Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Josh Barton, Christopher Levy, and Tara McLaren.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:5:17) in the Brentaal system: Brentaal IV (Cormond: The Unlucky Star).
Commander Derek Atio, Jane Minersha, and Valeria.

Derek Atio sat silently at the bar of the Unlucky Star, a dive bar in the slums of Cormond on the planet Brentaal IV. The Rebel commander was dressed in the grease splattered trousers of a tramp pilot and a Bantha hide flight jacket that looked to be about a size too small and gave the term 'off the rack' a very flattering meaning. The middle-aged Tetan male kept his eyes scanned on Minersha's table, not wanting to be seen with her until after she had a chance to make the meeting with the contact she had recommended to him. He was fortunate that she had survived the recent encounter on Ralltiir, but she had shown him something in terms of abilities and he had become quite impressed with the smuggler's skills. As he sampled one of the locally brewed ales his eyes shifted to his chronometer ... it was about that time. He flashed a reassuring smile towards the smuggler and affirmed with one last nod, before tilting his head towards the more significant importance of his ale.

Jane Minersha yawned as she tilted her seat back. She was hardly paying any attention as she was playing virtual Sabacc with Sprocket who was still onboard the Heretic's Avenger using her Datapad linked to him over the holonet. Since it was not actual gambling, and there were no names, and it was simply for fun, she did not need to worry about anyone intercepting the transmission ... it was Sabacc. Looking around, she caught eyes with Derek and gave him a wink and a kissy face, knowing it would make the Tetan either irritated or flushed. Oh how she loved to tease the old guy! It was becoming one of her favorite things to do around him. Turning her attention back to the datapad, she frowned. "Stupid Sprocket..." she mumbled, seeing his winning hand laid out. She would get him next game!

Derek's cheeks obviously flushed red at Minersha's display, but he quickly hunched into himself as he began nursing his ale. If the mercenary was on time she might already be in the bar and he did not want his presence to go noticed ... yet. He let out a frustrated sigh as the air released from his lungs blew over the foam atop the ale and cleared it so he could see just how dirty the mug was. He grimaced slightly before taking another sip. He knew that getting thrown out of the bar for complaining about the filth would achieve the exact opposite of the subterfuge he was attempting.

"As much as I like making entrances..." She spoke in a soft tone as she pushed opened the entryway into the bar, apparently speaking to herself. "..this sector leaves something to be desired in an audience." The mercenary smiled as she entered, casually taking in the faces that turned towards her once she breached the portal, ignoring all of them until she located Minersha. Valeria wore, as usual, a skintight Karflo Corporation Thinsuit sans the helmet, and over that a Corellian leather jacket that stopped before the waist. She was obviously armed, with twin blasters strapped one to each thigh. Still, her demeanor was easy going and nonthreatening. She merely began making her way over to the table of the one playing on her datapad.

"Sprocket, if you beat me again, I swear I'll swap your memory core with the DV4!" Jane growled, and the game on the pad shut down. Looking around, she spotted the gorgeous woman who just walked into the bar. She sized her up quite quickly, looking from toe tip to eyes. Hers went wide as she recognized her. It was Valeria! And she did not look like she had aged a day! Even though it had been some time since she last saw the woman. slipping that tablet sized datapad back into the big pocket on the back of her vest after flipping the protective cover over the screen, she got up out of her chair and, just like a little girl seeing her best friend again, she trotted up and gave her a great big hug! "Val!" she said happily, rocking back and forth a little. It had been a while since she'd seen her, at least a year or so.

"Someone's excited." Valeria smiled and hugged her back, her embrace lasting a few seconds before she set her down. For a short girl she was strong. "We need to start charging for tickets if we're going to keep this up." She tossed her hair back with one hand, placing the other hand on her hip as she took stock of how many people had taken notice of their exchange. "So I take it there's someone you wanted me to meet?"

Derek could not help but roll his eyes at the two women from his position at the bar. It was very likely that every male patron of the establishment had now taken an interest in the duo to his great dismay. So much for subtlety, he thought silently to himself as he quickly finished his drink. He seemed to need it now more than ever.

Jane giggled like a little girl for a minute before she was set back down, and then grinned like a maniac. It was fairly likely that the two of them even being in the bar together would draw attention. Two exotic women like them had a tendency to draw eyes towards them like a gravity well. Soon enough the eyes would go away and they would be diverted back to whatever drinks, conversations, or nervous stares they were originally at, and they could go about their business. "Yup!" she said as she walked back to the table she had been sitting at. "He works for a local orphanage and he has me bring in necessities to help the children, usually at cost since they don't have a lot of money," her words were low in volume, like the rest of the murmur in the bar so that they would blend into the background noise of the place.

The merc's eyes widened in disbelief as she went on discussing this person she wanted her to meet. Valeria would unceremoniously plop herself down on the chair as she placed her feet up on the table. "Tell me you're kidding about the orphanage part. This guy sounds like the main character in some sappy holovid." She linked her hands behind her head as she made herself comfortable. "I've heard these rebels are righteous, but that sounds like a bit much."

"Its good money. I can get the supplies cheap from the manufacturers ... or other people who happen to trade that sort of stuff. I make a pretty hefty profit. Everyone's happy!" Jane said with a wink, than a yawn as she leaned back in her chair and stretched again. "And I don't do sappy holovids. Sprocket broke the holonet projector in my ship. I can't even pick up any Gal-net news channels." she said with a huff. Obviously she was lying about that orphanage story. Granted, she always had a soft spot for orphanages, since she would not be where she was today if she wasn't given up for adoption at one.

"So where do I come in? You have more business than your ship can handle?" Valeria lowered her chair back down to the floor and then curled up her feet where she sat. The rather short, 1.57 meter tall female was quite flexible, evidently, like some kind of top heavy gymnast. "I'm available. The party scene in the Galactic Core is getting kinda stale. All of these Imperial crackdowns are making it a lot harder to have fun. Heard this sector is a lot more up for grabs. They can't try stuff like that here without risking a revolt."

Jane giggled and looked around. "I do have a bit more business than I can handle. If you still have that pretty gunship, you have more cargo space than I do on my little hauler." she made a kissy face and blew a kiss at Valeria, winking at her just like she had winked at Derek. If he kept his ears open he would hear the noise over the din and recognize it as the signal for him to come over. "And I'm not quite sure about the party scene. Keeping everything running on my ship is almost a full time job in itself!"

Derek had wished he had let Minersha pick a less embarrassing signal than her 'kiss', but he nevertheless picked up on the sound and rose from the bar. He shot a nod at the bartender as he tossed him a credit chip and then moved his way towards the duo of female pilots that were liable to have the attention of every man at the bar. Saying nothing he sat down next to Minersha, and turned the attention of his brown eyes immediately to the slightly pink exotic woman who was seated opposite of them. "Jane says you have a ship and might be looking for some work..." he began vaguely, as his his attention shifted to the half-Chiss seated next to him. It felt like they had only just met and now he was trusting personnel assignments to her. Vary dangerous ... but he was running out of options.

"Always up for some work, especially of the fun variety. Running things, blasting things, whatever." Valeria smiled and winked to Minersha, before looking back at him. "And if you hire me to blow something up I can promise you something will end up atomized." Carefully she rolled her shoulders and made herself comfortable, never indicating that she was joking. "I'm your girl."

Jane grinned at the wink and smile, and grinned all the wider when she talked about the blowing things up bit. "Her ship puts most cruisers to shame. I wish I had the gumption ... and the ability ... to fit her weapons in my port!" she tried to contain a laugh, but was only partially successful as she snickered, a hand over her mouth, eyes closing as her shoulders bobbed in silent laughter.

The serving droid brought him another round of the local microbrew, which he desperately needed to calm his nerves around the two energetic young women. He cleared his throat upon taking a drink of the ale that wavered far too warm for his liking. "Jane here is a good pilot ... but the Ralltiir system is a tough nut to crack these days..." he explained quietly, as he focused his attention on Valeria. "We need to get a particularly ... volatile ... shipment to Ralltiir as soon as possible..." he said, as his eyes turned to look at Minersha once again. She had better be right, he thought to himself while taking another sip of the ale. "We can pay you. Half now. Half upon receipt," he said, with a slight nod of his head as he leaned forward to wait for a reply.

"Do I get to know the lucky pieces of hardware that'll be flying with me before agreeing to this little sojourn?" She placed one of the fingers of her gloved left hand in her mouth and used her large, pretty teeth to start tugging it off. This kept one hand free to potentially grab one of those scoped blasters she had holsters to her thighs, though at the moment Valeria did not look like she had a care in the world. Once she had the glove off she would run her fingers through her silky hair, before looking back to him expectantly. "I should mention now that I can't take rancors of any size. I'm sorry, but I just can't. It's not humane. They need room to stretch."

Derek paused a moment and wondered if he should mention that she would be taking military grade explosives into restricted space. After a moment he decided that he should not. "Let's just say you don't want to go exposing it to any dramatic increases in heat..." he began, pausing to take another sip of his ale. "Further ... at the first sign of an Imperial inspection you'd be well advised to dump your cargo into space and run to the Outer Rim for a stint..." he was quick to add, as he placed the mug back down and waited to see how she would take such an answer.

"So don't go stick it in the engineering room of that beautiful gunship of yours." Jane said. Oh, how she fell in love with that ship while it was being repaired. The guns alone could destroy a small fleet, but the brief infatuation did not last, and she fell in love with her fathers far more agile and smaller YT-2000. It was not a ship to be reckoned with, but for pure firepower, that gunship was second to none in its weight class.

"Whoa. Seriously? What do you need me for, then?" Valeria seemed genuinely surprised, her large silver-blue eyes wide with incredulity as she heard him. "That's a milk run. You could get any kind of bulk transport to do that. Now, me? With the purchase of my services you get a warning shot to the unlucky Imperial and some proton torpedoes up their exhaust pipe. Unless you would rather the Imps get a hold of your valuable cargo? I try to be accommodating, after all, but I'd rather you get what you're paying for."

"Oh. The cargo isn't the least bit valuable to them..." Derek explained, being cryptic at first as he decided how much he should share with the woman. She was sticking her neck out taking the shipment and he knew if he were in her position he would feel very uncomfortable with such a job. "...we stole it from them," he said with a slight laugh as a smile curled upon his middle-aged Tetan face. "My concern is more for your safety than the 'value' of what you're carrying. We've lost ... far too many pilots in this sector," he reluctantly explained, as he remembered some of their faces and looked down uncomfortably into the dirty bubbles of his ale.

"I'll protect her!" Jane said with a grin as she thought of the two ships flying side-by-side. She doubted that 'anyone' would mess with them, much less any Imperials ... if they knew what was good for them anyway! "I can fly along if you'd like," looking to both of them. It was sort of a
question to both.

Valeria shrugged, but smiled as she looked over to Minersha. "A single sensor profile might draw less attention. Up to him.' She turned back to Derek in order to address his question, even as she started to remove the other glove. "And here I thought you guys were all religious. What about 'There
is not death, only'..." She trailed off, knowing her meaning was made clear. "But if it makes you feel better, I can try and stay off their sensor grids
and put everything into speed. If I get caught I prefer to shoot my way out, I said...I know how to be accommodating."

Derek looked towards Minersha somewhat apprehensively as he considered his next words carefully. "Do you think you'd feel comfortable leaving your ship and riding shotgun with Valeria here to ensure the safety of our cargo?" he asked her, swallowing after asking the question. He knew how attached she was to the ship, but he also knew the explosives had to get there if their operation on Ralltiir was going to be successful.

"Shotgun?" Jane had not quite considered riding shotgun... "Oh no no, escort her in my ship alongside hers." she nodded, sure she got that across correctly this time.

"I think he meant, 'Would you feel comfortable being my copilot, in my ship, for this run'?" Valeria shrugged, showing that that idea was acceptable to her. "I have a crew station you could use. And there's enough weapon systems where you'd be able to have almost as much fun as me."

"Ooh ... co-pilot?" Kane thought about it. "I don't quite like leaving my ship alone like that..." she frowned and rubbed her chin with one of her slender blue fingers. Through her implants, she could stay in contact with sprocket through very long range ... plus being on the same ship as Valeria promised to be some fun ... if she could manage to work it out to be that way! Alright, but I'd need to bring my juice, my pillow, my toolkit, and one of the triplets! If... you dont mind that is!" she winked at Val. She would bring a change or two of clothing and her essentials, but not a lot of stuff overall.

Valeria arched a red brow at the eclectic list, but nodded. "There's a pretty nice food processor, but you can bring your juice if you want." She looked over to the Rebel commander and tapped a bit on her wrist mounted communicator, sending him the means to contact her, as well as how he could make the initial payment. "You tell me if the rules of engagement changes. As for the follow-up payment, I know your group is strapped for creds...I'd take man hours of some of your techs instead. Want to see if they can solve a theoretical problem of mine. I'd send the specs, they'd see if they can find a workaround. You decide how many hours is fair compensation. Sound good?"

Derek leaned back in his seat as he was surprisingly pleased to see that Minersha was going to assist him on this difficult shipment. With Imperial patrols in Ralltiir being alerted to the Heretic's Avenger, he would desperately need to find alternative transport means from here on out. A smile formed upon his middle-aged visage as he looked towards Valeria quite pleased with her payment suggestion. "I have just the man in mind for that..." he said looked over  the contact data she had provided her. "The delivery needs to be made in fifty-two hours outside the city of Salibury..." he explained, verifying the time on his own chronometer as he began to brief her on the mission.

"I can leave at any time. My ship should be fueled, and the hold is empty and ready for loading." Valeria reached into her Corellian leather jacket and removed her deck of Sabacc cards, beginning to shuffle them out of apparent boredom. No remote play for her, evidently. "I really think you ought to reconsider letting me fight my way through their blockade, but we can do stealth if you want."

Derek's eyes narrowed slightly as he looked at her cautiously. "This will not be a one time shipment," he explained to her quietly, as his eyes once again scanned over the establishment just to make sure no one was listening. "Even if you blast through the entire starfighter compliment of the Star Destroyer and her escorts ... they'll track you to the surface and be waiting..." he concluded, after some deliberate thought. "No, no. It must be done stealthily. We can neither compromise your ship's identity, nor the cargo, not the men on the ground you'll be delivering it to..." he explained with a firm nod this time, as he finally finished that glass of ale that he had been working on since the start of their conversation.

"I guess we 'can' shoot our way out if it really comes to that. Nobody likes Interdictor pickets and tractor beams anyway," Jane said with a smile. "Sprocket. Prep my overnight bag please and have DV ready a gallon of juice and my toolkit. I'm going to stay with a friend for a few days." she said to apparently no one in particular. She paused a moment and giggled. "Yes, the pillow too. No, not the red, the black. And I'm bringing T3." Another brief pause. "T3 is not my favorite. No, he can ride on my back, he doesn't have to get in a bag. OK ... I'll be there soon," she stopped talking to sprocket. In her ship, her instructions were carried out. "Lets swing by my ship to pick up my stuff, and we can be on our way!" she said smiling. this was gonna be fun! Well ... hopefully anyway...

"And you can...solve your arguments...with your droids." Valeria had an odd look on her face as she nodded to Derek, a look that indicated she was getting a taste of what others might have seen in her. Still, she did not think she had ever gotten in an argument with one of her own droids. Publically, anyways. She bounced out of her seat, quickly putting her cards away and donning her gloves once more. "It must be nice for you, having a job that lets you meet such interesting people."

"Oh yes," Derek said as he slid from his seat and placed a suitable credit chip down on the table for the droid. "Lots of interesting people..." he said sarcastically with a roll of his eyes as he escorted both of the beautiful women from the dive bar. The slightly overweight middle-aged man definitely looked out of place with the two women and it was not long before there were many displeased groaned and stares at the trio. "There's some interesting people right there..." he muttered beneath his breath as they exited the Unlucky Star and moved to the streets of Cormond.

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