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The Briefing

Posted on Monday February 1st, 2021 @ 2:29am by Sol Harizzo & Rhea Nyx & Aldoh Damari & Kasee Mandu

Mission: When a Hutt Laughs
Location: The Bolt Hole
Timeline: MD9-14:00

The hangar was the only space big enough for Sol to get the gear they needed for the mission squared away, earlier in the day he had received a message from Sara indicating her mission was a success. Despite the setback with Jai they were still in a good place to go on the mission Sol still had to speak to Kasee about joining them from what little Igehr had said the formerly frozen bounty was feeling much better today.

Igehr wouldn’t be joining them on the mission he was going to spend the time thawing the second occupant from the YT-2400 craft, the one that Sol had missed entirely.

His cheeks burned as he thought about it, the embarrassment of missing a whole soul stored aboard the ship. Igehr had laughed about it for about two hours before a sharp word from a very chagrined Sol had silenced him, well it had silenced him at least whilst the Wookie was in front of the boss.

Further research into Kasee and the iced Rodian had led to the discovery that Kasee wasn’t the person they were sent to look for, despite the stroke of luck that let Grey Wing find a potential new recruit.

Sol’s comm link warbled as he received a message from Aldoh Damari who had just arrived in the system, he sent back an acknowledgement and a terse message to meet them in the hangar cutting his message off sooner than he expected as Kasee Mandu entered the hangar.

“How are you feeling today Kasee?” Sol asked as he put the blaster he had been cleaning on the table in front of him.

Mandu had spent the better part of the morning trying to get a few things that made him feel more of himself; a small belt carrier for some scalpels and other needed ready items. Next he had pressed upon Igehr for a ready bag and scavenged a few extra supplies that he liked to have in his ‘Medical Bag’ and outfitting. The scrounging was a bit more difficult for a weapon; he had looked about and without taking found what he sought, stockpile of several DC-17 pistols and some holsters that he could use. He noted them but did not take them as they had been secured and Mandu is still new.

“Much better considering.” Mandu replied as he held a hot liquid in the mug that he had kind of ‘selected’ as one he would use often, a large one actually. “Igehr is a Good Caretaker and with a few little sixers we managed to get me feeling close to my old self” He looked at Sol. “I noticed you all have weapons at the ready, I saw some DC-17s , would I be able get something so I can face the trouble you all seem to be prepping for?”

Sol smiled “Certainly, what use are you unarmed against Rebel troopers?” once again falling back into the old style terms for the New Republic, Sol wasn't sure he would ever manage to think of them as anything other than the Rebels.

He typed a code into the computer unit he was carrying around as he did so he noticed that a ship was coming in to land, it wasn’t one he recognised but that wasn’t unusual in Grey Wing. Given that this location was known only to those operating within the company it didn’t worry him too much.

“You will find the lock will let you in if you try again, its DNA coded and I’ve added it as of right now.” He typed one final command and saw an acknowledgement.

Aldoh brought his Lancer in for a landing with little flourish. The Lancer was remarkably agile and Aldoh could have come screaming in and then set down gently to show off, but he didn’t. Once he’d landed, Aldoh picked up his staff and exited his ship. He advised the deck crew to be careful with his ship. While he tried to be polite, Nikto faces couldn’t form a smile that was easily recognizable by non-Nikto who hadn’t seen a Nikto smile before. Therefore, Aldoh tended to look like he was perpetually pissed off, even when he did smile. The tech he spoke to smiled nervously in response and assured the Morgukai Master that his ship would be well cared for. Aldoh asked where he could find Sol Harrizo, and then headed off to find the man, which he did in short order.

“Sol Harrizo?” Aldoh said. “Pardon my interruption. I am Morgukai Master Aldoh Damari. Rhea Nyx invited me here.”

“That is me,” Sol said pointing his thumb at the centre of his chest, he realised he recognised Aldoh Damari from the issue at the YT-2400.

“I see you’ve also chosen to accept the invitation to join us for our next mission” He turned and pointed towards Mandu.

“This Kasee Mandu one of the frozen humancicles from aboard the YT-2400, he will also be joining us on this mission.”

Mandu looked at the newcomer and especially the weapon in his hand, noting also the way the man stood, poised and the type to keep Mandu very much in business from either side of a fight. Feeling less than well-dressed Mandu nodded to the obvious Bounty Hunter and tried to keep his hands in plain sight.

“Glad to be warm again actually.” Mandu quipped.

“I am… familiar with the feeling,” Alodoh replied. “I spent three millennia on ice myself.”

“Remind me sometime to discuss living in the now and the shock of waking in a ftre time?” Mandu chuckled and took a drink of his liquid. “I prefer the here and now myself.”

The Fang landed smoothly a short distance away from the operations centre at the bolt hole. The pilot went through a post-flight checklist, quickly moving from item to item as she shut things down. Removing her helmet, Rhea sat back in the Fang’s seat taking in a few breaths and letting them out as she listened to the sounds of her fighter’s engines and equipment settling down. She closed her eyes mentally grasping at the last sounds of what passed for peace and quiet before she had to step out into the world outside her Fang’s cockpit. At least she managed to catch some sleep whilst in hyperspace back to the bolthole; she made a mental note to get something to eat after she let Sol know she was back.

Lost in her thoughts, Rhea reached up to her neck, her fingers feeling the indentations left by K’Rae’s rings. This was a small price to pay for the deal she made, and she knew the rest of the payment was coming due once this mission was over. Rhea tugged at the collar of her suit pulling the collar up to cover up the marks that were starting to bruise. Thankfully she stopped K’rae before he could do any serious damage to her, but allowed enough for him to get a perverse kick out of it just to sweeten the deal a little more. A tactical advantage was a tactical advantage, not that this technique was taught at the academy or by her mentor. These were different times.

She looked at the instruments in front of her, the fingers of her hand absently tapping at the throttle on the side. She fought the urge to take off again, it’s almost as if part of her wanted to get away from this place, which usually meant a few things, none of them good. She wasn’t sure if it was the events of the last few days and the memories they dragged up, or something else entirely, but the Mandalorian felt inclined to take heed and stay alert.

‘Blasters may not be enough’ the stray thought popped into her mind and disappeared as quickly as it came in. Rhea took in a deep breath and let it go, her glance sliding over to the two Westars sitting in their holsters at her hips. Truthfully, blasters were rarely enough, it’s part of the reason why she had the jetpack, carried the vibroknife, the vambraces, several other tricks up her sleeve and constantly kept her wide array of air, ground combat and tactical skills sharp and up to date. It was also part of the reason sometimes she preferred to talk things out before resorting to weapons, however unusual that may have seemed for a Mandalorian. So far it all kept her alive through the years.

Her mind wandered to her meeting with the magistrate, half wondering if he was going to back out of the deal and whether she needed a backup plan. However, the Captains of the Kalifal, Suraj and the Weequay on loan to her and thus the Grey Wing for this operation have already contacted Rhea before she left K’Rae’s planet. If anything they were efficient and didn’t question suddenly having to take orders from the Mandalorian woman; for that Rhea was thankful. She took them through what was required and left them with further instructions and coordinates before she left to return to the bolthole. The ships or the captains weren’t the problems, the Mandalorian thought, something else was. What it was, she wasn’t quite certain yet.

“You don’t know what you don’t know.” she mused out loud as she ran a hand through her hair. Rhea let out a long sigh looking straight ahead outside the cockpit of the Fang. “But I sure would like to know…” she spoke to herself. Maybe it was just the giant Hutt in the proverbial room, Rhea knew that aspect certainly added to her uneasiness about the whole situation, not just this mission.

“K’atini Rhea Nyx,” she chided herself, “you’ve made worse deals before, with less intel,” she muttered to herself. “Probably why they were worse deals,” she shrugged, shook her head dismissing the comments.

She let out a long sigh before putting her helmet back on and hopped out of the Fang. Out of habit, she ran a scan to check for life signs, they were still missing Sarah given that her ship still wasn’t here. The Wookie medic was still here as well as a scattering of other people he had brought with him; a few life signs were in the main hangar, one of them likely to be Harizzo at this time of day.

She spotted Aldoh’s Lancer in the distance, which meant the Morgukai Master was here as well. She really hoped Sol wasn’t being an arse to Damari. It didn’t appear like any of the life signs were currently engaged in battle, so at least that was a good sign.

With quick strides, she made her way towards the hangars. She zeroed in on Sol right away as she strode inside the bigger hangar removing her helmet in a fluid motion. She gave him a curt nod and fixed her gaze on him as she closed the gap between her and the three men in the hangar.

“We have our distraction,” she confirmed looking directly at Harizzo, “I will coordinate with them when it is time,” her voice made little room for interpretation about what her mind was focused on - to do what’s necessary for the success of the upcoming mission. The price or other arrangements didn’t matter right now, none of it was coming out of Grey Wing’s or the Hutts’ pockets directly. Rhea preferred to keep it that way to ensure K’Rae’s entanglement with this stayed limited. Besides, had he known the full extent, his price for lending her three of his ships would’ve likely been much higher.

Rhea glanced at Kasee, her eyes less intense than they were when she was briefly focused on Sol moments before, “Kasee Mandu” she said, her voice sounding lighter as she shifted her attention, her free hand giving Kasee a brief wave as a greeting before it settled on the helmet she held under her other arm, “It is good to see you recovering well from your ordeal.”

The Mandalorian inclined her head in a nod towards the Nikto in a silent greeting, she was glad to see he was here. “I trust all is well post our recent encounter?” her voice was back to sounding more serious, yet a hint of lightness still remained.

“I concluded my business with my client,” Aldoh said. “And was adequately rewarded. I am ready to proceed with your business whenever you are. My staff and my skills are yours to command… provided the compensation is equally adequate and your word is good. I have no doubt of that latter, which gives me confidence in the former.”

Rhea nodded curtly in response. “Compensation can be arranged. Name your price,” she nodded towards Sol, “it’ll get sorted.”

“My reputation seems to have preceded me.” Mandu bow his head slightly in acknowledgement, knowing that this type of arrangement from all he could observe would have his reputation known before they thawed him in his opinion. “Should I get a bigger bag for this?” Mandu pat his Medical Satchel. “Or a large discharge rifle?”

“You certainly do not need to worry about our credit at the present time, being beholden to a Hutt Crime Family may have many disadvantages for those involved. Money however is never in short supply, the Vethen’s want us to have whatever we need to carry out their instructions.”

“Of course, whilst the head of the family might want us to spend as we need to. The sniveling Rodian they sent to oversee the books doesn’t like parting with a single credit he doesn’t have to, any problems with him let me know.”

Rhea’s face remained impassive. “Since you came at my request, if Wam Usso short changes you in any way, let me know, I’ll ensure you get compensated for your services,” she said with a nod to Aldoh.

“Gratitude,” Aldoh said.

“Might I suggest I run down the mission profile for us all as we’re here. Sara isn’t due back until later this evening at the earliest so there is little point waiting for her.”

“Sounds good to me,” Rhea nodded her agreement to Sol’s suggestion. Igehr walked past as Sol mentioned Sara’s name, he muttered something unintelligible and then gave a roaring Wookie laugh before walking off. The Protector raised a semi-amused eyebrow after Igehr but otherwise showed no reaction.

Sol ignored Igehr and waited for the others to let him know what they wanted to do.

“As you wish,” Aldoh said. “I await your instruction.”

Sol moved the posse over to the area he had set up earlier that day, it contained a few screens jury rigged together to display mission information, it occurred to him that if they were going to be staging many more operations from here they would need to do something more robust for mission overviews.

“We are down an operator” He spoke mainly for Rhea’s benefit at this point “Jai will not be joining us for the mission after they were ambushed”. Rhea frowned at the news, half wondering if this explained her earlier urge to get away from this place. Nope, that wasn’t it, she figured, there had to be more. She nodded to Sol acknowledging the bit of information.

“What kind of Operator is the team down?” Mandu asked as he looked over the information that was before him.

“Multi role, but mainly muscle in this case” Sol said, not wanting to give too much away about Jai’s abilities or lack of abilities as they may be.

“He was supposed to get us a Gozanti to use for the mission but that turned out to be a rather explosive dead end for him.”

“Fancy earning a fist full of credits and coming along?” He half enquired expecting Mandu to turn him down.

“I am not exactly the muscle type.” Mandu said as he glanced a bit around to his lack of weapons. “I seem to have empty pockets and seem to owe you one so it might be worth listening to your full offer?”

“A body with a blaster or blaster pistol works just as a well for me, we are going to board and take control of an Immobilizer 418 currently in orbit of Coruscant”

He paused for a moment to let that sink in.

“We already have a significant number of Grey Wing operators on Coruscant itself rabble rousing to draw the New Republic’s eye away from space and towards the ground.”

“Under the cover of false instructions we will board the craft and make our way to the engineering section of the ship and commandeer the ship from there. We will ‘subdue’ the New Republic crew as necessary and make our way out of the system.”

Sol didn’t allude to how they would subdue the crew, that wasn’t a decision to be taken now.

“By the time the New Republic knows what is happening we should be long gone.”

“Questions?” He asked.

“We’re stealing a heavy cruiser?” Aldoh asked. “If the New Republic discovers the involvement of any of us, we’ll be branded terrorists, both as a group and individually. I hope your plan includes getting away without any distinguishing images of any of us being captured. As far as the crew identifying us… I may be a mercenary, but I am not a mass murderer.”

Rhea watched the group talk, observing their reactions as she took in new information. mentally she was already thinking of other options and possibilities.

“There are ways to subdue people without it being permanent,” she said glancing at Aldoh. “We are not the Empire, or the New Republic,” she added, an edge in her voice was the only indicator of how she felt about crossing the line into mass murder of people. She cast a glance at her helmet which now sat on the table nearby and pushed away a stray memory of her past as she refocused on the present.

“if we work quickly no one will realize what’s happening until we are long gone with what we came for. And they certainly won’t be able to connect it to us directly,” Rhea noted, a slight smile quickly crossed her lips before disappearing.

“So we’re not stealing the cruiser?” Aldoh said. “Then what is the score?”

Rhea raised an eyebrow, “we are ….. borrowing the cruiser….permanently,” she said with a slight shrug. “As Sol said, we will board the craft and make our way to the engineering section of the ship and commandeer the ship from there.”

Aldoh scowled. “And we’re doing what with the ship once we commandeer it?” he asked.

Rhea had to admit, that was a good question, one she didn’t focus a lot of attention on considering their goal was to acquire said ship. Had it not been their involvement with the Hutts, Rhea probably wouldn’t have taken on this particular assignment without careful consideration. ‘Dammit, Harizzo,’ she thought to herself once again.

“Anesthetic Darts.” Mandu suggested; also from Engineering we could control the life support and spread a simple sleeping agent into the vents and while not totally encompassing the operating crews will fall to it rather than the stormtroopers and their filters. Troopers are one thing but putting down the operations crew will make stealing easier if you think about it?”

“Sleeping agents through vents can work,” the Mandalorain spoke with a nod, liking the way Manu was thinking.

Sol listened intently to those around the table, a different time, a different set of people and the lines they were willing to cross would be different.

“There are a couple of things worth mentioning.”

He waited for the others to quiet down before continuing.

“Firstly, as a rule Grey Wing attempts to avoid loss of life on adventures such as these. We are mercenaries, not murderers and where we are working for the Hutt’s today we could just as easily be working for the New Republic tomorrow.”

“Secondly, the majority of the ship’s crew will be on Coruscant. We are doing this now as it is one of a handful of times per year that the whole crew gets downtime. The ship itself will have recently returned from refit at Kuat Drive Yards.”

“We have strong intelligence that we are talking between 50 and 100 souls aboard all told.”

“Whilst the Hutt’s have not been exactly forthcoming about who we are procuring the ship for it doesn’t take a genius to figure that it is going to an Imperial Remnant, most of whom are very big on showing the New Republic that they stole things.”

“We are to take the ship to a known rendezvous point where it will be turned over to the Vethens’ people, they will handle returning the New Republic crew that may be aboard.”

“Mandu, your idea about life support is a good one, but darts?” Sol picked his blaster from his holster and waved it around as he spoke “This has a pretty good stun setting.”

“You can hear the blaster firing, for more covert the quiet causes less of a commotion if you are trying to insert quietly.” Mandu shrugged.

Rhea chuckled, “I like the way you think,” the Protector said with a nod at Mandu, two fingers of her gloved hand quickly tapping at her head then gesturing towards him.

“Aldoh, I’m fairly sure that we can get a board without being seen by many people at all. There is little chance of us being branded anything by the New Republic, as we will breach the ship dressed in Storm Trooper armour which should be arriving tomorrow.”

Aldoh nodded. “Understood,” he said. “I will honor my commitment.” He wasn’t thrilled about handing a heavy cruiser over to the Imperial Remnant, but a job was a job. And if the Hutt’s were handling the return of the New Republic crew… hopefully they would be ransomed back to their people and not sold into slavery.

Sol’s eyes met Rhea’s as he gave a slight shrug, Rhea raised an eyebrow in response. In his mind he was wondering why after all this time around real bad guy mercs he had finally stumbled on to several with a conscience.

Rhea still had her reservations about the plan, if not the entire mission, but her face didn’t reveal anything to point to that. There were still too many unknowns, the fact that at least some of those unknowns came from within the team itself just served to keep the Mandalorian more alert and on the lookout for any surprises that may come their way in addition to the usual threats from all factions of the Empire as well as the New Republic. Besides, she has another part to play in all this.

“Look, I know this isn’t a job some of us may agree to do on any other day,” she spoke up glancing at the trio in the room, “or under other circumstances,” she added her gaze lingering on Sol before flickering away to look over at her helmet and the history it carried with it as the piece of armor sat on the table.

“There’s likely more in play here than any of us realize right now,” the Protector noted, the memory of Grey Wing unknowingly ending up working for a Hutt all along was still fresh in her mind. “We just have to be the ones to figure it out and take control of it at the right time.” Rhea said, placing a hand on her helmet as she looked at Aldoh, Mandu and Sol.

Sol let out a little laugh as he heard Rhea’s words; they were certainly behind the curve at this point the Hutt’s had them dancing to their tune and somehow over the coming months Grey Wing needed to get out ahead of the Vethens.

“The Mandalorian is correct, we are reacting to the galaxy at this time. Doing the things we are told to do - it won’t always be that way we will get off of the back foot and when that happens we can be more choosy about the missions that we take on.”

“Today we’re all in various holes and we just need to get through this mission and get paid.”

The four of them sat for several more hours going over plans and ideas for how to pull the mission off before Sol ended their briefing.


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