"Do I look like a directory to you?" one of the troopers, a graying man with a magnificent moustache.
"Easy, Kag," his younger partner advised. "Mind your blood-pressure. I'll deal with this." The older man harrumphed loudly, but looked away, apparently placated. "Sorry. Stress gets to him. You said the Colonist, yeah? You're gonna want to head right down the street," he indicated the street behind him with a jerk of his thumb, "to the second intersection, hang a right, and keep going that way 'till you hit the hotel."
Vaeros blanched briefly, recoiling from the blunt retort of the older of the pair. Thankfully, his partner was willing to acquiesce, and the young man bowed his head in gratitude.
"Thanks very much!" Figuring they would rather be left to their business, he turned around without another word and set off at renewed pace down the street. Second right, the guard said... oh, there was the dancing Twi'lek! At the first intersection, the large sign hung from the wall of the building right on the corner. Truly, once it was no longer hidden from view by the other garish signs along the street, one would have to be trying not to notice it. Mental note taken, Vaeros continued along his way.
The second intersection came, and as instructed, he turned right and continued. He found himself wincing occasionally, as his focus drifted towards remembering these directions and away from fending off the alien sensation of activity in his head. So much noise, so many colours... and yet, even this crucible of hustle and bustle would look like a Tatooine moisture farm in comparison to the sprawling cityscapes of the likes of Coruscant or Nar Shaddaa. How Vaeros had never noticed it before, he could only guess. Perhaps it was the awakening of his fledgling powers that had opened his mind to this alarming sensation? He would have to work out how to guard himself against it; that alone would be one of the biggest challenges of the coming week.
Soon enough, the signage of his destination caught his eye. The facade of the Colonist hotel was well-kept, if a little bland. Not an upmarket place, to be sure, but good enough for his purposes. Suitcase in hand, rolling along behind him, he stepped across the threshold into the hotel's lobby, looking for a reception desk to approach.
Once inside, it was surprisingly nice. The carpet was spotless, the lobby couches pristine, and the whole room smelled of wild flowers. The receptionist was a human male with black hair and blue eyes, garbed in a simple black business suit. Dark circles under his eyes suggested a lack of sleep, and he gave a weary smile. "Welcome to the Colonist. I'm Samuel, the manager of this establishment. How can I help you?"
Oh, what a well-kept place on the inside. On the face of things, the protocol droid had made a fine recommendation. With a cordial smile on his face, Vaeros approached the reception desk.
"Good evening! A room for seven nights, please." That was all the manager would need to hear; the less said about his business here, Vaeros figured, the better. After all, Niamh had advised him to keep a low profile. That being said... perhaps this would provide an opportunity.
While the manager was no doubt preoccupied with processing his request, Vaeros set his eyes upon the tired-looking gentleman and concentrated. Just as he had practised with his master, he steadied himself, reaching out through the Force. He sought to peer at the surface of this Samuel's mind, curious to see what he was thinking - or rather, if he could find out what he was thinking. It would behoove him, the young apprentice knew, to take every possible opportunity to hone his skills.
The manager raised his eyebrows in mild surprise, but nodded, saying only "One moment please," as he opened a drawer behind the counter.
A week? He's an ambitious one... Not clean, not clean, not even going there, his nose wrinkled ever so slightly. If Vaerous hadn't been listening to his thoughts, he might not have even noticed it. Not clean, wrong species, reserved... His brow visibly furrowed for a moment. Nodding, he dug out a key-card labelled 201 and placed it on the counter in front of him. Thirty credits a night, stay five, one night's free...
"I'm afraid 'formal' is the only room available. A week will cost you one-hundred and eighty credits, all up front. Breakfast, candles, and chocolates are complimentary."
-Despite my better judgement, he added mentally, the slightest of winces touching his features.
What an... interesting observation. It betokened Samuel's dedication to the job that he was so aware of the condition of each room just off the top of his head. Although it sounded like he was falling behind in efforts to clean the empty rooms. Perhaps he needed to hire some help? At any rate, he'd offered a fair price; at least, he wasn't attempting to hustle his latest patron.
"That sounds worth every credit," Vaeros remarked with a cordial smile. Standing his suitcase up beside him, he opened his satchel and rooted through it to produce his credit case. From inside, he counted out a quantity of credcoins of varying sizes. "...There, a hundred and eighty." He set the stack on the counter, closed and replaced the credit case, then pocketed the keycard.
"Thank you. Please enjoy your stay," he replied cordially, scooping the coins from the counter and depositing them somewhere behind it.
My shift is almost over. Almost over, then I can sleep. Maybe find... no, too tired. Sleep. Assuming those people don't decide to wake me up again. Precisely who 'those' people were was unclear, for the moment.
Those people? Vaeros could make an educated guess, based on what that protocol droid told him, at who those people may be. He was curious, of course; but the Union Intelligence operation here was delicate, as both Niamh and Mainline had stressed, and Vaeros might only complicate things, for them and for himself, by getting involved. Perhaps it would be for the best that he kept a wide berth. He'd be getting himself into enough trouble this week as it was.
For now, he had a room to claim. Bowing his head in acknowledgement to Samuel, he grabbed his suitcase and wheeled it towards the stairs, carrying it up to the second floor. He made a right turn at the doorway, inspecting the number plaques next to each door. 204, 203, 202... there, 201. He swiped the keycard, smiled at the beeping tone of the lock disengaging, and crossed the threshold as the door slid open. The room was as crisp and well-kept as one could expect of a recently cleaned hotel space, with a double bed, sizeable bathroom and kitchenette. It would do nicely... a shame he had other things to do tonight than get comfy.
He set the suitcase at the foot of the bed, took off the satchel, and rummaged through it to take what he thought he'd need inside the club; the ticket for entry, the datapad with his ID, a hundred credits in coins and small ingots, and one of the gas grenades Niamh had provided. These, he stowed in the inner pockets of his jacket, over the top of his blaster. Thus prepared, he took his leave of the room, keycard in his pocket, and headed back downstairs to exit the hotel altogether.
Head down, hands in pockets, he retraced his steps. At the first big junction, he turned left, regaining the main street, then crossed to the other side and continued until he reached the dancing Twi'lek. From this end of the street, he took a right to pass it, and continued straight... There it was, up ahead, its signage quite unmissable. Sanctum. His objective. Sure enough, there were two queues leading from the main entrance, one significantly shorter than the other. That must be the fast-track line, for which he had a ticket; so he swallowed his trepidation, keeping his focus to shrug off the dizzying feeling of so much life around him, and took his place at the back of that queue, ready to present his ticket when he reached the front. All that remained was to wait.
Even outside the club, the pounding music could be heard. Ahead of Vaeros, several people in the queue bounced along to the beat as they awaited entry, one even dancing, right up until her pass was scanned and the bouncers waved her inside, shooting wry smiles at each other. As she bounded past, a momentary flash of light from inside illuminated her face. She was clearly young, younger than Vaeros, even, who was just barely old enough to drink on some core planets. Admittedly, regulations tended to be looser towards the rim, but she looked to be no more than sixteen, seventeen at the oldest, and it looked like the bouncers knew it.
The reason for this, and the quick pace at which the queue moved, was soon made clear; the passes were scanned, but unlike the other queue, there was no checking of identification. If a person had a pass, they were in, no questions asked. Vaeros was no exception, and when his turn came, his pass was scanned, green lit, and he was waved on through.
The moment he was inside, his senses were under assault. The flashing colors were momentarily blinding, and the heat was so sweltering that he immediately began to sweat, and a heady aroma filled the club, a scent he couldn't quite place. The music wasn't just pounding; now that he was inside, he could feel the bass vibrating in his chest.
Now that he was in, he had to...
Abruptly, between the feeling of all the life around him and the sheer sensory overload he was experiencing, he was finding it difficult to remember exactly why he was here in the first place.
As the blindness faded, he could see the mass of occupants. Dead center was the dance-floor. Flat, smooth, and flashing with colors like the rest of the club. In the back left corner, he could see tables with what he presumed were sabacc games in progress, while the back right corner was dominated by a stairway, flanked by hulking Trandoshans, that seemed to lead up to a second floor. As his gaze followed line of the stairway, he saw, past the lights, a transparent section of the ceiling, through which he could see a few people dancing above on the second floor.
Back on the ground level, he caught sight of a few people standing off to the sides, chatting as best they could over the music, while along the walls, several bars of varying colors were set up, with patrons drinking their cares away.
As his mental faculties returned, so did his memory of his objective. The purple bar was at the back, near the subacc tables, and largely empty.
Stars above, what was this?! Such blinding light, such deafening noise, so much... so much everything! Vaeros was left stumbling forward just far enough to get out of the way of the door, an arm raised to shield his eyes against the onslaught of the flashing and strobing lights. It took a few long seconds for his vision to return to him, and a good while longer for the sudden headache knifing at the back of his skull to recede. This unholy cacophony of mental noise was what Niamh's warning had really referred to. Note to self: ask her how she deals with it.
It took him a moment to even recall what he was doing here, but once he'd regained his senses, he took a look around. Sure enough, at the far end of the bustling dancefloor, near what appeared to be sabacc playspaces, was the purple bar. Taking a breath to steel himself, for what was to come as much as against this stifling heat of tightly packed, dancing bodies, he skirted around the dancefloor as best he could to approach the bar. Leaning against it, he watched the bartender to wait for them to appear unoccupied, then raised a hand to flag them down.
Darth Xaos: Talk to ya later, mate.
Sept 6, 2017 16:51:17 GMT
Darth Strigus: Alright, gotta head out. Nice chatting, though, see you soon
Sept 6, 2017 16:50:43 GMT
Darth Xaos: I might just check those out. I've definitely never read/watched any murder mysteries with such an unexpected setting.
Sept 6, 2017 16:43:24 GMT
Darth Strigus: Found it by coincidence, too. A friend found it in a sauna, knew I liked Rome, and gave it to me for secret santa. I started in the middle of series, but they're stand alone, so it's basically fine
Sept 6, 2017 16:43:22 GMT
Darth Strigus: If you like either one, I'd definitely recommend them.
Sept 6, 2017 16:42:31 GMT
Darth Strigus: It's called Roma sub Rosa, by Steven Saylor. It's a bunch of murder mysteries that are set in Ancient Rome, so it combined two things I love
Sept 6, 2017 16:41:33 GMT
Darth Xaos: Oh, yeah? What series is it?
Sept 6, 2017 16:40:56 GMT
Darth Strigus: I'm in the middle of a series now, though, so it might be a bit before I start
Sept 6, 2017 16:40:31 GMT
Darth Strigus: I might just go with NuCanon. As much good as I've heard about Thrawn, it'll probably just be hard to keep everything straight going forward
Sept 6, 2017 16:40:14 GMT
Darth Xaos: I'd say start with the books from the '90s since that's where it all began. Unless you'd like to jump right into the NuCanon in which case any of them seems a fine place, I've heard good things about most of them.
Sept 6, 2017 16:39:18 GMT
Darth Strigus: I've never read any of the Star Wars books, oddly. I'll have to give them a shot. Any starting place you'd recommend?
Sept 6, 2017 16:38:01 GMT
Darth Xaos: Just finished Dark Disciple and it's given me an itch to read a bunch of the the NuCanon books.
Sept 6, 2017 16:37:23 GMT