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Gathering Storm

Cold and harsh, the entire planet is covered in tundra and ice, and holds vast reserves of diamonds. Adopted homeworld of the Arkanians.

Gathering Storm

PostAuthor: Jax Xefern » Fri May 23, 2014 2:24 pm

M5D04 139ABY

The Drunk Duck dropped out of hyperspace in the ring reserved for unexpected but polite arrivals in the system. They weren't expected but Arkania was an open world. They rarely saw casual visitors, but that was for a lack of vacation friendly locations or advertising for such things. What brought people to the planet was business. Shipping, commodities, natural resources, and, of course, the most important export of Arkania. Diamonds. Of course, that also brought in the occasional enterprising criminal but as yet Jax had not been able to find any record of a successful operation getting started up -or- any bounty hunters ever being called in to break up one before it got established. Odd, but not unheard of. Worlds like Naboo, the destroyed Aldaraan, and the like often were able to maintain peaceful societies like that.

The ATC called up and Jax got permission to land at the primary settlement on the planet. Just like most of those settlements, it was situated inside a crack in the ever present ice, covered with domes, and heated with geothermal energy. Jax brought his ship in and chewed over the fact that the ATC hadn't gone through the usual questioning that tended to follow a ship registered out of the core of Mandalorian space. That was unusual, even on planets like Naboo. In fact, the most rigorous questioning he'd ever received had been flying into Naboo. He brought the Drunk Duck in on the assigned flight path, his sensors on full and his eyes sweeping the vista constantly... but nothing bad happened. He just brought it in nice and smooth, entering the bay door that opened to allow their relatively small vessel in.

Within they had bring their ship down thirty levels before locating the docking bay that was the appropriate size for their vessel, the one he'd called ahead and purchased temporary rights to. It would allow them to operate it as their hotel and base of operations, not to mentioning meeting their fourth man on the job. The message had been sent for the man who had called Jax, Levin, to meet them at that docking bay. He was supposed to beat them to Arkania because they'd had to stop on Toydaria along the way. Jax sidled the Drunk Duck into the bay sideways and set her down gently. The armored Mandalorian got out of the cockpit, went down to the drop bay, and then dropped the doors. Hettir and Auren, hopefully, cutting in behind him to give the whole team a shot at being impressive to the new guy if he was there already.
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Re: Gathering Storm

PostAuthor: Levin Vos » Fri May 23, 2014 3:35 pm

Two days. Two days huddled in the run down hole in the wall that this frozen world tried to pass off as a cantina. The frozen planet simply didn’t suit the twenty five year old gunslinger at all. It wasn’t that he hated the cold, spending four years stuck in cheap life support facilities while mining on Dor had seen him grow accustom to lower temperatures. Even Nar Shadaa got a bit chilly when you refused to pay your power bills. No, if the former Jedi took a harder look at what was causing his irritable mood he would realize it had nothing to do with Arkania, or its cantina’s. In fact the underground cities were remarkably well constructed and more than capable of keeping out the cold that ravaged the planet’s surface. The only thing wrong with Arkania, was that it wasn’t Nar Shadaa.

Levin Vos, staring into the bottom of his mug in the all too well lit cantina refused to admit that he missed the crime ridden world. That he missed its trashy streets and shady occupants.

He refused to admit that he missed the handful of decent folk he had abandoned to save his own skin. The gunslinger clenched his teeth out of reflex, pushing the memory of Srrors'tok companion and the world of trouble about to crash down on the idiot furballs head. In the end it was cracking glass that forced the thought from his mind. Apparently the glass mugs on Arkania were made of less sturdy stuff than he was familiar with.

It was a lazy excuse his mind willingly accepted without closer inspection. After all, he needed to start heading over to the landing bays if he wanted to meet his new employer on time.

’First impressions are everything,’ he thought to himself as he stood up from the booth and made his way out the cantina’s only door.

The human male didn’t have much to his name anymore, not after having to flee from Nar Shadaa. Just about every possession he had had went in to buying a way off the planet. A way that kept the Hutts bounty hunters off his back. Even then, it had barely been enough. Now he had to wander the streets with only the clothes on his back and the small arsenal of weapons he kept under them. That was enough for the moment, but using slugthrowers meant that once he was out of bullets he couldn’t simply recharge his magazines. He was going to have to find another dealer to supply the ammunition. That wasn’t a problem on Nar Shadaa, but in a place as advanced as Arkania, it would take some effort.

And credits.

With any luck he could find the latter under the employ of the Mandalorian named Jax.

The gunslingers boots came to a stop inside the hangar that his future employer had designated, one calloused hand resting casually on the grip of his S-5 heavy blaster. The ship was just setting down, forcing cold air to swirl about the room. Levin grimaced and tilted his head forward but refused to raise a hand to protect his face. Even though it wasn’t likely the Mandalorian’s could see him yet, he didn’t want to risk looking weak in front of them. Levin had never faced off against a Mandalorian, and with that groups reputation, he simply didn’t plan to.

As the doors to the ship finally opened up Levin Vos decided it was better to get the formalities over with sooner rather than later. His boots moved quietly across the hangar floor, but his mouth wasn’t so reserved.

“Welcome to Arkania,” he called, his voice somehow managing to seem sarcastic despite the simplicity of the greeting, ”I hope you don’t mind your current surroundings, the planet doesn’t seem to get much better than this,”

It wasn’t until he got a look at the massive armored humanoid walking down the ramp towards him that his mouth finally followed the example set by his feet, and stopped making noise.

Unfortunately it still kept the arrogant smirk that had gotten the man into so many conflicts in the past.
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Re: Gathering Storm

PostAuthor: Auren Donos » Fri May 23, 2014 5:59 pm

"You know, skiing never was my thing," grinned Auren as the Drunk Duck arrived on Arkania. "An' I don't think I've brought my winter gear either." Not that she actually owned any in the first place, but it never hurt to tease a little.

The ship settled down with practiced and almost deceptive ease, and Auren felt her stomach lurch as it started its rapid descent to its docking bay. Maybe she shouldn't have had that second helping at lunch. She quirked a glance across at Jax, half amused, and half almost offended, before leaning back in her seat. "So lemme get this straight... I wasn't actually your first choice for the job," she said, finally putting voice to something that had annoyed her a little since Jax had taken the call from this Levin Vos guy. Not someone she'd heard of, or crossed paths with, she wondered precisely why he had been Jax's first choice.

However, she was already checking her weapons, making sure that, if the guy turned out to be an asshole, or was trying his luck, she was able to deal with any threat. Slinging her rifle over a shoulder, she casually followed Jax into the drop bay, standing behind him as the doors lowered, and shivering slightly as a knife-edge of cold air sliced in, despite the geothermal heating in the settlement they had landed in..

Now, this could be fun.
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Re: Gathering Storm

PostAuthor: Jax Xefern » Fri May 23, 2014 7:04 pm

"You're talking about the cold to a cold-blooded reptomammal, it's like preaching to the choir. I recommend you pack a survival bag to wear on your back. My armor is climate controlled but I have some things that will be going into my pack as well. We shouldn't have to worry about the cold though, this place is a closed environment and the Arkanians aren't any tougher than humans when it comes to extremes of temperature. Or, at least they weren't the last time somebody did a species survey on them." Jax pointed out where the emergency gear was on the way out, so Auren would know where to pack her backpack.

"No such thing as first choices in this business, Auren. He was the bargain, you are the premium. Besides, this guy happens to have a knack for getting out alive that we might just need on this blind gundark hunt." He hit the button and they were greeted by the man that had agreed to meet them there, the guy looking like he'd seen a bit of a ghost before throwing on the bravado Jax expected of everybody in the business. "Good to be here, finally. The journey to find out this is where we were going was a doozie." Jax turned his helmet toward the other, more traditionally armored Mandalorian and Hettir split off from the group to take a scanning device to the hangar.

"I am hearing that you probably came on this trip without much to your name, Levin. What kind of equipment and supplies do you need?"
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Re: Gathering Storm

PostAuthor: Levin Vos » Fri May 23, 2014 8:55 pm

Intimidation was one thing the Mandalorians were naturally gifted at. Or so Levin had always heard. Standing here, watching men decked out in the traditional heavy armor that had personified death to so many soldiers on so many battlefields it seemed perfectly natural that their name would become synonymous with elite combatants throughout the galaxy. Levin couldn’t help but wonder how the Yuuzhong Vong must have felt when the Mandalorians landed on Ord Mantel. If they were smart, they would have been terrified.

Levin certainly would have been. He was guessing that most of his weapons would do little more than scratch that armor. It was a theory he hoped to never need to test. These warriors had asked for his help after all. Admittedly Levin had turned them down initially, and it was possible that they had heard about his not so unsubstantial bounty and were planning on turning him in, but the young man doubted it. The Mandalorians may have been devastating enemies, but Jax hadn’t seemed to be particularly dishonest the first time they talked, nor did he seem particularly insulted when Levin had turned him down. In fact, on both occasions he had been nothing but a perfect professional. It seemed like whatever job he was currently working on was enough to risk the ire of a small time Hutt crime lord.

Of course once the job was done Levin had no guarantees that the Mando’s wouldn’t simply stun him and drag him back to Nar Shadaa, but that wouldn’t happen for a while yet, and there were more immediate concerns to worry about.

Like the woman that was disembarking the ship with the two Mandalorians. His heart literally skipped a beat at the sight of her. A beautiful face, an athletic body and a confident demeanor the first thought that crossed Levins mind was a simple one. She was dangerous, and not just because she was heavily armed and traveling with two of the biggest badass’ Levin had ever seen. She was going to be trouble. He just knew it.
”Hopefully the journey here was the hardest part then,” replied Levin as he watched the shorter of the two Mando’s separate from the group and begin walking around the hangar. Levin assumed he was checking for monitoring devices or something of the sort. Levin hoped the action was derived from standard operating procedures or simple paranoia. Any other implications would have been seriously disconcerting.

”Admittedly I’m not as well supplied as I would like, but I won’t know exactly what I need until I hear more about what we’re up against.” replied Levin, wondering if he should wait to say more until the Mandalorian had cleared the hangar.

”I don’t have the gear to be doing anything on the surface, and I don’t have explosives to do any demolition or breaching work, nor a medkit to patch anyone back together. But if you just need another gun or blade at your disposal than I am good to go for the moment. he replied simply as he pulled open one side of his Drelliad jacket to reveal the carefully concealed slugthrower as well as the pair of matching magazines next to it. The blades in the jacket were less obvious but he doubted they went unnoticed. Just like he doubted the matching set of weaponry located on the other side of his jacket went unnoticed. He heard a lot of stories about Mando’s, one of which implied that they could see weapons through peoples clothing. A few months ago he would never have believed such a thing, but these days nothing really surprised him.
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Re: Gathering Storm

PostAuthor: Auren Donos » Sat May 24, 2014 2:01 pm

"You got an answer for everythin', don't you," grinned Auren. "Good to know you've got some stuff I can borrow." She tossed Jax a flippant smile. "An' just maybe, if we get the time, I'll do some shopping for the latest winter fashions." Actually, she couldn't think of anything more tortuous. She'd rather pluck out her own eyes and eat them than go shopping for the fun of it.

Rolling her eyes, Auren stood, stretching out her cramped muscles. "You think flattery'll get you anywhere," she chuckled. "But yeah, a girl can get hurt when she finds out she wasn't your number one choice to take to the dance." Her expression slipped into one of seriousness. "But you gotta know... if you want the best, it's worth payin' for." She knew she was damn good at what she did, and there were few in the galaxy who were anywhere near her skill levels in so many areas, and that meant her services came at a price.

But they were worth every single credit.

Hefting a pack onto her back as she followed Jax, her rifle returned to its resting position as she scoped out the man they had come to meet. Tall and dark, almost the stereotypical spacer in his appearance, Auren tipped him a nod. She frowned a little as he admitted he didn't have much in the way of gear, and that rung a few alarm bells. "Like travellin' light, huh," she asked, before nodding approval at his slugthrower. "Don't see many of them around these days. Good choice."
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Re: Gathering Storm

PostAuthor: Jax Xefern » Sun May 25, 2014 12:21 pm

"Yeah, that would be a pleasant surprise. Levin, this is my fellow Mandalorian Hettir doing the once over on the joint and this is another ally, Auren. She's not a Mandalorian because she was born already having a hardened outer shell." He tossed out the introductions, making sure it was clear that Auren wasn't the weakest member of the group in anybody's estimation. He listened to Levin speak about his situation and gear, nodding to indicate he was listening rather than just staring the human down through the death's head on his visor.

"I have some cold weather gear and packs, you pack yourself up a light carry all and keep it on your back just in case this goes south and we find ourselves out in the cold but the plan thus far doesn't call for us leaving the settlement. It will get warmer as we get near the geothermal vents near the bottom, the wealthier district, because that's where the target is." Jax stepped down off the ramp and seemed to be looking back the way Levin had come. "However, for the moment another person covering the flank is exactly what we need. We're going to go down and ask nicely first."

Jax turned to face Levin again, a gesture of his hand indicating the slug thrower that he'd shown Jax. "If you need more ammunition for that thing just give Hettir the specs on it, he can produce more. He's our base man and armorer. He's also the one who's going to swoop in with our ride if things get too hairy to return to the hangar."
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Re: Gathering Storm

PostAuthor: Levin Vos » Sun May 25, 2014 3:54 pm

”I find in my line of work that the people who move the quickest live the longest,” replied Levin soberly when the woman inquired about his lack of possessions.

Jax called the woman an ally. What Levin heard was, hired gun. The gunslinger wasn’t too surprised by that fact. If they were willing to spend the money on Levin it only made sense they would have enough to purchase the talents of another gun for hire. Judging by the way she carried herself though, and the Mandalorians treated her, he could only assume they hadn’t found her in the same bargain bin he had been pulled out of. Most men in his profession would have been insulted, or at least taken her presence as a challenge, Levin was just glad to have someone competent around in the event this mission went south. Considering the nature of his arrival on Arkania the fact that the Mandalorians were willing to pay him, and equip him without charge, was more than enough to be content with.

”If she can keep up with you two than I am happy to have her along,” said Levin politely as he nodded a greeting at the female. She complimented his choice in firearms, an action which invariably caused the cocky grin to resurface on Levins features. He managed to bite his tongue before he said anything sarcastic or insinuating. Being clever was all well and good, but Levin was fairly certainly the woman would answer any snide comment he made by putting a blaster bolt between his legs.

”Sounds like a plan boss. Thank you for the hospitality.” replied Levin matter-of-factly once Jax advised him on the gear to take along. He was trying to be on his best behavior, and consequently struggled to think of an appropriate title. Master wouldn’t do, and sir seemed overly formal for someone of Levins alleged background.

”Have you done much work with Adjudicator pistols before Hettir?” he asked as he turned to the other Mandalorian. Slugthrowers were not complicated weapons by any means, but they worked very differently from blaster. Being able to compensate for recoil, preventing malfunctions and still being able to optimize performance presented a list of challenges most modern weapons makers didn’t have to deal with. It wasn’t that he doubted Hettir’s skill or experience, it was just Levins nature to be inquisitive. ”I’ll take any ammunition you can produce for them but, so long as I’m making a wish list, I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on the armor piercing, subsonic, or explosive rounds they make for these relics. I’m also down to my last microdart and sting charge for my S-5.”

With luck, the Mandalorian armorer would be able to provide him with the added punch his weapons needed to be truly dangerous. Either way, it wouldn’t take long for him to gather the cold weather and survival gear his employer had recommended and by on his way. Assuming he someone was willing to point him in the right direction. Fool around in a Mandalorian vessel seemed like a good way to be accidentally vaporized.
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Re: Gathering Storm

PostAuthor: Auren Donos » Sun May 25, 2014 5:04 pm

Standing in silence, doing nothing other than looking cool, calm, collected and utterly in control, Auren couldn't help a small, ironic smirk at the way she was introduced to the other gun bunny by Jax. There wasn't really any way she could add to that without diminishing the introduction somehow. She supposed it was an honour, in its way, to be described as somehow being on a par with the Mandalorians.

Maybe.

The man, though... he certainly didn't look as though he was of the same calibre of hired gun as she herself was, although that didn't necessarily mean that he was going to be desperately outclassed. He could simply be new to the vocation, and trying to make his mark. She knew that feeling all too well: it taken her five or six years to even begin to make herself a good reputation, firstly as a translator, then as the smooth-talker to avoid smuggling charges, and, finally, as a gunslinger and general security. Maybe Levin Vos was in that position.

"Travellin' light's no bad thing," she remarked, a fan of the technique herself. "Word to the wise, though. Make yourself a few little stashes throughout the galaxy. It'll make your life a whole lot easier." If it wasn't for her little storage solutions, Auren would have found herself ill-equipped and ill-prepared on many an occasion in the past.

"Your question should be, though... can you keep up with me," chuckled Auren, shaking her head at Levin. "These guys are good at what they do... all we have to do is be good at what we do." It remained to be seen whether or not they could work as a team.

And, if not? She guessed her reputation could end up floating right down the fresher.
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Re: Gathering Storm

PostAuthor: Jax Xefern » Tue May 27, 2014 4:32 pm

Jax nodded to the thanks for his 'hospitality' and turned back into his ship as the man shifted his focus to Hettir. While that conversation began to roll he went back into the vessel and grabbed a hard pack. Toss out survival tent, advanced rope, climbing pick/hammer, pitons, a spare fission battery for his powered armor, and his broken down heavy rifle with quite a few of the things that usually were strapped to his armor. He had a plan and directed Auren to grab a few similar things for just in case and also asking her to break down her rifle to stow in her pack as well. Jax kept his side arm in place, the heavily modified Bryar pistol sending the message that its owner was plenty dangerous.

Meanwhile, Hettir responded to Levin's question. "I've dealt with pretty much any machine that deals death with the push of a button or pull of a trigger, including slug throwers and even more exotic weapons. If that's what you're carrying, the Adjudicator, and you haven't modified it for custom ammo I can start producing ammo for it within the day. Just got to get a likely material, pick up the propellant ingredients, and set to it by the specs. Explosive rounds will take longer, but armor piercing shouldn't be any trouble depending on how armor piercing you want them to be." Of course, this was all said while Hettir continued to run the mobile scanning unit along the walls and floor and ceiling of the small hangar.

"You might be better off purchasing the microdarts and sting charges from the star port merchants. This world is civilized but the freighters launching out of here tend to be the militant sorts, since every pirate for ten parsecs knows they ship diamonds out of Arkania, so the merchants will likely supply all manner of combat materials. I can make them, but it will take days to do more than produce one or two of each. Those darts are damned delicate during production." Making them fly true was a damned delicate production process.

Jax finished up his preparations and looked to Auren. "Can you think of anything else that we might need if it all goes south?" He'd come to understand she was the practical sort, she might have something in mind that he'd lost track of while focusing on how he hoped to approach the situation before them.
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