What she learnt from the landlord clarified what her feeling had already told her. There was nothing else to gain here so she slid into a standing position startling the landlord with its smoothness. She felt that standing within his comfort zone made him feel awkward. She played with the idea to let him linger in this uneasiness as the man's features tensed momentarily, but with a curt nod and a hidden grin she turned towards the entrance and left – the room and its warmth.
She had to move on. She was still days behind, at that pace her agitation and curiosity would never find a cure. Cursing inwardly she walked back to the A'den, her shuttle. The wind hadn't subsided, it tugged at and played with her cloak. What the shuttle had been named for was what she suddenly felt: anger, even rage. But where it had come from was unknown to her. Did she feel incompetent, did she mucked around with ? She dismissed both ideas, neither did apply.
Barely able to make out the landing zone for the bigger ships she was glad that she had used her shuttle. Small, unobtrusive, unsuspicious – a simple means to transport goods and people – at least on the outside. With it she hadn't had to cross the ice fields with its lurking monsters. Nor did she need a means of transport to get to it, it was close enough to walk to it.
The trip to her ship was easy, it was waiting in the orbit on a pre-set course. Docking her shuttle and changing into the larger vessel was just a small feat. Only when she sat in her pilot's seat again, she felt the tension loosening - home again. The Keldab had been her home, her stronghold even, she realized as she mentally tracked back, for several years now.
All along these years she had been living hand to mouth. Taking on odd jobs here and there, wherever she could pick them up. Menial work on fields or in woods, technical jobs in hangars or ports and the more difficult types, off the usual jobs. Finding things and people was her specialty. With the Empire gone, there was still, if not more work in this field.
The variation of jobs suited her, because she was able to keep moving. With her ship she didn't need a fixed location she had to come back to. With her ship she was a cog in the machine which wouldn't be looked for. With her ship she didn't have to be a part of anything. It gave her the solitude and freedom she needed.
A vagabond, a rover that is what she was. "Nayc yaim" – unbidden, the words came unbidden in context and language and they sent a stab down her stomach. Shaking the feeling off she grunted angrily she straightened in the seat and started concentrating on the navigation system. Her next destination didn't please her, another cold and snowy planet.
Getting to the asset hadn't be the problem, well not that much. The droid, itself a nuisance, had proven helpful dispatching the guards. The Jawas, they had been another sort of annoyance with their tendency to salvage anything that was not immediately inhabited. Getting into their travelling fortress had been a physical impossibility. The Ugnaught had demonstrated his helpfulness when it had come to the negotiations with the Jawas and in putting together his ship and although he hadn't wanted to join him, he had left him in something that could even be considered comradeship. Something that hadn't happen very often to him.
Following her routine – routines were good, routines kept her from thinking too much – she made certain that her stronghold, the Keldab was not to be seen, neither off nor on-world, the cloaking system saw to that. This time it was on world, far away from any living creature. On occasions like this she was glad about all the modifications she had commissioned to her ship.
A lot of credits had been used to alter not only the weapons and their accessibility, shields, the navigation systems, the set of the cabins and even the outer appearance had been altered up to some point. At first glance no one would identify the ship to be a VCX-100, it was unrecognizable.
After having undocked, she started the A'den and navigated her just above the cloud line, steering eastwards until she could make out the huge old wrecks. Thousand years old wrecks, but the constant ice of Hoth had preserved them well. She remembered having read about the old wars, but she had no time for that now. She had a job to complete.
A ridge of hills provided enough cover as well as some landing place at its foot. That is where she sat down the A'den. Far enough away to go undetected, close enough for the speeder placed in the compartment behind the pilot's seat and next to the shuttle's door to reach her destination. She had been called a tech-freak and they had been complaining about stumbling about her tech-stuff. No, don't think, don't remember, not now, no time for sentiments.
Although the thermal check hadn't provided any information she was sure that this was the place of her search, her feelings had her never stray or err. If not for what she was actually meant to seek then for something she was meant to find. She had been like this for as long as she could remember, earning her the nickname Sleuth.
Pushing the button for the hydraulic door to open she was greeted by the planet's iciness. But there was one good thing about this iciness, it kept her mind from dwelling on things better forgotten. With a flap of her left wrist she uncovered a black vambrace from underneath the cloak. For a brief moment silvery ornaments along the upper and lower rim and around the slightly raised embedments and pads lit up in the sunlight. The intricated patters of interlacing twirls and knots were beautiful to look at. So entrancing that one might forget about the deadliness of the hidden and plain to see devices they encircled.
Adjusting the setting with a few push of some buttons she studied the information. Then she mounted the speeder and set her course towards the wrecks, focusing completely on her task. The vehicle's swiftness granted her some security from the not so friendly fauna of this planet. Much to her surprise she didn't feel any inclination of making their acquaintance. Although – on second thoughts – a cozy Wampa or Whitefang fur might have been nice and decorative. And it would have altered the looks in the Keldab once more.
Winding her way through fields of snow-covered rocks and debris didn't make her way shorter, but gave her some coverage. Here, outside in the cold, there might not be a living soul in the vicinity, her scans had told her that much. But what about the insides of the great wrecks, they wouldn't have been the first ones to house all kinds of creatures on two, four or more legs.
This thought pulled her mind back a much warmer planet, a planet also wrecked by the past warfare. She didn't want to think about the strange creatures that shown up and interfered with their task. No, don't think, don't remember, not now, now there is only time for the task.
A last ridge separated her from her goal. It was time to get off the speeder and continue on foot. So she got off the vehicle and with swift movements she wrapped the thick fabric comfortably round her form once more. Tight enough to keep the chill at bay and loosely enough to not restrict her motions. With the sun out the hood not only helped to obscure her features but also against the blinding glare which was reflected by the snow.
Although somewhat shaded she squinted her eyes at the brightness. Now, while still in cover it was time to check that her weaponry was functionable. Some things might not take the extreme cold lightly. She took her time to go through her arsenal.
She gave the vibro-knifes in her greaves a testing pull, weren't stuck. The retracting vamblade in her right vambrace did its job when flicking her wrist correctly. Testing the flamethrowers would not be advisable, she just had to rely on them working properly.
Her hips were hugged by holsters which contained a A-180 blaster and a DE-10 blaster pistol. The antique version of a bluebolt blaster was hidden in an upside holster hugging the small of her back. She made sure they were ready to shoot, to kill.
The long barrelled sniper rifle slung around her shoulder was made easily accessible with a simple swing, its guard was also off. There was no need to see to the other assortment of weapons hidden on her body. She knew they would do their job as they had no technology involved.
She didn't have to look down, she felt the vibration of the fob. A satisfied smile tug the corners of her mouth upwards. Her inner guide had done its job once again.
The target had to be eliminated her employer had told her. She had told him she would think about whether she wanted the job or not. They both had known she was stalling for time, would gather more information. He had been fine with it, he had known previously that this would be the case, if he wanted her to do the job. This was her way.
She never took a job whose odds she didn't know about and she didn't take every job. She was known for that – inside and outside the guild – and thus the numbers of her customers had reduced. But those still in need of her services did not mind her antics. For them it was the result that counted. The result she would produce to one hundred percent.
She didn't take every job, but this one she was glad to complete. Despite her client being a criminal himself asking her to have taken out one of his opponents, he was the minor malady. Dealing in parts, smuggling alcohol and obviously supporting thus a whole backwater planet made him the good guy.
The greater one she was going to take down. Dealing in living flesh and spice made her writhe with anger.
Nayc yaim: No home