Log:Array Consortium: The Inheritance, Part Two: New Friends and Dead Men
From one of the shops down the row, Adhar emerges. Dressed in heavy armor, the man looks like a mercenary - perhaps he is, having come from a store specializing in handguns. A grim young man, fresh, pink scars in a quarter-sunburst along the lower edge of his right eye socket like a halo. He lets his frown lead him out into the night.
Echoing that mercenary motif is Onys, a solemn woman, pacing the row at a snail's gait. She's slathered in a darkly colored robe, scarcely notable beyond the towering force pike she utilizes as a walking stick. Her hair is raven black, cut into an angled bob. Guise empty of expression and otherwise only browsing, or so a pair of shifting eyes would indicate. Reaching Shug Ninx', she pauses out front and peers, sidelong, inward.
It's not every day you see pikers out on the high street, so to speak - if you want to get cute about it - and sight of the robed woman with the polearm does give Adhar pause. He stands outside the pistol shop, watching as she stops out front of the massive spacebarn, wondering at her.
The lady abandons the wistful gaze, returning to her meandering. Her cursory strut is irrelevant, the rhythm of double footfall and staff clinking upon the ground drowned out by even the most modest of echoes along the cavernous street. Checking her idle shoulder, however, Onys' irises settle their vector momentarily upon the distant armored man just long enough to return the favor before shifting normally forward again to her horizon.
It is at this time when, as he stands there, a trio of beings emerge from the shadows drenching the alleyway between the shops beside him. A Klatoonian in light armor, dressed in an over-robe to help mask his plates, and behind him two Wroonian men whose faces are covered in swirling tattoos. Armed, the three of them, with blasters. Brave faces in the neon glow of the shopfronts.
"Adhar Gann," the Klatoonian says, his voice etched with menace. "My employer would like a word with you."
"Lads," says Adhar, looking between the three and speaking in a vaguely tired baritone, "If I had a credit every time I heard that line, I'd be three freighters richer by now. Let me get some sleep, huh?"
A pair of speeders pass by in a line. They steal the robed woman's focus, and as they pan out of her field of vision, she is left spying the lone armored man now backed by a trio. Or perhaps backed into a corner by them. And the fading dialogue she manages to pick up on is the kind that results in formerly living bodies. Shoddy old Shaddaa. Her observant stare lingers upon the quad while she makes a point of crossing the street to share their gutter.
"We know you have data," the Wroonian says, in heavily accented Basic - so pretty, those Wroonian boys. "You give us. Or we shoot."
At this, Adhar looks to each face. Watching them. His expression flattens. "I have a lot of data. You looking for something in particular?"
"We want what your uncle gave you," says the Klatoonian. "I want the projector, the datacard. Everything."
"I thought your employer wanted to see me," Adhar says flatly.
"He doesn't need to if you give us what we want." The Klatoonian smiles, teeth a webwork of rot and durasteel. "Then you can go home."
Mm. Well. The offenders in this encounter are becoming increasingly obvious. Onys isn't particularly nearby, but she arrives on the same side of the street as the quibble. Her empty left hand worms out from underneath layers of snowstorm protection to pull her hood up over her head and disappears at her side once again. The hood casts upon her face an anonymizing umbra that, this deep within Nar Shaddaa and far from daylight, becomes a psychological weapon of the most productive order. Actual weapons not withstanding, that is.
They don't act like they're local boys, that's for sure. Guns out, no subtlety. Not even a smile. Even Hutts smile when they stab you, or order their subordinates to do the deed. They smile too, naturally. No smiles here, though. Definitely imports. Adhar looks between the three of them for a long moment, then clears his throat. "I think," he says, You're going to be disappointed. I don't have that on me, boys, and by the time we've made it to my place you'll have probably killed me, and then where will that put us? Three unhappy customers and a dead smuggler." He's smiling, you know. Adhar's smiling.
"Give us the data," the Klatoonian says, "Or we will take you apart."
And that's the wrong thing to say.
"Lads." Adhar's voice is tired. So tired. "I guess it's going to be five by end of week."
Before anyone can react, there's a gun in his hand, as though it had sprung whole from the Ether.
What follows is a storm of light, thunder, smoke, and ozone - and, as the Klatoonian falls, death. Regardless of his armor, the very surprised alien lands on the ground with two neat holes blasted through his torso, sputtering flame around the edges of cauterized flesh and superheated fiber underlays. The Wroonians react, one by bolting wide-eyed from the scene, the other by steeling himself enough to try and avenge his employer. His blaster fires wide, its red bolt spent against the shopfront facade, and the muzzle of Adhar's pistol looms like the mouth of Death itself toward his person.
Adhar isn't smiling now.
Ten meters away from the exploding situation, Onys misses no beat after the initial beat of surprise. Her right thumb pops a sliding switch on the staff, and with all the fluidity of a child raised in primitive conditions, she hoists the pike from the ground and pivots her wrist. The pike sweeps in transition from vertical to lateral and with a fierce overhand launch crosses the empty space, piercing the lingering Wroonian from shoulderblade to opposing lung. Nobody's coming back from that. Onys holds her follow-through, ushering the armored protagonist to call the next move with the not-yet-collapsed Wroonian.
Well, he sure wasn't expecting someone to play Olympian Destroyer in the middle of this. The pretty wannabe killboy is suddenly impaled on the business end of a two-meter durasteel swizzler; he dies with his mouth half-open, the softest gasp leaving his lips as he slumps. His life ends with the clattering of his cheap blaster on the duracrete.
Meanwhile, Adhar snaps his head in the direction the pike came from, and his gun some up to find this new threat - and stops, wrist snapping up, turning the dragon's muzzle from your shape.
One unseen brow flinches in the short midst of barrels leveled in her direction--something that she half expected--but disappears as quickly as it takes the man to avert his hostile caution. Onys promptly repairs her posture and resumes closing the gap on foot, though she is in little hurry to do so; her own caution persists, flickering about as she checks for spectators before calmly pulling her hood back to lay on her shoulders.
Adhar says nothing at first; he pulls the helmet from his belt and pulls it over his head with one hand, ducking down against the side of the building and looking down between the buildings. Though the alley is drowned in darkness, he seems to see - and whatever it is he sees in the darkness, it seems to satisfy him, and he turns to rifle through the dead Klatoonian's pockets. The gun goes back into its place on his thigh, even as his other hand deftly scours the dead man's form for some sign of affiliation. He finds a datapad, which he swiftly pockets before getting to his feet.
"Better come with me," he bellows across the street then, his death-mask helmet booming words made tinny and thin through its voxgrille, "Before the militia comes out."
Vibro-weaponry. Easy in, easy out. Arriving at the corpse pair, the woman retrieves her weapon with an unceremonious, and messy, long-winded yank. She deactivates the vibromotor promptly, removing a previous, subtle hum from the cacophony of the local environment. The Wroonian's own blood is largely left with his corpse, wiped incompletely on whichever available article of clothing he has for doing so. Placid and contralto are the features of a chuckle emanating from her throat. Methodical and solid are the tone of her words, "Yes. Please."
"Right this way, then." The gun snaps out of its place on his hip, and he leads you down the alleyway the other Wroonian fled through - in the dark, his armor gleams softly, white plates picked out dim and washed gray in the feeble light from the street. He leads with the pistol, but finds no targets as he leads you out to the other end of the block.
"Right," he says, waving down a passing speeder taxi. "Break that down and let's get out of here." The gun is already back in place, and he draws off his helmet as an ancient, rebuilt speeder-van trundles up to the curb.
Onys trails the armored man, mimicing the implicit level of covert movement as she best can, and as practical. She clearly doesn't possess the same level of articulation, shortcutting as the rebounding opportunities present themselves. At their arrival and Adhar's command, her pike is withdrawn into her robe while the opposing hand stifles a short series of coughs. "Right," she pauses to quietly clear her throat, "...behind you."
He tosses a few credit chips into the drawer build into the front passenger window, and the droid driving the van opens its side door; Adhar slides in, waiting for you to enter, and as soon as the door seals shut lets out a sigh.
"I really hate when that happens," he mutters. "Where you heading?"
"I am staying in H-" she coughs another round. Harder this time, now that we are no longer attempting to fly under radar, "Hutt district." She settles into her seat, opposing Adhar. A couple deep breaths. "Forgive me. I am not in the best condition," she explains, then clears her throat. Her speech is, indeed, still slower than the average speaker's and eloquently enunciated. Soothing, if you will. "Staying in the Hutt district. I am in the market for a new starship. Browsing down here."
"Better to browse down at CoreStar," Adhar says, looking you over. "You need a medic? They got a fantastic clinic over there. We can get you in a bacta tank before the night's out."
Meanwhile the van takes off, repulsorlift drive rumbling under the vehicle like an angry bantha.
"-No-! --No, uh, thank you. I'll be fine." Commenting as she shifts slightly in her seat, largely to accomodate the illegal lethal device hidden underneath. "CoreStar. Thank you. I defer to any local expertise and will check there, next." She pauses a moment. "You shoot well."
"Uh-huh." He unstraps a medpac from the small of his back, an expensive BioTech model with its own little host of diagnostic sensors. "Well...I shot a man point-blank," he says, waving the device's scanner wand over you. "And you...speared a man with a thrown lance at a hundred yards. I'm gonna have to defer to you on this one, Mistress...?"
The woman's face is fairly stoic. Not completely, but enough that his medpac retrieval causes her eyes to go wide. She instinctively leans into her seat a bit, unable to stop this now that he's begun. "Onys," she states. Like 'honest', but no 't'. "I got lucky. My intent was to do good, successfully or otherwise. What is your name?"
"I'm Adhar Gann." He puts the medpac away. "Well, you're uninjured," he says, "But I know more than enough about medicine to know you're not in good shape. Now you helped save my life, so I'm gonna help you save yours, all right? And then you can get your ship and go gallivanting across the galaxy." He doesn't exactly sound as if he'll take 'no' for an answer, like a very militant but very caring graddad. Sergeant Carebear.
"It was my pleasure, Mister Gann, but I cannot allow you to realign your priorities on my behalf. I am sure each of us have more pressing sit--" Onys stops abruptly to enter another round of coughing. She finishes by clearing her throat and giving it a moment, just to be sure, "More pressing things to take care of."
"Oh, yeah, you're in /great/ shape," Adhar mutters, rapping against the glass to inform the taxi to head for the Corellian Sector. "Look, at the risk of seeming a paternalistic jackass, I'm consider it a great personal favor if we could go get you checked out. Making money and helping folks out seem to be my two major priorities these days, so you're no distraction." He leans in a bit. "Plus, it'd make me feel a lot better. What do you say?"
Adhar Gann adds, "But if you really want, I'll back off." Because yes, paternalism.
"I am not, truthfully. It is not ultimately worth your concern. It is only a problem if I have to exert myself." Matter-of-factly, "And I deserve every bit of the problems I have, believe me," she adds. "But I understand your impulse to help. So, we may. But I could just as easily tell you and save us the trouble." She heaves out an exhale. It's wheezy. Then a devious smile.
"Well, ultimately, it's up to you," he says. "Far be it from me to constrain you from your freedom of choice. However..." He reaches into a belt pouch, comes up with a plastoid card upon which a simple geometric logo and a holocomm number is printed. "If you're looking for work, or need help getting around the city, or if you do decide to look for medical care, please reach out to me. You've helpd me, and I prefer not to let that go unrewarded." Or unpunished, likely in his case.
And with that, the taxi-van disappears into the night, to disgorge its passengers and let them go their separate ways. Separate for now, but who knows what the future holds?