A collab between Lucine Vasano (#14877) and Tisto Kingang (#13922).
[ARC-COU] Putting on the Ritz
Lucine Post 1
Lucine Vasano allowed herself a small smile as she took in the breathtaking view from the balcony. The light of the moons shone brightly, allowing her to see the turbulent waves of the ocean as they lapped serenely against the white-sand of the beach. The fresh ocean air mixed beautifully with the bouquet of the fine Corellian red in her glass. There was no doubt about it; Canto Bight was her kind of place. She would have to make a point of returning, the next time she had some vacation time.
But tonight, she was here for business, not pleasure. She turned from the marvelous view to check on her companion. The dark haired human lay on the bed, writhing in ecstasy from the effects of her last Mind Trick. She nodded in satisfaction, before stepping into the room and closing the balcony doors behind her.
“Now, darling,” she purred as she sat on the bed next to him, checking once more to make sure that his stuncuffs were still tightly secured. “Just a few more questions and we will be done. We know that there are a few Collective heavy-hitters here on Canto Bight. Where are they hiding?”
Pil Lar’box glared up at her through bloodshot blue eyes, his pale skin covered in a fine sheen of sweat from his torment. “Rot in the frozen hells,” he snapped defiantly.
Though the serene smile never left her face, Lucine’s eyes narrowed slightly in annoyance. She reached out through the Force, sending dark tendrils lashing once more into the banker’s mind. Pil shuddered and bit down on his lip, suppressing a scream.
“Such ungentlemanly behavior is unfit for a man of your breeding,” Lucine sniffed. “You know, I had planned to have a nice evening. I was supposed to have a date tonight. But thanks to the efforts of your less refined compatriots, I am stuck working. The very least you can do, darling, is be a little more sensitive to the fact that you are ruining my evening.” She sent waves of agony along the shadowy tendrils to add emphasis to her words. “Now, let us try this again. Where is your planetside command center?”
After another hour of questioning, the Sith was satisfied that the Collective agent had told her all he knew. She used her comm and a secure frequency to send a message to Zujenia, before going to the mirror to check her hair and makeup. “Thank you, darling, you have been ever so helpful,” she told the semi-conscious banker as she straightened her dress. “One of my friends will be along shortly to pick you up.”
Pil’s only response was a low moan of anguish. Lucine shook her head and crossed the room to perch on the bed next to him once more. “Now, do not be like that,” she said as she patted him on the shoulder. She made a moue of disgust when her hand came away wet with sweat, and hastily wiped it on the bedspread. “I doubt your Collective friends will be very helpful with all of the information you have given us. It will be much safer if you were to stay with us instead. Besides, I think after several more sessions with me, you will come to find that you actually like working with us.”
The banker did not respond, having slipped into unconsciousness. Satisfied that he would not be going anywhere on his own, the Sith retrieved her wine glass, checked her reflection one more time, and exited the room.
Her heels clicked a staccato rhythm as she returned to the turbolift and pressed the button that would return her to the lobby. As the lift silently descended, she looked through the glass to study the atrium below. Cleaning teams were still at work, cleaning up the damage from the bombs. Lucine could not help but to marvel at the effectiveness of their work; much of the casino had already been restored to its pristine condition.
The lift doors opened silently, revealing the gilded splendor of the casino. She made her way past the gaming tables, pausing long enough to set her now empty wine glass on the tray of a passing waiter, making eye contact with a dark-haired woman in a suit as she did so. She then pretended to watch the action at a nearby space-roulette table as the woman cashed in her chips and moved to join her.
“Darling!” Lucine said with a saccharine smile as she placed a light kiss on the former Consul’s cheek.
Satsi Tameike’s smile was just as sickeningly sweet as they locked arms and began to move along the aisle at a leisurely pace, chatting like old friends. The act lasted until they were each certain that they were not being observed. Lucine was the first to drop the act, dropping Satsi’s arm and crossing her arms over her chest.
“Well?” the former Consul snapped.
“Unfortunately, he did not have any direct information,” the Sith replied.
“Then why do you look so frakkin’ smug?” Satsi demanded.
“Because he gave me enough to make a few educated guesses. Apparently Capital Enterprises recently acquired the company that provides the feed and tack for the farthiers. Since there are no races running tonight, there is a good chance we will find the hostages there. Also, I have a list of the subsidiary companies that were used to book the rooms in the hotel.”
Tameiki nodded slowly, chewing on her lower lip as she considered the redhead’s words. “Between that and th’ gala tonight, we should have a pretty good idea where to find 'em.”
A slow smile touched Lucine’s lips. She was particularly looking forward to the gala. Some of the wealthiest and most influential people from Capital Enterprises were likely to be there. It would be a prime opportunity to gather some favors from some of the most influential people in the galaxy. “Indeed. So if there is nothing else, I will start getting ready to attend the gala.”
“Yeah, do that, Pretty Eyes. Yer gonna need all the time you can get to cover that awful blemish on your face,” Satsi replied with a feral grin. “Oh, wait. That’s yer nose.”
Lucine suppressed the urge to roll her eyes skyward. Though there was a guarded peace between the two of them, it did not preclude the occasional verbal barb. “Well, we cannot all have the body of a pre-teen boy,” she said tragically. “I suppose that is why you pull off the suit so well.”
“Pull it off? Please, I look amazing,” Satsi said with a smirk. “But there’s been a change in plans. We need all medics on deck to help with the wounded, and that includes Rhylance. Yer gonna hafta go t’th party with someone else.”
“Strong, then?” Lucine asked.
“Nah, he’s busy trying t’keep the Ryn outta the sauce.”
“Very well then. Who else could possibly be able to help infiltrate a room full of wealthy and influential society people?” the Sith demanded.
“Well, I found ya an Odanite by the name of Tisto. You two’ll just have to make due.” Satsi said as she waved to someone she seemingly knew at a nearby gaming table. She moved away from Lucine without another word; apparently she had nothing more to say on the subject. Lucine restrained the urge to roll her eyes, and went to find her partner for the evening.
Tisto Post 1
“You know,” Tisto said as he glared at the two identical guards keeping him locked in his cell. It was a very archaic one with actual bars, the more advanced ones already full. “I can get out of here at any point. So I will ask you two laserbrains again. What the hell do you know about Capital Enterprises.”
The guards looked at eachother. “Sir,” one of them began, “we are not going to tell that to someone caught assaulting one of their workers.”
The Kiffar twitched, his dreadlocks shifting slightly as he did. “Please, I broke the law enough to know what I did was atleast battery. That guy is not going to get back up again, at least not until his legs get put back together. Honestly after that his bones would be like a puzzle.”
“Confessing to being a dangerous criminal?” the second guard asked.
“Dangerous in ways you wouldn’t be able to fathom. If you let me out at least you will know who will be taken out,” the boxer shrugged. “Besides, these kriffin scum deserve it. They killed my friend. All I am doing is making it hard for them to get healed even with bacta.”
“We aren’t going to let you go,” the two said simultaneously. “You are going to stay here until we get a trial set up.”
“Sucks to be you,” Tisto replied, “Anyways I’ll just–”
The sound of a door opening interrupted him, and a woman with wavy red hair simply walked up to the two guards to his cell. The two of them turned to her hesitantly, hands near their blasters. The Kiffar called upon the Force, feeling it react to him as he tugged against the air, pulling one of the guards against the bars. He grabbed onto the guard, putting him into a stranglehold to make sure he had an advantage. He pulled the guards blaster out from its holster, aiming at the bottom of the man’s spine.
“Alright,” he said. “I’m getting really sick of this and I gave you several warning. Tell me what you know about Capital Enterprises or your friend here will need some frakking cybernetics to fix what I will do.”
Both the woman and the remaining guard paused. Tisto watched the woman look at the guard and wave her hand as she began to speak. “You are going to want to do what he says, after all you won’t like the consequences.”
“I won’t like the consequences,” the guard said. “Capital Enterprises is having a party, invitation only. We have guards checking the invitations. It’s supposed to be a grand gala where they are dealing with meeting and all that.”
“Well, I have an invitation,” she said holding out a datapad, performing another hand wave. “And Tisto here is my plus one, so you are going to release him.”
The guard quickly opened the cell, and pulled his companion out away from Tisto. The woman looked at Tisto. “Door now,” she said. “I’ll be right behind you.”
The Kiffar dusted himself off as he put his gear back on. He slid his shock gauntlets back on as if they were simply a second skin, then put on the Jedi Hunter cloak he had stolen off of a corpse not to long ago. He waited by the door to the prison, and watched the strange woman walk out.
“Alright,” she said. “That was taken care of. You made me use some very brutish manipulations there.”
“Didn’t know who you were,” the boxer replied. “Still don’t. But clearly you aren’t an enemy. Or atleast not part of the Collective.”
“Lucine Vasano, Arconan,” the fellow redhead replied.
“So Arcona is here. I was wondering what missions you were going on,” he paused. “So are we crashing the party then? I can probably procure a vehicle to ride right through the wall.”
“Attending,” Lucine replied. “We need to get you something dressier.”
Lucine Post 2
She paused, surveying the Kiffar with a critical eye before glancing at her chrono. “And we had best hurry. We only have a few hours to make you look presentable.”
“Presentable?” Tisto replied blankly. “Why? We won’t need party clothes if we just crash a vehicle through the wall.”
The Sith gave him a level look. “This party is going to be attended by some of the wealthiest and most influential people in the galaxy. It will be a prime opportunity to make some contacts and possibly turn some people to our cause. So we will not be crashing any vehicles through walls.”
“So you have a better plan?” Tisto asked skeptically.
“As a matter of fact, I do. We go in like civilized people, do a little dining and dining, and find out what we need to know,” Lucine replied.
“And if we run into trouble?” The skepticism was still heavy in his voice.
“Then we disable them,” she said. “Quietly!” she added hastily when she saw the grin start to spread across Tisto’s face. “But to do all that, we will have to get in through the front door. Hence my earlier comment regarding regarding looking presentable. So, did you happen to bring evening wear?”
Tisto tugged at his ‘borrowed’ Jedi Hunter cloak. “I’ve got this.”
“Well, then! Our way is clear. We must first go shopping,” Lucine purred. She grabbed his arm and began to pull him along the hallway, with a smile of the loth cat that had eaten every canary in the galaxy.
The Sith half dragged him from the holding area, up the stairs and through an unobtrusive door into a cavernous arcade. It was decorated just as lavishly as the casino, with intricately carved pillars and crystal accents. Even the floor was gilded, the pure white marble inlaid with gold in a delicate swirling pattern.
But Lucine ignored these decorative flourishes as she scanned the windows of the shops, searching for a decent outfit for her companion. “That seems like a good place to start,” she said, and started toward one of the nearest boutiques.
Tisto’s eyes fell upon the outfit that was on display: an orange overcoat with maroon trim, and flared maroon pants. The whole affair was topped by a huge hat, piled high with feathers. He stopped short, pulling his arm from her hand. “No. No frakkin way I am wearing that.”
“Well of course not, darling,” Lucine replied smoothly. “Afterall, my dress is going to have green accents, and it would not do if we were to clash. Now, come on. We do not have much time.”
Tisto Post 2
Tisto stared at all of the garish clothing that was displayed. “Look,” he began. “It would be easier for me to bust skulls until I get in that to try and make me wear one of these monstrosities. And green? Really? What works with green?”
The Sith gave the Kiffar a thoughtful look before wandering over to a different set of outfits. “Well I am wearing an emerald hue so probably a simpler look. Maybe something to go with your cloak. With your looks I would suggest a good set of blues as I doubt you could pull off something like a coral.”
“An old friend of mine had coral accents on their swoop bike,” Tisto replied somberly. “I want to avoid that for now.”
Luccine casually passed the Kiffar a pair of pants and a sturdy looking dress shirt. “Well,” she said as he stood there. “Go try it on you nerfherder.”
Tisto wandered over to the changing rooms, examining the outfit. The pants were a midnight blue, while the shirt was brighter, a medium shade of electric blue. The combo reminded him of the paint job on the swoop bike he had to abandon on New Tython. Once he was in the changing rooms he quickly changed, testing the flexibility of the new outfit. Once he finished his tests he slipped his robe back on and walked out, seeing Lucine standing right outside.
“That will work,” she said. “Not your best colors but it will match my dress and doesn’t make you look like you don’t belong.”
The Kiffar slid his shock boxing gloves back on as Lucine talked. “Look,” he began, “the second things go bad, I use my ways to get us out. My means of manipulation are much less draining on the mind, and sometimes make sure a stale old place gets some color. That clear?”
Without hesitating he adjusted his cloak so it didn’t get in his way. “For what it’s worth good call with the shirt. It’s not as flexible as my usual attire but its not holding me back to much. It might get a few splashes of a nice dark red by the end of the night, but… that’s bound to happen.”
“Buying a set o–” Lucine began as Tisto tossed out arm open hand towards the nearest wall.
The wall folded against the pressure the Kiffar exerted with the Force, stones crashing down. The owner of the store fled the building screaming.
“Don’t have the time. Lets go before I have to beat up more cops.”
Lucine Post 3
And here I thought we were supposed to keep a low profile, Lucine thought ruefully as she stared at the gaping hole in the wall. But Tisto was already disappearing through it, and she could hear shouts behind her about calling the police. Waiting around, it seemed, would cut into her preparation time for the party. She shook her head and filled the Kiffar’s retreating form.
They wove a circuitous route through the plainly decorated hallways that were intended for the casino’s many employees. The people they passed gave them unusual looks, but no one dared to stop them or tell them that they did not belong in the area.
Their seemingly random turns brought them eventually through another unobtrusive door that was obscured from view by a fragrant flowering bush. Peering around it, Lucine saw that they had emerged in the carefully tended gardens that surrounded the casino. Perfectly tended walking paths wove between artful decorations and exotic plants.
“I would say we are far enough away from your little disturbance,” she murmured with a glance at Tisto. “Excellent. My rooms are not far from here, and I still need to get changed.”
“Yeah, you keep saying that. But isn’t that dress fancy enough?” the Kiffar asked as he gestured toward the dress that she was currently wearing.
The Sith smiled slightly. “Well, it probably would be sufficient for the party, but unfortunately there is one problem. I wore this dress today.” When Tisto only responded with a blank look, she added, “What if someone at the party actually saw me wearing it? They might think that I am unable to afford a more than one outfit. No, that simply would not do, so I will need a new dress.”
“I’m just saying the time could be better spent going over tactics,” the Kiffar said, the annoyance plain in his voice.
“And I am just saying that this is non-negotiable,” Lucine said breezily. “It should only take me about an hour. Please, please try to stay out of jail in the meantime, darling!” Without waiting for a reply, she turned and began making her way toward the casino, leaving Tisto to glare after her.
It only took her forty five minutes to make her own preparations. Her dress for the evening was a slinky black evening gown with a plunging neckline. An emerald green scarf was draped over one shoulder, and wrapped loosely around her waist. She had piled her hair on top of her head, leaving only a few scarlet curls to frame her face.
The Sith smiled brilliantly at the sight of Tisto, who was lounging next to a small pond with a bored expression on his face. “You did not get arrested! I am pleasantly surprised.”
“That doesn’t mean I was kicking my heels up the whole time,” the Kiffar replied as he rose and dusted himself off. “I checked out where the party is gonna be.”
As they made their way through the gardens toward the venue, Tista reaccounted what he had seen. The door was guarded to two burly Besalisks, both of whom had been fitted with cybernetics. A protocol droid was also present, ostensibly to collect invitations and announce arriving guests. “But you can bet that it’s also making sure no one sneaks in under an illusion,” he concluded.
“Fortunately, we do not need illusions. Not this time, anyway,” Lucine purred as she took his arm. She laughed softly as he shot her a look of surprise. “Oh, come now, darling. You are my plus one, after all. We should at least act like a couple.”
Tisto Post 3
“I would hope the Besalisks could provide me a swift death to save me from you,” the boxer scoffed, “damned mad woman.”
As the two approached the door, he looked indignantly at the two guards. “Can you guys believe this woman?!” he asked with a mildly exaggerated tone. “She brings me to a party and insists on me wearing something entirely new. She doesn’t even trust my judgement when it comes to clothes. Is there no place we can put her?”
The Basilisks glared at Tisto, shaking their heads. The one on the left gestured for them to go in, giving his companion a obvious look.
“Sorry been out of the dating game for quite a while,” Tisto asserted quietly as the two walked in, feeling Lucine glaring at him. “Isn’t that how rich guys act in the romance holovids?”
“Never the ones that get the girl,” Lucine hissed. “Besides shouldn’t you be concerned about blowing our cover? Just act like you are interested in what’s going on.”
“I guess I should mention,” he said, “I don’t know how to act a party at this scale. I’m more used to raves.”
“I’m starting to get the feeling that you were assigned as my partner to test my patience,” the Arconan snarled under her breath.