“I’m telling you, I get a bad feeling every time I’m around him, Trey.” Having made sure they weren’t being pursued, they locked in their course and jumped into lightspeed. Now, the thief, the pilot, and the newbie sat around the common room sorting the loot and discussing their separate encounters.”There’s no emotion about him. He put a blaster bolt in that Imperial’s chest without blinking those red eyes. It’s… unsettling.”
“He was right though,” Trey shrugged as he examined a peculiarly faceted bloodstone, “If the Imp saw your face, it could have brought a whole heap of trouble down on the operation.”
“And when they realize that these are missing?” The redhead slid a stack of datasticks and flimsiplast in front of Trey.
The rogue flipped through the flimsi. After a moment he pushed the pile to the side and went back to appraising the loot.
“I’m not sure what it has to do with us, Kyra.” The thief murmurer, mentally calculating the value of some gems Tiila contributed to the haul.
“Do we know what’s on these?” The blond pilot picked up one of the data sticks and rolled it around in her fingers. She was still in the dress she had reluctantly borrowed from the diva.
“I haven’t looked at them yet, but they should be readable, at least with this,” Kyra slid the Imperial’s datapad into the pile. “I’d imagine it has the proper decryption key.”
“We know anyone who could use these?” Arden turned toward Trey. “I’m thinking if we just hand them over to Durga, he’d be more likely to turn us in for any reward then keep them for himself, or sell them.”
Kyra snorted. “It’s not like the Imps are known for their complicity when striking deals. In that sense it works in our favor. Durga’s no idiot, he’s not going to sell us out unless there’s a profit to be had.”
“Regardless,” Trey began, his eyes resting on the Imperial intel for a moment before looking up to the two women, “we’re not going to make any decisions on this until the rest of the crew are back aboard. I’d suggest the two of you find something else to occupy your time until then.”
Arden gave Trey a sideways glance and then stood up. “Yes sir, captain,” She rolled her eyes and left the room without another word.
Kyra arched a brow, but said nothing. She slipped out of her seat and left the compartment, the swish of door marking her departure.
The consular cruiser Lady in Waiting II banked through the black of space as it made its way around the station. It’s artificial gravity never let it’s passengers know that they were moving in head first to match the spin of the massive port, but Bralor could feel the familiar vibrations in the flooring from the short range propulsion flickering in and out to line it up.
He leaned back, looking beyond his reflection in the glare of the window. Outside the docking bay opened its great maw full of white light with its shimmering force field. The ship’s hull gave a gentle shake as the tractor beam locked on to it, and the cruiser began its final descent.
The Mandalorian stood. “We’re here.”
Aidenne shifted in her seat, looking to the window without any real interest. “It’s about time.” Though she’d never admit it openly, the Soul was home and she was ready to be back in familiar surroundings. “Provided nothing else has gone wrong.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” His face was cool and flat. He reached onto the table and picked up his helmet. “Neither do you.” Bralor was no Jedi and this was no mind trick, but the flash of his eyes was plenty enough to tell her to put the thoughts that were cycling in her head away.
The Diva stared at him for a long moment, golden eyes flashing with irritation… and more. “Of course not,” she said finally. Her delicate shoulders moved in a silent sigh as she slowly stood and gave a long luxurious stretch. “Let’s go then.”
Bralor rapt his knuckles on the door that Tiila had hidden herself away for a recharging nap while they were in transit. “Sorry to wake you, Ambassador,” he slid his helmet over his head, returning that chilly tint to his voice. “We’re landing.”
A few rustles and a set of foot steps across the room told him the woman inside had roused. The door slid open to reveal a ruffled stormy sea of blue around a fresh, if slightly sleepy, pink face.”Landing…? Where?”
“Rendezvous point,” replied that sterile Mandalorian voice. “Back to the Soul.”
She nodded and tied the robe around her waist. “Good. I’ll sleep much better in my own bed.” She yawned into the back of her hand. “And a nice cup of tea…”
“I doubt the Soul has changed quite that much. Even with a haul like this I doubt Trey’s ” He gave off that static sound of a small laugh. He turned, gesturing Krynn to join him with the jog of a helmet. “I hope you can settle for a good poodoo cup of tea.”
The two men stood over four large pristine plastisteel cases. “Not a bad day’s work.” Behind that glassy black T a slanted smirk drew across his hidden face. For that moment, crouching down and picking up two of the the cases, he just relished the fact that they had gotten through to the end. And in the end, success is all that mattered.
The hatch opened up with the familiar sights of the Free Flying Soul’s belly leading them in. It came with the whir and chirp accompanied by the circular blue light the photoreceptor ship’s utility droid. T3-E7 rolled forward to greet the crew returning home.
“Good to see you too, old man.” The soldier patted the droid on the top of it’s flat round head. Pal chittered an clicked, his body and his forelegs sliding together to prop him up to full height. The blue light shifted to pale red and he bounced side to side in apparent irritation. “It’s just a Jawa. You’re not being replaced.”
“Nope,” the ship’s captain said to the droid as he walked down the entry ramp. “You’re the only member of this crew that doesn’t eat my cracknuts.”
Glancing at Bralor, Trey smiled. “Everything go smooth?”
The Mandalorian nodded, dropping the cases in his hands into the corner of the cargo hold. “Nothing goes perfect, but we got out alive.” He declined to elaborate. Fitting his finger into latches of his helmet they popped free. He removed his helmet and met Trey with an even gaze. “Any op you walk away from…”
“Is one you can use as a learning experience for the next op.” the thief finished, although probably not as the Mandalorian was expecting.
Bralor tucked the helmet under his arm. “Already have something in mind?”
“Nothing duracrete, not yet anyway.” the thief said with a smile.
“It was good haul. We deserve a little R and R.” The homecoming team followed Trey Vullif into the ship’s commons. Putting a little space between the two men and the women, Bralor locked step beside the thief and muttered quietly. “Assuming the big fat worm doesn’t adjust his stake…”
Trey flashed a lopsided smile. “He does, I’ll be inclined to run a concussion missile into his throne room.”
The old soldier’s dark eyes rolled over to the side. “I’m inclined to do it anyway.”