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Two truths and a lie

Posted on Thursday October 29th, 2020 @ 5:04pm by Sol Harizzo & Rhea Nyx & Jai Damodar & Sara Wood

Mission: When a Hutt Laughs
Location: Briefing Room Havoc Base
Timeline: MD5-10:00

Sol felt a sense of pride as he looked around those arrayed before him his eyes scanned the room seeing people he had gone through thick and thin with, there were a few faces in the crowd he was less familiar with such as Woods and Damodar. Over in the background, he could see Damodar's ward for some reason seeing him caused a flash of pain to shoot down Sol's spine, he shook his head slightly and berated himself for such thoughts. It was causal correlation at work just because he saw the child at the same time as the pain didn't make them linked in any way.

Sara sat there watching the newcomer she had not yet met carefully, she had no idea who he was, but she was going to listen to what he had to say, she was curious to find out more about what was going to happen next, so long as she did not have unexpected company for the journey to the next destination she would be good.

Rhea was casually leaning against a wall, or as casually as one could when one was a Mandalorian in a full suit of armour. From the strategic spot she chose she could see everyone coming in and settling down, but she would be easy to miss whilst they were all focusing on Sol. She saw Elam rush in, give her and Sol a quick semi-salute and quickly find a seat in the crowd just as Sol began speaking.

"I know the past week has been a very strange one for us all and things have changed that we weren't expecting" His eyes focused on those nearest to him first before he tried to pick out as many faces and their emotions as he could, they were all pretty much the same.

Hardened and inquisitive.

In the crowd, he saw the Rodian Wam Urso looking out through the throng before disappearing and reappearing somewhere else as if trying to cover his attendance at this meeting. No doubt looking for some tasty morsels to send back to Narbel, Sol decided there and then that Wam was best brought out into the light letting him skulk around would not do anything but damage Grey Wing.

“Firstly I must introduce the bag man. I’m sure you all remember Carlist Rokenan our previous bag man, he has left the wing for a while finding” Sol coughed “Alternative employment with a Hutt family in his stead we have Master Wam Urso who will be taking over our money management” Sol indicated to those around Wam to push him forward outside of the throng. “Wam comes highly recommended by our new benefactor. Please everyone here welcomes him and when you see him around do all you can to keep him honest.” He knew that those in the crowd would understand his words, keeping someone honest was what a crew did when they knew that one of their members was a risk.

“Keeping honest is very important for the continued function of this collective, over the past week I’ve learned a great deal of information regarding the success we’ve enjoyed over the past year and a half, it seems we have had a secret benefactor who was working with Rokenan to ensure we took premium jobs and things that were in our way were moved subtly. Without their help, I’m pretty sure that Grey Wing would not be as big or as known as it is now.”

“Our generous benefactor is the Vethen Hutt Family, in particular Narbel Vethen who has ensured not only that Grey Wing has grown but also ensuring that it was protected when it needed it.”

There was a low murmur in the crowd as people digested this factoid. Rhea scanned the crowd again, her helmet's video feed was recording this, so she could analyze things later in case she missed someone's reactions to the news if anything it would give her and Sol a leg up on who's to be trusted and who's to be watched carefully. The fact that a Hutt was involved so deeply still unsettled her somewhat, she was sure the news would not be taken lightly by those of the Grey Wing squadron, but this wasn't something that was best kept from them.

Sara studied the Rodian with interest and disgust, she had no time for scum like him, especially when he had a hidden agenda, she would have to be careful around the Rodian, who knew whether there was some kind of vendetta against her from the Hutt's, after all, she did assassinate one of them and escape.

Sol knew that there would be people in the crowd who had an issue with this fact, either people with an axe to grind against the Hutt’s in general or people who were indebted to the Vethen family already.

“I have been empowered to tell anyone who has an active debt to the Vethen family that your debt is being transferred to Grey Wing, we will pay it off whilst working for the generous and clever Hutt’s. If you want to leave I understand, but you will all be honour bound to complete at least one more job if not more until your clear with Grey Wing itself.”

“Our first mission is in a week and involves you all visiting Coruscant.”

***


An hour later – Grey Wing’s Inner Circle.

Sol looked up to see far fewer faces this time there were around 15 people in the mission auditorium, people invited by Sol and The Protector based on their level of debt, trustworthiness and skills.

“I’ll be honest” Sol poured himself a drink and gestured for others to do the same.

“We are buried in several tonnes of Bantha Poodoo, a fact I couldn’t let the general rank and file of the wing know. You all here are what constitutes the group's inner core the most trusted of our associates. What I’m about to say doesn’t go further than the people in this room.” Nearby, off to Sol's side and slightly behind him Rhea's left hand briefly hovered over one of her Westars, as if indicating if things do get out of this room, she'd be the one tracking them down and dealing with them. Her hand settled on her belt as she silently watched the others, her eyes hard underneath the helmet. She chose not to partake in the social aspect of the meeting and instead kept her guard up, now more than ever this was necessary. The art of observing and taking note whilst not revealing her own misgivings or feelings about things was key in her life even now.

Sol began to explain everything about his mission to Nal Hutta, about Narbel’s brother and most of the things she said. He purposefully left out the information about his own missions that Narbel had dangled in his face, that was something for Rhea and he alone for now until he knew exactly who in this group he could truly trust. Explaining the machinations of the Hutt took over an hour at the end of it all though he could see that his words had galvanised those around him.
“Any questions?” Sol asked after he drained his cup, he filled it again while people considered what to say.

Rhea stayed silent as she watched the smaller group take in what Sol's been saying. She put her own misgivings and feelings about the situation on hold, for now, Sol was already aware of some of them; there was little she could do about the past now, but they needed to focus on the present and figuring out a way to get themselves and Grey Wing out of the situation they were in whilst minimizing casualties. Finding out who to trust was certainly a problem even before now, with a Hutt involved, it made trust a much rarer commodity.

"When exactly will we be free of Narbel's...." Elam searched for the right word, "influence?" he asked, the usually chipper man wasn't smiling now.

"Never, if my experiences with Hutt scum are anything to go by," Sara commented she had seen too many individuals indebted to a Hutt gangster try and try and try again to be 'free' from their influence only to find that the rules had been changed without warning and that their dreams were much further off than before.

Jai kept his own counsel throughout the sordid tale. He had joined Grey Wing as a means to pay off one Hutt. Now he found himself under the slimy tail of another? This was not going according to plan. What if there was a way to pay his debts with Grakkus off against this Narbel though? That could be something.

"Are there any known rivals to the Vethens?" Jai asked. "Some of us might have... conflicts of interest."

Sol smiled.

“This is not an unexpected fact, no there are very few Hutt’s that are in competition with the Vethens, many of them consider the female ran crime family to be beneath contempt. Narbel is, however, willing to grease the wheels so to speak, if anyone feels they’ve got a conflict of interest here the should talk to me directly after the meeting. I will take down the particulars and task Wam with coming to a figure to buy your debts. It will pull Grey Wing further into ‘debt’ with Narbel but it will clear you of any worry of outstanding debts, it is something I’m more than happy for us to do because I know with your help Grey Wing will not have any issue paying down its debts to the Vethens.”

Jai nodded but said nothing. One Hutt debtor was as good/bad as another, and Grey WIng so far had been mostly hospitable.

“As for the other question, anyone who is stupid enough to think we are not in this until the day we die is a groxx who doesn’t deserve their place here. I have discussed this with the lady over there” He nodded towards the Mandalorian, Rhea raised an eyebrow underneath the helmet, her only acknowledgement of his words was a brief nod. “We have a plan forming to get us out of this debt but that plan will take a few years to come to fruition as there are certain ‘benefits’ to being on Narbels payroll for us which include a guaranteed income the wing gets paid even if we don’t pull everything off. Those of us who have lived out here for a while know the importance of a nest egg and generating one of those for the Wing under Wam’s nose is one of the first steps to getting free.”

Sol didn’t add that killing everyone who stood in his way was the other main component. He kept it to himself for two reasons firstly and most importantly he still didn’t know who in the room he could trust so blabbing their plans would only get them crushed. Secondly, he still wasn’t sure exactly which Hutt’s would die to grant them their freedom.

“So, our mission. Whilst the majority of the Wing is going to Coruscant we are going to be stealing an Interdictor from the Rebels, Narbel has a contract to procure one. I presume everyone here is up for a little ship to ship action?”

"Sure why the heck not, let's just go steal an Interdictor Cruiser from the Rebels, ought to be fun, dangerous, and simple, with only the crew & their starfighters to worry about, not to mention reinforcements," Sara replied.

Sol's eyes narrowed.

"That is dangerously close to sarcasm," Sol said quietly "And this is no place for sarcasm, do you honestly think there isn't a plan to get aboard?"

"I would hope so, yes," Sara replied she hoped assumed that there was a plan to achieve what seemed to be the impossible in place before the plan was implemented.

Sara disliked the idea of being on the wrong side of the Rebels, but a job was a job and she would do her part in that job without hesitation, the only thing worse than being on the Rebels was being on the wrong side of the Hutts.

"You are free to go to Coruscant along with the majority of Grey Wing," Rhea spoke up in an even voice as she casually shifted her position, the thumb of her right hand hooked around the belt hosting her Westars as she continued "if you don't like the odds against the Rebels, Ms. Wood."

Sara stared the Mandalorian down without flinching "I am not afraid of them Rebels," she told Rhea "If you ain't careful one might take your actions as a threat or a challenge, and I'd hate to shoot you," she added.

Rhea chuckled, clearly amused at the reaction, the thumb remained tucked into her belt. She could see how it could be taken as a threat, a lot of people got twitchy when a Mandalorian even thought about weapons, let alone approached them in any way. "Now...who said anything about you being afraid of Rebels? I certainly didn't." she queried in a curious tone dismissing Sara's threat as she threw a glance around the room. "As for shooting me, you're more than welcome to ... give it a shot," underneath the helmet, Rhea flashed a brief grin as she shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly. If she got even a single credit every time someone's told her that, she'd be able to buy her own small planet by now.

"Enough" Sol growled "Or I'll space the pair of you. Remember the Wing rules you've all agreed too. No fighting, no business on during Wing business. If either of you draws a weapon or even make a fist I will end you."

"The great thing about this place is that we are a team, a team united if only for a short while towards a common goal."

"I won't have any bitching in fighting breaking that up."

"Jai, I need you to take a few people to Sulust, there you'll meet our contact who has a Gozanti Class ship for our use. A Rebel ship."

"Sara" Sol turned and fixed his glare upon her "Your job is to go where Wam sends you to pick up the weapons we need for this operation, it’s Imperial equipment all around for this one. It can't look like contractors."

"Those of us going on this mission will meet back at the Bolthole in 5 days time."

He looked over at Rhea and then back at Sara.

"No more of this posturing poodoo, you're professionals act like it."

Rhea shrugged still appearing casual; he had a point, but it’s not like she was going to draw a weapon on anyone on base unless provoked or someone needed protection from one of the more shady elements Grey Wing had within it. “sure, Harizzo.” She spoke, keeping her tone even, “you know me, I’m all-business out in the field,” she said crossing her arms.

Sara looked at Harizzo "No problems, Imperial equipment excellent idea, makes us less identifiable, excellent," she stated, the idea of 'borrowing' Imperial equipment wasn't something she wanted to do willy nilly.

"I'd rather work alone..." Jai let the objection hang for just a moment before sighing in concession. Recovering a ship was even easier than recovering a fugitive. What could go wrong? "Who'd you got in mind? No amateurs."

"There should be no hassle recovering this one, you've got a contact at the spaceport already in the Vethen's pocket. As I'm lead to believe" He held up a data chip and threw it at Jai "This has everything you need on it."

"This is going to take a little bit of finesse and panache to pull off but I'm sure that we working together can do it. You've both got 5 days to meet us back at the bolt hole, if you're late and the mission gets scrubbed I'm pretty sure a rather angry Hutt will make sure at least one of us is scrubbed too. Don't be late."

Sol looked around the room one last time before adding.

"Everyone is dismissed" He didn't add that excluded Rhea knowing full well she would stick around to talk at him as he had slighted her professionalism once again.

 

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