Jermo’s shop exploded in a massive ball of orange fire, knocking several people to the deck and eliciting more than one loud scream. "Shoulda brought s’mores,” Stragos commented, looking back at his handiwork for a moment. Then the Cathar turned and trotted along after the rest of the crew, keeping one eye on the Exchange thugs. Their quarry the Duros had quickened his pace after the explosion.
The thugs pressed into the crowd without subtlety. Two humans and a scarred Twi’lek along the periphery of the crowd moved toward Quell’s flight plan. The Twi’lek, dressed in a long spacer’s coat, looked pretty casual compared to the others, but it was clear to see he didn’t belong.
“Petey! Go around, try to cut the thugs off!” Irun said to her droid. She moved through the crowd, trying to use the flow of it to get her closer to Quell and his stupid purple jacket. The distraction provided by the droid made her path somewhat easier. Jor-Ost squeezed through the masses, getting close to Quell – but the Duros spotted him and changed direction.
Ralk called out to the nearest authority figures he could see, while pointing to the Twilek thug. "I saw him! I saw him throw something into that shop right before it blew up!” The local “authorities” – really just thugs on the station’s payroll – turned their attention to the Twi’lek. “Get that Twi’lek!” one shouted.
Quell took advantage of the distraction and dashed past the Twi’lek into Orrik’s Cantina. The Twi’lek, meanwhile, drew a massive blaster pistol from his long coat and opened fire, prompting the other Exchange goons to ready their own weapons and also started firing indiscriminately, sparking a full-on mob scene. The crowd, already panicking from the explosion, was pushed a little closer to hysteria by all the gunplay, but they were too tightly packed to simply disperse.
Ralk and Jor-Ost threw themselves behind others in the crowd to avoid the blaster fire. Tasha activated her lightsaber and deflected a few stray bolts harmlessly into nearby buildings. Then, she reached out with the force to yank the blaster pistol from the Twi’lek’s hand and into hers, without breaking stride for the cantina. Stragos slipped behind one of the human thugs and stretched his leg out between those of his victim. When the man stepped to avoid the press of the crowd, he stumbled. “Here, fella. Let me help you up,” he said, grabbing the gun and tugging it out of the thug’s hands. He smiled like a knife as he turned the gun on its former owner.
Irun used the chaos to avoid attention as she followed Quell into the cantina. It came as no surprise to her that Orrik’s was a smoky, dimly-lit, and wretched hive of scum and villainy. She didn’t see the Duros’s purple jacket with her first quick scan of the commons.
Jor-Ost tried squeezing down the accessway to get behind the cantina, and narrowly escaped the crush of the crowd. Ralk disappeared into the crowd itself, escaping the notice of the Exchange goons. Tasha holstered the newly-acquired blaster and forced her way through the crowd and into the front doors of the Orrik’s. She saw Irun right away, who’d managed to spot Quell. The Duros was facing down a light-skinned, white-haired spacer woman with a wide-brimmed hat and a pair of blasters holstered at her waist. She stood between him and the door to the kitchen.
“End of the road, Quell,” they heard her say. She stood very still except for a slight turn of her head, which revealed the flash of silvery eyes below the brim of her hat.
Quell froze in his tracks. “Hey, Tylli.”
Irun gestured to Tasha to approach from the left, while she herself approached from the right. She moved at a steady pace, casual, seemingly towards the kitchen door. Then she abruptly changes direction and gave a great big excited squeal, flashing the Duros a toothy smile and practically lunging at him. “That jacket is lovely! Where did you get it?!” Her ploy broke the tension in the room, and all of the sudden she had everyone’s attention.
Jor-Ost entered Orrik’s through the back door which he found unlocked. A Gran cook yelled at him, so he tossed a few credits in the alien’s direction and held his finger up to his lips. Unfortunately, his toss was clumsy and one of the credits hit the cook in its central eye. The Gran shouted angrily at Jor-Ost as he dashed past. Only after he’d left the kitchen did he realize he’d thrown more money than he’d intended.
Ralk entered the cantina next, seeing Irun holding Quell in front of Tylli. Tasha then strode forward, deactivating her saber trying to force her way between Quell and the white-haired spacer. Unfortunately, Tylli stood her ground, then drew a shock baton and jammed it into the Force-user’s armpit. The jolt left Tasha with jangled nerves.
“In a bit of a hurry. Nothing personal,” Stragos said to the thug, quickly switching the blaster to stun. His target collapsed in a heap as the crowd finally started to clear the Night Market. The Cathar then moved toward the cantina to join the rest.
Irun quickly drew her blaster and leveled it at Tylli’s neck. “You’ll wanna stop that now, or I’ll get blood all over that nice jacket.”
The woman brought her baton up and knocked the blaster aside, “A contract is a contract,” she said. Then Jor-Ost fired on her, catching Tylli in the back, though her coat absorbed some of the sting.
Ralk bellied up to the bar and waved to the bartender. “Hey Cid, how ya been? Sorry about the commotion. I’ll owe you one if you can help us out.”
“Heya, Ralk.” He looks at the scene playing out with grave concern. “Not sure what I can do, really … Whaddaya need?”
“A little help with the crazy waving the baton, if you have any bouncers brave enough. And an alibi for the last hour or so might come in handy too.” Cid nodded and waved a couple of toughs into play, leaving Tylli severely outnumbered.
Recovering a bit from the shock, Tasha shouted, “Dang-it lady! That smarts! All this for some Duros you’re not even contracted to go after!” She waved her hand and called upon the Force for an old Jedi mind trick as she spoke.
Tylli tilted her head at Tasha. “I’m not even contracted to go after him,” she said flatly. She sheathes her shock baton and headed for the door. No one moved to stop her, though Stragos spared her a glance as she walked out of the cantina.
Quell goggled at Tasha. “How did you do that?”
“I’m very persuasive?” she replied blandly. “Ow.”
Irun cautiously holstered her weapon and looked the Duros over. “She’s real special. You in one piece, buddy?”
“Yeah, thanks to you people. You aren’t Exchange, so my guess is that Dall sent you?”
Ralk stepped up. “He did indeed. You need to come with us for your own safety. It’s time we left.” Quell did not need to be told that twice. The Bothan threw some credits Cid’s way. “For any damages. And if anyone asks about us, I’d be grateful if you sent them in the wrong direction.”
The bartender grinned toothily. “You got it, boss.”
The Exchange thugs outside the cantina had been pacified or driven off, and Tylli had already disappeared, as well. The Night Market was largely deserted, save for a few civilians receiving trauma care. Droid emergency response units have contained the blaze.
Tasha limped along, grumbling. “Frakkin stun batons! I think my … everything is asleep.”
“I’m not touching your ‘everything’ … Ever,” Jor-Ost said drily.
“You did good, Tasha. Sorry about the pain,” said Ralk. She grinned at the praise, despite herself.
Irun offered Tasha a small smile and looks around for Petey. The little droid rolled up, beeping with concern. “Don’t worry. You found me, and we’re mostly all okay. You did good, Petey. Nice work. Keep an eye on our tail so we don’t get followed?” The droid beeped in acknowledgement.
“Let’s get back to the Folley,” suggested Ralk.
They made their way to the docking bay security checkpoint, where a guard informed them that everything was on lockdown while the mess in the Night Market was being investigated. They expressed their acknowledgement of the situation and proceeded to the ship.
“Any thoughts on getting a clear to launch?” Ralk asked.
Petey beeped at Irun. “Is that so?” she asked the little droid. “Are you volunteering?”
“Ba deep bweeet!”
Ralk smirked. “Daneb? Sounds like you have a plan.”
She gave him a small smile. “I think so, Boss. Petey can get us out of the lockdown. I’ll go with him, make sure he doesn’t attract attention.”
“Nice! Let us know if you need any help. We’ll come up with a plan B.”
Irun and Petey headed back out to the security checkpoint.
“Luck!” Tasha called after Irun. “Shout if you need anything.”