Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Christopher Levy and Tara McLaren.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:5:21) in the Brentaal system: Brentaal IV (Cormond: The Unlucky Star).
Commander Derek Atio and Valeria.

Derek Atio looked the kind of man you would expect to meet on a bar in Cormond, the capital city of Brentaal. He was a middle-aged, out of shape, pilot who appeared to not have much going for him. He was wearing his traditional attire of a dark brown synthetic leather jacket that appeared to be at least two sizes two small of him. The white shirt underneath was pleasant enough ... at least it was clean. However, the khaki colored trousers he wore were splattered with grease from endless hours of servicing the shuttle he was operating. He leaned forward on the bar waiting for Valera, as he took another sip from of his Corellian ale from a mug that seemed as dirty as his pants.

Valeria was hard not to notice, even considering that she was a relatively short human. It didn't help that she at times seemed not to notice the meaning of subtlety. She would appear in the joint on schedule and immediately go up to where the drinks were served, taking her seat at a stool. The oft-time smuggler went about three rounds and made conversation with attention seekers up there until she would leave to go join Derek at the table, choosing the time to do so when the least amount of eyes were on her. Perhaps there was some hope for her yet.

The combination of Valeria and Minersha seemed to attract far too much attention for Derek's particular comfort level. Frankly, even he would admit it did not make sense for such attractive young women to be seen frequently in his company. "I heard things went well on Ralltiir," he began quietly, as he nodded his head contently across the table to her. The 'party girl' seemed to have accomplished the task of getting the armaments to the planet in the nick of time, as he had read the post-battle reports of Sergeant Machton's engagement with the Imperial AT-STs. "Is it the kind of job you'd want to make a habit of?" he asked, as his attention went to his nearly empty mug of ale. He shook his head at it, frustrated with himself ... he was drinking too much.

"Actually..." The way she smiled over at him was rather conspiratorial. "...I have something I need to talk to you about first. A proposition, if you will." Her silver-blue eyes gleamed, which was probably not a very good sign considering how chaotic events around this criminal seemed to be. She had come dressed in her usual Thinsuit and leather jacket combination, which seemed to be her usual wardrobe. Only the color of the Thinsuit seemed to change. Her hair was worn up this time, however, the normally waist length locks pinned up by plaits.

Well Derek doubted that he was the first middle-aged man to be propositioned in this dive bar by a young woman this evening, and be doubted he would be last. A smirk came upon his face as he raised both of his hands at her, almost laughing at the notion. "I don't want to give you the wrong idea, sweetheart," he said to her, as he finished the last of his ale to stiffen his resolve. "I'm in it for the cause ... not the perks," he explained, as he folded both of his hands together on the table in front of him and waited to hear what she had to say.

She laughed out of amusement, and not at all hurtfully. Valeria was easily amused, it seemed. The laugh went on for nearly ten seconds before her eyes would suddenly narrow, her voice would drop almost to a whisper and the smuggler's face would look completely serious. Coming from her, the effect was comical...until one heard the words she spoke. "I am in a position to feed information to the Empire's forces in this sector. I want to talk to you about what kind of information I should be feeding them."

When he heard Valeria say the word Empire he accidently knocked over his glass, which rolled off the side of the table and shattered into a million pieces on the floor below. For half an instant the bar came to a stand still and everyone stared in their direction before they returned to their conversations. "May I ask ... how?" he said, as his hand reached nervously for the QuickSnap 36T he had strapped to his right hip ... just in case she was an Imperial spy and setting a trap for him.

"How's not important, but then I've always said everybody loves me." She didn't reach for her blaster pistol, but with a flick of her wrist she had Sabacc cards in both hands. The smuggler began putting them on the table face down. If anyone was watching them, they might think she was making a small gambling wager. "...And so I'd like to offer my services." Her face broke from a serious expression into her usual mischievous smile. "...of course this little arrangement would need to stay between us. No handlers. Just you, me."

A stern look came over Derek's face as he sized her up. He was tempted to just get up and leave the cantina. "Look, kid," he said, as he leaned forward over the table and drew his face much closer to her. "If you want me to stick my neck on the line for you then you've got to give me more," he said, tilting his head slightly to the left as he looked at her with his brown eyes. In his line of work he was not the most trusting of individuals, and having just met this Valeria he was not yet sure what her game was.

"Tell me what you need to know, then." It was hard to read Valeria's eyes. Looking at them was less seeing through windows to her soul as gazing into spiraling pools of madness, but that could all just as easily be an act. The whole time they talked she kept her hands above the table, dealing the cards.

Derek leans back against the seat as he pulled away from her. He would need to have a long talk with Minersha the next time he saw concerning this woman. He definitely needed more information ... perhaps he took her into his confidence too quickly. "How would you be able to inform the Empire anything, Valeria?" he asked, as his hands were both beneath the table, right right a hair away from his old carbine. By now he was beginning to wonder if they were being watched or if she was wearing a wire. Damn, he muttered inside of his head as he scolded himself for being so careless.

"And here I thought you'd be happy." She shook her head in apparently surprise before her eyes lit up. "I've an idea. Don't panic ... gonna draw now." Showing that there was more to her fast fingers than parlor tricks, she drew those blasters above the table and immediately ejected their power packs. The girl had to be at least a little bit insane to risk him simply blowing a hole in her chest while she did that. She would then set down the blasters on the table with their body-wood grips facing towards him. "There. Now you'll trust me, right?"

Derek was visibly surprised by her reaction, and nearly pulled his blaster carbine out when she made her move. "I'd trust you a lot more had you told me this before I loaded a cargo of illicit arms aboard your vessel..." he said, still not sure what to make of the young woman. "What have you told them so far?" he asked, tilting his head again as his eyes surveyed the crowd for anyone that might seem to be watching him.

"And the job was completed." She snapped the fingers of her right hand. "Thanks for that, by the way. Never took out a walker with a shoulder-mounted missile before ... at least, not that I can remember." She scooped up the Sabacc cards from the table and began shuffling them, eventually making them disappear back into her sleeves. "And I've told them nothing so far. As for how I know those kinds of people, well...I may be young, but I've doing this for a while."

"Are we being monitored right now?" Derek nervously asked, as his eyes were no longer on her, but instead scanning the other patrons of the cantina. Any number of them could be with Intel or the ISB he thought to himself, as his body temperature began to rise and beeds of sweat began to form on his bulgy forehead.

"I thought you Rebels were supposed to be the loose ones? No, we're not being monitored. As I said, I've come to you on my own volition because I'm trying to do you a favor." She wrinkled that cute, celestial nose as she looked across the table at him. "Is that so hard to believe?" Valeria pulled up the left sleeve of her jacket, nodding to a bracelet there. "This thing's called a No-Show. Cooked up by someone in your very own Alliance. Should be interfering with any listening devices even if they were here. Now, are you ready to talk?"

"The loose ones are the dead ones," Derek quickly retorted as he inspected her bracelet. It could very well be a prop, he had learned to be paranoid. It saved his neck on more than one occasion. "Very well. What's your idea?" he said, realizing that if anyone was going to pop out of a vent and blast him it likely would have happened by now.

"As I said, I've got a line to someone who wants Intel on the Rebels. You're a Rebel, and I'm sure you've got info. You've also got a decent reason to trust me. I came recommended to you, and if the after-action report you got was worth anything you know I could have very easily been vaporized by an AT-ST for your Rebellion." She let the sleeve cover her wrist once more as she began sliding the power packs back into her pistols.

"The Empire would gladly sacrifice 100 AT-STs for valuable information concerning our operations in the Ringali Shell," Derek replied as he considered his next move very carefully. "I tell you, kid. I'd feel better if I knew who that 'someone' was," he said, as he studied her features carefully for any tells or signs. He was a lifelong Sabacc player and knew how to read faces for even the slightest ticks and cues.

"And then you'll vet my contact to make sure its legit, and as good as your people all, there'll be a risk the Imps notice." She shook her head slowly, her face betraying no sign of deception. That could just mean she was a very good liar. "And that's a risk we can't take if you want to do some serious damage to the Empire in this sector."

"Ugh," Derek said as he brought both of his hands up to his face and pressed his cheeks together in exasperation. They could go around in circles for hours he thought. "And what exactly did you plan on telling the Empire?" he asked, as he waved the serving droid over to pour him another ale. He needed it more than ever.

She ordered a Corellian ale and indicated for the serving droid to keep them coming. Valeria downed it like it was water. "That's why I came to you. Now, if I just wanted to feed them information that would hurt your little Rebellion I'd just keep taking your jobs and never mention this to you. No, what I want requires your cooperation. I don't want to know what false intel you want to send the Imps." A mischievous grin spread across her face. "I'm asking you for good info. Just good enough to keep the Imps wasting resources pouring over old bases or burned contacts or whoever or whatever you decide to sacrifice. The Empire's resources may be limitless, but not here in this sector. Use me."

Derek was taken back by what he was listening. It could work, but he could not make a decision like that by himself. "Look ... I'm just a 'commander' and as impressive as the title may sound ... I'm actually pretty low on the food chain," he explained, as a warm smile came over his face. "I'm going to need to get authorization for something like this ... but I won't mention your name. Is that acceptable?" he asked, as he took a long, needed sip of his fresh Corellian ale.

"Just for the authorization. I don't want anyone else to know about this, or my usefulness to you will evaporate." She laughed cheerily, a contrast to the seriousness of the discussion. "And I'll be dead, of course. One more incentive I should mention: not that I mind getting paid twice for the same job, but this spy thing? No charge. I'll continue with smuggling jobs as you like ... I'll want to keep getting paid for those, of course."

"No charge?" Derek asked, so surprised that he said it almost loud enough for others to hear. "When did you get a soft spot for the Rebellion all of a sudden?" he asked, as he took a deep swig of the ale, leaving a foam drop on the tip of his nose as he smiled at her, oblivious to its presence.

The serving droid delivered another Corellian ale to the table and she would down it just as quickly. "I'm already going to be getting paid by the Empire for giving them this info, and you're giving me a steady supply. Seems only fair." She slid the power pack back in her other blaster pistol and then carefully holstered both of them before her voice dropped low once more and her face became serious once more. Twice in one conversation was a huge anomaly. "But...if I did have a soft spot for the Rebellion, that subject would be off-limits. Theoretically, I mean. Got it?"

Nothing about Valeria had thus far struck him as 'fair', but it was certainly worth the time to deliberate the prospect of such an operation. With that, he finished his glass of Corellian ale and then slid from the table. "When I have an answer we'll meet back there. Until then, be safe..." he said with a firm nod of his head, leaving a credit ship on the table sufficient to cover all of their drinks thus far as well as several more. A final look was given at the woman as he considered what he was getting himself into, and then he moved into the crowd that had filled the cantina to report back in.

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