It wasn’t often that Zad Ruzed found himself frequenting the Core Worlds. They were a little too far from the Outer Rim, a little too controlled, and this was one Ranger who was more comfortable in the wild rim. ‘Frontier fuzz’, his allies and enemies would joke; a ‘badge on the brink’. Then again, weren’t all Sector Rangers? Cowboys or not, the whole bunch was little more than a border posse trying to make ends meet by connecting this world’s laws with that one in the hopes of building toward some semblance of universal law. Such a goal, while noble, was not the same as uniting physics.
Physics.... Zad humphed as he flicked his lighter and lit the cigarette between his lips. He had seen enough ‘physics’ from Jedi and Sith, ninja and samurai playing whack-a-mole with laser-swords, to make stone age civilizations wonder what in the hell the future was doing still wearing robes and swinging swords. The irony was not lost on the Ranger as he stood beside a pillar in a docks district, overlooking an artificial reservoir that had long since been puddled in place of a sea long since surrendered. This is the future… He blew smoke in its general direction. A pool of lies trying to drown out the truth…
That was also not lost on him. He was overlooking the docks themselves and namely an array of cargo containers amid ships. A deal was about to go down tonight and Zad Ruzed had strolled up in his trademark black leather duster to further conceal himself in the dark, though he was staking out the dock far enough to enjoy a cig without getting the smoke spotted. On the other hand, he had already spotted a few goons standing guard with what were probably carbine blasters hidden in their own dark jackets.
They weren’t up to much, enjoying their own vices, but that would change soon enough. These criminals, 5S or otherwise (Zad did not know), were waiting on company. A company, to be precise, and these other guys Zad did know. InterKellar was a small-time mining corporation looking to go big, and the best way to do that was to, apparently, go deep and dark, and that meant the business of arms dealing. It was not Zad’s first rodeo with that but it was his first with these guys so, ultimately, he had obeyed the brass when HQ summoned him from the Rim to put him on the case.
IK did have mining operations in the Outer Rim, after all, and so ends had a funny way of meeting up. So did Zad and his partner. He would not be alone tonight. While those goons at the docks were waiting for their company the Ranger was waiting for his own. He had never met them, was a bit of a lone gunman, but was comfortable partnering up all the same. He just hoped that whoever his partner was had some granola bars or something. Dang I'm hungry...
Arah Tizun was sitting at a desk within the confines of the Sector Ranger HQ, where he had been for the last while. He was reviewing a briefing note regarding some recent going ons within Coruscant. One of the many minor informants the Rangers had established in their home planet; afterall how does one protect their own home? By knowing a lot about it and the activities within. The recent reports weren’t fool-proof, and they hadn’t been confirmed just yet, however the main piece of information that the Cathar was looking for was available, a note of a possible arms business expected to happen in the foreseeable future. He’d been tracking the information for some time – that was the issue with desk work, you had access to reports.
Tizun did not need a lot of information, he just had a suspected location and a suspected schedule. That information was relevant as today was the suspected day. Criminal weren’t dumb, they had to track several locations to try and to narrow down the nexus of the deal and after weeks of tracking they were able to track it down to a dockside. The cathar checked the time, it would be happening soon. He had furthered been informed by the brass that he would be meeting with another ranger and tagging this operation as a duo. The brass gave him but a name and an encrypted comm frequency. He would be working with Ranger Ruzed; that’s the only information he was given regarding this Ranger.
One of the pros but also cons of the Sector Ranger was that files were privileged and safeguarded. Every Ranger’s activity was sealed during active operations and even then, after the missions. This is not to say the organization was a secretive organization, it was just that the Rangers were given certain liberties during their investigations and the Free World Alliance oversaw what was applicable. This meant a ranger could use discretions, however it also meant that if a ranger wanted to work with another ranger, they had to get the details from the ranger themselves and not be simply accessing the file on their own; at least this was Arah Tizun’s experience… but then again, he didn’t often work with others and he didn’t often care to look into other files. Tizun was a man of practicality, he only wanted the information necessary for his case and not anything surrounding it. Facts, not speculations.
It was time to go; Tizun headed to his personal storage locker to equipped himself for today’s mission. Like a previous case, today he had to act and couldn’t afford too standby. One difference between then and now was instead of doing weeks if not months of surveillance, based out of a safe house, he had conducted this from the sanctity of HQ… he hated it and he was starting to get antsy with all this; the only action he had seen was dealing with the everyday mundane tasks and offering training for local agencies; but the galaxy had shifted and he had insisted he needed to get back in the field. Come to think of it, he didn’t know why he had remained here, but that was irrelevant now. Security was important. The cathar put on his Enforcement Armor and signed out an A280 blaster rifle along with his hand blaster and stun baton. Where there’s weapons deals, there’s high powered weapons; could never be too safe or outgunned.
One armed, he head down to the landing pads and got in an unmarked speeder; he was proud of his Ranger status and wore the badge with pride, but sometimes you needed to keep a low-profile, and today was a day for discretion – at least for now.
The Cathar Ranger hurried to the suspected deal location. He parked his speeder a fair distance away from the location however, it was not time to tip them off. He had a planned vantage point that could oversee the site; satisfied with the location he began surveillance with his macrobinoculars. There was the location, he noted several folks wander about, he made note of their patrol roots as they indulged in their vices. Arah Tizun tuned his personal comm to the encrypted channel and transmitted his badger number and unique identifier, as to invite the other ranger to chat.
Tizun’s plan was simple, he wanted to check out the site for himself and then meet up with the other ranger to plan.
Zad searched for anything out of the ordinary that wasn’t already out of the ordinary, counting bodies and scoping faces, looking for patterns in patrols and seeing if any of these goons were high or drunk instead of just smoking cigarettes. A few stole sips from flasks, one might have been smoking something that wasn't quite a cigarette, and amid the dozen or so thugs they looked relaxed but coordinated as they paced or stood still.
Zad had his own flask in a coat pocket but decided not to sip from it just yet. Checking the time, there would not be much time left before the InterKellar party arrived for the arms exchange. Those arms? Any one of those containers… Look secure...will need to get in closer to scan…
His comlink peaked just then to reveal the credentials of a fellow Sector Ranger. Well, they did not know each other but that would change soon enough. The ping appeared to check out so Zad chimed back with his own details and decided not to give his would-be partner the silent treatment so soon.
“Howdy,” he greeted the other Ranger. “Nice of you to show up. Guessing you're posted nearby…” He trailed off a moment to try and spot the guy before relaying his own coordinates at one of the port pillars opposite the dock. “Can come to you or you come to me. I’d like to see the face of the person who’s going to have my back and such.”
Intoxicated. Dumbfounded. Inexperienced.Arah was mentally noting what he could see as he waited for a response. As he scanned the area, he noted the number of containers and a little part of him suspected that if they were smart - or seasoned - they'd have to go through each container. It was long until he'd gotten a response from his transmission.
The credentials worked and that provided him a sense of comfort. To Tizun this was the equivalent to a handshake; his would be partner was quick to open communication, Howdy was the first thing he heard. "You presume right." Arah's gruff voice responded, "I'm a blaster bolt away from your position. We've got several wandering about - I'm sure you've noted." He was getting down to business. He thought making some comment about how he could easily provide overwatch as a quip to the statement given, but refrained. He wasn't a sharpshooter, but he was on the higher ground.
He scanned the area and the coordinates of his partner, Tizun hovered over the area for a few moments trying to spot the other. "Yes. I will attend your location. I've got some clear shots here, but we can't be so rash." Arah put his gear away. The cathar looked back before relocating; he did take the speeder but would not go directly to his partner, no he would take an alternative route and touch down a acceptable distance from his destination and then took the walk.
The cathar Ranger approached the Ranger by the pillar. He was wearing the basic outfit, his white tunic and black pants. A brown utility belt on his waist with a few energy packs. He walked with purpose, with pride. The cathar had a neutral expression resting on his face. His golden fur and pale blue eyes, highlighted by his unique white features on the fur.
"Ranger." Arah Tizun greeted. He held out a datapad that contained some preliminary findings and surveillance regarding the target dock. Tizun was not aware what Zad knew.
This other Ranger, well, he sounded like a monk or something. Assassin? Cyborg? Jedi-Ranger? All four? Zad’s thoughts mused away as they so often did so that, by the time his partner appeared, they were focused on the ‘monk’ portion of the musing. The Cathar’s tunic seemed the fashion like the seams of a robe but this was no Jedi as far as Zad could tell. Time would tell. “Ranger”, the Ranger acknowledged the other Ranger. It was as formal as not.
“Zad. Zad Ruzed.” Zad introduced himself a tad more formally. As his counterpart produced a datapad, Zad produced something else.
He flashed his teeth in an attempt to match the portrait of his profile before blowing smoke away from both Rangers. Cigarettes could stain the teeth, it was said, but this smoker knew the tricks of how to keep his pearly whites pearly white. Clearing his throat, he crossreferenced Arah’s data with his own, and the similarities would be stark.
“Looks like we’ve both done our homework. I think at this point it’s just a waiting game until the third party shows up…”
He trailed off long enough to flick some lingering ash from a cigarette which was nearing its end. Just then, Zad’s ‘oculars spied the dock guards taking to attention as though their mothers had just caught them smoking. What had caught their eye was an incoming group of about a dozen or so other crooks who, unlike their counterparts, had just entered the docks in dress suit jackets instead of leather ones.
“That’s them,” Zad confirmed before flicking the butt of his cigarette into the water. “InterKellar. Now it begins…”
As he peered at the ID of Zad he provided his own introduction, “Tizun. Pleasure.” He only provided his last name, he had gotten use to being called that throughout his short career. Arah did not often produce an ID because he was okay with people knowing that he was a ranger, he was proud of his station and often wore the badge with pride and often wore it so that it’d be visible; however it was not his actual badge it was an officially recognized copy of his badge – if he lost this in any scuffle or if it had been taken from him, it was not devastating as the real deal – the one he carried when there was little concern for losing it.
He glanced over to the location in which the new crooks arrived. “Indeed; it looks like they’re treating this like any other business deal. Suits? Perhaps they’ll try and plead innocence; it won’t go far for us though.” He needed a moment to think about how to approach the subject of approach.
“Ranger Ruzed,” The Cathar began, “Do you have a plan of approach here? Are you planning on just walking in and announcing yourself or are you planning to gather more evidence? We have enough.” Arah Tizun thought back to a file on Corellia, back then he was the only Ranger but now it was two of them. From up top he recalled the layout and acknowledge that they were in incredibly open space, so the approach of clearing and reducing opposition didn’t make much sense. “We can avoid patrols if you want, or we can subdue them to minimize our opposition. But they will not be surrendering without a fight.”
“Well, the main targets might – but people are stupid or get trigger happy; ideally we should try and recover as much as we can.” The cathar was to the point, he did not realize the connotations associated with calling someone a ‘target’ but he could think of no other way to describe them. Person of interest? It didn’t make sense to him; some might think he was a cold-hearted killer, but the truth was always tried to minimize the body count and would much rather incapacitated then neutralize.
Although he had a medium weapon strapped to his back, he didn’t want to use it unless it was absolutely necessary. He would rather engage in fists or use his hand blaster or stun baton. This was not a mission of subtly to him, this was a call to action.
“Options,” Arah Tizun mused, “We watch until the deal is done or happening. We can climb up or stick to shadows. We could also round up and then engage as a possibility, or finally we simply walk in and announce ourselves." He reiterated.
‘Won’t go far for us’... Zad smiled at those words. He already liked Tizun. Lowering his spying device, he looked his counterpart in the eye as the Ranger asked the Ranger for a plan of approach. Tizun was not the only one who had come armed. Zad favored his TM-357 but also had his blaster rifle slung over his back. Then there was the stun baton for where it mattered. The latter was good for proving a point, like when the wielder felt like bludgeoning a target slash person of interest instead of just shooting them.
“I like options,” Zad favored as he looked away from Tizun to focus on the two parties at the docks while they converged. “We might yet get another Ranger or plus helping us in this little shindig but we can’t afford to wait anymore. Still, with just two of us, running in blasters blazing is a no-go.”
He shook his head just in case that was not clear. “Nah, we need to watch and wait. The criminal group is selling arms or buying them; IK is buying arms or selling them. Both have equal stakes. Our main concern is finding out where the arms are...and that means tailing our targets to the container where the arms are.” He whipped out another cigarette, turned it this way and that, tucked it away without a spark. “You dig?”
Arah Tizun listened closely, evaluating the words and weighing the alternatives. There really was no logical alternative, monitor, watch and see where they’re storing the equipment. That’s what he wanted anyways – Arah Tizun was a perfectionist to a fault. When he underwent a case, he tried to tie up all loose ends before closing it. In his mind if you don’t address it all the case will continue.
When Zad asked him if he dug, the cathar looked at him with a serious looking and didn’t break it for a second. “I only dig if I have to, and now is not the time for that – it’s duracrete all over - but I understand your plan.”
Tizun took his eyes off the human male before him and began looking around the area. Zad had talked about getting another ranger involved in the file, although he would be willing to work with other, he did not see any reason to delay – as Zad had already pointed out. He did consider notifying the local authorities, but he did not want to risk anyone further. These two could do it, they were trained to do things like this – it’s why they were given certain discretions to carry out their missions; true they were not military, nor would you call them “special forces” but they were the guys and gals who took on the more dangerous missions than what a local law enforcement would take on, it’s why they were trained as such.
Arah Tizun placed his hand on his partner’s shoulder to get his attention. “I was providing overwatch before I contacted you. I reviewed the area from above. There are three locations that will offer a proper vantage point to oversee the operation. However, I’m uncertain if each position overs a complete coverage – I haven’t been in all the spots obviously.”
“We either watch from the same spot or we go our separate ways. Your decision.” It was slightly awkward for the Cathar because he often worked alone and didn’t have much interaction with others. When he was dealing with non-rangers it was easy for him to immediately take charge of the situation and bark orders and ensure the job got done, because when those incidents happened it was his own file and he was lead and he refused to let a job go incomplete and he refused to allow it to go sour due to some numpty’s idiotic execution; but with another ranger, he was not primary and he went into this task already knowing it wasn’t exactly his file.
“I suggest the east point, it will allow us to see a little bit more from the ground before going up – we would need to exercise caution though, and with that caution comes…” The catman reached into a cargo pocket on his pants and produced a power bar, “… with you eating something because your stomach will give away our position.”
At Tizun’s reaction to digging and duracrete, it was all Zad could do to just stand there and blink. “...Uh huh…” He cleared his throat, centering his focus back on the criminal and corrupt elements yonder. Zad’s mission was to find out what InterKellar was ultimately up to and that would be hard to do if their facilities caught wind of a crackdown and shakedown tonight. They would close shop and burn, wait for the smoke to settle, reappear in the calm and the cycle would repeat.
Zad’s thoughts drifted back to his partner as the latter mentioned his own surveillance. “Only two of us,” he repeated for both of them. “So I say we split up. Can see more angles from two angles.”
His sights were on the three locations that were offered the best vantage. There was a massive crane platform, a watchtower and a port building. The watchtower in the east was the tallest structure but the crane offered a few nifty ways down toward a variety of containers right beneath it. It was settled, then.
He was about to express that before a power bar came his way. “I…” He gawked. “...Am kinda hungry… Thanks, partner.” With that, Zad broke the wrapper and spoke through a managed mouthful. “I’ll take west.” He pointed toward the crane. “We’ll stay on com. I wanna sample the merchandise of these guys in order to trace it across the stars. This corporate group’s starting some shady business in the Rim and I intend to get to the bottom of it. That means finding this container before the deal gets sealed. The goons aren't dumb enough to stand right beside it but, as negotiations begin, a couple of those guards will close in toward the container which makes finding it easier.”
He shrugged. “Things turn south I’ve got Coruscant Police on standby to move in and catch the bastards redhanded. But that’s not SR priority. Main thing is we don’t want IK getting tipped off with its first arrest of some low level grunts; we want to arrest the whole board at once, you dig?” He blinked. “...Don’t answer that…"
Arah Tizun listened closely to Zad Ruzed, it only made sense to split up and cover the points, it was the most accurate way to get an eye on all things at once – they wouldn’t accomplish much if they were looking from the same point. He merely nodded as the human said split up, but he would continue to listen.
The idea was straightforward, it was within the goals of the Rangers. The Rangers were called in to take down 'the big fish' and not some petty criminals, they merely acted on petty criminals as a moment of necessity and to obtain the information up the change; this was only the natural course of action. Monitor the deal, track the weapons, continue the mission forward. If the Cathar was understanding correctly, Zad Ruzed wanted to get seize some of the weapons in order to trace their origin? Tizun didn’t think to ask for the time, the goal was simple find the container and act. That was the mission and that was the mission he intended to carry out – all the while looking to lock down the persons of interest and try to disrupt the operations in the future. Clear.
Zad intended to climb atop the crane to oversee the scene from the west. Arah was no sharpshooter so the decision to climb atop the tower made no sense for this task, this was not a kill mission and he wouldn’t be covering as a sniper in the incident – although his blaster could suffice with it’s scope, that wasn’t his gig. Arah was a fighter and wasn’t afraid to get into the thick of things and make it 'personal' he always found it more satisfying, and he felt more in control when he entered melee range or close range; too many variables the further away you got. Because of this, it was easy to decide on the port building. This would afford him the time to close the distance if need be.
The only odd thing that came across Arah’s mind was when Zad asked him if he dug... again. He thought he had already provided the answer, they didn’t have time to dig in the duracrete and even if they did he didn’t know what purpose it would serve. He was curious now, did Zad Ruzed have a hard time retaining information? Or maybe he was hard of hearing? The interest in digging alluded the cathar, he merely shrugged. Okay, I won’t answer. Did you suddenly remember my answer? Tizun thought to himself.
“You will watch from the west. We monitor them and get a drop on the container and build our case further. The objective is clear, partner.” That was a weird thing to say out loud, ‘partner’ he never had a partner before. It wasn’t overly comforting to him, it made him slightly uneasy to work with other Rangers, he didn’t know why. Maybe he was just concerned that things wouldn’t go as planned because he didn’t have the control – it also didn’t help that his partner tonight seemed to struggle with retaining information. Part of the reason why he repeated the plan out loud was to ensure Zad Ruzed heard what he had said. Maybe he was just overthinking this whole thing?
Arah looked at the general direction of the building he was going to perch atop. “Coms will be open, same frequency as I used to contact you. That building,” He nodded in the direction of his plan, “Will be my vantage point. It should provide me with some sight, but I cannot guarantee any extensive overwatch. We will have to converge together.” Arah’s pale blue eyes locked with Zad’s dark eyes, the two eyes were of stark contrast “You go first. You’ll be able to see more than I. I will provide some coverage to get you across the yard toward the crane but stick to the shadows. We obviously do not wish to give them any clues – we hold all the clues and information.”
Zad smiled with both rows of teeth. He was glad that his partner understood the plan. Eh...well...such as it is… Clearing his thoughts while clearing his throat, he nodded at Tizun’s suggestion of Zad’s going first. In fact, that tucked in rather nicely with his own vantage point. Like a kid getting tucked in for bedtime.
“Couldn’t have said it better than that, friendo. That crane will give me a clear drop right onto the containers, so when the time comes, yeah, we’ll converge together, but you’ll need to bypass the perimeter to reach me.”
Zad placed a firm slap upon his partner’s shoulder. “Guess that’s when I’ll be the one covering you!" He winked. “Stay sharp.” With that, he was off, fingering his cigarette pack but reminding himself that a trail of smoke was probably not the ideal way to go. He also reminded himself that he had just put his fate in the hands of one Cathar of whom he had to trust to watch his back. Make it or break it, Zad Ruzed…
Onward the Ranger marched, sticking to the shadows. The crane platform was on the perimeter of the docks, positioned at the edge of the containers, but he had since picked out a few guards who were more outgoing on their patrol. With the InterKellar group having arrived moments ago, their own guards would also be keeping an eye out. Zad had to stay clear, weren’t no mistake.
“Reached the crane,” he covertly commed over after hugging a wall, taking a peek and rounding to the other wall when the guard walked away. “Climbing the ladder. On the up and up from here, amigo.” Climb Zad did, a bare moment after his back would be exposed and all four of his limbs tied to the task at hand. If he took a tumble it would not be pretty. Make it or break it...
Arah subtly raised an eyebrow at the comments the human made about lemons. This particular ranger was a peculiar one, but he supposed to each their own. He did not dwell on this and instead moved on with the conversation.
Arah monitored and followed Zad with his eyes while the human ranger took off to his intended destination. Arah kept the glance until Zad and been consumed by the shadows, and where Zad disappeared the cathar lingered for a few moments before turning his attention to the port building he had been eyeing. The criminals weren’t exactly hardened criminals and Zad easily cleared the yard to get to his location and Arah needed to offer little in the way of coverage; so far so good but he knew this would not last.
Shortly thereafter he received the familiar but still foreign voice in his ear. His partner had made it as far as he needed to and was now climbing; it was the Cathar’s turn. He turned his attention to the route he was going to be taking, Arah Tizun advanced slowly but surely, hugging tight to the walls and keeping to all the shadows the artificial lighting cast on the dockside. He moved with ease, not a slip or a stutter; like a shadow himself.
Arah Tizun quickly found himself pinned up against the wall of the building he had sought. Casually he slipped into a doorway and ascended a staircase, the building housed a few office terminals and amenities; none of this interested him. Conveniently the building had a window that overlooked the cargo containers, he moved to the window and peered out of it. He could see a central location, a location that appeared to have a lone shadowy figure standing as he tended to something in front of him, Arah was uncertain as the figure had its back to him and he didn’t have the most premium sight. However, this location offered some oversight to the scene below; and if he needed to act or escape quickly, he noted a side door that led to a catwalk stretching across the yard; but to go that route would make him exposed, a thing he was not interested in doing right now.
The Cathar checked over his equipment one last time and confirmed that his blaster was set for stun and not for kill. He tapped his ear to open the comm-link to his partner. “I’m in a position inside the building directly across from you. The catwalk can get us somewhat closer to each other but there is no cover. Down below, I think I see the exchange point. Single individual there, do you have eyes on them? Can you identify them?”
The Cathar Ranger slowly scanned the scene as he talked, making note of the position of the couple of guards he could see. This spot was not as ideal as he had thought…
So far so good. The words were a comfort as they echoed in Zad’s mind. He had not fallen from the ladder or been blown into smithereens by a barrage of blaster bolts so that meant that his ally was covering him as much as it meant his enemies had not spotted him.
Onward the Ranger climbed, and quite a climb it was; rung after rung, hand after hand, boot after boot, the world ascending with him. He saw the containers sprawl about like derelict trains in a graveyard, the artificial ocean dance a dark dance of black waves in the night, the skyscrapers of the city tower far above his own with the lights of a trillion eyes—and none of them were watching him.
Reaching the top of the crane, Zad had his own catwalk to play with in all directions. It stretched out before him while the operating booth was behind him. He made a note of that in case he needed to double back and move the crane itself for any reason, but catching a container was less his concern than catching what was inside it and he had to do so without causing a scene.
As he danced across the catwalk, Zad observed some further connectivity between his position and his partner’s, the latter piping up just then. “I see them,” he answered simply, keeping low till he assumed a prone position on a walkway’s edge. He saw them, all right. There was a group of five approaching a group of five.
“IK’s the five in the black suit jackets. Crime group’s the five in the black leather jackets. Still not sure who they are, maybe 5S. They won’t wanna talk for long but they’ll wanna talk long enough to haggle and doubt.”
Zad scanned around the area, shifting gaze from the meeting to the containers surrounding them. He knew what he was looking for when he found it. “See those two shitheads linking up and heading west? Bet my pazaak stack they’re heading for the arms container. Keep watch. Let me know their route. I’m going in.”
Without waiting to hear back, Zad was on the move. There was no ladder that descended toward the containers themselves but there was the crane itself and he had climbed enough ropes and chains in his time. Like his enemies, he was wearing dark clothing, and the last thing they would be expecting was some idiot Sector Ranger daring to climb a crane down toward them.
“Confirmed. InterKellar marked in suits; classy.” Black leather jackets? This was a cliché outfit for criminals. He never understood the allure of a leather black jacket, but who was he to judge? Arah Tizun was a Sector Ranger, not the Fashion Police or Sector Fashion. “Move swiftly then, quietly.”
Tizun’s eyes rose to the crane tower observed his companion’s shadow as it swiftly descended the ladder and then they fell on the two guards he pointed out, “On it.” Tizun quickly reacted to the decision to tail them and emerged from his hiding spot within the building. He found himself on the catwalk wrapping around the building’s front; keeping his eyes on the two guards that had been identified, but there was a matter of concern regarding the individuals negotiating.
“When you get down from the crane – from the ground you will need to go forward 2 containers, right 3 containers, left 4 additional containers. In that exact order.” For some they’d get confused, normally it would be ideal to use cardinal directions – it would be a challenge to state north or south once you enter a maze you lose a sense of direction - but what Tizun was thinking was the clear decision. He’d just have to take the direction as they came – that meant when he said “left” it would be Zad actual left from the direction he was facing. “I do not know if that’s the container you seek, but that’s where they’re going. You could cut them off at that point. Only two.”
Tizun gathered these directions from hopping from the catwalk to a container and another one, it was risky but the cathar felt confident in his movements. His jumps were executed with absolute grace and particular soft landings resulting in no sound; this was the benefit to his feline species evolution. Confident with the directions he had given Zad he returned his attention to the negotiations happening; a couple additional jumps and he was in clear view of the subjects.
As much as he would try, he could not split his attention between two group of people. He would have to lay his confidence into the other ranger in order to ensure his safety. Arah Tizun monitored the group before him, they were still discussing, but based on their reactions it appeared they were at ease, familiar with one another and were exchanging formalities. He couldn’t hear them, but he could see their expressions with the poorly lit docks; but as expected things would turn at a moment’s notice.
“Ruzed, they’re looking like they’re about the shake on this deal. What’s your status? You might not have only two to deal with if you don’t hurry it up.”
Climbing up that ladder had been easy enough. Climbing down the crane was another story. It took a feat of strength and agility, enough of what Zad had, but it also took a bit of insanity considering anyone could look up any moment. That, though, was a gamble the Ranger was willing to take.
Such thoughts permeated Zad’s mind as he continued to descend. He listened loud and clear to his partner’s relay of containers as though navigating him through a maze of traffic routes. “Solid copy,” he relayed back. “Forward 3, right 4, left 2.” There was a pause before Zad afforded a quiet chuckle over the com. “Kidding. 2, 3, 4. I got it, partner.”
Moments later and his boots touched down. It wasn’t the duracrete ground but the durasteel of a container. He landed in a crouch, keeping low as he snuck his way toward an edge. Sure enough, the two guards were walking side by side between a row of containers yonder. Forward 2, right 3, left 4. Licking his lips, Zad removed himself from his position and began to negotiate his way throughout the maze.
Oblivious to the tail behind them. The Ranger hugged the wall and took a peek at the guards. Both men were lifting cigarettes like they might be standing in front of that container for some moments.
“Whaddya mean ya don’t have a lighter?” Rebuked one guard.
“I gave it to Lansky! He didn’t have one either!”
“Well...shit! I gave mine to Dansky! He didn’t have one either!”
Good… Zad reassured himself behind the corner. They’re idiots. With that, he rounded from the wall in his jacket as black and leather as theirs.“Need a light?” He smiled.
The guards looked at each other then at their guest before one spoke. “Who the hell are you?”
"Hm?" Zad blinked. "I'm Zansky."
"We don't know any Zan—"
WHAM! One fist clocked the nose of one guard. He would not recover from that punch anytime soon. As soon as the other guard raised his carbine, Zad wrapped a hand around the barrel and buried it between the oaf’s eyes. He, too, would not be recovering from that anytime soon.
Tizun’s voice came over the com just then. Zad was already working on the container. “Roger, roger. Tangos down. About to . . . ” Trailing off, he managed to open the container with a bit of help from his sleeping friends and combined devices. “ . . . Open sesame. I’m inside. Stand by.”
The Ranger stepped into the container, switched on his flashlight, and felt his jaw drop. Holy...shenanigans...