Even in the dead of night, the smuggler's moon was as bright as day. Between the advertisements and constantly flying speeders, there was never a dark moment here. But what was physically light wasn't even close to that in the Force. If his travels to Coruscant had been overwhelming for the sheer size and life of the world, Nar Shaddaa was overwhelming for an entirely different reason. The depths of depravity, violence, and greed surpassed anything he had felt before.
He was still adjusting even now as he walked the platforms of this world. Much like Coruscant, a great deal of the world was suspended high above the ground in order to make room. Unlike Coruscant, he had studied maps of the world more extensively so he wouldn't be totally lost when the time came to cause trouble.
As for causing trouble, Talak had taken specific precautions for the trouble he was going to make. He was dressed as a Kage warrior intentionally, and carried a short phrik vibrosword with him for this particular bout of trouble. Kage warriors were often reputed to be incredible acrobats and extremely agile, which would cast less suspicion on him if and when combat broke out. It had the added advantage of covering everything except the strip around his eyes, concealing his identity. Of course, he had his lightsaber and utility belt as well, but the saber wasn't in plain view as that would have defeated the purpose of a disguise.
He came to a stop at the edge of the walkway and glanced over the side. It was a sheer drop down with speeders streaking the skylanes far below. The gap from the public platform to the private building across the way wasn't huge, but large enough that he was as likely as not to fall short if he tried a Force-assisted jump. He pondered his options and glanced around for a more secluded location to start making his pass. Unfortunately, that would mean finding another position to make his crossing.
A black cloak, pulled up hood and gloves covered Alias as she stood outside of a casino. Her hood draped low on her face, so the rest was enveloped by shadows. No one could see she was staring out towards some of the private buildings, just as she liked. Although, she wasn't exactly staring. She was mostly zoned out thinking about other things.
She'd already met and spoke to her contact for tonight and she planned to have a few drinks once he left. Unfortunately, her plump contact decided to stay and she really wasn't interested in bumping into him again, or smelling his awful cologne.
It had been thirty minutes since they talked, so finally Alias decided her contact wasn't going anywhere. Finally giving up Alais pushed off the building and left, utilizing the people around to keep the man from seeing her.
Now, she didn't exactly own a hover car per-say, but she did posses slicing skills. With this in mind she found a fancy hover car, covertly unlocked the door with a card she'd programmed just for this very thing and slipped in. It wasn't like she needed to open the door since the hover car didn't have a top but it looked a little less suspicious to use the door rather than jump in.
The young slicer made short work of the hover car itself, starting it up without much trouble and pulling out. She'd head home, though not all the way home. Just far enough that the walk wasn't bad. Plus she wasn't going to park the car right beside her building, making it all too obvious. While the idea of getting home quickly was a good, deep down Alias had a feeling something was wrong.
Talak's teeth clicked together and began grinding lightly back and forth against one another as he continued thinking. His eyes were flicking back and forth to look for a cover position, but without finding one. With no success and time ticking by, he decided that it was time to reposition. He let out a sigh before catching sight of something that might work to his advantage.
Hmm, he hummed quietly as he watched a woman climb into her speeder. In only a few quick strides, he had closed the distance to the speeder.
He reached out to the Force and his right hand waved ever so slightly. He tugged lightly at her mind, all but imperceptible to those not trained in either manipulating or resisting the Force.
You'd like to give me a ride, he said. Whether she was fooled or not it certainly worked to his advantage that Jedi and other Force wielders hadn't been widespread for nearly 150 years. Identifying that it was in fact a mindtrick and not a simple threat or drunken passerby - far, far more common in the galaxy at large and particularly Nar Shaddaa - was highly unlikely. Talak didn't expect it to fail, and started reaching for the back door of the speeder to climb inside. @Dread
Ryf's Beans was pretty dead as this time of the day. Except for a few of the regular night owls, the caf shop was empty. It had been a slow day, and Wylt was all but ready to clock off his shift and head home. Not that he had any intention of going to sleep; he'd had too many cups of the freshly roasted Endorian they had just stocked up on. But between the few shifts he still did at his caf shop and bounty hunting, he was both physically and mentally drained. He needed a break - just a few days off with a holothriller and clear space around him, void of thankless customers and blaster bolts.
The doorbell rang, and Wylt looked up. Tazel, his coworker, smiled wearily at him from the entrance.
"Looks like you can manage it yourself just fine," the Twi'lek said jokingly.
"Tazel, I swear, if you walk out I will jam a deathstick into your ear, light it up, and turn your brain into custard."
The Twi'lek closed the door behind him, and raised his hands in a pacifying gesture.
"A kind of unorthodox way of enjoying a deathstick, but alright," he said, making his way behind the counter. "Are you alright, Ryf?"
"Yeah," Wylt said, sighing deeply as he handed his apron to Tazel. "I just need a break, that's all."
He walked into the office in the back, clipped his blaster belt around his waist and threw his trench coat on. He then made his way toward the exit, noting to Tazel: "Don't let Faa-Fa'a order any more cafs. He's on his sixth tonight already."
Outside, the buzzling life on Nar Shaddaa had not gone to sleep either. I guess in some ways, I am like the city. Wylt walked toward the public speeder taxi platform on the opposite side of the block. He made it down the walkway, turned a corner, made it to the end of a second walkway, and was just about to hail a taxi when he noticed the eccentrically clad man at the edge of the walkway. He had not seen the type of attire before, but there was something to the way the man moved that caught Wylt's eye - like he was up to no good. And if the thing that an individual was up to was sufficiently bad, usually there would be a bounty out for them. Wylt had a nose for opportunities, and he was never one to let them go. He decided to shadow him. The holothriller could wait.
Suddenly, the man sped toward a parked speeder, piloted by someone Wylt could not see. Instinctively, Wylt followed suit, noticing that the man was reaching for the back door of the speeder. He proceeded to unholster his blaster, but thought the better of it. Instead, he turned and ran toward the taxi platform, hailing a taxi as quickly as he could. He jumped into the back seat, registered his details with the driver through his datapad, and said: "You see that speeder up ahead? I'll pay a bonus if you manage to follow it to where ever it is going."
Unfortunately, this was not the first time she'd encountered this feeling. The feeling of something ominous and wrong slithering inside her mind, whispering commands into it. And once again, a second feeling told her to resist it; it was as if something natural was guiding her. It was just like when she fought, but little time had passed since her first encounter to strengthen that other feeling. No guidance was giving on what exactly was happening to her either, and so after holding her head tightly with her hand for a handful of heartbeats, she simply went back to driving.
That didn't mean she wasn't about to be mouthy, "Okay weirdo, where did you want to go?" The young slicer turned the speeder to go towards where she planned, though she was willing to change direction again if need be. "By the way, this speeder is for sale if you're looking for one. The price is low. Real low. Dirt cheap."
Selling it probably wasn't the best of ideas, but she'd take the opportunity while it was right in front of her. If the man looked down and saw that the hover cars key was missing, he may or may not catch on, but he didn't know her so there wasn't much to lose. Plus she still had her blaster, and one of her hands was already inching towards it in case her freak passenger tried anything funny.
He pulled the door open and slipped into the backseat before closing the door. He frowned slightly as she got mouthy. Normally individuals under the influence of the Force weren't so mouthy. On the flip side, people who weren't under the influence of the Force didn't usually cooperate. This was just unusual all the way around and he didn't know precisely what to make of it... except that he was getting what he was looking for.
Not far, he said. Around the corner, he said, eyes scanning for what he was looking for. There, perfect, he thought.
There, he said, pointing to a ventilation grate on the side of the building. It was high up in the air and would require the speeder to be held steady while he cut through. Then she started trying to sell him a speeder. He just frowned in confusion and didn't respond to the comment, starting to think about his infiltration.
But there was something... wrong. He wasn't sure if it was from her or someone else, but he sensed pure malice. Intent to harm or kill. It was a feeling all too familiar even if he couldn't tell where it was coming from. He was now highly suspicious of her, and he lightly gripped the hilt of his sword.
Never mind. Keep going, he said, waving off his previous "order" just before they pulled up near the grate.
That loading dock, he said, pointing to a loading dock sitting amidst the buildings. It was directly across from his target building and on the opposite side from the platform he had started on. Although the distance between the buildings was no less than his original starting point, it was almost devoid of people. No prying eyes, he thought. @Dread@Casmer
The more commands he gave her, the more she felt her resistance build up. That dark voice slithering around her mind started to to feel like it was being... pushed further and further away? But, she still listened. While she listened, however, she wrapped her hand around her blaster and prepared herself for the worst, still driving with a single hand.
At this point she sensed something else wrong. It was like before but it was more intense and worrying. She couldn't prove this man was the reason she felt this way... but she had felt wrong since he arrived and it only got worse. The logical conclusion was he was to blame him for everything. And as the voice in her head grew even more distant, this all felt weird. Why was he in the car?
Then it hit her. It was him that put that dark thing into her head...wasn't it? Yes. It had to be.
When the hover car touched down, she got out of it quickly while drawing her blaster pistol and pointing it at him. "Who are you?! How did you put that voice in my mind?! Why can I feel... sense something wrong from you?!" she screamed, nearly squeezing the trigger as she did.
In reality, she didn't want to shoot him. Far from it. She wanted ANSWERS. This was the second time. SECOND time this happened to her and she wasn't about to give up the chance to find out why.
Talak was severely on edge by the time they touched down, and he sensed a similar tension growing in her mind as well. Something was about to hit the fan, and he was going to be ready. She started scrambling out of the speeder, and he moved to the other side, all but diving through the door and rolling up to a crouching position. The vibroblade was in his hand now, but she wasn't pulling the trigger yet.
Put the gun away. You don't want to do this, he said. There was no telling whether or not she'd pull the trigger, but he knew that if she did, the Force would give him his moment of warning. It also seemed that another speeder was coming up near the platform.
What Talak didn't know was that things weren't going so well for the coffee shop owner turned wannabe improvised bounty hunter. He'd taken a cab to the area, and when the cabbie saw that a woman had pulled a gun, his interest in landing went to 0. He began to pull away from the landing dock without ever touching down, presenting the bean owner with a problem of trying to figure out how he was going to get the driver to turn around and get onto the platform. @Dread@Casmer
Events unfolded quicker than Wylt had expected. From the backseat of the cab, he observed the woman and the man jump out on either side of the speeder, drawing weapons. Wylt drew his own blaster and said to the cab driver: "Pull up on the same platform as them."
The driver, a bald Human male with a neck tattoo, shook his head violently. "That's not going to happen. I'm not getting caught in the crossfire of some street shoot-out for a few extra credits."
Wylt debated forcing the driver to drop him off on the platform at gunpoint, but he thought against it. He wasn't a criminal, regardless of how some people viewed bounty hunters. He noticed a platform on a level above, tapped the driver on his shoulder, and pointed. "Drop me off there."
Before he left the cab, he tapped his datapad on the sensor and added some extra credits for the trouble. Then he looked down upon the scene below him. It was way too far to jump. Maybe with his grappling hook and other gear, he would have stood a chance of rappelling down, but all he had was his blaster. He hadn't exactly planned on going on a hunt tonight.
Looking around, he spotted a line of transport repulsorcrafts carrying goods out of a factory loading bay. They seemed to be going in the direction he wanted, which was over the edge of the platform and down toward the level below. He couldn't know for sure, but it was his best bet if he wanted to reach the platform before the stand-off was over. And so he jumped onto the repulsorcraft and held his breath as it continued out over the edge of the platform.
Of course, the man got out of the car equally as fast. At this point it wasn't shocking that both of them were aware of this sense of something being wrong, although she thought it was mostly from him.
Either way, he gave her none of the answers she wanted. His answer only made her more mad, but it didn't change what she wanted and that he needed to be alive for it. This frustrated her. She was pissed at him and she couldn't kill him, but that didn't mean he knew that, right?
He'd be able to see her face darken from anger, confusion and frustration. She was on high alert for any moves he made, and she'd shoot if she had to as she spoke, "How about this. You answer my questions and I wont blow your karking brains all over this dock." Alais nodded, "Yeah, I think that's karking fair considering you were trying to mess with my mind, you dick."
Only after she finished talking she lowered her blaster, but only slightly to show him she didn't actually want to shoot. She'd continue to stay alert the whole time however, so if he made a run for it she might choose to shoot at his legs. Make him stop. Make him answer something. She'd only shoot at his chest if he attacked her. Only if it was absolutely necessary. He wasn't getting out of her grip if she could help it.
The tension in the air was almost palpable between the pair as they had their weird Corellian stand-off. He was confident in his abilities in a fight, and even more so if he actually pulled out his lightsaber. But that was attention he didn't want.
I don't know what you're talking about, he said, making his voice sound as acidic as possible. The edge of his gaze caught sight of the taxi being weird and what looked like an armed man trying to climb down.
What kind of a mugging operation do you two have here, he said, throwing attention toward the other armed man instead of himself. It was clear that Talak wasn't a very cooperative man, and he started moving to his own left so that the two individuals were both in front of him. On the bright side, it sounded like she didn't really want to shoot him.
Why don't you get rid of your friend and then maybe we can talk, he said, motioning with his head toward the man. If there was even the slightest hint of someone prepping to attack him, he was ready, but in truth he just wanted to do his job and get out of here. A brawl on the doorstep of his mark really wasn't in the plan. He had the worst luck....
She didn't expect him to hide or deny it. Attack, sure. Tell her to kraff off, sure, but not this. Why was he denying it? That... oddly didn't make her angrier. It actually calmed her down somewhat because it made her more interested than anything. She also realized in that moment that while she might not be able to make him crack with threats at least she had some information to work with now. Instead of total confusion she had facts. He could influence minds. Something about him felt off. He was secretive. And more.
Although the confusion came back when he mentioned someone else. "You...two?" She looked back for a split second. "What the kark." Someone armed was heading towards them and she wasn't about to get arrested or in the middle of a shoot out because a freak tried to control her mind, even as badly as she wanted answers. She wouldn't have any perceived advantages if someone was coming at her from behind.
Since the man hadn't attacked her, Alais lowered her gun fully and went back into the car. She hoped to still stalk this man, but maybe in a different way. "I don't have a friend. All I want is answers from you, but if you wont give them right now then fine. Leave or get in, because I'm not about to sit around and get shot by a different weirdo." She wasn't giving up, far from it, but the way she was trying wasn't going to work anymore so, assuming he didn't attack her at any point, she took off with her...with the hover car.
This was not how he had expected this night was going to go. His teeth clicked together in annoyance, and he was left with two options: stay here and fight the stranger and potentially fail his heist or get in the speeder and come back later without having drawn attention to himself.
He knew that he had something she wanted and he had no idea what this other armed man wanted. He might even have been security for the building Talak wanted to break into. What was the saying: better the devil you know than the devil you don't know?
Kriff, he said, hopping back into the speeder - quite grumpily - and preparing to leave.
Fine, let's go, he said. The vibroblade was still there, but at least he wasn't trying to jam it through the seat and into her back and she wasn't trying to shoot him. Mutually assured destruction was an incredible thing, it seemed. @Dread@Casmer
Him jumping in made her life easier. Well, in some ways. He could attempt to stab her while she was driving, and probably be successful yet he still hadn't made any moves. She'd never, ever let her guard down... but with him in the hover car not stabbing her, the quick thinking former-street rat turned the car around and headed somewhere.
It wouldn't take long for her weirdo "friend" to realize where they were going. It was the first spot he commanded her to take him. She touched down and turned to him with a strange mix of malice and smugness in her expression. "So why did you want me to go here first, hmmm?" she started, with one hand still on her blaster in case things went south. If her hand wasn't on her blaster, she would've had her arms defiantly crossed.
"Do you live here or did you plan to steal something?" she asked petulantly, "because I'm no stranger to the latter. I can slice into any security system and shut the whole thing down. That includes the cameras. Get you in and out without any holo evidence." She had no clue how he'd react to any of this, but her stubbornness was a point of pride.
Talak really hadn't been expecting her to bring him back here. And why was she volunteering to help him? Did she know she'd be stealing from Crimson Dawn? Most people didn't want to cross them for good reason. Did he care if she knew?
How many people enter a ventilation shaft to their own home? he quipped. It was fairly clear he was here to steal something or at least break in.
Fine, you help me, you get your answers, he said. Not that he would be an open book, but from the sound of her questions earlier, she didn't know much of anything about the Force. He could point her in the right direction or perhaps even recruit her into the Sith Eternal if she was attuned enough.
There's a data manifest I'm looking for in here, he said, moving over to the side of the speeder and placing his hands against the grate. He focused on them with the Force and they crunched up, leaving the opening unobstructed. That was going to lead to more questions, but she'd get her answers after the job was done.
You coming? he asked as he slipped into the ventilation shaft and began to crawl through. It was cramped, but he managed. @Dread@Casmer
It seemed to Wylt like he had unknowingly entered a game of cat and mouse, but instead of there being a mouse, a cat, and Wylt, now seemingly Wylt was the cat and the other two the mice. He observed, with no small amount of frustration, how the two of them jumped back into the speeder and sped away into the traffic above as he was finally nearing the site of their stand-off.
"Palpatine's greasy jowls!" he yelled, kicking at an empty can so it flew into the air and landed with a rattle further down the platform. What kind of fool's game were they playing? Were they accomplices? And accomplices in what, exactly? So far, he'd seen no crime committed other than the crime of being incredibly indecisive. You're not a karking Sector Ranger, he thought. Why should this interest you even in the slightest?
But it did. His instincts told him so.
Shortly after, he found himself outside of a building complex, looking at the unblocked ventilation shaft that the two individuals had supposedly entered the complex through. Wylt had once again hailed a cab, and whilst backtracking his route he noticed the speeder at the side of the complex.
Now, Wylt wasn't one to believe in the fiction that the universe had anything to do with the developments of the lives of sentients, but he was too intrigued to let the matter rest. He could have walked away. Easily. But he had a strong feeling that his involvement in... whatever this was, would be highly benefitial for him, one way or another.
Thus, he climbed into the ventilation shaft and made his way slowly into the building, listening intently for any noises that might give away the whereabouts of his targets. @Dread@Phoenix
Alais rolled her eyes at his first comment. Even though her anger had somewhat subsided she was still in a bad mood. When he finally offered to give her what she wanted she perked up though. It was hard to believe this wasn't just a trick, but it was worth rolling the dice.
Her thoughts were stopped when he... crushed the grate? She felt him do it, and instinctively wanted to try herself. She copied him somewhat, having sensed everything. Instead of putting pressure on the grate however, she—way too violently—flung it behind them into the wall. "Influencing minds and now this. Alright weirdo, this better be part of your answers."
So he was after a data manifest the whole time, but Alais didn't care enough to ask about it. When he asked her to follow, she did. Being small, it was easy for her to get into and it wasn't all that cramped for her. She crawled behind him all the way until they made it to another opening that lead into the house itself. Through the opening her eyes fell onto a panel. It looked like one of the JRD-14 EX security panels. A newer model, but that only gave her an edge. She knew more about newer than older models.
She pulled out her datapad, inputting some commands. After a minute it lit up green on her screen, and a light on the panel also lit up confirming she'd established a connection. With that, the whole system shut down. She hadn't just turned it off. No, she'd completely, systematically, destroyed it. Nothing could be turned back on. Nothing could be recovered from it's databank. It'd have to be replaced.
Alais simply looked up and nodded to signify it was done, hiding her relief. Yes, she'd done it before but software wasn't always predictable. She assumed this man would deal with the vent again so they could drop down, but right before she jumped she heard the shuffling of something nearby in the vent. It wasn't a carpeted walkway, after all. Of course she jumped down, but then she softly said so only the weirdo could hear, "Hey weirdo, I heard someone or something behind us. In the small ventilation shaft with nowhere to go but forward or backward. Any ideas?"
Talak made his way through the vent until they came to a small maintenance security system. He glanced back to see she was working on something on her datapad, and he was impressed when she actually managed to bypass the system. Fine, so he had low expectations for people in general, okay?
He reached out with the Force again, crunching the bits of the grate he had to before moving it away and setting it down on the inside of the room. A quick glance around showed the area was clear and he dropped down to the ground below. His steps were quiet and betrayed his experience with this sort of thing.
She moved down next, surprisingly quiet in her own right. It looked like this wasn't her first slicing and thieving job either. Someone behind them? Wonderful... that weirdo from the loading dock? Probably.
He weighed his options, and he hated all of them. He could wait here and stab the man, he could have her wait here and shoot him, or they could both move forward. Neither of them staying was ideal.
We keep moving. Finish the job as quickly as we can, and keep alert, he said. They still had a lead on whoever was following them, and if they could get the manifest in time, they might be able to get out before he caused them any trouble. Who was this guy anyway??
He pushed on quickly to the next door, hitting the controls as the door sprung open. It looked like an office with a private data terminal. If Talak had to guess, the apartment's resident was likely in bed somewhere, so they wouldn't want to wake him.
Can you get the terminal unlocked? he asked, motioning to the private terminal. Talak suspected that it was heavily encrypted, and if they didn't have to wake up the "resident" that would have been highly preferable. He hoped that she could manage to open it on her own. @Dread@Casmer
To the weirdo's command Alais simply nodded and followed behind him quietly. She was no stranger to following orders. Yes, she had a mind of her own but she was smart enough to know who was the boss in situations like this.
When they came to the terminal and he asked her to get them passed it, she nodded again and muttered a soft, "Yeah." Moving past the man she went to work on it, thanking the galaxy that she wore gloves this night. Otherwise her fingerprints would be on the terminal, and all over that vent. She did NOT like turning her back to the weirdo though; that put her on even higher alert, so she wanted to get this done quickly.
The system on it was older, so it took a few moments for Alais to recall some memories as she went through each step. Then a name on it caught her attention; this belonged to a higher up Crimson Dawn member. That... didn't stop her for even half a second though. She'd done a few jobs for them, she hadn't personally committed to kriff all. Besides you moved up in the criminal world in lots of ways, including betrayal and murder of your own kin.
In good time she managed to unlock it, shut it down and unequivocally destroy most of it's logs. She didn't have the time to erase the logs from a couple weeks back, but that didn't matter. Now all they had to do was step in front of the door for it to open, which she did. The door opened but...
A humanoid sized droid stood in the room. Without thinking—almost instinctively—Alais held out her hand and the droid reacted violently before it could fire the blaster it was holding. It fell to the ground and Alais made sure she saw smoke coming out of it before stopping, because she couldn't allow anything on it's databank to survive either. She had no clue how she did that, but she learned long ago that she could while raiding droids for their parts to use in her security system. It was something she questioned but accepted, just like how she felt guided in combat. "Weirdo's first," she said after, turning back to the man.
Wylt was still in the ventilation shaft when he heard a loud thump up ahead. It sounded like someone had pushed over a shelf stocked with metalware. He sped up, his mind running through the possible scenarios. Had the man finally assaulted the speeder pilot? Were they in the middle of a melee? Either way, he had to make haste.
Once out of the ventilation shaft, he saw the open terminal door ahead, the two stading beside it. And behind the door, a pile of smoking metal. A droid? Had they shot it? And why did Wylt have a sense that this robbery, if it were really that, had two robbers instead of one?
He aimed his blaster at the pair, saying: "You two are incredibly hard to follow."