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    Thread: Kidnap Job

    1. #1
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      BH-Merc Kidnap Job


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      Jahzra wiped steam off of the refresher mirror, leaning forward to stare herself in the face. The heat from the shower had turned her skin a couple shades above lobster, bu tit would fade back to it's light pink soon. her dark hair rested in a wrap where it was drying. Her mind turned back to the night before. A pleasant evening, followed by terror and panic, and then... She sighed and tried to put the memories out of mind. Tried and failed. She couldn't quite suppress the shiver that passed through her, making her hands tremble.

      That had been too close for comfort. They'd handled those men. She still swore she smelled the burned flesh and ozone scent left behind in the common area of her ship. But the scrubbers had dutifully cleaned all of that out. Or they should have. She was fine. He was fine. Dar was fine. He'd gotten a little banged up but he'd ... Well, if she had any doubts, last night had shown he was more than in tip-top shape.

      With a sigh, she thumbed open the door and slipped into her cabin. The air inside was much cooler and drier, and she began to lose heat rapidly. in a rush she threw on her smallclothes and then a pair of dark navy trousers, a charcoal long-sleeved shirt, and then a black nerf hide racing style jacket. She grabbed her gun belt and put it on, then checked the power packs, making sure they were good. Then her vibroblades, security tunnelers, data cylinders, and other gear.

      Ready to face the day, she stepped out into the ship proper. She checked her chrono. They were minutes from the reversion to realspace in the Yavin system. Slipping into the cockpit she settled down and checked the parameters and details from Cadsha one more time. A window appeared on the main viewscreen. It showed their time to reversion. She directed another to open, showing the latest charts of the Yavin system. As she'd done before, they would stop at the edge of the system, then plot a micro-jump to where they actually wanted to go.

      "Dar," she called back, looking to get her partner's attention. "We're a couple minutes out. Will need you after the micro-jump probably." He was a big boy, and could figure out how to make himself useful, but she could definitely use some help keeping the shields optimal if they ran into trouble.

      At least he had enough forewarning to join her. If he was going to. Meanwhile the blue-white tunnel of hyperspace rolled around them violently. They'd drop out of this higher dimension soon. Then the real fun would begin.

    2. #2
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      Dar had watched her leave and gotten up to get his things. Moving to the refresher soon as she finished, he was stepping out of his own room just about the time she called. His own outfit of black denims, a dark blue tshirt tight over his muscles and a black leather coat completed the outfit. Accessories for him were simple, a knife in each black steep toed boot and a small one at the small of his back inside the waistband of his jeans. After the last deadly encounter on the ship, he wasn't even trusting the ship to be a safe haven again. But he would certainly see to it that Jahz always had someone at her back as well.

      She had been more than capable, but things had gone sideways. The idea of nearly losing her had torn a piece of his gut out he hadn't even known was there. And the night they had spent together proved the feelings were certainly not unrequited. But it was new and he would let it take its course. "Coming, boss," he called as she spoke of the support she would need. He had just enough time to grab two cups of stim before wandering into the cockpit. Holding one over her shoulder towards her hands, he smiled. "The Lady calls, I come..." His laugh let her know of the double meaning, but he settled into his own chair as she snatched the glass. "We keep this up, maybe I will need to fix that other refresher, after all." He took a sip of his stim and set it on the small console to his right. He had told her since they never showered together there was no rush fixing it. But if they had more mornings like this, they would both need to get ready fast. And he doubted she was ready to share the small space with him yet.

    3. #3
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      "it's gonna have to be fixed when we're done anyway," she mused as she accepted the drink, and set the sealed container in a secure holder. Even with gravity plating a spacer never took gravity for granted. It was one of the things a ground-pounder never really learned. Up here loose liquids could spell disaster at the wrong time.

      With a wave of her hand the windows on the screen shrank into the corners unobtrusively. "Thirty seconds to realspace. Make sure we come out with our shields up, huh? Between the Run and the Flare we could windup bugs on a windshield if we're not careful"

      She focused on the timer as he brought the shields online. One hand rested on the engine power cluster, fingers hooked into the flat bars. The autopilot could bring them out of hyprespace just fine, but she still preferred to do it on manual. "Three... two... one," she counted down and began drawing back. There was quite a bit of resistance, meaning she had to actually pull. Part of it was from the tightness of the mechanics, and some of it was a safety measure so they didn't revert too quick. Power dropped away from the hyperdrive motivator and the mottled tunnel shattered into starlines. They lept backward immediately shrinking to points as the distortion from crossing back into their normal reality ended.

      The blazing star was a fitful light, and the red gas giant was closer, a distant marble. And all through the area was a haze, clusters of bits and bobs. Among the cloud of ruined metal and aprts sat a rock the sensors could pick up from a long ways off. Almost immediately there was a loud bang as something hit the shields and the hull with enough force to jolt the ship. it might have punched through if she hadn't had Dar charge the shields up.

      Cursing under her breath she ruddered the nose of the ship to port, sliding fragments past the canopy. "Damage report," she requested of Dar and began a lazy arc toward the outpost loafing in the metal graveyard. "Welcome to Smuggler's Run, by the way."

    4. #4
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      Dar had set the shield and then tilted his head slightly to watch her motions. It was one thing to sinc to words, another to sinc to actions. Sometimes the half second between 'one' and actual action was just enough to set things off. So when she said 'one' he was more focused on her pull back and the shields came up at the perfect time. The bang and shudder made him tap out a few inquiries before he smiled. "No damage and I think the reverb echo was something in galley or store room falling over. Didn't sound big. More like mid sized and hollow. I'll check in a minute." He moved his hands a moment more then leaned back. "Five by five, Captain. And thanks for the warm welcome." The laugh in his voice was warm and genuine. "And I'll fix that refresher soon as I have a moment," he nodded and winked at her.

      He watched the stars settle around them into normal speed and marveled at the abilities they had. To think runs like this took years and time in cryo sleep for their ancestors, they had done it while making love the night before. "Beautiful..." he whispered half to himself as his glance to the woman beside him was quickly covered with looking back out the windscreen.

    5. #5
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      Relief flooded through her when the report came back negative. "Good," she replied. Ahead what appeared to be a faint mist began to resolve itself. Objects drifting past. Some as small as flecks of paint. Metal dust and debris... to pieces the size of mansions, all wrecked and twisted metal. Some of it had vaporized, or instantly liquefied, then flash-froze in gossamer streams. And many of them were moving at speeds that would make a slugthrower rifle blush.

      They were above the most dangerous parts of the field, and as they flew, new data appeared on the heads-up display. A sort of flow symmetry had been established. But most of it had settled into stable positions, slowly drifting back together over the decades under the forces of gravity. Suddenly a white and black object caromed off the forward shield. "Was.. that a stormtrooper helmet," she asked, then shuddered. It was a macabre reminder that tens of thousands of people had died when the first Death Star had blown to pieces.

      Ahead their destination was growing in size, an illusion of their approach. A collage of asteroids and salvaged wreckage huddled together as if doing their best to ward off the cold of space. Blazing arc welders and plasma cutters lit part of hte exterior, while the view ports leaked light, and navigational beacons flickered in the dark. A small window popped up on the display in front of them. They'd reached the outer marker.

      Before long, they were swinging around the side of one of the rocks and lining up with the portal inward, then cruising through. The interior was pretty large, and the MagCon kept the atmosphere in. she received notice of their assigned berth from the dockboss. Quickly she drifted over the pad and dropped straight down smoothly. Mechanical and magnetic claws latched onto the landing gear and they were down. The platform itself dropped into the floor, transferring them into a pressurized landing bay. It was tricky in it's own way, but any spacer worth their salt got it down decently.

      With the overhead pad sealed, they were safe and sound inside. Double protected in case something went wrong. "Alright, let's find these chuckleheads," she said, and transferred the info she needed to a pocket sized datapad and com device. "How good are your slicing skills?" She was decent enough, but she was no Ghent. That guy had sliced New Republic command access badges for fun and because he was bored. Cracking Imperial battle encryption had been pure joy, when he'd been working for Talon Karrde decades ago.

    6. #6
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      "I think it was more than a helmet," Dar responded to the query with a reverently lowered voice. He wasn't so cold that a shudder didn't go up his spine. He'd managed to avoid this section of space after a guy he knew ended up a permanent psych case after being here. Apparently his crew had been trying to strip a large section of the derelict planet destroyer when something went wrong and all the bodies that had been trapped in the next compartment had floated thru and trapped the crewmen against the wall till help arrived. The crush of the bodies had warped the man's mind and broken him, somehow.

      Seeing the storm trooper head had distracted him just long enough that his response took a moment to formulate before he answered the Captain. His usual grin returned and unless she had been looking right at him, she wouldn't have seen it. "How are your piloting skills? I'm just giving you a hard time, Jay... I'm no pro, but I can certainly get where we need to go." He then got up and offered his hand. Overly gallant, but the grin made it worth it. "Let's get these chuckleheads..." His half bow was meant to ease the tension one last time before the craziness began.

    7. #7
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      She pushed herself to her feet and shrugged her jacket on, making sure it fit comfortably. "Have you ever been to Smuggler's Run before," she asked him, heading into the corridor leading to the common area.

      Ahead the gangway remained sealed. Her mind returned to that moment when she found Dar there held hostage. It made her heart leap into her throat a bit, causing her to balk for half a second, half a step. But she pushed through it. That wasn't going to happen today. That had been a fluke.

      Reaching up she palmed the entry way to unseal with a hiss-squeak of pressure differentials equalizing. Her ears popped slightly at the pressure change, but nothing too bad. Ducking down she began leading the way out. The air was cool, and the sting of solvents warred with the acrid notes of lubricants. Distantly she could hear engines thrumming and equipment working as other ships landed or made ready for their next profitable run.

      The decking was a dull gray and spread beneath them easily. The gravity was a bit lighter than on the ship but easy enough for accomplished spacers to deal with. Low inset lights ran around the docking pad in neon green. The overhead glow panels were dim. Enough to see by, but not enough to do major work by. That was probably by design and could be changed, she mused.

      Ahead a kiosk next to the doorway stood a silent sentinel. As they made for the doors they didn't open, and it blatted at them in an unfriendly matter. With a sigh she stepped over to the kiosk and pulled up the menu. Entered one of her pseudonyms and fake registries on the ship, then paid the docking fees reluctantly. The screen turned green, and the doors opened, admitting them into an airlock.

      "I guess the dockmaster really wants his cut," she said by way of explanation as they exited the other side of the lock. It dumped them into a wide, low slung corridor. Several wheeled carts as well as some repulsor versions traversed back and forth. Some carried cargo containers, other seemed to be running people around. Another corridor intersected straight ahead, which she took without much thought, heading deeper in.

      In this area, the decks and walls were worn and covered in a few layers of grime and graffiti. It looked like parts of Drifter's, except less maintained. A multi-cultural slum would have been an apt description any day. Once they were away from some of the foot traffic, she looked to Dar as they walked. "Okay, so... Think you can ping our squealer's comlink and get a fix on him?"

    8. #8
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      Dar smiled and stepped back as she ignored his hand and shrugged into her jacket. "No I haven't been here before. But one outlaw land much like the next. I'll be fine. Sometimes being new has advantages as well." He stirred back and let her lead the way. She was the Captain and judging by her stance, she wasn't in want of a bodyguard here. He grabbed his gear bag from the last locker on the deck and slid it over his shoulder. It had a couple small cred sticks in it, a data box for hacking, couple power cables and clips. Everything he'd need to hack a terminal like she wanted.

      Being behind her as they headed out did have another advantage.. just as she wouldn't see him watch her body move with a slight smile of appreciation, she didn't see the frown of concern on his face when her footsteps paused for a heartbeat. He said nothing but made a note to himself to see to a fresh coat of paint as well as a better cleaning when time permitted. She deserved better memories when she walked this hall. Or perhaps he'd make love to her here, as well. If every room made her blush and hitch her breath because of those memories, he could live with that.

      His own eyes assessed the area as they excited the ship. She knew the place, he didn't. That meant his scrutiny was more intense than hers. He noted pylon locations, other ships, power box junctions, and other things that could hide folks or move gear. Knowing where things were, meant he'd know if they were 'out of place' next time he looked.

      Her scoff about the fees made him smile. "Probably have to pay to leave as well." Once inside, he made note of everything he could from people to signs to androids. Everything in a jumble, for now, but as he became more familiar, they'd start to make more sense.

      When she asked about finding their mark, he smiled. "Yeah...I can find him. I'll be some time, though. What else did you wanna take care of here? I at least need to get another knife and maybe a small energy pistol." His mind was working on a couple things. But he didn't give it away in his gaze and smile to her. "Anything you want to restock that's easier to get here than at Drifter's?"

    9. #9
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      "If you needed a gun you should have said something," she said. "But I understand you probably want something that's yours," she murmured to him. "I don't have any particular business. I just want to get in get our cargo, both sets and get the hell out. Maybe we take out the crew, maybe we don't. I'm sure there will be someone along for a bounty on them. Though maybe if we do, the bosslady will consider those contracts closed and award them to us." She shrugged and sighed. It was an idea, but she wasn't entirely sure she was comfortable with the whole 'murder for hire' thing. And she didn't feel like transporting several escape and hijacking risks back.

      Though they could put them in the airlock. Rig it to be very twitchy in case they got any ideas. If they tried anything they'd get dumped out into space, or hyperspace. Or at least the air would. Then they'd just be hauling back dead meat. But then it would be their fault, not Jahzra or Dar's fault.

      "Anyway, while you're doing your thing, I might try some social engineering and see where we get."

    10. #10
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      Dar nodded. "Yeah... one of my own." He was hoping for more time, but a couple hours would do. "Meet me back at the ship in a couple hours. I'll be ready to grab our cargo and go. Should be outta here before breakfast." He winked and turned without another word, heading back to the ship. He had a couple things to grab. He hadn't waited for her response, which wouldn't endear him to her any, but in the given time he had, it was worth the bit of rage the young vixen would toss at him when she saw him next.

      Jahzra nodded then sighed. "I don't know if I'll be able to pull something that quick. Buuut... two hours." She checked her chrono, then headed into the station itself.

      Dar smiled as he heard her soft growl at the pressure. "You'll be great..." he called back over his shoulder and disappeared thru the door they had come thru.

      Once back in the docking bay, he quickly returned to the ship. Moving with more speed than would seem possible from his bulk, he grabbed what he had been looking for and was back out of the ship in the blink of an eye. Back in the station, the ship and code punched in 'crewman' as his title, he moved deeper into the station to see to his checklist before time was up. It took asking several awkward questions and making up a few stories before he found what he was looking for. With an hour and a half left, and a pick up time of the same amount before him, he took off once more into the depths of the station. This time the pistol was his goal. He did need another, and a smaller one would be perfect for a boot piece.

      He was running about ten minutes late when he jogged back thru the door that would lead him to the ship. "She's gonna kill me for being late," he murmured as he finally glanced up to see is she was waiting on the gangway or he'd have a moment to take a breath before getting on board with the two packages in hand.

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      The bay was quiet, save for a few tech droids going about their business. She checked her chrono. Five minutes late. Not too bad. They weren't on a super-tight schedule. But Dar was nowhere to be seen. She checked hte interior of the ship but it was as barren as a boulder.

      She sat. She paced. She checked her weapons for the third time. Then her credits. She'd arrived with a pelasant glow in her belly and a slightly styrofoamy feel to her skin, but her anxiety began to cut into the mild buzz she had going on. It was probably a good idea anyway, she decided.

      Finally she pulled out her comlink and sent a quick text-only message that she was at the hangar.

    12. #12
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      Dar swore as his boots hit the plassteel of the hanger. The commlink going off was a reminder that he was late, and she wasn't patient. "Yeah, yeah... I'm coming," he murmured with a smile.

      As he came upon the ship proper, he called out, "Hey, Cap! There you are." The boxes in his large hands seemed to weigh nothing as he moved to the ramp with a cheshire grin on his face. "So I know I'm late, but I hope you forgive me." He held one of the boxes out to her and smiled brighter as he moved up close enough to touch her if the box hadn't been occupying his fingers. He wanted her to love what he did. But in that moment, there was a flicker of hesitation as he wondered if he had blown it. But it was such a swift moment she may not have even noticed it.

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      Seeing him appear in the doorway on the tail end of his shout sent a wave of relief through her. It was like taking a breath she didn't know she'd been holding. Good, he was safe. Standing quickly she noted the boxes as she made her way down the ramp. "I was a little worried. I see what the hold-up was though." When he passed one to her she looked at it and him quizzically. Hesitantly she took the package passed to her. "What's this," she asked, feeling the weight.

      A moment later she fished out a small folding knife from her pocket and flicked it open and ran it around the seam or seal to make sure it wasn't bonded shut, then put the tool away.

      Shopping wasn't really on the schedule. But he seemed eager, hopeful. Whatever it was he'd passed to her had the feeling of a gift. The least she could do was be a good sport. So it was that she pulled it open revealing...

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      He watched her with the knife and grinned. *That's my girl,* he mused as he watched her single handedly flip it closed and sheath it once more.

      In the box was an exact replica of her favorite dress. It may first cross her mind that it had merely been cleaned and fixed, but if she looked closely, it was exact, but it was completely new. "I know how much you loved that dress. And I didn't want what happened to be tied to the memory of its loss. So...." he closed that last gap between them and reached up to brush a hair behind her ear. "I'm taking you to dinner so you can put a good memory back on the dress you love so much." He smiled and waited for her reaction. If he had judged wrong...

      Like the breath she had expelled in unrecognized relief, he now held his own in unrecognized anxiety as he waited for the proverbial other shoe to fall.

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      The color of the material peeked through the crack first, registering immediately as she pulled the box away. Then the fabric. And the other little decorative additions. It smelled new and fresh too. Like just made kind of fresh. Jahzra took hold of the front and let the box drop, unfurling the dress under the pull of gravity, revealing a brand new copy of the one that had been destroyed just yesterday.

      Dar's words barely register. Her vision had turned watery, and her jaw tightened and one hand covered her mouth quickly. A half second later a single tear rolled down her right cheek, the overflow of joy at having back, the memory of it's loss, and the why and how it had been lost. And the significance of it returned by Dar.

      She opened her mouth to try to speak but had to swallow the lump in her throat first, before she finally just threw one arm then the other around him tight. She could have had the dress repaired or refabricated on her own. But that wasn't the point. It was just a stupid piece of cloth. Yes, she loved wearing it, loved how she looked and felt in it. But he wasn't giving her just some nice looking cloth. It was a gift of joy and pleasure, and an attempt to undo the damage.

      Finally she found her voice again. "Okay but after the job. No more distractions. I wanna get this done. Then we can celebrate," she said, her voice somewhat muffled by her face buried against him.

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