Contract 052 - Kratus Vahillus
Zakath let a sibilant hiss roll off his tongue as he listened intently to the eavesdropped conversation that was streaming into the headset that he wore. The Barabel had learned to be patient ever since he took charge of the Shadow Gate intelligence team, but it still grated on him that he more or less had to be a supervisor now instead of a operative.
Zakath raised a single talon, his head cocking as he continued to eavesdrop. After a long moment, the Barabel growled softly in triumph, clicking the microphone on. “That is sufficient. You have this one's permission to break contact and return.”
Removing the headset, the Barabel finally turned to face the newcomer. Standing at ease on the other side of his desk stood a middle-aged human that might have been considered handsome by human standards, but was now marred by the cybernetics that now augmented his body. “Ah, Vahillus.”
“Zakath,” The human's voice was almost robotic in its harshness. “I was told to go to you for a contract.”
“So this one has been told,” The Sith hissed as his talons quickly plucked up a datapad from the piles that crowded his desk, tossing it to the Templar. “And this one has one. An escort mission.”
Kratus flicked the power switch on the datapad and began to read. “Meet a Twi'lek on Corellia named Lavaria, pick up him and a sealed package, go to Port Ol'val, and drop both off with you,” The cyborg frowned as he glanced back up at Zakath. “What's the catch?”
“Captain Lavaria is a wanted man with a very high bounty and is being hunted down,” Zakath smiled then, a violet glow beginning to touch his eyes. “He prefers to be hiding right now, but he fears this one more. The cargo he is carrying is in a small sealed box, marked with a double X symbol. Do not open it.”
“What's in it?” Kratus asked as he tucked away the datapad into a pocket.
“None of your concern,” The Barabel hissed softly as he began to click two of his talons together. “And do not attempt to open it, it is rigged to destroy the cargo without the proper authorization. If that happens, this one will be very displeased. Bring the Captain and his cargo here, alive and intact. Anyone who stands in your way is to be eliminated. Leave no evidence of Force or lightsaber usage.”
A quiet chime sounded, and the Barabel put his headset back on, adjusting the microphone. "You can go."
The brisk walk out of Zakath’s office gave the Coruscanti Templar some time to think about his current mission. As he stepped out into the sunlight, he considered the data he was given. He had a name, a destination, and instructions. Seems simple enough, he thought to himself as he merged into the crowded streets of Port Ol’val, attempting to blend as much as possible.
“First things first,” the Cyborg muttered under his breath, raising a hand to stroke at his goatee thoughtfully. “If I’m going to Corellia, I’ll sure as hell have to change the Blade’s identification. This mission will be difficult enough without attracting suspicion to my own bounty there.”
Lucky for the Cyborg, he noticed that Zakath had slipped him a name within the information on the datapad...a contact for him to go to about the ID change. When Kratus compared the name and address to a map of the area he had acquired, he found to his delight that it would not be a long walk; in fact, the Sullustan he was looking for was located just down the street from him. Nice of Zakath to do some research. I’ll have to thank him when this is all over.
A short trip later, the Templar found himself standing in a rather cluttered used starship parts store. His eyes ran along the entire breadth of the store, taking in the multitude of droids moving about the place; picking up boxes, moving merchandise, and some, laughably, were fighting. Stepping lightly through the shop and growing slightly annoyed, Kratus sought for, and finally found, the contact.
The Sullustan was half-buried in junk as he dug through a large pile, muttering under his breath in his native tongue and seemingly looking for something that was rather important to him. The Cyborg simply stood directly behind him, his arms crossed over his chest, and waited, tapping his fingers against his arm and looking bored. After about five minutes, the Sullustan rose with something clasped in his hand, then turned, only to jump at the sight of the man before him and fall back into the junk heap.
“Sheesh, you shouldn’t scare me like that. I could’ve dropped this and then we both would’ve been upset,” the alien gibbered angrily, clambering out of the pile and fixing his large eyes on the Templar in a pointed stare.
“My sincerest apologies,” Kratus drawled insincerely, looking up towards the ceiling briefly before returning his gaze to the other being, his arrogance making itself quite clear to the alien. “I have need of your services. I was...informed...that you can change ship transponder codes?”
“Why do you..” the Sullustan began forcefully, before Kratus opened his coat just enough for the alien to glimpse a flash of silver; the hilt of his lightsaber. “Ah, our mutual acquaintance sent you. If you will follow me to the back, I will help you with that...as long as you have the credits.”
The Cyborg smiled mirthlessly. “I believe I have more than enough. Lead on.”
The pair moved into the small office area in the back of the shop, and after a brief check to make sure they weren’t followed, the Sullustan shut and sealed the door behind him.
“Alright,” he said quickly, taking a seat behind his desk and again meeting the Cyborg’s gaze. “I’ll need 5,000 credits for this, and the ID of a ship you want to take.”
Kratus lazily slid a credit chip onto the desk, along with the ID of one of the ships he had most recently raided; a small light freighter dubbed the Shimmering Wave. The Sullustan took both, turned to a small console built into his desk, and began his work. It seemed to take too long to Kratus before finally the alien turned back to him and passed him the ID, along with his new fake. “Done,” he announced with an almost audible sigh of relief. “Now, if you will excuse me, I have orders to fill.”
The Templar nodded his thanks before quickly vacating the cluttered shop, stepping back into the brisk air with a slight smile on his face. So far, things were progressing smoothly, though the real test wouldn’t begin until he arrived upon Corellia. It would be then that things would get very, very interesting.
The trek to the spaceport proved rather uninteresting and, for the most part, dull. Still, better that everything here, within Arconan space, go smoothly. The last thing the Coruscanti wanted was to have a problem before he even started the actual mission.
Upon entering the crowded spaceport, Kratus walked towards the bay where his ship was located, 21B. He moved casually through the area, keeping himself aimed towards the specific door he wished to exit through, though taking a few moments to gaze about at the crowd of people. Pretty much all were simple travelers; nothing too outlandish or out of the ordinary.
Upon entering the hangar space, Kratus leapt aboard his freighter, moving swiftly up the boarding ramp in haste. He did not break stride nor slack his pace until he was seated comfortably behind the controls. Then, as was his habit, the Cyborg began to inspect everything critical for any signs of a problem that could hinder him during the mission. Fuel levels, coolant systems, hyperdrive, any possible system that could have a problem, the Templar analyzed. After several minutes, the Coruscanti’s face broke into a satisfied smile, and he moved to the next order of business: takeoff.
Kratus opened a channel to the spaceport staff and growled respectfully into the com. “This is the Shimmering Wave requesting clearance to takeoff.”
After a few moments, through which Kratus gazed balefully at the speaker, a cool female voice replied, “You are clear to take off. Good luck and safe trip!”
“Thank you,” Kratus replied before cutting the channel. He smirked at the statement the operator had used last; luck wouldn’t play a part in this mission, only the Force would.
A loud, shrill beeping noise emitted from the small clock next to Kratus’ command chair, whereupon the Cyborg’s natural eye snapped open and its cybernetic counterpart hummed to life. Slamming his hand down upon the offending appliance, the ex-Pirate gazed blearily out the viewport, before jolting upright. The mosaic planet before him was all too familiar and Kratus had a slight feeling of nostalgia upon seeing it.
After the feeling of tenderness passed, the Templar set down to the business at hand. Pulling the datapad from the recesses of his coat, he took a look at the location of the package; Coronet City. The smile that made its way across Kratus’ face suggested that he knew the City extremely well; in fact, it was the very city where Kratus had attempted to perform the most daring heist of his career... and his most costly. Within this city, the Cyborg had become what he was today, a monster.
As he guided his ship towards the lit skyline of the massive city, his com bleeped with acknowledgement of an incoming transmission. The Coruscanti opened the channel, allowing a crisp male voice to inquire his name and the purpose of his visit to Coronet City.
“This is Captain James Tremont of the Shimmering Wave. I’m here to pick up a package for delivery,” the Templar returned cordially, speaking a smoothly as possible.
“Were you scheduled?” the official queried.
“Only with the company. I’m afraid I didn’t have time to make arrangements beforehand,” Kratus returned.
After a few moments of silence, the official’s voice sounded again from the com. “You may land in dock 28C. Please leave your loading ramp down so that officials may enter your ship to check for illegal items. We welcome you to Coronet City and hope that your business goes well Captain Tremont.”
“Thank you,” Kratus replied graciously, before closing the channel and navigating towards the very hanger he was instructed to land within. Before he lowered the ramp, however, he unzipped a pocket on the back of his coat and pulled out a hood. While it was designed for rain use, it also worked well as a hasty disguise.
As he expected, there was a small party of spaceport security officers waiting when he lowered the ramp, who immediately went on board to search the vessel. Kratus paid them no heed, having hidden any illegal devices within the secret compartments he had installed. As he predicted, five minutes later the officials appeared and the leader, a tall, blonde human male, stepped forward.
“Your ship is clean Captain Tremont. Thank you for your patience and we hope your business goes well,” the young man stated, before turning lightly on his heel and walking out of the bay.
The Templar remained just long enough to raise the ramp before he too turned and maneuvered out of the area. Once out in the hallway, the Cyborg immediately began to immerse himself in the crowds of people moving through the spaceport. Discretion was key from this point on, as Kratus needed to reach Captain Lavaria as quickly, and smoothly, as was possible. He fell into step behind a large group of raucous young mercenaries before reaching into his coat and pulling forth the datapad.
According to the information provided to him by Zakath, Lavaria was waiting within a more colorful side of the city; a section where wanted men such as himself could easily hide. He had rented an apartment under the name M. Larrianx in the Blue Sector.
Stowing the datapad, Kratus increased his pace slightly, making his way out of the spaceport and onto the crowded city streets. After picking up a map of the city from a tourist kiosk, he realized his best course of action for getting to Lavaria was to go by cab, though how he would get the Twi’lek back to the spaceport was going to be something of a challenge. He hoped fervently that Lavaria had made some preparations of his own for the venture.
The ex-Pirate moved to the edge of the walkway and managed to flag down a cab. The driver, a rather rough looking Corellian, watched as he slid himself into the backseat and shut the door behind him. “Where to?” the man asked, looking extremely bored.
“Take me to the Blue Sector and make it quick,” Kratus replied hastily, pulling out a credit chip and passing it to the man.
“Alright,” the driver returned, before turning back forward and hitting the gas, moving the speeder back into the flow of traffic.
The drive itself didn’t take too long, though Kratus did enjoy gazing out the window at the city itself. Coronet City was a beautiful place, the architecture suggesting the distinctive Corellian style. Colored advertisements littered the walls, giving the entire city a retro, technological feel.
The Coruscanti smiled fondly as they crossed into the Blue Sector. The change was noticeable; the buildings grew more colorful as did the displays. The walkways were utterly crowded and it seemed as though there was a cantina or bar on every street. The ex-Pirate remembered with fondness that he had nearly visited every single place of interest in the sector, though he had to remind himself that he was here on business again, not pleasure.
The cab pulled up in front of an upscale apartment building dubbed Corellia Sun Apartments. After thanking the driver cordially and slipping him the required number of credits, Kratus made his way towards the door of the complex. He took a quick look to either side of him, this move hardly perceptible to anyone viewing, and stretched out his senses. Relieved to find no hostile intentions at the present, he slipped through the double doors and into the building itself.
The first thing the Cyborg noticed about the lobby of the building was that it was...large and extravagant. Large crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling, bathing the room in soothing white light. The dominant color in the room was blue; not a gaudy, boyish blue but rather an elegant, satin blue. Around the lobby were various facilities for the residents: a restaurant, a cantina, mail office, and the main offices.
Kratus was thankful that Zakath had already provided the Twi’lek’s apartment number; asking around the facility could prove costly and fatal to the mission, given someone else, likely hunting Lavaria, could be asking the same. The Coruscanti instead casually made his way about the building, not heading directly for the alien’s apartment but rather seeming to meander through the building with no apparent purpose. After about a half hour of this charade, the Templar easily made his way to the specified apartment and knocked briefly on the door; two sharp raps with his knuckles.
A keypad slid out of the door, a modification that Kratus had expected; doubtless the Twi’lek was security conscious to the point of paranoia. With a brief check of the datapad, he typed in a sequence of eighteen numbers. The keypad slid back into the door without a trace, before the door itself hissed open, allowing the Dark Jedi to step inside.
What Kratus noticed upon entering the apartment was that Lavaria seemed completely alone. The rutian Twi’lek sat at a table towards a far corner of the rather spacious living area...with a blaster pointed directly at the Cyborg. “Sit in the chair directly to your right,” the being instructed.
Not wishing to cause a scene, but clearly annoyed, Kratus moved and sat where he was directed. “I guess protocol has changed for escort missions,” he said off-handedly, pulling a cigarette box from his coat and sliding a slender cylinder from it. He then replaced the box, pulled forth a lighter, and soon had a stream of smoke issuing from his mouth. “I presume you know who I am?” he continued, lowering his hood.
At the sight of the man’s cybernetically marred visage, the Twi’lek instantly lowered his blaster, and his demeanor changed. “T-terribly sorry,” he muttered, looking rather shaken. “Can’t be too careful. Ever since I got this package I’ve been hounded by strange men.”
“Have you now?” the Cyborg replied, cocking his eyebrow and settling more comfortably in his chair, while putting his feet up on a table in front of him.
“Oh yes,” Lavaria stated, looking rather agitated. “Bounty hunters. And not your cheap, mercenary types. I’m talking advanced weaponry and high grade armor. I’ve nearly been killed twice.”
“Well, that’s not going to happen any longer,” Vahillus returned, lowering his head and glaring at the alien. “As I’m sure you’ve been informed, I’m here to take you to safety. We’ll be leaving as soon as you’re ready --”
“I’m ready now,” the Twi’lek interjected hastily. “I want to leave here as soon as possible. The sooner I get rid of this accursed package, the better off I’ll be.”
“First,” Kratus said, rising to his feet and moving towards the alien. “I want to see this box. Without it, this mission is pointless and I should just kill you and let the hunters take your corpse.”
Lavaria paled at the Cyborg’s words, but stood and disappeared into a sideroom. After several minutes during which the impatient Cyborg uttered curses under his breath, the Twi’lek returned carry a small box in his arms. Vahillus took the box and turned it around in his hands until he found a small double-X marking. Satisfied, he passed it back to the alien, before whirling around the face the door.
“We have company coming,” he uttered, followed by a muffled gasp from Lavaria in the background. “And they don’t seem happy.”
“Is there another exit from this room?” Kratus hissed to the alien, his lightsaber flying into his grip.
Lavaria nodded hastily, a hold-out blaster clutched tightly in his grip. Before he could respond further, the door burst asunder and would’ve hit the pair if Kratus hadn’t have launched himself into Lavaria, knocking them both to safety. The Templar barely made it to his feet as armored hostiles entered the room; some of the Twi’lek’s bounty hunter stalkers.
Sapphire light bathed the room as the Cyborg activated his lightsaber and smoothly pressed into an attack before the assailant had a chance to fire. The Dark Jedi’s blade swept neatly through the rifle, cutting it in two before he slammed his shoulder into the man’s chest, sending him reeling. As Kratus then turned to deal with the second, he was slightly surprised to see the hunter’s head explode, before the man crumpled to the ground. With a glance at Lavaria, he noticed a small stream of smoke emitting from the Twi’lek’s weapon. Giving the Captain a nod, the Cyborg whirled, and buried his lightsaber in the hunter just behind him, then smiled upon seeing the shock in the combatant’s eyes as a sword fell from his limp grip, followed by the rest of his body.
“There will be more,” Lavaria stated as he moved about the edge of the room. “We should leave now.”
Kratus nodded in agreement, then set to work looting the bodies for anything useful. He pocketed roughly five-hundred credits, two small hold-out blasters, and four nicely balanced knives. “Never leave for the dead what the living can use,” he said when he noticed the Twi’lek staring at him.
The ‘exit’ Lavaria had in mind was an air duct, as Kratus came to find out. “You’ve got to be kidding,” he grumbled immediately.
The Twi’lek glanced towards him, his face deadpan. “This is the only other method of escape, unless you’re thinking about running out the door.”
The Templar took the time to think about the alternative, before sensing another squad of hunters making their way rather quickly towards the room. The ex-Pirate shoved Lavaria and the box into the vent system, before following quickly himself. In an attempt to throw off their pursuers, Kratus took the time to replace the vent as securely as he could, before moving off after the Twi’lek, muttering curses under his breath.
Luckily for the pair of them, the vent ducts were made rather sturdily, so their individual weights did not cause the metal to warp and pop with the stress. This also allowed the pair to move more rapidly through the system and, much to the relief of the Cyborg, they finally dropped out of the vents onto the sidewalk outside the building.
“I hope you planned for this,” Kratus rumbled, turning to the Twi’lek. “Because I do not have a speeder.”
Lavaria actually smiled this time. “I had one purchased through a friend of mine,” he stated, then pointed across the parking space to a rather average looking speeder, perfect for getting lost in the traffic of Coronet City. “When Zakath contacted me,” Lavaria explained. “I knew it was only a matter of time before you arrived, so I attempted to plan out the whole escape. Unfortunately, I did not factor in the hunters arriving quite so quickly...”
“Right,” Kratus interjected. “Put your hood on, at least we can get some cover from that. If these hunters were smart they probably have an agent watching the security cams.”
Lavaria did as instructed, pulling his own hood over his head as Kratus did the same. Then the pair walked briskly across the space, knowing that they would easily give themselves away if they ran. Throughout the walk, Kratus continued to tense. All it would take was one hunter watching a camera fairly closely to recognize them, and things would get real ugly, real fast.
He breathed a sigh of relief when they arrived at the speeder, and hastily he and the Twi’lek loaded up, Kratus driving. Lavaria sat in the passenger seat, clutching the box with one hand, and gripping the blaster in the other. The alien didn’t seem to relax at all until they were merged with the traffic, then he lowered the blaster and let out a sigh.
Turning to Kratus, he said simply, “That could’ve gone worse.”
Before the Templar could respond, a blaster bolt pinged off the back of the speeder, and he slammed his foot on the accelerator, throwing Lavaria back in his seat. Turning to the alien, Kratus growled, “Never say anything like that till we’re off the planet. Now, turn around and use that goddamn blaster of yours.”
The Twi’lek’s response was instantaneous; he opened the window of the speeder, then leant out and fired before pulling his head back in rapidly. “I think they’re all behind us; I saw four vehicles full of them!”
“Then we’ll make this a race,” Kratus replied with a wild look in his eyes that made Lavaria sink down in his seat and begin praying.
Their speeder raced through the crowd, the Templar pushing the vehicle to its limit. With his heightened Force senses, he weaved a path between the heavy traffic. It wasn’t too long before he heard a satisfied BOOM as one of the pursuing speeders didn’t quite make the cut he had, and slammed into another speeder. “One down, three to go,” the Cyborg uttered, pushing his own vehicle again.
Knowing they were drawing near to the spaceport and not wishing to tackle the hunters on foot, Kratus ducked down a side street, opening the throttle after the turn. His eyes were on his rearview mirror as the first and second of the hunters made the turn behind him. The third, however, hit the side of the wall and trailed smoke before slamming into another wall ahead of them, the speeder dropping down into empty space towards the surface of the planet.
Kratus then set the cruise and turned to Lavaria. “Hold the wheel,” he ordered, then opened his own window while pulling forth a blaster. Calling upon the Force to guide his aim, he fired towards the lead hunter’s vehicle. After two misses, a third bolt hit something vital, and the other speeder cut to the left, leaving the second bounty hunter to slam into the first. The Templar pulled himself back into his own speeder and shut the window casually, stowing the blaster as he did so. As he took the wheel back from Lavaria he commented, “Well, that was fun.”
The Twi’lek just looked at him, his face suggesting that he thought the ride had been many other things besides ‘fun’.
The pair arrived at the spaceport not long after the hectic race through the city. The Templar stepped quickly from the vehicle and shut the door behind him before turning to Lavaria.
“Better stick close,” he cautioned, adjusting his hood. “While I do not anticipate any more hostilities, it’s always best to be prepared.”
Lavaria nodded in acknowledgement, and kept the box clutched tight to his frame as the pair maneuvered their way into the spaceport itself. They passed easily through the gate...almost too easily for Kratus’ liking, though he kept that thought to himself. It seemed like mere minutes before they were just outside the bay where the Blade was kept, whereupon Kratus whirled to the Twi’lek.
“I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” he hissed hoarsely.
Lavaria looked confused, then checked up and down the hallway before returning his gaze to the Cyborg’s face. “I don’t see anything wrong. We lost the main bulk of the hunters back on the way, and as far as I know we made it discreetly though here.”
“Yes, but it seems...too smooth. Too easy,” Kratus murmured, unable to shake the feeling that something was definitely wrong.
“Let’s just get to the ship. I...I just want to get the hell off Corellia,” Lavaria said finally, turning to the door and opening it before Kratus had a chance to stop him.
The Templar then noticed that his ship was utterly surrounded...and not by bounty hunters. A full platoon of CorSec officers stood waiting, their leader being a man that Kratus easily recognized.
“Goddammit Crotir, I should’ve known you’d be here,” he spat, lowering his hood.
The well-dressed CorSec inspector turned upon his heel to face the Cyborg, a smirk on his features. “You really should get another ship instead of just changing the transponder codes, Kratus. You, of all people, should know that CorSec is smarter than that.”
“Didn’t think I’d be here long enough for you to interfere,” Kratus spat, stepping fully into the room.
“You and Captain Lavaria will be coming with us,” Crotir stated, drawing a pistol as he did so. “We’ll put you on trial for the crimes you committed, and we’ll take a look at what’s in the box. What could be so important that you’d actually escort a man instead of kill him.”
“I have a better plan,” Kratus countered, his lightsaber flicking on within his hand. “All of you will die, and I shall be on my way.”
With a flick of his wrist, Kratus used the Force to cut the lights to the bay, plunging the room into darkness. He made sure Lavaria was well behind cover before he swept towards the foes, leaping high into the air before slamming into the first unaware opponent. With a smirk, Kratus realized that some of the CorSec officers were not wearing helmets, and therefore couldn’t see him. Target the fraks with the nightvision first.
The battle was rather short, and ended in a predictable manner for Kratus. All of the CorSec officers were dispatched, and he turned towards where Lavaria was hiding. Suddenly, the lights snapped on, revealing Crotir who had Lavaria clutched to him, pistol angled at the Twi’lek’s head. “Oh shit,” Kratus muttered, lowering his saber.
“Drop the blade, Vahillus, or your friend dies,” Crotir snapped, screwing the pistol into the Twi’lek’s head painfully.
The Cyborg growled, but did as asked, letting his lightsaber hilt clatter to the floor. “Let him go,” he said, glaring down the man before him. “He’s not a part of this.”
“Oh, but he is,” Crotir shot back, maneuvering back towards the door still clutching Lavaria. “I want to know what is inside that box that would make it so important to the great Vahillus.”
Lavaria suddenly snapped his head back, slamming it into Crotir’s face with a sickening crack. The Inspector gave a howl of pain, his pistol discharging randomly, the bolt flying towards Kratus. The Templar easily dodged the stray shot, collected his lightsaber, then propelled himself towards his nemesis, only to be stopped by Lavaria.
“Let him go,” the Twi’lek stated. “We need to get out of here. He’s already called for more agents and they’re on their way. Killing him will just leave us less time.”
It took everything the Cyborg had within him to keep from lashing out at the Twi’lek, and slowly, stubbornly, he nodded, and led the way up onto his ship. In mere moments he had the engines running, and the freighter blasted out of the hangar bay, and up into the space beyond.
Crotir rose as a handful of CorSec agents entered the now empty hangar bay, then turned to face him. He stared at them angrily, then spat, “Well, go and stop him!”
“Lavaria, man one of the quad-turrets!” Vahillus shouted as the Blade streaked into open space, CorSec fighters hot on its trail.
Laser fire raked across the ship, making it rock and jolt as Kratus attempted to get them far enough out of system for a hyperspace jump. He hadn’t expected CorSec to move quite so fast, as he had assumed Crotir hadn’t alerted the entire system to his presence. Apparently, he had been wrong, judging from the fact that there was a whole squadron of fighters now on their tail.
Kratus nearly burst into praise as he heard the familiar sound of his quad-turret firing, and knew Lavaria was good for something. As the blaster fire grew less, he realized just what type of asset the Twi’lek was; what he lacked in ground experience, he more than made up for in a vessel.
However, they weren’t out of the action yet as a strong blast hit the Blade nearly sending the Cyborg headlong into his own controls. “What the [Expletive Deleted] was that?” he shouted into the com.
“Torpedo,” Lavaria responded angrily. “Must’ve slipped by me. Damn pilots.”
Kratus then smirked; Lavaria seemed to take the pilot’s action as a personal insult. “Hold tight, I’m going to shake them up a bit,” he yelled, then shut off the com.
Before the CorSec pilots even knew what was happening, Kratus had pulled the ship into a tight loop that put him facing the enemy. The pilots had no choice but to dodge randomly as the bigger ship barrelled through, and Lavaria was easily able to pick off several of the confused adversaries. Moments before the CorSec pilots regrouped, Kratus pulled back the hyperdrive lever and the Blade roared into lightspeed.
The Templar waited until he saw nothing but star streaks before he turned the ship on autopilot and rose, a little shakily, from his chair. Age was catching up to him, it seemed, as he didn’t seem to be quite able to handle the shift from ground to space quite as easily as he used to. Still, five minutes later with a glass of Corellian Ale firmly in hand, he seemed confident and easy, as Lavaria stepped into the lounge.
“Now that, was a foray!” the Twi’lek yelled happily, pouring himself a glass of Ale and sitting across from the cyborg. “Nice to finally take the fight back to the enemy. I’ve had enough skulking around.” Then, he seemed to shrink, and looked down into his glass. “Though I’m sure I’ll probably have to go back into hiding after this is all over.”
“Oh I don’t know about that,” Kratus murmured, leaning forward slightly as he took a large swig of his beverage. “Zakath will probably set you up nicely.”
At the mention of the Barabel’s name, the Cyborg noticed the alien pale considerably. “Let’s just get this box to him in one piece for now,” he mumbled, looking extremely pathetic.
Kratus scowled, drained his glass, then stalked from the lounge, annoyed at the spineless Captain’s behavior. He had much preferred the brief glimpse of a much more daring Lavaria, though he assumed that dealing with Force Sensitives hadn’t been a part of the Captain’s original plan, and for that he had to forgive him.
He moved back into the cockpit and once again reclined within his pilot’s seat, closing his eyes and drifting into a short slumber.
The Blade, under the hand of her master, landed smoothly in the docks of Port Ol’val, settling herself down in the bay where Kratus had started the entire mission. He was not surprised to find Zakath standing in the bay accompanied by two individuals, awaiting the arrival of both the Templar, and the Twi’lek with his precious package.
Striding down the ramp, the Cyborg looked almost jubilant as he stepped out of the way for Lavaria to approach the Barabel. A light flickered in Zakath’s eyes as he saw the alien, though more importantly, as he saw the box clutched in the Captain’s hands. Motioning to his escorts, the Barabel hissed, “Take him away.”
The escorts grabbed Lavaria by the arms, and pulled him shaking and gibbering from the hangar, whereupon the Barabel turned back to Kratus. “This one is pleased with your work,” the alien hissed, looking over the Templar before him.
“Ran into some old friends along the way, but nothing I couldn’t handle,” the Cyborg returned, gazing evenly into the other creature’s eyes.
“As this one had heard,” Zakath put forward smoothly, before turning slightly. “Your House will be informed of your success. You are free to depart at your leisure.”
“It has been an honor, Zakath,” the Coruscanti drawled charismatically, before turning on his heel, and heading back aboard his ship, ready to return to Galeres.
Zakath smiled as he gently placed the box on his desk, caressing it with a single talon before he looked up at the trembling Twi'lek.
"You have done well, Captain." The Barabel's smile widened, giving him a demonic aura. "This one is very pleased with your service in recovering this item from your former employers."
"Th- thank you, Master Zakath." Lavaria suppressed a gulp as he stared at the scarred Sith.
Sliding a datapad toward Lavaria, Zakath was amused at the palpable fear that was radiating from the Twi'lek,. "This one does not dispose of useful assets. You have proven useful, and your service will be rewarded. In that datapad contains a complete set of identity documents, a safe-house, and a sizable account of credits."
"Thank you, my lord." Lavaria was almost smiling now, relieved at the prospect of leaving alive.
"You may go." Zakath dismissed him with a single flick of his talons before he returned his attention to the box that held his prize, his eyes glowing a demonic violet as he began to unlock it.
As previously stated, your mission to bring this one the box and Captain Lavaria alive and intact was a success. However, it has been noted that evidence of lightsaber usage was detected during your mission. As a result, 10,000 credits has been deducted from your payment to cover the expenses involved in eliminating the evidence and any witnesses.
This one suggests that you spend some time practicing your marksmanship with a blaster instead of just using your lightsaber for every situation. It would make you a more valuable agent.
Regardless, you did well in your mission, and this one will call upon you again.