An even longer time ago, in a galaxy just as far away...
"The company will be taken care of in a crisis like this," Kelly replied as they continued on their way towards the lounge. "We've got contingency measures in place. I know HK can handle himself, but we can pick him up if you think it's a good idea. Never hurts to have a loyal HK by our side. I believe the company has him on a job somewhere in the Corporate Sector, so that could be risky."
"I think we should find out what exactly they've set us up for first, so we know how serious it is and what pursuers we'll have to be dealing with," she suggested as they walked down the stairs towards the holoterminal, where Yatuni was already awaiting beside ADIN's brain projection.
"Agreed" Mischa nodded as they walked through the ship, "Having HK on standby in the area ready to call on could be equally advantageous, so leave him be for the moment" As they approached the holoterminal, ADIN's projection appeared as if on cue, "Agents. I have been monitoring public communication channels and believe I have found relevant information" The projection immediately faded to be replaced by a holo reconstruction of a public news information broadcast; a straight faced Imperial in a corporate uniform sat behind a desk narrating the news, with the image of a smoking building in the background, "...sources confirmed that in the early hours of this morning; an unprovoked terrorist attack was carried out against Imperial Intelligence Headquarters at the heart of the Kaas City Citadel. Though Intelligence has made no formal statement yet, insider sources suggest that this was a direct attempt on the life of the Head of Intelligence. At this time no know-..." the newscaster pauses, placing a finger to their earpiece before turning sharply back to the camera, "This just in; Imperial Intelligence has issued public warrants for these two individuals..." as he reads, images of Mischa and Kelly replace that of the burning building behind him, "No identity has been provided, though this station has already identified one as Ms. Kelly Haron, of Haron Incorporated - a former Imperial military sharpshooter. We have no information on the second individual yet..." he pauses again listening to more information, "No connection has been confirmed with the warrants, but speculation runs high that these are suspects behind the attack. Any Imperial citizen encountering either of these dangerous individuals should contact the authorities immediately..." the report plays over on a loop. Mischa sighs heavily and looks to Kelly, "Like I said, I've had better starts to a day... clearly we are being set up to take the fall for someone. My immediate concern is..." she looks to newscast again, "...That image is taken directly from my Intelligence file, looks like yours too if I'm not mistaken. That means this is not simply an outside influence setting something up - somebody /inside/ Intelligence made this happen, and made us look convincingly responsible - enough for Keeper, or whoever is running this now if he was injured, to genuinely believe we did this..."
"There's also the possibility that Keeper, or someone else high up in Intelligence, is the one directly responsible for setting us up," Kelly suggested. "I've heard rumours of situations like this- agents being made to think some fabricated event was real so that their reactions would be genuine. We did just discover a traitor among the ranks of the Ciphers, maybe someone wants us to work off the grid without explicitly telling us, and they knew putting out a warrant for trained agents would result in just that instead of our capture." "Of course, this doesn't change a thing," she added. "Either we really need to be on the run or someone wants us to look like we're really on the run, so the best thing to do is actually get on the run. The one safe haven I can think of right now is the Planet, and we've got Laesa and her powerful abilities to help us once we get there. But going there right away is a big risk; ADIN's diagnostics are limited to using ship sensors, and anyone who knows what they're doing with a tracking device would've designed theirs to circumvent sensor systems. It might be a good idea to touch down somewhere remote and do a full sweep before we go anywhere we plan to stay."
"Agreed" Mischa nodded with a small - impressed - smile at Kelly's analysis of the situation. She turned back to the console, "ADIN, check the database for a suitable pit stop and let's get ourselves back in front in this game."
"I have identified a number of suitable planets," ADIN responded. "By eliminating unfavourable choices such as Gamorr, I am left with four ideal locations along our current route. Rishi is a shadowport and a good location for this stop. It will not be difficult to acquire anything we may need for the remainder of our predicament there, but depending on our status, the bounty hunters and pirates present could become a problem. Utapau is a planet dotted in sinkholes which are perfect for hiding starships, although there may be Imperial scouts present due to the conflict on the planet during the war. The independent mines of Subterrel are likewise handy for disappearing, though a ship of our build may raise some suspicion in that environment. Lastly, Ison is a difficult to access world, but its close proximity to the starship graveyards of Hoth could be an issue." "I've retrieved dossiers for each location," the droid added as pages of data for the four planets replaced its brain image on the holoterminal. "Not intelligence level data, just what I've assembled from HoloNet archives, but it should be enough information for you to make an educated decision."
"Well I don't know about you, Kelly..." Mischa started as she studied the data before turning to Kelly, "...but a little sunshine could be quite a welcome respite from our current predicament. I believe with all things in balance; Rishi is our best bet, what do you think?"
"Like ADIN said, each location has its pros and cons," Kelly spoke as she swiped her hand across the access console, switching from the zoomed file on Ison to place the one on Rishi in front of her. "Rishi looks promising, and we can solve the problem of looking out of place easily enough- just claim that we stole the ship or something. As long as...ADIN, do you know of any Imperial agents posted on Rishi?" "Negative, ma'am," the droid responded. "At least, not that I am aware of. My archived data from the last time I accessed Intelligence databases does not list any agents on Rishi, though I am not privy to the details of Cipher Agents or the most highly classified operations. Given that the last such operation was on Coruscant and quite a number of our Cipher Agents were dispatched there, I calculate the probability of running into undocumented agents on Rishi at 2.3%." "Thanks, ADIN," Kelly nodded to the terminal before turning to Yatuni. "So, do you happen to have any contacts in this 'Raider's Cove?'" "Hey, just because I'm a Weequay doesn't mean-" he began to speak, but Kelly cut him off with a chuckle. "I'll take that as a no. But you do have a point, as a Weequay you might enhance our image of being pirates." "That's not what I meant to say!" Yatuni exclaimed. "Too late," Kelly smirked and turned her gaze back to Mischa. "Who we take with us will ultimately be the agent's discretion though. I think going as pirates might be a good idea. I've got my usual armour which is meant to be able to pass beneath notice in seedier parts of the galaxy, and I'm sure I've got some spacer clothes which can have a bit of a rogue feel."
"Lets concentrate on what we will do upon arrival." Mischa smiled, "Yatuni set a course and take every necessary counter measure. ADIN; see what you can learn from the holonet about current activity there; The more we know on current affairs the easier we can embed." She finished turning to Kelly; "I think I have just the thing" with that she made her way back to the bedroom to start working on her cover ID.
Kelly followed Mischa into the bedroom, still dressed in her usual armour with a headwrap of matching colour in hand, "This look should do, right? I might need to switch out my usual rifle for something less advanced to go with the rough outlaw appearance, but we're trying to stay low so hopefully we won't need to actually fire it. Anyways, what's your idea?"
"Idea?" she chuckled while prepping her gear, "I am very much flying blind here, Kelly; a situation I really do not care for. Best I can say at the moment is still to pay Laesa a visit and see what we can learn. Rishi is nothing more than a pit stop to ensure we won't be tracked and any resupply we need whilst there; I'll consider a bonus!"
Kelly nodded, "We're not just blind, we don't have access to Imperial resources either, and without support from HQ it's going to be difficult to forge cover IDs. On the bright side, no one's going to run a thorough background check on a place like Rishi. We just need names that we haven't used before. Maybe once we get to the Planet we can use the computer systems there to slice into some databases and embed some convincing identities."
Mischa smiled, "that's where I am hoping ADIN can find some useful information on the holonet for us. Perhaps details of some pre-existing pirate group who may not be present. But we shall see what he finds I suppose, and should he find nothing that we can make use of... well it wouldn't exactly be the first time I've walked onto a new world with no established cover and still built something up" she chuckled
ADIN's voice sounded on cue, as he was likely listening in on the agents, "Claiming to be a part of a crime organization with no known presence on Rishi is one option. Many Outer Rim pirate groups may visit Rishi, and traffic on a shadowport is always difficult to track. I recommend using the identity of members of a larger organization which does not operate solely in the Outer Rim and possess multiple cells whose members are not always aware of one another."
"Something like the Hutt Cartel or the Exchange," Kelly proposed.
"Precisely," affirmed the droid's voice. "There is another option: the use of a group whose identities are unknown. There is a band of starship thieves that the HoloNet has taken to calling 'The Corporate Sector Liberators.' No one has any information on who they are, and their operations involve the theft of expensive craft like our own from in and around the Corporate Sector, which later surface on various black markets across the galaxy. From the news reports and the infrequency of activity it seems to be a relatively small group, and the likelihood of us encountering someone who personally knows a member is highly improbable."