ABY 853
Terminus - The Gailles Wharfs
Warehouse 87(A2)

That familiar twinge of foresight bothered the back of his mind again. Seroth brought up a gloved hand over his eyes and braced, before Taase could ask what the sudden matter was. The Chairman Agent's answer rose on fireball wings as a sheet of venting fire rose, cascading with incandescent licks of multi-coloured fire and yellowed smoke, some seventy kilometers on towards the western warehouse wharfs. Nearby port authority speeders, matte silver with a art-deco emblems portraying the signature of Terminus' sitting Council, wavered against a shunt of displaced air. Green and violet lights distantly blinked atop their domed cabins, buzzing low over the sudden conflagration, trading blaster-shots with a follow up maelstrom of rifle fire.

Seroth observed Taase's arms snap about in concentrated multi-tasking, working between consulting a constantly updating holopad ejecting from a bulky wrist-band, typing over a datapad report, instructing the airtaxi pilot, and listening through a snug ear-bud. The Abnetti paused every few moments to reply through a collar-mic stuck like a bur against a creamy lapel. "Yes... Well haven't they breached the south - well why haven't they? ...So we're either anticipated down to the detail or - Yes - Yes, I was thinking just that. ...Well inform the Captain yourself, need I hold your hand?"

"What's brewing?" Seroth tried to interject.

Taase waved for another moment of patience. "...Tell her it has to stay contained, at least within the wharf. ...Well if it doesn't, we're going to have firefights up and down at least eight commercial blocks! ...The guarantee was that authorities would secure at least seventy percent of contraband. ...Yes. ...Yes, he's right here. ...Yes, I have every confidence. ...Then what's your alternative? ...No. No, that's not up for discussion. I'll touch with you when this debacle is sorted."

"Apologies for that," The Abnetti sighed, turning to the boy as their ride zoomed brusquely. "What do you imagine is happening at the Gailles wharfs?"

"A raid maybe, intercorporate warfare?" Seroth bandied a guess.

"Half right. A policing action was activated this morning," Taase corrected. "Terminus is not unused to hosting vessels and item holdings of questionable nature."

"So what drew the port authority's attention to this holding in particular?"

The Abnetti sighed, sipped from a long, crystalline straw dug into a cup of odorous caffeinate. "A decade long investigation. Numerous complaints filed from over a hundred different plaintiffs. This warehouse - " A holoscreen schematic erupted from his second wrist-strap module. " - is under ownership and leased by a Dizzin Aqueela. Mr. Aqueela has notable ties to several piratical bands. We're not sure if he himself - "

Seroth cut him off. "He's holding stolen property, which others want back, and the police are raiding to take them off Aqueela's hands. But that's going badly, isn't it?"

"There's notable leaks in to the policing ranks," Taase confessed. "When the first squads arrived, they were ambushed by two hundred pirate militia and gunned down to a soul. That's forty dead in less than ten minutes. Retaliation was just as fierce but now the fighting's spread. The adjacent warehouse just went up in a chemical fire."

The boy looked ahead through the aircab's dust scuffed view-screen. Fire containment crews struggled to eke in and douse the rolling bands of high-arcing fire, rebuffed by the intensity of blaster and rocket shots that harried incoming squad-vans. Taase just sighed.

"Here," He called up the warehouse schematics. "The storage building's more or less a kilometer in length and twenty meters spanning across. Below are two smaller sub-basements and a confirmed escape tunnel routed back towards the wharf dock-spaces. The tunnel we have blocked off and the pirates are confined between the upper floor and the two sub-levels."

"It's a last stand," Seroth murmured softly.

"Precisely," The Abnetti sat in closer. "And they're attempting to break through at every siege-point, or so I'm informed. It's expected that the fighting will last until the evening. Master Jedi...

"...The Chairman Council would prefer to expedite that process. And so we're prepared to offer fifty thousand in Republic treasury credits, to compensate your time and effort."

The Jedi stared across to the Chairman agent. "This is mercenary work."

"Master Ur-Rahn, if we had an avenue for diplomacy, don't you think we'd have taken it by now?" Taase rasped. "Fifty thousand is little compared to operating rates for soldiers of fortune. You wish to leave Terminus, yes?"

Seroth nodded in growing acquiescence. Taase went on, "Then this will more than speed your way. The Council needs the contents of that warehouse intact. And the defenders inside disabled. I believe whatever... whatever 'supernatural' abilities you call upon will bring this to a fast close. The decision will help me save face, land you with profit, and make several parties satisfied."

His leathery hands snaked a holodoc and digital penquill into Seroth's lap. "Do we have an arrangement?"

The boy felt a snark of foolishness berate his nativity. The youthful Knight prided himself on a stark code of right and wrong, feeling that those troubling shades of gray came from individuals marred by self-doubt. Friends, wizened and scarred by harsher realities, counseled to be wary. Circumstance and happenstance were not kind in what they dictated was necessary from moment to moment. Justifiably, he was dealing with vicious lawbreakers. The pirates had doubtlessly slain and robbed with arrogant impunity, and now those they wounded wanted back what was rightfully theirs. Terminus would not morn their self-destruction and the Unknown Reaches would be better off having them put to the grave. Yet... His eyes imprinted a stain of blood over his palms as he writ down his signature.

"Excellent," Taase hissed.

"Take us over the warehouse," Seroth said. The Abnetti paled beside him.

"The... The operations captain says she wants us to set down three blocks - " The agent stammered. "The firefight is too - "

"Go now," He pointed to a brief lull in the exchanges of firepower. "You wanted this done and over with?"

Taase swallowed down his long, serpentine throat, nodding whilst his slit eyes regained their composure. "I do - rather, the Council - "

"Just put us over for a split second," Seroth said over the growing cacophony of screaming gas-bolts whizzing past the aircab doors. His hands were gripped tight around his blade-hilts. "I'll put pay to this."

The aircab paused a moment and stayed propelled along, before its intrepid pilot throttled up hard on its acceleration. Fore-engines oscillated with combustive effort, with Taase digging his dewclaws into the backseat upholstery. Seroth undid his safety buckling and kept an eye for their altitude and positioning. He directed the pilot to not even bother pausing. The back-cab door whisked open and sucked the air out of the pressurized airtaxi. Taase watched, jaw unlatched, as the boy tossed and fell, disappearing into a departing spec some two hundred meters above the warehouse's reinforced, peaked roofing.