Ask Nar Shaddaa This Life

Duke Winters

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The night was peaceful, at least for Nar Shaddaa's standards. Duke hadn't been called out for anything so far through the night and maybe it was just one of those ones where he got lucky and got some free time. His free time, however, wasn't really what it sounded like as he resided in his small apartment and practically taking up an entire corner of it was a desk with papers and files covering the entirety of it. Some of them were pinned to the wall as well with pictures, lines connecting to between a few of them and linking certain ones together for him to easily draw back to. It would have been great to have time to go and enjoy the night for himself but after encountering an assassin only a few days ago in the victim's apartment, it kind of put an urgency on things to be sped up.

Duke was dressed in normal civilian attire as he sat in a char that was a few feet away from the monstrous corner that hadn't been organized weeks. There was a cup of coffee in his hand and it was the only thing still keeping away so late in the night, taking a healthy sip from it to give his body a quick adrenaline shot. With a sigh, he put the cup down and crossed his arms before just staring at the wall. The assassin was the big mystery as it meant that there was someone out there who didn't want anything revealed and a player that there was no information about.

He would have worried about Trys with this type of situation but she could handle herself as he witnessed and he only saw her a few days ago on Dathomir involving another case. That was a whole other pile of papers on his desk as well, a complete mess with Jedi and other sort mystical powers that he couldn't wrap his head around at the moment. As Duke sat there trying to focus only on the assassin and who was tugging the strings, the inviting embrace of sleep tugged at his eyelids and he began to drift away. When his body started to slump in the chair he quickly woke himself up with a quick jolt that shook his chair. With a quick and light slap across his cheek and another gulp of his coffee, he told himself to stay awake and leaned forward, reading over everything once more.
 

Trys Aran

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It didn’t take long for Trys to track Duke down. She had already been in the Outer Rim for the Dathomir case, and it was a shorter hike than normal. Trys felt strange just showing up at his residence like this, especially as they didn’t know one another well. However, she knew he would understand when she explained the state she was in.

Trys stopped at the door and hesitated a few times, thinking she was being stupid. She had already walked away from this case once, and she had let him down. Even then, he had shown up to Dathomir to help her. Wouldn’t this just be adding salt on top of that?

With a sigh, she finally knocked on the door. It wasn’t often that Trys felt so awkward. She shifted uncomfortably until he came to open the door. Once he did, Trys smiled sheepishly, “Hey Winters,” She said, “I’m sorry to barge in on you like this. If it’s a bad time, I’ll leave at once.”

Trys lifted up two cups of coffee from a nice local spot, “But I brought you a coffee regardless seeing as how us Rangers never catch a break.”
 

Duke Winters

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Thankfully, he was forced away from staring at the files without his own doing as there was a knock on his door. Duke slowly looked towards his door before grabbing his blaster from the table and keeping it close to his hip as he stood up. He waited for a moment to see if anything would happen but when nothing did, he stepped towards the door and opened it enough where it covered half his body and the blaster on the other side with the barrel pressed against the door facing towards whoever was outside. When he saw that it was Trys he awkwardly flipped the safety on his blaster before stowing it immediately in the waistband of his pants, "...Hey Trys," He was on edge since the assassin.

Duke opened the door fully before offering a grin back and when she lifted the two cups of coffee, his grin turned into the smile. His cup had just run out and he was searching for his fix of caffeine. "I don't think truer words have been spoken. Please come in." Stepping to the side to let her through, he closed the door behind her and locked it. The apartment was messy but wasn't too bad, there were clothes on the spines of chairs and such but the worst was in the corner where it was clear he displayed all the evidence they collected on their own time. "I would have tidied up if I knew I had company."

He walked over to his chair and pushed it into the table at an angle to let Trys sit down and threw the shirt off of it in the corner. There was an old wooden one in the corner that he reserved for himself and it was pulled to the table as well. Picking up the cup of coffee that was for him as he sat down, Duke offered her a nod of thanks before taking a sip and relishing the fresh taste compared to his own. "So, what brings you to my lavish estate?" When she was on Nar Shaddaa last, she decided to return back to the Inner Rim. He never held it against her as she had her own cases to settle but it made wonder what could be the reason for her to return.
 

Trys Aran

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Trys was relieved that he was open to her showing up like this. She hadn’t even thought about how awkward it would have been if he straight up told her to kriff off. In fact, what if he had a family and she just randomly started knocking on his door? She felt immensely stupid for making so many assumptions, but there was no going back now.

She smiled and handed him his caf, stepping inside and checking out his apartment. It was small, but it was a like a nice, cozy den. She grinned at his remarks, “It’s still tidier than my place,” Of course, hers had the added benefit of legos for her to step on and other atrocities left behind by her son.

Trys took a seat across from him, her smile fading slightly as the topic came to mind. She sighed softly, “I don’t want to waste your time too much, so I’ll get right to the point,” Trys explained as she looked at him, “The man that attacked us in that apartment we investigated together. I saw him,” She said with a grimace, “I saw him….in Coruscant. He was on the street where I work at the local Ranger office.”

Even saying it out loud sent a chill down her spine, “It was definitely him. He stood there in the distance and he knew I could see him. He wanted to send a message,” Trys ran her fingers through her short hair.

“Normally I don’t let this shit spook me, but this really got to me,” Trys said quietly, “I walked away from this because it seemed too big and dangerous, but I don’t think I can anymore. Not when it’s coming for me. Tomorrow it could be my house he’s standing outside,” Trys paused for a long moment, realizing that she was rambling.

“What happened after I left?”
 

Duke Winters

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When she sat down across from him, the smile faded only a few moments later and he raised an eyebrow at her. Trys got right to the point and revealed that the assassin from their first case together had followed her all the way back to Coruscant. Not only that but outside of an official Ranger office as well and sending the point loud and clear that he could follow them anywhere that he wanted. Duke shook his head, he wished he had managed to stop the man back in the apartment but before he could even be reached the assassin had already jumped out the window and escaped. "Kark, good thing nothing happened to you."

Living in an apartment on Nar Shaddaa, it wasn't the best of places and through the walls, they could hear a couple screaming at each other a few rooms away. His place usually blocked out sound it was just the couple was loud enough for their voices to be quietly muffled. Even he's visited a couple of times but it eventually always came back to yelling.

Thankfully Trys just continued, "I don't blame you. We aren't the ones being chased usually." She left Nar Shaddaa but it didn't seem to want to be done with her. "Don't worry, nothing will happen to your family, I promise you that." Duke meant it, he wouldn't let whoever the man was hunt down and hurt another Ranger, not when he was there to least prevent it. When she asked what happened after she left, Duke just shrugged his shoulders, "I gathered everything we found," He pointed his finger over to the corner with the files, "and have been combing through it since. A lot of its bullshit but I'm making a dent." Duke glanced back over to her, "I tried hunting down the man that we ran across but it seems he was on Coruscant and watching you the entire time." He could understand how that could leave a chill down someone's spine.

But why would he go all the way after Trys? As she stated, she tried to get out of the situation and didn't bring anything back with her. "Do you have any family or friends you care about? I would tell them to lie low for a few days at least until we can deal with whoever has been following you." Could the assassin be searching for something specific? Was that why he went all the way to Coruscant? Either way, Trys at least wouldn't be facing it alone now and vice versa. After a moment, Duke murmured, "I'm sorry you got dragged back into this. I tried to keep it away from you." There was only so much he could do when the assassin managed to see her face as well.
 

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Trys remained silent as he spoke, quietly sipping from the caf. She had to faintly smile, “Anyone I care about knows this is a hazardous life,” She glanced at him, wondering what he had to lose. Could anyone that worked out here afford to have that? She remembered how easily the gangs had strung up that man from a tree. Would they have done the same to her if she had been on Nar Shaddaa instead?

When he mentioned he had tried keeping her away from it, she shook her head, “No,” She said firmly, “I was simply foolish to think I could step into it and back out when it became inconvenient,” It had been on her to abandon it halfway, “The window to walk away from it was when Ivy told us to,” Trys saw clearly now why she had suggested that.

“He came by just to send a message, nothing more,” Trys said with a sigh, drumming her fingers on the table as she looked down, “How did you manage to survive out here?” She couldn’t help but ask, glancing up at him again, “How did you manage to solve anything without them coming after you? There are no rules out here...the criminals run everything,” She couldn’t fathom how any Ranger could ever operate here, especially with such a shit budget, "It seems like an impossible life if you've ever got anything to lose..."
 

Duke Winters

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When she responded that the ones she cared about knew about her life, Duke just offered her a nod at that, not having a place to tell what her do and trusting her judgment. Thankfully, unlike her, he didn't really have any meaningful connections with anyone on Nar Shaddaa like family or close friends. Of course, he knew people in the force and sometimes went out for drinks but he never got closer to that. Where he lived, you never knew who was wearing a mask and who wasn't.

Duke chuckled softly, "Ivy does have a knack for calling things." When she suggested that it was just a message to send to her, he was still perplexed by appearance but accepted it for now. Then she surprised him when she asked how he survived in this iron jungle, "There's loopholes you can take advantage of." He shrugged before laughing softly as he stared at his cup of coffee instead now, lifting it up in the air slightly before placing it back on the table, "For example, my name and address isn't in any records of the station. Well, at least my real information isn't there. If anyone digs deeper they'll find burned safe houses to explore. Like you said, no rules." As far as he was concerned, Duke Winters didn't exist on police records. That was one of the first things he was taught, don't leave a trace that can be followed.

"My... Uh... Dad was the Ranger stationed here on Nar Shaddaa before me and taught me everything I know." He took a sip of coffee before glancing back to Trys, "My mother died in a drunk driving accident so that made him my only living family and left him stranded with me. He didn't really know how to take care of me so he just groomed me for what he did best, being a Ranger." Duke decided to leave out the part where he got killed by the gangs that Trys was mentioning. "So, I guess I'm just continuing in his footsteps." He tilted his head slightly at her as he realized that he really didn't know anything about her. They have worked multiple cases together but never delved deeper than just talking about cases.

"I'm going to take a guess from the way you're talking, you have someone that's important to you, don't you?" Duke leaned back with his arms crossed over his chest. With no family, he didn't really have to worry about anyone else except himself and others that wore a badge. "Family or someone closer?"




 

Trys Aran

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Trys marveled at how his methods paralleled a bit of her own. Because she had been a criminal herself before, she was entirely paranoid. She knew how they thought, and she frequently moved around to avoid leaving patterns for others to pick up on. That was why the assassin showing up where she was rattled her so much.

She listened quietly as he told her about his background. Trys couldn’t help but smile sadly, actually marveling at how truly human and humble his origins were. She always had this perception that the Rangers that worked out in Nar Shaddaa were hardened, cold and calculated people that never faltered. It was clear that he came from hardship just like most people from where she came.

When he turned the dialogue back to her, she hesitated for a long moment. Trys looked uncomfortable for a bit, tapping her thumb against the cup of caf in her hand and scratching lightly against the side with her nail. He would recognize it as a slightly nervous tick of hers.

“I have a boy,” She said quietly. Trys almost never shared that, and even most of the department back on Coruscant didn’t know. She wasn’t sure why she was sharing now, but part of it was because he could appreciate the gravity of the situation in dealing with people that thought differently out here, “It’s just me and him, so it makes me much more wary about the jobs I take on,” Trys looked at him for a moment,“I always worry about work following me home. I worry about the price I’d have to pay.”

She sighed and looked down, “I know you’ll probably think it’s a liability. You’ll think it means I can’t be counted on because I have so much to lose,” Trys smiled sadly, “I suppose I wouldn’t blame you.”
 

Duke Winters

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When it was her turn to answer one of his questions, his eyes flicked to her cup as he saw the nervous tick she had. This was a subject close to her heart, at least that's what it meant to Duke and when she revealed she had a son, it clicked together. His eyes widened slightly and he couldn't help, expecting maybe a sister or someone else but not her being a mother. It brought a newfound respect for as it seemed she was a single mother and still pursuing the life of a Ranger. He couldn't imagine living this life and taking care of a child at the same time.

It also made sense why she was so shaken up when the assassin showed back up to her own planet. When she said that it made her more of a liability, Duke couldn't help but give her a questioning gaze before he leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees. "Actually, I believe the opposite. A lot of people on Nar Shaddaa live their life behind a mask, you have something you fight and stand for. That make's you one of the most genuine people on the planet and in my opinion, one of the most reliable." Duke gave her a smile back, "I'll do everything in my power to make sure nothing comes back to your son." When it came to Rangers, they could only rely on each other and he would gladly give her a helping a hand.

Duke was about to speak again but closed his mouth and turned his head in a different direction, staring directly into the wall. The couple that had been screaming before stopped and there wasn't even a peep through the walls. They would go on for hours and this possibly the first time that ever shut up this early. He slowly stood up and quietly stepped away from the table, pulling out the blaster from his waistband and keeping it near his side. "Stay here for a second."

Undoing the locks of the door, Duke pressed himself against the wall with his blaster aimed towards crevice that widened as he opened the door, light from the outside hallway spilling in. He stuck his head out slightly and could see enough that one of the doors was cracked open halfway. When he glanced towards the ground, there was a stream of blood slowly flowing from inside the door. Duke immediately slammed his shut before turning every lock on it. "He's here, Trys." Immediately backing from the door and quietly, he kept his weapon aimed by the door as he shut off the lights to the apartment.

"He must have followed you from Coruscant, that's what his message was for." He glanced over to her, "To get you here." The assassin must have wanted to eliminate them both and with Duke having covered his tracks on Nar Shaddaa pretty heavily, that meant Trys was the one that could lead him to where he stayed. "Do you have a weapon?" He pointed to a nearby drawer in case she didn't.
 

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Trys was surprised at his words, and even moreso at how genuine they were. Her idea of what a Nar Shaddaa Ranger was like completely melted away. She couldn’t help but smile at him in the end, “That...that means a lot, Winters,” She said, pausing for a moment, “...Duke,” She corrected herself. It was very rare for her to use first names with a fellow Ranger - she was used to keeping them at arm’s length due to not working well with them.

She was about to ask him a question when he suddenly looked alarmed. He was listening for something, but she didn’t know what. Trys had no context about the couples that argued, and she stared at him blankly. Being a Ranger meant that she still knew better than to blab when someone looked concerned. She instinctively began to reach for the gun on her hip.

Trys glanced down and noticed he had taken his gun out as well, and she knew right away that she needed to be on high alert. She rose to stand silently, though she didn’t try to see what was through the door. When he turned back from it and announced he was here, a cold chill ran up her spine.

“Oh my god,” She whispered, alarmed, “He’s been tailing me without me knowing,” The realization hit her like a ton of bricks, and it threw everything into question. For a moment, her mind went to the worst places - what if her son were dead? What if the worst happened and she had no idea?

It took her a moment to realize Duke was speaking to her, and she quickly jerked her head up and nodded. Trys didn’t carry a lethal weapon on her, but her stun gun usually served the purpose she needed. She stared at Duke, horrified, “I’m...I’m so sorry,” She whispered, “I compromised your home,” Trys mentally kicked herself for coming here.

There was complete, agonizing silence outside the door. There were no footsteps, no rustling of movements or any sign that anyone was out there. Trys quietly walked towards a nearby window, glancing outside and down, “I don’t know if he operates alone.”

She turned to look at him, “Did he see you?” She whispered quietly, wondering if it was a better idea to talk loudly as if they hadn’t noticed. If he were on high alert, it would make him even more likely to cover his tracks.
 

Duke Winters

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Trys was armed and pulled out her stun gun and it worked for the situation they were in. She stared at him and Duke glanced back at her as she started to apologize and he stepped to arm and squeezed her forearm to quiet her down and to get his point across, "Stop, stop. You don't need to be sorry but I need you to focus right now. You got my back, I got yours." He gave her a nod before letting go of her arm and went back to a two-hand grip on his blaster.

The building was deathly silent, the only sound the creaking of the walls and the bustle of traffic outside. The only light came from the neon lights outside and gave the room a unique glow. Duke tried to listen for the sound of the assassin but nothing happened and he started to slowly approach the door once more. Trys spoke and that made him stop, asking a good question if the man worked alone but he figured they would have met the rest of them at the apartment when they fought. When she asked if she saw him, that was a good question and that made Duke ask why the assassin would even kill the couple that had been yelling. Did he think that it was the two of them arguing?

He had been to the couple's room before and drew their layout from his memory. The only thing special about it was the balcony... Duke realized what was happening and turned around, "Trys! Step a-" Right in the middle of his warning, she would hear the shatter of glass behind her and shards exploding all around her. With her back turned towards Duke, she wouldn't be prepared for the sudden weight that would smash into the middle of her spine, that would be a boot, and make her collapse to the ground. It was the assassin, dressed in all black with the mask and goggles as last time. Before she would be able to react, a hand would roughly grip onto the back of her hair and lift her up to her feet by it and afterward a vicious punch would be thrown into her kidney. If it landed it would have pain blossom through her entire side and knock the wind out of her. Either way, the assassin would throw her to the ground afterward.

Duke couldn't take a shot when he had her but once Trys was out of the way, he fired a blaster shot right at the man. The assassin expected this easily and with unnatural agility, twisted his body to avoid the bolt and spun away before throwing a vibro blade straight at him. It wasn't meant to kill but distract as Duke had to dodge out of the way but when he turned back around the assassin was only a few feet in front of him. The figure launched himself in the air and towards the Ranger as he shot a jab right into the collarbone, making him drop the blaster in his hand as his fingers immediately went numb and his entire arm.

Duke was a brawler with only knowledge of his previous fistfights to guide him, the assassin on the other hand clearly trained. He threw a wide hook towards the man but again he just slithered out of the way and threw two more jabs into the Ranger's stomach before backing up and palming Duke's forehead when he was bent over from the blows and slammed his head back into the wall. The assassin stared into his eyes for a moment, like it was savoring a prize, "Found you," His voice garbled and ugly as he had a voice scrambler.
 

Trys Aran

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Trys recovered quickly from the apology, even though she felt it deep in the pit of her stomach. He had gone to great lengths to ensure he couldn’t be found, and she blew it all up in smoke. She brought her focus back to the present, trying not to think about her son.

She moved as soon as he warned her, but even that wasn’t enough. With a grunt, she tumbled down as she felt a heavy weight land on her from behind. The man was bulky and large, and her small frame easily caved underneath him. She felt searing pain in her back, but she tried to recover quickly.

She felt him grasp her hair, but it didn’t have the complete intended effect on account of the short length of hair. It slipped slightly from his grasp, and she slammed her elbow back harshly into his crotch as she rose, stopping him from launching towards the kidney attack. However, instead he slammed her down to the ground again.

It was clear the man was trained - far better trained than either Rangers. Trys rolled on the ground, shooting pain coursing through her whole body. She could hear Duke getting railed on by the assassin, and she knew she had to act quick.

Trys was still on the ground when she leveled and fired her stun blaster, aiming to hit the assassin square in the back as he paused to regard Duke and address him.
 

Duke Winters

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Duke was dazed from his head slammed into the wall, the taste of iron in his mouth as he most likely bit down on his tongue without knowing. Trys managed to land a blow against the assassin but it wasn't enough to stop him but when he took the moment to drown in his victory, she managed to pull out her stun gun and fire off a shot. It struck the assassin in the back and he let out a mechanical groan as his muscles locked but he miraculously remained standing, his knees only buckling slightly as the only sign that he was affected by it.

Fortunately, it loosened his grip on Duke's head enough that he was able to break free from it as he pushed the man away before swinging with a punch that connected right into the assassin's stomach. With the combination of the stun gun and the punch, it kept him stunned and he grabbed onto the man's shoulders and threw him towards the front door. The assassin stumbled and fell before rolling back into a standing position but he still couldn't react in time as a kick from a Duke sunk right into the man's stomach and sent him flying back into the door and knocking it down from the weight. Both of them fell down into the outside hallway, the assassin bouncing slightly when he hit the floor.

When they had space, Duke didn't hesitate to glance around before diving for his blaster and taking a few pot-shorts towards the doorway. The assassin, however, was already gone as he rolled away and disappeared from sight. Standing up from the ground with his blaster on the door, Duke was drenched in sweat with bruises on his face and underneath his clothes. He breathed heavily as he stared at the doorway, waiting for someone to step through. After a few seconds though, he glanced towards Trys and shuffled towards her and crouched down, "Are you alright? Cut, bleeding?" They most likely had a few seconds to spare.

That timeframe was accurate as a few moments after the questions were asked, both of them could hear a steady whirr outside that sounded familiar to a blaster and was outside the apartment. "Get down!" Duke hit the deck and went prone next to Trys, covering his head when a flood of bolts screamed through the wall of his apartment and tore it to shreds. From the heat of the bolts, a horizontal line melted through the wall and allowed a sort of visor view into his apartment. The assassin held a sort of compact repeater and held the trigger down with furniture and random objects exploded or caught flames. The onslaught continued only a few more seconds until finally, they could hear a click and then an ejection as the assassin held up the smoking repeater before he tossed it to the ground. He stood where he was after that, scanning left and right to see if the Rangers were still breathing.

The entire apartment was filled with a smog of dust, smoke, and any other particle that wasn't good to breathe in. Pieces of furniture and other debris covered the two of them and Duke groaned softly as he rolled his shoulders. He glanced around before finding Trys and placed a hand on her shoulder, hoping she was alright,
"Trys?"
 

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Trys had ducked for cover after the assassin began to shoot, still very much perplexed at just how trained the man was. He fought like someone in the military more than some random thug she’d expect out here. Trys was flat on the ground, directly below the line of fire. She glanced over at Duke and nodded.

“Forget about me, just get the bastard!” She hissed at him, scrambling to retrieve her gun which had escaped her hand. Her weapon was essentially useless, and she knew it’d come down to Duke to get the element of surprise and finish him off.

Thick smoke filled the room, and the apartment’s smoke detectors went off. Sprinklers began to shower them and Trys curled up on the ground while she became soaked. She hoped Duke had found a window of opportunity to do something about the assassin.

After a while, she finally came out from her hiding spot when there was silence. Trys couldn’t see the assassin, but she did spot Duke beyond the doorway, “Did...did you get him?”
 

Duke Winters

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Duke nodded at Trys before pulling away from her and slowly crawling under the table right next to him. The air was still foggy and nothing could penetrate it for a moment and made the dust perfect cover. The crawl was slow, attempting to draw any attention to himself as suddenly the sprinklers went off above. With the fire system turned on, it masked out everything and the slow movement turned into a bear crawl as he made his way by the door. He remained prone on the ground, the top of his torso sticking out past the corner with his blaster trained on the door. "Come on," He whispered to himself, hoping the assassin thought they were dead.

Outside, the man started to walk towards the door, entering the apartment to see if he could finally confirm his kills. Duke was able to see movement in the smoke but it wasn't a clear shot, at least not enough to end it right here. The man finally took a few more steps and Duke found his window, squeezing the trigger once as a bolt whizzed through the air and found it's mark right on the assassin's forehead. The assassin's head flicked backwards from the sudden impact before his body just collapsed to the ground, a heavy thud following after and indicating that it was over.

Duke exhaled before just dropping his blaster, rolling onto his back as the sprinklers finally died out and the left the both of them soaked in the apartment. "Yeah, I got him." He called out, closing his eyes momentarily as he just laid there and attempted to just relax even amongst his ruined apartment. Every part of his body hurt and was sure, Duke positive that he most likely either busted a rib or bruised one during the whole ordeal. "Are you good?" He asked after a few moments, the sound of the city and the entire building seemed to deafen and just mysteriously disappear.
 

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Trys rounded the corner to spot Duke on his back, and she walked towards him. She couldn’t see the dropped assassin from here, but she was happy to see Duke was okay. Her hair was slick and matted from the sprinklers, and she was completely soaked and cold. However, she managed a smile as she came across Duke who asked about her.

“You show an awful lot of concern for a Nar Shaddaa cop,” She grinned, extending a hand down to slowly ease him up to his feet. Trys glanced down at her stun blaster, sighing, “This has never let me down before…” Most Sector Rangers back in the inner rim and deep core usually carried stun guns, but out here was a whole different game. Criminals had access to high tech black market weapons and armor and stun tech simply couldn’t keep up.

Trys could hear screaming and panic in the distance as the other tenants rushed out of the building, avoiding the corridor where the assassin was dead. She stepped out of Duke’s apartment and looked down at the dead man, reaching down to remove the mask.

“Does he look familiar?” She asked, glancing up at Duke. Trys rifled through his body, pulling out a comlink and datapad to analyze later. She stood up again, turning to Duke, “I want to know why he was so hellbent on coming after us. What the hell did we stumble into that someone of his caliber was sent?”
 

Duke Winters

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Hearing Try's voice, Duke's eyes peeled open to find her standing above him with a hand out extended to him. He stood himself up with her support as he also ran his hand through his now slick hair, pushing it all the way, "It's my job to protect and worry over people ain't it?" Duke glanced down at stun gun before shrugging slightly and glanced down at the assassin, "It did enough in the moment to save my ass." It may have not knocked the man to the ground but it definitely helped him in not getting his ass further beat in by the mysterious man who had kept following them.

The moment of relative peace and silence came to a halt. With the break in the gunfire, most of the residents decided to peek their heads out before making a break for it, yelling for loved ones or others to get out of the building in case anything else happened. Duke glanced outside horizontal burned through his wall and thought about trying to calm them down but decided against it, not wanting to bother with questions or concerned civilians at the moment. He followed Trys to the body and stood above them as she bent down to pull of the mask.

When she pulled off the mask, it felt like Duke's stomach completely hit the floor. "You gotta be shitting me..." He stared at the face of the man before taking a step back and slamming his hand against the frame of the door. It was a Rhodian and his name was Bo. "Yeah, he was a new recruit to the station, we patrolled together once." Duke had thought that he at least wasn't one of the corrupt ones but he was obviously mistaken. Or was Bo even a cop or just a plant from someone else? How the hell did he get on the force? "I don't know... He must have been a plant or something." That led Duke down a whole other rabbit hole and he realized that Bo wasn't potentially alone in this and that they stumbled onto a nest they didn't want to shake.

The sound of sirens could be heard in the distance, a whole fleet of them closing in and fast. Duke glanced toward the window before back to Trys, "We need to leave right now." If Bo got on the force, that could mean there was someone higher up who allowed that to happen. He pushed off the wall with a slight groan as he held his side before walking through his entire apartment, collecting personal things that he could carry on him and would need in the future. Duke's world had been flipped, he didn't know who he could trust now or if the whole force was in on this.
 

Trys Aran

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Trys grimaced as soon as Duke revealed he had been a member of the force. She had known corrupt cops, but she had never known them to actively go out and hunt one of their own. As soon as Duke said they needed to leave, she nodded and ran back into the apartment. She would help him gather up his items quickly, apologizing in advance if she came across any personal possessions.

“Do you have a ship?” She asked as she pulled out a few guns from various drawers and cabinets. The sirens were getting closer, and she knew they’d have to use the flood of tenants leaving the building to their advantage. Normally the arrival of Rangers was a good thing, but in this case they were the enemy.

Trys carried a medpack on her and she quickly fished through it to pull out some bacta patches and a stim shot. She could see Duke was struggling a bit, and they had no time to properly patch up, “Hold on,” Trys came closer to him and rolled up a sleeve of his, unpacking one of the injections and stabbing it directly into a vein. It was clear she had done this many times before. It would give him a blast to keep him mobile and without pain to at least make it out of here.

Seeing that the coast was at least slightly clear, Trys began to rush out of the apartment, taking the stairs instead of any repulsor lifts. They had mere moments before the ‘Rangers’ arrived on the scene. As she rushed, she couldn’t help but feel the weight of guilt for bringing this upon Duke. This was entirely her fault.

Instead of going down to the main level, she continued down the stairs towards the garage where everyone parked their speeders. She hoped it would lead them out a back way and away from the front, “Where to now?!” She called out to Duke.
 

Duke Winters

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Duke threw a backpack around his shoulder, leaving the other strap hanging as he still supported his side. It didn't completely debilitate him but it burned like hell and he had to suffer through it. When he came around to the desk, he paused for a moment, his eyes staring at a picture frame of a young kid on the shoulders of an older man with a beard similar to his. Duke just broke the glass of the frame before taking out the picture and stuffing it in his pocket. "Yeah, it's in the garage." That was a few floors down so they would have to move quickly.

When he turned around, Trys was standing in front of him and grabbed his arm before rolling the sleeve. "Wha-" But she just slammed an injector right into his arm, making him seethe loudly as he stopped his foot. But a few seconds after the burned disappeared and the pain as well, giving a sense of adrenaline as he shook his head and exhaled, "Thanks. Let's go." Duke rushed out of the apartment with Trys, taking the stairs with the rest of the stairs with residents leaving. They would have to shove people out of the way and even to the ground.

Entering the garage, Duke was sweating heavily compared to Trys but he was still on his feet and swallowed the pain. He glanced around trying to remember where he put his speeder before seeing it, "There!" He rushed over as fast as he could before opening the doors and throwing his backpack into the backseat and buckled up. The speeder came to life with a healthy purr and once Trys shut the door, it would spill out from the garage, indeed heading out a back way so they could avoid any interruption. The speeder exited out of the garage and into a large alley with a slight jump, the lift making Duke seethe from his wound.

He drove down the alleyway and was about to reach the end before he suddenly slammed the brakes. Duke shut off the lights to his speeder as they sat there for a second. A couple of police cars zoomed past them, their sirens piercing as they drove to the front of the apartment complex. When about three of them passed and there was a break, Duke hit the reverse for his vehicle and they went back with a lurch, twisting his body at the same to see where they were going.

There was a group of pedestrians speaking together at the other end of the alleyway and once they saw the reverse lights heading right for them, they dove out of the way as the vehicle spilled out of the alley and was whipped to face the street. Duke hit the gas to put as much distance between them and the apartment, falling into the normal flow of traffic. He pointed to his backpack in the seat behind him, "Front pocket, piece of paper with an address. Can you give me directions to it." His breathing remained heavy, his grip tight on the wheel with his knuckles pure white from the effort.
 

Trys Aran

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Trys all but jumped into the speeder, not even bothering with the door. Within seconds, they were jetting out of the garage and out into the streets. She winced from the bumps and turns, her back still in pain from when the assassin had slammed her down. Trys had to place her hands on the console in front of her as Duke abruptly hit the brakes. The Rangers whizzed by with their sirens and they barely missed them.

Without waiting, he backed up again, driving like a podracing professional. Trys half wondered if he had a side hobby on the racetrack with the way he was easily maneuvering through lanes and while in reverse. She could spot some pedestrians behind them through the rearview mirror and her eyes went wide, “Duke!” She called out, but they jumped out of the way, “You almost killed them!”

Trys tried to keep herself steady as he asked her to reach for a pocket in the backpack. She used one hand to keep herself from hitting the console, the other extending an arm back. After they were out near general traffic, she finally managed to pull out the paper.

She quickly popped the address she read into her comlink, charting the navigation, “Left up ahead on Mors Avenue, then your first right and through the tunnel,” Trys would continue to rattle off directions to lead them away, constantly looking over her shoulder to see if they were being followed.
 
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