The Mirage Casino and Luxury Hotel, Eden City
1400 hours, Eden Standard Time
The smell of potted plants pervaded the room, filling it with an earthy smell, like a freshly-dug grave on a rainy day. Dralin Fortea had taken up botany during his year-long sojourn outside of Tarentum space, though not for the reasons most would. It was not a therapeutic exercise, but rather, an entirely practical one. The most potent poisons come from plants, and the Equite would much rather harvest poisons from their source, rather than drawing attention to himself by buying them. His delicate ministrations, the life-giving motions so counter to his usual treatment of living things, were interrupted by a chirping from his comlink.
“Dralin, can you come to my quarters? There’s something I need to discuss with you,” announced his comlink, projecting the voice of Teia Coran into Dralin’s cluttered room.
Dralin unclipped his comlink from his belt. “Be right there, Coran,” he replied tersely, straightening himself from his low crouch. As with most people, he referred to the Commander of the Reckoners by her last name; the Consul, his Quaestor, and his old master being exceptions to his distant attitude. After the Antei incident, he stopped referring to superiors by their ranks, merely calling them by their surnames.
No more blind obedience… Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…
Teia was earning Dralin’s respect as a capable leader, however, and he thought of her as someone with a lot of potential- he even referred to her in his thoughts by her first name sometimes.
Making sure all of his custom safeguards were in place, Dralin left his quarters, stalking through the common area shared by all Reckoners. Unless a mission specifically required it, Dralin preferred to hold himself apart from the rest of the Reckoners. As he passed the kitchen area, he noted the activities of the various Battle Team members.
The three Knights of the Reckoners, the only ones who were not on assignment or in their quarters at the time, were watching a swoop race on the large viewscreen, swapping money back and forth as their chosen racers took the lead at different points of the race. Judging by the small pile of credit chips in front of him, Tloloc Elols was winning, both Balia Donos and Mechronage Saltherion looking chagrined for having gambled with the wily Bothan. Dralin watched with idle amusement as Elols pulled three Ebla beers out of the bar- an expensive affair, paneled with rare Duskwood- with the Force, floating them towards the Knights for a victory round.
After Dralin rapped his knuckles against the expensive Taboon hardwood of Teia’s door, it slid open silently, accompanied the commander’s voice sounding from the sitting area of her quarters.
“Come in,” she announced, a slight tone of distraction giving her voice a flat inflection. She was seated in a plush, comfortable-looking chair in front of a small, round table, a data pad in her hand. Looking up as Dralin entered, she gestured to an empty seat. Tentatively taking a seat, the Equite crossed his arms.
“What is this about, Coran?”
"Thank you for coming promptly," the Jedi Hunter said, setting her console on the table, and looking Dralin in the eyes. "There is a sensitive matter that needs to be taken care of, and few are as fit for the job as you are."
Dralin had to admit, he was curious. “What do you need me to do? You usually have me call a meeting when we have an assignment.”
Touching a few controls on the data pad, Teia brought up a holo, displaying a map of Eden City before zooming in on District VI.
"Well, District VI, as you know, doesn't usually cause any real problems, but one relatively recent immigrant has come to our attention." Teia touches the controls again and a surveillance photo of a Bothan fills the display. "She's a Bothan named Tull Zitas, and she's starting to unite the petty criminals and new residents with her talk of 'making a better life for everyone.' So far her aims don't appear to counter our goals, but a united District VI could cause a serious problem in the future."
The commander switched off the image, and then leaned back in her chair. "We need Zithas eliminated as quickly as possible. I am entrusting you to carry this out. Use whatever means you find necessary, but be quiet about it, or we could have a riot on our hands."
Nodding, Dralin stood, already plotting the swiftest methods of execution he could employ without drawing too much attention. “Of course; I’ll leave as soon as I get my gear together.
“Report back when you’re finished with your task, lieutenant,” replied Teia, rising as well, handing Dralin the data chip out of her handheld. “Here’s the holo I showed you, for reference.”
Taking the chip with a nod, Dralin marched off to the armory to gather his supplies.
Apartment Complex Rooftop
District VI, Eden City
1730 hours, Eden Standard Time
Laying prone on the dirty rooftop, Dralin watched the Bothan female through the scope of his Nightstinger. Once again, Zithas was giving a speech to the local rabble, trying to instill a sense of unity and purpose in the otherwise downtrodden immigrants. Dralin, however, was closed off to her words, his entire being focused on two things: his target, and the Force.
Being a newly-risen Equite, Dralin rather enjoyed the newfound Force techniques that come with experience. Having cloaked himself with the Force, remaining perfectly still, he waited invisibly waiting for his moment to apply the minuscule amount of pressure the hair trigger he had installed onto his Nightstinger requires.
Dralin’s custom Xerrol Nightstinger was a special weapon in its own right. The Nightstinger, a sporting blaster rifle favored by assassins throughout the galaxy, uses a specialized Tibanna gas, rendering the blaster bolt invisible to the naked eye. While the rifle only yields four to five shots per canister of Tibanna, Dralin should only need one shot. As with most of his equipment, his Nightstinger was a specifically requested piece of weaponry, modified by his own hand.
Watching the Bothan wind up to the climax of her speech, Dralin exhaled, letting his lungs half-deflate. His finger twitched, and across the dirty plaza of District VI, Tull Zitas fell, a hole burnt into her forehead.
The Mirage Casino and Luxury Hotel, Eden City
2310 hours, Eden Standard Time
Kaiman Sal was a fairly busy man. Owner of The Mirage, the newest casino and luxury hotel in Eden City, Kaiman enjoyed the power and prestige that came with owning a successful business, even if he left most of the decisions to his managers and staff. Sal was upper-class elite, and everyone knew it. A wealthy dabbler from Coruscant, Kaiman flaunted his fortunes, engaging in random displays of affluence, ranging from hosting galas in the ballrooms of the hotel to buying rounds of expensive drinks for everyone in the casino.
Being a young man in his prime, he is often seen flirting with women of any species around the premises, and has even been seen entertaining the company of notorious ladies of the night, wining and dining them in the Minos Lounge, the high-class, invite-only tapcafe of The Mirage. Tonight, Kaiman was expecting a certain “Madame,” sitting back in his usual booth, sipping on his usual drink, a Sullustan gin mixed with Hapan vermouth.
Teia Coran strode into the Minos Lounge, scanning the room. The Rishi woman narrowed her eyes, and then continued her measured gait to the back of the tapcafe, her expensive dress clinging close. Teia hated the trappings of her disguise, with the makeup and the styled hair, yet she still saw the merit in blending into the culture of sin with a sophisticated veneer that her lieutenant seemed to have cultivated almost overnight.
Lifting his drink in greeting, Kaiman grinned rakishly at Teia.
“Nice night, isn’t it? Nothing helps me celebrate more than knowing that somebody quieted the rabble in District VI. Certainly makes me sleep better at night,” he began, taking a drink in between leisurely statements.
“Dralin? Is that really you?” Teia asked, lowering her voice and casting a glance at the other patrons in the noisy atmosphere as she sank into the plush padding of the booth. “I’ve never actually seen you during your act like this, it’s kind of unnerving.”
Grinning again, Dralin placed his hand on Teia’s. “I’m certainly glad you could make it, I was hoping to get the chance to meet you after everything I’ve heard.”
After he removed his hand, Teia could feel a piece of paper under her hand, slipped under by Dralin’s sleight of hand. Surreptitiously moving her hand, she read the tight, concise script of her lieutenant’s handwriting.
“The Bothan is taken care of. We’ll leave by the turbolift, everyone will think I’m taking you to Kaiman’s suite when he go back to the Reckoners’ floor.”
Looking back to Dralin, Teia saw that Dralin had waved away a waiter, who had brought Teia a light drink.
“Better drink up,” Kaiman admonished in his clipped Coruscanti accent as he slid the drink towards his commander. “It won’t look too convincing if we don’t drink something together before leaving, now will it?”
Shaking her head, Teia lifted the glass, toasting Dralin before tossing back most of it.