[b “I may have heard a thing or two about some scum using interdiction technology against the Empire.”]
The man on the screen looked good for his age, but it could be spotted a bit by his hairline receding from his blue eyes. Although he did his best to draw attention away from it with a flashy shirt and a set of fancy rings on his fingers. Tabor Calchek despite appearances was a well connected man in the underworld as he had made his way up as a superb intermediary. He was not one to put his life on the line, but was excellent at finding people who were. When first separated from Zed he was the one that gave Sephira her first job and helped keep food on her plate and fuel in her tank. His connections were what set her up so well and would be of utmost value here.
[b “We are going to crush them and I want your help.”]
A sharp exhale punctuated by persistent blinking followed before a grin spread across Tabor's face. [b “You know I had a shipment of about a hundred Osprey refurbished shield generators coming through. Valued at around five thousand credits a piece and I picked them up for less than a thousand each. Thing is that shipment never arrived and we were left few clues as to what exactly happened to it. Which for a run valued at half a million credits pissed me off something fierce. I'll give you everything I know, but if you find my shipment I want it back.”]
Sephira just grinned herself in response as she sat bolt upright in her chair. [b “What's in it for me if I do?”]
[b “Oh I taught you too well. Thirty percent.”]
[b “Twenty-five percent, first right to any droid that comes through until the end of the year, and a five percent discount.”]
[b “Twenty percent, first right to any droid for the next year, and a ten percent discount.”]
[b “Deal. I'm sending over everything we've found out about them now. Although I'll warn you it's not much. You might have better luck arguing with the girls as they apparently almost got caught by this group too. Were lucky enough to be in a convoy to escape.”]
Sephira sighed at that. She knew exactly who he was talking about and they were much more likely to deal with her than with him. However the payments they tended to request were much more difficult to arrange. [b “I'll do that. Thanks for the heads up Tabor.”]
[b “Any time.”]
With everything in place, the teams where dismissed to get everything ready. Given a two-hour time limit they would be free to handle their task however they wanted. The time was little but working under a little presser was nothing for the James team. They where the best and no matter the task he knew they would get it done. Everyone would leave the room but Maxx that waited for him.
“So any idea what he could be dealing with?” Maxx asked as they started down the halls to James cabin.
“My best bet is one or two small ships guarding whatever interdictor that they are using. Out side of that not sure. I hate playing things by ear but on something like this we have to.” James said as he open the door to his room and then took a seat at his desk with Maxx across from them. A few second later a Steward droid would walk in with two plate of that afternoons lunch.
Maurice the Chief Steward was a modified B1 battle droid and was unlike any droid James had met. It was from sometime form the clone wars but outside of that it he couldn’t find out where it had come from. It operated fully independent as far as anyone could tell. Everything was standard about the unit expect that it always wore a impeccable tux and spoke with a Kunknee accent. When asked about both it often replied with. “The better to service the crew.” James had known it for a few years before starting up his ship as it had help him with the passing of his late wife. After that he had hired Maurice full time as the ship steward and therapist. A job it fulfilled better than any could hope. The most impress thing was it always knew where and when it was need always being just a call away with food and coffee.
“Thank you, Maurice.” He said taking his food and afternoon coffee.
“You are welcome Captain.” It said nodding. It was one of the only people to referee to him as captain. “Should I be expecting guess tonight?”
“Yes expect that we have a few guest staying for a few day until we can drop them off at imperial station.” Somehow Maurice was the first person always to hear about anything.
“Understood.” With that he was gone.
“Dang it no meat.” Maxx said looking at his plate mostly filled with a salad.
“Doctor did say to watch your weight or else she makes you.” James laughed.
“I’m 57 what do I care about my weight. Im not going out to impress woman anymore James.” Maxx said stuffing his face.
“You know her always looking out for you even if you don’t want it. She want to keep you around as much as I do.”
“Yea I know you all want to take me down screaming with the rest of you”
Both men laughed enjoying their lunch as the star turned form dots to line as the Spirt jumped into hyperspace.
Sephira stuck around through the meeting as instructed by James as she would almost certainly be given another assignment before she would be sent off. A benefit or disadvantage depending on how one saw it of having her own team. Even if they were droids her success since joining the team guaranteed that her personal unit was as trusted by the crew as she was at this point. Which was enough for them given they were still more fiercely loyal to their master Sephira.
One of the last two to join the meeting was the Xa Fel Nil who while an excellent engineer predominantly worked on the Spirit's fighter complement and shuttle craft. He was especially focused on their heavily armed prototype Gunstar. His skills were developed by Kuat Drive Yards enough though that he would be one of the hands on deck for their camouflage adjustments. There was no concern for his timeliness though as his assignment would mostly have to wait until after they came out of hyperspace and he worked under Max most of the time anyway.
The last to arrive was one of the pilots of said fighter complement the Lafrarian known as Tannis. Always dressed in full flight suit when outside of their room so only a few members of the crew had so much as seen their face. A hot-shot pilot who could down a dozen X-wings or TIE fighters without so much as getting scratched. They were always available to the meetings even though their skills were only ever called upon in space combat situations. Still given they had some of the most experience in space combat scenarios they made sure to be around to provide any requisite advice.
Since both Nil and Tannis worked predominantly with the Gunstar they stood off to one side of the room while James spoke. Although both did make sure to properly greet their captain the meeting got underway quickly after. Sephira meanwhile took her seat next to Trono as two of the primary field operatives for the group. Unlike the other two her talents were best put to use on the ground as she relied heavily on her droid crew for space based operations.
Sephira was assigned to the hacking team as she had plenty of experience faking Imperial documentation from her time as a criminal. Her crew was also well suited to the task given the processing power her own ship could bring to the table. It was an understandable assignment in tandem with her other as she could contact Tabor while her droids went to work aiding Mark and Eric in their hacking endeavors. All told they would certainly be done with everything by the time they found their drop point.
Nil meanwhile was happy to be of help to Max in making the ship look properly loaded with imperial weapons systems in the cargo. Compared to his work for Kuat Drive Yards it was always a fun experience on the Spirit. This was not his first time getting to perform an illusion of this sort for the team, but it was always exciting to test his talents in a way he never thought possible. Although he hoped he would have enough time before their encounter to run diagnostics on his precious Gunstar one more time.
While there was not much help Tannis could provide at the moment they silently volunteered themself to help ready the arms alongside Trono. They were not an ideal worker in that environment, but an extra set of hands would help. Especially as Tannis was indeed another member of the team with extensive military experience, and although most of it was space based they had plenty of ground training to be of value. Also a good talent for following orders that had been developed by being part of such a successful crew.
[b “Alright then I have to go get in touch with my contacts, but I'll have R4 act as point of contact with Mark and Eric. Once my ship is online we should be good to go then,”] Sephira said. [b “I'll also make sure my weapons and team are ready for your sake Trono. Not that you've ever needed to worry about me when it comes to combat. That all I need to do then?”]
“Good.” James said standing up and leasing them out the back. “I’ll have the crew start changing the ship around the ship as well.” He would lead them back to the real inner part of the ship and to the conference room where they were met by several other people waited. Max was near the head of the table leaving it open for James as he was the leader of the Spirt.
“Chairmen.” He said nodding as everyone greeted him. The other five greeted him as well. A Wookiees sat next to Max. Trono was his name and he was the lead combat expert in charge of most ground ops and keep the crew trained in hand to hand combat. Was part of a Special forces group doing the Clone wars and left short after the Empire was formed. Saved James life and was offered a job shortly after
Across form Max was the third in command, A twi’lek named Linda Ross. She was Vice President of The Corporation after the last one had retired shortly before Sephira joined the crew. She was a skilled pilot and had severed on ships her whole life she was the second best pilot of the Spirt just after James himself.
Sitting next to her was two humans crowed around computer One was Mark Murphy the on-board ship weapon and technology exported. He had devolved most weapons that now operated on the Spirt. While the other was Eric stone. The only no military or combat back ground member. He was arrested for being able to hack into most people account just for fun. Mark and Eric had become quick friend and caused no end of trouble who they went against. They both help make sure that the spirts systems where up to date and even developed systems on no other ship in the world.
Last was a Miralans that sat quietly at the other end of the table named Hali Kasim. The ship main communications offices. He been part of many spy ships over the years and had a eye for picking up what most other couldn’t not.
“Good afternoon everyone. Thank you for joining us.” James said taking a seat at the head of the table leaving Sephira to sit across form Hali and next to Trono. “But seems we already have new job.” He then when on to tell everyone what he had been told by Max and what he told Sephine on the way back. Once he was finished everyone stayed quite taking the information in. After a bit Maxx spoke up, and said.
“So, what the plan Chairmen?”
“At the moment we need to figure out who doing this so we need to catch them in the act.”
Maxx smiled as he said. “So already go a plan then?”
“Of course, I do. If they want to attack a cargo ship, we will give them a cargo ship.” His smile showed teeth. “Mark, Eric and Sephine. I need you three to work together to hack into impearl records and add the Spirt to the manifest and say it caring the same load as the other ships that was attacked. Next Maxx get the crew to reform the ships to make it look like he Maxed out on storage. Trono get a team ready to breach and clear out ship. Last make sure all weapons are ready for combat
[b “Not random people off the streets, but just your run of the mill street tough. A military veteran would be more conscientious about their weapon, and the more worrisome gang members would carry more firepower. Nowhere near dangerous enough to make me worry about them.”]
She made sure to listen carefully to the next part of his speech as he seemed to pause to ponder the possibilities that she had presented. The interdiction technology was dangerous enough based on her own knowledge. He had more experience with that though thanks to his Imperial connections, and she wanted to be fully caught up in time for the next team meeting. Of course she also wanted to know if he had some plan to go after this holocron again later as she would be more than happy to help with that recovery.
[b “We can always come back later for this if you feel the need. Agreed that we have bigger worries to deal with right now though.”]
Molly made sure to keep an eye on the controls while she focused on James' thoughts about the technology they were dealing with now. She knew of a few people who could replicate that level of technology who worked as outlaw techs. The number of people she knew who could both replicate that level of technology and would replicate that level of technology was about one person long. They also would not do it for a bunch of savages like the ones running around with it right now.
[b “The rebels rely too much on public perception I doubt they go this far. Plus none of the rebels I have encountered have anywhere near the viciousness needed to execute these attacks. Met a few pirates who do though, and I know a few outlaw techs that would be able to help them with it purely tech side. Doubt any of them would help if they knew this was the goal. Might be one that just wanted to create the piece for the sake of testing themselves and accidentally handed it over to the worst people.”]
They pulled up the shuttle into the Spirit without any trouble thanks to Molly's skills. Once the doors closed there was barely a beat before the Spirit was off into hyperspace. Soon as they were back on board James began discussing what the pirates were after and it was some super heavy weaponry. The kind that she had gone after for a few clients, although above the weight class that she had mounted on her own ship. Dangerous stuff in any hands, but especially in these brutal beasts.
[b “Speaking for most outlaws they tend to rely on the H9 turbolaser. The fact they think it necessary to get a hold of Star Destroyer level weapons means they are either mad, or they have something massive planned I would say,”] Sephira smirked though as she thought about the last bit. [b “Smart idea. I'll get in touch with all of my contacts just as soon as I get back to my hangar. Will be sure to keep you posted on what I find!”]
“But it thought little things that save your life.” He said kicking back and wrapping his around behind his head. “A little flinch here a little movement there could be the difference between life and death. Even more so when you target is wary of you. When you want to put him at ease you have to be the part as much as look it. Hell, it one of the few reasons people trust me so much even when I dressed as someone else.”
He would smile as she started talking about what she did see and what information she gave to him about it. It also filled him with pride when she shows the progress of growing. He wanted his crew to have the best chance they could in the field and the more she showed the less he would worry about her in the future. Though he never believed that he would ever completely stop worrying about them.
“I don’t think so they looked to seasoned in the eyes to be random people in the street. They scene combat before most likely didn’t have the stomach for it. Likely looked of a way out so took up jobs as pick up boys. Guys mostly pick up information form field Agents. They mostly knew those people so didn’t need all the get up they got for us.” He would then smile and laugh at her comment. “I don’t think most people could hide from you. You to headstrong to let them getaway.”
He would stay quiet at that last part for a bit as he would think it over. “Not that I'm not worried something about it just rubs me the wrong way but we have large issues at the moment then Holocron with an old man bad feeling.” That feeling had kept him alive in the past thought and it took him a lot to push it to the side for the bigger picture.
“No, it these attacks that worries me most.” He said finally snapping out of his own thoughts. “First is how they are doing it. Out of every major power, only the empire should be able to build an interdictor but all of these are accounted for. That leaves the rebel which could get on or even build their own but this doesn’t seem like them. The crimes are too dirty to be their doing. That mostly leaves the Hutts or pirates both witches should not be able to build or even know how to operate one.”
The Spirit would be a quick flight for the station and a soon as they landed it started moving at a slow pace to get clear and jump into hyperspace. As the shuttle landed, He would stand up and lead the way back into the ship as he led the way out into the hallway. “What bothered me the most is what they are stealing. Top of the line starship weapons. Heavy turbos laser cannons the same that ISD 2 mount as well as the same kind of weapon we hid in the hull. The best guns around what could they be using so many guns for? That what worries me the most at this time a total of 5 guns have been stolen. I may have you look up un the black market of replacement parts be sold or bought. Some this big can be this quite something going on and I want to know what.
[b “You know best as always,”] Sephira said as she went along with him guiding her back to the shuttle.
The nice act as a father was dropped as soon as the shuttle door closed, but James was quick to scold her for her activities again. Not dissimilar from the way that Zed would do it back in the day. Biggest difference being she was much more experienced now and his complaints were far more minuscule compared to the ones that Zed for her. A cost of James being such a talented commander was that he was also going to hold everyone to his millimetric perfection standards.
[b “Most men don't pay attention to my micro expressions, however I will do my best to reduce the visibility.”]
James took up residence in the co-pilot seat leaving her to take the controls as their pilot. It was another one of the things that he had expected of her to develop a more well rounded skill set than she already had. She usually let one of her droid companions handle the piloting of her own ship, however it had been beneficial to her understanding of the programming behind it to be forced to develop the skill by James' hand. Of course the other benefit this way was that it allowed James to focus on recapping what they went through and what they were about to go through.
[b “It was just a Merr-Sonn IR-5 too. The type of blaster people pick up when they don't know what to actually look for in a blaster and just want it to look intimidating. Average kid on Socorro carries more firepower than that.”]
It was always impressive to hear just how many minute details that James could pick up, and the fact that she was able to keep up this time gave her a sense of pride. She had the benefit of her experience with the force though to help her out. His experience by comparison was an absolutely frightening thing as she was certain that he was among the most capable she had encountered in her years.
[b “Not an uncommon routine for these kinds of people and I wouldn't be surprised if the actual boss picked them up off the streets to act as a front. I know several paranoid specialists who operate that way. A guy by the name of Silver used to be excellent at having double decoys to keep himself alive out in the Outer Rim. Not that it stopped me from tracking him down.”]
[b “That all sounds about right to me and in line with what I would expect. Of course the fact that you didn't want us to follow them though means that you must be quite confident that we do not need to worry about the person behind them, or that you are that much more concerned with our next mission dealing with the stolen interdiction technology. You'll have to tell me though which one it is James.”]
James would smile taking the datapad back for Sephira as he nodded. “Can't be too safe there days if you know what I mean.” He said reaching out his hand to shake there. They hesitated for a second before reaching out and shaking his hand before turning and leaving without a fuss. Turning around and grabbing Sephira around the shoulder with one of his arms he smiled. “See dear what I tell you nothing to worry about.” Year of undercover training, Interactions and an interesting year under an Inquisitor had let James pick on the slightest movements. Everyone had one in some way shape or form and Sephira was no different. He could tell she was reaching out in the force to look for threats. It wasn’t a bad thing as I could help catch something ahead of him reading only body movement but it came at the cost of being felt by another user.
Once there where on the shuttle and the door was closed did, he drops the act. “You did it again. Less noticeable than last time but I still clearly saw your eyes move and your neck tense.” He has been training her to help lose some of the movement that would give her away and was to combine his skills with her force power to help to more subtle in her actions with the force. “If the bean ware they may have picked up on it but form what a saw they have little to no training in that kind of work.”
He took a seat in the co-pilot seat letting her fly them back as he explained. “One of the blasters they had were only painted up to look newer and fancier. They had too many dents and scrapes to be new. Second their clothes to new ill-fitting to be there normal clothing. Most likely picked them up to make themselves look more importin then they were. Third, they reacted to casual to you if they been the real deal, they would have forced me to send you off meaning they don’t do this kind of work often. Lastly, they seemed too nervous about the money transfer. Most would say nothing and let it happen.” Finishing his explain he would look over to see how much she had noticed.
Sephira shrugged at the question, but a quick thought on it allowed her to provide a decent enough answer. [b “They certainly know what is on it, but they might just think any knowledge of the force is dangerous. You have seen firsthand how strict they are with the hunt for Jedi. The only other thing I could think of is wanting to keep hyperspace technology out of the hands of some of the primitive planets. Either way I do not think it dangerous enough to worry about. No schemes for a super weapon or anything.”]
After that he gave yet another reminder to take care of herself. Her connection to the force and training from Zed meant she did not need the same kind of care as a normal person. She had grown used to sticking to more mundane routines for the captain's comfort though. It was proof that she had grown comfortable and proof that she had grown close was she moved to follow as soon as his hand moved to give the signal.
He explained their next mission to her as they made their way to their standard shuttle. Someone rather nasty had managed to get a hold of interdiction technology and had been using it far too freely given the evidence that had piled up. It was a technology that she knew from all of her research, but had never encountered before. Even now so many centuries after it was invented it was still a rare top of the line piece of military technology. The fact that it fell into such awful hands proved why it needed to stay that way. Not that she would mind getting hold of it for herself especially as it was suited to take on capital class ships.
The shuttle they boarded was just as much a diamond in the rough as the Spirit of Fire. You would not know by looking at it of course, but that was as always by design. It was not a match for her own ship which did not have to dedicate such resources to concealment of course. That said it would match up well against most modified light freighters flying around the galaxy. Even the average souped up YT-series ship did not compare in her experience.
Thanks to that technology that went into the shuttle and James' piloting skills it did not take long for them to land on the station. It did take long enough for her to get changed into more appropriate attire for what they were doing though. She kept an outfit on hand for times like this in one of the smuggling compartments of the shuttle that was hers to do with as she pleased. Unfortunately it did not provide as much protection or room for hidden weaponry as her normal outfit, but it more than made up for that fact given how well it disguised her dangerous side. A quick run of her hands to mess up her hair and she was ready to accompany the captain.
She did make sure to remind him during the journey about her contacts in the outer rim that might be of help. Especially her old agent of sorts Tabor as he operated in that area. He would probably hand over any information he had on it just for the knowledge that she would be one of the ones handling the problem. If they were targeting freighters they had surely impacted his business by now. While she had not worked with him in a while she was still his most trusted contact given her reliability. They would have to discuss it more though back on the ship as they arrived before the conversation could properly close.
Sephira made sure to take position close to James as they disembarked the vessel. They were met almost immediately by two humans at the gate who wore blank looks and standard blasters on their hips. It took a concentrated effort from her to keep her composure as his underling in this position. However she did well as she played along with James' usual routine by playing up the movements of an outer rim woman.
They were still mildly concerned at her presence, but James rolled with it as well as ever with a quick grab around her shoulder. Along with a proclamation that he was teaching his daughter to fly. Her age would make such a story unbelievable if not for her youthful looks gained either by good genetics or a strong connection to the force. Luckily for her even though her face flushed a bit at the sudden change of story she was able to play it off well as she tried to peel away.
[b “D~a~d,”] said with the tone of a petulant teenager. That was enough to get the men to practically shrug off her existence at least in so far as it being a threat.
She acted well as she rolled her eyes at her false father's facade of foolishness. They ate it up just like everyone else did and she had to admit that he was a wonder at it all. Sephira would readily tell you she herself was good, damn good, but that he was somehow better. Zed would see through him she was certain, however Zed was to her what she was to the average person. Based on her experiences with them at least.
[b “Yeah just leave it to me.”]
Sephira made sure to look to struggle in thought as she worked it, but just enough to be believable. Not enough to antagonize them as she had learned. It was a careful balance, but she had picked it up well in James' presence.
[b “Everything's there just as they said. So we're all squared up then?”]
This was the moment where she focused her senses the most with the force. It was when everything looked like it had gone smoothly that it was most likely to blow up in your face. A moment like that is what caused her to meet James and join the Spirit of Fire in the first place. James was sure to be on his toes as well, but there was something to be said for her force enhanced combat awareness. Especially with how well Zed trained her to deal with surprise attacks.
After James’s meeting with Maxx, he stayed in his room to plan and come up with a few ideas. He always likes to plan ahead and with this new mission involving pirates and interdictors. The Spirit was more than cable dealing with a few pirates. Hidden in her hull she hid several powerful turbolaser that could be lifted into place in case of danger. She also hid several torpedo tubes in her bow and stern. They could be slid open for quick launches without anyone ever noticing them. She could hold her own with any ship her size.
He didn’t get long to plan as he was soon buzzed. There where soon docking at the delivery point and they were ready to drop off Holocron. Standing up he would head down to the docking port. He was met by Sephira who hands him the Holocron. “Well?” He asked
He would raise his eyebrow at her comment before letting her finish. It seemed harmless enough but that raised the question. “If it so basic then why was the empire so worried about security and why is the contact paying us so much for it. Both would know at least have basic knowable of what on it to want it.” He pawed at the Holocron as he tried to come up with an answer but couldn’t.
He let the thought die as he smiled as he turned to Sephira again. “Good I need everyone at their best as we already have another job. I only stop worrying when everyone is safe and healthy you know that.” He simply nodded waving for her to follow him as they started the walk from the inner part of the ship to the outer.
“I got a contact form our normal employer seems several ships have been attacked. Normal this would be our problem but the ships have been pulled out of hyperspace.” He let that sit in a moment before he countered. “I'm more than sure you know what that means. What worries me is the ships that have been attacked. I looked over a few of the list so far and each seemed to be weapon and gear for capital class ships. The attack doesn’t match most rebels as the ships as fully destroy after they were stolen. Crew and all.” He said gritting his teeth at the last part.
He hated the pointless death of people that didn’t have anything to do. Frater pilot and their crew were just trying to make a living and pirates and rebels both prayed on them like ticks.
He dropped the subject shortly after as they started to board a shuttle that looked almost as bad as the Spirit itself. It was the default shuttle that would take them to dock on the station so the spirt could stay clear and ready to move out shortly after. The Spirt had two other hidden used for the mission as stealth ops.
The ride was pretty short as they landed on the station and were met with two humans and the gate. Each wore a blank look as one held a datapad and the other nothing. Each had a blaster on their hip. “James?” The one with nothing asked. James just simply nodded and gave the man a friendly smile.
“That would be me yes.” He said in thick outer accent. “And I must you fells must but the contacts that I was told to meet.
Both would nod but give Sephira a questioning look. “The agreement was to come alone.” The one with the datapad.”
James shrugged nonchalantly as he raised his hand. “Well, I'm teaching my daughter here how to fly so I figured what did it matter.” He then wrapped an arm around Sephira pulling her close as a Father would be over doting.
Each man would look at each other before back at him. “Do you have the package?” The one with the datapad asked.
“O yea this wired thing?” He said pulling out the Holocron and looking at it before tossing it the man without the datapad “The guy that gave it to us before we left station said something about.” He paused as if trying to remember. “To be careful with it. I don’t know why to look like a normal fancy cub to me. What is it even?”
Both men would not answer as each took some time to look over it before nodding to each other if confirming it was real. “None of your business sir. Now here the money now gets lost.” The one with the datapad said as he handed it over to James. James took it and fumbled around with it for a bit. He seemed to be troubled to check it before giving it. “Blasted things I can never get them to work. Sarah dear be a dear and make sure it's got the right price on it. Can't trust these inner rim worlder always trying to shave a little off the top.”
It was common for outrim folks to be suspicious of not getting paid as one man said. “I assure you, sir, it all there.”
It was common when using contacts outside the normal group to think that ops were done by a small team and the Spirit was just the Trasport they used as not to be seen. One they could get a bit more money out of the contact plus it kept the spirt crew from being seen by too many people. Just the James the old caption with a dying ship.
Sephira stayed locked up in her ship for much of the trip from the pick-up location to the drop-off location as she analyzed every last detail of the holocron that she could. She had to stay locked up to do it given how much detail there was in it. Especially as she had already been reprimanded for pulling so many late nights before she even had the opportunity to do one this time around. Still she listened to her captain's orders and made sure to get an appropriate amount of rest. Not that she needed it as much as the other crew members given the way that Zed had trained her to enter deep sleep so easily, but she did it for the sake of James' comfort.
She stepped out just in time to hand James the holocron as they were coming out of hyperspace at the drop-off location. [b “Analyzed every last detail of this thing and I have to say if they want it because of what is on it I feel bad for them.”]
[b “It was made by a Jedi council member during one of the wars of the old Old Republic in case the war devastated their home planet. Basically a guide on how to rebuild from nothing. Covers everything from primitive farming practices all the way to the cutting edge hyperdrives of the time. Nothing dangerous on it as far as I could see. Does include some force meditation tricks, but nothing I didn't learn during my first year with Zed.”]
Sephira eyed it a few more times before she set it down on the table with a shrug. She then got to stretching as her ship was comfortable enough, but it was definitely cramped compared to the Spirit of Fire that carried it. Despite the lack of concern she tended to show for her own well-being she was still in prime physical shape with the toned body of a gymnast. A benefit of Zed's training in Matukai teachings and various martial arts gave her a form that was flexible as well as strong.
[b “I would have been done sooner, but I made sure to get normal rest times in for someones peace of mind. So no need to worry so much about me.”]
She smiled at the statement even as she knew he would not take it to heart. He always showed concern for her being out and about like the rare times she was separated from Zed for more than a few hours. It was what made him truly special as a captain in her eyes.
[b “Not that you probably need the help, but since I know we have a meeting afterward you want me to come with you to deliver this thing? You can get me caught up on what I missed while I was sifting through ancient records.”]
James would only be enjoying his smoke for a minute before a knock came to his door and Maxx entered the room. “I see you're relaxing,” Maxx said smiling as he took a seat across from him. Maxx was almost the opposite of James. In his late 50, he was rather pudgy with a bolding head of hair. He had been a Solider in the clone wars in some of the worst jungle fighting that was seen.
James, on the other hand, was in his mid 30 tall with a set of short brown hair. His body was that of a swimmer as he often worked out in the pool to keep in shape. His chest and back were coved in scars and he was missing his left leg. It was lost in a gun battle when he was working for Imperial intelligence. It was the spy business that he got the idea for his Spirt.
“And why do I feel like you are going to ruin it,” James said laughing.
“That easy to tell?” Maxx asked leaning back in the chair.
“A contact from our natural friend in the empire just sent us a message.”
“Anderson?” James asked. Anderson was James's old boss and one of the few people who had helped make the spirt a reality. He was no fan of the emperor and often let James do what he needs to do as long as no one was killed.
“Yep, he sent a message about a group of pirates that have been ambushing freighters in the outer rim.”
“That odd sound like some the Imperial Navy could deal with why call us?” James asked raising an eyebrow.
“That what I thought until he told me about, they have been tearing them out of Hyperspace.” This took James by surprise as it took an interdictor to do such a thing. And only the empire had that kind of ship. Maxx seemed to pick up on what he was thinking as he said. “All ships are accounted for so it not an inside job. Meaning...
“Meaning someone selling off that information or they figured out how to make one.” James finished.
“Or someone selling off the ship as interdictor are no cheap. Worst yet is they can pick their target and be in and out before an Imperial response.”
James nodded taking time to think. “So, this is more than just a search and destroy mission then.”
“Yep, he wants to find out how they got this technology and if they selling them off.” Maxx finished crossing his arms.
“Okay then once we finished dropping off the holocoen make the best speed to that last known location.” Nodding Maxx would get up. “Also set up a meeting for staff members shortly after we drop off the package.”
Sephira made sure that her dance showed off the fact that there was not a mark on her as James did a quick check. She had grown used to his protective nature after just a couple of months with the crew. By now she found it a unique comfort of home that made her want to stick around with the crew of the Spirit of Fire.
[b "Nye he."]
It had taken Sephira a bit to get used to the captain's show of affection and support, but now that she had been a member of the crew for a fair bit she had grown to enjoy it. Almost like an animal as she had once flinched at the thought of contact and now was leaning into it like a feline pet. While it might be different than her previous mentor it was an enjoyable praise nonetheless.
[b "Yeah you'll never relax when one of your crew is on their own. Even if you know I handled myself by myself for years before I joined your crew. Can't complain at this point I guess hard to teach an old man new tricks."]
She smirked at her own statement as she knew that he had a fair ways to go before he would be past his prime. After all she had seen him both in costume and out of costume. Sephira knew as well as any of the crew that James could still handle himself out in the field and it was part of the reason why she trusted him so extensively.
[b "I can get back to you as soon as I am through it. Of course if you want a firsthand demonstration my lounge is open to you boss,"] Sephira said although pausing after his comment about her sleep schedule. [b "Okay Daddy I will be sure to go to sleep on time."]
She flicked her tongue out at him even though he was turned around before she made her way aboard her ship. Unlike the rest of the crew it was one of her requirements that she be allowed to keep one of her own ships aboard a hidden hangar bay of the Spirit of Fire. Sephira had been a slave once and so freedom was of the utmost importance to her even now. The right to leave at a moment's notice was a necessary precaution for her mental health after all the things she had been through in her life.
The ship she used as her standard shuttle was a heavily modified ZH-25 Questor-class light freighter. She had picked it up as a kid when she was still being trained by Zed as it had a similar control scheme to the Z-10 Seeker that Zed piloted around the galaxy. Hers possessed a larger cargo complement thanks to modifications to the cargo pods though, and could also carry a larger crew although hers was better suited to droids. It also had a droid brain of its own that could control all but one of the systems aboard the ship.
Port side was where her room was located, but starboard side she had set up a decent leisure lounge for her and her droid companions. That is where she would go as she had informed James. Even though the holocron could display by itself her lounge was equipped with better projectors that could connect to the force artifact. A benefit of her time learning under the strange Zed.
[b "Now time to see just why they were after this holocron. Probably just a collector of weird artifacts, but something feels strange about this one to me,"] Sephira focused on it for a second more before she shrugged her shoulders and started setting up. [b "Worse comes to worst and I can just jostle the insides enough to make sure that it will never be accessible again."]
James would smile as he watched his last member land on the deck of his ship and start dancing. He would let out a chuckle as he watched. He was used to each of him member having a strange or funny quark about themselves. She would spot him a few second later as she got out of her space suit. “I know but still didn’t make it any easy on me to send you out alone.” He would say looking her up and down to make sure she wasn’t wounded in any way. “In no short to your skills and the rest of the crew good work out there.” He said ruffling the girl's hair.
He would look at the holocron that she had and nodded. “Good I like to know what our employer was after. He paying us a lot of that little thing and I want to know why.” With that he would turn around and start heading to his personal quarters to change out of his disguise. He trusted her to get the job in a descent mind of time before the would arrive at the drop zone. “And this time don’t stay up all night make sure to get some sleep.” He would call over his shoulder as he left her alone.
James room was located just behind the bridge so he could be ready to lead at a moment notice. It was one of the large rooms on the ship but no overly fancy. A bed took up one wall with chest at the foot that held several of his belongings. On the far wall form it was a desk that he would us to do any of the work that came about. One wall looked like a window to the outside where he could see the stars slowly moving as she ship took a slow yet steady pace away from the stations. IT was in fact lays of screen put together that was used for video call with contact and other on the ship. A cabinet and safe took up the last wall. The safe held the Corporation assets that would be used to pay crew and help in case the ship took real damage on a mission. The cabinet was filled with blaster and weapon of all kind. James was a collect of old weapon and often took them when he could get his hands on them.
Walking in he would quickly change out of the old torn and stained cloths. Tossing them into a basket that would return them to the magic shop later. He would put on a set of jeans and a plain black t-shirt with an over shirt that he was most use too. Confinable he would sit down and his desk as he let out a smile as he pulled out a cigar form his desk and light it up. “Another job done.” He said letting out a puff of smoke. He was happy that it would be done as he just didn’t like the feel of the whole thing but he couldn’t find anything to back up his gut feeling. Little did he know later he would wish he had listened to the feeling.
Marching around between her and the target were dozens of almost two meter tall humanoid security droids. The Aro-GX was outlawed for civilian use, but it was still popular with the imperials. These ones were heavily upgraded far as Sephira could tell by the quality of the blasters on them although it did them no good against her. She walked right past them without an ounce of difficulty. Between her knowledge of droid engineering and her talent with the force it was almost effortless to cloud their judgment enough to keep them from noticing her presence.
Without an active security force it was easy to get into the vault. Once she saw the target she couldn't help but smirk as she confirmed that she was right about the design of the holocron. The duplicate she had wasn't a perfect match of course, however it would fool anyone at a glance long enough for them to be long gone. A quick check to confirm that it was still functional was all she had time for though before swapping it out for the duplicate.
Now that she had the holocron in the bag she danced her way around the security droids back to the shaft with a minute to spare from her guarantee. The techies back on the ship did as she requested leaving her a clear path back to the top floor. It was a longer trip up than down thanks to physics, but Sephira trusted James to keep the imperials occupied as long as promised. She had seen the man work a crowd before and in all of her travels he was the one she most trusted in that role.
Even on the main floor there was no real security between her and the ship at this point as James' antics had gotten most of the personnel involved to help speed things along. Those few that were lingering were easy enough to slip past with a bit of well timed maneuvering. She made just one quick stop to make sure she collected all of their connections and to make sure that the coast was cleared from all the extra hands on deck before she made her run from the facility back to her special hatch.
Once she was safely aboard she resumed her happy dancing as she pulled off her mask. She continued to get out the tight suit with a smile even as she spotted the boss. [b "What did I say? You know I'm the best at what we do; it was perfect from start to finish. I'll just confirm what information is on it and we should be good to go!"]
[b "I trust everything went well on your end too since I barely saw a sapient on my way back?"]
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