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,
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
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
"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
"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
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.