Kei wouldn’t have bet on it, but the Ubese had turned out to be an excellent addition to the rag-tag crew they were massing together. The sentient didn’t take up too much space. Had two spare bags, one was held over his shoulder the other tugged away a bunk. Kei asked what was in both of them. Velk commented that one was for business, the other were necessities. He was clearly a man who had a bagging order set in mind for trips like these.
Visskiss even seemed to get along with the silent enforcer. The two spoke rarely. When they had exchanged in conversation, it was lively and focused on the strains of leading the sort of lives that they have. After two days of space travel, Velk having revealed that a sough associate that Kei was after had given residence to a city in the Core systems, Kei finally had a small portion of the ship to the Ubese and himself. The captain offered the Ubese a drink.
“Not a desire of mine,” replied the reserved assassin. His gloved hand waved away the beverage. “I have a preferred way of drinking. Usually keeping to my own privacy, while it is still appreciated.”
Kei nodded and sat down next to him in the lounge. Velk had rarely been discovered of walking around the ship without a destination. While the youngest of the group had sought to parade him with questions regarding his armor and origins, the armored fellow had been a difficult individual to lock down. Guess it was Kei’s lucky day. He gestured to the datapad, “I take it you’re ensuring that the next few weeks won’t be the end of you?”
Velk didn’t look up. “I’m establishing a remote contact with the one you seek for this entourage. She never enjoyed surprises. I don’t intend to spring this angle of one down on her either.” Velk continued to tap away. Kei found himself leaning in closer to hear Velk’s audible whispers, “I was the one who helped ensure her a new life after a previous encounter. If I’m going to pull her out, it’s going to be with a plan and to make sure she can get back into it. No need to uproot anyone.”
Kei nodded in agreement. “That wasn’t my intention in the first place with you, if that’s what you were getting at.”
The Ubese shook his head as he ran his fingers across his device. “Not at all. My employer understands that I’m an individual who a unique set of skills. When I desire to leave, I’m allowed to do so. I must return until our contract with one another is finished.”
“Do you have much longer on it?” Kei asked.
“No,” Velk replied, “another year of working in his cartel and I’ll be free to do as I please. Although I doubt he’s going to want to end the contract on the terms we’ve agreed with. I’m already preparing to leave in an abrupt and sudden hurry.”
An eyebrow arched on Kei’s forehead. “Why do you think it’ll have a nasty ending as you say? You’ve been good on your side of the bargain, hm?”
“Of course I have,” Velk finally looked up at Kei as he spoke. “When was the last time you saw a Hutt keep to his side of the bargain when he lost? Especially when it was ‘merchandise’ that he believed to be his?”
Kei scuffed at that mildly. He should have seen that answer coming. When dealing with Hutts you could never be too carefully. If you cost them any sort of profit, you’d never hear the end of it and have to constantly look over your shoulder. Those sorts of deals had always been bad for business for them. Why should it be any different towards employees? He ran a hand over the back of his head. “I take it then you’re seeking refuge with a few people?”
“That information is unimportant and the moment. When the time comes, it’ll happen.” Velk finished up whatever he had been working on with the datapad. Placing it back inside of his bag that he had set aside, he glanced over to where the cockpit was. “How much longer until we make it to Andara?”
Kei looked over at his chrono. “We’ll be there by the beginning of tomorrow. It’ll be a few more hours before we’re on the ground. I’d suggest a few hours of sleep before hand, hm?”
Velk seemed to ponder the idea. While he had been on the ship, Kei noticed he walked around attentively. His helmet would swivel towards the stars when he was in the cockpit, or would glance around the groaning sides of the hull. It had been a classic fear of flying if Kei had ever seen one. The captain imagined that while the Ubese was in his bunk, he’d be glued to his datapad. Velk struck the captain as someone who’d prefer to die on his feet, not in his sleep. At last the Ubese nodded, standing as another creak ran through the hall way.
Kei didn’t catch a glimpse of fear or surprise at the sound, yet he imagined the worried eye gaze everyone had. Even behind the helmet it was obvious. Velk bowed his head as he grabbed his bag, “I’ll be in my quarters if my expertise is required.”
The captain offered him a two-fingered salute. “Be well.” Kei watched the Ubese walk down the hall and entered the quarters with the final swoosh from the doors closing behind him. Standing up, he spread his arms out with a yawn and made his way back to Visskiss. He had asked his co-pilot to watch the kid while he spoke to their visitor. The boy sometimes made it difficult to gather intel.
Kei was able to hear the boy’s mouth even before he made it inside. “…n’t yah gonna try to see if any Imperials are on the planet? We could cause some trouble while they’re out ahuntin’!”
The Captain grunted as he knocked against the cockpit’s metallic hull. “That’s not the best idea you’re holding inside of your skull, kid. We’re there to make a contact, then pull back with a clean getaway. No bantha play involved.” Kei pointed his finger at the pilot’s seat like a gun and shot it off at the kid. “Clean shot both ways.”
“Pfft!” The boy cried, “yah two wouldn’t know a good time if it bite yahs where the mynocks don’t shine.”
Visskiss muttered something under his clicking teeth. His tongue flipped out slightly in disgust and checked their calculations. He spat over at Kei how much longer, the Captain nodded. “I knew I had right time. Was off by a few minutes, ah well,” walking over to the back of the pilot’s seat he patted the kid’s shoulder. “Mine. Away with you! Have to talk with my first mate.”
The kid plopped out of the seat but groaned as he made his way towards the hallway. “C’mon! I’m the reason yah’ll be making this team anyway. I have a right to know what’s going to happen for all these preparations!”
Kei sat himself down and shook his head as he spoke, “No, no. Not this time around. I promise, though, that when we make a critical decision regarding this operation you’ll be there to shout as much you want.” Kei turned over his shoulder, “This time around it’s between crew mates, aye?”
The boy rolled his eyes before Kei even finished. The Captain sighed as he witnessed the child storm off. He looked over to Visskiss, “You really had to make a deal with this kid? There wasn’t anyone better?”
Visskiss hissed a response and leaned back in his seat. Kei saw the Trandoshan’s grin. “Bah,” Kei said as the lizard began to run one of his claws along the side of his head. Visskiss tapped against his skin as he mocked the Captain. “Right, right, the big pay out that’s going to happen at the end of this tremendous journey, hm? Don’t expect me to trust the kid or anything. I mean, the hell are the Imperials going to be holding something that important on a space station?”
Visskiss rolled a series of hisses, edging his unblinking eyes to the roving stars in front of them. Kei couldn’t tell if his partner was a wondering what could be aboard it, or something else. Visskiss shared with a series of clicks of his teeth, hissing slowly as he stared forward. Kei hadn’t thought about it. “Dammit you’re right, Vis. The Imperials are probably going to be looking for this type of ship. Bet you they have this ships transponder codes, ID and the appearance of this exact model. Same with a human and a Trandoshan set of pilots.”
Kei ran a hand over the front of his face and began to think. They could easily change the ID of the ship. They had a few spares that would pass by Imperial inspections. The two had acquired them their some rather undesirable sources. Removing himself from the chair, he stood up and paced back and forth on in the cockpit. The stars continued to swim past over the windows. “Alright, well. We could always try to find a terrain near the city. Land outside of it and try to avoid any detection. I’m sure you can handle that sort of work?” Visskiss hissed out quickly.
“Course,” Kei chuckled as he stood with his arms folded. “Only messing with you scales, don’t take it personal.” Tapping the side of his forearm his mind swam with possibilities that could occur. He and Velk wouldn’t be long in the city, at the least only a few hours. “Yeah, we should be fine. I’m over thinking everything.” Visskiss agreed with a satisfied grunt. He went out hiss about Kei’s tendency to desire every decision before he’s even there. Kei rolled his eyes, “Least I’m prepared for most of the situations.”
Kei made some food for the last few hours of the trip. Visskiss left the cockpit for twenty minutes and Kei marked it as a new record. The kid talked the Captain’s ear off as he cooked and prepared a meal. Velk didn’t leave his quarters until Kei finally called him. They had only half an hour until they would be landing.
Velk entered the cockpit, “Good to see that we arrived unnoticed.”
Kei welcomed him with a handshake. “Even better to see that you decided to rest, don’t have your space legs?”
“I travelled very much in my youth,” Velk said. “Now I’ve decided to stick to my time in traveling freighters, such as this one. You’d be surprised to acknowledge the fact that you have one of the nicer, well established ships I’ve decided to join.” By the end of his sentence Velk took soft breathes under his mask. Kei had no idea that the Ubese had considered himself ‘old’.
“Glad to know that you see us so highly.” Kei turned to face the spinning stars, “I called you up here to go over the plan that Vis and I have been talking about early. You’ve been here before; we’d like your input regarding this.”
Velk nodded as he wrapped his hands around his lower back. The clicking of his boots clapped along the floor as he made his way over. “I’ll provide what I can for what we may be expecting. Although I doubt we’ll be facing much opposition.”
“Never expect anything less than a full garrison on an Imperial occupied world,” Kei said as he turned to Velk. “You do remember my retelling of what had happened upon my retrieval?”
Velk clicked his teeth. “I do.”
“Good,” Kei cleared his throat. “Then you’ll understand why we’d prefer to avoid most Imperial’s activity. It may have happened out in the outer rim, but I doubt the Empire flatters itself on the fact of it being overtaken by a lone starship.”
“An embarrassing event.”
Visskiss clicked his teeth together and hissed over his shoulder. “That’s our call. Let’s get things figured out.” Kei turned to his right and pressed a button to activate the ship’s intercom, “Oi! Kid. Time for you to hear what we’ve got in mind for the operation.”
Within seconds of uttering that the boy’s footsteps could be heard bolting down the hallway. Sliding into the back of the cockpit he held a fist in the air, “To victory or death!”
Kei rolled his eyes. “Calm yourself. We’re not roaring into an Imperial controlled planet guns blazing.” Visskiss interrupted them with a few sharp hisses. The sudden rush of hyperspace left them and the crew fell off balance and lurched forward. Kei looked up through the viewport and gulped. “Sith spit, you’ve got to be kidding me.”
Sitting in front of them were two Imperial Star Destroyers rotating around space in front of Andara. Their commlink opened up from the lead one that had the title of Black Serpent. Kei’s eyes grew wide. “Blast it all to kriffing hell.”