Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

To Catch a Criminal

2»

Comments

  • JeromJerom Posts: 72Member ✭✭✭
    A pair of reptilian, sardonic eyes were staring back at him from the dark, full of mockery. Finally, he had found it.

    The Krona was in a bad mood. After Agent Silas left for his meeting, Djay-Rom was making sure every systems were working at peak capacity, he noticed an anomaly in one of the life support module. Upon investigating, he discovered a fairly large puddle of water on the ground and a chewed out hose. Then, he noticed the prints. 

    "A compy", growled the pilot.

    Following the prints, he could tell the little critter made itself quite at home by doing the unspeakable here and there. 

    "Guess who'll have to clean all this up...", he snarled, his mood worsening.

    A cold feeling in his gut told him he had yet to discover the worst. The compy seemed to be heading towards the cargo hold. Accelerating the pace, he muttered to himself, "Oh, it had better not..."

    Reaching the cargo hold, he found his fear justified, "Oh, no." Bags of broks were laying on the floor, ripped open and emptied of their contents. The critter had a feast.

    His face reddening, the Krona started searching the hold thoroughly and promptly found the culprit, hiding between heavy crates. You needed machinery to move those crates, the compy was effectively, albeit temporarily, safe.

    "You'll have to get out eventually and I'll be right here, waiting for you, you little pest!", roared Djay-Rom.

    As if to contradict him, a silent alarm started blinking all over the ship. Someone was approaching.

    It can't be Silas already, he hasn't been gone long enough.

    Reluctantly, he threw one last, venomous look at the compy, "You are one lucky son of a bitch...", and then headed back to the cockpit.

    Once there, he took a look at the cameras and saw that the person approaching was a female Nath-El. He had never seen her before. He rushed to the docking bay to 'greet' the newcomer, right after grabbing the biggest weapon he could find at such short notice.

    Opening the doors, he took one step outside, aimed his gun at the stranger and yelled, "This has been a really shitty day so far. Go ahead and give me one excuse to make it better, Lunchface! Who are you and what are you doing here?" 

    Djay-Rom > Byflugur
    TravelerMalashTheograthQitorien
  • QitorienQitorien Posts: 281Member ✭✭✭
    edited May 26
    Lunch...face? What?

    The stranger stopped dead in her tracks, absolutely still. Or so she thought. Her eyes were about as focused as they ever could be, though they continued to skip and glance around a few times though her breathing too was stilled. Her wings flicked. 

    Breathing in sharply, Byflugur demanded sternly, "What...did you just call me?" Her demeanor cracked into a hissing laughter. "Get out of my way, idiot. I'm looking for a Der..jim," hesitancy peppering her voice, "and I don't have time to stand here jawing with a-...a dinnerhead!" She laughed again derisively.  "If you know where I can find him, be a good fellow and point me in the right direction with any one of your multiple appendages."


    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
  • JeromJerom Posts: 72Member ✭✭✭
    Djay-Rom groaned derisively at the attempted insult.

    "Listen, cupcake, next time you want to insult someone, try and come up with one of your own instead of just copying the one that was just thrown at you", he replied, mockingly. "Besides, I have no idea who you're talking about."

    Unless...

    Struck by an epiphany, he began contacting Agent Silas through the commsphere, "Hey boss, you wouldn't have happened to send some vagrant Nath-El my way, would you?"

    Upon hearing the W'hoorn's answer, he grimaced, "A warning would have been nice. I almost turned her into a dark stain on the floor. It's not like communication is hard in this time and age..." Not waiting for a retort, he quickly ended communication.

    Turning his attention back to the Nath-El and barely lowering his weapon, he said, "So. You're the boss' new hired help. You should have started with that. I'm his pilot and this is my ship. Quarters can be found down the hall to the left. You can drop your things there, if you have any."

    "Also, name's Djay-Rom, not Derjim", he added, glowering at the Nath-El.


    Djay-Rom > Byflugur OR Pollux
    TravelerQitorienMalash
  • TravelerTraveler Posts: 95Member ✭✭✭
    Hut Polder ducked into the small room that were his quarters, pausing in the doorway to look around. The room was not luxurious, but it was neat and well organized. It had all the necessary facilities - bathroom, bunk, closet - as well as having a locker for any valuables. There was also a small chair and table to the left of the door. Nothing had been disturbed since he had left that morning.

    Polder grunted and set his PIECE down on the table. He carefully dismantled it, looking over each section and wiping it with a soft cloth, then reassembling it. He had just finished when a chime sounded in his ear: someone was vidcalling.

    "Whaddya want?" growled Polder, activating the visual display. Looking through his AR monocle, he could see the figure of the man who was his most recent contact, but only barely. The man sat in shadow, his features shrouded by darkness. No matter, Polder knew perfectly well who the man was.

    "Some bug in the High Class Roadhouse was asking about you," the man replied.

    "Well?" snapped Polder.

    "Thought you should know. How's the new job?"

    Polder made an impatient noise. "It's boring, what else?"

    "I got you a low-profile, decent paying job, like you asked. You can't afford excitement." 

    "And what of this snoop? Working for the W'hoorn? Did they learn anything of my whereabouts?" Polder sneered. "Did you learn anything ACTUALLY useful?"

    "It is useful to know that someone is after you," growled the man.

    "I already knew they are after me. It's why I'm on a backwater mining planet being security for some idiot government goon." Polder leaned forward slightly. "But - if you find out more - find out how many, find out how much they know - I'll pay you. Usual fee."

    There was a pause, and then the man nodded. "Half up front."

    Polder snorted. "I'm not sure your 'information' is worth it. I'll pay you a quarter in advance." He ended the call, and transferred the money. It might or might not turn out to be useful, but he could afford to pay for some peace of mind right now. He still had some money left from the advance payment on the last job. Of course, the man knew it, and that was why he had called.


    Djay-Rom > (Polder) > Byflugur or Pollux
    QitorienMalash
  • MalashMalash Posts: 256Member ✭✭✭
    Back aboard the ship, the argument between the Nath-El and Krona did not go unnoticed. Taking advantage of the distraction, the animal slipped through the torn cover of an air vent, a loud 'chirp' and a small, odiferous pile confirming it's contempt for the would-be hunter. It would not return to the crates; a new source of food would need to be found.


    Djay-Rom > (Polder) > (Compy) > Byflugur OR Pollux
    Qitorien
  • QitorienQitorien Posts: 281Member ✭✭✭
    edited June 30
    Byflugur snorted in irritation. "Cupcake?! Who do you think you are? Who do you think I am? Maybe you should focus on your own introductions," she frowned at the weapon in Djay-Rom's grip. Sidestepping around him, she stalked into the ship with a swagger. Why was she so irritated with him? A good question, madam! I will exert my energies to investigate this matter fully and exa- Shut up. I wasn't talking to you, she replied in thought to her efficient but annoying mindsim. Without turning, she threw over her shoulder in a haughty voice, "'Dinnerhead' was so you would see how pathetic your own insult was."

    The Nath-el moved quickly down the hallway, her wings giving her a slight lift every few steps. A few small brown specks looking suspiciously like turds caught her attention. She made a mental note to question her new shipmates about them. Turning left, she entered the quarters and chose the first empty one she saw and shut the door. She unpacked her few belongings with rapid efficiency placing them neatly. Nothing was far out of reach, partly due to the small area of the room, but more because she liked to have whatever she needed right at hand.

    Sighing, Byflugur spoke directly to her constant companion, "Mavis." Yes, madam! came the swift response. I am here to ser- "I need you to research Djay-Rom, the Krona pilot. Find out what you can, particularly on his missions with Agent Ret'hnar. Anything with ties to the government is the ideal objective." The pay was good, but information would be even better. She would accumulate as much as she could of both before cutting ties with this crew and make double use of her time as she always did. She settled back on the hard bed in an effort to relax and rejuvenate her energy. This would be a most interesting campaign, and she was looking forward to the challenge.

    Byflugur > Pollux or Djay-Rom or Ret'hnar
    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
    MalashJerom
  • TheograthTheograth Posts: 57Member ✭✭✭
    edited July 2

    “- Polder. First name: Hut. He would have come here under the alias ‘Yor Longhaul’. We have reason to believe he was involved in recent terrorist activity and consider him to be a threat to Navarach security.”

    Agent Silas and Thurrol were sitting in a small office in the customs building, an edited-down version of Hut Polder’s dossier was displayed on the wall screen in front of them: nearly all of the information other than physical descriptions had been redacted.

    “A reliable source has indicated that he was last seen here on Rendar Space Station, which has been confirmed by recent accounts from witnesses at the High Class Roadhouse,” Ret’hnar allowed a dramatic pause before going in for the kill, “The W’hoorn military is asking for your cooperation in this matter: docking and shipping manifests, testimonies from customs personnel, any information could be useful in this investigation.”

    He was more than familiar with dealing with smarmy customs officers, especially those for commercial destinations like Rendar, but it didn’t mean he had to enjoy it. In fact, just the opposite. Sometimes they were eager to help authorities with matters like this out of sheer boredom, other times they felt the need to protect their visitors, no matter how unsavory, for fear of losing “safe haven” status among the rich and powerful. 

    He studied Thurrol and looked into his eyes.

    Which are you? he wondered to himself.


    Agent Silas > Thurrol (NPC)


    image
    QitorienMalash
  • TravelerTraveler Posts: 95Member ✭✭✭

    Thurrol's face remained impassive as the officer talked, letting him say what he had to say. Ah, these official types. So amusing in their intensity: must find this person right away - of the highest importance - blah blah blah. He stifled a yawn.

    "Look… Ret'hnar, is it?" he said, tolerantly. "I let you come in and talk to me out of courtesy, but - we really don't do that. If we gave out information about our visitors and residents, no one would come." He leaned back in his chair, lacing his fingers behind his head. "We are sovereign here. You will find that your governement has no jurisdiction over us, so do not attempt to force me.

    "And don't bother offering a bribe, that won't do it either. It's not worth any amount you'd pay me - reputation is priceless." Thurrol let his gaze drift around the room, smiling at the comfortable atmosphere of his office.

    He had the walls' color scheme currently set to a soft jade, with ivory accents. A large framed hologram on the wall behind him gave the impression of a window with a lovely view, city buildings giving way to mountains in the distance. Of course, if it were a real window, it would only show more customs buildings, repair bays, and the gritty street with scattered trash.

    In the middle of the office was his holo display, the oval stand elegantly sculpted out of transteel. Another holo unit stood next to the wall, displaying the image that the two men were currently viewing.

    His chair was comfortable and elegant, his kiosk accented with warm honey-colored synthwood. His Atarxis 350B databank made a fashionable centerpiece for the desk, dark smoke-colored metal with sleek jade plastic trim. Dark burgundy rugs carpeted the floor, matched with fabrisilk draperies which hung next to the hologram window.

    It wasn't the height of luxury, per se, but for a customs officer in the middle of nowhere it was pretty darn nice. And how did he get it? Reputation. Rep-u-ta-tion. He drilled it into his employees. You treat people nice, they'll treat you nice. And that was the way it would stay, no exceptions.

    As the silence lengthened, Thurrol returned his gaze to his visitor. "Rendar Spaceport is a unique place, Mr. Ret'hnar, as I'm sure you can appreciate." He rose from his chair and walked to the holo-window, posing with his hands behind his back as if gazing at the panoramic view. "So many people come and go, all with their different stories…" He gestured lazily with his fingers, and the view changed to show elegant city streets with people hurrying by. "And here, in Rendar Spaceport, they find a safe haven. Almost a home, you might say. A place to be safe and have a quiet, undisturbed rest."

    A smile quirked at the corner of Thurrol's mouth. "And in here, I take care of the boring details for them. Small fees, passports, everything they need to get in and out smoothly, all with a touch of my fingers. They trust me to do that." He turned to face the military officer, his smile fading as he dropped his silky tone. "So - the information that comes into this room, STAYS in this room. Are we clear?"


    Thurrol (npc) > Agent Silas

    QitorienMalashTheograth
  • TheograthTheograth Posts: 57Member ✭✭✭
    edited July 8
    Ret’hnar stifled the beginnings of a low growl in the back of his throat. He did, however, allow a fantasy to play out in his head: grabbing this pinhead by the throat and smashing his face through his office ‘window’, followed up by a catchy one-liner like “enjoy the view” or “what do you know? I guess it’s a fraud.” He loved it when that happened in the holovids.

    “Crystal,” was his response instead.

    This was going to require a different approach, maybe a couple of different approaches. He stared at Thurrol for just a little too long, then slowly raised himself to his feet.

    “You certainly are loyal to your clients, for what it’s worth.” He made an exaggerated show of looking at all the niceties within the office, then fixed his gaze to Thurrol once again, “But be careful, Thurrol - it’s not always worth it.”

    And with that he left the room, told the floor receptionist that ‘Yes, that would be all the business he would be conducting today. No, he wouldn’t be needing anything else, thank you,’ then took the elevator down the thirty flights he had come up. He waited until he had gotten nearly halfway to Djay-Rom’s ship before initiating his mindsim again.

    MIM, what was the system he was using again? Atarxis 350B databank. Right, thank you, MIM. 

    He drafted yet another contract, then thought better of it. No, it wouldn’t do to let Thurrol see him coming. This would need to come straight through the department. 

    Instead, he placed another message to Captain Thel, detailing the apparent roadblock within the Rendar Customs Office, and explaining the need for someone with a special set of skills to join his team: he needed a hacker to get into that databank.


    Agent Silas > Captain Thel (NPC) OR Pollux
    image
    TravelerQitorienMalash
  • MalashMalash Posts: 256Member ✭✭✭
    edited July 20
    A predator waited in ambush.

    The tiny compy had sat still and quiet as a rock for many hours, hidden behind a small storage unit of Jin manufacture that looked worn enough to have come from Ijzala. It knew nothing came to this room, it had hidden here several times since coming to this place. Neither the big, loud-thing that was clearly its competition for the local prey, nor the quieter, hairy wing-thing that seemed far too predatory for its liking ever visited here, at least not for more than a few seconds.

    But something had changed. Everything in this hidden place was different, moved, new things added.

    Not wanted to be spotted again, it did not risk peeking out into the room. It listened. Scraping. Thumping. A voice, one it did not recognize. And finally, a sound it most certainly did recognize. The fluttering of wings.

    Food.

    It tasted the air. The insect-smell was strong, there must be an abundance of prey here. The noises had stopped, with the exception of a slow, quiet, repetitive buzzing sound. Cautiously it emerged from its hiding place, green form blending into the dim light. No movement, except for the strange, soft platform against the opposite wall. There, the top layer rose and fell in time with the noise. The smell of prey was strong there, very strong. It crept closer.

    Footsteps. It recognized the loud-thing, it was nearby. It would be here soon, it would find the prey. That couldn't be allowed. Not here. This was the compy's territory. It would scatter whatever was on that platform, and come back later. But not before snagging at least one mouthful.

    It was close enough now.

    With a piercing shriek, it leaped.


    Agent Silas > (Compy) > Byflugur OR Djay-Rom OR Captain Thel (NPC) OR Pollux
    QitorienTravelerTheograth
  • QitorienQitorien Posts: 281Member ✭✭✭
    edited July 26
    It had not taken long for Byflugur to fall into slumber, though she had not actually planned on sleeping. The past several days had been a stress on her mind and body. Contracting herself out and the planning and thinking it required were new to her, and it had sapped her energy to an unexpected degree. The effort of joining a mission in full deployment, particularly with such an antagonistic ship captain, was also tiring her out, not to mention the packing in addition to her strenuous daily exercises. Her typical frenetic energy carried itself over into her rest; she had rolled to her front when she was jerked out of sleep from sharp pain flooding through her back.

    A primal scream of rage erupted from the Nath-el's throat, her anger as much at her own ignorance of its approach as at the thing itself. Caught off guard. She shoved the berth with both elbows, thrusting her into the air. At the same time, she gripped the edge of the bed with her left hand and dipped her left shoulder forward with the bulk of the wretch lending its mass to the progression of inertia.

    Gravity and the propulsion of her movement took her on to the deck, and she tumbled forward diagonally. Small paws began to lose their grip. She kept moving, keeping her wings tucked against her back tightly. She came up out of the roll, shoving her shoulder hard against the bulkhead, finally managing to dislodge the weight of the small body completely. She spun rapidly, getting her own grip on the creature. She pirouetted on one foot, hurling it toward the door.

    A damn compy. Of course. The origination of the feces all too obvious now.

    It skittered away, making horrible chittering noises. The Nath-el wasn't much better, muttering murderous threats against the beast and all its kin, since no other weapon close at hand could catch the speed of the fleeing compy.

    Pain began to infuse her shoulder as adrenaline dropped to more normal levels. She ground her teeth, her eyes shifting side to side. She stalked toward her medical supplies. As soon as she had patched herself up, she was going to find that Dummy-germ. He let that creature onto his ship. He was slowing her mission down now, and that was unacceptable.

    Byflugur > Djay-Rom or Captain Thel (NPC) or Pollux

    ((OOC: I apologize for the heavy edit. I misread something in the previous post.))
    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
    TravelerMalash
  • TheograthTheograth Posts: 57Member ✭✭✭
    edited August 18
    Agent Silas furrowed his nose as Captain Thel’s message came to an end, as if expecting better news on the second playthrough: no dice in getting a hacker anytime soon. Apparently the bureaucracy on this station wasn’t finished meddling with his investigation. At this point he couldn’t risk going the freelance route like he had for Byflugur (Thurrol surely had feelers out that would notice a call for hackers and would put a stop to it), and all official aid was either too far from Rendar or were already assigned to other investigations.

    His mind absently scanned the department blotter, as it always did when he was deep in thought. His subconscious took in the information as he skimmed through the list of arrests for today. Actually, it wasn’t really skimming so much as it was just sitting completely still and letting the never-ending amount of recent arrests trickle in at real-time. His mind snatched at one that stood out: a Decheeran smuggler named Ewin was just apprehended nearby, with a LOT of drugs in tow.

    Ewin’, I’ve heard that name before... he thought, and that was the moment his subconscious mind knocked on the door to his conscious mind and handed over control. He looked deeper into the file and, sure enough, the smuggler was suspected of working for the Trigon. His eyes darted around at where the screens were positioned in his mind as he anxiously looked for the name of the informant who had given up the smuggler’s location, and his luck finally turned around.

    “Source: Anonymous.” Perfect.

    He checked the local time, and saw it had only been forty minutes since his meeting with Thurrol.

    That’s believable, certainly not impossibleIt could work.

    His plan was imperfect for sure, but it was worth a shot. He put a call through to Thurrol’s office again and was greeted by his secretary. Surprisingly, Thurrol’s face came into view as he joined the call, indignant at his perceived harassment by the W’hoorn military.

    “I thought I’d made our position on visitor privacy ‘crystal clear’, Agent Silas...” he was laying the piety on thick for the benefit of the secretary, who was still on the line.

    Ret’hnar cut him off, “There’s no need for the act, Thurrol, this is a secure feed and I know yours is too,” he said, knowing it probably wasn’t. Thurrol upturned his feathered eyebrows in confusion as Ret’hnar went on: “I wanted to thank you for your cooperation earlier, we certainly would have missed him again if it wasn’t for your help. This was a big one for us, and we won’t forget it.”

    “Wait, wha- stop, “ Thurrol fumbled his words as he switched the feed to a private and, no doubt, more secure line. “What are you talking about?”

    “Ewin. We got him. Not more than five minutes ago. And I know he came through Rendar. Weird right? A huge shipment of drugs comes through your customs office, then an agent with the W’hoorn military shows up to meet with you, and in less than an hour, the shipment is busted...by the W’hoorn military. I wouldn’t like the looks of that if I were the Trigon, you know?”

    Thurrol’s eyes bulged with disbelief, “You can’t- no...no one would believe it.“

    “So what if they don’t? All I need to do is instill a little doubt. Something that makes them question the things I just mentioned. But really, I think they would believe it. I have a long history with the Trigon and would love to take credit for this arrest. And you can bet your feathered ass that I will do it if you don’t give me all the information you have on Yor Longhaul.”

    He waited for a few seconds, allowing the full weight of his ultimatum to rest on his prey.

    “Believe it or not, Thurrol, there is a price for reputation. And I can tell you from experience that the Trigon’s price is a hefty one.”

    Ret’hnar tried with all of his might to keep himself from grinning.

    He almost succeeded.

    Agent Silas > Thurrol (NPC)
    image
    QitorienMalashSqueakums
  • TravelerTraveler Posts: 95Member ✭✭✭
    Thurrol stared at the smug officer, his palms spread out on his desk, speechless with anger. His mind raced as he tried to think of some way he could still come out on top. It was futile, of course. The mangy furball's scheme was solid, and they both knew it. Trigon was a big organization with a lot of clout and plenty of pride, and they would not hesitate to make Rendar hurt if they felt that the officials had betrayed them.

    Thurrol straightened up and carefully folded his hands in front of him, pasting on a smile. "Ah! I see you are trying a bit of blackmail, Agent Silas. How quaint," he said in a tone of cold condescension. "I think you will find that we are not very fond of that here." Eh - that was probably a stupid way to word that. They both knew plenty of blackmail happened in Rendar Spaceport.

    Thurrol cleared his throat awkwardly and plunged ahead. "I suppose one could say that you have done it well, although I'm sure I don't consider that a compliment." He sniffed. "But very well. Alfred, call my secretary."

    A soft chime sounded, and the secretary's image appeared on the holo display. "Sir?" she said.

    "Ah, yes, Miss Gleeson. Assemble all information on one Yor Longhaul and copy it to a datachip for our guest."

    "Certainly, sir."

    As the image disappeared, Thurrol resumed his conversation with the W'hoorn. "You will find, sir, that you are no longer welcome at Rendar Spaceport," he said, with icy politeness. "Security will escort you to your craft immediately." It was possible, of course, that the W'hoorn could use his government's authority to bring pressure on Thurrol to remove the ban, but then again maybe not... And it made Thurrol feel just a tiny bit better.
    QitorienMalashTheograth
  • TheograthTheograth Posts: 57Member ✭✭✭
    edited September 25

    “No longer welcome, as in ever again? Just when I thought we’d gotten off to a bad start, you grace me with a greater gift than I could have ever imagined!” Agent Silas flashed a full set of pearl white teeth at Thurrol, ended the call, and headed to the customs office to retrieve the chip.

    ————————————-

    The darkness of artificial night had just crept into the station’s atmospheric dome when Ret’hnar returned to the ship. As much as he tried, he couldn’t suppress the smug sense of pride he felt as he fingered the data chip in his pocket. It was about time all that snooping around after drug lords paid off in some way or other.

    He walked up the ramp to the ship and made his way to the galley, finding Djay Rom and Byflugur staring at him sourly. The place looked as if it had been ransacked. Then flipped upside down. And then turned inside out. He also noted the bandages on Byflugur’s shoulder.

    “What did I miss?”

    ————————————-

    Ret’hnar assembled everyone around a large vid screen and cued up the information from the data chip.

    The crew watched as surveillance footage came to life on the screen, revealing a small, dimly-lit alleyway. There was an old charge station squatting under a flickering street lamp, and Ret’hnar recognized it from his preliminary scout of the surrounding areas near the High Class Roadhouse. High Class had no security cameras, meaning this one must have been state-owned. Ret’hnar and the group watched in tense silence, their faces illuminated by the flickering light of the street lamp on the screen.

    A weathered old microvan, slightly older and much more nondescript than the one Ret’hnar had used, pulled up to the station. Polder stepped out and swaggered over to the side of the van, pulling its extension cable over to the charge socket. He meandered a bit, looking both ways for any activity in the street, then began charging the van. Agent Silas leaned forward as he spoke, “Increase to two hundred percent, focus on the vehicle.”

    The van had no markings of identification, no plate tag, or even a make or model. It was as if it had been built from the ground up to have no distinguishing characteristics.

    No ID plate, Ret’hnar thought, what use is this footage? There must have been all kinds of street cameras that had caught Polder driving around, so why had Thurrol selected this one? 

    “Switch focus to the Nuzrisa. Increase to four hundred percent.”

    The image zoomed in with hardly a trace of diminishing detail, not all that surprising for a surveillance device owned by a government whose primary trade was in collecting and trading information with unsavory parties. Ret’hnar scoffed at the thought, but thought again of the underhanded tactics he had used to get this very information from Thurrol. Well, he thought, playing fair is a luxury I can no longer afford to uphold. Not anymore.

    His thoughts were interrupted by a small movement in the shadows next to Polder. Someone was there, talking to him. “Increase to five hundred percent. Focus on bottom-right quadrant and increase brightness.”

    It seemed the camera’s image processor had reached its performance threshold and was starting to experience information loss at that focal length. There was just enough movement in the shadows that one could tell someone was standing there but, like the van, nothing noteworthy or helpful. Ret’hnar had MIM make a note of sending this video to Captain Thel for follow-up investigation, as well as sending surveillance to keep on top of Thurrol.

    They all watched in silence as Polder unplugged the van and left without glancing toward his companion. The video winked off.

    Then winked back on, this time with a daytime scene: a large mining freighter docked at one of the port bays. A slow stream of crew members trickled onto and off of the ship. Ret’hnar’s eyes hardened as he noticed the unmistakable swagger of Polder making his way onto the freighter. He opened his mouth to announce it, but the ship’s computer beat him to it, highlighting Hut’s figure and commencing facial and gait recognition software to ensure an exact match. “Pull up that freighter’s launch manifold and trajectory, then plot possible destinations.”

    The screen switched to a stellar map, showing dozens of lines tracing outward from Rendar. He had the computer filter out any straight line trajectories on the basis that most commercial freighters used the gravity wells of nearby planets to help slingshot them along, with the added benefit of alleviating some of the stress off of their skip drives. This yielded three possibilities: a small uninhabited moon, a weighing station near an asteroid belt, and the planet Uuntas. The moon was obviously out. The weighing station would make sense, but Silas seriously doubted Polder would go anywhere near a security checkpoint. That left Uuntas, a little-known mining planet, but busy enough for someone wanting to remain anonymous to find it attractive.

    “Djay Rom, let’s fire up the ship and plot a heading for Uuntas,” Ret’hnar turned to also address Byflugur, “I want you both to pull up as much information as you can and familiarize yourself with the planet. That’s where we are going to find Polder.”


    Agent Silas  >  Djay Rom OR Byflugur

    image
    TravelerMalashQitorien
  • JeromJerom Posts: 72Member ✭✭✭
    Djay-Rom repressed a groan upon hearing that he was expected to read something. Oh well, at least it'll help pass time until they reach their destination.

    The Krona settled himself on the pilot's seat, entered Uuntas' coordinates and had the ship take off. Once they left the atmosphere, he activated the autopiloting system and started reading on Uuntas.

    "Blah blah blah... Uuntas is a somewhat backwater planet... not an extremely uncommon place for criminals in hiding to go... no-questions-asked sort of place... Gee, boss, you bring me to the nicest places...", he muttered under his breath.

    Djay-Rom somehow managed to keep on reading until there was no more info to learn.

    "Well, nothing else to do but wait until we reach our destination", he sighed and leaned back into his seat.


    Djay-Rom > Byflugur OR Agent Silas
    MalashTheograthQitorien
  • TheograthTheograth Posts: 57Member ✭✭✭
    edited October 7

    Ret’hnar felt the familiar sensation of the ship leaving atmosphere and unfastened his safety harness. He listened to the ramblings of his pilot just long enough to confirm that it was directed at no one in particular and that no answer was needed, then ignored the rest. Instead he turned to his Nath-el companion.

    “Byflugur, try to get some rest. We have to assume Polder is aware of us, and men like him are most dangerous when they’re pinned against the wall. I want everyone at the top of their game.”


    Agent Silas  >  Byflugur

    image
    MalashQitorien
  • QitorienQitorien Posts: 281Member ✭✭✭
    She smirked at his imperative without fully realizing that she was. There's that ease of command that I sensed earlier. He just naturally slides into it and others follow. Be careful, she told herself. The smirk flipped upside down as her wandering gaze took in Djay-Rom.

    "Agent Silas, I have an official complaint and a request." She flicked the opposite hand at her injured shoulder. "It's nothing serious, but I expect that creature will be removed so I don't have to worry about being eaten small chunk by small chunk. Can't the captain keep his vessel free of vermin? It also reflects poorly on the mission and on any crew, that is, on me. I don't want my reputation tarnished."

    "I'll leave you to make the obvious, correct decision," she concluded and walked quickly back to her quarters to take the requested rest. Before settling, she pulled up the Uuntas information once more, scanning through it again. For the good of this mission and her own goals, she would take in every bit of information she could gather. There was delicious meatiness to information gathered by the government. 

    Byflugur > Agent Silas or DJay-Rom
    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 ✭✭✭

    "You're late," growled Polder, glaring at the uniformed guard who was lazily sauntering down the pebbled path towards him.

    "So what if I am? It's only ten minutes past the hour," said the other, brushing an imaginary speck off of his white uniform. He stopped directly in front of Polder and snapped a salute that was so perfect it had to be cheeky. "Officer Baenes reporting for relief duty."

    Polder returned the salute with resentment and stalked off to his room in the guard quarters. He sat down at the table, as was his habit, cleaned his PIECE, and then checked the doors carefully and running a thorough scan of the room. Satisfied, he instructed his mindsim to place a call.

    Some minutes later, he ended the call with a frown. Three headed this way - a competent military officer, a rough and tough pilot, and a seasoned mercenary. This did not bode well.

    Should he run? The problem was, he had spent most of his savings to obtain the "safe haven" and new identity he now had. If he had to do it all again, he'd be broke. And Hut Polder did not like to be broke.

    Stay and fight? His mouth quirked in involuntary relish at the prospect of a good fight. It might be three to one, but he was prepared and could lay traps for his assailants. But what would it buy him? The W'hoorn still knew where he was and would just send another team, or do whatever they had to do. He clacked his beak in disgust.

    No, he needed to go out with a flair. He needed to mess up his pursuers to the point that the W'hoorn would hesitate to send anyone else after him - while also making some real haul. That… now that was a plan.

    ------------------------------------

    Polder stood again at his post outside Governor Zafa's mansion. He was one of several guards posted around the perimeter. For show? Or did the Triumvirate really fear attacks from the people? Although the political climate on Uuntas was anything but serene, most of the people's hatred seemed to be directed toward the mining corporation rather than the puppet government.

    He shifted uncomfortably. Blasted uniform. Blasted planet. He was about ready to take his chances rather than stay here any longer. He saw Baenes approaching, late as usual. The young Shen was a distant cousin of Governor Zafa and had been given the post as a favor.

    But Baenes wasn't looking as flippant as usual. There was something pouty in his expression. "Governor Zafa wishes to see you immediately, Officer Ilona," he said with a decidedly put-out tone.

    Polder was faintly amused. For the young man to be passed over for a newcomer, who was not even a Shen - such an insult to his exaggerated self importance. The Triumvirate were the descendants of the first Shen families to settle here, and although they held little real power, they cared very much about the appearance of it, and also about their bloodline. Most government jobs went to family, and if not family, then other Shen. If any Shen had applied for Polder's job, Polder would not have likely gotten it.

    But his amusement quickly faded as he walked toward Governor Zafa's mansion, his PIECE resting on his shoulder. Zafa was the youngest and least influential of the three Triumvirate governors - but still, a governor. What could a governor want with a random security guard? This couldn't be good.


    Byflugur > (Hut Polder) > Agent Silas or Djay-Rom

    MalashQitorienTheograth
  • TravelerTraveler Posts: 95Member ✭✭✭

    Polder stood in the doorway, feeling acutely uncomfortable without his PIECE. He still had a hidden vibroknife, which had been specially  altered to be undetectable by standard security scanners, but he was certain that this meeting was not a normal commendation, and that made him feel very uneasy.

    Governor Zafa stood behind his desk in the pleasantly lit office, alone, yet not really alone, for his office was discreetly equipped with mounted blasters around the room, disguised as part of the furnishing. "Ah," he said, in a businesslike tone. "Officer Ilona. Come in."

    As Polder stepped in, the automatic door quietly slid shut behind him, as well as a second, soundproof door. Hut Polder did not beat around the bush. "What do you want?" he asked, his eyes scanning the room warily for some clue that would tell him what was going on.

    Zafa smiled drily. "You don't think you are here so I can commend you for your exemplary service?"

    "Impossible," snapped Polder. "I haven't been here that long and all I've done is stand around all day. And I'm not Shen."

    "Too true," murmured Zafa. " And indeed, you are here for some very important business. I have a job for you… Yor Longhaul."

    Polder stared at the governor defiantly, unwilling to betray his shock, and the brief feeling of fear that went through him.

    The governor steadily held his gaze for a moment before speaking again. "You are angry, I am sure, that we have found out who you are. But that is beside the point. I don't care. The fact is, I have something I need someone like you to do. And if you don't do it… I hear there is a very big price on your head."

    Polder continued glaring at the governor. "I came here to stay OUT of trouble."

    "Well then, I am sure you will go to great lengths to make sure you don't mess up this job," replied the governor icily. "Now will you do it, or not?"

    It took everything Polder had not to attack the governor. He knew he could kill him. He could possibly even manage to avoid the blaster shots from the automatic turrets. But he would never make it out of the building alive. So only for a second did he indulge in the happiness it would bring him to sink his vibroknife deep in the Shen's chest. "All right," he growled, at last.

    "Very good," said Governor Zafa, matter of factly. "Now, as you know, the Triumvirate is not the real power on this planet. When the triiodite crystals were discovered in the mountains, mining became an extremely lucrative business, and overnight, the mining corporation seized control. The government was caught napping.

    "The people of Uuntas are the ones who suffer in this situation. Before the Conglomerate was formed, they were slaves to the corporation and were kept at the point of starvation, with no hope of escape. Things are better now than they used to be, but I think they can be improved. The Conglomerate is not powerful enough by itself. But if we join forces - if the government joins our voice to theirs - we can be. The people need our help."

    "You sound like a real philanthropist," Polder sneered, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

    The Shen chuckled. "All right, I'll save my speeches for those who need to hear it. Here's what I need you to do."

    MalashQitorienTheograth
  • TheograthTheograth Posts: 57Member ✭✭✭
    edited November 7

    The ship lurched as it struck the atmosphere of Uuntas, a far cry from the thin, synthetic atmosphere of Rendar. The windscreen glowed a phosphorous white as a bright fireball expanded around the vessel, slowly subsiding as Djay-Rom expertly angled the ship for a steady glide to their destination.

    There were giant gashes in the landscape, manmade canyons created centuries ago in search of triiodite and other precious ores, with huge mining superstructures stretching to the horizon from the foot of a massive mountain range. Small patches of civilization seemed to grow more dense and closer together as the ship passed overhead, culminating into a sprawling shantytown that seemed to have no pattern or order to its structure.

    The chatter of flight controllers exchanging information with Djay-Rom could be heard from the helm as he began their descent toward a ragged scratch of landing pads on the southern edge of the shantytown. The Krona’s grumbling could certainly have been mistaken for bad news, but at this point Agent Silas had been with him long enough to know better.

    Ret’hnar glanced back at Byflugur, sensing her peculiar mix of nervous excitement and cool professionalism, something he’d grown to appreciate in his hired muscle. He could see her eyes darting in the direction of the traps they’d set to catch the troublesome compy onboard: her biggest worry for the past few days. She knew as well as he did that they were empty (their mindsims would have alerted them if any of them had been tripped), and so far Djay-Rom had sacrificed two bags of broks in attempting to catch it. He smiled to himself. He had to respect the clever little bastard.

    His smile faded as another clever little bastard came to mind: Polder. He would certainly be waiting for them, if he was still on Uuntas at all. 

    No, he thought. He’s here.

    He stared at the control towers, which were now looming overhead as the ship set itself on the landing pad.

    “Everyone ready for a walk?” he quipped through a wicked smile, stretching his wings. He slung his holster over his shoulder and grabbed his P.I.E.C.E. from the workstation's magnetic table. He inserted a multi-ammo clip and chambered a round before switching it to safety. “Let’s finish this.”


    Agent Silas  >  Djay-Rom OR Byflugur

    image
    QitorienJeromMalashTraveler
  • TravelerTraveler Posts: 95Member ✭✭✭

    The room was bare and severe. Drab syncrete floors and walls served their practical purposes without frill or flair.  Cameras were mounted in the corners, the walls were reinforced and soundproof, and the door had a hidden passcode detector. Polder had been supplied with a temporary code that would be obsolete in 2 standard hours.

    The men across from him were armed, and clearly were experienced with hostile situations - but they had let Polder keep his PIECE, and he had come on his own terms.

    "This conversation does not continue unless I get payment," said Polder, eyeing the two representatives as they sized each other up.

    "How do we know what you have is good? We won't pay you until you tell us everything. If it's good, we'll pay well," replied the older New Horizons man, a Human.

    "I already showed you the first part of the vid," said Polder. "Seemed pretty obvious to me. The Triumvirate wants to screw you over, and I can tell you how."

    "Supposing that is true, what's in it for you?" asked the man, his face betraying no emotion.

    Polder snorted. "Money, of course. The Triumvirate doesn't want to pay well. I figure you can pay better. You have more money."

    ***

    Polder set a cheap holo display device on the hard plasteel table and played the rest of the vid for the two men - he did not include, of course, the part where Zafa had talked about his identity. "The plan is to cause a horrific accident in the mines, making the people question current safety protocols. As you can see, if this job went well, the government would be in a fair position to consolidate power against New Horizons, taking control over certain mining regulations and perhaps even of the Conglomerate of People's Guilds."

    "The government has also brokered a deal with the W'hoorn military for the muscle and funding they will need to kick the corporation out completely, starting with a crooked W'hoorn agent who will use the accident as an excuse to open an investigation into the New Horizons' records and discover 'evidence' that the mining corporation has been cheating the workers."

    With savage delight, Polder pulled up the information that had been sent to him about Agent Silas and his companions, along with descriptions and photos, and some details that he had tweaked a little bit to corroborate his story. "Then they approached me, as you know, having heard that I have certain skills that they need. If they don't find out that I've talked to you, I can go ahead and do the job, but do it in such a way that it will be traced back to them and people will find out that they caused an explosion on purpose. That won't go over well. However, if they do find out, we can share this recording publicly and the same result will ensue."

    ***

    Polder laid his head down on his pillow that night, a much happier man than he had been in months. His account was comfortably flush with money, more was promised, and it looked like he might even get a bit of a fight. Things were looking up.

    MalashQitorienTheograthSqueakums
  • QitorienQitorien Posts: 281Member ✭✭✭
    edited November 15
    Finally the doors would be opening. Finally. FINALLY. An involuntary, guttural sound slipped from the Nath-el's mouth. Daily exercises, regular strategic trapping sessions with that vermin...to catch the Compy--Byflugur grinned slyly to herself as she glanced at Djay-Rom; that was rather clever for her--couldn't assuage her growing impatience. Wow, I am edgy, she reflected in a silent understatement. The conclusion of the mission was out there, and nothing blocked them but the distance.

    There was always waiting in any mission; she had just as often hated it. There was something more this time, something triggering her instincts. What was it? It was there, tantalizing her senses. She could almost taste it in the air. Successful or not, this mission was proving to be a turning point, a cocoon of some sort, for her. But what would emerge, she could not see yet. Ruminating on a single topic, no matter how large, this deeply and for this long was more than she could sustain.

    "Sweet Vuu! Why aren't the damn doors open yet?" she heard someone growl. Byflugur felt some relief that she wasn't the only one twitching to be moving toward their target. That was you, came a chirpy, unsolicited reply in her head. She had never felt at such a loss to explain her own behavior. She felt as if she were being pulled along, prompted to actions by some hidden hand entering commands through a computer terminal. The scoundrel took a deep, steadying breath. She had never believed in the idea of fate as espoused by other races, but perhaps it was merely another way of describing a manifestation of Nath-et. As with all previous experiences in her life, Byflugur determined to meet it head on and wring it of all value for herself and her personal mission.

    Byflugur > Djay-Rom or 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
  • JeromJerom Posts: 72Member ✭✭✭
    "I'll be staying behind to watch the ship and to make sure it is ready to takeoff if you ever need a quick evac out of this hole", said Djay-Rom to Agent Silas, "Besides, with All-Brawn-No-Brains at your side, you should have enough muscle to accomplish what you need here. If you need more firepower, there's a crate full of grenades of various types in the cargo hold. EMP, frag, you name it, I have it. Take as many as you want."

    The pilot couldn't stand the Nath-el but he was enough of a team player that he'd do his best to increase the chance of success of the mission. Also, he wouldn't get paid if his employer were to die.

    Djay-Rom Agent Silas
    QitorienTheograth
  • TravelerTraveler Posts: 95Member ✭✭✭
    Hut Polder gazed out of the dim window of his hotel room. The hotel was right next to the spaceport, and he had a view of spaceships humming in and out busily. Most of them were dirty, worn out transport ships, hauling the stabilized ore out of Hogan and bringing back supplies. But one ship in particular held his interest. Why had Agent Silas come here, to a mining town? Did he know that Hut Polder was here - did he somehow know what Polder was planning to do?

    It worried Polder for a long hour as he sat at a rickety table, watching out the window. But suddenly he smiled. A trio of black-uniformed New Horizons officials were walking out of the terminal to greet the new arrivals. Agent Silas and his team were about to get a very warm welcome.

    Polder chuckled. It didn't matter what Silas knew or didn't know. He was out of the picture. Hut Polder would have loved to stick around and see how it played out, but he had work to do. He dressed himself in his own borrowed New Horizons uniform, the midnight black accented by eye-catching magenta stripes down each leg. He buckled on the standard issue blaster. He'd have to leave his PIECE at the hotel -  a shame, but it would just get in the way on a job like this. Picking up a small black case from the floor, he headed out the door.
     
    --------------
    Polder jumped down from the transport rover and waved it away. Before he could pass through the gate and approach the mine, he had to go through the security checkpoint, where he would be scanned for any contraband substance. As he glanced over, he could see the rover taking his unassuming case, along with cases of mining supplies, to the cargo entrance. The guards there had been amply paid in advance - there would be no trouble.

    He glanced down at the glowing holobadge on his shirt. It said that he was a regional mining supervisor. A message would have been sent this morning by one of his cohorts, informing the Korrac B mine network to expect an inspection from him today. Pausing as the automatic door slid open, he walked forward through a dark hallway, dimly lit with softly glowing lights. Silently, a multitude of scanners- biometric, ultrasonic, magnetic imaging- were checking for anything amiss. 

    At the end of the corridor he could see two people awaiting him -  a female and a male. The man, a Ry'nari, wore a New Horizons uniform, while the female Tukkav was dressed in street clothes. "Welcome, Supervisor," said the Ry'nari graciously, extending his hand. "I am Ord Iphal, the overseer for Korrac B. I'll be your New Horizons escort for today. This is Amity Brola, who will be escorting you as a representative of the Conglomerate of People's Guilds."

    The Tukkav nodded her head politely as she also shook Polder's hand. He nodded gruffly and said, "Let's go then." Blasted escorts and niceties. They'd better not expect him to do any small talking.

    (Polder) > Agent Silas
Sign In or Register to comment.