Pffewhh, I'm glad we made it out of there in one piece. Piddoch did not seem happy at all that we couldn't effort any of his merchandise. And for a while there I though that we might had to make a run for it hoping that Zachery would be on the look out for trouble. Luckily Piddoch's goons guarding the entrance didn't feel the need to test their expensive looking new toys. On the topic of expensive toys, we definitively should keep Piddoch in mind for if we require an upgrade in firing power.
Back aboard the ship Lainaki declared that it was her turn to take some well earned R&R as she gathered all the pillows from the other 2 beds to make herself as comfortable as possible. As I left the crews quarters I went to check up on Ana, only to find her past out in the engineering bay. She looked pretty stylish with her sunglasses on, while balancing her chair on only two legs. I didn't want to risk breaking her neck by waking her so, I just prayed for the best as I made my way towards to galley, drawn in by a surprisingly amazing smell.
On the way there I bumped into Nahossa who seemed to be as intrigued as I by the smell. Arriving at the main cargo hold we were greeted by a welcome sight; Zachery had prepared his famous stew and had even made (a more or less successful) effort to turn two crates into a cosy dining table. Sitting at the table I made the remark that the water tight containers were doing an excellent job, it hadn't smelled as good about this ship since… well, since ever. Nahossa agreed as he started fantasizing about all the credits we could make from the containers contents. It was at that point that I thanked him for taking care of the pelt situation by himself, sparing me from smelling like a Rancor's ass for the second time in three days.
Nahossa however seemed confused, he thought that I had taken care of the pelts!? I, of course had done no such thing, referencing my "Rancor's ass" argument. Zachery suggested that one of the ladies must have probably done it, which sounded crazy to me. Ana? Voluntary helping the rest of us out after we took her crane from her? I don't think so. Besides that I seriously doubted the fact that Lainaki could have handled the weight of moving the 6 pelts by her self. This left us with the option of one of Nin's men taking care of it, which seemed even more troublesome. I noticed the panic in Nahossa's eyes as he made his way to the crate, carefully opening it and afterwards looking back at us in complete horror. "They're GONE". he shouted, "all 6 of them, just GONE". "ALL MY MONEY, GONE!?".
My eyes turned to terror as well as I realized how royally screwed we were. One of Nin's engineers must have discovered the pelts while patching up the ship and alerted Nin. But why did she not confront us when we returned to Nabath? My mind went racing, trying to figure out what had transpired. Zachery on the other hand merely mumbled something along the lines of :"Good riddance" while he scooped himself some stew and asked if I wanted some as well. "Really Zachery, good riddance?!" I replied. "We just found out that god knows how many people are aware of the fact that we had Wooky pelts aboard our ship. How can u stay calm like that?!". In the meanwhile Nahossa had started pacing in circles around the improvised dinner table, seemingly using his fingers to get an estimate of how much wealth he had just lost. Zachery replied: "Well, I mean, I just think that we're better off without them. They were an issue, now that issue is solved. Whatever happened, it turned out well. We got away from Nabath without further hick ups right? So stop your jabbering and dig in. I've made it extra tasty to celebrate our succesful dealings on Ryloth. Plus you must be hungry from taking to all those people at the Duke's party. On that note, could u get us up to speed on what intel you acquired? We have to inform Anata before we go to the other Duke if I remember correc…" "What do you mean, it turned out well?!" Nahossa interrupted Zachary. "Is losing thousands of credits a good turn out to you? Now that I think of it, you were the only one vocally opposed to keeping them aboard. Aaaandnd and… AND you were grumpy as fck when we woke up at the safehouse the day after we arrived." "And you let Anna drive, without putting up a fight so you could sleep the entire way through" I added. At that point Nahossa had stopped pacing around and faced Zachery directly, I had never seen the Bothan so upset. This was something that he cared about a great deal. I remained seated but looked Zachery stared Zachery right in the face: "Why were you so tired that day? And what did you do the night before?!".
If I remember correctly the stand off took quite some time; Zachary had managed to distract his employer with a tale of a late night drinking and dancing, followed by a 10 mile run through the city. But I wasn't so easily fooled; I had seen Zachary after a night of heavy drinking two days earlier and the morning he had spend in the speeder was nothing like that. In the end, Zachary owed up to it. He had taken it upon himself to sneak out the night we landed on Ryloth and disposed of those vile things. "No amount of credits is worth losing your soul over, even if you fouls were to blind to see it" Zachery stated in a rather calm deminor "and if you're going fire me over that, well, good luck making it without me out there. I give you a week". The argument lasted for at least another hour. Nahossa was just upset about the amount of credits Zachery had cost the company and eventually made Zachery sign a contract legally binding him to repay a debt of 3.000 credits to the company. I wonder if Nahossa realized at the time he was getting 'penny's on the dollar', or well, hairs on the pelt? In any case Zachery did, cause he signed the thing straight away.
For me however, the point of contention had nothing to do with the monetary value of the pelts. Zachery had ignored a democratic vote for the sake of following his own consciousness. "You didn't have the right and you sure as hell didn't have the authority to make that call." I whispered through my teeth. "If you have a problem with the way this group does things, you bring it up and we discuss it. Calmly. Just like you did, when you warned me about how dangerous riling up the town's folk was. You were right back then and I listened." "What do you you listened? You were the only reason there was any threat to us, the rest of this so called 'group'. You nearly got us killed back there, twice! I'm the only reason you made it that dessert alive" The human had stopped eating his stew and straightened his back as he looked down on me across the table. "You, Kopec, do not get to tell me what I can or can not do." … "Are u sure about that?" I replied as I looked up at him. Zachary's eyes turned red and he grabbed me by my vest with one hand and dragged me across the table to his end. "Listen Lek. You do not have any power over me and if I need to remind you of that you just let me know. I'm sure I can free up 5 minutes to get it through your tiny head". As I was hanging there, dragged half way across the table I replied: "Or, I could just wait till you fall asleep and slit your throat and be done with it." Zachery lost it at that point and grabbed me firmly with both hands firmly around my vest putting his face as close as possible to myn stating: "Well then, who's gonne stop me from putting your ass through this table right now, Kopec?". I took a deep breath and looked Zachery right in the eyes: "No one will stop you Zachary. But you know what the difference is between me and you? I'm not afraid to die and you are. You are scared shitless. It's what drives you to act all tough and what keeps you up at night. It is all you can think about. And I? Well, I've done it twice already. So if you're going to kill me do it right now, or put me down and let me finish my stew." A few moments later Zachary let go of my shirt and we ate as I discussed the meeting with Duke Piddoch.
Putting all the pieces of information together it became clear that our best shot was to try and get Annata the proof about Timo's powerplay, so that he could inform Jabba and the Huts could work it out. In order to get that information we had to convince duke Dimmoch to let us board his shipment which was leaving for Timo later that day. We contacted Ota and told him the details of the information we had gathered. (mysterious droid blueprint purchases, droid technician disappearance and decapitation, potential powerplay etc.) Ota liked the new plan of letting Jabba deal with Timo himself a lot better than us going in guns blazing and wished us good luck with our audience with the second duke.
After calling Ota we made our way to Treleck Hive where we were surprised to see two armed Genocians waiting to escort us to the duke Dimmoch. We had hoped on gathering some additional information in a local cantina, but the hive Treleck did not seem to offer the same amenities as our previous host's hive. In any case I doubt they would have let us go anywhere but the Duke's place. We were told to leave our weapons and we did so willingly. Only Zachary apparently forgot he was carrying brass knuckles cause when one of the guards spotted them, he played dumb and asked the guard to return them when we got back. When we arrived at the Duke's place we were greeted by an enormous throneroom, stacked with at least a hundred of geared up Geonocians along both sides of the room. Zachery signaled us to kneel as we approached the duke which seemed to pleas him greatly and because of his and Nahossa's combined rhetoric we got the duke's cooperation. The fact that Timo had ties to the empire, he worked together close u with a Kubaz and was potentially making a power play; was enough for the Duke to say that he wouldn't put much in our way with regards to making it onboard the Lucky Guess (the cargo ship leaving for Mosh Shuta). He only stated that we should keep his name out of it, at all time. After thanking the duke we made our way back to our ship to plan our next moves. We informed Ota, who didn't seem interested in intermediary results but who did however confirm to Zachary what kind of payment there would be, should Timo disappear from the picture.
By nightfall we made our way to dock AA7 where we found three armed Genocians standing in our way. Luckely Nahossa spotted an airduck that was under construction and before I knew it my comrades were inside the airduck in order to sneak by the three guards. However as soon as I tried to do the same I spotted a very familiar Ghant walking straight towards me with his weapon raised. It was Vrixx'tt, the bounty hunter we had encountered earlier that day at duke Piddoch's fundraiser. As I tried to knod in his direction he smiled back, raising his weapon even further. I guess he definitively knew who we were and we looked like nothing else but a walking talking payout. Without saying another word I made me way to the guards down the corridor who stopped me right in my tracks: "you are not authorized, only authorized personal is allowed to be here" they declared in unison. "Oh well, but I am, I am an acquaintance of duke Dimmoch. U should contact him and tell him that you are keeping up one of his guys". The Geonocians looked nothing if not confused and during their confusion I turned my words into action and walked straight by the guards. As I walked towards the doors of the Cargoship I looked behind me to see the funny look on Vrixx'tt his face. However as I turned around I did not see anything funny, the Geonocians recognized Vrixx'tt and just let him pass. Vrixx'tt increased his pace and his smile had turned to a very unpleasant grin.
It was at that point that Zachary appeared from a side room. There was a split second where all six of us were just staring at each other in disbelief and confusion. Zachary had been able to bypass the guards using the vent but the Geonocians were now facing exactly the way that he came. The next seconds happened really quickly; Zachary and later Nahossa dashed towards the Cargoship's doors as the Geonocians opened fire on them (stun setting, gaging from the impact on the ship's hull), but they made it. Vrixxt on the other hand opened fire at me and he was shooting to kill if I could assume that from the giant scorch mark he left on the side of the hull. However it was at that point that the Geonocians opened fire on Vrixxt. To this day I'm not entirely sure whether he hit on of them or it was just merely the fact that the Ghant was shooting at a 'supposed friend' of Dimmoch. Either way, we got out.
Aboard the ship we made our way to the cockpit where we were we received a very warm welcome from Wex and a slightly cool remark from his sister Orpa. I introduced Zachary and Nahossa to the Koreleans as our ship entered orbit. It was at that point that an alarm started to go off and before anything was said Zachary rushed off to one of the batteries. Orpa looked over at her brother as he was checking the scanners. "I've got something" Wrex said. "Well, WHAT do you have" Orpa replied. Wrex looked up and mumbled… "it's something big".