top of page

"Perfect Square Act III" Pt. 8


An even longer time ago, in a galaxy just as far away...

 

"Rules are generally about the most flexible thing in existence when you cut through it" she chuckles softly, "But honestly... it is hard to predict their likely reaction. Were it simply his death, they might not focus on you. But given your reaction in coming here and getting involved with the Knight, and subsequently us... that might make them look a little closer at you"


"The SIS..." Fan scoffed, "...like toddlers sitting at a high stakes pazaak game" she focuses on Hanna as well, "Have no delusions in this child; you are - and likely have been your entire life - tied up in an intricately spun web of deceit and lies. Everything and everyone you ever knew is likely the result of some form of manipulation somewhere along the line. But most importantly understand this; mixed up in this game with Imperial Intelligence and the Shadowguard, the SIS are the least of your worries" she slowly turned back to look out of the window, wearing a clearly satisfied smile.


Mischa looked from Fan to Hanna, clearly not impressed with the bluntness expressed by the Twi'lek, though unable to deny the accuracy of her statement.


Hanna remained quiet as she packed away the medical kit and returned it to its position on the shuttle wall. However, an exceptionally keen observer would notice her slipping something into one of her pockets during the process. She appeared quite adept at taking objects without notice, as her hand was positioned so that no one could discern what it was she had decided to keep, regardless of the angle they watched from. "I can figure out what's true and what isn't about my past on my own time," she finally turned back to the others and spoke. "But right now, I'm on the run from Coruscant security forces with a bunch of Imperial agents and a member of the Shadow Guard. If I try to go back to my life before...you're right, I'm too tied up in this. I'm not sure I can offer a credible explanation for my actions to the authorities, and even if I think they'll believe the truth, you're probably not going to want me to tell it. I might be new to all this spy stuff, but I'm not new to making life decisions. The way I see it, I can bury all this and disappear, go underground- there's probably a need for skilled doctors in the criminal aspects of the galaxy. Or, as you and your superiors know what's going on here, I could maybe...go with one of you?"


"As far as I'm concerned we are all in this together" Mischa replied with a friendly smile. Being the traind and capable operative she noticed Hanna's slight of hand with ease. She did not show this however and opted to pick her pocket later to see what she took before deciding to confront the girl or not. Either way; as long as she remained unproven and unknown to the agents; she was a potential liability, so Mischa knew she could not let the girl out of her sight just yet.


"I guess I'll stick with you for now, then," Hanna sighed, settling into a seat in the small passenger's section of the transport. They flew in silence for the next minute as the shuttle continued to descend, and the environment around them slowly degenerated from the elegant upper levels to the loud and vibrant entertainment districts and finally to the dark and desperate slums whose inhabitants were quite literally downtrodden by the privileged above them. A system of mirrors redirected some degree of sunlight down to this region of the planet, but following the Imperial attack, many of those were damaged and yet to be repaired. Even before the Sacking however, the visibility in the lower districts depended largely on artificially generated light, and it was almost impossible to tell night from day without a chronometer. Their transport had to rely on its headlights as it passed in between two buildings in a small space that was clearly never meant for such a craft. The Cipher Agent's piloting was exceptional enough to get them through, albeit with a few bumps and scratches to the paintjob. On the other side, he landed them in what appeared to be a dumpsite, a back alley area so riddled with junk that the ground beneath it was completely covered up. "We're getting rid of this transport," Cipher Four announced as he picked out two blaster pistols and several explosives from a storage rack, hooking them to his belt. "If you want any weapons from here, take them with you." Kelly reached for one of the rifles, but Hanna stepped in, "You want to take it easy with that injury on your arm. It'll probably throw off your aim anyways, so you might as well give it a break." She gave the doctor an affirmative nod and took a pistol instead, holding it in her good arm. Hanna turned away from Kelly and opened one of the storage containers, taking a vibroknife to replace the one she had lent to Mischa. Leaving the box open, she headed out the shuttle to see the Cipher Agent setting the grenades and other charges around various areas of the vehicle. "By getting rid of...you meant blow it up" she finally realized. "Easiest way to stop them from tracking us," the man smirked. "I've already gotten rid of any signals we were broadcasting, but they might still be able to use footage and witnesses to follow our trail. Not a lot of security vehicles come down here, so we're a big mark, but if we destroy the shuttle, what's left will blend in with the junk and that'll throw them off for good. I'm all set here, everyone else ready yet?"


Mischa armed herself with a second blade and a sidearm, settling both as discretely as she was able with her present attire. As they watched Cipher 4 set the charges she used the close quarters shuffling around to perform her own slight of hand and find out what Hanna took. She wanted to see for herself before deciding if she should confront the Doctor or slip the item back into her pocket, "I believe we are all set" she gave the Cipher a nod; looking to Fan for confirmation as well, who's reply came with a simple curt nod.


The item Hanna had taken was a small medical injector filled with a liquid that was presumably kolto, but could not be confirmed without testing. Hanna did not seem to notice that it was gone or at least gave no obvious reaction to it. She simply moved away from the shuttle with the rest of the group, watching from the alleyway as the Cipher Agent finished his work.


Cipher Four drew his pistols and fired a wild volley around the area, the bolts spraying both the hull of the transport and the walls around them. To anyone in the vicinity, it sounded like a firefight, and for anyone arriving at the scene after the fact, the scorch marks gave such an impression as well. Having finished painting his scene he carefully aimed his blasters at two of his improvised explosive charges. A well-placed shot to each detonated them, and the chain reaction tore through the entire shuttle, sending its pieces flying as the agent dove for cover in the alleyway.


He fired a few more shots into the wreckage to keep up the appearances of a fight, but did not wait for the smoke to clear to inspect his work. He left the scene as soon as possible, motioning for everyone else to follow. As they walked through the unkempt streets of the lower levels of Coruscant, Cipher Four made sure he was some distance away from Fan while sticking close enough to Mischa to allow conversation.


"We're going to need that droid of yours to find a map of this place, if there even is one," he proposed. "People down here can't usually afford speeders of their own, but we'll have to find one somehow, maybe through an elevator to a higher level."


While he spoke, he discreetly slid her a datapad with a datachip attached which held the following message: "Mission successful so far. Keeper ordering all non-essential assets to pull back to Dromund Kaas. We've diverted the Shadow Guard's attention, now we need things to proceed off the radar."


While the Imperials discussed their next move, Fan quietly observed. While she did not know the content of the datapad she was too good at her game not to notice it being passed and naturally assumed that it was some covert mission update for the field agent - let them have their secrets, I would do no different - she also figured it likely had a direct reference to her presence. They had no doubt failed to account for the possibility of having a member of the Shadowguard with them at this stage. Fan smiled quietly to herself just with knowing her mere presence had thrown the Imperials off their game. Mischa gave the note a read and whilst she showed no visible confirmation to Cipher Four; the look in her eye as she spoke with him provided all the acknowledgement needed, "Agreed..." she looked back to ADIN and knelt down to slip him the datachip along with the subtle inclusion of the mystery injector, "...think you can dig something up for us?" she assumed by this point that ADIN was accustomed enough to their line of work that he would correctly interpret the double meaning of her request to both seek out a map or means of escape, whilst also asking him to identify the contents of the injector.


ADIN beeped an affirmative and used its astromech arm to extract the datachip before taking the injector. The scanners of the droid analyzed the substance within while it accessed the HoloNet with its own private connection, downloading a map of the district. Both files were inserted into the datachip, overwriting the discreet orders and wiping any trace of their existence now that Mischa had already read them. All this was finished within a minute, and ADIN gave a whirl for Mischa's attention as it ejected the chip. The results of ADIN's research was displayed once Mischa had inserted the chip back. The examination of the injector confirmed without a doubt that it did indeed contain a healing extract consisting of kolto and other chemicals. However, the information on the map was much less reliable, and ADIN attached a note on the file stating that it was pulled from old Coruscant archival data from before the Sacking. There was no markings for stores in the nearby region, save for a building labelled 'Market Area' one block away from them. Several elevators were also located in that building, though the tallest only went up forty levels. A much larger tower possessed a lift that would take them up eighty floors, and a speeder pad was also supposed to be present at the edge of the platform they were on.


"Thank you my little friend" she smiled to the astromech as she reviewed the data and pondered. She looked to Fan, "Well this is more your local territory; any recommendation?" Fan reviewed the data carefully, "Well the speeder pad would be most favorable. Though you can bet that even if anyone has a vehicle there that it will be guarded. Could be fruitful if you don't mind getting your hands dirty. On the other hand; he market may present better opportunities to return to the surface discretely." Mischa nodded an agreement with the recommendations and turned to Cipher 4 as the senior agent, "It's your call but I think that market area could be better for us. As the group set off she knelt again as Hanna passed, "Oh, Doctor; I think you dropped this?" She asked while holding up the injector, "You want to be careful there, supplies like this are a rare commodity now" she chuckled, handing it back with a friendly smile. She wanted to return it, but moreso wanted Hanna to see that Mischa knew she had it.


"I dropped this?" Hanna turned to Mischa with a surprised look as they headed towards the market. "I'm pretty sure I couldn't have dropped it. You...you saw me take it, didn't you?"


She pocketed the injector, her gaze still on Mischa as she did so, "I didn't mean to look suspicious if that's why you were checking, it's just a habit I have of doing things. I like to keep souvenirs of the people I help sometimes, and I'm so used to it now that I get careful when taking anything. I just thought that having some backup kolto could come in handy. I haven't taken anything I shouldn't from you, well, except that wallet, but that was part of the plan to get your attention. You don't mind that, right?"


Mischa smiled softly at Hanna's honesty, even after giving her the chance to be discrete, "Yes, and I hope you understand why I had to check. It's nothing personal, but one can never be too careful. You hold on to it... and keep it safe" she chuckled.


Fan quirked a brow at the Imperials friendly nature. The slightly more ruthless approach of Cipher 4 was far more in line with what she knew of Imperial Intelligence. She could not put her finger on it, but she sensed something... more in this agent; as she did of Kelly, though the aura surrounding her was far more curious Fan had her suspicions as to its nature. But the feeling around Mischa - though in a way far more familiar - was also less expected from a servant of the Empire and so piqued her curiosity further, "If you two have quite finished; the market is just ahead..."


As the group slowed to a more tentative pace; Fan signed that she would move up through the mezzanine levels and shadow them for cover. Mischa acknowledged but pointed Kelly to join her. While she knew Kelly was restricted by her injury, she still trusted her partners keen snjper eye from above.


Despite its decrepit, litter-ridden surroundings, the market was bright and lively. Stepping through its entranceway was like entering another world, one illuminated by flashy neon signs, dancing holograms, and mechanically broadcasted messages. While it was nowhere near as crowded as the upper level tourist attractions, there were more people here than anything they had seen so far in Coruscant's underworld. They were dressed in the same ragged clothes of the slums, but here they looked alive as they gathered around holo-dancers or traded packets of powdered spice and vibrant liquids in clear glass tubes. One delirious man stumbled directly into the agents' group, forcing them to split as he shuffled past. One glance into his eyes showed the desperation behind his surface of ecstasy- this was not a man who enjoyed his life, but one who had given up all hopes of having one.

Kelly gave Mischa a curt, militaristic nod and headed up a set of steps after Fan, keeping her sights on both the Shadow Guard agent and their environment. While she scanned around, she noticed another Twi'lek, this one slightly bulkier than Fan and likely a dancer from her revealing attire. A short synthleather jacket draped down one of her arms while her other held the door of the establishment which she had just stepped out of. Deviating from her path along the edge of the mezzanine, Kelly approached the Twi'lek girl.


"Are you willing to part with that?" she asked, pointing at the jacket.


"And walk home in this?" the Twi'lek gave a sarcastic laugh. "Sorry, but you'll have to catch my show to see more. Just be an hour earlier tomorrow, and bring plenty of tips!"


"Would this suffice?" Kelly slipped out a credit chip from a small purse on her belt, tossing the electronic card over.


"Oh my stars..." her jaw dropped open as she read the surface on the information of the chip. She was almost completely frozen in place save for her hyperactive eyes darting back and forth as she verified the number. The arm supporting the jacket straightened out and Kelly took it from her, swinging it behind her back and slipping her arms through the sleeves, her mobility appearing more or less unrestricted despite the injured arm. She used one of the pockets to conceal the muzzle of her pistol as she walked away and fell back in with Fan.


* * * * * *


In the meantime, Cipher Four led Mischa, Hanna and ADIN across the central path through the building. A small Rodian female ran up to them, not running through the group like the man before but instead stopping beside them and then matching their pace as she trotted along. She reached into a pouch on her side, taking out a small jar of spice and displaying it to them.


"No thank you," the Cipher Agent shook his head and interrupted her before she could finish pulling out a second jar. "Would you know if there are any speeder shops around here?"


"Nobata," she replied in Huttese.


"There aren't any?"


"No buy, no help," the Rodian spoke again in the same language.


Taking from Cipher Four's example, Hanna observed a male Chagrian passing them and halted him for a moment to ask the same question, "Excuse me, do you know where we could get a speeder?"


"Kriffing cloudheads," he muttered. "Come down to see the sights and lost your ride? Heh, probably deserved it. Maybe somebody'll come by and scrap that shiny droid o' yours, too."


Mischa had spent too long on Nar Shaddaa field assignments to fall for any shady play. She quietly slipped a credit chit to the Rodian and palmed the spice back in return. "Now you answer my friend" she insisted in Huttese. Working around the back of their group she positioned herself tight behind their other visitor and firmly - but discretely - held the tip of her blade to his side as she addressed him in a less refined sounding Republic accent, "This droid ain't for sale, ya feel me?" To which he quietly nodded as she continued, "Smart man. Now since ya are so interested. Why don't ya tell us about any available speeders down 'ere while we do a little... business" her tone turned to a purr at the end as she flashed the spice under his eyes. *********** Fan smiled at Kelly's brazen approach, "Subtle.." she teased, "You know tjat flashing credits around down here like that will likely draw more unwanted attention" She observed the scene below and had a good view of Mischa's interaction, though she could not hear the accent from where she was; the view allowed her a good summary of what she was doing, "See now; thats how you do things down here" she chuckled to Kelly, admiring the fit of her newly acquired jacket.


"Speeder?" the Chagrian gave a chuckle. "You're in the wrong part o' town, lassie. Unless you're part o' some swoop gang nobody down here's got their own bike, an' from what I hear they aren't doing so well either. You really want a ride, Bubolla's your best bet. Ol' Bubble sells his salvage out back, he's got a small junkyard, ya can't miss it. Sometimes he got a few speeders he patched up, but mostly just busted parts. Now, are you gonna give me the spice or what?" In the meantime, Cipher Four conversed with the Rodian in Huttese. From where Mischa was, she could hear something being said about taxis and the HoloNet- the spice dealer was presumably recommending some kind of local transport service to them. * * * * * * "I guess I'm too used to being the wealthy executive now," Kelly replied. "I'll be more careful next time. She glanced down at Mischa as well, leaning her upper body onto the railing as she did so. The posture accentuated the curves of her form and in any other situation would have been the surest way to draw even more attention. Here however, standing so casually beside a Twi'lek woman, the two looked like nothing more than another pair of dancers who had either finished their shift or stepped outside for a break- not a perfect way to stay out of notice, but it worked well to blend them into their surroundings. "Hey, it was a nice jacket," she tilted her head to Fan in a teasing smirk. "I think you rather like it."


After sending the Chagrian on his way with his precious spice, Mischa looked back to Hanna and Cipher Four, "Well; the scrap yard may be an option - there's a chance that with Kelly and ADIN's expertise we could get something serviceable out of it. But it sounds like you made headway with our Rodian friend too? I defer to your judgement agent" ********** "Don't flatter yourself Imperial" Fan huffed as she turned her attention back to the group below, though her gaze drifted back subtly as she could not deny the complement it made to Kelly's physique, "How do you suppose they're faring?"

"We can't get a taxi down here, that speeder pad on the map is busted," Cipher Four relayed his information. "Some debris broke it off during the Sacking and no one ever bothered to fix it. There is a pad ten levels up that taxis are willing to land at, but I think we should check out the scrapyard first. If we can find something usable there, it'll look like it belongs in the undercity and be impossible to track. We take that somewhere, ditch it and then use the Rodian's holofrequency to call a taxi to a spaceport. That’s sure to shake off anyone trying to follow us. If there's nothing usable in the salvage, then we can always take the elevator and call a taxi." * * * * * * "It looks like they're stopping to talk with the locals now instead of just incidental chatter," Kelly commented, continuing to hold her pose. "That means they're making progress. I don't see anything suspicious, well, aside from the blatant criminal dealings everywhere, but nobody looks to be taking any action against us. You spot anything out of the ordinary?"


"The scrapyard it is then" Mischa nodded, feigning an adjustment of her hair behind one ear as she relayed the decision to Kelly and Fan before continuing to move in that direction. Fan looked to Kelly with an affirmative nod after hearing the decision, "We should continue to shadow them as far as possible from this level; the longer we are down here - the more likely we are to draw unwanted attention" With that she turned and began to follow the group below, allowing her gait to exaggerate her own curves. Be it for the sake of keeping up appearances, or to demonstrate her own physique to Kelly was anyone's guess...


Kelly grinned as she observed Fan's movement before falling in line behind the Twi'lek. She maintained her appearance as well, looking to be just another dancer on the streets as she strutted across the mezzanine. After a little walking, the group on the ground exited the building through a much smaller door than the main entrance they came in from. The second level ended here, and this would force Fan down to follow everyone else should she choose to continue doing so. * * * * * * Meanwhile, the team on the ground found themselves in a wide alleyway between two buildings. Mischa could see several balconies above them that offered a good vantage point over the area outside the building. However, they did appear to be higher than the mezzanine and the route to them was unclear; notifying Kelly of this route may accidentally cause them to wander off and be further separated. The junkyard dominated almost the entirety of the alley, which went in quite deep. No vantage was required to spot it, as the sprawl of metallic objects in various states of disuse was almost right beside the side exit they stepped out. To their left, near the mouth of the alleyway, they could see four speeder bikes of different designs, though one appeared to be completely stripped of half its components that it could only be called the shell of a bike. Just beyond those was a rusty garbage hauler with a compartment probably large enough to fit everyone. From their right, where most of the smaller pieces of scrap were stored, a stoutly-built but not particularly tall alien staggered up to them. His four arms and head crest made him unmistakably a Besalisk for those familiar with the species. The clothes on him were covered in grime and one of his hands held a hydrospanner while another clutched a plasma torch. His skin was rough even for a Besalisk, especially around the hands which were heavily calloused. All the information suggested that he was the one who worked the junkyard. "Hello, hello, hello!" the alien greeted them with a booming voice, all four arms wide open in an exaggerated display of friendship. "I don't believe I've seen any of you before! New customers? We don't often get new folks around here."


Fan saw where the group below was heading and led Kelly back down to join them. The two were able to mingle with the rest of the group just before they reached the entrance to the scrapyard. Mischa glanced left and right briefly to the others with her as the Besalisk approached, a warm smile at seeing her partner back at her side, "Nice jacket" she smiled. Sensing clearly that both Cipher Four and the Knight favoured maintaining low profiles she stepped forward to greet him with a courteous smile and a well rehearsed Republic accent, "Hi there! My friends and I found ourselves in the market for some transportation." she glanced between the speeder bikes and the garbage hauler, "Do you... have anything suitable for a small group?"


"Ahh, if it's transportation you need, you're in luck!" the junkyard owner gestured one of his massive hands towards the run-down bikes. "We've got the finest speeder bikes in the district! Well, some of the only speeders around here. A few of them might need a little, uhh...tinkering. Heheheh. But they're all second hand which means they're cheap! And if you want spare components, I'll be willing to offer them to you at a little discount, take a little stress off the big purchase, you know?" Hanna looked in disapproval at the state of the bikes and leaned in to Mischa, speaking quietly so that the Besalisk would not make out her words, "I'm not a mechanic, but I'm pretty sure most of these 'speeders' aren't going to work and the ones that will probably won't fit us all. Besides, we've got an astromech with us. Maybe we should ask after that big vehicle?"


Mischa eyed the pile of speeders and looked back to the Besalisk, "My friend... you can see there are many of us here - too many to fit on those few bikes I wager." she looks around some more before settling her gaze on the garbage hauler, "What about that?" she asks pointing to it, "That looks plenty big enough for us!"

"Oh no, no that one is not for sale," the junkyard owner shook his head and two of his arms at once to emphasize on the fact. "That one I use to haul my, uhh...wares down here. I don't have anything else big enough, and I can't run my business without it!" "We can loan it," Hanna joined into the conversation herself. "Loan it?" the Besalisk looked taken aback, clearly not expecting the request. "I don't run a taxi service." "We'll pay you the full price," she continued. "We'll drive it ourselves too and let you know where to pick it up. You can use one of these bikes to get to it, and it should fit in the rear of the vehicle for your trip back. We won't be more than a few hours." "Hmph," he thought for a moment. "Alright. Let me get the keycard." As the four-armed alien lumbered off, Hanna turned back to Mischa and Cipher Four, "I heard you say that you wanted to ditch the ride and get a taxi at some point. Since we're going to throw it away anyways, we might as well give it back to him, and him taking the speeder back down to the undercity should make it harder for others to pick up our trail. Right?"


Mischa gave her a smile, "That's sound thinking, Doctor. Just... stay on your guard; he was a little too amenable if you ask me - he didn't even try to negotiate..." As she spoke, Mischa scanned the surroundings with a wary eye; searching for anything that seemed out of place...


The scrap yard around them was full of various pieces of junk piled together with barely any organization. Nothing really looked in place with everything else and there was everything from starship components to broken weaponry. It was difficult to distinguish any potential threat among the junk, yet alone what may be buried beneath the layers. Shifting several of these pieces out of his way, the Besalisk swaggered back towards them, a keycard between two fingers of a massive hand. "There you go!" he exclaimed. "But I'll need the credits first- ten thousand!" "So much for not negotiating..." Hanna muttered to Mischa before turning to the stout alien. "Ten thousand? That's more than this thing's worth in full condition!" "It's exactly the price for that in full condition," the Besalisk corrected. "You said you'd pay the full price." "Yeah, the full price for buying a used vehicle in that condition, not a new one," argued Hanna. "I'm not an expert on speeder sales but I'd say yours is worth two thousand, maximum. It's probably more than you'll make in a day by driving that around, anyways." The junkyard owner shook his head and pulled the hand holding the keycard backwards to signify withholding it from them, "Four thousand, at least." "I guess that sounds reasonable," she nodded before turning back to Mischa, lowering her voice again. "We have that much, right?"


Mischa gave a subtle nod to Hanna; with the resources at hand she was confident that even the extortionate price of ten thousand was not a particular problem for them, but there was still a matter of principle. She also knew that paying a high price like that without question would only draw further suspicion upon them. She turned the the Besalisk, "Three thousand and not a credit more" He flailed all four arms out in exasperation, "Lady, you're killing me! Four thousand or you can walk" Mischa narrowed her eyes and sidled up a step closer to him, "And here I thought we were getting along so nicely..." she spoke in a sugary sweet tone accompanied by the body language of a damsel in distress. She allowed a small waver to her voice as she countered, "W-we... only have three and half thousand and have further expenses to incur..." she finished with a pitiful sniff as she turned her big eyes up to meet his with a bat of her eyelashes. The Besalisk grunted, folding his arms across his chest as he looked away. While Mischa held her gaze with a pleading smile he slowly turned back and huffed, "Three and half thousand, it's the best I can do. Your problems beyond there will have to be resolved another way." She gave him a curt nod and held out her hand to receive the keycard, "A-alright. It seems we have no real ch-choice... three and half it is."


Kelly handed another one of her credit chips to the alien junk dealer, who examined it and nodded approvingly, "If you need anything else, just let me know!" "I think we're good," she replied before the group began heading towards the large vehicle they had just rented. "Don't forget to message me about where you park!" he hollered after them. "There's a comm frequency you can use in the speeder to contact me!" Even the Besalisk's booming voice quickly faded out of view as they entered the garbage hauler. Cipher Four took the driver's seat, inviting one other to take the spot beside him while everyone else was forced into the trunk of the vehicle. Several pieces of salvage still sat within, and the entire compartment stank heavily of rust and mechanical exhaust. A lack of seating and windows left them on the cold metal floor in almost complete darkness, and the ride was extremely uncomfortable. Thankfully, they did not have to bear it long, as the Cipher Agent stopped the speeder and opened the rear doors, letting them all out on a speeder pad somewhere in the middle levels of the planet city. From there, they hailed two separate taxis using the service that the Rodian they encountered had recommended. Both were driven by a droid with friendly, tour guide programming which explained the sights of Coruscant as it ferried them to the nearest spaceport. For once they properly went sightseeing before leaving the planet for good. It took roughly half an hour of travel, though in much more amenable conditions, for them to reach a pad outside the spaceport. Their destination was a tall tower housing hundreds of docking bays along its side. Though far from the planet's largest port, it was still immensely busy, seeing several times the volume of an average Outer Rim facility. Mingling with the crowd, the group managed to keep a low profile as they entered. They stopped in front of a massive holographic display scrolling through all public transports arriving and departing the spaceport, and Kelly edged her way over to Mischa to speak. "The Imperial transport we came on isn't due to depart until the end of the convention. Leaving early is going to raise suspicions. We're going to have to find someone to hitch a ride with, probably to some fringe system where we can arrange for my ship to pick us up. Any transports on here look favourable, or should we try to...charm some freighter captain into sharing?"


Mischa carefully considered the options presented by their surroundings; her eyes quietly scanning the area as their group walked through the bustling crowd and she considered Kelly's suggestions. Her focus passed from one to the next as she quickly ruled each out for one reason or another. Then, as she eavesdropped on a young couple talking excitedly - and unfortunately openly - about their latest acquisition being a 'new' freighter which would allow them to completely open up their otherwise limited Spice market, her attention was diverted and her focus shifted to a young human girl who seemed to be watching the couple from the other side of the room.

Mischa made quick note of the girls' demeanor - the long jacket, dirtied flesh and unusually bright red hair - this girl was a pilot of some description for sure, possibly a pod racer though she was a long way from the nearest circuit. But most importantly, Mischa recognized the glint in the girls eye as she eyed the pair of Spicers. Signalling the rest of her group, Mischa led them discretely around the room while keeping one eye on the girl. She couldn't help but smile at seeing the young girl - not even out of her teens - lift a keycard straight out the pocket of the Zabrak male they had both been watching. Her smile was as much for the brazen approach as the success of the lift, but either way it affirmed Mischa's suspicion and she continued to tail the girl with her own group following discretely.

"Pfft... Spicers!" Lil' Red scoffed under her breath as she watched the pair, "This'll be too easy!" she giggled excitedly as she pushed up from the container she'd been leaning on and - with a subtle downward gaze - made her move. Her small size and less than polished appearance made it easy for her to slip through the crowd without drawing attention, even the pair of Spicers she'd marked didn't notice her as she squeezed past them and lifted the keycard from the male's pocket. She grinned as she upped her pace to a near jog as she made for the hangar bay, "Yes! Now I can finally get off this fancy rock and find some real fun! Just gotta get a bit further without that goody-two-lekku charity worker findin' me again!". She continued to grin as hope came within reach while heading towards the hangar. She could be forgiven for failing to notice the Imperial Agent now stalking her...


Mischa tailed the young girl into the hangar where she cashed in on her stringent Imperial military training and circled around the room to get ahead of the girl. She waited until the girl - now moving at a more cautious pace - drew far enough in that the rest of her group could enter safely behind her without being noticed. As the girl surmised that she had successfully infiltrated the Spicer's hanger she began a confident strut towards her freedom in the newly liberated freighter which sat patiently awaiting her, "How hard can it be...? Gotta be just like a swoop, only bigger right... muuuuuuch bigger...." she mused out load as she drew closer, staring up at the cockpit looming high overhead. As the girl stood in awe, Mischa smiled to herself and seized the opportunity; strolling up behind her with arms folded at her back, "Ahem" she cleared her throat causing the girl to jump almost as high as the cockpit, "I, wha-? No! I didn't do nothin', you ain't the Twi'lek... damn Spicer, GO AWAY! This is my ship now!" the little redhead followed up by blowing a raspberry at Mischa.


Chuckling to herself on the inside, Mischa pursed her lips - head tilting slightly to the side as she folded her arms across her chest and stared back at the girl who now froze with an uncomfortable air of uncertainty hanging over her, "Charmed, I'm sure..." she spoke in her native accent, much to the surprise of the girl who leaned in slightly, "You're an Imp...?" the girl grinned, "So you ain't supposed to be here either!" She stepped forward and stood as tall as she could, pushing on to tip toes as she spoke in the most grown up voice she could muster, "So, err... ya must be here to charter my luxury interplanetary transport services, 'aight? Why this old thing'll get ya anywhere ya gotta go - just NOT into Imp space! All for only... Five hundred thousand credits!"


Mischa raised both eyebrows and stood straight as well, "Wow... such a service for such a generous price? You must be eager to depart..." she replied, still thoroughly enjoying the entertaining thought of such an extortionate sum of credits as being a bargain. However, her confidently spoken words succeeded in putting the young girl on the back foot, "Oh I, err... I meant one million... yeah!". Mischa took another step closer and pursed her lips again, "Tell you what... how about we travel for free, and simply don't turn each other in. If you're nice about it we may even teach you how to fly this thing along the way" The girl's cheeks flushed as she realized the Imperial had her card marked from the beginning and her shoulders slumped, "Fine! Let's just get moving, yeah? I really don't want that damned Twi'lek findin' me..." Mischa smiled and nodded as she held a hand out to the girl, "Nice job lifting that keycard by the way. I'm Mischa". The girl looked from hand up to the smiling face and back to the hand before grasping it and giving a firm shake, "Name's Lil' Red. Or just Red if it suits ya..." she trailed off leaning to one side as she stared past Mischa at the now gathered group. Her heart gave a slight flutter as she noticed a Twi'lek but was quick to relax at seeing the different skin tone. Mischa turned back to the others and waved them across, "Looks like we've got ourselves a ride!" she said, turning back to admire their newly liberated freighter - an old YG-4210.






0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments

Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page