Some cantinas cater to a very broad clientele. Others, well--they're a bit more specific. The Sly Spacer is one of the latter.
Set back well from the street, its entrance is a doorway flanked by red lamps and a flickering hologram of a generic-looking human male dressed in typical "flyboy" garb tossing back a glass of something and then waving his hand at an unseen bartender for another. It offers neither convenient location nor apparent entertainment, and as such it's a very quiet spot. On the outside.
On the inside, it proves to be a wide, circular place lit by dim, cool blue lamps. A glow-top bar stands at the far back of the room, worked by a rather slender besalisk dressed all in black with dark, heavy makeup. The center of the room is dominated by a stage, where various performers--most conspicuously male--are dancing and strutting and otherwise trying to get the attention of the rather mixed crowd. It's far from the most crowded place ever, but it's doing a healthy business.
Vosh Basai seems not one bit out of place here. He sits comfortably in a private booth in the near corner of the left hand wall, affording him a decent view of both the door and the bar. He doesn't seem to be paying all that much interest to the stage, however, as he nurses his garishly purple cocktail. As his contacts arrive, a little maître droid, little more than a small hovering sphere with grasper arms, bobbles over to them and says in a tinny voice, "Welcome, patrons! Are you joining a party, or would you like your own table?"
From time to time, most Alliance officers find themselves called to meet with someone who wants to join the Rebellion--it's not unlike getting called up for jury duty. Natrually, there are those who specialize in performing them, but everyone gets stuck with the rather dangerous chore eventually. Wrista... was not tapped. But when Ardin was, she volunteered to be his backstop owing to a rare gap in her mission schedule, and noone was interested in denying the request.
Nar Shaddaa is the perfect sort of place to hold these clandestine, highly illegal meetings, and It's always reminded the Coruscanti twi'lek of home. She enters the cantina separately from Ardin. She only gives the place a quick glance, but with the laser precision of a trained observer. Exits, weapons, estimated threat levels--they're all noted and filed away for the time being.
She's dressed the part, as well, a servicable, nondescript jumpsuit and an artfully-applied collection of dirty smears and streaks from the ever-present patina covering the Smuggler's Moon. All in all, she looks like someone that works rough jobs in the lower levels, which is exactly how she acts when the droid approaches her, giving the machine a fair shove on it's repulsors. "I want a drink at the bar, what's it look like, bolt-head? Shove off." Just another patron with a bad attitude--the moon's full of them.
It's been a while since Ardin's gone on one of these trips, but it beats downtime--even if he does feel a little out of place outside of a cockpit. At least he's scruffy enough to blend in.
The human makes his way inside a few minutes after Wrista does, craning his neck to give the cantina a curious looking-over. He's partially trying to find the face he's here to meet, but he's also deathly curious to see what kind of entertainment the place has, and when he sees the performers, he sort of pauses in place. The droid's greeting snaps him out of it and he, unlike his compatriot, flashes the droid a smile. "Meeting somebody, assuming I haven't been stood up... ah." The flip side of sitting somewhere with a view of the door: the door has a view of you. Another quick smile for the droid and Ardin ducks past, making his way towards... the bar. He needs a drink first. Then he'll go join Vosh.
Wrista does not so much as blink when Ardin trails her in, elbowing her way through a pair of aqualish at the bar. On Nar Shaddaa, that is the act of someone either with a deathwish or higher on the pecking order than the people around her think, and in this case the larger aliens decide they're not really spoiling for a fight with a tiny twi'lek with a bad attitude. She orfers the most vile alcohol she can find at a glance over the menu--something called 'Rancor Spit', throws some Hutt currency down to cover it, and promptly vanishes into the crowd with a growled "Not interested, scab" at some poor human that tries to pay for her drink. Naturally, she's actually interested in having a look around for trouble, but a grumpy twi'lek off from work is a suitable cover. Everyone else just seems glad she's headed away from them.
Ardin has to take a quick step to one side to ensure Wrista does not walk through him on her way into the crowd, twisting in place to peer after her with an expression of mild annoyance. He's still shaking his head when he gets up to the bar, lifting a hand to flag the besalisk behind the bar over.
A few moments later, Ardin is smoothly sliding into a seat at Vosh's table with a tall glass of something in his hand. "I do believe I'm your date," he notes with a grin, raising the glass. "Sorry I didn't bring you anything."
The glowing blue optic aperture of Basai's implant widens as Ardin approaches, shortening and broadening its field of view, and his smile--brilliantly white against the pirate's dark skin--springs readily forth. "Welcome, then, and don't worry--I'm quite sure the pleasure of your company will be gift enough." He half-rises politely when Ardin sits, then slides back comfortably into his own chair. Letting the ice sphere rattle slightly in his glass, Vosh considers the Alliance contact thoughtfully.
"Well," he admits in that resonant baritone of his, "I'm fresh out of pretense at the moment, I'm afraid, even for such a charming specimen as yourself." He raises his mechanical right hand so that its thin, clawlike digits can comb thoughtfully through his short, neat beard. "Whole story's pretty plain. I've been a pirate under the Empire for a long time--but ever since you boys blew the pants off whatever that top secret project was in the Endor system, you'd have to be quite a fool not to notice the wind is changing."
Those thin, almost bladelike digits reconfigure themselves into a shape rather more like five fingers, and he folds his hands together lightly in front of him. "Bottom line is, I'd like to join up. Word is my home planet is looking to sign on with your Alliance--and whether this is the Old Order come back again or a New New Order, I figure it has to be better than what I've seen under the Empire." He cocks his sole remaining eyebrow and asks in a rather lighter tone of voice, "So where do I sign up?"
A rather broad information net had been spread across this particular sector. Cad Bane is aware that there's supposedly some rebel activities operating beneath the radar. He's risked quite a lot navigating the proverbial minefield of the Empire, but no more than most others fighting for things beyond credits, such as ideals and freedom. Whatever oppressive noose was repeatedly threatening him has lightened much the last four years, and only in these months has he begun being able to do more than flee in the gutters of the Outer Rim, elites of the Empire and top-end bounty hunters descending ruthlessly. Such would be less bothersome if only his job didn't require at least some semblance of exposure--and when the Empire offers you 2,500,000 credits for a tip leading to the capture of the legendary Duros, finding legitimate customers has been impossible.
Wrista he had no idea about, in fact. It was Ardin arriving on this planet that was whispered to him, and this particular Cantina given as a location. Another cesspool... to think, he had sworn against such scum the very first time he left his home station, and it's all he's known for two decades.
Having already been settled on the planet, the only thing that Cad Bane needed was the location. And shortly after it's provided, the front door slides open. A massive Gamorrean takes up the majority of it, however. An armored vest and near-bursting slacks are upon him, but a distinctive scar and golden hoops in his piggish features. He's not quite a nobody; Rukkis Vholar, a man wanted for preying on Republic and Rebel cargo ships, who's made a habit of cashing in on the small bounties offered to even meager proven supporters. Only he's sweating rather heavily, with his posture rather stiff. Behind him is a much more lean figure, only a broad-rim hat peeking past the simplistic metal helmet of Rukkis.
"Walk." states a voice like gravel grinding on glass.
And walk the huge man does, one careful footstep at a time. Many glancing aliens take stock of the situation, most curious at best. One more elderly pirate squints, whispering to a colleague and pointing. One crimson eye casts around, finding Ardin to meet the description from his ferret, before the veritable wall of flab and muscle is joltingly aimed in his direction, arching step by stiff step towards the booth. Still not quite showing who's behind to the pair... And depending on how much Wrista knows legendary outlaws from the Clone Wars, she might recognize that trenchcoat-clad gunslinger leading the Gamorrean by a gripped scruff.
The tiny twi'lek soldier doesn't know all that much about Cad specifically--not enough to identify him on-sight. He's been out of circulation too long to turn up as a person of interest, to be honest. She does know the type, though, and rolls her eyes as she peers around a table at the sudden disturbance. And the hunter's prize she *does* recognize. "You've got to be flippin' kidding me," she mutters. "That's just what we need." A spectacle, courtesy of a bounty hunter with a flair for the dramatic. Oh well, at least her sweep of the cantina came up empty. This should be manageable. She angles her way through the crowd, slipping and weaving as if she just wants a better look and not a better vantage to attack from if Ardin needs her suddenly. Probably not, if this guy with the coat is delivering an enemy of the Alliance, but... still.
While Vosh talks, Ardin folds an arm across the back of his own chair and sips at his drink. Despite the relaxed demeanor and lopsided smile, it should be obvious to Vosh himself that he has a very attentive audience. The only thing that causes his expression to waver even slightly is the mention of Endor, which makes his smile fade just so and takes the mischevious glimmer from his eyes.
"'Better than under the Empire' is kind of our whole core concept," Ardin notes, forcing the levity to stay in his voice even if it's less present in his expression. "And whatever you used to do, I wouldn't be here if we weren't willing to at least hear you out. Where'd you say you were from?"
Ardin is not entirely oblivious to the commotion building behind him. He's just paying more attention to Vosh--at least, until he hears the telltale murmurs of concerned patrons coming closer and closer to their booth. His smile for Vosh tightens and he raises his eyebrows slightly. "There's someone behind me. Isn't there."
Unfolding his hands, Vosh picks up his glass in the incongruously delicate grip of his claw, while his left hand casually drops below table level--just in case. "Looks like someone's here to collect on a bounty," he murmurs neutrally, though he keeps his smile in place. "Shall I ask 'em to join us? Otherwise, we're going to make a pretty big scene. Whole point of this place is that it's off the beaten path."
Raising that glass in his claw, he raises that powerful voice of his just a bit to call over, "Come on over, there, friend. We're just having an amicable conversation, my new associate and I. Looks like you've got some... new business to bring to the table."
As he speaks, though, the aperture of his optic implant narrows. Something about that glimpse of hat felt--perhaps, just perhaps--familiar. His sensors go on full alert to identify the owner as readily as possible. Distracted as he is by this, he also fails to notice Wrista's approach.
When it comes to situational awareness, there's not a lot of people alive who can pull wool over the eyes of Cad Bane. The flow of people around him feels natural... except for one. Like a person swimming against the current. Wrista will see the Bounty Hunter glance directly at her. A long moment. The sort a gazelle makes to a cheetah hiding in the grass. 'I see you. There's no point being sneaky.' Then he's back to escorting his captive. Such certainly indicates that this bounty hunter is not a nobody. How much of a 'not a nobody' he is... well, the fact he's not instantly recognized by the entire cantina happens to be a sore point.
"Oh...?" drums out the unique voice of the Duros. Once near the booth, a hand shifts to press a button. Suddenly the Gamorrean jerks, spasming head to toe in a whirlwind of electricity. The smell of burning hair and singed leather mixes with the more unsavory, before a hard shove forward sends a seismic >thump< of lard hitting the floor. "I recognize that hand... you lead the Gunstar, didn't you? Nostalgic, almost. Seeing someone from my era."
Slowly walking around the unconscious form of Rukkis, Cad Bane then heavily sits on his back. He's actually almost level with the end of the booth, leaning forward to rest high-tech gauntleted forearms on either chapped knee. "Normally I wouldn't waste my time with small fry. But I figured I'd offer a gift." The initial flurry of motion and near-hostility dies down slowly. The excitement's likely never going to fully go away, and at least one person is whispering with recognition. Only one? A shame, indeed.
The tip of a hat, older than Wrista and Ardin, is aimed at the pair. "Last time I offered my services, the Republic was firmly against it. I was hoping to see if the position has changed." He doesn't say who he is. If there's too many fresh-faced recruits to recognize him, then he's speaking with the wrong intermediaries.
Wrista's lips form a thin line when Cad notes her existance... though to be fair... she's already done her job making sure the place is clear. Well, half of it, anyway. Given the ruckus, she'd probably better keep an eye on the crowd. There's still plenty of people that view standing Imperial rewards for Rebels as good money out there. And this isn't really quiet anymore. She melts out of the crowd at the side of the table, clearly not a surprise for Cad at this point, but he's something of an exception. She gives a few select people the 'get your nose out of my business before I remove it for you' glare, which seems silly from such a small being until one is on the receiving end of the red eyes delivering it. "We're not really equipped to handle a prisoner," she notes lightly, eyeing the Gammorean before flicking her eyes back up to Cad. "But that's our problem. You know we're not, strictly, the Republic, right?" she asks in the sort of soft voice specifically designed to carry no further than a conversation. She's clearly not entirely pleased to have so much attention brought to the table, large victory hanging over everything or no.
There's a bit of relief in his voice when Ardin asides a "Thanks for joining us," to Wrista, the pilot wrinkling his nose at the stench and slowly setting his drink aside. Well. So much for his appetite. "Some gift. Not that I don't appreciate the sentiment, but it's like she says," he tells Cad, tipping his chin at the twi'lek.
Okay, Skyles. Focus. Ardin looks back to Vosh, taking a mental note of the one hand out of view. He grew up on Tatooine--he knows exactly what that means, but he also knows he isn't the one who needs to worry about it. That's the hunter's problem, not his. "Well. Since we're no longer going to have a quiet, private conversation here..." He side-eyes Cad, just briefly. "...let me see if I can put you in touch with the right people. Both of you, I suppose. I can make a call and have answers for you within the hour."
Vosh's eyebrow pops up into a curious arch when Wrista appears, but he keeps his cool long enough for her to make her allegiances plain, and then he relaxes visibly. "Never did like to be snuck up on," he murmurs, though his grin quickly resurfaces. "Anyhow, pull up a chair. I'll prep my ship to take on this scum for you if you like--I'm not above playing delivery boy at a pinch." His good eye strays back to look, then, at Cad Bane, and the pirate gives a low whistle, shaking his head slightly.
"Well, well. Shifty stars and Maker a'mighty--Cad Bane. Never thought I'd end up sitting across a table from you today." He extends one digit of his mechanical claw, noting, "If I do take this guy for you, please be sure that the credit--and credits--go to Cad Bane, here. Last thing I want to do in this life--and, I greatly suspect, the last thing I would do in this life--is cross him." He chuckles, then. "Yeah, I captain the Gunstar. Though maybe not much longer. Vosh Basai is the name--a few probably know it. 'Course, sitting next to a genuine legend of the Clone Wars, I'm feeling suddenly humble."
Meanwhile, he slowly brings his left hand up onto the table, revealing nothing but a data stick in his hand, which he offers to Ardin. "I'm from Morellia, since you asked, by the way--and here's a copy of some interesting developments from their government. They'll be joining up with you folks, looks like." Giving a polite nod to Wrista, he adds, "Scuttlebutt, by the way, says that your Alliance might be 'The Republic' again before too long. That right or wrong?" Nodding again to Ardin, he says, "I'd be much obliged if you did. I'd like to move ahead with my shift--and I plan to head on to Morellia soon enough, where I'll be making some deals that should be of use to your side."
The fact Wrista wanders over and reveals herself to be affiliated is only surprising due to the latter. It was clear that out of the entire catina, she was the only one not in the booth with true, admirable training. His first impression had been she was a mercenary or bounty hunter, but if that was the case, nobody would forget a bounty as high as his, no matter how long has passed. The lack of recognition left few alternatives.
"If you were, strictly, the Republic... I wouldn't be dealing with you. No. I think what you two are... is a much better circumstance for the both of us." His voice is low, a rumble like broken thunder. "And this creature was more symbolic, youngling. The only bounties I've taken in the last twenty years were the Republic, because they wouldn't sell me out... but they can barely afford five digits." And the open disgust got old, quickly.
For long moments, Cad Bane stares at Ardin. Those red eyes are hard to meet. An intensity and force of will behind them that speaks of his status, regardless of written history. "Vosh Basai. I heard you made a living." Not the grandest compliment to most ears, but it implies someone smart and capable enough to keep the career and not die. That is a very, very small number. "Keep the credits. I said it was a gift." A grin follows, toothy and predatory. Not the slightest hint of friendliness to it. "For good relations."
After long moments, he glances back to Ardin. Talk of politics doesn't interest him, but the shifting tides of the land can be felt; the same galactic fractures that he sniffed out before the Clone Wars. He wouldn't be here otherwise. Good to see another old-timer able to sense the climate in the air. You only get that from hand's on experience--and lots of it.
"I don't like the look of you, boy." And then he pushes to his feet, rolling slender shoulders. "Youngling." To Wrista. "Let him deal with the pirate. You deal with my issue." A small communicator is flicked in the twi'lek's direction. "I'm in the area. And as always... if you can find the credits, I'm open for business."
Wasting no further time, he moves back towards the exit to the cantina. The elderly pirate and two men begin to hesitatingly rise, that had first appeared to know him. "Don't try it, old man." is growled out. Impatient and dismissive. Something in it must have conveyed the gulf between them, for the trio slowly settle back down as Bane pushes back into the wanton streets beyond...
A little unusual for Wrista to admit to her affiliation, but it was an unusual encounter. Still, once she has, she practically screams 'covert operative' to anyone that's run into that kind of thing before. She catches the communicator with one hand, sliding it into her belt, and nods once. "We'll be in touch."
Her eyes flick around the room, and she frowns, waiting til Cad's left to speak up again. "Bounty Hunters and their entrances," she murmurs, though she doesn't seem upset so much as resigned, and turn her attention back to Vosh. "I couldn't possibly comment on a rumor like that," she notes, with a slight grin cracking through her business demeanor. "But perhaps we should finish this talk somewhere more secluded. We've become somewhat more interesting than the alcohol and that makes me nervous." She doesn't look like 'nervous' is in her dictionary, frankly.
"Yeah... I tend to agree," Ardin murmurs, peering after Cad and pursing his lips in thought. He drums his fingertips against the table before he shifts to stand, offering Vosh an almost apologetic smile as he reaches out to accept the data stick. "I'll make that call. Contact information on here?" he asks, lifting the stick slightly before he tucks it into his jacket. "If you're still on Nar Shaddaa when I hear back, maybe we can try this again. Although..."
Ardin's eyes slide down to regard the unconscious bounty that Cad left behind. "...I suppose getting this guy secured is a bit of a priority. Definitely appreciate the help with that." He rakes a hand back over his hair, thinking, and gives Wrista a questioning look. Where the blazes should they have him drop this guy off..?
Giving a slow nod, Vosh says, "I think you have the right of it, there. What if we reconvene in an hour or so aboard my ship? It's at the central spaceport off the Promenade, docking bay 301. That'll give me time to make space in my hold for your large friend, here." He rises, laying his left arm with the good hand across his chest, and offers a slight bow. "Thank you for meeting me, and I'm sorry for the interruption. Still, I look forward to doing further business with you."
Wrista nods once, making a face as she surveys the Gammorean. The electric shock did NOT improve the smell. At all. "I'm not sure I'd try too hard, if I were you." Which is as close as she'll come to suggesting it's not necessary. The twi'lek walks around the unconscious procine form and has a surprisingly close to effective go at dragging him along the floor. She must be stronger than she looks. "Ugh. Okay, Ardin, grab a foot." Nothing but meeting new faces and seeing new sights in the glamorous Alliance SpecForce!
"301. We'll be there." With or without the bounty. Ardin waves a hand to dismiss Vosh's apology as he steps over to lend Wrista a hand, grabbing one of the Gammorean's ankles and straightening back up. "Nothing for you to apologize for. This was actually one of the most pleasant conversations I've had in weeks," he admits with a cheerful smile, glancing to Wrista before he starts to walk. ...well. Trudge. And drag. Good lord. "Glad he insisted this was a gift," he grates out in an irritable voice, ignoring any looks that the all new spectacle is drawing. In a very poor imitation of Cad's voice, he growls, "'Here. You throw this away!' Honestly, some peoples' kids..."
There is only a brief stop on their way out as Ardin rummages in his pocket and tosses a coin to the greeter droid on their way out. "Sorry 'bout the mess."