For once, The Noculent was quiet. No lasers fired across its bow, no imperial ships on its tail, no droid assassins, child soldiers, cybernetic nexu, ‘roid raging beefcakes, nothing.
R2-Q5, the plucky, precocious astromech sat in the corner defragging his hard drive. Or whatever it is droids do when they turn off. The rest of the crew sat around the table, discussing their future employment prospects.
“The mists have shown This Gand nothing regarding the future of This Crew of The Noculent.” Gand said, shrugging his Gandy shoulders. Verk took a long drag from his deathstick. Juris perked up
“Well, there’s a droid expo on my home planet. We could find a ton of cool stuff there. Show ‘em BMO!" BMO’s face-screen switched to a DROIDCON poster. Tran didn’t look up from the yarn ball he was lazily passing between his hands.
“Hard pass- too core for my liking.” Verk stood up from the table, pulling the last leg of his deathstick into his lungs as the room watched him in silence. He exhaled a thick cloud as he pushed the butt into the table. He ran a finger along the faded burn mark under his left ear
“You want to know how I got these scars?” His voice was heavy and dark, he took a moment to regard his peers.
“Are you getting sick, Verk? Your voice sounds weird. Here, I have some meds.” Juris said, offering his friend a pill. Verk just stared at him. After a moment Juris quietly put the pill back into his pack. R2 beeped to life and joined the rest of the crew at the table.
Verk pulled out his datapad and showed the crew a woman’s image, telling them the story of how she and her two sisters literally shot him in the back. He then took them to his quarters to show them the detailed web of pictures and letters connected by red yarn assembled on the wall opposite his bed.
“01010100 01101000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01110011 01100101 01100101 01101101 01110011 00100000 01100001 00100000 01100010 01101001 01110100 00100000 01100101 01111000 01100011 01100101 01110011 01110011 01101001 01110110 01100101 00101110”
beeped R2. No one bothered to check his datapad to see what he said. As usual. Verk plucked a printout of one of the transmissions they recovered on their previous mission.
“I don’t know what she’s up to, but she’s got ties to those psychos that reprogrammed those kids at the monastery. And the way these ladies operate, all three of them are going to beinvolved at the deepest levels of this thing. If we bring them down, this whole perverse operation is going down with them.”
For the first time, the crew was under no pressure. They could take their time to set up surveillance on the woman. R2, Tran, and Verk set out to find a smuggler Rom told them about named Pluvo Two-for-One. He was a slimy bastard, but he was willing and able to secure a Data Breaker for them. When they met up with Juris and Gand, they were struggling to break into a car. R2 pushed the pair aside and easily popped open the driver’s side door.
" 01010111 01100001 01110011 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100001 01110100 00100000 01110011 01101111 00100000 01101000 01100001 01110010 01100100 00111111"
Unfortunately, Juris and Gand had spent so long working on the door that it attracted unwanted attention from the authorities.
“Hail, citizens! What seems to be the trouble?” The crew looked back at each other, sure they were screwed, until Juris stepped out from under the hood of the car
“Ah, well, you see, officer, uh- the motivator’s got a bad trans-fulcrum, so we’re trying to see if we can reroute the lug-belt through the gul-lag. But then I noticed that the spin belt’s got a frayed edge, so I’m trying to solder it in place with the-”
“Uh, well. As long as you aren’t doing anything you’re not supposed to.” The guards exchanged confused looks. “Just make sure it’s not on the curb too long”
“Oh, no officer. I’ll have it up in the air in no time. Hey, do you think you could give me a hand with the-”
“Oh, wow, look at the time, got to get back to our beat!”
The crew piled into the stolen car and took off for the business district to scope out the woman’s office. Fortunately, they were able to spot her and pinpoint which office was hers. Unfortunately, they caused an accident in the process. Gand escalated a minor fender-bender into a hit-and-run by high-tailing out of traffic and dumping the vehicle in an alleyway, where R2 sprayed it down to make sure they didn’t leave any evidence of their presence.
The group set up camp in an open construction site directly across from the woman’s office. They spent all day observing her to learn her habits and learn more about her position within the company. After she left for home, they noticed that she met up with a personal security detail just outside of her office before heading home. R2 and Tran met back up with Pluvo for their goods- but noticed that they were at a severe markup. R2 blew up at the man, stating that he wouldn’t even pay half of what he was asking for. Pluvo was offended, but Tran was able to smooth over his ruffled feathers and secure the goods for slightly less than the asking price, but now the crew owes a ‘favor’ to the unctuous businessman.
With their new equipment, the crew set up at an anonymous computer terminal to mine for the woman’s personal information. However, they were tailed by another woman and some mercs. The firefight was brief but brutal. Everyone took heavy injuries and woman was able to escape into the crowd- but the crew is still alive, and have all of the information on their quarry they could possibly need.