Log:Array Consortium: The Infiltrator, Part 3
Having escaped the destruction of the Blue Lady in the company of J9TB, Razia attempts to get back to Nar Shaddaa - or at least somewhere close enough that she can get the Consortium to pick her up.
You spend twenty-four hours in that pod, eating fine food (well, packaged fine food, but it's still better than emergency rations) and sitting in the pod's padded confines. Still get a cramp in your ass from time to time, but you can stretch it out it you wind around the droid - not as if J9 minds, as he's gone into low-power mode so that he can guarantee memory retention. Eventually, however, you drop out of hyperspace, apparently at Y'toub, and J9 starts to life once more.
"Mistress," he says in his weirdly flat voice, deadpanning even exclamations. "We have entered the Y'toub system. Transmitting emergency signal now!"
"I'm afraid not, mistress," replies the droid in apology. "The beacon is a general distress call. I believe that we can reach Nar Kanji, assuming no pirates intercept us. Shall I have us launch?"
Razia is satisfied with her job in cleaning the droid. He is shinier than he was before at least! When J9 mentions Nar Kanji, she offers a nod. "Yes." She resonds to him. There is a moment she studies him, "Who is your master, J9?"
"The captain and the first officer are dead," says J9. "As you a recognized member of the crew, you are my mistress now, mistress." Well, there's that at least. A weird...bug-headed...uncharismatic...droid. Rather perfect for you.
Razia nods. "Alright. If you stick with me, I am sure you will be treated well. Most J9's are just shoved in factories. I think you are too valuable for that." She gestures to the console, "How long until we get to Nar Kanji?"
"We will make a controlled planetfall in three hours," says J9. "I cannot guarantee the landing sight, but will attempt to land near a settlement." The droid begins to tap its stiff fingers across the controls, and the monitors around it show all manner of astronomical data - even if you aren't a pilot, pods are meant to be easy to use and computer-controlled. Just, you know, no real way for course-correction once you're entering the atmosphere. So there's that.
Time passes...and the three hours are largely spent without incident. There's a few times when unknown sensor contacts show up, but against all odds the pod manages to slip anyone's notice. Finally, the ship makes planetfall, turning once again into a bucking bronco as it hurtles through the upper layers of the atmosphere on re-entry; the pod heats up in a flash, sweat standing your scalp and the back of your neck, but ultimately it settles out and you begin to hurtle toward the planet's wintry surface. "I have detetcted a settlement, mistress," J9 states, prodding at the controls. "We will land a kilometer away. Please ensure that your harness is properly secured. Landing in ten...nine...eight..."
You hit the ground like a bullet, albeit one traveling through water. When the pod makes contact it feels as though you've been thrown against a wall made of rubber bricks - whacked, hard, but not wounded. An alarm goes off inside the pod and the back hatch blasts free on explosive bolts, letting in a wind that feels as though it would strip the skin from your bones if you gave it half a chance, chilling you to the core.
Razia pulls the harness over her form, clicking it into place before the rocking and bumping begins. She grunts a few times, uttering a few curses under her breath as they make their way through the atmosphere. That final jolt forces a wheezing sort of grunt out of her, wiplashing back to strike the back of her head against the padding of her seat. For a moment, she just breathes. Well, she breathes until that bitter cold wind rushes in! The cold takes the wind right out of her. There are more curses as she turns to find something to keep her warm. She digs through the supplies, hoping to find a coat or blanket, hopefully both to help keep her body and head warm! Where most humanoids have hair to keep their noggins warm, she does not.
All this damned padding is keeping you from finding things - and the text is all in some damned language you don't understand! Nar Kanji is boring! The cold is boring! Your blood is getting up, and J9 - being a protocol droid - seems to know to keep his trap shut as you keep searching.
The cold is starting to whistle in actively now, and you feel your fingertips start to numb. J9 speaks up. "Mistress," he says, "If it would help you, I could possibly translate the labels for you? I speak Bith."
Irritation just radiates through Razia's soul! In fact, the cold has made her so angry that she takes it out on some of that padding! Her hand grabs that knife and she starts stabbing at some of the damned padding! Though, as the droid speaks,she stops and glances over at it. "Oh. Well." She clears her throat, regaining herself. "I need a coat. It's cold." She clears her throat again. She is not used to having the droid's assistance.
The droid hunches oddly as it creeps up the pod, finding a padded panel that has a red label. "I believe -this- is what you're looking for, mistress," he says, gesturing to the panel, specifically a recessed handle expertly hidden beneath the bottom edge. For aesthetics, you understand.
Razia turns her gaze up to the panel that J9 points out. "Thank you!" She reaches for it, pulling on the handle to search through the items within. A shiver runs down her form and her breath can be seen in small puffs when she breathes.
You find a very warm but lightweight coat, with its own rechargable power supply and micromesh heating layer. More rations and survival items in a leather coat, plus a small belt-worn case containing ten slugs of solid gold worth a hundred credits or so each. You know, for survival.
As you get these things together, however, you hear voices outside, excited ones. You know that excitement. Looters, at best.
Razia reaches up to pull out the lightweight, warm coat, quickly pulling it on and sighing in relief once she turns on the heated interior. Next comes the leather coat, which she pulls over the lightweight cloak. The case is taken, slipped into a pocket as well as some rations. She stops her preparations when the excited voices are outside. "Ugh." She mutters. She pulls away from the supply unit and pulls out her pistol, looking towards the entrance. "J9, I think some people may not be very friendly out there."
"There's a woman in there!"
"Hot krell, I wanna see what she looks like. Think we can get a good price on h--oh, wait, no, I'm sorry!"
"You'd better be, you bastard. All the same, she might have something nice on her."
It's going to be that kind of evening, looks like. "Come out," a third voice bellows. "If you're armed, we kill you If you take a step wrong, we kill you. In fact, the only way you're going to stay alive is if you keep your hands up and look straight ahead as you come out, you get me?"
Razia pulls back and inside the pod and sighs, rolling her eyes. She glances to J9. "It's going to be a fire fight. I'm sure." She says this just so J9 can hear. "Aww! c'mon! You guys going to do that to a woman? How many men does it take to take down one measly woman?" She calls back out. "You got yourself a nice piece here. You can have it. I just want to go to the settlement and go home." She pauses, "I also have this!" She pulls out that pack with the tiny gold bars. She throws it around the edge of the hatch towards the voices.
"No woman's measley," mutters one to the other, but then the bag comes out. "Wait, what is that?"
"Stop there," says the one with the threats, sounding rather like the boss of the three. "I'll look." After a half a minute, he says, "This is gold. I'd say a thousand, fifteen hundred credits."
"That can be moved very easily," mutters the third guy. "What do you think, boss?"
"I think she's got a deal," the boss calls out. "Come on out, missy, you've bought your freedom."
Razia is a little dubious. Before she moves out, she hides her weapons. That's the benefit of wearing a coat! A dagger for the bosom and a pistol tucked inside the jacket. "Alright! I am coming out!" She steps out with her hands up and out, peering towards the direction of the voices. "The pod is yours. I just want to go home." She says, offering a nod towards the men.
"I will accompany you, mistress," says J9, emerging from the pod behind them. "I am...ah! Hello, gentlemen. I am very glad to meet you. Thank you for not murdering my mistress, she is quite dangerous."
Three Twi'leks, all of them in winter gear, stand with blaster pistols at the ready. They don't look /incredibly/ dangerous, but then again, neither do you at the moment. "I'm sure, says the boss, a big blue-skinned fellow next to his green henchmen. "But only /she/ goes. The droid stays."
Razia keeps her hands up and she looks back to J9. She sighs. "The droid comes with me." Her gaze turns back to the men, "Guys, it's cold. Don't you have something better to do than harass me?" She makes a small gesture with her raised hands towards J9, "We have just been through hell." Literally. "I -really- don't feel like violence right now."
The boss looks at her for a long moment - and then looks at the others. "Fine," he says then, waving a hand. "It's not like that model's worth much anyway. Damned weird Verpine designers. Get out of here, girlie. The settlement's that way." He jerks a thumb toward a not-too-distant collection of lights, domes, and most importantly starships. "Should be a place for you to call for help if you need it. Just start walkin' - but if I catch you lookng back this way, I'll shoot you myself."
Razia offers a smile to the blue-skinned man, followed by a slightly seductive wink. "Have fun. Good luck." She looks to J9, "Let's go." Then she turns and starts to plod through the snow, leaving the three men to go for the pod. She figures the men are just trying to make a bit of money to survive. Besides, she was simply eager to get home. Onwards she trods, pulling her jacket tighter around herself.
It's cold as balls out, but you managed to get to the only settlement in the area, which is of course the largest on the planet. Having only to stop long enough for J9 to knock ice off his sticking actuators, you get back without any other issues - which is, as you no doubt know, a bloody mercy. Finally you are able to track down someone at the starport that will allow you to send a coded hyperwave signal back to Nar Shaddaa, and that reaches the proper people - who promptly tell you that Adhar is in a bacta tank, but will be out later that evening. Someone will come in a shuttle to pick you up meanwhile.
And so that does, in fact, happen not long after - a new ship, a gleaming, glossy black shuttle, lands on the tarmac to take you home. Black-armored security troops from the Consortium collect you, and you are taken back to Nar Shadda - where, no doubt, the Captain will have been decanted from his bacta tank and will be waiting for you.
So. Well done, and you didn't even die!