The CR90 corvette Argo patrolled
the inner folds of the Ringali Nebula on the outskirts of the Brentaal
system. On the bridge, Commander Derek Atio watched the sensor display
as Valeria's ship approached. "I'll be at the docking hatch," he said to
his flight controller as he adjusted his ill fitting uniform and moved
down the corridor to the turbolift. As the lift moved to the upper level
he eyed his wrist chronometer and noted by now the Empire would be
moving against the Rebel base that he had given up as part of an ongoing
operation to deceive the Empire. Hopefully the Rebel team had evacuated
on time and schedule as planned, or else he would sleep inside a bottle
of Corellian ale that night. As he approached the docking coupling, he
activated his comlink and signaled the bridge to extend the docking
The Corellian Engineering Corporation
heavy assault gunship Caritas Ascendant approached the corvette
at a reasonable speed, a rare moment of tact displayed by the normally
irrepressible smuggler and general criminal extraordinaire. Based on
sensor profiles from the Argo ... which would have difficult even
getting accurate readings for some reason ... the ship had been heavily
modified. Strike that ... exceedingly modified. It was no wonder that
the owner of the ship would be seeking help from a tech. So many
different companies had apparently had a hand in that vessel that there
were bound to be a great deal of compatibility problems. The ship docked
without incident and Valeria would be ready to move to the airlock in
order to meet her contact with the Rebellion.
Derek was quick to open the hatch that
connected the corvette to the gunship and popped his head in to briefly
take a look at her ship's innards like an aquatic creature whose head
emerged briefly from a shell. "Welcome to the Ringali Nebula," he said
cheerfully, as he pulled down the set of stairs that would allow her to
easily descended into his vessel. As he reached up he felt something pop
in the small of his back and he let out a muddled groan of discomfort as
his left hand went to the small of his back. "Argh," he groaned as he
leaned against the wall to support himself. The price he paid for his
support of 'the cause'.
"Nice uh, Nebula you got here." Valeria
waved to him from her side of the airlock, clad in her usual Thinsuit
jacket combination and of course wearing her pistols. "Uh, you know, I'm
not normally one to stand on protocol, but there's this small little
voice in the back of my head that says I should ask you whether I should
disarm before I come on board a military vessel." She shook her head,
causing her long red and gold hair to bounce. "Crazy thought, I know."
Derek paused for a moment. He was a bit
taken aback by the comment that the Argo was a 'military vessel'.
The vessel was so lax in its policies that he sometimes forgot he was in
any kind of organized military force. "Well. The way I look at it is
this ... if you want to go through all this trouble just to get aboard
this vessel and take a shot at me ... then you deserve one," he said with
a wink as he began to lead her down the corridor towards the conference
room where Corporal Athol had been told to wait. As he came up to the
door, he entered a key code that caused it to rapidly ascend upwards.
"Corporal," he began, as he stepped over the threshold and entered the
room. "This is the smuggler I told you about. Give her what help she
needs. She earned her 'pay' with that Ralltiir operation," he said, as
his hand again descended to the small of his back while he attempted to
stretch out the kink.
Standing, he would heft the backpack to
his right shoulder. Taking a look over the two, he'd wonder exactly what
they had contracted him out for. Curiosity outweighing the desire to be
on Brentaal, he made his way over to the entrance. "You summoned me?"
"Hi. I'm Valeria." The short,
approximately 1.57 meter tall smiled as she approached him. "Don't
believe all that stuff about me being a smuggler. I'm more of an
all-purpose party girl." She smiled mischievously, an act which exposed
her prominent white teeth. "And the Commander said you could help with a
little technical problem I'm having." She reached for her gunbelt and
started to fish around looking for datacards.
Assessing her, Jason classified her as
"mild to markedly dangerous" mentally. Taking in her frame, he would
wonder how many weapons and where they were hidden, and resolved to keep
an eye out just in case. "I should be able to. I do need a bit more
detail though." The 1.8 meter, slight build frame tech said in his
normal tenor. "Care to expand a bit, like even what it is you want me to
"That depends." She wore a Karflo
Corporation Thinsuit ... essentially a skintight bodysuit that left
little to the imagination. Over that she wore a Corellian leather jacket
... there were not many places for her to hide additional weapons, other
than maybe up her sleeves. Her primary weapons, however, were a pair of
DC-17 blaster pistols currently strapped to her thighs. "I don't want to
monopolize your time." She began shuffling through those datacards she
had drawn from her gunbelt. "What would you say is your area of
expertise in ship systems?"
"Depends on what we're discussing. I'm
an average pilot ... Not too bad at manning the gun emplacements ...
better with navigation ... I tend to be best at taking the things apart
and putting them back together with a bit more efficiency than they
started with, and it's across the board from the Navcomp, AI, engines,
power. You name it, I have some experience with it."
"Let's see.." She selected one of the
datacards apparently at random and slipped the others back into her
belt. As she began to talk she play with the card in her hand, shifting
it between one finger or another. "I have a problem I'm hoping you can
go a ways towards fixing. Well, a lot of problems, but you only have so
much time. My engines were originally meant for a much ... much bigger
ship. They have a tendency to want to rattle themselves out of the hull
when I run them at full power." She paused in her dissertation to
stretch, reaching out her arms to either side of her. "I had my
astromech put together the specs of all the systems that might interfere
with you coming up with a fix for this issue, and the notes from the
last techs who gave it a shot. R3 thinks a modification to the bulkheads
might be all that's needed, but.." She flipped the datacard towards him.
"..this is what there's experts for. If you can come up with a fix, what
I need is the instructions for making and maintaining the modification
to the Ascendant by rote."
"Larger output engines are indeed going
to be a problem, but the answer is even more simple than reinforcing the
bulkhead. While you can do that to affect a long term solution, it's
inefficient and will only cause a bigger problem down the line. What you
need to do is install a small scale inertial dampener in the engine
compartment, along the lateral power grid line. Or modify the one you
have onboard to cover that area. I'd recommend getting a separate unit
with a power fail over safety, so if you lose any amount of power, you
don't lose two systems at once. " Taking a moment, he'd pull out his
usual datapad and insert a blank crystal into the reader. A rapid series
of key presses was made as he listed out the model, best price and
location, and instructions for the astromech to do the installation. "If
I can get a look at your engine compartment, I can make sure these are
correct for your ship."
"Take a look at that." She gestured
towards the datacard she had provided him with. While the information
she had provided had left out specific names of the products installed
in her ship, it was clear by the output and dimensions of various
components that her vessel was highly ... no, insanely illegal. It was
hard to be sure without a visual inspection, but the engines had nearly
identical size and output measurements to KDY Galaxy-15 ion engines, the
same model used in the Nebulon B frigate. If she had put those in a
gunship only twice the size of an average Corellian freighter, she had
to be either insane or...no, she pretty much had to be insane. According
to the various files provided, however, previous technicians she had
gone to had provided modifications which had hereto for kept her ship
from exploding at the slightest acceleration. Still other devices which
were in the engine compartment had no descriptions as to their purpose,
but were listed so he would know what their power draw was. Obviously
she wanted to keep some secrecy by not showing him her ship, but the R3
unit had provided everything he'd need to know to make a diagnosis.
Oh he could tell she was definitely into
some illegal and questionable mods with her ship, but that was her right
as it's Captain and owner. Being a technician and slicer instilled a
certain degree of discretion and being able to look the other way when
needed. Popping the datacard into the pad, he'd quickly look over the
specs provided, estimate the new power draw, and change a few parameters
on the dampener before handing her the crystal. "That should fix your
problem without impacting system performance. Next problem?" He'd say
with a smile.
Valeria looked surprised to say the
least. "Well, one fix sounded like a fair deal to me, but since you're
willing.." She started to reach down for the gunbelt to get another one
of those datacards, before evidently deciding against it. "Actually..I've
heard the Rebellion is beginning to make overtures to the Mon Cals. I
had some work done by a...certain criminal element there a couple years
back. Really touchy modification. If it goes wrong at the right time
I'll die in an interesting way." She wrinkled her small, celestial nose
in a cute way. "Anyways, they've since been busted. If you can connect
with a living technician working for their Shipyards that's willing to
work on a hot ship, I can save the other stuff for our next meeting.
Gotta see if this fix of yours creates an compatibility issues of its
own, after all." She paused, her silver-blue eyes looking apologetic.
"Not that I don't trust you. I just have very little restraint when it
comes to outfitting my vessel. Creates problems."
To that, he would only nod. "I do have
some contacts in the Mon Cal shipyards, some past contractors, few
people who owe me favors." Pulling out another data crystal, he would
toss that one to her. " That crystal will tell your astromech a new
transponder sequence to use, and contains the instructions to locate a
contact there. Let the astromech do the communication, plausible
denyability that way. I would never trust a modification I never tested
myself, so I understand your hesitation. By all means, have the work
done and test it to your heart's content." With that, he'd step back and
let her make any other comments necessary, and get ready to return to
Brentaal before Carson messed up something else.
"I think this is the beginning of a
beautiful friendship." Valeria grinned as she put away the two crystals
he had given her, sliding them into a pocket. "My thanks." She twirled
in place, her gold striped red hair moving with her. "You've been
awfully quiet, commander."
Derek had been a ship's engineer for
nearly his entire career, but even he was fortunate to pick up one word
in five that the two were exchanging. Such was the life of an engineer
aboard a cruise ship. "Did you get everything you needed?" he said,
bringing his left hand up to rub at his head. His back was still
throbbing and it had nearly locked up while he had been standing there.
The portly commander desperately needed to take off a few ... or more ...
pounds before he got any older.
She nodded in response to him. "For now,
at least. If his fixes check out we can make this our regular
arrangement. Half in creds, half in his services." Valeria glanced to
either side of her, taking in the atmosphere of the corvette. "Although
I bet you guys could get me proton torpedoes if I ever run out of them."
"Now what's a nice girl like you going
to do with proton torpedoes?" Derek asked as he began to walk from the
conference room to lead her back towards the docking hatch. "Half in
credits? Half in services?" he repeated, as a smile curled upon his
middle-aged face, despite the pain in his lower back. "Well that's
certainly good news, because in case you haven't noticed you're not
exactly dealing with the Bank of the Core," he said with a slight
chuckle as they meandered down a stark white corridor.
"Well, I am a charitable kind of girl."
She walked down the corridor on the way to the docking hatch, a pleasant
look on her face. "You have my contact information when you're ready for
my next job." She rolled her shoulders in order to stretch.
Derek's eyes slowly rolled up to look at
the hatch, and he considered reaching up and opening it for a moment. "I
wouldn't want you to think me less a gentleman, but would you mind
getting the hatch?" he sheepishly asked, as his hand went to the injury
he had sustained on his lower back early. His cheeks flushed red with
embarrassment and he struggled to make sustained eye contact as he felt
quite awkward about it.
"Word to the wise.." She would activate
the hatch and slowly enter it, looking back at him with a twinkle in her
eye. "..you Rebels may want to invest more in medical technology. Bacta,
cybernetics. I think they could probably do wonders for you." She would
blow him a kiss before her other hand would ball into a fist and press
the button to close the hatch, blocking her face from sight.