Trey glanced over his shoulder as he worked the lock of another strong box. “I’m sorry. But the arrest had to look real. Plus, I didn’t want to make a deal out of calling in my Pop.”
“Who you stunned and left in the cell.” She pulled the cred sticks out of the box.
“Yeah, well,” the thief said as he pulled a gem-laden necklace from the box. “You didn’t see what he did to me for my twelfth birthday on Chandrilla. No court would convict me.” He paused, then let out a laugh. “Well, not for that anyway.”
“You really worry me sometimes,” she gave him a side ways glance, “you know that right.”
Tossing the necklace to his pilot, Trey grinned. “Nothing to worry about, Arden. If Bralor shows up.”
“What do you mean, “if”?” There was the static groan from the open doorway, the Mandalorian standing in it. “I’m not the one that said they hit a small snag.”
Trey flashed a smile at the old soldier. “Yeah, but you’re the one that’s late.”
“Actually, you’re ahead of schedule.” He turned over his wrist, checking the red shifting numbers as they clicked away. “The Diva’s just hitting the stage now.”
“Well then,” the thief gave the young pilot an I-told-you-so look, “seems like things are working out according to plan.”
“And that…” Arden rolled her eyes, “is usually when the bottom falls directly out.”
Kyra shouldered one of the empty satchels. She slipped past the Mandalorian and into the hall with the waiting Chiss. “Let’s get this over with.” Krynn nodded and fell into step behind Kyra without a word of question.
There was a brief moment of quiet as the three thieves stood alone in the vault. The safety deposit boxes hung ajar all around them and the floor had only a couple duffles mostly full. The others sat empty along the edges.
Trey’s eyes fell to the floor at the center of room. “Alright,” he said taking a deep breath which he let go with a puff of his cheeks. “Let’s do this right.” He knelt down and pulled three sonic drivers from his bag and slid two of them to the feet of the others. “And carefully.”
The three stood apart and formed a rather wide triangle. Looking down the seams in the flooring became readily apparent. With a simple nod, they went to work. Each of them took up their tools and made quick work of the bolts that held the large metal plate in place. Arden went along the edges with the torch, carefully cutting the complex hinge mechanics while Trey set about disarming the locking mechanism. Bralor took up the pry bar and slipped it into place. He strained at the force, putting his shoulder into it and with a hiss and a pop the flooring came loose.
Arden whistled low. “So what’s down there?” She beamed up at her two friends.
“The stuff dreams are made of?” Trey smiled and shrugged his shoulders.
“Cute,” Arden laughed nervously, “Well no time like the present to find out.”
Slowly, Trey opened the hidden vault to reveal four long transparasteel boxes filled with millions in Imperial Credits. “Okay, maybe dreams aren’t made this, but for that much money I’d bet you could buy ’em.”
“Or a brand new nav system and a more responsive drive systems?” The pilot grinned.
Trey looked at Arden and returned her grin. “Or even a pilot’s freedom from a giant slug,” the thief chuckled.
“Well there is that.” Arden giggled.
“A bullet would be cheaper,” groaned the soldier, settling to the side of the opening. “And far more satisfying.”
Arden flashed him a small smile. “I’d much rather strangle him with a chain.” She held her hand to the Mandalorian, who helped her step down through the flooring to the side of the large open safe.
“You’ll need to start working out, toothpick.” The pilot shot him a scowl.
Trey moved to one corner and examined their booty. All the takes of all the jobs they had pulled in the last two years wouldn’t be much more than half of what was sitting in this safe. “Alright…” He took breath, rubbing his fingers together. A smile pulled up in his cheeks. “Let’s take some money.”He reached in and took hold of the first handle and slid it out.
One by one they formed a chain. Arden and Trey pulled the cases from the cache and handed them off to Bralor who carried and neatly slipped them neatly into the duffles by the door. As the safe emptied, Arden climbed down inside to help shift the score out to Trey who sat on the edge.
“I gotta hand it to you,” smirked the pilot with a small shake of her head. She reached down and took hold of one of the last four transparasteel cases. “This is turning out a lot better than I was expecting.” She hefted the container up, needing both hands to leverage it. It pulled free of where it had been wedged against wall with a soft mechanical click. Her brow furrowed. “What was tha-”
A loud buzzer rang out.
Trey jumped up with a mumbled “Aw crap.” Out of the corner of his eye he noticed a thick steel bulkhead closing over the vault entrance. “Bralor! Door!” he yelled as he quickly snipped the wires connected to the buzzer.
The thief’s voice was drowned out by the earsplitting alarm. Before he had even opened his mouth to speak, Bralor was grabbing the heavy counting table and pulled it. It scraped across the floor with a loud grating as he swung it about and into the doorway. The massive, solid reserve door came slamming down onto the large durasteel table, crumpling it like tin. It’s legs folded and bent out and as its teeth crushed it into the ground, bits of it shot out like shrapnel.
Static Mando’a curses fell from Ures’vn as his armor took the brunt of the little metal shards, one catching into the weave on his side. He shot a look to Trey who was furiously killing the alarm. Bralor jogged back to the safe, where Arden was crawling out.
“I didn’t know!” her eyes were wide.
“None of us did.” Cutting through the last of the wires, Trey glanced over at the others. “At least this is quiet, so…” the sound of hissing gas made him trail off.
The pilot’s nervous eyes rose up A steady stream of soft green gas was pumping out of the vents along the ceiling. “That’s gas…” It quickly crawled across filling the space between the walls.
The Mandalorian’s helmet turned on to the pilot, planting his hand onto her shoulder. “Watch your head.” He pushed her back, letting her tumble into the open safe. As soon as she was clear he swung the door shut, closing her in.
Coughing, Trey glanced at the Bralor. “Good thinking, the environmental stabilizers in the T-15100 will keep her safe.
“What environmental controls?”
It was comforting to discover that the Lithani Princess appeared to have an at least somewhat competent stage crew. The colored lights poured down around the Diva’s tiny body, catching the golden tones and setting her sunset hair ablaze. In this moment, Zeltron helper or not, she was a living candle, drawing her audience in.
But, since she had a scantily clad assistant, Aidenne decided tonight was a good night to flex her musical muscles. She started with the standards, popular songs that the well-to-do audience thought they were so cultured in knowing. Then, as she grew more confident in Tiila’s ability to hold the attention of the entire room, the Diva began to branch out.
Her voice dropped into its lower register, touching the velvety softness of the moody and more artistic Dusk tunes. She toyed with funereal melodies, bringing many in the audience to tears. Then, bored with the somber mood, lifted their spirits again with a particularly beautiful arrangement of Dha Werda Verda that Bralor had always been fond of.
Looking out across the sea of enthralled concert-goers, Aidenne’s golden eyes met Tiila’s and a small smirk tugged at the corners of her mouth. Perhaps having little bit of help wasn’t such a bad thing… every now and then.
It hadn’t been too difficult. Tiila smiled back at that little grin before taking a drink from her fifth glass of water since the set began. She was a little light headed and a little dehydrated but the crowd was rapt. While it was hard work, it wasn’t as hard as she thought it might. Aidenne was giving one hell of a performance and it wasn’t taking everything she had to keep all eyes and ears on the performance.
The Zeltron’s coal black eyelashes fluttered as she shifted the emotion of the room. She knew from experience that giving them the same feeling for a long period of time could cause some of them to build up a resistance. A collective sigh left the lips of the crowd as they were overcome with emotion. Changing was the hardest.
A pair of exceptionally attractive companions flanked the woman on either side, the delicate woman holding Tiila’s hand as the dark skinned male supported her weight from one of her shoulders. They served a dual purpose. Having the company of a pair of companions automatically raised the respectability of their group, not that they needed it, and they could be trusted to assist her far more than the pack of panting men that circled the trio of gorgeous people.
Tiila handed her glass back to the female, Dorianna her name was, and rested more of her weight into the strong Taryn. They were only a fraction of the way through the set and Tiila already felt felt like it had gone on forever. She was a factory pumping out a room full of diversion and she knew it was wreaking havoc on her skin. Her eyes met again with the Diva on stage. At least the entertainment was good.