The homeworld of the Nikto, Kintan was a rather inhospitable place in a lot of areas but the most developed areas were in the more temperate areas both because it was easier to build there and because it was easier for the Hutt masters of Kintan to disembark there. On paper the Nikto people were independant but they had been indentured to the Hutts for thousands of years. At this point Max was almost certain that no one alive even knew the cause of the indentured servitude, let alone the wording of the actual contract.
He wouldn't be surprised if the contract had expired literally thousands of years ago and the Hutts had simply not told the Nikto because it was in their best interests that the other race not realize that they had nothing binding them to their Masters. Of course, as was often the case with relationships the Hutts fostered, by this point the entire society that had been grown on Kintan was symbiotic with the Hutts.
If you removed the Hutts from their society it would collapse like a decayed wall robbed of it's structural scaffolding.
Being a native of the Tion cluster, Max knew this very well. It had been the same with his own people and even now, thousands and thousands of years since the despot and his empire or the Sith and theirs... his home still bore the scars of their presence. The structure they had provided had been what his own culture had been built around several times, each time it fell latching onto another to build itself back up only to collapse again when that support fell just like all the others before it. So unlike many Jedi he understood Kintan.
Didn't mean he liked it of course, which was one of the reasons he was okay with stealing the pleasure yacht of one of the local crime lords here. Honestly, he wasn't sure if the crime lord himself was actually a big player or just a proxy for a Hutt and it didn't matter. Enjoying a beer on a terrace of a bar overlooking the spaceport, Max waited for Hannibal to show up.
If he was late he didn't mind - he'd not had this brand of beer since leaving his home before becoming a Jedi. It had some additives that Core worlds found "questionable" so it wasn't readily available.
Out of all of the places in Hutt space he'd visited over time, Hannibal didn't recall ever really enjoying Kintan. He'd last been to the Nikto planet as a young boy accompanying his mother and had generally avoided it ever since. The Hutt cartels had strong influence in many places, but the gangsters literally owned this place along with every person or thing sitting on it. Plus, it was difficult to blend in with a population that was massively dominated by the various subspecies of native Nikto.
To that end, Hannibal was just trying to appear as a visitor. A wide brimmed black hat and round-lensed black mirrored sunglasses to ward off the sun. A simple fitted long sleeved shirt made of black cloth that ended in leather gloves concealed his tattoos entirely, tucked neatly into a belted pair of baggy trousers that tapered into a pair of practical leather boots. A light grey overcoat hung over his shoulders, concealed magnetic holster within containing one of his purified Imperial-era lightsabers. If he had to use it, he'd prefer it wasn't one recognizable as his own.
Hanging from the right side of his belt was a holstered RSKF-44 heavy blaster pistol, out in the open in the usual effort to preemptively discourage confrontation from antagonistic locals. The belt also contained the usual array of pouches and pockets, including the usual array of Jedi gadgetry along with slicing equipment concealed in the rear pouch along with the a spare purified lightsaber, while combat fusion cutter sat just behind the blaster. To most, he'd look like the kind of professional one might find on a Hutt planet, the kind one usually didn't usually walk up to and bother with.
The soft scowl and smooth, confident walk added to the image, a cigarra burning slowly in his left hands as he strode to the pre-arranged meeting location with Max. Hannibal wasn't terribly concerned about the older Jedi not noticing him. The young Master had been informed at some point his presence was somewhat distinctive to those who knew him, even if he was making the effort to give off literal 'how dare you speak to me' vibes to others around him.
Impressions aside, Hannibal had quickly decided he didn't like Kintan. He'd always been particularly sensitive to the Living Force, and subsequently the living thoughts and impressions of those around him. Nar Shaddaa and the underbelly of Coruscant were miserable to someone like him, but it was something he was used to. Kintan was a different kind of misery. The people here were oppressed and had been for so long it was just a part of their life. There was no freedom here, Hutt ownership having worked its way into every facet of Nikto existence. It wasn't just misery he sensed from some, but the unyielding weight of complete and utter resignation.
As he made his way through the front door of a spaceport bar and made his way up the stairs the young Jedi set aside these thoughts before he dwelt too far on them. Picking out Max from the crowd he made his way over, stopping briefly at the bar to grab himself a glass of local liquor and greet the bartender, and then slipped over to seat himself across the table.
"This planet is exceptionally Kintan," the young man said in a smooth, even tone, with an edge of cool disdain that fairly well fit the general impression of himself he was emitting into the Force. "Just as stagnant as I remember." Ordinarily he wouldn't maintain the impression while meeting up with Max, but he didn't really trust that someone wasn't watching anyone who wasn't a Nikto in this place.
Max was sipping at his beer, enjoying the refined taste of a truly awful beer and a sweetner of nostalgia. He chuckled a little bit, showing no surprise at Hannibal's arrival and not even turning to look at him right away as he eyed the landscape. The effect and emotion that Hannibal was going for was standoffish and Max was, as usual, playing the role of the middle aged man caught up in a sense of nostalgia.
Which he kind of was, he could admit.
"If it were any less Kintan, the Hutts would want their credits back." he noted, amused as he took another swig of the beer, "The spaceport is just as busy as I remember it too."
Translation: Many guards observed on the main approach.
"Well, it's nice to see that they've added more access though I suppose."
Translation: Other entrances to the spaceport are more promising.
He took another swig of the beer before gazing at the beer can fondly. Shaking it slightly to hear the beer sloshing around, he eyed Hannibal.
"I used to drink these when I was your age." he admitted, taking a final drink before setting the empty can down, allowing himself to grimace at last, "It was shite then too."
Well, this place was as charming as a bantha’s backside, that much was pretty clear. But if it could lead Brea to a way to make credits, then she was more than happy to wait it out.
The planet itself was as drab, boring and dangerous as her homeworld - just with less cold and more... burn? Brea couldn’t put her finger on the right word. This cantina was seedy at best, and considering it existed under Hutt control, it wasn’t exactly safe.
A childhood friend was supposed to be meeting her at her table. But the Vahla has already been here for an hour, and they hadn’t shown. Brea was getting worried. Had something happened to him? What job was he trying to offer her? The girl’s mind raced with anxieties.
For a moment, she almost sighed as somebody sat adjacent to her. But when she looked up to greet them - she had no idea who they were. But they looked like a merc. And she didn’t like that much.
“Can I get two drinks over here? One for me and the lovely lady.”
“Uhm... excuse me, but, no thank you.”
Brea didn’t smile. Not only was she not here for a romantic getaway - she wasn’t usually interested in men. And this show of wanton bravado was exactly why. The Vahla shook her head and got up, planning to go to the door and check if Ral’theron had been held up.
But the man stood up to meet her - blocking her path.
“It’s rude to refuse a drink around here, missy. Wouldn’t want to get hurt.”
The Vahla’s hand started slowly lowering to her blaster.
A cloud of dust left a trail rising suddenly behind the vehicle as it sped across the dusty surface of Kintan before slowly slowly resubmitting to gravity. The droid at the controls calculated there was a 'colloquially speaking' a higher than ninety nine percent that he would injure someone before the end of the day. But that was because he was here to collect a bounty.
The droid had entered the atmosphere a few kilometers east of the space port and flown low over the ground the rest of the way. N4-K4 did not want to have his target be reasonably looking out for suspicious new arrivals and blast him out of the sky. Nor did the droid want to spook him. "This is Tangent 1 requesting permission to land" The ship slowed as it came into view over the horizon and rose above the ground to a less suspicious degree. The reply came back shortly with directions to the specific landing area for his ship. +Roger Roger+ The ship slowed down further and came into a precise manner.
After the engines cycled down the droid exited the cockpit and collected his equipment. The electrostaff he premptively separated and attached to his chasis's webbing along with his other pouches. Finally, Naxa drapped the bland synthetic weave cloak over his shoulders to hide anything otherwise obvious below his neck down to the ground. It may be clear to those that knew their droids that he was a BX commando. But organics tended to get more nervous when within the increasing proximity of weapons. It was simply that he did not want to add more trouble to his mission. It would drop efficiency by a considerable degree. "If you should be one thing you should be efficient." He said to nobody. "Kzzt~" His left photoreceptor flickered for a moment as if twitching before resuming back to normal. The droid stepped towards the debarkation ramp as if nothing happened. It was not the first time this had happened and not the last.
+Exit charging port and follow+ He said in binary to the seeker droid. The small saucer shaped droid drifted after its owner from where it had been hibernating and maintained a distance of a few feet above and behind Naxa. He already knew the ship he was looking for. It was just a matter of getting onboard and retrieving the target. That was why he brought a reload, thermal detonator and a singular breaching charge. The E-11d's stock was collapsed to make sure it was not more unwieldy than necessary. +[NOTE] Comparison with variety of small arms would yield information regarding combat efficiencies. I will hunt the next target with different weapons after this one is turned in.+ The commando droid made a the equivalent of a mental reminder as it came into view of the star yacht. Initial calculations believed he would be departing the spaceport in approximately twenty minutes or less.
Hannibal looked over the can of beer Max was drinking from, grimacing slightly at it while he sipped his own drink. It wasn't great, but at least it didn't taste like tin. He took a drag on his half-gone cigarra to wash the taste of cheap liquor out before speaking again, the cloud joining the rest of the mixed fog in the room.
"Lots of foot traffic in this hot weather. A good day for a cold drink, even if it's canned piss." He responded to Max's comments and cant both, waving his cigarra vaguely through the air.
Translation: Maybe bribery will work?
"Or a good bit of rain. It's not acid here or something, is it?"
Translation: Is there sufficiently unguarded top access?
His ear comm started beeping in his ear, the binary commentary of his seeker droid Ego informing him that they apparently had a time limit. The target ship's crew was apparently loading and preparing to depart soon. Ego was keeping watch on the yacht and its surroundings from a vantage point, blending in with the rest of the droid ensemble wandering around the spaceport. Hannibal clicked his tongue in irritation and snapped the fingers of his left hand impatiently, standing up from his seat.
"Come on, we've got an appointment to keep." Translation: There's a limited window of opportunity.
However Midway through cant banter Hannibal's attention was drawn off somewhere to his left. A young lady was being accosted by a particularly rude and rough looking man. It was so surprise that kind of person existed in this environment, but come on, really? Did he not think he was macho enough or something? He turned in his seat to face the now standing pair and strode slowly toward them.
"Hey, tough guy. Did your mother not teach you not to act out for attention, or what? Got nothin' better to do?" he asked, unfiltered scorn colouring his voice. He was calm at this core, to those who could sense such things, but he was undoubtedly annoyed. His unoccupied right hand hovered over his plainly visible blaster, tapping idly against the handle. Of course, the point of his comment wasn't to shoot the guy, it was to draw his attention so the young miss could do it herself. Not that his intentions would stop him from delivering a high powered stun bolt to the guy's chest if he tried to draw against Jedi reflexes.
They probably had time to deal with one idiot before getting to the rest of things.
Ugh limited window of opportunity were exactly what he wanted to avoid. Max wasn't "Risk averse" so much as he very much preferred to have the time to stack the deck so thoroughly in his favour that said risk was the risk of a mild inconvenience at best.
"Not acid I don't think."
Translation: Top access seems clear.
He had no way of knowing with one hundred percent certainty but he was not uncertain, having observed no activity guarding said areas. Instead of saying anything else he finished the dregs of his drink before partially crushing the can and leaving it on the table.
Of course the scum of the galaxy decided to take this exact moment to rear it's ugly head because of course it did!
Max closed his eyes for a second and let out a sigh before moving. He didn't want to avoid this either but they were on a bit of a deadline according to Hannibal himself. Rather than get involved violently he approached from the side, hands raised.
"Now lets everyone just calm down - I'm sure he didn't mean anything by it and he's just a bit frustrated from work, nothing that going home and sleeping won't cure."
He was trying to be stealthy in the way he used the mind trick but he was certain that both Hannibal and the woman would notice it regardless.
"Yeah... nothing that going home and sleeping won't cure."
Of course having the man agree using his exact wording before moving away was probably what gave it away. Max himself smiled at the young woman.
"Some people just can't handle a drink, right?" he tried before glancing at Hannibal, "Let's see about our appointment, shall we?"
Well, that was also a way to handle the situation Hannibal supposed. He felt Max's influence in the Force fairly clearly, though his face didn't give it away. It got the job done and they were in something of a hurry after all, even if Hannibal generally preferred to avoid using the Force in hostile territory if he could avoid it. Just in case.
"Fine, fine. Let's go." Hannibal waved his hand dismissively and settled it back atop his blaster, casually leaning against it and ashing his cigarra with the other hand. They had to get to it if they wanted to get to the yacht in time. The ship itself would be worth the effort, but it also happened to be carrying quite a bit of varied cargo that had value all its own. Cargo the young Jedi didn't particularly want the Hutts to keep a hold on. So off they went.
Hannibal would step lively through the bar and back out through the exit and begin making his way in the general direction of the spaceport proper. It wasn't exactly far, but he wouldn't be on the main thoroughfare very long. He was making for one of the side alleys, filthy things that were commonly avoided, but from which he could relatively easily access the rooftops.
"We'll grab it quick and be on our way. We can drop any extras off somewhere if we need to, unless you have other ideas," he told Max as he turned into one of the aforementioned alleyways adjacent to the hangar complex they were after. Adjusting his hat, he looked up to judge the distance. It was somewhere around two stories high, which was definitely something he could handle. He turned to Max to confirm his estimation before moving on.
Each step brought the pillar like figure towards his target's yacht. There was a binary loader and two niktos moving aset of crates they were in a rush to move it seemed. With its hands still underneath its cloak, Naxa held onto his blaster rifle with only one appendage at his side while the other gripped the short sectined electrostaff.
The two niktos didn't notice the commando droid as he approached approached. N4-X4 spoke in binary to the seeker droid. +disable the left organic+ he said. A moment later the seeker droid zoomed out from behind the commando droid with its i shockprods immediatly pressing into one nikto where his skull met his neck. The Naxa was already within reach of the second by that time. In one fluid motion the droid extended its hand with the electro staff tip and jammed it into the neck of the second Nikto.
With bodies immediatly dropping to the ground with a small bit of twitching, Naxa continued walking inside. The binary loader seemed to hesitate a moment. "Excuse me" N4-X4 said in basic, ignoring the droid as he returned the baton back into the folds of his cloak. Outside, nobody had seen the dropping of the two guards though they would see their collapsed bodies in a moment if they came. +Wait and report if anyone enters the ship+ He said to the seeker droid. It gave a confirmation and hid in the dark recess of the cargo hold, looking outwards. The shockprods deactivated and the droid disabled its repulosors, instead choosing to walk like a crab-spider into a covert position in the cargo hold.
+Standard passenger capacity specifications of the Luxury-3000 is ten passengers and two crew members.+ That meant he had ten or so potential obstacles left onboard. One weequay carrying a datapad was heading towards the cargo hold to probably check on the niktos. N4-X4 pounced on him and brought up the electrostaff end again. This time the thud from the body made a reverberation along the deck of the ship. <"Greejo. Don't go dinging up my ship."> came an ordering voice somewhere further forward and out of sight in the ship. <"they better have finished up loading that cargo too."> The voice threatened in vain. The droid made sure the door behind him hissed closed and heard some muttering the sound of some heavy steps heading through another set of interior doors where the bridge was.
Max hadn't wanted to get caught up on the little stuff and that meant he pushed ahead. It might have been, technically, overstepping his boundaries as Hannibal was the Jedi Master and he was only the Knight. The man outranked him and, by tradition, he was supposed to follow his lead. But Hannibal often let himself become distracted.
Maybe it was because his extended lifespan meant that the time lost wasn't worth as much to him as it was to Max. Or maybe he had something of a heroic disposition to want to help others - if that was the case then it was to be encouraged.
When they weren't on the clock as it were.
Humming a little bit as he walked along with Hannibal, he nodded once.
"Sounds good to me." he admitted, "At this point I sense that haste is something we need to incorporate into our approach."
They had been delayed in the cantina and there was just something about being late that was playing upon his mind. He wanted this ship secured before they had to worry about any issues from him taking action in the bar.
As luck would have it, Hannibal wasn't exactly one to get caught up in the nuance of rank and titles most of the time. When he was working with other people, he generally preferred cooperation over rank structure with exceptions for individual skillset. In short, he wasn't bothered and really didn't see Max's actions as a problem. Unless a Sith showed up, he supposed, but that had its own advantages. So long as the job got done, all was well. Speaking of which...
Hannibal nodded in agreement with Max's brief assessment and, turning back to look at the wall, bent his legs. The Force flowed into and through him and, with a push off the ground, launched him up the wall. He landed at the top and ducked quickly back down, adjusted his hat, and sank into the Force to make himself much harder to notice. He stepped his way across the wall toward the docking bay he knew the yacht was nestled within, safe and sound, keeping an eye out for any guards. There wasn't any security on the roof, as Max had indicated, but there were ordinary guards down below. Both Nikto, both on the ground, both unconscious. Interesting.
"Someone is already here," he said, half to himself and half to Max. He clicked his tongue in irritation, silently reminding himself to acquire more droids. Ego was needed to watch the main entrance and couldn't also be watching the ship itself, leaving a gap in intel. It was always something or other. With a small sigh the young Jedi dropped from the wall and into the area containing the yacht itself, unclipping his lightsaber into his left hand beneath his coat and beginning to approach the ship. He briefly checked on the two down and out Nikto on the way past and, determining that they were more or less fine, moved on with his task.
He moved up to the main ramp of the ship, presence still suppressed, just in time for another rather irate looking nikto stepped into the doorway muttering something about loading cargo. <"Wha-?"> was as far as the crewman got before receiving a firm crack to the jaw from Hannibal's lightsaber hilt, the young Jedi's arm stretching out to catch the suddenly limp man. Hannibal didn't want the crewman to break his skull open on the metal deck and/or make a racket falling over, after all, so he sat him gently down against the wall.
Hannibal stopped in the doorway, clearly able to sense other life forms inside, as well as a vague sense of genuine danger. Someone was here before the two Jedi, and they had taken out two guards without being noticed. This did not bode well if this mystery individual also wanted the ship. Hannibal wanted the ship, and they couldn't both take off with it. That simply wouldn't work out. The young Jedi shrugged off his coat and hat and drew his blaster into his right hand, narrowing his eyes and looking into the entrance hallway. He stepped into the hall and wiggled his lightsaber in such a way as to indicate to Max his intention to split up and sweep the ship. The faster they got this done, the better.
In the meantime, Hannibal had stopped suppressing his presence and was instead focusing on his general senses. He was more than ready to react to sudden danger. He was sure he could handle random Hutt goons, but whomever had gotten here first was presumably already inside the ship somewhere. Importantly, Hannibal couldn't tell where that was. He had a bad feeling about this.
Max checked to make sure they weren't being followed before following Hannibal up to the rooftop with a Force-assisted jump of his own. Landing was a little bit wobbly but that was because there had been a very ill-timed gust of wind when he landed. Muttering about the weather of the dirtball planet hating him, he straightened his robes slightly before continuing onward.
Reaching out with the Force, he touched upon the two downed Nikto with light touches. From what he could tell from a distance they were downed but they weren't out. It seemed like someone else was, indeed, here but they weren't going fully lethal.
"Lack of lethal force suggests a thief not a murderer." he reasoned with a frown, "Good for us in some ways at least."
Making the leap himself, Max landed on the ground level in a three point landing. Standing, he shook his hand out slightly as he pressed on with Hannibal. As he approached he held his saberstaff in his right hand, currently not activated, and his stun baton in his left.
There was no sign of anyone currently but that could change quickly. Frowning heavier, he nodded to the idea of splitting up.
Despite it being the idea that always resulted in the horror victims dying.
He ignored the bad feeling in the pit of his stomach and started toward the cargo bay of the ship. Going to the cockpit had occured to him but if he was a thief he would be going for something that he could take away - not the whole ship. Taking the whole ship only worked when you had the people to man it later.
One of the thugs began playing something on one of the numerous displays on the luxury vehicle. There were enough screens and projectors to give a listening post a run for their money. But the commando droid knew most of it was entertainment purposes rather.
The droid waited to see if his target was returning but it seemed the man had likely headed up to cockpit. His history of being 'in control' likely leading him to where he had the most power at the helm of the yacht. +two possible human males approaching the ship via rear cargo ramp+ The silent communication came in binary from the seeker droid Naxa had set to watch his back for one such instance. +One of them has neutralized another nikto+ It also meant there was competition possibly or an enemy of the target that had particularly bad timing.
N4-X4 rounded the corner without a second thought and didn't even bother neutralizing the thug that was watching some music video. Instead the droid made for the cockpit, ascending to the elevated level. Making sure to set the blaster to stun, the droid opened the sliding doors. He saw three people inside all of them with their backs to the droid but even so, N4-X4 held its fire and took a few steps forward. It was only when the droid, closed the cockpit door behind him that two of the three turned to see who had joined them. Their expressions of surprise would be met with a short hail of stun bolts.
With the cockpit doors closed and locked the sound of the stun bolts would be much harder to hear but even if other possible enemies were still on the ship then they would need to get through the door. The droid set some binders on the body of his target and pulled the blaster pistol from the man before tossing it to the side to one corner. It was nothing special and the droid had more than enough weaponry for the time being. +Twenty minutes or less+ N4-X4 repeated his earlier calculation to himself.
Hannibal had to agree that Max's assessment was probably accurate. For one reason or another, whoever had arrived to the ship first was avoiding lethal force. The young Jedi shrugged his shoulders and rolled them back to stretch them for a moment before, considering where to clear first. Max was heading off to the cargo bay, so Hannibal opted for the cockpit. Might as well take control of the ship and down important personnel first.
Quietly, Hannibal slipped along the ship's interior, relying on the Force as well as his natural senses to warn him of danger. He peeked around a corner and saw some dude watching a video of some kind on one of the screens instead of anything particularly productive. This also meant he wasn't looking in the young Jedi's direction as he stepped from around the corner, the Force reaching out toward the distracted thug. The man was unaware and not on guard, which meant Hannibal was able to work quickly as he snuck past, his will slowing the man's bodily functions to the point of unconsciousness. It was temporary and harmless, but unlike his blaster it was silent. Hannibal didn't intend to announce his presence until it was necessary to do so.
He passed through the area and soon made it to the cockpit itself. Or more accurately, the closed cockpit door. Hannibal's eyes narrowed at it, a familiar sensation running down his spine. He paused before it for a moment, left foot and unlit lightsaber forward. He could slice the door, he did have the equipment, but that would distract him. He could burn it down, but that would take time and obviously alert whoever might be inside. Also he'd rather not put holes in his new ship, truth be told. He couldn't feel a presence within that was 'active', so to speak, as if they were sleeping. This was certainly abnormal. So with all this information at his disposal, he went with option C.
From within the cockpit, the occupants would hear a sudden tapping. A gentle rapping, rapping at the cockpit door. "Would you mind opening the door? I want just the ship, only this and nothing more," Hannibal spoke loud enough to hear through the door, his senses focused and open to his surroundings. He didn't know if whoever was inside would be hostile, nor when more thugs might show up. It was best to be cautious, but he'd rather not fight if he could avoid it.
The droid grabbed the slumped shoulder of one of the unconscious crew members that still sat in front of the ship's controls. Stopping at the sound of a voice the droid faced the door. A moment of silence pervaded the cockpit. The droid cocked his head to the side, first speaking normally so that only Hannibal would be able to hear some slight muffles.
The commando droid modulated its voice to sound like what it had heard a few minutes earlier. "Disembark my ship or I'll blast ya" Of course Naxa didn't actually care. Even if he did, he had no idea who or what this newest arrival is. This ships security is lacking. The droid just wanted the bounty. He had another plan in mind that would guarantee success. N4-X4 switched back lethal damage for his blaster fired his bolt into the view screen of the yacht, cracking it and weakening its structural integrity.
Max found that the cargo hold held few souls - perhaps it was his recent experience with slavers but not finding the hold full of humans and other sentients was something of a novelty to him. Odd he knew but it was good enough for him to find that there was only a single crewmember, quietly playing a game on a holopad.
Likely instead of working - the shame of it all.
He reached out with the Force and made the man drop the datapad. When he cursed and went to pick it up, Max crossed the distance to jab his stun prod into the man's back to stun him. Passing him by, he moved into the core of the ship.
The power came from here so... he reached out and began the sequence to power the ship down by causing a fire alarm. It would temporarily ground the ship and, as a side benefit, lock any and all internal doors open. A ship emergency like a fire was not something that could be easily overwritten since it was so deeply encoded.