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re: Dust Off (an excerpt from the SWTOR forums)

((This is an excerpt from the official TOR RP forumes. Background information is in the OOC thread))


Several armed men strolled into the tight room, spreading out to fill in the gaps and prove themselves rather formidable looking, even if a bit excessive. Being cuffed to a chair didn’t lend itself to being very dangerous. Jaxs eyes slanted as three far less armoured men waltzed in as well. “Interviewers”. Scum of the universe. In her opinion at least.

“Well now. There’s a familiar face. Of course it’s been somewhat… altered… since I last saw it.”

There in front of her stood that same grinning man from the cantina, the very same Republic officer that got them into a firefight with a roomful of fake spacers. It would have been ironic… if it weren’t so maddening.

Fancy seeing you again,” Jaxs snapped back, returning his grins with a snide little smile of her own.

“You’re in for a turn of bad luck, it seems. They’re talking a life sentence, sweetheart.”

Yeah? What’s the charge?

“Assault. Battery. Attacking a Republic officer… a couple officers…”

You’re sending me in for life for a couple misdemeanors? Pretty heavy handed, even for a Rep ghost--

“… fraternizing with a known enemy of the state. Treason.”


“We’ll get a neat little ID on you too—you know—and add to that list if you like. I’m sure you’ve pulled more than a few stunts before. Just give me your name and we’ll see what we’re working with.”


“Right. And I’m Chancellor Janarus—.”

It’s always a pleasure to meet royal—.

“—look, lady,” the Agent cut in with a hiss through his teeth, “Prison life is rough. Let me make it easy on you.”

Cutting a deal already? You must be desperate.

The Agent tucked his chin to his shoulder, raising his hands in mocking shrug of helplessness. “My hands are tied.”

—so are mine—.

“So, we can get you all set up in a comfy little cell. I’ve heard it gets a little cramped after fifty years or so.”

Costs a load of credits to pamper a lady in a joint like that.

“I wouldn’t worry yourself. I’m sure we’ll find a couple good citizens willing to pay the rent just to see you rot. Especially after we finalize that ID profile.”

Jaxs went silent. There was a lot of truth in what he said. Only twenty-six years’ worth of living and she’d already made it onto several not-so-friendly people’s blacklist.

The agent watched her callously. He didn’t want to allow her too much time to work things out in her mind. His peppered banter had been as much of a cornering tactic as Jaxs’ snappy comebacks had been a defensive mechanism and an attempt to set him off balance. But giving her time to think? Nah. It was time for him to upset her own balance.

“So, what’s the word?” He said as he tipped Jaxs’ chair forward ever so slightly, toying with her mentally as he threatened to dump her and the stool she was cuffed to onto the ground.

Oh no. I’ll fall.” Her tone was as dry as her parched throat.

He chuckled and let the chair slip from his hold, dropping Jaxs face-first towards the floor. A split second before her face mashed into the hard duracreet, he caught the back of the chair, in effect suspending her uncomfortably just inches from a very unpleasant experience. Upsetting her balance like that worked psychologically as much as it did physically. It made her catch her breath, lose track of her thoughts, and sent a drilling pang of adrenaline straight through her. It… worked. She panicked for a moment, enough to make her voice edgier and, to her advantage, more sincere:

Here’s the deal! If I play cards with you, I’m dead anyways. I know of a couple people who won’t be too pleased I snitched.

“Who said this was going to be a fair trade?”

Then make it worth risking my neck.

“Let’s see…” he mused, slowly easing the chair back up and righting Jaxs in the process, “no jail time?”

Dead now. Dead later.” She shrugged a bit, easing some of the tension out of her neck and shoulders, happier now that it was less likely that she’d take a spill across the floor. “You’re sure making this tough on me, buddy.” Her eyes tapped off to glance over the rest of the room, watching briefly as Doc and Oraln were getting much the same treatment. Rep Intelligence agents were well-known for being good at pressing for information. Scary good. Doc might hold out on his own… but Oraln? That Zabrak was gunna get his own hide burned this time—no way he’d dish on Vera. Her eyes settled back on the Agent, leveling her gaze and mustering about as much faked candor as she could. “What about my boys? Deal them out of the game and I’ll fold.

“Guilty conscience already?”

A girl’s got to sleep at night, and I’ve got more than enough on my mind… Do it.

“Consider it done.” He folded his arms across his chest, pleased with his apparent victory. “Seems awfully low to dish on your crew, but maybe you’re used to that.”

Let’s just say I’m not keen on this idea of being tried for warcrimes. Blast, I don’t even know half these guys I’m running with.

Sure. She was selling out. But it wasn’t like she was pawning tickets to the big show. She was selling off cheapseats for those suckers who didn’t mind the nosebleed section. Her big tip off would likely be information they already knew, mixed in with a whole slew of misinformation. Oh, she’d sing alright. She’d sing the whole day through if it meant getting off this planet. But that didn’t mean she wasn’t going to keep a card up her sleeve. ‘Cause it sure isn’t a great idea to buy your freedom if you’re only going to get tracked down by a bounty hunter with a knack for gutting traitors. Let alone some ghost agent working for the Sith…

Her voice lowered dramatically, leaning forward (if it were possible) towards the agent, “Look. If I’m gunna cop out, I’d rather the boys didn’t see.

He laughed unkindly. “Stage fright? Fair enough.” He leaned over, carefully uncuffing her feet from the chair’s legs. “Look, if you’re trying to pull a fast one--”

—fool you twice, shame on—.” With a smirk and tight little jerk of the knee, she pretended as if she were preparing to kick at him for a second time that day. He flinched just enough to instantly regret it.

“Cute.” He moved around to uncuff her wrists from the chair as well, but just as she stood up he promptly snapped the cuffs back on. “If you’re playing some kind of game…”

You’d be the first to know, right? ‘Cause you’re intelligence, right? ‘Cause you’re a big, tough Republic lackey. They do pick smart people for the Agency, don’t they?

“Don’t push me,” he warned, moving her roughly out of the room with a clenching, guiding hand on her shoulder. “Never mind this Juggernaut character hunting you down. I’ll kill you myself.”

That’s a little dramatic, don’t you think?” Her feet caught beneath her, tripping her up as she felt the blood rush back into her legs as they moved down a dusty hallway. Her head still throbbed from the pistol whip to the head, making her vision blurry and undefined. In fact, she didn’t feel well at not. Nope, not a bit.

“It’s a big, scary universe, sweetheart. People die all the time. I’d rather it be you than someone else worth their water.”

You know what? I don’t particularly like you.

“Aw, you’re breaking my heart.”

He jostled her to a stop just inside the door that lead out into the hot Tattooine heat. Another Republic soldier shouldered past them to toss her wristcomm and holster into the street just outside. Her blasters clattered awkwardly against the hardpacked dirt; the cartridges were obviously empty.

I’m beginning to wonder if you wouldn’t prefer me dead anyways. You’re going to leave me with no powercells... in Mos Eisley?

“Don’t press your luck. Now. Squeal.”

Jaxs’ eyes tapped back down the hallway they had just passed through. “What about my boys back there? I said I wanted them out too. No deal without them.

“You have my word.”

The agent looked over his shoulder, giving a nod to the trooper beside him. The trooper hesitated for a moment, then quickly disappeared down the hallway.

Jaxs watched him briefly, gave a heavy (if not forced) sigh, and began to spill her guts: “Juggernaut’s small beans. You think some junker spacesuit is really all that important to a bounty hunter? Think again. She’s just playin’ hound for some heavy hitter called Mr. Galaxy. You know the type? Sith ties, intelligence operative and deep enough pockets to make us all reconsider the advantages of going up against such a fine institution as the Republic. Fact is. He’s a ghost. You’ll never find him… unless you know where to look.

“Go on.”

The Hydian Way.

The agent laughed sarcastically, “You’ll have to be little bit more specific.”

Jaxs frowned, “I’m getting there. The Hydian Way is his prowl-zone, constantly making his way from the core-worlds to the outer-rim. He’s not gunna sit pretty, just waiting to be found. The guy’s transient, see?; he’s a ghost.

“But…” the agent urged her on.

But… we had a drop point planned. Two days from now, he’s planning to rendezvous with us in an asteroid belt between Bogden and Paqualis. That’s when we were going to do the exchange, yeah? He wants the suit. We want the paycheck. He’s anticipating radio silence, and a quick swoop in and out. If you try to hail him, he’ll cut and run. Just board his ship… and you’ve got your man. Easy right?

“What if we don’t catch him? That puts you in a tight spot, doesn’t it?”

So, it’s in my better interest if you catch him, now isn’t it? Not so easy to live careless n’ free if you’re dead. Tell me I’m lying.

The agent folded his arms across his chest, biting his lower lip as he mused over this information. “I don’t trust you.”

But…” Jaxs raised a brow, anticipating his response with an arrogant grin.

“But I’m convinced.” He quickly spun her around, and unclasped her wrist cuffs before literally booting her out into the street. “I’d advise you to disappear for good, sweetheart.”

Jaxs’ eyes tapped towards the hallway, as if anticipating to see her two crewmates walking out to join her. But it was no use. She knew it was also in her better interest to be gone before they were released. They’d ask too many questions, and she’d have to come up with too many flimsy excuses. She’d fed the agent a stack of lies, but that didn’t mean the others weren’t just as liable to believe them. Vera hadn’t exactly given the crew the scoop on the whole deal, and, being the appointed First Mate as she was, they’d likely believe her to be privy to information that she didn’t, unfortunately, actually know.

So this is goodbye?” Jaxs said with snippy sarcasm as she slipped the holster back around her hips and clicked her commlink back tight on her wrist.

“I miss you already. Beat it.”

Jaxs took off at trot, her hand pressing tightly to her left shoulder to keep the blaster-wound from being jarred too much as moved along quickly.

The agent just watched her for a moment, twitching slightly when he heard the trooper return. “Put a tail on her.”


“She’s lying. When she returns to their ship, we’ll know. And we’ll tag it. There’s more than one way to catch a Sith.”

Meanwhile, Jaxs was headed straight for the spaceport, humming into her comm as she kept moving: “Zate? Get my trunk and ditch the ship. Come find me at customs.

We’re catching the first skiff outta here.
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