The change of pace in the new assignment was most welcome, and the Gatewarden knew that he would be able to perform this mission with the same level of skill with which he had been able to execute the previous two. All Shadow Gate agents were trained in the art of assassination along with the other elements of spycraft, and an idea was already beginning to take root in the mind of the Arconan--an idea that would couple subterfuge with brute force in a deadly combination.
The Qel-Droman spymaster took his time with the dossier on the target, ensuring that he had committed all of the information that it contained to memory. Next he ran a database search of all of the intel that was available on both the Blood Fangs and the Orange Crush. As expected, the Blood Fangs were your typical street gang, mostly interested in selling drugs, running weapons, and defending their overdeveloped sense of “honor”. They didn’t appear to be a good lead as they wouldn’t trust outsiders, and trying to establish a working relationship with them would simply take up too much valuable time.
Turning his attention to the Orange Crush mercenaries, Scelestus saw the opportunity that he was looking for. While all mercenaries were soldiers of fortune, working for the highest bidder, the Orange Crush had built a reputation for taking this to the next level of extreme. It was rumored that they would fight their own mothers if someone paid them to do it. They were also an ecclectic group, therefore the issues of acceptance and trust would be much easier to overcome than with the more tightly knit group of the Blood Fang gang.
Pleased that he had found the opening that he needed, the Knight downloaded all of the relevant contact information to his PDA. Of course, the persona of Tyros Rahl wasn’t going to do the job in this situation... only very desperate people wanted to do business with a con man. Sorting through his list of DCAs for another possibility, the Sith’s eyes fell on one in particular, the businessman Alexis Orten. Alexis was a senior executive of a mining corporation. A human male in his mid 40s, he was used to getting what he wanted and would be willing to do whatever was necessary to accomplish his goals. Yes, just the sort of person that would go looking to hire a bounty hunter/smuggler. The choice being made, Scelestus begins the process of assuming his new identity. His robes are carefully stored in his spacer chest, exchanged for the type of expensive suit that was popular among those with large amounts of disposable income. Next came the suitable accessories, cuff links, watch, bracelet, rings, and ornate belt buckle--all of which contributed to the aura of wealth and success. The final stage was a touch of make up and hair dye to ensure that the Knight carried the right appearance of age. Knowing that his normal kit of weapons would be both difficult to conceal and out of place with his identity, they joined his robes in the chest. Instead he selected a very fashionable looking walking stick made from an exotic hardwood topped with the representation of a striking cobra for a handle. This beautiful exterior concealed a wickedly sharp full length sword blade. This weapon, couple with his martial arts training and Force ability would be more than sufficient defense if needed.
Stopping briefly at the vault to remove a significant amount of cred-stiks, Alexis heads out to the Wounded Wampa, seedy cantina and known meeting place for well placed members of the Orange Crush mercenaries. The spymaster’s plan was to hire someone to track down his wayward wife and bring her back. He would, of course, say that he had heard good things about Brent Celek, and offer enough money to secure his services that suspicion should be allayed.
The bar was at least as seedy as advertised, if not exponentially more so. In fact one almost had to plug their nose to even make it through the front door. Inside, the air was thick with the smoke of every type of cigar, cigarette, or joint imaginable. The rank stench of so many unwashed bodies mixed with the smell from the burning drugs to make even the most hardy want to retch. The dim lighting capped off the assault on the senses. Blinking through the smoke, he gave the room a quick once over looking for the contact from the intel files. Fortunately the Rattataki is easy to spot...he could almost be the entire Orange Crush by himself.
Stopping by the bar to order his new ‘friend’ another round, Alexis made his way through the crush of the masses to the table at which the mercenary sat. Placing the drink in front of the mountain of an alien, the Knight introduced himself, “Alexis Orten, businessman. I think you might be able to help me with a problem, and I might be able to help you to some cash.” The mention of credits clearly interested the Rattataki and he gestured for the human to take a seat. “Just what is this problem and why do you think I can help you?,” he rasped in a gravelly voice, akin to nails on a chalkboard.
“Well I have heard that you know how to get in contact with the Orange Crush mercenaries and I’ve heard good things about their success rate in resolving problems. In particular I need someone to find my wife. She’s left me, taking a number of my more valuable assets with her, and I would like them...and her...returned.” Alexis tried to look as sheepish and mortified as he could while relating this tale of woe. “I need this issue resolved discretely as my reputation is a very important thing to me.”
The alien nodded sagely as though he dealt with this situation all the time. “You are well informed, and I think that we should be able to come to an arrangement that will benefit both of us. Tell me, just how valuable is your reputation?” Alexis pulled out a couple of his cred-stiks and showed them to the bald-headed merc, “That depends. I’ve heard that you do business with Brent Celek and a colleague of mine recommended him highly. If I can hire him to handle my business, then it’s worth what I’ve written on this datapad and half as much for you as a finder’s fee. Otherwise I just pay half for the job.” He slid the pad across to the merc who snatched it up eagerly. It was obvious that the Rattataki had to grab his chair to stay upright at the sight of such a sum of money, especially with the lack of work on his part to earn it. He was all but salivating as he made his reply, “I’ll have to check with Celek, but I think we can make a deal.”
Alexis thanked the alien for his time and left contact information where the Qel-Droman can be reached if the ex bounty hunter agrees to do business. He then took up his cane and exited the bar, making a sharp turn around a nearby corner before breaking out into a mad dash for about 50 meters and ducking down a dark alley. The Gatewarden’s instincts paid off, as it isn’t a minute before two lumbering thugs with more muscle than brains passed by his hiding spot, clearly looking for him. While the Sith knew that killing these two would hardly tax his skill, he decided that the smarter course of action was to let them go so that they could return and report their failure. The spymaster didn’t want a couple of corpses putting his enemies on the alert before it was time to strike. The goons quickly gave up the search as pointless and returned the way they came, giving Alexis the opportunity to slip out unnoticed and head to a nearby empty warehouse, where he could begin to lay the groundwork for the trap that had already been baited.
It seemed that the enemy didn’t perceive the Dark Jedi as a threat, for it wasn’t but two hours later that his comm-link was going off. “Alexis Orten,” he answered. A gruff voice on the other end rasped, “Brent Celek, I agree to your price, where do we meet?” Keeping the excitement out of his voice, the Arconan made arrangements to meet Celek at the warehouse in the morning to finalize the details and provide photos of his wife and possessions. Hanging up the call, the agent began a frenzy of activity to ensure that everything would be ready to welcome his guest.
The next morning dawned clear and bright. Arriving at the warehouse an hour before the meeting was scheduled to begin, Alexis put the final touches on his masterpiece. Assured that everything was in order, he took up his place at the desk positioned 20 meters from the entrance. All of the building’s windows had been covered up, leaving the bright, overhead lamps as the only light source for the interior. Shuffling the papers on the desk, the Gatewarden focused on channeling the adrenaline coursing through his veins into productive energy to be unleashed at the perfect time.
There was a knock on the door fifteen minutes before the agreed upon meeting time. As the door slid open via remote command, the figure of Brent Celek was framed in the opening, the light of day streaming in over his shoulders. He was a tall human, with dark hair and piercing eyes that always moved, never staying in one spot long. It was easy to see his bounty hunter background in the way that he carried himself, the grace and economy of motion that shouted competency and danger.
Alexis rose from his seat to invite the smuggler to a chair set across the table. While taking that fateful step into the room was the last mistake he would ever make, Celek didn’t go without a fight. As he crossed the threshold, a pressure plate activated that slammed the door shut behind the human while simultaneously shutting off the lights. Almost on instinct, Brent drew his weapon and fired at the spot that the spymaster had occupied just seconds before. The Knight’s reflexes were good and he knew that he would have to move to avoid enemy fire, but it was still a close thing. “Damn, he’s fast,” the operative thought to himself.
Strangely, instead of making a move towards his enemy, Orten stands stock still, turning all of his mental focus inwards. Drowning out all external distractions the Qel-Droman connected to the inner source of power, his connection with the Force. Pulling up the strands of ancient power, he channeled the Dark Side outwards, drawing tendrils of shadow into the solid form of the Sith’s Force Wraith. The viper took shape with a warning hiss and latched onto its enemy’s scent immediately. By this time the hunter had managed to activate his portable glow lamp, but he only had time to fire two shots, both of which passed right through the incorporeal snake, before the creature struck. The human did a valiant job of trying to counter the attack, but all of his training hadn’t prepared him for an adversary that had no solid form until right before it hit, and the contest was soon decided.
Stepping over the lifeless body of the former threat, Alexis smiled, immensely satisfied that he had found a way to counter his enemy’s strengths listed in his dossier. Once again the Dark Side had granted him victory and the ability to serve in furtherance of the Final Way. With a light heart, the Gatewarden returned to his headquarters and reported in to Marick.
Grade: Satisfactory. 2 pts.
Comments. Same as the last one, really. Your writing wasn't bad, not your best, but it got the job done. You made an identical tense error as in your previous contract, so I'd suggest getting a better proofer
Yeah, it wasn't bad, but again, nothing made it stand out. You can do better. Do better or you'll keep only getting Satisfactories. Put effort in, make it longer and more of a set story, not just a series of semi-related events and you'll start seeing Excellents and Superiors.