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Thread: Star Wars: Tapestry, Volume III

  1. #76
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    Reil studied the Captain’s features, trying to guess at what his motivations might be. After a long pause, Reil still couldn’t discern anything.
    “What if this has nothing to do with Tam Dawncaller? I don’t recall ever mentioning him. What if the information I give you has absolutely nothing to do with this “personal inquiry” of yours? You still gonna protect us?”

    Reil didn’t bother gesturing at the bulkhead this time, but the Captain knew who he was referring to.
    “If the incident had nothing to do with Tam, then that still tells me something. And you will still have what protection I can offer you.”

    Reil sighed.
    “Which won’t be much will it? I mean you’re big cheese on your little ship here, but once we get to wherever we’re going, you’ll be handing me over to Tremanye, and that will be the end of our blossoming friendship. And then, all the petitions in the ‘verse won’t amount to a hill of beans. Tell me Captain Doule, if I co-operate, and your boss still decides to have Cali and I killed, what are you prepared to do?”

    Doule frowned.
    “I’m not sure what you mean.”

    Reil got off his cot and faced Doule, who was standing on the other side of the cell’s bars.
    “What I’m asking is that when push comes to shove would you defy orders, jeopardise your career, your ship, your men, brave all dangers and mount a rescue to honour a bargain you struck with a killer and a Rebel?”

    Doule held Reil’s gaze.
    “No.”

    Reil grinned and flopped back onto his cot.
    “Well, you gets points for honesty. Will you at least feel bad when they kill us?”

    Doule considered this.
    “A little fatalistic aren’t you? There’s no reason to suspect that if you co-operate fully that you and the girl will be executed. Even if you don’t strike a deal, your crimes aren’t that severe.”

    Reil gestured at the cell in a sweeping sort of motion.
    “This place doesn’t exactly foster optimism. Truth be told I don’t know that your boss will kill us, strictly speaking, there could be torture. Or he could torture one of us, and kill the other. Or he could torture us both, chuck us in prison, and let us rot until old age or despair finally does us in. The point I’m trying to make here, is that no matter how this ends, I don’t see it ending well.”

    Doule was silent for a moment.
    “It would be regrettable, if that were to happen.”

    Reil frowned.
    “Okay, honesty is still appreciated, just not as much now.”

    Doule arched an eyebrow.
    “Well how sad do you want me to be, in the event that you are executed?”

    Reil grinned.
    “I want poems and lamentations, and an official mourning period. Maybe you could get the crew together and hold a little ceremony, have some of the more senior officers give a few words each . . .”

    Doule grinned despite himself. Briefly.
    “I’d have to look into it. But if we could veer away from the self-indulgent fanfare for just a moment, I’d like to get back to my original line of questioning.”

    Reil feigned ignorance.
    “Which was?”

    “Was Tam Dawncaller involved in the disappearance of the Disrupter?”

    Reil sighed. He couldn’t really see any more point in being coy. And he couldn’t help but wonder at what the man’s personal fixation with Tam could be.
    “Yeah, Tam’s involved.”

    There wasn’t a huge reaction from Doule, but he stiffened a bit, and his eye’s took on an intensity Reil hadn’t seen from the man before.
    “How involved?”

    Reil considered for a moment how to best phrase his next sentence.
    “Well if you think personally flinging it across the galaxy with his mind is involved, I’d say he borders on heavily.”

    Reil waited to hear protestations along the line of “Preposterous!” or “Impossible!” but Doule just stood there processing the information. Finally he seemed to reach a conclusion.
    “I think I need some context here, how do you know he destroyed the Disrupter with his mind?”

    “All right, so, this is kind of a long story, so bear with me. Cali and I were on Ryloth, and there was a bit of local trouble.”

    Doule’s eyes narrowed in suspicion.
    “Your file said you were wanted for questioning regarding the murder of a shop keeper, and the robbery of his store. Would this be the local trouble you’re referring to?”

    Reil shrugged.
    “Kinda? I mean our biggest problem was the violent shoot out with a group of slavers in the sewers of the city, but the other thing happened too. While we were getting shot at, we met up with Tam, and then I guess the noise bothered this giant lizard thing, because it showed up and started eating the slavers. Which was quite lucky for us. Anyway, we all piled onto their ship, and tried to make for a less troublesome world, when we were stopped by Imperial Port Authority. Apparently the ship we were on, the Emigrant, was under orders or something to dock with the Disruptor. So when we tried to flee, they scrambled fighters and the cruiser moved to intercept us. It was then that we were saved by the timely intervention of another ship, the Nova Viper. It helped clear some of the fighters for us, and then this guy, Athelias got on the com and asked for Tam. He said he was a Jedi, and he asked Tam to use the force, to move the Disruptor. Well Tam did like he said, he went into kind of a trance, and the ship just disappeared. Then Tam’s nose started to fountain blood, and he passed out. I never saw him try anything like that again.”

    Doule considered everything that had been said before responding.
    “I’ll need to verify your story’s authenticity, you understand. As best as I can anyway. If what you say is true, then you might just have revealed to me something very important.”

    Reil lay flat on the cot and closed his eyes.
    “Yeah, you go and do that. Have fun fact checking.”

    Just as Doule was leaving, he turned to Reil one last time.
    “The Jedi Athelias, what do you know about him?”

    Reil didn’t open his eyes.
    “I know he’s dead, so he can’t help you now. I wouldn’t go probing further than that Captain. It wasn’t a happy story.”
    Last edited by Ice Hawk; 02-21-2012 at 02:14 PM.
    Zealos Reil thought he was hot
    so he left the sim-pod cold
    on his eighth mission he got shot
    and that's all there is to be told.
    Draw your own conclusions rookies.

  2. #77
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    Koga Darcstarr stared at the data-pad, watching as numbers and letters scrolled across the screen. His pale yellow eyes narrowed as statistics and figures showed large amounts of resources and funds being channeled... where?

    What is Tremayne up to? Something big, but what?

    Koga doubted outright treason or a coup; the resources would only build a large capital ship; but something was going on. Something Tremayne wasn't telling the Emperor.

    Koga flicked a button on the 'pad, trying to find where most of the goods were going. He shifted nervously in the tight space, sweat sliding down his back under the shadow-suit he wore. Hanging upside-down in a narrow maintenance tunnel under the mansion of one of the most powerful and dangerous men in the Empire was not a pastime most ordinary beings would relish. But Koga was not a ordinary being... and the Emperor had ordered him to undertake this mission. And the Emperor's orders were as good as Koga's own desires. What the Emperor wanted done, Koga wanted done. That was why Koga Darcstarr was the Emperor's Hand.

    Koga adjusted the wire that ran from the data-pad in his hand to the thick cable running along the wall. Splicing the line in without setting of an alarm had been one of the more difficult things Koga had done in his life. He knew he would never get a chance like this again; it was only luck that he had found an old tunnel connecting to the tunnels under Tremayne's extensive house.

    The screen changed, showing a page with two words: "Access Code?". Koga thought. There was one code, a code that Palpatine himself had given, that just might, possibly, work. Holding his breath, Koga entered it. The screen flashed and changed to another two words: "Access Granted".

    Koga let out his breath, and peered intently at the screen, waiting for it to load.

    Just a few more seconds....

    And the everything went very incredibly wrong.

    The Force shouted a warning to him half a second before the two white-armored troopers appeared around the corner, their foot-steps muffled by the thick coating of dust on the floor, blaster rifles raised a read to fire.

    Before Koga could even reach for his blaster, before he could silence the troopers with a blast of Dark Side lightning, the troopers acted. Black gloved fingers jerked durasteel triggers, sending fiery bolts of concentrated plasma flashing from E-11 blaster rifles. The bolts screeched down the tunnel, quicker than thought, and sparks erupted from service panels and energy carrying wires.

    Koga felt pain blast through his hand, but he hardly felt it. His attention was focused totally on the data-pad that fell from his suddenly limp fingers, clattering to the dust covered floor. Everything seemed to move in slow motion as the 'pad hit the ground, face up. The glowing screen blinked, and Koga's eye caught one word, the letters traced like green fire. Dawncaller. Then the screen went black as the depth of space.

  3. #78
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    Anthan led his companion down a series of dark and stale-smelling hallways, listening intently. “Hold up,” he interrupted, glancing back at the black-haired man following him, “you mean that your father was over an entire fleet?”

    “It was a small attack wing attached to one of the main fleets,” the shorter man said, shrugging. “He wasn’t one of the admirals, if that’s what you mean.”

    Anthan stopped at a key-padded door and began to punch in a code. “No, I mean that he was a commander in the Republic Navy.” A light at the doorknob flashed red; he cursed and tried again. “Your dad’s one of the old war heroes, and I never even knew. After—what’s it been, two years?—you never once told me.” The door opened and he stepped in, beckoning his friend in behind him.

    “Come to think of it, you never talked about your family. At all.”

    The shorter man cocked his head for a moment. “No, I never did, did I?” He said, slowly. “Not to anyone.”

    “Not that it’s my business, but why is that?”

    The two each took a seat. It was an old conference room, with an ovular table surrounded by wheeled chairs that squeaked as the men settled into them, and lit only by a singular, flickering lamp at the table’s head. The dark-haired man stifled a sneeze and batted at the dust swirling past his face. “I don’t really know. It just never seemed . . . the time to.” He leaned back in his chair, which squealed in protest. “There aren’t too many good memories I have of home,” he admitted.

    The taller man busied himself on his datapad, this fingers dancing over the illuminated surface. “Was it hard with a father as, you know, celebrated as yours?”

    Anthan’s friend shook his head. “It never really came up, to be honest. His rank and accomplishments. It was more just . . .”

    “Just what?”

    “It’s a bit of a story.”

    “Well, we’ll have some time,” Anthan answered, pocketing the datapad. “Just got word from headquarters; they verified your story, caught part of it on a security camera. One of the gangs, it looks like. They do muggings, mostly; we’ll have to see what they wanted with your friend. Don’t worry,” he added quickly, “we’ll find’em.”

    “We need to,” the dark-haired man replied, moving to stand,

    “We will,” Anthan assured, putting a hand on his friend’s arm. “We gotta wait for more info, otherwise we’re just shooting in the dark. Like I said, we have some time.”

    “Your dad did come home, right?”

    “Yes. I guess . . .”

    “Now what in the galaxy is that supposed to mean?”

    “The war never seemed to leave him.”

  4. #79
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    "Fi!"

    Jyllis Tromso was on her feet beside her party's table, arms outstretched toward the singer in greeting. Fiola embraced her warmly, sharing the customary kiss over each shoulder, and then held the holostar at arms' length, taking in her expensive, shimmering gold gown. "Didn't wanna stand out, huh?" she snickered.

    "I refuse to live in fear," Jyllis proclaimed loudly as they seated themselves. "Especially of someone inept enough to break into my hotel room while I'm not inside it."

    "Do you think it was whoever was tailing us last night?" Fi asked. "Did they take anything?"

    "'A', I actually have no idea who it was. And 'B', I didn't - oh! We've just popped a bottle of Azuria - pre-Clone Wars. Have some!" She summoned a waiter to come and fill a glass for her friend. "And 'B', I didn't notice anything gone, but I don't really carry a lot of valuables when traveling, so who knows. By the way, great set just now. Helly really enjoyed it, too."

    "Yes," the sour-faced, aging entrepreneur agreed, "I make it a policy to never visit the same entertainment establishment two nights in a row, but I must say, I do not entirely regret having done so this evening."

    "Well, there's praise!" Fi remarked, her face twisting involuntarily. "And you are?" she asked, turning toward Jyll's new bodyguard, the table's final occupant.

    "Oh, you won't get a word out of him," Jyll explained. "He can't speak. Or won't, anyway, who knows. Helbert's taken to calling him 'Muscles', though. Isn't that cute?" she jiggled her eyebrows up and down in amusement while the bodyguard, eyes unreadable behind an impenetrable pair of dark glasses, smiled broadly.

    "Charmed," Fi smiled back, before taking in the surrounding tables. "But are you sure it's wise to be out in the open like this?"

    Jyll looked around, untroubled. "An attack or something? Right here in The Blue Room? Imagine!"

    "Actually," Fi replied, sampling her glass of Azuria and trying not to let her amazement at its flavour show, "there's been one! Do you see that guy over there," she pointed, "with those two Twi'lek girls?"

    "How could I miss him?" Jyll snorted. "The nerve, bringing slaves in here."

    "Whoah, wait a minute. Slaves? Who said anything about slaves?"

    "Look closely," the actress told her. "See those collars they're wearing? It's a dead giveaway. I had a bit part in a holo about this stuff when I was just starting out."

    "But why bring slaves here?"

    Jyllis's expression turned stormy. "He's probably showing off his wealth."

    "Not necessarily," Helbert Strand interjected. "He might be the merchant. This could be as good a place as any to make a sale."

    "Gross! Helbert, how can you talk about those poor girls like they're simple numbers on a datapad."

    Strand smiled patronizingly. "I don't make the rules, dear girl. And business is, after all, business."

    "Helly," Jyll retorted, raising her glass to her lips, "sometimes I wonder why I keep you around."

    Fi kept watching the mysterious man and his girls. "You know, maybe they're just as happy to be offworld. I was on Ryloth a while ago," she recalled, "some pretty nasty stuff happens there."

    Jyll took a tiny bite from what was left of her meal and pushed the plate away from her. "Well, whatever they may think of being bought and sold, I still think it's gross..."
    Last edited by I. J. Thompson; 02-27-2012 at 04:09 PM.
    Star Wars: Tapestry
    A 6+ year campaign draws to a close...
    ForumGroupWiki

  5. #80
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    Koga raced down the cramped, pitch-black tunnel, trying to dodge pipes and wires seen only with the Force. Somewhere below the troopers or what was left of them lay, incinerated by a high powered thermal detonator. Quick and rather lethal, a detonator did have one or two drawbacks: it rendered one's ability to make a inconspicuous retreat almost nil, due to the large amounts on noise and light that accompanied setting one off. However, it also had the ability to remove almost all traces of whatever happened to be in the area when it was set off. It was for the latter reason that Koga had dared to make use of the one he had brought along.

    Flipping over a low-hanging pipe; which was rather difficult when one was trying to also trying to dodge a web of security beams; Koga consulted his wrist computer. It showed that the tunnel entrance should be somewhere up ahead.... He turned a corner, slipping a little in the thick dust, and sprinted forward; lean, clean-shaven face and dark hair whipped by what he hoped was air from the mouth of the tunnel and not a wind kicked up by the thrusters from a shuttle full of Tremayne's troops.

    Coming around the last bend, Koga caught sight of a glimmer of blue light, seeping in from the entrance of the Not-So-Secret-Now tunnel. He also caught sight a large and very indestructible looking grate that had been lowered into place in front of the entrance, and now blocked any chance he had of escape. Koga came to a stop, staring through the heavy durasteel beams at the mouth of the passageway, only a few dozen feet away. It might as well have been light-years. It would take at least ten minuets to cut through the grate... and he could already hear the footsteps of running troopers echoing behind him.

    Koga squinted through the lattice-work of metal again. He could hear the engines of something large, probably the troop transport. He gritted his teeth. This just kept getting better and better. The first group of troopers rounded the corner, raising their blasters. Koga whirled, lightsaber slipping into his hand, the blade weaving sheets of crimson light as he deflected the blaster bolts back at the white clad soldiers. Two troopers fell, and Koga thrust out his left hand, feeling power surge from his hand in a wave that blasted three more to the ground, their armor splintering into shrapnel. He leapt forward, his blade slicing through the last trooper, the black body-suit the man wore melting and charing as the beam of plasma sheared through it. The trooper's helmet hit the floor with a clang, followed shortly by the rest of his body.

    Koga turned back to the grate, and then he saw the armored bulk of the nose of a assault ship smash through the stone around the tunnel mouth , making quite a mess of stone and dirt. The heavy blaster cannons built into the nose glowed as the sensors locked onto his position. Apparently Tremayne was taking no chances with the reported Jedi running lose beneath his mansion.

    However, if the ship had enough firepower to destroy him, it also had the firepower to destroy the grate.... and as the beginning of what felt like either hope or wishful thinking trickled though his mind, Koga grinned at the faceless pilots behind the dirt streaked canopy of the ship, then saluted with his lightsaber and let the Force flow through him.
    Last edited by Elvish_Jedi; 03-03-2012 at 10:45 PM.

  6. #81
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    Old Friends

    As he walked the corridors of the Inun, Todrin Doule was of two minds about how to proceed.

    On the one hand, the prisoners in the brig had firsthand experience with Tam Dawncaller. The man, Zealos Reil, had confirmed Doule’s suspicions about Tam’s involvement with the disappearance of an entire Imperial cruiser, and had thus placed one more piece in the puzzle of exactly who Tam was and why he had so much interest to Tremayne and the Empire. But more than that, Reil had shown that Tam had been involved with a Jedi, which opened up a whole new set of questions. It was all too much for Doule to take in at once, so he’d departed without another word.

    The other hand of this situation was that Reil had already demanded something in return for his information. If Doule tried for more he’d have to consider violating his oath and duty to the Empire. Reil would no doubt demand an immediate release, and even if Doule relented and helped them escape whatever fate they faced at Tremayne’s hands, he may inherit that fate should he interfere.

    Doule had contemplated going to the young girl kept in the other cell for some clarification, but despite her healing injuries, Cali Bellum was proving more belligerent than her counterpart and the security officer had deemed it necessary to keep her stunned.

    So Doule made his way to the Nexus room, unsure what to say to Tam. Would he say everything on his mind, confess his investigations into the boy’s past, and announce that Tam had a ‘friend’ in the brig? Would he find a more roundabout way to confirm Reil’s story, keeping Tam in the dark about his deeper interest? With the boy’s apparent abilities, would that even be possible?

    “Tam,” he said, entering the Nexus room. The boy was nowhere to be seen, but he could very well be inside the Nexus sphere itself. Doule ascended the stairs to open the chamber and speak to the boy directly. “Tam, I wanted to talk to you. We’ve taken some prisoners aboard, and apparently…”

    The Nexus sphere was empty!

    Doule’s course back to the brig was not as slow or meandering as when he left it. He heard the banging and screaming long before he reached the hallway, where two security officers saw him and shrugged ineffectually. When he opened the door he found Tam Dawncaller standing in front of the cell. Zealos Reil was still inside the cell, blood streaked across his skin and clothes, shaky fingers clawing at his neck and his feet kicking in the air. Nearly a meter in the air…

    “Tam!” Doule grabbed the boy’s shoulder, but the next thing he knew he flew out the door and slammed into the bulkhead on the far side of the corridor. His head rang as if he’d been hit by a landspeeder, and when his vision eventually stopped being a blurry swirl of stars he saw Reil drop to the deck inside his cell, unmoving.

    The two security officers helped Doule to his feet, tending to the spot of red emerging from the back of his head. “What is this, Tam?” He met the boy’s fierce but oddly distant eyes. “What am I seeing here?”

    “The less you know, Doule, the better. ‘Outside view,’ remember?”

    Doule remembered. “Safety net, Tam.” Was all he felt comfortable saying in front of the two crewmen. “Remember?”

    From the softening of his eyes, fiery yellow returning of those guarded, apprehensive blue irises, it was clear that Tam finally remembered too. He stepped out of the brig cell and rushed past Doule, disappearing around a corner of the corridor.

    Doule looked at the man in the cell, laying in a growing pool of blood. “Officers, contact the infirmary. Tell them to bring a hover-gurney…”

  7. #82
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    Koga felt the Force, in the sound of the storm troopers rapidly approaching behind him, in the thick durasteel beams in front of him, in the armored ship hovering behind the grate. He reached out, touching the copilot's mind. Into the ordered, stark thoughts he planted one suggestion. Fire. The copilot cocked his head as if listening, then his hand curled around the control stick and his finger found the trigger. Red light blasted through the tunnel, heat seared the stone and dirt, incinerating troopers and melting metal.

    Just before the blast, Koga leapt towards the roof of the passageway, his hand grasping a thin pipe; pulling the Force around himself like a cocoon. The heat washed above and below and around him, the sound of crashing durasteel struck his ears. He dropped to the floor, boots smoking from the heat, and surveyed the ruined grate. Behind it the shuttle floated, scorched but otherwise unharmed.

    Koga gathered the Force, sending himself hurtling though a gap in the twisted durasteel, straight towards the shuttle. He landed just beneath it, his blade already raised. Two steps brought him to the boarding ramp, and four slashes opened it. Koga leaped into the dim interior, red lights matching the glow of his lightsaber. He stalked to the door, opening it with a twist of the Force. Troopers turned, but Koga acted first, his 'saber lashing out to burn though armor, destroy weapons, and remove limbs. Within minutes the area was cleared.

    Koga sprinted through the cockpit doors just as they closed, pointing his blade at the pilot and copilot.

    "Lets make this easy, shall we? Pilot me off the planet, and I'll let you live."

    The men declined, reaching for their blasters as they spun to target him. Lightning surged from his hands, catching the troopers and sending them convulsing to the ground, smoke streaming from bone-white armor. A gesture of the Force threw the bodies across the cockpit, clearing the seats. Koga sat down in one, strapping in. His fingers danced across the control panel, lights blinking as he flipped switches and pushed buttons.

    "Lets see what this thing can do...."

  8. #83
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    "Did you girls enjoy yourselves?"

    Both girls adjusted their lekku to drape down their chests and replied with polite bows. They looked a bit fatigued but quite sated from their night of dancing.

    "My pleasure.", Tach responded, "Now let's get back to the hotel. I've had enough adventure for one day and.." He had let his voice trail off. The curious gaze of Fiola Shaku met his, derailing his train of thought. Next to the singer sat another vision of loveliness with an expression of disgust painted upon her face with an older gentleman of some business import to her left. All protected by a brutish looking dark shade wearing bodyguard standing watch by the table.

    "I haven't been glared at like that since this morning.", Tach murmered to himself. It seemed his night wasn't over quite yet. With a motion of his hand he asked the twins to follow as he made his way over to the table.

    Like a magic golem from a fantasy holovid the shade wearing bodyguard silently blocked Tach's path. "Hey, I come in peace. See? No weapons.", Tach had stated as he opened his coat and showed he wasn't armed. Stoic silence was the only reply. "'smatter? Need permission to talk or something?", Tach stated sarcasticly.

    "Is there a problem, stranger?", the businessman asked with a professional tone.

    Tach turned to address the gentleman. "Not really, no.", the smuggler answered, "I just want to know why I'm being stared at like I'm some kind of devil by the lovely young ladies at this table."

    "Well are you?"

    "No, sir. Just your average somewhat successful spacer here to spend his perfectly legal and honestly earned credits."

    The businessman smirked and gave a single chuckle for the bad joke. "I see. Please, sit down and join us.", he pointed towards an empty seat across from him, "Muscles, if you could.."

    "Absolutely not!", the attractive red haired femme retorted. She glared at the businessman, "Helly, why would you allow this slime to sit at our table?"

    Fiola watched the actress with concern. "Jyll..?"

    Helly addressed Jyll calmly, "Jyllis, trust me on this. Please."

    "No! I don't want him anywhere near me!", the actress had stood up from her seat in a huff and fixed a lethal glare at Tach. With practiced poise and grace the actress slowly was making her way around the table, approaching the smuggler as she spoke. Her voice was conveying a rising animosity the closer she came to the object of her ire, "People like you shouldn't be allowed here. People who treat sentient lives as if they are jewelry to wear or toys to be played with and thrown away later or sold off!"

    As the svelte figure was squaring off defiantly with Tach her friend and beau both looked on with differing measures of intrigue, worry and concern. "That is why we look upon you as if you are a devil." And in a flash before anyone could react Jyllis had reeled back and landed a strong slap across Tach's face, leaving behind a reddish imprint and a bleeding scratch from an aggressive fingernail. "Now take your playthings and leave this place!", she had ordered with an authority that would crumble normal men. Fiola appeared next to her friend in an instant ready to protect her anyway she can. Muscles was reaching into his coat in case the situation escalated.

    Tach gingerly touched his new injury and studied the blood that had coated his finger. Then he studied the actress before her. She was fueled by anger, self-rightiousness and if her hint of swaggering was an indication, a bit of alchohol. But even in the face of such fury and hostility Tach had showed no signs of huff in return. Quite calm was his reply, "I don't own them. In truth it is my responsibility to see to their safe transport to Corellia."

    Helbert was already rubbing his temples in frustration with thoughts of lawsuits dancing in his head. But the actress was not defeated yet, "Into the hands of some lecherous pervert, no doubt!"

    "Well, I don't know the noble in question personally.", he responded with a shrug.

    It was Helbert's turn to question, "A noble?"

    "Yeah, look.", the smuggler answered as he directed Helberts attention to the collars the twins wore. Engraved upon each was a family crest, indicating ownership.

    Helbert nodded an affirmation, "He speaks the truth. Jyllis, dear, please sit down before he has you arrested."

    Both Fiola and Jyllis looked towards Helbert with shock. "What?!", they both said in unison.

    The businessman shrugged defeatedly. "He's on legitimate business and you assaulted him. If we're lucky all he'll ask for is a tidy sum for compensation."

    "Jyll, please.", Fiona pleaded to the actress as she took her hand assuringly, "Let's not make this any worse."

    Inside Jyllis had wanted to lash out at the sleemo who ferried the innocent girls to forever be the property of some monster. She wanted to whisk them away to the freedom they deserved. But Helbert was correct, as he has been before, and it was time to stop. Keeping the guise of defiance up she allowed Fiola to escort her back to her seat. Tach also took a seat in the chair offered earlier.

    Once settled Tach extended a hand towards Helbert, "The name's Tach. And you already know my profession." Helbert accepted the greeting, shaking his hand firmly. "Helbert Strand, varied interests are my game. Currently looking out for the lovely young lady at my side, if you understand my meaning."

    "Of course, sir.", Tach replied politely, "But do not be concerned. I do not wish to cause any problems or even seek recompense for tonights incident." Helbert arched his brow with curiousity while Fiola and Jyllis seemed a bit surprised.

    "You see, Miss Tromso,", Tach continued as he faced Jyllis, having extended his hand to her in greeting, "I agree with you and hold no animosity. This slavery business is a terrible thing, but if I didn't take this particular job it would have been worse."

    Jyllis seemed genuinely surprised but confused and not ready to accept his greeting just yet. Tach continued, "See... if I didn't, well, acquire the contract to transport the ladies they would have been hauled by a man of far worse morals than myself. You get what I mean?" She thought for a moment and nodded, accepting his greeting with a brief handshake.

    Tach then met the gaze of Fiola, extending his hand once again in greeting. "Miss Shaku, always a pleasure to meet such a talented and lovely young artist such as yourself.", he said with some intentional doting, "I quite enjoyed your performance this evening, though I think the ladies enjoyed it more."

    Fiola seemed to smirk and gave a mock suspicious glance towards the smuggler. She shook his hand and stated, "A little early for the flirtations, isn't it?"

    "I hope not.", he answered with a smile.

    "Tell me something,", Fiola had stated while the mood still seemed to be light, "speaking of performances, just what was going on at your table? I saw some guy getting dragged away from it while on stage."

    All the occupants of the table were staring at Tach. "Oh, that?", he replied casually, "Well, his name was Jeffrey, noble son of a CEO of a bank here. Tried to force me to sell the ladies to him at gunpoint. I wasn't having any of that so I...", he made a motion to mimic the faceplant he put Jeffrey through, "Bam! Knocked him out cold and had security take it from there."

    The group just looked at Tach, processing the casualness he expressed in sharing this story. He looked over at Fiola again and smiled, "Still too early for flirtations?"
    Last edited by Gibson8088; 03-08-2012 at 10:15 PM.

  9. #84
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    Fi stared back at the smuggler, her face clouded in thought. Then she rose from her seat.

    "We should get out of here. I'll need to get changed. Jyll, come with, huh?"

    The actress rose unsteadily, accompanied immediately by her hulking bodyguard. "No, you stay here, 'Muscles'," Jyllis instructed him gently, "keep an eye on Helly."

    "Oh yes," Helbert Strand invited, pulling one of the vacant chairs very near himself. "Please!"

    The massive bodyguard merely folded his arms and stood at Jyllis's side, eyes unreadable behind his dark glasses.

    "Ugh," Fi sighed, "whatever."

    She led the pair backstage and into her dressing room, where she stopped, taking stock of the situation and fixing 'Muscles' with a stern gaze.

    "What's wrong with this picture?"

    The silent brute tilted his head slightly in confusion, then nodded curtly, taking a single step backward through the dressing room door and rotating himself outward toward the hall, alert to any threat. Fi closed the door behind him.

    "Jyll, you've got a thing or two to learn about the word 'incognito'. Aren't you supposed to be in hiding?"

    "But Fi, someone needed to stand up for those poor girls!"

    Fiola removed her dangling earrings, tossing them on the dressing table and pulling the bokli sticks from her hair, letting it spill down around her shoulders. "I agree that slavery is wrong, Jyll, but you can't change the worlds... especially by going around slapping people!"

    Jyllis took a seat, and held her hands up. "I admit, I have a temper. And this Tach person seems to be okay, but... they're being bought by a noble? 'Noble' doesn't always mean noble, you know what I mean?"

    Kicking off her shoes, Fi shrugged off her dress and draped it over the back of the room's other chair. "Well, it's out of your hands, so try to be cool, okay?"

    "I will buy them."

    Fi snorted. "You're gonna buy them? Isn't that just a tiny bit hypocritical?"

    "And take them back to their homeworld!"

    Fi regarded her new friend silently for a moment, then reached for the functional black pants she'd worn before the night's gig and began to pull them on. "You don't have a ship."

    "You do."

    "Jyll, I can't just hop in the Dawncaller and go gallivanting off someplace... I've got six shows a week in this joint! And how do you know they wouldn't just get sold again?"

    Pants buttoned, Fiola stepped into her boots and studied her reflection in the mirror for a moment, her eyes resting on the blue jewel that hung low on its silver chain around her neck, remembering where she'd got it. And how.

    "Besides," she added distantly, "I don't want to go back to Ryloth."

    "Then I'll buy them and set them free! Right here on Cloud City!"

    "Honey," Fi laughed in exasperation, grabbing a flowy shirt from a hook and slipping into it, "I don't want to generalize, but those girls didn't exactly look like administrators or tibanna gas miners to me. They're going to need skills, training..."

    "Then they can stay with us!"

    "...Us?"

    "At your place... until they're on their feet! I'm sure they won't be any trouble."

    Fiola stood for a moment in thought, then reached for her blaster in its holster and cinched it around her waist. "Jyll, you've got enough problems right now without taking on two more. But," she softened, "I sort of agree with you. I'll harbour these girls for a while if -if- Tach is willing to sell them to you." She held out a hand.

    "Deal?"

    The holostar took Fi's hand and shook it professionally, then used it to hoist herself up and out of her chair, standing close to Fi and looking her square in the eye.

    "Deal," she smiled.

    Fi rolled her eyes in amused disbelief, then turned and opened her dressing room door, on the other side of which stood Jyll's silent bodyguard, his blaster pointed directly at her face.

    Fi was fast, her blaster in hand in the blink of an eye and pointed at the bodyguard. But 'Muscles' was faster. He hit her gun hand hard, her blaster clattering to the floor. Fi dropped immediately to retrieve it, opening herself up to a kick that sent her flying back against her dressing table, her head bouncing painfully against it. The impact knocked Fi out cold.

    Before Jyllis could make a sound, the man blasted her with a stun beam and was beneath her before she hit the floor. Hoisting the unconscious young woman over one shoulder, he silently made his way down the deserted hallway toward The Blue Room's back exit...
    Last edited by I. J. Thompson; 03-18-2012 at 08:40 AM.
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  10. #85
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    Reil heard the door to his cell open. He rolled off the cot and onto his feet expecting to meet Doule on the other side of the bars. It was not Doule.
    “Hello Reil.”

    Zealos stood slack jawed as he stared at Tam Dawncaller. “Hi” was all he managed to say as his brain experienced something akin to gridlock as a hundred thoughts all rushed in his mind, vying for priority. How’d he get here? What’s he doing in my cell? Does this mean Damon’s here too? Does this make the information I gave Doule more valuable, or less? Did I lead the Imperials to Tam?

    Tam eyed Reil wordlessly as the pilot struggled with his mental paralysis. He seemed to either be waiting for Reil to say something, or reaching some kind of decision. After a few moments of silence, he spoke again.
    “What are you doing here Reil?”

    Reil’s brain unstuck itself long enough to come to some fairly important conclusions. No, I couldn’t have led the Imperials to Tam. I didn’t know where he was to begin with, and I never told Doule about him and Damon looking for Mir. Besides, they just picked me up; there hasn’t been time to catch him. Or bring him on the ship for that matter. Which means he was here before me? Something’s very wrong here.
    “Got arrested. Got sent here. What are you doing here though, and why aren’t you in a cell?”

    Tam seemed amused by the notion; Reil could see the edges of his lips curl. But it never quite made it to a smile, and it was quickly replaced with a far more serious expression.
    “You shouldn’t be here Reil. You’re upsetting a very delicate balance, you could ruin everything.”

    Reil grimaced as an uncomfortable thought edged its way into consciousness. He finally noticed what Tam was wearing. The drab black of an Imperial uniform. Only it didn’t look like a uniform on such a young boy. It was like a costume. An Imperial costume. Except Tam wasn’t acting like he was wearing a disguise.
    “Yeah-huh. Tam, where’s Damon?”

    Tam’s look of seriousness turned into an outright frown.
    “I don’t see what Damon has to do with you disrupting my plans.”

    “I dunno. Maybe nothing. Maybe a lot. Used to be a time when you wouldn’t have plans to disrupt on an Imperial warship. So what changed?”

    Tam’s mood seemed to be worsening the deeper Reil probed.
    “Nothing changed. I was simply shown the truth about f . . .” the boy trailed off for a second. “About everything. But now I have a plan, only you’re ruining it!”

    Reil felt his temper flare.
    “Well I’m very sorry if I’m upsetting you and your delicate little plan. Gods forbid I inconvenience Tam Dawncaller and his special frakking destiny while he turns himself into a weapon for the Imperials! In case you missed this, because you’re too busy being special, I’m in a jail cell, so it’s not like I can just leave.”

    It was then Reil noticed a tightening, at first around his neck, and then his whole body. It was getting difficult to breathe, as his body felt like it was in a vice. He looked at Tam, and noticed the boy was glowering at him, mumbling to himself.
    “I can remove you, before you ruin everything.”


    **************

    Reil could taste the bacta as he felt himself regaining consciousness. He was on a bed, in a white room, and he noticed Doule talking with a medical droid.
    “How bad was he?”

    The droid beeped for a second before responding.
    “Patient experienced severe bruising along the face and torso due to excessive pressure. Bleeding was caused by the skin being pulled taught and. . . fracturing under the stress. Bacta has alleviated swelling, and healed all cracks in dermal tissue. No scarring anticipated, will make full recovery in two days.”

    Reil struggled to his feet, and Doule, noticing Reil’s return to waking, turned to face him.
    “How are you feeling?”

    Reil steadied himself on a tray of. . . something.
    “I’m fine.”

    Doule looked doubtful.
    “Really?”

    Reil flipped the tray on its side in rage.
    “NO I’M NOT FRELLING FINE! What the frack just happened Doule!?”
    Last edited by Ice Hawk; 03-12-2012 at 11:54 AM.
    Zealos Reil thought he was hot
    so he left the sim-pod cold
    on his eighth mission he got shot
    and that's all there is to be told.
    Draw your own conclusions rookies.

  11. #86
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    Once the women had left earshot Tach spoke up, "I think I better go. There's been enough trouble and I don't think I can stand anymore today." He was tapping out a request for a taxi on the datascreen embedded in the table.

    "Fair enough, but before you go explain something to me. Why didn't you sell the slave girls when that kid had you at gunpoint?", Helbert asked.

    "C'mon, Helbert.", Tach replied wryly, "Even you know the value of a reputation."

    Helbert nodded in agreement. "Indeed I do. Here, take this.", he reached into his coat, drawing out a business card, "I could use someone like you."

    Tach accepted the card. "I can't make any guarantees. I'm working for someone else right now."

    "That is fine. But if you need work give me a call first, alright?"

    "Heh, alright. Pleasure meeting you, Mr. Strand.". The smuggler rose from his seat and extended his hand, which Helbert shook. "Likewise, Tach."

    With the chat concluded Tach and the twi'lek's had exited the club to an awaiting airtaxi; a model with a large windscreen, single drivers seat, a wide bench seat in the back and an open canopy to favor a wide variety of species. The trio climbed in the vehicle and tried to get comfortable. A task not easily accomplished with the worn seats provided. "Eclipse Luxury Hotel. And break the speed limit if you can, please."

    "You got it, mac.", barked the middle-aged human driver. With a quick flip of the meter and a push on the accelerator the experienced driver had them in the air and cruising along the designated flight lanes over Cloud City.

    True to his word the taxi driver sped along the the traffic lanes, passing over, under and to the side of other vehicles. With no enthusiasm Tach studied the aircars as they passed them. There was a gentleman in a one-seater blabbering on his wrist comm, a happy couple cuddling in the back of another airtaxi, two guys yelling at each other in a transport and then a well dressed gentleman wearing dark shades in a sporty open canopy model two-seater with a passed out woman in the passenger seat. Funny, she looked familiar. And so did the driver.

    "Driver! Slow down! Match traffic speed!", Tach ordered. The driver agreed with a grunt as the smuggler studied the occupants of the sporty aircar. Sure enough, that looked like Jyllis and her bodyguard. He pulled a comm unit from his pocket and dialed in Helbert's number.

    Helbert answered the call cheerfully enough, "Change your mind, Tach?"

    "Helbert, have the girls returned yet?", he asked with urgency.

    "No, not yet, why?", was the reply.

    "'cause it looks like your bodyguard is out here with Jyllis in his car! I hope I'm wrong, but I suggest you check on the girls!"

    "What?!", Helbert exclaimed in a panicked tone, followed by the noise of rattling glasses, people objecting as they were pushed aside and heavy feet tromping through the club. "Fiola! Fiola where's Jyllis?!", there was a pause, "She's knocked out. Frak! Tach, you still see Jyllis?! You gotta rescue Jyllis for me! Please! I'll pay! Whatever it takes! Tach?!" The panic in the man's voice could almost be felt.

    "Helbert! Calm down!", Tach ordered, "Get Fiona a medic.. and I'll handle Jyllis. Wait for me at the club. Understood?"

    "Yes, understood. Please! Save Jyllis! Return her to me, okay?", the businessman begged.

    "Alright, Helbert. Don't panic. Get Fiola some help. Tach out." He switched the comm off.

    "What the frak was that all about, mac?", the eavesdropping cabbie had asked.

    "A kidnapping.", Tach stated bluntly, "I need you to get me closer to that red aircar." He pointed at the vehicle. It was at a lower altitude and behind them a bit.

    "Whoah, no way, pal! Bein' a hero ain't part of the job."

    "I got 500 cred here that says otherwise.", Tach retored as he held up a credchip. "A'right, then.", the cabbie relented greedily as he accepted the credits.

    "I'll need a weapon.", Tach stated. The taxi driver reached down and pulled out a hydrospanner, "Best I can offer. Take it or leave it."

    Accepting the spanner the smuggler held it firmly, the tool indeed had sufficient weight to be a club. "That'll do. Now slow down and pass over him fast. Then take these ladies back to the hotel. I'll be a while so if you wait with them you'll get the spanner back and an extra 500 cred. Deal?"

    "Deal!", the driver agreed enthusiastically! The taxi slowed enough to fall behind the target vehicle, then as casually as he could lined the taxi up so the sporty aircar was directly ahead and a couple meters below it. Tach watched it carefully then announced, "Go!"

    As if he was recreating his favorite holovid action scene the cabbie gunned the taxi forward and then down, flashily cutting off the bodyguard. Muscles might have been surprised by the rude taxi driver, his expression revealed nothing. But he was definately caught off guard when the figure of Tach theatrically landed upon the hood with a metallic thud and brandishing a hydrospanner like a madman. The smuggler had knelt down to keep a sure footing and grabbed hold of the windsreen for support. "Pull over!", he commanded before swinging the spanner overhead, bringing it in bonecrushing contact with the shaded fellow's right shoulder.

    It was the first time Tach heard a noise ever escape Muscle's lips, a howl of pain. The goon released hold of the wheel to nurse his injured shoulder, an action that sent the car into a gradual descent. Tach was still able to keep his footing on the hood luckily enough. "I said pull over!", he ordered again and waved he spanner menacingly. With a defiant growl the bodyguard grabbed the controls with his one good arm and pushed the vehicle into a steep dive. Tach's footing slipped but he was able to keep a firm grip on the windshield, averting a fatal fall.

    Glancing below, impact with a strip of casino's and bars was going to happen within the minute. Looking back at the vehicle's occupants Tach caught the bodyguard fumbling with his coat, awkwardly trying to reach for his blaster with his uninjured arm. Jyllis, safely held up in a sitting position by the inirtial restraints, was still out cold and blissfully oblivious of the situation. "Frak!", Tach complained, "How can so much flarg happen to one guy in one day?!"

    Tach watched the bodyguard closely as he finally drew a stun pistol from within his jacket, he took a couple of awkward shots at the smuggler. Being right handed and shooting around the windshield proved harder than it looked for the brute. But the confidence of being safe from melee with the unwelcomed hood ornament influenced the shaded one. He chose to lean around the glass to line up for a sure shot. Tach took a chance, hurling the hefty hydrospanner at Muscle's generous forehead. The impromptu weapon connected with a satisfying crack, tumbled clumsily for a moment then fell victim to the aircar's false gravity to land in the lap of Muscles-the-unconscious.

    Sparing no time Tach hoisted himself into the cockpit of the runaway vehicle. The bodyguard's girth was taking up the entirety of the drivers seat; and his foot still rested on the accelerator! Thankfully Jyllis's lithe figure afforded the man room enough to brace himself and still have a free hand to grab the controls. Just in time, too, as the panic'd screams sounded before he pulled the control yoke.

    The car was almost levelled out when it hit the street, slamming the nose of the vehicle to the ground in a shower of sparks. Ahead was a group that would be unable to flee the furious craft in time! Tach pulled the yoke, ordering the vehicle to take flight. Now a casino sign tried to bar passage! Bank left. A coffee shop sign! Bank right. Pedestrian bridge! Pull up.

    Looming ahead was what less savory types would call art. It was a huge neon sign for Lawtfah's Luscious Lollies Gentlebeings Club. Standing next to the enourmous letters was a giant blue neon twi'lek, scantily clad, provocatively posed, smiling teasingly with ruby red neon lips and holding a neon lollipop. Occasionally the neon girl would bring the neon candy treat to its lips so that a pink neon tongue would lick. It was through this work of art the rampaging aircar rocketed through in an impressive display of sparks, electrical explosions and freshly loosed neon gas. Several onlookers gasped while others ooh'ed and ahh'ed. Once the chaos had settled the sign was only able to luminate the red lipped smile with the tongue flickering briefly and the letters "wtf Lol".

    Tach spied a street that was thankfully free of traffic. He guided the car in line with it and eased the vehicle down until the skids made contact with the street. Once on the ground he then enabled the emergency shutoff. He braced himself and Jyllis should any unexpected surprises crop up again, but it seemed luck was with him this time. The car eventually skidded to a halt and the engines sighed in relief as they dissipated heat.

    Wasting no time Tach pulled Muscles from the vehicle and unceremoniously threw him into the street. Then the spacer searched his victim's pockets, the kidnapper wisely carried nothing else with him. Might have been a pro. So, Tach took his shades and pocketed them, hopped back into the car and fired it up. Engines were still pretty warm but functioning. He eased the car in the direction of The Blue Room and floored it.

    Tach dialed up Helbert's comm. "Helbert? I have Jyllis with me. See you at the club in eight minutes."

    The smuggler indulged the thanks and promise of reward now gushing from his comm. "Helbert.", Tach interrupted, "I don't want your money or anything okay? Just..", he paused a moment, lost in a thought, "Just meet me behind the club in eight minutes."

    About halfway to their destination Jyllis had begun recovering from the stun blast. Stuns were typically not fun to recover from as side effects included nausea, dizziness, aches and waking up in strange places; to name a few. Avoid mixing with alcohol.

    Jyllis groaned as she gradually became aware of her surroundings. Lights and buildings blurred past her and consistently remained out of focus. Trying to get her bearings she lolled her head around to focus on the driver. With some effort she was able to make out the driver. To her unpleasant surprise it was Tach, right hand on the wheel, left arm resting on the door with his head resting against his hand. He was staring ahead pensively lost in thought.

    "You...?", she tried to raise her head but a wave of dizziness advised against it.

    "Try to relax.", Tach suggested indifferently, "Stun bolts can be nasty. The effects will wear off sooner or later."

    "Where are you taking me?", she demanded weakly.

    Tach pointed absently ahead, "Back to The Blue Room. To Helbert."

    The actress nodded slightly, accepting for the moment Tach didn't mean her any harm. "I remember...Muscles.", Jyllis rasped, "He.. hurt Fi. And then shot me. What happened?"

    Tach shared in brief the events from when he spotted the car to its unceremonious landing in the streets. He made sure she knew Helbert had found Fi and was helping her, as that seemed important to the actress. The story had lasted the remainder of the trip as by the end Tach was pulling the car around the back entrance.

    "Thank you, Tach.", Jyllis stated sleepily, "Helly will reward you properly."

    It's not always about money., he thought to himself, but remained quiet to avoid an arguement. Instead he just smiled politely.

  12. #87
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    "Darling!" Helbert Strand beamed, arms spread wide as he emerged from The Blue Room's back entrance, "I'm so pleased you're alright!"

    "Not half as pleased as I am," the actress replied distractedly, massaging her temples as she clumsily extricated herself from the speeder.

    "And how disappointing that 'Muscles' turned out to be such a villain!"

    "Plenty of fish in the sea, Helly," Jyllis smirked, despite the pain in her head. "Where's Fi?"

    "Here," Fiola called, being led out of The Blue Room's back entrance by Marce. Deep concern showed on the stage manager's face, despite her impenetrable Sullustan visage.

    Jyllis was upon the singer immediately, clutching the girl in a fierce embrace. "Fi! Are you okay?"

    "Just a bump," Fi replied groggily, "I've had worse."

    Helbert straightened stiffly. "How in the worlds did such a person come to be your bodyguard, Miss Tromso?"

    "I'll have to call my agent," the actress replied. "He's the one who hired a bodyguard. I guess he called the wrong security company!"

    "Or the real bodyguard was replaced by you-know-who," Fi volunteered.

    "Whatever happened," Helbert announced, "we have Tach to thank that things didn't turn out much, much worse."

    "That we do." Jyllis Tromso let go of Fi, taking in the smuggler, who leaned nonchalantly against the beat-up speeder. "Sir, I am in your debt. Thank you." She paused, then said it again.

    "I mean it... thank you."

    The smuggler smiled. "I can do the right thing. Once in a while."

    Fi stepped forward. "I'm gonna get her home. But we should stay in touch. My frequency's 54S^12z. Will you call us? If you learn anything more about this, I mean?"

    Tach finished entering the digits into his comlink, then gave her a relaxed salute and began climbing back into the speeder. "Will do."

    "And don't forget to contact me, as well!" Helbert Strand called.

    Tach gunned the speeders' engine, and rose into the Cloud City night.

    Fi smiled at Jyll, grabbing a fistful of the actress's crimson curls and tugging them gently. "And you're coming with me, girl," she grinned. "Have you ever heard of 'hot chocolate'? An old friend of mine introduced me to it once..."

    * * *

    The medical team loaded the unconscious muscleman into their speeder, while a small contingent of Wing Guard looked on in boredom. As far as altercations in Cloud City's wee hours went, a lone, unconscious individual with a bleeding head wound was certainly not the most glamorous. While a couple of the Wing Guard assisted the medics, others of their number smoked, joked, or filled the time however they wished.

    One of these stood apart from the rest of the group, comlink in hand. He spoke in hushed tones, not wishing to be heard by the rest of his squad.

    "...I said he's down. Double down. Your man with the shades. Well, the shades are gone, but it's the same guy. Yes. Well, does your boss want this done right, or not at all? Just tell him. And tell him I want another payout for the info. No, last night was last night, and this is tonight. New info, new pay. What? You know my name. Trask, with a capital 'T'. Tell him to contact me if he wants this done right."

    Snapping off the comlink, the Guardsman moved to rejoin his fellows...
    Last edited by I. J. Thompson; 03-10-2012 at 12:29 AM.
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    “I wish I had an answer for you.” Doule considered his words before continuing. “If I hadn’t intervened, he probably would have killed you.”

    “Thank you for stating the obvious, Captain.”

    Doule breathed in sharply, to stay his impatient reaction to Reil’s disrespect. When he knew he could respond with calm words he said, “Why did he want to kill you?”

    “Who knows? He’s Tam fracking Dawncaller! The kid’s been flying off the handle since I’ve known him! If you didn’t know that then you’re in for a real treat on your ship here.”

    “I’m gathering that, Reil. What I’m wondering is what might have brought it on. You’re acquainted with each other, but why, only minutes after reuniting, was he doing… whatever he was doing… to you?

    “I’d have to chalk it up to my animal magnetism, Captain.”

    “Reil, I’m going to repeat this, and I hope you recognize it for the threat it is: if I hadn’t intervened, he probably would have killed you. He may do it again. Understand?”

    The look on Reil’s face showed the same level of aloof incredulity, but it seemed tempered now with an agreement for cautious cooperation. “Look, Tam walked in and accused me of disrupting his plans. Never mind whatever his plans might actually be, but it’s not like it was my choice to even be here.

    “Is Cali okay?” he added.

    “She’s under constant watch, and I’m to be informed if Tam appears anywhere near the brig.”

    “Right, because Tam needs to be anywhere near the brig to…” Reil sat up on the recovery bed. “Look, Doule, your droid says I’m recovering. You can threaten me all you want, but Cali’s innocent. Relatively innocent, anyway. She doesn’t deserve Tam’s… attention. Put me in her cell, give me your—”

    “Quid pro quo, Reil. I find it amusing to see you making demands on my ship, especially after being so tight lipped. I tried being upfront with you, and I’ve offered you what amnesty I can—“

    “Save it, Captain. Your ‘amnesty’ goes as far as the airlocks of your own starship, and no further. Perhaps not even that far, with that little peedunky roaming your corridors. So Cali and I will either end up as the boy’s latest victims or we’ll survive to end up in Tremayne’s hands. So what does your duty tell you to do here, Doule? Leave us in the cage with your pet monster, or hand us over to the monster you don’t ostensibly control?”

    It was hard to admit, but Reil had a point. Doule was in no position to make demands either. He walked to the door of the sickbay, and gestured for a pair of naval officers to enter. “Take him to the cell with the other prisoner. We’ve still got lots of blood to clean out of the other one.” He turned to Reil. “I’m tired of bandying words with scum like you…”

  14. #89
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    It was late and Tach was ready for this night to be done with. He had parked the aircar a few blocks from the hotel; hopefully it will be stolen. At the hotel he paid the taxi driver what was promised, plus a small bonus to bungle the story if he was questioned. And, of course, went ahead and returned the hydrospanner. Now painted with a smattering of blood.

    Minutes later Tach was in his hotel room, a fairly spacious domicile with some luxury amenities. Included were a water shower, stocked wet bar, decent furniture and a single large bed that could accomidate six humans if need be.

    Tach took little time shedding the dress costume, stripping down to underwear and a shirt. The suit was ruined from the night's activities and only served now to fill the wastebin properly. Then he reached into his satchel resting on a nearby chair to retrieve a portable scanner. As one of the girls closed the privacy screens on the windows Tach activated and tuned the device.

    A few moments passed. "Room's clean.", he announced.

    "Little paranoid are we, Tach?", the first twi'lek chimed as she unclasped her dress, letting it slip off her body into a heap on the floor.

    Tach returned the device to his satchel, noisily withdrawing a few small motion detectors. He looked in the twi'lek's direction, seeming to give no notice to her nakedness, and replied, "After tonights escapades, Lelah, I think it's warranted.", then proceeded to place the detectors around the entrance in a functional pattern.

    "I'm Lola!", she admonished.

    "No, she is.", Tach was referring to her twin, who had already disrobed and was climbing into bed.

    Lelah huffed at Tach then turned to her twin, "Lola, just how does he figure it out?". Her sister gave a resigned shrug. "Maybe it's because I'm prettier.", she offered sleepily. Lelah replied to her sister with a rude gesture, but it went unnoticed by the napping twi'lek. So Lelah turned her attention back on Tach, who had just finished his task and set the door to 'Do Not Disturb'. He picked up his travel bag and was heading towards the bed.

    Reacting quickly Lelah had barred the smugglers path. She stood before him in mock defiance, crossing her arms in front to deliberately frame her chest. Tach recognized the game, and Lelah would not be denied. He painted a veil of ignorance before speaking up. "What?", he asked innocently enough.

    "You're secret.", she commanded, "Out with it!"

    In his worst parody of a holovid gentleman Tach countered, "Modest lady, I know not what you ask of me."

    "My sister and I.", she stated, undetered. Peering at him suspiciously she asked, "How are you able to tell which one of us is which?"

    "Oh? Is that all? It's the birthmark.", he stated falsely and moved to walk around Lelah. She was quick to intercept Tach, wagging her finger quite accusingly at him.

    "Nuh uh, sleemo. As you can see.", she presented herself with a flourish of the hands and a quick pirouette, "I have no birthmarks." Tach's gaze then fell upon Lola, "And neither does she!", Lelah interjected, stopping that train of thought fast in its tracks.

    "Alright, alright.", the liar raised a hand defensively. He glanced down at her feet, "It's your legs."

    "Huh?", Lelah blurted genuinely confused. She peered down at her legs and then back at Tach, "What do you mean?"

    "Your legs.", he revealed in a convincing tone, "One of them is shorter than the other."

    "What?!", was the twi'lek's reply. This wasn't possible. She looked again at her legs. The knees seemed to line up properly. Her ankles, toes, heels, all appeared properly symmetrical. She even rested her hands upon each knee in a vain attempt to measure their proportions. The nature of the deceipt did not cement fully until she heard the stifled chuckling from the bed. There Tach did lie, covered by the blanket, head resting comfortably in hand while watching Lelah's struggle. He even placed his bulky satchel neatly upon the bedstand without alerting the poor girl.

    "Oh you scoundrel!", she shrieked incredulously, though her expression of glee belied the words. The game would continue!

    Tach quickly tapped the switch to extinguish the lighting in the room. He then ducked beneath the cover of blankets as a child would to hide from monsters that lived in closets. "Night night!", he called out to Lelah between laughs.

    Acting quickly the twi'lek leaped upon the sheets, ferreting out her quarry with ease. She cast off the protective covers, revealing her prey, and commenced an attempt to grapple the man. Tach fought back playfully, an endeavor that was a greater measure of heavy petting than it was a playful struggle. But the twi'lek had eventualy come out on top, literally, pinning her opponent to the bed.

    Lelah brought her face close Tach's. "I've got you now!", she bragged. Her voice was thick with aphrodisia. "Last chance to tell me what I want to know." Her offer was generous, but the man refused to reveal his secret knowledge.

    "Do your worst.", he gladly exclaimed. And so she started her relentless assault upon the smuggler, a deep passion fueled kiss that was to be followed by a vicious strike upon his remaining flimsy garments. The battle only escalated from there.

    Lola happily ignored the activities. Her sister was happy. Her sister got to choose.

  15. #90
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    It was an uncharacteristically gloomy morning on Cloud City, thunder booming outside the apartment's tall windows. Fi looked out of them, her view obscured by the drops of moisture that slid down the outside of the transparisteel barriers. Beyond these, the gentle rain and thick mist turned the neighbouring buildings into indistinct, grey shadows.

    In counterpoint to the rolling thunder, Fi could hear Jyllis Tromso, in the apartment's bedroom, speaking into her comlink. The actress's voice rose and fell, a dramatic melody accompanied by the basso rumblings outside. Fi patiently sipped her cup of caff as she watched Mr. Mace, her fabool companion, nibble at his morning meal.

    "Well, that's sorted."

    "Who was it?" Fi asked, sliding a second mug toward Jyllis as her friend climbed onto one of the kitchen stools.

    "Pondan. My agent," Jyll explained, gratefully accepting the caff and inhaling its vapours. "Boy, was he scared! Thought I was going to fire him on the spot. But he's been in touch with the security agency. Turns out the real bodyguard is missing. 'Muscles' must have done something to him and taken his place. They offered me another bodyguard for free for a whole month."

    "Oh yeah? What did you say?"

    "I said, if you find a stinkbeetle in your soup, you don't necessarily want a new soup."

    "Sensible," Fi grinned, sipping the caff.

    "Besides," Jyll smiled back, gripping her mug in two hands, "I have you."

    Fi snorted. "Me? This might be a distant memory for you, Jyll, but I basically got beat up trying to save your skin last night!"

    "We'll call that one 'practice'," the girl replied, raising her cup in salute.

    "Are you going to leave Cloud City?"

    "Can't. I'm actually here to shoot a new holo. The Tide, it's called. We start tomorrow."

    "You're shooting a picture called The Tide on a gas giant?"

    Jyll grinned. "It's a metaphor, I think. I only read the script once. It's a juicy part, though, and they tell me I should be wrapped in about fifteen days, if all goes well."

    Fi considered. "So... how will you keep safe?"

    Jyllis reached across the table to tickle Mr. Mace's belly, the fabool flapping his tiny wings in appreciation. "I'm serious, Fi. You can be my bodyguard."

    Fi laughed loudly, the sound incongruous with the morning's sombre silence. "Hon, you know I'd plug any sucker for ya, but this is the kind of thing best left to professionals."

    Jyll considered. "Like Tach?"

    Fi took a slow swig of her caff. "Somehow, I don't think Tach is the type to stay in one place for too long. Speaking of which," she added with a mischievous grin, "shouldn't you be meeting with him to see about buying yourself a couple of Twi'lek slave girls?"

    "Ouch!" Jyll protested in mock-indignation, "Fi, you wound me!" She thought a moment, her face turning serious. "Honestly, I'm not in the mood anymore. There's something about being almost-kidnapped that sort of saps your sense of altruism."

    Fi drained her mug. "Well then," she posed, "what are we gonna do today?"

    The actress looked out the windows at the gloom, then turned toward the musician with a gleam in her eye. "Have an extended breakfast and watch some tacky daytime dramas?"

    Fi grinned. "Jyll, I like the way you think!"

    * * *

    The ex-'bodyguard' stood stoically, if not proudly. His shades were gone, exchanged for a bulky bandage around his head.

    "So you were beaten, then."

    'Muscles' stiffened with indignation. "Yes, boss. A rogue element interfered."

    "I need details, Kroff."

    "His name is Tach," Kroff replied, "a slaver, smuggler, or something. He wasn't part of the plan. Jumped on my speeder, busted my head with a spanner."

    "And it was Trask, our man in the Wing Guard, who was able to keep you out of the courts."

    "Yes."

    "Trask, who's been offering to handle this from the beginning." The being pondered a moment. "Sloat!"

    "Yes, sir!" the technician Sloat piped up.

    "Contact this Trask, and tell him to proceed as he feels appropriate. Jyllis Tromso will be mine." The being stared into the distance.

    "Oh yes, she will be mine..."
    Last edited by I. J. Thompson; 05-17-2012 at 05:52 PM.
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