Star Wars: Total War (Closed, Started)

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Octavian carefully weighed his options as he turned to his Java Juice to sip. Not any strength behind it, but he had grown fond of the taste after a stint on Tatooine. On the one hand, this job sounded a ton and a half more dangerous than the sorts of work he was used to. He'd tangled with the Empire, no doubt; his operations back during the Liberation of Coruscant were his finest hour, in his own opinion. But before it had been on his own terms. Hit and run, make them fear you. Never knowing where you'll strike from. But this was playing defense. He would be waiting for them, on their field. Risky, to say the least.

But then, on the other hand, this sounded important. Mon Calamari was one of the biggest shipyards in the galaxy, and he knew just how vital that sort of thing was to the Republic. Especially with the war coming. The reward would be big, for sure. Maybe enough to get his own ship, his own crew? Really start off strong in the business as his own boss, and he'd be rolling in contracts in weeks. On top of that, you don't just turn down a job offer from Kyle Slagging Katarn.

Kares took a swig of his drink before taking a deep breath, and grinning at nothing in particular. "Sounds like a real patriot's paradise, my friend. Just tell me who to see and how much ammo to bring and I'm yours." He offered his hand to the Jedi to seal the deal; at least, he hoped that would be it. He hated contracts that required paperwork.

Soviet Heavy:
snip

Grissk arrived at the hangar, and marveled at the huge amount of people wandering around in it. He had seen few enough people on Hosskr as a child, and even fewer during his capture. This was home to him, a place he could honor the Scorekeeper, and continue his personal goals. The Empire had imprisoned him and the Republic would never trust him, this was where he belonged.

He quickly spotted Commander Coric and walked up behind him as he was berating a couple of other troopers for clipping their carts while loading the ships. He finished talking with them and turned into Grissk's chest.

"Commander, you know our mission, what are your thoughts on how best to proceed? I believe if we attacked from their shipyards that would give us an advantage over them in terms of support. I was told to heed your counsel and I will listen."

Soviet Heavy:
snip

"Yes sir" Del answered with a slight nod of his head. Thrawn was right; he didn't like that he had been plucked from the Outer Rim on such short notice, especially with the resent successes along the Hydian Way. But if Thrawn wanted something done, Del was sure that it would be wise to do as he said, both for the sake of the Empire and ones personal health. "Where is Battle Group Avenger now, sir?"

TheBlueShotgun0:

Soviet Heavy:
snip

"Yes sir" Del answered with a slight nod of his head. Thrawn was right; he didn't like that he had been plucked from the Outer Rim on such short notice, especially with the resent successes along the Hydian Way. But if Thrawn wanted something done, Del was sure that it would be wise to do as he said, both for the sake of the Empire and ones personal health. "Where is Battle Group Avenger now, sir?"

Thrawn
"It is currently holding position near Carida. You're fleet will be redirected to Mon Calamari. It is within another sector of the outer rim, but it is vital that we move quickly to disable the New Republic's shipbuilding assets. Battle Group Avenger will take control of the fleet moving against Mon Calamari. Be aware that intelligence units suggest the Ascendants will be present as well. This could get ugly very quickly, which is why I want you in charge. Is that understood, Commodore?"

Soviet Heavy:
Snip

"It is, sir." Just as he had thought. His new target was important. Mon Calamari, beyond being the home of 2 sentient species, was one of only a hand full of major shipyards outside the Core and Inner Rim. Who ever controlled the planets production would quickly become a major power in the Slice. "Will that be all?"

TheBlueShotgun0:

Soviet Heavy:
Snip

"It is, sir." Just as he had thought. His new target was important. Mon Calamari, beyond being the home of 2 sentient species, was one of only a hand full of major shipyards outside the Core and Inner Rim. Who ever controlled the planets production would quickly become a major power in the Slice. "Will that be all?"

"It is. You are to be rewarded for your actions along the Hydian Way. Right now, all I can spare you is ships. Do not waste them. Dismissed, Commodore."

Thrawn turned back towards the remaining mercenaries as Del bowed his head and left the room.

"Have you come to a decision yet gentlemen?"

Soviet Heavy:
Snip


.

The music emitted through the thin metal walls were beginning to trouble Julia. To choose a place like this as a meeting place, a casino filled with armed questionable businessmen and many onlookers was a bold move by the Hutt. However, it did not mean that she could not be snatched away and taken to some outer rim world till she cracked... No, this seemed safe enough.

The thought of having the robot translate Hutt to her made Julia giggle. "Machine", she called him out in her native tongue, Huttese, "We do not allow machines to belittle us". Julia laid her silver suitcase down next to her. "I am a chemist. I do not use weapons. If your owner wants to dominate the spice trade, let me make some new ones".

The machine answered in common. "This is something I cannot agree to. Follow me, Gasanda will want to speak to you". Julia felt threatened, but an opportunity to be given patronage by the Vosadii clan could shield her from her former father. She followed the robot until they stopped in front of a door. The robot opened the door and inside laid Gasanda, conversing with a worried wookie. "I came to do business", Julia said loudly in Huttese. She laid down her suitcase and looked at the two as the wookie suddenly stopped talking.

CJ1145:

Soviet Heavy:
Snip

Katarn
"Glad to see you're on board for this little venture. The forward ships leave tomorrow morning. They're going to man the space docks ahead of time to help set up the defenses. You'll get paid when you arrive. Bring whatever you think you'll need, and the New Republic will do the rest."

Kyle got up from the table, twirling a credit chit between his fingers before tossing it to Kares, who caught it in the air. "Meet me tomorrow morning at Docking Bay 73, we'll get you set up."

Soviet Heavy:
Snip

Del made his way to the Reckonings hanger bay where his shuttle was waiting for him. He found the pilot and co-pilot in the cockpit playing a game of cards. They both stood and saluted as he walked in. "At ease, gentlemen. Clean up your cards and set a course to the Carida system. I'll fill you in on the rest once we jump to hyperspace. Got it?" Both men answered in the affirmative, and a few minutes later the shuttle left the hanger and started towards Carida.

"Your hunting Hutt, A Hutt named Gasanda to be precise". Kol picked up a lose piece of paper and handed it to Dominic. "He refuses to pay now for three shipments of high grade arms and equipment, probably betting on protection from the council".

Dominic finally scanned the paper Kol had handed him a number of seconds ago. "Ahh this is what I was looking for. I must get more organized. Yes now uhh, Nova. Sources say he is receiving the backing of some of the Hutt council, but not everyone supports him. We've tired of dealing with him and since we know he won't pay, he must die. But everything needs to be black ops and stealthy. Can't be getting noticed".

Nova leaned in. "Well I won't promise a silent death. But no one will be lead on to you. But this isn't going to be easy, I'll probably be getting some support. But we'll work out the details".

Nar Shaddaa. Starchaser's Casino

TheIronRuler:
Snip

Nova had been stalking out inside the casino the entire day. She was torn with waiting a few days to enlist some help or just level the whole place with a few Class A Thermal Detonators. Doing so would probably earn less wrath since no witnesses would be left. A tough call indeed. Gasanda's protocol droid walked by with a long red haired woman towards the back rooms. This was the chance to get in. Like a wolf, she stalked right behind them, unnoticed especially with all the casino noises.

Gasanda's protocol droid shuffled forward towards it's master. A very obese Hutt, a sign of his wealth and power. Gasanda raised one of his arms in protest and yelled what seemed like nonsense towards them. But the droid translated it into common "Who dares barge into the domain of the mighty Gasanda. I decide wether I shall do business with you, you demand nothing".

Soviet Heavy:
Snip

As Kares caught the chit, he stood up and shook Katarn's hand vigorously. "Glad to hear it; I'll be there, no way I'm passing up an opportunity like this." As he spoke, he slipped a chit to the bartender to pay for he and Kyle's drinks. A little courtesy never hurt anyone, he decided; not like he wouldn't have plenty of money to make up for it all by the end. "In the meantime, my partner and I here need to get our things in order before launch."

Vic stood up, carefully concealing his E-11 blaster from prying eyes under a second shirt tied around his waist. A conspicuous weapon, and one that would make a lot of enemies on a predominantly-Republic planet for its connotations; but it had its uses for a man who often worked undercover and amongst the Empire. He gave a quick, informal salute to Kyle as his boss stood up and left, giving a quick wave goodbye to his contact. The pair found themselves in the middle of another crowd of strange aliens socializing in the middle of the Cantina as they wormed their way out.

"So," Vic said, having heard the entire conversation. "we've got one day to gather armor, supplies, and not get ourselves shot. Am I getting the gist of that conversation right, Kares?"

"You sound like you're worried." The Devaronian retorted, grinning as they exited the Cantina. The streets of Coruscant were dark this night, only the pink hues of advertisement holos granting a bit of visibility on the streets. The level was alive nonetheless, as hundreds of people packed every corner. Street vendors offered their wares, whether it be fried Gungan tongue or a "bargain buy" R5 unit. Performers danced and played their instruments in search of tips. A single guard droid watched all of the activity in silence, standing ever-vigilant for misconduct. The pair blended in perfectly.

"Truth be told, I am." Vic admitted. "I'll forgive you for not knowing the stories, Kares, but with Thrawn back the Empire's something it wasn't before."

"And that is?"

"A threat. A real slagging threat, with the manpower and tactical genius to outmaneuver even the Jedi half the time. I just want to make sure you're taking this seriously, and prepare accordingly, all right?"

Kares clasped a hand on Vic's shoulder. "I AM serious, pal. You know I wouldn't take the Empire lightly. I don't take ANY job lightly. So we're going straight to the best for our supplies."

Vic's face drooped as he figured out who his partner was talking about. "You can't be serious."

"I'm serious." Octavian assured him. They stepped into a taxi, paying the driver droid a small fee before selecting an obscure street on one of the lowest levels where civilized interaction still took place. "We're going to see Qwezzel."

TheIronRuler:
Snip

Gasanda's drooping eyelids widened as his sensitive nostrils picked up the trace scents of narcotics on Julia as his attendant droid ushered her into the room. The Wookiee backed aside as Julia stepped before the lecherous hutt. Gasanda's tongue lolled around in his mouth as he spoke.

"So.... someone who speaks Huttese? That is impressive enough. I understand that you refused my offer. However, the droid also tells me that you are offering new spices in exchange for information. Perhaps we can cut a deal."

The whir of a blaster's safety catch flipping caught Julia's attention. The wheedling Wookiee had backed away at the sight of the guards suddenly appearing with guns trained on the young woman.

"However," continued Gasanda. "If you are to supply me with these new spices, I will need to inspect them myself. Open that briefcase, or my men will fire. We won't take anything, but my tester will need to inspect it's contents for legitimacy. Sarik, get in here!"

A tall, broad shouldered Whiphid with an impressive pair of tusks entered through a door behind Gasanda's mobile throne. "Open the box, and I'll check for contaminants." he said matter-of-factly. "How long have you carried this thing without opening it? Any number of diseases or contaminants could have seeped through at any number of places. I need to do a clean sweep to see if anything here is valuable. I'm only asking your cooperation for a few moments."

Tiger Sora:
Snip

The guards didn't notice the shadowy figure that slid into the room after Julia and the droid, but Gasanda's nostrils picked up another scent. He couldn't determine who it was, but something was amiss. He raised his hand slightly, motioning for more guards to enter the room through the side alcoves.

Julia nodded in agreement and went down on her right knee. She brought the suitcase forward and rested it on its back. She then raised it up a bit and entered a code which opened the suitcase. Inside were a large canvas black sack and a pile of packets and boxes.

She turned to the sampler. "I can give you my best imitations... Or I can give you one of my own inventions", she spoke to him in common. She raised her sight and looked at the Hutt. "Boss, I have new spices that will make you the envy of all the clans". Julia grabbed the black sack and took it out of the suitcase, bringing it closer to her person. "This is mine", she told the Whiphid in common, "It is my kit".

Soviet Heavy:
*snip*

As Vorir stood at attention, he watched Admiral Thrawn scanning across the group of candidates that were assembled, no doubt he was silently judging them all. The Admiral gave him a nod when their eyes were met and out of pure respect, the Clawdite returned the gesture. He listened quietly and patiently as the Admiral spoke, thought his patience took a strong blow when a rather cocky Umbaran deemed it an appropriate time for interruption. Vorir managed to contain his contempt towards the mercenary as well as his satisfaction when Thrawn belittled the Umbaran. Vorir hadn't much cared for glory and gratitude himself, discretion being something he valued greatly, along with credits of course. As long as he was on the payroll and off the grid, he'd be content with any job he was offered.

After the hypothetics and brief assurance that arrangements were to be disclosed, Thrawn had stepped away to speak in private for a moment. Almost immediately, the remaining men began talking amongst themselves, telling "wild" tales of their careers and comparing weaponry. All the while Vorir stood still, maintaining his distance from them and listening to them prattle on. He hadn't really cared for their conversation until he overheard them talking about him and why he was being so quiet. Vorir hadn't minded this idle talk until it turned into a game of "guess his sexual orientation" which, after hearing the unanimous assumption, had struck him as rather rash. The Clawdite was never one to allow his emotions interfere with anything, so he remained still, keeping them aloof of his slowly building internal resentment. He'd been hoping that he wouldn't be required to work alongside any of them. If it turned out he would be, then he'd surely exploit the potential for an "accident" to occur and with any luck he'd be offered their share.

"Have you come to a decision yet gentlemen?"

Vorir's eyes met with Admiral Thrawn's as he gave a slight nod before speaking, "I made my decision the moment I set foot on this vessel."

Rez considered his options. He knew his crew would abide any decision he made, but he wasn't sure if he should choose for them this time. Backing the empire was a major decision, and could have disastrous consequences if they lost. He cast a questioning glance at his 2nd, Dax Urr a Ryn mercenary. The wise old alien simply returned the look. It always stood out to Rez how much that Ryn could communicate with his eyes. So, with repressed uncertainty, Rez turned to Thrawn and nodded.

"My men and I will join you." Rez answered the Admiral.

Del looked up from his data pad as he felt the shuttle suddenly decelerate. A brief exchange with his pilot via the comlink confirmed his suspicion that they had finally exited hyperspace. Del set the data pad, which displayed a map of Mon Calamari, down on his pillow and got up from his cot. He smoothed out his uniform and made his way towards the cockpit.

"Hey there, sir." said the copilot as Del entered the cockpit. "Quiet a view, isn't it."

Del grinned as he saw what the young man was talking about. Beyond the transparasteel of the cockpit window lay a fleet of Star Destroyers illuminated by Carida's sun. The armored plating and numerous weapons each was equipped with made even one ship an impressive sight. The fleet as a whole was down right stunning. "Indeed it is, pilot. Get the Avenger on comm's. Tell them we're coming in and to have the captain meet us in the hanger." He continued to watch the ships drift in orbit while the copilot repeated what he had said into the mic. A moment later, a voice from the Avenger directed them towards hanger bay 3.

The captain of the vessel, Richard Zesk, was indeed there to meet them when they arrived. He was a tall, middle age man with short, black, greying hair and a number of medals on his breast. He and a pair of Stormtroopers saluted as Del exited the shuttle. "At ease, men" Del said as he approached the Captain. "You must be Captain Zesk. It's a pleasure to meet you."

"The pleasure is all mine, sir. Welcome to the Avenger." The last sentence was accompanied by a broad sweep of his arm, as if this one hanger was the whole ship.

"Yes, she's an excellent ship.To bad I have to take it from you." said Del, and let out a chuckle.

The Captain was not so amused. "Excuse me?" he said with a scowl.

"I've been ordered by Grand Admiral Thrawn to take command of the Avenger, along with the rest of the battle group." Captain Zesk was clearly confused. "I presumed he told you."

"He did not." Zesk said. "I'll have you know, Commodore, that I do not appreciate a young, cocky young man such as yourself taking over my ship."

"And I'll have you know, Captain, that I really don't care." The friendliness of Del's earlier tone had vanished. "I'm acting on Admiral Thrawn's orders. If you don't like it, take it up with him. Besides, I like to spend time off ship. You'll still get to boss people around, don't you worry."

Zesk's expression of anger had been replaced with one of skepticism. "What do you mean you like to 'spend time off ship'".

Del grinned for the second time since his arrival. "I mean I don't like to spend a battle standing on the bridge. That will be your job." Before the Captain could ask any more questions, Del began striding towards the door. "Speaking of the bridge, how 'bout you show me the way to it. In fact, give me a full tour."

Mortis Nuncius:
Snip

Viking Incognito:
Snip


Bilbringi Shipyards
"Good. Now you will hear my offer." Thrawn placed a holoprojecter on the conference table. A face familiar to many appeared, cast in a ghostly blue light. To the public, he had been the face of the Empire's political pull on Coruscant. Caster Udea.

"Caster Udea was recently 'killed' on Coruscant, thanks in part to a pair of assassins." Thrawn cast a knowing glance at Subject 37. "When the Reckoning retrieved his body from the morgue, it was eventually revealed to be a human replica droid, obviously being used to throw off pursuit while he vanished into the underworld. This man is a traitor to the Empire. He used his political clout to manipulate events to his own ends, rather than for the stability of our nation. We still believe him to have loyal followers, which is why this mission falls outside the regular channels of Imperial Intelligence."

Thrawn braced himself against the tabletop. "To this end, you will scour the Inner Rim for the former Senator, and bring him to me. Alive if possible. Half pay if he is dead, which would be a minor setback I'd rather avoid. Is that understood?"

A heavily scarred Barabel spoke. "Where iz it you wissszh uz to ssearch for him? Do you have any leadz?"

"The Empire has been scanning all traffic in and out of the Inner Rim for the past two weeks. We've narrowed down his potential whereabouts to the Borderlands Region of the Rim. I suggest you start there. You may work as teams or alone, I care not which. All of you will be paid, but the one to bring him to me directly shall receive a bonus as incentive to work harder."

TheIronRuler:
Snip

Tiger Sora:
Snip

Sarik, Nar Shaddaa
"Look ma'am, I don't care where you got it or who it really belongs to. But I need to take some samples." said Sarik impatiently. Taking a number of small vials, Sarik collected pieces of each of Julia's ingredients and carefully stored them in a containment pouch on his belt. "There, that should be enough. You are welcome to remain in the boss's presence while I run the scans-"

Sarik paused halfway out of his crouch. His eyes darted around the room swiftly, but he otherwise betrayed no sense of danger. Offering a hand to Julia, he helped her to her feet. As she stepped towards Gasanda, he whispered into her ear as the Hutt was occupied.

"Be ready to run. Something isn't right here. Keep your eyes open."

Before she could respond, the Whiphid moved aside and into the shadows of the chamber's alcoves. They weren't alone in here, and Sarik wasn't sure if Gasanda's guards would be enough.

Viking Incognito:

Obroa-Skai, Borderlands
Marvelous, simply marvelous, thought Caster. The Celebratus Archive was a testament to the history of the galaxy. Documentation of the historical events of over three hundred thousand species was only the surface of the data Caster had at his fingertips. And with his still working Imperial Clearance codes, the more illicit and valuable information made itself available to him as well.

Mitth'raw'nuruodo. Thrawn. Such an odd name, yet one that was rightfully feared and respected. The Emperor might be a power hungry mastermind, but as a tactician, he relied too heavily on intimidation to be truly effective. Thrawn had none of that. Whereas Palpatine was more than content to pit his admirals and captains against each other to weed out the weaklings, those who had served under Thrawn were recorded as being proud, enthusiastic even. He used respect to win over his troops, not fear.

That was what made him so dangerous. From the data files Caster had managed to glean from the Celebratus Archive, it appeared that this reputation existed long before Thrawn had even joined the Empire. The Chiss Ascendancy was known to few in the galaxy. A well established empire within the unknown regions, it was the home of the enigmatic Chiss that Thrawn was a member of. It seemed that his skills had been noted by the Emperor, who quickly pulled him into the fold.

Caster had everything he could want to know about the tactician. Maneuvers, recorded victories, and personal information. He would put this to good use when the time was right. Saving the data onto his personal pad, he quickly strode out of the archives. Obroa-Skai was an Imperial Fortress World, and the population had been elated by Thrawn's return. Caster was not as impressed, but he kept up the facade of joviality to fit in. It was safer than trying his luck with the security forces, who would certainly arrest him for his "traitorous" acts, as Thrawn would have so eloquently put it.

But apart from the Archive, there was another reason he was here. The White King was waiting for him.

TheIronRuler:

Drokath's ship landed inside the inner city of Corucant. The streets were abuzz as always, lights flashing, speeders racing, people moving. It was so much more active than Ilum, Drokath adored it. As the ship's doors opened, he embraced the slightly polluted air that had that tinge of death stick. He could not simply idle and enjoy the sights though, a mission was to be had. Drokath strided over to the capital of Corucant, the one place where he could get a hold of the Jedi if they were there, and find out where they were if they hid elsewhere. As he entered the building, the scurrying never noticed him, he waited in line for a while until it was his turn, the man calling him seemed exasperated, a perfect target. The clerk had blonde hair and blue eyes, he was human. A quite charming looking fellow to be honest, a shame what was to happen to him soon.

"I need some assistance with a delivery" Drokath said. "I can get a few troopers with you for-" Drokath cut him off "I need aid of the Jedi." The man responded "I hardly think that this is suited for a Jedi, our troops are made to handle pirates and the like." Drokath moved his hand slightly, his eyes glowed slightly and he said "This mission is dangerous, the Jedi must be involved." The clerk repeated him softly. "Xyras Varik, and his apprentice, Hann Polien are the ones you should send with me." The clerk looked puzzled he said " Xyras Varik, and his apprentice, Hann Polien are located on Tattoine currently, I can mark their position on your map if you wish."

Drokath had the information he needed, but one last showing was needed, his steps could be traced, he knew there were cameras here and while he was not suspicious yet, any investigation could prove problematic. "Are you a soldier yourself? Most clerks off duty are soldiers now that the war is going on." The clerk responded, "Yes, my weapons are located under my desk." Drokath smiled, "Good, the standard equipment includes three thermals, I want you to in one hour, detonate them and destroy the building, or at least this wing." The clerk nodded in agreement.

As Drokath left, he made his way to his spaceship and watched as the explosion rocked the capital. The building stood, but what was important was that the cameras would be destroyed. He lifted off his spaceship and headed for the desert planet of Tattoine.

TheIronRuler:
Snip

Soviet Heavy:

-snip-

Nova pulled two of her blasters to eye level. All she had to do was slaughter the guards, than throw a detonator at Gasanda. 'Now or never' Nova wheeled around a pillar, there were about two dozen guards. All of them wearing some useless form of armor filled with gaps. She didn't say a word, but the Hutt screamed when the red blaster fire had already taken out half his guards.

"Kill him. Kill him" The Hutt was enraged and attempting to operate his hover pad.

Return fire kept the bounty hunter pinned behind the pillar, which wasn't going to last forever. "Looks like it's now or never". Nova pocketed a blaster and retrieved a detonator. A red light flashed, the bomb was primed and tossed towards the guards. It was only a low charge one, but it would be enough to free up the fire.

drmigit2:

TheIronRuler:


Sarik, Nar Shaddaa.
"Come on!" shouted Sarik, grabbing Julia and pulling her through the back door as the assassin began blasting away at the guards surrounding Gasanda. Thrusting her aside, he leaned against the wall, peering around the corner. "Listen, if Gasanda is in trouble, the guards will be all over this place shooting anyone suspicious. Unfortunately, that also includes you. Look, I want to help you out. You didn't start this mess, so you don't deserve to die for it. I can help you find Gregori, but we need to work together. This way."

Sarik led Julia further away from the gunfight and into the maze of backrooms behind the casino floor. The alarm klaxons were wailing and emergency lights bathed the halls in a blood red shade. They stopped in front of a large doorway.

"This is where Gasanda keeps his data files. You can find what you need about Gregori here. I'll watch the door, but you'll have to be quick. I only have the one blaster."


.
Julia only had enough time to grab her black sack and two packets of samples before she was thrown away from the crossfire by the Whiphid. I had aided her for some reason and allowed her to enter the Hutt's data drives. She acted without any hesitation. She pulled a small cube from her bag and placed it near one of the podiums. After she used the virtual key to search for information concerning Gregori, she began to look for other things. Hutts trade in spices, but knowledge is even more sought after.

"Do we have time?", Julia asked the Whiphid in common as her cube continued to fill itself with delicate information concerning the Hutt's center of operations and some secrets about certain council-members he used to hold for ransom. "Why did you help me?", she asked from the dark room.

Kares and Vic stood in front of an old, run-down looking shop. The sign was busted in three places, and the rest looked salvaged at best. Cobbled-together pieces of different signs formed together to read "Qwezzel's Bargain General Shop." At least, when the sign wasn't busted. Right now it read "Qwe's Bar GenS". The Devaronian looked at the place fondly, like he was coming home. Vic looked more like a convict entering jail for the first time. There was no door, only a tattered purple curtain separating the place from the outside world. The pair pushed it aside and walked inside. They were met immediately by a breathtaking array of absolute junk. Shorted out droids, bits of scrap metal and all sorts of "trinkets" littered the occasional shelf and every square inch of the walls with extreme prejudice.

At the other side of the little place, there was a counter, with a door behind it leading into the back. They could hear a clattering of various crashing items as the owner of the place tried to climb out into the fresh(ish) air. "Hold on, hold on, I'm coming!" their translators buzzed into their ears. Though there was little to no accent to make his voice difficult to comprehend, there was always a bit of a buzz when a Talz spoke.

Sure enough, one of the four-eyed furry beasts lowered itself to step through the door, and immediately approached Kares with open arms. "Octavian! It's great to see you! Hey, that a new scar on your face?"

"Scar?!" Kares asked, in mock offense. "Do you know how much work I put into my makeup? You might as well be slapping my face with a comment like that."

"Oh, forgive me, great sir!" said the Talz, who went by the name of Qwezzel. He made an imitation of a pleading bow before rising up to even higher than the Devaronian's impressive stature, and gestured around. "I take it you boys aren't here to peruse my usual wares. What can I help you with?"

"Got the gig of a lifetime, buddy." Kares told him. All the while, Vic remained in the background, inspecting little doodads and trying to forget their first choice for a supplier was a slum merchant. "Imps are moving in on Mon Calamari, and we got hired by, get this, Kyle Katarn himself to go and run a protection stint, heading out tomorrow! You know, keep the baddies out, the Republic boys in, all the usual trappings."

"Ah, but look at those clothes!" Qwezzel said, gesturing to the cloth and leather outfit Kares found himself in at the moment. "Such thin material as this will do you no good against a Stormtrooper's blaster, yes?"

"Don't have to tell me twice." Vic called from somewhere in the corner, clutching his E-11 tightly. As much as he'd like to relax, his boss kept taking him into the shadiest parts of the galaxy. He always felt like he needed to keep Kares on a leash or something, so they'd stop getting into so much trouble.

"So, armor!" Qwezzel exclaimed. "Some good, reliable armored plating is what my two boys need, yes?"

"Bingo." Octavian confirmed. "And anything else that might come in handy in a repelling op. Basic survival amenities, spare ammo for our blasters, thermal detonators, anything you can whip up."

"Oh, coming right up, friend!" Qwezzel said as he ducked back into the room behind the counter. "I promise you, you're going to love what I've got!"

As the Talz rummaged through the back, Vic approached his friend and stood next to him. They shared a glance, and an entire conversation was held within. Please, Vic's eyes said. Please, please, stop taking me to all of these forsaken cesspits. I try to be a good friend, I do, but at some point my self-preservation is going to get a say in these talks.

Don't be so worried, Kares' reassuring gaze responded. Half the fun in a job like this is the adventure, you don't become a galaxy-renowned mercenary by sticking to the clean jobs. You've gotta be willing to go where nobody else is; you might as well enjoy yourself doing it.

Vic sighed and threw up his hands in defeat. They had conversations like this often, and he had yet to win one of them.

TheIronRuler:
Snip

"He would have killed you and taken your spices." said Sarik. "I've seen enough people come to Gasanda for help to know what happens to those he can make a profit off of. I wasn't about to let that happen again. The Assassin I didn't count on."

Sarik activated the door console, sealing the entrance shut. "The Hutts are constantly playing people against one another. The dealings between the Cartel's council members are a full scale war fought behind the scenes. I just saved you from getting involved in that. Look, I want to help you take down Gregori. When I heard him mentioned, I took notice. That fierfek and I have a history too. Think of it as a mutual agreement. When we-"

Sarik was cut off by a heavy thumping sound banging on the door. He quickly backed away, keeping his blaster trained on the entrance. He motioned towards the corner. "Behind the console. There's a small switch that opens an escape route. Once we're out of here, I'll fill you in on the rest."

Soviet Heavy:

-snip-

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As the cube finished downloading the information Julia was after, she stopped the transfer and returned it to her bag. She followed the Whiphid's instructions and pressed the button which allowed the wall nearby to conveniently slide and reveal an ext route. "After me", Julia said as she left the room and entered a dark and surprisingly clean alleyway.

The Whiphid promptly followed her and the door was closed behind him. "So tell me, what are we going to do now?". Julia raised the cube and showed it to the Whiphid, "I need some time to comb through it, but it has some other secrets I can use to make some Hutts feel very uncomfortable".

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