Log:Array Consortium: The Infiltrator, Part 2
Having passed the bloody test of the crew of the Blue Lady, Razia begins her dark trip with the two aliens - but how long will it last, and will she pay for her duplicity with her life?
<< Storyteller Note: I've never rolled so many terrible fails for NPCs in my life until this session. Good lord. -- Harmless >>
A corpse lies at your feet, a hole in the back of his head streaming mingled smoke and steam, the top of his skull popped like a bad pressure seal under his still-intact scalp. It looks as though he's got some kind of bone disease that way. He wasn't killed by a disease, though. Just your marksmanship.
The Captain looks down at the dead man and makes a noise that sounds equal parts surprised, pleased, and full of hatred. He kicks the corpse with an elephantine foot, spitting a few dark syllables, then looks up at you with his glittering black eyes. Spits a few more. Then he wanders off toward the cabins, leaving you there with Belzab. The pretty Wroonian looks down at the dead man with a derisive snort, and looks up at you.
"Dispose of this," he says. "Drag it back to that ship, and then bring the spice up from the cargo bay. It's in a biohazard casket marked with a red seal. Touch nothing else, do you understand?"
Belzab heads out of the room, gesturing for you to follow him. "Keep your mouth shut, your eyes open, and stand where I point." He points at a place next to and slightly away from the airlock foyer on the near side of the saucer. "You'll get what to do when I tell you to."
The Captain shuffles in, looking at the two of you for a moment with its blank eyes, and then wanders off down the short tunnel to the airlock.
After a few minutes, there is a soft clunk and the sense of mass meeting mass. The airlock hisses open.
Razia glances down to the body and nods to Belzab. "I'll get on it." The pistol is placed into the holster as she examines the body. It is nudged with her toe. Bending down, she grabs him by the collar with one hand, which blood covers her hand immediately, and the other hand grabs him by the belt. He is drug towards the airlock where she pauses. She stands up to look out at the surroundings to ensure the ghost is clear. She isn't about to bring attention this way!
Dead weight is dead weight, and even your toned frame has difficulty dragging the body of the hapless...whoever he was...across the decking into the other ship. A plain microlight freighter, the ship is sloppy and worn, weathered to the point that one wonders if the Blue Lady might not take off with part of the ship's hull with her upon breaking the docks seal.
It's a real bachelor's ship, and that's no mistake - so not wanting to stick around for long, you rummage through the hold, which is full of...a lot of expired food containers. The stench in the hold is nearly unbearable, but since you just capped a guy and turned his brain into a pot roast, it's not like you have a weak stomach. Eventually you find the container between two soiled containers of raw sewage, a sealed hazmat container no bigger than a toaster; deftly extracting it and heading back to the Lady.
Belzab is waiting for you, arms crossed. "Too slow," he says, eyes narrowing. "Give me the box. You'd better not have opened it yourself."
Razia wouldn't have wanted to touch anything else in this hold! Gross! She wants a shower now. She lifts the box up and sighs, brushing off anything that might be on top. She trots back towards the ship and the impatiently waiting Belzab. "Of course not." She replies to him. The box is handed over. "He was disgusting."
"He was also a thief," Belzab says as he examines the box, frowning faintly. "But a very good shot, so it's good thing you were there." He lifts the box to the light, canting his head, and finally he appears satisfied. Tucking the box under his arm, Belzab looks to you with new interest. "That was well done, Rattataki. Do you have a great deal of experience with killing people?"
Razia folds her arms across her chest as she cants her head. "I wouldn't say a great deal of experience. I have had some training. Though, it's the fact I don't give a shit. I don't balk at killing a fool." She smirks, "You want someone else dead?"
Belzab eyes you before turning to walk toward the ship's cargo bay. "Walk with me," he commands.
Razia arches a brow slightly. She turns and walks with him. On the plus side, she is getting the ship mapped out in her mind, in case something goes south. She looks for good hidey holes and whatnot. She walks with a comfortable stride, remaining silent as they move to the destination of Belzab's choosing.
Belzab leads you into the cargo bay, which itself is stacked with many containers - including, you cannot help but see, a small stack of biohazard containers, just like the one that Belzab has in his hands. He sets this container with the rest, then turns to look at you.
"I don't recall that the Captain asked for a killer," he says, looking you over anew. "What are you doing on a smuggling ship?"
Razia sighs and lowers her hands. "A girl has got to eat, Belzab. Even girls who don't give a shit. When i found out about this job and the reputation of your Captain, I thought maybe I could make a good fit. It was supposed to be a security gig from what I was told. You aren't going to be exactly safe if your security balks at firing their weapon." She cants her head slightly, "If this does not suit you or the Captain, you can drop me off at the nearest starport. I'm just here to make money."
Belzab looks at you for another long moment, pursing his lips. "...all right, fair enough," he says, looking past you toward the cargo bay doors. "So it's like this. We work for the Mathall Syndicate - have you heard of them?"
Razia furrows her brows. "I have, only in passing though. I haven't had any dealings with them, so I never paid them much attention." She shifts her weight from one foot to the other, folding her arms over her chest. "Being this is a smuggling ship, I take it that you smuggle goods for them."
"Bright girl," he replies flatly. "We traffic what's left of the Danati Blue spice they used to sell - you're familiar with Blue, yeah?"
Razia jerks a thumb back in the general direction of where the airlock was. "First heard of it when that damn thief tried to butter you up with his compliments." She shrugs one shoulder, "I know about spice, but not that particular brand. I don't dabble in the stuff myself. Adles the brain. It makes people stupid. My drug of choice is a good fight."
"It's a euphoric," he says. "Totally nonaddictive, very powerful. Very expensive - wealthy people like to take it on holiday, gives 'em a giggle." He picks up one of the boxes. "This one? Fifty thousand credits. At least. Each."
Belzab puts the box back down, looking at you again. "It's incredibly rare now. Some fighting between the Syndicate and this other outfit outta Nar Shaddaa. Point is, you don't steal it. The Syndicate has a bounty of ten thousand on anyone who holds on to their stock and doesn't move it like they're supposed to. Understand? That means you're in for money, too, since you killed him."
Razia blinks. "Oh. Well then. Good! I do like money." A greedy smirk twists at her lips. There was no bluffing with that comment. She -does- like to get paid. She gestures to the boxes that had been stacked up. "So, tell me. Are these boxes all from folks you had to collect from? I mean, if so, I am impressed."
"Don't be -too- impressed," Belzab says with a quirk of a navy-blue brow. "You're the fifth crewer we've had to hire. They just keep dying, you see."
That said, he jerks a thumb toward the direction you'd come from. "Go sit in the lounge for while, we have to get ready for our next run - and clean up that blood."
Razia glances back to the blood. Well, with the euphoria of killing the man comes the responsibility of cleaning up the mess. She nods to him, "Of course." She turns and proceeds to do as she was told. It really didn't bother her to clean up the blood. In a way, she got to relive the moment earlier. Once it was cleaned, she went to relax in the lounge. One foot is raised to rest on another chair and the other foot crosses at the ankle.
Indeed, the image flashes back in your mind - how the bolt flashed as it left the muzzle, how the weapon felt in your hand. An extension of your arm, reaching out. The gun didn't kill that man, you did. Intimacy as close as sex, and twice as good. That's how true killers are, as far as you know. You've never known a cold one that wasn't paid for a living.
The ship jumps back to hyperspace while you're cleaning. Hours stretch on. You sit there, fiddling with things. Playing with the refresher knob for the fortieth time. Play dejarik against the computer. Then yourself. Then the computer again. You always win anyway. Field-strip the blaster pistol the captain gave you - it really /is/ quite good for such a small gun, isn't it? - and then finally just drape over the lounge's semicircular couch in a fit of boredom. Hyperspace is boring. Everything is /boring/. And where's that droid, anyway?
Another stop, and another. Always the same. The same trusting, smiling being, male or female, greeting the captain and Belzab like old friends. Every time, you lurk in the shadows. Sometimes you kill them. Head, small of the back, through the heart. Instant dead, painful and gasping death, whatever you feel like doing. It's an art, after all. It needs practice. Every time you drag the body off, find the parcel - or parcel - and bring them back. More money for you, Belzab says. More pleasure, which is better. It's a long, dark trip you take with these two.
On the third day, after a long stretch of reclamation, your dreams - sharper than any holo, a parade of cherished deaths - is interrupted suddenly as J9TB wakes you. "Mistress," he calls at the door in that flat synth voice, unaffected and without emotion. "Mistress, there is a problem. Please come out.
It has been a long few days riding with these two. At least there are those euphoric moments to spice things up. It is almost a great temptation to remain with these two forever. Though, she is on a mission and this mission, she will finish. If she had not met Adhar first..
She stirs with a grunt, a bit irritated with being woken from her dream. The bald-headed woman lifts her head to look towards the machine that speaks to her. "What is it J9?" She rubs at her eyes and peels out of the bed. She reaches for her pants to pull up and snatches her gun belt to fasten around her waist. She only takes a moment before she follows the droid out.
"Come outside, mistress, there is a problem." The droid shuffles back from the door, metallic feet clanking as it goes.
Razia does as instructed and she moves outside to follow.
J9 is fairly liberally splashed with blood. "Oh, it's horrible," the droid says, sounding every bit as though he were a bad actor in a high school play. "The captain and the first mate were opening packages to collate into a single load - and one of them exploded!" Exploded? You didn't hear any explosion.
Razia looks to the droid and studies it. She stops in her tracks and narrows her eyes at it. "I didn't hear any explosion." She responds to him. "What happened?"
"I am not familiar with explosive devices," J9 responds. "But I /was/ there, mistress, and I tell you, they exploded! And now something is wrong with the reactor, and I do not know WHAT to do. I am told by the ship's computer that the ship will go critical at any minute unless we drop out of hyperspace!"
Razia blinks and goes a bit wide-eyed. Ok. What if this machine is telling the truth? There -is- blood all over the droid. Still, she is worried. "Alright, take me there." She says and follows with a bit more earnest. "Are you saying both the Captain and Belzab is dead?"
"I am afraid so, mistress," the droid says. "Come! I will show you!" With that does J9 turn in his stiff way and shuffle off toward the cargo bay, his chrome hull black and glistening with what is most definitely blood. Your nose knows, after all.
Razia follows along, though she is wary. She follows him to their destination.
The droid stops at the edge of the bay, gesturing with a spindly arm at the opening. Sure enough, there are the bodies of the captain and of Belzab, both of them unmistakably dead amid a large pile of scattered blue granules. One of the boxes has ruptured, taking most of the others with it. Metal spines the length of an industrial drill bit are embedded everywhere - containers, the hull, the major anatomies of the captain and Belzab. Blood mixes freely with the spice on the ground, marbling the glittering blue with red-black. Over the smell of death, however, you catch something else - something sharp and chemical, and also the acrid smell of metal burning. It's then that you see that a number of those spines went through the bulkheads, and undoubtedly all number of sensitive equipment. You aren't a mechanic, are you?"
Razia blinks as she looks to the carnage. "Damn." She is impressed at what she sees. Though, there is no euphoria in what she sees. This was not her handiwork. There is an appreciation, however. Glancing over to the droid. "No." She frowns. "Though, you I do know enough that those bulk heads need something to seal them. You work on that. I will head to the bridge." She turns and heads off in that direction.
"I do not...Mistress, wait!"
Alas, J9's protestations are in vain, for you have taken off for the freighter's cockpit. As you skitter in through the hatch, you are greeted with a forest of blinking alarm lights, all around you. Though you aren't intimately familiar with ships as a pilot might be, you've been in enough - and are smart enough - to be able to nail down the general pattern, and the general gist. The reactor is going to explode. Not immediately, but within twenty minutes, and far before you leave hyperspace. In fact, it's going to explode even if you DO leave hyperspace. What's going to happen, however, is that you're going to drop out of hyperspace and use the ship's only escape pod - which is not only totally nonstandard for a ship of the Blue Lady's type, but apparently has a one-use hyperdrive inside and plenty of supplies.
And if you're going to do that, you'd better snag the navicomputer data. Where's that droid?
Panic. Ok, she is cool as a cucumber when in a fight. Though, now?! The lights are blinking everywhere! "Oh holy sweet keiber!" Her hand goes down the side of her face. "These idiots. I swear." There is a long sigh and she sets to work trying to figure things out. "J9!!" She calls out for the droid. "Forget the holes! This place is going to blow!" She hits a button that she assumes is going to take them out of hyperspace. "J9!! Come up here!!"
"Coming, mistress!" The droid isn't fast by any measure, but he does his best to shuffle up to where you call - still painted with blood, and this time a mess of the blue spice stuck to where it is smeared across his metal skin. "What can I do for you? I am afraid that the repairs are not --"
Razia shakes her head. "I need you to download the navigation computer files. And any of the Captain's personal files. Hell, also Blue balls files while you are at it. Make it quick." she looks to the droid, "We need this information.. now.. and we need to get to the escape pod. You are coming with me.. unless you want to blow up." She looks to the computer. "You have 15 minutes."
"Oh!" J9 trundles over to the console, ever so leisurely as if nothing were on fire (which it is; there are lights telling you so.) He inserts a fingertip into the s-link socket of the computer, and it begins to turn this way and that...
Meanwhile, something explodes inside the ship, causing it to shudder violently; to the right side of the cockpit, a whole line of lights begin blinking red. "I am sorry, mistress," J9 calls flatly. "I am trying to access the navicomputer data, but there are so many power spikes..."
Something tells you that the window for escape is shrinking. Faster, droid, faster!
Boom! The explosion causes her to wince. "I don't want to die like this. Not like this." She turns away from J9 and she spies this BIG SHINEY LEVER! "Oh!" She places her hands on it and pulls it back to slow the ship down! "Ok. Now J9. Now now now!" She turns to the droid. "Without you, we both die. You can do this!"
The ship shudders as it drops into realspace, which is a sufficient brake to cause something /really/ bad to go wrong. There's another explosion from deep inside the ship, and a tremendous shudder that rattles through the hull - a shudder that very nearly causes you to split your head open on the control console were you not able to catch yourself at the last minute - just as the drives go out, leaving the ship to float on a now non-stop course into the infinite. Until it explodes, of course, which is bound to happen directly.
"Mistress!" J9 takes its finger out of the socket, turning your way. "I have copied the data you require. What is your command?"
Razia slowly picks herself up off the floor. "Come on J9. To the escape pod!" She turns and gets going out of there. "This ship is falling apart! You have to move quickly!" She says over her shoulder to the droid. She has to go -with- the droid to make it out, so she has to make sure it gets there safe. She does not run off without him.
The cockpit hatch, it appears, has transformed itself into a portal to Hell - for when it opens, you are no doubt thrilled to see that the corridor beyond is on fire. Steeling yourself, you push through the blazing bonfires and clouds of smoke from burning insulation, dodging horrible mutilation as you narrowly avoid an exploding engineering computer, and managed to make it through to the escape pod corridor without being harmed, even with the droid shuffling along beyond you - indeed, it is a miraculous run, that only ends when another explosion rocks the ship and you smash your head against the rim of the escape pod hatch as J9 stumbles into you. Thus do you enter the vehicle of your salvation with a splitting headache and a gash over your ear from which blood is liberally flowing. Good thing that /you/ know that such cuts, while scarring, are in fact nonthreatening.
"Oh, my. Please excuse me, mistress." Shut up, droid.
Razia finally gets inside the pod, the blood falling down generously over her hear and down her neck. She motions J9 inside as well. "Ok. Let's get out of here.." She says as she pulls the door shut and turns the latch. "Get us out of here." She says to J9 as she sinks into the seat and pulls the harness around her form. "Now."
The ship rattles dangerously - outside the pod, which is comfortable and well-appointed, in the manner of a modern cruise ship, you can /hear/ metal tearing away from the superstructure. "To which system shall I direct the pod, mistress?"
Razia blinks at the droid. "The closest one! Eh.. Y'toub! Go there." She says in an exasperated tone. "I swear, I think you WANT to blow up! Go! Now!" She honestly has no idea which system they are near. Nor does she know exactly how far this pod can actually take them.
"Of course, mistress," says the droid in its dull, cheery way, tapping silver fingers against the pod's console. "Now establishing course to Y'toub system. Hyperdrive calculating course, and we are free to launch in five seconds."
The pod ejects, drives working hard as they push the oversized and ill-fitted lifeboat away from the Blue Lady at an incredible speed - even with its better systems, you are pushed hard into its padded walls. Another shockwave rattles the pod - and the teeth in your head - as the freighter explodes behind you. Just after the wave clears, you feel another shudder, much gentler this time, as the pod's small but superefficient hyperdrive kicks in and the ship makes the jump to lightspeed, taking you...somewhere...hopefully not into certain death, but to the Y'toub system, where your boss is.
And Hutts. And Pirates. And possibly the First Order.
In an expensive cruise liner's escape pod.
On second thought...