FUN FACT: My autologger apparently eats dice rolls, but they were used in the scene. All hail the first blaster battling!
News of a peculiar but tantalizing offer has very carefully made the rounds of the smuggling community around Nar Shadda; it is stated as a mundane transport mission, although two things make it interesting: The risk factor is 'Zero to unknown', and the payout is 'Unveiled to interested parties only'. It slithered around like a snake, managing to escape the mainstream eye. Only those who keep ears and noses to the proper datastreams would pick this job out and pass it along. It seems a far cry above petty hauling for scarcely four digit work, to say the least.
A cantina deep, deep within the Vertical City orbiting Nal Hutta is the meeting place in question. Merely getting there is a quest, past roving gangers, menacing thugs, and lawless steel. Within the unmarked sliver of a door is a shoehorse-shaped bar counter lit in blue and red glow, with seedy music thrumming from speakers and even seedier individuals lurking within. Dark booths where whispered secrets are passed like currency line the walls. To those in the 'know' it's a place of pure independents, mercenaries and smugglers. Whoever desires the job is making sure that the meeting locale is one that would be recognized by someone who had the audacity to call themselves a professional in the region.
Of course, outside a time, no other details were given. About eight people are within it, aliens of no rhyme or reason, all very male and half of them very intoxicated. Blaster rifles and pistols are bared like fangs openly, and the hapless twi'lek waitress must dance in a frantic manner like someone fleeing a sea of crabs to serve the drinks unharassed. Definitely not the most classy of establishments.
Class? Merili'sanvor, more commonly known to those not of her species simply as Merilia, can do class, if she really has to. After all, she once belonged to the rich and powerful.
Screw class. Openly armed and wearing the dress of a freighter jock, although without the ship patch for right now, the Twi'lek weaves her way into the room. One of the drunks makes a grab for her right head-tail. Without even changing her rhythm, she backhands him casually away from herself. The waitress gets a look of sympathy and a twitch of the left head-tail before she reaches the bar, hops onto a stool and turns on it to survey the scene. In contrast to the very male nature of the rest of the clientele, Merilia is very, *very* female, but perhaps her actions have put off anyone else who might try to grope.
Merili'sanvor lasts about three seconds after entering before hoots and whistles leave a group of four men in a booth. The waitress takes the opportunity to flee, having been on the verge of being cornered. Only one speaks the common tongue, saying many things that the twi'lek has heard many times and has probably resulted in many broken faces. Ruffians, who believe physiological superiority and a weapon replace skill and experience.
And then the lone drunkard at the bar finds himself on his back, glass clattering away. The men at the booth go silent, before suddenly hunkering down and minding their own business in regards to Merilia. Apparently the point stuck.
Two other people are within a booth, mostly shrouded in darkness. They give no interest to the pair, and are likely here on unrelated business. The eighth is also at the bar, a Rodian in a poncho with a pair of blasters at either hip, nursing a drink.
Although Merilia doesn't notice it, there's a suspicious-looking lump with a very clean tarp thrown over it in a corner beside the counter. Now and then it moves slightly. It's not EXCESSIVELY suspicious, but a trained eye on the look-out for something unusual would certainly take stock...
The captian (and sole crew member) of The Celistial Myth caught wind of that 'offer' not too long ago. The mysterious nature of how it was made is what caught her attention and held it fast, making it impossible to ignore. Worst she can do is decide the job's not for her and turn it down. Only be guilty of killing a bit of time while enjoying a drink or two. Right?
The low light inside the cantina takes a moment for the 'cyborg' to get accustomed to but once her eyes adjust she steps in fully, trying immediately to dodge the drunker males as soon as she starts to press pass those already present.
Her point made, the Twi'lek pilot turns to the barkeep and orders something only mildly alcoholic. Her gaze then flicks over the Rodian. Oh, joy. Him. This could get very messy very quickly, and she shifts her gun belt just a little, just so that she's ready to draw if she has to. She'd rather not, but the situation is such as to warrant it. The cyborg who just entered is, thus, ignored. As, for the most part, are the two in the booth. Larger fish than swim in her pond.
The eighth of the group, and the only one recognized as a fellow freelancer, is of course the Rodian at the bar. Both know of him, on a long list of people in Nar Shaddaa's underbelly; Nok Prevaro, a take-no-prisoners, no-nonsense bounty hunter and mercenary. He specializes in acquisitions, primarily, and has never been known to so much as carry a box from one side of a room to another. A glance is spared at Merilia, the Rodian squinting heavily. After long moments his interest wanes. It looks like she's escaped her own bounty being recognized, for the time being. Then again, he has the bearing of someone here for a reason. Rhiabe alone would notice the tarp-covered object twitching once more, seeming to try to roll forward slightly, inch by inch... perhaps two feet high and change, with a sphere-like shape obscured beneath. The drunk is finally almost to his feet, crawling back upon his own barstool well away from the ladies and mumbling about the fat lip and spilled drink caused by Merili'sanvor.
The unusual 'lump is finally noticed by Rhiabe and she finds herself about running into it, the fact that she notices it just in time keeping her from being the cause of an accident. "Excuse me. Sorry about that." A hand comes up and out to rest on the... thing's head, not going as far as to pat it as much as to stead herself and the other being. "I didn't hurt you, I hope," she adds before looking around. No, she knows that there wasn't actually a collusion but she wants to be polite in case the other one is easily offended.
The Twi'lek is seen out of the corner of her eye after the apology's offered and is watched, her brow arching slightly.
Hand drifts back away from gun as it becomes clear the Rodian either isn't hunting right now or can't tell his green Twi'leks apart. Likely a bit of both. Merilia leans against the bar, claiming her drink to sip it, headtails shifted to one side for right now, draped partly over the stool. Hrm. NOW she sees the cyborg, which she definitely makes a note of. That's quite a few implants there.
"Oh!" states a smooth mechanical voice under the tarp. Confusion, and the impression of small arms deforming the cover. "Um. No! I am fine." Then the heavy plastic cover is pulled up over the head of a light blue droid, with a very long Xenomorph-style head housing two light green eyes. What makes the small device peculiar is a monocle on one eye, and a small fancy false moustache. He's also had his upper torso painted to look roughly like a black and white tuxedo of some generic design.
"Hello, fine lady! Good lady! I'm here to collect those interested in..." Todo 360 leans forward, whispering loudly. "THE ASSIGNMENT. I'm a... I'm.... I'm a..." After a long pause. "...Butler droid." Head hanging despondent, the wheeled droid then shifts over to Merili'sanvor. "You! Did you wish to come, also? To..." Again, the loud whisper. "THE ASSIGNMENT."
"I'm coming." comes the warbled voice of the Rodian, slipping off his stool. Todo 360 taps his small hands together. "Um, ah, oh. Well. I suppose that's fine... yes." The tarp slides all the way off now, causing more than a few glances from the rest in the cantina. Awkward.
Rhia draws her hand back quickly when she realizes what the thing is, the appearance of the droid rather off-putting to her at first. A moment passes before she recovers and she is able to get her head in the game. "Yeah, I suppose I am here for that," she admits. "Or at least am here to hear what the proposal is before I decide one way or another."
When Todo 360 speaks to the other she leans back slightly, taking in in the Rodian first and then the Twi'lek, her mouth slowly taking on a purse of displeasure. "Is there anywhere quiet we can go?" She's distrustful of most and the fact that there are so many here is starting to make her nervous.
The green tails twitch slightly with amusement. "Ah, a droid." Which means whoever wants to hire them did not want to show his or her face in the cantina. Well, there are many reasons for that, some of them even legitimate. The Twi'lek's light brown eyes fix on the droid. "Indeed. It depends on what the proposal is. I'm afraid I haven't abandoned *all* of my scruples just yet."
"Yes. Of course! Follow me." Todo 360 states, wheeling his way towards the slender door of the cantina. The Rodian hangs back, unbuttoning the leather holding his blaster to make a quickdraw effortlessly before adjusting his poncho to follow. "I'm just an unassuming butler droid. Nobody should pay me any mind." Tell that to the seven eyes remaining in the cantina as the small techno-service droid rolls along on his single wheel.
A brief, two-minute journey happens, with Todo 360 causing a bit of a scene, given that most people passing by can pick out such an awkwardly dressed droid. But he squeezes into an alleyway that might make those present feel lucky to be less endowed. A tight squeeze even for a Rodian, a half-hidden entrance with a simple lock on a door not visible when walked past the side. Best to ignore the debris.
"Home sweet home!" states Todo 360 in a chipper voice. He slots into the lock, and after it rotates a few times, the door hisses open and he vanishes within. A small room, perhaps ten by ten, is lit by a single dull bulb overhead. One wall is completely taken up by wireless monitors, which show the interior of the cantina from a dozen angles, and much of the outside. And reclining in a dumpy-looking seat broken out of an ancient escape pod is a blue Duros with cybernetic rebreather, leather hat tilted at a rakish angle.
"I'll be your employer this evening... if you find the offer meets your expectations." His voice is a deep gravel, boiling out as if holding a slight echo. Awfully similar-looking to a long-retired legend worth 2,500,000 credits...
"...What the hell is wrong with your outfit? Is that why you were in that damn tarp, so I wouldn't see?" Cad Bane suddenly demands of Todo 360. The droid extends his legs, huffy. "If you INSIST I am your BUTLER DROID, then I will /DRESS/ the part!!"
Slowly and long-sufferingly, Cad Bane facepalms.
"Well, give us the details then," the Twi'lek female says, firmly, head-tails twitching a little. There's...something about this guy. Well, if it IS who she fears it might be, she's not about to piss him off. There aren't many OLD bounty hunters.
Rhia has been trying not to feel like this is a setup. Not everything in life is, after all. But between the droid being so weird and the secrecy in which all this business is being conducted, she can't help but to feel a little bit fidgety. Unknowingly mirroring the sneaky Rhodian's actions, she loosens the strap on her pistols' holsters, getting ready for a gun fight in case everything goes south.
When their destination is reached and the subject of all this mystery is finally seen she raises a brow, frowning. "Yeah. What the Twi'lek said. How about the details, huh?"
"Don't rush me, girl." Cad states with a growl, crimson eyes narrowing to take Merilia in. He pulls out a small pocket device, thumb rapidly flicking through. After a button is pressed, the countless monitors suddenly are showing rough sketches of the Twi'lek, and small-time bounties for her unscrupulous actions. "It's dangerous to be rude to a bounty hunter when you have a price on your head."
"I need something picked up and delivered. A ship, to be precise..." Cad Bane stops talking once the Rodian slips within. For a few moments the pair simply stare at each other, and Nok Prevaro hesitates to do anything immediately. "Need something, rookie?" A toothpick is flicked between his lips, tip idly chewed.
"Th... this man is Cad Bane!" states the sqwarky Rodian, shifting into a quickdraw stance. "He's worth 2,500,000 to the Empire... split that three ways, and that's enough to live like a pampered Hutt!"
Todo 360 gasps, grasping his cheeks. "Oh no! You've been found out! ...Again!" He still lingers beside the door, slightly out of the way. For now, the elder Duros remains sitting, feet crossed and hands not yet near his blasters. Brow raised, almost expectant. Seeming more curious in the females, than the one obviously after his head.
Her left head-tail twitches again, this time more violently. "I note one problem with your idea, Rodian," she says in smoothly-accented Basic. "And that is that Cad Bane is an old bounty hunter. You *should* know what that means." The other head-tail vibrates upwards as she shrugs, one-shouldered, to the Rodian, making no move as of yet to her weapons.
Too much excitement is not good for one's nerves, even if some of them are less nerve-like and more akin to micro-wires. When Cad's identity is made with and the Rhodian freaks out Rhiabe pulls a pistol out but it is not the Duros she aims at but rather the other alien (the Rhodian) she levels her pistol at. "Hmm... nah. I think I'd rather like to live," she announces. Looks like the damn fool is going to be on his own if he's going to try and take Cad on.
That all said, her gaze is cocked towards Cad, her head angling towards him at the same time she smirks. "And what is this ship?" She waits for the answer, not yet worrying over what how the Twi'lek or anyone else might react to her having drawn a weapon.
For a few moments, the Rodian simply stands there, sweat running down his oblong face. "Then... the bounty's mine!!" He shifts and draws in a smooth motion, twisting up his shoulder. Rhiabe's blaster fires off with a CRACK, but beneath the poncho she hit an armored shoulderblade. A mild spray of blood, but not sufficient to stop him aiming at the legendary outlaw. Merilia's got hers at the ready, but it's too late to save the benefactor.
Two quick shots fire towards Cad, who twists his chair around with a squeak; one misses clean, the other strikes the back, tearing away foam to reveal an ballistic plate. It seems even a heavy blaster rifle would have failed to get through the back of it -- nobody can say Cad isn't prepared, even when seemingly vulnerable. Legs lifted, a light 'beep' is heard. Before powerful jetboots erupt, and the chair falls backwards.
Hurtling through the air is the Duros. Nok Prevaro is struck in the chest full on by that firm bodymass, staggering with a grunt and impacting the doorframe. "My apologies, ladies. There's really no need to get yourselves involved."
Merili'sanvor keeps her blaster ready, rolling her eyes. "I did try to warn him," the "lady" notes, wryly, a slight shake of her head (and tails) showing her opinion of the idiot Rodian. "Besides, I tend not to sell people to the Empire. Not my style."
The business end of Rhiabe's blaster gets held up towards the ceiling so not to accidentally shoot their maybe-to-be-employer while he takes care of things on his own, the fact that she shot the Rhodian not even registering, or so it might seem as there is no reaction from her. "Just hurry up. We got business to attend to." Just in case Cad fogot why they're here.
The fight, if you could call it such, is over quite quickly. Bane shifts backwards, jets in his boots cutting off. The Rodian desperately brings up his blaster and fires again, but Cad shifts, missed by a meter. In a motion so quick it's like the guns were already in his hands, both LL-30's crack in the air disturbingly loud. Both strike true, one blowing the blaster from Nok Prevaro's hand painfully, the other striking him in the knee. Down he goes, wailing and making unhappy noises.
Todo 360 casually walks over, picking up the disarmed blaster and taking it away as Bane kicks down the chair and settles back within it. "Now, where were we? Right. I need a ship picked up. It's a small hyperspace jump away, hidden on a moon. A starfighter. You'll need a transporter big enough to carry it. I need it moved somewhere else. Pretty simple, as far as smuggling jobs go."
Both LL-30's are smoothly holstered, plucking his toothpick from his mouth and flicking it atop the writhing form of the Rodian. Doesn't seem like he has any intention of finishing him off.
Merili'sanvor glances at the other. "We might have to work together on this one." She's fairly sure the starfighter won't fit in the bay of the Wanderer...it's not designed for that, especially in the configuration she has it in. "What do you fly?"
It is highly debatable as to whether or not the ship will fit on the Myth as well but Rhia is not about to turn down the job if she can help it. Worse comes to worse, she'll pull strings or call in on a few favors to get a ship that'll work for them. "Corellian XS-800 Light Freighter..." She grins a little lop-sided grin to Meri. "Am good with working with you. We can pool our resources and stuff." She eyes Cad. "What are you willing to pay?"
No particular comment follows, the monitors once more showing the cameras outside the alley hideout, and the cantina. A few people appear to have lingered after the noise, but when nothing more came of it went back to their business. Curiosity killed the cat, this deep in the Vertical City.
"I'm low on credits right now." Cad Bane allows. "So I'll offer you a trade. You both do a favor for me..." He tilts his hat down slightly, casting his grinning visage in partial shadow. "I'll do a favor for you. Depending on what you know of me... it can be hard to put a price tag on that."
Oh, the pair don't agree immediately. But to have a living legend owe you a favor is difficult to pass up, whether a job is suspicious or not. It's eventually accepted as a joint operation... although what is causing the Duros from simply getting into the ship and flying off remains the question of the day. The wounded Rodian is dragged into the alley before being left behind. He may be needing a robotic knee in the future, but he can now add 'survived a blaster duel with Cad Bane' to his belt notch. Although he may not bring to note the infinite gulf in capability during that time...