Log:Array Consortium: Cloak and Dagger, Part 5
Some time after meeting the masters of the Mathall Syndicate, and with no word for some time, Aline reaches out to Pash once more.
Somewhere between Chandrila and wherever else you're going, what with the horror and the loss and the monstrosity building images in your head, the ping of the holocomm may or may not be a welcome distraction - but there it is, from an unlisted address. Well.
That would be between Chandrila and Nar Shaddaa. After dropping off the goods he picked up on Mon Calamari - just before the big battle - Pash tossed on some clean bandages if only to fool himself about the extent of his injuries. Nothing a quick trip to Quentin can't cure. Then, the ping of a holotransmission. "Pash here," he says after accepting.
Well if there were such a thing as a devil with an angel's face, that devil would be Aline - whose beautiful self appears over the projection pad from the chest up, dressed in a high-collared coat with hair hair a great deal longer than the last time you saw it. Big, thick, Veronca Lake waves tumbling over one eye. She smiles in a fragile way as she sees you there.
"Pash." Breathes the word out, that pretty witch. "You look like Hell."
Pash eyeballs the temptress with a look that says he's about had it with all such nonsense for the day. "One o' these days someone's gonna have something nice than that to say to me." And on that day, he can retire to his beachfront condo on -- oh, wait, that'll never happen now. "What's goin' on Aline? Miss me?"
"I'm not the kind to lie," she says with a shrug. "Just obfuscate. How are you, Pash? I hear the most awful rumors."
"Good. Word's gettin' 'round, then." Pash says, leaning back in his pilot seat to consider the hologram before him. "I think we both know this ain't a social call, and I hate talkin' on these things, so out with it." Typical, down-to-business Pash, though not without the hint of a grin.
"Down to business." She shrugs. "If that's what you want..." Aline purses raspberry-painted lips, quiet for a moment. "I hear the Syndicate's leaders have put a hit out on me and mine. I hear they've asked you to carry it out, if you want peace from them. That about it?"
Pash nods easily. "That's the gist," he admits, crossing his arms across his chest, which causes him to wince slightly. "Don't know why I came off as an assassin, but hey, it's a job." Whether or not she actually thinks he'll go through with it is another thing entirely. "Where ya at these days?"
"'That's right, Aline, my whole group has been hired to kill you and yours, by the way, where are you?' Really?" She gives you a look, silver eyes hooded with heavy lashes, her lips wrenched into a disapproving smirk. "Riiiight, because I've lived this long being stupid." A beat. "I hear your boss traded in his corvette."
Pash shrugs and casually asks, "What do you want? For me to lie? That's not a fun game." He then hears the part about the corvette and rolls his eyes. "I'm sure you did. Anything Adhar does is loud enough for half the galaxy to hear. Tryin' to impress me?"
"You'd be surprised about that," she says. "I think you really, really would - your boss is a hell of a lot colder and calculating than you seem to realize, Pash. Maybe not toward you guys, but certainly toward his enemies." A beat. "You know he murdered Danar Koolen on Vaynai, right? While the others were getting that idiot of a baroness."
Pash sighs and waits a few beats. "What do you want, Aline?" This is clearly not getting down to business, which is what he wants to happen so he can take a damn nap while still in hyperspace. So, he stares cooly at the image in front of him, waiting.
"That's not a 'no'," Aline says, gauging. "The point I'm making here is that your boss isn't so ethically black-and-white as I think he tries to make himself. Which makes me think we can deal." Her lips purse again. "I don't want to die, Pash. I'm sure you probably think I deserve to, considering everything, but I don't want to. I'm willing to make you and yours a deal. All right?"
Pash inclines his head a bit at the suggestion. "You don't know me very well, do you?" The hologram flickers a moment, and he says, "I know Adhar is more complicated than people give him credit for, but yer dealin' with me on this one. And I ain't an executioner. So, how 'bout we find a place to meet and see this through?"
"You'd be surprised," she replies simply. "Lot of people seem to think he's just...some Corellian bumpkin who managed to fall into where he is. Even as he now commands a - what is it, a frigate?"
Pash pauses again, his face stony and his mouth set in a single straight line. "Lady," he starts, "If I hear one more word about Adhar Gann I swear this conversation is over." To hammer home his point, he lifts a finger and holds it in the air as near to the END CALL button as he can without it fluttering off screen.
"Fine, fine," she breezes suddenly, lifting up her hands. "Fine. Sorry. All right, here's the deal. I will give you my organization - that is to say, you can take them out, all in one go. Except for the Yellow Man, of course, but we don't talk anymore. He's off to work with the Senex-Juvex crowd. You guys get rid of them however you want to do it, and you let me walk. It's that simple. You'll never hear from me again."
Pash lowers his finger from the button, drops his hand to his arm rest, and starts drumming the full set of digits against it. "Right, and how is that easier than just endin' you?" he wonders, not entirely taken by the idea, but only because it seems to require more work on his part.
"Because I'm in the wind," she points out. "And it's gonna be a whole lot harder than ever would be to just take them out, the way I've arranged it. The Consortium just has to show up in that big boat of theirs and take them all out from orbit. No muss, no fuss. Far as your boss is concerned, I died with the rest of them. Only one who'd know the truth is you."
Another long pause from Pash. "Send me your plan and I'll give it a thought." He's open to suggestions, after all. "How can I contact you?" He doesn't even need a location, just a number, and he assumes it's not the one she called on.
"I'll contact you in three days," she says. "Around this time, by holocomm. Give me your answer then. On the fourth day, I take my people and we go. Where we go depends on you." She pauses a moment, smiling in a soft, tragic way. "See you around, Pash. It really was nice seeing you."
And then, just like that, she's gone.