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Author Topic: "Hunting the Hunted"  (Read 6845 times)

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Offline Mei

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Re: "Hunting the Hunted"
« Reply #60 on: 07/31/17, 10:57:32 AM »
Ke didn't care much for Hutts, and he preferred not to work with them. Ever. But Mr. Hat had his own resources, as did Ke. And he respected that, and wasn't about to get the Hutts on his back.

“Ubaba…” Ke repeated the name and shook his head. “Can't say I've heard of him, but Nal Hutta isn't exactly familiar ground for me.” He pulled out a datapad from his back pocket and quickly composed a message. “And don't worry,” he glanced up. “I'm not lookin’ to stir up any trouble for you. This'll strictly be recon,” he tapped a final button, sending his message before returning the device to his pocket.

Alara sipped her drink, sitting at the bar downstairs when she heard her holocom beep. She looked to where she left it on the counter and set her glass down. A heavy sigh escaped her as she saw an incoming message from Ke. He was right upstairs. With a roll of her eye, she opened his message. It detailed Mr. Hat’s chosen location on Hutta, and asked her to scope out the place.

This sounded wonderful, she thought sarcastically as she closed his message. Some run down, thug runned, tavern by a hutt palace. He owed her a real vacation. Perhaps to one of the nice beaches on Corellia.

Not that she was opposed to doing the recon mission. She had the experience, but Hutta? She picked up her drink and downed the rest.

Hutta, she thought again and name came to her mind. One of Keiko’s friends… Syl’ynna. What was she called? Right, the “Iron Maiden”. Lara smiled to herself and picked up her holocom, searching her contacts. She could use a bare-knuckle boxing champ, and especially a Huttan local. She found the young woman’s contact and noted it before replying back to Ke:

You're not my superior anymore.

She smirked as she sent the message. Certainly he knew she had his back, but it was also fun to mess with him and make him doubt… at least for the moment. She then dialed her contact.

“Hey Syl, it's Alara Slate. You wouldn't happen to be around Nar Shaddaa would you?”
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Offline Kremon

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Re: "Hunting the Hunted"
« Reply #61 on: 08/04/17, 09:05:36 AM »

"Ubaba… Can't say I've heard of him, but Nal Hutta isn't exactly familiar ground for me.” Ke'rii replied. Could he be lying, and he really did know the Hutt? Not likely, otherwise Ubaba would have goons every fifty meters on Nar Shaddaa looking to get a cut of the eight million credit bounty, which may or may not exist. If there was one thing Hutts didn't have in their anatomy, that was loyalty. Friendship went to the highest bidder; end of story. No, Ke'rii was definitely out of the lurch when it came to Nal Hutta. That was Gharzog's ground.
Then he noticed that Ke'rii was messaging someone. Was it his new friend, Lara? Or someone else, this agent alluded to by the slip of the tongue made earlier? Could be. He'd need to be careful of that connection.
“And don't worry, I'm not lookin’ to stir up any trouble for you. This'll strictly be recon." Ke'rii added.
Oh, of course... He also would not go around snooping for information and setting up traps simply on his word.
No, Ke'rii definitely had other plans. Ones that he did not figure would be for Gharzog's good. Perhaps he'd best get into contact with some of his informants on Hutta... Let them know to start keeping a look out for the captain's friends...
Exephos; a haunted war-ravaged veteran.
Shad'ra; an indecisive ex-mandalorian.
Gharzog; a happy-go-lucky gun for hire.

Offline Mei

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Re: "Hunting the Hunted"
« Reply #62 on: 08/07/17, 10:53:29 AM »
Slippery Slopes Cantina
Nar Shaddaa

Syl’ynna Freeborn sat perched on the edge of a barstool, leaning over a table in the Slippery Slopes cantina.  She gazed into the eyes of the man opposite with a flirtatious smile.  "Say, hon...  You gonna start soon?" the strain was obvious on the Chiss freebooter's face as he strained to budge her from her position in the arm-wrestle between them.  Several patrons were gathered around the pair; exchanging credsticks as bets were made, and earnings lost.  "IROOOON MAIIIIIDEN!!!" bellowed one of the patrons, and she rolled her eyes with a grin.  "Don't make me throw the match to spite you, Gibbo!"

The man cut off his call with a raucous laugh; and at the same moment, a holocom chirped; and the tune of the very latest, cheesiest dance-craze track drifted over the stunned crowd.  Syl slammed the chiss' hand down onto the table, scooped up her winnings and made a quick exit.  "I'd love to play properly next time, but I have to take this, gang!" she called over her shoulder as she flipped open the receiver, and spoke.  "You've got Syl'ynna!  What's cookin'?"

“Hey Syl, it's Alara Slate,” she hoped the girl remembered her. “You wouldn't happen to be around Nar Shaddaa would you?” Lara leaned over the counter and refilled her drink, putting the cost on the tab Ke'rii was building up at the Dancer's Palace.

Syl ran a hand through her hair, and grinned.  "Lara??  Yeah, babe, I'm just down the 'Slopes!  I just got back from a little delivery to Rishi.  Y'know they have talking birds?  Not parrots.  Like...  walking, sentient bird-folks.  I learned a heap of new cusses to use!  Ravri'ihah veo tocen ticsi! - say it to a Chiss, and it'll REALLY wind 'em up.  I made almost as much from the bets as I did from the run!  What can I do for you?  How's Keiks?  I haven't heard from her in a while...."

Lara chuckled and sipped her drink. Yeah, this is why they liked her. “You know, Keik was just there with that Tank guy,” she rolled her eyes, then thought. “You haven't been paying attention to any bounty boards lately, have you? Keiko’s dad’s gotten himself a little popular.”

Syl had stopped by a greasy-spoon hole-in-the-wall, and grabbed a womp-stick.  She shook her head, and took out her dataslate; munching on the rat-snack stuffed into her mouth - one hand holding her holo, the other her dataslate.  After a few seconds, her jaw fell open, and she gasped - dropping the verminstick as her eyes busted out of her head.  "Yih pisua uhobaw rhodians!" she muttered in Huttese.  "He piss off the Empress or what?  Who has that kind of scratch?"

"Crazy, kriffin’ pirates,” Lara answered. “Though take that with a grain of salt. According to Ke, he ‘has everything under control’,” the doubt weighed heavily on her voice. “But he needs some reconnaissance done on Nal Hutta. You ever hear of a place called Riiki’s tavern? Supposed to be near some hutt named, uh… Ubaba or something.” She took a quick drink again. “Apparently, Ke has decided to team up with the lowlife hunter wanting his millions.”

Syl blinks, stoops and picks up her rat-stick, and wipes  it clean of Shadaa-grime, and resumes munching.  "You going down there, Lara?  That place used to be...  well, Hutt-decent, if not really decent.  Folks don't go there now.  They opened a refinery nearby that killed pretty much everything.  Even some of the clientele.  If you thought Hutta was a ball of Bantha-dung... you're in for a shock there." she chews thoughtfully.  "Been awhile since I saw my folks.  You want me to come with?"

Alara cringed at the description, and this time it came from a local. Ke really did owe her a nice holiday to a beach... "I would appreciate the local advantage. Ke mentioned something about flesh eating toxic waste, so... It might just help to have another pair of eyes watching where I step, am I right?"  She laughed, but inside... she wanted to punch Ke a good one.

"You got it, Lara.  I'll meet you at Mezenti in... an hour?  We'll take my junker.  Don't need that shiny little pretty of yours getting a chip in the paint, or whatever.  Gotta keep your Republic shine-quota filled." she grinned and used the half-devoured rat-stick to blow a kiss.  "Love you, babe!"  The comm blinked off, and for a moment the boxer considered going back to rough up Tank; but shook her head, muttering to herself.  "Work before pleasure, Syl..." and headed for a taxi to the spaceport.

Alara remained in the bar for the next thirty minutes. Drinking water, eating a little grub and going through research in her datapad. She checked her chrono and packed up her things and left the bar.

She stopped when she heard the sound of someone running down the stairs. Her hand went to one of her blasters, but then Ke came through the door. His morning routine in full swing.

“Hey babe--” Alara started as Ke slowed his pace. It was obvious he enjoyed her term of endearment. It happened so rarely with her. But her eyes narrowed as Mr. Hat followed in. Kriffin’ shadow, she thought.

“Gorgeous, amant, light of my life…” Ke was beaming at her as he shifted off course to go to her.

“Stop,” she said, stern, and glanced at the hunter. “I'm headed out to Nal Hutta with....” another glance. “A certain slugger we know.”

Ke raised a brow. Now why didn't he think of Syl’ynna? He nodded, smiled, and said: “Cool.”

“You going to behave with your new friend?” another glare in Hat’s direction.

Ke gave a lopsided grin. “I always behave.”

“No you don’t,” She looked back at him.

Another lopsided grin, a quick kiss on Lara’s cheek and Ke’rii was off again, crossing the restaurant.

Alara looked back to the hunter. “Seriously, you try anything with him, and you'll wish you died on those stairs trying to keep up.”

She had nothing more to say to Mr. Hat. Well, she did, but Ke was hoping to keep him as a friend.

The lovely Syl'ynna Freeborn played by @Oathbreaker
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Offline Mei

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Re: "Hunting the Hunted"
« Reply #63 on: 08/11/17, 07:02:40 AM »
As Ke'rii ran up the stairs, doing all he could to irritate his new buddy who still didn't seem to trust him, he seriously wondered how he never thought to contact the young boxing champ, Syl’ynna. The young woman was a Hutta local, friend of the family and certainly someone he was glad to have helping Alara. She could knock out any suspicious thug that may be a problem, and would get a kick out of doing it. And more importantly, Alara trusted her over his Imperial agent.

Thirty-eight, thirty-nine, forty… he reached the top of the stairs and tapped his cybernetics, making a call to his agent.

“Yo,” he said, not addressing Athuuna by his name…. just in case Mr. Hat was in earshot. “Got a location on this place, if you could do a little recon, Lara’s heading there now. Uplinking data to you now,” he glanced over his shoulder as he slowed his pace through the upstairs lobby and transmitted the data.

* * * * * * * *

Alara left the Dancer's Palace with enough time to arrive early at the spaceport. Early was better than late, especially when she wasn't sure which “junker” belonged to Syl. She wasn't put off by well-loved ships. The Shengli was one, older than her own, and certainly flew smoother. Perhaps it was due to the captain… she shook her head, clearing her mind of Ke'rii. She couldn't let him become a distraction. She was always the focused one in their relationship.

She lingered, trying not to look like she was lingering. Being idle or lost only brought trouble. She didn't want trouble. Trouble got you noticed. And she hated being noticed.

Syl swaggered into the spaceport, strolling idly while she sipped a Jawa-juice through a straw from a collapsa-bag - without an apparent care in the world.  She waved to Alara, and made her way over to the waiting watcher; tossing the packaging on the spaceport floor for a mouse-droid to tidy. Alara was stunned again -as she had been since the first time they met- by the bulk, and easy, muscular, grace of the champion prize-fighter.

"Laraaaa!" Syl called happily, and broke into a run to wrap her huge arms around the spacer, laughing into the embrace as she dwarfed the grown woman almost like a child.

Alara tensed when the champion boxer attacked her with a hug, and stumbled slightly off balance. She had always been awkward when it came to receiving hugs, even with those she knew well. Though, Ke'rii had been able to work his way to be the only exception. Awkwardly, she returned the hug.

"So good to see you!” Syl said. “C'mon, my little slice of 'paradise' is this way." she led down a few side-alleys and elevators to a small hangar where her 'junker' was berthed.  The ship was more impressive than the term she had used really merited.  An Armadillo light frigate, freshly painted bright green and blazing purple.  Respected for a serviceable cargo-hold, and comfortable crew quarters.   

"There's my girl..." she happily gestured, and led the way onboard, up towards the cockpit.  "Mezenti tower, this is I.M.-Arma-7817, requesting clearance.  Stay awesome, tower." she waited for the comm-clicks of assent; turned to her friend and clicked her tongue with a grin as she regarded the woman’s attire.  Perhaps fitting for a schlep on Nar Shadaa; but nowhere near tough enough to withstand Hutta.  "You're not wearing that on the surface, right?"

Lara looked down at her clothing: thick boots, leather pants, black shirt with a thick, dark red jacket that hit her at the midriff. Her dual blasters hung at her hips by a worn leather belt. She was about to strap herself in. “What? I stand out too much?”

Then she thought… all that hazmat gear Ke had her bring. Maybe she should have brought some for herself.

“Oh kriff,” Lara said, her face scrunched.

Syl giggled, and programmed into the auto-launch sequencer, and grabbed Lara by the hand.  "I'm gonna dress you for Hutta.  You're gonna look so kriffing sexy."

Lara grumbled as Syl pulled her from her chair.

And twenty minutes later, as the ship broke atmosphere; the pair re-emerged from Syl's wardrobe; Lara dressed in considerably more hard-wearing kit - baggy; fitted for the heavily built boxer more than a republic infiltrator.

Syl beamed at her handiwork.  "Damn, girl.   You so fine." she teased.

Alara adjusted the gear, getting as comfortable as possible. “This almost takes me back to Taris,” she said and looked up at Syl. She gave a little smile. “Almost,” she said and checked the pockets. There were plenty of places to hide her camera and additional gear. “When’s the last time you were on Hutta?”

The boxer laughed.  "Umm, a few months.  But Hutta never really changes.  It just gets worse..." she peered at Lara again, then burst out laughing.  "Lara...  it's just a planet.  You don't actually need all this.  I just wanted to see how far I could push you!"  She dabbed at her eyes, and shook her head.  A moment later, a holocam was in her hand, and the picture was snapped.

Lara snapped a look at her. Did she just..?

 "Ahh, classic.  This'll make Keiko smile..." With a mischievous grin, the freshly-captured image of the over-dressed resistance warrior was beamed across the gulf of space to Syl's 'lil sister'.

Lara lost her smile, but took the girl's humour. She was serious, almost always, and joked very little. When she actually did, it came off as awkward.

“You gonna mess with me the entire way?” she kept her, cool ‘Alara-esque' seriousness, but smiled. She was just glad the photo wasn't sent to Ke.

Syl laughed, and nodded.  "If I'm getting paid for this; you get me as a professional.  So far, it seems to be a favour soooo... you get what you pay for.”

Alara shook her head, amused. "Well if its payment you want, then you'll have to talk to Keiko's father," she smiled. "But if you'll help me out of the goodness of your heart, then you can be as unprofessional as you want. I'm hoping we won't run into trouble... but... fair warning... this is a Ke'rii-thing, so..."

Syl thumbed in the direction of the cockpit, and led the way.  "I know.  I did some digging on my ride over.  The guys who placed the bounty aren't kidding around.  But hey...  Space scum are space scum; no matter how many bodies they leave in their wake.  Get 'em on the ground without a ship to look after them, and suddenly they're all  'please don't knock my teeth out, ma'am!'." she looks at Lara with a grin.  "That IS the plan right?  Get these jerks on the ground?  That's why we're going to the crummiest place on the crummiest planet in the galaxy?"

Lara nodded. "From what I gather, yes. Sounds like you want a piece of the action?" she smiled and knew Ke needed more friends on the ground. "But yeah, this new hunter friend of Ke'rii's picked this wasteland as the place to choke 'em out and ambush them. Just going in to have a look... and Ke needed supplies," she shook her head. "Still can't believe that kriffin' idiot got himself barricaded at that Dancer's Palace."

The boxer paused in her stride, and shook her head.  "I don't want a 'piece'.  Keiko’s like a little sister.  That means her dad's family, and you are too.  I'll do what you need, and I'll kriffing enjoy doing it."

The idea of being family made Lara smile, even if she was 'weird' about it... the whole concept that Ke's an Imperial officer and she's a Republic citizen not looking to defect...  It put a wedge between them that they didn't always care to acknowledge.

"That's good," Lara nodded as she continued to adjust her gear. "Because he's getting me out of dodge after this. Wants to make sure I get Keiko back safe and sound to Tatooine, only complication is that she's on Dromund--" she stopped herself and shook her head, looking up. "That's a whole other ordeal. He's full of them," she smiled. "But first things first... crummy planet. Think I can use it as leverage to get him to take me to a non-toxic beach?”

Syl leaned comfortably against the table and crossed her arms. “So we go check out this location. And get enough kit for… How big is the ground-team?”

With a sigh and a shake of her head, Alara crossed her arms. “He’s got one other agent, and the hunter. As far as I know,” she began to pace a bit, obviously not liking this plan. “And there’s some Darth involved, but I’m not sure her role in all this. And I’m sure this hunter has his people and he won’t be disclosing that to Ke--of course.” Her jaw tightened and she started to tug again at the baggy clothing. She preferred something with a little more maneuverability.

Syl’ynna quirked an eyebrow. “Soooo… We’re fighting an unknown number of hostile pirates with an unknown number of semi-hostile allies in a deadly marsh full of opportunistic maniacs on a planet run by profiteering gangsters. This is gonna be greeeeeat.”

Grief! That sounded as bad as it actually was. Alara gave a painful grin, her jaw tight. “So very Ke’rii Ogasawara, isn’t it?” her fists balled for a moment. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to give him one in the kisser,” she tugged again on the armor. “I don’t really have to wear this, right?”

Syl nodded emphatically. “Yes you damn well do. I’ll be getting changed too. And please. Spare me. You always want to give him one in the kisser. You just need to get the guts to do it.” She smirked. “And I’m not talking about punching him. Leave that to a professional.”

Usually, Lara was good at hiding her expression, but she cracked a smile. It happened when she was around people she knew. “I’ll give you five credits to give him a good one,” she smirked. “But not too hard, he does mean well,” she looked across the bridge. “I’ll wait for you out there… as I try to move in this,” she raised a brow, giving an ‘irritated’ look as she left the room.

“Please,” Syl said as Lara leaned against the rail, looking over the ‘junker’. “Even the hutts pay more to punch someone. Just kiss him and be done.”

Lara laughed. “If only it was as simple as ‘kiss him and be done’,” she commented. “You ever been in love?” she asked as Syl emerged from her room, crossing the bridge and entering the cockpit.

“I mean… not really,” Syl said, sliding into her seat and preparing the ship for hyperspace. “But Lara; I’ve seen you pining after the guy since the first time I saw you around him. Probably far longer. Keiko adores you. He hates being without you.”

Alara turned in her chair as the ship dropped to hyperspace. “Much longer,” she admitted. “Before Keiko,” she laughed suddenly. “Stars, am I actually getting old?” she sighed and shook her head. “It’s just… the path he chose I… I can’t forgive the Empire like he did.”

The other raised her eyebrows. “Yeah, Lara. That’s a great point. Why be near the people you care about, when instead you can schlep around some scum-bar on Ord Mantell, wait for them to call, then make them feel guilty for the choices they make when you’re not around.”

Lara listened, quietly. Reminded how blunt the girl was.

“Solid strategy,” Syl continued. “No wonder the Empire always whips the Republic’s ass.”

The truth stung. “I’m horrible,” Lara said, and it was because of her own fear. “I know, it’s just… I get so angry that--you know, when he was idle, not really affiliated with anyone, we were so good. And I-I get him. I get his reasons. They aren’t really for the Empire, but… he’s just… it’s frustrating. And maybe I’m too stubborn.” She looked directly at Syl. “Why am I such a bitch?

It was obvious that Lara didn’t have a lot of girlfriends to vent to.

Syl responded with a giggle. “Probably because you’re not getting any. Get laid, Lara. Chill out. Have you seen the way he stares at you? Guy wants you.”

“Good grief, you are so blunt,” she tried to keep a straight face. “I know he wants me. I see the way he looks at me, and he’s so kriffin’...” she sighed again and fell silent. Why did she have a problem with this? “You realise we’ve been on again-off again since like… when you were a baby, and…” Silence again.

Syl waited for her and watched as Lara’s forehead creased with realisation.

“And he’s… never…” Lara looked at the girl as if she just had an epiphany. “And I’ve told him he lacks commitment?” she shook her head and threw her hands in the air. “Never fall in love, it’s too kriffin’ complicated.”

Syl’ynna grinned and reached for her blaster-belt as the ship dropped out of hyperspace. “Seems easy to me. You just make it hard.”

The truth, again. Nice and blunt.

“C’mon,” Syl continued. “Let’s get this scouting done so you can go back to pining after something you could just have.”

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Offline Kremon

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Re: "Hunting the Hunted"
« Reply #64 on: 08/11/17, 09:55:12 AM »

Gharzog adjusted his coat, tightening it against Nal Hutta's climate as the shuttle neared the surface. He was off on another 'field trip' as it were. He was certainly taking more and more liberties with leaving Ke'rii alone in the Dancer's Palace, though at this point, he supposed it was too dangerous for the man to leave. By now, every two-credit hired gun with a lick of sense on the Smuggler's Moon had to know he was hiding out in the Dancer's Palace, but that was most definitely not the place to go staging a grand assault, eight million credit bounty or not. Not only were the security systems top of the line, putting some Galactic Banks to shame, but the owners also had some friends with the Hutt Cartel, which could make life very, very painful if you ticked them off.
So he should have nothing to fear from the captain leaving the planet. That hadn't stopped him from leaving an informant out on the Palace docks though, with a hefty pocket of credits to comm him if Ke'rii tried to leave. Perhaps he was overly cautious, but he still didn't entirely trust the man, and he was too far along to lose him now.
As it was, he needed to keep his mind focused on the task at hand.
The shuttle was packed full of workers, managers, couriers, and many others of various species heading for the polluted world for various methods of business. No-one ever went there for vacation or to shop at the markets, no every person here had a specific task in mind, which was important to avoid being eaten alive by the criminal underworld... Or by the vicious predators.
Some people liked to charter private shuttles, or use their own ships. He'd considered purchasing a liner and renovating it for his own purposes once he got some credits together, but in the end, he did away with that idea. Travelling on public vessels not only gave him the excellent ability to travel quite incognito, but also gave him free shielding. No sane person would fire on an entire vessel full of innocents, and if they were to board, he'd have far more hiding places and areas to blend in.
The shuttle's exterior hissed as it entered the smog-filled atmosphere, causing him to double check his rebreather mask's tightness, sealed his gloves, ensured that his trousers were tucked into his boots, before strapping on a pair of goggles. His clothing had been constructed out of a good sturdy local material which could repel the planet's toxins, a very handy thing to have when he conducted most of his business on the surface and usually having to track down fugitives through it's dangerous swamps. He technically wouldn't need the protection quite yet though. The shuttle was landing in one of the urban areas, where instead of killing you in twenty minutes, or less, the 'pleasant ambiance' would kill you in twenty years. The factories were filtered, as were some of the more well to do businesses and homes, but the average life expectancy for a worker on Nal Hutta was very, very short. Especially because if the toxic waste or daily industrial accidents didn't get you, the criminals or psychos would.
With a jolt, the shuttle touched down on Nal Hutta's surface.
He unbuckled his harness, before making for the shuttle's door where one of the heavily armed Nikto shuttle stewards had already opened the door. He held a scattergun in his hands and wasn't watching the passengers leaving, but the various individuals on the outskirts of the unguarded landing pad. Nal Hutta was a horrid, putrid place that many residents were desperate to get off of. It was actually common for disgruntled groups of workers to try and storm the shuttles to seize control of them and get off the polluted worlds. Some people actually succeeded, but more often then not, it led to their deaths. Poor rubes.
He stepped off the shuttle, before heading straight for the residential warrens of the factory town, in the opposite direction of most the other passengers. Today, he was stashing equipment for the battle ahead. A fairly simple affair that simply involved moving one of his carepackages from Point-A to Point-B. But he didn't trust that simple task to someone else, not that he worried about being betrayed, but he needed to know where it would be within an inch, just in case. There had been times in the past where he'd nearly died because someone else had stashed his equipment, and he hadn't been able to find it in the dark. A repeat of that, with the stakes so high? Not something he wanted to experience.
He looked around the warrens as he made for one of his many safehouses. Tightly packed in housing for cheap, allowing the Hutts to stuff thousands of workers into a small place. Perfect employment rates for the factories just a walk away. A quick sidestep around a shouting gunman chasing an Evocii down the street, before he stepped down into an alleyway. He carefully counted out ten paces, before turning immediately to his right and sifting away some of the dust and rubbish on the ground. There, flush with the street surface was a sealed trapdoor. It was marked with faded warning signs for electricity in Basic and Huttese, along with a fake junction number. To the observer, it'd appear to be just another accessway to the wires running beneath the streets. But in reality... He dialed the code on the manual five digit locking lug, before it popped open and he dropped down inside, taking care to close it shut behind him. The interior was not an electrical cable room, but one of the many hiding places he had around the planet. It was small, but had the essentials. A small bed in the corner, a shelf stocked full of supplies, a filtration system to keep out toxins, and a wall full of blasters and the odd weapon he'd accumulated.
For this job, he'd want some heavy firepower. So he took a duffel bag and stuffed it with a handful of grenades, two extra blaster pistols, a scattergun, and one of his large bore blaster rifles which he used for taking down lizards and mining droids. He considered bringing a military-grade flamethrower, the kind that could melt through armour which he'd nicked off a run-in with a now-dead Mandalorian, but decided to leave it behind. Too noticeable, and he could always rely on his wrist-mounted version if the pirates got in too close.
Satisfied with the gear he had, he clambered back out of his little bunker, before making off towards the site he'd chosen for the battle. Once there, he'd arrange his gear as appropriate, and hopefully, not run into anyone else that had the same idea of preparing the battleground...
Exephos; a haunted war-ravaged veteran.
Shad'ra; an indecisive ex-mandalorian.
Gharzog; a happy-go-lucky gun for hire.

Offline Noth

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Re: "Hunting the Hunted"
« Reply #65 on: 08/11/17, 10:04:34 AM »
Athuuna made sure to lift off after the freighter did, following the ship's trajectory to Nal Hutta. It wasn't that he didn't trust Ke... Wasn't even that Ke's girl was Republic, though her personal entanglement with the man did make her an unpredictable variable... He just, as a rule, tried not to trust anyone he was on a mission with too much. He dropped out of orbit behind the two and hailed them on a lightly scrambled comm, just so they knew he was there.

"Nice flying, Ms. Slate. You didn't die en route. Call it a win for now. I'll head down after you." He paused. "Our roads diverge here. Keep me apprised of your findings. Your job may be to scout, but mine is to cover our asset's back. I'll let you know when I'm in position."

He left the comms open for a response as he went about preparing for the trip. Nal Hutta was a lovely place. If you were anything less than heavily armed, it was cause for suspicion and close to an open challenge to anyone looking for a fight. Thankfully, the 'pirate ship' he came in was well stocked. He slung his rifle over his shoulder, strapped a pair of black market pistols to his belt, before attaching a full-face visor to his cybernetics. That would take care of both his identity and the poisoned air. A dart gauntlet would take care of anything that got too close, and a roughly woven scarf draped over and around his shoulders made it look like he'd been wearing the outfit for months. He activated a small number of probe droids from his hold, sending them to patrol the ship in his abscence, then primed the defenses wired into the ship itself. No one was going on his vessel without dying in it.

"Keep watch over the ship while I'm gone," he instructed one of the probes, after landing in the spaceport a reasonable distance from the chosen drop point. "Paralyze or kill anything that gets too close, in order of priority."

The probe beeped musically in response. The Agent ducked under the hatch, sealed the final trapped defense into place behind him, and headed outside to find an ideal spot on the planet for scouting and sniping.

As he did, he changed the frequency on his comms, signalling out to the frequency he had been given earlier: "Darth Karmic, M'Lord. This is the Cipher assigned to this mission, moving into position now. I serve at your command. You may lock onto my position at will."

(( Edited to add @Karmic in, hope that is okay!))
« Last Edit: 08/11/17, 10:08:07 AM by Noth »
The Jedi: Bren (Archaeologist), Iirim (Healer), Zorru (Recruiter), Orans (Master), Aybekk (Padawan)
The Politicians: Varooth (Senator), Seirion (Aide/Spy), Ayrak (King)
The Mandos: Urziya (Rallymaster), Terr (Chieftain)
The Outlaws: Telen (Slicer), Majia (Pirate/Smuggler)
The Imperials: Athuuna (Agent), Zhekrazh (Lord), Z'ridia (Apprentice)

Offline Mei

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Re: "Hunting the Hunted"
« Reply #66 on: 08/15/17, 11:38:24 AM »
The Palace was quiet, too quiet. Alara had left for Hutta, and Mr. Hat too. And Ke'rii was left behind, but not entirely alone. His hunter, of course, made sure to leave behind some hired chump to stand watch on the docks. It irritated him, yes, but it also spoke volumes how much his soon-to-be captor/partner-in-ambush actually trusted him.

Untrusting people were unpredictable. And unpredictable was not what he needed right now. Not this close. He just didn't work that way. You just don't go out into the field with a man or a team you don't trust or haven't fought with. That was his principal, but he wasn't in the position to make choices.

Ke'rii paced the lobby. He felt in limbo. Everyone was on Hutta gathering first hand information, possibly even planting traps he wouldn't know about. Did he play too fair? Probably, but it was the only way he knew to earn trust. His only secret was Agent Athuuna, and even then, the agent wasn't meant to be a trap for anyone except the Crimson Dread Pirates.

He hated this. He was itching to get down there, be in the field and all he could do was pace back and forth and wait. He hated waiting and he hated not knowing. More so, he hated worrying. Worrying was a distraction. He had worried about Keiko. Now he worried for Alara. She would hate to know he was worrying for her, but kriff! Hutta was the wasteland of the galaxy. If anything happened to her, he would never forgive--

Wheelie rolled up beside him and chirped happily, wobbling in place. A glass of blue milk and a plate of baked sweets were on the astromech’s tray.

Ke blinked and looked at the droid. He didn't order anything. But Wheelie chirped again and rolled back and forth excitedly. Then another low beep, offering the snack again.

Ke smiled. “This to calm my nerves?” he chuckled and Wheelie chirped affirmatively. “You're too kind, Wheelie,” he said and took the snack offered to him, sitting down on one of the benches. “Too bad I can't take you with me when this is all said and done. The Ziost could use a dancing droid,” he smiled and had a little chuckle about what Heermann would do if he reprogrammed one of the serving droids in his ship.

* * * * * * * *

Syl’ynna settled the ship at the spaceport, and grabbed her gear as the two prepared to disembark the garishly painted Armadillo. She looked at Alara when she heard her sigh.

Lara gave a look, unhappy, as the voice of Ke’s Imperial agent come through her comm. Of course he would follow them, and as much as she didn't like it, or him, or the fact that she was even working with the Empire, they did have a mutual friend… the “asset”, Ke'rii.

“Acknowledged,” was the only cold response Lara gave the agent before closing the communication. “Ke's got an agent on the ground too. Wants us to keep him appraised of our findings,” she adjusted her gear, jaw tight. “Let's get this over with.”

Syl raised an eyebrow, but didn’t argue - not her place, and the less she knew; the better.  At least for now.

The pair left the ship and Lara kept close to Syl. Even the spaceport was dirty, musty with the stench of Hutta trapped inside.

“You know where this place is?” Alara looked to Syl, a hand hovering over the blaster on her hip.

“Not precisely.  At least; I haven’t been there. But it’s on Hutta - I can get us there.”

Lara cringed. “Unfortunately. Ubaba’s palace, somewhere near there,” she sighed. “I know how Ke works, he'll want good visuals, atmospheric readings, anything we can get--even if we think it useless--he'll want to know about. He's kriffin’ Mr. Calculate.” She drew in a breath as they exited the spaceport. She coughed, choking on the air. It was abysmal. “Ugh.”

“Atmospheric readings?!?” Syl laughed, breathing deeply of the acrid air.  “Home sweet Hutta…”

“Now I know why he wanted a respirator.” Alara came to understand the list of items Ke needed more clearly now as she covered her mouth. She really did stand out, even in the boxer’s gear.

Syl’ynna took in another deep breath, and pivoted on her feet, arms outstretched. “What? For this? This is a lovely day!”

Alara cringed and looked around. “So this is Jigunna?” she was not impressed. The air was visibly thick with toxins. Locals strolled the street, and Lara couldn't help but notice their shady looks. Maybe she was glad Ke’s agent was following them to the ground. Perhaps he would have their back of they needed it.

Syl nodded with a grin. “Yeah. If galaxies had armpits; this place wouldn’t be worthy of the title.  But it’s home.  I’ll always love this place.”

Lara’s eyes were watering. “This is absolutely unbearable. Now I know why Ke’s friend, Mr Hat, has that whole breathing thing.” She started to hold her breath as she took her camera and activated it, placing it on her armour. “Better get a pretty picture…”

Syl looked at Lara, noticing she was starting to hold her breath. She pulled a filtration-mask off her belt, and tossed it to her. “Here. Cover up.” she then added, muttered, and with a grin. “Kriffin’ tourists.”

“Thanks,” Lara said, eagerly placing the mask over her head. She make sure it securely covered her mouth. The last thing she needed were her lungs to burn up.

“Alright. Let’s go.” Syl lead the way down the streets of Jiguuna, Alara closely behind her recording the area and taking mental notes.

“Bek,” Syl said, approaching a merchant. “Be a doll, and give us two sets of your ‘local armour’?”

Lara looked to Syl and spoke quietly. She didn’t want to sound too touristy. “Is this something Ke and the agent might need?”

“Make it four,” Syl added, handing over some credits. The merchant handed over three belt-kits, each with three compartments. “Local tree-sap for sealing breaches in a suit. Pheromones to keep beasties away. Balm to soothe burning lungs, eyes or skin if it comes into contact with more of the local irritants.”

Alara was impressed how easily this gear was to obtain, and as she looked it over, she mentally checked each item off the list Ke had given her. This was exactly what he had asked for. “He’ll pay you back,” she assured the other.

Syl just shrugged. “Not a worry. Nothing here ‘in the trenches’ really costs much. If it’s expensive, the hutts control the supply, and soon it’s worthless due to expense.”

Lara nodded, seeing the logic. She followed Syl out of Jiguuna and out into the open world of Hutta.  Syl purchased a couple of low-cost swamp-skimmers for transportation. They each lowered their goggles, making sure they were adequately secured.

“This way,” Syl said as she straddled the skimmer, and sped away across the toxic wasteland. “Stay sharp!” she called through the local-net comms.  “Poachers don’t much care what they hunt.”

“Great,” Alara sighed and followed close. So they were luring the Crimson Dread Pirates to a place where there was a possibility the locals would be hunting them too. Perfect. She hated the variables. She hated the unpredictability.

“Here we are…” the young boxer said as they arrived at a small overlook, looking down at Mr. Hat’s location.

The location was open, easy for a drop point. Easy for an ambush… for either side. Alara adjusted her camera to record as much as she could.

“Flesh eating toxic waste, right?” she looked to Syl. “That’s what Ke said,” and she worried he was right.

Syl nodded. “Yep. In the puddles on the ground. And that smoke...” she gestured to the acid-grey smog floating over the marsh “Filters in even a commercial-grade rebreather will only last a few minutes in the clouds.  Then...”  She clicked her tongue, and shrugged.

That was unsettling, Lara thought and looked at the other. “This local stuff will… stop that? Maybe?” She held the camera in one hand and with the other she adjusted her mask to make sure (again) that it was secure.

“Yeah,” Syl assured and pointed. “Somehow the trees still grow. Their sap will seal a breach, if it tears or… y’know… someone blasts you.  But nothing in the galaxy will make you feel better if you breathe a lungful of acid”

Alara had to wonder if there was any saving this world. It was unlivable, to her standards. She scanned the area as Syl talked, and wondered if Ke’s agent was around. If he was, he was doing a damn good job at being hidden. In this scenario, that was a good thing.

“Nothing will beat the real primo kit from off-world,” Syl was still talking. “But the more you look like a tourist, the more hostile the planet becomes.”

Alara gave another sigh, glad to be dressed in heavy, clunky armour. She snapped a few still shots of the trees, the structures. There were plenty of places to conceal their ambush.

“Between the gas, old tech and new equipment littering these places; traditional sensor-sweeps are about as much use as a feather as an ass-scratcher,” Syl said.

Lara looked to her. “I wonder how many locals Mr. Hat will have placed?” she mused out loud. “He hasn’t given an exact number.”

“Locals are just as unreliable as sensors,” Syl explained. “First option: bribes. Second option: threats. Third...” she patted her blaster in its holster.

The locals, present company excluded, sounded as toxic as the waste they left behind. “You don’t think any of this stuff is going to mess with his cybernetics, do you?” She looked around at the toxic smoke. Kriff only knew what all was actually in the air. Not to mention all the equipment; old and new. There was no telling what electricity could be loose in the air. “I mean… I certainly can’t sense if there is any… buzz around here that may cause interference.”

Syl’ynna shrugged. “I dunno. He got his wires someplace legit, right? Worst case; they don’t function.”

Alara didn’t want any ‘worst case’. Not when it came to Ke'rii. “They’re pretty high-end. He even added his own modifications,” and she seemed to trust that better than any ‘legit place’. She wandered a few paces away from Syl, recording everything that could be useful. She brushed her gloved-hand against her goggles, smearing particles that had built up. “There’s only one real way out of here isn’t there?”

“Off-world?” Syl asked.

Lara shook her head. “No, this immediate area?”

“About a million,” Syl said, pointing out what was obvious to her, but not to Alara. “Every old pipe goes somewhere not-here.”

Again, Lara brushed her gloved-hand over her goggles and looked towards some old pipes. “Right,” she saw them now. “Might be a good place to store backup… or escape...”

Syl pointed to one of the industrial chimneys. “Someone with a mag-line could be an eye in the sky on those platforms,” the boxer said, surprising the former Republic soldier with her idea. “Decent longarm blaster would be a pretty handy spot for backup.”

Alara cracked a smile, though it couldn’t be seen behind her mask. “Mm, yeah. Good thinking,” she said and pointed her camera. “Kinda pissed he doesn’t want me around. I’m a good shot,” she thought outloud. She may favor blasters now, but she was proficient with rifles. “But I get it.”

“You’ll be with Keiko, right?”

“Yeah,” Lara confirmed, snapping more photos of the area. “He needs me to pick her up on Taris… of all places,” she smiled again, unseen, and looked back at Syl. “Can’t exactly go straight to Dromund Kaas, so…” she shrugged.

“Isn’t Taris some sort of plague-world?”

Alara’s smile could be seen in her eyes. “Ah, but we’ll always have Taris,” she actually spoke fondly of the place. “He’s got contacts there, as do I.”

Syl shrugged. “I’ll take Hutta and toxic waste any day. But suit yourself.”

“I might suggest he add reinforcements to his gear,” Alara said, looking down at her boots. “Stars only knows how long they’ll be out here in this acid.” She hated this. She hated so completely that Ke was in this mess.

“A good pair of boots is the most important thing you can have on this planet,” Syl nodded, agreeing.

“I think we've got enough,” Lara said, looking up. “Let's get this back to Ke so he can analyze it, and we'll let him tell his agent what he's got.”

Tag: @Oathbreaker
« Last Edit: 08/15/17, 11:43:15 AM by Mei »
Sometimes I get creative: Story Collection || Artwork Collection

Offline Kremon

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Re: "Hunting the Hunted"
« Reply #67 on: 08/17/17, 11:01:55 AM »

Gharzog made down the polluted cluttered street, now packed full of workers heading home or heading for the factories as the shift changed whilst off in the distance, there was the occasional echo of blaster fire. Ahh, Nal Hutta. This was his own turf, and he knew it's ins and outs like the back of his hand, right down to each street corner. He absently sidestepped around a Gamorrean enforcer pounding a worker in an alleyway, before carrying on.
His demand of choosing the rendezvous point with the pirates was truly a perfect move on his part. The home-side advantage was entirely his; he had contacts, knew the lay of the land, had extra gun-for-hires on call, in addition to the little stashes of his, like the kind under his arm. But besides that, he'd stalked the streets of Hutta for so long that he knew the feel of it. Every movement of the populace, the atmosphere of the day-to-day life on the street, the sounds of the marketplace in full swing, or the minor movements of air that betrayed a mugger's presence.
Gharzog stepped to the side, avoiding a knife aimed for his ribs from a local criminal. With a fluid motion, he drew one of his blasters and fired twice at the hip.
The shots rang out in the close quarters, rebounding off the packed urban development and creating a red flash. The first bolt he fired knocked the knife clean out of his hand, the second hitting him in the wrist. The criminal was a young lad, but he knew that didn't make him any less dangerous so he kept the blaster casually aimed on him, careful to keep the case tucked under that arm from falling down.
"Made a wrong move, 'ey?" Gharzog asked as the youth quailed and whimpered, holding his hand. He shoved his hat forwards to hang down low, before stepping forwards and grabbing a hold of the mugger's collar with his free gloved hand.
"Now listen 'ere, a'ight? 'Ye don't go robbin' locals, understand? 'Ye rob the tourists. Off-world businessmen, Evocii hunters, and the like. Them's the ones that deserve it." Gharzog explained, before letting him go and dusting off his shoulders.
"Now 'ye go get that hand looked at." He added, to which the shaky pale lad nodded and ran off.
He rarely shot local thieves and guttersnipes like that. Not only was it bad for business; turning the lesser elements of the underworld against you, but it weighed on his conscience. These were the little guys, trying to make a living in indecent conditions without much hope for a future. Seemed cruel to rob them of their lives after the corporate and Hutt types robbed them of everything else.
With that sobering thought in mind, he turned and carried on his way without incident into the swamps, whereupon the town abruptly ended with a thick wall, manned by trundling Gamorreans that roamed about with blasters and axes. He had never figured out how to speak Gamorrese, though he could generally grasp what they trying to say or do. Perhaps for that language barrier, Hutts liked to keep them on the borders of their little empires, or outside their palaces, though the smell could also have something to do with it.
As it was, he soon found himself off the beaten path, up to his knees in murky sludge that was probably better left unidentified with dense misty fog hanging low over the ground. His stout clothing prevented him from feeling the worst of it, but he always swore that he could taste the bitterness of the air through the high quality filter, or that he could feel just a tinge of the burning acid through the protective clothing. But he supposed, or hoped, that was just his fancy. The location he'd chosen was near one of the many old pubs out here, the kind that did lively business, especially in times of cartel warfare, since they were always neutral ground when they were out in the middle of nowhere like this. But a huge refinery with towering chimneys had set up nearby, so the toxic acid had come in, and the patrons went out.
Now the whole area was left untouched by most, though some of the local hunters came in to get chemilizard hides. There were a couple out today, three or four massive speeder-sized reptiles sunning themselves in one of the acid lakes. He kept his distance from them, edging around to a stand of trees on a mostly solid island where he planned on stashing his gear. A quick look around for an appropriate place, before he wedged the case solidly beneath two tree roots that formed an overhang. That ought to do it.
As he was turning away though, he came to an abrupt halt and became as still as the trees around him. He'd caught sight of two figures on the edge of a ridge line. Could be hunters after the chemilizards not far off, or it could be brigands looking to make a quick cred off his gear. As it was, he remained completely still. The fog hanging over the environment would make it difficult to pick out details down here, he knew that much, but movement was a sure way to give his position away. Whoever they were, they must have arrived after he had.
Perhaps they were hired guns of Ke'rii's, here to gun him down? No, they'd have opened fire by now. But perhaps some of his lackeys, here to set up their own preparations?
How did he play this? Go in, make them know he was here and watching them? Or hang back from a distance, and try to observe. He chewed it over for a moment, thinking. Kriff it. He'd reveal his presence, but on his own terms.
He slowly edged down low, before moving in a slow cautious crouch around the ridge, careful to keep behind rolls in the land and trees. Hopefully, the slow movement and the dark clothing he was wearing would make him look like a shadow in the fog, or a chemilizard trudging along... A small one, that is.
After a few tense minutes of edging around, he was behind where he saw the two figures. He edged up closer, behind a fern so that he could see them. Both female, and both seemingly Human. One big, huge, muscular giant that looked like she could snap Houks between her hands, and no breathing mask or hazmat gear. The other was smaller, more average sized, he supposed? In a galaxy punctuated by millions of species, he didn't really know what an average size was. But she was in off-world hazmat gear and wearing a mask. Tourist, for sure. Actually, she looked familiar, though the clothing was pretty baggy and the mask obscuring so he couldn't quite tell.
“-ot enough, let's get this back to Ke so he can analyze it, and we'll let him tell his agent what he's got.” Definitely working for Ke'rii then, that answered one of his questions. This was going to be interesting.
Bracing himself for possible conflict, he tightened his breath mask, ensured his goggles were on properly, adjusted his hat, then stepped out onto the ridge.
"Well now. Ain't this 'ere just a lovely view, 'ey?" Gharzog said, peering out at the two of them from beneath the brim of his hat. Yes, this was going to be very interesting.
Exephos; a haunted war-ravaged veteran.
Shad'ra; an indecisive ex-mandalorian.
Gharzog; a happy-go-lucky gun for hire.