Log:Of Personal Growth and OK Assets
The Hub - Ko Hentota District, Nar Shaddaa Ko Hentota is one of the poorest districts of the Smuggler's Moon, and just stepping off a taxi here feels like a hazardous move. Industrial and unrelentingly grimy, this slum-ridden city has been built around the steam and ventilation ducts of major industry. The air is thick with fog and mist from the open and exposed pipes of numerous factories; visibility is always poor here. Many visitors choose to wear respiration equipment when they come here, but such protection is luxury most locals can't afford. Pipes, valves, and vents criss-cross every surface in a complicated mess, trying to keep one step ahead of the corrosion caused by their own contents, and every building's original color is long since buried under the same color of soot.
The center of Ko Hentota is an area called the Hub, the center of the web-like structure of streets and alleys of this district. The Hub is a busy courtyard full of the chaos of many different types of sentients, moving quickly about their tasks or searching the crowds for unwary targets. The population trends toward aliens here, partially due to the harsh environment, but even among their number this place has an odd nature about it, and it's known around Nar Shaddaa as the 'home of the strange.'
It's kriffing Ko Hentota. Somehow setting the bar for seedy rendezvous points a whole class below her usual hangout behind Jak's Cats 'lounge' (aka whorehouse) off the backend of gearhead. Cuz factory workers need love, too. So do First Order troops, as Rato's footwork revealed, and so under present circumstances, the Colonel's comfortable routine has changed.
Just for you, Heksash'kuri.
The aging soldier will look a little more worn since last they met. A little more tired. A little less hungry for a fight. She's found a quiet corner around the business end of a steamy sewage pipe, propped against the crumbling wall by a shoulder and mindful to avoid the toxic drips leaking from that coroded pipe. By comparison, this makes the base feel and smell like three stars. Her eyes flit from the accompanying shadow on her left to the hub of activity outside the alley. "You'll know him when you see'em. Assuming he's still got the same flare for style," she mutters to Hazar.
Today he's Colonel Ambrosia Greystorm's escort. Not that she really needs one. Sergeant Hazar Jast is right next to his boss, keeping his eyes peeled for trouble while trying not to be too conspicuous about it. It's Nar Shaddaa, though, so who's to care if someone constantly scans to make sure they're not about to be jumped? "That distinctive, ma'am?" Hazar asks as he finds himself a dry, safe-ish looking place to lean against the wall.
Never let it be said that Heksash'kuri's lame flare for style should ever wane, Amber. He is indeed a distinctive figure, walking through the mists, tall and green. Tattooed lekku... and a gray duster liberally festooned with red flowers, a garment that just begs someone to throw a punch. That might be the goal. He's smoking, and his hands are mismatched, replaced by cybernetics on the right. Civilian life has not been good to his girlish figure, but it looks like it'd hurt if he decked somebody. He is perhaps accompanied by a Gand, but it's Amber that gets the greeting, sounds like Ryl. "Ke'nata ni, ryma gesu'tak allesh. You look like shit."
A smaller, stockier shadow follows along in Hex's wake. The Gand escort had received the communication that his services would be needed earlier in the morning, and had arrived ready to accompany his employer wherever was required with his typical politeness. Outfitted in a simple attire far less stylish than that of Hex, the gand does not really appear in any particular grandeur that would warrant much of a second look, which is perhaps the whole point. His ratty gray cloak is slung over his armor, the hood pulled up over his head, and a menacing looking rifle is slung over his shoulder.
"...Yep," is all Amber needs to say in response to Sgt Jast's question, because here he comes, the big green himself. He doesn't disappoint. "Kark you, koochoo," she snarls mildly in broken Huttese in reply to Hex's greeting. Enough to get the point across. Something goes squish under boot as she rocks her weight off the wall and onto both planted feet. A thumb jerks over shoulder to Hazar. "This here's Sgt Jast. He's a good kid. Jast...meet Heksash'kuri. A fine example of personal growth." Possibly a fat joke? The glance she casts up and down and lopsided sorta smile confirm. "In more ways than one. We're here about the less fleshy assets, I hear you've," a nod to Hex and friend "agreed to share."
The guy in the... fancy? Hideous? The guy in the flower adorned coat gets an upnod from Hazar as a form of greeting before he says politely, "Nice to meet you, sir." Amber's joke gets a little smile, but it's only a little one. It may take Jast a second to get the joke. The well armed Gand receives a regular sort of nod, "How's it going?" Still polite. Leaning off of the wall he's against he tilts his head to check in the direction the newcomers arrived from to make sure that things look clear over there.
Hex curls the tips of his lekku in amusement. "It's good to see you, gidaesha." He does seem to mean that, and pauses a moment to light up a cigarette. "Kasia will be along in a minute. She didn't want to walk through the toxic slime. She reckoned it's bad for her shoes." He gestures at his friend, "This is Gand, no name yet, but he's on it, he's gonna get named as all get out very soon." Hazar Jast gets a curious, amused look, and then Hex salutes him - far more crisply and properly than one might expect him capable of. "Sergeant." He relaxes back into mild depravity and moral turpitude. "Ka, but Yavok wasn't totally sure what you want. I got a Sheathipede shuttle that's pathologically unimpressive, I got a Broadstar you could make like a B-wing if you get it some shields and better weapons. I got maybe a few lost souls who could join your ranks, but they're not trained in anything... other than following orders." Is that a bit of a pang there? Maybe. "Like I was. Though they're less of a mess than I was. And I'd rather them not go to the front lines. We can skim regular goods off cargo runs. Maybe some money. Might be able to run you some guns but it's easier said than done."
Gand the gand looks over Ambrosia and Hazar, his silver eyes taking in each as Hex takes care of introducing him. He steps forward, giving a sort of small bow before extending his hand out to each in turn. "Hex asked this one along to be the muscle," he jokes in a flat voice before chuckling behind his breathing mask. "It is pleased to meet the both of you," is added before he steps back to Hex's side. As Hex begins offering what he has of use, the gand simply hooks his thumbs into the leather bandolier worn around his waist and listens, eyes occasionally skirting outward to mark those that pass by the small group.
There's a third figure approaching, everyone panic! Oh, no, it's cool guys, it's just Kasia. Well, those that know her can relax, feel free to worry, Hazar. As Hex said, she didn't want to walk through the gross with her nice shoes on, so she changed clothing. Trousers, shirt, jacket, and heavy duty boots. She's even got a blaster on her hip. She steps up to Hex's other side, smiling at Amber with some genuine warmth and maybe a little admiration. "Good to see you again."
When he receives a salute Hazar quickly snaps to the position of attention and returns it. He drops from attention, to at ease and then back to leaning against the wall a little bit. Straightening up so he can bow to Gand, then reaching forward for a firm shake, Hazar says, "I guess we're both here as muscle, then. I'm not sure I'm up for a wrestling match, though." The woman that approaches gets a looking over, then a polite nod. Jast does seem slightly worried until he sees the way that she greets Ambrosia. He goes back to leaning.
"Every line's a frontline. Even our retreating shadows..." Amber narrows her eyes past Hex onto the nameless Gand speaking of itself in third person. Weird. Before she can remark uncouthly on the matter, Kasia appears. A quiet nod gets returned to her former operative, then she fumbles around under her own smelly wraps to fish out a cheaply made calling card. Two fingers offer it out. "Number's changed. It's a burner, so can't guarantee how long that'll patch you though to me. I don't know where we go from here and when I do know, I'm not of a mind to say." Something's got the old rebel spooked, a bit off edge, as she takes her own gander around at potential eavesdropping spots for the fifth time.
"We'll take anything you're willing to part with. If you don't want your boys and girls on death's door, then keep them in your ranks. More hands in tact to do the skimming onto our pauper plates, the better. Could /use/ 'unimpressive', right now. Unimpressive means unassuming, unassuming gets you past checkpoints."
"Hi, nonna," Hex greets his arriving wife with a smile. For the benefit of Hazar and Zyx, he tilts his head towards the Resistance folks and says, "We used to roll with you. Seems like a long time ago now." He raises a brow at Ambrosia, "Which is something the Order explicitly knows about me, maybe not about her. But the line from me to you is likely one they're watching unless they're completely stupid. I'll give you two ships and we can load them with basics... food, tools," he glances to Kasia for confirmation there, then back to Ambrosia. "But you probably want to set up where the drop is. My people will be working as good as we can to see that we're not followed."
Oblivious to Ambrosia's feelings toward the way that Gand refers to himself, he simply stands watching, rocking forward onto his toes and then back onto his heels. After Hex speaks, the gand clears his through before saying, "This one also does work for the bounty hunters guild. It is not positive of this, but with the surrender of Corellia, it is likely safe to say that the Guild office there is probably also doing work for the First Order. If that is the case, this one can also keep an ear out for details regarding any contracts centered around your organization, if you think that would be of use to you?" He glances aside toward Hex afterwards, looking the Twi'lek up and down before leaning closer to say quietly, "This one would not have thought you a soldier... It is surprised."
"Ka're," Kasia greets Hex with a smile, but her focus goes back to the more serious subject at hand. "We're going to need falsified documentation that we sold them, or junked them. Something. I don't think they have any idea of my previous activity, but they surely have a good handle on what assets I have. If I move two ships, and they obviously turn up in your hands, it's going to raise suspicions that none of us really want it to. That said, the ships and whatever supplies we can come up with are yours."
"That'd be useful," The silver'n'gold halo (hah) braided around Ambrosia's head tips in Gand's direction. "My head's been on the market for over a year and I've only had to dash one moron's golden dreams." A sinister flash of pearly whites savors that fuzzy remnant of memory. "Might be, the going rate for an old broad ain't what it used to be. But the longer we stay here the greater the odds the Order's gonna sniff us out. All it takes is one lousy rat."
Bruised knuckles rise to knead at the throbbing pulse between her eyes. "We'll send a scout out to survey the caynons, find a suitable drop point off the thoroughfare. Think I've got enough pilots left alive to limp the donations home."
Hex draws on his cigarette, and exhales with smoky amusement. "That's cause I was garbage at it, mea'kolo," he informs Zyx. "The highest point of my military career was walking into her office," He nods at Amber, "And saying hey, I'm gonna resign, so she could look at me like 'thank stars, Corporal, now I don't have to fire you.'" Hex taps ash off the cigarette. "This way is better for everybody. Naelyn's not a bad hand at forgery, Kasia, I reckon he could whip something up, say we totaled them. It's us, who wouldn't believe that? Worst case I could launder it through Vuren'ilar, but I'd rather... not do that." He smokes thoughtfully. "Oh man, is this insurance fraud?" He's cool with that.
Gand nods his head in replay to Ambrosia before saying, "This one will be sure to keep its ear to the ground for any sign of trouble heading your way. If there is anything worth noting, it will tell Hex and Kasia so that they can contact you." Glancing sideways at Hex, the little alien nods its head once as it looks Hex over, before finally asking, "Was she going to fire you because of failure to comply to physical training requirements?"
Kasia nods a little at Hex's suggestion. "That's what I was thinking, Naelyn can probably whip something up that can go on official record. An accident claim is probably the best for the broadstar, it's the more expensive ship, the other one we can say we sold, I can find the money to make it look as though that much went into the account at the same time."
"Nah," Amber comes to Hex's defense with a smirk to the Gand and drops her hand limply to her side. "He was 'bout half the man he is now, though." She expels a shaky breath and stare goes vacant for a few seconds, watching the wisps of smoke trailing off Hex's cig. "Sounds like a decent enough way to cover tracks. I know I'm full of shit more oft'n not, but I hope you can believe I don't want any fallout from this deal comin' down on your heads. Lost enough people - GOOD people - these last few days."
Greystorm's head seems to be stuck in a little bobbling nod that carries on beyond the norm for emphasis so maybe she's not even aware it's happening anymore. The lines of her cheeks are drawn tautly, jaw tensed in the effort to hold something back that broils just beneath the surface. A fierce moment of eye contact locks onto each person, one by one, to drive the point home before rasping out "You copy?"
Hex shakes his head at Gand. "Koa, I think it was more to do with my painkiller addiction and ability to get myself and others in trouble," he explains why he quit. "I was fit then. Worse in the head, better in the body." A moment of smoking follows, listening to Amber, perhaps a bit more seriously than is his usual wont. "We're not gonna do anything that we can't or don't want to, we're not lining up to die for this," he promises, quietly. "I gave half my body for the cause two years ago, you know that, ka. I copy, but don't worry about it. I got no delusions about the danger and no intention to get me and mine hurt. Don't waste cycles thinking about us. We're small but we're scrappy, and we copy."
Gand nods his head, the expression on his face reading that even if it had been true that Hex was too fat to be in the Resistance, the gand would have been here to console his friend. Looking back to Ambrosia, the little alien says, "This one has been hearing that the Resistance was wiped out completely... obviously this is not so. Would you mind if it asked how many men you have left? Not specifics, of course, but just in general. This one would like to know how dire the circumstances are."
Kasia doesn't flinch from the look that Amber gives, nodding. "I copy. As Hex said, we're not giving more than we can, we're not going to set ourselves on fire for the cause, but we can't ignore the need when there's something we can do, even if it's something small." She leans in a little closer to Hex, shoulder bumping against his, clearly very fond of him and his dad bod.
"Scrappy's good," Ambrosia looks back at Hazar like she's gonna say something else, but the Gand's question snaps her head back around with a blazing glare. "They're gonna /wish/ it were so. I been filing so many death certs in what sliver of time I've had these last three days, that I've not informed the remnant of my OWN family that I'm alive and their brother ain't! "
"So yeah," the Colonel growls more quietly. "I mind."
Hex is already shaking his head a little at the Gand's comment, but he's asked, and Amber responds in a way the Twi'lek seems to find unsurprising. "Not our place, mea'kolo," he says simply, before dipping his head to the Colonel. There's a gesture of lekku with it, but who can say what that means. "I'm sorry for your loss. Vahs ka Ryma'at," he offers, "We'll be in touch with the ships." And with that, he heads off back into the mist.
The Gand's eyes widen a touch in surprise at the answer sent his way from Ambrosia, but he does not say anything in reply at first. He dips his head in a respectful way to the soldier, eyes lowered before he says, "Forgive this one. It was not attempting to be insensitive toward your losses." He looks around as Hex moves to leave, then glances toward Kasia and gestures in the direction of the Twi'lek before he too turns and makes to follow Hex into the mist.
"We're definitely scrappy," Kasia supplies quietly, glancing over at Hex, then to the Gand. There's a faint flinch at the question, but she doesn't try to correct. "I'm sorry for your loss. As Hex says, we'll be in touch, and if you can think of any other way we can reasonably assist, let us know." She inclines her head to Amber with a measure of respect, glances at the Gand, then turns to follow after her husband.
Greystorm stands in marked silence, watching them go, then reaches back under the folds of her sloppy disguise and pulls her own cigarello out into the open. A second later, it ignites with a flick of her thumb and the soft glow fades back into the shadow of the alley. "Go on ahead to Hound," she instructs Hazar with a mumble around the next puff. "Inform the others we've got ourselves a deal. I've got one more stop to make."