Ask Nar Shaddaa We're not on Ryloth anymore...

Varia Shinyuza

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Varia had seen many planets from orbit before, but none came close to Nar Shaddaa. It sat, suspended in the void above Nal Hutta, surrounded by the twinkling shimmers of ten thousand starships. The slate colored surface was intersected by the light from the megalopolis below, giving Varia the impression that the Smuggler's Moon was midway through a volcanic apocalypse. As The Bloodied Lylek, Varia's ISFT-21, approached the surface, the city reached up to envelope the ship. The twi'lek shivered in her pilot's seat as she watched the buildings run past, forming giant walls to trap her in. R3-N2 rolled into the cockpit, and plugged into the ship's I/O socket. "Well, we've finally made it R3, I just hope she's here." Varia said, glancing over at the white and green astromech. The droid rotated his clear head dome to look at the twi'lek and made a reassuring trill as he continued monitoring the ship's descent. Varia smiled, feeling her mood lift slightly. "I never would've made it this far without you."

The ship finally set down on a landing pad that jutted out from a nearby building. Groans emerged from the platform as the Lylek's full weight rested on it. Varia gripped the controls of her ship tightly, holding her breath until everything settled. The twi'lek looked over at her astromech with a concerned expression. After a few tense seconds he let out soft whistle, confirming they were safely landed. Varia released her breath, unclasping her fingers from the controls. She spun her chair 180 and got to her feet, pulling her light-grey, leather jacket off the seat's back. The jacket was left unzipped as she pulled it on, showing the burnt orange crop top underneath. R3-N2 followed her as she made her way to the egress of the Lylek. Varia paused a moment at the hatch, trying to steadying her nerves. R3, impatient as always, reached forward with his manipulator arm to open the door.

Varia's black combat boots clanked softly against the ramp as she walked down it. Her astromech trundled faithfully along at her side, his CPU blinking rapidly under the transparent casing. A toydarian fluttered down from an office that protruded from the wall three stories up. After paying his "modest" fee Varia continued on her way. She made her way through a few hallways before emerging into a courtyard area. It was a square 100 yards across with an arched ceiling starting 40 yards near the walls and reaching up another ten yards in the center. Neon lights edged the walls, casting an orange glow that seemed to seep the color from Varia's skin. She made her way to a group of turbolifts that lined the wall on her left. As she approached a devaronian walked out of a shadowed hall near the elevators. He intercepted the twi'lek, raising a hand to stop her. "Hey, there's a toll to use these lifts..." Varia had a bad feeling about this. She looked behind and saw a trandoshan approaching from behind, carrying a vibroblade. As her right hand moved to her hip, grasping the DL-18 holstered there, the devaronian mirrored her movement. R3 let out an uncertain beep as Varia eyed both enemies approaching her. "This isn't good." She concluded simply.


@Tic
 
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It0

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A dull chime preceded the sound of hololift doors begrudgingly sliding open. The cry of blaster fire was amplified to a near deafening pitch in the enclosed space, as a bolt erupted from the lift’s interior. The shot found its mark, and blossoms of embers and tissue sprang from the trandoshan’s forearm. The vibroblade clattered uselessly to the ground.

A trio of droids emerged from the hololift, back-lit by the acrid fluorescent lighting within. Two of the units were identical. Their bulky durasteel frames and featureless ‘faces’ giving them a particularly martial bent. They rapidly closed the distance, training their blaster rifles on the pair of stunned assailants. The hololift’s third occupant followed behind its companions. Comparatively slight, it’s metallized exterior caught and reflected the surrounding neon, painting the droid in a vibrant, chromatic blaze.

Momentarily ignoring Varia, her astromech, and the prone yet still writhing trandoshan altogether, it approached the devaronian. A skeletal framework and uniquely encapsulated vocabulator revealed the unit for what it was, a common 2-1B Surgical Droid. It’s amber-tinted autoreceptors seemed to study the trembling devaronian for a prolonged moment before seemingly reaching some internal conclusion.

“Needles Vacoy? This is a serendipitous meeting!” it said. If the sentiment held any sarcasm, its vocal programming failed to relay it. “Zentropoli was quite concerned we wouldn’t locate you before the Hutts managed to. They’re much less forgiving of thievery than the Crymorah after all. Disembowelment, dismemberment, and punitive mutilation. All common Hutt methods of reprisal. Oh yes, quite fortuitous that we located you first! As there’s been three shipments stolen from this dock in as many weeks, Zentropoli felt it a worthwhile point of investigation.”

It made a vague gesture with one of its manipulators. The accompanying combat droid phished the devaronian’s blaster from its holster, its own rifle maintaining its steady gaze.

“The missing shipment of InfoCores had an approximate value of forty-five thousand credits. Where may we collect them?” The medical droid bent at the waist towards ‘Needles’ expectantly. The thief trembled and offered an incoherent stammer in reply, eliciting an audible ‘tsk!’ from the 2-1B, whose posture snapped back rigidly. “Oh dear! This complicates matters I’m afraid. We shall have to seek our recompense via alternate avenues.”

It turned towards the combat droid.

“Please take Mr. Vacoy to see the Thalassian Diruk K’uat at the Blood Pits and see what he is willing to pay for a new gladiatorial slave. If the InfoCores are lost to us, we shall recoup what we can.” As the combat droid shoved Needles roughly towards the Hololift, the medical droid approached the groaning trandoshan. It loomed over its quarry a moment, autoreceptors surveying the blaster wound. “His companion is unfit for such an exchange at present. Luckily, trandoshan physiology allows for the regrowth of damaged tissues. Yes, much quicker to amputate the arm and await its regrowth. Perhaps then he’ll fetch a fair price. Take him to the shop and have him sedated until I arrive.”

The trandoshan let loose a baleful moan and he was herded into the awaiting hololift with his colleague. Any further protest was cut short as the doors slid shut. The 2-1B reached down and retrieved the dropped vibroblade from the ground, studying it briefly before depositing in a satchel slung over one shoulder. Then, as though noticing her for the first time since the entire encounter, he turned towards Varia.

“Oh! Hello! I am 2-1B serial number ‘IT-721X-00-079-21B’, designation ‘It0’.” he announced cheerfully. “Welcome to Nar Shaddaa.”

@Varia Shinyuza
 

Varia Shinyuza

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Ideas of what to do were still whirling through Varia's head as the lift doors ground open. She flinched as the screaming blaster bolt ripped passed her and dropped the trandoshan. Thoughts chased each other in her brain, she hadn't liked her chances against the pair of aliens, and she liked her prospects against three fully equipped combat droids even less. As the figures in the hololift stepped out, Varia realised the middle one wasn't a combat model at all, but an old 2-1B unit. Fear was mixed with confusion, and curiosity. The medical droid trundled up to the devaronian and greeted him in artificial tones. After a short exchange about stolen InfoCores, the man, apparently named Needles, was escorted back to the lift by the combat droids.

Varia tensed up as the 2-1B approached, but it moved by harmlessly. The droid focused instead on the downed trandoshan, that was cradling his wounded arm. He was also brought to hololift in short order, Varia watched him go, letting out a sigh of relief as the doors finally clanked shut. The twi'lek's mind was still processing the brief encounter with danger as the old medical droid turned it's attention to her.

It was R3 who took the initiative, he rolled forward sightly and responded to the greeting with a thankful beep. Varia's lekku shuttered as she snapped back to reality. Her eyes skittered up and down the 2-1B unit, taking in all the scars and bruises on it's metal chassis. "Yeah, thank you It0." She finally managed to say. "My name is Varia Shinyuza and this is R3-N2." She said as she patted the white and green astromech beside her. She crouched down to R3's level and whispered. "I knew Nar Shaddaa was dangerous but this isn't quite the welcoming party I expected." Varia looked up at It0. "Is there anyway we can pay you back for the help?"

@Tic
 
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It0

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The astromech droid rolled forward and It0 listened idly as it loose a torrent of grateful chirps and chimes. A moment later the Twi’lek seemed to regain control of her faculties and offered him a similar greeting.

“A pleasure to meet you both.” he replied, “I hope you will forgive the rather unpleasant welcome to the Smuggler’s Moon. I am tempted to state that situations such as these are a rarity, but I’m afraid it would be an utter fabrication upon my part. Is this your first time on Nar Shaddaa or a return visit?”

Taking a moment to parse Varia’s appearance with his memorybank’s entries on Twi'lek biology he reached the conclusion that she was a young specimen of her species in good health. Chemical composite analysis of the atmosphere found it comprised of spent fuel cell emissions and perspiration common in sentients. Spinning neatly on his axis, he shuffled off towards a nearby turbolift.

“In either case, you’ve arrived at quite an exciting time. With Durr the Hutt’s proclaimed bounty on force users and masked vigilantes detonating large chunks of various sectors there’s a variety of positively fascinating ways to be maimed or slain!” the turbolift chimed its arrival and as the door opened, It0 waddled aboard, one chrome-plated manipulator gesturing for the Twi’lek and astromech to follow.

“In terms of repayment, I can assure you the work is its own reward. If the two of you would share a turbolift ride with me, I would consider the matter settled.” he said, once they had joined him in the dingy compartment. “Incidentally my employer, the droid-tech Zentripoli, is always looking for new and reliable contacts. Once you are settled in, you may consider looking him up. He owns a shop called Genius Droid Repair and Mods in the Corellian District.”

Approaching the turbolift’s control panel, his autoreceptors watched the pair expectantly from beneath a heavy durasteel brow. A vertical row of neatly numerically-labeled buttons represented the many levels of Nar Shaddaa and the endless variety of experiences the ecumenopolis had to offer. From the glittering spires of the Corellian District to the crumbling edifice of the Undercity, the Smuggler’s Moon offered as wide an array of experiences as an organic’s mind could hope to imagine.

“So Varia, which level shall it be? What vice or virtue brings you to Hutt Space’s most infamous moon?”

@Varia Shinyuza
 
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Varia Shinyuza

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Varia watched It0 with increasing curiosity as it turned around, walking back to the lifts. She wasn't quite sure what was going on but she knew this 2-1B unit was operating at a much higher level than was normal for it's model. Hesitation held back Varia as the thin droid beckoned her. R3 started moving forward, rotating his clear head dome to look back at the twi'lek. He made a questioning whistle, asking if she was coming.

Varia ran a few steps to catch up with her astromech, giving the droid an admonishing look. As she entered the worn compartment, she eyed the corroded walls wearily. The twi'lek feared the lift may drop into the abyss below, but it seemed to be holding stable. When It0 mentioned its employer, a droid expert named Zentipoli, she guessed he may have something to do with the unusual characteristics of the medical droid. Varia's attention was turned to the columns of numbered buttons, each one representing another corner of the Smuggler's Moon.

She felt her heart fall as she saw the endless possiblities. "I'm not sure where our next step is." She looked up It0 earnestly. Varia thought about her sister, hoping against hope she was unharmed. She shrunk in on herself, holding her arms against her chest. "I don't even know if Shunti is here." The twi'lek said more to herself than to the medical droid.

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It0

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It0’s photoreceptors flickered briefly as he gave a droid’s version of an inquisitive blink. So the young Twi’lek was here seeking someone. No small feat in the choked, congested streets of Nar Shaddaa. The sprawling urban expanse that covered the small moon was typically reserved for those who wished to disappear, not those seeking to be found. The medical droid punched a level selection and settled in as the turbolift gathered upward momentum.

“Is this ‘Shunti’ a former associate of yours?” he inquired delicately. “Locating a single organic on Nar Shaddaa can present a challenge. As it so happens, I have an appointment at a local establishment that is frequented by the sorts of people who may be helpful in locating lost sentients. Information brokers can be valuable assets in such cases. You're welcome to join me if you so please. There's a high probability of my being familiar with such a person in attendance.”

Endless slats of dull gray light filtered through the translucent viewports above the lift’s doors, washing over the occupants with each level that rocketed past. As they ascended upward, the momentary glimpses of the world outside the lift grew increasingly lurid. Flashes of neon and fluorescence sparkled across the lift’s drab walls.

“Or you might consider hiring a bounty hunter to find your lost ‘Shunti’.”

His photoreceptors brightened.

“If you possess the credits, they may even bring them in alive!”

@Varia Shinyuza
 
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Varia Shinyuza

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Varia's lekku perked up as It0 mentioned information brokers. She had worked with more than a few over the years, as an anonymous slicer. A good info broker is far more dangerous than some hired gun, and should never be trusted, but the twi'lek had much more experience dealing with them, than firing her blaster. Varia nodded to herself as she decided that following the medical droid to his appointment was a decent first step.

The twi'lek shook her head as the 2-1B mentioned hiring a hunter. "This isn't something I can leave to others..." She paused a moment. "She's my sister, It0, it wouldn't feel right to send someone else."

Varia's hand clenched into a fist as she thought about the months she spent wallowing in self-pity after Shunti was taken. "Besides, I've already wasted enough time being idle."

Her fingers relaxed as she took in a long breath, falling silent for a few seconds. When she turned back to It0, a spark of determination flashed in her eyes. "But now isn't the time to worry about that. I'd be happy to accompany you to your appointment." Varia said, grinning at the medical droid.

Something occurred to the twi'lek, and she looked at It0 with a curious expression "Out of curiosity, can you understand Twi'leki?" She wondered.

@Tic
 

It0

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It0 observed the tell-tale signs of organic determination welled up in the young Twi'lek. The involuntary clenching of muscles around the jaw, the increased pulse. He studied these reactions with the clinical detatchment as Varia's thoughts turned towards her missing sister.

Then, as abruptly as this newfound grit had materialized, it seemed to dissipate in her.

"Why yes madaam." he replied in clear, if stiff, Twi'leki. "Medical droids are programmed in a wide array of linguistic fluencies to minimize medical mishaps caused by miscommunication."

The lift emitted a dull chime to announce it's arrival and the doors slid apart to reveal the broad, manicured walkways of the Corellian District. Tall spires flanked the streets, speeders and hovercraft darting amongst them like Hrlean Bees around a hive. Neon piping traced the edges of every conceivable surface and large, gaudy Holo-Ads animated the atmosphere.
Stepping out of the turbolift, he set off a lazy gait, his stunted Twi'leki still pouring over one durasteel shoulder.

"Not far now. So what leads you to believe she may have wound up on Nar Shaddaa?"
 

Varia Shinyuza

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When the hololift finally reached the selected floor, the doors groaned open to reveal the garish scene. Dozens of flashing images vied for Varia's attention as she stepped off the lift, each one trying to convince her to buy this or visit there. She paid them no mind, instead turning her attention to the sky. No starlight managed to penetrate through the urban luminescence, but the Hutts' "Glorious Jewel" hung directly overhead. Nal Hutta's sickly green surface, seemed to look down at her with a disapproving look, sending a shiver down her spine.

Varia ripped her eyes from the putrid planet as It0 asked her a question. She grabbed a datapad from her jacket pocket, and began to press the keys. "Well, I was able to identify the criminal group using the reports from a few of my sister's crew who managed to get to an escape pod." She spoke in an automatic cadence, as if she had run through this same information in her head a million times.

"Using those same reports I was able to determine an approximate direction the attacker came from. Now that's not a lot on it's own but thankfully I also had this." She held out the datapad towards It0, on it was a list of remote stations and backwater shipyards. "This is a list of trusted landing zones the pirates' employer likes to use for refuel and repair work. Since I had the direction of the attack I was able to narrow down the list a little."

Varia took the datapad back, returning it to her pocket. "It was still a lot to dig through but a bit of electronic snooping finally led me to a dock here on Nar Shaddaa. I looked on my way in but none of the pirates were there, so my options were to wait around for who knows how long till the pirates showed back up, or to go looking around and see what I could find, I chose the latter." The twi'lek smiled up at the medical droid. "Then, I happened upon some trouble and that's when you showed up, you know the rest."


@Tic
 

It0

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The 2-1B processed Varia’s story with customary detachment as they shuffled down the Corellian Sectors main thoroughfare and it’s glittering ambience. He estimated the Twi’lek’s motivation to find her sister as quite high considering the risk she was taking in finding a cabal of pirates on her own.

“When I first came online,” he confided, switch from Twi'leki back to Galactic Basic. “I had a belt-mate. That is to say, another 2-1B unit assembled on the same conveyor belt at Industrial Automaton’s primary manufacturing plant on Nubia. He was designated ‘IT-721X-00-080-21B’. Before my systems became active, we were constructed side-by-side, our processor chips soldered in together, and our primary functionality evaluated in the same lab. Throughout my entire build process, IT-80 was a constant presence.”

They turned down an ancillary street. The intent and polish of the Corellian Sector seemed oddly absent here. Animated holo-ads gave way to the sickly flicker of waning neon-piping. Arbitrary lengths of cabling draped with laundry spanned the space between buildings at non-sensical angles, dual-purposed as data or power conduits as well as wash-lines. Casinos and storefronts gave way to cantinas and brothels.

“During our integration testing, it was discovered that IT-080 was in possession of a faulty power-regulator. He was identical to me in every way. We shared more than design features. We shared our very first memories. Then a power-surge fried his circuitry and technicians scrapped him for parts.”

It0 stopped abruptly and faced the Twi’lek.

“I felt nothing.” he stated flatly before continuing his leisurely shuffle. They entered a small cantina that seemed comprised of equal measures sentient-life and droids.

“I’m sure that won’t happen to your sister however.” he continued as he scanned the room. “Organic anatomical repurposing can be highly inefficient and seldom worth the trouble.”

The cantina, a hovel named The Green Dewback, was a hazy mosaic of ruffians and criminality that leered suspiciously from behind their drinks. It0 scanned the assembled lifeforms before honing in a particular figure near the back of the room.

“Ah, here he is.” the droid announced, shouldering his way through the curtain of bodies. “Chester Kincade, one of our legal representatives. Mr. Kincade and I have some legal matters to discuss on behalf of my employer. Mr. Kincade, this is Varia, a recent arrival here on Nar Shaddaa. Like many others here, she is in search of a missing person. I suggested you might have a resource or two at your disposal.”

@Chester Kincade
@Varia Shinyuza
 

Varia Shinyuza

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Varia listened intently to It0's story as the group made their finally approach to the cantina. She felt the droid was revealing some deep secret of it's programming, and felt a connection start to form. As a result, she was all the more taken aback at the sudden end of what she thought had been a sad tale. Her curiosity about the strange medical unit grew even more, and questions swirled in her head as they entered The Green Dewback. Was the old 2-1B trying to relate to her, in it's own way? Why tell her at all? Was it concerned it felt nothing? Varia was about to give voice to these thoughts when It0 spoke first, pointing out his contact.

Varia and R3 followed in the opening that It0 left in it's wake, and approached the stranger. She gave a slight bow of her head. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Kincade, as It0 mentioned my name is Varia. I would be very grateful if you could help me."
 

It0

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It0 released an androids version of a ‘cough’ into one of his manipulators.

“Mr. Kincade?” he inquired, “Are you quite alright? Have you suffered an aneurysm of some sort? There HAS been a bit of that going around. I attribute it to poorly cut Spice.”

@Varia Shinyuza
@Chester Kincade
 
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