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    1. #1
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      Bring Me A Swift Horizon


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      Jahzra punched the button for the door to her hole in the wall. It drew back displaying her room as expected. There, she tossed the power cell from her blaster that had been in storage off to the side onto the bed. The gas core went with as well with a sour thump. Letting out a shaky breath she leaned back against the door since it had shut.

      Her head spun a little from the alcohol but she wasn't completely faded yet. Her terminal blinked slowly. Jahz pushed off from the wall and began making her way over to the small desk. She plopped her nerfhide covered shapely rear into the chair. Reaching down she unzipped her boots on the side and kicked them off. It felt good to flex and stretch them, causing her toes to pop. Placing her feet on the cool decking she reached over and keyed the terminal to life. There was a message waiting.

      "Play message," she called in her silvery voice.

      Processing...


      A moment later a face appeared on the screen. A woman roughly the same age. She had dark brown hair and a mixture of features that made it hard to pinpoint her planet of origin. But she was attractive. Jahzra thought she probably had a quite lovely smile. There was no smile on her face now.

      "Listen up. You made an impression with Lord Vaago. Normally we'd give you just a blue milk run, but he seems to think you're capable. So we've got a job that's a little more than just being a runner. Might involve some wetwork, depending on how you want to play it." She looked at something off to the side for a moment. "We'd normally pass this to someone who's been with us longer. But our sources tell us you do have skills and experience. So this is a test, and to see how you do." She paused, looking directly into the camera, as though she could see Jazz on the other side. "Like I said, an impression."

      "So here's the story. There is a shipment of computer parts and classified data that were stolen from a Corellian transport ship. They were stolen in order to be brought to Vaago. The trouble is, the smugglers are now trying to barter for 'more' money from Vaago and are basically holding it ransom.

      You are being sent to retrieve the stolen goods and bring them back to Vaago. At last tell, the smugglers were hiding on moon circling Yavin VIII with the false hope the Jedi presence on the planet below would make it the last place anyone would look. One of the ship's co-pilots doesn't like the double cross and slipped the missive by way of encrypted channels to Vaago. He asks only that his life is spared and he is brought back to Drifter's in hopes of working off his part in the theft.
      "

      As she spoke a couple faces appeared side by side on the screen. Fully three-dimensional heads actually, turning in slow rotation so she had an idea what they looked like from all directions and angles. They then shrank down, spreading apart, their images snapping into place with dossiers on each of them. It was basic, but it gave their names and plenty of known data points about them. Those shrunk once again and dropped into an icon on the corner of her screen.

      "The payout for this job is 5000 credits and a bonus if all the cargo is intact. Vaago has given leave to do as you wish with the rest of the crew but to try and bring the squealer back to him. Cargo is to be delivered back to Drifter's. Be aware there are three parties being given this assignment. So the first one to it will be the one to receive the credit. Others that are more senior and looking for promotion. You've got some competition ahead. First one to get back with the squealer and cargo wins."

      The message stopped. The screen flashed the Drifter's Paradise logo then it too went dark, and turned to the terminal's user interface. "Damn," she muttered under her breath.

      Her mind began to turn over shipping lane information and times while her fingers went to pulling up maps and star charts to show the present location and of course the Yavin system. It was a pretty decent run, but one that she could make. Touching the screen she pulled up a list of rental ships that she could find, but none of them were as fast as she wanted. The others were too expensive. She could have handled the fees, but it would have left her with a lot less money than she wanted.

      There was another option. Horizon.

      She balked at the idea. Explosion and fire blossomed in her mind. The image of the destroyed gunwale, her fiance's burned, flash-boiled, flash frozen smear in the emplacement and all over the walls. What hadn't been vaporized or ejected into hard vacuum. It hit like a sledgehammer in the gut, driving the wind from her.

      Part of her ached for her ship. The *Swift Horizon* was a siren song of speed and elegance. Fond memories and narrow escapes. Until some Imperial gunner had burned down her lover. It was still her fault. She could have done something about it. She was on the stick after all. Bitterly she slammed her hand into the desk, but not hard enough to damage it, or her. If she did get it out of storage... Well, that wouldn't happen again. Not to somebody she loved. Really, truly loved.

      Jahzra sat for a solid half hour, staring at the screen, before she finally stood. She fished a complimentary drink from the minibar and downed it in one go, then made her way back. She pulled up the storage services page, and put in her account information. Paid the fees, then ordered the ship stocked, cleaned up. She considered contacting a slicer to get her a new ident package. That would take a lot of credits and she didn't have much to spare.

      She paid her tab with the bar from her terminal, then requested to check out of the hotel in roughly eight hours. She'd need sleep between then and now.

      With a sigh she stood, undressed, went and cleaned up. Dirty clothes she tossed into their own refreshing system. After that she climbed into bed. There she crashed and dreamed of speed and fire. Love and loss warring back and forth in her soul.






      A gasp tore from her throat as she sat bolt upright in bed. Klaxons blared throughout the station, and she reached for her blaster pistol only for her mind to catch up. The warning klaxons shifted in pitch and tone, becoming her alarm clock. It was time to get up, she'd been dreaming. Reaching over, she shut it off and lay back down. And lay there. Then she thrashed around, flailing her arms and legs, pounding the mattress, venting frustration at being woken up in such a fashion.

      With a resigned sigh, she sat up, then caught herself in the mirror. Her hair looked like she'd just been through a rather rough but fun night. No fun, just rough though. She wasn't even sore in all the fun places that might go with it. With a groan, and a pounding head she stood, stretched, then went to get another shower. Cleaned up, she put on a new outfit. Same boots, form-fitting cloth navy pants that accentuated her legs. She pulled on an indigo shirt with short sleeves cut to fit her comfortably. Then she fished her nerfhide jacket off the chair. She strapped on her vibro-shiv and blaster, then gathered her things. At the terminal, she checked on the Swift Horizon then smiled.

      Moving quickly she checked out of her room, then headed toward the main concourse. She stopped at a small pastry seller's stall and picked out something that was decidedly bad for her. It looked and tasted like a slice of heaven, paired up with a large cup of hot tea. Minutes later she was padding into Hal'pine Customs. The front area had a few offices and a receptionist and behind him was a massive showroom of ships, and beyond that, the black starfield of space. A massive MagCon field held in the atmosphere and thus the heat.

      "Can I help you, miss," the receptionist asked. He was in his mid-thirties, dressed in a well made but still somehow casual suit. he had good posture and a winning smile. He hadn't been there last time she'd come in. "I'm here to pick up the Swift Horizon."
      "Oohhh! Wonderful! We just finished up with it, Miss Rocvard. Or at least our mechanic seemed to be."
      "Mechanic?"
      "Uh, well yes. The ship had suffered damage and Mr. Orsan contacted us and paid for the damages to be repaired. And also supplied some upgrades. Since we had no idea when you would retrieve the ship getting them installed was a lower priority. Most of it had been done before but--"

      Jahzra stormed past the receptionist, boots pounding the deck. Some knuckle-dragger was monkeying with her ship! Without her knowing?! There would be hell to pay. At least that was what was on her mind. The receptionist followed, protesting. "Miss Rocvard! Mr. Orsan assured us this would be acceptable and--and we have our best people on it!" He finally scrambled around in front of her, placing his hands out in a bid for peace. She could feel his anxiety ratcheting higher and higher by the moment.

      She drew up short, pinning him in her gaze. "How much is this going to cost me?"
      "What? N-Nothing. It's already paid for. Your storage fees were refunded too."
      "By whom?"
      "M-Mr. Orsan. H-he said that should you have any expenses he'd take care of them. It was the least he could do."

      Jahzra blew out a harsh breath and turned away for a moment. Her vision was watery, and she couldn't see the floor. She set her jaw, and took a few slow deep breaths, getting her emotions back under control. Rounding on him, she poked one finger in his face, not quite touching. "Take me to my baby or I'll drag you all the way to the next system behind her. Without a suit."
      "Ye-yes ma'am."

      With that he spun around so fast he almost ate the deck plates then began speed walking toward the outline of a Baudo-class star yacht in the far distance. It was modified with a reactive skin coating that would allow it to change colors somewhat. For now, it sat displaying indigo with electrum trim. The pattern was elegant but suggested speed. It was feminine without being too much so and it kept from being gaudy. As it came into sight her heart sang in joy to see her in such lovely condition and the scheme was wonderful. She might well have had it painted that, and she planned to save the pattern when she got aboard. She looked much as she had, wonderfully restored and gleaming under the showroom lights.

      "Hi baby," she purred under her breath, and once again found herself blinking to clear her vision. The ramp itself was down, ready and waiting to let her in. As they neared, another figure was making his way down the ramp with ranging strides.

    2. #2
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      The only thing darker than his clothes, was his skin. Dar'no Pique had been wiping the grease of his ebon hands as he glanced up to see the blue haired vixen staring up at him. A smile curved up the edge of his lips as he nodded to her. His heavy accent a mixture of too many things to pinpoint a location of origin. "Must be Jahzra." He almost purred to her as he stopped halfway down the ramp, feet planted shoulder width apart. His hands still absently rubbing one another with the red grease rag in his grip. He was dressed in a black jumper, the top unzipped and pulled down to tie the arms around his waist. He had a black wife beater that at a quick glance was the same color as his skin. But not quite. Like the ship that surrounded him, the main color wasn't all there was to see. The blackness was sheaned with sweat, and at off angles seemed to shimmer like a black diamond. Like all colors at once.

      His eyes were a different matter all together. Violet like the most clear of amethysts peered at the owner of the yacht. "She's ready to go. I managed to replace what needed replacing. Also improved your shields by 12% and your speed by 18%. You should be more careful with her. The torque stress on the keep line was pretty evident." He moved to the bottom of the ramp and lightly hopped off the end. Standing closer to her, he was almost half a head taller and broad enough to wrap her arms around her and completely hide her from anyone behind him without even trying. He tucked the rag into the side of his tool belt which would have probably tipped the slim girl over had she been wearing it. "If you dip her before you roll, it takes off some of the stress. Try it next time." He winked at her smiling.

    3. #3
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      Last edited by Tearstone; 02-11-2018 at 11:38 PM. Reason: im an idiot, please delete.

    4. #4
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      She paused for a moment studying the figure making his way down the ramp. Her expression went blank except for the hard knotting of her brows, and the set to her jaw. Mechanic. She noted his coveralls and the shirt, and his build. She sized him up, and assessed the ditance between them. At the same time, there was more to it than looking for a fight. She caught the note of immediate attraction off of him. That wasn't hard. he seemed relaxed, at ease.

      A dozen thoughts and images flooded through her still slightly hung-over brain. With a mental grimace she shoved them aside. Serious business. But he seemed to have taken care of her baby, and he'd put in some actual effort doing it. Her shoulders dropped a little, tension ratcheting down a few notches. "Last time I took her out I was dodging turbolasers and fighters. I wen't into the Weave spiral and they ... hit me on the centerline." She swallowed a lump in her throat at the memory, letting her gaze fall. The blustery wind had gone out of her sails now. Why am I explaining anything to this guy,she wondered. "Luckily they didn't punch into the engines, or I'd probably be dead." Someone else paid that price.

      Finally she looked back to Dar, shifting her weight some. For the moment the receptionist was forgotten. "I assume the damage to the superstructure wasn't too bad since it was a shallow hit," she asked, trying to shove the personal connotations out of her mind. Talking business, not dealing with her crap.
      Last edited by Jahzra Rocvard; 02-13-2018 at 12:49 AM.

    5. #5
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      "That explains a lot." He said when he explains how the stress had happened. "You're good now. Added some extra struts to the keel and a bit more shielding and metal to the hull. You may notice a difference in a tight spot, but it'll be worth the initial wince." He laughed then and then slowly the smile dimmed somewhat.

      He tilted his head slightly as if listening for something she couldn't hear. "There was more than you on this barge last time you was out. You gotta full crew this time, too?" His query would make her wonder what more lay beneath his query. His arms crossed over his tight chest.

    6. #6
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      She nodded, slowly, her expression falling a bit. "Just me and my co-pilot. He was in the turret when we got hit," she said, then looked back up at him. "That was a little over a year ago. This'll be her first time out since." She shifted from one foot to the other with her weight, looking uncomfortable. To forestall further conversation she sipped at her tea for a moment. Jahzra raked her teeth over her bottom lip for a moment, then looked up at him. "You done much work on yachts like the baudo-class," she asked, then began making for the ramp, gesturing for him to follow. She needed to start pre-flight, but she didn't really want to be alone on the Horizon, not yet. Conversation would be a good distraction.

      "And no, there's no crew this time. Though I could use somebody who can handle themselves," she called back to him just enough for her voice to carry to his ears. Sure he might work for the custom shop but pretty much everyone in Drifter's worked for Vaago in one way or another. "Vaago's people have got me on a run, and it's kind of a race against the clock. And it might be dangerous. Do you know anybody who'd be interested in tagging alogn that's somewhat trustworthy?"

    7. #7
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      Dar'no smiled and followed. The way she said co-pilot let his well trained ears know she meant something more. Family, maybe... or more.

      "Second actually..." she would hear the tease in his voice. "Had to test her out about three months ago. Couldn't figure out where the fatigue rattle was coming from just booted up to auxiliary." He waited for her explosion as he followed her up the ramp but kept the convo going to keep her distracted. "Well ya had a great list coming from me till you said trustworthy." He laughed. He frowned a moment as he sized her up from behind where she couldn't see him. She had the gait of confidence and a cocky attitude. He was betting she didn't back down often. He cared about the ship, that was for sure. It had been in fairly good shape considering the rumors he heard about the cleanup of the ship when it first got here.

      Then you add that she was strong enough to ask for a crew, it all equaled a woman he could learn to respect and work for. After several moments of silence, he finally piped up as they hit the cockpit area.

      "How about me?" If she turned around, he would be leaning on the doorframe, arms once more crossed over his chest as he stared into her eyes.

    8. #8
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      The explosion didn't come, but merely a nod of acknowledgement. "Well. It'll be my first time taking her out," she amended Jahz made her way slowly toward the cockpit. Her gaze traveled all around the interior. Smooth deck plates, muted colors along the walls, with border lights where wall met floor and ceiling, showing a crisp arctic blue. The ship had seemed lived-in when it was brought in, but now, it had been cleaned up and straightened up. She dropped her bag at her cabin, and then continued to the cockpit, listening to Dar. The note about the list falling to pieces at the trustworhty part did manage to tug at the corners of her full lips, though she still had her back to him. She could feel his eyes on her, a note of appreciation, and appraisal. It might have bothered her another time. Even though it was perhaps inappropriate, she didn't mind. She was used to it after a fashion, but this was a little less casual since it was only the two of them.

      Slipping into the cockpit she took left seat and sat down her drink and pastry, what was left of it. They would be secure in a spot designed for such things, . At his suggestion of taking him on, she did turn back toward him, her right shoulder pointed toward him. "Don't you already have a job?" She tilted her head with the question, a slight emphasis. There was more than a little self-interest in his suggestion. He was easy on the eyes, attractive, she admitted. That wasn't everything, even if it wasn't hard to tell where his mind wandered a little.

    9. #9
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      As she turned, he shrugged slightly. "I'm a free agent. I work here because it suits me. I had no debt to pay off when I got here. So all my creds are mine." He stepped forward enough to stand near enough to her seat she could have reached up and touched him. He had towered over her slightly when they were standing, but sitting, his 6 foot high frame made him seem almost unreal.

      His eyes bore into her as if trying to make sure her next response was sincere. "I know this ship... and I'm trustworthy." He had more than one reason. The least of the list were that he wanted to be able to keep the bucket of bolts flying. He put a lot of work into her. And as for the pilot... he had a feeling if she flew out of here without him, he'd worry for her. He didn't like that. He was no Force user. But he had learned to follow his gut. His gut said she shouldn't go alone and he didn't like the idea of someone else watching her back.

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      She still stood rather than having sat at the chair, simply having taken the station. As he approached she looked up at him. He was close enough to touch. Closer than casual conversation. Just on the edge of intimate space. Her heart rate picked up at the proximity. It was a challenge, subtle but bold on his part. He was someone who was used to getting his way. She never got the sense that he was a threat, but merely in tune with himself and certain.. unspoken matters. She found a small brightening her features as she looked up at him. Her head tilted to the side, and she gave him a lopsided smirk.

      "Just because you say it, doesn't make it true," she countered sweetly, flashing him a teasing grin. "But you're right. You know the ship. She's my baby, and you've treated her well. I'm grateful for that. I feel terrible for having not flown her in so long. I missed her more than I thought." She shifted a little. "I get the sense you've not had that much adventure lately. And you're worried. We can handle ourselves, but... If you're not stuck here at the garage, I could use a tag-along. I don't really feel like being alone on this ship right now." That was certainly true. "And I'm a passable mechanic, but no whizz kid. I'd probably up the creek without a paddle if something major broke down."

      She let that linger in the air for a few moments like motes of dust in a sunbeam, before taking a step a half inch closer, and pressing one finger to his chest. "You up for the rough stuff when it comes down to it? It's probably going to get that way when we get to where we're going on the first leg of the trip."

    11. #11
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      She intrigued him. One moment she was almost childlike, the next she was the vixen every man wished he had in his life. "You did a good job with her. From what I heard, few could have come out of it with their skins intact, much less their skiff. And I'll come along as your mechanic, if you want. But I'm also not half bad as a pilot and more than fair with an energy pistol." He watched as she moved around to face him and when he closed the gap, his own breath and heart seemed to pause a moment.

      When her finger pressed against the tank top, he swore she was touching his flesh. At her inuendo, he smiled and lifted his hand to brush a strand of hair behind her ear. "The question is, when things get rough, can you hold on?" He let his smile light up his eyes. And to make sure the game kept on, meaning no one was aware the other was flirting, he added, "I tend to fly to win... not just survive." He let his hand drop as he watched her. He would have to tell Jardon that he was quitting. The man wouldn't like that much, but he still had Myra and Tobin. They would pick up the slack on the more sensitive stuff. If not, he mentally shrugged, the man had the rest of his crew. He'd learn to live with it.

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      She tilted her head as he reached up to brush some of it behind her ear, tucking it out of the way. At the contact of skin on skin there, her ear tingled like electricity. It spread over the rest of her ear, which darkened a few shades slowly. An invisible stream of pheromones trailed into the air off that point of contact. It was one of the few places she didn't have much voluntary control over. She was still learning to control that, like learning to wiggle one's ears.

      "Surviving is winning against a Star Destroyer," she countered with a smirk. She let her gaze trail down him, then backup. "Last time I lost while flying someone put me into a building at a few hundred kilometers per hour. That was years ago." She glanced back down to his chest once more then back up at him. "I play for keeps too. So... I can handle it if you can. And its going to get messy on this run, I'm sure." She flashed him a wicked grin then.

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      Dar laughed. "You are right about that," he said about her Star Destroyer comment. He laughed as she spoke of being put into a building at high speed. Something told him if things went that direction, it would be here in the pilot's seat.

      As she mentioned playing for keeps, he smiled and nodded. "I play for keep as well. So yes, I can handle it. So how soon you looking to bail out of here? Do I get things in route," he smiled raising a brow teasing her more. "Or perhaps I can have a little bit to get my clothes from my quarters." He had noticed her ear turning a shade or two darker as he touched her. He filed it away for another time. It had turned him on in a way that made the deepest core of him ache with desire for her. The feeling had subsided quickly enough that he had questioned it mentally. Pheremones didn't add into his thoughts. But then again, with her staring at him like that, it was hard to keep any thought straight.

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      She smiled. "Just make it quick. We're already racing the clock," she said. "I'd like to be skids-up in thirty but I'll understand if it takes longer. We're coming back here though, so you might as well just get a few changes of clothes. Anything else we need we can buy on the way." She stepped back, to sit slowly, placing her shapely rear end in the captain's chair, making almost a show of it. She crossed one well-muscled thigh over the other, crossed at the knee, bouncing her foot lightly in the air as she leaned back. "You wouldn't want to keep a girl waiting, would you? I'll give you the details when we're away and in hyperspace."

      Her lips pulled back in a grin once more. It was playful, but there was something else to it. "We should be back pretty quick, but do what you need to do. Also... I never did catch your name."

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      He smiled as she offered her thirty minutes. He didn't need that long, honestly. He owned his quarters in the station. His apartment wouldn't be given away. "I won't need thirty minutes. By the time you clear launch protocols, I'll be back."

      He turned to go and as she asked for his name, he paused to look back over his shoulder and laughed. "It's Dar'no... Dar'no Pique. I'll be right back...Speedy ." And he disappeared out of earshot before she would realize she had never told him her nickname.

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