Log:Array Consortium: The Damsel Job
The Mathall Syndicate strikes back after their losses at Corva Yag, but not by the direct means Adhar chose - and if the Consortium doesn't act fast they may find themselves short of a major influx of much-needed resources. Luckily, an informant raises their hand to help...and all they have to do is kidnap someone. But is it kidnapping if you're simply bringing them back home?
The Mathalls took the destruction of their spice, their pocket carrier, and the taking of their slaves better than most anyone thought - after all, Adhar's choice to come out swinging in response to their trying to pinch off connections to the Outer Rim spice trade was a bold one, and by many standards fairly brutal...but the Mathalls were bastards, so nobody quite came to their defense right away. Then, they did a thing: they didn't hit the Consortium, they began to hit the Consortium's clients. Overnight, a number of the distributors working with Consortium suddenly found themselves under the watchful eye of Republic and planetary authorities, meaning they couldn't buy, and they were not selling. This is a recipe for disaster...or would be, if Adhar didn't also have a good reputation and a decent level of skill doing what he does.
Pulling strings, the Captain has found a way to get hit the Mathalls - not materially, but through their own connections. A disgruntled Chandrilan nobleman, seeking revenge against a certain Mathall figure who suckered his daughter into his, uh, 'orbit', has promised the Consortium a list of contacts that his own private investigators have uncovered - but to do that, they will have to fetch the thing that is most precious to him in this world...that daughter. And where do rich spice smugglers and crime lords take their lovers to entertain? Why, the pleasure worlds of the Outer Rim, of course.
Pack your bags, kids, you're goin' to Vaynai!
Vaynai, ocean pearl of the Chorlian sector, whose oceans teem with life and is a major source of ocean pharmocology. Corrupt aristocrats live here, ruling over all industry, and one of them is a man named Danar Koolen - one of the Mathall Syndicate's kingpins, and sugar daddy to the young countess. The four of you arrive on Vaynai on forged travel papers and a load of very nice clothes, spending several days out in the sun and fun while establishing your identities as gamblers and socialites - Adhar the Sabaac player, Nadia, the master of Jubilee, and...their partners. Adhar has Sion, and Nadia has Bar'duur. They fight crime. Or...no. Strike that, reverse it.
On the third night, the four of you gather in your shared bungalow on the beaches of Sanarta Bay, a few miles away from the target location. This is the Antai Gardens Hotel, a giant mega-wealthy place where you practically have to own your own starcruiser just to get in the door. Happily enough, over the last few days you've made sufficient connections to bypass the door, and Adhar has quietly worked with the local rogues to get what you need to do the job. Gather, have a few drinks, and the operation will soon begin...
The Jubilee wheel is a rather intricate machine to say the least, but the hardest part is for Nadia to make herself look like a professional gambler. No amount of fancy clothes clean her up enough that her reflection fools her. Her braided hair hanging with gold and lace down either shoulder of a synth-silk vest and Naboo cotton trousers. Her claws painted in Ord Cultan Gold flecks to resemble the Triple nebula oft associated with the space race around Kessel.
The Cathar's split lip opens into a wide frown, "Why can't we just shoot our way in?" Off the cuff she's easily one of the smoothest con-beings in the business, but try to get her to plan things out?
That's just absurd on a viscerial level.
Hard as it is to believe, Sion Corvara cleans up very nicely. A few cosmetics, a decent outfit, a trim at a good hair salon, and she might be some Corellian deb on a tour of the Outer Rim with her gambler 'friend'. Naturally, she's not comfortable with any of it, try as she might to pretend she is. So she stays close to Adhar and does her best to seem impressed at the sheer volume of credits he wins, the galaxy's most insecure good luck charm. Even the surroundings can't make her relax entirely: She's on the job, after all. At least it beats being on the bridge! "I don't know if we could get that kind of firepower anywhere near this place," she says, considering. "It's subtle, but they do have security, and with the level of concealment they have, they must be seriously organized. One blast and we'd be drowning in goons. Better if they never know they've been robbed 'til we're already in hyperspace."
"Because that's not how it goes, Nadia," says Adhar, descending from his room dressed in a simple, elegant dark blue tunic suit and swathed with embroidered sash of pale gold, both from his private tailors on Naboo, knee-high boots of black dewback leather polished so brightly they both seem to bend light /and/ eat it at the same time. A simple platinum pin secures the sash at his shoulder, glittering with precious stones. His curly hair is slicked back, his facial scars hidden beneath a thin veneer of synthflesh, his eyes now shockingly blue thanks to contacts. He looks...like a whole other person, really. Amazing. Or at least he doesn't look like the regular old Adhar Gann.
He descends the stairs in the bungalow's common room, nodding at the two of you. "We have to go in quietly, and extract her. Hopefully she'll be willing, but if not, well, it's a kidnapping." He offers the two of you jewelled pins - a nice big pretty one for Nadia, a smaller, more businesslike one for Sion. "Now don't get used to these," he says, "They're rentals from a friend of mine. Combination commlinks and locators. You get lost, you tap the small stone in the middle of each, otherwise you just have to murmur."
Nadia takes the pendant, looks it over, and scoffs. "Whatever."
Sion accepts the pin, nodding, and pinning it to the shoulder of the short jacket of her smart red synthsilk suit. It'd suit her role more if she'd put on an evening gown, or something like, but she'd never hide anything under that. Besides, she's Socorran, and a swoop racer. An evening gown would show scars that might endanger her cover story. She turns her attention to the matter at hand. "Who are we extracting, by the way? Just in case we run into her someplace besides where we're expecting?"
"You look lovely, Sion," Adhar says, smiling at Sion as he eyes Nadia faintly. "So, you know the plan here: you and I are gamblers, Sion is our assistant - plan changed since Bar'duur was recalled, I know, but here we are anyway. I'll go engage Danar Koolen in the sabaac parlor, keeping him occupied while Sion and you play at the Jubilee wheels; I put a slimline electromagnetic manipulator in your purse, Nadia, so you can use it at the right time. Only once, though, else they'll be on you like mad. Sion, when it looks like we're deep in the game, I'll signal you through the comms, and you go find out where the countess is staying. Once done, Nadia will make an excuse to find you, and the two of you will need to either convince her to come back or secure her otherwise. We do this right, we can be in and out in a couple of hours. All right?" He looks at Nadia. "/No blasters/. I got you both a pair of stunner gloves that will work just fine for what we want to do."
"Where would I put a blaster in this get up?!" Nadia holds her hands out, more angry about the fact she's unarmed than trying to convince Adhar she doesn't have one shoved in her buttcrack or in her purse. "I know the plan..." She grumbles, clawing at the side of her neck so she can tug at the tight line of her vest and blouse, "Why anyone wears this crap unironically is beyond me."
"Because they want to show off that they're oh so rich," Adhar says, giving Nadia a wide smile. "That's what happens when they get rich and decide to quit doing things. Now you two, how do I look? Smartass comments aside. Double-check my makeup here."
"Just in case it helps, Nadia, you really do look great," Sion reassures her, tugging at her own stun gloves. She has them turned off, just in case the casino has power sensors, but she can change that in an instant, thanks to how the power switches are mounted. "I love these things. I just hope we won't need them. I'll admit, I do wonder how I can find that out. I'm not exactly the social butterfly of the crew."
Waves her hand at Sion and Adhar, but it's with far less venom from the usually grumpy Nadia. Especially when Sion says she looks great. Even if it's in horrible clothes she'd never wear if not forced, a cat does love attention. "So, basically, you in a year or two?" Chidding Adhar, first smirk of the night. There will be more. "You look fine, Ma'am." Also to Adhar.
"Yeah, yeah," Ahdar says with a snort, looking into a ornate mirror in the main room. "Okay, this is good work. Shouldn't recognize me." Well, he did do a good job. Certainly doesn't look like the usual captain. He actually looks...handsome! And put together. And /rich/. "All right, limo's out front. Our driver is my contact on this planet; be nice, and for Fortune's sake, don't rip anyone off while we're here. I know it'll be /very/ tempting, but we can't draw any attention to ourselves." He goes to open the door, holding it open for you both. "Let's go have some fun."
"Off we go, then," Sion says, not with especial confidence. But the job has to be done. She pastes on a plastic smile, giving Nadia a quick hug, and slips through the held-open door.
Nadia returns the hug, that or she stole Sion's credit case. "I make no promises on not ripping someone off..." She says in a low voice as they all make their way out of the bungalo and towards the waiting limo.
"Just don't tip anybody off," Adhar says between a clenched smile as Nadia passes, closing the door behind you; a sleek black speeder limo awaits the three of you, conducted by a broad-shouldered Gran in an equally black chauffeur's uniform. He and Adhar exchange nods before he waits for the three of you to pile into the back, then as the passenger doors close the limo streaks off into the gilded night.
"He's already there," says the Gran in a throaty bass, reaching back over the divider a flat black case, which Adhar accepts with a nod. "Playing Corellian Spike with some executives from the Corporate Sector."
"Right," says Adhar, distributing to each of you an identification card with a black band across the bottom. "Here are your access passes," he explains. "These should get you to almost everywhere in the hotel, save for the infrastructural areas and a few of the highest security zones. Bibo, where's the countess?"
"Couldn't find her," 'Bibo' says. "She's definitely there, though. We've seen her within the hour.
"Great," Adhar mutters as the car drives on. "Looks like you've got your work cut out for you, Sion."
"Oh, goody..." Sion murmurs, pinching the bridge of her nose and tucking her pass into a pocket. "I hope we at least know what this countess looks like. Think she's on the guest roster? I could slice into the hotel's system after it..." Which would be a lot easier than trying to get a room number in actual conversation, at least for her.
Nadia stretches out in the back of the limo speeder after receiving her pass. She's digging in the luxury while she can since here shortly she'll have to pretend to be all snooty and whatever. "Probably not." She chims to Sion, "But you could slice the security cameras and trace her?"
"Holo's in the pouch," Bibo says as he pulls up to a traffic light; Adhar gets out a small holoprojector the size of a poker chip, pressing the activation stud. The back of the car is filled with light as the image of a young, rather forgettable-looking girl rotates slowly a few inches above Adhar's palm, mouse-brown hair and a medium nose, just enough chin to escape bad genes. She could get lost in any crowd, really.
"Well, that's...okay," Adhar says, taking a deep breath. "What's she wearing tonight?"
"Oh, you won't miss her," says Bibo. "She's not wearing anything but fire."
"I don't --"
"Holographic dress," Bibo says. "She might be plain, but she sure is daring. All right, we're here."
The speeder makes its way up a broad cobblestone street along a line of shops with rustic (and completely fake) stucco facades - and beyond that, sitting back in the middle of a swath of land fit for a castle.../is/ a castle, or at least a hotel meant to look like one. A collection of tall tomes and white towers, lit up from below in blues and golds, the Atai Gardens hotel lives up to its name; surrounding the fairytale complex on all sides is a great paradisiacal garden, a riot of greens and colors that spins the imagination, that rises up like a sea on which the hotel serves as a desert island oasis. A line of limousines do a conga-line out front, but after a few moments Bibo pulls into a traffic space and the doors come up.
"Enjoy your trip," he says with a chuckle, his three eyes moving in different directions on their thick stalks to track all of your faces and gives a goatish smile. "You need me, I'll be in the servant's lot behind the building. Good luck!"
"If she doesn't want to go, we can always disable her hologenerator," Sion says, considering the matter. "And she should be easy to find, with an outfit like that. If I haven't found her in half an hour, I'll try to get into the security system."
She steps from the limo-speeder, trying to discreetly stretch. "Thanks, Bibo. Just stay calm and listen for screams that don't carry that note of frustration you always hear at casinos."
Nadia climbs out of the limo after glancing at the image of their captee with a roll of her eyes, "Look at Katniss over here.." Boom, right through the fourth wall like the Quulaid Being. A popular powdered beverage for young beings on the planet, Quul. Fourth wall, of course, a reference to a hit television program often associated with mythical fire beings from the same planet featured during early mornings for kids.
"If she doesn't want to come, when I get there, I'll change her mind." Probably by beating the ever loving shit out of her.
"Yeah," Bibo says, eyeing Adhar with all three eyestalks. "He has a reputation for bringing that out in people."
"Love you too, Bibo," Adhar singsongs as he slides out of the car. "And no hitting. That's why you have shock gloves. We bring her back intact or we get nothing, and I don't think I need to tell you how unhappy that would make us all." No spice, no money. Bad times.
"You two be careful around him," Bibo mutters to the two of you as soon as Adhar gets out of the car. "I don't want another Onderon, eh?" As to what this means, he has no time to say, for Adhar waves the two of you out to join the other rich and prosperous.
Sion nods to Bibo, and pastes that plastic smile back on. "I can't believe I let you talk me into this..." she murmurs as they step out into the throngs of uber-rich, ever alert for the woman they're seeking.
Nadia straightens her vest as they near the entrance and does all that other stuff she did way earlier when it wasn't appropriate. She just doesn't it now when it is.
She's looking around at the lavish establishment as they enter the casino proper with her same swagger. Disguise isn't Nadia's speciality, it isn't until she starts talking that one might well forget that she's the rough bad girl.
Honey drops of sophistication might well bring to question about how much of her graces are some manifestation. Certainly, she's no noble savage anymore than she's the elegant woman shaking hands with someone whom she pretends to know and, by dent of her belief in it, has convinced knows her.
With no partner of her own, she's acquired her own. Now walking arm in arm with a Twi'lek dignitary from some shipping organization out of the Rim, she makes her way towards the Jubilee Wheels while laughing a joke that she almost certainly doesn't find amusing.
And other such nestalgic rehashments.
Yes, yes, you're a glorious beast, Nadia Cuul.
The garden is an incredible collection of glalactic horticulture, diamond-blooms and tangles of trees from every world from here to the Core - it's a great fairy playground, with paths of polished white marble winding toward the palatial hotel, staffed every so many yards with someone carrying a tray of icewine goblets. Adhar plucks one as you go, resolutely leading the two of you forward into the polished greel-wood gates - but not before you have to be scanned by a burly pair of guards in matte-black suits that look suspiciously like covert armor garments.
And...for a moment, they fail out. A loud buzz comes from the scanning unit in the guard's hand as he goes over your passes - the other directs you over, politely but /ever/ so firmly over to the side as the passes are checked over. After a few long, agonizing moments, one of the guards point out a faded strip of code-print on Sion's pass. A few questions to Adhar about it, where he is ever so obliging and charming, the guards are won over and they ever so politely provide Sion with a newly-printed pass with her current image prettily printed upon it in holographinc splendor. Then you're allowed in.
Cue Nadia's entry, what with the Twi'lek feller and whatnot. The interior of the hotel's main floor is one gigantic open space, filled with a vast sea of gambling machines; a restaurant is on the second floor in a great mezzanine that runs all around this, and everything is a magnificent galactic-deco affair in gold and greel and rich green marble. The guests are a who's who of everyone you ever wanted to stab for being too rich, too pretty, or just a huge wealthy jackass - there are several holo-stars here, Mana Dika from The Best Of The Core and the Ortolan synch-opera megastar, Beetha Tooga. No doubt there are more, but after a moment of staring at so much silk and sequins and coruscant sunstone the eyes swim a bit.
It's on the floor that the three of you split up, Nadia, her Twi'lek friend, and Sion departing to the Jubilee wheels, and Adhar toward a number of crystal screen doors which lead to the sabaac parlors. Each of you have been given a black commerce card directly connected to a Banking Guild anonymous account with a number of credits in it. No spending limit, but Adhar has made it clear to be careful with your spending.
"All right," he murmurs over the comms as he makes his way past the crystal screens, "I see him. Sion, wait a half an hour before you start your search. Nadia? Try not to spend too much of my money."
Sion manages not to panic when they find something wrong with her pass. She passes it off as irritation and worry that she won't be able to get into the Best Gambling House EVER after traveling so far. Fortunately, Adhar's on the job. She'd never get them to listen on her own. Jubilee wheels are the next stop. Nothing to do but kill half an hour waiting for a good time to start looking around for their quarry.
Nadia makes her way throguh after their brief stop at the security to check their passes, but she's got some high and powerful Twi'lek to lean upon, so it's a brief enough stop. As they walk, she's chatting with her companion, all the while angling them towards the Jubilee Wheels so that she can, almost certainly, lose all of Adhar's money.
"Mhm... Oh, you want me to place a bet for all of my credits?" She muses to the Twi'lek, but into the comm unit so Adhar can hear it, "Well.. I usually play it a little closer to the vest, but this is a party, after all!"
Time passes, and the Jubilee wheel turns - and sometimes Nadia wins, but sometimes she also loses. And when she loses, well, she tends to lose a bit big Because of course she does. But the credits still flow, and so does the wine, the charming company (or so we assume, since Nadia picked him,) and Adhar is...quiet. Finally, an ornate bell suspended from the ceiling over the tables lets out a musical gong, alerting to the tolling of the eleven o'clock hour. That is Sion Time.
The clock ticks... and ticks... and ticks... and finally ticks the right tock. The chime sounds, and Sion sets her comm to go off on a test beep. She glances at it, speaks softly, and bows her head politely to Nadia and her Twi'lek charmer. "I'm sorry, I need to make some arrangements for my employer. Thank you for the wonderful time, and I hope you'll excuse me." Social obligations satisfied, she turns and moves to check the ground floor's various distractions in this and other rooms, staying to the edge of the thronging crowds when she can. Time to get to work.
Nadia hears the chatter and manages time while, contrary to joking, plays it safe at the Wheel. A small bank, but nothing to leverage a house or retirement on. When the bell chims, she leans upon her companion with a grin as he offers up yet another glass of wine. Building a case for a bathroom break in the near future.
Adhar remains silent, playing cards or whatever it is he's doing behind those crystal screens; a number of people are back there playing, so since chaos has yet to break, there seems to be nothing to worry about.
Meanwhile, the wheel keeps turning for Nadia, who does a good job of keeping herself ahead now that she's gotten time under her. Jubilee isn't a hard game for someone who /really/ plays the odds, after all - that's why smugglers prefer sabacc. Not enough challenge in it, and easy profit's for cons, right? Ahem. The Twi'lek, on the other hand, has had a few, and is getting friendlier and friendlier with her the more time they spend together. He's not quite handsy - yet - but he seems inordinately fascinated with her fur. His lekku are trembling. Fetishist, you have been found out.
Meanwhile, Sion's sharp as a diamond pick as she moves through the hotel. While there are a lot of people to look through, as she moves through the well-dressed throng, she catches first a fleeting glimpse of fire in one banquet hall, only to find it is an open-pit barbecue for a convention of young Gammorean accountants. Don't ask.
The second glimpse of flame she gets, however, is a bonfire on the move. Sure enough, beyond a knot of particularly well-dressed Muurians, the lady herself is seen moving with a pair of Twi'lek girls with matching holographic gowns patterned as mobile snowstorms in the form of gowns, best to match their blue skin. All three are quite naked beneath, modesty covered only by body gems that sparkle with the light of hologram and hotel alike.
Rich people. Suns below.
Barbecues and boredom... Sion just isn't enamored by the gambler's swamky life. Besides, it's hard to find one particular person amid all this glitz.
Instead, looking across a room, she finds /three/: The daring Countess, and two apparent friends, all in holographic gowns. Fire and ice? Well, it /is/ a theme contrast that makes the target stand out.
<High Rollers, this is Spyglass, I've found her! Look for a girl in holographic fire bookended by two Rutian Twi'leks in holographic snowstorms, just in case I can't get them to talk to me,> she calls to her two coworkers, moving carefully to intercept the three. Maybe they'll show an interest in something she can relate to...
Oh handsy Twi'lek.
Nadia jabs a finger into her companion's side, possibly a little harder than necessary, but certainly not so hard as to do any lasting damage. "I have to pee." She says in typical Nadia disdain filled, smarminess.
Once she's seperated herself, she's on the move with a hand running along her neck, <Which wing?> She whispers, looking across the gathered trying to spy said bookended holographicnesses.
Handsy Twi'lek lets out a meep as he's poked, but he replies with a wide, schoolboy smile that suggests he thought Nadia were being handy first. Oh good. And yet he stays by the wheel like a good boy as Nadia makes her move. What IS Adhar up to? "Keep at it," is all he says over the link in a dim and furtive voice, barely heard even over the channeled pickups. Is that it? Good lord!
Meanwhile, the fire-and-ice triplets head into a wide garden dome of tinted transparisteel. Rain has begin to fall, spattering on the dome with a musical rhythm, and beyond the doors there is nothing but the placid strains of a chamber orchestra playing in a far corner of the structure. The countess smiles at her icy twins, gesturing for them to leave her - they nod, bowing in servile synchronicity, and move off back down the hall toward and past Sion.
Servants? Sion can only guess that the two Twi'leks' beauty would draw attention to the otherwise-plain Countess. She nods casually to the twins, being cordial, and steps into the dome. <She just entered a garden dome. The two Twi'leks are servants of hers, and they're leaving now. Watch for them if you're coming this way. I think we could use them as leverage if we had to; they seem close.> She moves closer to the Countess, putting on her best professional smile. "Countess Davali? My apologies for disturbing you. I'm Myma Balla, personal assistant to Fallan Dass, and I greet you on his behalf," she says, curtsying respectfully. And praying her wrapped business skirt won't gap too embarrassingly or slip loose. She seriously misses her leathers. Or even a flight suit...
Holographic flames lick over the body of the young countess as she sits on the edge of a fountain, like Satinatia'lar the Sun Princess poised at her nightly suicide dive into the sea - showing that Dugs, despite common belief, have a sense of poetry after all, at least in their mythology. And, like Satinatia'lar, her face is soft and sad. She is...diminished, despite her bravado, looking at her expression in the fountain pool.
Sion's approach breaks her reverie, though, and she looks up with brown eyes that harden with suspicion at every step. "What do you want?" Her voice is soft, too, but the words are bricks wrapped in that velvet.
Perhaps the Countess has an introspective side? Sion's smile quivers at the harsh reply, but she coughs politely and gets her well-practiced personal assistant face back on. "My employer, Mr. Fallan Dass, wishes to share your company at the noon meal," she replies politely. "I could leave you a holofrequency for a reply, but my employer would prefer if I could give him a reply in person."
The Countess narrows her eyes at you, looking you up and down. "I don't know any Fallan Dass," she says. "And if I did, her certainly hasn't taught /you/ any manners, Mistress...Balla, was it? I am here at the behest of a very important guest of this hotel, and my /title/ demands the proper address. You may call me 'Your Fluidity' if you must continue speaking to me." As if fed by her anger, the flames thicken and rise, forming a bright wreath around her shoulders. A mood dress. Who'd had thought?
Nadia is still searching and making her way towards the place where the things are happening.
"I do have the manners to appear in public properly dressed, Your Fluidity," Sion replies cordially. "And my employer, Mr. Fallan Dass, is not personally acquainted with you, but wishes to change that, hence my invitation. Shall I tell him you decline, then?" She frowns then, breaking the professional mask and meeting the Countess's eyes sympathetically. "Has something I've said frightened you? I'm sorry, it wasn't my intention. I've never been inside such a place as this before this week..." Perhaps a moment of candor might get beneath the angry woman's guard.
Nadia steps out into this gathering of the elitest minds with a little start, which leads right into her swaggering a little drunkenly towards the ladies where she might lean against the railing as if whatever they're talking about is less important than her need to be somewhere safe for potential vomiting.
Sion might be laying it on, but she's putting it in the right place; the countess's guard seems to drop some, and she chuckles softly. "I've been in places like this all my life," she says, though then she laughs in a way that many ridiculous straight men believe women do at slumber parties. All giggly and come-hither at once, you know the type. "And this? Oh, why not? I know I'm not much to look at, but this certainly helps. Besides, a girl needs to show herself off when she can, right?" She looks askance, into the water. "Even if nobody's really looking."
"It's a little overwhelming to me," Sion confesses, being almost completely honest; it /is/ a little overwhelming, but she's coping well. The faint smile she turns on the Countess is sincere, too. "And please pardon my irritation; that outfit really is striking. You carry it off well." She chuckles softly. "It's a bit too daring for me, but people are supposed to be looking at my boss, not me." She carefully seats herself on the edge of the fountain pool, looking down at what is now a pair of reflections. "Sometimes what's beneath the surface is more important than what's outside. I feel like too many people dismiss me because I'm just some piece of fluff, the person who's between them and my boss. Never mind that I do all of his scheduling... beneath the mysterious eyes and the silky locks is a block of greel wood."
Nadia keeps up pretenses of getting sick. Closeby, but not beside the pair conversing about power and who really holds it. She leans upon the railing with each mock hurl to spy the lower levels of the fountain. Each jut forward giving her a different view of any potential escape routes.
"Hey." It's Adhar, who sounds a little strained through the channeled pickups. "Where are we with the princess? The guards are starting to sniff around."
"Oh, I'm..." The countess shakes her head. "No. It's fine. I just wanted to come to the party, and just have a good time, and let him see me - you know, /my/ block of greel wood? But he's just playing stupid Sabacc, like he always does, and I'm left out here on my own." She certainly sounds like a woman who's put upon, and she wipes at her eyes with the heels of her hands as she sits up a little more.
"Sorry," the countess says, smiling. "Okay. This block of yours. He play sabacc too?"
"I understand completely," Sion replies, smiling. Okay, now she has to fake it, but she can understand the situation, and sympathize... had it been real. She's a method actress, really. "No need to apologize. And yes, actually, he does, but never at meals. I think you can count upon his complete attention then," she adds, stifling a smile, as if confiding a point to the Countess. "It's almost time... if you'll accompany me, Your Fluidity?" she asks, standing and curtseying as graciously as she can, back in professional mode now. Though she does shadow a wink to the Countess. Okay, not /quite/ perfectly professional.
"Ugh... where am I?" Nadia groans, rubbing at her eyes in drunken fashion, "Oh right, the fountain." For Adhar. Her hand drags across her mouth, eyes turning towards her Fluidity and Sion, "Wow, sorry... kept handing me glasses.. I guess I didn't know my limit." She totally knows her limit.
"Right," Adhar's voice growls over the link. "I see you. I'm coming. Be ready."
The countess, meanwhile, purses her lips, trying to gauge Sion again, but she rises, straightening her shoulders and taking on the mein she must have worn all the time at home. "Very well," she says, "I will meet with him."
"Right this way," Sion says, preparing to lead off... and noticing Nadia, finally, who has somehow in such a short time become disgustingly drunk. "Miss Vann? Oh, dear... if you'll let me help you," she murmurs, moving to support the Cathar. "Better get us back to Mr. Dass. He can get the limo brought around." She bows her head to the Countess. "I do apologize, Your Fluidity. My responsibilities include Mr. Dass and his friends while they're staying here."
To be fair, Nadia isn't really drunk, which doesn't prevent her leaning all over Sion as if she actually is very much so. "Hey there fire lady..." One eye squinting at Katniss. "That dress is hot." Boom, nailed it.
Here comes Adhar, in all his handsomized glory; he walks with purpose, as if he were marching to war. He looks at the three of you, towering for the moment in his blue suit and black sash, and smiles expansively as he does so.
"Your Fluidity," he bellows, reaching out his hands. "How wonderful it is to see you, finally! And you are as daring and beautiful as I have heard you are. Will you walk with me?" Comes on like a hurricane, does Adhar, sweeping up to her. "I simply MUST show you the crystalblooms on this end of the garden, and while that happens my assistant Miss Vann will handle the bill. I think there are fellows looking for me at this very instant - you know how insistant they are. Come, let's go and look, and you can show me your radiant beauty while you tell me of yourself."
Sion, still supporting a load of faux-drunken Cathar, edges back a bit so as to let Adhar turn on The Ol' Gann Charm. Presumably it exists... like her sense of tact. She frowns at the oddly-different sash, but her hands are full and her mind is racing ahead to the conclusion of this matter. And the sooner the better. She's not sure she can keep this professional veneer up much longer.
Nadia must sense something in the air by the way her nose is wrinkling. Sniffing as if something touches, then offends her nostrils, she stumbles away from Sion and waves for the trio to make their way, "I need the bathr- Oh god, I'm not going to make it!" So she starts jogging, not in the direction they're going, but the one Adhar came from.
Not used to being faced with a handsome force of nature, Adhar's painted beauty, drizzle of charm and his /absolute "manly" bulldozing/ of the poor girl seems to actually work. Blinking and unsure at first, the countess allows herself to be drawn away, the holographic fires of her dress washing up his side so close does he hold her, arm around her waist. She melts in against him, and they sweep toward the rear side of the greenhouse dome in double time.
Meanwhile, while Sion looks on in surprise, Nadia takes off, jogging for the 'bathroom' in all her finery - only to see a pair of grim-faced men in light combat armor on the approach, pistols at their hip and stun rods at their belts. One of them sees her, and lifts his hand in hail. "My lady! My lady, have you seen..."
Sion, hearing the words, glances back... well, things just got complicated. She fades back behind a doorway as Nadia catches the eye of the security types, just in case the Cathar needs backup. Adhar seems to be fine for the moment... and hopefully it'll be a long moment.
"Oh god it was horrible!" Nadia, seeing the goons coming after Adhar, goes immediately into fragile cathar mode and draws them ever closer to her. No waste of motion for her, oh but no. "Yes, yes I know which way he went!" She assures them incase the noose wasn't getting tight enough.
Once the first reaches out to steady the weeping scarred angel, once he's taken his eyes off her, her expression goes from pain to twisted rage and she lashes out with the kind of ruthlessness only a wild animal can muster.
Her fist swings forward directly into his jaw, sparks flying wildly from her fist as he is sent hurtling backwards away from the small furry creature who, having grabbed hold of his blaster when he leaned forward to listen to her tale of woe, whips it free to point right in the face of the other.
We're talking barrel indenting nose.
Blood has splashed across the unscarred part of her jaw, clothes, and anyone standing within a few feet of her.
Something heavy falls as the original target finally stops sliding from her electrified fist a good twenty feet into the hallway.
"I count. You run." She snarls.
And that, my friends, is more than enough to make the other guard stare, /hard/, at the nice painted housecat lady who just turned into a tiger on him. He stares for a fraction of a second at his comrade, who lies sprawled in a pool of his own blood, then turns and /runs/ as hard as he can down the hall. Forget /that/, friends.
He is, in fact, too terrified to realize that his gun is bio-coded, as is the one in Nadia's hand, as the telltale sensor nubs against her palm would tell her. A good show for Sion to witness.
Adhar, meanwhile, has bulldozed the countess to the back of the greenhouse, where the transparisteel of the main structure gives way to large panes of delicate, painted glass; the countess lets out a soft sound, bright and wondering - which proves that even the nobility in Chandrila don't get out much - and Adhar, seized by the moment, sweeps the basically naked woman off her feet and into his arms. "Your Fluidity," he all but proclaims like a holostar fantasy hero, "Let me take you from this crystal palace, and back to freedom!"
He says this, of course, while planting his foot through one of the glass windows in a powerful kick, using both their weight to carry it through - and steps out onto an embankment which leans right into the lot behind the hotel.
"Ladies," he calls over the comlink, loud enough to be heard throughout the room, "We are LEAVING."
Sion, sighing in relief as the second security man rabbits, isn't so distracted as to miss that radio call. "Nice work, Miss Vann," she says with a grin as she turns to flee the scene, reaching for the comlink again. <Spyglass to Jeeves, be a dear and bring the car 'round, won't you? We have a lady who needs a ride.>
Nadia slides the useless pistol into her pants incase someone else neds an affirmation of just how terrifying she is with a gun that wont shoot. Most nobody else would be aware that it doesn't fire.
She up nods to Sion as she speed walks in the direction Adhar and the Countess departed. Standing like a bloody sentinal nearby with her eyes behind them as they move intently for the room with the now open breezed hole in the glass.
< Already on it, > Bibo says over the link. < Better get going, too. Something's going on at the other end of the hotel. Looks like a fire. >
Adhar, of course, is already running down the bank with the countess in his arms, who is holding on for flaming life - until Adhar grabs the projector body-glued between her breasts in the shape of a large jewel, and she's simply naked and vajazzled. Or...vajazzled and mamazzled? Whatever you want to call it, she's sparkly and naked and having the apparent time of her life as she holds her arms over her head and whoops as Adhar runs her down to Bibo's waiting speeder.
"Come on," Adhar mutters into the line as he piles into the car with the giggling noble. "Get in, you two! Nadia, you take the front passenger seat."
"By the looks of things, we got out just in time!" Sion says, hurrying to get into the car so she can assist Adhar and his whooping, giggling double-armload of Countess in as well. "At least we don't have to worry about speeding away. Anybody sane'd be trying to get clear of this mess!"
Nadia shakes her head at the giggling noble as she swings into the front seat of the speeder. The blaster she stole is replaced with her own because she didn't go THAT far without. This is Nadia we're talking about. "Nice clean job." She muses with a scarred smirk.
"Clean as it was ever gonna get," says Adhar, whose face is currently being kissed repeatedly by the Girl With The Sparkly Mons. "Get us out of here, Bibo, go!"
Bibo, who looking in the rearview gets a triple eyefull of jumped-up farmer's daughter, gapes for a second before Adhar's voice jars him out of it; he grabs the controls and hits the accelerator, pulling the car around with such force that if it were a wheeled vehicle it would throw sparks and likely break an axle. But huzzah, the miracles of repulsorlift technology are such that he can manever around, his skill mixing with gravitic force to do that small miracle, and you three are off to the races, speeding away as emergency airspeeders and other vehicles converge upon the now brightly burning hotel.
But the speeder isn't heading back to the bungalow, it must be said. It's heading, instead, for the distant spaceport.
Sion hastily pulls a safety strap over Adhar and his ecstatic lap ornament, then straps herself in. "We're... dusting off early?" she ventures, seeing their unexpected course.
Nadia glances back through the rear windows at anything following them, but otherwise seems chill as an iceberg. She has her blaster again, so all is right with her, despite her being every bit as deadly without it. "That's probably for the best. Made a bit of a stink back there... what with starting a damn fire and all."
"Yes," says Adhar, who eyes the carnage in the rearview while the countess stretches her legs across Sion's lap and nestles in against him. Sighing, Adhar lifts a gloved hand, black leather so thin it's almost like wire sheathing, and takes her face his his hand. "It truly was a fantasy evening," he tells the wide-eyed noblewoman, and leans in to kiss her - firmly, passionately, like something out of the holos - and as she sags with apparent bliss he palms the back of her head, breaking the kiss just before a soft static crackle and a puff of ozone fills the cabin. The countess lets out a soft sound, locking eyes with him even as she falls away into unconsciousness. When she's out, Adhar starts peeling off the synthflesh.
"I didn't start that fire," he says simply, taking out the contacts and wadding them up with the disguise padding before throwing them out the speeder window. He sticks his head out the window, letting his slicked back hair catch the wind and shake it out. Bibo frowns in the rearview, but drives on.
Finally, the three of you get to the spaceport, where the limo stops in front of a tramp freighter that's eight shades grubbier than the luxury transport you arrived in. The captain, another Gran, nods at Bibo as the lot of you get out of the car, Adhar carrying the Countess toward the ship before pausing near him. "You get the trash?"
"Yeah," Bibo says with a nod. "They won't miss it."
"Good," Adhar says, nodding soberly to Bibo. "Well, thanks, Bibo. You probably won't see us for a long time."
"I'll try not to be too sad about it," he replies. "Go on, you damn pirate."
And so does Adhar charge up the landing ramp, so that the lot of you might follow to freedom. Well, to Chandrila, first, and cash money, but freedom all the same.
But never go to a resort with him again.