Even in the winter months, Eshan still collected refugees from all around the galaxy like moths to a flame. The echani have long held a neutral stance, give or a take a couple years sprinkled throughout their history; it was the perfect place to get back on one’s feet and escape the wars that constantly plagued the galaxy. It never ceased to amaze Param at just how big the galaxy was, and yet there was almost constant warfare over it all.
She spun her newly forged echani daggers through her fingers. She was one of ten or so echani that were arming themselves with daggers, knives, swords, and blasters- all of echani make. While the other sported their alabaster skin and silver hair proudly, Param had tanned her skin and dyed her hair brown, leaving only the last half of it silver. Her hair was braided and wrapped like a crown atop her head. Underneath the tan, hooded poncho she wore, she had a hip sheaths for the new daggers, a karambit vibro-blade sheathed at the small of her back, and a light blaster pistol holstered on her right thigh. She was covered in a black thermal longsleeve shirt, and brown, tight leather pants and boots that surprisingly did a good job of keeping her warm.
Feeling good with the daggers, she sheathed them as if the sheaths had always been there since birth, and fished out the bounty hunter puck from a pocket. She hadn’t joined the guild, but had seen someone walking around the capital city showing it off and asking about the man who had the bounty. Cito Oulded appeared as she turned the puck on. On the puck he was listed as being a murderer, thief, and trafficker. He’d apparently chosen Eshan to lay low, and because of all the refugees flooding the cities, no one was the wiser when an echani man started extorting the families.
Param felt her blood boil at the list of grievances. She had no intention of even cashing in on the bounty; she just wanted to see the man pay for his crimes; specially the trafficking. She’d done a lot of shitty things in her time as a Sith, but turning a blind eye to slavery, especially when it involved kids being torn from their families, was something she drew a line for. At least this time it was actually a criminal ring and wouldn’t start an international incident; that and she had weapons this time.
“You sure it’s a good idea for us to be out in the open like this?” one of the echani men asked. Param knew him only as Dremal. He had a simple white color blast vest, a medium blaster rifle, and a vibro-sword strapped to his back. He was ready for the snow and combat. Param turned a silver gaze to his.
“Where would they run to? Deeper into the mountains?” she asked. Dremal shrugged. Running deeper into the mountains, especially with the crew Cito had around him was a death sentence.
“They have time to prepare before we get there if they know we’re coming.”
“They’ve had time to prepare the entire time they’ve set up shop in that abandoned fort,” Param answered, switching the puck off and tucking it back into her pocket. “It’s not like they wouldn’t get the same amount of warning seeing us leave in the speeders.” Dremal was no stranger to combat and firefights, but Param had him beat by a mile with her time as a Sith.
Arla hadn't actually come to Eshan to bounty hunt. She'd come to make an alliance with the Echani Command in exchange for combat instructors and the rights to contract directly with Echani warriors who were interested in working for Apex.
As a principle, Arla never worked for free, but in this case, as a show of good faith to open up the door to such a contract, the Echani Command had made a request that she help shut down an Echani trafficking operation that had been taking place on world. To that end, she and several other members of Apex had arrived on planet and started the hunt.
The hunt had led the Nightsister to an abandoned fort and a man named Cito Oulded. Yeah, well at least his name was accurate: he definitely was ded even if he didn't know it yet.
Arla and several of her people had posted up on a ridge not far away from where Param and company were stationed.
That was when the hunters caught sight of... were these Echani soldiers? They certainly looked like they were set up for combat, but Arla hadn't heard about anyone else being dispatched to finish off this target.
She pondered a moment the best way to go about contacting them without immediately being shot at. Or for that matter alerting the fort. Or giving away their presence and position if they were hostile.
So it was with slow movement that Arla had her contractors made their way around the perimeter in order to approach the other group from behind and - by extension - hopefully indicate that they were not with the slaving group.
They also didn't really approach that quietly. Or at least Arla didn't. She didn't want to spook whoever they were, and she raised her hands above her head as she approached. For anyone else that would have been a very vulnerable position, but for Arla, as as Sign Caster it was really no worse than anything else.
Vee, Param’s red and silver BD-unit, scurried from the back of the forge, and hopped up onto Param’s left shoulder, settling in like a little bird on its perch. He made a series of beeps and whirs, letting Param know that he was ready. An echani sporting two blaster pistols gave the droid a nod with a smirk. “You know how many families that droid would feed if you so-“
“Touch him and I’ll have your hands,” Param spat, a silver glare fixing on the man. The frigid shiver that ran down his spine was visible from anywhere in the forge. The echani were Param’s people, but Vee was family. Vee chirped a challenge to the man from Param’s shoulder, and the man raised his hands and backed away. Param’s glare softened as she turned to Dremal. “Get everyone out. It’s time.”
None of the echani with Param were professional soldiers by any means. Some had been mercenaries, others guards or police. They were just private citizens now, and they showed it with their undisciplined march up the mountain. It didn’t take long to find the fort just up the path of the mountain, and the moment the dark stone came into view the echani scattered and crouched behind boulders and outcroppings.
Visibility wasn’t terrible, but with the white of the echani group’s gear, they were able to creep from cover to cover, inching toward the fort. Param lagged behind slightly, keeping a watchful gaze on the fort itself. There was a single tower facing the pass they approached from, with a mercenary manning a light repeater stationed inside. Pairs of rifle wielding mercenaries roamed the walls. They were all relaxed, as if they had nothing to worry about. Maybe from the ragtag group of private echani citizenry they didn’t. Param had fought her way into tougher situations.
And it seemed the private citizenry weren’t alone. Param felt the approach of the contractors well before she saw them. While her senses with the Force were kept close as to not give herself away, her practice with terrakinesis, and her wearing thin soled boots gave her the advantage of being able to feel the vibrations in the ground when people moved; it certainly help that they weren’t actually trying to hide themselves.
Param’s silver gaze turned to the woman that revealed herself on her flank. “Vee, tell Dremal there’s another group up here. Have him hold.” The little droid chirped, sending a message. The echani stopped creeping, holding positions among the boulders. Some began to shiver, having not brought enough warm weather gear for the mountainous winter air. Param stayed in a crouch to stay below the fort’s sight lines moving to a well walled off area of the pass where the newcomers were, before straightening herself back out, confident the fort wouldn’t see them. Her index finger tapped the pommel of the dagger on her right hip.
“Who are you?” Param asked, shifting her gaze from the woman to the well equipped entourage behind her, then back to the woman. Param took a chance, reaching out with her Force senses. Not a single one of them was weak minded enough to even let a tendril of Param’s Force inside. Param drew back, sure that they were professionals of some sort. They just weren’t echani, and that’s what worried her.
Arla didn't make any aggressive movements as she approached and the woman asked who she was. Arla had to assume that this woman - who didn't look Echani - was the leader of this ragtag group.
Now that she was closer, they clearly weren't military, and Arla had to assume they were bounty hunters looking to cash in. Either that or they were some vigilante group, perhaps. Either way didn't really matter just so long as they weren't hostile.
Actually, I should be asking you that, she said. My name is Arla. We've been sent by Echani Command, she said. The details of that could be sorted later, but this was enough to get them through the initial discussion.
She put her hands down and glanced back over at the fort.
Param’s head tilted at the mention of Echani Command. Eshan had a small, but well regarded military. Their training had increased in scale and intensity when the first refugees started arriving between the wars waged by Sith, Sith variants, and Empire alike. It begged the question as to why they would send a non-echani force to deal with Cito. Param didn’t really care about the answer to that, anyway; she was here to stop a slaver and trafficker.
She turned her head to Vee on her shoulder. “Can you verify that, Vee?” The BD-unit danced from one foot to the other, chirping excitedly. A small antenna erected out of the top of his head and his processor started to hum quietly. Param turned her silver gaze back to Arla. A moment later Vee’s antenna retracted, and he beeped and whirred confirmation of what Arla claimed. They had indeed been sent by Echani Command. Param let out a sigh of relief; they weren’t slavers or Sith.
“I’m Param,” she said, letting her hand fall from the dagger at her hip only to cross her arms across her chest for warmth. “We’re just echani that want to bring Cito to justice. I’ve been… around. The others have done mercenary work in the past. Cito’s bounty can help the families he’s hurt and work to finding the people he’s trafficked into slavery.” Param paused, stepping back a step so that she could view the fort again.
“Are you mercenaries?” Param asked, her gaze still watching the fort and the traffickers that manned it. “I didn’t know Echani Command would hire outside help for something like this. They must be spread pretty thin.”
The woman - Param - seemed to accept Arla's explanation, which meant at least that was one challenge out of the way.
Something like that, she said in response to the question of whether they were mercenaries. They were, of course, mercenaries despite there being more to the story than that. The temperature around her was bitingly cold, and she pulled the Vornskr skin coat that was a gift from Nakoa tighter around herself.
Vigilantes, then? she said. At least that was what it sounded like, though Arla didn't really seem to indicate that she minded the idea. More people to die instead of her troops was fine with her. Yes, clearly Arla was a very kind-hearted person.
There's a lot more than just Cito at play here, she said. Bounty hunters. Whatever they may say. Not that Arla blamed them given what she did for a career.
We're shutting down the whole slaving ring, she said. You still interested? she asked.
Might be better for just a couple of us to go take a look, she said.
“Something like that,” Param mimicked Arla’s answer, turning back to the woman with a smile. Vigilante was a good way of putting it- at least for her. Sure she had the bounty hunter puck that she’d snuck out of an actual bounty hunter’s pocket, but the money from it was going completely to the families that Cito and his band had hurt. Truth be told, no one in the fort at that very moment aside from hostages were going to be leaving the fort alive, regardless of what the other echani Param had come with thought. Slavers didn’t get her mercy.
It was a surprise, but a very welcome one when Arla mentioned bringing down the entire slaving ring. Param’s smile stayed in place. “Even better,” Param said to Arla’s question about being interested. A chance to bring down an entire slave ring was something Param would never, and had never, turned down. She has caused an international incident just by attending a slave auction as an Acolyte. She turned to Vee. “Tell Dremal to keep holding until I give him the signal.” The little BD-unit chirped and did what he was told. Param turned her silver gaze to Arla and nodded.
“If we need a distraction, I’ll have my people open fire. Otherwise I’m yours,” Param said. Vee settled in on Param’s shoulder, getting ready for a rather bumpy ride. He was no stranger to riding on Param’s shoulder and back while she fought. Sometimes the cute little guy even helped. “What’s your plan?”
It was good enough for Arla at the moment, although she had a feeling there was more to that than she let on. She probed at the other woman's mind to gather any idea of who she was, but she obtained little. Just hatred. Lots of hatred that was - hopefully - directed at the people below in the fort.
Something about the woman struck Arla as... different, though. Maybe it was as simple as the way she carried herself that told the huntress she was someone dangerous. Or maybe it was the fact that she had come out here and assembled a team to - presumably - murder a group of slavers. Whatever it was, it caught the Nightsister's interest.
I want to find a way inside the fort that the rest of our troops can use to get inside. Quick and quiet preferably so that we don't get all the alarms going off, she said.
If we approach from that side over there... she said, pointing off to the right side where a steep incline up could probably be used to get to one of the walkways... if one had very steady footing ...we can probably get inside with a short climb, she said. Or in Arla's case a quick teleport. Some things in life did make this job easier.
Param nodded, turning toward where Arla was pointing. It sure was a steep incline, one that with most of their entourages being in armor was going to be almost impossible for them all to get up there in one piece. And a distraction in the front was out of the question if Arla didn’t want alarms tripped. There was an option, but it would out Param more than she wanted. Was there even a choice in the matter? Arguing for a different way forward would be even more detrimental and cost them time. The mountain was already unforgiving in the day light; at night it was almost impossible to survive.
“Vee, tell Dremal to pull everyone back here,” she said, turning a silver gaze to Arla. “A short climb for us maybe. Everyone else has gear. We’ll be lucky if even half of them get to the top.” Fuck it.
Param closed her eyes, letting out a long sigh. She had precious seconds before Dremal arrived. The Force swirled around her and down her limbs, no longer masking itself with inactivity. Param raised her left hand, giving it a gentle swish motion in the air. The Force called upon the air, summoned its current down the pass. It picked up snow and debris and washed over the fort like a tidal wave. To the occupants, it was a powerful gust of mountain air, a sudden storm perhaps, but to Param and Arla’s entourage it was aerokinesis.
Still not having a blade through her chest, Param slid into an echani fighting stance, moving her arms to gather the Force and call a thin strip of the ground beneath the snow. With a stomp, the overpowering howling of the air current running through the pass covering the sound of moving earth, blocks of earth jut out from the side of the steep incline, in a practiced use of terrakinesis, and creating a thin set of stairs.
Param fell to a knee, finally opening her eyes after the taxing endeavor. Her silver gaze rose to Arla, panting with exertion. The Force receded back within Param, just as Dremal and the rest of the vigilantes rounded the corner. Param rose to her feet as to not concern her people, but her eyes were fixed on Arla; she searched for any intent in the woman to kill her on the spot, but her eyes also pleaded with the woman to keep what had just happened from the others.
Full team would draw too much attention anyway, she said. Clearly, she had no intention of bringing her entire team with her or the other woman's team.
Just the two of us, then, she said. Once we're inside, we'll try to find a way to open the doors for everyone else, she said. Once the doors were open, it really should be child's play from there. The slavers weren't professional soldiers, and with trained killers hunting them down, it would be quick work. Their only bargaining chip were the hostages and, while Arla wanted to save the hostages if they could, their deaths were acceptable losses if not.
Arla felt the Force bend and twist around her, but it wasn't her own energy that shaped it but the woman in front of her. Arla struggled against her instincts to react, but she sensed no hostility in the other woman. She watched as she went to work and created a route for them to ascend and... honestly, Arla was surprised and impressed. It was an unusual practice of the Force, but one that she had studied a bit herself.
Hm. I knew there was something different about you. Shaper of Kro Var? she asked curiously. If it weren't for her desire to create an alliance with the Echani, she'd have been far more interested in the other woman than the job at hand, but as it stood she had to temper her curiosity at least a bit.
We'd better get moving before someone comes to check out the noise, she said. Terakinesis wasn't exactly the quietest thing, and she didn't want to be there when someone came poking around.
So up the steps she went and slipped onto the upper balcony, crouching low and moving quickly along the path until they were deeper inside the complex. At least in here there was some protection from the elements, and after passing through a large, metal door, they were greeted by the warmth of a heater.
Param was about to answer, worry creeping up her throat like the fingers of a shadowed hand, when Dremal approached, saving her from having to explain anything. She turned to the group of echani. They were giving concerned looks at the other group. Echani welcomed refugees without issue, but armed mercenary outsiders was another thing entirely. Param could trust them to listen to her though. She’d beaten them all in hand to hand, even without the Force. “Hold here with the others and wait for the gate to open. Make sure you the light repeater on the tower gets taken out first.”
She turned back to Arla, following her up the steps she’d made. They moved silently and avoided detection. The howling would have blocked the sound of the steps being made for the vast majority of the fort, but the closest guards would come to look for whatever made the noise. Here’s hoping the snow covered the steps enough to make them less noticeable.
The moment the warmth of the heater filled the air around Param she sighed quietly and threw the hood of her tan poncho back, revealing the brown dyed hair braided into a crown with the last half of it echani silver. She kept her hands at the ready, silver eyes searching every corner and shadow. Finding they were alone, at least for now, Param turned to Arla.
“This fort is an old. Centuries old. The gate controls will be near the front, probably in a control tower,” she said. Param stayed crouched, half hidden in the shadows of a corner, even as she spoke. Vee shook the snow off himself on her shoulder. Param stole a glance at him with a look of worry that she couldn’t help show. “Vee can take care of opening the gates and disabling alarms himself.”
Vee returned her look, nodding for reassurance. He was far more brave for himself than Param was for him. “He can take care of that while we go for the leadership and any hostages if there are any.”
Arla sensed the hesitation in the other woman, but they were interrupted before Arla could press the matter further. Of course, this only further stoked Arla's curiosity and an eyebrow quirked upward. Oh, this was turning out to be too delicious.
Unfortunately, the need to press on meant that the interrogation had to wait, but on the bright side the warmth of the indoors seemed to help loosen her joints and cut away at the bone chill from the outside. The Nightsister flexed her hands several times, shaking them vigorously as if to try to shake away the cold while Param spoke.
Okay, she said with a nod. Hostages are a tertiary priority, she stated bluntly. We need to get the gates open and cut the head off the snake as our primary objective. Hunting the leadership needs to be primary, she said. It would become evident to Param that Arla was ruthless in her precision, though how exactly Param felt about that would become more clear with time.
She flicked her eyes over to the droid that she claimed could disable alarms and open the gates, and weighed the pros and cons. She used to be skeptical of droids, but after years of flying with 3PO and Teecee, she'd actually come to enjoy and appreciate their company on some level.
Okay, we'll go for Cito then, she said. Unfortunately, actually finding them would be more difficult. Her eyes flicked around the halls around them for a moment and then she paused.
Uh... you wouldn't happen to have a guess about where he's hiding? she asked. The other woman seemed to know more about the layout than Arla, so it was worth a shot. If not, one of them could always rip it out of the head of one of the guards before ripping their head off.
Param frowned as her heart sank into her stomach. Hostages were a tertiary priority? The practical part of her mind, the one that had gone into battle as her master’s scalpel so many times agreed, but it didn’t stop the ached in her chest from growing. It made sense though. Most of the hostages would be refugees, not echani; Echani Command wouldn’t necessarily care about people that weren’t their own. Despite her frown Param nodded.
“Vee can handle the gates, alarms, and finding the hostages. He just needs access to a security terminal,” she said, turning to the little droid that hopped off her shoulder between the two women. Param pulled out an EZPod and stuck it in her ear, connecting a call between Vee and herself in the process so they could communicate. “If the hostages are in a space all by themselves with no guards inside, lock the doors until we can take care of everything else.” Vee chirped quietly and nodded its optical lens, then scurried off down a hall in search of a security terminal.
“The fort is definitely echani, so there’d be a multi-floored citadel somewhere in the center,” Param said, turning back to Arla. “If I didn’t get too turned around on the way in, I’d say that way would be our best bet.” She pointed to a wider door on the opposite end of the room. If they were lucky, they wouldn’t have to go outside at all.
Param silently crept toward the door, putting her ear against it first, then sliding down and touching her hand to the stone floor next to it, using the sense that came with terrakinesis. There was nothing. She motioned to Arla, opened the door just enough for them to slip through. The hall was long and winding, sometimes sporting a lit torch and sometimes sporting an electric lantern. The worst of it was that there was no way to actually see if they were going the right way until they came to a spiral stone staircase with a normal sized door beside it.
“Want to take a guess?” she whispered, her gaze shifting between the two options.
Arla shrugged as Param mentioned locking the hostages off from everyone else. Arla had no qualms with that, though she wasn't going to break her back over it. All in all, it was fine.
Fine with me, she added.
Sounds like you've got an idea of where to go, she said, motioning for the other woman to lead the way. She moved slowly along with the Echani, until they came to a place where a split had to occur.
Up seemed like it would be right. At least it could get them to a higher level and they could find a route to the command center, right?
We'll take the stairs, she said, not knowing that it was the wrong choice (discord coin flip). She headed up the steps and it was the wrong option.
She opened the next door and as soon as she did, the two women were faced with around a half dozen slavers gathered around a pair of tables playing cards of some sort. To be honest, Arla didn't look long enough to check what they were playing before leaping into action.
She rotated her arms clockwise in front of her and formed two "U's" with her fingers before thrusting both of her hands outward and sending a wave of energy through the room, flipping over the tables and sending the men flying back to the far wall.
Rak! she swore in Dathomiri as she started moving out of the doorway and, by extension, the potential kill zone that it created.
The good news for the duo inside the fort, was that Vee successfully located a security terminal. He jacked in and got to work. First order of business was to shut off the alarms, then open the gates, and finally, find the hostages if there were any at the moment and seal them off if he could. (Discord dice roll. Alarms are off this round. Gates will open next round. Round after that will be a new roll for hostages)
The moment Arla opened the door, Param had flashbacks to when Cyu and her tried to take Vaynai after having too many drinks. Thankfully this time, violence was very much still on the table. Param watched Arla sign something in the air and then felt the a rush of the Force flowing into the room. Param could have guessed she was also a Force user by the way she wasn’t too surprised by Param’s own usage of it, but Param didn’t have time to think about it at the moment.
Arla left the door way and Param burst into the room, her speed unnaturally fast as she funneled the Force into her physical movements. She was much harder to track this time as well, sporting her brunette hair and tan poncho instead of the monochromatic blur she was so many times before when she had to clear a room. The first slaver she came across was still barely on his feet again when her dagger slid across his neck.
The next slaver found her second dagger buried up through the bottom of his chin, pinning his mouth shut as the blade pierced his brain. The third was faster, and had time to prepare. Param’s shoulder burned with pain as he slammed a fist into it, just barely missing her jaw. He swung again, but Param dodged it, using micromovements in her wrists to use her daggers to cut the tendens in his arms with every punch until finally his arms were more wet noodle than muscled weapons. He charged her, using his head as a ram. Blind anger always was a faithful weapon. Param sidestepped, slashing a dagger across his jugular.
She turned to Arla, who’d she left the other three slavers to, ready to help if needed. The man with the slashed jugular fell forward, finally passing out from pain and blood loss. A series of excited beeps rang across Param’s EZPod. Vee had managed to shut the alarms down and was now working on the gate. Good. "Vee says he's managed to kill the alarms," she said
Arla knew that her temporary partner was a Force-user, but she was fast. Faster than Arla would have expected, and she wondered in the back of her mind if it was because of her apparent Echani upbringing. She thought momentarily of Altair and his Matukai training and pondered the fact that Force-users could be blisteringly quick under the right circumstances.
Of course, this wasn't to say that Arla was slow. She had no more time to think about it now, however, and she conjured up a shard of ice with her mind. Her hand dipped downward as if scooping the ice from the ground as she conjured the shard from the moisture in the air. It leapt upward and slammed with a pointed tip through the back of one of the hunters even as Arla dodged to the side of one of the blaster shots aimed her way.
Fingers two and three on her left hand extended outward as if pointing and a pinpoint of flame erupted from them, bursting into an all-consuming green fire that melted the flesh off of the guard's face, filling and scorching his lungs.
Rather than reinvent the wheel, she swept her hand across and scorched the guard next to him as well, sending them both to the ground in a charred, violent mess.
The sounds of burning flesh filled the room as Arla took a deep breath to steady herself.
You never answered me when I asked who trained you, she pointed out. Fine, so she hadn't necessarily "asked" so much as guessed that she was a Shaper, but that didn't seem to fit with her brutal, close quarters fighting style.
Param watched Arla use the Force as a weapon against the slavers in awe. She knew the Force could be used in such ways, hell, she’d exploded a man’s head with her bare hands once just by feeding the Force into it, but the control Arla wielded over it was inspiring as much as it was terrifying.
With the last slavers in the room dead or waiting for death, Param flicked her daggers free of blood and viscera and sheathed them back at her hips. Arla’s question came again, though it was less of a question this time. There was no one to save Param from answering either. There would be no point in lying to the woman. Param had revealed herself to be a Force user first, but it was clear who the more powerful one was.
“The Sith,” Param said quietly, her silver eyes searching Arla. It was not an answer that would garner any other than hostility from most circles in the galaxy. Even the Imperial she had met, that helped teach her about how to use the Force with nature had been all but hostile to her. Helpful, but definitely hostile.
Keeping her guard up, Param walked over to a window, peering outside it. Had they gone through the door instead of taking the stairs, they’d have entered into another hall from the looks of it; a hall that lead through a cafeteria and into the main citadel. Now with the alarms down, there was another option for the two, if Arla was still willing.
“The citadel is there,” Param said pointing. Despite trying to change the subject, her guard was still very much up. “Vee’s taken care of the alarms and is working on the gates now. Between us we can push through this wall and roof top it to the citadel.” Param glanced away from the window to Arla, her silver eyes revealing nothing but an emotionless need to complete the job. Courtesy of Master Thel. He’d turned her into a weapon.
Ah, the Sith. Arla probably shouldn't have been surprised to hear it, and yet she was. The woman didn't really fit the mold of the Sith very well. She seemed a bit... soft. Still, the lethal precision with which she worked did seem to fit the bill pretty well.
And what's a Sith doing out here rescuing slaves? she asked. Sure, Arla could have taken her down and brought her into the Empire for the bounty - and maybe she still would - but something told her there was more to the story. And even if there wasn't, this wasn't why Arla had come here. After all, Apex had worked contracts for the Sith before. In secret, of course.
The woman kept pressing on for the moment rather than answering Arla's question, and the Nightsister temporarily relented if for no other reason than the fact that they were still in hostile territory and "having a chat" was probably best saved for afterwards.
She recognized the cold, steely eyed efficiency in Param's gaze and could practically feel the distrust radiating off of the other woman.
If I were going to attack you, I'd attack you, she said. There, Arla was so reassuring. Just a ray of sunshine wherever she went as usual.
Let's press on, then, she said. The reality was that finding their target - the bounty in question - was only one part of the job. Once that was done, she still had to bring down the rest of his slavers. Or at least bring back names and identities for the government to do the rest.
Is your droid able to hack into the systems and download any transaction files? she asked. In truth, it was probably asking too much, but they did still have a team on standby to assist.
Green Team, once you're inside, attempt to access mainframes to obtain transaction logs, she said into her comlink. Of course, if they could take their target alive, she could rip them free from his head, too, but that wasn't exactly admissible in court.
Param watched Arla, listened to her and nodded. She turned her gaze back out the window. “Hey Vee, can you get into the systems? Download any transaction files they might have. Try and get some communications too.” A string of annoyed beeps came through the EZPod, causing Param to involuntarily smile. “Yes I know, I’m sorry.” (Discord roll. Will happen before hostages)
“He’s on it, gates are opening right now,” Param said, turning back to Arla. Her reassurance that she wouldn’t attack wasn’t very reassuring, but there were more pressing matters to attend to. It wasn’t a story Param really wanted to tell, but she’d opened the flood gates like she always did. Sometimes she thought it was better if she just pretended to be mute.
“I wasn’t really one by choice,” Param said, stepping back from the wall next to Arla, the Force coiling down her arms to ready to push the wall out. “This was my home before I was enslaved by a Sith. Then I became one because it was the only thing I knew. Now I’m not.” Param turned her gaze to Arla. She was ready when the woman was to blow out the wall, but if they were going to hash out Param’s past, it might as well be now.
Arla listened, and it sounded like it was probably a good thing she hadn't mentioned she was a former-Sith. Slavery wasn't mainstream when her mother had been running the Sith Empire, but that was a very, very long time ago now.
And what are you now? she asked. That was perhaps the most important question. After all, the woman was here fighting and killing for... no particularly good reason. Just due to her hatred of slavery, Arla figured. She supposed that was a good enough reason, but when these slavers were dead, what then?
It was clear that Arla was a curious one, and although there didn't seem to be any hostility from the Nightsister, she probably wasn't going to just let it go.
They prepared to breach the next wall, and Arla poured the Force into it, making their way through and into a room where Param would lay eyes on none other than their target. And he was... alone? Arla really hadn't expected that. These kinds of guys always had a dozen thugs around them that she had to cut through, didn't they?
Anticlimactic probably wasn't the right word, but something felt... off. She didn't know what it was, so she approached with caution, but there didn't seem to be any immediate danger. Not yet. It seemed they had a few moments to bring him into custody? Or kill him? Arla didn't really care except that she needed what was in his head, but she actually gave Param first crack at the questioning.