Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Las Vegas Nevada
Current Game: Dungeonseige series
The operational report
Breia was just closing the ramp when a sweet honey voice asked in a breathless tone. “Oh! Is that a Shadow?”
She turned. Sienna Dodonna stood there. She was dressed in her best outfit, at least for this assignment. It was a snug fitting vermilion top with two diamond shaped cut outs. One started at her shoulders, running down to about ten millimeters below her breasts, the other started there, running down to connect at her hips showing an expanse of well toned flesh. There was no reason for the full sleeves she could see except to accentuate what was exposed. The bottom was so small she looked as if she had merely forgotten to put on her clothes, going about in her foundation garments.
To give lip service to propriety, a cinnamon red skirt of smoke-cloth ran to her ankles. But since smoke cloth as the name implies, is almost transparent, it only obscured the knee-high boots she wore.
Breia grunted. “Of course it’s a Shadow.”
“Could I see... Inside it?” She asked. If you went by her face and that voice, you’d think she didn’t have two brain cells in that blonde head.
Breia gave a much put upon sigh, and opened the ramp again, motioning the girl up it with an exasperated grimace. Sienna didn’t walk up the ramp, she strutted. Any man watching her from the back would have been captivated by the walk. Only Breia caught the slight wink. She sighed again, looked at her chrono as if to say I don’t have time for this and followed.
“Greetings, Padawan teacher.” Sienna dropped the act the instant the ramp came back up. Now she merely looked like an intense woman with odd taste in proper apparel.
“You know that is really quite good. The vacant expression suits you.”
“Sorry.” Sienna was not in the least apologetic. “When you look like a working man’s dream of a blonde air-headed bimbo, it helps to pretend.” She held out a chip. “If I can borrow your A4, we’ve already got a plan to take the Raptor."
“Hobart does know we can’t legally.” Breia stated.
“Yes. We’ve decided that perhaps an act of piracy is called for.”
Breia considered, then nodded. “I can see why that is an option. But what about the Cariali warehouse?”
Breia waved her over to the mess table. “A4, play the recordings.”
The droid marched over, and a holo of a case appeared. Then the camera angle split into ten different pictures. Before asked, it began bringing them up as full screens when they passed something of importance. “The crate was picked up yesterday, delivered to the bonded warehouse, then accepted by the local Cariali factor. He had it sent to his own storage warehouse. If you will notice-” Two of the screens blew up to almost full size.
Sienna leaned forward intently. ‘Those crates. They look like... Corellian arms cases.”
“Correct.” The cameras zoomed in. The barcodes were scanned, and a third screen flashed up.
“Merr Sohn Type 7s.” Breia commented. “In that one Type 14B fighter missiles. They can be fitted to just about any fighter Corellia ever built with a little adjustment. Keep going.”
The screens showed a mass of weapons that should never have left a Military arsenal. Missiles both ship to ship and fighter launched. hand weapons from pistols to tripod mounted cannon. While a lot was Corellian the rest were Coruscanti and Twi-lek.
The crate was dropped off, and the small bugs deployed their miniature tilt rotor wings, and split up. One landed on a computer console, cutting a tiny hole to climb inside. It found a data port, and melted a connection onto the fiber optic lead.
“I ran the programs aboard. The inventory is extensive. Including these.” Eight Bat class Coruscanti fighters.
Sienna hissed. “Those haven’t even entered squadron service!”
“Well I know it.” Breia motioned to the teapot, and Sienna nodded. She took the cup, sipping. Her eyes bulged. “My gods! Echani fire spice!”
“Yes. I enjoy it.”
“I can’t even drink it aboard the ship!” Sienna sipped, sighing. “Master Hobart was injured a year ago, right before I became his apprentice. His stomach can’t stand it any more, even though he likes it. So I won’t drink in around him out of sympathy.” She sipped, looking pensively at the screens. “So a corporate chain is also part of this?”
“Maybe. It might be they were supplying illegal weapons before, and we didn’t notice it until we checked their operations here.”
Sienna shook her head. “Too many similarities between the operations for that to be likely. Both with access to either restricted equipment or high end modern ordinance. Can there really be two operations this well connected and this secret?”
“Stranger things have happened.” Breia warned. “So how does this affect your plan for the Raptor?”
“We have no choice.” Sienna said softly. “As bad as this is, we can’t let that ship leave and continue slaughtering people.” She shook herself. “Perhaps you can handle the Cariali situation on your own.”
“I think not.” Breia retorted. “This is too big, and goes too deep.” She considered. “The cargo they have consigned to my ship is due later today. Perhaps I can deliver it, and find out more.”
Sienna nodded. “I will inform Master Hobart. Then, I think I will meet the other Padawan. Where will you all be?”
“The Stars end Cantina.”
“I will see you all there later this evening. I have other ships to look at.” She put on that brainless look again. “Did you know there’s a Twi-lek Soorbino on the station?” She gushed.
“Spare me.” Breia snapped. then they both began laughing.
The cargo arrived, and Breia noted the contents as it was loaded aboard. The crew that did the loading were the usual disreputable types you might have expected. She thumb-printed the invoice after checking the cubage, then went aboard, sealing the ramp.
“A4, what did we just accept?”
“Only one crate is alarming.” The droid flashed up the barcode.
Breia looked, her mind tried to scan the code, but it didn’t register. “841 prefix, I haven’t seen it before.”
“I have.” A4 replied laconically. “That is a bioweapon prefix.”
“Any idea what?”
“Iridian plague.” She glared at the droid. “The Corellian military did studies about ten years ago of converting the plague into an easily spread form. They abandoned the tests. There was no cure for the variety they created.”
Breia cursed. “This changes things.”
“On the contrary, Padawan, it helps.” A4 drawled. On the screen, a series of crates were earmarked to be loaded. She saw her own face, and ship, then the destination.
“Ando?” Breia asked.
“The home of a race named the Aqualish.” A4 reported. “To be delivered not ot the planet, but to the fleet blockading it. Your cargo includes the weapon you are both speaking of.”
“So we deliver a deadly...” She froze. “Come quick!”
She raced back, reaching with that skill she had used on Delta station.
There was no timer. Instead a sensor that would have detected two hyper transits, one entering, and one leaving had been attached to the tank. If she had left the station, it would have automatically activated. She ran her hands over the seals. Simple customs seals. Since they didn’t have to be unloaded until delivery... She drew out a small knife. Made by a Jedi smith, it sheared through the customs seals. Then she stopped, running her hands over the crate looking just a little deeper...
Light sensitive diode right there. Any light at all would set off an explosive charge destroying the case and the one opening it. Not to mention killing everyone aboard with the plague. “A4, get the lights.”
The lights went off, but there was still a spill from the passageway. “Close the hatch as well.”
Suddenly it was pitch black. She pulled the top off of the box, running her hand blindly along the wires leading from it to the explosive charge, her Jedi senses identifying what her fingers touched. Five wires. This leads to the auto-release. Cut it and the bug is released in here. This one leads to... Ah, a trap wire. Cut it and the charge gets a shock from the capacitor on the other end. This one, leads no where. This one has a trickle charge. cut it and the capacitor flashes. This one. She started reaching down, then stopped. She stepped to the other end of the box. Only three wires led to it, the primary, the booby trap, and another one running to another booby trap. She instead cut the capacitor loose, dropping it on the deck. Then she went forward, removing the light sensitive diode. She was holding it up when suddenly the bay was brightly lit.
She cursed, spinning to face the hatch. Meeri looked at her confused.
“If you had been three seconds earlier...” Her hands began to shake. So close...
Meeri looked at the device then Breia’s hands, and walked over slipping the blade out of her hand. “Perhaps it would be better for me to work, and you direct me. At least until your shaking subsides.”
Breia gave a barkr of laughter. A panic reaction. “Yes. An excellent idea.”
They worked together for almost half an hour. When every timer, activator, explosive and booby trap had been removed, they went into the mess hall. Meeri silently poured her a Corellian Red, pouring another for herself.
“Wait a minute. I thought you got drunk on Sugar water!”
“Whatever gave you that idea?” Meeri asked with such an innocent expression that Breia had to laugh.
“From you, you misshapen lump!”
“Oh that.” Meeri waved a hand. “When we first met your people, some of them tried to get us drunk. But our tolerance for alcohol is very high. An Ithorian merely gets more calm when we drink. About five times what a human could drink. When we get what you would call drunk, we just fall asleep.” She chugged the brew, and opened another. “So when we figured out what the people were trying to do, get us drunk so they could get us to sign deals, that kind of thing, we let one of them see one of our people chugging sugar water, then acting how humans act when drunk.
“It helps to know it, because if someone buys us a drink and we taste it, we know immediately how honest they are. If they asked us of course, we accept it to be polite.”
“And what effect does sugar water actually have on you?”
“Actually it give us the runs.” Meeri waved. “But it is worth it to get some deals signed that we needed.”
Breia looked at her hand. It was still trembling. “I drink, if you notice, to be polite, companionable, and...” She lifted her hand, watching it shimmy. “When I am scared out of my tiny little mind.”
“Considering what is in that crate...” Breia shivered. All that medical science could do for the Iridian plague was either preventive, or palliative. If it was known to be in a population, you immediately dosed everyone who wasn’t showing frank symptoms and hope for the best. If they did show symptoms, you tried to keep them alive. With no medial assistance, there was a 100% fatality rate. With it, the death toll was only 85%. But once it was released, no one in their right mind-
Not to the planet, but to the fleet blockading it.
Iridian plague had a long incubation period. It took as much as a month for frank symptoms to occur, but it was already infectious by inhalation less than a week after infection. The ships communicated by radio of course, but they had weekly meetings of the commanders...
And a week after I deliver this, they are all infected. Three weeks later, so are all of the ships that delivered supplies. So are the ports of the planets they came from.
Once it broke out, each of those planets would go under full quarantine, along with the stations that served them How far would it go before someone fell ill and they noticed? The entire core, hell, every system a ship serviced could be infected!
Meanwhile no one can spare the energy to help the fleet. They die. No one is watching the Aqualish... This is bad.[/i]
“We’ll have to go to the Cantina We have to make sure the others know.”
“Can I avoid going to jail again?” Meeri asked plaintively. “Have you ever had the runs in a cell with two other people?”
“I try to avoid being in jail, myself.” Breia replied calmly. “Maybe you should follow my sterling example.”
Meeri’s answer was subvocal.