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Strange Things Did Happen [Aram]

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  • Strange Things Did Happen [Aram]

    No stranger would it be, if we met at midnight...


    The bright lights seemed too harsh underground. The sparkling Chiss city was abuzz, even in the late hours. Despite the noise, the traffic, and the hum of city life, there were quiet spots in every city, spots where the noise dulled and shadows flickered.In a dark corner at the low part of the city, as every city had one, the thrum of music form clubs hummed, the yells of the patrons of the bars around the corner. The apartment building was quiet, nearly all the residents evacuated. This part of the city was the furthest from the core, still warm, but not as valuable. Most of the residents had moved inward into the city as it expanded and now, this part has fallen to the ways of most outskirts, cheap entertainment, booze, and a hiding hole where many people could lie low and keep their heads down.

    The figure climbing the darkened stairwells had come across hundreds of these places all over the galaxy in the past months. A hood obscured the face, dingy black gloves covered pale skin that was definitely not blue. A visor would obscure the lack of red eyes and few would stop to bother the figure climbing the stairs. There was an efficiency to the footsteps, an air of pride an belonging in the set of their shoulders.

    The figure rounded the last set of stairs, preferring this approach to the lift that she had seen a few other less than reputable people, all Chiss, stumble into on their way home from whatever place of work they came from. A gloved hand swiped a keycard over the lock to the door that granted her access and she slide inside, into a hallway that was no better lit than the stairwell.

    208-B was at the far end of the hallway on the left. When the woman approached the door, a hand went to her side, a blaster strapped there under a long grey cape.

    The keycard let her into the apartment, which was dark and smelled musty. She entered silently, moving fluidly along a path that would ensure her stealth. When she rounded the corner that would lead to the bedroom, the blaster came up, at the ready. A gloved hand reached for the light panel on the wall. The lights sputtered into life.

    A curse echoed in the apartment.


    Two Hours Later

    Away from the dark outskirts and into the flashing lights of the inner city. This was where one went when you had the money to spend on entertainment that came at a hefty price. The Aristocras knew how to spend their wealth on luxuries that made sure that others knew what came with their positions. Glory in the position, not in the individual. In all, Daine would have found herself enjoying it more if she had not been so preoccupied. THe drab grey and black had to be exchanged for other garments if she was to follow her target to where he felt secure. She should have come here first, but she had hoped he'd be stupid enough to be in the safe house she had tracked down. Months of hunting agents who had fled the Galactic Empire's service had made her just how stupid some of them could truly be when inspired by fear. This was the last of her agents she needed to secure. He must have heard of the demise of the others in advance and squirreled away in the house of the Aristocra he had connections with which had made him a valuable asset in the first place. However, not even the Chiss would be able to save him from her.

    That was how she found herself in a bustling kitchen, filled with droids and other humanoids, many of them not Chiss at all. She had pulled her hair back and stolen a uniform from one of the arriving waitstaff. Merely acting frazzled and embrrassed to be late to her first job for such a powerful family, coming close to tears, had gotten her past the guards and into the servants' entrance. She had blended in and gotten to work, doing tasks asked of her, included plating meals and horderves on dishes to be carried out. Included were glasses of synthehol that she was assigned to carry seamlessly in her heels and tight skirt to appease the guests at the function. This she could do without question. With a meek nod to the Chiss woman who ran the kitchen who chided at her not to spill on any of the guests, she grabbed a tray filled with a bubbling drink and let one of the male servers, another human who looked at her with a kind smile.

    "You'll do fine, new girl," He encouraged as she passed him through the doors and into the glittering ballroom filled with spectacular colors of people and garments. Her tray balanced on one hand, she glided into the room, carefully scanning as she walked around the guests to this grand home. A few flagged her down immediately and thanked her. Those who did not, she made sure to tip the tray just a tad, make them fumble for their glass before apologizing profusely in a practiced, timid voice that gained her sympathetic looks or frustrated glares and hands waving her to just go.

    This task allowed her to circulate around the room, scanning for the host of the party who was the man hiding her agent. Daine was slightly frustrated she had not arrived earlier. Now there were too many people, too many couples on a large dance floor dancing to the music of the orchestra located in the balcony overlooking the entire room. She wondered if she should have impersonated a musician instead. They had the better sightline. Either way, he would turn up eventually and she'd be ready to make her move.

    Someone cleared their throat behind her and she turned expertly in her heels, tray swiveling with her.

    "Champagne?" She asked, a polite smile gracing her features, her mask back in place for the moment.

  • #2
    Another day, another credit.
    Captain Sloane slid a hand across her dark forehead allowing her fingers to ease the pressure of her black Imperial cap and embracing the sudden chill from the artificial air against her flesh.
    She was stood like nearly thirty others inside one of the pits attached to the bridge of an Imperial Star Destroyer, the Resurgance to be precise and so far this shift had resulted in the most unusual of tasks.
    Captain Abergail Sloane, a pure bread Bastion native or a ‘new Imperial’ as her generation had become to be known was the head analyser and task master of the Resurgance’s observation and investigation team, a tedious and repetitive task that was in her mind the most responsable and necessary task the Empire could assign you to and today’s shift was lining up to prove her theory completely.
    “Line up twelve through four, scan sensor arrays and sweep sector two.” She ordered aloud to the entire team, her voice carrying easily across the pit due to the inactivity of the rest of the bridge and indeed the star destroyer itself at this point.
    “Copy.” A male officer sat directly in front of her answered as his hands went to work on the display in front of him. Aro Quil, another ‘New Imperial’ was her right hand man and the best analyst she had ever met, his ability to speed through holofeeds and pick out the smallest detail was far beyond his pay grade.
    “I want profiles on ever high grade guest and all those in the slum.” Sloane turned to look at another screen which showed several live displays of a grand ballroom that was bustling with bodies, most of the them the native species of Csilla.
    Csilla had become a second home to many Imperials over the recent years, the blue skinned Chiss who called the far out system home accepting the Empire with open arms despite having never officially signed any treaty or alliance with them. Sloane herself thought it risky to have thrown in so easily with a people that still held such a powerful military and seemed to like their secrets kept to themselves, but she was no more than an official doing a job, what the Empire did was up to more important minds than hers.
    “Bring up the Grand Admiral.” Aro switched his feed over to show the mousey haired and blue eyes human stood near the centre of the room as he was being escorted through the masses by a Chiss wearing the most extravagant attire she had ever seen.
    “Imperial Liaison Mitth’Yuoino’Nuruodo.” Aro said out loud, reading the profile the Imperial security system had raised on the Chiss. “Fifty three, married, four children. Each married to separate Chiss families. Small gambling debt and a heart deficiency that he takes illegal substances to settle.”
    “No threat, carry on.” Sloane said as she began to pace the pit looking from this screen to the next. She took in faces, read profiles and generally kept an eye on the proceedings like a good Imperial should.
    “Ma’am?” Aro spoke up to grab her attention.
    “Lieutenant.” She was behind him in an instant knowing his tone was troubled.
    “Just had a system glitch.” He was centred on the Grand Admiral swinging the view around where he could yet seemed limited by the security cameras positioning.
    “A glitch? Impossible.” She turned to move on when she herself saw it. The system flickered before returning to normal.
    “You were saying.”
    “Shush, move to the left.” She wanted to check something.
    “Moving now.” The feed moved to the left before settling on the front of the Grand Admiral, there was nothing particularly strange going on, the Chiss liason, the Grand Admiral and several other important figures all talking to each other as a waitress moved through them with a tray of drinks. The system flickered again before re-focusing.
    “What is going on?” Her eyes narrowed as the focused in on the feed. An idea springing to her head as quickly as she had seen it. “Get a look at that waitress, bring up a profile.”
    “Copy.” The feed moved around but couldn’t quite get a clear shot at the girl carrying the champagne. “I can’t get a clean shot. Trying camera three.”
    Again no clear shot. Moving back to the first camera gave better results as Aro managed to get a single glimpse of half her face from behind the Grand Admiral’s shoulder.
    “Scanning now.” Aro said as Sloane continued to watch the live feed in case she came into better view.
    “What in all the hells.” Aro sounded confused causing Sloane to look up at his screen. “What is a level seven block?”
    Sloane had heard of them, but never seen one.
    “That’s an Imperial High Command block, why did that come up?”
    “I dunno.” Aro started to hit several keys on his system. “I found a file, raised it and then got locked out.”
    “Bring it up again.” Sloane helped with the keys needed and caught a glimpse of a file momentarily before the screen locked up again with a Level Seven Block. “Level Seven? Only High Command has access to level seven, its only one below the Empresses own access.”
    “Shall I try again?”
    “Yes, I want to know who that waitress is, I want her face plastered on ever screen and I want to know everything about her.” Sloane ordered, frustrated at the inability of the system. “I mean everything.”
    “Copy.” Aro switched his screen over and began inputting codes and before long every screen was displaying images in an attempt to gather intelligence on this mystery woman.
    “I have her.” One of the petty officers called from the far end of the pit his screen glowing green as Sloane got there. The shot at her face was clear and already running through the diagnostics.
    “No file?” The system blurted out error codes as it failed to find a file on the woman, then with one final loud beep all the screens turned off and on each one displaying a level seven lockdown.
    “What?” Aro said loudly. “Ma’am what does this mean?”
    Sloane slid into a chair and removed her cap.
    “It means we fail.”

    “Of course we would gladly accept you gift Syndic.” Aram shook the hands of a particularly large built Chiss in front of him as he spoke. “Mining in the Core has become perilous for our Empire and having access to raw resources in this system will allow for cleaner and safer returns.” He was speaking in fluent Cheunh which almost rolled of the Grand Admiral’s tongue better than basic.
    Another mining corporation under the Empire’s control and another means to continue the raw production of otherwise core dominated minerals. So far this event was productive.
    No one had a more vested interest in the Chiss than Aram Kalast and while the rest of Imperial High Society had come to use the Chiss’ system as a playground away from the realities of the Imperial Systems and the Core War the Grand Admiral was more akin to calling the system home.
    “I will prepare an inspection within the week.” The large built Chiss said before bowing and returning to the crowd.
    The Admiral turned and found his hand full of the finest crystal in the system, yet his eyes could not focus on the workmanship, nor the fine line of bubbles from the liquid within.
    His eyes were on the girl that had served it.
    “Of course what would a party be without Champagne.”

    Heir to the Empire


    • #3
      It took her a full few seconds to fully register just who exactly was standing in front of her, dressed for the gala amidst the music and the rest of the crowd. If this had been a fairy tale she would have been dressed in glittering colors and the music would have swelled when she saw him. They would dance and lock eyes.

      This was no fairytale, however. She was dressed simply, hair pulled back practically. She had scrubbed blood from under her nails hours ago. Her feet were too heavy, her cover too important, or she may have turned tail and fled. The spike of fear was not due to him, but to her first instinct, which was to reach out and touch him, to assure herself he was actually there. Well,this had thrown Daine for a loop.

      "A very boring party indeed, Grand Admiral," She said, her voice trained not to show her conflicting emotions. It had been months upon months since she had last seen him on Bastion. Daine had been traveling for long enough she had worked up a wall when it came to Bastion, enough to let her forget about what she had left behind for her mission until she could return.

      An intoxicated guest was dragging his partner to the dance floor, nearly running right into her and spilling her tray of champagne. She stepped to the side, which brought her closer to him.

      "I did not realize you would be attending tonight," She managed in a quiet voice meant for him and not the rest of the party-goers. She kept enough space between them to still be respectable.


      • #4
        How long had it been?
        Weeks, months even a year? Aram was not sure of the details and right now he didn’t really care, for time had managed to stand still for a moment allowing him and her to reunite, even this unexpectedly.
        Her simple attire was noted if only as an observation by the Grand Admiral, his piercing blue eyes scattering across her form fleeting from one point to the next taking in her face, her torso even her legs. Each held a memory long held to by a masterminded brain that struggled to keep it whole through all the other constantly moving thoughts; he had honestly feared them lost, at least until now thanks to the ever present reminders in front of him.
        “You are not to address the Grand Admiral.” Another human stepped forward and spoke down his chin towards Daine who was no more than a serving girl to his eyes, a pathetic element of his own lavish lifestyle. “Just do your job.”
“That is my decision to make.” Aram’s composure shot quickly from murderous back to in control as his eyes settled on the fellow human and his over the top attire of rich Imperial purple. “Beside’s I believe I asked her a question.”
        The interruption of a guest, his partner and their alcohol driven desire to be upon the dance floor saw Aram forced to step sidewards, Daine herself stepping back and for just the fleeting of moments her side brushed against his waist causing a flutter to spin through his chest. She didn’t remain there though instead moving herself away, better to keep the respectfulness of authority.
        “I apologise if I had known you were in the system I would have forwarded the invitation.” His response was as quiet as her initial remark a faint smirk across his face.
        “Are you alright?” He asked loudly in regard to her rushed catch of the tray. “Here let me help you with that.” He took the tray and slid it aside to one of the Chiss around him who took it without question despite the confusion across his face.
        “Perhaps a fresh tray will help.” He said to Daine as he placed a hand on her shoulder. “If you need any assistance I’m happy to help.”

        Heir to the Empire


        • #5
          Seeing him here was a distraction, she knew that, but Daine could not force herself away. She had blocked out so much of the hope that she would return to Bastion sooner than expected, those traitors within her ranks would be easier to track down, but they were good agents, or at least had been. As the weeks turned to months, she had ignored the urges to return home to finish. Of course now, her last target so close, she would run into Aram.

          When the other human spoke, dressed in a ridiculous color, she bent her head in faux-supplication, hiding the brief smirk as she knew that this outburst would certainly gain a reaction from the Admiral. The verbal reprimand was enough to make her teeth flash in a vicious smile, but she masked it well, keeping the vindicated grin to herself.

          She had to keep herself from stepping closer, wrapping her arm around his and breaking her cover entirely. She made all the necessary fumblings and motions to make it seem as if she had just had a clumsy moment as a waitress, though she relished in brief closeness after so long.

          "To be fair, no one was supposed to know I was in the system," She told him once he had taken her tray and passed it to another Chiss in the crowd, who seemed to be a little at a loss with his new task.

          The hand on her shoulder was warm and she leaned ever so slightly into his touch, her own hands smoothing her skirt and picking at the white at her sleeves.

          "Yes, there are fresh trays, though I would appreciate a hand with pouring the champagne, I never get the level just right..." As she spoke, she was moving away, not back towards the kitchen, but another hallway that was darkened and would lead to a servant's stair to the upstairs. It would provide enough privacy to speak without pretense. now that she had seen him, touched him, she was not about to let him whirl away from her in a crowd of intoxicated idiots.

          She hoped he would follow, but she kept her back to him, promising herself she would not look back until they were safely in the shadows of the servant's stair. She wanted to hold her breath, but knew that would merely make her more lightheaded than she was already feeling.

          Once in the dim light, the noise of the ball in the background, dulled from the distance, she turned to speak.

          "I was not supposed to be here, or I would have checked a guest list....I didn't know when I'd see you again." The last words were spoken with the first real sign of emotion, relief, a tightness in the back of her throat.