Log:Array Consortium: The Doom-Bug Deli Run
The first thing that Adhar wants is a clear sign that you lot know what you're doing - not so much for his own edification but for when someone ultimately asks him for some evidence of your skill - and so he sends you off to move some contraband for him, in the name of one of his better clients.
It's meat. It's a lot of meat. Meat from halfway across the galaxy, even - and this is because the reciving party is a positively ancient Colicoid living on the word of Tassanal. At eighty years old, Fassak Nek is a renowed weapons designer, having been part of the team that developed the shield generator for the latest-generation Droidekas used by the Separatists during the Cold War. Here, however, he's awaiting the mother of all deli orders: seventy tons of stasis-held exotic meats. Because you see, folks, Adhar's client knows his history - if the Trade Federation could confirm a planetary alliance for thousands of tons of meats to these science-minded horrors, seventy is more than enough to secure whatever it is /he/ wants.
The trip down the Corellian Trade Spine toward your destination is quick thanks to the hyperdrive on board the Determination (name pending) but there's still plenty of time to sit around and be lazy. While the world outside is blue and swirly, the three of you - that is, Darius, Vasani, and Bar'duur - are able to have some time to get to know each other. Bar'duur is Adhar's first officer; he's sent the burly Zabrak to watch the situation, and report back when all is done. So you've got a chaperone. Get the job done, and don't get caught standing so close you can't fit a blaster between the two of you, kids.
"So, tell me Bar'Duur, you've talked to me about being a warrior. A survivalist. Think you can make sure Ve and I survive if things go south." Darius says with a smirk as he idly sits in the pilot chair.
"Things goin' south? It's just a buncha meat! We can do this no problem boss!" Vasani says, swinging her feet back and forth in her seat. "We just feed the big guy and get on outta there right?" she asks, looking toward Bar'Duur.
Bar'duur doesnt speak a whole lot, he looks around the ship a bit though, he likes seeing different ships after all. Turning his attention back to Darius he smiles faintly. "What? I'm just here to watch." He winks at the other man a little bit before grunting to Vasani. "As far as I know, I mean, for all I know this guy will expect us to cook it for him or something."
Darius looks over to Vasani. "If only things would ever go that simply. Always think the worst, enjoy the best darling. Also I think proper persona will serve us best here." He gives a little wink to the Twi'lek. Glancing back up to Bar'duur he nods. "Well, I'm all about breaking bread with interesting folk, kind feel bad though... I ate a bunch of spicy bugs last night. Hopefully not a relative or two."
"Dare!! Don't generalize like that!" She laughs heartily at the bug joke. "Plus we's breakin' meat not bread. Speakin' of that... I wonder what kinda exotic shit he likes eatin' anyways? You know what's even back there?" Vasani asks to both of them.
The Zabrak man nods to what Vasani says. "All beings eat differently, wouldnt be suprised if he eats smaller versions of things he considers like you." He waggles his eyebrows once or twice. He idly tugs on a bit of his armor, at least that which he's wearing, since it's bulky and he's more used to wearing a flightsuit lately.
"Me? Generalize? How dare you think we all aren't brother and sisters in our hearts Ve." Darius is joking, but stretches a bit and stands up, double checking to make sure he holstered his not broken blaster. "So, okay, we have establed our first team building goal. Don't let these things eat us."
"Sounds like a good start" Vasani grins. "That sound good for you too, Bar'Duur?" She asks teasingly. "Do you know anything else about this guy?" She asks. The job can't be this simple right? Just dropping off some food for someone doesn't seem like the kind of work that the Consortium would be doing, they aren't pizza delivery guys.
Bar'duur smirks a little bit, in a fairly good natured manner and he nods to Vasani. "Yeah I guess that's alright, I dont feel like getting eaten." He cant help but chuckle gruffly. "Only he's really smart, makes shields and stuff, the captain wants something from him and you know, everybody has their price."
So! Hyperintelligent brain-bug wants gourmet eats, you got the vittles - should be an easy transfer right? Except there's a thing about Tassanal which makes things kind of difficult - specifically, that the Tassanalian government does not allow actual meat on the planet.
Tall, strong, and made roughly like upside-down oil funnels ringed with sensory organs and spindly limbs, the Tassanalians long ago decided that carnivorous eating simply corrupted the land, as it led to so many other things - clear-cutting, over-slaughter, the works. So there's a law: you don't import meat. Or eat it. Or you go to jail.
Good thing there are sugglers involved in bringing him this dinner!
Hyperspace becomes Realspace, and Determination floats in the void; ahead of the ship, fairly close enough so that it looks, an ancient Nebulon-B frigate turns its attention your way. The comms fill with stern words; it appears that customs is on its way, and you are told to sit tight.
As the ship goes out of hyperspace, Daruis moves back to the controls of the Determination. "Little reminder meat on this planet is illegal. So all we are delivering is some delicious fertilizer. " As the the comm lights up Darius listens and glances at Ve. A 'let me speak for now' kind of glance. "Tight as you need sir."
Oh shit- thats the catch, how could Vasani forget? It was never as simple as just delivering some guy's dinner. She acknowledges Darius' nod, staying quiet to let him command the call. She spends the time that he's talking to them calming herself and focusing her mannerisims on being a more polite "I'm-not-doing-anything-wrong" kind of demeanor.
Bar'duur sits back and watches, smiling faintly at nothing in particular, just a tiny little smile, is he having fun? Is this an adventure to the big borned man? Maybe.. maybe.. He keeps quite, letting the professionals handle themselves.
The meat itself is in thermally-insulated containers engineered with broadcast units to mask organic sensor signatures. Even then, though, you'll need to be able to rummage them around and set them up so that sensors won't tag 'em. Over the coms, the hideous voice of the security control is filtered into a light, melodious voice which isn't fooling /anyone/.
< Determination, this is Customs Ship D'khh'ttkrei. Slow to a speed of five megalights, and prepare for focused scan. >
"Of course customs." Darius says in a rather neutral tone and does as instructed. It should just be smooth sailing, right? The young smuggler trusts everything was loaded on correctly, as it wasn't either Vasani or him doing the loading. A prior engagement came up last minute to prevent that. "We'll do Drex and Palakwi Ve." He says to the twi'lek making sure the coms don't pick it up.
Vasani nods at Darius' request. She always loves doing the Drex and Palakwi. She continues staying quiet while the ship is scanned.
The Duck Palaver is not necessary, however, because after a moment of scanning, the ship reports back - rather astonishingly - with the following words:
< You are clear to proceed, Determination. Approach G'thanfi Tower and follow their instructions without delay to your assigned landing pad. Happy trading!">
Well. That's a big hurdle avoided...
"Setting course customs." Darius tone changes slightly. Not like he is doing a different voice, but the humor that usually rides over most words has disappeared. His voice seems to have less energy, is more direct, and a bit removed. He then starts to pilot the Determination toward the landing pad. A glance back to Bar'Duur and he gives a wink.
Vasani- or 'Palakwi' now, sits calmly in her seat, letting out a sigh of relief as they are let through and waits until their ship lands.
As you set the course, Bar'duur sits back and watches - Determination hurtles like a stone through the atmosphere, piercing the clouds effortlessly and gliding into the proper landing path. Tassanal is a strange sort of tropical world, where a sea of rainforest is broken only by the great inland seas that dot the planet and the curious towers of black rock that even now serve as homes and workspaces for the natives. Beyond all of these, of course, is an ultramodern sprawl of factories and hotels and leisure units as well as a spaceport tower taller than any of the rock spires on the planet: this is G'thanfi Tower, and its attahced spaceport. Guided by automated beacon, the ship heads into one of many bays cut into the tower, safe from the planet's violet star and poisonous atmosphere: the ship lands, clunking fiantly on the bay's allow floor, and you are safe. For the moment.
Now you need to contact the client.
Darius gets up, gives a bit of a stretch and then nods to Vasani. This is how the play always goes, she's the 'captain' the 'trader' here to make the deal. The face. He is the simple bodyguard and glorified spaceship driver. The gun, and getaway. He had given the contact info to Vasani and everything she'd need to set up the delivery once on planet.
Vasani nods and dials in to the station network to the client's information. She waits until hearing a voice on the other side.
It's an anonymous address, probably pirated, but the voice that answers on the other end is pretty much what you were looking for: wheezing and buzzing, the insectoid voice that replies is like a chorus of bug-mummies singing out prayers for the dead.
< I am Fassak Nek. Do you have my meats? >
"Hello Fassak, Oooooh dear, we have what you are looking for. Your order is ready for you." Vasani says in a calm drolled out tone. Her movements almost seem slower, a bit more deliberate. It is lke she is acting out this Palakwi "character" even though Fassak can't actually see her. "Shall we meet at our arranged location?" she asks into the comm.
Darius smirks and leans against the console of the ship. He tries to maintain his own persona, but Vasani is a better liar than he. As she speaks over to Fassak Nek, Darius kept trying to help by mouthing what to say before sealing his lips. Though he'd quickly stop himself when he realized what he was doing. Ve is the better talker, he knows this, but he can't help but try to 'police' what he isn't in full control over.
< My servants will come to you. Do not leave the bay you're in. >
The connection dies, leaving you both to...wander, apparently. Waiting for people to show up?
"So... should we go out and look for 'im?" Vasani smiles at Darius. "We shouldn't go too far from the ship though. Let's just stay right outside of it until we see them. Sound good?" The job seems to be going really well so far, so she's hoping it keeps up this way.
"We'll meet them at the bottom of our boarding ramp. "Darius gives a tsk. "Make sure your hand is never that far away from your holster Ve, and always think you got a bad feeling about everything at this point." He cups the bottom of her chin. "I wonder if even bugs will find you as beautiful as I do." Darius steals a quick kiss and then goes to wait at the end of the board ramp outside the Determination.
The bills are certainly paid with the most ridiculous of jobs - and as you descend the ramp, a pair of immense creatures, followed by a group of lifter droids. Their bodies unfurl to reveal a pair of fierce-looking Coilcoids, each some seven and a half feet each, staring out about the room with glittering red eyes and harnesses bound about their bodies dripping with firepower.
One of them looks at Darius. "You, mammal," the Colicoid says in a voice that is empty of emotion, buzzing like a busted vocoder. "You are Captain Wilde-esss, no?"
Vasani melts into Darius' touch, savoring the short kiss. He always knows how to make her heart flutter. After recomposing herself, Vasani follows Darius out of the ship and watches the approachng Coilcoids and droids.
Darius smirks, obviously the client knows who to expect, at least on this mission and he is no mode to put on any game for a couple of Colicoids. "Please, call me Darius. Pleasure to meet you I'm sure. " The humor slowly leaks back into the young smugglers voice, though his hand rests idly on his hip in a non threatening way but never being far from his holster.
The big bug just stars at Darius for a long moment, utterly blank. Finally its mouthparts work again. "Direct us to the cargo bay."
"Right this way." Vasani says, gesturing toward the entrance to the ship. She looks the colocoids over again before stepping back and following Darius' lead.
"Took the words out of my mouth." Darius says to the Colicoids in respond to Vasani instruction. He gestures his head and starts to led them up the boarding ramp, and to the cargo bay. Though gives a glance to Vasani. A little, make sure you keep your eyes peeled.
One of the bugs rolls up the ramp, followed by the droids; as the one who spoke stays at the bottom of the ramp, seceral sets of 'legs' draped over its belly, it seems to fall into a shallow sleep as it awaits for things to get done. It doesn't take long, however, for the other Colicoid to come thundering down the ramp, letting out a buzzing roar.
"How /dare/ you, Human," the other bug says as he unfurls his body, bringing himself up to his full height. "How DARE you!"
"What?" The other insect stares at his partner a moment, then rises up as well, expecting trouble - and an explanation, of course.
What happened! Everything was going accordng to plan! Did they mess up somehow? Did this guy not know about the order? Panic flashes across Vasani's face as she looks back and forth between Darius and the yelling Colicoid for a moment before she attempts to intervene. "Sir, please-" she says kindly to him.
Darius fingers twitch a bit, but he stays calm. "How about we try and use inside voices, my new friend." He looks up the towering beast of a bug, but does his best to keep it together as a Captain should. "We dare to do nothing but deliver as promised. If there is an issue it can be quickly, and gladly, resolved. What is the cause of your distress?"
"You said that you were bringing meat to our master," hisses the enormous bug. "But THIS is what we find instead! What kind of insult do you think you can bring to our door and not be repaid for it?" From behind his back, another of the angry Colicoid's arms work throwing something on the ground - eyeless, mouthparts lipm and lolling, and obviously killed with a pressure-hammer like ancient cattle, the head of another Coilcioid lies between you, a grisly and freezer-blackened trophy of doom.
Vasani's eyes go wide staring at the Coilcoid corpse before them. How did that get in there? "Where did that come from?" She can't stop herself from asking to no one in particular. Her panicked face flashes back to Darius, not really sure how to handle this situation. To double check, she rushes to where the meat was packed to see what else is in there.
"Hey, I make no judgements on what your boss is into. " Darius eyes dart as Vasani moves into the other room. Alone with the bug and his droid now, but what else is waiting inside for her? "This isn't of our doing, I can promise you that. What do we gain? I can only lose in this situation, if I did something this stupid. Either your boss is being set up, or -you- are setting something up." The only question Darius doesn't air, is if -he- and Darius are being set up. Was his judgement about the Array wrong?. "Off my ship."
It could have been bad. It could have been realy, /really/ bad. But the sheer jaw-drpping shock you demonstrate, coupled with Darius's last-ditch and apparently /utterly/ useless attempt at intimidating the murderous bugs, appears to somehow have managed to convince the two of your collective veracity. "Yes, man-killer," the Colicoid on board hisses with sudden, tired sarcasm as he realizes you have nothing to do with the situation and deflates just a bit, "Go be scary over there. I will take these containers down and confer with the master." He picks up the severed head and takes it back into the cargo by, and soon after droids are shuttling the crates out and down the ramp.
Vasani runs back into the room just in time to hear the Colicoid berating Darius. Confused on how the situation could have deflated to much, she eyes Darius and whispers to him. "So... everything is just... okay? then?" she asks him, paying close attention as she watches the droids take the rest of the crates. "That whole thing was filled with one a' them." she nods toward the crate she just looked into. "Who was it that packed the ship again?"
"Maybe. But neither you or I loaded the ship. That will never happensagain." Darius did as instructed when the big old bug told him to go away. He is sure of his ability with a blaster, but in such tight quarters? Even if he wouldn't got the first shot the insect would've been able to touch him. "Go wait int the cockpit and keep your blaster on the console. We are getting out of here as soon as we can. We also have some words to ask our new friends when we get back" He makes sure everything is unloaded without further incident. If it isn't Darius will be doing his best to leave this rock as soon as he can.
After a few minutes, the big, formerly angry Colicoid returns, once again compressed in a completely relaxed state; clawtips clack against the durasteel decking as the monstrous bug ascends into the core section, looking between the two of you with those seething red eyes.
"I have spoken with the master," the Colicoid states. "I was...incorrect as to the nature of the contents. I understand now that the delivery is as it should be. Credits will be wired into your accounts as per the data the Consortium gave to us." His mouthparts scissor faintly. "I...apologize...or the misunderstanding on my part." 'Sorry' isnt' a word these bugs use often, folks. Savor it.
Vasani does as Darius says, quickly heading to the cockpit of the ship. She hopes everything goes fine out there, but it seems like they took most of the crates already. Hopefully they can just get out of here soon. Vasani waits anxiously for Darius to return.
Darius looks at the Colicoid for a second, but then smiles wide. "It happens, different cultures right? Misunderstandings are easy to have. We are all leaving happy, well, and unharmed. Can't ask for a better day myself." He gets closer to the Colicoid, Darius tone is completely pleasent and his expression is of being happy. "All is forgiven, call me Darius by the way, what was your name?" He says as he attempts to escort the bug out of his ship.
"Unimportant." The Colicoid ducks out of your touch - as if contact with you might bring contagion - and forming a wheel goes rolling down the ramp and into the bay beyond.
Well....then. That's done. Right?
"Well, Unimportant, it was a pleasure doing business with ya. You take care now!" Darius says with an oh so wide smile as he clicks the button to raise the boarding ramp. Quickly moving into the cockpit Darius throws himself down into the seat next Vasani and runs a hand through his hair. "Ve, I'm sorry but the trip back to Nar Shaddaa is gonna be very sleepless for you. " A smirk appears on his tired face as he looks at her. "We're gonna be 'destressing' the entire way back."
"So it was all okay?" Vasani asks, letting the concern show in her voice. "Well good. I just wanna get out a' here, Dare. At least the job turned out pretty easy aside from the extra stress. Lets go home... and yes, have some fun along the way" She smirks, leaning up against Darius as he prepares the ship to leave.
Proper psychological venting is important in the face of trauma, really - we all have our means. The important part is that however spooky things were, you got out alive, and you got paid. And that's the most important part, no matter hog big your ship or your crew. Survive and earn.