Log:Dark Desert Deeds
The short version: Xan and Kari accept a simple job to recover stolen goods, which turns out not to be so simple at all. Will they betray their employer, or take steps down a dark path?
The long version:
The job was described as such: a small shipment of bacta, about what one can load into a speeder and drive off with, was recently stolen from Xucphra Corporation on Thyferra. Xan's mysterious employer, a Coruscanti man whose name was neither asked nor offered, did not explain his connection to the soulless, reportedly corrupt pharmaceutical giant Xucphra, and he did not explain why he felt it important to retrieve the shipment. He simply presented the job to be done and the payment to be issued. Nether he nor Xan were interested in the social particulars of one another's lives.
The information this man included in his data dump included exactly how much bacta went missing, as well as its current believed whereabouts on the barren, dusty planet of Lok. The bacta is said to be stashed, along with its thieves, at a 'safe house' 30 kilometers from Nym's Landing. The data dump advises hiding one's transportation in the rocky cliffs and canyons to the north of the safe house, though a note adds that this and all other tactics are up to the contractors. The layout of the safe house was also included: A simple house, with a wrap around outer hallway, an interior room, and a locked room.
The job is simple: Steal back the bacta. Try not to kill anyone. And if anybody dies... dispose of the bodies, or make it look like an accident. The Coruscanti man was very clear that he wanted no trouble to follow after this, no jobs half done, or else he'd make his displeasure known. But what could he do, really? A man like that? Does he even know what end of a gun to hold?
As night falls on Lok, lights in a canyon at the proper coordinates indicate that what should be there, is indeed there: a small dwelling, the safe house. The lights are on, and a large series of antennae suffering home repairs are sprouting from the roof. A Mirialan man with enough face tattoos to indicate he's had some adventures is leaning against the front door to the south, smoking, while a pretty Twi'lek woman stands guard to the north. She looks tired. The building has windows on the east and west side, but it's not clear how many others may be within. Both the Mirialan and the Twi'lek are wearing rugged, worn spacer attire that looks to have seen some action, but they also have arm bands clearly showing medical insignia.
Xan stole a speeder and slathered it in temporary hair color spray. Ideally she'd have a ship that could store a speeder, but one doesn't always have access to the nicest things for a job, and Xan's life hasn't exactly been overflowing with vehicles and transport for the most part. They might be up a creek if the speeder makeover paint starts to wash off in some rain or whatever, but Xan's taking her chances on Lok. She's since dressed into her shadowsuit, strapped on her plates, and gravity belt for good measure, holstered her vibroblades. One of which she pulls out and spins in her hand as they look out over the target. "Maybe we go in window? West side? Move to north hallway?" It's the route that would provide the least contact, but could also have everyone coming in on them at once.
"Do we know if those two are alone?" Kari wonders, looking to her accomplice as they stand a short way off from their stashed speeder. The dark-haired girl is similarly outfitted, sans gadgets. A blaster is holstered at her hip, along with a smaller holdout pistol, and a long-handled dagger sheathed at her thigh. "For all we know, the place is booby trapped."
Xan doesn't have her balaclava on just yet. Her white hair is stark against the darkened sky, skin washed out as well. It's hard to see where each begin and end at a glance. "There bacta in there if trap or no." Xan shrugs. Clearly...she's...not the best planner, or maybe she just under-estimated the job. "We go see if more people inside first and look for traps, west window." Xan pulls her mask/hat on, then her goggles, flicking them on, and then starts down the long roundabout way that should keep them hidden. She thinks.
Kari purses her lips thoughtfully at that, her gaze fixed on the two figures loitering about the front door. "All right," she agrees, reaching to her hip to draw her blaster, and then moving off after Xan.
Xan's speeder paint job would not be doing well on a rainy planet. It isn't doing well on Lok either, appearance-wise, but at least the color isn't washing off! Who knows, she might even start a trend, local teens raiding pharmacies for hair color, having a go at their parents' vehicles...
The two guards posted at the north and south entrance of the safe house have hand-held comlinks, and can be heard speaking to each other:
"Everything look clear out there?"
"Just a lot of empty desert."
"I don't like that we're still sitting on this bacta, we know that we didn't get away clean from Thyferra."
Boredly, flashlights sweep light over the landscape. Bad news for shadow-plate, though gear and skills are still much to be contended with here.
"I know it's a risk, but the ship got delayed for repair on Socorro and people need this. This is going to save lives on the outer rim, lives that would otherwise be over as soon as pirates hit. Again. We're doing the right thing. You know nobody can afford to buy it from Xucphra."
"Yeah. I know."
Xan and Kari avoid the flashlights and creep their way to the west window. Peeping in, they can see a perimeter hallway surrounds a room. They see neither traps nor extra persons! How... not suspicious!
The paint job is streaky and obvious. No one wants their hair color this color. But apparently Xan...at least that's what she said when she bought oodles of cans of it. 'Green hair sexy.' Not the stealthiest color on a planet like this, but it's the only color where there was enough cans still on the shelf.
Given the shadow-plates aren't even turned on, they aren't even a factor yet. Xan's relying on her skills tonight...so far, and her fancy suit. Xan's heard rumors of bacta shortages before she even took this job, but she never told Kari that, and she certainly...well, took the job anyways.
"Look clear." Xan whisper/mouths to Kari and then shrugs. Before discussing anything, she starts to try to gain entry. She's not going to know anything about the entry to the bacta room yet from there given she doesn't have line of sight. She tries to open the window softly, quietly, presuming it can be opened.
This prompts a bit of an eyeroll from Kari, though no complaints. This isn't precisely the time to be arguing about Xan's lone wolf approach, so she steadies her blaster in both hands and scans the periphery for unwelcome guests.
Xan manages to open the window -- it's old fashioned, no automation, and slides up. There's a scary moment where the latch isn't right and it starts to fall again, but she catches it in the nick of time, and their silent, hidden operation remains silent and hidden. Creeping into the interior hallway, the guards outside are none the wiser... but once inside, it becomes clear that they failed to spot that there /was/ another person in here. A Cathar man is patrolling the hallway, or maybe just walking around. He's moseying, he doesn't seem too alerted; there's nothing outside per the guards, anyway. He's looking at a datapad, and calling to someone in the interior room (there seem to be some figures in there... maybe two?), "The ship's finally off Socorro, we should be able to get out of here by sunrise tomorrow. I called Mercy Hospital to let them know they can expect --"
The Cathar stops dead in his tracks, and just stares. There are people. In his hallway. What. What. He looks at the window... at Xan and Kari. Window. Xan and Kari. It's too late to hide, but maybe they can make a case for why they're here. He doesn't seem to be reaching for weapons yet.
It's difficult to pull off much of anything beyond INTRUDER, dressed like they are. But all Kari needs to do is buy them some time. Seconds, minutes, whatever she can manage. She plucks at the sleeve of her suit to check a watch she isn't wearing, and frowns softly at the cathar. "Three and a half minutes. That's too fucking long. What if we were /actually/ trying to steal that bacta? The boss would shove his foot up your ass so far, you'd be spitting shoelaces."
Xan tries to hide. It's her instinct. Hide and STAB. But when she looks around, there's nowhere to hide. Xan starts to open her mouth to reply to Kari. She's going to...improvise. She at least knows to not contradict Kari outright. She reaches up to pull her mask up, pushing back her goggles, letting the man see her face. "We here now. For bacta. We get here for load? They say we can...not be seen so, we took long route. Check in with guards about 2 minutes ago. Got schedule though. Got be out by sunrise."
Poor Kari. It is indeed difficult to pull off anything other than Intruder when one is, in fact, intruding, and the Cathar doesn't seem like he buys it, even after Xan backs up the story. "Ah," the large feline man sighs, "I see." He raises his voice and announces, "Time's up. Thyferra found us." The guards don't appear from outside, but a worried-looking human woman appears from the interior room, along with a human child, a girl, maybe 10 years old. "Oh, no," the woman gasps quietly, and these two adults, like the Mirialan and Twi'lek outside, are wearing medic insignia. They have sidearms, but no one is drawing yet.
Instead, the Cathar just holds up his hands carefully, to make it clear he's not drawing. "Let's just talk about this," he suggests. "What are they paying you? I don't think I can beat it. Maybe I can match it. People are going to die if we don't get this bacta off Lok and into the hands of those who need it."
Kari peruses the cathar for a moment, and then her eyes flick to the girl who's ushered along with a woman. "Who's this?" she wants to know, voice softening a hair. Her blaster is still braced in both hands, but isn't pointed at anyone.
"If you want me no stop. You need give more than I get pay. We need injuries to make it impossible to get bacta...and I no get good work after if that happen. I need money to eat, so /I/ no die." Xan's jaw tightens, but she doesn't say any kind of price. Her silvery eyes flick to Kari and then to the child, her hands over her vibrodaggers.
"My daughter," the human woman says protectively, stepping in front of the child and then attempting to herd her to the side, behind the wall. The kid is more interested in trying to gawp at Kari and Xan. "We're medics, we're trying to save people, which is more than I can say for Xucphra, they only care about saving their /profits/." She says the word like it's vulgar. "We would buy it if we could. We can't. Skooma is right," Skooma must be the Cathar, "People will die without this. Please, it's not even a large amount. It's locked in that room," she points at a small locked area in the corner of the interior space, "And you can see how small that is! They will never miss it!"
The Cathar shakes his head. "I can pay you 8,000 credits. That's all the money I have. If you refuse... I cannot allow you to take this, the patients are in dire need and we have no other options."
Kari gazes steadily at the woman, then the girl again. Then back to the woman. Something like remorse is briefly glimpsed in her expression, gone in a heartbeat. She re-holsters her blaster and takes a step closer. "It seems we have a quandary, then. Because we were sent here to retrieve it, precisely /because/ it was missed. And if it isn't a large amount, what real difference will it make to your efforts?"
When Kari starts to take control of the conversation again, Xan knows her place. This is /why/ she brought Kari after all. Xan decides to re-focus herself on what /she's/ here for. She keeps her eyes on the threats, whether people's fingers are getting itchy for their blasters, the doors, points of ingress and egress...and /even the child/. They've seen her face. They know they've seen her face. Maybe this was intentional.
"Are you for real?" the human woman wails. "Just take the money and leave us alone! What is nothing to Xucphra is everything to us! You can't seriously choose the side of a corporation's profit over innocent lives! Have pity on us! We are medics!" The Cathar seems like he's getting worried, and prompts Xan again, "8,000 credits. Please take it and go. We won't tell anyone we saw you. We will disappear into the outer rim, and you'll never see us again."
Thus the quandary: These people are thieves. They stole someone else's property, and that someone else wants it back, which is what Xan and Kari were hired to do. Their mysterious employer will no doubt be unhappy if the bacta gets away... but it's going to a good cause.
They seem like nice folks.
They did see the intruder's faces....
If the impassioned plea from the human has any effect on Kari, she gives no indication. "Medics, perhaps. Thieves? Yes." The girl raises her blaster, and without warning, attempts to put a round through the woman's forehead; her expression doesn't change one whit.
Xan miscalculates...or is she trying to fake the Cathar out? Does she really need to fake him out with three whiffs? No. Skooma's just that fast. The fight is blinding. He simply sidesteps her body launch and she lashes out with her second, then third, but he just steps back out of reach two times as if taunting her short arms, which only makes the echani lash out with a lunging slash at his chest just when her flurry might be over.
"MAMA!" the heartrending cry of the little girl yelps out when Kari puts a round through the human woman. It's a painless death, she slumps wordlessly to the ground, and the girl shrieks and runs out of the room. She's gone to the east, disappearing; if they search later, they will be unable to find her. "NO!" Skooma yells, and then it's ON, as he draws and stumbles back from Xan's attack, firing a shot at her that goes wide. Yelling from the north and south can be heard as the Mirialan and Twi'lek burst into the building, but it will take them a moment to get there...
Kari ignores the little girl. Whatever fleeting emotional response she might have to that cry, is smothered and shoved down beneath her cool veneer. And that's assuming her programming even allows for it, which is debatable. Stowing her blaster, she draws her dagger instead with a shiver of metal leaving the scabbard and a glint of odd runic markings etched into the blade. An attempt to drive it into the cathar's back, right through his kidney, but he's too quick for her and the attack goes wide. Attempt number two is a slash at his throat, aiming for the artery; she's rewarded with a spray of blood.
Kari flattens herself to the wall when blasters come up and shots ring out. She can practically feel the blowback as one of them whizzes past her face, but leaves her luckily unscathed. Then she's moving in with a quick lunge, trying to sink her blade into the twi'lek's heart; once, twice. The second strikes bone and glances off uselessly.
Xan lets Kari attack first, or maybe just Kari is quicker, or maybe Xan had it already in her mind that she was going to not go after the attractive twi'lek. Who knows, but she ducks down low as she steps forward below the intended fire so she hamstring the Mirialan, then follow it up with a knife in his back. But something doesn't go as planned. She's hooked her blade on the rib or...something, and it takes her a moment to yank it out as she tries to slash at the flailing guy with her other hand like someone riding a bantha. Whiff! Whiff!
The medics are fighting like their lives depend on it, which they literally do. The Twi'lek screams as she's hit but returns fire to zap Kari with a blue bolt; it hurts, it registers that her systems do not like that one bit and would not like it to happen again, but the good doctors' choice to use stun means that Kari isn't incapacitated. The same is true for Xan; her Mirialan foe is surprisingly tough and even after taking heavy damage, he shoots her and then clocks her across the face with the butt of his rifle. Ow! Seeing stars! But it isn't enough to take her down either...
Kari abandons her blade and raises her blaster instead, lining up a shot that by all rights /should/ find its mark.. but the twi'lek pulls out of the way at the last minute and the bolt slams into a wall. Undeterred, she sidesteps and readies herself to fire again. The bolt to Kari's side hurts like a mother effer, but she's taken worse. /Much/ worse. Teeth gritted, she pushes through the discomfort and focuses on ending this.
Xan's close, too close, and the Mirialan is able to half turn to shoot a stun bolt at point blank range on the tiny echani. It hits her in the left breast and she exclaims, "Owww." One hand going to her chest to rub it as she starts her next attack with her other. SHANK! SHANK! She hops up on his back as he's starting to slump and slits the guy's throat to finish him off, then another one somewhere else she thinks is vital. It's all a bit...well, overkill, but then he did hit her in the boob and at least this way he won't suffer long. She immediately starts to rifle through his pockets and others, letting Kari take care of herself. If there's any kind of electronic devices, she'll confiscate them, unlock them with dead hands while they are still warm and start transferring their personal credits to an account she's setup for these purposes.
Poor Twi'lek. All her friends are murdered around her, for the sake of medical supplies she knows are not going to make it off Lok. Whatever ship is coming from Socorro at sunrise, she won't live to see it, and the patients along the outer rim, wherever Mercy Hospital may be, will have to live or die without bacta. It's all sinking in and she chokes back a sob, trying to shoot Kari, but it goes wide, far wide, sinking a burn-spot into the wall and leaving her open to attack.
Xan murders the hell out of her Mirialan frenemy, and is free to rifle through pockets! Skooma did have 8000 credits and no more. The human woman has a key, perhaps to the locked bacta room. Nobody else appears to have much of any interest, other than the com links they used to speak to each other when they still thought the desert was empty.
It's not too hard for Kari to swerve away as the twi'lek's blaster comes up. The report of her own follows shortly after; a shot to the temple, and the poor woman goes down like a sack of potatoes. She has no interest in rifling through her pockets for credits; if anything, this whole operation seems to have unsettled her. Silence for a few moments as she surveys the broken bodies littering the floor, bleeding into the tiles. And then with a rapid blink like a jolt was delivered to her systems, she turns and prowls off smoothly for the room housing the bacta. Her blaster is holstered once she's confirmed they're alone.
Xan wipes her blades off and sheathes them. When she hears the body hit the floor, she's already fumbling the key to the door. Didn't she say she'd never killed anyone before once upon a time? There's something flat in her eyes as she finally gets the door open. She hasn't bothered to wipe the blood off her face as if she's forgotten its there...but it's also in her hair of course. Hard to keep it contained when victims start spraying. She doesn't look to Kari.
It's quiet once the fighting is over, and the team of medics lie dismembered on the floor of their safe house, bleeding out what seems like a surprising amount of blood. It's everywhere. Walls. Ceiling. Everywhere. The human's key easily unlocks the bacta door however, and there it is, their prize! It's about two pallets worth of bacta, conveniently already loaded on hover sleds with built-in lifts. All ready to get on that ship to Mercy Hospital... or into a stolen speeder painted Sexy Green. Xucphra's profits are safe. The only step remaining is to hide the evidence -- maybe it's best to just set the whole building on fire? -- and deliver to a nondescript warehouse specified on Nar Shaddaa, in the job briefing.
Kari doesn't speak, either. Not until she's verified that the bacta is all accounted for. "Get this loaded up while I find someone to clean up." Which might involve industrial strength hoses, or might just involve gasoline and a match. She doesn't go into details, but slips out her datapad and paces away a short distance to where she can watch the nearest exits while 'working'.
Xan doesn't do what Kari says right away. She goes back to the mother's body and finds some kind of identification. Then she starts to set about the rest of the work. "No gas. Must look like accident," Xan mutters before she moves off.
There are no other witnesses to this heinous deed, beyond Xan's memory, Kari's horrifying records, perfect in every detail... and a child who will probably come for revenge in 10 years, but she's nowhere to be found here now. They are complete in their mission; they suffer no impediments in the loading of the bacta or in getting it off Lok. Once it's back to the warehouse, bland humans in nondescript uniforms accept it, and not ten minutes after they do, a message arrives with a wire transfer of money for Xan and a simple message:
"Pleasure doing business with you."