, grinning a bit.
"Why are you helping me? I mean, n-not many people do anymore. Too much r-rush an' taking care of themselves to see anyone else, much less follow through.." Rhanda stayed still as he dabbed at her lip when he reached for her. "I appppre- ugh! I mean, thank you."
"People," He said, hesitating as he applied a dab of concentrated bacta gel on the cut, "Have lost the art of being people most days of the week it seems," He finished as he started digging for a small strip of synth-flesh to close to gash until the bacta gel had time to work. "I like to think I have not."
"This isn't the right place for you to be, then." Not if he wanted to keep high morals like that in place. At least on this side of the space port. "It's not too good for p-people-ing. You're not from here with a vocab like yours, are you just p-passing through, too?"
"I've been just passing through for a while now," Izzy said with a grin as he packed the med kit back up. "Just looking for a new ship to work on," He said. "What about you? You don't seem like a Rogue Moon native either."
"I'm not," Rhan said as she tried not to move her lip too much. "My c-captain's ship died. Pick up didn't show. Everybody t-took off. I'm just having some d-dry luck convincing captains that I know my way around a ship. I'm a good steward. Th-they get stuck on the stutter and me being small."
"How does that have anything to do with working a ship?" Izzy asked, arching an eyebrow.
"App-ppearances mean a lot. Confidence, threat, b-bearing get your foot in the door. I can't tell 'em that I can figure out the operating costs f-for a haul based of weight or sh-shipments by cubic foot if I'm dismissed before I get three words out. I cook, I haul, I clean. I p-pull my weight.." the girl shrugged her shoulders. She knew that she'd find another captain willing to give her a shot. If one did, there'd be another. She just had to keep her chin up.
Izzy nodded as he considered that, fascinated at the fight in this girl. She was the embodiment of *why* he'd left Hapes in the first place. Everything stacked against her, but fighting and going on like it wasn't. He was fairly certain he'd met his hero.
"Then we look together," He said. "Your chances go up if you're with someone who looks the part, right?" He offered with a shrug and a grin. "And you've sold me right now that you're good crew to have around, so I'm really only here to help you get around the stupid first impressions garbage," He added to make sure she knew this wasn't a pity thing.
The tightness around Rhan's dark eyes fell away immediately. "Th-that'd be great! But if you get a bite and I don't and it f-feels really good in your gut, you go with it, okay? The stars don't give reason, just ways."
"I don't leave partners behind," Izzy said seriously, offering her a hand to shake. "Partner?"
Rhan took two of his fingers up and gave them a hearty shake. She wasn't sure how she'd lucked out or if it really was luck, but she hoped it was. "Partners."
|I fought the law...
||Outpost 42, Rogue Moon
"Do you have the package or not?" Ash looked angrily at the Duros standing in front of her, tucked away down a back alley made her fell slightly nervous. Rumour had it he had information, valuable information.
Shiftily he pulled out a data card from his inner pocket, "Data codes for access once i leave,"
"if this doesn’t have want i want on it - ill come back for you," she said politely smiling and handed over some credits for it. As she placed it into his hand she pulled him close up to her and whispered, "And I will come for you!"
Slightly shaken the Duros moved off down one way and Ash the other back into the bristling main halls of the outpost. A flick of her hand pulled a hood over her bunned up hair as she reached the docking bay for her ship not far from where the deal went down.
The doors to the docking bay opened and she glanced up at her small ship being lifted off the deck, "HEY HEY!" she blurted out as a woman in uniform stopped her reaching he vessel. "Gillian Redford?" The woman asked.
"That’s what my pilots licence says," it was no word of a lie, it was as fake as the ships registration.
"Yes we will need to look at that once your ship has been inspected - there were a few discrepancies in your ships registration" the woman added.
"I’m sorry - who the hell are you and where are you taking MY ship!" Ash looked up at her angrily.
"Office Tral'la - Customs and your ship is impounded for investigations," she paused, "Perhaps you can shed some light on our investigation and speed things along?"
"Well officer I’m not sure what I can do - as far as I’m concerned this is all one big mistake," a gentle shrug of the shoulders made her position very clear to Tral'la
"I see. Well just so you know apparently your registration doesn’t show up in our database," her eyes squinted a bit scrutinising Ashley.
"I don’t see how that’s my problem if you can’t keep your databases in order - when will i get my ship back?"
"Not until our investigation is over - you are free to leave for the moment but your ship stays with us. You are also under restrictions to this outpost. If you make any attempt to leave we will find you guilty of any infractions that we find." the officer added in a much rehearsed professional tone.
"Right... well if that’s all officer. I’ll be going and wait to hear back on your investigation," Ash snarled back turning round and leaving the docking bay swiftly.
As the doors closed behind her she took off her hooded cloak and made a line towards a rest room. Checking it over and making certain it was empty she shoved the cloak into a nearby trash chute along with 'Gillian’s' licences. Taking off her backpack that was hidden by her clock she entered a cubical and changed into her flight suit quickly to change her appearance. Exiting the cubical the room was still empty giving her the change to pop out some contact lenses returning her eye colours back to their light blue. Removing a pin from her hair let it flow down her back and face as she sorted it in a mirror. A device on her wrist beeped. Checking it quickly it was the access codes for the data, "Check that later"
Tossing the lens into the trash she lit a towel with a lighter and tossed it into the bin with them to let it all smoulder until the fire suppression system put it out. "Dammit Ash you’re not getting that ship back - Looks like you need another way off this rock now,"
Exiting the room casually she left the rest room and made her way to the best place she could think of to get a ride out of there - the bar.
|More Flyers the Merrier
||Rogue Moon Main Port Area
Main Starport, near Rust Alley
This was one of the crumbiest areas of the planet, or so Joh thought. But it was often a good place to find cheap labor. He needed good crew, but maybe for a few first runs he could just hire some contractors. Filo did the same, typically just hired guns or haulers.
Spivak had visited several bars and cafes, and as the evening grew darker and the lights of the distant capitalist-esque buildings that made up the only city on Rogue Moon, headquarters to the big firms and corporations that did a lot of business here, Spivak needed a rest, and a drink with some kick to it. He was done searching for the day, and was going to have a stiff one and watch the holonews. Thankfully there was a place he frequented that had those two things in good quality.
"Ah, captain," said the tender. Word travels fast, it would seem. "Same ole?"
"Yessir," answered Joh, plopping down on one of the bar stools. "Anything in the headlines?"
The man was pouring a concoction into a canister and began mixing it with his hands. All Joh knew was that it involved rum that typically shipped in from Takodana. "Eh," said the bartender. "Same old crap about the Senate and the Navy, never able to agree."
"Bad news, if you ask me." Most people with any sense knew that demilitarizing the New Republic would leave them vulnerable. "If I can crew up properly, I can make some runs that'll help us stay out of this mess."
The bartender nodded and served the drink. "We're mostly out of the way, brothah. Enemies of the Republic don't come out here into the Western Reaches, that much."
Ash's ears perked up to the words coming from behind her and turned round eyeing both the bartender and the stranger up. ~Beggars can’t be choosers~ Standing to her feet she put her chair back into the table before making her way to the bar. "Keep - I’ll take something tea like once you’re done chatting."
It was merely to get him away so her conversation could be a little more private. Sitting on the stool beside the stranger she turned and tilted her head towards him, "Hi, names Ash, I couldn't help but notice you said you were looking for crew?"
Joh sipped on his fresh drink, the smooth taste not stinging like others of this ilk. He nodded as the bartender went to get the requested tea. "I'm off the clock," he said sarcastically. He wasn't angry or grumpy about it, just more matter of fact. A hint of frustration might even come through.
"When is anyone really off the clock," she spun back round to look at the bar, "Especially if your in charge - and from the sounds of it you are. Runs, your probably talking freight." She glanced her eyes up towards him to watch his reaction to her next statement, "Morally questionable cargo possibly?"
"Didn't think I'd hear such words out in these parts." Spivak set his drink down and finally made eye contact with the woman. "Tell me more." Again, his words could be seen as rude, but his tone would tell real interest.
"Ill be frank - something tells me that sits with you better. I need off this rock. You need a crew. You can either have a descent pilot or a great pilot," the barkeep put her drink down in front of her as she handed over some credits to pay for it. "Thanks," she held the drink in her hands warming them up and watched him move back off.
Spivak watched as she got her drink. The tea sounded good, as the rains started coming down outside. "Where did you fly before?" he asked, taking a sip of his again, definitely intrigued by her bold words.
"You wanting references now? Their dead. Though no fault of their pilot I might add," she sighed and shook her head a bit, "Ive been strapped into a pilots seat for most of my life that's all you need to know. You can take me or leave me - or start looking through the drunks in the back." She flicked her head towards the rear of the bar while also smoothly clearing the hair over lapping her left eye off to one side.
Joh chuckled a bit after considering her words. It may have come across rude, but that was not his intent. Again, he was taken aback by her bold nature. "Tell you what, I need to do some more crewing up. Meet me tomorrow..." He rubbed his chin a bit, looking up and away in no particular direction. He did need some supplies, and he wasn't lying about trying to get more crew. "Well, two days. Come see the ship and we'll talk."
"Two days..." Ash thought for a moment. She should be able to keep a low profile until then and the investigation on her ship would take a while - the wonders of bureaucratic red tape. "You got it. Just tell me where, when n' ill get you there."
Spivak handed her a small data chip, followed by the last sip from his drink. "Location and access to the docking slip." It wouldn't let her on the ship, of course. "Looking forward to seeing what you got."
Quickly Ash unzipped her upper left pocket and put the chip inside it, "I look forward to seeing you then... Mister?" Without even having had a drink of her tea she sat it back down on the counter and stood up.
"Spivak," he said. "Captain Joh Spivak." He was going to ask her name and then she was standing and ready to go. That was silly of him - he'd later blame the drink.
"Joh Spivak... Ill see you then," she smiled and tilted her head casually to the side as she slowly exited the bar avoiding some of the patrons obstructing her.
|Embrace the Bantha
||Main Spaceport, Central Docking Row
Zip! Zoom! Zam! For a planet-moon in the middle of no where, the main (and really only) spaceport on its surface was quite abuzz with droids and speeders and small craft. The noises could almost be confused with a place like Coruscant or Hosnian Prime. But then again, dust balls and smoke and smog and odd smells from any which way would remind you that you are not on a corporate city-world, the handful of skyscrapers not withstanding.
Captain Spivak had a run-in with a possible crew member the night before, so things were finally looking up. They were supposed to meet later and so he thought he would check the shipping boards. He was there early, but it seemed everyone else was too. Good thing he had his own secluded job listings available back on the Bantha via secured hololink. But for now, this would be a good perusal.
Joh's longcoat was on, although the hood down and weapons hidden in his coat and armor. Hardly anything was illegal here, but it was prudent to not be flashy. The man found an open terminal and began punching into the lists - both crew and trade. There were a few prospects piquing his interest as far as crew so he sent a couple basic inquiries to pull their reports. He'd hopefully be able to read them later on a datapad, without all the crowds about. And then there was something that caught his eye, albeit not on the screen. He turned and saw something that seemed to make him want to look that way.
"Besides that, their ship smelled funny," Izzy was saying to Rhan as they walked around the corner, looking around for another suitable ship captain to ask. "I can't understand why it's so difficult to find a reasonable ship on this damn planet," He grumbled.
The little astromech trailing behind them whistled an opinion.
"Because, Arty, if we'd gone on to Nar Shaddaa we wouldn't have met Rhanda and that would be unfortunate," Izzy said, simply.
"A good b-bit of luck there, too. If-" Rhanda lost her train of thought briefly as an odd sensation resonated it her stomach. It wasn't the typical warning bells that she'd grown used to listening to, no. It was.. something else. She couldn't quite identify it, but she knew it wasn't danger. Taking a hold of the Izzy's sleeve at the elbow, she looked around.
"What is it, little one?" He asked her, seeing the look on her face.
"I don't know.." Rhan answered in a quiet voice.
The pairing blended in fairly well, although the astromech droid told Joh that they may have had their own ship. But now they were looking at him. Awkward. Spivak looked back at his console and closed things up. As he looked back up, the three were closer now.
"Hello..." Joh said, turning to face them. "Is there something I can do for you?" It was strange, although his hand did not go straight for his blaster or blade. Hopefully Filo wouldn't take the sale of the Bantha so hard and this quickly. I mean, it was a legitimate sale, Spivak just got the jump on it. Dibs don't matter on Rogue Moon.
"We're looking for work," Izzy replied, nodding once as he approached the man before offering his hand to shake, "I don't suppose you'd be looking for workers, would you?"
"Forward much.." the smaller woman said as she patted the larger man on the elbow.
Spivak looked at Izzy a bit strange and chuckled when he heard the woman piped up. "Well, I'm Captain Spivak," he said plainly, still getting used to the address, even after a day of recruiting. "I'm not sure we've met, and I'm pretty good with faces." He peered over at the droid, making sure it wasn't the one he had taken on the test run the day before.
"I don't believe we have," Izzy confirmed with a nod as Arty shuffled behind him, uncertain of the man's attention. "What sort of workers are you looking for?" He asked, checking behind his shoulder to make sure Rhan was sticking close.
Joh nodded slowly, noting the young man did not give his name. "Well, I need solid crew that won't ditch me at the first sight of a Hutt or one of these here corps." His head bobbed behind them towards the small corporate sector in the distance. "Thankfully the days of the Empire are mostly over." If there was wood nearby, he should have knocked on it.
"Well l-loyal you'd get so long as that's what you'r showin'," the girl spoke up again. Her voice was just a tad light for the crowd, though as soon as she realized that, she adjusted just a scooch. "I'm R-Rhanda, this big g-guy is Izzy. You lookin' for general help or specialists?"
Izzy grinned down at Rhanda, uncertain why he was so proud of her for taking the lead. Normally it would have been him, but he was honestly glad for the break.
The ship owner shuttered his head, his small pony-tale like tie back shaking. "Yes, I could use some general skills - navigating I can do, and I have a pilot lined up. And I'm not a bad negotiator, but I could use some help there. You got contacts? You have trade routes out in this area?" Joh had a supply run lined up actually, but they would need more than one lead.
"I don't know r-routes or contacts, no. You need a steward, though, I'm good f-for that. Upkeep, cooking, cleaning, cartin'. Off ship, I'm fast an' small an' overlooked a lot. But n-not entertainment and neither is he," the tiny woman said with a protective pat to Izzy's arm.
"No, we're definitely not that," Izzy replied, taking her meaning immediately, a resting a protective hand on her shoulder. "I've run with a couple of ships now, most recently the Krayt Pearl. I've got a few contacts I can reach out to that know me and trust me if it's jobs you know. Mostly on the up and up," He said, seeing no need to abandon honesty. This Spivak seemed an honest type... as honest as you got for the trade.
The captain grinned a bit - their remarks were what he wanted to hear, although he didn't want to tip his hand too much. "The Krayt Pearl - I've heard of her." He didn't know much but that she was a good ship. "And yes, up and up is good. I've had a couple deals go south for a variety of reasons and I'd prefer to stay off any wanted lists."
"Let's do this," Spivak continued. "Meet me here tomorrow." He handed Izzy a small data chip. "We'll have a chat on my ship and make sure we're all on the same page."
The pairing seemed a bit too easy, but maybe an easy meeting like this was due them all. "I'll see if I can't wrangle the driver as well."
Izzy took the chip and dropped it in his pocket, "0900 sound appropriate to you?" He asked, arching an eyebrow.
"I'll w-wake you up," the brunette said reassuringly. "We'll be here."
Spivak nodded with a grin. "Good. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to wrangle up some supplies. Get what you have and we'll see you tomorrow." He turned and headed back to the terminal, which was still unused. He plugged back in and began searching, this time for supplies and not job listings.
|Just Fell Off the Tyderium Shuttle
||Rogue Moon, Spaceport
The smell of engine exhaust,sweat and fried kaadu meat was all Kyfos had known for three weeks. Traveling on that tramp freighter as crew had left him exhausted all he wanted was off the old hulk of a Firespray and onto some ground. He had a pocket full of small credits and wanted to meander through the spaceport for a bit. It here on the moon that his life was about to change.
He had heard of two things, the first was the moon's best cantina was at this port, the second was his next job. Ship called The Bantha was taking on crew. He was hoping to get a job as an Engineer or a gunner. Both jobs he had become skilled at. He sat down in a booth and waved a server over. He ordered a dewback steak and a bottle of Tarpin wine. He took in a sigh of relief, for a few moments he was going to eat and live like food was going out of style.
In what felt like another lifetime ago he had been on Tattooine, he had bumped into the Captain of the Bantha once before, he had been looking for the fastest way to a building, He had given the man directions and even misdirected the group of men who were following him shortly afterwards. That had been five years ago.
Five very long, very distant years ago.
What snapped him out of things was the plate of decent smelling food and the Tarpin wine. It brought him out of his memory state and back to reality. He smiled and began to dig in hoping to meet the captain again and maybe figure out where his other meals were going to come from.
|Lost and Found
The tunnel came up fast after Phelan brought the speeder around the hard turn. He hunkered into the controls, his instincts telling him that there were two other speeders close. The engine shuttered as he opened up the throttle, pushing the aging vehicle to its limits. It felt like the engine hadn't been tuned correctly, which made him hate the fact that he'd agreed to race in a speeder he'd not been able to maintenance himself.
"Hold together," he half-prayed and half-mutter under his breath. As the wedge-shaped speeder hit the lip of the tunnel he pushed the controls forward, dipping its nose towards the ground, following the slight descending angle of the tunnel floor and keeping the speeder from jumping into the ceiling. A second later behind him, he heard the scrap-thud of one of the speeders behind him as it hit the lip of the tunnel's entrance. This was quickly followed by a metal wrenching screech as the speeder bounced off the ceiling.
Struggling with the controls, Phelan banks the speeder into the long hard turn feeling it shudder under the stress. Warning lights begin to flash on the console. Cursing under his breath he throttles down until half the warning lights flicker off, coasting around the turn until he hit the last third before gunning the engine again. Behind him another speeder was coming up fast, powering through the turn and gaining ground on him.
Phelan coaxed the accelerator and tried to push the speeder faster as his speeder angled out of the tunnel back into the dark blasted canyons of Sullust. He could hear the smooth whine of another speeder inching up on him and risked a quick look back. He glimpsed blue and orange paint as he jerked his attention back to the terrain ahead of him in time to narrowly miss a jutting outcrop of rocks. But it was enough. Sunyl was gaining on him.
An alarm light went off on the console and he felt the shimmy in the control stick as his port turbine blew out in a streaming gout of black smoke. Phelan cursed as the thrust from the starboard turbine sent the speeder into a spin. Yanking back on the throttle and slamming the control yoke left he struggled to get the speeder back under control before he careened off the sheer rock face of the canyon wall. With a jarring crash the speeder slid into the gravel of the canyon floor, grinding to a slow stop.
* * * * *
Phelan swore as he stalked through the warehouse, gloves held tightly in one hand and his racing jacket half opened. The warehouse workers avoided him, quickly finding other places to move the cargo crates and pods as the fuming Kiffar stormed into the main office.
"I thought you were a good racer," muttered Nuuta said with disdain as Phelan entered.
"Stuff it, Nuuta. That speeder was a piece of poodoo and you know it. Where did you find that piece of junk?" Phelan shot back as he threw his gloves into the corner of the small room that served as a makeshift dressing room. The portly Neimoidian recoiled slightly.
"I lost good money on that race."
"I almost got killed because you wouldn't let me give that speeder the once over!" Phelan checked himself in the mirror. He was bruised but nothing permanent. "I'm done with you and your sleemo races. I'm done with this whole stinking planet."
"You still owe..."
"I don't owe you anything. I did you a favor by coming to work for you." Phelan pulled open one of the lockers and removed his small spacer's trunk. "You promised me good money racing this circuit."
"Who's going to pay for that speeder?" Nuuta stammered.
"Send me a bill." Phelan said as he turned and stormed out of the warehouse.
He hated this stupid planet, but his choices had been slim. He'd only had enough credits to get to Sullust or Utapau and there'd been no racing on Utapau. Kion had told him that Nuuta could get him set up and that the underground racing circuit on Sullust was good. The slimy Rodian hadn't told him that Nuuta was an incompetent syck. With the speeders that the Neimoidian was providing him he had no chance in the races. And it just infuriated him more that he'd never been allowed to fix the speeder he raced. This last one had been the worst of the bunch and had almost gotten him killed.
Phelan locked the spacer's trunk to the back of his speeder bike and swung his leg over. He would need to get off this rock and find work. This was supposed to have helped him pay off his debts to Bunta the Hutt, but now he'd have to figure something else out. The engine on his speeder bike roared to life with a deep steady rumble that made him smile despite his foul mood. Nothing sounded better than a well-tuned engine. He twisted the control grip and tapped his left foot to release the lock on the turbine engines that jutted from the sides of the needle shaped speeder bike.
Maybe he could trade work for passage off this stupid rock. Any other place had to be better than this planet.
||Near Landing Dock 6C
Spivak was expecting a meeting - twas an old colleague of his, if you want to call him that. They had worked a few jobs together back in the day. What Joh remembered was that Kyfo was a good mechanic and fairly decent in a fight. What he hoped Kyfo remembered was that Joh was a decent and fair guy.
The captain paced a bit in front of the small cafe, not bothering to get a drink yet. They needed to be departing in the next few days or they'd miss the window for their first run. It was then that he saw the familiar face, actually inside the cafe. Wait a second, how long's he been there, asked Joh to himself.
Spivak headed over to the table and gave a grin. "Kyfo, is that you?" The young Zabrak was not always conspicuous depending on how he wore his cloak.
Kyfo had been sitting there working on that dewback steak for a good half hour. He set the utensils down and had his hood pulled back, he always felt like his spike filled head was way too big and he could be seen for miles away because of it. With a nod and a motion to the empty chair Kyfo said, "Sit for just a moment, take a breath and tell me of your offers perhaps some of your woes and we can figure out if I can meet any of your requirements."
Yup, that was him, Spivak thought, as he moved closer. The captain motioned to the steak. "Looks like you're enjoying it?" Joh looked behind him and saw the server. He ordered a small drink, nothing alcoholic yet this part of the day. "You read quickly," Spivak commented as he turned back to have a seat.
The human chortled and looked over at the Zabrak. "I haven't had that ad up very long, you know."
"Something other then freeze dried kaadu and spacer tea, I had been living off that for the two months. Something fresh... Well as fresh as one can get around here, really seemed to be in order." He then sat down a datapad and an energy clip. He pushed both forward.
"You managed to drop both of these the last time we encountered one another. I have recharged the clip for you, the datapad, I have only made sure boots up to the sign in screen. It was yours and I figured your private things do matter."
Taking a swig of his drink and a bite of his food, he looked at the Captain, "I have heard you are looking for crew for your ship?"
"Indeed," said Joh, taking the items from his old colleague. He looked at the datapad and examined it, trying to remember what it might have on it. He'd definitely have a look later.
Spivak then looked back up at Kyfo. "I do. Just got my own ship, separated from Filo's crew. And I'm crewing up myself. You have some unique skills, including being a pretty good shot." He chortled and cocked his head. "Wanna come along for the right? Mostly even shares of the pay..."
Kyfo felt his horns tingle, "As long as I get an even share, I will do anything you need. I am a half decent gunner, been known to be able to adjust a hyperspace motivator or two. Just tell me what you need me to do and I can make my mark."
"Well, we do need someone skilled in both areas, honestly." Spivak received his drink and handed a few credits to the server, taking a sip. "I mean, I remember what you did on Corellia back then. That was some piece of work you left in that apartment..."
Kyfro recalled that incident in great detail, his only reply was too say the following; "In my defense the serving droid manual said it could accept modifications, how was I to know they only meant exterior and not programming. It wasn't security protocols it was just a hack to the heuristic processors. I had no idea that it would go berserk like that. That is one apartment I will never get the security deposit back from."
Joh chuckled at that comment, taking a sip from his drink. "So how about my ship then? She's old and slow, but she's not that apartment and she's free and clear."
Kyfo paused for a moment, took one last bite of his food. "Consider my mark made, when do we get out of here? There are some folks I would rather not bump heads with if I had to.."
Spivak slid a datachip across the table with two fingers. "Coordinates for the docking bay. We leave tomorrow for Sullust." Joh left some credits on the table - joints like this took a number of types of currency. "Don't be late!" He grinned, gave a nod, and headed out.
Kyfo held up a knife and fork, "As soon as I have devoured this I will be there Skipper." Was what Kyfo said, looking down at the datachip.
"Don't forget your old datapad. I would not want you to loose that again."
|That rug really tied the whole ship together
||The Bantha, Rogue Moon
The Bantha, Landing Dock 6C
Spivak had gone ahead and slept on the ship. He figured he might as well get used to it, and it would save him some money afterall. Joh had gotten up and gone to a cafe nearby - one of the grungier ones, although it was hot food and coffee and played the holonews. Now it was time to head back to the ship. There was much to do when the potential crew arrived.
Upon arrival at the main docking area, he noticed from the locking pad that someone had entered. Who could possibly have beat him here? He looked down at his chrono and shook his head. ~Shouldn't have slept in, Joh,~ he thought.
Leaning against a container with on leg lifted and pressed against it Ash looked up as the door opened. ~bout time~ "Mornin'," she said chirpily moving to her feet felling a joke would serve as a good way to start the day, "Are you always the punctual?"
"Well yeah," he said defensively. "I gotta get some grub once in a while. Ship doesn't have supplies yet."
"That sounds like something that needs sorted. Speaking of the ship... a Ghtroc 720?" She glance up at it already having the chance to walk round it while she waited on him arriving, "Looks like you had a little bit of work done to it. Nothin' I need to know about though right?"
Spivak chortled. "Well, mostly repairs and a few modernizations. Used the most of what I had left for the changes." He walked over and put his hand on one of the aft circular pieces. "And then I had one of these changed to a surface vehicle. So we're down one escape pod, but we have a small orbital craft that could carry a couple people and some small cargo."
"Musta' had to have balanced the engines after that," Ash looked at the vehicle and tilted her head to the side, "There's going to be a lot more equipment in there than the escape pod. Engine performance take a hit on the installation?"
"Well, it added some weight, and the escape pod can still take 6 or 8 I think." Joh shrugged. "Should be ok. Had to modify the commons area so we have more space to relax. She's slow, so hyperspace will take a while." He grinned a bit sheepishly.
"Thats ok - I'm used to the slower speeds as well. I can't imagine its just the both of us here to get things going?" she smiled back just happy to get off the rock.
"Captain Spivak?" A strong voice called from back around toward the gangplank. Izzy and Rhanda walked around the corner into view and smiled, "Morning, Captain," Izzy said, brightly. "And you are?" He said, looking over to Ash.
Ash looked up hearing the comment directed towards her, "Ashley - but I prefer Ash." Moving over to the group she casually held her hand to her head and gave a salute with a couple of fingers from her temple out. "And you both?" Her eyes quickly drifted over them looking for an impression.
"Rhanda," the slight brunette said in a small voice. She gave an equally shy little smile to go along with her wave. "This is Izzy," she offered in a voice that was just a tad louder before nudging him in the side gently.
"Izzy Narr, Ash. It's a pleasure to meet you," He said, giving her a slightly bow and a roguish grin.
Spivak came over closer and smiled. "Hello, Izzy. Rhanda." The captain saw that they greeted one another. "You've all met I see. Ash is going to help me fly this thing, and Izzy and Rhanda have some rather unique skills in shipping and trade jobs. I may already have some work lined up, but we'll need more."
Wait, did that mean that they were hired? A small, excited smile lit up the girl's face as her habitual frenetic energy welled up inside, making fidget with the ends of her sleeves. She'd expected a bit more of the sixth degree before talking about any kind of hiring on, which either meant she was wrong about the job, Spivak was reckless or he had to burn off the rock fast and would take whatever hands were offered. Either way, she was fine with the last two options. "W-what do you need us to do?"
Picking up her backpack Ash slung it over her shoulder as she listened in. ~Good question what are we doing?~
"I'll show you." Spivak was making assumptions, obviously. He just assumed they were along for the ride no matter what. And assuming just... made things go quicker. But he did manage to get some basic info on all of them before this morning, although he was sure he didn't have everything. "Come."
Eventually the group made their way inside and it just so happened that the ramp leading up into the ship led them right to the main lounge area. There was a bit of a small ladder up into the cockpit, but some of it could be see behind them as well. Spivak turned to face them, taking in a deep breath through his nose as if to savor the odors of an old musty ship. "Welcome... to the Bantha."
Right away, Dreaga's nose wrinkled and she started looking around- her thoughts already edging light speed as she counted off the little things that needed to be done to bring the Bantha's interior- and smell- to a comfortable level. Lots of cleaning, scrubbing, scraping, disinfecting, patching. -And if she was right, there was a very small coolant leak somewhere that she could attribute the chemical smell to. "Someone was hard on h-her," Rhanda uttered, oblivious to whether or not that someone might have been her new boss. "I can get 'er up to scratch in here. Might take a few m-months and lots of cleanser."
Ash smiled taking a look inside ~feels like home used to be~. "So long as the cockpit and the engines work I'm fine with everything else." Her eyes drifted down to Rhanda and joked about the cleaning, "I could always take it into space and vent the atmosphere if you think that would help?"
Joh chortled a bit and put his hands out in a hushing motion. "I've already taken her for a small orbital test run, and yes, I cleaned a bit but only got so far." He motioned with his arms again. "I mean, I did get some new seating here in the entry lounge area. Plenty of fresh relax time for the slow hyperdrive trips." He had s salesman's smile on his face now.
"Oh," continued the excited captain. "There are bunks and lockers for everyone, and we have plenty of cargo of course. And one of the escape pods has been converted into a tiny shuttle of sorts - short range, only a couple people. And yes, the escape pod can still take 8 or so of us out safely on its own." Spivak chuckled a bit. "Ok, I'm rambling."
His enthusiasm was catching. Rhanda's grin was all dimples behind the rangy mop of black hair that was constantly falling in her face. "N-no disrespect. I was meaning I-I could help clean it up. It was part of what I did on the Tanium Star. And cook and w-whatever else was needed. We all had a lot to do."
"Ah yes, we'll get to that soon enough, but everyone could lend a hand of course." Spivak noticed Ash looking down the halls a bit.
Not particularly catching the salesman pitch Ash looked up the ladderwell to the cockpit and then to the rooms below noticing only the three, "Speaking of lots to do, whos going where with these bunks and what that job you mentioned?" Ash looked inside what appeared to be an empty bunk room, "Ill take one in here if thats ok?"
"Aye, we'll need to figure out bunks and space. I already have mine claimed, but we'll figure it out." The captain motioned everyone into the lounge area. "Now, we've gotten ahead of ourselves, and that's my fault. Let's talk missions and pay. I need you all, and I'm hoping to get a couple more folks. But I plan to cut most jobs evenly, although I take a bigger chunk as owner of the ship. Most of that is for repairs, additions, and supplies."
Spivak made his way to one of the sofas and sat down. "I want to make some fixes, and I'm hoping someone I'm meeting tomorrow can maybe help with some additions, like a proper holoprojector and such."
"Now then," Joh continued. "I'll need some help from Izzy getting a line on some runs. I don't want to get too involved in politics, but the word is that as the Republic cuts down on military, there are folks who do not agree and are gearing up their own means of fighting those who would do us harm. We have to be careful how involved we get there, even though those would be quite lucrative jobs."
"I do have my hands on one erand that is a bit time sensitive." Joh smiled. "Once we crew up, we'll need to get going for that supply run." He paused and looked at the three around him in the lounge, sighing to indicate he was done. "You guys still want in?"
Looking up she moved back over, her hands were kind of tied - that investigator might try to come looking for her. "I was never one for politics. Cargo and co-ordinates is all I need - I'm in. As for pay, I'm fine with that spread. Looking after a ship isn't easy," she replied fixing her belt back into position properly.
Rhanda looked up at Izzy-who was the one that'd declared that whatever job they took would be together and gave her nod. She liked the ship well enough. She liked the easy going nature of the captain. It all felt good in her bones, so she was up for it.
Izzy was already waiting for her nod and with it, he looked up to Spivak and smiled, "We're with you Captain," He said, brightly, resting a hand on Rhanda's shoulder.
Spivak looked over at their would-be pilot. "Ash, you think you could fly this heap?" He grinned a bit, calling his new baby a hunk of junk.
She had the chance to look the ship over from the outside, "Just tell us where to go and ill get us there." Opening her backpack she pulled out her headset and put it on gently over her head ~sooner the better~. Her eye darted towards Izzy and Rhanda, "Look forward to working with you both."
"Likewise," Izzy said, nodding.
Spivak nodded and chortled a bit. "Ok, run some diagnostics, claim your bunks, and be ready in two days. Our run takes us to Sullust to start - that's where the cargo lies."
It was the time of the Clone Wars, Magnus first in his line of construction, made to serve loyally as General Grievous's bodyguard, served him loyally for many years during the clone wars, when he wasnt being attacked by Jedi or clone troopers, he was in fact a training dummy. Which scarred the metal body of the elite battle droid severely. Dings and cuts were apparent on his body for any who looked upon him, due to lightsaber attacks from both Jedi and the Generals training alike.
Years past and Magnus was on Tatooine when he heard his master was defeated which caused him to go into a shutdown mode where he slept for years until a group of Jawa's found him, his scarred and broken body covered in a tattered cloak which enveloped him which protected him somewhat from the scorching sun of the desert, but due to sand and wind, most of his scars turned to rust as the sand beat down on his weakened body frame, and sand and wind destroying his cloak that draped over his body as he stood defiant to the winds of the harsh Tatooine natural weather.
The Jawas grabbed up the deactivated Magnus and threw him into their large vehicle which on first glance appeared to be both Home and workspace of the Jawa community. They moved their behemoth vehicle to the trading town of Mos Islay and brought up the deactivated droids for inspection by local customers. One such customer was a Sullustan Trader who frequented this world. He inspected his droid and made his interest in the Magna droid well known as he began to bargain with the Jawa, took a few minutes but they managed to make a deal and the Magna droid was loaded up onto the Sullustans ship and within days they were off to the planet of Sullust and Magnus's new home as a shutdown interest piece in the traders shop window, trying to get people to come into his shop to try to buy Magnus and if they could perhaps they could buy something else instead, either way thier was profit for him.
||Rogue Moon, Baily's Bullpen
||A Week Ago
The cloaked and jacketed figures walked along the alleys, in an obvious attempt to remain unnoticed by the masses. The major streets were avoided and most of the people in this not-so-downtrodden area of the Rogue Moon starship outpost sector would not even care about the two folks.
"You sure this is right?" ask Spivak. "I mean, sneaking around, and not even close to Rust Alley where we might need a disguise."
The female companion, cloaked even over her head, chortled, but still with a somber look on her head. "Yes."
"Which part?" Joh asked after being unsure of what the heck she meant with her curt reply.
"All of it." Sondra had become a close confidant of Joh on Rogue Moon. She never agreed to join Filo's crew - or Joh's now that he was procuring his own ship - but she was one of his key connections on the planet. "If you want a decent job to kick off your new venture," Sondra continued, "we will do things this way."
Spivak nodded and continued to follow. Eventually they arrived at a bar known as Baily's Bullpen, although they went in a back entrance. Sondra took the two through, keeping her hood up. Although Rogue Moon did not have a lot of light by its natural atmosphere, Joh's eyes still had to adjust to the dimly lit pub. Through the back rooms though, one could make out the front area which was busy with several patrons. Some conversation and soft music could be heard as well.
"Here," said the girl, going through a door into a small room. It was unlocked, but there were cameras everywhere and Joh was sure they were being watched. Of course when they got into the room, there were no cameras and a table, a couple chairs, and a small holo projector. Sondra looked down at her wrist. "And now we wait."
Joh sighed and looked around. Sondra sat in one of the chairs, but he remained standing. "So we're not even meeting the guy, are we?"
She shook her head. "This is how he required that we meet. He always contacts me, no other way."
The smuggler nodded. "Figures," he half-muttered, pacing the room and taking in some of the chipping paint and moldy smells. The holo device began to chirp.
"See, we were just a tad early," said the girl. She reached over and hit a button and the projector kicked up, showing an office of some sort with a man in the center of the picture. "Hello."
"Sonnie, it's good to see you," said the man in a deep gravelly voice. He paused looking towards Joh. "Who's the hippy?"
Spivak dusted off his longcoat and furled his brow, taking a seat next to Sondra. "Spivak," he said with a bit of contempt in his voice. "And you are?"
"I'm the one giving you a job..." The man matched Joh's contemptuous tone.
"He's legit, sir," interjected Sondra. "He's worked for Filo for years, but he's done there, getting his own ship and all." She paused. "You can trust him."
The man nodded slowly looking back at Sondra. "With your word, and knowing he's not working for that cheapskate Filo... let's get on with it." The man looked down at a datapad and then back up. "I have some cargo for you to get on Sullust. It needs delivering to a location that will be revealed when you pick it up. There is no evidence of imperial remnants or Republic military. I can confirm that this is not illegal cargo."
"So what is it," asked Joh after a pause in the man's spiel. "Who's it from?"
The man sighed. Even Sondra had a slight grin on her face, understanding Joh's questions, but knowing that he really didn't understand the calibre of this type of job. "You don't need to know that. I, myself, only know so much."
Spivak looked at Sondra. "Seriously?"
"He's good, Joh," answered the girl. "If you want to get started right, this is the way to do it."
The man smiled. "Check your datapad. I've added to the pay, given your concerns. Hopefully that will assuage you a bit."
Joh did not bother checking and nodded slowly. This was a good opportunity, even if it did stink of risk. But it would have to be comfortable risk. And if he could get this job done, even split several ways, he'd earn a good chunk of his savings back after buying the ship he was after.
"Fine," said the soon-to-be-captain. "Give me the cargo location. You've got yourself a captain."
The man nodded and pushed a button on his pad. "Good. You've got 14 days, and you cannot back out. If you do..." He chuckled. "Let's just say don't back out."
Sondra tapped her hands on the table and stood. "You won't regret this... both of you."
Joh nodded and stood with her, the man simply saying, "Good," and cutting out his signal. Sondra made for the door but Joh stopped her.
"This is what you wanted, right?" Sondra had a smirk on her face.
Joh exhaled a big breath. "This better not go south, 'Sonnie'." He used her nickname sarcastically, as he had never heard her called that before this man.
"If it goes south, we're all in for it."
Did she know something he didn't? Was she privy to something? Or maybe she just knew this man. And who the heck was this man? Was he projecting from Rogue Moon in the small corporate sector, or another planet? Too many questions. But the money was right, and the job would elevate him and his crew right from the get-go. Those would have to outweigh his concerns for now.
|Going for Parts
Slowing down on her Aratech 57-D speeder bike as she came down the street, Stephie spotted the small hanging sign that she had been given directions to and put her hand up behind her to signal early so that Smack didn't physically run into her bike from behind & scratch the paintwork. The droid gave a soft beep sound to acknowledge and Stephie continued a bit until she hearing the rockets die down.
Bringing the bike to a halt, she pushed her bike into an alleyway.
"Smack, security patrol. I'll be on comms."
She undid the all-weather cloak she had brought and slid it over the droid to at least attempt to hide his glaring red & white paint scheme - which stood out more than a damn speeder bike in this part of town. As Stephie headed into the shop, she mused about whether it might be an idea to think about doing a better paint job, but she was used to Smack's looks.
Walking further inside past various assorted bins full of odds and ends, she spotted a Rodian down one aisle but continued. Reaching the counter, she found a rather unusual-looking Kaminoan at the counter - and she wasn't really sure about its gender.
Stephie didn't know Kaminoan or Sullustan and in this part, she wasn't really sure Basic was good, so she dropped into a common one she thought would work.
Speaking in Huttese, she asked, "Hello, I've got a list of various items I need, so of which might be difficult to find."
"Certainly, Little One. We should be able to try at least. Can I see the list?"
Smiling, Stephie brought up her organizer and showed a list of parts. Ten minutes later, Stephie headed out with most of the items in her satchel and stopped by the alley. As she left, she had spotted a number of disreputables and made it obvious that she was packing her SoroSuub ELG-3A - which drew them away.
Smack beeped when he saw her and Stephie threw the coat around her shoulders before loading the parts into the speeder's small storage boxes. Sliding onto the bike, she pressed her finger to the bio-lock and waited until the internal computer recognized, activating the engine and frowning as she picked up the sounds again that told her things weren't 100% good for her liking. Leading Smack on back to the temporarily disused factory she had been using as a home base for a bit, Stephie shut down her speeder and broke out her toolkit so she could do some preventative maintenance on her speeder bike.
Going to the office that she had been using as a living area, she grabbed a drink from the cooler unit and removed her top so she wouldn't get it dirty. Stephie knew no one else was around, even if she cared, and after adjusting the repulsor lifts on the bike, she lay down face up on the rolled workboard & kicked with her legs so it rolled under.
Shifting the oil pan to the right spot and making sure she wasn't actually under it, Stephie undid the plug and waited as the old oil drained out. Her bike got a fair amount of use and once the old gunky black oil had run out, she put the plug back in. Opening the new fresh oil container, she poured it into the top access tube, leaving it to drain in.
Going to the computer console, she opened up the access port and then taking her wrist connector, Stephie plugged it in and closed her eyes. It was always easier that way, and she began running through the diagnostic systems. When she had finished, she unplugged and began starting to replace some of the other parts that were giving red flags.
|An Intriguing Holo
Phelan scrubbed at the focusing assembly with meticulous, practiced ease. It was something that he did a lot of when he was trying to calm himself down. Coming to Sullust had been a bad idea and he'd had a suspicion that it would be when this opportunity had appeared. But he'd had trouble giving up the chance to race again. Even if it had only been an underground circuit. Now he was worse off then he had been before taking this job. He put the small piece down and picked up the small power relay, cleaning the brass colored connectors before sliding it back into the curved hilt of the antique blaster pistol. One of a pair that had become his prized possessions. They weren't really worth very much to anyone but a true collector, but he'd come to love the feel of the pistols. They had been weapons that had been cared for, and he could feel that on them whenever he held them. He could disassembly and reassemble them in his sleep and he quickly put the one in front of him back together. A few years ago he had the grips remolded for his hands and inlaid with polished Krayt dragon bone.
He needed to get off this rock. Flipping the pistol in his hand he sighted down the length of the barrel while his mind pondered on what his next steps were going to be. He didn't have a ship, but he was a fine engineer. But on this rock there were a lot of good engineers. The trick was finding someone who needed a good engineer and wanted to leave this rock. Holstering the pistol he picked up his battered comm unit. He cycled through the contacts on the unit slowly. There weren't that many, and fewer were in any situation to give him any leads on what he needed. Phelan paused on one name that rested near the end of the list. It had been a couple of years since they'd talked but this one might have some contacts that could help him get off Sullust.
The captain was in his quarters. There were a couple beds in there with his, but he had managed to shove the few of his new friends off into the other two rooms. There was a small desk in there as well, and that was where he sat. He was examining an old datapad he just got and trying to see if he could glean any info from it. No luck so far.
There was a chime on his comm, which he had been ignoring this particular evening. His ship was getting enough crew and he really wanted to focus on his own, for a short bit. But something told him it would be good to answer it after several calls.
Spivak hit the button. "Yeah, Spivak here." The holo images did not appear right away - his portable device usually took a few seconds into the call to form images on either side, requiring audio only at the start.
"How many times have I told you to get that holo fixed." Phelan said, trying to keep his tone light.
Spivak squinted as he tried to figure out the voice and then before he could remember Phelan's mug showed on the holo, Spivak's passing through to the other end. "Oh my, is that really you? I thought the races would've eaten you alive by now?"
"Close." Phelan replied. "Underground racing just isn't what it used to be anymore. Twice as dangerous but only half as lucrative. Which is why I'm calling. I wanted to know if you knew of anyone looking for an engineer. I know you usually have a good ear for work."
Spivak cocked his head. "Actually, I am." A grin came to his face. "I finally got my grubby hands on a ship, and she'll need some work. I have a good pilot who can do repairs, but I could use some help."
"I don't know, Spivak. Things didn't work out so well the last time we worked together. Do you know how long it took me to get all that Ploche fur off my stuff? It got every where. And where were you when we had to unload it all?"
Spivak shook his head a couple times. "Wait a second, the Ploche incident was Captain Filo's fault, not mine. I don't work for him anymore." He didn't answer the unloading part, because that was true and he had no excuse. "I'm a responsible captain myself now, mate." He grinned with about 75% honesty and 25% coersion.
"Yeah. Which implies that you weren't responsible before." Phelan replied. "What type of ship are you running?"
Spivak shook his head at the first comment. It was partially true, although Joh was known for his dependability in most circles. "Modified Ghtroc 720 freighter. It's slow, and it's old, and it's got issues. But she's sturdy and even has a converted shuttle pod from one of the escape pods."
"And ugly. Like a flying sporeback shellfish." Phelan shook his head. "I can't believe I'm sayinig this. Send me the schematics and any of the maintenance logs from the computer. I'll see what I can scrounge up for you. Are you headed anywhere near Sullust soon?"
Spivak tapped a few buttons on the datapad he had up in his lap, his feet still up on the desk, leaning back. "Ok, they should be over to you shortly." He then looked back at the holo. "Sullust? Seriously?" Joh sat up in his chair and shook his head in disbelief. "We're headed there now..."
"You're kidding. That works I guess." Phelan shook his head. "There's only three maintenance entries for this ship of yours. Where did you say you got it from?"
The captain looked down at his datapad, obviously pulling up some records. "Well, I can tell you one of your entries might list my test flight the other day, which was quite successful. And that was with a borrowed astromech droid that gave her a once over." He paused. "The hyperdrive we tested just a bit ago after we jumped." He looked up and grinned sheepishly. "She shudders once in a while, but otherwise she's cruising well."
Spivak look down at his pad again, and then continued. "I see one other check on Takodana which I believe is where my contact obtained her." He looked back up at the holo. "What's your third entry?"
"Looks like a maintenance on your fluid retention and reserve tanks." Phelan scratched his chin. "Hmm... I might need to give the whole ship a once over. The system logs for the hyperdrive show that your out of tolerance on the main coils, though not by much. They probably have two or three jumps left before they need to be realigned. The atmospheric regulators might need a purge also. How long are you going to be docked here?"
"Just a day or so, not sure." Spivak grinned again, contemplating what the old engineer had on his mind. "Can you do anything on the run from Sullust? As I said, our pilot says she's good with a hydrospanner."
"Hmm. Not really enough time for me to overhaul anything. I can give the ship a detailed inspection while we're in transit, but that's about all I can do on the repulsors and hyperdrives. I'm also assuming you don't want me working on life support while we're using it." Phelan said sarcastically. "You know, for obvious reasons. I'll go ahead and get some parts together. Shouldn't cost you too much."
"Sounds good. See you in a day or two." Spivak grinned about his slow ship, before cutting the signal and leaning back in his chair. He smacked his hand on the table and shook his head. "Hot damn, now we're cookin'!"
|Off We Go
||Rogue Moon, Sullust
Rogue Moon, Bantha Cockpit
Joh hopped up into the cockpit and patted Vesper on the shoulder. "She ready to fly?" Spivak had picked up their last crewman and the group had met, but only enough to shake hands and get a briefing on their run. It was rather simple and assured to be safe: go to Sullust, pick up cargo, take to coordinates in cargo. As long as it wasn't for some thugs or a drug cartel or to some of these resistance cells, they'd be in good shape.
She had just finished giving the systems a quick once over as Spivak came up behind her. "Looks like we are," nodded Ash fixing her hair around her headset.
Spivak nodded, a bit giddy to get off the rock. Rogue Moon was their home in a way, and it was the official owner system listed for the Bantha's registry info. But they had better things to do that sit around. "Ok, take us out. I'll load the coordinates for Sullust into the hyperdrive." Joh hopped back to the main computer station and got the navicomputer ready.
"You got it," Ash tapped the side of her headset, "Bantha to docking control - requesting departure clearance."
"Affirmative Bantha. Transmit your registration codes," came back the voice of one of the controllers clearly enjoying his mundane activities for the day.
Ash pressed a button on the panel in front of her, "Code sent, could you put us on a nice exit path to Sullust please,"
There was a pause while he checked the ships codes out, "Clearance granted, proceed to the outer marker and take a path bearing one nine three point four that should keep you clear of traffic until you hit orbit."
"Thank you control - Bantha out," she closed the communications channel. The ship lifted off the deck slowly and the engines could be felt powering up. Ash tapped a few of the controls taking the ship out of the docking bay and set a course as per the controllers request. "Wanna raise the landing struts please?" she asked Spivak.
The captain Was just sitting down, and leaned in to flip the buttons one by one as the four landing gear rose up into the ship, clunking each time one locked into place with the hull covering them over. "Hyperdrive coordinates set and ready to go," he added.
"Thanks," she replied hitting the outer marker and pull the ship upwards and pushed the engines back to full throttle as the ship edged its way through the atmosphere into space. Her eye continually darted over the controls checking the ships position and its surroundings. "Looks like he was right a nice clear path out - should be good to hit hyperspace whenever your ready."
"Hit it," Joh said, waiting for the slow drive to spin up and take them out of the system. It was successful, and in form and fashion true to her name, the cargo ship slowly took off and jumped to warp. Things shook a little, and Spivak's personal affects were probably on the floor, at least the loose ones.
Joh laughed and looked over at Kyfo. "That sounds about right," he said, patting Ash on the shoulder. "And more projects for you, eh?"
Kyfo sighed a heavy sigh and reached to push a button to activate an internal stabalizer, "I am going to press this button to activate a dampening feild, then I am going to pray very,very hard that it works." He reached for the said button but nothing happened.
A swift hand movement put the power settings up a little to compensate for the ships shaking. "I thought you said you took this out for a test flight?" Ash joked spinning round in her seat a bit, "Probably some gunk in one of the plasma conduits causing that rattling. Maybe Mister Narr's droid could help track it down."
She changed her view to Kyfo, "I hope you don't need any space sickness tablets from that?"
Kyfo on the other hand chimed in with a very soft spoken, "It could be as simple as that though judging from the age of the vessel, perhaps a Rakata tablet has finally lost his magic." He prayed that somebody else was a student of anient history to have gotten the joke.
Spivak yelled back up. "Never took her into hyperspace," he said answering Ash. And then a bit louder, "And she's not that old, my friend." His chuckle could be heard as he went down the hall and headed for the cargo bays.
Kyfo inhaled very deeply, Then let out an "Aye sir." Inside he felt that the rust would argue otherwise. But he was now crew and time to act at least like he was semi professional. "We are a leaf in the wind, watch how we soar."
For some unknown reason Ash felt a sharp stabbing pain in her chest when Kyfo said that. Almost like a spear plunged into her, but it soon subsided - probably a bit of food still working its way through. "That we are... so friend time to get settled in for the long haul. How are you with the gunnery station? Not like the manoeuvres this thing can do will cause much of a loss of accuracy compared to other things." She shrugged a little and tilted her head back towards him.
He sat there running the automated systems test and felt like the joke had been too soon to tell. His small frame pressed a few more buttons and he looked at Ash, "First off dreamboat my name is Kyfo and I don't want to sound like I am bragging but I am skilled enough that its what they usually hire me on for. It's the flying part I don't know how to do. If you ever want to learn I will be happy to show you?"
"Point made Kyfo. I'll stick to the flying or fixed forward guns - I hated gunnery, a complete lack of control," she smiled back, "Theres nothing quite like having a nice set of flight controls... albeit slightly worn. I'm sure you wouldn't have too much trouble with the speed this ship is going to turn," Her eyes ran over the controls checking them quickly and then looking back, "Saying that, I wouldn't mind getting to know them better."
Hyperspace, Cargo Bay
The captain made his way to the cargo bay where Izzy and Rhanda were. He entered and found them sorting through supplies which he had managed to get on board just before they left. Mostly food and energy packs, and some medical supplies and survival pack-type items. "Everything good in here?" asked Spivak, trying not to surprise them with his voice.
Rhanda looked up, her dark eyes almost lost under all of the hair in her face, which wore a sheepish expression. "Yep, just p-putting things away. And cleaning. I made some clean spots and they s-sort of expanded the more I got distracted. The food prep area looks real nice though, now."
"Good to hear." Spivak liked it when things slotted into place. The ship shook again, still finding its stride in hyperspace. Ok so not everything was sliding well. "Izzy, all ok for you?"
Izzy looked around the cargo bay as the ship shook for a moment then back up at Joh with a slight grin, "I'll be doing better when the ship stops doing that," He said with a chuckle. "But otherwise, I've got the armor items sorted and put away, we should be good to go with any trouble we may encounter," He explained with a nod.
The captain chuckled. "Hey, she's not perfect. I know Ash can do some repairs, but I'm hoping to get a good mechanic when we get to Sullust. Lot's of good trade opportunities there." He glanced towards Izzy. "If you could do a bit of research on our landing spot, that'd be great."
"Yessir, we're almost done here, so I'll hook into the holonet and get you all the info I can pull," He said with a grin. It'd be easy enough with his access to the Hapans databases.
The signal eventually came from the cockpit that they were nearing Sullust. Since there were only four and a droid on board, Spivak had them all meet up there. Joh was sitting in the seat next to Ash who was preparing the ship to drop out of hyperspace. "When you're reading, Ash."
Tapping a few controls she glanced to her side and nodded back, "Can drop us now,"
Joh nodded and flipped several levers in sequence and pushed up on one of the main hyperdrive controls. "That should do it. Take us into Sullust space and get clearance for landing. We should already have a reserved docking bay." The cargo was elsewhere near where they'd land to keep things separate and safe.
The captain didn't wait for confirmation from Ash before he turned around and started to speak to all three. "Ok, so we need to split up. I have an old friend - a good mechanic to help Ash here, and a good guy to have in a fight. I need a couple volunteers to go meet him."
Ash tapped the communications unit as the others talked behind her as she got the coordinates for the landing pad and took the ship down to the planet towards it, "Thank you - dock master. Bay epsilon four nine confirmed. Course locked." Tapping a final few buttons she spun round, "I don't mind... Im easy."
Joh chortled after hearing the comms chatter in the back and then Ash's response. "Ok, let's make it easy. Ash, you and Kyfo with me. Izzy and Rhanda, check in with Phelan? If Phelan wants proof, I can meet you all there."
"I remember the days when a persons word was their bond. " Kyfo added in then looked down at his blaster. He then made sure his cloak was draped like a poncho. Then cleared his throat. "If I die, do me a favor, space the contents of my footlocker."
The dock pulled into view and she turned back to the controls as she flipped the landing gear down as she twisted the ship round and gently placed it onto the landing pad with the engines facing the dock so the ship could move off more quickly. Although not entirely necessary it happened to be a force of habit for her. "Powering down - that's us here"
|The Murder of Gaio Ingenito
||Piombino Colony, Outer Rim
Piombino, a long forgotten colony on the very edge of the Outer Rim, was idyllic. It consisted of one leaf-green continent resting in the centre of a tempestuous ocean, lush, fertile and perfect for the farming community which had grown up on it. The farmers eschewed the modern advances of the post-Empire age in favour of the traditional approach and their produce would have been famous across the sector - across the galaxy even - if anyone had remembered it was there.
The small city which served as its administrative centre lay at the intersection of seven great roads which jutted out like spokes into the countryside where there could be found only small villages, hamlets and farms of all kinds. The city itself was mostly arable and rustic. The only building over one storey was- coincidentally- the only one which remained built from the reclaimed bulkheads and fuselage of the original colony ship. The rest of the buildings, kept a fair distance apart by olive groves, marketplaces and piazzas were all built from quarried rock from a nearby range of cliffs.
For Piombino, time seemed to have stopped. Rather than encourage the absurdities of the modern world, the farmers and settlers had decided upon a simpler life only interrupted by the requirement of placing a Governor on border worlds. The Governor's office, situated at the top of the three-storey building which stood out like a sore thumb against the skyline of the town, was the only one to have a computer service and a communications relay to the outside world.
Elsewhere the question of the day was inevitably the evening meal which streets often shared in large communal dining rooms with individual families taking turns to cook and set the agenda for the evening's social calendar. Everybody knew everybody else and their business and that was exactly how they wanted it. Conflicts were quickly settled and frank exchanges of ideas avoided the kind of in-fighting which often tore colonies apart.
A solitary bird chirruped somewhere in the grove prompting a reluctant smile to spread across the granite-haired, sunkissed face of the old man. He plucked one of the plumper green olives from the tree and popped it into his mouth, savouring the salty note as his teeth burst through its flesh. He wiped a bead of sweat from his brow. The suns were beating down on Piombino today, but then they always did. He could hear his grandchildren running around, throwing olives which had fallen from the tree at one another. They were boisterous children but Salustio didn't mind; they kept him young.
His olive grove, just on the outskirts of the main town centre had provided him with a good living for years. He provided his wares to the market traders and he received a decent price in return. Usually a credit or two per kilogram of olives, depending on the harvest but the last few years had been good to him. The new Governor had arrived - Salustio thought back - a couple of years ago now. Time seemed to move so fast. It seemed like only a year ago he had first held his granddaughter in his arms; she was eight now.
The Governor, Gaio Ingenito, had seemed at first to be the same as all the rest. He looked different, with blazing red hair and deep-set, sad eyes, but he carried himself in the same way as the others. He looked washed out and broken. Years in politics would do that to you. He barely integrated with the people he governed, realising that most of the governance of the colony was done by people in dining rooms rather than by a central authority. He spent days locked away in his office on the top floor of the administration building, returning to his modest residence by a lonely, winding road which led up the hill.
His actions spoke louder than the few words he ever said. Salustio, who was now among the town's elders although he felt like a young man, had spoken with him only three or four times since he had arrived but he made quick steps to introduce by-laws which allowed tramp freighters to land on Piombino. There had been objection, of course there had, but the freighters which passed by came so infrequently and were so few in number that they never caused problems.
It did mean that the produce which they had long suspected would be a hit across the sector was able to be exported and the few freighters who carried it became part of the community and brought huge profits to the region's producers. Of course, there was very little to be done with credits. The markets of Piombino dealt in them but there was very little to buy beyond the provisions which everyone in the colony could afford just by simply doing their bit.
He reflected on the colony's wealth. One of the few who spoke with the Governor on a regular basis had told Salustio that Piombino was one of the richest colonies by head of population in the Outer Rim. He didn't care. No-one cared. They were all quite happy to live out their years on the little planet, with their simple lives and simple concerns.
Soon it was decided that some of the surplus credits would be pooled to buy a ship for the colony to export their own wares. Very few, not even the Governor thought that this was a particularly good idea. Why would they spend credits to make more credits which they did not need? The idea had been put forward by Ivetta Di Vita, an ambitious young woman who had been born on Piombino eighteen years earlier. Her case was compelling. While she loved Piombino, its people and its customs, she longed to spread her wings into the Galaxy without having to leave her home forever.
Many of the youngsters of the colony came forward supporting this notion and it was decided by both the Governor and the Elders to allow them a ship to explore and trade with. The Governor secured the purchase of a Corellian Sprinter - manufactured by the CEC - a ship Salustio was assured was much coveted right across the Galaxy. The only caveat of their travels was that they were to report everything they saw, every conversation they had, and every trade they made to the Governor.
Salustio reflected in the baking heat of the suns on that. The Elders had been happy with the arrangement. The Governor was clearly homesick, missing wherever it was he had come from, and the Elders would be able to pass on the reports to the families of the crew. Although they returned to Piombino every three solar weeks, their absence was a source of understandable concern for their relations.
How foolish he had been to think so little of it, Salustio mused as he turned to look back into the town centre where the remains of the administration building still smouldered in the midday heat. Everything had run along smoothly until just a few days before when a previously unknown tramp freighter requested landing permission on the planet. No freighters were expected, at least not any of their usual ones.
That wasn't unusual. Freighters came and went without any issue and often some just rolled on by, encouraged by a beacon promising trade and rest on the colony.
Immediately upon landing the crew of the freighter, instead of unpacking their wares and greeting the traders who stepped out from the markets to meet them, made straight for the administration building. Only the Governor and his aide worked in the building, its bottom two floors were given over to the computer core, a small armoury and a large subspace communications relay, and he never made direct contact with anyone from the tramps. Their wish to see him was decidedly odd- but who were the residents of Piombino to argue with galactic business.
Testimony in the aftermath from traders who had met the captain of the freighter, told Salustio that he identified himself as Hirriv and looked like a cross between a human and the pests which ate Salustio’s crops while he slept. He told them, through a human translator, of a need to speak with the Governor most urgently. The traders, eager to keep their reputation for customer service, helpfully pointed him in the direction of the large, reflective building in the centre of town.
The bug-eyed man had been denied entry to the building by its security system, leading the Governor to address him from the balcony of his office. What happened next was unclear. Some said that he had fired at the Governor, others told that the rest of the little bug-man’s crew - someone had told Salustio the name of their race but he couldn’t remember - had placed bombs on the superstructure of the building. Some reported that the Governor had been killed instantly, others said they had seen the Governor draw his weapon and fire back from among the flames.
The only thing that was clear was that Hirriv and his crew were gone within an hour of arriving. The arrival in orbit of the Piombino trading vessel appeared to have spooked them into leaving, satisfied that their dirty deed was done. The Governor was dead and the people of Piombino were left with no way to communicate his death to the outside world.
Salustio had heard these stories second hand and stood by while one of the other Elders took charge of the situation. He felt unsafe for the first time since the Empire had been defeated. Hirriv and his crew clearly came for one purpose and left without so much as speaking to anyone else from the town. They had been stunnned into inaction - unarmed and unable to form any kind of defence, these people had walked into their home and murdered one of their own, their Governor Gaio Ingenito, without giving them a second's thought.
The Elders dispatched the trading vessel on a new mission to bring word of the attack to the Republic by reaching the communication relay station in the next sector. The journey would take them a number of weeks and the intervening period would be one of uncertainty where the people of Piombino would try to continue on as though nothing had happened, for the good of their society and the good of their children.
They lit candles for the Governor. They reflected on how little they knew of him and a few speculated as to what he had done in a past life to deserve such a fate. The aide, who had left for the day by the time of the attack, was grilled at length by some of the old gossips of the colony. They wanted the dirt on Ingenito, the man they had decided was a criminal on the run. The aide knew nothing or at the very least said nothing as he shielded his candle against the night air.
In his olive grove, with sunlight pouring down upon him and his grandchildren playing nearby, life seemed almost as it was for Salustio Nordozzi. He resolved to make the death of Ingenito a lesson, a lesson that he and all the inhabitants of Piombino would learn. He would never allow someone to make themselves an outcast from the community again. He would never have to stand by helpless while one of his own was taken from him, and nor would any of his kin.
Former Governor, Piombino
|Just Like Old Times
||Mos Eisley, Tat.
||Prior to Supply Run
The Sunken Sarlacc Cantina:
Judda happily danced to the music that the Cantina played, A wookie had a partially build R5 head on the table next to a tall frosty glass of beer. A large one eyed cyborg was tending bar, several Rodian musicians played music and Judda was all smiles at Kyfo. She giggled and said, "So Points whatcha doing over there?"
Kyfo had been sitting there and thinking rather pensive about life and the way things were, he was looking down at his palm, then up at Judda. She seemed so happy, and in his heart of hearts, he wasn't. His mind was on about the group of swoopers they had rumbled with. He took a swallow of his spicer tea. He stroked his chin and finally answered with, "Thinking about life. How long do you think till the New Republic or the First Order makes this place theirs? Hutts can only be in charge for so long ya know?"
"Oh I totally get you, ever since that last fight, I have been kind of thinking the same way." She walked over to the table. She took out a datapad., it was an old, severely battered one at that. She leaned in and gave a wink then cleared her throat.
"Your friend Joh dropped this last time he was here, word is he has gotten a starship. Maybe you can go?" She gave him an ear to ear grin.
"Ju... where did you.. How did you?" He snatched at the datapad, underneath it was a shuttle ticket.
He just sat there jaw dropped for a moment. "I thought Brek had taken this as his tribute?"
Judda took a sip of her beer, "He did, but I have a way with folks. You take the datapad, you take that shuttle ticket. I even commed Joh to let him know you are a free agent. Afterwards I am going to make my own way to the Smugglers Moon, I bet you will make crew. There is some cargo to be picked up there, and I am going to be working a side job there. A trader by the name of Mullah, long story involves crates of food paste and a person who can keep a secret. But you take that and get out of here, I will be right behind you, we can meet up again at the Moon, like old times order yourself a nice steak, look for the purple! You are totally like a brother to me and family is family."
"Judda, I can't." He looked down. He had a somber and rather sad look on his face.
"Just why not? I am not anybody I am Judda I am a medic at best and a bar floozy at the worst!" She threw her head back and her head tails jingled because of the bells on them.
"She smiled, "You are a fast gun, cool head in most situations, don't let your pride get in the way if this is about taking money or help from a woman?"
With a sigh Kyfo said, "its nothing like that, well it is and it isn't." Kyfo was so distraught about being in the 'friend zone' that it was causing physical pain. But she was offering a way off the rock, a way off Tatooine. He would be a fool to not take it. He looked up pocketed the ticket. He wasn't going to argue any further.
"Promise I will see you there?" He said almost pathetically.
Judda shook her head, "Oh Kyfo don't worry. Eventually we will breeze back into one anothers lives. Now you need to get going before Sergeant Brelon and his squad get here. They are looking for a zabrak who boosted that speeder bike."
With that Kyfo nodded and threw his hood up, he was going to have to make it to the port ontime to get the connecting flight for the meeting with Joh.
||Piombino Trading Ship, En Route to Relay Station
The rattle of a crate ill-placed on a rack woke the stowaway from his sleep gently. The lights in the small cargo hold were dimmed, allowing him to make out only the outline of the door with its emergency lighting and the looming giant of the racks which dwarfed him by quite some way. He pushed himself up so that he was sitting, back against the far wall and stretched his arm across his chest.
He checked the small datapad he carried. This was day seven of his journey, concealed within the hold. It helped that the ship on which he had hidden had no scheduled stops until it reached more inhabited New Republic space but it still left him with around a week of hiding in the hold, making do with scraps of produce unsold from a previous trade run.
He heard some noise in the corridor but was sure that no-one would come in. However, he took the precaution of rolling up his makeshift bed, formed from his overcoat, a scarlet duster giving an indication of the status of his office. His shirt, sweat-stained from the unbearable heat of the night, formed a pillow.
He stuffed it all into a small barrel and began stretching. The cramped conditions meant that he was forced to contort his body into some ridiculous positions in order to reach his full height. He winced at the agonising pain in his arm and leg, trying to force the thoughts of what had happened to him out of his head.
It didn't work. They had come in the afternoon, walking through the town unmolested and straight up to his office. Knowing he was in trouble, he had prepared for that by ensuring the doors were sealed. No-one would get inside without his say-so. The balcony from which he had often observed the farming activities of Piombino would give him enough cover to see what was happening.
Standing above his would-be assailants he could barely make out their faces but he knew all too well the voice of the grizzled Rodian.
Their association had begun on Birjar when the man the inhabitants of Piombino called the Governor, the one they called Gaio Ingenito had been known by a different name, the Herbalist. His skills with 'herbs' were bringing in a pretty penny to the Guavian Death Gang, something which had upset their Valarian rivals. It was decided that the 'farm' on Birjar was to be seized and the Herbalist brought before the regional head of the Valarian Gang.
Birjar had been a world not unlike Piombino, resettled and repurposed for use by him and his employers. The Rodian, ill-prepared for the pleasant climate had arrived that day in a knee-length fur coat and a vibrant hat which seemed to gleam in the temperate sun. The Herbalist would have laughed if everyone around him hadn't been lying in pools of their own blood. That day on Piombino he had seemed much more prepared.
Cowering in one of the underground runs like a rat, the Herbalist had watched as the Valarian gunners, who seemed to have no interest in hiding who they were, wearing their associated insignia, made sure the workers and Guavian footsoldiers, their vibrant red armour cracked and darkened, were dead.
It was a massacre.
It spoke somewhat to the Guavian sense of honour that The Herbalist had been thrown into the 'smugglers run', a tight tunnel which was masked from scanners. He had never been down in one; they had installed it just in case Republic Marshals showed up and started asking questions. He could hear the shooting and the screaming of men and women who had just been trying to earn a few coins, regardless of legality.
He thought he was safe when the shooting stopped but the comm disruptors that the pompous little Rodian left to cover his tracks had stranded him there.
Those were the memories he carried on the balcony. Stranded by a Rodian looking to send his own pathetic message to his paymasters. If they'd been smart they would have paid him off to work for them but Hirriv was blind to it - too concerned with his own reputation. It was the same that day on Piombino. The Governor knew that Hirriv was there for his blood. Once and for all. He also knew enough to know that he had a penchant for explosives.
He crouched down when he heard footsteps outside the cargo bay of Piombino trade ship and nursed the burn on his wrist. They dissipated quickly as whichever one of the young traders continued their rounds - there was no reason to go looking in a cargo bay. Ingenito's mind drifted back to the balcony.
He had chuckled as the Rodian and his cronies had fired a couple of tentative warning shots. He had barely heard what he said in that stupid chirrup- he barely cared. The suns of Piombino were warm and bathed the town in a gentle, appealing light. They never seemed to burn too brightly and he knew that now Hirriv had found him, this would be the last time he saw them.
Then it came. The searing heat of the explosion seemed to envelop him, barely giving him enough time to press the button, the button he'd kept by his side every waking moment since arriving on the planet.
The fast transit cart coughed him out just half a mile from the tramp freighter landing pads, coming close to breaking his leg in the process. Last resorts always had their drawbacks.
In the cargo bay, he looked down at his arm which still seemed to smoulder from the heat of the explosion he had escaped seven long days ago. The skin was twisted, molten, hideous from the wrist up to the elbow and the pain was excruciating. The Governor had learned how to manage pain long ago and he was lucky since the burn was inconsequential compared to his leg. He was sure a piece of shrapnel or something from the chute was lodged in his thigh but the little medical kit from his go-bag, buried near his transport site, had not the means to extricate it.
He couldn't risk telling the small crew of the Piombino ship. They were young, too young to carry the secret of his living. He had to remain completely concealed until they reached the relay station and from there he would have to get to some civilised world. It would be easier said than done.
Former Governor of Piombino
|Not Close Enough
Another dead end. The news on her mother's whereabouts had been at least a month old. Something that wasn't told to Cervi. She'd have to be more careful in the future. Her mother had been there, but wasn't now. Having been seen being escorted or forced onto a transport. It was clear which. Cervidena, or Cervi to her friends, sighed as she tapped on her scratched datapad. A slightly modified unit that looked like a monstrosity with extra ports and connectors.
Marking off another lead from the meager list, the blue-skinned Twi'lek stretched out one leg and shifted in the booth seat. The restaurant she'd chosen was located on a commercial strip by the spaceport with taverns, stores, markets and vendors. It wasn't fancy but it wasn't a hole in the wall either.
Hosnian was quite the metropolitan planet, almost, but not quite comparable to that of Coruscant. But, busy and crowded all the same. A country girl having lived in a small community outside of the busier areas on Ryloth, Cervi wasn't a stranger to the busy cities, and actually didn't mind them for a short time. Nor would she live in one. Though, it was easier to meld away if one didn't want to be found. She'd been here before during her time with her first employer and after being forced to leave because he decided to retire and sold his ship, she'd gone back to his former contacts and associates to convince them to become hers. Because of who he was, that wasn't a problem.
She was running short on funds having spent most of her hard earned savings on information, and traveling to find her mother. To no avail.
It was time to leave and try elsewhere. Cervi was getting somewhat closer, she felt it. Leaving some coins to bounce and spin on the table, Cervi pushed away from the table and left to head back to the small room she'd been renting to start checking out incoming and outgoing transports and where they'd be going.
|Trying to find a living part I
||2 days after the Dark Treasure Crash
Tikkit had returned to the Dark Treasure crash site at night. She was combing through the wreckage, looking for anything useful that she could sell to the used part dealer at the other end of the port. She was forced to dodge the Space Port engineers and security teams, and even other salvagers. And her luck was starting to run out.
This night just wasn't a good night. As she was removing a engine part she heard a noise. As she turned and was stunned. When she awoke she was in a prisoner transport, but she could see her tool bag, and three others, a Gamorrean, a Wookie, and an older Human Male. The Sullust where talking, which she didn't understand, she slipped a tool out of a pocket in her robes. When the transport started and was moving she got her hands free. She smiled when she looked at the three others in the transport. Within moments she released the others.
She turned to grab her bag the Gamorrean grabbed and slammed her into the side of transport, not once, but three times, before he got hit by the Wookie. She picked herself off the floor as the Wookie threw the Gamorrean from the now open transport. The transport came to hard stop. The Human thanked her and took off with the Wookie in tow. She only grabbed her bag and made it into an alleyway before the headache hit.
She hid behind some garbage as they started their search. She dug into the garbage more to hide better. Then she blacked out. When she awoke again, it was morning, on a trailer that Wreckage, her MK-Series maintenance droid, had attached to it. It was empty of all the parts she had collected, but it did have her tool bag. She reached up to her face and found that is was swollen.
Wreckage had taken her back to her back to where she was staying. To her surprise that there was a ship there. She moved as quick as she could to get her belongings. Tikkit got to the empty cargo container she was calling home, Wreckage pushed her in and then closed the door. That was when she heard talking.
"Sir the Dark Treasure is a total loss." Someone said in Twi'leki. "No sir, the Port Authority says that an escape pod was launched about the same time that the Treasure began it's power dive. Yes sir, they found the escape pod, all they found was some empty food packages and it was stripped of anything useful." Tikkit heard a beep. "Yes sir, all crew and cargo are dead, except.... A human female. Yes sir, I informed the local authorities that the girl is the daughter of Captain Mythis Roe and the Treasure was hijacked. Yes sir..." The voice that Tikkit was listening to faded away to nothing.
She sat at the back of the container and started to ponder what to do, but her head was killing her. Then her container shook as she hear the ship take off. She stood, because she wanted to see if the bay was still clear, but she came crashing back down and passed out again.
|That Farmer Tan
||Sullust Docks, Bizarre
Spivak walked off the Bantha and gave a nod to Ash and Kyfo, checking his firearm and holstering it. He looked over at Izzy. "And hey, be safe, you two." He watched the two and their droid stroll off the ship, letting the main hatch close up and locking itself.
Izzy gave a wave to the Captain as the ramp closed, then turned back to Rhanda, "The Bazaar that we're looking for should be in the south of the city," Izzy explained, squinting his eyes against the unrelenting heat of Sullust. "If we don't die of heat stroke on the way there," he mused.
Obsidian peaks rose up high over the limestone and marble buildings around them, hot orange lava flows could be seen rolling down the sides of the mountains like rivers. A few sections of the city had contained lava flows into ornamental aqueducts of obsidian as decorative accents. If there was any place cool on the planet, Izzy couldn't begin to imagine where it would be.
"Arty, do scans on local surveillance for any indication that we or the people we may be looking for have attracted any... unwanted attention, okay?"
The little droid bleeped his compliance.
"Local security updates are higher in the area we're headed to, so keep your eyes open," Izzy cautioned.
Still trying to tuck her hair behind her ears, Rhanda followed after him, clearly uncomfortable. She didn't have enough hair to pull back into a ponytail, and it was curling in the heat, which meant it wasn't staying, just plastering to her skin in sweaty ringlets. "This is.. n-not my favorite planet.." she sighed, looking around as they walked at the various clumps of people standing around the port. It was easy to tell those that weren't used to the planet as they were lethargic or irritated. The rest flowed around them like the many active lava streams around them. "I can't imagine p-people living here beyond the natives. It's an oppressive heat."
"That may be an understatement," Izzy agreed, happy that at least his hair was long enough to pull up into a sloppy bun and keep off of his neck. "They cool the buildings with water melted from the ice caps," He explained. "So hopefully our friend will be inside somewhere where we can find our preferred temperature range again," He said, smiling down at his companion.
"Is the heat that different from Tatooine? I've n-never been there," Rhanda asked, looking up at Izzy fuzzily. Without hair to peer past as a focusing point, her eyes weren't tracking as well as they usually did.
"No. This heat is oppressively humid," Izzy explained. "Tattooine's heat was dry... sounds odd, but it made it much more tolerable, so long as you were well hydrated." He explained. In truth, he'd only stepped foot on Tattooine once, and that was only briefly. But as far as anyone else knew, he was a Tattooine moisture farmer's son off to make a better life for himself in the stars.
"I've n-never been to Tatooine," Rhanda confessed, trying to make some semblance of conversation just so she wouldn't think about how hot it was. "What did you do there?"
"Me? Not much. I left when I was old enough. My parents were moisture farmers out near Beggar's Canyon. All I wanted to do was see the stars, so as soon as I was old enough, I hitched a ride with some traders out of Mos Enlar and never looked back. I check in with the folks back home from time to time, send cash when I can... they're... not very approving of my chosen profession," He explained. At least the last part was true.
Glancing at his hands, Rhanda guessed that if he'd farmed that it was a long time ago. They were too smooth and not marked up like hers were from the various hazards of equipment and animals. She didn't know anything about moisture farming to know what it entailed, but.. he was just too smooth skinned and well-spoken for farm work. "I'd have p-pegged you for the son of a f-fancy trader or a nice bar, not a f-farmer. Your hands are too good still. N-never bitten by a nerf or had a harvester strip off a chunk of skin. What is your chosen profession by the way. We're traveling together it seems and I still d-don't know much about you at all.."
"Buckets," Izzy replied with a laugh. "Moisture farmers work with buckets and tanks. No nerf or harvesters to speak of," He explained. "As far as what I do now, mostly find work and broker deals when I can. That and the occasional bout of thrilling heroics," He replied, glancing down at his companion. It bothered him to lie to her, but he didn't want her in danger should anyone discover who he really was.
Rhanda just looked up at him with one eye narrowed a little, her mouth a crooked line that somehow was neither a smile or a grimace. "Buckets and tanks, p-probably chemicals and crude because p-pipes jam up badly. Ruins your n-nails, blisters your hands. Are you running from something? 'Cause if you are, it's n-no big deal and I won't ask another thing. I've had some f-friends who'd re-inv-" struggling with getting the word out, Rhanda chose a different word. "-changed who they were to be f-free. I know what that looks like. I don't have to hear it n-none."
Izzy stopped and regarded the woman next to him for a long moment, not angrily, just curiously, "You're very perceptive my little friend." He said, calmly. "Very well then, I am a prince from the Hapes cluster, and I'm running away from all of my ridiculous wealth of pomp because it annoys me to deal with it," He replied, simply.
For a moment Rhanda didn't say anything at all as she tried to piece out exactly why he was teasing her. "You're f-funny," she responded after a moment more. "I was a f-farmer. See my hands?" She showed them to him as they walked: all the fine scars and nicks included. "That was the main tell. You'd be convincing as a t-trader or a scholar's son. Someone smart and worldly."
"But not who am I, though," Izzy replied. "I am simply a farm boy," He said, smiling down at her.
"All right then f-farm boy," grinning back up at him unabashedly, the shorter woman just let it drop. "Have you any questions f-for me?"
=/= Spivak to Izzy. You there? =/= The captain broke into their conversation over the commlink.
Izzy fished the comlink from its mount on his belt and brought it up to his mouth, "Narr... what's up?"
=/= Aye, we've got the cargo - you'll never believe what it is. But we're being tailed. You found Phelan yet?" =/=
"Not yet. We're getting close to where you said he'd be though. Got any leads on a more refined location?" Izzy asked.
There was a short pause. =/= I might rather you come back to the Bantha-- =/= There was another pause after Spivak cut out. =/= Yeah, we may need some help. I'll get a message to him and we'll see what we can do. =/= His voice was rushed at this point.
Izzy shot a look at Rhanda and nodded as they both started running back, "On our way now, Joh. Hold tight, you've got backup incoming!"
|Trying to find a living part II
||Day after "Trying to find a living part I"
Tikkit awoke in the morning as she was hungry. She remember that she hadn't eaten sense yesterday. She dug out some of the emergency rations she stole from the Dark Treasure. After she quieted her stomach she looked at what supplies she had left. She had two more days of emergency rations, the rests where destroyed when she landed. She was also out of water, but she can get more water anywhere. That was a concept she still didn't understand. The world of Sullust had turquoise lakes and red rivers, that she found out was molten rock, but there was a lot of water below ground.
She checked her face again, and it was still swollen. Her head still hurts, and the light is bothering her and she is started to fell sick. She slipped out of her hiding place slowly and checked to see if the port was empty. Tikkit counted her lucky sands that their was no one there. She told Wreckage to say there and hidden. Then she slipped out of the bay and nearly bumped into a Sullustan Security Guard. She slipped his credit slip from his pocket and then she left in a hurry.
She slipped down side streets and through back alleys. Then she arrived at the used parts dealer that she was selling too. As she entered the Sullustan barked something out. She didn't understand a word that she said, but the Protocol Droid spoke. "Tikkit, where are my parts?"
"I got caught by Security last night." Tikkit said.
The Sullustan snorted and then said something. "That isn't my problem. No parts no credits."
"I will get something for you, I promise." Said said looking at the Sullustan.
"You promised me those parts last night. And my word is only as good as those who work for me." The Droid stated after the woman spoke. "Now you are a liability to my business, so I will take back my credits that I have paid you."
"I don't have those credits any more, and you..." She was cut off when large green hands grabbed her and lifted her up.
"I know you don't." The droid said for his mistress. "I made a nice sum of Creds selling you to May'Igo."
She attempted to kick the Gamorrean. "Who is May'Igo?" Tikkit demanded.
"A business partner." The droid repeated. "Now you will go quietly or the Trod there will knock you out."
Tikkit just slumped in the Gamorrean's hands. She waited for her moment when she could make her escape. She was carried through the back alleys until they came to the Market Place. Just as the Gamorrean made his turn she made hers. She pulled the her Ion blaster from the holster in the small of her back. Then she just started firing at anyone and anything. This caused a panic. As everyone started to dart here or their they bumped into the Gamorrean. After a few solid bumps he lost his grip on Tikkit. She slipped out of his hands and disappeared into the crowd.
She ran all the way back to the dock that she called home, just to find another ship parked there. "Wreckage it is time to leave this planet." She said as her droid came out of hiding. "Lets sneak aboard this transport and..." This was all she could say as the ship and dock started to spin. Then she dropped to her knees as the headache hit, and the world keep spinning.
|The Ingenito Escape Plan
||Trading Station, Sullust
||Day 7, 33ABY
He rolled down the loading ramp of the trading vessel, being incredibly careful to make sure that none of the Piombino kids saw him. Their arrival on Sullust had come as something of a surprise to him since their flight plan, logged in advance with the Elders on Piombino, had them taking some fruit to a relay station and then returning. If he had not just been "killed" on the planet he might have taken some interest in what it was they were doing there but as it was it worked out well for him.
He crouched behind a crate and realised that his need to get credits from somewhere might not be as pressing as his need to have the burn on his arm put right and the aching in his leg fixed. He looked around at some of the signs which were dotted around the landing pad. Nothing screamed medical centre, nothing screamed at all except the blistering burn on his arm.
One of the benefits of an insidious Galactic Empire was that there were always readable signs available. Of course, there were usually secret police and trigger-happy Stormtroopers too but Gaio Ingenito knew that you couldn't have everything.
Gaio Ingenito. He thought to himself. That would have to go. It was a false identity for a different time - it might be worth coming up with a new one. He barely remembered his real name anyway. He followed a sign pointing toward the trading floor; a likely place to run across a doctor or at least someone who could patch him up.
He looked down at the oily rags he was laughingly calling an outfit. The scarlet duster that had been a symbol of his status on Piombino had been thrown in the nearest trash can in case someone from the little ship recognised it and it had left him with just a yellowing shirt and a pair of trousers which had been shorn by whatever it was that had gashed his leg. The gauze he had applied was forming a hard crust against the wound, making it hard to walk.
Step two on the road out of here: clothing.
Scratch that. Step three. Step two had to be money. He was sure whatever sawbones passed for a clinician in this little place would treat his wounds on trust but it was true to say that the former governor of Piombino, the man who had once been The Herbalist wasn't 'short of a few bob'. The only problem was accessing it. With him now dead, the chances were that the bank would have frozen his assets, meaning that he'd need a ruse to transfer the credits into another shell account with whatever name he cooked up for himself. That would take a serious data spike and he couldn't pull that off himself.
He rifled through his pockets looking for the little credit chit that had been in the go-bag. There wasn't much on it but it might be enough to convince some slicer to break him into the account on the promise of more cash to come.
If he could achieve that, that brought him to step four. He was going to have to go deep underground and keep his head down in the hope that no-one, not least his uncle, got wind of him being alive. That would mean kit. He'd need some weaponry and - most importantly - a ship. Somewhere he could use as a mobile home until he could get settled somewhere.
He'd made his mistake on Piombino and he wasn't going to risk being caught without an escape route again.