Log:CDF: Diner Dash
Some time has passed since Corr and Sairah's last outing in Ko Hentota on the trail of the mysterious arms traffickers disguising their shipments as mining equipment. They got some footage of the ringleader of an exchange gone bad, which ended with said ringleader carving the shape of a cog into another man's face. It was pretty gruesome, and the techs back at CDF (aka Rato and one random plucky Neimoidian) have crunched the video file every way from here to Katunda, but nothing really forth-coming turned up. Facial recognition software found no hits, which is probably not that surprising given the funding levels involved and the limited (if any) support of other agencies, so there's probably a limited commercial database there.
In short, a dead end. That means it's time for our gumshoes to beat the streets once more, and now Corr and Sairah are down in the Undercity again, watching the abandoned diner through the video feed on his datapad coming from the scope of Sairah's rifle. "Still nothin'," the man comments, adjusting his seat against the wall near the window the rifle is pointed out of. It's probably set up on a bipod and left, since they have this neat technology that doesn't require you to actually stay on the gun, so Sairah might be anywhere.
Sairah is, in fact, sitting next to Corr. Not that he would notice... well, other than a vague awareness that she's there. They've been there for some time now, and she's taking a turn sitting and meditating while Corr watches carefully. Steadily inhaling and exhaling slowly, she holds herself so still, and combined with her alabaster skin, she looks as if she's been carved out of marble. A moment passes. Then another. Then another. Finally, she opens one eye slightly, and scans the immediate area. Resting once more on Corr, she shrugs almost imperceptibly and closes her eye again. "Nothing yet?" she asks in barely a whisper.
Nothing yet only lasts for so long on a moon like Nar Shaddaa. Soon enough the two CDF members will note a shadowed form heading toward the abandoned diner, the figure's stride relatively quick and the way it sticks to the shadows, even in this abandoned stretch of undercity, is enough to key the two in on the fact that the mysterious figure does not want to be followed. There is only a moment's hesitation before the front door of the diner is pulled open and whoever it is slips inside.
"Nothin'," Corr repeats, still staring at the datapad, but then something catches his eye. "Wait. It's him again." The man sits up quickly, his armor scuffing against the wall and sending up motes of dust. "And some pink- uh, purple Twi'lek just went in the front door." There are TWO figures! Excitement, excitement, this is what the stakeout LIVES for. "Ol' Face" because that's what Corr has dubbed the face-carver "is goin' in the back, Purple Perp just went in the front." His hand latches quickly onto his rifle. "You stayin' here or comin' in? That thing ain't much good indoors but you might not get a clean shot through the windows neither."
In through the back supply entrance to the diner slips a tall, fit man trending towards lean, his wavy hair tied back in a ponytail. His jaw works on something, chewing away, making the goatee and mustache on his face jump and twitch. A small snort and amused smile are the products of finding the supply room empty. He doesn't appear to have noticed Toz's entrance yet.
Sairah stretches and unfolds herself while standing up. "I'll come with. Close quarters is always much more personal," she says with a predatory grin. "Besides... I'm curious about the man with the knife..." Pulling a wicked looking vibroblade from within her coat, she peers over Corr's shoulder. "So. Front? Back? Both?"
Toz pauses as he slips inside the diner, his lekku curling a bit tighter to his shoulders as his right hand slips a blaster from the holster at his hip. He could have sworn he heard another door shut... or did he? Regardless, he isn't taking any chances as he moves quickly for a corner booth and slumps down in the seat, holding his blaster where he can watch the doorway from the main restaurant into the back store room.
"The takeout door on the side," Corr answers, checking the charge on his rifle and slapping in a new power cell. "We'll stack up on the door, see if we can take a peek and get a read on whether they're doing a deal or if this is another face carvin' session." The lawman kicks the old cell over onto his sack of things and starts heading down the stairs to the street level. "Come on!"
In the supply room, the man with the pony tail looks up suddenly, his incessant chewing making a quiet smacking sound until he stops briefly to listen. At first, nothing, but then what might have been a footstep. He's not alone, it seems, and a blaster of his own quickly appears in his gloved hand. The man comes wandering out into the diner proper, looking around the room. "Welcome, welcome, please find yourself a seat," he offers in a cultured, smooth-flowing voice. "One of our servers will be right with you." His eyes sparkle with amusement and curiosity. "Can I get you something to drink?" His head slowly turns as he looks for the source of the sound.
Sairah takes another look at the datapad, and then looks up across the street at the diner. Pondering, she powers down the vibroblade and sets it aside. "Boss. I'm getting that jumpy feeling about this," she says slowly. "I'm seeing too many exits and you can't cover them all. I'll stay up here with the big gun then. Radio if you need me." Sairah slides over to the Prax and lays out next to it, fitting the scope to her eye. "... It goes without saying, Corr.... but... be careful?"
Toz hides for as long as he can, making himself as flat as possible inside the crusty cushion of the booth bench. He tries to even stop his breathing, least the slight inhale and exhale give him away. Finally, when it seems as though the man has likely looked everywhere else, Toz springs up from his seat, aim's his blaster and fires off two quick shots, aiming for the man's blaster hand, and then he runs like hell, hoping to dive over the bar and hide.
"Goes without saying," Corr replies gruffly, taking off down the stairs and running as quickly and quietly as he can down the street, headed for the diner. A hand flies up to his ear, shoving in a mobile commlink. "Rato, pull us up on your terminal. Rato. Rato, pull us up. I need eyes and ears on this." And the sound of blaster fire rings out of the diner.
"There you-" the man with the ponytail starts to greet with a wide smile, the blaster still held at his side, before Toz suddenly leaps into action, firing twice at the blaster held down by his side. The first goes wildly wide, but the second shot has a better aim on it and smacks into the upper assembly, sending sparks and a small patch of molten metal flying off it. "You little shit," the man hisses, reflexively producing a throwing knife from his sleeve and winging it after the Twi'lek. The tip of the blade sinks into the wall behind the bar, quivering. "Is that how everyone on this moon repays hospitality?!"
"You say this like my eyes and ears are not on this. What do I do up here? I am not catching up on 'All My Agnarths' in this window." And of course, when a situation grows dicey - when limits are tested, anxiety is high, and danger looms around ever corner: Rato Darsi calmly snacks. "Does he make masks from this face?" She wonders belatedly as Corr comms her in, her voice thick with raw, cubed pieces of meat. She clutches a pair of 'nocs to her face with one hand while the other dips casually into a metal bucket full of icky, red globs. "All I say to you is this: is strange to take face." CDF's Togruta intelligence lounges in the gap of a blown out window, some abandoned building overlooking their position; a janky terminal rests in her lap.
"Don't you lie to me!" Toz yells out, leaping up from where he had crouched behind the bar, both blasters trained on the man. "Hospitality my ass! There hasn't been any food cooked here in years! I already checked the cabinets and everything has been looted no telling how long ago! Now you stay right there, fucker!" Toz tucks one blaster under his arm pit and reaches the free hand up to pull at that quivering throwing knife.
"I don't know what you're doin' up there," Corr replies tersely, frowning as he presses his shoulder up against the doorway to the side entrance, gathering his body in a low combat crouch, leaning to peer in through the glass. The light helmet on his head is equipped with a camera, and so is his rifle, because they're trying to do the right thing and ACCOUNTABILITY. Both are hooked up to Rato's terminal feed. "Purple Perp don't look like he's no friends with Ol' Face," he comments quickly, peering into the darkness. "You see 'em in there?" It's dim inside, brighter outside, makes it hard for him to distinguish too much without going in.
"You seem to be under the impression that this is some sort of murder-shack, or maybe you think it's /your/ murder-shack, and this is where you go when you want to shoot strangers no questions asked," Pony-tail replies around a chunk of chewing gum. His eyes glitter with a certain grim amusement that goes right past companionable into unsettling. "Put the guns down and let's talk about this like adults. You don't /seem/ like a reasonable man, but you might prove me wrong." The long grey coat the fellow is wearing is fitted but not snug, and who knows what lies in its folds.
"I followed you." Rato blandly answers with unsettling honesty and no further explanation. She glances down to the datapadd, filled with the staticy video feed from Corr and shrugs. "Just throw detonator. End this baka easy come-go. Or let this Twi'lek handle it." Does she know Toz? She doesn't recall. Another glob of flesh is pinched between a cybernetic thumb and forefinger and plopped into her mouth. "But if you are /wanting/ to go in this place, you go up side wall to the right and there is other door. Maybe locked, but you won't be getting shot." Chew, chew, swallow. "Not right away, at the least."
Toz considers for a few moments as he looks at the dude across from him. His lekku curl nervously for a moment before he slowly holsters one blaster, and then the other. He isn't foolish enough to set them on the bar where someone can grab them, but he does store them away. He still holds that throwing knife in his hands, nervously turning it over and over as he watches the man across from him. "Murder home?" he questions. "Not hardly, I was just looking for a place out of the way to get some sleep."
It seems an uneasy truce has been reached inside, but neither of the men in there are aware of the lawman outdoors creeping around to the entry mentioned by Rato, testing the door, and, remarkably, a coin toss revealed that it's unlocked. "Lucky," Corr mutters, slipping inside and into the darkness within, down a flight of stairs into a basement below. The low light vision in his helmet kicks on, making everything a little green but way easier to make out, and soon he's moving up the stairs into the diner's interior.
"See, that's better, no one has to get hurt here today, it's just a crossing of paths, that's all," the man with the wavy pony-tail continues soothingly, talking Toz down from violence, it seems. One hand may have slipped discreetly inside his long grey coat, but that's another matter. A small chewing sound continues between phrases as he works over that gum, his goatee and mustache animated by the movement. It seems like everything might be okay here after all.
Until Corr kicks a can at the top of the stairs, and alerts them both to the armored man with the rifle standing in the doorway. "FREEZE! Both of you!" he barks out in an authoritative shout.
The unnamed man pulls another pistol from his coat, whirling to take the first shot at the new arrival, sending a bolt blasting into the doorframe and splinters of building material flying outward.
"Corr -" Rato interuppts too late, crackling through his earpiece. She has those 'nocs up and can see that things are pretty peaceful inside - but she can see through her datapadd feed that Corr is about to rile them up. She isn't fast enough to stop him, and sighs heavily into the commlink. "You are not smart, baka-for-brains." She chides, chewing disgustedly on a chunk of meat. "I called backup to clean up your meat husk when they shoot you." She doesn't seem overly concerned, and a message pings off to a chipper Bothan.
As the Pony Tail Man turns and fires on whoever is up the stairs, Toz screams loudly and unconvincingly! He hurls the throwing knife badly, and drops down behind the cover of the bar yelling out, "Help me! Please save me! This man is trying to kill me!"
When the datapad alert pings on her belt, Cotai isn't actually all that far away. Within minutes Cotai is dropping down by Rato, vibro blade off but it's hilt ready in her hand paw thing. "Hey," the Bothan pants out, sticking out a hand to prop herself up on a nearby wall. Her tongue lulls out of her mouth as she desperately attempts to pant herself cool. "Ran... s'fast as I could... gimme a minute..." Her shoulders hunch and she leans heavily, doggedly attempting to catch her breath. "Corr's okay, yeah?"
Corr has been better, he's been worse. The Twi'lek behind the bar shrieks and throws something at him, but that's not as important as Ol' Facepeeler here taking aim at him. The lawman pulls his rifle into his shoulder, squinting down the sight and firing off a quick shot.
The long-coated man springs back, avoiding the blast and distancing himself from Toz at the same time. His hand moves quickly, very quickly, and the blaster pistol squeals with baleful green light, one of the energy pulses catching Corr in the side. "Always violence with you people!" he yells, ducking down behind a table and glancing toward the front door, mostly unobscured in his pathway. "At least on Corellia they'd have the decency to read me my rights before they opened fire!"
Corr doesn't bother pointing out that the pony-tailed wonder is the one who took the first shot, too busy trying to get behind a row of booths and holding his side with one hand, his rifle hanging in the other. His head pokes up to dart a glance around the room, trying to take stock of where Toz and the other man are in relation to himself before he ducks back down.
Rato Darsi picks at the comm in her ear. "Shoot him so nehl stops this noises!" She complains to Corr. "Is like wounded animal, is just kind thing to do. Nature will svhau ko nah matter, just make things speedy." Sorry, Toz. You don't get any sympathy from the Shili native. The shifting lilt the air allows rattle her senses, alerting the sensitive Togruta to the approaching Bothan. "Maybe yeah, maybe nah." She points into the building below. "Knives, some shots. Usual." She offers the metal bucket out, globs of juicy, red meat floating in the chummy dregs at the bottom. Protein up, Tai! It's around this time that Corr gets shot. "Oh, now Corr nah okay." Lazily, she hails their boss again. "You dead?"
As blaster fire begins to sound off inside of the diner, Toz considers his options. Thinking for a few seconds, he does not redraw his weapons, but rather begins to crawl quickly across the floor. On his hands and knees in the most dignified of fashion, the purple Twi'lek begins to hustle it across the floor angling for the door to the rear exit.
Cotai Da'Hosa glances down at the building and grips her hilt. "Kriff. Okay." The Bothan paces a short moment and runs her paw through the scruffy fur on her head. She does a double take at the building again. "Right. I'll go help." And then the alien is scuttling down to leap into the fray, her vibro blade coming to life with a sizzling hum.
"This ain't Corellia," Corr mutters to himself, glancing down at his new wound, pulling the hand away to check the severity. Doesn't look mortal. "I'm fine," he hisses into the commlink, backpedalling slightly to keep his back pressed up against the cover. That's when Toz starts crawling into his field of view.
For the sake of sanity, coming in from the front, the first thing in view is Ponytail Facepeeler, some tables, a row of booths with a bar off to the side. Behind the booths is Corr, and now Toz is headed past him to the door in the back.
The lawman spends all of three seconds deciding on whether or not to shoot at Toz, but in the end he decides against it, flying up around the top of the booths and twisting his rifle into place, finding the table Facepeeler is behind and opening fire. The top of the table is coated in reflective metal, which bounces the bright red bolt onto the ceiling, sending a shower of dust down into the room.
As Corr ducks back down, the Ponytail pops up, sending two quick shots in response back, but both thud harmlessly into the upholstery. As he drops to the floor again, his eyes dart toward the door, jaw working nervously at that gum, weighing his odds of being shot if he makes a mad dash for the door. No one knows Cotai is out there yet.
"Oh, Cotai is here." Rat drawls lazily. "Yay for not dead." She's reached the end of her meat bucket and scowls as she tilts the whole thing to her lips to drain the juices that leeched out. But she's drinking from a literal bucket, so two thin lines of red trace down from the corners of her mouth. She settles comfortably forward and watches through the 'nocs. "You missed." She informs Corr, helpfully.
There is a moment, one terribly scary moment for Toz where his head snaps to the side and he spots Corr. His mouth drops open and he is about to plead for his life when Corr turns fire on pony tail man. Toz raises a thumbs up to the man and then continues shamelessly crawling past head down until his head rams the door painfully and he slaps a hand to his head before lifting it to tug at the door handle and allow the door to swing.
The green strip of the vibroblade has extended it's full spectrum, the sharp lime light casting eerie shadows on the Bothan's face. Her booted feet are apart, shoulders squared, and eyes darting down to Toz who is chivalrous enough to open the door for her. "Oh, thank you!" Cotai says with a wagging grin plastered on her face. She doesn't budge from her position in the exit.
When Cotai appears in the door, and she's not one a face Ponytail recognizes, back there lit in eerie green, he makes an executive decision to break cover and run for the door.
Corr has the luck to come up for another shot at just the right time, landing a hit against the other man's back as he's hurrying for the exit, bent low.
Ol' Facepeeler lets out a yell, grimacing in pain and stamping his gum flat as he grinds his teeth, but he makes it out the door and starts running down the street. If Sairah were here, she could roll to shoot him, but she's just out there in the ether somewhere and so she doesn't have a good shot, likely due to the target cutting left immediately and heading for a nearby speeder.
Cotai's looking in on Toz, and beyond him, Corr, and now the rest of the empty front of the diner. "Hey," the boss greets, pulling himself upright. "Rato, you got eyes on him still?"
"I have eyes." Rato answers. "He is going to make getaway." She rises and watches Facepeeler running away. She levels her pistol, and fires at his speeder - it's a long shot, but she's not looking for heroics, here. "He is in the speeder pouring smoke, cannot miss him." She advises, smugness in her voice.
As the old saying goes, when it doubt lie like hell. That is exactly what Toz does as he sees first Cotai's legs and then follows them upward toward her face. The Twi'lek adopts an angry-ish expression and climbs to his feet, placing his hands on his hips and begins saying angrily, "Just what in the hell is going on here? I have been undercover for /months/ trying to work my way close to that asshole, and then when I get him right where I want him, here you lot come swinging in like a pair of dancing ewok's trying to fight over a scrap of food! Just who is in charge of this operation?!"
Cotai Da'Hosa's hand regrips her weapon and she frowns down and then up at Toz. Her ears flick back and she considers him with a glance over his shoulder at Corr. "Uhh. Him?" the Bothan allows with a vague glance at Corr.
"That would be me," Corr replies, a hand still pressed over the smoking hole in the side of his armor, striding over to the other two, his face drawn and a little ashen. It's not fun getting shot. "Roger that, Rato," he adds into the commlink. "Try to follow him from the air if you can." Satellite, vehicle, drone, whatever she can use. Faded blue eyes stare at the Twi'lek. "You can come back with us and we'll sort this out."
Outside, the speeder rockets away, trailing smoke.
Toz turns his eye on Corr as he is pointed out. The fire in the man's eye is at least as convincing as the fake fire in Toz's so the two end up in a sort of stalemate. "Right... well.." Toz fumbles in a way someone would who actually has no idea how law enforcement works. "Good job messing up my bust! This was sloppy ass work!" Toz also says with a slight stutter, "Come back with you where, exactly?"
The vibroblade powers down with a little spark and she keeps it in her hand. "Who do you work for?" Cotai asks with a head tilt as Corr and Toz square off. She steps forward just a bit to bring herself a little more inside the door frame. Her eyes flick up to Corr and she shrugs. Worth a shot to ask, yeah? her face seems to say.
Corr gives Cotai a nod of agreement. "Back to our office. I want to know why you messed up my bust." The rifle in his hand still has plenty of shots in the energy cell, and the black and white weapon doesn't look very friendly. "And who you're working for. Unless you just happened to be in the wrong place, wrong time, in which case all I need is a statement sayin' what happened 'fore I came in that door'n you can go."
Toz draws himself up to his fullest height and gazes from Corr to Cotai and back again before he says, "That is classified information. Suffice it to say that who I work for is above your pay scale. You will be lucky if I do not have your operation shut down! I can promise you that it would be in your best interest if we just parted ways here."
Tai's nose wrinkles. She looks like she believes him on his half of the story, but she doesn't back down. "How would you know what my pay is?" the Bothan asks with a fuzzy eyebrow raising. "I mean. For all you know I might be the Grand Chancellor of Naboo. /You/ don't know." Cotai frowns and refuses to move. "I'm not," she feels the need to add.
"Cotai, bring him in if he won't talk," Corr instructs, and presumably he'll be around to back the Bothan up. But after a roll of that magnitude, he's probably not looking all that scary. The gunshot must be taking more out of him than he's admitting, and it's obvious. He's heading for the door, the front door, to see if he can get some sort of DNA sample from the fled combatant.
While Corr was distracted, Toz managed to slip the noose, running off into the undercity.