"Hey. You still with me?"


The young woman shot up to attention in the pilot's seat, clearly startled.

"You fell asleep? Are you okay?" the voice called from directly behind her. She turned her body, throwing an arm around the headrest behind her and looked up at him, mid-yawn.

"I'm alright. Just tired." She said in a bit of a daze.

"Well no shit. Maybe you should head back to your quarters and get some rest-"

"I'm fine Nield." She spoke sharply, cutting him off. He furrowed his brow sternly and ran a bandaged hand through his short brown hair, huffing his dissatisfaction at her.

"Not sleeping again?"

She turned around briskly to avoid his dark, disapproving eyes and muttered "Nope." She leaned over the controls, considering whether or not to take the craft out of auto pilot or not. She went for the latter.


"What, Nield? I'm doing my job here."

"We just chased someone for five days straight and I know damn well you didn't sleep the last two. You drag the guy in, collect the bounty then accept another call like you're a machine. What is your deal lately? Don't you just want to grab a bite to eat and get some rest?"

Cerasi sighed. Her face fell into her hands, her copper hair fell all around her and her shoulders hunched forward as she leaned over the controls. "I am a machine. I'm practically dead inside and would really just like the money to maintain this ship and buy occasional booze. Also. If that was an attempt at a date, it was pathetic and I'm ignoring you." She moved her chin to rest atop her hands and stared out the window into space for a moment before looking at the control screen. "We will be on Lameldar in an hour. I'd really like you to be by my side with a clear noggin. I'm just following up on a couple of cold leads so I promise I will get some rest tonight after that."

She moved to rise from her seat and looked up at his face. He seemed satisfied. "I'm going to get ready. Yell if you have any issues."

Nield took her place in the pilot's seat and watched her walked down the corridor to her quarters until the automatic door hissed shut behind her, then turned around to watch out the window into the depths of space before looking back to the controls and the data scrolling on the window, displayed via hologram and glowing green.

The craft was an old cargo ship that had been refurbished to better suit long distance travelers with living quarters. A long corridor stretched from the cockpit to an outdated break or dining area. Along the corridor were four rooms. Nield's living quarters were located inside of the first door to the left, Cerasi's were directly across on the right. Further down the corridor was an empty room to the left with some file cabinets and a Murphy bed still in its upright position.

Across from the spare room was the wash room which was surprisingly roomy compared to the smaller living quarters. It was particularly modern and must have been the last thing that was updated right before Cerasi bought the space craft. The black stone counters were complimented by a large glass bowl sing and an elegant mirror that Nield had since bolted down with heavy duty equipment, to keep it from falling off the wall again, and a fairly large, fully glass, standing shower.

The dining hall at the end of the corridor seemed a little out of place on the old cargo ship. An empty bar immediately to the right with four stools was covered in a light layer of dust. To the left was a small, more formal sitting area with three small tables, each with two chairs. Small crystal chandeliers, partially chipped or missing pieces from now regular hops into hyper space and evasive maneuvers hung above each bolted down table. A Grand Piano, probably over a century old, sat in the center of the room. Even with its age, it was the attention piece in the room. Cerasi tried to have it turned and maintained regularly. Whoever she bought this space craft from clearly loved to entertain, but other than Cerasi occasionally trying to teach herself the piano, the grand dining room was now rarely used.

In her room, Cerasi removed her heavy tactical boots, cargo pants and thick hooded jacket and changed into some more form fitting clothing. She curled her copper hair a little and pulled out a small make up bag while standing in front of the mirror hung on her wall.

She took out a fluffy foundation brush and an unlabeled bottle of foundation she had done her best to mix with a bit of silicone and slowly worked the product over her face with the brush, taking extra care to cover the long white scar that ran from below her right eye, diagonally across the bridge of her nose and ended right before her jawline on the left side. She quickly swept on some mascara and opted for a comfortable pair of flats on her way out of her room.

"We're getting ready to land." Nield called when he heard her door open.

"Great. I could really use a drink."

Nield turned to look at her and was visibly shaken at her drastic change in appearance. The way the black skinny jeans hugged her thighs and the curve of her hips. How the low cut, short sleeved black shirt showed more of her soft, milky skin than he'd seen in a long time. Her curled hair and striking gray eyes, complemented by the small bit of black on her lashes.

"I-" Nield gulped. "I thought you were working. Where's your mask? What are you wearing?"

"People only know it's me when I wear the mask. Between that and the rumors circulating about my scar, I can assure you that I will not be recognized. Can't have friendly bar conversation if everyone there thinks I'm there to kill them or bring them in." She shrugged and smiled a little. "You got my back or not?"

Nield grumbled in response but put his blaster in the back waistband of his pants and followed her out.

The bar wasn't far, so she chose to walk, Nield never far from her side. Lameldar was a small, desolate forest moon with no visible signs of civilization except for the dim light coming through the trees ahead. The moon fell just outside of the Federation's reach. There was no government here. Some of the galaxy's most wanted criminals came here to have a drink and lay their heads at the attached inn.

As the two drew closer, the sound of music became more evident as well as the cacophony of voices. When they approached, a bouncer at the door stopped them.

"Business or pleasure?" He sneered.

"I'm just stopping in for a drink." Cerasi beamed.

"What about him?" he pointed in Nield's direction with his thumb. "He doesn't look like he's here for a drink."

"He's working." Cerasi said with a slight laugh. "My parents don't let me go far without him." She shrugged a 'what do you do?' to the bouncer and he laughed a little.

"Your parents should be worried sick." A deep voice rumbled behind them. "You've got an ass that I'd like sitting on my face."

Cerasi turned and flashed a smile while simultaneously signaling Nield to restrain himself.

"What are the chances of your friend letting you come up to my room for a few hours later?" The towering man and his two reptilian, apparent bodyguards bellowed while looking her up and down.

The bouncer opened up the door for Nield and Cerasi and he stopped the three men behind them for the same questions before entering. Cerasi used that as her escape, visible disgust on her face when she turned away.

The tavern was alive with music and quite the melting pot of people. A dart board hanging on the wall shook precariously every time a man hit it with a dart, using way too much force behind his throws. A dancer was on stage working her magic with a few of the men gathered around while another sat with her legs across another man's lap while he whispered in her ear.

The bartender, a slight, friendly fellow, called out to them as they came in the door. "What can I get ya?" Cerasi hurried over to the bar and grabbed a seat while Nield found a table nearby to keep a watchful eye.

Before she sat down, she noticed a hulking humanoid figure who looked more dog than man with some interesting tattoos and slid in next to him to order her drink. The man looked over at her and she smiled then she looked over at the bartender and asked for whiskey on the rocks.

"Good choice." The man said to her.

"Hey thanks."

"Wanna sit and stay a while?" When he asked this, he pushed a pudgy, tentacled man off of the stool beside him into the floor.

"I'd love to." Her voice was sweet as she sat down. Her drink came and she sipped as they began to make the usual small talk. She pointed to his tattoos after a few minutes.

"I really love your artwork." She said smiling up at him. "It looks really familiar though."

He clammed up a little. "Ah. I doubt that."

"No? Are you sure?" She lightly ran a finger over his hair arm, tracing the ink. "I feel like I must have recently studied some group or organization in school with similar logos. But I can't really remember."

He perked up to her touch and grinned a toothy grin. "School? How old are you anyway?"

"I'm legal." Cerasi said with a wink and a grin.

He perked up a little more. His smile a little more sinister. "Well, it doesn't surprise me that you may have studied up on us. We've been around for quite some time. Maybe even before you were even a thought."

The three men from before slammed the door open making a big scene and causing everyone to pause and look in their direction. They headed directly for a man sitting at a table close by with his hood pulled over his head. Cerasi ducked behind the people beside her a bit and called her acquaintances attention back to her.

"The leader… or superior, whatever you like to call him. Oh damn. What's his name? Is he still hanging with you guys or did someone off him? Geez. I'm kind of star struck talking to you!"

"You talking about Deryk? Yeah. He's still kickin. We will actually be meeting up with him a little while later. But don't you worry, angel. I've still got a little time for you." He reached down and squeezed Cerasi's thigh. She laughed a little and brushed his hand away.

"Ohh. Meeting here? What about? Got some folks that need to be taken care of?"

He put his hand back on her thigh, a little more forcefully. "Well not HERE, but around. I'm trying to get to know you."

Cerasi felt her heart raise up in her throat in discomfort. She swatted his hand away again and started to speak, but he wrapped his arm around her waist and lifted her off of her seat and held her in the air next to him. "You should stop acting like you don't want this. It's really starting to piss me off." He sneered.

She looked at him in disgust and nearly lost her composure, but then she leaned over and whispered in his ear. "See that man over there, leaned against the wall watching us? That's my bodyguard. If you don't put me down, he will slit your throat where you are sitting. You won't have time to even reconsider."

"You little bitch. I don't take kindly to threats." He muttered, squeezing her to the point of pain until gunshots were heard. He threw her to the floor and Cerasi cast a glance at Nield, thinking he had messed up. But he was making his way toward her with no gun in hand.

The man and his two body guards from before were laying on the floor. The reptilians were dead, but the man, laying just feet from her, was still breathing. Cerasi observed he'd been shot in the spine.

Nield ran over to Cerasi as soon as he was able and helped her up, checking her over for any injuries. "I'm okay. I'm okay." She reassured him, brushing his hands away. A hooded figure was standing, gun still raised, almost as if threatening anyone else who wanted to mess with him. He said something to Nield that Cerasi didn't quite catch. After a few seconds, he twirled the old revolver 'round his finger and holstered it, then grabbed the man by his arms and began to drag him out. No one even flinched. It wasn't their problem.

They began to quickly make their way out of the tavern. "Did you get anything?" He asked her as they made their walk back, glancing over his shoulder from time to time to be sure they weren't being followed.

"He's here." She said looking up at him with a sly smile. "Deryk is here on this very moon. Just gotta figure out where."