Jump to content

Dance with the Devil - Complete


Mirdala Ad'Goran
 Share

Recommended Posts

Name: Dance with the Devil

Summary: Takes place about two to three weeks before Mirdala's decision to return to Enigma where she picked back up in the RP timeline. The last clean up op following the downfall of the Sivaara family and BakToid facilities on Coruscant.

Rating: PG-13 (innuendos and assassination)

Additional Tags: RP Backstory

Critiques: Constructive criticism is always welcome.

---------------------------------

 

Soresh looked at the marquee for a long moment.

 

"A bar," he stated finally, resigned.

 

"A club, not just a bar." One of the other CorSec anti-piracy taskforce argued. "With live shows, bands and stuff. You Mando-types actually like fun, don't you?"

 

"Yes, we like fun. But after all the cesspools we've been crawling through the last couple months, you want to go out and get drunk?" He asked.

 

“I’d like to forget some of those cesspools, thanks. This is a mostly…classy joint. Clean glasses and everything!” a second remarked throwing his arm over the younger man’s shoulders and guiding him in the dimly lit interior.

 

The smell of stale cigars and long-extinguished deathsticks met him as his eyes adjusted to the skewed brightness of the stage area and the darkness of the house. A scantily clad waitress led them to a table nearer the back, not wanting a group of obvious soldiering-types to attract too much attention or give over-inebriated patrons any bright ideas about picking a fight.

 

As he glanced towards the bar, Soresh noted a Bothan barkeep directing his staff as he kept a weather eye on the stage and his patrons. He settled into his chair as he only half-watched the entertainment as the others were chatting up their waitress as they decided what to order.

 

Soresh looked up at the waitress, bored already and not caring about her outfit or looks. "A dark ale. A Corellian one, never mind the label." He said to her politely. "Bring me whatever is the best."

 

"I thought you Mandos were hard cases," One of the others muttered. "A beer? Not a whiskey or something strong, just a stupid beer? At these prices?"

 

"I'd drink a whiskey or something if I wanted to get drunk. I don't. And you lot picked this place, not me." He muttered, not correcting the man. "I'm planning to stay sober enough to actually remember what songs the band played later."

 

He stopped paying attention to the others when the stagehands started changing things around. Soresh thought a new band must be coming out. "Maybe some good glimmick. Some Surronian pipewailers? Even MonCal yodeling would be better than listening to people getting expensively drunk." He said to himself.

 

The snap of drums brought his attention to the darkened stage, as a spotlight shown on the pointed, jeweled foot of the dancer. Slowly it moved up her leg to highlight the curve of her hip swathed in a long crimson scarf over the top of a fading orange to yellow slit skirt. Expertly the dancer emerged from the darkness veiled and swaying to the beat as the drums picked up their pace as she entranced the audience with the mystery of her appearance behind the fabric.

 

The dance itself seemed almost martial as she stomped, kicked, dipped and bounced to the rhythm. The veil kept moving to reveal more of the dancer’s body and costume, but carefully concealed the woman’s face as she kept the on-lookers waiting in anticipation as the music reached a slower speed and a low and sonorant flute joined the melody.

 

Snaking her body from side to side, the veil finally slipped to reveal her jade eyes, color made all the brighter by the lights and stage makeup she wore. As the music reached its climax, the veil dropped to reveal a raven-haired, human dancer, her eyes carefully scanning the crowd as though she was working to connect with each patron. For the briefest of moments, her eyes settled on him.

 

Soresh felt as if he'd been slapped when his eyes met the dancer's jade ones.

 

Oh, this can't be happening! He thought. There was no way that his old friend and sparring partner from back in the Mandalore Sector was going to end up on the backwaters of the Corellian Systems, let alone as part of the entertainment at a nightclub. Especially not when last he'd heard, she was a cop for the Galactic Alliance.

 

The band started up another tune with the flutes as she gracefully knelt down, retrieving a long, curved sword and placing it delicately on the crown of her head. After a few death-defying spins and a drop from her head to her hip, she continued her dance down the steps of the stage into the crowd.

 

She moved fluidly from table to table as patrons tucked tips into her dance belt and armbands. A few at one of the tables tried to get a little handsy with her, but she gracefully danced away waving her finger at them admonishingly.

 

A fiery flurry of crimson and saffron, she whirled towards his table dipping slightly as part of her dance before his comrade to his left.

 

Soresh watched, transfixed and unwilling to examine why. He found himself subconsciously reaching for some of his rare cred notes, without even looking at the amounts, holding his breath.

 

She whirled back past him and he caught the spicy scent of her perfume as it lingered in the air as she glanced over her shoulder dancing between him and the other man on his right.

 

He reached up and slipped the cred notes in one of her armbands as his companion slipped his into her dance belt at the hip.

 

She gave a little bow and continued on through the rest of the club stopping at another patron's table who was also watching her with more than a casual interest.

 

Soresh watched as she flirted with the other man as part of the dance leaving one of her many scarves draped around his neck as she made her way back to the stage. She took up the sword and finished the routine in a flurry of graceful acrobatics, ending in a complete backbend with the sword clutched in her hands to complete the arch. Dropping to the stage on the last beat of the music, somehow managing to not hit her head, she sat there frozen, her chest moving in rhythm to her rapid breathing from the pace of the dance.

 

Applause broke out amongst the patrons and she gracefully rose from the position and spun to take a bow. The band struck up again as she exited the stage area and disappeared.

 

Soresh stared after her, transfixed.

 

"Well, looks like the yokel is enjoying the place, after all," one of the CorSec cops jeered, elbowing a friend.

 

"Be nice," Soresh grumbled. "I really expected this to be a dive. Booze, skimpy waitstaff uniforms. You have to agree it doesn't set a good tone." He was still watching the stage entrance.

 

"Uh oh, I think someone fell in love," one of the others dared to tease him.

 

"Shove it and drink your drink," the Mandalorian constable shot back, taking a long drink of his dark ale and strongly considering getting something with more kick.

fMZZcER.png

Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Viscount crossed his arms in the shadowy alcove the club had built to conceal a security officer near the wing of the performance area without spoiling the mood of the patrons. He kept part of his attention on Mirdala, but most of it was focused on their mark.

 

The man had been lucky so far. The BakToid investment specialist had been kept off Coruscant to a large degree and had been hard to pin down as a crony of Rathin Sivaara. But there was always a connection to be found if you looked hard enough. A few indiscreet calls from Rathin's office to this man had been a red flag to those who were suspicious enough, and Viscount and his brothers were very suspicious indeed.

 

He dragged more of his attention back to Mirdala as she approached and toyed with the Corellian Defense group, several of whom were becoming rapidly intoxicated on the clubs fiery in-house booze.

 

One of them stood out. The man was very focused and was slowly nursing a single glass. He was also paying very precise attention to Mirdala.

 

Interesting.

fMZZcER.png

Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Matias Anzar was finally living life the way he truly felt he deserved. A few smart investments for the company early on had put him in a position to make his name with some of the movers and shakers of Cestus, both behind the scenes and on the corporate side.

 

He had gotten closer to the way of life he wanted to live, which put him in reach of some of the more ambitious new blood of his homeworld.

 

Life loved him and the proof was all around him. Despite all the rumors of what happened to some of the others involved in Rathin Sivaara's ambitious little projects, here he still was - alive and free. The finest booze and the best seats in exquisite clubs, lesser men waiting for his decisions. Creds spilling like raindrops with no worries where more would come from.

 

The best entertainment, especially of the female variety, just flocked to him for a new score. As he glanced up from his drink, he noticed such yet another such creature gliding towards him eager for her chance to be with him. She’d indicated as much as she’d left him with one of her scarves from her dancing costume.

 

He brought the saffron-colored fabric to his face and inhaled the spicy scent of her perfume, nodding invitingly as she approached. “My dear,” he extended his hand to her in greeting. “That was spectacular."

 

She took it and he pulled her closer, brushing the back of her hand with a kiss as he looked her up and down hungrily. She was even more lovely up close - her glossy raven hair, jade eyes, olive colored skin, and the shapely curve of her body - he didn’t think he could have done better if he’d ordered her up directly.

 

“You’re too kind,” she answered demurely, seating herself in the chair closest to him.

 

He snapped his fingers impatiently at one of the serving girls until she came over to their table. “Another of these,” he told her indicating his empty glass of Kuati Fire-brandy, “and a Double Sunburst for the exquisite dancer."

 

“I thank you for your generosity, but I’m not really supposed to be drinking while I’m on the clock,” she clasped her other hand on his, smiling.

 

He leaned in, smirking at her. “I don’t think the management would object to just having one, my dear. I can have a word with them if it becomes an issue." Her accent had an exotic and unusual lilt to it that he found delightfully melodic.

 

She nodded at him as she met the server’s gaze before turning back to him, “As you wish. Thank you.”

fMZZcER.png

Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Soresh felt his teeth grind as he saw the fop in the private seats all but drool on the dancer. He hated seeing any woman objectified, but especially one that looked like a childhood friend - a childhood friend that he wasn't willing to admit, to anyone, he had very mixed feelings about.

 

He fought down the impulse to go over and take a swing at the nob and maybe teach him how to properly host a woman.

fMZZcER.png

Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Viscount glanced from the tableau of Mirdala mingling with their intended target's party toward the knot of Corellian cops or soldiers that had been so attentive during her show.

 

Most of them had moved on to their next drinks and food and were busy devoting attention to the current entertainer in the display area.

 

They were, most of them, obviously only here for a night of drinking and ogling. However, the one dark-haired man that had been so focused on Mirdala during her show was still very focused on her. He was doing a decent job of not appearing to watch her, but to Viscount, it was obvious from the slight turn of his head and the set of his mouth that he wasn't enjoying the sight of her trying to curry the attention of the wealthy investor at the private table.

 

Viscount found this to be a slightly worrisome trait in a supposedly random visitor to the club, so he devoted some of his attention to what looked like a catering computer in front of him, opening up a discreet program.

 

"Who are you, really, CorSec?" he muttered, sending his little program searching for information about the man.

fMZZcER.png

Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mirdala smiled pleasantly at the BakToid creep in front of her to mask the fact that her skin crawled and her stomach knotted every time he touched her. It was obvious from his actions that he was expecting to get somewhere with her tonight. Little did he know the drinks he was ordering for her carried no potency.

 

She was doing her best to walk the line between appearing as though the "libations" were working, but leading him on at the same time. Viscount had warned her that his type liked the chase almost as much as adding the notch to their bedpost.

 

The undercover Mandalorian woman pretended to laugh again as he made another lewd joke leaning in slightly more than she would have if she'd been playing "sober". She offered back an equally clever volley of her own, then pretended to giggle at her own cleverness.

 

Men like this made her want to vomit.

 

Still, this was the role she'd been given by Viscount and she was going to do her best with it. "Forgive me," she began. "I might have had a sip too much," she smiled and rose slowly, as though getting steady on her feet.

 

Anzar rose as well, taking her hand as though to steady her. "Nonsense My Jewel. You're just simply light headed. How about some fresh air?"

 

Mirdala knew what he was playing at, but she also knew that her team wasn't yet set up to protect her if she left with him. She had to play this cat and mouse game a bit longer if they were to get him on their terms.

 

"I'll be fine," she clasped her hands on his. "I'm just going back to the dressing rooms. Perhaps I'll see you another night?"

 

He smiled at her, somewhat disappointed. "Of course My Jewel. I could watch you dance for me all night."

 

He pulled her back towards him and kissed the top of her head. "Until tomorrow night then." He stroked her cheek with his finger before he watched her walk away.

 

Once she'd disappeared behind the backstage curtain, he downed what was left of his drink and rose. "And tomorrow you won't be able to refuse my dear," he muttered to himself as he passed the cheery table of port authority cops.

fMZZcER.png

Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I oughta go smack that shabuir right in the jaw," Soresh griped, not realizing he was talking out loud.

 

"Oh my hells, and you thought we were out looking for trouble," Davik, one of his workmates, teased. "One drink and you're about to leap to the gentlemanly defense of a club dancer's virtues!"

 

"It's not like that," Soresh seethed quietly.

 

"No? Seriously, Boot-neck, if she wasn't a club doxy you enjoyed watching, would your first thought be violence?" Davik chided.

 

Not wanting to get into it further, Soresh turned his attention back to his drink.

 

--------

 

Mirdala emerged from the refresher dressed in a comfortable tunic and pants that fully covered her and toweling her still-damp hair when Viscount entered the small apartment they’d secured above the club below.

 

“How goes it? What happened after I left?” she asked.

 

"Well, our mark toddled off a bit later, Bothan Fizz-bands not being his hobby, I guess. The Corellian Defense Force menagerie got thoroughly drunk and wandered off after a few more acts, too."

 

He looked up from his notes. "How are you doing, by the way?"

 

“Better after a shower,” she admitted. “I knew it would be hard to put myself in this position, whatever the reason. I just didn’t expect to have to suppress my urge to slot him so much. He seemed disappointed that I wasn’t willing to hop right into bed with him at first sight. Pretty sure he was also trying to get me drunk, drugged or both. I’m thankful the bartender is on our side.” She looked at him and sighed. "It’s like dealing with Rathin all over again, only he doesn’t think of me as his sister so there are some boundaries he’s more than willing to cross that I didn’t have to even think about with Rathin.”

 

Viscount nodded. "It can be maddening, knowing that you're five steps from the man you're going to kill later, but having to pretend to be someone who adores him until the time is right."

 

“Yeah. Wouldn’t be the smartest of decisions, especially with a half-dozen off-duty CorSec with a front-row seat to the action. Still, he’s not likely to be discouraged for long."

 

"We have to play him for just a bit, though. I don't have all my pieces on the board in a good position, yet, so I need to manipulate our mark into giving us that time." He shrugged. "In the meantime, we keep giving Silbringi good cash to make sure your drinks stay clean and virgin. At least we know the barve is trying to get you hooked on strong tasting drinks, for one reason or another. We can keep slipping in the anti-tox crystals without him smelling them."

 

She nodded, gratefully. “Never thought that I’d be grateful for owning a bar, but it does help to know what he’s ordering me even if he doesn’t think that I do.” She paused considering a way to buy Viscount and his contacts more time to set the trap.

 

"Would moving my act around on the schedule as though I were filing random slots be able to give us more time now that we’ve had it verified he frequents this club and I’ve captured his attentions?" she offered. "Since it’s a newer act, wouldn’t make sense that I would get whatever slots they wanted to give?”

 

Viscount nodded. "You read my mind. I don't want you to be the celebrity, I want them to think you're an itinerant act, so you'd be working whatever gaps the various clubs would be willing to give you. As you rightly noted, it means that you don't fall into a set schedule, so it makes him react to you, not vice versa."

 

“After that damned press conference two years ago, I’ve had my fill of being a celebrity. I’ll take the lame slots and shadows, thank you very much.” She glanced at the chrono. “Anything else you need from me before I get some rest for the night?"

 

Viscount shook his head. "I have a few things to chase down, but I'll wait till Viborrin is here, so you can snatch a few hours sleep if you want."

 

She smiled at him gratefully and nodded before disappearing into the bunk area.

fMZZcER.png

Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Viscount was finishing digesting the data from his search program when he heard footsteps near the door. Just as he was aware of the noise, him commlink buzzed.

 

"It's me," a firm male voice said from the comm.

 

He turned in his chair to watch the man come in. Slightly unkempt hair with a hint of gray, shabby shoes, a suit cut in a fine style out of cheap materials - the man looked like someone trying to appear more successful than they actually were.

 

"Perfect," Viscount hissed at one of his small network of reliable help.

 

"I figured if I was meeting you here, I should dress like some nightclub manager who suddenly got too much business," Viborrin Thrale answered, shrugging.

 

"Good thinking, you predicted my maneuver." Viscount nodded at him, climbing out of his chair. "I have to go check something out, but I want you here on security and assistance. My current...protege...is asleep in the back, having started to realize what 'deep cover' actually is. Keep an eye on her, make sure she eats, etcetera."

 

"If she wants to leave and eat somewhere else?" His former student asked him.

 

"Go with her. You can pretend to be her uncle-turned-manager and be over-protective of her. Never leave her alone with anyone. The mark already started the possession games."

 

Viborrin nodded, taking his suit jacket off and sitting at Viscounts desk, pulling out what was ostensibly some sort of entertainment industry news-pad out of a scuffed and unpolished work-pack.

 

Viscount nodded approvingly one more time and left.

 

---------

 

Several hours later Mirdala woke, braiding her hair as she emerged from the back of the small apartment. She paused when she saw the unfamiliar figure apparently snoozing on the sofa. For a moment she stood there, watching him, not wholly convinced that he was asleep.

 

Crossing to what passed for a kitchen, she filled a small tin pot and sat it on the hot plate to boil and reminded herself that Viscount wouldn’t have left her with anyone that he didn’t trust implicitly. She glanced back towards the couch out of the corner of her eye as she leaned against the edge of the cabinet. “I know you’re not asleep,” she softly said.

 

"Of course not," a mellow voice came back. "But there's no benefit to me sitting at the desk like a good little soldier all the time."

 

"Would you like some tea then? Or caf?"

 

"Ah, such a good little niece," He answered her, giving her her cover for him in the process. She saw the hand that was between the cushions come out holding a compact blaster that was slipped inside the pocket of the coat hanging nearby.

 

"And it's up to you, whatever you're fixing. My job is to just stick close to you for a bit." He smiled.

 

She nodded at him, an involuntary shudder running down her spine. "Tea it is, then, my dear uncle." She paused before adding, "Now, how is my father's eldest brother?"

 

She brought him his cup of tea before returning to pour her own. She eyed him for a few moments as she sipped her own.

 

"I'd be much happier if your father hadn't chosen to chase off-worlder money and sent me to protect your innocence. All these horrible cities and outrageous accents." He said grumpily, adopting an accent similar to her own. "A girl like you should never be sent off to places like this."

 

"Money has to be made somehow, Uncle Viborrin. I know my duty to my father and family. I have a talent that seems to bring it in, so why not be of service to my father?" She slowed her speech patterns down slightly to help him be able to mimic her natural speech patterns better.

 

She was surprised at how easily the words had come and, despite the tone of submission, it was close enough to the truth of who she was that it would be easier for her to stick to as her cover persona. He didn't need to know just what she felt her duty to her "father and family" was.

 

Not for the first time the thought struck her as to honestly admitting to herself just how she'd come to view her "Ori'vod", Tey. A sudden rush of homesickness washed over her and she stared at the bottom of her empty cup for a few moments as she composed herself.

 

"Yes, yes, little girl, but there are always ways to change fortunes, without exposing yourself."

 

“It’s not that kind of club Uncle,” she frowned, staying in character with him. “And there’s fewer choices when you’re born a girl in this family. Take it up with Dad if you want. I’m just doing as I was told."

 

She wasn’t sure if she was still on edge about Anzar or not, but she didn’t even remotely feel the need to get to know this particular team member. The fiction they were concocting together worked well enough for her.

fMZZcER.png

Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Viscount stepped out of the cab, handing the driver a stack of creds without looking. He checked his datapad against the address on the front of the building.

 

"Why am I not surprised?" He asked himself, taking in the relative opulence of the neighborhood. With a mental shrug, he walked to the call box beside the door and typed in a number.

 

"Well then, you actually came. Long time, no see Visek, and all that," a melodious voice answered, full of sibilant consonants.

 

"Hello, Deren," Viscount answered into the box. "May I come in for a chat?"

 

There was no reply, but the door solenoid clicked, popping the door ajar a fraction. Viscount pulled it open and walked inside, heading for the apartment number he'd been given. He found that door slightly ajar, as well.

 

"Come on in and shut it, since this is apparently not about anything worth shocking the neighbors over," the voice called out.

 

Viscount did as he was asked, pausing inside the door to let his eyes adjust to the soft orange light in the room. Lounging on the couch in the main room was a chalky-colored Twi'lek female dressed in a robe, lighting a cigarra as she eyed him appreciatively.

 

"Well, I have to give you this, Visek. Whatever genes melted together to make you, you certainly seem to age well." She laughed finally, exhaling a cloud of greenish smoke. She smiled, a predatory and playful smile full of sharp teeth. "So, to what do I owe the very genuine pleasure of having you come to me in my parlor?"

 

Viscount laughed, genuinely amused. He reached into his jacket to pull out a sanitized datapad. "I need the talents of an insanely competent infomerchant to track some things down for me, and possibly mark up some convincing documents and records at some point."

 

She reached over and took the pad, long nails brushing the short fuzz across the back of his hand, sending a tingle through him.

 

"Is that all?" She asked, sounding slightly reserved. "I was hoping you called because you genuinely liked my company. An over-priced dinner, some nice wine..."

 

He shook his head. "Business now, I'm afraid."

 

She stood up, turning to go to another room. The turn gave him a view of how short the robe actually was.

 

"Are you sure I can't interest you in anything else?" She asked him throatily, enjoying his glances.

 

"Later, Dare," He said wryly. "After this all gets sorted, I'll even treat you to a nice vacation somewhere."

 

"We shall see," she laughed, leaving the room.

fMZZcER.png

Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Viscount walked back into the apartment to a cacophony of discussion about a woman's place in the family businesses.

 

"One of the things I dislike about this job," He announced. "Is dealing with you argumentive provincials."

 

“Mister Visek,” Mirdala rose from where she was seated on the floor, some of the cred coins and a few of the bills spilling from her lap as she did so.

 

She and Viborrin had been spending the last hour getting an operational “feel” for one another. He’d nearly gotten her accent down perfectly, albeit a slightly less muddied version. She was still trying to ignore the knots in her stomach that she couldn’t seem to shake.

 

Glancing at Viscount cautiously for a moment, she knew she wasn’t likely to shake the unnerving niggling in the back of her mind until he verified that this was indeed Viborrin. Just because this man claimed to be part of the team, didn’t mean he was or that she should automatically accept him as such. It was one of the reasons she’d kept her distance from the man.

 

Inwardly, she sighed. I’ve really got to get out of my head and over my own neuroses. I’m probably still jumpy from earlier.

 

Viscount nodded at her agreeably. "Good to see the both of you taking some initiative and working out the dynamics of your covers without me having to hold your hands. It frees me up to focus on confirming information and gathering resources, and not tying me down to specific team members."

 

He gestured. "If he hasn't properly introduced himself. Viborrin meet Kideema. Kideema, meet Viborrin."

 

Nodding her acknowledgment, she then stooped down to pick up the credits and tossed them on the table, an odd sort of bill caught her attention.

 

She picked it up, eyebrow raised at Viscount. "Poor counterfeit or legitimate?"

 

Viborrin leaned over and snatched it from her hand and examined it before passing it to Viscount. "Don't see those often..."

 

Viscount rolled it over in his hand for a moment, scrutinizing it. "No, it's not fake. It's just not a normal form of creds." He looked at her. "It's a government note, used for buying supplies between differing agencies, securing cash creds from banks, stuff like that. If you don't work in a bank or in the right part of your department, you'd never see them."

 

He considered the cred note for a moment further. "It's also good confirmation for some of the stuff I've been running down." He looked again. "Decent denominations, too."

 

Mirdala shrugged. "Only openly government types there tonight were those Defense Force guys. If it's legit, then to the family fund it goes." She pushed the rest of the pile towards him and moved past him to the kitchen in search of something to eat.

 

Viscount separated out the few trade notes, passing them over to Viborrin. "Let's be good citizens and get these back to the bank." He laughed. "Use these to pay your floor fees, which means the staff watching out for you."

 

"They'd be hard to explain anywhere else." he passed the man a small stack of cred coins from his jacket pocket. "And here's part of your personal fees."

 

“Don’t mind paying them to keep that swine from trying to drug me or get me drunk. He moves quickly, and he’s likely used to getting his way on his own agenda. No doubt my refusal to go with him tonight frustrated him a bit.” Mirdala intoned as she prepared some food for herself, finally awake enough that her body demanded that she eat something. “Either of you two want anything while I’m at it?"

 

"Fix whatever, Kideema," Viscount said. "You and your uncle have to get used to eating together."

 

She nodded and busied herself with meal preparation while the two men talked quietly in the other room. She was curious what was going on but reminded herself that if it was something that she needed to know for her part of the mission, then Viscount would have told her.

 

--------

 

"Yes, there he is again," Viborrin said quietly. "Golarri said he was there yesterday after the show."

 

Viscount nodded at the news. Mirdala had finished a late act just a short while ago, and as he had begun to expect, the young security officer had posted himself where he could keep an eye on the employee section of the club. To most people, he would have been unnoticeable.

 

To most people.

 

"Give him one more day or so, then I'll do something about it," Viscount responded quietly, so as to not wake the woman dozing in one of the small side rooms.

 

"Would you like me to handle it?" Viborrin asked him.

 

"No, I've looked into him, and I think I know what he's playing at. He's no threat to her, directly, just over-eager to help, which could compromise the op. If I'm right about him, that is."

fMZZcER.png

Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Soresh sat down the data pad he’d been pretending to read with an inward sigh. He was growing more frustrated, torn between his selfish need to confirm who this dancer was and the chance it was his old friend and that interacting with her could potentially blow whatever cover she was playing at.

 

Even if it wasn’t Mirdala, he felt some sense of duty as a police officer to prevent her from falling prey to the likes of Anzar. Sentient trafficking easily fell within the jurisdiction of the anti-piracy group, from a certain point of view. He just had to figure out a way to justify his presence and attention, considering he wasn't hired as an actual investigator.

 

Then he was back to considering that if it was her, butting in to whatever it was that she was up to, would cause more issues than his “help” would be. Round and round his mind continued to go. It didn’t help that he could practically hear his father and Jorbe whispering that he was supposed to be watching Mirdala’s back and she was to watch his from when they’d go play together in the jungles of Shogun.

 

He took a sip of his caf and continued to watch the pair from across the plaza. He’d managed to follow them at a discrete distance after they left the venue where he’d first seen the dancer.

 

The older, rugged fellow never seemed to be more than an arms-length from the young woman and was quick to admonish or otherwise deter any who wished to pay her closer attention. His accent had even sounded much like some of the locals from Soresh and Mirdala’s home town of Tikkael when Soresh had managed to get close enough to over-hear him interacting with club owners on his “niece’s” behalf. It had taken almost every ounce of discipline the young Constable had not to pursue for more information right then.

 

It also heightened his awareness of the potentially dangerous game Mirdala was playing, if it was her working undercover. He had to figure out a way to get a message to her, or to get her alone for just a few moments without her chaperone.

 

He wasn’t sure he could even be honest with himself about why his concern ran so deep.

 

"Such a lovely young woman, she is. No?" a female voice asked from slightly behind him. Confused, he cocked his head over his shoulder, finding his gaze meeting the bright pink eyes of a female twi'lek.

 

"I'm not sure I know what you mean, ma'am," he responded, trying his best to keep his response neutral

 

The woman grinned at him, head tails writhing slightly. "Yes, a girl like that," she gave a nod in the dancer's direction, confirming his suspicions, "one could think of all sorts of reasons to want her around, couldn't they?"

 

She paused, smiling softly, as if waiting for him to answer.

 

In spite of himself, he realized he was glaring at her.

 

Smirking, the twi'lek shrugged. She glanced at the dancer again. Then tossed some cred coins on her table and stood up to leave.

 

Suddenly wary, Soresh glanced quickly towards where the dancer and her companion were unlocking a security door to go into the lounge, waited until he had seen the door close, and then began trailing after the twi'lek woman, sure he was heading off a new threat to the dancer.

 

He did his best to hurry after her without drawing too much attention to himself as he navigated the crowd, trying not to lose site of the woman. The few times he'd nearly lost site of her, a lucky reflection in a shop window or passing speeder helped set him right again.

 

He pursued her for several blocks finding himself in a slightly more residential mix of buildings and just managed to catch her slip into a side corridor between buildings.

 

His instincts pulled at him and he suddenly felt he was being led somewhere, but he reminded himself that she wouldn't stay in the open forever. He checked his concealed side arm and proceeded down what amounted to a well-maintained alleyway.

 

It wasn't long before he found the tucked-away storage facility, no doubt camouflaged so as not to disrupt property values in the area.

 

"Explains why that alley was nicer than usual," he muttered to himself as he entered the docking yard and quickly made his way to the cover of the building.

 

He heard voices speaking in hushed tones as he entered the facility and wondered, not for the first time, if he should call his team for back up. Then he reminded himself that he wasn't technically on duty and couldn't justify taking up department resources just to vindicate his own conscience.

 

Quietly, he drew is side arm and carefully moved towards the sound of the pair of voices.

 

"I wouldn't do that if I were you kid," a gravelly voice said from just behind him as Soresh felt the barrel of a pistol pressed into the back of his neck. "Didn't they teach you not to follow strange Twi'lek females spouting nonsense? Did you sleep through that part of cop class?"

 

Inwardly cursing for not doing a better job of checking the stacks of boxes around him, he tried to turn his head to respond, only to have he weapon shoved even harder into the back of his neck. He considered fighting back for a minute, but decided better of it since he wanted to find out more about this treat to the dancer and the trap had been so clearly set to lure him in.

 

He released the grip of the gun and felt it snatched away from him before he was roughly shoved toward the voices. He was pushed forward into an office cubicle, finding himself sharing the room with the pale-skinned twi'lek and a figure wearing a gray and black camo balaclava to conceal his face. He was making no effort to conceal the Mandalorian style torso armor under his heavy duster. Soresh had no idea what else the jacket might conceal.

 

"Constable", the masked man said mildly, looking up at him. "You're presenting me with a good measure of potential problems."

 

"Sorry to inconveinance you by patrolling my own jurisdiction." He responded levelly, eyeing the armor. He jerked his arm away from the Zabrakki and stood to face the masked man.

 

The appearance of the Mandalorian-style armor gave him pause, but he knew better than to assume that just because the man was wearing it, it meant he was actually a Mandalorian in mind-set or origin. Plenty before him had used the iconic style to their own agenda. Soresh had little evidence to prove one way or the other.

 

The constable regarded the man for a moment, not dismissing the fact that the hairs on the back of his neck were standing up. His instincts told him to tread lightly, for the man before him felt quite dangerous indeed. “‘Potential problems’? And what would those be?"

 

"Because, Corporal," the other man said in fluent Mando'a, emphasizing Soresh's rank "You're mooning over a member of my team like milk sick dewback calf, & that runs the risk of not only compromising our covers but of exposing us to more threats. Which would probably get us, and her killed rather horribly."

 

Surprised by the man's calm response and apparent possession of controlled information, Soresh felt his eyes widen.

 

"Who the haran are you people?" He demanded. "Why should I believe you?"

 

"We know who and what you are. That should be enough for now."

 

"I want to help. You said you know who and what I am. She's an old friend and training partner." His jaw set, as he hesitated, remembering the news about Hwulf and TeVerd's passing his old commander had given him. "I know that might mean having to stay out of your way - which I'd rather not do, but will if it's best. For her sake." He paused. "I want to know that she's okay."

 

"Stay out of the way, Corporal. And stay away. You'll know she's fine or not when you hear from her later," the man said, regarding him with his head slightly cocked.

 

"And if I don't get out of your way?" Soresh prodded him.

 

"I'll make sure you do, boy. The stakes are too high for me to play games with one love-sick cop."

 

"I'm not love-sick." He clenched his jaw angrily. He really didn't like being told to back off. "I was raised to watch my partner's back. It may have been several years, but you don't forget that duty to those you've fought beside, ever. You've made your point though."

 

He turned to leave, half expecting to get shot in the back.

fMZZcER.png

Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Viborrin," Viscount said calmly, walking into the apartment. "Step into the other room and shut the door for a few minutes, if you please."

 

Mirdala glanced up from the holonovel she’d been reading, curious what brought him here. There must have been some sort of new development from his end of things for him to pay a visit. Having sent Viborrin from the room, she was worried that she might have inadvertently done something to blow their cover. She put the datapad down and waited patiently.

 

"Time to change the game a little bit. Up your enticement factor. If you think you can handle it." Viscount said.

 

At her hesitant nod, he waved behind him towards the doorway, which Mirdala realized had been left slightly ajar. "Good, then I want you to meet your new dance coach. She’ll help you stop dancing like a peasant, and more like someone who's beginning to enjoy the world away from her stilted, male-dominated, machismo-riddled clan while making sure you look the part."

 

As he was talking, a pale-skinned Twi'lek female walked in, dressed from the waist to shoulders in a lovely heavy dress coat and scarf, and from the waist down it was obvious she was wearing a brief dancer's outfit, a dark leotard of some sort and straps wrapped around shapely legs.

 

Catching her look, the woman smiled at Mirdala, half pirouetting. "Like the view? Well, you'll have plenty of chances to look, as will I..." she laughed, throatily.

 

Mirdala cast a glance towards the door were Viborrin had disappeared, before returning her gaze to Viscount and the Twi’lek. She couldn’t keep her cheeks from reddening at the comment. “I appreciate the investment Mister Visek,” she did her best to lace her tone with gratitude she did not truly feel. Still, she would learn what this woman had to teach her, no matter how uncomfortable it might be for her.

 

Viscount grinned. "Deren knows the value of the artfully placed bare skin to let you get closer to sink the knife in. She's a pro. She's got lots of things in her bag of tricks to teach you, as long as she's kept well-fed and pampered, at least."

 

The Twi'lek turned to him, a smile of sharp teeth parting her lips. "Ooh, that sounds naughty. I'll have to figure out a new way for you to 'pamper' me, Sir. I know what you hide in your coin purse, now, what else are you hiding..."

 

Mirdala raised an eyebrow as she all but failed to hide her embarrassed smile and her cheeks reddened more. “I’ll keep that in mind, Mr. Visek.” Despite the playful tone and teasing, Mirdala could tell the woman was quite dangerous, even without her entrapments. “I will do my best to learn what I can from her.” No matter what she wouldn’t drop her current character and her tone was one of general subservience.

 

Viscount nodded to the closed office door. "Viborrin knows she works for me, but he does not need to know exactly what she is doing here. For both of their safety, and because what she'll do to you and with you will trigger his protective uncle algorithm, which enhances the general look of a small town girl who's enjoyed her taste of the big city and wealthy audiences."

 

She looked at the Twi’lek again, still unsure, but trusting Viscount’s judgment especially since he knew her past likely better than she knew it herself. She would have to get past those mental and emotional roadblocks at some point. He had to have faith in her because he was not the sort to endanger his team just for the sake of one, even if that one was her. “Perhaps we should go to my room then,” she rose. “So we don’t upset my dear uncle.”

 

"No no, beautiful delicious doll, one does not practice in a small space if one wishes to attract a large lush market," Deren purred to her. "Summon your darling uncle, and he can glower at our shapely backsides as I walk you through your new look and vibrancy on a proper stage."

 

Dancing in a darkened club of anonymous strangers was one thing. Learning the arts and skills Viscount had in mind in front of a strange man that she was forced to share an apartment with was wholly another story. Despite their time together, there was just something about Vibborin that made her stomach churn.

 

She crossed over to the closed door and gave a short knock. "Uncle? Mr. Visek brought over," she paused trying to think of what to say since Viscount had warned her not to be explicit with what Deren would be teaching her, "a new dance coach..."

 

--------

 

Later, Mirdala sweated her way through a routine on the small rehearsal stage in the club's basement, as Deren watched, a smoldering cigarra in a holder clenched between pale pink-stained lips. She had to make an effort not to be too self-conscious based on the woman's earlier lascivious remarks, though she had the feeling that the Twi'lek woman enjoyed having the show mostly to herself. As expected, Viborrin had parked himself near the door into the rehearsal area, a thermos of caf close by as he glared at the back of Deren's head.

 

When she finished, the Twi'lek woman stood and clapped. "Delicious! You are innately talented, and I will enjoy coaching you even more than I initially suspected. But remember, the audience must be made to feel that you are not dancing for sheer joy. You're dancing for each man or woman alone, attempting to please them, and only them. This is how you bait the trap. They already want you, and now you make them believe they could have you, with but the right response from them."

 

She had Mirdala sit down in her chair, peeling off her jacket and scarf to lay them on the table. "Watch me, Precious. Not just my body, which is beautiful and graceful, I know. But also my face, and my gestures, subtle though they will be."

 

She slowly moved through a number, Mirdala watching carefully. She realized that the woman, occasionally made eye contact, and when she did, there was a slight movement of her head or a soft pursing of her lips. Mirdala realized that the woman came off both coy and sultry, all at once, without seeming to act it.

 

"Now, you will give me three solid hours a day, and I will make the men and women in the audience willing to die to claim you," the Twi'lek woman told her.

 

There’s only one that needs to, Mirdala thought to herself.

fMZZcER.png

Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mirdala was rousted from sleep to a loud pounding on the door. It was the night after she'd performed post-Deren lessons. Anzar had been there and she'd endured another stomach-churning encounter with him.

 

She bolted upright on the couch, not really remembering falling asleep reading as Viborrin brushed past her indicating she needed to go to her room.

 

She quickly obeyed, her instincts telling her this wasn't a planned visit.

 

As soon as she was tucked away she heard him answer the door, a short exchange of muffled voices, and the sound of the door being shut and locked a few moments later.

 

“Kideema, come out here. It's safe, I think," she heard Viborrin call her. She entered the main room to see him pull one of his small pistols out of the ornate vase near the door, where he'd obviously stowed it in case of emergencies. He was holding one of his dataslates over a package on the side table. Obviously the 'Slate concealed a small scanner unit of some sort.

 

Mirdala’s eyes fixed on the box on the table. “Guessing it’s not from one of our family. They’d have given us a warning, right?"

 

"The only one that would send gifts was your uncle Ravi the baker, and knowing him, he would have come himself to cook you dinner, not trusting this horrid city food."

 

He set the slate down. "No, this was one of those slaves, holds the door and drives the cart. Yes, 'chauffeur' is what they say."

 

She came closer and examined the packaging seeing if there was a note or anything to indicate who it was from. There was nothing. Her eyes flicked to meet his as she opened it.

 

Her lips pursed as she examined the contents of the velvet-lined box before she spun it so he could see the lavish gift of jewelry. A small card ornately decorated and personalized stationary stood out amongst the blackness of the fabric. It was from Anzar.

 

“As flattered as I am by the gift, it’s worrisome that audience members can so easily find me,” she looked up at her “Uncle”, trusting his experience to make the call to Viscount or not.

 

"It's a logical guess, actually, for an act such as we purport to be. Your male-dominated provincial culture wouldn't trust their maiden daughters to be too far from the dance floor. And renting apartments from the club means you'd be nearby to fill in surprise entertainment needs if one of the other acts was late or went down ill or the like. Plus, it's much cheaper in the long run."

 

He waved at the door. "That wasn't the chauffeur himself, but Stelltin, one of the floor walkers from the casino. He told me some snobby 'taxi boy' dropped it off."

 

He paused. "Perhaps we should consult with Mister Visek about this, as it seems that your career has a chance to take off in an amazing direction, as you hoped but would horrify your papa.”

 

“As you think best, Uncle."

 

--------

 

“What do you think it means Mr. Visek? How should we respond?” she asked as the other man examined the ornate necklace.

 

He looked at her, one eyebrow quirked. "Are you ready to move us into the End Game phase of this, Kideema?" He slowly ran fingertips over the gift. "This is a silent offer for possession, a down payment for you if you will. It begins to open a door that, being opened, isolates him."

 

He rubbed his chin. "It would require you to allow your new consultant to ramp up your vamp factor, and you'd have to be willing to risk being stuck alone in his presence for possibly crucial minutes."

 

She thought about it for a moment, ignoring the squirming feeling in the pit of her stomach. She trusted herself to be able to handle him if it came down to it. “I can do it."

 

Viscount nodded. "Okay then, work with Deren to finish ramping up your routine, and if he tries to lead you away after that, we'll give you a way to allow you to accept his offer. After a plausible period, of course..."

fMZZcER.png

Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anzar had sent his aide ahead to verify that the young dancer was indeed set to perform again that night, happy when he’d returned with the news she would be. He had brought his trophy from the first appearance along, as well as reserving the very best seats in the entertainment annex for him and several friends. He wanted her to know exactly how connected he was, and he wanted an audience there when she realized it.

 

He impatiently sat through a few of the other acts, waiting for the peasant girl to dance. He judged some of other female entertainers, mentally cataloging which ones might be worth pursuing as his next playthings. But for now, there was much more worthy prey to be found.

 

As his preferred target danced, he subtly waved her scarf at here, sure he had caught her attention, and sure that he saw the signs of submission in her face as she subtly glanced towards him.

 

She finally worked her way to his table.

 

"Always a pleasure to watch you, My Lovely," He said, giving her a predatory smile, pleased at the demure way she cast her eyes downward when he addressed her. "You know, I could ensure that you need never dance for a crowd again, only for the joy of performing, should you but grant me my wish?"

 

At her soft protests, he smiled.

 

"Then you have but to find a moment to get away, and I will make the rest happen, Dear," he told her, dismissing her with a nod.

 

She smiled back at him in the same seductively sweet way Deren had made her practice over and over until her cheeks had burned from fatigue rather than the other woman’s lewd and vivacious commentary. “Tonight, just after the club closes my Handsome One. I can sneak out tonight when my dearest Uncle goes to collect our payment before this establishment opens. There will not be much time, do you think that you could meet me at the warra nut stands in the marketplace?"

 

A hungry grin crept across his face as he leaned in and whispered into her ear, “For you my Jewel, anything.”

 

How she wished she could have knifed him right then.

fMZZcER.png

Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Of course, you are always desirable, Little Precious Doll," Deren answered her in the mirror. "This is but you wearing a mask of the face he expects. Having submitted to his charm, and desirous of the things his power could give you, you would quickly appear to make yourself up in what an inexperienced provincial as yourself would think was appropriate for his woman. You would put on extra vibrancy, being too naive to understand that he simply wants to bed you, not wed you."

 

The Twi’lek woman was fussing with Mirdala's appearance, skillfully mixing elements of great care with an effect that conveyed inexperience and urgency in the application.

 

She unwrapped Mirdala's hair from the scented paper it had been bundled in, quickly teasing it into shape with a comb. As she pinned some of the hair up, she made Mirdala examine herself in the mirror.

 

"There, you see," she asked the mirror Mirdala. "This will all fulfill his expectation that you are the sheltered virginal child of your tribe but still wonderfully hopeful of waking up tomorrow on the other side of his bed."

 

She reached into the bag sitting on a chair beside them. "Now, for defense, not counting merely on your own physical skills." One at a time, she quickly and carefully dressed Mirdala's hands in a lovely arrangement of mesh, rings, and bracelets.

 

"These are very low-grade shock cestii. The bracelets each have a small charge. Not enough to seriously injure him, but, we hope, enough to make him back away a few precious steps if and when you need to. Once the charges are used, of course, they are still extra weight and dense materials to beat him with."

 

“Not to mention it looks like I brought what of my dowry I could for my new life...” Mirdala amended quietly. Her adrenaline was still pumping from her earlier encounter with the man and she was having a hard time keeping her hands from shaking.

 

Deren caught one of her hands and gently massaged it in a surprisingly gentle and motherly way.

 

"Exactly, Little Beautiful Doll, you offer yourself up as a bride," she told Mirdala. "But then the moment turns, and he finds that you are of the harem of his Death."

 

She checked a jeweled pocket fob chrono. "And soon, Delicious doll, you need never suffer his gaze again. One quick deep breath, yes, and then we are back on stage, so it is. You will put your dancer face back on and slip away, quite unnoticed by your boring and staid Uncle, and throw yourself into the arms of a man who offers you jewels beyond counting."

 

Mirdala nodded and took a deep breath, not aware that she had been almost holding her breath as the seconds ticked away. She then headed for the hallway that would lead her out of the club.

 

--------

 

Not surprisingly, Anzar was not the one that met her at the designated spot. As she entered the speeder, she wondered how many of these “pick up” runs this particular driver had made for his paymaster. He’d made no attempt at polite conversation with her, whether that was his personality or his employer’s mandate, she didn’t know.

 

She shifted nervously in the back seat and assumed the part of a peasant-pretender putting on the airs of one suddenly finding their fortunes quite changed. Adjusting her bracelets, as though trying to make sure she arranged herself in the most pleasing manner for her benefactor, she mentally prepared herself for what she was about to do.

 

Her objective seemed straightforward enough — find a way to get him alone enough to isolate and remove without alerting his household. However, she’d been a cop and soldier long enough to know that things that appeared straightforward rarely, if ever, worked out that way.

fMZZcER.png

Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Viscount slid the discreet ablative vest on over his sleeveless tee shirt as Deren watched, half of her appreciating the view, half of her focusing on the fob in her hands. She had not felt it necessary to inform Mirdala that some of the jewelry included passive, voice-activated microphones. They had been included for her protection, but informing her might have affected her ability to properly play the part she needed to play.

 

If everything goes well, tonight will see the end of this job, Viscount thought to himself. And not soon enough.

While he enjoyed working with his network of agents and had enjoyed, to a degree, training the girl, he had long ago developed a strong distaste for assassinations, no matter the reason. He was only here for family, but it was time to call endex on the whole pathetic mess.

 

"So who did we manage to get into the barves estate," he asked the Twi'lek's reflection as he adjusted the vest. Mirdala might have guessed that he and Deren considered each other friends, but she likely would never expect Deren to be the effective second in command of the team he had assembled to support her.

 

"Both Golarri and Pintrel are on site, though neither felt like explaining how or where, for obvious and varied reasons," Deren answered him, voice fully business-like. "But both indicated that they are situated in a way that leaves them free to act when needed."

 

"Good, good," Viscount purred, almost under his breath. He reached for the top of his stealth suit, shrugging into the black webbed material. "Give them a warning order, and get yourself in position. I'll catch up to Viborrin. And perhaps we can bag this fish and leave."

 

-------

 

The luxury speeder pulled up to a moderately lavish estate that was surrounded by lush gardens. Her attention was drawn from gleaning possible escape routes by a tall figure that was approaching the vehicle.

 

She willed herself not to tense up when the door was opened, trying to maintain the pseudo-mindset that she believed she was coming here to make this her new life and household. The man extended a hand to her as she exited the vehicle.

 

He was well-dressed and looked like any average young Corellian man. Mirdala's recent experiences with "average" men triggered deep-seated instincts that caused her to compare the man to the "domestic staff" of a certain ConSec Deputy Chief Inspector.

 

While she accepted that her current escort actually spent most of the time as the mere personal assistant to her intended target, she also had no doubt that he spent at least some of his time prepared to aid the man’s other security personnel.

 

Thanks to her own abilities and Deren's coaching, she felt sure her close scrutiny of the man was liable to be taken more as awe of her suitor's wealth and the wonderful material of the man's clothing.

 

"Welcome to the Grand Manor, Miss Kideema," the man said to her, without either warmth or hostility. "Sir has asked me to give you a little bit of a tour, so you can find your way around." He spoke this flatly, with little sincerity, but Mirdala pretended to be enthralled by the idea of being here all the time.

 

She did just manage to stop herself from asking the man his name out of her usual politeness, turning it into an acquiescent nod and gesture to continue. “As he wishes, I am more than happy to oblige."

 

Throughout the tour, she made sure to disguise her mental cataloging of the potential escape routes and isolation points as amazed interest in the wealth of her would-be husband.

 

The hedgerow maze gardens, in particular, caught her interest as a good spot to isolate him, but she considered whether or not the layout would be worth the risk of her team being able to pin him down on his home turf.

 

Finally, the assistant led her up to the third story of the manor where a large set of ornate doors stood closed. Knocking lightly, he announced her arrival to his paymaster.

 

As she stepped into the spacious glass-walled lounge area of the financier's personal floor, the man gestured grandly with a fine crystal goblet full of honey-colored liqueur.

 

"My Precious Gem, you actually came! You didn't lose your nerve, as I feared to some degree you might," he told her, radiating relief & concern.

 

He glided over to her, wearing a brocaded breakfast robe over pajamas that Mirdala was certain were threaded with platinum & other precious metals.

 

He took her hand carefully. "I would have to come to you in the market myself, My Flower, but I worried that someone might see and run to your thuggish uncle with gossip. As well, I couldn't bear the idea that you might reject me at the grand moment of elopement!"

 

He gestured. "Come, won't you share a drink with me, to start our night of new adventures?"

 

Mirdala frowned slightly. “Uncle Viborrin means well…” She paused, as though realizing that she didn’t have to keep the same mindset that had oppressed her. "Oh, who am I kidding,” she smiled. “If he’s had his way, I wouldn’t even have ever had the chance to meet you. He wanted me to go back home and live a meaningless life. I must say I never expected to meet such a charming and generous man such as you."

 

Smiling sweetly, she considered his offer to drink to the evening. She knew that she couldn’t count on anyone to mix in the anti-tox crystals here, so she had to come up with another plan to push it off for now. “I would love one, however, I feel famished. I don’t usually get to make dinner and eat until after my performances are done. I’ve found it best not to drink on an empty stomach..."

 

"Of course, My Flower, of course, our first dinner together in my home, without anyone to spoil the atmosphere," he smiled slyly. He pressed a button on the mantelpiece, which was followed closely by a knock on the doors.

 

A tall servant entered, glancing at Mirdala in curiosity for a brief second before turning to his employer. "Yes, master?"

 

"Bring us some dinner. Fleek whale filets, if they're ready and roast vegetables. Also, a bottle of the Quarren green, and ready a double Fondorian Brule for later," He smiled at the girl. "Would that sound sufficient for you, My Gem?"

 

Smiling more brightly than she felt, she nodded with the shy excitement one would expect of someone who’d only ever heard of such a decadent meal. “More than sufficient, My Prince," she answered in a demure purr she’d practiced with Deren for hours until she’d gotten it just right.

fMZZcER.png

Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Golarri the Hunter admired himself in the mirror in the gatehouse. "For a self-important fool, he does choose decent clothing for the hired help." He fussed with his shirt and jacket, pulling them into a proper set on his body. Nodding at his reflection, he left the gatehouse and began a slow wandering circuit towards the main house, greeting other staff as they left for the day.

 

They all moved as people whose only purpose was to be somewhere besides here. Little did they know the smiling man walking past them was counting down the unknown number of moments until a very important event happened here. It would, in fact, be one of the last great events of a rich man's life.

 

------

 

Viscount watched the street, tucked into a gap under carefully manicured ornamental shrubs. It was just down the street was the mark's house, and he was taking his time approaching the place.

 

"Anything," he asked the smaller form tucked into the shadows with him.

 

"Patience. She's distracting him by letting him show off how many rare and exotic foods he can afford to keep handy and feed any pretty little toy that wanders by," Deren said carefully. Her addition of the sound pick-ups had not met with overwhelming approval from Viscount, but she'd finally reminded him of her instincts and experience with jobs like this. It had been a risk, but one that she had very carefully weighed before taking.

 

"And she is such a very pretty little dangerous toy," she continued, needling him.

 

Viscount turned to look at her a moment. "Shouldn't you get into something more...workman-like," He gestured at the athletic outfit she was still wearing. "I plan to start trying to get through his security soon, you know."

 

"Well, if you're not interested in enjoying the view or showing me off anymore," she smirked. "I do have my stealth suit if that suits Sir's interest in me more?"

 

"Dare," Viscount answered her, gritting his teeth.

 

"Fine then," she sighed dramatically. "Watch my back...side." She smirked openly when she caught him doing a double take towards her as she finished her little joke. Turning deeper under the hedge, she quickly slid off her dancing togs and slid into the matte black bodysuit.

fMZZcER.png

Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

She had to work very hard to keep from cringing as Anzar had approached and took her hands in his, pulling her closer to him. He began to kiss the tips of her fingers and massage her hands before stroking her arms from the shoulders down. Even though she was still fully covered, Deren had made sure the fabric of her sleeves was nearly translucent. Her skin crawled with his caresses, causing her hair to stand on end. Luckily, or so Deren had informed her, her own body’s reaction would easily be mistaken for anticipation by her would-be conqueror.

 

A smile she could only best describe as predatory crossed his face as he noted her slight trembling. “Easy my Jewel, nothing to be nervous about.” His hand brushed against her cheek as he leaned forward to kiss her.

 

With a shy smile on her face and a great deal of effort to curb her anxiety spike, she apologized. “Forgive me, it is so new, and I don’t want to disappoint.”

 

She glanced out the window, willing herself to think of another way to stall him. The higher vantage point offered her a better view of the hedgerow maze below them. Situated in the center, there was an open area in the maze, as good a spot as any to isolate him for the others to help her grab him.

 

She could feel him come to stand behind her as he whispered in her ear, “You have nothing to fear from me dearest. I only want to make you happy.”

 

Through some miracle, she managed not to jump at his sudden nearness and turned to face him. “My love, it would make me very happy to dance for you again, only this time in under the moonlight in the middle of your wonderful garden.”

 

The slightly disappointed look on his face was quickly replaced by one of tolerant indulgence. “A wonderful idea my dear! You can delight me until our dinner is ready and then I can return the favor.”

 

Deren’s training sessions still hadn’t managed to rid Mirdala of her propensity for blushing.

 

------

 

"Ah, such a lavish meal for such a bloated self-secure maggot," The steward muttered as he finished adding sauce to the skewers of vegetables.

 

"Did you say something. Dille," the night chef asked from his spot over a roaring gas grill.

 

"Just wondering about the Master's choice of food," Dille answered smoothly, plastering a respectfully curious smile on his face.

 

"Well, maybe one of these days you'll be handsome enough to find out why he wants these particular dishes," the chef laughed. "But you should get it plated up and moving. He apparently is entertaining his new toy in the gardens."

 

------

 

"Wait," Viscount hissed softly, checking the scanner on his wrist. "Somethings moving around up there." He carefully kept his wrist guard concealed behind the foliage they were slithering under at the edge of the enemy estate.

 

"It's a Narubite Lizard," Deren breathed back, cocking her head slightly. "I can smell it. Can't you?"

 

"Might have something to do with my gas-proof balaklava, or perhaps my need to be extra careful," Viscount whispered in reproach.

 

"Don't worry," Deren snipped. "I won't let him put a single mark on her pretty little backside."

 

"Do you never stop," Viscount asked softly, as the two of them began inching forward again.

 

"I'll stop enjoying the pretty things when I'm dead," Deren snorted.

fMZZcER.png

Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anzar kept her close to him as the two of them traversed the maze together finally emerging into the center that she’d seen from the window above. She was just about to ask about music when he guided her to a console cleverly hidden within one of the fixtures.

 

From there he called up a music selection until he found one that suited him and settled on a bench nearby to watch her dance just for him.

 

Despite her growing hatred for the self-entitled waste of humanity, Mirdala danced for him as though he was the love of her life. She dipped and swayed to the music, letting it flow through her the way Deren had taught her and tried to ignore the hungry look in his eyes.

 

Suddenly, his hand caught hers and he twirled her around before pulling her close to him. She just stopped herself from pulling away as memories of Lura and his cronies resurfaced, unbidden. Then he was suddenly pressing his mouth to hers forcefully and she couldn’t help but jerk away in panic, causing the shock cestii to activate.

 

He shrieked in surprise and pain and stumbled a few steps back, the look on his face contorting in both shock and anger. “You’re going to regret that,” he growled lunging towards her again, this time being careful of her bracelets. She didn’t miss his slight nod just before he spoke.

 

Sensing movement behind her she stepped to the side, catching a figure emerging from a hidden alcove within the vegetation. She quickly noted his armored bodysuit, face mask, and weapons belt.

 

"Remind her of her proper place," Anzar grunted, gesturing at her.

 

Mirdala sincerely hoped her team was in place as she weighed her options of standing her ground against two opponents, one clearly well-armed and put some distance between herself and them.

 

The guard extended a baton and advanced on her with it raised and ready to strike. Mirdala knew that the last thing he’d expect of her was a full rush as she tackled him. Her hands found the canister of irritant at his belt and she made quick use of it through the holes in the face mask as he struggled to untangle himself from her and get a few hits in of his own.

 

Anzar’s arms closed around her, dragging her off of the guard and pinning her arms to her sides. She dropped down suddenly, throwing him off-balance and swept his legs out from under him before darting for the exit to the maze’s center, just managing to avoid the sizzling sweep of the guard's baton as she turned a corner.

 

She did her best to remember which way she’d come in, silently chiding herself for not using her implant to map it in the first place. Then again, she thought turning a corner, with the way tonight’s going he probably would have had something to detect the signal.

 

She knew she had to think quickly and figure out a way to bring whatever fight she knew was coming to being on as close to her terms as she could muster. They had the advantage, this was their home ground, Mirdala willed herself to calm down and allowed the Force to guide her through the maze as she tried to avoid running into more of Anzar’s goons.

 

-------

 

"Oops," Deren grunted, hearing the exchange in her earbud.

 

"Yes. Oops," Viscount growled. He'd felt the girl's momentary panic and fright, and could now feel her working herself into a battle-calm state, but he didn't explain that to Deren. He climbed to his feet, removing the flat, compact needle-gun form its clip on his belt. "Get hold of the others and let them know she's in a fight."

 

He began hunting the girl and her attackers through the gardens.

fMZZcER.png

Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anzar swatted the mercenary. "Oaf. I throw good credits at you and you let her get away with assaulting me!"

 

The masked security man looked at him, head cocked.

 

"If you can, take her alive and not too damaged, bring her back. Otherwise, just leave the little bitch's corpse for the womp rats," Anzar snarled at him.

 

------

 

Mirdala rounded a corner and found herself unexpectedly at a dead end that hadn't been there less than a minute before.

 

"Osik," she swore, not for the first time or the last. Quickly retracing her steps she suddenly found herself along a wall where she could hear Anzar give his orders just on the other side.

 

She still had the irritant with her and wondered if she were just delaying the inevitable. Would they expect her to go back to hunting them?

 

When she'd made her initial flight, she'd torn off or otherwise silenced the more musical parts of her costume. Even so, she still felt very much exposed without her usual loadout. She knew that Viscount was counting on her to be quick on her feet so the team could complete the objective.

 

She realized she was placing an enormous amount of trust in the rest of her team, especially considering she knew there were some she'd never met.

 

Taking the bundle of belled scarves she threw it as far away from her and across the maze as she could, hoping to draw whoever he'd sent after her in that direction while she worked her way back to the target.

 

Mirdala rounded the corner towards the open space at the center of the maze, hoping that the target hadn't added surprise partitions to that as he had with other parts of the maze.

 

"No, that, I think, is enough running for the night," said a rough voice, as a uniformed sleeve snaked out of a wall of greenery and latched itself firmly around her throat.

 

She tried to reach up to discharge the cestii into this new threat, but the moment she moved, he used the pressure of his elbow joint to partially throttle her.

 

"No, no, I wouldn't. Your teacher wouldn't be pleased with either of us if I broke your pretty neck," the voice said.

 

Confused by the man's odd phrasing after having heard Anzar willingly accept the idea of his guard murdering her, Mirdala found herself being moved forward.

 

"That's a good girl. Cooperate, and we'll be able to call endex on this whole stupid affair," the man chuckled.

 

She nodded slightly, semi-trusting that he might be part of the back up Viscount had promised, but that didn't stop her from formulating a contingency plan, just in case. It was impossible not to struggle against him because of the way he had her arm locked up as well as the vice-grip on her neck. If he was on her side, she had to make her compliance look less so.

 

It wasn’t hard to let the fear she was feeling in the pit of her stomach into her expression as they rounded a corner and came before Anzar. “I found this one skulking in the outer garden, Master, and wanted to ask if you knew her.” His grip tightened as she continued to struggle.

 

“Remove those infernal things from her hands,” he demanded, leery of feeling their bite again.

 

The mercenary he’d been addressing moved to join the man that had brought her in, though this time he was sans mask due to the irritant. His red eyes seemed to make him look all the more crazed as the two of them sat her roughly in one of the garden chairs working together to both restrain her and remove her jewelry.

 

“Please! I’m sorry!” she started, “I didn’t know…my Uncle gave them to me. I didn’t know they did that.” She was trying to thing of something, anything to say to stall for more time. One of them, she wasn’t sure who, slapped her.

 

Anzar sniffed. “Little Girl, you can hardly claim ignorance when you willfully attacked one of my men.” He gestured to the mask-less body guard as he removed the hair pins and other “accessories” Deren had outfitted her with.

 

Halfway between keeping up the act and genuinely trying to gain some leverage in the situation, she continued to struggle as they checked her for other weapons. She could feel on particular instinct rising up within her, but she wasn’t to the point of needing to tip her hand just yet so she somehow managed to reign in the desire to Force-fling these men as far away from her as possible. She had to trust her team.

Viscount is coming. Deren is coming. Viborrin is coming. Viscount is coming. Deren is coming. Viborrin is coming. Viscount is coming… She repeated the words over and over in her mind using it to focus and keep her from panicking more than she already had.

 

Losing her head would do no one any good, least of all herself.

fMZZcER.png

Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"The Dinner, Master," She heard a soft voice say just as her captors had finished frisking her for anything that she might use as a weapon against them.

 

Surprised, Anzar turned towards a section of hedgerow sliding away to reveal a gaunt man standing next to a repulsor cart laden with covered dishes. If Mirdala had had to describe the servant, she would have called him a Givin trying to appear human. The man was tall, with high cheekbones and cavernous eye sockets, with dark intelligent eyes set within.

 

She thought she caught a knowledgeable look in his eyes as he surveyed the scene, but she would never be sure.

 

"What," Anzar asked, confused. "Can't you see that I'm busy, you fool?" He turned towards the man, obviously intending to rave at him some more, but stopped, half turned. He looked at Mirdala, cocking his head slightly as a vicious smile spread across his face. She shuddered at the look.

 

"No, wait, I think you actually had impeccable timing. I can enjoy my dinner as my man here, " he gestured at the body-suited merc, “whips some obedience into the ill-bred little trollop." He glanced at Mirdala. "Doesn't that sound lovely, My Little Jewel?" His tone was all venomous mockery. "I'm afraid you won't be able to drug me and rob me, or whatever plan entered your empty little head. Instead, by the time supper is over, all you'll want to do is make me happy. Or you'll be dead."

 

He settled himself into an artistically wrought metal seat as the new arrival pushed the cart in front of him, partially blocking Mirdala's view of her tormentor. The merc was walking around towards her as Mirdala saw the steward reach under his apron. Then something dense hit her from the side, knocking her off the seat and to the ground, and landed heavily on top of her.

 

"Stay down, little precious one, just enjoy the moment," she heard Deren's voice hiss, obviously the mass laying atop her. She had barely registered that the Twi'lek woman was physically shielding her from Anzar and his people when she heard three whistling noises followed by a grunt from Anzar and an enraged yelp from what she presumed was his pet killer.

 

There were immediately three more of the odd whistling noises and a dull thud.

 

"Is he dead," she heard Viscount ask. "Yes," another voice answered.

 

"You two can get up now," Viscount said, after a moment.

 

"Why must you spoil my fun, Visek?" Deren grumbled as she climbed off Mirdala and helped her to her feet.

 

Mirdala looked up at Viscount, relief evident on her face, though she knew the job wasn’t over until they were all safely back on their way back to where ever they’d come from before. Despite the faith she’d held in her team, Mirdala wasn’t fully able to control the chills that ran down her spine as she looked to see who was still standing in the center of the garden.

 

“I’m sorry,” she said, taking full stock of the scene before her and wishing she was in better control of her own reactions, both previously and now. “I didn’t intend to engage him…he just caught me off-guard…” She clasped her hands behind her back as she tried to control their shaking as she looked to Viscount for their next move while she re-centered herself. They were still on hostile ground and had to make their exit so she needed to shift her mindset quickly back to battle-mode.

 

Viscount walked over, slapping her on the shoulder like any battle comrade. "It happens. Learn from it, do better next time." He turned to look at Deren. "Meet up with Viborrin and get her back to the lodgings."

 

"First, I think, we should get prettied back up. Then I will make sure my lovely little dancing doll remains safely ensconced in her rooms," Deren purred, grinning like a well-fed salkie.

 

Viscount nodded at the answer. "Do it how you think best, Dare." He glanced at Mirdala. "What happens next is none of your business. As far as anyone is to be concerned, you'll have appeared to have taken a walk on the wild side with your big-city born, and quite wicked, lecherous teacher. If they see you at all. Try not to, but remember - let them fill in the blanks themselves. They're only judging a mirage anyway, right?"

 

He looked at his wrist guard. "By this time tomorrow, we should be either off this rock, or sipping drinks waiting to leave."

fMZZcER.png

Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Goodbye, Viborrin," Mirdala extended her hand to the other operative as he gathered up the few things he'd brought with him to the operation. "Take care."

 

The two of them had been packing up the small apartment that morning before Viscount was due.

 

For her part, Mirdala was glad the mission was over. She was more than ready to get back to Tey and put Corellia far behind her.

 

"You too, kid," he gave her hand a short shake before releasing it as a knock at the door announced Viscount's arrival.

 

"Right on time, Boss," Viborrin said, accepting the stack of cred chips viscount was holding out. Slipping them into his inside coat pocket, the operative nodded at them one last time and left.

 

"Golarri and Pintrel are gone, Golarri left last night and Pintrel at first light this morning," Viscount said to her as the door closed. "And I presume Deren has either gone or is close to it."

 

The young woman visibly relaxed, “I’ve learned a lot from all of this. It’s been interesting, but I’m glad I can go back to what’s more familiar.” She looked up at him and smiled. “I certainly don’t envy the life you’ve chosen for yourself, Visek. The holo-dramas certainly do their work to making it look more glamorous than it really is, not that I thought it would be remotely close.”

 

He smiled slightly. "It's not a life for everyone, no, no matter which part of this line of work you get into. And it's certainly more work than true leisure, admittedly. Just imagine if I did this sort of job day in and day out for a career like some of my brothers?"

 

He grinned. "But it somehow seems to satisfy me, and that's what one should expect from their life and career. Not absolute comfort, but at least satisfaction."

 

She nodded in agreement. “I definitely prefer the more direct route to things, that satisfies me.” She paused, “I’ve actually been meaning to ask you something, but it’s of a more…sensitive nature and I didn’t want to ask at an inappropriate time."

 

"When you have a delicate question to ask, it's generally less painful to simply blurt it out & weather the storm that results, " Viscount said, taking a seat.

 

An old holo image he'd given her a few months ago came to the forefront of Mirdala's mind as she remembered what he'd told her of Jihnezrecht, the Bothan nanny who'd taken it on herself to document every experiment and atrocity done to the youngest child of the Sivaara family, the infant girl who Mirdala had grown into.

 

She nodded at him before asking, “Were you and Jihn working together when you first met me? Was I an assignment for her?” Spending this much time with Viscount working in deep cover had given her a lot of time to think and a lot of time to think about the life of the Bothan woman that she had little memory of that had profoundly affected the course of her life.

 

"If you're asking if she was there specifically to kidnap you, I strongly doubt it. That wasn't the sort of work she would willingly assist in. Caring for you might have been an accidental perk. You were part of the cover identity and portal to allow her to do whatever it was she intended to do." He held up one hand. "Which I have no idea about. While we knew each other, at the time she was working on Cestus, we were not serving the same paymaster, no."

 

"Then why reach out to her the way you did? If you suspected she was on a job?" Mirdala had been around him enough over the last few weeks to know how far he was willing to go to protect his team and network. Why would he have risked exposing Jihn?

 

"Partly, if you're covered right, you can still enjoy the company of friends without it being a security breach. and sometimes, you have to decide if the other person is worth approaching, even if it might threaten your operational security."

 

"And in our lines of work, as you may have discovered," the spy said reasonably. "We find ourselves with very few true friends that we would trust almost as much as family."

 

“She meant a lot to you, didn’t she?” Mirdala looked at him, as the realization hit her that there might have been more to Jihn and Viscount’s relationship than she’d previously thought. “How did you two first meet?"

 

"You're as bad as Vy'ika is," Viscount answered, raising an eyebrow,"if you've begun to think Jihn was my long-term lover."

 

“No,” she shook her head as she sat in the chair across from him, tucking one foot underneath her. “I know better. There is a difference between close friends and closer friends,” she winced slightly and shook her head. She made a mental note to keep dialing back Deren’s influence as she shifted out of the mission mindset she'd had to adopt as part of her cover.

 

She shifted slightly, this time placing both of her feet on the floor, “Had events unfolded differently, and she had found a way to get me away from the Sivaaras, how far would you have helped her?"

 

Viscount looked at her levelly. "I was prepared to drop what I was doing and commit violence if it had been necessary, to aid Jihn." He stared at her. "But you could've presumed that based on the fact that you know I approached her multiple times. You're still dancing."

 

“Would you have been involved beyond just helping her escape with me?”

 

"You're asking if I would have left Jihn to cope with caring for you by herself after ensuring as much as I could that she was safe. Probably not. That's not something I think I would have done to her." He thought. "Would you have been our child? No, probably not. I likely would have always seen you as an extension of caring for her or have tried to convince her to allow you to be raised by a brother of mine. But who can say for certain?"

 

She thought about his answer for a long moment, somehow oddly reassured that she would have still found a way to this wild, crazy extended family of hers. The blue-haired woman in her dreams had once mentioned she’d been watching out for her since they met. “Either way this life or the one unlived, I wouldn’t have been a Sivaara and I would have been part of TeVerd’s legacy.” She paused again before adding, “Does the blue-haired woman visit you in your dreams?"

 

"Not very often. I think she tends to respect my boundaries." He smiled. "Such as that I'm not often confused about my loyalties to my sergeant and my brothers, unlike someone else."

 

Her eyes narrowed at him. “You’re making fun of me, aren’t you?” She laughed. “You can imagine it is quite a bit to get your head around, head-dive sessions to pick apart my personality and motivations notwithstanding.”

 

Shaking her head she added, “For the record, I’m not confused about where my loyalties lie. It’s with TeVerd and…”

 

And what?

 

Her brothers? Not all of them really were.

 

Her team? Some of them, not even that.

 

The Ageless? She’d learned first-hand that not all shared TeVerd’s ideals.

 

A figure in black and blue armor suddenly formed and was gone in nearly the same instant.

 

"…never mind. I see what you mean.”

 

He grinned. "Plus, you have a history of leaving and forgetting about people for years at a time."

 

She waved her hand. “Yeah, well, I learned that lesson, paid the price for it. Now I’m just ready to get back home, well at least to my home sector.” She amended, realizing that she honestly wasn’t quite sure where “home” was and she wasn’t sure when she’d have that anchor point again.

 

"Home is where the liquidatable assets are," Viscount said sonorously.

 

Mirdala laughed at him. “All I know is that it’s away from here.” She paused, and he could almost see her thought shift through her expression change. "This has been an interesting challenge. I’d appreciate your feedback on how I did."

 

Viscount leaned back in his chair, stroking his chin with one finger.

 

"You did okay," he said after a moment. "You developed a cover you could comfortably maintain within the needs of the mission, which is always a key factor. More importantly, you seem to realize that you don't need to actually like your mission mates to be able to trust them to be professional. That's something you've had issues with before, I know. Realizing that even people you like can't be trusted to behave like professionals. You're now realizing that with real pros, the current job is the only excuse you need to watch out for each other. What happens on the next job isn't something to worry about, as long as you're all being professional."

 

“I appreciate that you took the time to teach me. Can we go home now? I think that we’re both more than ready to move on with our lives.”

 

Viscount merely nodded, scooped up his bag when he stood, and extended his arm toward the door.

 

------

 

((To see where Mirdala decided to go from here, head to this thread in the RP.))

fMZZcER.png

Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya. - "Train your sons to be strong but your daughters to be stronger."

“A Mandalorian woman's greatest talent is not her charm or beauty, but her strength of body and will.” - Mandalorian proverb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...