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  1. #1
    Mek-Sha Nightlife

    Mek-Sha Nightlife

    For several days, they had respite. Time to swim. Relax on the beach. Build sandcastles. Climb palm trees and eat coconuts.

    Those who had been injured would find time to heal. Those who had been troubled... perhaps still could not set down their burdens entirely, but might find a chance to have them eased.

    The calm couldn't last forever. Lana - who had been continuing to pursue information through all of the many intelligence channels she cultivated - entered the kitchen with a datapad in her hand, and told them, "I located the slavers who sold Vanity and Apathy. It looks like we're taking a trip to Mek-Sha."
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea

  2. #2
    Count / Countess Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Neva Xolte

    Resting - actually resting - had done her a world of good. She had tinkered with the broken speeder, played some sabacc, built a sand castle with Shalmus and ate a lot of fruit. Still, for all the loveliness of playful days there were all too many reminders of unfinished business. The girls. Felix. Anewe's former apprentices. Those reminders were good, though, she reasoned. Without them, it would have been far too easy to just lose herself. As such, she was happy that she'd taken to cleaning her blaster at the dining room table when Lana came in with her news.

    "Scummy dive." Neva said as she swung one leg over the bench to turn toward the kitchen while keeping a hand on the blaster bits littering the table. "Sounds like exactly the right spot for that kind of enterprise - place makes Rishi look like a Voss temple. Good thing we have the right kind of ship and captain for the job."

    She spun a part into place and aimed her blaster at the wall before continuing to polish it. As much as a rest was nice, it felt just as good or better to be getting back into some action.
    Winner of the dubious Vaarsuvius Award for Verbousness!

    I support altruism.

  3. #3
    Lana smiled faintly at Neva's comment. "Indeed we do," she said. She was pleased Neva was feeling better. Occupied as she had been with work the past few days, Lana had not been unconcerned about the state of the Zabrak. It was good to hear she was feeling spaceworthy again.

    "I'm assuming you have a lead on who did this?" Siralai asked. "I mean, specifically. This isn't the work of normal slavers."

    But of course Lana would already know that. This was exceptional on two counts. The usual smash-and-grab enslavers wouldn't go after pureblood Sith. It wasn't out of any moral hesitation; rather, enslavement of purebloods was illegal in the Empire, so there was no market and no point. Someone had selected the twins for a reason outside of standard forced labor - presumably their Force sensitivity. Which tied into the second reason this was so unusual... there weren't many in the galaxy who would be able to transform Sith kids into energy batteries, as these perpetrators had done. That level of skill - monstrous, but skill nonetheless - narrowed the field considerably.

    "Yes," Lana said - as Siralai knew she would. Lana was nothing if not thorough. "That was what took so much time. Following the buyer's trail wasn't hard. Nor was finding the the particular thugs who snatched the children. That was easy, and they'll be dealt with. The part that required some digging was finding whose orders the hired guns were acting on - those are the important people we need to take out, to cut off the head of the operation. I finally located them. It's a pair of rather disreputable scientists who trained under an Anomid named Jarak..."

    "Jarak!" Visper repeated, her voice low and full of venom.

    Jasper raised an eyebrow. "You know him?"

    "Yes!" Visper said, naked hatred plain in the single word.

    "Yes." Felix echoed her, but his voice was soft and his tone was flat.

    "So we need to find this Jarak...?" Jasper suggested.

    "No," Visper replied. "Jarak is dead."

    "I don't think Jarak had direct involvement in this," Lana explained. "I haven't found any links that suggest he was present or any record of this in his communication. But these two trained under him, so..."

    "So we need to take them out too," Visper said decisively.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 09-27-2020 at 04:44 PM.

  4. #4
    Count / Countess Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Teizi Lin and Dallyn

    They'd been skirmishing on the beach when she spotted the Sith approaching the house with purpose. Her tenored presence meant that something was moving - and so, likely, would they be. Dallyn took advantage of his master's apparent distraction and lunged for a brutal cross strike...which was batted down as swiftly as his forthcoming protest.

    "Come. There is news about one of the mysteries we've pledged ourselves to." The young man's disappointment soon turned to a reserved curiosity. Sure, he wanted to know what was going on, but he also had a feeling that he was going to be left behind while everyone else got to untangle it. To make matters worse, Master Lin seemed even more distant than ever after the conversation that didn't happen in the kitchen some days ago. Dallyn was at a loss. Still, he managed to pick up his feet and enter the quickly filling dining room/kitchen without making a fuss.

    The two had missed Lana's opening statement and much of the subsequent conversation, but the anger and fear hung thick in the air. Teizi could almost see it. To her surprise, the anger seemed to be emanating from Visper. The consular's final words on the matter confirmed it. It was bit concerning, but it didn't change the decision she'd already made regarding the next mission should one arise.

    "Dallyn, perhaps your skills would be a benefit to this endeavour." It was supposition, but with the way Neva was putting her blaster back together and Master Averrod-Iresso was practically standing on the balls of her feet, she felt it was a safe assumption to make that there would be a mission off-world in the near future.

    The padawan was floored. He wasn't entirely sure what to think about the whole scenario - part of him was excited and proud to be sent off on a mission - the other part wondered if his master was just sending him away to get him out of her hair. He nodded to no one in particular and stood at the ready. It was a move that seemed to work for Master Lin when she didn't know what to say - hopefully it would work for him too.

  5. #5
    "Are you sure you want to do this?" Felix asked Visper quietly, away from the others.

    Had it been anyone else, Visper would have been angry. But Felix had a reason to ask. It wasn't distrust. It was concern for her well-being. Jarak and all things related to him tended to lead her a little too close to the Dark Side for comfort. She knew it. Felix knew it. But she had a personal stake in making sure Jarak's legacy didn't harm anyone else. Felix's stake was even more personal.

    "I'm sure," Visper said. "You saw what they did to those girls. You know... you know exactly what they're capable of. We have to stop them. I'll stay in control."

    Felix accepted this with a nod. He trusted her. Visper was determined that she would always prove worthy of it.

    Siralai was not at all concerned that Visper would be too harsh with Jarak's proteges. She had seen firsthand what the Anomid had been capable of... and the evidence of cruelty to Vanity and Apathy showed that his students had enthusiastically taken the same path. Putting them down was pest control.

    She had no qualms... but she had another problem. Adjusting to the loss of half her peripheral vision was proving harder than she had anticipated. A Jedi could compensate, see with the Force instead of the eye - but it would take time and practice to learn. Reluctantly, she had to admit that she would be more of a hindrance to this mission than a benefit, and leave this battle to others.

    Rossi had no intention of going to Mek-Sha, but she had a mission of her own. She was doing everything she could to be supportive of Reyth. A lot of times, that just meant sitting with her silently. But if that was what was needed, it was what Rossi would do.

    As quickly as was feasible, the group gathered at Neva's ship for departure. Felix looked worried. Visper's expression was inscrutable, but resolute.

    "Let's do this," Visper said.

  6. #6
    Count / Countess Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Neva Xolte and Padawan Dallyn

    She had to admit it was kinda cool how they managed to nestle an entire city inside an asteroid. Well, technically, half an asteroid. Maybe it was all the pipes and stuff holding the rock together. Took some trusting people to live in a place like that. Or crazy.

    "Hey kid. I think you're up."

    The padawan shook his hands out of his sleeves and bent over the console. He had taken on the role of the crew's slicer, though he suspected he might not be the best candidate in the group. His master must have put them up to it. Oh well. Regardless of what line they'd been fed, he would still do his best. It was up to Dallyn to find these persons of interest in this maze of garbage and find them he would.

    "Just be a few. Hopefully have something before we land."

    Neva nodded, but kept an eye on the boy. So much for her little chat with Teizi. It seemed like the relationship between master and padawan was even more tense than ever. Obviously she had no idea how to help so she needed to stay out of this before she made things any worse. Jedi really made no sense at all. No wonder Siralai had opted for normal life.

    "Got docking permission. We're setting down, people. Look alive." Neva chuckled to herself in spite of the tension settled on her ship. Maybe that's why she was saying cheesy lines - in an effort to break up the dead-weight feeling. While she would have rather just been another blaster and a pretty face, she was thinking that she might be forced into being the night watchman.

  7. #7
    Visper Averrod

    It had been necessary to stagger their arrival to avoid attracting too much attention. Neva's ship was the least identifiable, so she would land first with Visper, Felix, and Dallyn. Theron would follow an hour later, with Lana landing a few hours after that. They would dock separately, then reconvene as nonchalantly as possible. Even alone, they would all trigger more than enough attention. Arriving together - especially Imperial Intelligence, SIS, and two of the Jedi Order all working in tandem - would have made it clear that they were on a mission. That was something they hoped to avoid as long as possible. They didn't want their quarries to run for cover.

    Visper had been to Mek-Sha before, and she disliked it. She knew some people found it exciting. But to her, a pall of hopelessness seemed to hang in the air. Yes, Mek-Sha had its success stories. Its plucky upstarts who made a life for themselves. But so many others were ground beneath the boot of the more powerful, and Visper sensed that everywhere.

    They settled into a dive bar off the beaten path to wait. Theron showed up in due time. Lana was a bit later than her expected arrival - she said they'd tried to shake her down for a bribe when she landed, in a tone that implied they had probably regretted doing so - but was eager to get started.

    "We'll need to start our search in the area controlled by The Brothers," Lana said, referring to a notorious slaver gang. "Once we get there, Dallyn can slice a terminal and get us the information we need."

  8. #8
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    Neva Xolte

    Knowing full well that there was going to be a wait involved, the zabrak set about making their sojourn at the bar a little less noticeable. She bought a round of drinks for the table. It didn't much matter if anyone drank them. At least they wouldn't get kicked out for loitering. The padawan had seemed shocked to find that the contents of his mug really was alcohol. She'd clapped him on the shoulder and suggested that if he was allowed to carry a weapon, surely he was allowed to drink alcohol.

    She couldn't sit still. It only took a few seconds for her to go find a sabaac game. The lost time wasn't a big deal - for her. The others at the table might have been a bit richer if Lana hadn't been late. Neva excused herself and meandered back over to the table, leaning over the back of the chair. Letting out a low whistle, she drummed her fingers a tad too impatiently.

    "The Brothers, huh? Well, I wonder how we're going to get through their territory without..."

    "Hey you!"

    Neva was smirking at Theron and Lana. She wiggled her eyebrows before making a dramatic turn.

    "Oh hey there, boys. I told you I had to go - you'll have to make your credits back the old fashioned way." The rather large party of thugs seemed less than impressed and most of them had blasters drawn on the party. "Aw c'mon fellas, don't be like that. Oh wait, unless...hey, you wouldn't happen to be members of The Brothers, wouldja?"

    "Shaddap. Whaddyu know bout it?"

    "Shut up you idiot. Waste 'em."

    How convenient to get access cards to the area dropped off in their laps.

  9. #9
    Visper Averrod

    No one raised objections to Neva's use of lethal force against the gang members. The Brothers were a rather unusual type of evil even for slavers; they were not driven primarily by profit, but by ideology. They genuinely believed in slavery. Not just its utility, but something about the redemptive value of labor - Visper had listened to their rants before, and it still didn't make much sense to her. Particularly since as slavers rather than laborers, they seemed to apply their so-called philosophy only to others, never to themselves.

    "Handy," Visper said mildly when they were shown the access cards, echoing Neva's own thoughts.

    The trip to the area claimed by The Brothers was relatively uneventful, by Mek-Sha standards. A few toughs and cutpurses lurking in the shadows - and Mek-Sha always seemed shadowed, day or night - cast appraising glances their way, but all seemed to appraise the risk as too high. The taxi service they had to use was a rusted bucket of bolts, but they didn't crash to their deaths. Everything seemed to be going rather well...

    As they approached Brothers territory, though, Visper noticed a scout who was not dressed in their customary garb but seemed able to move freely through the area. An ally of the gang at the very least, presumably.

    And this particular scout was staring at the party. No... not at all of them. He was focusing inordinate attention on Felix, the direction of the gaze unmistakable even behind goggles. Seeing Visper staring, the scout took off at a fast clip.

    "We need to follow him," Visper said in a low voice. "I think he might be involved in all this."

    She was feeling protective of her husband - of course she was. But there was also a mission-related reason for her suggestion. They were looking for apprentices of Jarak. Someone who recognized Felix very well might fit the bill, or lead them to someone who did.

  10. #10
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    Neva Xolte

    When you're hot, you're hot. And she had to admit - tonight, she was on fire. If the heat from her pistol barrels wouldn't burn through her pockets, all the cash in them certainly would. It was fun to win it but way less fun to find out that money came from the worst slave traders in the galaxy. Damn. She had been so looking forward to putting in a new set of landing thrusters...

    Of course, she could also start paying more attention to the actual mission. She hadn't seen the scout, but was prepared to follow Visper regardless of a lack of her own observations of the subject. Neva fingered the handle of her pistol, but left it holstered. They needed this particular slime alive and she didn't want to accidentally end him. You know, before Visper had a chance to do so. The fact that the Jedi was gunning for the slavers was plain to see.

    If she cared about them, she'd hope that they'd give up their pals real quick. But she wasn't too much concerned about that.

    Every alleyway looked the same. Twists, turns, crap lighting. It probably would have been hard to keep up with him if they didn't have a bunch of Force users with a serious mad-on for him. They came up to an opening - which concerned Neva a bit. Pulling her pistol, she backed against the wall and risked a peek around the corner. Conveniently her lucky streak was still running because the shot was high. She turned and feigned a whistle.

    "Whew, kinda touchy. Almost like they're expecting somebody."

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