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#1
Cato Fett

Cato Fett
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Yedo Fire

[EF91 N-D Frigate]

[Lannik Space]

-+-

[Silent Running Protocols: Engaged]

[19h:00m]

 

“Second Lieutenant Ashga, please report to Hangar One. Second Lieutenant Ashga, please report to Hanger One.”

 

A flight group in Incom flight-suits, some applying last-second cosmetic touches to crash helmets and affixing life-support link-in harnesses, bustled past without apology. ‘Bells’ had sounded, changing out the watch, replacing grey-faced crewmen with fresher replacements while the mess halls readied steady protein-gruel helpings and tasteless, recycled water. Resupply was due in six hours, approximate. Though with only half the requesitioned rations, fuel cells, parts, kit and gear, and personnel, contentious details only the command staff and select RESINT were privy to.

Cato Fett adjusted the collapsible straw, sipping cold brackish tea from a battered thermos. Save for his ever-present helm, he worked in surplus fatigues and web-gear. The rifle was a second-hand rescue, a worn Type-03 manufactured for fighting across Saijo, utilitarian but damage resistant, reliably accurate, ease of machine maintenance and slotting to inexpensive slug-ammunition. The Resistance ran on shoe-string budgetary measures and the Quartermaster appreciated the Mandalorian’s requests for ammo not siphoning limited Tabana-gas resources.

 

He walked past the Communications module, hopping the walkway bridging the long ship umbilical between the fore and aft super-structures. He was due for an informal debriefing, carrying a selected mission profile on his wrist-pad. A phantom ache twinged the servos in his left wrist, thinking on Laira Darkhold. Her dossier was scant; young, technically able, noted fighting skills, aptitude for covert parameters and held little reservation for deception, subterfuge, and commando duplicity. Elsewise, there were no parents, no extended family or relatives available for emergency contact, blacked out save for physical characteristics. Fit, trim, red hair, grey eyes. Unknown quantity. Volunteer fighter.

 

Finishing the last tea gulp, he secured the thermos off his web-gear and dismounted the running walkway. They’d been allotted a converted janitorial break room for debriefing and their own impromptu mission planning. RESINT, Cato noted, allowed some spare latitude for their personnel. We’ve no budget, materiel is scant, every body pulls double if not triple duty, and all we want… Cato paused in thought. What do you want?

 

“Not the pay,” he growled.

 

The rec room wasn’t totally refurbished. It was still someone’s bunk; hammock tarp was bungie strapped along one length of panelling, laundry sprawled in an rancid heap beside a small fusion-cooker and unopened noodle-broth packets. A combat jacked with armoured sleeving dried over a tin bucket. Cato swept the single, fixed table free of scattered flimsiplast and activated the mounted holo-emitter, slotting his wrist-pad in. He salvaged a pair of chairs, borrowed a pair of holo-ink pens, waited on Laira Darkhold to make her entrance.

 

Again, the question tossed itself forward through his thoughts: what do you want?

 

Laira Vereen


Edited by Cato Fett, 09 January 2018 - 02:25 AM.

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#2
Laira Darkhold

Laira Darkhold

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Laira walked around aboard the EF91, Yedo Fire. The Nebulon-class was always known for its long connecting spire between the engine block and forward spire. The Yedo Fire was a patrol craft sitting in Lannik Space on picket duty from the core fleet group of the Resistance. Normally a quiet and thankless job, but a necessary one at that.

 

As the redhead walked the heels of her boots clicked against the metal deck, long deliberate strides placing one foot right in front of the other in a casual stroll down the blank corridor alongside the tram that ran the length of the spire. She wore a simple pair of form-fitting, black trousers that rode a little low on her hips with a white button down shirt tucked into them. On her belt her Deathrattle Sound Carbine was tied to her right thigh, a few pouches arranged on the left side of it containing various tools she might need in neatly organized compartments. Her shirt which was likely a size too small for her had the top laces undone as was customary for her chosen attire. She wore a specialized skin-tight armor beneath it, but that was practically invisible the way she wore it, concealed by her clothing at all times.

 

The princess's hair was pulled back into a pony tail with her bangs brushed off to one side, a touch of make up despite the dire situation almost always adorned her face due to her vanity, but not too much. Just eyeliner, a touch of blush, and lip gloss. She wore a faint smile as her shining grey eyes made notes of the objects around her. Pilots moving back and forth to go on extended tours of flight duty, crates of supplies running up and down the connecting tube carrying ammunition and medical supplies. It wasn't exactly heaven, but the spacer-girl loved places like this. In a place like this, no one cared who she was. Only that she was one of them.

 

She flowed off the corridor and into the sparse closet that had been converted into a RESINT office for the time being. The fledgling organization was being built from the ground up with little to no resources, so even this was a godsend as far as their logistics was concerned. Laira offered the man already awaiting her a polite smile and wave, "Hiya." Her voice soft and filled with sweetness as she took stock of the Mandalorian that was sitting waiting for her. "I'm Laira Darkhold, but you can call me Laira or any other cute nickname."

 

He was a grim looking kind, a veteran that had probably seen his fair share of nightmares. Laira wasn't as green as her age might suggest, and she knew from her father that many of the older warriors in the culture turned into bleak, depressed and seemingly emotionless figures out of myth. Then again, she'd spent her fair share of time in the sand with blood dripping out of her mouth as her Father trained Theo and herself in the brutality of combat. Some of her earliest memories were of her father fighting them in the training pit.

 

Cato Fett



#3
Cato Fett

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Her presence reminded Cato of old mariner adages regarding the danger of wind and rain. To watch against velvet gales and summer rain, no matter how they soothed or cajoled the senses, a hurricane always waiting just behind the next breeze and taste of mist. There was some belying facet to her posture and gestures, something that spoke caution against receiving Miss Darkhold as an easy honey-trap scouted by RESINT. She knew how to case a room, how to sit with the angles of ingress on her side and posed to either stand quickly or slip low into cover below the table space. That her youth, attractive qualities, her sheer command of sex appeal, made Cato ache with age and unfulfillment. Reminding that his generation wasn’t long for the galaxy, before her and other, more sleek candidates replaced them in terms of lethality. Phantom pain woke up in his left palm and knuckle-servos.

 

“I’m Cato. I’m not quite so cute. But that’s fine. You’re pretty enough for both of us,” He said, rising, bowing shortly, taking his seat and depressing a small plastic key on the holo-emitter. A note whined on the air, twinging their molars briefly, until hard-light photons coalesced into a broad holo-field. Smoky data-fields shuddered in, sharpened resolution, annotating a chopped and magnified map overlay. It was an enlarged portion of the Mara Corridor, highlighting a scant territorial sliver at the edge of Galactic Imperial space.

 

“That’s Torolis,” Cato began, illustrating with a hand-held pointer. “Minor Imperial holding at their border edge. Non-descript, save it either is or was a Bothan colony. A DarkSound drone recently swept through the system to test Imperial alertness and managed a close orbital run over Torolis’ equatorial continents. There,” He encircled several pixelated pict-snaps attached to the primary holo-image. “It peaked at these. Configuration suggests module construction but the size doesn’t support standard garrison numbers. Command is iffy on initiating anything like a first strike but RESINT is curious. Imps have been boasting their ability to field rapid-deployment special-ops groups to contain ‘little insurrections’ like ours. Justification for an insertion and walk-about are a little thin, but Torolis could very well be a viable ‘back door’ into the Empire’s communication infrastructure.

 

“We’re to go in, keep things neat and quiet, link in to Imperial broadcasts and let communications worry next about encryption. Transportation is a specially modified Alpha-class XG-1 gunboat. ‘Solid Thunder’. Leftover from the first Civil War, but hardy, I’ve been assured. This ship is a specific one-off: stripped for stealth. RESINT sees it an equal opportunity to test out our own R&D capabilities. …Miss Cute, any questions? Suggestions?”

 

Laira Vereen


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#4
Laira Darkhold

Laira Darkhold

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Laira didn't say anything but her body language changed to reveal exactly how pleased with herself and with her companion she was when he complimented her attractiveness. The Princess was quite used to being told how beautiful she was, but her vanity required that she be reminded of it often and sincerely. She wasn't much attracted to the Mandalorian, but she didn't mind some not so subtle flirting here and there with anyone.

 

The map activated, its images shifting and shimmering in the three-d display. "Torolis, huh. Never heard of it," She mused, standing and leaning over the table at her waist, putting her chin on both of her hands and her elbows on the table, leaning forward to examine the map closely. She made a point of not paying attention to the Mandalorian while she looked at the pictures that he was showing her. Most were of poor quality, but enough to make up shapes.

 

"Well, am I going to have to be the cute one, the funny one, and the smart one?" Her tone was quite jovial, obviously teasing the elder mandalorian. She perked up an eyebrow to see if he was reacting to her at all before continuing. "Kidding, kidding. Give me one minute to look everything over." Her eyes flicked back over to the mission profile. It seemed that she was to be the chauffeur as far as command was concerned, so that meant the mission was of significant importance to RESINT. They would never have requested a Force-Sensitive Ace with Investigative and Detective experience unless they were serious.

 

"We will be responsible for infiltration and destruction of the facility or just observation?" It seemed a fair ask given that they were going towards an enemy location and would be there, alone. "Because if its the first one and its just us, we will need to make a stop at Kothlis. I have an in with the BSN there that aren't exactly pleased with the Empire."

 

Cato Fett



#5
Cato Fett

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“They put it to me this way: play it by ear,” Cato said, powering off the emitter. Cool shade blanketed the room. He was aware of the lines of her spine, the easy plunge of her cleavage, helm olfactory suite noting her perfume was a spritz of Gharnel No. 099, with its chemical composition, the pigmentation in her subtle make-up. He was staring but she was far too ‘cool’ for it; another old ulik, long-in-the-tooth buckethead whose natural habitat included dive bars and the floor of said dive bars. He stood and bowed again. “We’ll detour to Kothlis anyway. Not about to pass up aid from the Bothans. Especially if they can loan ordnance. Gunboat is Hanger Two; you can’t miss it. We’ve an hour for any last-minute prep. I’ll see you onboard.”

 

He excused himself and left for the spire umbilical, taking the motorized walkway to the forward bunk compliments. Most quarters were shared and his were little different. To one side, on entry, lounged a typical pilot arrangement. Half-cleaned mattress, collapsible stove, piled dry rations beside a single sink, flimsiplast picts pinned or taped to the bulkhead, a holo-screen jury-rigged from a maintenance panel in the ceiling to dangle at just the right height above the pillow. Cato’s half was his own and so, was treated as personal property. The cot was made and neat, personal effects minimal save for a small shrine, no larger than his palm, gear and kit packed in a sturdy column by the foot of the bed.

 

With ritual, he redressed. Simple surplus fatigues with some armourweave sewn inside on the seams, Kevlar web-gear, field kit that were small, durable, and multi-function. The Type-03 slug rifle, assault variant, was a lead weight in his hands. The pistol like a brick slung off his hip, a fighting long-knife secured in battered sheathe over the small of his back. The final addition he retrieved from under the cot. It was a linen-silk bundle, corded with hemp rope requiring a little knowledge in knots to unravel. It stored Oilseller in its long, lacquered scabbard. The Commander’s sword, bequeathed. The last remnant of all her instruction and the sole arbiter of her will.

 

Cato fixed it inside his belt, knowing he looked poor without the second killing blade meant to accompany it. Raexir said it best, the mean truth: ‘Anachronisms don’t make coin.’ He slid and strapped his helmet down, and left for Hanger Two.

 

Laira Vereen


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#6
Laira Darkhold

Laira Darkhold

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Laira stood straight when the projector powered off, offering her companion a snap salute and smile when he bowed. "Roger that Captain!" She barked loudly and playfully as he left. Unprofessionalism was part of her personal mandate, to the point that it had irritated her superiors in the Ranger Corps enough that they basically let her have whatever assignments she wanted and rarely called her into the sector houses in order to avoid having to put up with her.

 

But that was for uptight, by the books, law enforcement officers who represented a federal institution spanning ten sectors of Core space. This was the Resistance, and not just that, the even more military autonomous RESINT which cared much more about available skills than a person's willingness to play by a set of rules and guidelines. The Mandalorian left her alone, and the princess spent a moment smoothing out her shirt and trousers before making her way to her bunk. Supplies? What did he think she was, a pack mule.

 

Nevertheless, the redhead did have somethings to bring along with them. She worked her combat harness over her shoulders, buckling it beneath her bosom and then to her belt on each side, and finally around her thighs. Laira had to pull all the straps to where they were snug around her form before bothering with adding the equipment she wanted to bring with her. A spear of phrik, its haft able to compress and extend at her will slid into a sheath on her back where it would be hidden. Under he left arm she placed a silenced Adjudicator Slug pistol in a concealed holster, under her right arm two spare magazines for the weapon.

 

Her deathrattle, as much as she loved it wasn't really the weapon for taking into enemy territory and so she placed it back into her weapon's case, replacing it with a Needle Disruptor from Vanir Technologies. Perfect for taking out Special Forces known for powerful armor given its significant range and armor penetrating power. She slipped three extra power packs into the holster for the weapon and on her opposite thigh. "Hmmm, I wonder if he'd like this." She mused quietly to herself, careful not to awake her roommate while she readied herself. With a shrug she snapped what appeared to be a choker around her neck bearing a few pieces of technology, but otherwise unassuming. A vibroknife found its way into a sheath on the back of her belt and a second one in a hidden sheath in her boot.

 

Other things found themselves in her pouches on her waist or into a small backpack she would carry such as lockpicks, security blades, disruptor stylus, and scramble key for circumventing security checks and systems. She wasn't half bad as an infiltrator even if that wasn't her normal duties. She packed a no-show and individual field disruptor into the backpack along with spares in case her companion did not have access to them. They came off her Ghostsuit she no longer wore, in favor of her street clothes and body-suit underneath.

 

The princess dug through a few bags and found a specific ring she enjoyed, slipping it over her ring finger on her right hand. Perfect.

 

With everything snug and in its proper place, she slipped on a vest that covered up her holster and spear, only her Needle disruptor still visible. Then her pack slipped over her shoulders and she was on her way, leaving a handful of things on her bunk. Regret at not packing that crimson red cocktail dress panged her senses, but it was just not a good time for such a short and low-cut number. It had never been good time. The redhead made her way towards the hangar a little early, moving through the corridors with a slight skip to her step as she saw a familiar figure moving down the cooridor ahead of her. Jogging to catch up to him, she greeted him as sweetly as she could, "Oh, hiya Cato. Looking good I see."

 

Cato Fett



#7
Cato Fett

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“Hmph~” Cato nodded and fell into stride beside her.

 

Hanger Two was stocked for mid-range starfighter and shuttle tonnage. X-Wings were kept mag-locked and lashed in immaculate, staggered rows facing the hanger mouth. An added compliment of re-fueling A-Wings idled high in the docking rafters. Spare gunboats, troop-assaulters and older bulk-loader craft were kept nested behind. Some, they could see, were mothballed under camo-tarpaulin and partially cannibalized for components. They walked through hydraulic and Tabana odours, and took a maintenance lift down to the hanger floor. Solid Shadow waited for them beside a fueling post, its debarkation ramp unfolded.

 

The deck crew emerged from behind the XG-1 and debriefed the pair on operational protocols for the gunboat. Cato half-listened, his thoughts remarking on his given partner. Trying to decipher her. Laira came well-prepared, better kitted than most Mando’ade ‘leadhead’ bounty killers, but sashayed rather than marched. Her demeanor bordered on an easy arrogance. She got her way, was used to it like habit, either from parentage or a force of will that didn’t brook ‘no’. Yet, her body spoke of martial practice since a young age, showing in her gestures, the roll of her shoulders and hips, how her weight transferred in her step. His customary grip on Oilseller fixed closer behind the tsuba guard.

 

“Pardon my rudeness,” He said later, aboard in the cockpit. The entry ramp was closed and re-bolted. Interior cabin pressure was initializing. “I didn’t return the compliment earlier. Still not sure how. I’d say you likewise look ready and handsome, but you’d already know that. Every flight-hand turned their head around when you came through the hanger.”

 

Laira Vereen


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#8
Laira Darkhold

Laira Darkhold

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Laira managed to keep still in the cockpit of the XG-1 Gunboat. Ships like this were her temple, where she felt most in control of everything her life could and had thrown at her. While she eased over the controls, making herself familiar with them Cato felt the need or desire to compliment her in return for what kindness and sweetness she had shown him. "Awww," She said, leaning back in the pilot's seat, grey eyes turning to him. "That's so sweet of you to say." Her voice dripped with sweet tones and kind inflections as she spoke to the grizzled veteran.

 

Her fingers clicked buttons on the dash board, working through the startup sequence and diagnostics on the ship's stealth systems. "I was worried you didn't like me." Her grin hadn't left her face, quite pleased with herself at having found someone who appreciated her properly. "So its rather reassuring to hear you say that." Jorus never complimented her when they had flown together, and they had been crammed into an A-Wing with one another for an entire hyperspace trip. She decided to take better and more obvious stock of her companion by looking him over while he sat beside her, from toe to head and back down again pausing around his waist, noting how he sat, how he had carried himself, how his muscles moved as he worked. She didn't try to hide that she was looking him over either, raising her chin and leaning forward to glance at his left arm and leg while she did so. He wore quite a few weapons, a favored slug thrower variant and lighter beskar'gam than some of the warriors she had grown up on Alderaan who preferred to wear full-plate.

 

Lights began turning green slowly, each indicator clicking over as the sequence began to end and diagnostics were coming back clear. Even the stealth systems were green, which either meant RESINT had outdone itself or they had lowered the parameters of the diagnostics to pass with whatever capabilities it had. Hopefully the latter, the redhead mused as she readied to pull them away from the hangar and out into the void. "So, is there anything you like?" She asked slyly, eyes looking off to the side at him. He was still wearing his helmet, hiding his face from her. Some Mandalorians considered the T-Visor to be their real face, the one that others deserved to see.

 

The gunship pulled out of the hangar at her command smoothly, reorienting to turn towards the Bothan Sector.

 

Cato Fett


Edited by Laira Vereen, 10 January 2018 - 02:01 PM.


#9
Cato Fett

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“A few things,” He said, then gestured at the telescopic haft resting off her hilt. The XG-1 was orienting for the first jump, the hyperdrive motivator singing a subsonic note that shivered the gunboat’s frame. He keyed the navicomp, performing last-moment coordinate checks, pausing over the console. Slight clench of nerves in his stomach; the universal moment of ‘got a bad feeling.’ He shunted the row of knob-levels forward regardless, turning to Laira as light elongated past the cockpit canopy. “Tell me about that, to start.”

 

-

 

For the flight’s duration, between brief meals huddled over the forward console banks and turns briefly dozing, they poured over Laira’s inventory. The phrik battle spear and the Abdjudicator-brand hold out, Cato somewhat charmed by its compact breech and significant stopping power, a ‘wrist-crunch’ weapon popular with bandit outfits across the Tingel fringe. The Needle Disruptor gave him pause; Laira explained its extreme penetrative capabilities, remarking that a shot through the heart could bring down anything wobbling round in heavier, powered fighting armour. He tested its heft, frowning at the slight dip against the shoulder.

 

She was similarly kitted for electronic intrusion, sharing laser-lockpick preferences, security blade techniques, Cato passing over his diagnostic systems diverter. Confusion, he believed, was the better part of subterfuge, although debates still blasted amongst the clans of deception versus overt tactics. Intelligence gathering and the minutiae of ‘spy work’ were absolutely necessary for every and any standing army, save, some ‘leadheads’ argued, for the Clans. The Empire would draw its strength from sheer martial challenge, proponents argued. Stratagems would only slow the war machine, and Mandalore demanded resources to rebuild its infrastructure. Firepower sorted out the finer points. Those with a mandate for caution were either cowards or impediments to their momentum. Fighters like Cato were unwelcome. Unless he bent the knee.

 

“What’s this?” He gestured at her choker. They were an hour out from Kothlis; encoded messages on specially encrypted channels were readied, waiting for Laira’s key to transmit.

 

Laira Vereen


Edited by Cato Fett, 10 January 2018 - 04:53 PM.

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#10
Laira Darkhold

Laira Darkhold

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She had not exactly meant her gear, but the older man seemed to prefer to talk about that than socialize. Not uncommon for a Mandalorian warrior traveling with a stranger, but Laira had hoped for a spirited conversation. Instead they poured over her gear and kit, making note of all the little gadgets and simple pieces of equipment she brought along. Laira left the spare Field Disruptor and No-Show out for Cato if he wanted to use them, though they wouldn't be able to wear them on Kothlis.

 

"Oh, you like it?" She grinned as her fingers reached up to touch the little device secured around her neck. The Mandalorian had some nice gadgets, but was fairly straight-forward in the gear he had showed her. Laira could appreciate that, a simple pack-light method of work and travel promoted ingenuity and innovation over reliance on equipment. "Its a projector for an energy helmet. The helmet is off now, but even when on its only visible when struck. Protects against chemicals, blasters, slugs and keeps me from having helmet hair." There was that twinge of vanity once more. 

 

She didn't bother to disrobe in order to show Cato her under-armor. A Flirt she was, but that took their budding acquaintance a little too far for her comfort. He didn't know it or ask about it, so she didn't bother to bring it up. "If you are satisfied," the redhead stood and gave the older gentleman a slow twirl so he could look her over, "We should probably dress you down for Kothlis. Mando'ade armor isn't going to blend in really well on an Imperial Planet." The Mandalorian Empire was aggressive, and didn't have a lot of friends in the Galaxy right now. A lone Mandalorian warrior would stick out in the general population of humans and likely oppressed Bothans. "I'll send a message to Bahj to set up a meeting. He's an old friend of the family so it shouldn't be too difficult." She keyed in the codes and sent the encrypted message.

 

//To: Bahj'la Fey'lya

//From: Korpil's Red Roses

 

Hello Customer,

It has come to our Attention that you have not placed your usuaL order for shipment yet this year and we were wondering if you would Like To contact a sales representative to HElp make their bouquet something truly special for your special day.WATCH out for holiday deals and TraditiOnal arrangements With our signaturE and unique ReSplendence. Any questions, inquiRiEs, and orderS can be placed through our Holosite.

 

SIncereLy,

Jaina Marrow

Korpil's REd Roses Delivery DepartmeNT

 

//End

 

It was a simple encryption that if keyed properly would capitalize certain letters to reveal a phrase to the reader. If they knew what it meant, they would know be able to respond properly. Jaina was merely another alter-ego Laira used from time to time while operating as a legitimate cargo freighter that Bahj knew about.

 

Her Father had once been a prominent member of the Techno Union which controlled Bothawui, and had established himself as the Archon of the Sector when things had started to devolve within the government sector. Not every Bothan had been so keen to have a Dark Jedi Master calling the shots and ruling them, but the Bothan SpyNet had been given a great deal of freedom and autonomy while receiving regular funds from the Union. In the end, the Vereen family had a few friends left even after the Imperial Occupation. Bahj'la Fey'lya was one of them, the very same Bothan that had helped create and establish Laira's false identification as Laira Darkhold. 

 

"We should probably also decide on a backstory!" She said excitedly, clasping her hands in front of her chest. "If I get a vote, I vote rich husband with brand new trophy wife!"

 

Cato Fett


Edited by Laira Vereen, 10 January 2018 - 05:36 PM.


#11
Cato Fett

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I’m in her power, he thought. Kothlis is rarified grounds. Bothans do not deign to any elements outside their rigid racial circles and if Laira Darkhold is owed favour amongst the intelligence gathering cells, it speaks to influences not even RESINT is wholly aware of. Cato peered back at her grey eyes, flecked with tumbling hyperspace light. How much of her act was proscribed, how much natural or nerve induced? Or was his sense of fun simply stripped and broken? Most Mandalorians past middle-age atrophied with dishumour, made them brittle when in outside aruetii company. Merrill hadn’t been wrong; he’d seen Mando’ade take insult before turning about at some innocuous phrase and lighting up with vengeance. We wear iron, he thought, but we cannot be iron.

 

“Maybe,” Cato said, reaching and touching Laira’s chin with a gloved thumb and forefinger. “You might be pretty enough to be my wife.”

 

He loosened the chin-straps holding his helmet down on his brow and sat it between his feet. Cato may have been handsome. Two decades prior, before shrapnel had sliced furrows up across one cheek and slashed a line into the ear. The right eye was shielded under a felt eyepatch. More pale cuts were stitched over his lips, jaw, into his greying hairline. The right clothing, Cato felt, and her joke would be a decent cover. A gnarled over vet with a pretty young thing glued to his hip, glad to make him feel young and glad that his chequebook was deep and generous. Most Bothans wouldn’t bat or turn an eye; plenty of their own doubtlessly manipulated social mores to seize marriage licences with younger bodies, no longer able to cajole or charm on wit alone.

 

The XG-1 shifted and a shuddered ran forward from the aft engine clusters. The Solid Thunder made translation, sliding into realspace. Kothlis orbit showed in the forward viewscreens. Both were entranced for the moment, catching sight of the world hanging pearlescent in hard vacuum. With no atmosphere to warp, bend, or diffuse natural sunlight, colour showed across the worldscape in full, stark vibrancy. Cato reached for the console between their chairs and flipped a handful of rubber switch-plates. Stealth systems triggered. A low hum creaked overhead before settling.

 

“There,” He said. “Hmmn. …Take your shirt down one more button and they’ll waive landing fees. One more, they just might give a few free passes. Who knows? You ever play a married woman before?”

 

Laira Darkhold


Edited by Cato Fett, 11 January 2018 - 04:36 AM.

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#12
Laira Darkhold

Laira Darkhold

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"Might be?" She said raising her eyebrows and her smile widening while he seemed to be inspecting her with his thumb and forefinger on her chin. "Honey, I'm the best you are going to get." She knew he was joking, which was a nice change of pace. It meant she was melting him a little, getting him to warm up to her and feel a little more comfortable with the young redhead. As much as she was a natural flirt, she also often over did it. Such acts had gotten her in trouble more than once, normally it just got her free drinks or information she shouldn't have, but every now and then it paid off with a new friend. She decided to play along a little bit, "So you are gonna need to put on your best 'Just Won the best Prize' face and be convincing." Her eyes narrowed in mock-menace, "Or else."

 

"Pssh, they wish. Those buttons only go off for my one, my only. My Cato." But she did pull on the laces a little to loosen them and adjust herself properly without her combat harness or vest. 

 

"Nope, but I've played Princess before." Most of her life in fact. She was arguably only better at playing herself which is all Cato had had the pleasure of seeing so far. "I think I can work up a spoiled trophy wife willing to do anything for her older, yet ruggedly handsome meal ticket with a good divorce lawyer." Laira grinned, but she did actually mean the ruggedly handsome part. Cato was a bit too old for her tastes but the redhead could appreciate what she saw no matter where she found it. Cato was the kind of handsome that had taken more than his fair share of beatings but was still lean, tall, and muscular. He probably had smooth abdominal muscles with grey and dark hair from his navel down assuming he didn't shave. The redhead bit her lip subtly even as she thought about what he might be hiding.

 

While he changed, Laira waited for a response and pulled off a lot of her gear. Most of it in fact ended up in her seat. Just a single knife and Adjudicator pistol remained in discrete or hidden places on her person while the rest of it would wait behind. A few moments passed as they were making their way towards the oceanic world when a response buzzed. It took her a moment to plug in the encryption code, which turned the simple phrase into something a little more worrisome.

 

//From: Bahj'la Fey'lya

//To: Korpil's Red Roses

 

I'd bE happY to mEet over lunch at the LiSLoft tO discuss my impeNding order. I look forward to MeEting with you.

 

Pleasantly,

Bahj'la Fey'lya

 

//End

 

"So, good news, bad news. Good news, Bahj can meet with us. Bad news, we have to sell our cover." She said with a little bit of excitement in her voice. Being undercover was actually quite fun as far as the redhead was concerned. She had never taken any other assignment too seriously, and she wasn't about to start with this mission. The ship rattled while Cato pulled it through the atmosphere, engines groaning slightly and systems lights blinking but staying green. RESINT had put some work into the old XG-1 for sure. The shuttle began its decent towards the temperate island where their contact awaited them, dropping past clouds and across the sky. It was a much less populated island compared to the capital and major cities, but had a decent sized town spread among the evergreen forest that dominated its landscape.

 

Her fingers dug through a bag pulling out a spare identification pass and a rather simple one for Cato that needed to be filled out and have his picture taken. "So long as we don't get stopped for papers by IMPINT we should be okay. Lead the way, Sweetie." Her tone was ladled with honeyed tones, a deceptive seductive wink at the older gentleman could have fooled any onlookers as genuine.

 

Cato Fett



#13
Cato Fett

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The XG-1 was anomalous to Kothlis docking authorities. Its mark and pattern were seldom encountered outside museum flight shows and private demonstrations, a collected relic belonging to an Imperial heyday and used in celebratory fashion rather than dogfighting. Customs and Registration agents waited on the turret neck at Pad 3A-0, at Teleliu Field Memorial, Teleliu Island’s single port facility. It cut import entry into a fine bottleneck, forcing uncouth elements to gamble against Bothan screening measures and fastidious background checks. The XG-1 would be similarly combed through, its occupants vetted against comprehensive databases net-linked against intergalactic criminal profiles. The BSN, with IMPINT shadowing over the shoulder, were under pressure to keep security breaches to an absolute zero.

 

The cabin ramp slid out and the airlock portcullis cycled open. The senior agent attending entry protocols coughed politely into her knuckles. ‘Mr. and Mrs. Gibson’ were preoccupied to one side of the airlock where an interior cabin light had failed, drenching them in muted shadow. ‘Mister Gibson’ was locked torridly to his ‘wife’, accosting her with honeymoon kisses, busily memorizing the press of her belly and bust while strong hands kneaded the firm skin beneath her pant-belt.

 

“You said sell it?”

 

“Yeah, best you can.”

 

“Follow my lead.”

 

“Mister and Missus Gibson,” The TCA sergeant harrumphed. “Welcome to Teleliu.”

 

His teeth hung and pulled at her lower lip until they gathered wits and decorum, pulling away and flattening out apparel creases. They’d fashioned a coat from a spare flight jacket stowed away under a storage bench, dressing Cato’s fatigues down into a civilian semblance. He briefly shaved, washed, groomed to appear halfway respectable. ‘Ruggedly affluent’, Laira described it. For herself, she need only dispose of her webgear and pack harnesses, enviously well composed. In step, they traversed down the ramp and surrendered to examination.

 

“If you will, this way.”

 

Laira Darkhold


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#14
Laira Darkhold

Laira Darkhold

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Laira didn't mind getting a little into the part, and she was a bit flattered by how easily Cato had fallen into the rabidly passionate about his new 'wife' role, but she drew the line at his tongue trying to worm into her mouth. While it might have seemed like a fairly playful bite to a lover's tongue, it was in fact almost hard enough to draw blood as a way of reinforcing that particular boundary. There was one other, but for the time being she had to hold that demand back until after

 

As would be expected of a young trophy wife, when company presented itself she was not overly eager to break contact with Cato. A not so subtle way of broadcasting her status as claimed by the rugged yet noble appearing man. He could have passed for an Imperial Veteran or Mercenary connected with the Empire enjoying his recent retirement and even more recent marriage to a hot young redhead thing. "Honey, please. We have to talk to security or we'll never make our reservation." She pulled his hands upwards to the small of her back, grey eyes meeting Cato's for a second. 

 

She clutched to his arm, leaning her head against the tall man's shoulder as they were led out of the airlock and through the security check point which was running a rather tight shift. However, one thing no man wanted to sit and watch was another man received ample attention from a pretty young thing. Laira ran her fingers through Cato's hair and along his abdomen while he passed over Identification Papers, as though she was anxiously awaiting their chance to be alone once more. Such an act was expected. She didn't have to sell true love, she had to sell that she wanted her elderly husband to believe it enough to buy her things.

 

After a moment, and barely a glance through their cards they were passed through the lines and allowed to go through to the islands town proper. Finally alone again, still smiling and quite pleased with herself the redhead sauntered alongside her 'husband' as they stepped into a temperate forest in early spring. She leaned up, standing on her tip toes with a seductive smile as if to whisper sweet nothings into his ear with a voice like sweet caramel, "Keep your hands off my chest and your tongue out of my mouth from now on." She didn't add in a threat or demand, the princess didn't feel the need to for Cato who had been a gentleman until told to sell their cover, which had been her idea. But she did have a threat in mind he and his friend would find to be the end of their conjoined relationship. "Other than that, very convincing. I quite enjoyed it."

 

Cato Fett



#15
Cato Fett

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“Halfway enjoyable? …Mmn.” It’d been calculated boldness, not an ordinary facet to his operational character. Their status as wedded, physically invested humans needed a burst of impromptu intimacy and Cato felt the tug and hesitance in her touch. It was enough for the Bothans; they turned away flushed, somewhat assaulted by the display, propriety offended. On security feeds, they appeared crass and self-involved. Honeymooning tourists deciding to take advantage of Bothan-Imperial tensions to have their way across Kothlis. Cato did his best not dispelling the notion; his eyes glazed up, mood laconic, imagining each fellow encountered in TCA as objects worthy of casual contempt. He felt terrible for an actor. Laira was bedazzling and more than enough distraction to thwart surveillance. He linked arms with her, waxing on a ‘face’, following the graded route under long palm fronds and gold-barked banana trees.

 

The contact resided on a paved avenue cut along the face of a volcanic slope. A motorized rickshaw, owned and operated by a Dug with prosthetic arm replacements, carried them up and into the neighborhood. It overlooked handfuls of close-gated communes stretching across the exclusive acreage, with privacy fences bordering the shore boardwalks and part-hotel, part-gambling extravaganzas. The residence itself was composed out of a fusion of Naboo and Serenno lines, tiled roofs with wings modelled on keep donjons. A gardening drone resembling a dark ornithopter watched them from the lawn. Cato missed his sword’s weight riding off his hip.

 

“Baby?” Cato said, and the word came more easily than he wanted. “You sure we got the right address?”

 

Laira Darkhold


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#16
Laira Darkhold

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Laira spent the ride in the richshaw snuggled up against her beau, laying her head against his shoulder and her hands upon his knee comfortably. She enjoyed the attention and affections his act was putting her through, however she wasn't exactly comfortable with Cato personally. Normally she was very shy physically compared to the game she talked. She was okay with committing with her very simple boundaries, but she had her regrets.

 

"Yes, this is it. You are going to love it sweetie." She grinned, almost commenting about having come here for a school trip at one point recently, but bit her tongue. Too crass and too self-aware. A spoiled trophy wife wouldn't draw attention to their significant age difference. That might suddenly make things awkward and pull attention away from her looks.

 

With his help, she disembarked the rickshaw and entered into the rustic looking building with a slow deliberate saunter just ahead of Cato, holding nothing but her purse. Inside they were greeted by a cream-furred Bothan male in a concierge uniform. "Welcome to Teleliu Western mister and missus Gibson, where your comfort and privacy is our chiefest concern. If you will follow me, we have prepared your lunch to be taken in your room." The bothan smiled, flashing his canine-like teeth in what was probably supposed to appear kind.

 

Laira paid him no mind, focusing on Cato once more. "Oh, you didn't tell me we were going to eat in the room!" She said with some enthusiasm, "Oh, I hope you got my favorite." They were lead to a turbolift, where she began kissing Cato's neck while they waited, the Bothan staring forward without looking backwards, her hands against the Mandalorian's stomach running her fingers against his abdominal muscles until they were forced to continue walking as they moved towards the room.

 

The cream colored bothan opened the door to usher them inside with professional courtesy, following them inside at a polite distance. The room wasn't overly ornate or luxurious, a king-sized bed against one wall, two chairs and a loveseat to the other side of the room. Blinds over the windows, casting the occasional streak of light across the room. The sheets were satin, and the bed looked comfortable and freshly cleaned.

 

The bothan placed a small electronic item upon the table as he began speaking, "As you can see, from the balcony the bay can be seen a purely serene dusk or dawn. The refresher features a thirty jet mediation pool and cascading waterfall shower." The electronic beeped. "And you two should be more careful. Bahj'la." He extended his hand towards Cato as he introduced himself.

 

Cato Fett



#17
Cato Fett

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“Cato.” They shook, taking a measure of the other, Cato looking down the Bothan’s muzzle.

 

“You’re not an easy sell,” Bahj’la said. “That stunt at the port was spirited but reckless. But for Miss Darkhold’s patronage on your behalf, we’d have been content to let IMPINT ply you a little while in a sound chamber. Then again, current regime standards of interception only appear formidable on paper. The Grand Moff is floundering, intelligence is looking to load the life rafts, and you’ve come conveniently when bubbles are forming in their net. Please.”

Cato took an offered seat, pulling it away from the wide balcony and plasteel panorama. The Bothan settled against a shortened sedan, lounging under a bar of sunlight and helping himself to a sweet chir-cigarro. He dragged, puffed twice, let a sweet cherry smoke drift into white-gold rafters. A chrome and glass-frosted ceiling fan circulated the musk and the heat.

 

“So now, specifically,” Bahj’la spoke. “How might we cooperate?”

 

How does BSN plan to break above even in this, Cato wanted to question? He watched the muscles in Bahj’la’s snout and demeanour, less for emotional ‘tells’ and more for the scenario of the Bothan pulling a hold-out free. The spymaster was consummately diffident. In his three piece tan ensemble, Bahjla wielded subtle resources drawn from immense pools of coalited data, and was unfazed by what the Mandalorian represented. Martial tradition, the strength of his fighting body, was nothing compared to the total economic collapse and sabotage of Mandalore’s infrastructure. Overnight, the ‘Empire’ could be undone, so they’d not even have fuel enough to make their seasonal raids. The Bothans could make it happen. Again, Cato wanted for Oilseller, or anything sharp to have in hand.

 

Simultaneously, his throat wanted for Laira’s kisses. She was far, far too good at that.

 

“We’ve detoured from Torolis,” Cato said. “Ms. Darkhold convinced me the BSN could supply additional supplies for our work.”

 

“Torolis,” Bahj’la chewed on his cigarro. “It’s a quiet colony world for our people. Also, the furthest reach of Imperial influence toward the Tingle Arm. What of the place?”

 

Cato felt he was reiterating. BSN knows, he thought, but they want to gauge RESINT’s response. “…A drone went through the system and managed a brief equatorial orbit. We’ve images of an undisclosed Imperial facility. Not an outpost, and not a barracks. The system’s quiet too. Not even a picket on duty. We want to take advantage of it and test a probe into the IMPINT network. Cause trouble if anything turns up on the facility.”

 

Laira Darkhold


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#18
Laira Darkhold

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Bahj listened carefully about the possibility of Imperial barracks or a secretive outpost there, and before he responded his eyes flicked over to the redhead lounging on the bed, spread across it on her side with her head propped up on one arm. "You are with RESINT now?" He mused quietly, mulling over the information carefully. Without gesturing to Cato, the bothan prompted a simple question. "Does he know?" A puff of smoke escaped his muzzle while the spy wore a very satisfied grin.

 

"No, he doesn't and he doesn't need to be told. I don't need him checking up on me all the time." Laira retorted haughtily, her expression having changed to one of mild annoyance with the bothan spymaster. She knew he had leverage over her now and could use it at his leisure. What was the saying 'I would never in bothan means I haven't found a way to exploit it'. "I want this whole thing kept quiet, for me." Her annoyance rolled off her in a wave, he had deliberately endangered her cover for his own amusement!

 

With a sly grin Bahj turned his head back to Cato. "Very well, miss Darkhold." He stressed her name through a long drag on the cigara in his hands, drawing heavy attention to it. Laira sat up, glaring daggers into him, whatever he was hiding on her behalf was something only a few people could hide. That made it so valuable to the Bothan, its rarity rather than its overall worth. "RESINT has some reason to be concerned. Whatever it is, the Imps are keeping all non-humans far away from it and have the place fairly well locked down. If they are that serious about keeping BSN from knowing what its purpose is, it is a matter of utmost importance." They wouldn't bother to expend those resources to keep an installation quiet from the Bothan SpyNet without wanting to keep rumor of it to an absolute minimum.

 

"We are sorely limited on supplies. We are no longer state funded after the Imperial conquest, so you requisition will need to be more specific in order for me to assist... and I'll need full copies of any information you obtain." His snout twitched, not in a threatening manner but in a much more sadistic one. He knew something they did not and wasn't up for revealing it without knowing what he was getting out of the offering was worth it.

 

Laira sighed and fell back on the bed, exasperated with the bothan, suddenly reminded why she didn't visit them all that often. "Ugh! Bahj, just tell us what you want. Remember RESCOM is also a Bothan. And that you are supposed to owe me, one unconditional favor!" They were more annoying than her brother could be at times.

 

The Bothan's ears dipped in slight embarrassment. "Pulling my head out of a jar more than ten years ago hardly counts the same as providing you with state secrets!"

 

"You said anything, whenever I needed it."

 

Cato Fett


Edited by Laira Darkhold, 11 January 2018 - 09:27 PM.


#19
Cato Fett

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Bahj’la scoffed, turned, and found the Mandalorian’s gaze on him. The Bothan froze as a feeling of glacial cold swept up from his heels to his bowels, unnerved by the classical ‘iron glare’ bearing down on him and reading into his every fleshly weakness. Cato kept his silence to watch Laira pierce into the the agent’s self-possessed bearing, wanting very much to know what it would take to give him leverage over the Bothan. The answer presented was obvious. Almost painfully so. Bahj’la was an arrogant cuss, and brittle-nerved. Suit, cleanliness, and unperturbed dismissal before Laira waded in with her brashness had been a play to cow the conversation to his advantage. Cato disregarded the pointed ribbing at his partner and spoke.

 

“What?” Bahj’la shivered.

 

“Soft plastics. Explosives.”

 

“…Impossible,” He scoffed.

 

“That’s not good,” Cato murmured.

 

“What?”

 

“I should kill you for your impotency. For the security risk you’re posing, being this useless,” Cato said.

 

Bahj’la licked at dry lips, whiskers ticking out of anxiety. “Is that Mandalorian belligerence speaking?”

 

“You believe RESINT can afford a Bothan spy to walk out of a meeting without securing something mutually beneficial between the Resistance and the BSN? Do you think we will let you out of this room, to contact some fellows in IMPINT, so you can spare yourself a debt while improving the Bothan Spy Network’s lot inside the Empire?”

 

“…What precisely are you saying?” The spy blinked.

 

Cato leaned forward slightly. “If you don’t honour your obligations to Missus Gibson, I will consider you a liability to our mission and kill you.”

 

“…Perhaps we can make – we can come to – to an arrangement,” Bahj’la swallowed.

 

“Explosives. Ammunition. Topographics of Torolis, local Imperial frequencies, patrol patterns and times, everything pertinent to the world and sector.”

 

“Spast… Very well, but listen. I will procure what I can within reason. But I’ll need a day’s time to gather sources and contact my own network. At least a day. The BSN is formidable but we’re not miracle workers. …When I have what I have, you’ll be contacted. Until then, both of you need to sell your covers a damn sight better. Shop, frolick, kiss, feth your brains out for the surveillance bugs, whatever is necessary. I wouldn’t bet on IMPINT but you Mandos are less than discrete. And you - !” He pointed a clawed finger at Laira. “…This had better square us.”

 

Laira Darkhold


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#20
Laira Darkhold

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At first Laira was quite concerned about Cato actually considering killing Bahj, her almost immediate expression of concern and disapproval at the mention betraying her. Bahj was an arrogant, self-absorbed jerk, but he was practically family as far as the redhead was concerned. They had met while their were children in grade school, Bahj a few yeas older than her and being Bothan matured faster.

"Cato," She started, about to ask him to ease off the threats before they seemingly worked and Bahj began spilling the beans for them both.

She waited while Cato twisted the cream colored bothan for every ounce of information he could, and for the most part, he received. Bahj'la began to stand, "Tomorrow night, assuming IMPINT doesn't pick up on the two of you." As his long stridesign began taking him towards the door, Laira piped up a little, "Thank you Bahjy!" Which received a mild, but annoyed smile and a quick response in a defeated tone, "welcome Lai," taking the device with him.

"Our dads worked together and we went to the same school. Helped him get his head pulled out a peanut butter jar in first grade." She grinned widely at her 'husband'. Everything was about playing the part now, about being the Gibsons as best the could. "That's why he made sure to give us such a nice room."

Cato Fett

Edited by Laira Darkhold, 12 January 2018 - 04:59 AM.