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Saris Rhenn

She's All Out to Get You

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Kelona, 3632 BBY, a week after the events of Momentarily Out of Action...

 

Saris couldn't just go out and hire a freelance slicer for this job. Black Sun tended to be off-limits for them, as the organization didn't like outsiders messing around with their information, and when the organization didn't like something, beings ended up dead. Plus, even if she'd found someone to do it, there'd be no guarantee they could work past Black Sun's encryption, not quickly. She wanted this done quickly, reliably- and preferably for free, too. Taking on Tasker and everyone involved with him wouldn't be cheap, and ideally she'd save as many credits as she could.

 

And so the answer was finding slicers that already worked for Black Sun, knew their way around the organization's equipment. Saris didn't know many slicers in the organization, but she did know where some of them worked- Tasker had once had her take a datapad to their "office", such as it was.

 

She couldn't be seen walking around the Smuggler's Moon as she had been before, so she'd decided to come to this place disguised. Cutting her hair shorter and shaving the left side of her head, she'd combed the rest of her hair over to the right, making sure to cover the small port behind her right ear that marked her as a cyborg. She'd even pierced her left ear, three small rings dangling from the lobe, and applied heavy makeup- black lipstick, exaggerated eye shadow, the sort of thing that fit in here. Instead of her armored form-fitting bodysuits, she'd gone for something a bit more fashionable, at least for the moon, something that'd make her stand out even less. A tight, midriff-baring sleeveless top, off-white, beneath an open black and red synth-hide jacket with durasteel inserts and sleeves that went down to her mid-forearm, as well as a pair of maroon leggings and some fingerless gloves. The boots annoyed her, though- they had a slight heel to them, and although they retained the look of the combat boots she was used to, they were not nearly as functional. No durasteel caps, and although Saris was well-practiced at walking and running in high heels, it was something she preferred to avoid if she could. 

 

She had a gunbelt around her waist, too; on Nar Shaddaa, everyone carried a weapon, so that wasn't out of the ordinary. The holster was cut out around the trigger of her slugthrower and tied down to her right thigh- and had come straight from the merchant like that. The Smuggler's Moon didn't mess around with such things. It wasn't everywhere that you could buy a slugthrower holster ready for a quick-draw artist, after all. 

 

Resting a hand on the butt of her weapon, she plucked the cigarillo from her black-painted lips. She didn't smoke, but it helped her image, especially when she was casing a place she was going to raid. A woman just standing on the corner staring was conspicuous; a woman lazily leaning against a wall and smoking a cigarillo was normal. Breathing out a cloud of smoke, the cyborg turned her wrist slightly so that her chrono was visible. 

 

1500 hours, on the dot. It was time. 

 

Tossing the cigarillo to the permacrete sidewalk, she crushed it with a heel. Most of the time, she'd do a job like this with a mask or something, but when she'd been in there before, there'd been no security holocams. There were two outside, pointed at the entrance to the place, but she wasn't visible to them yet. They were the first thing to take care of, though.

 

One of them was bolted to the side of a building on the side of the street that she stood on; pushing herself up from the wall she leaned against, she walked over to it, being careful to stay out of its sightline. It was pretty high, but she was very tall, and with the help of the heels, she could reach it- barely. Still, enough to push it up and back, so it wasn't pointing at the door anymore. 

 

The second would be more difficult. It was across the street, and higher. Surreptitiously, the cyborg drew her slugthrower and pulled its suppressor from inside her jacket, screwing the device tightly onto the weapon's muzzle. Weren't many beings around, but... didn't matter. She'd be gone in a second. Bringing the weapon up, she sighted and put two rounds into the camera's casing, pushing it off to the side and smashing the lens off. Perfect.

 

Reloading, she ignored the stares of a few confused passersby, and moved over to the door. Patting her jacket, she made sure she had all of the equipment she'd brought- vibroshiv, wire, a set of heavy durasteel knuckles, and a couple single-use bacta hypos. All there- but she knew that. She remembered putting them in, and her memory was perfect. Still, the cyborg liked to be absolutely sure.

 

Time to go in.

Edited by Saris Rhenn

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The door was durasteel, heavy. Three locks on it, too, proper mechanical ones instead of electronics. Two ways to do this- try to destroy the locks with her weapon, or try to get those inside to open it. Destroying the locks would give them warning, but trying to get the beings inside to open it would do the same thing if they didn't. And if they didn't open for her, they'd have more time to get ready.

 

First one it was, then. She put a round into each of the locks, from top to bottom, and pushed at the door. It moved, a bit, but didn't go further in. One more shot to each lock, another push- and she was in, changing the magazine as she stormed inside. 

 

Place was dark, smoky, lit only by the faint blue screens and a single lamp. Just the one room, the internal walls knocked out to make space for their hardware, except for the refresher facilities in the corner. They'd kept that enclosed, and the door was shut. There was a table near the refreshers, a folding one made from thin metal. The lamp was on that, as was a bag of greasy Corellian take-out and a couple of flimsiplast drink cups. Five beings visible- two human males, one Sullustan of uncertain sex, and two human females. The females, one of the human males, and the Sullustan were back at their consoles, huddled down behind their chairs. The other human male was behind the table, a heavy blaster pistol in his hand, his chair overturned behind him.

 

Saris dove to the ground as he fired, bringing her own slugthrower up and pumping the trigger. Two rounds center mass, and he staggered back, mouth opening in pain, but he wasn't down yet, so she put another in his face. That finished it, and the being dropped. Standing up, Saris kicked the door behind her shut. "Anyone in the 'freshers?!" the cyborg shouted, in the drawling accent of a human female she'd heard on the way over- if any managed, which was unlikely, she couldn't have them describing her to any Black Sun employees. 

 

The Sullustan jabbered something at her, drawing itself up to its full yet still unimpressive height, and jerking its hand towards the refresher. Saris didn't speak Sullustese, and that made it useless to her; leveling her weapon, she shot the being twice. "Someone else. In Basic." 

 

One of the human females raised her hand slightly, still huddling behind the chair. "Yeah, there's-"

 

"Shut up!" Saris took a step back, pressing herself against the door. The refresher door was a flimsy thing; firing the last two slugs in her weapon through the center of the door, she heard something clatter to the ground. Replacing the spent magazine in her pistol, she racked the slide to chamber a round, and then moved over to the refresher, cautiously pulling open the door. 

 

A Zabrak female was curled up on the floor, whimpering softly and clutching her stomach. There was a small holdout blaster lying on the floor next to her. No use for her- she had three others, and they'd been taking cover over by the consoles. That meant they were slicers, not fighters. A single shot scooped out a good portion of the Zabrak's skull, stopping the whimpering. Turning back to the slicers, she found that they hadn't moved. 

 

"You three. Are you slicers?" she asked. Only one of them, the male, had been here the one time she'd been here, and she didn't know what he did. All three of them nodded. One of the females looked confused, like she didn't know whether the "shut up" from before still applied. "Stand up, keep your hands visible, and come here slowly."

 

They moved forwards, cautiously, and managed to keep their hands visible like she'd told them to. As they got within two meters, she nodded. "Stop there. You," The cyborg waved her pistol at the female who'd spoken before, a short woman with her hair tied back in a ponytail, clad in loose exercise wear. "You'll cooperate?"

 

The woman's brow furrowed, and she stole a glance to her left, at the other two beings. "Uhh... I guess?"

 

That was good enough. "Turn around, all three of you." They did, hands still up, and almost before they'd turned all the way Saris shot the male in the back of the head. The other two started, and the cyborg put the other female down, the one who hadn't spoken up before. "You. Come on. Stay with me." she said, prompting the remaining slicer to turn around and leave with her. 

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Prodding the slicer out of the door with her pistol, the cyborg glanced around. Still some beings out there, probably the ones who hadn't directly witnessed her shoot some holocams and then a door lock. They had to move now, get out quick, because for sure there'd be Black Sun people coming. "What's your name?" she snapped at the slicer, unscrewing the still-hot suppressor from the barrel of her weapon. 

 

"Evanine Sterrick." the woman replied, glancing back to look at Saris. "What-"

 

"Shut up." Saris said, cutting her off. Pocketing the suppressor, she pressed the muzzle of her weapon against the back of the woman's neck. "Evanine Sterrick. No questions. No sudden movements. Do not do anything I don't tell you to do. If you do, I will shoot you in the head twice and dump your corpse. Is that understood?"

 

Sterrick nodded. "Yes."

 

"Walk. Keep your hands visible." Her speeder bike wasn't far, just down the block parked in an alley. One hundred and twenty-eight meters down the sidewalk. One hundred and twenty-eight meters to walk without appearing overtly like she was transporting a captive. Being the Smuggler's Moon, it wouldn't be exactly out of the ordinary to have a being transporting a captive down the street, but it would be something worthy of note, and Saris wished to be noticed as little as possible. So, flicking the safety catch on, she holstered her slugthrower. If the captive attempted escape, she'd simply deal with it in another manner. 

 

To her credit, Evanine Sterrick simply walked the one hundred and twenty-eight meters wordlessly, hands visible, appearing as calm as could be expected. That was good. Saris needed her to be calm. She needed a slicer, and if she had to dispose of this one she'd have to find another, and that wouldn't be as easy. As the slicer reached the mouth of the alley, Saris stepped up and grabbed her bicep. "Here." She wasn't trying as much with the accent anymore- this one would be staying with her for a little bit, and she wouldn't be leaving alive, so no need to keep up the charade. Dragging her into the alley, she brought her up to the parked speeder bike. "Get on."

 

Sterrick did, eyes downcast. Commendably, she appeared to have accepted her fate. Stuncuffing the woman to the vehicle, Saris drew her pistol and reloaded it- no sense in having it at less than full capacity. 

 

Something moved at the mouth of the alley, she saw out of the corner of her eye. Too fast for a normal pedestrian. Diving to the ground, she rolled over behind the front of the speeder bike as the thunder of blasterfire filled the small space. Screaming, too, split the air. Sterrick had been hit, then.

 

Saris wasted no time, snaking a hand out to reach under the saddlebag and pulling out the blaster carbine there. Snapping the stock open, she popped up over Evanine's body in the same movement flipping it to full auto. No need to sight here- two males at the end of the alley, spraying repeater fire all over the place. She replied with her own torrent of blasterfire, searing bolts of blue burning their impression into her one organic retina. The two dropped, one's blaster continuing to fire for a moment, stitching the air with incandescent hyphens. No armor. Not hitbeings, then, just riff-raff employed by the organization. Had to go then. The more prepared ones would come next. 

 

The slicer was still alive, huddled down and sobbing. There was a smoking, charred wound on her hip, trickles of blood staining her clothing. She'd live, though. Folding the stock on her carbine, Saris unwound the weapon's sling and threw it over her shoulder, and then threw a leg over the speeder bike. The slicer let out a short cry as the speeder bobbed, and then muttered something that Saris couldn't quite hear. 

 

"What did you say?" the cyborg asked; Sterrick whimpered something and then shook her head. Saris put a finger against her wound, pressing lightly. "What?"

 

A stream of curses, and then "...tracking device."

 

"Tracking device? Where?"

 

The slicer, with effort, held up her left hand; Saris seized it, pulling it closer, with a short scream from Evanine. Something wasn't right- a patch of skin on the webbing between thumb and forefinger was slightly the wrong color. Synthskin. Pulling at it, Saris came away with a small switch connected to a coil of antenna. It had been tripped by squeezing the fingers together. "Why do you have this?"

 

"They said they wouldn't hurt me..."

 

Saris released Sterrick's hand, garnering another pained noise. "Why did they give it to you?"

 

"They said someone would come... they gave us guards and said you'd take us..."

 

Black Sun had known she'd come here. How? It was the only slicer den she'd ever been taken to. The only one she'd known about. Tasker had known she was coming for it, that she'd go into the things she'd captured. But only four guards? 

Edited by Saris Rhenn

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No. Not four guards. There would be more. Why hadn't they attacked yet? They were waiting for something, and apparently she'd been utterly predictable up to this point. She'd only survived Tasker's betrayal due to dumb luck, the fact that her cybernetics had rebooted quicker than the kill team had planned for. He'd known she'd come here, and from Evanine's words, they appeared to know that she would take one of them. So then they knew that she'd be moving them someplace.

 

Could they know where she'd be taking Sterrick? The ship she'd taken from the kill team had been repainted and modified visually by a smuggler group operating out of the junk ring- credits had talked, even if they'd been reluctant to help her. But it was still the same model of vessel, still landing on the moon, and she'd still come out of it, albeit disguised, but they knew her capabilities. She'd been planning to take Sterrick back to the vessel, get offworld, deal with her somewhere in dead space- so they might be waiting for her there. Saris would have to at least assume they were there, and prepare accordingly.

 

But how would they know that she'd go there, that she wouldn't take the slicer to some other safe house, or even a hotel or something similar? They couldn't know that. 

 

Often when she was carrying out an assassination, Saris would model what the target would do in her mind. She'd never really been the target before, though- closest experience had been getting off Vohai, or dealing with law enforcement searching for her, but that was easy enough to deal with. Law enforcement standard operating procedures were easy to find and study, and Arkanians were lost without their routine. Black Sun didn't have standard procedures, as far as she knew- everything was different for each part of the organization, and each being in each part did things their own way. Though she'd done a good deal for Black Sun, she only knew what she was supposed to do, and she was only the assassin. So in this case- what would Tasker do? 

 

Or even whoever ordered Tasker? Throughout her whole time in the organization, Tasker had been the highest-level member she'd ever met. He was just the head of a single cell of assassins, however, and she'd never even met any of the other beings who did regular work for him.  Above him, the cyborg had no idea what the organization was like. There would be a Vigo- Tonn Vurret, a Twi'lek, was the one she was under, according to what she'd been told- but would Tasker report directly to him? Unlikely. The Vigos were essentially galactic royalty, and Vurret wouldn't be dealing with things this low down. This was one of the things she hoped to learn from the data taken from the kill team: who had ordered her dead. Tasker himself? Someone above him? Vurret, even? Whoever it had been, that was her target.

 

But for right now- what would her pursuers do? What would Saris do in their place?

 

Have a team waiting at the ship, and another team to tail me. 

 

So they'd have to be here before she had been, and so they'd seen her coming. So they'd known where her speeder bike was. No sense tailing a dangerous being physically if they didn't have to- so they'd have put a tracking device on the vehicle. Another thing to remember; Saris filed it in self-preservation. Always check vehicles prior to using them, for tracking or explosive devices. She should look into speeder-bombs for future assassinations. 

 

Saris swung off the bike; Sterrick sobbed again as it moved. She was apparently in serious pain- a blaster wound would do that, after all. "Kriffin' pick one... on or off!" the slicer hissed through gritted teeth. Saris paid no mind to her anger, instead squatting down and examining the vehicle. Nothing on the smooth fuselage or on the forks, nothing beneath where repulsors or setting the bike down would knock it off. Opening the saddlebags, the cyborg rifled through, finding nothing there or behind them either. In the exhausts- there. A small metal disk, with a little dial on top. Reaching in with two fingers and a thumb, all that would fit in the end of the pipe, she tried to pull it up, but had no luck. Magnetically attached, likely.

 

Unsheathing her slender vibroblade, she slid the point beneath the edge of the device and managed to pry it off, extricating it carefully from the exhaust. It wouldn't come off the blade; she had to step on the protruding edge of the disc to get it off. Kicking it to the side of the alley, the cyborg sheathed her weapon and then resumed her search. Nothing else on the vehicle, it looked like. Now she had to get out of here, avoiding whoever was watching her, and then get back to her vessel. That was where the enemy would be, but that was where all her equipment and captured datapads were, as well. She'd have to take it and get offworld and regroup, plan better for whatever came next. 

 

Getting back on the bike and ignoring Sterrick, she activated the vehicle's engines, filling the alleyway with thrumming that vibrated her molars. Speed and unexpected turns, those were what was needed. As soon as she left this spot, whoever was watching the tracking device's signal would know that she'd gotten rid of it, because they'd be watching her spot as well. That would force them to act, to bring themselves out in the open, and then she could deal with them- and so, reaching around the slicer, she opened the bike's throttle and hauled back on the handlebars, shooting near-vertically into the air. 

 

They barely cleared the rooftop of the building at the end of the alleyway, but the margin didn't matter so long as she'd made it. Up into the busy air traffic of the Smuggler's Moon, with the deafening howls of thousands of different vehicles; the speeder bike shot through two hoverlanes before Saris brought it down to a more reasonable angle, joining the flow of traffic. Sterrick was evidently unused to that sort of maneuvering, as she'd vomited on herself and was now moaning something that went entirely unheard in the cacophony surrounding them. The first turn came quickly, the cyborg wrenching the bike around in a hard right- but her search for a second one was cut short, as she glanced in one of her rearview mirrors. They already had a tail.

 

The tail was another speeder bike, with what looked like an armored being on it. It was definitely following them, because it had cut up through the hoverlanes the same way- and the armored being appeared to have a blaster rifle in one hand, held almost uncaringly off to the side, its sling streaming out in the wind. 

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She slewed the bike around, cutting off a cargo speeder in the opposite lane and weaving through traffic to cut into a tighter alley. Sterrick yelped again, and at this point, Saris had no wish to deal with the extra distraction. Snatching one of the bacta hypos from her pocket, she jammed it into the woman's thigh and depressed the plunger- that ought to help, at least a little bit. "Be quiet." she said, again, although it was highly unlikely that the human would be able to. She was weak, all flesh, soft and unused to Saris' world of blasterfire and death. The life of a slicer was a fairly simple one, locked away inside, away from the sun, staring at a screen all day, and for an unaugmented mind this had to be difficult.

 

Saris didn't really care. In an ideal world, there would be none of these sudden noises, but she could filter them out well enough that it wouldn't cause any real problem. Tossing the used hypo into the wind, the cyborg wondered for a second whether it would find its way into the intakes of the bike following them, but discarded the thought quickly. That was highly improbable, although it would be incredibly convenient if it did happen.

 

Glancing back, she found that no, it had not, and that the speeder was still chasing them. It was gaining- it was faster than hers, if only slightly. She couldn't lose it, and so she'd just have to deal with it. Pulling her rifle up, she wrapped her cybernetic hand around its grip, aiming it single-handed behind her and loosing a spray of cerulean bolts. Little to no chance of actually striking the target, but perhaps enough to startle the enemy into crashing- but no. The cyborg looked back for a second, and found that the pursuer was apparently unfazed, simply flying straight through the hail of blasterfire.

 

She couldn't have this being follow her all the way back to the spaceport, if she was going to take out whoever Tasker had waiting there for her. Had to deal with one problem at a time. Yanking the bike upwards, Saris pulled it up at near-maximum speed, cresting over the rooftops.

 

[To be continued in a bit]

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