Hidden 11 days ago 10 days ago Post by Jackdaw
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The Raven Trespass – Val

“Jacen wants to hold off on talking Trithemeus until we’re on Coruscant. He said something about a complication.”

Val Syndulla stood at the Raven’s communications console. Their link was audio only, no holo, as he had called in from the palace on his subvocal link.

“That’s not good,” the captain replied, voice flat.

It wasn’t. Jacen Jast, Jaren’s brother and the real spy in the Jast family, was typically open handed with the Raven. Jaren and his crew were a highly valuable asset to Coronet Analytica’s private intelligence business. Jaren was a dependable independent contractor with a top-of-the-line ship capable of handling its most dangerous and lucrative contracts. Coronet kept them well-provisioned with supplies and munitions, and during their jobs with the firm the executives kept their tremendously long lines of credit open to the crew for their expenses and rarely asked questions. “Complications” had never entered the dialogue during their dealings with Jacen.

“Why don’t we head this off and assume Coronet’s going to short us on support,” Jast said after a long moment’s thought. His tone was confident, which Val liked. The Raven and her crew ran into obstacles with fair regularity. Jast, for all the traits that made him seem a dashing rogue with more balls than plans, was ultimately a cool, competent commander who knew how to control and contain a situation. “Find out if Thrax and Sena are onworld. Let’s bring them in on this. If we can’t get Coronet’s codebreakers on our team, we’re going to need our own.”

“What if they ask for a price?”

“Let’s just set up a meeting before talking numbers. For tomorrow if possible. If they push for a price let’s offer them thirty. Figure that should be enough to get them on board, but if they don’t bite tell them we can negotiate in person.”

“Sounds good,” Val said, bringing up the contact information on the console.

“Alright, I’m going into this dinner. Jast out.”

- - -

Khulbe’s Palace – Jast

Jast decided, upon entering and admiring the transformed throne room, that Khulbe certainly had good taste. He wondered how much was of the Hutt’s own conception, and how much he left to the designers.

After he and Telsa had introduced themselves into the room with a sweeping bow on the captain’s part and the pilot’s best approximation of a curtsy, the two took their seats. Light chatter filled the air, and they tested appetizers. Jast made a point to lock eyes with Nima and offer her a smile. They had the bones of a good rapport. Though Jast rarely saw the Twi’lek—he saw Khulbe in person perhaps a handful of times each year, spending most of his time in the field and interacting through intermediaries more often than not—they got along well when they ran into each other.

The Hutt spoke.

“I would love to hear of your journey here, and of your passenger.”

Jast smiled. He’d been expecting this question. For a moment it had seemed that it might be avoided, seeing as how well the deal turned out, but there was only so much good fortune he could ask for. He took a sip of Corellian brandy and got on with it.

“Well, let me tell you, this trip over here really starts on Tatooine,” he said, and he launched into the story of their escape from the Smuggler’s Moon just a few short months ago. He related the exciting parts, mostly, interspersed with a good deal of humor. His flight from Nar Shaddaa on a tramp freighter, his duel with the Mandalorian on the Arkanis Sailer’s lowest levels, just as he was boarding an escape pod. He wasn’t a bad storyteller, as far as he could tell.

“…and who do I see? The Mandalorian, same one from Nar Shaddaa, and he’s got his gun on me. I have my blaster on me, but it’s at my waist and my hands are in the air, and I’m forgetting at this point, but it’s still set to stun.” The story ended with a gunfight with a pair of Trandoshan mercenaries and a grueling chase across the Dune Sea as Jast and his compatriot fled Mos Shuuta on a commandeered speeder while the Mandalorian pursued them aboard his state-of-the-art gunship.

“And I’ll never forget this, I see something way up, way above us. It’s the Raven,” Jast said, looking over at Telsa. “I couldn’t believe it. This girl,” he said, pointing at her, “comes flying down into the atmosphere, bearing down on this gunship at, what, must have been a 60, 70 degree angle and unloads. And I swear, I didn’t even know we had that many guns on the ship,” he said with a laugh. “And that’s how Telsa shot down a D-5 Mantis.”

His second looked down, clearly at least a little uncomfortable being the center of the attention. He would have felt bad had he not caught the white flash of a brilliant smile.

“Like something out of a movie,” he continued, “I wouldn’t believe it if someone told me that story.” He pressed on, but the rest of it was more mundane. The trip out to Ord Mantell to meet a contact in Worlport, dipping their toes in the TDT business smuggling pseudoteth, and then the heist. The piracy was one of the least interesting parts to the story, which wasn’t something he’d expected when they’d taken the job. They’d just pulled into a refueling station, a rest stop in orbit around a brown dwarf, barely a living soul present, and done a spacewalk with some fusion torches.

“So, end of story, we pulled out of Worlport and set course for Nar Shaddaa, and just as we’re touching down here we find out this Zelosian girl has been hiding out in a crawlspace—this access way to the landing mechanism—for over a week. Apparently she’d crawled in there while we were docked in Worlport,” he said, taking another sip of brandy. It was a fresh glass. The story had taken him a while to tell. “She was half-dead when we found her. Had to hook her up to an IV and everything. Turns out she’s a decent mechanic, so I have Val putting her to work now in our engineering bay. She’s been talking about bringing a new hand aboard to help out with the technical workload now that Glaato’s gone. Seems like we might have found one.”

It was one of those lies that was so near enough to the truth that you could forget you were lying. “And that’s the story. It’s been a trip.”

- - -

The Raven Trespass – Boqorro

“Wise choice,” Boqorro said, offering a smile. “I think the captain and first officer are off the ship by now, which leaves Valera in command. You said you’re good with tools, yes? Mechanic-type? Valera is the chief engineer on the Raven. I am sure she will have some ideas about how to put you to work while you are with us.” As he finished, footsteps from around the curved edge of the corridor came within their earshot, and as if on queue, Valera arrived, a small collection of neatly folded clothes in her arms.

“You’re looking better, miss,” the blue Twi’lek said. She talked fast, the words flowing at a rapid clip. “I don’t think we’ve done formal introductions yet. I’m Val, this is Boqorro. The captain let me know you might be coming aboard with us for a while, which is great, seeing as you have at least a bit of mechanical know-how.” Boqorro realized he hadn’t introduced himself. That had been rude, he figured.

“This ship is a real piece of work, needs all the help it can get. Might turn out to be the case we’re lucky you jumped on with us,” she said cheerily. “Come down to the engineering bay,” she said, pointing out a door down the hall, “once you’ve finished getting settled. Feel free to pick out a room, we have plenty of extra bunks here, get something to eat and so on. Take a shower too, probably. But yeah, once you’re settled, I have a project I could use your help with.”

“Also,” she added, presenting the folded clothes to the Zelosian, “I thought you might want to change.”

T’a smiled as she accepted the clothes. “Thank you.”
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Hidden 9 days ago Post by The Wyrm
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Khulbe's Palace - Zura Lom

Zura had to admit that the human pilot was an excellent storyteller and she found herself swept up into the adventure that had culminated in his arrival on Nar Shaddaa. There was a brief silence as his story concluded and then several of the girls began clapping and everyone joined in, even Khulbe, who smacked one thick arm against his stomach in appreciation.

The courier had painted a rather vivid picture of his escape and part of Zura was envious of his freedom to roam. That feeling quickly passed as she realized Jast had nearly died and her position in Khulbes household kept her well fed, well paid, and without much fear of her life being destroyed on some shithole planet like Tatooine.

"I should have you visit more often, Jast. Your stories are quite remarkable." Khulbe rumbled with decided amusement in his voice. Zura had been with him long enough to discern the various tones and timbers of his voice, and what they meant. "This has reminded me of something you might find interesting."

The Hutt rumbled something that D440 did not translate and a short pause took place before a floating holo-projector sped into the room, halting just shy of the Hutts throne. A series of lights blinked on and then a tall humanoid being flashed into existence. Everyone knew him at once, Kade Ritgar, the holo-actor. Zura felt her skin tone flush with pleasure at his face; he was popular with pretty much anyone of the female gender, regardless of race or species.

"Mr. Ritgar is making a personal stop here in two weeks to have some of my girls model his new line of clothing. I know he is aways interested in exciting stories for his holo-projects," The Hutts huge eyes turned from Kades image toward Jast. "Perhaps you would like to join us for another meal and regale him with your adventure?"

Zura saw a flash of interest go through the assembled slave girls. Scarifs Styles, Kades clothing line, was famous throughout space for its fabrics, alluring cuts, and unbelievable prices. Everything manufactured by Scarifs was limited addition and it was possible Khulbe had paid for his own line of slave wear to be commissioned. Zura herself had only met Kade once before when Khulbe attended the premier of a holo-film that had been shot on Nar Shaddaa.

She shot a quick glance at Jast from under her brows, and then at Telsa. The two of them were excreting pheromones suggesting nervousness, Telsa more than Jast. Zura wondered if it was because of the setting, or if it was because they had not been truthful in their story. The truth of it would only matter if they were caught but that wasn't her concern. Khulbe was, however, but nothing of what Jast said caused her any concern for the Hutts safety. She took a sip of her spiced rum and wondered what Kade would be like.

Nar Shaddaa - Thrax and Sena

Thrax rolled onto his back, his breath coming in heavy gasps, his black hair plastered to his forehead with sweat. Next to him, hands sliding up and down her belly as she squirmed on the bed, Sena smiled and then gave a final sharp gasp and collapsed into the mattress.

They lay in silence for a couple of minutes, both staring up at the ceiling as the pounding in their ears subsided and they got their breathing under control. The whirr of the air purifying unit was the only sound apart from the very distant rumble of the Nar Shaddaa spaceport. A collection of holo-images showing Sena and her family were scattered about the room along with an explosion of clothing and a half dozen data-pads and comlinks in various states of assembly.

"I'm going to shower." Sena announced abruptly, bouncing up from the bed. Her abs still glistened with sweat and he admired her ass as she made for the door. "Stop ogling, pervert!" She snapped as she caught sight of his gaze in the mirror.

"To late, you're well ogled!" He ducked as she chucked a shoe at him and it bounced off the wall to fall among a pile of clothes. She vanished into the refresher as he stood and walked into the living area of her small apartment. It was a single room unit, a few stories above the smog line. The slicing business paid well enough that she could afford some nice digs, far nicer than his own dwelling near the city core. His own trade paid well enough that he could afford vacations and nice toys, but one had to be discreet, and he paid for the run down unit to keep up appearances.

He wandered into the kitchen and retrieved a snack, munching on it as he continued to wander about, oblivious to his own nudity. Anyone above the smog layer got a generous amount of sunlight and he enjoyed the warmth on his skin. His musings were interrupted by the chirp of his comlink and he hurried back into the bedroom, rooting around in the mess on the floor until he found his jacket. He pulled it free and then fished in the pockets until he located the comlink.

"Thrax." He snapped the word as he flicked the comlink on.

"Well heya Thrax, it's Val from the Trespass."

"Val, you old pirate! What can I do for you? Got a job? You never call otherwise." Thrax walked back into the living room, pushing his hair back from his face.

"Jast has a job and he wants you and Sena. I'll call her after you. Money is good, it'll be dangerous, and we're working for Khulbe."

"I'll let her know, we're meeting up in a few minutes." Thrax replied quickly. Khulbe had hired Jast for something. That meant the money was really good. The Hutt rarely paid poorly unless it was a garbage job, and Jast didn't do garbage. "How much are we talking?"

"20k each." Val's voice had gone flat and Thrax felt his eyes narrow.

"You're fucking with me right? You want us both, or you wouldn't have mentioned Sena, which means you need both our skills. 30k a piece and I want information on the target before I sign on." He could almost see Val grimacing on the other end of the comlink.

"Fine. I'll check with Jast and get back to you. I'm going to call Sena anyway, just so you know."

"No issue." Thrax responded as he disconnected the call. A moment later he heard Senas comlink begin buzzing and she appeared at the door of the refresher, her hair damp, water still glistening on breasts and thighs. He was very glad the state of her apartment did not reflect on her personal grooming habits, she was a smooth and clean as fresh durasteel.

"It's Val." Thrax said before she could go for the comlink. "Jast has a job, Khulbes hired him to do something. Not many details but I told him we want 30k each." He was walking toward her as he spoke and she must have seen the mischievous smile on his face because she began to back away from him.

"Back you savage! I just showered!"

He didn't bother replying as he scooped her up and took two steps into the bedroom, tossing her back onto the bed. She giggled and spread her legs again, beckoning him toward her.
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Hidden 9 days ago Post by Saix
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Khulbe's Palace - Nima Tarkona

Nima was among the first of the girls to applaud Jast as she was completely engrossed by the tale he gave to the group and nearly hanging on the edge of her seat. It was just like the fictional stories she would borrow from the library on her downtime. In fact, throw in a love interest and the captain basically had a holo-drama series in the making. Khulbe must have had the same thought because what he said next after praising the captain, was unexpected.

"I should have you visit more often, Jast. Your stories are quite remarkable. This has reminded me of something you might find interesting."

A holo-projector zipped into the room and stopped to hover just past where she sat. It flickered to life to show the image of the famous actor Kade Ritgar. Nima knew his face, as did most of the galaxy. She was watching one of his dramas with the girls just the other day and according to her master, he was due to visit in two weeks time. She glanced over to where her friends were perched on their stools and smirked. She could tell how excited they all were, even Ehottecri couldn't help but share their enthusiasm. Those girls were all die-hard fans of his dramas and had watched every single episode. While the twi'lek was also a fan of his work, she knew that he was a man making a living for himself like almost everyone else in the galaxy and wasn't swayed by his celebrity status. Nima looked forward to meeting him as she was fairly positive Master Khulbe had in mind for her and the girls to try on the new clothes he would be bringing.

Bringing her attention back to their guest, she wondered what life was like beyond these walls. The twi'lek had spent her entire existence sheltered, as something valuable to be safeguarded. Was this to be the rest of her days? Holed up behind the walls of this elaborate palace until she became too old and eventually get sold off, probably back to Olan Fyaar at Madrassa to train new slave girls to be like her? For a brief moment, a flicker of sadness spread across her face and she turned her cheek to hide the slip in her demeanor. She disguised the motion by making it look like she purposely turned to rearrange the skirt of her dress and was glad the Hutt sat behind her.
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Hidden 7 days ago 7 days ago Post by Jackdaw
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Khulbe’s Palace – Jast

Jast smiled. “Sounds like a good time. If we’re able to stop by, we will. With a little luck we should be able to get the job done and be back here for the event in time.”

“I’m a huge fan,” Telsa added. “I’ll make sure we make it back for it.”

“It certainly helps having the fastest ship in the galaxy,” Jast added.

“Well, not the galaxy,” Telsa offered, taking a sip of her wine.

“The sector, anyway,” Jast answered.

“Some sectors.”

Jast looked at her. She wore a teasing smile and, had the situation not been so formal, might have been giggling. He returned the smile with a smirk of his own and looked back to Khulbe as he leaned back in his chair. “Most sectors,” he said, taking another drink from his glass. Telsa nodded, acquiescing.

“All jokes aside, it’s an amazing ship,” Telsa said. “Jast told me that you were behind funding it. I’m sure you’ll be happy to know I made sure he put your money to good use.” Val had done far more work on the ship over the years and had advised on the purchase and modification of the Raven every step of the way, but Telsa had made some specific recommendations for the engine and piloting subsystems, part of the deal Jast had agreed to when she’d come on with them.

Telsa had flown interceptors during the war, and wanted to again. The Raven wasn’t an interceptor, but she handled like one more so than any freighter Jast had ever flown. The controls were responsive, almost uncomfortably so, and Val had called Telsa’s thrust and booster choices “ridiculous” and “unnecessary.” They were expensive, too, but the end result was a ship that felt like a podracer, and when Telsa was behind the controls, calling the Raven the “fastest ship in the galaxy” didn’t feel so crazy.
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Hidden 4 days ago Post by The Wyrm
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Khulbe's Palace - Khulbe

The remainder of the evening passed swiftly enough for all involved, cozy and intimate enough that those assembled were able to overlook the rather dangerous business relationship that could potentially kill some of them. Khulbe was a gracious host, accepting compliments from Telsa about the food, and then having the chef brought out to accept the praise herself. Even the stilted tones of D440 did not put a damper on the evening as he translated the Hutts deep rumbling voice.

A small desert made jogan fruitcake came as a final completion of the evening. Khulbe had allowed the slave girls to leave one at a time to enjoy something to eat. It was not often that his kitchen was tested to the fullest of its skills as Khulbe himself usually enjoyed live frogs from numerous different planets. On this particular occasion he allowed the chef to indulge herself and enjoyed a somewhat spicy water creature from Naboo, something called a Gungan, and a young one at that. It turned out to be quite delicious.

As the deserts were polished off and the dishes removed, Khulbe heaved his massive bulk more upright and the slave girls straightened their backs on the small cushioned stools they occupied.

"I am going to retire. I have a number of engagements tomorrow that I cannot miss." D440 translated rapidly as Khulbe began to move his bulk toward the darkness beyond the curtains. "Enjoy your stay."

He waved away their thanks, and then paused, almost forgetting what he had learned about humans. He knew Jast was not one for slavery but even a man like him would appreciate the company of a pretty girl.

"Jast, take your pick of my girls to keep you company. After Zura has chosen hers."

Then the darkness swallowed him.

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