Era of Rebellion - Navigation

D. Wade Hyde and Christopher Levy.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:8:29) in the Brentaal system: Brentaal IV (Cormond: The Speakeasy).
El-Nay Darr, Tosha Previn, and Tycho Starlight.

From the exterior, The Speakeasy seemed like a typical upscale watering hole in the heart of Cormond's upscale district. In reality, it was a front for the Black Sun and home to many illegal activities, the most common of which was gambling. Mixed in among the patrons were a slew of Black Sun thugs, armed with concealed weapons and ready to strike at a moment's notice. The Black Sun did not take kindly to rowdy guests or unwanted visitors, particularly those that were a threat to their lucrative business. The interior was well decorated, and the food and drink had been shipped in from the finest producers in the Core. As night descended upon the capital city of Brentaal IV, a mix of regular patrons, offworld adventurers, and other ne'er-do-wells had begun to settle in for the night.

In the back of The Speakeasy sat the alluring Tosha Previn, an attractive enough woman in her late 20s, who was perhaps a bit too well dressed even for this establishment. The gown she wore was made of finely woven fabrics in a shade of light blue that accentuated her athletic physique, with the prerequisite hold-out blaster attached to her inner thigh. It would not be needed, however, as she was a member of the Black Sun, and was constantly watched and protected by a slew of henchmen drawn from throughout the known galaxy who were seated at tables near hers. A small, colorful drink was positioned in front of her, and a nearly finished cigarra was burning to its end in a small tray to her side. Earlier that day she had surreptitiously posted that she had a contract that only a certain type of individual might be able to fulfill, but thus far no one had stepped forward she felt was capable of completing the task. It was hard to find good help these days, she thought to herself, as she reached down to take one last draw from the cigarra. She exhaled a plume of toxic smoke in frustration above her, before rolling her eyes at the bartender, a known compatriot, as if to say 'get me out of this!'

It had been a little over two months since the fateful day aboard the Silver Prancer, when Tycho had found out some important little secrets about himself ... and lost himself allies. After torturously ending a man's life (whatever the justifications may have been), his allies had convened and decided he was no longer welcome among them. His shares of the Crimson Moon had been bought out and he had used that and what savings he had to buy a new ship, smaller than the freighter he'd previously called home. It was armed to the teeth, with one extra crew quarter and a holding cell he'd had installed. It left the place cramped, with only room for a touch of cargo.

It worked for him well, as he was on his own again. He had stolen, transported, abducted, and otherwise, his way across half the galaxy picking up spare jobs here and there. He was barred by most organizations from picking up the good jobs, but he didn't stop trying. Guy had to make a living, after all. While putting out feelers for another, hopefully better-paying job, he had come across a discreet message.

After a week in hyperspace, he was pleased as punch to get the hell off the little ship. Tycho Starlight was sore and weary, but ready as ever. He wouldn't put off the meeting or waste the Black Sun's time, for that would be awfully stupid. Instead, he made his way straight for the Speakeasy.

He was dressed in his red laminate armor, with tones of black and steel grey. He still had the helmet on, completely concealing his features. He was armed to the nines, a modified blaster rifle slung over his back, accompanied by a vibroknife sheathed at his back, a blaster pistol on his right hip, a holdout blaster tucked in his boot, and a vibrosword sheathed at his left hip. He believed in being prepared. There was no mistaking this man for anything but a mercenary. The Speakeasy was a smoky, noisy place. He didn't particularly care for it, but he didn't care for any place that wasn't a hole in the wall with cheap, strong booze. This place had too much mood setting and class. Alas, this was the meet.

The merc made directly for the back after identifying the woman at her booth. When he approached, he saw the thugs eyeing him up. No one searched or stopped him, though, so he simply came to sit down across from the woman. "I'm here about a job," he said, his voice a little modified and sounding almost synthesized through the helmet. "I trust you're the person I need to speak to?"

Tosha's brown eyes rolled upwards to look at the armor-clad individual that appeared before her, but her head remained still and she had no outward reaction. Throughout the course of the evening she had seen many a bounty hunter, assassin, mercenary, or outlaw come through The Speakeasy, some no older than a boy; the war had made for record profits in the industry she dealt in. "This is a decent place," she began, her head finally moving upwards to reveal the intricacies of her soft, feminine facial features to the man. "You might have dressed for it..." She smirked, her voice sounding somewhat exotic, definitely not from around these parts, but not easily able to be placed.

"Remove your helmet. I prefer to see who I am speaking with," she said, before hurriedly taking her glass up to her lips and downing the entire contents in one motion. She coughed slightly, a hint of redness coming to her cheeks, before she moved the glass away and waited for the man to make his next move. She did not look to the others in the cantina, as they knew what to do without her instructions, but the man was clearly being watched both from within and without via holorecorders that were stealthily positioned throughout the structure.

Catching note of some of the recording devices was easy enough. He didn't bother searching for them all. Instead, he reached up and, with a click and a hiss, removed his helmet and sat it on the table. Underneath, was the face of a thirty-something man, scarring on the right side. His hair was jet black and curtained his face, falling to almost the shoulder. He focused on her with cold, haunting blue eyes. The smile he gave her looked totally uncharacteristic on such a face.

"I don't dress up often," he explained. "Armor is practical. I don't like getting shot. Besides, I didn't want to keep you waiting." He pressed the button on the table that brought up the touch-screen menu. After tapping a few icons, he'd ordered a drink that cost twice as much as it should have. "So ... what can you tell me about the job?"

Tosha signaled that another drink was need immediately, without breaking eye contact with the figure that lurked in front of her. She was always careful to manage her priorities no matter how much she drank or how bored with the task she had become. "Maybe they're shooting at you because of the armor. Did you ever think of that?" She asked the man, a hint of humor in the voice, as she hastily grabbed the new drink, and sipped it, placing the rim to her bottom lip while staring intently at the man. "Too often we are judged by our appearance. If you look like you're ready for a fight ... sometimes you might just find one," she said, before finishing the drink, and placing the empty glass next to the previous ones; there were starting to be far too many.

"I have a problem," she pointed out with several nods of her head, her voice starting to slur a bit from perhaps two too many cocktails. "And that problem is the Imperial blockade of Esseles. I need you to ... obtain an Imperial shuttle and deliver some merchandise to the surface," she informed him, laying the dangerous assignment out in front of the man. No one she had interviewed thus far had been willing to risk crossing the Empire.

Tycho gave her comments a pass, not interested in arguing over the merits of wearing or not wearing heavy armor around. She might have had a point, but it was a moot one, in his mind. People were going to shoot at him one way or another. He was just lucky like that. "Imperial l trouble," he said, wryly. "Figures that would be it." He sighed, then looked up as a droid rolled up and delivered both of their drinks. He took his Katarian Moonbeam and downed it all at once. It wasn't actually a cocktail, but a hard liquor that was fairly similar to an unusually strong whiskey. He placed the glass aside, then ordered another.

"Fine ... procure a shuttle, get the merchandise to Esseles. I need all the information if I'm to do this. Is there a particular shuttle available nearby, perhaps? Have you got any clearance codes I can use?" Those were his two biggest concerns. With clearance codes, he had a good chance of making it past the blockade unmolested.

Tosha paused for a moment before replying, leaning back against the upholstered bench that she had been planted in for the past several hours. She was studying the man; not his methods or history, but the man himself. There was a brash nature about him that struck her, and while she still had doubts as to whether anyone could successfully pull this off, it was better than sitting here into the night getting drunk and perhaps coming up short. There was always a chance someone from Imperial Intelligence could be lurking around, especially in these complicated times, but that was a risk she felt she could buy or seduce her way out of, depending on the agent's gender and persuasion. "Brentaal has become a veritable Imperial supply yard this past year. On your way out of this establishment you may very well trip over an Imperial shuttle," she said, laughing at her comment, but angrily because she realized that it was very likely true. Since arriving in the sector a year-and-a-half ago the Empire had been trampling over everything and nearly crippled their business unintentionally in their futile hunt for the Rebellion. She paused for a moment, before reaching down to an ornately engraved case at the table, from which she produced a cigarra. She lit it hastily, sucking down the first inhale, and then exhaling in rapid succession. This man did not mince words and did not waste time, two qualities that made for good business, but bad conversation. Sighing out a mix of frustration and smoke she produced a small set of code cylinders that would contain the necessary data he would need to hopefully penetrate the blockade. "Very well then. On your way," she said, as she shifted her focus to the far more interesting drink and cigarra.

For a moment, he was amused by her reaction. The poor woman seemed so positively bored. Tycho gave her a nod and almost rose, but then the droid came with the drink he'd forgotten. He wasn't going to waste it after he paid good credits for it. He took the drink and held it up. "To business, then," he said, almost smiling. He downed the drink. "Now... I can go get started, but I can't help but observe that you're lacking company. I can stick around for a touch if you'd like? I hope I'm not assuming incorrectly."

Tosha found herself taken back a bit by the man's question, thinking he would be darting off to the nearest Imperial supply depot to grab the first shuttle he saw with how businesslike he had been so far. "What will the others think?" She asked, with a hint of flirtation, before taking another sip of the drink. It was not everyday she had drinks with someone wearing armor so thick he could just as easily walk through the wall as he did the door. "Do you have a name?" She asked, fully expecting to get some ridiculous nickname or the like. After all, the last bounty hunter she had found herself working with called himself The Nerf Herder. After that she thought she had heard it all.

A smirk touched his lips and there was the tiniest warmth in his eyes. Apparently, he wasn't completely dead inside. He tapped an order for more drinks for the both of them. He had been on board his ship for a week, so sitting back to drinks with this mysterious woman could be a fun reprieve from all that. "Tycho Starlight," he said. "Real name and all. It may not always be smart to use your real name in this line of work, but code names have always seemed rather stupid to me, despite the practicality of it all." He gave a shrug, as if to dismiss the point. "And you are?" While he'd known to look for a Black Sun representative in X place, looking Y, he hadn't gotten a name.

"Tycho Starlight," she said aloud, repeating it slightly, so that it could be clearly heard on the transmitter that was strategically placed in an area that most men would dare not reach. A moment later a voice in her ear began to detail a decade of criminal misadventure the most recent of which included a scathing report from the Hutts concerning a failed job, with the usual Hutt boasting of rich rewards to whoever delivered the fiend alive. She did not care for Hutts, however, and he would have nothing to fear from her or the Black Sun as a whole. However, should he fail or otherwise muck up her scheming, she would most assuredly let her slimy competitors know about the last known whereabouts of their target. "Tosha. Tosha Previn," she said, smiling at him, as she raised her hand with the cigarra next to her head, the wafty cloud of smoke obscuring her face. She really should quit, but as she saw it, someone in her line of work did not last very long, so she might as well enjoy every moment of it.

The doors to The Speakeasy opened suddenly, and the Gamorrean that had been posted to the entrance found himself flying to the ground abruptly. For an instant the music stopped and all of the patrons turned to look towards the door, the Black Sun operatives half expecting an Imperial raid to follow. It was only then that the sight of an individual in a set of old, Mandalorian armor made their way into the cantina. The figure was short, and the armor was feminine in the style of a Nite Owl dating back to the Clone Wars. The armor was still in decent shape and was painted a bright shade of orange that made for an obvious target. Beneath the helmet was a young woman in her early 20s ... not a true Mandalorian, but merely the child of one who had been raised offworld to avoid the shame of living under Imperial rule. She had absconded with her mother's forgotten armor and taken to a life of adventuring, trading on her father's reputation for a few odd jobs here and there, through which she had achieved limited success. When the patrons saw how short she was, and how she was dressed, they immediately dismissed her and there was even soft laughter. El-Nay Darr made a direct movement towards the bench in the back where she had been informed she could find a Black Sun contact for some work. She had never worked for the Black Sun before, but as her travel documents to leave the sector had been rescinded, she was searching desperately for anything to do. "I am here about a job," she said in a weak voice from beneath her helmet, which immediately betrayed her youth and inexperience. Beneath the T-shaped visor of her helmet, her eyes moved first from Tosha, and then to Tycho, and she began to speculate as to the armored individual's identity and potential threat.

"It is a pleasure, Tosha," Tycho said, again giving her a little smirk. Perhaps he was thinking of a possible future pleasure. It had been a while, after all, not to mention that not a lot of women enjoyed his same tastes. He was a naturally violent person, which tended to carry on into the bedroom. Speaking of violence, he glanced up as the brightly-armored figure burst into the place. A dark eyebrow arched. "Not sure what kind of statement she's trying to make," he said quietly to Tosha, "but it's a pretty stupid one." Yes, he'd come in dressed in his battle armor, but he hadn't practically busted the door down and drawn as much attention as sentiently possible.

When the woman ... girl, he realized, when he heard her speak ... came to join the little job interview, his icy blue eyes held a little twinkle and he watched her silently for a moment. Instead of waiting for Tosha to speak, he then said, "Job's already taken, unfortunately ... and you're in the way of our drinks." Tycho pointed at the droid behind her, waiting for her to get out of the way so it could deliver the drinks. He arched an eyebrow at her, as if saying, 'well?'

Tosha sighed when she saw what the youngster was up to, as she was aware that every display of this kind threatened to bring unwanted Imperial attention upon the establishment, the Black Sun, and most importantly, upon her. "Yes. The job is taken. Run home to mommy and daddy," she said, condescendingly, without even bothering to dignify the girl's presence with a courtesy glance. "I don't think she's even old enough to be in a cantina," she said, laughing uproariously, the smoke snorting out her nose as she laughed at the colorful creature beside them. "Yes. Drinks. More drinks," she demanded, before finally looking up at the Mandalorian. She reached into her purse to produce a trio of credit chips. "Here's a job for you, honey. Waitress," she said, more to Tycho than to El-Nay, before drunkenly tossing the creds at the Mandalorian.

It was one thing to be denied the job, but it was an entirely different thing to be mocked and ridiculed. The credit chips impacted with the chestplate of her armor, *clank*ing before falling to the ground below. Beneath her helmet she was a seething maelstrom of rage, particularly when her parents were brought into the discussion. She extended her right wrist gauntlets and in one fluid motion she swept it across the table to knock the glasses onto the Black Sun bitch. "There's your drinks ... *honey*," she said angrily, and in that instant the Black Sun thugs that had been remaining discrete sprang into life. There were about a half dozen blasters aimed squarely at her. She had not expected that. She froze, holding her arms out in front of her, unsure of what to do next. A more experienced, seasoned hunter would have taken better stock of their surroundings before engaging in such a move. El-Nay Darr was not that kind of hunter.

Even he thought that Tosha was being unnecessarily cruel to the poor girl, but he was laughing nonetheless. He started to say something to add fuel to the fire, but then then he *felt* the rage rolling off of the figure and thought better of it. There was the sense that her rage was spiking and being released, then Tosha was covered with their drinks. As it was happening, thanks to the ability to sense emotions, that extra moment gave him the chance to draw out his vibroknife and poke it through the armored joint plate that connected to her knee. With a vibroblade, one hard thrust would take out her kneecap with ease.

"Don't move," he said. He looked at her with an expression that could freeze magma. "You're a newbie, so I'll inform you ... you're in a dangerous place, around important people. Everything you've done is wrong. Bashing down the door ... drawing attention from all the wrong people and threatening to bring down the Imperials on this place. Insulting and assaulting this woman ... well, that was extra stupid. If she'll let you, I suggest you take this as a lesson, walk out of here, and don't come back. Maybe you'll learn to look before you leap next time."

"Were," Tosha said with a cold voice, filled with evil intent, as she slid from the bench and rose to her feet. "Were in a dangerous place," she added, as she examined her gown, which had been thoroughly ruined by the mix of alcohol and artificial colorings that had been used. "A pity," she muttered to herself, about the dress, navigating her feet among the shards of broken glass. "Take her out back. Strip her. Beat the shit out of her. If she dies..." she said, ordering Tycho, just to see the kind of man she had hired, a small snigger escaping her lips as she plotted suitable revenge. "...she dies," she concluded, her eyes turned to look El-Nay Darr square in the eyes. She was not intimidated by the Mandalorians, and believed they were no longer of any use to the galaxy; the Empire had seen to that. As a people they had been neutered, and now it was time for this one to be put down for her own good. "You'll have to forgive me for cutting our evening short, Tycho," she said with a smirk, before offering a soft wink of her eye. "...but she's gone and made me all wet," she finished, flirting with a double entendre, before spiriting away with a trio of Black Sun thugs in tow.

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