Thursday, January 19, 2017

Ghosts (Part 5)

A quick check of her watch gave her the impression that, give or take a few minutes, their potential contact was going to be late. Letting out a sigh, she considered their options given the possibility that the individual had managed to slip off-world on some other craft. If such was the case, then they were going to have to wait once more, until they were presented with the opportunity to force a meeting with them again.

At that point, they would have to repeat everything they had done up to this point, again. For what would have been the fourth time. Suffice to say, the last thing she wanted to do was have to travel to yet another rundown planet that was struggling with an Imperial presence, and work through all of the motions again. Waiting for their target to finish their mission, which would be a small travesty in its own right. Planting enough obvious evidence that they were going to be a vessel that would be visiting a planet that would be to their target's preference, without completely laying out their intentions. Then setting up a trap to actually catch them, so that they wouldn't be attacked and potentially killed for even trying to speak with them.

Such was the problem when working with natives. Such people could be exceedingly crafty. In fact their simpler ways often meant that they could survive on much less than a civilized individual, or so she had found. Give an Imperial soldier nothing more than a pile of sticks and they may manage to secure weaponry and a bit of shelter. A native could likely make them go further, just because that was what they were used to working with.

A chuckle escaped her lips, prompting her companions to give her a worried look. She dismissed their expressions with an idle hand, before the hand shot to her lips as she chuckled again. There was just something about the thought that amused her. It wasn't so much the thought itself, but how she knew that somehow she was being terribly stereotypical. Perhaps insultingly so.

All the same, she was not going to underestimate their mark's savagery. The three of them had seen the results of her work, and they were not going to take any chances, lest they find a similar fate. So a fair share of research had been done, and their trap had been laid. She was actually quite proud of it, both in its simplicity and slight ingenuity. Another half hour passed before she got to truly appreciate her work though. It was at that point that their guest finally decided to join them.

Their first clue was that the audio sensors they had laid out near the entrance to the hangar had started transmitting a signal. They had been set to pick up smaller noises, which up until this moment had been a few oversized rats. Rats that were caught by the camera they had set nearby to make sure they could identify the source of any noise. At present, said cameras were showing nothing, which meant that they had an invisible individual in their midst.

Despite the sudden intruder, they remained were they were prior to their guest's arrival. Seated outside their ship, basking in the glow of the overhead lights, shooting the breeze. Nothing they did, as she had carefully instructed, could imply that they were aware of the interloper's presence. To say she felt tense with the whole idea was an understatement. It took all her effort to not appear as rigid as possible, especially once she actually picked up on the fact that someone was indeed slinking around. It was being out in the ocean, with a large predator slowly circling. Once they had managed to circle their way through the crew's little camp, they worked their way towards the ship.

Where they were immediately met with a stun mine. The device wasn't activated until she was certain that their mark was working her way up the ramp, at which point she received a massive shock. Falling limp, for the second time in two days as far as they were aware the woman then rolled down the ramp, where they quickly placed a set of cuffs around both her hands and ankles. Having gone over the security footage from the nearby outpost, they were certainly not going to take any chances of her getting loose.

She was almost impressed with how easy the entire process had actually turned out to be. Perhaps what surprised her the most was that the woman seemed to assume that it was impossible for them to have known she was there.

Now it became a matter of waiting for the pale woman to wake up. She had one of her cohorts set her up in one of their chairs, while she moved one to sit across from their guest. Crossing her leg, she waited patiently. It took a number of minutes for movement to start again in the guest's limbs. But soon enough she did in fact regain consciousness. In a way that was relieving. She certainly wouldn't want to have to return and tell of how they had accidentally killed their target by shocking her a bit too much.

The way the pale woman squirmed was not surprising. At first it was a matter of surprise. She was caught off-guard that she was suddenly bound. After that, it was a matter of testing her boundaries within her confinement. Then a quick surveying of the area. Finished off with a deathly stare at her captor.

She could only imagine what the pale woman thought of her. She certainly knew what she thought of herself. Going simply based off of her appearance and mannerisms, she was an Imperial through and through. The tilt of her head, the straightness of her back, the accent in her voice, all of it was Imperial. Her attire betrayed that somewhat. Even though her long blonde hair was tied into a braid in a rather official fashion, the rest of her clothes were less impressive. She had long ago traded her uniform in for something far less professional. A dirty old jacket and a set of shirt and pants that she wore almost every day of the week. Oh the sacrifices she had made.

Once it became obvious that her guest, or prisoner really, wasn't going to speak, she took the opportunity to do so. Bringing a hand to her chest, she offered the pale woman her best smile, "You will have to forgive us for the somewhat extreme methods. We simply wished to speak to you in regards to your current activities. My name is Nadia Grell. Would you please introduce yourself to all of us?"

A burning hatred was present in the pale woman's yellow eyes. Set off seemingly by the sound of her captor's voice. Nadia sighed, shaking her head, making to try to explain herself further, but the pale woman started muttering something before she could manage it.

Nadia simply smiled, shaking her head. With a snap of her fingers, one of the men on the woman's right moved in, slapping a piece of tape over the woman's scarred lips. Nadia allowed herself another small chuckle, "I knew I had forgotten something." Sighing with some satisfaction, she uncrossed her legs, leaning forward, "You will have to forgive me, my dear, as I made sure to do my homework. No incantations for you, I'm afraid."

The pale woman's eyes went wide once Nadia had uttered the word 'incantation'. Nadia gave a short nod, continuing her point, "My dear Dathomirian witch, much as my voice may imply, I am not an agent of the Empire. Instead, I come on behalf of a group whose goals are more aligned with your own." A short pause. Enough to allow the woman to consider the possibility, but not enough time for her to think too much on it. "The Rebel Alliance extends its fondest greetings. We would like to express our utmost interest in your activities, with the possibility of joining us to better improve your method."

A dull look hit the woman's eyes as she appeared to process all of Nadia's words. Nadia gave her time to process it all, before opting to speak again, "Now if you agree to discuss some possibilities with us in more civil tones that won't cause us to go made with your 'illusions', I would love to have my associate remove that tape." Once again, a moment of consideration, before a sharp nod. Raising a hand, Nadia motioned for one of the men to take the tape from the woman's lip, and they followed suit, keeping it close by in the chance they should need to reapply it.

Spitting to get the taste of adhesive from her lips, the pale woman looked to her once more. It was with great hesitance that she spoke. When she did so, it was with a voice as cold as her expression, "What does your 'Alliance' wish to do to me?"

Nadia shook her head, "Now now, can't we be properly introduced first?"

If looks could kill, Nadia was certain that she would have exploded on the spot. With nothing short of acid in her voice, the other woman hissed out, "Gwynara. Of the Nightsisters. What does your Alliance wish to do to me."

Apparently satisfied, Nadia nodded, "We wish to offer you a place among our ranks. We believe that your methods, while a bit rough, would be beneficial to our cause of striking the Empire down. If you would agree, we would like you to meet our leadership at our base of operations in the area, and hear their proposal. Should you find our offer undesirable, then we shall go our separate ways."

"My methods," Gwynara said, letting the two words sit out in the air for the other woman to play with in her mind.

"Yes," Nadia said, "While we can see their effectiveness, we feel it best that you understand that perhaps they may not be the best method of attack." Before the pale would could respond, she brought a finger up, "You attack Imperial bases, and strike them down. That is respectable. But you do not necessarily help the people. What do you believe happens when you leave?" The question hung between them, those yellow eyes growing dark as the answer appeared to strike her. "The Imperials return, in harder force, and the people feel such."

"Then what do you propose."

"We feel you would best be used with a bit more precision. Accordingly, we believe we have an assignment that where you would be useful."

With great reluctance, the Dathomirian allowed her head to nod somewhat, before her chin fell to her chest to allow herself to stare at the floor. In a silent tone, one so low that Nadia was worried she was just going to start chanting again, she muttered "I shall hear this proposal."

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