There was a mix of excitement and nervousness when Thalia was allowed on this assignment. The pressure existed and she could feel it, not only as a new Ranger, but also with the weight of the galaxy watching and waiting to ensure safety is restored. Thalia was informed she would not be working alone in this assignment and would be paired with a Jedi Knight, Devan. There was an uneasiness to that, some of the experiences she had with Jedi outside of Max were those were a bit pretentious and disengaging. With this Knight in particular, the overseeing director reassured that would not be the case. She was given the rendezvous and she assumed the Jedi would also have that information also. Their meeting location in particular was a lookout, other Rangers were keeping surveillance on the port and had notified of this ship in particular.
What authorities were most concerned is the ship leaving before they had a chance to apprehend the culprits who could be in possession of materials that are looking to cause another massacre among Ranger and civilians alike. Thalia stood behind the technician who was using a surveillance droid to scan the area; she was wearing her blast vest and had an extra blaster and couple flash grenades in addition to her normal gear. She watched as they took the droid back to the ship, circling around the transport to look for signs of movement. If they were going to do this, they would have to leave now; Thalia picked up the audio comm and placed the piece in her ear.
"We need our Jedi, where is he?" she said with a impatient huff.
That the Rangers and Jedi were working together now was a good thing in Saul's eyes. It had taken a lot to get here, he said to himself, things had been tense and combative for a long while. And in many ways they still were. But hopefully a few more operations like this and there'd be a new alliance in the galaxy, they'd need with the Dark Side on the rise as it was.
Saul still bore the scars of his last encounter with them, the Knights of Ren on Corellia. He'd made it out better than one might have expected, but parts of his body still ached from it all, his nose especially after he'd taken a staff butt to it squarely.
But, it had got them here today side by side, and that was something. That meant he needed to prove himself once more.
Entering the rendezvous, he kept his profile low, they couldn't risk being seen just yet, they needed to be on the ship somehow,
Skkk-bhrk, his rebreather huffed as he spoke up,
"He's right here" he said in reply, coming in by Thalia, the Ranger he'd been partnered with today "I assume the plan hasn't changed, we're getting on that ship?"
Thalia nearly jumped out of her skin upon hearing the Skk-bhrk crackling of the rebreather as the Jedi Knight entered the room, announcing his arrival. She spun quicker than her gear, having to adjust her blast vest just slightly as she faced the Jedi Knight. She blinked a few times, trying to process who she was looking at, noting his injuries and questions began to surface if he was competent to be of help today. However, the crackling of the comm behind her reminded her that time was running out.
"Thank the stars," she said quietly knowing she would not have to wait any longer, "We're going on that ship." she said picking up the second ear piece and handing it to Saul, "And we don't have a moment to waste. We'll have eyes in the air, they are watching from above, so they'll let us know if they see anything or anyone approach our location." Thalia explained double checking once more over her gear as she was ready and set to head out.
She glanced over her shoulder giving their tech a nod, signalling they were ready, "C'mon Jedi, let's check out what gifts they were going to grace us with." she said leading the way out the door and out of the building. The sky overhead was graying, clouds moving in to bring more rains often seen on this humid world. Thalia wasn't too worried, she hoped it would even deter the possible dark siders from wanting to leave, though on the flip side, it may encourage them to return to their ship faster.
A voice would crackle in their earpieces signalling they were clear as they crossed the alleys to the ship's location.
Slipping the earpiece in Saul quickly fell in step alongside Thalia. Beyond courtesies there was little time for anything more on an assignment like this. And especially not in the oppressive humid day like it was now, and a storm moving in overhead.
At street level Toydaria wasn’t much to look at, at least not where they were now, alley's were alley's wherever you went in the galaxy. Moving ahead in the alley, Saul was able to see the ship docked by the end. The freighter seemed pretty standard, sensible really, if anyone looked who wasn't already clued in it was just another ship. That's what the droid had seen when it looked over too, and no Rangers had rung in their ears yet to buzz a sighting to them.
But as a Jedi he could see more than any eye.
Sending his feelings into the Force, Saul reached out into the surrounding city, into the centre of the ship. There were people here, they were close. And some of the people around were not as they appeared, not entirely. Saul stepped back from the front of the alley, and approached Thalia instead,
"Do you feel that?" Saul spoke quietly to her. There was a tingling, a sense as he reached out that she very might know what he meant
"We're not alone here" he looked at her pointedly as he said so. If his feelings were correct, she'd have known that herself "Someones on the ship, and the others are moving about the place. Though whether or not they know we're here is something I can't say" no matter what though, they didn't have time to tarry,
"I'll try to point them elsewhere as we move onboard" rain pinged upon the ships metal now, the engines beginning to spin up as they approached. They had to move.
He asked her if she felt something and her eyes narrowed, but she didn't say anything at first, her mind wandering from the mission for a moment as she realized he would be able to feel her sensitivity in the Force much like Max had also. He then looked at her, and Thalia gave him a warning look, she had only shared her Force Sensitivity with one other Jedi and there was much apprehension to share with anyone else. However, the ship fell back into her sights, she would bookmark the topic, the loading ramp on the ship began to lower and she readied her weapon.
"Looks like they're ready to pick up or drop off, but this is our moment to get on board." she said in a hushed voice. Thalia kept low, using the junk and unused storage containers as cover as she moved closer to the ship.
"There are others coming to the ship." the earpiece buzzed from their overhead eyes. Thalia glanced at Saul and then back at the cockpit window, noticing a pilot there, but she could not tell if he was able to see them or not. She ducked back down and looked from the other side of her cover, finding a quicker path to beneath the ship as she relied on the ramp to keep her from being seen. Waiting for Saul to catch up, she held up three fingers and mouthed to him, on three....
Ticking down with her fingers, when she reached zero she turned and headed up the ramp.
Nodding along with each number in the countdown, Saul readied himself for action.
As soon as the count ended Thalia took off toward the ramp into the ship. Saul meanwhile reached out with the Force into the street furthest away, and with the worst line of sight. He grabbed hold of a rubbish dumpster, nothing so exciting, and rattled it against the wall. The echo shot down the street and throughout the area, he could already hear one of the patrols calling out to investigate.
Their eyes were elsewhere, and as simple as the trick may have been, it worked. And without any deliberation, Saul shot up the ramp behind Thalia.
The ship itself wasn't much to look at, a banged up old freighter that looked like it had seen too many parsecs. But it did the job apparently, whatever that job was exactly. For now his only job was to find them a space to hide inside. A dozen lockers lined the cargo bay for smaller goods, but they really needed something a little less likely to be snooped in,
Blaster ready, she quickly went up the ramp, ready for anyone who may be surprised, but there was a feeling she would not see anyone when she came aboard. Thalia inhaled and let out a breath, calming herself as started to work to alter the plan as Saul joined her, his mask crackled as he tried to whisper his question. She looked around quickly knowing they were on a time table, the earpiece popped with static before the other end announced how many seconds they had before they would come to the ship. As Saul quickly looked around, Thalia looked down, recalling the crevasses on her own ship used to get in to fix wiring, this ship had them too.
"Here!" she whispered, having Saul help her lift the slatted panel before climbing down and beckoning him to follow. The countdown nearing to the thugs arrival to their ship. Instead of dragging the steel plate across, Thalia closed her eyes, using the Force to move the plate gently back over them as the countdown reached zero.
It was then they could hear voices, several individuals were arriving, crates on hover lifts floated above them. Thalia held her breath, not even daring to make a sound as they walked over them, not any wiser of the Jedi and Ranger that resided below. Though, Thalia felt her stomach drop when she heard the engines begin the hum. She glanced at Saul, giving him a look, she sure hoped what was in the crates would be what they needed to stop.
As good a place as any he supposed, and better than anything he’d thought of. So under the grate he went, watching as Thalia slid the grate over on top of them, sealing them in,
Well, you’re more well versed than I realsied he sent to her telepathically as she looked over to him.
Above them footsteps clattered onboard alongside crates and crates of uncertain goods they were here to apprehend. Depending on what they were trafficking, it could spell out the next step in this investigation.
But as the engines spun up and Saul felt the ship lift off, he knew they had to make their move. Up in the air the crew would be more vulnerable, relaxed, but he had Thalia would be trapped too if anything happened. A calculated risk, but they had to act. Reaching out with the Force he searched the ship, trying to sense the figures about it. It seemed, as one last guard kicked off boots and slipped away upstairs, they would be alone in the hold for some time,
Let’s see what these pirates are hiding shall we?
And so he slid the grate off once more, scanning the area for hostiles as he closed the distance to the crates.
His force sensitivity shot off as he approached, a familiar and vile hum from the boxes in front of them was clear to him as they approached. Placing his hand on the lid, he gripped the underside and lifted off the container top.
He commented on her ability after setting the grate down gently, the muffled voices and foot stomps of the approaching terrorists were nearing. It took her a moment to process not what was being said, but trying to decipher how she heard it. Something that has happened on more than several occasions where she heard thoughts that were not vocally expressed. Thalia glanced at Saul and gave a shrug, but froze as the thugs walked over them, their cargo in tow.
She heard the engines and had followed Saul's lead when he removed the grate cover. The earpiece buzzed with interference as the ship gained altitude, breaking atmosphere as Thalia took it out of her ear and switched it off, allowing her to focus on stopping these guys before they got far. She followed Saul out, looking around to make sure nothing was amiss in case of a surprise. The Jedi was just as curious as she was to what was in their crate. She followed him and kept a watch as he slipped over the cover, revealing the lightsabers inside.
Thalia's eyes widened in surprise, she had never seen so many of such weapons gathered together. Clearly this was not legal whatsoever; she went to reach for one but stopped, frowning at the coldness that touched her finger tips before she actually gripped the weapon. Instead she retracted her hand and pulled her blaster, switching to a nonlethal setting.
There was a familiar hum and someone called out a time, the hyperdrive was warming up, calculating its course. Thalia glanced to Saul and then nodded in the direction to the first one that would need to take out as they started for control over the ship.
Once we start, we need to take them all out quickly and as quietly as we are able to.
She heard her voice reply in his head and smirked, well, as much of one as he could offer these days anyhow,
No time to waste then
Following her head he peered out from behind the crates and looked over. His senses hadn't caught the mercenary nearby, too clouded by the aura of the Dark Side close by. For now at least though the figure was looking away, heading across from one side of the ship to another.
Glancing quick around the loading bay Saul managed to catch another up above, moving along a platform down toward the engine it seemed, perhaps checking over any final things before they blasted out to hyperspace. That would be there cue,
Top right, do you see them? He sent to Thalia, quickly following with When we enter hyperspace, that'll give us a moment to act when he knew Thalia was ready he listened to the calls from down the ship, and followed the countdown, 3, 2, 1,
That familiar lurch into hyperspace was the moment Saul ducked out, infusing his limbs with the Force he shot across the bay floor, slamming himself hip and shoulder into the man that had crossed the floor. With a thud covered only barely by the roar of the hyperspace jump, he quickly entered the mans mind with the Force and sent him to sleep. Already winded from the hit, it didn't take much.
He looked back at Thalia to confirm she'd handled the other criminal, ready to make their next move.
As the ship prepared to jump, she heard Saul's voice once more, he was more on the line of what she was thinking also and she nodded. She listened to the whirl of the engine, the pitch rung throughout the ship until there was the jerk forward as they would know the ship entered hyperspace. As Saul jumped into action, she took on the second man, jumping on a nearby crate, propelling herself up and over onto the platform. The assault by the Jedi distracted the man, not seeing Thalia enter his path. He had to do a double take as to what he was seeing, but it was enough time for Thalia to fire her blaster, the stun bolt pausing him in his tracks.
She fired one more time before he fell unconscious onto the floor of the platform. With a quick glance to the Jedi, she stepped lightly down the platform, making sure the nooks and crawl spaces were clear before she climbed down. They would have to make their way further into the ship, hopefully their presence still gone unnoticed.
Thalia jumped down over the edge of the platform, landing in a crouch to absorb some shock of the landing.
Let's find the rest...
She nodded toward the hall, there were many more rooms they could be in, but she relied on her senses, which proved to be more useful than clearing out manually one room at a time.
And find them they would, between the pair their Force abilities they managed to coordinate their search well, moving across the ships length on their senses, splitting off to seek out the targets as fast as possible. They needed this place secured so they could get in the cockpit and find out where all this stuff was destined to go.
Taking a left into a room, Saul quickly discovered the dining room. Scarcely as big as a bedroom in a reasonable apartment on any major world, a pair of the thugs were off-duty in there, enjoying as best they could the extended flight to their destination. They would not do so for long.
Saul leapt inside and sealed the door as he passed it. The two spotted him in an instant, but with the thick metal of the door and walls, any calls for aid would hardly be noticed. And in confined spaces, the Force and a lightsaber were far greater allies than any blaster that they might have wielded. Throwing the closest one, a falleen with heavy set eyes, right into the casually dressed human behind them put out any resistance they might have offered in a flash.
Saul was breathing heavy, trying to move quick and quiet meant he was throwing himself into these fights, using everything he could to end them before anyone else noticed,
Second floor seems empty now, meet up and take the cockpit?
Thalia was glad to hear Saul's response, it meant he was successful and they were still holding the upper hand in taking out the terrorists that were now flying towards their rendezvous point. However, they would find out quickly where that exact point was located as they made their way down the hall and to the cockpit door. Thalia checked her blaster, readying herself as they stood in front of the door. There was a good chance also they knew they were coming and the Ranger was about ready for nearly everything.
She glanced at Saul and nodded. Her elbow jabbed the control panel and the door opened, the pilots seemingly having a good moment as they caught them mid-laughter before confusion set in, followed by surprise and then annoyance. However, their delayed reaction would allow them the time they needed, she aimed and shot two stun bolts, knocking one thug back into his seat and the other did not even have a chance to defend himself. Two unconscious, left one left, the pilot who held up his blaster, but also a thermal detonator, ready to fight until the death to win back his ship from the invaders at any cost.
"/Look, its not going to be worth it./" Thalia spoke in Huttese, her blaster still raised at the pilot. He certainly did not want to surrender, Thalia hoped her Jedi partner could subdue him without either of them getting blown to pieces.
The situation in the cockpit wasn't exactly one he had expected.
With a detonator in hand the thug seemed intent on either getting the two to back down, or taking his secrets, and the two of them, with him. Which had to mean that whatever they were doing or going was not something others wanted revealed. The lightsabers were already a giveaway that something particular was up here, but whatever they planned to be doing with them, or where they had got them, was a question that still needed answering.
As Thalia spoke to the man in Huttese, the man seemed to back up, bumping against the control panel of the ship and shaking a bit, clearly just as nervous about what they had done as Saul and Thalia were. But he dropped his arms only slightly, his finger still on the detonator. He needed one last push,
"You don't want to do this" Saul spoke calmly, his voice leaden with the Force,
"I don't want to do this"
"You want to put down the detonator and give yourself over to us"
"I want to put down this detonator and hand myself over to you" the thug's face dropped, as did the detonator, its primer no longer lit. The ship was theirs now, and they had a bit of time till they reached their destination to question this one if they wanted to.
She heard the Jedi speak, but she kept her eyes on the thug, her blaster still raised as she was prepared to take him out when the opportunity presented itself. However, she found it fascinating as the Jedi spoke, the thug following instruction without question as he put down the detonator. Thalia swiftly bent down and snatched the detonator before he decided to change his mind and placed it in a pouch on her belt in exchange for some binders. The man seemed complacent as she cuffed him and sat him down in a seat while she climbed into the pilot's chair, reading the coordinates.
"We're heading straight to the core..." she flipped a couple switches on the console to bring up a holo map of their route, "Corellia looks like the next stop point." Thalia turned in her seat to look at the Jedi, "Can you ask him to whom they are taking their package to?" she asked, her eyes flickered from Saul to the dazed pirate.
Saul couldn’t believe what he was hearing, if these people were hiding out in the core then they could be up to all sorts of trouble, right under the Alliance’s nose. Leaving that unchecked wasn’t good for anybody.
As Thalia requested, Saul looked over to the last man standing once more. He was out of weapons, out of allies, Saul liked to think they’d be cooperative. But they were out of time,
“You will tell us who you’re working for” he hated to use it, and better Jedi than he never did, but lives were most certainly on the line.
And it worked, of course it would. There was no way they had gained a resilience they lacked moments ago. And suddenly a wealth of information was on the table, enough for them to take back to the Rangers. Though soon enough they’d be in the thick of it themselves. Hopefully a few we’ll placed calls to corellian security would get them the backup they needed when they did arrive. He couldn’t resist feeling like a detective on one of the holos,