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2 yrs ago
Current There is no such thing as overkill. There is simply 'Opening Fire' and 'Reloading'
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One more semi-evolved ape on this pilot-less organic spaceship.

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After saying her ‘goodbyes’ to Alanna for the moment, her eyes tracked over the freighter they’d landed beside, while she watched Talik; the way her lekku twitched and the way she carried herself towards the other ship led Ezali to conclude her new boss not only knew whoever was onboard, but was also rather happy to see them.

Not wanting to keep the Sargent waiting any longer, she began to turn towards him, when the ramp of the ship opened and the occupant spoke. She snapped her head back and took in the armoured figure. ”Toryn Dral…” She muttered. ”…fan-kriffing-tastic…” At this point the patiently waiting Sgt Darklighter spoke up. ”Something wrong?” His voice carried the obvious edge of a man expecting trouble, and really hoping to avoid it. ”Y-no…I’m not sure…” She replied after a moment. ”We’ve met briefly, worked a job with my Banner…he just has a…reputation. If Toryn Dral shows up, it generally means your life is about to get much more complicated.” Facing Darklighter, she laughed. ”If I’d known he was going to be here I’d ‘ve changed my rates.”

Darklighter chuckled a bit as he waved for her to follow. ”I wouldn’t get too worried, the Boss an’ Toryn are old friends…” She could tell he was about to say something more, but instead just shook his head and moved off. ”C’mon, if you’re like any other self-respecting merc, I’m sure you’ll be wanting to find some grub.” ”That’d be fantastic.” There was more going on regarding Toryn and Talik, Ezali could tell…but it very rarely paid to poke into a clients personal life…if it wasn’t a body-guarding job at least. ”An armoury and somewhere to rack out would be appreciated as well.” ”Sure thing.”




Kansas City, December 31, 2019, 7:30 pm

He stood in the storage loft of his shop, which did double duty as his bedroom, with his phone pressed to his ear. ”Yes G I’m sure…I’m not being a ‘stick in the mud’, you know I’m not a fan of crowds, especially when you and Stacy would be the only people I know…yes, yes I know…hey how ‘bout I meet you two for breakfast on Saturday? You can bitch at me for being a shut in in person then.” He let out a sharp bark of laughter. ”Love you to, say ‘Hi’ to Stacy for me, and Happy New Year to you both.”

Ending the call, he stuck the phone on charge and set it on the arm of the couch that was his bed. Stretching a few more times, he finished getting ready for his nightly ‘patrol’…though saying that, even in his head, sounded ridiculous. Sneakers, jeans and a long sleeved shirt, all second hand and easily replaceable; when he first started heading out he wore a bandanna to hid his face, but after the third time someone he was trying to help thought he was going to rob them, he stopped.

Ready, he headed for the shops rear exit and stepped into the growing night.

Kansas City, January 1, 2020, 2:00 am

He was surprised at how ‘quiet’ a night it’d been. Sure there were New Years revilers, many of them hammered, but no real crime. Yawning, he walked along, eventually pushing through the doors of a 24 hour corner store. ”Morning Azi…Mr. Nasirian?, what are you doing here?” He asked, shocked to see the older Iranian man behind the counter of his store at 2am. ”Where’s Aziz?” Mr. Nasirian raised a hand and yawned. ”Good morning to you to Arty,” Came the heavily accented reply, accompanied be another yawn. ”My clumsy fool of a son tripped and fell down the front steps…he’s fine, twisted an ankle and got a few good bruises, but I think his ego took a bigger hit than he did. The painkillers knocked him out so I had to cover.”

With another, larger, yawn he stretched. Allah knows I love my boy, but he’s a walking disaster.” Arty laughed with Mr. Nasirian as he poked through the deserted shop for a snack. They’d met when Arty had interrupted a robbery, and after he’s got into a patrol routine, he’d met Aziz. Snagging a couple of protein bars he headed for the counter. ”Hey, can I borrow your head?” Mr. Nasirian replied with a yawn and a wave of his hand towards the back of the store.

Early on he come into the store while out to grab a snack, and had interrupted a robbery. The wanna-be gangbangers had unfortunately already beaten the hell out of poor Aziz, and were looting the place before they bolted when he showed up. Catching them off guard, he beat the ever-loving shit out of the pair before calling the police and seeing to Aziz, staying with him until authorities and Mr. Nasirian arrived. Since then he’d become friends with Aziz and his family and made a point of stopping by the store a few times a night with he was out.

"HEY YOU HAJI SAND NIGGER, HANDS UP AN’ OPEN THE FUCKIN’ TILL!” The harsh demand cut through Arty’s wandering thoughts as he was finishing up and washing his hands. He felt his adrenaline spike, fueled by intense anger, as racial slurs were hurled at one of the nicest men he’d ever met. Stepping out of the back room, his hand up and free, he saw two skin-heads standing in front of a terrified Mr. Nasirian; one had a bat and the other a cheap looking small caliber pistol. They both snapped their attention to him.

”Hey now,” He said, far more calmly than he felt. ”There’s no need for that, Mr Nasirian is just trying to run his bus-” He got cut short by the bat armed asshole driving the end of it into his stomach; he saw the blow coming and his powers took all the force from it, a surge of energy feeding his adrenaline amp’d nerves. ”My cous’n in lockup ‘cuz of this terrorist lookin’ asshole…he owes us!” The gunman spat. Still faking how effective the bat had been, Arty slowly straightened; he had a good 4-6 inches in height over either of the racist idiots and a sever mass advantage. ”It wasn’t him,” He replied with a fake gasp. I beat the shit out of that turd…” Though before either of the would be robbers replied, he raised a placating hand. ”Why don’t we take this outside?” ”You wanna die in th’ gutter with th’ rest of th’ trash? Fine…”

He was roughly shoved out of the small store, and as he staggered onto the sidewalk, he heard the hammer of the gun cock. His ‘stagger’ let him turn enough to see where his assailants were standing, the both of them standing side by side at almost point blank. He let the power flow and he snapped around with a kick far harder than he’d ever use in a spar or a bout; his shin connected with the bat-thugs side with enough force to almost fold him in half and drive him into his buddy. At the same time the gun went off, pain shooting through Arty’s chest, while simultaneously making him feel more energized than he’d ever been.

Recovering the kick he stepped into the gun-man, who’d stayed upright when his friend had hit him, and threw an elbow strike that shattered the fucker’s jaw and sent teeth flying. Arty’s other hand flashed out and snatched the gun away, breaking several of the thugs fingers as he did so. All-in-all, the whole ‘fight’ took only a few seconds, both targets were down, one sobbing in pain while the other was out cold. Arty’s hands now went to his chest, expecting to find a gunshot wound he couldn’t feel yet…but there was no blood…a hole in his shirt, and a spot that was already started to bruise sure…but no blood. Holy shit…

Mr. Nasirian rushed out the door moments later, as surprised as Arty to not finds him bleeding out on the dirty sidewalk. ”Arty…are you…are you alright?” ”I think so…” The power crackling through him was dissipating, along with the pain from getting shot. ”You should go home son, you’ve done enough…I’ll see to these bisho'ur.” He patted Arty on the shoulder and held eye contact until he was certain what he’d said had gotten through. Arty nodded and headed off.

Kansas City, January 1, 2020, 9:30 am

Music blared through Columbus Park Automotive as Arty, dressed only in trunks, worked a heavy bag. There wasn’t even a bruise now from the bullet, and though he hadn’t gotten any real sleep once he’d gotten home he didn’t feel tired from it, though the workout he’d been at since 8 was staring to get to him.




Alanna & Ezali

In collaboration with @Cuddles 1438



Ezali laughed at the memory of the havoc Sable had wrought on that project. ”Funny how the Port Authority wasn’t too keen on heavy turbolaser batteries on a civilian passenger dock.” Tucking her helmet into the crook of her left arm, she smiled to her friend. ”Sure I’ll catch a ride,” She added. ”Just got in system, and when I realized where my ride had docked I thought I’d come bug you at work. Last job got a bit rough so I decided to take some time off.”
Turning back towards the way she’d came, Ezali stood and waited for Alanna to catch up. ”So, how ’ve you been?”
Alanna gave a small sigh at Ezalis' question. "Oh you know, things are just… ok at the moment. Today was my last day here. Alanna gestured at the rung itself. "The twins are, well the twins are being difficult at the moment. You remember that thing I mentioned to you about Jiari? Well, Firith has taken that as his sister is now the favourite child. Sable's as annoying as ever but there's not really a lot I can do about that. And Laars is… Alanna gives a deep sigh. "well we're still together."

She gave her friend a sympathetic smile and wish she had something more than just words to offer. ”Sorry to hear that. Firith’ll get over it eventually...it must be hard finding out your sister is ‘special’ while you’re just you. The day Grumpybot stops being a pest is the day he powers down for good.” The way Alanna said her husbands name tweaked something in Ezali’s mind, there was more going on...but standing in the doorway of a droid workshop wasn’t the sort of place to try and unpack what had her friend so down.

”You said you’re done here, so what’s next? A woman of your talents shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a new shop; or are you going to open your own?”

Alanna smiled at her friends suggestion, she had often wondered whether she could open her own droid shop, she certainly had the knowledge to get by on her own for a while. But at the same time she also felt that, that part of her life was coming to an end. With everything going on with her home life what Alanna really wanted was a fresh start maybe even to just retire and move away with the kids.

"I honestly don't know Ezali, I've spent over a decade at MDY, surrounded by loud noise, annoying droids and even more annoying men. I just want to get away from it all. Maybe take the twins and retire somewhere nice and away from the big cities. Like maybe out there." She said pointing out the window at the lush forest on Mandalore below them. "Just somewhere peaceful, away from all the noise and the stress." And possibly away from Laars

As they left Alanna’s former workplace, she couldn’t help but notice that her friend failed to mention her husband in the potential retirement plans. The last time she’d visited things had seemed good with her friend, but now there was an undercurrent of something. Yeah, and last time you were here was nearly two years ago, Ezali reminded herself. Shit changes. Weaving their way along the concourse towards the shuttle docks, she tried to keep the conversation ‘light’ while they were in public. ”You? Retire?” She smirked, giving Alanna a playful shove on the shoulder. ”You’d be bored within a week and be pulling apart your speeder for something to do; but I get it, especially the annoying males and droids part.”

While the Orbital was a massive installation, it was also intended to deal with high volumes of traffic, both externally and internally. A short walk from the droid bay took them to a high speed tram line, which brought them to the ‘local’ orbit-to-ground shuttle dock in short order. During the trip, she’d tried to make small talk, but things like that had never been a strong suit for Ezali.

Seeing they’d have a moment to themselves, as they shuttle they wanted hadn’t quite arrived yet, and the waiting lounge was mostly empty, she decided to say something. ”Okay Lanna, what’s wrong?”

That question was a new one to the Twi'lek, it had been a very long time since anyone had actually noticed that something was off about her, but could she bring herself to answer; A: In such a public place. And B: While sober. There was also the issue of just what was wrong with her life. If her daughter being at risk of disappearing to the Jedi at a moments notice and her son taking that to mean that she was the favourite now wasn't bad enough, her husband was seeing another woman. The whole perfect life that she had built for herself to escape the horror that was her childhood, was coming apart at the seams and though Ezali was a good friend that she trusted, could she really dump all of her own problems onto her? It was probably best not too, at least not where they currently were.

"I don't know what you mean Ezali… things are… fine at the moment." Her tone was horribly unconvincing but if she couldn't even convince herself of what she was saying, what hope did she have of convincing another person.

”If things are fine, I’m next in line to be Mand’alor.” Ezali replied in a complete deadpan. ”If you don’t want to talk about it now, fine, but please Lanna let me help if I can.” She added quietly. She set her helmet on a nearby ledge before taking both of Alanna’s hands in her own. ”Other folks might not notice, but something is eating at you. I could tell almost right away, so please tell me. You’ve had enough shit thrown at you in your life, you’ve earned the right to have someone else share your load.”
A chime announced the docking of their shuttle, and the small lounge rapidly filled with disembarking passengers. Releasing Alanna’s hands, she took up her helmet and stuffed it on her head. ”Alright, we’ll talk about this later, and no I’m not going to drop it.”





The Heart of Gold was guided into one of the Orbital’s many secondary hangers, landing amongst a variety of freighters and private light warships belonging to other Banners. While the others post-flighted the ship, Ezali bade them farewell and wished them luck in their recruitment.

”You know, you could stay and help… Ede said with a smile and a raised eyebrow.

”Tempting…” Ezali laughed as she put her helmet on. ”But I’ll have to pass.” With that she disembarked the ship and headed out of the hanger. With the Founding just around the corner, the station was a hive of activity. Clearing Customs and exiting the hanger and taking a moment to orient herself and watch the crowds; Mandalorians, Army, Navy, Banner or civilian, made their way amongst one another with the occasional Imperial, Corellian or other foreign national dotted about.

As she was starting to find her bearings, she spotted an info kiosk that was offering maps of at least this section of the Orbital. She felt a bit ridiculous having to play the part of ‘tourist’ and load the map into her helmet display…but they had added a whole lot to the station since she’d been there last. Map loaded, she now knew exactly where she was, and spotting a tag on the map, she knew where she was going first.
--
Weaving her way through the crowds she eventually made it too the droid workshop where her friend Alanna worked. Letting herself in, Ezali made her way past racks of droid components and the silent shells of shut down droids. Eventually she found the Twi’lek staring out a window at a passing CR-90. She rapped a durasteel clad knuckle on a workbench, and pulled her helmet off. ”Hey Lanna, surprise!” She chirped with a grin before looking about. ”Where’s Grumpy-bot?” She asked upon not seeing Alanna’s cantankerous HK unit about.




Earlier

While the decryption ran, Val found herself in the unfortunate position of needing to kill time with another person in the room, which meant ‘small talk’; something that she freely admitted she was terrible at.

Her own lack of social graces were compounded by Sadaet’s smoking, not that the smell bothered her with her nose ‘off’, she just disliked the habit on principle, and the fact that he kept giving her odd looks for a reason she couldn’t pin down. After a few clumsy attempts that didn’t go anywhere, she settled on sitting in silence until the programs had run their course. Mercifully that didn’t take too long, so upon their completion she shuffled the unlocked files back onto their drive, before handing said drive to Sadaet to send to Stryker, after all the rest of the setup in the room was his baby and she knew how much it’d bother her to have some rando messing with her gear.

”Well…um, see you..” She said awkwardly, as she stood, before leaving his room.

Now

When Stryker made the call, Val headed for the War Room and claimed the first seat she found. Since she got there before everyone else, she immediately went back to trying to chase down and plug Revenant’s memory leak; it was looking to be a project that was, unfortunately, going to keep her busy for some time.




The transition out of hyperspace woke Ezali from the bunk she appropriated. Grabbing her helmet from where she put it when she went for a nap, she headed towards the bridge of the Gozanti class she was hitching a ride on.

”Keldabe ATC, this is the freighter Heart of Gold of the Banner Keldau’s Reach, requesting approach vector to the Orbital, over.”

”Keldabe ATC to Heart of Gold copy, ID confirmed. Sending you nav lane heading now. Contact Oribital Docking on 676.7 in five minuets. Welcome Home”

”Copy Keldabe, adjusting course to nav lane now, will contact Docking on 676.7 in five mike. Thank you Heartof Gold clear.”

She’d stood quietly and just watched as the pilot, her Banner-brother did his job; but now that things were settled she spoke up. ”So Ede,” She asked, leaning against the pilot’s seat to peer out the window. ”How long you figure before we get station-side?”

When Ezali had left Mandalor to go try her hand at mercenary/bounty hunting, the Orbital had been a vast skeletal web, and during her infrequent visits home she’d seen it slowly come together but now, it looked like it was complete; and if that was the case she hoped the Corellians, Imps and Mandalor could put all their shit aside at least long enough to go and deal with the Confed once and for all.

While she’d been musing, Ede had been working the ship’s consoles. ”Ah, you’re awake,” He said in a way of greeting. ”But yeah, with this traffic we should be station-side in about thirty.”

Ezali thanked Ede and was about to leave the bridge when Ji, the co-pilot twitched in her seat and bent over the sensor display. ”Damn, would you look at that! A few key strokes brought an external camera to what she’d spotted on sensors, and then routed the feed onto a cockpit holo.

”Is that what I think it is?”

”If you’re thinking a Hapes Nova class, then yes.”

”Never thought I’d see one of those…especially here. Wonder why they’ve come out from under their rock?”

There were of course no answers forthcoming, so leaving the flight crew to their work Ezali headed back to the bunk she’d commandeered. The Heart of Gold had been heading back to Mandalor in time for the Founding on a recruitment drive for the Banner Keldau’s Reach, the mercenary company which owned the Heart of Gold and employed Ezali, Ede and Ji.

Only Ede and Ji were along to try and hire new blood, Ezali had simply caught a ride because she hadn’t been home in quite a while and after how nerve wracking her last job had been, she felt she deserved some time off.

[Edit: Changed blasters, moved missile launcher back to vambrace]
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