Transit was largely uneventful. True to her word, the accommodations for Kasto's flight were luxurious, even beyond what he'd expected. Being apprenticed to a Sith Lord, it seemed, came with its perks. Even so, and despite Kasto's own enthusiasm for travel, the monotony and lack of real interaction began to wear on him eventually. Fortunately, the comparably short time of the trip meant that he didn't have to wait for long.
As he lay sleeping, a slight thump roused him, followed by the pilot's voice.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we have touched down at Thani Spaceport. All passengers please remain in your cabins; we will disembark after a routine customs inspection. We appreciate your business, and we hope you have enjoyed your flight."
Not long after the bland announcement, he could hear others in the corridor, and the occasional snippet of conversation. From what little he could make out, customs was sweeping the ship.
A heavy knock on his door, followed by a gruff bark of "Customs. Open up," confirmed his suspicions. Before he could answer, however, another voice spoke up.
"That one's empty."
"Manifest says it is. Look, it's magnetically sealed and everything. Let's move on to the next one."
Within the minute, the door slid open, revealing a gold-plated protocol droid. "My lord, right this way, if you would," it stiffly pointed a finger down the hallway.
As interstellar journeys went, this one had been boring enough to require Vaeros to sleep through the majority. Perhaps university had spoiled him, with the abundance of like-minded peers he could count on for at least semi-stimulating conversation about what may happen on their next pan-galactic archaeological jaunt. Vaeros couldn't help a relieved smile to hear that he'd slept for most of the first leg of the journey as he sat through the pilot's announcement, though the thought of having to deal with customs officers was decidedly less interesting.
For a mercy, it turned out he wouldn't have to. He'd almost doomed himself by answering the door to his cabin, but was given pause by the sound of the officers' back-and-forth outside. They thought the cabin was empty... Clearly, Niamh had intended for this to happen, so that her own journey to Telos would be uninterrupted. With a mental sigh of relief, Vaeros resumed his seat, content to wait for this customs check to be over before he alighted the ship to stretch his legs.
It was with a deeply confused expression, barely a minute later, that he answered his door to find a gleaming gold protocol droid addressing him, a finger raised to point down the hallway. The young apprentice leaned out the doorway to peer left and right, brow furrowed in wonder at where the customs officers had gone. Had Niamh planned for the intervention of this droid as well?
Finally, shrugging to himself, Vaeros concluded that he had better follow the droid's directions. Picking up the shoulder bag he'd brought to the cabin, and slinging it about himself, he exited the cabin and turned in the direction the droid was pointing, proceeding down the hallway and looking out for whatever - or whoever - he was being led towards.
As Vaeros followed the droid's direction, he was met at the bottom of the boarding ramp by a human male and a Falleen female. The woman stood with her back towards the vessel, obviously keeping watch. The man, facing towards the boarding ramp, spotted Vaeros immediately. "Ah, here he is! The man himself, the main event, our guest of honor-"
"-Hurry it up," the Falleen snapped over her shoulder, shifting uneasily.
"Yeah, yeah, sure, sure, toots." he replied, brushing off her concerns, before continuing in a low voice. "Lord Kasto, Operative 'Mainline,' Union Intelligence. Pardon if I don't shake hands, my shock gloves are on the fritz lately. We don't have much time; get onto the street as fast as possible. S'far as anyone inside knows, you're a priority passenger who got off ahead of the other schmucks. No one in the spaceport'll question ya as long as ya got goldenrod with ya," he jerked his head towards the protocol droid, which bowed stiffly at the waist. Digging a datapad out of a vest-pocket, Mainline held it out. "This has your temporary ID. Good'nuff for a drink or a routine inspection at a checkpoint, but try to avoid drawing serious heat; if ya get picked up by the local police, your cover's prob'ly gonna be blown. If ya do get arrested, ain't much we can do to help but come in guns blazing, and that's gonna make any future covert work for either of us a real pain in the neck."
"We need to move."
"Yeah, yeah, sweetheart. We're almost done. This," he passed Vaeros a data-card, "has the locations of several safe-houses we've got. If ya need to get off planet in a hurry, find one, or if you find something that Intelligence might find useful, bring it by. The more ya bring us, the more we can do for ya. Police patrols, lists of informants, anything helps. The club you're looking for, Sanctum, is only a puddle-jump away. Head straight down the main thoroughfare 'till ya hit the big sign with the dancing Twi'lek, then hang a left and keep walkin', you'll see it. Lotsa flashing lights and a hell of a line. Speakin'a which," digging out a third item from his pocket, he presented the apprentice a small ticket, "this'll let ya use the short line. Says ya booked in advance." Backing up, he nodded to the Falleen. "We're outta here." Waving a hand at Vaeros, he added, "Ya didn't see anything. Ya never met us, ya never will." Breaking into a brisk jog, the pair slid through a door labeled "maintenance" and disappeared.
He was being led off the ship. Vaeros noted how the golden droid fell in behind him, shuffling along as quickly as its stiff gait would allow. He leaned forward to peer around the gateway of the lowered boarding ramp, and found a human and a Falleen waiting at its foot - waiting for him, apparently, as the human enthusiastically greeted him in spite of his partner's sharp warning that they needed to be in a hurry.
The human introduced himself as a Union Intel operative, along with a hurried string of instructions and tools. With a mildly bemused expression, finding himself unable to get a word in edgeways, Vaeros simply descended the ramp to take the pad, data card and ticket, stowing them inside his satchel. No sooner did he open his mouth to express his thanks than his codenamed benefactor bade a curt farewell and he and the Falleen disappeared through a side door.
"Huh. The Union thanks you for your service," he muttered under his breath. That whole exchange had been rather unexpected. Oh well. Down to business, it seemed. First things first; he would have to reclaim his suitcase from baggage, then find somewhere to stay for the week. Adjusting his satchel, he wordlessly set off for the arrivals terminal, with the protocol droid scurrying along close behind.
True to the agent's statements, no one questioned him as he made his way to the arrivals terminal with the protocol droid in tow. His luggage was the first to be processed, and the droid quickly retrieved it for him and ushered him towards the exit. The door slid open, and Vaeros was hit with a sudden wave of warmth and humidity from the mid-afternoon air.
Telos IV was renowned for is beauty. For those who still remembered the devastation of the Jedi Civil War, it had become something of a beacon of rebirth; a symbol that whatever war destroyed, the galaxy could rebuild. As he left, the spaceport, however, Vaeros saw none of it. While the efficiency required by a fortress world would naturally require changes, this city was worse than he might have suspected in even his most cynical moments. Rather than lined with trees, the streets were lined with security patrols, with security check-points at regular intervals.
"On your knees, now!" a gruff voice snapped from somewhere to his right. As he looked over on reflex, he saw a security patrol leveling their weapons at an apparently unarmed Ithorian, who warbled something Vaeros didn't understand, but probably translated as "don't shoot."
"Move along! There's nothing to see here!" One of the patrol bellowed at the people who'd stopped to watch. Another member forced the hapless Ithorian down to her knees."The situation is under control! Move along!" the trooper insisted, roughly shoving one of the crowd who'd stumbled too close.
Well this was unpleasantly surprising. Vaeros took just a few steps forward across the threshold from the spaceport building, and found that he simply had to stop and take a moment to comprehend what he was feeling. His head suddenly felt... busy, as if a hundred new thoughts demanded his attention all at once. Niamh's warning had been apt - this, he thought, could only be the sensation of his amateur telepathy reaching out inadvertently toward such a bustling surrounding. He closed his eyes a moment, conveniently able to turn away from the roughhousing of the nearby patrol, and took a few seconds to refocus himself on the task ahead of him.
He stepped forward, suitcase in hand, then suddenly stopped again as a thought occurred to him. He turned back to look at the golden-plated droid.
"Tell me, droid. What are your orders from this point?"
"For now, my lord, I am to return to my duties in the spaceport, now that your business there seems to be concluded, unless there is some further way I can assist you." It gave a stiff, curt bow. "At the next opportunity, I will meet with our associates, who will remove my personality module and memory core from this ungainly pile of scrap," the disdain was palpable, even with its mechanical monotone, "and return them to my proper body, while returning the original body and personality of this droid shell. Past that, our plans are undecided, though if I am permitted to place a blaster pistol against this body's core processor and pull the trigger, I will do so with great enthusiasm."
Vaeros turned more fully toward the droid, as was only polite, to hear it out. The conclusion of its explanation left him smiling in admiration and amusement both. It was a Union Intel unit that had been switched into the gold body so that it wouldn't look out of place attending him at the spaceport - what a stroke of genius!
"What an interesting day you must've had," he remarked. "One more question, before I go about my business. Would you happen to be able to recommend any affordable hotels close to Sanctum? I'll be here for some time, I need a place to stay."
It tilted its head, processing for a moment. "I am certain there are any number of venues that would suit your purposes. However, I am only aware of one specific instance. The Colonist hotel typically caters to young individuals wishing to have clandestine trysts away from the public view. More recently, however, it played host to a former associate, following an troubling confrontation with her team of similarly employed associates. She was eventually discovered there, and the manager was caught in the crossfire. When made aware of the full situation, however, he demonstrated remarkable composure, and has since proven himself capable of extreme discretion, despite lacking any true ties to our ventures." The droid glanced around, checking for eavesdroppers, before leaning closer. "It is also monitored by our associates. Any... disruptiions to your business would be noted, and dealt with appropriately."
Once more, Vaeros found the droid's exposition bringing a pleasant smile to his face.
"That sounds like it'll suit my needs perfectly," he answered the droid enthusiastically. A hotel managed by an individual who'd had previous dealings with the Union presence on the planet - and cooperated with them? That would be the ideal setting in which to pass the coming week with head kept down. The young man gave the droid a firm nod. "I'll get to it, then. Thank you for your help." He turned, and his suitcase rumbled faintly upon its wheels as he set off away from the spaceport, leaving the droid to its other duties. Down the main thoroughfare, Mainline had said, and the broad street couldn't be missed. Between keeping his eyes on the path ahead to watch where he was going, Vaeros cast glances upwards every few seconds, looking both for the sign of the dancing Twi'lek that he'd been told to watch out for, and for a passing guard patrol that he could flag down. A couple dozen yards down the street, he spotted one; two uniformed humans, with blaster rifles held strapped across their fronts.
"Excuse me, sirs!" he called, and approached them once he was within earshot. "I'm sorry to bother you," he began with his most genial, unassuming smile, "but I'm looking for the Colonist hotel. Could you please direct me to it?"
Darth Ares: Don't forget to watch the original Clone Wars by Genndy Tartakovsky though, it's incredible and it's also the only Star Wars media where Grievous isn't a punk bitch
Mar 26, 2018 0:33:31 GMT
Darth Ares: It's good isn't it? Season 1 is a slog until Ryloth and then it gets crazy good crazy fast.
Mar 26, 2018 0:28:30 GMT
Chi-Ki-Meyee: Finally started the Star Wars animated series and I've somehow almost finished the Clone Wars in just a few days.
Mar 25, 2018 23:07:45 GMT
Darth Xaos: I'm well. And have just replied in PM.
Mar 21, 2018 2:50:12 GMT