Malakai had taken the airspeeder after their last expedition. The subconscious desire to take a shower had urged him to. Plus Ilana had stated he had a mild concusion from the kick the Quarren had given him behind the bar in Little Cala.
A day that had gone by before he knew the man known as Driggar would be most likely to be outside of his office. His employee, Bruss, was dead and well into his dissolving process in the a coolant vat in the lower levels. Darkness encroached before the night cycle had even begun. The past few days had seen rain pretty frequently though it was light and not much of a hindrance for the Grysk and his accomplice.
Before the two of them was the building they would be infiltrating. Inside there were multiple floors of offices. During the day time they were full of the working class people. Some of them probably did not even realize their boss dealt in black market information. But at the top floor was the bosses office. At night there would still be workers present and definitly guards. The moon wide city never slept and there were plenty of nocturnal oriented species that lived on Nar Shaddaa that preferred working past traditional work hours. There was no getting around that unfortunately.
"So we have a few points of entrance. Could try to get through emergency exit but those are usually monitored. Parking garage could work too." It was not a normal office building. Malakai had yet to actually go inside it and any information he had on it was purely from his external observations or from the head of security they had tortured and killed.
A block away from the building he watched with a pair of macrobinoculars. "Kark! Either Bruss was lying or maybe his absence is already known. Looks like there's a few extra security droids patrolling the upper levels." The lower levels looked like they were more lax. Guards were on the first five stories but the lights were on and employees went about their night. But there dark rooms with lights off in the three stories. Occasionally the faint light from droid photorecptors were visible, moving in groups of two. It was not enough to make it seem like the place was locked down. But there was definitely a bit of extra security likely due to some sort of routine security protocol. That just further confirmed that the tome he was looking for was in Driggar's office.
After the events of last time, the good Doctor was less inclined to go in guns blazing. But her need for something to do had dwindled very much in the last twenty-four hours... a blessing in disguise. Treating Malakai for his mild concussion and following suit with a shower was something she desperately needed, especially after getting the former head of security's blood all over her favorite civilian jacket. It even had pockets...
She was freshly dressed, in a light blaster vest and her usual civilian clothes under it, the jacket abandoned for another one she happened to buy in a sudden impulse. After the windfall of fleecing the Karkarodon, she had a bit to spend, and this new one fit nicer. She shrugged to relax the fit a bit more, then sighed in mild frustration when it wouldn't settle any easier.
"Well... sitting out in the rain won't make us get closer to where we need to be," she commented dryly, glancing at Kai with a slightly bemused amber gaze. "If the parking garage is the closest way to get in, the safest route would be one of us scopes out the place on a closer level."
She slipped out of their cover, hands in her pockets. "You look like a street punk. But if there are any cams, they won't blink twice at someone who looks a bit more like one of them. I think I'm going to take a closer look... and find a way in. If I find a safe one, I'll page you. The worst they'll do to me is escort me out."
She didn't wait for an answer, but instead strode out, head held high, hands in her pockets. Security for parking seemed limited; perhaps in due part because the most secure area necessary were the upper levels, but also the limiting factor of enough credits to cover decent ground.
What few cams there were, were mostly in place to make sure no one stole any speeders. Outside, the sounds of traffic were a soothing background. She internally cursed when two cams were pointed at what looked like an employees-only elevator... and then she spotted it.
If it weren't for the glancing light of a passing speeder, she would have missed it. But set into the wall, on the opposite side, was a vent entrance. It was set a little high up, and seemed just barely wide enough to allow them to fit one at a time, but maybe...
She touched her commlink, drawing into the shadows to get closer.
"I think I've found a way in... but I'm pretty sure you won't like it..."
She had the good sense to dress in dark clothes. But her tone said she was eager to get underway. Motivation was never something the Arkanian was lacking. He stared back with a grin to show his appreciation for her initiative. "You got it, Doc." He said and watched her walk towards the parking garage.
He raised his macrobinouclars to keep an eye on her from a distance as the woman got closer. Eventually she moved further in and he lost sight of her directly. Malakai waited patiently for a few moments and then closed his eyes. Outwards his mind and senses went. His feelings branched out and reached for any tell tale hint of his partner's condition or if things were amiss. Concern, but opportunity, that was what he felt. A moment later the Grysk heard Ilana's voice. "Let's hear it." A daring tone in his words. Sometimes the more ludicrous choices are what people least expect.
"Air vent," she sighed, gazing up at the small rectangle above. "It looks like they channel out most of their internal air out, which probably means there's some level of minor filtration on every level... and since this is a couple levels up, I'm guessing this one leads up another floor."
That left that floor to bypass whatever people may be lurking about on that last active floor... as well as the last two darkened floors. If they wanted an in, they would have to be quick, fast, and well-disguised.
Lucky for him, she was always available to hide her most obvious assets... and cover everything else as well.
"Unless you want to go the elevator route, but that looks like it's employee-passcode only. A shame we didn't rough that information out," she murmured, getting up on her tiptoes to try and pry the grate free.
"Well let's go with the air vent option. I mean, it looks big enough to crawl through right, Doctor Morata?" He asked intentionally using her formal name since she used his full name. A hint of teasing in his tone as he said it.
Malakai made sure the airspeeder was parked. Leaving the vehicle he began heading towards Ilana. Either option voiced was fine for him. He had a computer spike hidden on his person so if they needed to take the elevator they could. But saving it for a fast exit route rather than means of egress inside was preferable.
The dark sider would prefer to go unnoticed even by the security. Even from a distance he knew they could be dangerous. Plus there was always the matter of leaving a trail. It would be hilarious if the man lost his belonging but there were no signs of what had happened to it other than its absence. Thinking about it made his face smile.
"I'll go first." He said once he came beside the woman and looked at the vent. It opened up with some meddling. Malakai was happy to be the first one in though after a few meters he realized he had no idea where he was going. "Uh..." He waited a bit and was able to get to a junction of vents where he turned behind him and whispered for directions. "So uh...which way?"
She sighed behind Malakai when he admitted being lost. Not that he didn't have a cute butt or anything, but wasn't 'ladies first' a common courtesy? At first he seemed confident... and then he admitted being lost. She swallowed back a smirk--a reaction that she was thankful he couldn't see, and shocked her that it even happened--, and perked a brow. "Ahem."
She pointed up, indicating one of the chutes that led up, rather than through. "We can go one floor up..." she rasped, arching a brow. "Do you have a mag setting on your boots? If you don't, I may as yet beat you to the top... Kai." She didn't wait to see whether or not he would respond; the ferrous surface of the vents meant it was at least easier to crawl up with a foothold, rather than through and go through the arduous process of accessing the building the normal way.
Normal was overrated anyways.
But, as she pressed the button to scoot up and get her boots to gain traction, she forgot there was a slight delay.
She scrabbled for purchase, hissing in pain as one of her hands caught an edge of the metal, and cut. Red welled up, and she braced herself to look at it, face a scowling mask as she glared at the cut as though it manifested out of sheer spite.
There was only one way to go from here, and a little blood wasn't going to stop her. She pressed her back into the other side of the vent, and began to step and slide her way up. She had a vague inkling of where they were going...
She just wasn't certain how high they were going to get before they got to the next floor, or its' filtration system. Or even if Kai had his own mag boots to follow her.
As a matter of fact he did not. The only thing he tended to need just the computer spike he had hidden. Everything else he relied on his own skill and ingenuity. In this case it was just going to be some physical exertion. But the Doc took initiative and went down the right path ahead of him. I bet I don't have a butt that good.
The Grysk kept his mouth quiet though even as he grimaced from her getting hurt. He just mouthed the word 'yikes'. None the less he waited until the woman was all the way up and then when she was focused on getting further into the air vent he leaped up with some assistance of the force and grabbed ahold of the next level.
"did you hear something?" The muffled voices of droid vocabulators reached him as he held onto the edge of the vent. Gritting his teeth he pulled himself up, careful to not bang against the metalic side of the vent wall despite his struggle under sudden pressure. They sounded like they were just beneath the two infiltrators.
"Perhaps that tentacle thing is back." The other security droid replied. Kai hoped that whatever tentacle creature they were talking about stayed gone. Tight spaces were a big enough trouble. The two moved further along though they would not be able to exit safely until they came to the next vertical shaft. There were no droids around that area for the time being. "Try to go up another floor or get out here?"He asked with the best stage whisper he could manage.
How did he?...
Amber eyes watched as he just seemed to move... nimbly. As though he wasn't even against gravity, so quick and lithe that, if Ilana took drugs, she would have assumed she was on spice. She shook her head, though, at the vocabulators buzzing below, frowning as much in consternation as in puzzlement. Tentacle thing... I don't even want to know if their chips are corroded for error data or not. Figures.
She internally sighed, then caught what Malakai was saying. Based on trail of thought... their quarry would be located on the uppermost level. The hardest for others to access... and the easiest to access from here. If she was wrong, however, it would mean they were on the topmost floor, and much easier access to the lower levels.
Besides, droids were apparently the least of their worries.
"I'll go up one more; you can either go below and scout there, or follow," she whispered back, but considering the throaty quality of her voice, it wasn't much lower than her normal pitch anyways. "I'll check out the last floor."
She didn't wait a response, but scuttled up again. If she met that tentacle thing... no, she didn't even want to think about that. She had heard enough dorm room jokes to last her a lifetime, and it honestly settled oddly even just letting the idea enter her mind. Those were dark days...
She finally made it to the topmost level; the air quality here was cooler, less stale. It seemed that the fresher upper atmosphere here, in combination with the finer furnishings... meant this man held wealth and power well. All this for some... book, though, seemed excessive. She was suddenly struck with a thought. Why would a man like Malakai Beck be interested in a book? It must have some strong value... and have vital information. She briefly considered if she would take the information from him... use this Tome he mentioned before.
But really, why would she even bother? She asked no questions, and he provided no answers. So she simply shrugged the thought off, listening.
No droids so far...
"I think this'll be easier..." in case he decided to follow her after all, she would whisper it to him. If not, it was over their comm connection, her voice rasping dryly. But then... there was a sound.
More securitydroids, just as she was beginning to lean forward to slip into the narrow hallway.
She barely made it out of their field of vision, but her injured palm pressed into the hard metal edge of where the grate once fit into place. The cut widened... and she bit back a faint snarl as they passed beneath her.
More blood welled on the corner, and she gritted her teeth, only exhaling sharply when they continued down their rounds. She should have continued on down the vents horizontally, to at least access the office, but it was too late now. If she went back, she would probably get herself lost. Or worse, meet... whatever those other droids were talking about.
She sighed, dropping down as quietly as she could. So far, the coast was clear. Now the question remained, how long until they would be caught breaking and entering.
She honestly didn't care, one way or the other. Business was business... and this was her off time.
Kai ended up deciding to follow after Ilana. He did not want them to be separated with a squad of security droids between them. When they passed over another set of infantry droids he found a hatch to drop down on them. But he heard the doctor hiss and he looked up, bonking his head on the vent ceiling. "ow."
The droids that had begun moving down the hallway turned as they heard him. But he waved Ilana forward. "Kzzt~ Sensors detect auditory anomally. I'll have two more units on standby." The Grysk cursed himself for causing more droids to come up. It was going to be harder for them to remain undetected with more of them around or leave a more obvious trail if he had to end up turning them to scrap. The vibro blade pulled from his belt remained quiet for now. The present two droids moved closer, waiting for more noise to tell them where the first had come from.
Either the droids were quite literally incompetent, or she was an expert at blending in. She would like to think the latter... but the former may have equally been plausible. It seemed Kai, in his noise and movement, at least distracted the security detail to not discover her when she dropped down below, and as such she made a mental note to treat him for his kind services later.
But, things weren't over yet...
There was still the door to contend with.
She crouched, waiting a couple beats while the security detail panned left to right, she herself crouched in the shadows behind a water cooler unit. If she had to destroy these walking scrap units...
She spotted Kai motioning for her to move ahead, and she clenched her jaw. What a nuisance... but perhaps this could work to their advantage.
She pulled from within her bag as quietly as she could a face mask, similar to the one used on Bruss. It would at least make facial recognition difficult if she got caught, and give her the excuse of working an odd hour due to illness. She had to work quickly, before more droids began to show up though...
She slowly continued down the hall, and as it turned... there was the door.
Time to break and enter. Hopefully her companion could catch up before these droids became a real difficulty. If not, she supposed she would not mind reducing these units to scrap metal to achieve their goal. After all, an alarm can't be made if there's nothing to sound it out...
But she knelt down by the door. Time to see if it was left unlocked or not...
The man shifted his weight, reaching for his vibroblade. But he had the worst of luck or the air duct had the perfect timing to break. Down he went, tumbling down onto his left shoulder. A pop and a crack accompanied the drop and a lasting dazed sensation. Malakai groaned as he saw the dark silhouettes of the security droids walk towards him, blaster raised somewhat as the prone dark sider. "Kark"
Perhaps security droids were enough. This was Nar Shaddaa after all, most places were not highly locked or prioritized, and with employee key cards at every main entrance and exit, there was no need for an employee key card at the top floor. And perhaps, when Bruss managed, most security protocols in place kept the place from being broken in by the most aspiring of thieves.
She wasn't going to think too much on it; she heard the loud thump from behind, but she already had the door opened and slipped in silently.
She wasn't aware Kai had been captive by the two droids from before. Her gaze panned about, scowling.He mentioned a tome... a tome... a book of some kind? But she didn't see anything like it. Just a datapad, now in sleep mode, some slim modern décor... She pulled on her gloves and set to work right away. It didn't take long before she found it. Tucked away in a glass case, it would have been unseen in the darkness if it weren't for the ambient pulse of neon light from a billboard outside.
Some old book, next to other things. A pure gold statuette of some kind, some rare valuables that were probably worth a massive fortune beside some old moldy book. she lifted and pressed a palm against the glass, bracing for an alarm, but nothing happened. When she lifted the glass, a feeling of unease skittered down her spine, and she felt like holding her breath. But when she placed her hands on the tome... she could really feel it. A whisper of something icy down her spine, making her shudder. It almost felt... sick. Like a sour tang in the back of her throat, but if she stood still enough she could probably hear---
She stuffed it into her bag. It was time to get that bonehead and get out of here. She ducked down, peering around the corner... and then she saw him. Lying on the floor. Droids poised over him.
...She could find the last thread of her finite patience slip through her fingers. Something within her just snapped.
She took a deep breath in. A slow breath out. Her pulse slowed... but the anger, the rage burned there, causing her hands to tremble. Her attention narrowed to a fine point; these two droids were hurting her partner and getting in her way---
She didn't know what she was doing, but she stepped around the corner, holding her bag. Two heads swiveled her way, and she raised her palm.
It didn't finish its' sentence when it suddenly crumpled. She could feel that sickness slithering out from her fingers, twisting the droid to a metal piece of scrap, and when the other lifted its' blaster to shoot at the anomaly, she kept going, hearing with satisfaction as it wailed in that kriffing annoying vocabulator tone until...
She snapped back into awareness... and felt her knees go weak.
What in the seven hells was that?!
She had to get back under control, she had to get herself pulled back together, but she could hardly breathe, she was shaking and she wanted to tear the building down piece by piece, she wanted to see something or someone burn, she...
She curled down, and let out a muffled roar of anger into her hands. All because he fell.. he was probably fine, but seeing one of the few people in the galaxy she could tolerate hurt just... terrified her. When her throat finally released, she took in a couple deep, shuddering breaths, willing her heart to slow, trying to stop her numb hands from trembling uncontrollably.
It took her a couple moments, but it felt like hours before she finally pulled back together, taking in a shuddering breath as though nothing happened. She reached into her bag, and shakily walked his way, expression one of the thinnest veneer of calm.
"Is this it?" she intoned, opening her bag for his inspection.
They wouldn't have much time now before the other security droids would come up after not hearing back from the standby. Time was ticking off, and it was time to get what they needed and get out of here.
She needed a strong drink. Or twelve. And her hands still trembled. She was barely in control right now. If they lingered here much longer she'd probably get her wish and watch the whole place shake to pieces.
Part of him was waiting to feel a blaster bolt hit him. It would not be the first time. But he was staring down the barrel of two blaster rifles, reeling from the pain of a dislocated shoulder and probably a broken bone or two. But the man was surprised as he saw the metallic torsos of the droids collapse by some unseen force. A singular spark casting them in an momentary electrical light.
Rolling painfully over he slowly got up and saw the only other person present. His expression, though dark in the dim lighting of the upper floor clearly stared at the arkanian woman. He knew she had been gifted with midicholorians but he was still a bit surprised she had tapped into the force. Kai was not about to voice any complaints though. She had probably just saved his life.
She came over to him and produced the item they had come to retrieve. He reached out and touched it, feeling something. But that just confirmed his expectations about the book. "Yup, that's definitely it." He left it inside her bag. Malakai did not think he was in a position to carry the item.
"I think they already called some more up here so it won't be long before we have more company." Looking over his shoulder the man knew it would be difficult to hide two broken security droids from another patrol. At his side, the arm he fell on hung a little lower from before. "Should we try popping my arm back in? or have I been watching too many holovids?" His uninjured appendage pointed at the limp arm. They had the item they were looking for but had several floors of security droids. "Think we should go up, down...or...?" His head turned to look towards one of the windows and out into the night sky. It was a steep drop and there was not exactly a ledge out there for them to get onto. The dark sider was open to ideas.
She glanced at his arm, feeling her heart rate slow, her focus and calm returning like a familiar embrace over her mind. She exhaled slowly, hand hovering over the shoulder. "Looks broken," she commented mildly, amber eyes staring at his with her usual deadpan expression. "I can't pop it in for now; it may have sharp edges, and if it is you could lose your arm if we moved it too much. This is gonna hurt," she reached in her bag, pulling out a simple arm sling, "but it'll keep it still until I can look at it properly."
She made sure his arm was secure before getting up. At his comment of escape, she glanced about uncertainly. "I---" Then, a sound came at the end of the hall.
A chime from the employee elevators. Seemed like security arrived. "No time," she hissed, grabbing his good arm. She glanced about wildly, trying to find an alternate exit... and there it was.
A custodial stairway, the door left propped open, probably so the cleaners could have easier access to the upper levels. Of kriffin' course she didn't notice it earlier...
Sprinting down stairs wasn't the smartest option, but just busting out of the top level of a corporate building with no way of landing a passing speeder with an injured boss screamed bad decision to her. So she simply yanked him along, bag in hand and heart pounding in her ears. She didn't stop when she heard the angry buzzing of a vocabulator behind her.
Blaster fire shrieked as the door closed behind, but she wasn't going to look back, she took the stairs two at a time and she was going to take this idiot Grysk with her even if it meant slinging his bone boy body over her shoulder and booking it. There was a disadvantage to stairs, though.
They always turned on you.
Just as it looked like they were coming close to the parking garage... close to freedom... there was one lucky shot from the boys above. If she prayed to anything, it would have been a divine sign of kark you.
She felt it burn into her leg, and she careened forward down the stairs, shoving Kai aside as she did to make sure she didn't take him down with her. She felt something crack, and a wet, nasty taste of blood as it dribbled past her lips at the last floor. Kark… must've broken something... she cursed weakly, barely managing upright. It hurt to breathe; she coughed again, then snarled as it flared red pain along her ribs. Yup. There it was.
She grimaced, spitting to the side. "Enough of this kark, let's go before more metalheads come after us," she croaked, then hissed as the blaster burn on her leg lanced up her side.
...Weren't they a kriffin' pair of idiots.
But they were making it out. Now hopefully her companion could remember where they left their speeder before security decided to open fire down stairwells again. She continued hobbling out, her face set in a stony mask.
She wasn't going to think or talk about what happened upstairs. All she knew was she wanted to drown out everything with a good bottle of Corellia's finest and get some answers. Who knew.
He thought about reaching for his backpack. But especially with the sling on he couldn't reach it. There was no time for him to try and fish out something that might help with the pain from his own mobile stash of substances. Malakai was pulled along by the medical professional, still dazed and cementing his control over his pain.
The next thing Malakai knew was that shots were trailing them along a stairway. <"Damn, I think they know we're here."> He said in Huttese without thinking about it. Maybe that was just his way of coping with falling from the ceiling in front of murder machines and expecting to die...again.
Of course it was terrible timing because Ilana ended up taking a blaster bolt to the leg. His eyes stared at the wound even as he felt her maneuver to distance herself from him. None the less the two managed to make it out of the building and back to the speeder. Groaning even to the point of starting the airspeeder he peeled out and headed to the lower levels. The security droids were meant to defend and secure what was immediatly in the area they guarded. Thankfully these weren't the type to persue their targets.
"I feel like we've earned ourselves a vacation....ow" He said. Just based off of their shared injuries it would probably take some decent time before they healed up anyways.