Jaida & Padul
Collab with @Lauder
On queue with what Fufuro had mentionned, Jaida's holocommunicator received a message from Commander Gallowin. The junkyard, heh? Clever place for a hideout. One would think a wealthy mercenary would be hiding out in some luxurious hangar or some other place like that. She should've known, considering the huntress' own habits.
And yet, while she considering the idea of investigating this junkyard herself, the young woman had something else to do. Of course, she could just leave that task to the Republic, if not ignore the deal altogether now that she had information, but strangely enough, a part of the ex-criminal felt the need to ensure her end of the bargain was done right, by herself.
Letting out a sigh, Jaida looked at Fufuro "I'll leave this to the other. I'm heading out. Take care of base and that guy over there."
On her way to her room, Jaida was lost in thoughts, planning ahead for her own "mission". Securing civilians ought to be a piece of cake, but after what happened recently, the ex-bouty hunter couldn't let her guard down. The streets were bound to have no only merceneraries hired to look for her by the crime lord who failed to have her assassinated, but also by the one who employed Blank and/or whoever owned the drug factory. This was such a mess. It felt like the whole planet had its eyes on her.
Plans began forming in the raven-haired gunslinger's mind as she reached her room. Now, whie going out solo would be best for stealth, it would be somewhat foolish now considering she oud potentially run into thugs looking out for her. She needed someone capable to have her back. Her choice of partners was quite limited. Jaida didn't exactly trust a normal soldier for the job. She couldn't have any of the members who assaulted the drug factory with her, lest they would attract suspicons. And after what happened back there with Blank and the two other Jedi, Jaida was in no mood to tolerate the presence of a Jedi with her right now. Bringing a Senator out on the field was simply out of the question, so that left her with pretty much a single person in mind, from what Jaida could remember of her recent search from the Republic's database.
Hoistering her blaster pistol onto her belt and her trusty rife strapped to her back, Jaida set out to find a female Trandoshan going by the name of Padul Hssesch. According to database, she was a soldier here on base with not exactly the cleanest track record. Conveniently, it sort of pleased the huntress. She didn't exactly need someone with the highest morals, and felt like this Padul might see her point of view. Plus, the girl was a Trandoshan. If there's anything Jaida learned from working in the underworld of Gamorria, it is that Trandoshan mercenaries were rightfully feared. Vicous and tough hunters they made. She actually respected their ferocity and their tenacity. They were good survivors, if their anger didn't blind them stupid.
Reaching the door leading to Padul's room, Jaida pressed a button on the panel next to the door. A beep signaled the room's owner the presence of someone outside.
After a moment, the door to the room slid open for the near seven-foot tall trandoshan to loom over the female who had summoned her. Padul was already geared in up, though that was due to the fact that the base had been attacked and she had to defend it, only to go back to her room after the firefight for more off-time. However, it seemed she would not get that pleasure. The trandoshan gazed down at Jaida, looking her over somewhat quizically, noticing that she was not a part of the common soldiery or command that would typically drag her out for patrols or some other useless task that she would be demeaned to.
"Who are you and what do you want?" Padul questioned, her gutteral voice commanding an answer, as a sargeant would typically act around soldiers under her command. It was not out of arrogance, but merely rank that she seemed agressive.
If one were to peer into her room, they would find that the decor would match that of her homeworld in Trandosha, as well as the back wall bearing tally marks of her points that she had collected during her time on the planet, points for the Scorekeeper that her people worshipped. Her Relby-v10 was leaned against the side of the wall not even a foot away from her. Additionally, the room was dimly lit, mainly as Padul did not need too much light to operate, especially within her living space.
While Jaida was somewhat tall for a human female, the bounty huntress actually had lean her head back for her eyes to meet the Trandoshan's. Tipping her hat up for a clearer view, the human huntress managed to stiffle a whistle from coming out, but she couldn't hide a grin forming onto her lips in answer to Padul's harsh tone. Very impressive indeed.
"What's up? I'm Jaida Sarinn, newest recruit and 'guide' for the Republic. Nice meeting you." The young woman held out her hand for a shake. "I won't waste time with the long explanation. I need someone reliable to help me on an extraction task. You look the capable sort, so I was wondering if you'd help me?"
"An extraction task?" Padul mused for a moment, wondering of all the different things that could entail, whether it be absolutely stupid or purely just slacking off of duty. Her gaze shifted into a skeptical look before cocking her head to the side. "And what exactly does this task entail and who authorized such a mission?" the larger woman asked, suspicious of the human that had come to her door.
Jaida rolled her eyes at the questions. So much for saving time on explanation. "I struck a deal with one of the prisonners. Information for safety. Well, his family's safety. It wasn't authorized by anyone, but I'd figure that I'd rather do it myself now than wait for all the bureaucracy to get some lousy troopers to do the job. No offense."
"A woman of action? I can appreciate that," Padul let out the twisted laugh that only trandoshans could generate with their raspy voices. She thought to herself for a few moments before turning and getting her blaster rifle, confirming, "Very well, I shall aid you. Action is better than waiting for some orders. Plus," Padul raised her gun, "it might add to my score."
"What with the thugs looking for us, I'm pretty sure you can add a few heads to you... score?" Jaida had heard of a few Trandoshan warriors before referring to that "score", but the huntress never did more digging into its meaning. She simply assumed it was a personnal headcount or something like that. She rose a clenched fist to her chest as a token of her appreciation, flashing a toothy grin to her new and larger partner. "Great! We'll be going right away, if you are ready. I'll explain more on the way."
"You caught me at a good time then, I am ready for action," the Trandoshan chuckled, stepping out of her room, the door closing behind her. Padul kept her Relby close as she did so, wanting to be ready at all times for the action that she was hoping for. "I have several smoke grenades and a single thermal detonator, a stun baton, if we want to take someone alive, and a holocommunicator in case things get... hairy," she informed Jaida before remembering that she had not properly introduced herself.
"Forgive me for forgetting my manners, I am Sargeant Padul Hssesch, pleasure to meet you, Jaida Sarinn."
"Pleasure's all mine, Sarge." Jaida tipped her hat "Might be excessive for an extraction mission I know, but I got my sniper and my blaster just in case. Might never know what'll happen, especially with what happened earlier. I got some utility stuff for moving around and being stealthy. That's pretty much it."
Seeing the Trandoshan left her room, closed the door, was ready for action and introductions were properly made, Jaida motionned her partner to to follow, leading them to the base's hangar. There, they found each other in front of a rather unremarkable two-seats speeder vehicle, which stood out how quaint it was compared to all the military gear around.
"I'll need to get it changed for something more suitable in size for an extraction. We'll make a small detour to get a new ride. It's not like my cars last long anyway." Jaida let out a faint chuckle at the last sentence.
"I personally think that a X-34 would be better, small and fast enough to do what we need," Padul commented, she was no speeder enthusiast but she new some of the more popular models that were seemingly irreplacable. It was a strange thing of her, but at least she knew the basics of speeder craft, even though starfreighters were the better way to get around, though that was hardly a matter of contest.
"I get your feeling. I'd personally drive around in one, but we've got a few people to fetch. Might get crowded for a two-seaters." As Jaida unlocked the speeder's doors, she fiddled with her holocomunnicator on her wrist. "This'll just just a minute."
"Saven?... Yeah, it's me... I need a big one this time. Probably for a couple people, maybe like six... You know how this works, no questions asked... Leave it between 6th and 8th... Usual doesn't cut it anymore man, I'll leave it between 2nd and 4th... What? That's ridiculously expensive!... Last minute fee my ass!...Yeah, no... Remember when I saved your 'business' from the Black Claws?... Yeah, I'm calling it now... Fine, it's settled then... Yeah yeah, drinks are on me next time, if there is even a next time... Nothing!... See ya."
After her call, Jaida turned to Padul with a grin. "Sorry for the wait. Going to get our new ride before heading out to get our query."
"That certainly sounded... illegal," Padul noted without much to say, she was not going to rat her put for each soldier had their own advantages, even if they were a bit underhanded. Not that she could judge, having done some bounty hunting, she knew that sometimes the best route would be one that was not viewed well by the government. "No matter, if it suits our needs then it'll be fine," the trandoshan continued.
"Illegal? Pffft, please." Jaida swayed her hand in a dismissive manner while speaking with a grossly exagerating fake innocent tone. "Guy owes me a favour from saving his shop. I'm just calling in that favour right now."
The speeder's engine roared to life as the owner sparked the ignition switch. Soon enough, the speeder took off from the hangar and hit the road, leading to the nearby city.
"Right. So one of the guys you people captured earlier, I negotiated their safety in exchange for information, like I told you earlier. Why I did that? I know how Gamorria works. If whoever employed them feared they had something to say, they'd threaten their life and their families. Their families are the only leverage I could get to make them talk. Otherwise, they wouldn't say a word. I didn't learn that much, only that this dude learned the passcode for the base's backdoor entry. Which means, we either have a traitor among us, or someone has infiltrated us. Both theories work. You'll find Gamorria to be home of many talented criminals, and also full of corruption. Didn't think it would reach inside this Republic's base so soon though. Also, those guys didn't band together randomly to show how displeased they were of you guys. Someone offered them a deal, to join Gamorria's top dogs. An offer one doesn't refuse when living in the underworld. But it was all a setup. Whether it's to test the Republic's strength, or simply to get rid of a few rival gangs, those guys were only bantha fodder. They weren't expected to succeed."
"Trust me, I am well aware of Gamorria's history, family used to come her to get contracts sometimes, dragged me along to learn how it was done," Padul informed Jaida, feeling her partner ought to know that she knew what the planet's underbelly was like. "Anyways, how many people will we be extracting? I hope it isn't a large family, would be a lot harder to protect them if we get attacked," the trandoshan asked, looking over at her partner.
"I see. I was even more right to have you along for the ride then. Knowing what you are up agaisnt is a good advantage." Jaida paused, taking a few seconds to recall what the file she had read earlier mentionned. "His mother and sister. Apparently, father died by thugs when he couldn't pay his loan back to Teratect. Debt bounced off on him, now he tried to pay it off by any mean necessary. Assuming extended family isn't there, we should be getting only two individuals. Sister is the priority though. Guy is apparently very concerned about her, at least that's the vibe I got from him."
"Understandable, family is important," Padul commented, before she caught herself in her own mind. Even still, years into her service, Padul was still deeply conflicted about having joined the Republic against her family's wishes, but at the same time, her people needed to be seen as more than mercenaries and savages. A look of depression came to her face before she shook away the feeling, continuing before Jaida could catch her, "Two individuals will be easy to get, this mission is as good as done if we don't come across any rancors." There was an awkward pause in her statement, "Rancors would be bad."
"Let's hope we're not going to cross some of the Beastriders gang. I heard they keep one in a pit underneath their underground base." Jaida mused as she recalled having indirectly worked with them to smuggle a shipment of nasty critters off-planet, back when she was younger. One of the first jobs she took, as a matter of fact.
Soon enough, the vehicle came to a halt in an alleyway of sorts. The raven-haired human turned to her partner. "Here's our stop. Gotta walk a few blocks to get the new ride."
Padul sighed before getting out of the vehicle, she did not like the notion of getting out of a vehicle to go to another vehicle then proceed to use the new vehicle. Though, since whatever illegal transaction Jaida did only benifited them, she would keep her mouth shut for the time being. "I hope we don't attract any attention while doing this," the trandoshan said looking out from the alley, watching the citizens go about the business for a few moments.
"No worries, this is going to be fine! I know these parts. No one's going to bother us." Jaida replied with quite a dismissive tone of voice as she led Padul through the alleyways of what appeared to be slums.
True to her words, no one actually did bother the two on their journey to the second vehicle. The only exception came from kids who seemed to be scavenging or playing in those grisly alleys. Without a word, a lot of these children simply rose their hand in a greeting gesture to the two much older women, which Jaida returned with a barely noticeable nod, before running off to their friends excitedly. A keen ear could pick up the kids muttering to each other stuff like "Look, miss Jaida is here!" and "Wow, her new friend looks strong and scary this time!"
"It seems you are fairly popular among children," Padul noted, only leting out a singular chuckle, though she did seem a bit disapointed that the children called her scary. However, Padul doubted the children saw trandoshans very often so it was an understandable thing.
"This is my neighbourhood." Jaida explained rather briefly, leaving the details and the story behind it in the shadows. Her usual dismissive smile slowly faded only to become faint. She meant well, but her voice sounded protective, as if she wasn't telling everything to keep something, or someone, safe. "They got used to me wandering about."
It did not take long for the duo to reach another shadowy alleyway. This time, there was a large vehicle parked in there. From the looks of it, the speed was made for delivering merchandise.
"That's our ride. Let's go." Without hesitation, Jaida climbed aboard and opened a hidden compartment under the driver's seat to reveal a key.
Without a word, the trandoshan got in the passanger side, skeptically looking over the vehicle's inside for anything that might not shine the best light on the two for when the job is finished. It was clear she did not trust whoever Jaida had purchased the vehicle from. After a rather intense search through the vehicle, Padul made herself a bit more comfortable in her seat.
With a nod to her seated partner, the human huntress started the vehicle's engine and slowly left the slums' alleyways to hit the narrow main road of the desolate-looking district. Their next destination would be on the opposite side of the impoverished area.