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To Catch a Criminal

TravelerTraveler Posts: 95Member ✭✭✭
edited April 15 in Roleplay

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This is a story written by Traveler, Bandus, Theograth, Jerom, Malash, and Qitorien, possibly with cameos by other people. If you want to participate you must ask first (just dm one of us or comment on this thread: http://forums.starmourn.com/discussion/157/to-catch-a-criminal-ooc#latest ).

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Prologue


Sasha scooted her chair closer to the kiosk, intently scanning the screen. She was looking for information on a Ry’nari horde leader, who was suspected of being involved in a failed assassination attempt on the W’hoorn Navarach.

She frowned, shifting her wings slightly, as her eyes shifted rapidly back and forth, skimming line after line of text, and still she did not see what she was looking for. “Mavis!” she snapped, abruptly, leaning back in her chair and stretching her legs a little. It didn't help much.


“Yes, madam,” replied the polite and pleasant voice of Mavis, Sasha's mindsim. “What can I do for you?”


“Scan this document for instances of the word Hadar in near proximity to the phrase 'darkest night’,” ordered Sasha. She scratched the fur along the collar of her armoured vest. Sasha enjoyed being a soldier, for the most part, as well as her current detective mission. But she missed the freedom of her tunic and loin cloth, and the open plains of Mithma, where she had grown up. It had been so long since she’d had a long enough leave to go home and see the family and breathe in the sun kissed air.


Here on Celestine, the air was heavy, and musty, and everything felt so closed up. Of course, in the upper district of Cal-Antsa, it wasn't so bad. There, everything was the height of luxury. Sprawling mansions, with alabaster and lapis lazuli, surrounded by rich, verdant landscaping and sparkling fountains and pools….


But Sasha had work to do, and so she was in the business district, sitting at a kiosk in the second largest library on the whole planet.


“Madam, you have incoming communication from Captain Thel,” said Mavis in her ear.


“Receive,” said Sasha.


“Agent Okkar,” said a brisk voice. Okkar wasn't Sasha's real name, but she had thought it prudent to take some measures of precaution against possible detection in her work.


“Yes, Captain Thel,” replied Sasha.


“We have a lead on the Scoundrel who is suspected of planting the explosive device,” said Captain Thel.


“Hut Polder, alias Toby Mer?” asked Sasha.


“Alias Yor Longhaul,” added Captain Thel. “Yes, that one. I need you to apprehend him and bring him in for questioning. We have enough on him to warrant arrest.”


“Madam,” said Mavis in her ear, “I have found the phrase that you requested.”


Sasha frowned, drumming her fingers. She read the words on her screen that Mavis had highlighted, and her eyes widened and she barely suppressed a gasp.


“Agent Okkar?” said Captain Thel, sounding impatient.


“My apologies, Captain!” said Sasha. “But I have just found a very good lead on Hadar! It's nothing solid yet, but if I act quickly I may be able to uncover more.”


There was a brief silence. Then Captain Thel said thoughtfully, “Agent Silas has nothing pressing at the moment. Leads in Cal-Im’hala have come to a dead end.” Another pause. “I see that you have worked with him before. I will pass on the Hut Polder assignment to him and you may follow your lead.”


“Thank you, Captain,” said Sasha, unable to keep the note of relief out of her voice. It meant that she would be able to remain on Celestine for a little longer, and although she didn't care much for the planet, it was better than space travel.


Sasha > Captain Thel (npc)
Qitorien
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  • TravelerTraveler Posts: 95Member ✭✭✭
    In his balcony office, Captain Thel prepares a message.

    "Agent Ret'hnar Silas.

    We have received your report of the failure to find any information of substance in Cal-Im'hala. We wish you to cease the investigation immediately, as we do not think any further use will come of it. 

    You are being given a new assignment, to apprehend the suspect Hut Polder. I have attached the dossier of all the information we have on the person.

    We have had a tip come in. Our anonymous source reports seeing the suspect at a roadhouse in the Rendar Spaceport. We have reason to believe this information is correct, and wish you to fly to this place and ascertain where the man went from there. Having done so, you shall proceed as you see fit, and send reports of your progress.

    Regards, 
    Captain Thel
    Intelligence Division "

    Captain Thel (npc) > Agent Silas 
    Qitorien
  • TheograthTheograth Posts: 57Member ✭✭✭
    edited April 11
    Agent Silas rubbed his eyes and squinted hard at the building's entrance across the street. The new security door didn't match anymore, an oversight he was sure to be hearing about from the management company very soon. Or at least his supervisor would be.

    Yes, we are aware that we destroyed the previous doorway.
    Yes, we can see the door we ordered isn't the same as the one before.
    No, this isn't something we are interested in fixing.

    The hypothetical exchange between the building's management and Captain Thel illicited a chuckle, but only just that. These days there wasn't much reason to be cheerful for Ret'hnar, and upon hearing the latest message from the captain the night had reached a new low. Not that it had surprised him much, this case was thin to begin with and now its pulse was barely discernible.

    It had been a month since the raid, and coming up empty-handed had been an embarrassing turn of events. No — embarrassment was too strong a word. After all, he had warned the captain that the chances of Virgo actually being there in person were minuscule at best, even if he was just a fifth or sixth-rate money scrubber within the organization. The truth was: to even get into the Trigon you had to be smart, there were no idiot lackeys - doubly so if you were trusted to handle their Covenant Marks.

    Still, something in his gut had told him that he was onto something...but no, it had turned out to be yet another dead end, and now after the brazen show of force the local law enforcement had pulled with the raid, Virgo would never show his face around here.

    He stood up from the spot he had been sitting at for the past twelve hours, stretching his back and flexing his wings, and opened a comm to Djay-Rom:

    "Haven't seen or heard anything tonight. I'll meet you at the LZ, we're done here."

    He’d only worked with the Krona once before, but it was a particularly hairy mission and he’d proven to be as dependable as he could ever hope for in a pilot. This time around, the job seemed more like a test of patience for the both of them.

    Was, he reminded himself. Now the two of them were done with this place and probably wouldn’t be returning.

    “MIM, send the dossier on Hut Polder to my terminal on the ship, and bring up any schematics and relevant information on Rendar Spaceport.”


    Agent Silas > Djay-Rom
    image
    TravelerQitorien
  • JeromJerom Posts: 72Member ✭✭✭
    "...meet you at the LZ, we're done here."

    The transmission over, Djay-Rom sighed in satisfaction. 

    That was the first good news Djay-Rom heard all month. They would finally leave this hellhole behind : terrible food, worse weather and let's not even speak of the local women. This planet did not rank high in his Top 1000 planets to visit before you die list. In fact, it did not make the list at all. He spent his whole time doing maintenance work on his ship and waiting for news from the W'hoorn, ideally the good kind. The former he didn't mind too much as it was part of his everyday routine anyway, but the latter quickly proved futile and infuriating. He has always been more of an action guy, he hated waiting around for someone else.

    At this moment, he heard a chime coming from the W'hoorn's terminal. Probably his next orders since they were done here. A sinking feeling in his stomach, and personal experience, told him that he would likely get dragged along on that chore as well, delaying any payday he might have had otherwise for at least a few days. Or weeks. The Krona did not even want to consider this could take months as well. That killed the rest of his mood fast.

    "Well, I better make sure everything is ready for takeoff one last time before Mr. Big Shot arrives", he snarls to himself, "but first, I need to take my mind off this, I should still have an hour or two before the boss arrives and I need a snack. Now, where did I last put that bag of broks again?"


    Djay-Rom > Agent Silas
    TravelerQitorien
  • TheograthTheograth Posts: 57Member ✭✭✭
    edited April 12
    The musty scent of fried bugs filled Ret'hnar's nostrils as he stepped aboard the ship. He wrinkled his nose in disgust: Djay-Rom must have opened another pack. Kronas were always proclaiming how if every person who was opposed to broks actually tried them, they would change their minds; it was an admirable notion, but it still did not account for a W'hoorn's sense of smell. He followed the scent through the ship, past the forward bulkhead, and into the cockpit before plopping down at his terminal. It was surprising how exhausted he felt considering he'd just sat all day staring at a city street.

    The ship was silent for a few moments.

    "Looks like this gig is up," he said over his shoulder to his shipmate, "but I have another if you're interested."

    He flicked the nav coordinates for Rendar Spaceport to the main display.

    "I need you to take me here. I'm still going over the details myself so I can't exactly guarantee any excitement, but it seems like the division deems it as a high priority, so the pay should be good if you decide to take it on. Otherwise, I can send the marks I owe you and we can part ways at the station."

    The gloom in the air was palpable. The past thirty days were some of the most miserable Agent Silas had experienced in his eighteen-year career, but being yanked from a six-month-long investigation wasn't sitting well with him either. It was clear to him that the Krona shared his frustration, but he had no delusions that it was for the same reasons. He sighed and brought the case profile up on his screen, skimming over the lengthy summary.

    His eyes widened after the first few sentences.

    His previous mission was tracking down the key players in the Trigon narcotics syndicate, whose crimes of drug solicitation and violence had reached its way into the Benu system and fueled W'hoorn politicians into action. It was a noble cause for sure, but an attack on the Navarach herself?! Missions like this were the reason he had joined the military as a young pup nearly two decades ago. Whatever feelings of disappointment instantly turned into determination. He sprung up in his seat, straightening his back and leaned closer as he continued to read.

    "MIM, go over the Hut Polder dossier. Use the cabin speakers."


    Agent Silas > MIM (npc) OR Djay-Rom
    image
    Qitorien
  • MalashMalash Posts: 256Member ✭✭✭
    As the scent of fried brok rolled down the ship's ramp, something took notice from the shadows nearby. Food. Reptilian eyes watched cautiously. No one was around. Lightning-fast, a small green form darted aboard, finding refuge in shadows once more.


    Agent Silas > ??? > MIM (npc) OR Djay-Rom
    QitorienTravelerTheograth
  • TravelerTraveler Posts: 95Member ✭✭✭
    Inside the cabin, the nondescript tones of MIM begin to play over the speakers.

    "READING FILE 54690, RECEIVED 04.12.911 A.E., FROM CAPTAIN THEL.

    Dossier on known criminal Hut Polder, suspected of involvement in Case #488.

    Gender: Male
    Race: Nusriza
    Height: 182 cm
    Appearance: Emerald green feathers, short beak, black eyes. Muscular. One talon missing on the left hand.
    Age: Unknown. Birth records missing. Sources state appearance is of an individual in prime health, perhaps 40 to 50 years of age.
    Aliases: Toby Mer, Yor Longhaul. Current alias unknown.
    Skills: Scoundrel

    No records of the suspect's birth or family exist. It is probably that "Hut Polder" is an assumed name. Earliest known record is of a trial and prison sentence on Frixion IV, where Polder was incarcerated for 5 years for breaking into a cloning facility. We think this was in the beginning of his criminal career, and that the suspect has become more streetwise since that time. It is certain that although he has been suspected of involvement in many crimes in recent years, he has not been convicted of any of them.

    Suspect is a mercenary, taking any likely job that comes to him, regardless of the politics or morals. The jobs he takes usually involve infiltration and/or sabotage, as he is an expert in those areas. However, he is also quite capable when it comes to melee - he carries a PIECE and he knows how to use it. 

    Polder is violent, mean-tempered, cunning, and cares only about himself. He has no known attachments, and seems to be loyal only to himself. Recommend approaching the suspect ready to kill, if necessary.

    Captain Thel
    Intelligence Division "
    MalashTheograthQitorienJerom
  • JeromJerom Posts: 72Member ✭✭✭
    With the dossier's reading finished, Djay-Rom's mood immediately went from grumpy to focused.

    "Well, this next task might prove to be more challenging. And fun. Never heard of Hut Polder or Yor Longhaul before, but the name Toby Mer certainly is familiar. I never met the guy, but among mercenaries, he has a reputation of being a grade-A asshole." After a short pause, he continues, "Well, I'm in. This should finally provide the kind of excitement I look forward to. Now, can we get the hell out of this shithole?"

    Without waiting for an answer, the Krona already settled himself into the pilot's seat, flipping switches, igniting engines and preparing takeoff.

    "You might want to grab a seat, boss. The ship will be ready to go within minutes."

    Djay-Rom > Agent Silas
    QitorienMalash
  • TheograthTheograth Posts: 57Member ✭✭✭
    edited April 14
    “Perfect. MIM, send acknowledgement to Captain Thel, and tell him I am on my way.”

    Agent Silas flipped the mission summary and suspect intel to a small tablet and moved over to the crew station chair, strapping himself in. He scanned the rest of the intel, frowning when he came upon information on the High Class Roadhouse.

    “A place like this doesn’t get much foot traffic, which means the customers are patrons and are likely to look out for one another,” he thought aloud, squinting at the words ‘anonymous source’ like they were looking at him funny.

    He sat, running scenarios through his head as the ship spooled up, and felt the lerch of the ship lifting off the ground. Then after a few minutes of pondering, he spoke again at last: “MIM, put out a feeler for any muscle on or near Rendar Spaceport that we can hire, preferably somebody familiar with the area. We’re going to need help if this place turns out to be as difficult as I think it is.”

    Agent Silas > Byflugur
    image
    MalashQitorien
  • QitorienQitorien Posts: 281Member ✭✭✭
    edited April 15
    "By the wings!" Byflugur cursed quietly under her breath as she exited one of the many sexbot bars of Rendar Spaceport. She had little use for such atrocities. What use DID they have? Dividing the multiple purposes of sex was stupidly inefficient. Just as much a waste of time as that meeting was with that wretched human had been. "Delaying, incompetent laggard, Cleax-dung Soft-skin," she muttered as she walked purposefully toward the terminals as her mindsim directed her, punctuated with depressing side notes. It was pointless to argue; he always admitted that he was wrong before continuing exactly as before. She had thought she would be free from excessive frivolities, cheerfulness, and distractions of a perkier mindsim--the only part which she had gotten right had been the lack of frivolities.

    Enough of that, however. Byflugur focused on the task at hand: finding something to replace the worthless offer Jerrath had given her. He knew better than to waste her time, so she would strike out on her own this time and let him wait on her.

    She scanned through the job offers, her eyes twitching rapidly up and down the list. The Nath-el grew impatient quickly, mentally crossing out item after item, "Too little money, too little money, too long, too little money, too dangerous, too little money and too dangerous." She grimaced with a shake of her head, "Cleaning and cooking? Am I looking at the wrong list?"

    Her eyes suddenly stopped, focusing on a sum of Marks. "Sweet Vuu..." Catching herself, she unconsciously glanced around to see if anyone was listening, though it was highly unlikely anyone in this dark corner would know her. I already know where this is going, the voice in her head moaned. Shut up and get me more information on this job. Find out everything you can from this contact card and from any other source you can about the crew being put together for this job. That was futile, thinking of her first words to Marvin. Yes, talking to me is unproductive...and so is death.

    Byflugur lowered her eyes in frustration but refused to reply, as it never ended. Instead she ordered the sim to transmit her skillset, basic information, and interest in the job with a request for more detailed information. She had already made up her mind. Short of taking on the Ishvana, she would seize the opportunity the bounty and the information she gleaned would provide.

    Byflugur > Agent Silas OR Marvin (npc)
    As T'rath has pierced the veil, so will I, and so will my life become complete in a good death.
    Jin
    VOTE FOR STARMOURN
    Tecton-Today at 6:17 PM
    teehee b.u.t.t. pirates
    GrootToday at 2:16 PM
      if there's no kittens in space
      I'm going on a rampage
    TectonToday at 2:17 PM
      They're called w'hoorn, Groot
      sets out a saucer of milk
    MalashTravelerTheograth
  • TheograthTheograth Posts: 57Member ✭✭✭
    edited April 18
    Ret’hnar was awakened by the chime of an incoming message. A quick glance showed that it was in regard to the bounty notice, eliciting a groan -- he had received nearly twelve responses in just the past half hour alone. A simple cross-reference of the local criminal database on Rendar had revealed them all as swindlers and con artists, no doubt hoping to run off with the fifty percent upfront payment. He skimmed the message, telling MIM to do a background check on the sender. The ending of the message made him raise an eyebrow: a request for more detailed information? That quickly separated this one from the rest in his mind. He scrutinized the profile that MIM had brought up on the screen: it seemed a pretty clean rap sheet for someone in this line of business, especially with a skillset like the one he was looking at. He leaned back in his chair and locked eyes with the female Nath-el on his screen.

    So Byflugur, you’re either the cautious type, or you’re reckless and just really damn good. Hardly a blemish on your record considering the line of work, and casing a gig before even being accepted? I'll bet you're probably looking at my information right now too...

    He smirked to himself, then sent his response:

    ADD’L INFO:
    MEET AT SKY LOUNGE ON INBOUND DOCKING PORT 408B AT 2100 HOURS - MORE INFO WILL BE SHARED

    WELCOME ABOARD.

    He stretched his arms above his head and scratched behind his ears, then turned to peer out the main port. He stood up, stretching a bit more, and walked up to stand beside Djay-Rom at the helm.

    "Is that Rendar?" he asked, pointing to the station in the distance.

    Agent Silas > Djay-Rom
    image
    QitorienMalash
  • JeromJerom Posts: 72Member ✭✭✭
    "It sure is, boss. We'll be docking in a few minutes", the Krona replies.

    "As soon as I receive authorization from the station, at least", he adds.

    Immediately opening a channel to the station, he says "Rendar Spaceport, this is Septimium III. We are requesting permission to dock."

    A few seconds of silence followed and then an answer was given in the most joyless, apathetic and blasé tone Djay-Rom had ever heard :

    "Permission granted, Septimium III. Welcome to Rendar Spaceport. Please refrain from engaging into any illicit activities during your stay here. Failure to comply could result into a hefty fine, jail time or even termination. Thank you for your cooperation and enjoy your stay."

    The channel now closed, the Krona let out a loud snort, "Well, isn't he a ray of sunshine. Did you know, boss, that docking officers have the worst life expectancy of them all? Their job is so soul-crushingly boring, so devoid of excitement that it can only be made bearable by sucking out any type of joy or happiness that visitors could possibly feel with greetings like the one we were just given. You can tell they got pretty good at that here. I bet they hold a Soul Crusher festival every month."

    Noticing both the lack of reaction and encouragement from Agent Silas, the pilot decided to drop the subject and concentrate on steering the ship but not before uttering a final 'I bet they all have 'Soul Crushing employee of the month' plaque at home too' under his breath. Septimium III was now approaching the dock at a comfortable speed. With one last maneuver,the ship was now docked. 

    Turning to Agent Silas, he said "You can go on ahead, I'll be staying behind to keep an eye on the ship and do maintenance."

    Djay-Rom > Agent Silas
    QitorienMalashTheograth
  • TheograthTheograth Posts: 57Member ✭✭✭
    edited April 19
    “Sounds good, but don’t get too comfortable. This lead might take us out of here in a hurry and I’ll need this thing up and ready to haul some ass.”

    Ret’hnar nodded his goodbye to the Krona, then headed to the docking ramp. On his way out he noticed a few crates had fallen over in the cargo hold, and a bag of broks had spilled onto the floor. He covered his nose from the smell. Djay-Rom was a damn fine pilot, but he could learn a thing or two about keeping a tidy ship.

    Though, he could’ve sworn he had seen him securing everything back here earlier... He shook his head, then thought nothing more of it and departed the ship.

    He checked the time: it was just after 1900 hours. That gave him about an hour and a half to explore the station a bit before heading to the meeting point. He flashed his holo badge at the customs agent at the mezzanine entrance.

    ”Welcome to Rendar Spaceport, Agent Silas. Is your visit for official business or personal?”

    “Not sure yet,” Ret’hnar said jovially, “can’t tell the difference between the two anymore these days.”

    After the collossal bungle the local law enforcement in Cal-Im’hala had made of his investigation, having station security nosing around this case was the last thing he wanted. Especially this case.

    The customs agent smiled warmly at the standard cop joke like a good sport, “Would you like us to get a constable to escort you to your destination?”

    “No, thank you,” he said, making a show of stretching his wings, “I’ve been pent up in a ship for longer than any W’hoorn should be, I could use a little alone time and a chance to stretch my legs.”

    The customs agent gave a tiny bow of his head, and motioned toward the entrance, “We hope you enjoy your stay then, let us know if you require anything at all.”


    ******************

    Rendar was like few other spaceports he’d ever visited. It was older than most, and you could see clear generational seams in the construction: different centuries built upon each other, melding into a bizzare mix of old and older. Even the newer businesses and buildings appeared to be haphazardly set into older foundation designs. It was as if this place had never heard of demolition.

    With all the glitzy bars along the main strip the High Class Roadhouse was easy to miss. He stood across the street, sizing up the place. His mind instinctively calculated possible ambush locations, firing arcs, and escape routes. He circled around back into a narrow alleyway just wide enough to allow small microbuses and mini-street sweepers passage through. He made some notations on the schematics he had obtained earlier, a few things were represented larger than they were in reality.

    Satisfied with his preliminary scout of the place, he turned and headed for Port 408B.

    Agent Silas > Byflugur
    image
    MalashQitorien
  • MalashMalash Posts: 256Member ✭✭✭
    edited April 20
    Quiet. Emerging cautiously from behind stacked cargo, the small creature finally returned to the meal so startlingly interrupted by takeoff, snapping up beetle after beetle into toothy maw. Delicious though the salty broks were, however, they left a single thought in the animal's mind: Thirsty. Leaving the empty bag behind, it silently padded off in search of a source of water.

    Agent Silas > ??? > Byflugur
    QitorienTheograth
  • QitorienQitorien Posts: 281Member ✭✭✭
    edited April 25
    Byflugur shifted on the uncomfortable metal seat and reread the terse message with a thoughtful frown. I don't remember accepting already. Did I sound needy? No, came the unsolicited answer in her head. You sounded desperateYou will not speak unless I address you directly, Marvin, she snapped. He must have sensed that he had pushed through her limits, because his droning immediately resolved into silence, after a final glum, Of course.

    Marvin's crosschecks on Agent Ret'hnar Silas had revealed a good deal of interesting facts, though few of them helpful for her purposes. He had been removed from his previous mission without a noted conclusion. That probably indicated failure, which she did not like. It could have been for any number of reasons, but excuses mattered little to the Nath-el. She would have to watch out for her own wings in this venture. At least it appeared to be legal this time. That was her preference as it made for fewer complications, particularly with her personal goals.

    She had asked for more information and the captain's "more information" was an invitation to a meeting to receive more information. The irony, the terseness, and the assumption of her complicity concerned her. Her strengths lay more in beating people up, not so much in logistics and acquiring work. Perhaps this had been a mistake. But he was hiring muscle and she knew how to provide that. Any other important things would follow.

    Finalizing her decision, she hopped to her feet and strode toward Port 408B. A flutter of her wings occasionally picked her feet off the ground, causing her to wonder at her mood. Was it excitement or nervousness or the questionably greasy lunch she had? Or maybe she was just used to dealing with Jerrath for business matters. Thinking of deals, that was a problem that would have to face sooner or later, as the insistent beeping at her hip reminded her. That was his third call she had ignored in the last 5 hours and his second message.

    The Port was quiet when she arrived at 2030 and she set about to refamiliarize herself with its layout and other attributes. There really was not much to set it apart from a million other ports. The same odd mixture of fake and real plants, both indigenous and imported. And there were the same ugly attempts at art hiding the dirtier and uglier walls behind them. The common person just saw the face value of the surroundings, which truly did not amount to much. The trained Scoundrel saw a hundred opportunities behind each trash can and planter that lent itself to a hundred different uses--cover, weaponry, distraction, and many more. Byflugur was in her element here, focused on her task, without any hesit-

    "Hey!" Jerrath's voice made her twitch in surprise. She hoped fervently that he wouldn't notice. After all, she twitched a lot. "What do you want?" she spat abruptly, her surprise giving her voice a sharper edge than she had intended. Jerrath glared at her, "Are you looking for work? You work for me. I better get my take." Blyflugur laughed harshly. "You'll get nothing. Just like you. I don't work for you; I work for me." He didn't expect that. After studying her face for a brief moment, he took a step back with hands raised. "Sweetheart, darling, come on! You know we're partners here. I just want what's best for us," he wheedled her. He should have known her better--a show of weakness disgusted her. "Just get away from me," she snarled. "I'll let you know when I'm ready to ask you for work again, if ever."

    Without sparing him another look, she darted out of a nearby exit and ran a half kilometer before concealing herself. She wasn't worried about an attack from him, she could kill him in a few moments with her wings torn off and all her limbs tied up, but she did not want him to create any problems with this new job before it even started. The more she thought about it, the madder she got. She never should have gotten herself tied up with him. A quick time check revealed another looming problem: she had three minutes to run back to the Port. She dashed back as quickly as she could, the double sprint starting to wind her just a little. So much for preparation, she thought resignedly, as she reentered the Port entrance, a slight but noticeable heaviness to her breathing.

    Byflugur > Agent Silas
    As T'rath has pierced the veil, so will I, and so will my life become complete in a good death.
    Jin
    VOTE FOR STARMOURN
    Tecton-Today at 6:17 PM
    teehee b.u.t.t. pirates
    GrootToday at 2:16 PM
      if there's no kittens in space
      I'm going on a rampage
    TectonToday at 2:17 PM
      They're called w'hoorn, Groot
      sets out a saucer of milk
    MalashTheograth
  • BandusBandus Posts: 51Member ✭✭✭
    edited April 22
    The light noiselessly flickered, as it did every few seconds, all day long. The strobe effect created by the malfunctioning light somehow made the isolation feel even more intense. The human, accompanying a glance to the light with a brief exhalation of air, before turning back to look behind the panel he had just removed from the wall of his cell. The cell itself was reasonably sized, by most cell standards anyway. That was the extent of its comforts though. The bed felt hard as stone and did little to help one get a full nights sleep and the bathroom facilities were...lacking...to put it nicely.

    He quietly set the panel down on the ground, looking at the wires and electronics that were now exposed to him. It had taken the better part of a week, and at least two stolen spoons, to pry the metal casing away from the wall. It had been worth it though, the exposed wires offering the human several more options than when he had been placed in this cell. He took a moment to look around the cell again, shaking his head that he was still here. 

    He didn't deserve to be after all. It could hardly be considered his fault. He had found the seedy club just outside the Rendar Spaceport. The money he had paid to watch the two human women dancing had covered 30 minutes of time. He was quite certain he had been there for only 28 minutes when the large bouncer told him time was up. The argument that ensued only lasted a few moments before a stun baton, from a second bouncer he hadn't noticed, found its way to his lower back. The next thing he remembered, he woke up in this cell.

    If only his hands would stop shaking long enough to work. The isolation, while intense, wasn't the worst part. Instead, it was the lack the stims the man's internal physiology so badly craved. The shakes were the least severe symptom and if he were kept here for much longer the symptoms would get much worse. He had heard stories before of stim addicted criminals who had betrayed their own gang. They'd lock them up for weeks, depriving them of stims entirely. The body could return to normal if weaned off the stims, but, cut off cold turkey would inevitably cause the shakes, then the intense lethargy, then bursts of adrenaline so intense that muscles would tear as the body, in its last gasps, struggled to cope with the loss of the high. From there most victims would die within days from a stroke or heart failure. 

    He let out another long sigh, focusing, causing his hands to steady for a vital few moments. He looked carefully at the rat's nest of wires, attempting to divine their purpose in some way. He thought briefly to himself, "If only they weren't jamming my mindsim..." Technically, it wasn't being jammed. Suppressed, would be a more apt description of the effects the low-level EM field had on the mindsim. It was still active, however the neural pathway that allowed it to communicate to him in a meaningful way was being disrupted enough that effective use of it was impossible. Had it been possible, in tandem with the augmentations to his eyes, identifying the wires and their precise purpose would have taken a matter of moments. Forced to do it without this help though, while possible, was incredibly risky. The correct wires touching would open the door, but the wrong wires touching might sound off an alarm. Alternatively, the wrong wires touching might just electrocute him to death right out.

    He shook his head, clearing his mind of those thoughts, focusing once more on the wires. He began to reach forward his hands briefly shaking once more before he steeled his resolve. He grabbed one of the wires, kinking it slightly, preparing to pull it apart. He had just started to apply force in an attempt to rip the wire into two, when a loud metallic grinding noise, followed by a high pitch shriek sounded from behind him.

    He turned around, watching as the cell door opened slowly. A uniformed military officer, flanked by two armed guards, walked through the doorway sizing up the human for a long moment. The officer glanced over the prisoner's shoulder, looking at the missing wall plate and the wires, before looking back to the prisoner with a hard, tough expression. The staring contest lasted for what seemed like several long minutes, but was actually only a few seconds, before the prisoner gave a small shrug with the hint of a grin crossing over his face. The military officer's facade cracked as well, a smirk appearing on his face as well before with a shake of his head he said, "How many more prisons will I have to come get you out of Pollux?" 

    The prisoner shrugged again and replied, "At least one more, I'm quite sure." The officer nodded several times before saying, "I have no doubt." The officer then looked over his shoulder, nodding in dismissal to the two guards. The guards exchanged a glace with one another, as if unsure of what to do, before the officer added a crisp, sharp, and calm "Get out. Now." The guards nodded in reply, vacating the cell quickly. The uniformed officer turned back to the Pollux and said, "Unfortunately, we don't have time to catch up. There's a job for you." Pollux took a few steps closer to the uniformed man, listening intently. The officer continued, "You see, a ship just landed at the local spaceport..."

    Byflugur > (Pollux) > Agent Silas
    QitorienMalashTheograth
  • TheograthTheograth Posts: 57Member ✭✭✭
    edited April 25

    Ret’hnar sat in a privacy cubicle facing the entrance to the main concourse of Port 408B. The door to the cubicle was open and he sat with his arms relaxed at his sides, a small case the size of a deck of cards rested on the bench opposite him.

    He hoped this was the right move. He had a gut feeling that Byflugur was right for the job, but then again, that feeling had failed him recently. Either way, this was how he preferred to meet her: face to face. He knew it was cliche, but if he was going to put anybody in danger on his behalf, he was going to look them in the eye first. Hopefully that would earn him some of her respect, and if not, it was more secure than sending the info in a message.

    He looked up just as she came into the main concourse, and instantly felt her uneasiness from thirty feet away. His senses came alive and he sat up straighter on the bench.

    Uh oh... What spooked you?


    Agent Silas > Byflugur

    image
    MalashQitorien
  • QitorienQitorien Posts: 281Member ✭✭✭
    edited April 26
    Port 408B had grown busier in the last thirty minutes, and Byflugur was forced to step around a group of large, hairy Tukkav drinking and laughing raucously. She steadied her breathing as quickly as possible, focusing her mind to take deep, slow breaths. It was more of an effort for her than for most others. She gripped her P.I.E.C.E tightly by the action and smiled grimly; it always calmed her down.

    She quickly but systematically scanned the entrance. Ret'hnar would want to meet in private surely. Anyway, there was no one matching his description in the open area. The privacy cubicle doors were all closed on one side; she glanced to the other side and--there he was, stolidly staring at her. She summoned her confidence and approached the cubicle without breaking eye contact. "Agent Silas," she said briefly as she closed the door behind her and lithely took a seat across from him. "I understand you are looking to hire people to assist you in some ..endeavor." Well. Here goes nothing. To Nath-et I commit myself.

    Byflugur > Agent Silas
    As T'rath has pierced the veil, so will I, and so will my life become complete in a good death.
    Jin
    VOTE FOR STARMOURN
    Tecton-Today at 6:17 PM
    teehee b.u.t.t. pirates
    GrootToday at 2:16 PM
      if there's no kittens in space
      I'm going on a rampage
    TectonToday at 2:17 PM
      They're called w'hoorn, Groot
      sets out a saucer of milk
    Malash
  • TheograthTheograth Posts: 57Member ✭✭✭
    Agent Silas nodded as she took her seat. 

    “Yes, I am. I’m sure you have questions. I’m also sure that you will find answers whether I give them to you or not, so let me save us both the trouble by telling you what I know.”

    Ret’hnar briefly explained the situation, giving every known detail about Hut Polder. He watched her eyes and saw no discernible change when he mentioned the name and other aliases. The nervous Nath-el he had seen earlier was nowhere to be found now, she was as cool as a vuucicle. 

    “I can’t tell you why we want him, but what I will say is that it concerns Navarach security,” Ret’hnar pointed toward the small case beside her on the bench, “There is your payment: fifty percent upfront, as agreed. The rest comes after Hut Polder is apprehended or killed. Inside that case you will also find a small mindsim upgrade, military issue. Think of it like wearing a wire: I will see and hear everything you see and hear, or more specifically, everything your mindsim gathers from your surroundings.”

    He paused for a moment, eyeing a group of Tukkavs who had wandered near the cubicle. He resumed as they meandered away.

    “The official story will be that you are a third-party security professional that I have hired as my bodyguard. I can give you temporary military status if you want, meaning anything you do while under contract will be sanctioned by the department, within reason of course.”

    Ret’hnar smiled and crossed his arms.

    “I understand that someone in your line of work has to think about their image when looking for future contracts, and that you may want to retain your independence for reputation’s sake. I’ll leave that decision up to you, but you need to make your choice now. I would imagine there are benefits to either side.”

    Agent Silas > Byflugur
    image
    MalashQitorien
  • QitorienQitorien Posts: 281Member ✭✭✭
    edited April 29
    Agent Silas kept his tale short and to the point, which Byflugur appreciated. Despite his brevity, she crossed and uncrossed her legs at least twenty times by the time the Tukkavs wandered by. Life happened through actions not words. She couldn't keep a small smirk from her face at the mention of government sanction for her actions. She nodded. "You covered most of it," a note of approval in her voice. "I do have a question or two. You've used words like the 'government' and 'official' but cannot give me the reason for the pursuit, so I have to ask--this is all legal and aboveboard, right? Don't misunderstand me: I'm interested, but it's good to know that in advance. Also how long do you think the job will take? I realize that it's a bit, er, open-ended, but you must have some idea. How strong are your leads? How well-connected and resourceful is the target?" She licked her lips, not nervously or sensually, but as if she had a tasty morsel, some leftover crumb, from a recent meal, though there was nothing visible.

    She frowned down at the case on the bench. "That," she continued, "makes me feel a little uncomfortable, but if I have a guarantee it's truly temporary and won't transmit any thoughts that I want private, I'll deal with it."

    Byflugur > Agent Silas
    As T'rath has pierced the veil, so will I, and so will my life become complete in a good death.
    Jin
    VOTE FOR STARMOURN
    Tecton-Today at 6:17 PM
    teehee b.u.t.t. pirates
    GrootToday at 2:16 PM
      if there's no kittens in space
      I'm going on a rampage
    TectonToday at 2:17 PM
      They're called w'hoorn, Groot
      sets out a saucer of milk
    TheograthMalash
  • TheograthTheograth Posts: 57Member ✭✭✭
    edited May 1
    Agent Silas listened patiently to her questions, a slight smile spreading on his face.

    “Yes, I figured you’d be a little put-off by the wire. Don’t worry, it has no way of reading your thoughts. It only picks up auditory and visual input, and transmits it to me through an encrypted channel. And yes, it is temporary. It’s as simple as adding or removing a mindsim.”

    Ret’hnar brought up the mug-shot from Polder’s sentence on Frixion IV, as well as the procedurally-aged images estimating his present-day likeness.

    “This is Polder. To answer your question bluntly: he is very well-connected, and very resourceful. Our only lead is an anonymous tip that he was seen here on Rendar, at the High Class Roadhouse,” he leaned closer, pointing at the case with the mindwire, “which is why we will need you to use that and do some asking around. Tonight.”

    He leaned back again and began reciting the same payment details he had recited a hundred times. The one good thing was that the department paid well, which was why it was so effective. Usually effective, he corrected himself.

    “Depending on what we learn this job could be over in a matter of hours, or a matter of months. If it comes to that, you will be paid biweekly until we accomplish the mission. If for any reason you choose abandon it, the bounty payment will be forfeited. If the mission is officially aborted, you will be notified and your biweekly payment will end, but you will be paid the bounty as collateral.”

    He tried his best to look her in the eyes, but this proved to be difficult as they were never looking in the same place for long. He took no offense to it, nor did he think there was much meaning behind it; he had a lot of experience dealing with Nath-el during his time working the Trigon case. Most of them had been informants, ninety percent of which were impoverished burnouts, and almost all of them requested payment in drugs. They were probably all dead by now. He suddenly felt a haunting chill, and forced his mind back to the task at hand.

    “Anything you will be asked to do will be considered legal and in cooperation with the W’hoorn military. Knowing your background and line of work, I won’t insult your experience by explaining the difference between morality and legality. Just know they aren’t always mutually inclusive, but this guy deserves whatever we throw at him.”

    Agent Silas > Byflugur
    image
    QitorienMalash
  • QitorienQitorien Posts: 281Member ✭✭✭
    edited May 3
    She listened carefully as the Agent spoke, feeling a little weird at his intense staring every time her eyes returned to his face. As he described her involvement and her first task, she felt the energy rising in her chest. Here, yes, here was action.

    And despite having just met him, his apparent at-ease demeanor, and all information and intel that she had already collected on him, she realized that Silas was capable of inspiring and commanding attention. That made him a possible risk and, frankly, dangerous.  The thought didn't scare her, but she did recognize its importance for the current and future situation. Marvin, log that impression under Agent Ret'hnar Silas' file. I live to serve, came the response. Because I have to. Wonderful life that I lead.

    Byflugur barely managed to keep her eyes from rolling--that was starting to form into a bad habit--and cleared her throat. "Yes, I will contract with you for this service," she said concisely. "I am ready to install the mindsim upgrade and complete the first part of this mission." A slight thrill nudged her frame ever so slightly and a minimal smile crossed her lips. Taking her destiny into her own hands after relying upon that flake for so long felt good. The Nath-el felt a surge of rejuvenation in her mission and life. Who needs Jerrath anyway?  

    Byflugur > Agent Silas
    As T'rath has pierced the veil, so will I, and so will my life become complete in a good death.
    Jin
    VOTE FOR STARMOURN
    Tecton-Today at 6:17 PM
    teehee b.u.t.t. pirates
    GrootToday at 2:16 PM
      if there's no kittens in space
      I'm going on a rampage
    TectonToday at 2:17 PM
      They're called w'hoorn, Groot
      sets out a saucer of milk
    TravelerMalashTheograth
  • TheograthTheograth Posts: 57Member ✭✭✭

    “Good to hear, welcome to the team,” Ret’hnar put his tablet away, and relaxed on his bench. She would be a good addition to the group, and the way she squirmed in her seat told him she was ready for any action ahead, if it came to that.

    “MIM, send Byflugur contact information for Djay-Rom,” he commanded his mindsim, then addressed Byflugur, “Djay-Rom is our ride if we need to leave the station for any reason. You should have his information should things get complicated at the Roadhouse.”

    He also sent the location of the Roadhouse in case she didn’t know it already, then handed her a few marks, “Here, head to the Roadhouse and buy a drink. Make sure the wire is installed. I’ll contact you at 2300 hours with further orders. Keep an eye on who comes and goes, and if anyone is giving you a weird feeling have your mindsim ping me.”

    He smiled as she prepared to leave, catching her gaze once again for a brief moment.

    “Good luck.”


    Agent Silas > Byflugur

    image
    MalashQitorien
  • MalashMalash Posts: 256Member ✭✭✭
    edited May 4
    In a quiet upper hallway aboard the ship, the maintenance panel that wasn't quite secured after the last set of repairs had been bent open. The mangled, rubbery remains of a formerly merely-leaky plumbing hose now poured water onto the deck and back into the panel in equal measure. Trailing off quickly, wet, three-toed footprints were the only thing left behind by the culprit.

    Agent Silas > ??? > Byflugur
    QitorienTravelerTheograth
  • QitorienQitorien Posts: 281Member ✭✭✭
    edited May 7
    Her head jerked down to look at the marks in her hand with light amusement. Byflugur shrugged. Free money was free money, and she wasn't going to gainsay the little bonus. She wasn't concerned with the social niceties of pretending to decline what she wanted. The box holding the augmented mindsim hardware was simple and unadorned, which she appreciated.

    She opened it and removed the tech, hooking it up to her existing gear. As she did so, the noninflected prompt sounded in her head, Choose your preferred mindsim personality. This was something she had not considered in advance. It was new apparatus, wasn't it, set to the default factory settings?

    She mentally examined the different possibilities. Skipping right by, I see, the despondency ringing in the word, Why am I not surpri-- Good evening, madam. I am Mavis. Sure, sure, nice to meet you. Let's move on. Madam, I am receiving information from Agent Ret'hnar Silas' mindsim MIM regarding the pilot D- Yes, all right. I've got that. Byflugur sighed. Wrong again. With a brief nod and half-salute at her new employer, she turned toward the nearest exit, already considering her approach and tactics to extracting the information he requested regarding the fugitive. Give me six different routes to the Roadhouse, its public building schematics, and the floor plan and...skip the 'madam' ...

    ********************************************

    Byflugur knew this area like she knew the patterns on her wings. The Roadhouse was a familiar icon of dirt, squalor, and stench. It had seen its share of lowlifes and criminal activity. She had to smirk at the name, though “high class” could be considered a subjective term; it was probably considered elegant by *someone’s* standards.

    She hesitated to the side of the entrance, as she reviewed the compilation she requested from Mavis; it was largely academic due to her experience with the locale but she hoped to garner some information that she hadn’t previously, maybe a creative exit, if such was needed. Yes, there was a small window of sorts, not much more than a large hole, there near the kitchen to allow for discarding refuse.

    With several exit strategies planned, she entered the Roadhouse and navigated around those drinking and dining. Many of them second or third-shifters at their employment, they would sleep off their brand of hangover into the late morning. Since some of them knew her, she had settled on a story that would include her type of employment. Anything else would rouse unnecessary and awkward suspicion. 

    Byflugur claimed a bar stool before getting the attention of the barkeep. “What can I get ya, Nath-el? Perhaps a little fermented vuu?” She resisted the impulse to kick his teeth down his throat for the sake of the mission...and the marks. “You know I’m off it, Deren,” she muttered and contented herself with a scowl. Slapping her marks on the bar, she leaned back and sipped at the cocktail he had mixed with a professional and practiced speed. “I’m working a job, tracking down a man. Company he works for thinks he may be spying out their secrets to sell. Have you heard of a Hut Polder hanging around here?” The bartender grunted, shaking his head. Byflugur doubted if he had bothered to listen to the name, but it didn’t matter. She hadn’t expect much from him, anyway.

    She began to meander around the multiple large rooms, alternating between her story and another about an unfaithful husband named Toby Mer, watching faces and bodies closely to see if she could produce any reactions. Occasionally she sat back and allowed the raucous conversation roll over her like a series of waves, having Mavis sift and search the input for the names she had been given. She wondered for the 100th time what the man had done to earn the fierce enmity of the W’hoorns; before this was all over she was determined to know...

    Mavis, alert Agent Silas of my position and inform him that I am continuing my search here.

    Byflugur > Agent Silas
    As T'rath has pierced the veil, so will I, and so will my life become complete in a good death.
    Jin
    VOTE FOR STARMOURN
    Tecton-Today at 6:17 PM
    teehee b.u.t.t. pirates
    GrootToday at 2:16 PM
      if there's no kittens in space
      I'm going on a rampage
    TectonToday at 2:17 PM
      They're called w'hoorn, Groot
      sets out a saucer of milk
    MalashTheograth
  • TheograthTheograth Posts: 57Member ✭✭✭
    edited May 9

    Parked snugly in the alley behind the Roadhouse, Ret’hnar sat in the darkened cab of a microvan, his eyes locked on the back exit. Byflugur’s viewscreen was set to the upper righthand side of his vision. At the top left of his vision was another viewscreen with an angle on the front of the building, this one from the mindwire he had paid a bouncer at the club across the street to install. His brain passively took in all three sets of information as easily as breathing. His PIECE rested loosely in his left hand, his right held the steering wheel. An automatic shotgun sat in the passenger seat beside him.

    He directed MIM to send Captain Thel a status update, and a request for any additional information, if any.

    Now we wait, he thought to himself with a heavy sigh. There had been a lot of that lately.


    Agent Silas > Captain Thel


    image
    MalashQitorien
  • TravelerTraveler Posts: 95Member ✭✭✭
    Captain Thel stood on the balcony, looking over the city below, with his hands clasped behind him in the middle of his back. He savoured the rare moment to step out and feel the wind ruffle his fur. Behind him, in the airy office, two secretaries sat in front of their kiosks. The sleek stools that they sat on reached partway up the back, providing support, while leaving room for wings to move behind them. The secretaries screened most of his inbox, taking care of trivial matters so that he could focus on more important tasks, and occasionally even have a minute to stand up and stretch his legs. But any update on the Navarach case went straight to his mindsim.

    NEW MESSAGE RECEIVED.

    Captain Thel allowed himself a hopeful smile as he read the update from Agent Silas. "So far, so good," he murmured. "Of course, we haven't gotten to the difficult part yet." Turning back into the office, he sat down in front of his own kiosk and said quietly, "MIM, compose a reply."

    "Greetings, Agent.

    It seems that you have done well so far in your assignment. Your choice to hire a backup was well thought of, and Byflugur seems a reliable character. 

    I don't think I have to tell you, as you know how our system works; but since you asked for information, I am sending everything I can think of. The "anonymous source" will not want to have anything to do with you. This source, whom we have dubbed Rendar Shadow, is known for their reliable tips, and their adamant desire to remain unknown and left alone. They have provided the tip, been remunerated, and that is the end of it. You're welcome to question whomever you like, but it is certain that this particular person will not be answering.

    As you probably have already inferred from the dossier, Hut Polder does not have friends in that sense. He has certain business connections who value his work, but the only interest they have in him is so far as it benefits them. He may be alone, or he may have formed connections with a gang or some other criminal entity. A man like Polder would not be unemployed for long, if he so chooses.

    The name "Yor Longhaul" is his most recent known alias, and probably the one he was using when Rendar Shadow spotted him a few months ago. You'll probably have the best luck using that name, although perhaps there are people around who knew him by another.

    Good luck, and be careful. 

    Captain Thel
    Intelligence Division"


    *************************************

    "Time to get back to work, boss! Time's a-wasting!"

    Rushan groaned at the chipper voice in his head. Sometimes Bitsy was uplifting, and sometimes downright annoying. Right now, as he was feeling rather grumpy from not sleeping well that morning, it was the latter. He paused his game, hit save, and shoved the controller behind the shabby couch, as he stood up and resentfully pulled his pants on. The ceiling of his private den was extremely low, to help keep out unwanted guests. Almost anyone but a Krona or an Elgan would be very uncomfortable. The space was also tight, a tiny room crammed into a corner of his rented building - he shared the upper level with Deren and a few other people. He wished he could afford separate living quarters - sleeping right on top of a raucous bar was detrimental to one's health. But space in the Rendar spaceport was limited, and therefore was priced ridiculously high. He was lucky to have a space at all.

    The stubby Krona splashed some water on his face from the faucet, in the corner that pretended to be a bathroom. There were no cooking facilities up here, so he'd have to grab a bite in the kitchen downstairs before going to work.

    A few minutes later, having downed a greasy burger and large mug of synkaf strong enough to curl a Tukkav's entire coat of fur, he trudged behind the bar and shoved his employee aside. "Time's up, Deren," he said, glancing at the customers seated at the bar. "It's night shift now. Get." He stepped up onto the moving platform that enabled him to reach his customers, and look them in the eye. He felt a little better now. It was amazing what food and drink could do for a man - which was, interestingly, the realization that had inspired him to go into this business in the first place.

    Captain Thel (npc) > Rushan (npc) > Byflugur
    MalashQitorienTheograth
  • QitorienQitorien Posts: 281Member ✭✭✭
    edited May 12
    The wafting stench of burning grease and liquor was filling the air, mingling with the sweat and body odors of a dozen different species. If you liked that sort of nasal ambrosia fragrance, you probably had lost most of your sense of smell. The crowd was beginning to thicken as dusk fell on the Roadhouse. Muscles sore and tired, her eyes and mouth were starting to dry out as Byflugur slowly sipped her third drink. She hated the smell. She had spoken to so many of the people--well, talked to a lot and eavesdropped on far more. She had learned just as much as a 100-year old Nath-el would have.

    Byflugur scanned the room again, looking for fresh meat. She didn't miss a spot, which is how she noticed the jerk had left his post. "Rushan," she rasped. "How nice to see anyone but Deren." She stretched her wings and cracked her back. Why not try one more? "Have you seen a Nusriza named--" Might as well try the one she hadn't tried as much --"'Yor Longhaul?' Has anyone been talking about him? I have some friends who would very much like to meet him."

    Byflugur > Rushan (npc)
    As T'rath has pierced the veil, so will I, and so will my life become complete in a good death.
    Jin
    VOTE FOR STARMOURN
    Tecton-Today at 6:17 PM
    teehee b.u.t.t. pirates
    GrootToday at 2:16 PM
      if there's no kittens in space
      I'm going on a rampage
    TectonToday at 2:17 PM
      They're called w'hoorn, Groot
      sets out a saucer of milk
    MalashTheograth
  • TravelerTraveler Posts: 95Member ✭✭✭
    edited May 14
    The chatter and commotion in the room subsided briefly as those closer to the door glanced up at some newcomers. Then it resumed, laughter and conversation mingling with the clink of glasses and an occasional angry exclamation and scuffle. 

    The Krona looked thoughtful. “Well -”

    “Oh, I seen 'im!” said a greasy Ry’nari mechanic at the bar. “Guy come in some months ago, didn't he, Anshur. I come here all the time m’self.” He was wearing coveralls that were once blue, but now were principally black and gray. A similarly colored bandana was tied loosely around his neck, and a piece of falling metal would be no match for the thick boots he wore.

    He stuck out a stained and dirty hand to Byflugur. “Name’s Toff! Yeah, as I said, I come here all the time. Lapteth is good and Anshur don't 'llow people go shooting things up like they do over at Dinghy Dan’s, Dan don't care what people do.” Toff took a generous swig of his lapteth, smacking his toothed jaws in enjoyment.

    “Yeah guy come in here, seemed in a awful hurry. Hollered at Anshur here to get his food quicker. Member that?” Toff poked the barkeeper vigorously. Rushan, in the middle of trying to wipe out a glass, glared at Toff and opened his mouth to say something, but Toff continued. “Kindly mean ol cuss, didn't care much for him myself, don't know what you'd want with a nasty bugger like that. Wouldn't hire 'im if I was you.”

    He raised his eyebrows inquisitively, but receiving no answer, he began again. “Called Anshur here some nasty words, wonder his mama didn't teach him better, mebbe he didn't have one. Some don't, I guess. Said he'd got to go, didn't this place have better service, so on and so on. Ranted about oh, all kinds of things, said took too long to get in, said repair man took too long fixing his ship, and you know something?” Toff jabbed a claw into Byflugur’s midsection. “That ain't fair. I'm a repair man myself. We ain't got all the tools we need, always having to scrap around for some cause they don't budget us enough, and they don't pay us enough, but I tell you we do the best we can!”

    His voice rose in righteousness indignation. “And some fool Elgan come in and was nicking my tools to work on some silly spider looking thing, I tell you it was the limit.” Toff snorted and stared sulkily into the bottom of his empty mug. “Guy says we don't work fast enough, but I guar-on-tee he couldn't do it no faster.” 

    Rushan rolled his eyes, as Toff’s chatter subsided into mumbling. “THANK you for that, Toff,” he said, sarcastically. He set the mug that he had been wiping on a shelf, and reached for a tumbler of lapteth, filling Toff’s mug up to the brim. 

    Looking back to the Nath-el, he said, “Well… I do remember the guy. Nusriza, right? Toff’s right, he was a complete jerk.” From across the room, the Amaian waitress caught his eye and raised a finger. “Yeah, yeah, I got it!” he called to her. “I’ll be right on it.”

    “Well, here’s the thing, Nath-el,” he said, turning back to Byflugur. “As a rule, I try not to give out information on my customers, although I’ve been ‘persuaded’ to a time or two. Doesn’t really matter though, as I can’t tell you anything more than Toff here just did.” He unlocked a drawer and pulled out a black bottle with no label on it, opened it, and filled two shot glasses with a dark purple liquid. He nodded his head at the waitress, and she came swishing across the room to retrieve them.

    “You do have options, though.” Rushan replaced the bottle in its drawer, and scratched his chin thoughtfully. “If I were you, I’d talk to the Head of Customs, Thurrol’s the name. They keep records of every flight in and out. You could ask him to share that information with you.” The Krona smiled, eyes crinkling with amusement. “He probably won’t. But you can ask.”

    Toff looked up, roused from his contented contemplation of his now half full mug. “Thierreau'sss good guy,” he said. “Worked same shhhop’s me forwhile. Good meCHanic, him.” He hiccuped. “Knows his stuff.” Toff nodded slowly, tapping his nose.

    Rushan gave Toff a deadpan stare. “I said Thurrol, not Thierreau.”

    Toff nodded solemnly.

    Rushan and Toff (npcs) > Byflugur OR Agent Silas
    MalashQitorienTheograth
  • QitorienQitorien Posts: 281Member ✭✭✭
    Byflugur grinned in spite of herself and her focus on the mission. Because of her unsuccessful attempt at restraint, it came out more as a smirk. It frequently made people uncomfortable, though she didn’t realize that. The entire time Toff slurred out his colorful speech, his hand continued poised for a shake as if it had chosen a new life for itself and didn’t want to hang at his side any longer. The Nath-el knew she often made others feel awkward though she didn’t know why as often. It was a little more unusual for others to make her feel the same. She finally gave up and reached out to meet his hand with her own if only so that it would get past it’s conflicted state of mind when it suddenly dropped again to the scoundrel’s bemusement. Now her hand was stuck in limbo. Quickly she dropped it, more with relief than anything else, still listening to the exchange finishing between the two males.

    Rushan and the sot had given her a worthwhile lead, perking her flagging spirits and energy. “Thurrol,” she repeated thoughtfully. She dropped an extra large tip for the barkeep, sensing in his words that an outright bribe wasn’t the right choice this time. Anyway, it seemed that he had given her all he knew. It paid to make friends amongst the service providers and working classes, though; she knew their influence often extended just as far as many of the richest beings in the Sector and with far greater loyalty. “Another for my new friend Toff here on me,” she called out to the Krona. She indicated her exit with a brief nod and strode out of the Roadhouse. She instructed Mavis to send a brief message to the agent: Did you follow that? Awaiting instructions. Yes, mad-...I will send the message as requ- The voice stopped short as Byflugur cleared her throat loudly. Great. Just see that he gets it.

    Byflugur > Agent Silas
    As T'rath has pierced the veil, so will I, and so will my life become complete in a good death.
    Jin
    VOTE FOR STARMOURN
    Tecton-Today at 6:17 PM
    teehee b.u.t.t. pirates
    GrootToday at 2:16 PM
      if there's no kittens in space
      I'm going on a rampage
    TectonToday at 2:17 PM
      They're called w'hoorn, Groot
      sets out a saucer of milk
    Theograth
  • TheograthTheograth Posts: 57Member ✭✭✭
    edited May 21

    Thurrol. Looks like I’m going to have to involve station security after all.

    Ret’hnar barked a laugh out loud in the cab of the microvan. He looked at the loaded shotgun on the seat beside him, and sheepishly holstered his pistol. It seemed his determination to make sure this mission was fool-proof had wound up making a fool out of him in the end. This was going to be much more straightforward than he anticipated, perhaps hiring the muscle was a mistake?

    No. You have to trust your instincts. They have kept you alive in the past, and they won’t let you down now.

    His ears perked up as an Elgan stepped out the backdoor and into the amber light of the only lamp in the alley. He looked in the direction of the van for a moment, then the other way, then reached for his pants. Ret’hnar gripped his PIECE, his eyes watching for the cold sheen of a gun.

    The Elgan began walking away from the van a few steps before stopping to relieve himself on the far wall of the alley. A few moments later, Toff exited the bar with the same idea in mind.

    Your instincts won’t let you down... Right.

    If anyone needed a mindsim that backtalks, it wasn’t Ret’hnar, he had enough inner arguments on his own.

    He started the van and threw the floodlights on the alley for a beat, startling the Ry’nari and Elgan, before slowly pulling the van out of the alley and into the streets of the space station.

    MIM, send message to Byflugur: Nicely done. Head over to Djay-Rom’s ship and have him meet me at the Customs Office. I’m going to speak with Thurrol.


    Agent Silas > Byflugur OR Djay-Rom

    image
    TravelerQitorien
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