Started making a few runs out to Balmorra recently with a few other Syndicate personell. Good market, plenty of opportunity, but there's a few other companies that have got it in their heads that we're 'cutting in on their turf'.
I'm looking for a few bodies to help me to encourage them to share.
If you're interested, meet up at the Balmorra orbital station Wednsday night, 10:00.
(( OOC thread ))
Everything with a purpose.
Vannik slouched back in the co-pilot’s chair as Jayke opened up the throttles on Kuyuk’s Run. In his hands was a commlink, with a frequency already dialed in. As the medium freighter gained altitude he counted in his head, calculating the distance needed. Once he judged they were safely away, Vannik thumbed the commlink’s ‘send’ button.
For a heartbeat there was nothing, the Kuyuk Brother’s spaceport behind them continued to shink as distance increased. Then a gout of flame exploded from a hangar bay behind them. Details at distance were poor, but it was possible to see the explosion tear the roof off the hangar he’d left the Imperial shuttle in.
Months ago, Relastra had managed to dig up information for Vannik telling him that Guynus Talt had started cutting into the lucrative Balmorran black market. Chaotic warzones allowed plenty of opportunities to aquire military-grade supplies, and to lose various pieces of equipment; and Goros the Hutt, through Guynus Talt and utilizing their cover company – Kuyuk Brothers Courier Service – was taking full advantage of the chaos.
The Syndicate also had a small operation in place on Balmorra, a few pilots sneaking military equipment off-world, or bringing in medical goods, foodstuffs, construction equipment or other items to whoever would pay. When Talt and KBCS began muscling in on the Balmorran market, the Syndicate operation began to get cramped. As a result, a contract had been put out, to “encourage” KBCS to ease up on their pressure. It wasn’t like Vannik needed an excuse to go after Talt, but the contract helped, and it did allow him to bring in a few more Syndicate operatives.
Vannik allowed himself a quick smile. The operation had gone well. Aided by both the Imperial uniforms he had appropriated off of dead soldiers, and the damaged shuttle he’d managed to hijack, the employees at the Kuyuk Brothers Courier Service–owned “shadowport” had bought the story that they were the remnants of an ambushed Imperial reconnaissance company.
Upon landing, they’d talked their way inside, using their cover story and the arrogance and brusqueness normally associated with the Imperial uniforms they wore. From there Vannik – as the captain – with Jayke – his aide – forced their way into a guided tour of the spaceport. Upon reaching the flight controller’s offices the two of them had drawn weapons, taken hostages, and seized control of the flight control facilities. With their new control and access, they had designated four ships, commed back down to Ztaka – the Imperial “lieutenant” – with the chosen targets and the hijackings had begun.
They were currently making off with four ships and behind them they’d left their stolen Imperial shuttle; a shuttle in which Vannik had secreted kilograms of explosives into every spare space. The detonation was a last touch Vannik had included on his own. Ships were easily enough replaced, especially with the connections Talt and Goros possessed. Repairing a spaceport was a different matter entirely. It bought space and time for the Syndicate to expand into the new vacuum in the market, and it also satisfied some of Vannik’s spite at having been set up on a bad job with a ship full of slaves.
There was still a gnawing unease growing in the pit of Vannik’s stomach. The job had gone very well, but a last few details had him worried. First were names. Ranks had been given out, but Vannik felt the gnawing in his stomach edge towards ‘ulcer’ with the realization that some may have forgotten to address each other by rank, and not by name. There was a good chance that the lounge they had borrowed hadn’t been monitored, but at the same time, having a surprise group of wounded Imperials show up would be a very good reason to monitor the lounge. Vannik made a note to debrief everyone and to check how careful they’d been.
Second were faces. Now his unease did blossom fully. Everyone had gone in wearing full Imperial armor, including the helmets. Except for two. Vannik and Ztaka, as officers, had been wearing caps. Ztaka could be a risk, depending on her activities. Vannik however, knew he was the greater risk. While in Goros’ employ Vannik had been paranoid about keeping his face hidden behind the Mandalorian mask of ‘Matock Hasko’, but there was still a chance he could have been careless once, and as a result Guynus Talt – also in Goros’ employ at the time – could well have a picture of Matock to match with a picture of Vannik.
Jayke spoke up, telling him they were approaching the Balmorran orbital station. Vannik looked up as the station loomed into view. In the back of his mind he knew he needed to get back down to the planet, to keep tabs on the KBCS salvage and repair operations. He needed to know what they knew.
He pulled his datapad from inside his jacket and began making notes. First, he needed to get planetside and into the operation. He briefly considered recycling the Imperial uniform and alibi, but considering the spaceport was technically inside Imperial territory it meant real Imperials might show up for blast analysis. Also, anyone digging through the ruined spaceport would be finding fragments of exploded shuttle, so Imperials might find themselves quickly unwelcome.
There was the option of showing up as an independent salvager and hiring on. It was possible that KBCS would be looking for assistance with the recovery. He could also hire on as a mercenary, someone would have to provide security for the operation, and security would give him the freedom to move around while everyone else was digging through the wreckage. Vannik sat back and thought on that. Both courses seemed viable from where he stood. He decided to head planetside and look into both.
Secondly, he needed to get rid of the ships and their cargo. There was the option of donating them to the Syndicate. There were some operatives running around without ships of their own, so a discounted, scrubbed clean ride would likely be appreciated.
On the other hand, the ships would be hot items. Talt, and Goros would be turning over every rock in the galaxy to look for their lost ships. The best thing would be to sell them off, so that there was no connection between the Syndicate and the spaceport bombing.
Vannik crossed his arms and leaned forwards, looking through the front viewport as Jayke brought Kuyuk’s Run into the hangar and the medium freighter squatted into its berth. He immediately thought of selling the four ships to Lurgro the Nikto on Nar Shaddaa. The dealer would have no problem absorbing them and reselling, but there was an unspoken rule to Lurgro’s neutrality: “don’t involve Lurgro in your fights”. Selling all four ships to him would involve him deeply. The alternative was to go fishing. To start with the Nikto and move among his contacts for other dealers who would take the ships. If they were spread out, there would be less risk for each dealer involved.
Vannik stepped off the foot of the freighter’s boarding ramp. At the doorway was gathered a small knot of beings in battered, dirty, bloody Imperial uniforms. His crew. He smiled, no matter what happened, they’d done good work. Time to debrief and see what they had scored.
Everything with a purpose.
Selling the ships had gone well. Each of the four ships had been moved through a separate seller. One had even been sold on Ord Mantell, plenty of distance between them. The profits from the sales of the ships and their cargos had been divvied up and every one who’d participated had gotten a share.
Vannik had noticed an oddity while doing the selling and digging into each ship’s past. Of the four: Kuyuk’s Run, Skyview, Helgun’s Flame, and Sunrise Slide, only one of them – Kuyuk’s Run – was not carrying a legitimate cargo. It was laden with Republic-made arms –illegal in the Imperial territory it was flying out of. The other three were carrying medicine, foodstuffs, clothes, housing equipment, the small items needed to make a colony. Further digging told him the three ships carrying legitimate cargos were recently-stolen.
Vannik “hypothetically” asked Lurgro about it after he’d sold the ships. The Nikto told Vannik about a new trick going around (or perhaps an old one recycled): “ship laundering”. Steal the ship, put it to legitimate work, then when it's sold, it had an honest history you could point to. Vannik mentally filed it away, it was a good idea, it might get used sometime.
Cleaning up at the blast site hadn’t gone nearly as well. Vannik and Ubbit had managed to sneak back in, under the guise of salvagers. They had lucked out and found a functioning security terminal. Luck had abandoned them when they had found the security recordings of the hijacking. They had checked the lounge footage and gotten a fuzzed-out view of the back of Ztaka’s head. When they had checked the footage from the dispatcher’s office, things had been worse. Several sections of recording showing clear shots of Vannik’s face had cropped up.
Vannik and Ubbit had deleted the recordings, and then Vannik had proceeded to destroy the databanks that had contained the footage, but there had been no way to know if anyone had pulled the videos beforehand.
As Vannik and Ubbit left Balmorra, Vannik felt fear begin to gnaw at the pit of his stomach. Guynus Talt could very well have a clear picture of his face on file now. There was saving grace however. The Imperial uniforms had also come through clearly, so the hunt would be misdirected – even if the misdirection was temporary, it was still useful. Secondly, there was no image of his face from his employment as “Matock Hasko”.
Vannik twirled his datapad through his fingers as Landslide broke from Balmorra’s orbit and made the jump to hyperspace. Hoping would do little. Preparation would do much more. He would have to start putting out feelers, to see who Guynus was hunting for.
Everything with a purpose.