Log:Array Consortium: New Beginnings
Today's run was planned to be much simpler than running Energy Spiders from Kessel to Ryloth. Not even live cargo in this haul, even. No, the job today was just to get a load of spices from Nar Shaddaa to Corellia. Okay, so it's still not a 'simple' task, but still. You are scheduled for pick up of the cargo in a few minutes, a Rodian man by the name of Rhaud Thalev who doesn't in the least like to be kept waiting.
Hey, spice hauling is what Adhar has a long history of doing! Since the customer's in his backyard, it should take no time at all for the Moonstormer to land at the pickup point, especially with Sion at the helm - and so, once landed, the drives still powered and warm, Adhar stands at the bottom of the deck with whomever wishes to join him, awaiting this Thalev fellow.
Leaning on one of the support hydraulics of the landing ramp, post-landing, Sion keeps an eye on the surrounding area. It's a spice run... those are never a good time to let your guard down. And the idea of waiting for this touchy Rodian isn't a comfortable thought, either. Hopefully she won't have to be within smelling distance of him.
Another taking up residence on the boarding ramp is Nuuru. The Chiss is dressed in a set of fiber armor beneath his spacer uniform, and is currently laid flat on his back on the ramp. His hands rest beneath his head, his long black hair fanned out around his head as he stares upward. "I hope this guy isn't going to be late," he says to no-one in particular.
There he is too. A Rodian steps out from behind a stck of crates and peers up at you from the time piece in his hand. With that, he gives your group a quick look over. It's hard to judge a Rodian's facial expressions, being what they are. Yet he still seems mildly perturbed. "You it?" Thalev asks, sounding annoyed. "You're late. Forty three seconds." Giving a sigh, he motions for the crew to begin loading the cargo on your ship. It's a big haul. 20 tons of spices of all variety. In no time at all a multitude of sentients of a variety of races begin picking up various lockboxes and making their way to your ship.
"He's pretty well known for his hatred of lateness, so probably not." Adhar pauses to see Thalev emerge, giving them the business. Because that's what he does. "Traffic patterns were surprisingly thick today," Adhar says, giving the reedy fellow a bit of a bow. "Worry not, Master Thalev, your cargo will be delivered as you require."
Sion glances at Adhar as the Rodian speaks, and fights down the urge to roll her eyes at the comment. Seconds? Seriously? The guy probably just enjoys having something to complain about, and this is the easiest thing to find fault with.
The Chiss lifts up into a seated position, wrapping his arms around his knees as he watches the Rodian and Adhar begin to interact. He scoots to the side, watching as as the crew begins to walk past and load cargo into the hold.
"Right right. That's what the guys said when we tried to make this deal. My partners in Corellia aren't as patient as I am." He says, not bothering to touch any of the cargo being loaded onto their ship. This is what the hired hand are for, after all! There are about ten to twelve sentients moving the cargo onto your ship. "Alright, look. We left the cargo in lockboxes so it's easier to hide from Corellian Authorities. They've been particularly anal about doing an in person inspection of each and every ship that goes in. If you're lucky, they will be lazy today. If not... We never met. My partner in Coronet will pay you once you make the delivery."
"I've done a lot of work with the Corellian authorities," Adhar says with a nod. "Really, it's no trouble." He gestures to the ship. "You have dropoff instructions and a contact for me?" Adhar holds out his hand, waiting for a datacard or some other thing."
Sion nods, and heads up the ramp to begin takeoff procedures. Every minute might count, if the partners are anything like this guy.
Xuut presses himself up to his feet as he watches the deal, waiting for Adhar to get whatever form or contact information he is waiting on before he turns and walks back on board.
Giving the man another look over, Thalev makes another gesture and a sentient appears from behind another stack of crates, carrying a datacard over to Adhar. This guy won't even bother to hand you something directly! The sentient delivering the datacard to you is a young human male, probably a bit too young to be working this job for your likings. "Make the delivery on time and you'll find yourself with a 50% bonus... But that's for my partner to decide, not me." Thalev says before turning to walk away, dismissing you with a hand gesture. After another moment, the cargo is fully placed on your ship in the cargo bay for you to with as you see fit.
They never DO give you things direcly. Because that's how things work around here. Big nerds. "Of course," says Adhar, slipping the datacard into a breast pocket. "Have a good evening, Master Thalev. I'm sure you'll hear from us soon." That said, he jerks a thumb for Xuut to follow, and on board he goes.
Back in the cockpit, Sion has power online and is configuring it for a fast run out of here: Weapons power rerouted to engines. She's strapping in between control presses, trying to save as much time as possible. "Are things stable back there?" she asks over the intercom, to the cargo bay.
Xuut slips his hands into his pockets as he moves into place behind Adhar, walking on board the ship and out of sight of the Rodian outside. "So, this seems like it will be easy," he says, lifting a hand to toggle his comms which allows Sion to hear his sarcasm.
Thalev doesn't respond. Instead he just keeps walking, leaving your ship clear to take off and make it's leave when ready. Reading the datacard would reveal that the drop off is in Hangar 235, Bay C of the Corporate Sector 12. It also doesn't look like you have a lot of time for that bonus, either. In fact, the drop off time is uncomfortably shorter than a 'quick' trip to Corellia, WITHOUT illegal cargo.
With destination in mind, Sion gets this ship off the ground and heading for orbit at full power. "Just help me watch the sensors for traffic. This'd be a bad time to miss spotting a bulk freighter on approach for the regular pickup!"
"It's never easy," Adhar tells Xuut with a grunt. "We're flying into Corellia without time for a cover cargo. Let's get these lockboxes into as many of the compartments as possible, and hope they don't pry too far into things." He pulls out a datapad, calling up a map. Hasn't learned them all by heart - yet.
Xuut walks along in Adhar's wake, shrugging by way of reply before he says, "We could just forge a set of pickup documentation. Hide the goods we're transporting where it looks like we are coming into Corellia to pick up, rather than drop off. It isn't that hard."
Sion has already at least guaranteed you'll make it out of the atmosphere quickly enough. The ship almost seems to bob and weave through air traffic with the grace of a prancing dancer, maneuvering into space like it was childs play. Now just to set the jump coordintates... Oh wait, are those fighters on approach?
"You aren't Corellian." Adhar grins at the young Chiss. "It's a great idea, and that's standard approach - but my people have made smuggling into a racial tradition. Customs /assumes/ you're going to be smuggling something in. So you have to up your game going into Corellia."
"Uh-oh... we might have a problem," Sion says, seeing the sensor screen. "I've got fighters on an intercept course. I'm gonna try and get to the jump point before they can get into firing range, but you two might want to get on the guns. Ya know, just in case..."
Xuut smirks as he walks, shrugging slender shoulders before he says, "No doubt. I suppose you are right. Rather than having documentation ready for them, I suppose the best method is just to stowe the goods away and hope for the best. I'll keep my fingers crossed." He offers a toss of his long hair before he moves to start grabbing lockboxes and carry them toward hidden compartments.
Flubbing the numbers in a rush to get them in, Sion isn't quite able to get a jump the computer will accept before the fighters are close enough to open up.... Yup, they are indeed shooting at you. Crap. Well it looks like those first few bolts are warning shots. The communication terminal bleeps to signify they are trying to contact you.
"Keep those coordinates coming, Wiz... I'll make sure we're still here to use them once they're in," Sion says, tightening her grip on the controls and sending the ship into a quick bank and turn /towards/ the enemy, but not quite onto their vector. This should throw them for a loop for a moment, 'til the crew can get on the weapons consoles.
"Oh, we'll still --" Adhar stares at the comms. "Okay, pack later. Let's get up to the bridge." He charges up the stairs and up through the main corridor, heading for the cockpit.
"Get those shields up, double-aft," he bellows through his wristcom. "Fix turrets to front. We're coming up to man the turbolasers."
Because hopefully, BIG DAMN CANNONS will make them go away.
Then he switches to channel. "Moonstormer to incoming fighters," He says. "Can I /help/ you with something, gentlebeings, or is this a day for piracy?"
Xuut glances up as he hears the call to man the weapons, moving to put down his lockbox and start heading toward the bridge.
Their is silence on the comms for a moment as the pirates attempt to duck and weave in reaction to Sion's nimble flying. "You know kriffing well what we want. We're going to be taking that cargo of your. Stop resisting if you know what's good for ya." They finally say, responding to the comm channels. To their dismay, however, Sion sets up a good set of coordinates that not only she can make a jump with now, but also will shave some time off your entire trip.
"Well, sorry to disappoint you scuzzballs, but no, you won't. Ciao!" Sion gives the ever-helpful Wiz a grin and pulls the little magic levers. /Moonstormer/ gives a mighty lurch, and then vanishes from the Kessel system as if it had never been there.
Sighing, she unstraps from the pilot's seat and stretches. "Okay, that was cutting it a little close. Everybody okay? Including our cargo?"
"...aaaaaand kriff you very much." He leans his head into the cockpit, as that's where Sion is, and calls out, "Yes, we are fine! You are a brilliant jewel and I am buying your drinks for a week!" before heading back down the neck of the ship.
Seeing Xutt there, he says, "We're good, she made the jump before they could get close enough. Let's get the rest of this stuff stowed and then we're off to the races." Good hustle, though. Well done."
Xuut stalls as he sees that the ship has moved beyond the incoming fighters. "Just as well," he says as he turns away to head back toward the cargo hold. "I'm not that great with a turret anyways," he adds.
It is indeed a good hustle. You guys are making good progress, even. You'll be there in no time flat. Despite that, however, you do still have some time to plan and prepare for what you are going to do when you get there.
"Well, I sure won't say no to free drinks for a week," Sion replies agreeably. "Only... now what? We've still got to get there in time to satisfy a picky Corellian spice lord," she says, moving to assist with the cargo-stacking.
"We load the ship and act like traders," Adhar says. "Sion, you'll want to prepare for the mass lag when you fly in - there's twenty tons of hidden cargo on this boat, and we need to make sure that's not apparent. They don't look too closely at the engines, that's fine. Were this not Corellia, I'd suggest coasting in unpowered - but they have fighters on patrol everywhere, and even a slight possibility of a ship entering realspace will have them coming. Good thing is, though, that's /mostly/ what they have."
He ducks to load a lockbox into place beneath a hinged stone floor slab. "Of course, they're usually flying HLAFs, and those are fast as sin. So we just need to fly as casually as possible."
Xuut continues on with sliding lockboxes into hidden compartments, being careful to replace the marble coverings before he straightens. "I think you're missing out on the power of a good forgery. Hell, we could even say we're coming in to pick up a dignitary for a mission off world," Xuut comments, straightening to wipe some sweat from his forehead. "Though if customs gets too curious I guess we can always lock them away and clear ourselves."
Sion moves to hold the floor slab up, nodding. "Fly casual, act natural, be polite. Okay, the last might give me a little trouble. Is it okay if I just don't say anything unless I'm asked? Plus, I'll have to change into my armor at some point... I don't have a good feeling about our reception post-customs."
"You know, Nuuru, you're right?" Adhar stands, brushing at his thighs. "I'll do a set, and you do a set, and we'll go with whomever's is better. I haven't forged documents in a bit, so it's probably not a bad idea to do the thing." He ducks to close the plate over the hold, then looks to Sion.
"Yeah, you get ready to suit up once we're past customs. I'll do the same. We'll have to get Nuuru some plates when we get back to Nar Shaddaa."
Xuut shrugs his shoulders as he looks over at Adhar. His brow is a tad furrowed, wrinkles being visible in the skin of his sapphire colored forehead. "I don't have to do a set at all. I had offered, but if you would rather do it yourself, by all means.... Captain." With that, Xuut turns and heads off down the corridor double checking the hidden compartments to make sure a lip isn't lifted or a stone angled poorly.
Sion blinks, looking after Xuut. "I think you hurt his feelings, Captain," she says softly, making sure it won't carry after the pouty Chiss. "And I'd better go get ready to bring us out of hyperspace. I'll be up front."
"'We should do a thing' doesn't mean 'I can do a thing', Nuuru," Adhar points out. "I'm not trying to hog. If you can do it well, then I'll make sure you do it from here on out." Well, if he's going to be pissy, there's nothing Adhar can do about it. "Go ahead. Call us if they're waiting, though they shouldn't be." With a sudden jerk, the /Moonstormer/ drops out of hyperspace, arriving in Corellian space several hundred meters from Corellian Spaceport. It takes them a minute, presumably as they scan your ship, before their is a page on the comm channel from the port authorities. At the same time, a small transport protected by two CSEC gunships on the transports flanks are on an intercept course.
Xuut drifts in to the crew lounge, easing down into a seat as he waits to see what will happen. He has a pistol strapped to his thigh, and his vibrodagger hidden beneath his coat, but that surely doesn't set him apart from any other spacer heading into Corellia.
"Fly casual it is..." Sion murmurs, hoping Adhar can get the comm traffic while she handles the controls. She'd rather not put her foot in her mouth while they're so close to so many official vessels.
Adhar goes up with Xuut, pausing to say, "We need to really talk about what you /really/ can do before our next job, because I'm not interested in making people feel unappreciated on accident" before heading up through into the bridge.
"All right," says Adhar, slipping into the copilot's seat and keying up the comms. "Corellian Control, this is Moonstormer. We are holding course and ready for your inspection." Cutting the link, he says lowly, "Cut speed to a fifth of maximum."
"Roger that Moonstormer, Corellian Control out." The voice from the comms channel replies. After a brief moment, the CSEC gunships have the Moonstormer flanked, with the transport now attempting to board the Moonstormer. Should there be no sort of resistance from the crew, the airlock slides open as a pair of CSEC guards and a Port Agent step into the vessel.
Sion nods and reduces throttle, matching speeds with the transport to make this easier. Once they're joined, she'll stay with the other vessel. "We're locked. Here we go, then..."
"Here we go." Adhar heads down to meet the customs officer at the far aft of the ship, where the docking tubes connect. Finding the CSEC officer there, he gives the man a pleasant wave.
"Officer," he says, nodding to the two guards as well. "We're ready for inspection." He has his papers in hand, but doe not offer them yet. Let the man ask the questions. Let him think he has control.
Xuut slides down in his lounge chair, placing his hands behind his head and kicking his feet far out in front of him, crossing his feet.
"Right, hand over the paper work then. I'd rather not waste your time or mine." The customs officers says, looking around the interior of the ship. As he speaks he has a hand out towards Adhar, having seen the papers in his hand. The two guards make their way around, just a tad, looking for anything out of the ordinary.
As requested, Adhar hands over the documentation - smudged with grease and dogeared in places, the forms having long since been given the kind of abuse that actual examples would be subject to in the wild. All part of the work, after all. "Here you are."
Sion, for her part, stays at the controls and tries to look responsible in spite of her obvious riding leathers.
Xuut's eyes drift closed, the Chiss apparently considering going to sleep there on the lounger.
True to his word, the customs officer snatches up the offered paperwork with out a second thought. Looking down at it, he examins it closely and carefully. "Not carrying a lot of cargo with you today, I see." He says, almost sounding... In disbelief? With possible anxiety settling in, it's hard to tell. Although it's obvious by your demeanor you are hiding something, he's too focused on the paperwork in hand to tell. "Right, everything looks to be in order then." He says before pressing a button on his commlink. "They're all clear." With that, the customs officer and the two guards would leave the Moonstormer back onto their own ship.
Sion, doing her best not to seem flustered, casually salutes the departing customs personnel. She sighs in relief once the airlock door hisses shut. "Looks like we're good," she whispers, with a grin to Adhar and Xuut.
She doesn't waste any time once they're disengaged, either, cutting in sublights and heading for their rendezvous point. "We're doing good, ahead of schedule even with that delay. Go us!"
"Maybe..." Ahdar frowns, then looks to Xuut. "Yeah. You're definitely doing the forgeries from now on, Nuuru. I'm sorry if I came off as dismissive." That said, he heads for the armory. "All right, Sion, get us on planet. My suit takes longer to put on." That said, he heads off to get geared up.
Well at least no one seems to be chasing you... As the CSEC transport and gunships break off formation from you, they return their vectors back towards the spaceport to resume further inspections of the constant coming and going of Corellian life. There is a clear approach for you to the surface.
Punching the destination into the nav system, Sion nods to Adhar and points the ship toward where they're bound. "Don't worry, we'll get there," she says, hoping to make a quick trip of it.
Adhar settles into the captain's seat and nods, folding his arms over his chest. "Bring us in."
Passing through the atmosphere and into the lanes of airtraffic, Sion is easily able to 'fly casually' enough that no one seems to both you in anyway. As stated on the datacard, you make your way to the hangar which opens for you after inputting a sequence of numbers that serve as the hangars access code.
"That's good work, Sion," Adhar says as he squints at the opening hangar doors; he slips into the co-pilot's seat and scans the area as you enter, making sure nothing untoward is waiting for the lot of you.
Just inside the hangar a full gathering of sentients await, although varying in racial diversity, this group is mostly humans. In the center of the group, leaning up against a stack of crates is a human male wearing a black leather outfit with a blue undershirt. His eyes are right on the ship as it is begins to make its way into the hangar. It's hard to see from your view, but its easy to guess that the entire group of them are all well armed.
"I just hope it's good enough..." Sion murmurs, sounding a touch distracted as she sets the landing sequence. Her eyes scan the interior of the hangar as she unstraps her belt from her waist, leaving it in her seat. Unfastening her safety harness, she's already shrugging off her jacket as she comes out of her seat. "I'll go change quick while I have a second," she promises, tucking the jacket under her arm. Unfastening her pants as she goes, she's pulling them open as she darts through the hatch, accidentally flashing her powder blue panties. "Be right back!"
"Right," says Adhar, sighing faintly. "Down we go. Remember, if things go south, I'm hitting the boss first. Almost always breaks up a group to see the toughest go down."
That said, he engages the landing ramp and heads out.
He doesn't see said undershorts. He's just too busy counting targets. Then he heads down.
As your landing ramp lowers, the one who appears to be the leader of the group steps forward with dual blasters holstered, one to each hip. You can see clearly now that cowboy styled black leather hat the man is wearing, paired with his short, fingerless black leather gloves. In step with their leader, the whole crew of sentients behind him steps forward. Judging from his facial expression, he seems... Pissed.
True to her word, Sion is back within a few minutes, strapping on her blaster again. She moves to back up Adhar, not liking the look of this bunch. Who brings so many people if they're looking to make a peaceful deal?
Besides, this is the spice trade. She was half expecting this kind of reception, though she would've been fine with avoiding it.
Oh good. "Good evening, gentlemen," says Adhar as he descends the ramp, his helmet on his hip and his gun on the other. "You all seem displeased. Is it because we're early?"
Yes. Early. Hammering this in. Anyone who bitches because they weren't on exactly the moment is going to get a paddlin'.
Having picked up on the expressions on the both of your faces, the man looks even more pissed, pointing a finger at you as if he is about to yell something at you... That is until he bursts out with laughter, bending at the knees to slap each of them with his hands. As he does so, so too does his crew behind him. After a good long moment, he straightens back up and points at the two of you. "Man, y'all shoulda seen yer faces! Ey, look. E'eryone here know what kinda tight wad Rhaud can be, so we always gotta dog wit the first timers! Priceless e'ery time, I tell ya!" That last bit he says more to the rest of his crew who are also still working to control their laughter.
"Sorry lads," Adhar says with a wide grin - he offers the other man an arm, Corellian-style. "We had some folk try to intercept us as we were leaving Nar Shaddaa - figured there might have been some wires crossed. Since we didn't fire on 'em, though, couldn't imagine how you'd be mad, though it /has/ been that kind of a day." He jerks a thumb at the ship. "I'll have my hands offload the stuff and have it ready in the cargo bay. Meanwhile, why don't I bring some drinks down for you and your lads? Celebrate this new partnership of ours." He leans in and murmurs, "I got some Whyren's Reserve. Not a rare vintage, but it's especially good for mostly-special occasions."
Sion relaxes a little, glad that's over. Hopefully. Nodding to Adhar, she steps back up into the ship to begin unloading.
"Trust me," Adhar says with a grin. "I like it when folks are only fooling." He gives the other man's arm a strong shake, and adds, "Have I told you about my outfit, the Array Consortium?"
Yes. He will never stop networking. Never. Stop.