The chubby Rodian stumbled past the customs officer, turning for a moment to send a withering glare the officer's way. Not surprising, being frisked four times, having his luggage sifted through for the better part of an hour, and narrowly avoiding a cavity inspection tended to make such travelers rather angry.
Not that he was the only one. Moff Vorru had essentially dismantled Corellia's Customs Agency during his time as Moff. With his being sent to Kessel, a lot of new shipping restrictions were going up. Not all of them were well received.
A teenaged human stepped up to the customs gate.
"ID, please." The Customs officer impatiently tapped the transparisteel window in front of him as the boy fumbled for his ID, finally sliding the ID card underneath the windo. The Officer gave it a cursory glance, then nodded and flipped the switch, opening the repulsor gate for a moment for the boy to walk through. Teenaged humans were not on his list of usual suspects, and nothing had shown up on the scanning equipment that would be illegal.
Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed something, though. The boy was walking funny, holding his arms out, and fidgeting nervously. He picked up his comlink.
"Scan Control One to Response Team, we've got something weird going on. Human male, approximately sixteen, just left the gate. Check him out, something is funny about him."
He went back to what he was reading. It was probably nothing, but he got paid to keep an eye out for these things.
* * * * * * * *
Joran cursed as he looked at the two bags the Spaceport Response Team had found in the teen's underarms. They weren't cheap items, cushioned nerfhide with an outer lining made from the same substance as diffuser pads. That was how he got them past the initial scans, but the bags were overloaded and made him unable to hold a proper posture. They were sealed up in heavy-duty evidence bags, and given the extreme value of the contents, had been laser-sealed.
What was worse was what the bags carried. Stuffed to the brim with an orange-tinged spice. The labs had already taken a sample and confirmed it. "Glitterstim. And a hell of a lot of it, nearly two kilograms." That was easily a million credits when obtained through the legal channels, and the going rate on the black market was extremely high, given the addiction rate and how tightly controlled Spice was.
The detectives were arrayed around a small table in the Security division of Coronet Spaceport, with a monitor showing the teenaged perp sitting in an empty room, aside from the small chair and table.
"Look at him, he's just a kid. How the hell did he get his hands on this much glit, not to mention the diffuser bags?" Joran held his head in his hands for a moment, trying to process. It wasn't that complicated, but that didn't mean he wanted to think it. Of course, with what they had already learned, it was fairly obvious. The kid was a certain Cail Sinan, although his ID claimed Kail Nissas, but they had his holograph on record, Speeder thief and small-time thug. He'd been arrested about two years ago, but recently paroled. He didn't have the credits on hand to buy a landspeeder, much less this much glitterstim.
"Small-time Coruscanti street thug hauling this much glitterstim? If he's working alone, then I'm a hutt."
Dar Kresh slowly walked inside the Coronet Spaceport. His trench coat flapping around as he walked. He walked past a nearby officer flashing his Cor-Sec badge.
Dar was excited to do his first case since he transfered to the Smuggling division. It was always a good feeling. Dar was still considered a rookie even though he was a detective now.
Dar looked around at the scene of the crime then walked inside the Security division after flashing his badge yet again at another officer. Dar's DL-22 was moving around in his coat pocket. It remained inconspicuous however which was what he cared about.
"Small-time Coruscanti street thug hauling this much glitterstim? If he's working alone, then I'm a hutt." He slowly heard as he walked inside. Dar looked around at the other detectives. Most of them were from the smuggling division just like himself.
"Afternoon." He said through his mechanical breather. He looked down at the monitor with the human sitting at a solitary table. Ready to be interrogated. Dar was okay at interrogation but still failed a few exams in the Cor-Sec academy.
"So who's interrogating him? We got to find out who supplied him." He asked sitting down at a nearby chair. Dar recognized Joran Dronal another detective he saw around the academy. Though he graduated above him. Dar stared at the monitor. Hoping to think of an answer before a detective interrogated him.
Tarek Shane and Darja Bryn sat together on one side of the table. Darja was typically silent and deep in thought; Tarek was staring at the monitor on which they could see the young convict. Finally, at Dar's question of who would interrogate the young man, Tarek laughed.
"Hell, I'll do it," he said. Darja stirred and a flash of amusement passed through her eyes.
"And I'll go along," she said, "so's this lump of muscle won't turn the kid into a pulp."
Tarek threw back his head and laughed. "What d'ye think, Joran?" he asked.
(Joint post with Writer)
Joran nodded at Tarek. "Actually, I was thinking something like that. Good luck with him. Forensics is trying to trace the Glitterstim type, we might be able to figure out which mining facility it was diverted from. In the meantime, the rest of us should probably try to trace these diffusers."
Tarek nodded and stood. Darja was just a fraction of a second behind him and she said, "I guess we'll get started then." The duo left the room and headed off to find the prisoner.
The teen was seated in a chilly room with off-white walls, shackled to a metal table that filled the center of the room and seated behind it. He winced as the two detectives entered, flinching away.
Tarek chuckled at the kid's motion and glanced at Darja. "Kid's nervous," he told her, just loud enough that the kid could hear as well. Darja rolled her eyes.
"I'd be too if you came in all big and imposing," she retorted. She turned a kind smile on the teen. "Hey, kid," she said quietly. Immediately, she was interrupted by Tarek.
"Like spice, huh?" he asked bluntly.
"Look, I told the customs guys, I don't know how those two bags got there!" He was panicky and shrill, his fingers playing a rapid rhythm. He also seemed to wince as he spoke.
Tarek laughed loudly. "O ho!" he exclaimed, cocking a sideways glance at Darja. "He don't know how two kilos o' glitterstim ended up on his person?" He turned fully back to the kid. "Now, this I gotta hear... how's anyone manage to pull that off?"
The kid leaned over, putting his head down on the table. He straightened, tears running down his face. "I didn't know what was in the bags, okay? They were sealed up and he told me not to open them!"
Tarek sneered. "Who's 'he'?" the detective demanded, his piercing eyes boring into the kid. "Someone you know? Someone you trust?" He straightened up. "'Cuz here's what I see... poor, terrified kid, small-time crook. This stuff's way above him, you know?"
"That's enough, Tarek," Darja ordered, her voice quiet, but firm. She put a hand on his arm and he glowered at her for a moment
before withdrawing and leaning against the opposite wall. Darja smiled apologetically.
"He gets a little carried away with himself sometimes," she told the kid kindly. "I think he likes the sound of his own voice..."
The kid sighed. "I tried to get away from it, but I needed the credits. I'm going back to prison, aren't I? Oh, please, don't send me back there..."
Darja nodded thoughtfully. "I've been to prison, too," she told the kid. "Twice. Believe me when I say I know how ugly it can get." Tarek snickered and Darja shot him a glare before continuing. "I'll do everything I can to keep you out of there, but you have to do something for me... can you do just one little thing for me?"
He brightened up, almost smiled through the fear and tears. "You can keep me off Kessel? Alright, what do you need?"
A violent shudder ran through Darja at the mention of Kessel. But then, she smiled faintly and said quietly, "I need to know who 'he' is... this man you kept mentioning."
"I don't know his name. I came home from my job one day and found a message on my comlink, offering a lot of credits if I'd do a simple task, and a comlink frequency. When I called it, I got no response, but the next day I had another message with instructions on what to do. The voice was really distorted, I couldn't tell you if it was a Hutt or a Human."
Tarek snickered. "I been around the galaxy a bit and I ain't never heard a Hutt that spoke Basic..."
Darja rolled her eyes and grinned at the kid. "Thinks he's funny..." She shrugged. "So what did the message tell you to do?"
"He made some threats about where my head would end up if I told anyone about this, then sent me to some hole near the bottom of Coruscant. When I got there, there was a plasteel case with those bags and a note with further instructions, to hide these somehow and smuggle them into Corellia."
His voice seemed to catch at the end, like he was leaving something out.
Tarek grimaced. "First mistake. You, a kid, tried to smuggle spice onto a planet with expert eyes lookin' for people just like you?" He shook his head. "Second mistake. Catch in the voice, kid." He strode forward and pressed his hands against the table, leaning forward. "What aren't you saying?"
He glanced around nervously, studying the walls. "I can't! If I tell you, he'll know!"
Tarek grinned and leaned closer, trying to get the kid to look at him. "You tell us, and we'll maybe find him before he finds you."
Darja elbowed Tarek in the gut and he withdrew once more. "I understand, you're terrified. Whoever this is threatened you, and it's not someone you know, but it's someone who clearly knows you... or at least knows who you are." She paused.
"What were the threats?"
He glanced at the walls. "I suppose this is secure...alright, he basically noted that if I went to the Coruscant Police Forces or CorSec, that he'd make sure that I died screaming. And I don't doubt that he'd do it."
Darja nodded. "Neither do I," she said. "So despite my partner's... rudeness, we'll let you keep your secrets. Death threats are a serious matter." She stood and smiled at him. "I'm sure we'll be back later to tell you of our success."
With that, she left the room, gesturing for Tarek to follow. He made a move to, but instead, he snapped the door shut and disabled the opening mechanism.
Then, he turned to the kid and said with a quiet edge to his voice, "Now you'll talk."
On the other side of the door, Darja's knocking and frustrated shouts bled through faintly. Tarek drew a knife from his left boot and grinned wickedly, "This may be enough..."
The kid lurched against the binders holding him onto the desk. "What the hell are you doing? I've told you everything I know!"
"No you didn't," Tarek shot back, dropping into the seat across from the kid, the knife plainly visible. "If you told me everything, you wouldn't be so panicked right now..."
"No, I'm panicking because you're threatening me with a knife! I don't know anything else!"
Tarek grinned. "Good, you're logical. Just the sort of person I like to deal with. See, someone who's not logical would freak and say anything to get out of this..." He waved the knife about a little. "But you... you've got your mind in you still. And that means, maybe there's some hope for you..."
"Okay, okay, there was something else. But...if I tell you and you act on it, he'll find out. You've got to get me into that witness protection thing."
Tarek smirked. "Now, we're getting somewhere." He began tapping the flat side of his knife against his leg. "Witness protection. We can arrange that."
"And I want a new identity, clean record, and no prison time."
"In order for that to work, it'll take some clean-ness on your part too," Tarek countered. "Can't jus' go on like you been doin', petty thieving an' whatnot..."
"Alright, I can work with that." He let out a sigh. "The last part of the note was where to take the bags after I got them past customs, to a, well, a bar off Treasure Ship Row, the Howling Mistress."
Tarek nodded. "Well, I suspect, if he intended to give you a death full o' screamin', he'd know if you got 'em past customs or not... so we'll do all we can to keep you from that." He stood. "For now, I think you're safest here." He shoved his knife back into his boot and opened the door.
Darja almost fell inward. She shot a glare at Tarek, an apologetic smile to the kid, and shoved Tarek out.
The door sealed behind them and Tarek grinned. "Nice one, pretending you couldn't get the door open..." He strolled off down the hall, grinning in self-confidence. Darja rolled her eyes.
"Why is it that violence always gets the information?" she muttered to herself.
Dar walked towards the interrogation room. He figured that since there were several other detectives tracing the diffusers he might actually get to do some action. He waited until the both of them walked out of the room and walked up to them
"Why is it that violence always gets the information?"
"Because only an idiot wouldn't spill his guts if he is threatened to get his stomach beat out of him." Dar called across the hall
"I heard what went on in there." He said pointing towards the interrogation room. "So what are you going to do with the Howling Mistress?" He asked the both of them "Can I help with anything?" He asked. Dar transfered from Homicide before he went to smuggling. He was itching for some action or at least something that didn't involve him stuck behind a desk.
((Rakata, one thing I didn't mention to you in the PM I sent is that Darja muttered that comment to herself. Dar should not have heard it. For now, I'll let that slide, since you've openly stated you're a bit new to the RP'ing scene. Just pay attention to what's written, alright? :) ))
Darja shook her head. "At this point, we have nothing more than a location," she said. "We have to plan something out first. Let's regroup with the others, see what they've come up with on the diffusers..."
She turned and headed after Tarek, who was already on his way back to the rest of the team.
A slim Zabrak stepped into the CorSec office, clutching his left arm, which had a dash of blood on the ebony jacket covering it. Blotches of dirt stained his lightly armored clothes, and there was a slight limp to his step.
He proceeded into the investigations section, where Darja and Tarek were moving away from the interrogation room.
"Eh. Who tried to assassinate the governor this time?" he said in his quiet, mechanical voice. "Or did you guys just finish beating the hell out of another person who tried to trade without requisition papers?"
"Actually, it's Glitterstim. A hell of a lot of it, some kid tried to get it through customs this morning. Where the hell were you, anyway?"
He rolled his eyes and turned away. The console had pinged. Forensics had something. "Ah, we've got something new on the Glit. One of the docs found particulates in the weave of the diffuser that contains some kind of dust that's apparently linked to Duro. Well, that's almost helpful. Looks like the kid is our only useful lead for now. What'd you get from him?"
"Kid got contacted to carry the stuff here from Coruscant," Tarek answered. "When he got here, he was supposed to take it to a bar... the Howling Mistress, off Treasure Ship Row."
"He's terrified," Darja added. "Terrified to death, and not just of prison. Whoever contacted him has made threats on his life if he tells anyone of his orders."
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