1.04: The Scene of the Crime

Dates: 8/21/1999

Chronicle Day 15-17:  1 yr. Pre-ANH

Location: Aleron, Daekun City

The two routes of information had lead to very little. One only gave them information that incriminated Sandos, while the other was simply a dead end.  The only thing they could do now was go to the scene of the crime.  That, of course, would be more difficult to do than to say.  But there had to be clues there that the Mecetti authorities missed or ignored.

Lady Katrina Borodish Ilm stayed in the penthouse suite of the Grand Pillar Apartments, a prestigious set of apartments that only catered to those that could afford the best.

Pyre was more concerned with the fact that Jo-Di had rejoined their group and was attempting to gain the others’ trust.  He had only proven to him to be useful for one thing – kill things.  He also had odd ways of appearing one place, then appearing somewhere else, as if there were two of him. Did Jo-Di have a clone?

They had also, through some help from Rex and a brother-in-law of his, found surveillance units, Imperial issue, that were placed on board the Cadriaan’s Hope.  They were swiftly disposed of, but how they got on board was never determined.  Tarsus had his theories.

The Grand Pillar Complex was an extravagant menagerie of ancient red and white marble and granites, with extensive glass work throughout.  It was the peak of luxury for this plant, a sharp contrast to the dusty underground tunnels and dust-covered faces of the populace.

The scene of the crime was still cordoned off to the public.  It was also probably heavily guarded by law-droids. Tarsus planned out an infiltration scenario that involved two teams. Pyre, along with Raphie and Tarsus would approach from the front, distracting management and perhaps disabling the security systems in place.   Meanwhile, Jo-Di and Janice would approach from the rear.

The manager-on-duty was a lavishly dressed Twi’Lek male, who loved his job a little too much.  Pyre was also equally dressed to show his stature and that he had money to spend.  With his special talents, Pyre influenced the manager enough to get him to show them the newly vacant Royal Executive Penthouse.  He even agreed to shut down the security systems and allow them inside on their own.  Pyre thanked the manager and tipped him handsomely.

Jo-Di and Janice had worked their way well into the Complex by then, disguised as service technicians.  They were on a service elevator when Pyre entered the main elevator and pressed the top floor.  Pyre couldn’t help but feel eyes watching him, however.  He caught a glimpse of a plainly-dressed uncharacteristic human in the managers office.

Jo-Di and Janice should have chosen a different uniform, because before they knew it, they were accosted off to do some menial complex task; food delivery to someone named Dagara.  What they didn’t bother telling them was that is was Dagara the Hutt- someone Jo-Di was apparently not comfortable with meeting.

“Damn. Hagus’ sister”  he mumbled.  Apparently she was Jo-Di’s boss’s  long exiled sister.

nawnam

Dagara was a female Hutt with many hygiene problems.  Despite this, she had an extensive court of scum and villainy that impressed even Jo-Di.  One face peered at him through a armored helmet rather intently.  Jo-Di seemed to recognize this man.

Jo-Di made an effort to cover his face while they delivered the food.

As they left the court, the armored figure followed them.

He stopped the service elevator door from closing with his blaster. Jo-Di pulled his as well.

“Just a warning, Jo-Di… or whoever you are.  Hagus is looking for you, and he has recruited Dagara to hunt you down.  The other  Jo-Di was in here, claiming to be the real one.  He even proved it with DNA.  So whoever you are, you are a dead man.  Just a warning… to my prey.”

“He’s a lyre, I am the real Jo-Di.”

“Just a warning…”  The doors closed.

****

The penthouse was dark, but Pyre didn’t let anyone turn the lights on.   There were too many windows for them to be watched through.  High above the underground-floor of the city, they could step outside and see the ceiling of the cavern just above them, air-filtration system piping snaking in and out of it like infesting worms.

The two groups arrived roughly one after the other.  The holographic image of the murdered victim was still activated.  The scene looked horrific, but efficient.  It looked like a professional hit made to look like a random attack, by Marks’ and Tarsus’ judgement.  They spread out to search each room, for anything.

Pyre, a novice at computers, but the only one with the slightest experience in computers, spent time trying to slice into Lady Ilm’s files.  Most had been removed, but he was able to find a hidden back-up program that sent a copy of her files to a remote network location.  He redirected the location to connect to his own personal account on planet, and then cleared all traces of the original link, including the hidden back-up program.

It was odd the the investigators missed that.

Marks spotted something at the doorway as they entered.  It was an odd etching of appeared to be a rune on the the upper portion of the door.  It looked as though it was burned into the door recently.

The others rummaged through the remainder of the apartment.   Suddenly, tempers flared as Pyre and Jo-Di chose the most inconvenient point to finally face off their differences.

A pushing match grew into blasters drawn. Jo-Di had made a comment that flared Pyre’s mistrust towards the man, and tempers flared.  However, it wasn’t the blaster pointing at Pyre that surprised him, it was the ISB badge Jo-Di had pulled that was of most interest… Jo-Di was Imperial, and probably not the real Jo-Di.  This explained a lot.

It even explained the doppelganger situation with Jo-Di.  But when the ISB insert an agent into an existing identity, don’t the usually arrange for the untimely death of the true owner of the identity.  Apparently, someone missed their mark with the real Jo-Di.

Pyre awaited the ISB agents next move.  The rooms was tense.   Marks stood behind them with his blaster drawn, pointed at the man-formerly-known-as-Jo-Di, while the others tried to talk sense into the angry men.

Unfortunately, sense didn’t have a chance to come into the picture.   It was all interrupted by a crash at the window as a spherical ship flew in from outside.  It folded out to form a very specialized assassin droid, floating on repulsorlift, with heavy blasters on each arm.  A targeting laser centered on Pyre’s chest.

Everyone scrambled.

Blaster fire arced in several directions, as Pyre and the ISB agent took cover.  However, it was over as fast as it started, as the young Marks took careful and with one swift blast, destroyed the droid where it stood.

The door behind him exploded into splinters as another one came in and attacked him.  Pyre, ever swift on his feet, was able to get behind the droid, and dispatch it with his light foil before it could cause too much damage.  When the smoke cleared, Jo-Di was already gone.

It was time for all of them to leave.

****

Learning of Dagara before the left the penthouse, Pyre decided to make a side trip.  He wanted to pay a visit to the Hutt, for two reasons.  One: it would give him a rough alibi if anyone asked why he was at the complex.  Two: He had some plans for the ISB agent that the Hutt might be able to help with.

Despite Pyre’s efforts to capture the ISB agent with Dagara’s help, he escaped rather deftly.

“Since he escaped, I only wish to make a simple deal.  The ISB agent’s name is Isak Hemmler ,” –  remembering it from the badge – “and he was posing as your brother’s info-broker, Jo-Di as you probably know. I would like help in finding as much information as possible about him.”

Translated Huttese: “An ISB agent is not something us Hutts like to go around poking around, tends to get dangerous.  The price for this will be very high.”

“Provided I can afford it, I will pay it.” Pyre said, frustrated that his talents wouldn’t work on the Hutt, much like Jedi powers are rumored to. Even as a Psi-talent, it was frustrating to know that he still shared some of the limitations of a Jedi.

“I want you… your dedicated service for a year… of my choosing”

Service?? For Free?? That’s slavery!!!  How important is this information to me? “Provided that your information is good, And your service does not interfere with my Noble duties, I think it can be arranged.”

He could not believe he agreed to it.  He was going to be a Hutt slave for a year of his life.  But revenge against the ISB agent was worth it.

He left after signing the proper papers to make the deal legitimate.   The others waited back at the ship.

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