We took the job to help Zulfikar track down the pirates who have been intercepting his ships. I was antsy to leave, wondering if these pirates were in anyway related to Kassius’s disappearance, although that was unlikely. But any ray of hope, any clue I could find, I would chase it to galaxies end. I wandered into the bridge and plopped down in my seat lost in thought. I frowned as I realized that someone had messed with the adjustments to my chair but thoughts of pirates still clouded my thoughts. I absentmindedly flipped the levers and leaned forward in my seat, getting it just the way I liked it, when Nyx touched my shoulder causing me to jump a foot in the air.
“You alright?” He asked sitting on the armrest.
“Yeah, just lost in thought.” I answered but offering no more. I wasn’t in the mood to talk about Kassius. Ever in my thoughts, I didn’t udder his name aloud often. What would happen if we managed to find where he was anyhow? If he caught wind of some “young man” looking for him he would go into hiding. He wouldn’t know it was me…
BZZTBZZTBZZT. I jumped again as did Nyx.
“What is that?!” He asked his head tilted in the direction of my arm.
“Its my alarm! Someone is stealing crackers!” I jumped up and took off to my technomat; as I turned the corner, I noticed Nyx slide down into my seat and lean the back of the chair way back.
So that’s who has been in my chair. I smiled amused as kept up the pace down the corridor.
I was too late. I spotted the damned Snotling for a moment before he was out the door and jammed into a hole in the wall I never noticed before. He took all the crackers and broke my jar sensor on his way out.
“Why didnt you do anything?” I grumped at the pandai. He gave me an offended look and wandered off to bed. I rolled my eyes and went back to the bridge.
Finally I had a task! The crew all headed out to port and we separated to find information about Zulfikars shipments. Sigmund’s trip to the city records hadn’t gone well, and as much as I was annoyed we had another set back, I was relieved I actually had something I could help out with. The crew gathered information and brought it to me. I hopped on a terminal at the dock, and I looked into any records I could find related to any of the ship names I had listed already. I eventually found some manifests lists and sent them off to Sigmunds data pad. With some more pushing on the right people, we tracked down word of a man of interest. Tracking down the bar where he was supposedly located was relatively easy. Maybe too easy? I pushed the thought aside. We were only looking to get info; surely everything would be fine. We collected to an alleyway across from the bar and I suggested Nyx and I go in first to find a seat and blend with the crowd. Sigmund and Emir could do some smooth talking and Zarko would be backup incase things got rowdy. I was feeling very confident.. and a little excited. Nyx and I would be able to eat out. Kinda. Like a date! Kinda.. And we could just eavesdrop and see what this man had to say while the man thought Sig was out of earshot. This was going to be awesome.
Linking my arm in Nyx’s, I practically skipped and couldn’t help but grin,” Would you like to go to dinner?”
We entered the bar and found a seat at one of the tables. Looking around, women in long flowy red dresses wandered from table to table, taking orders and delivering food. The room was long and the bar stood in the center of the room where a bartender took orders and what looked like the owner stood studying a stack of papers. She glanced up for a moment as we took a seat but seemed to find us uninteresting and went back to her business. Naked women could be seen across the room entertaining a group of men and lingering outside some nearby private back rooms. I soon noticed a man staring at us. I put on a smile and kept my attention on Nyx trying to play off casually that we were just there to eat. Nyx seemed to have lost his easygoing mood from earlier. It saddened me when we had to come back to reality. I wished I could keep silly giggly Nyx with me all the time. I loved hearing his laugh.
A woman wandered over and asked us what we would like to order.
“Mini corndogs!” I said a little too excitedly. I forgot what Nyx ordered.. I was very excited to not eat ship food. Looking past Nyx’s right ear, I glanced at the man at the other table. He was still staring at us, eyes ablaze and jaw set in a scowl.
“I don’t think he is happy to see us…”
Suddenly, as if someone flicked a switch about half of the people milling around the bar got up and started to exit the bar. The women, clothed and not, quickly disappeared into the kitchen, no doubt exiting out the back alleyway.
“I don’t think the corndogs are very good here.” I tried to joke, as Nyx stood up and walked to the bar.
I watched Nyx approach the bar and speak to the woman there with all her paperwork.
“What did you do?!” I heard her whisper loudly to Nyx.
“We did nothing.. But you should leave..” Nyx said without emotion.
“Please try to leave something behind.” The woman said almost pleadingly and gathered her things.
Emir entered and came to rest at the bar not far from where Nyx stood. I glanced from Emir to the man, as he seemed to try to catch Emir on fire with just his gaze. The next few moments were a stare off between the man and his booth of henchmen and Emir, Nyx, and I. My gaze kept shifting from the man to Nyx and Emir. How long would we sit here frozen in time?
I’m not sure exactly sure what tipped the balance but suddenly a large crash (the door getting kicked in?), gun fire, followed by an immediate explosion from a grenade seemingly happened all at once. I ducked under the table, and took a moment to regain my bearings to figure out what was happening in the room, and most importantly figure out where Nyx went. Men posted up into the private room doorways on our right and straight across the room from us. I spotted Nyx crouched by the bar and he was barely shielded from gunfire on both sides. Crouched by the corner, he could neither advance one way or other without being in range of gun fire. Looking around for an idea, I frowned and finally glanced at the table I was beneath. I hesitated for a moment, trying to calculate how much the table might weigh, but if I was going to do something I needed to do it now. Jumping up, I mustered as much strength as I could, and attempted to throw the desk in Nyx’s direction. It was a lot heavier than I bargained for though so it lazily rolled over on its side. Unfazed I grabbed it by the edge and shouted out to Nyx as I rolled the table as hard as I could in his direction. He intercepted the rolling table and set it firmly in front of him blocking the gunfire from the men that were past the bar from us previously. I rolled over to him and also crouched down behind the table.
Before I had the chance to plan my next move, a grenade landed on the floor between Sigmund and myself. When did he get here? I dove away from Nyx and managed to make it away unscathed. The man that was glaring at us from the start, ran up to the bar without fear, and plopped a huge firearm on the counter and pointed it at Sigmund and I. Trying to decided where to go next with men approaching from ahead and to the right, Sigmund darted forward and jumped over the bar counter and landed swiftly on the other side. He quickly made it to the other side of the bar and lunged forward at the man, slashing with his sword reaching out over the countertop. The man stumbled back but not quite fast enough. The sword slashed open the man’s shirt and cut a line across his chest. I spotted the gun still on the counter. If I was fast enough, I could grab it and pull it on the ground behind the bar and away from the man. This fight could be over as quickly as it started. I took a running leap at the bar without hesitation; if Sig could make that jump there is no way I would fail. Landing swiftly on the other side, I aimed for the gun but came up a bit too slow. The man dodged another swing from Sigmund, snatched up his gun under one arm, and dropped and gernade on the ground behind the bar as he retreated backwards. Distracted by a man coming up on the right, I managed to dodge a couple rounds from him as Sigmund dove away from me and the grenade. Unsteady from trying to not get shot, I failed to move away fast enough and the grenade exploded at my feet. I should have been dead. Was I dead? My back up against the back of the bar, I struggled to stand, and swiped the back of my hand across my face. Blood. I shakingly looked down inspecting my body. Everything seemed to still be intact. Blown to shit; but intact.
Frozen, I watched in slow mo as Zarko ran up to the man and started punching away at the man. I hope he didn’t kill him. We needed information that he had…
Nyx. Was Nyx alright? I sluggishly turned my head to the table I knocked down earlier. Nyx was standing, undeterred from the gunfight surrounding him, staring in the direction the man with a deadly fire in his black eyes. His gun was aimed at the man’s head. He shot three times and each shot found its mark. The man was dead… I did my best to roll myself up and over the counter to where Nyx was and he helped me to the ground. He held me close and I may have passed out for a moment or two. I couldn’t hear the gunfire any longer and I’m not sure if that was a good or bad thing. I touched the side of my head and found more blood there. Nyx touched my arms and my legs, seeming checking to make sure everything still worked. If he said anything I couldn’t hear it.
The fight soon ebbed away and some of the men fled some of them fought till they died. One man left remaining. Sigmund tried making the man give them information. I did not want to be around for the actions that would be required to make a uncooperative man speak. I went out to the car.
At the Titansbane, I went to my technomat after getting patched up. I was feeling much better and didn’t feel like being around the others. A knock came from the door and I internally sighed in relief that I could actually hear it. Man, it would suck if I went deaf. I smirked a little at the thought of the deaf kid dating the blind kid. Hopefully that wasn’t in the cards. Krieger appeared from the corridor and stood in the room looking uncomfortable. It occurred to me that, besides her saving my life, we hadn’t spoken much to one another. She seemed to be having an internal struggle with words; to break the silence I snatched up the pandai who wandered up to inspect Kriegers boots.
“Have you seen a pandai before?” I said holding him up for Krieger to see. He waved a big dark paw at Krieger wiggling his little black nose happily.
“I understand the need to keep live rations but I am here to speak about something else…”
I frowned and hid the pandai behind my back and dropped him to the ground. I heard him dash underneath my desk but I kept my eyes on Krieger.
“An old woman in the port approached me and gave me this card.” She said, producing the card from her pocket. “ She said she was looking for someone who was blind.”
I frowned but before I could say anything in response Nyx came through the door. Before I knew what was happening Nyx was agreeing to go with Krieger out in Port Footfall to meet with this strange woman.
“You’re not going without me. “ I said firmly; wary from our bad encounter from the bar.
“That would be a bad idea. If they were asking for me they will be upset of others show up. They may even retreat or not share with us information we might need.”
“This makes me unhappy…” I knew he was right but I couldn’t help but worry.. I looked to Krieger and decided it was a fight I would not win. Nyx had made up his mind and I knew I couldn’t stop him. A memory flashed across my mind of Krieger lunging in front of me during the car chase from so long ago and taking multiple shots in the chest to save my life… I knew Nyx would be safe with her. I folded my arms across my chest but said no more as they departed. I slumped down in my chair tired and upset.
Shortly after my radio buzzed at me. I thought about ignoring it but turned the dial to raise the volume and heard Sigmund’s voice on the other end.
“Kayp, we retrieved a datapad from the bar but it is damaged and I need you to look at it for me. Please come here and retrieve it and see what you can find out about it.” He said all business.
“Well them bring it here.” I said grumpily, staring at the ground.
“I told you to come here and retrieve it from ME.” He said, sounding on the edge of irritation.
“In order for me to analize it it would be faster if you just brought it to my technomat.” I said firmly.
There was silence over the radio and I tensed a little anxious that I had overstepped my bounds. A heavy sigh preceded the silence.
I grinned at the small victory. Soon Sigmund arrived, handing me a sorry excuse of a datapad. It had a bullet in the top corner of it and the screen was frozen on the last bit of information that had been brought up. I clicked a couple of buttons and drug my finger across the screen to no avail. I went to one of my electronic bins and quickly found a blank pad I had kicking around for a spare. I successfully uploaded the data to the new pad and soon started to sort through the files.
“I don’t really see anything hidden inside the software.” I muttered, scrolling through pages and pages of information. “Most of this looks like inventory lists or rosters of some kind. Some of them seem incomplete..”
Sigmund stayed for a bit longer looking through some of the sheets with me. He thinks there might be a mole somewhere in Zulfikars territory on Footfall. I offered to plant a GPS device in the datapad, and use it as bait to see if we could get the mole to steal the pad, and reveal their location. Sigmund denied the plan for now, saying we might return to this idea later on in the future. Whatever he had planned, he didn’t seem keen on sharing at the moment. I didn’t push him. My thoughts were starting to trail back to Nyx wandering around who knows where out in the streets. He left soon after and I left shortly after and found myself headed to one of the ground vehicles.
Where you going, Kayp? I silently scolded myself. I don’t know but I can at least park out front of the Titansbane for a quick response time if Nyx and Krieger run into trouble.
While sitting outside Emir walks up with a light stick in one hand. He smoked and bullshitted with me for a bit before seeing a group of military men and wandering off to talk tough with them. Soon Nyx and Krieger approached from the darkness and I couldn’t help but grin as Nyx approached.
“What are you doing out here?” He asked suspiciously.
“Oh, I uh… I was going to give Emir a ride somewhere but he, uh, wanted to go smoke with the guys for a bit first..” I said unprepared for the question and a bit embarrassed to tell the truth that I was very worried. “Do you want a ride inside?”
Nyx narrowed his eyes suspiciously and walked around the side of the car and got in the front seat. “I’ll take the ride but I don’t believe you..”
I grinned as I drove up the ramp to the Titansbane. Happy and relieved that my best friend has returned to me safety.