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The Art of Opportunity [Cora Passek]

Art Museum
Like a migration of admirers, craftsmen and artists to a single point of reference, the grand annual gala at the Jar'Kai art museum was being held in the luxury of a high class staging to promote crafted art, as well as donated beauty. Lavish decor laced with the finest of holographic technology made for a splendid multi-level party that catered to the rich, the connected, and those who wanted nothing more than to embarrass them out of their squandered credits and idolized trophies of fame and fortune. The planet's well-to-do sipping bubbly and brandy alike while feasting on the rare exotic treats of spice melons, and miniature crustacean paste on crackers while they observed art and rubbed elbows with those of similar social status. Among them artists were standing by their works chatting up the prospective buyers while the sycophantic smiles pandered some of the notable critics jotting down quotes on their datapads.

Among this crowd were the lesser noticed, and ubiquitous litany of servers sporting white raiment of coat and jacket alike and holding aloft trays of silver boasting the food and drink of the occasion. Among the rampant movements of social ladder climbers, they moved in and out offering the morsels and drinks to those who flagged them down with a subtle wave or shift of the eyes. One of the less properly shaped, and yet fitted with a smoldering devil-may-care gaze was Ezekiel who moved from sentient to person alike doing the duty of his played part. The renegade stare and knowing gaze left various people (mostly women) giving him a second once over and whispering in various tones when he'd part company.

Among the treasures of each room and floor of the gala, he'd passed by many times a particular point of interest. The blond. She stood out among the rest, and he'd seen her a few times here and there, edging ever close to hear bits of conversation. Though she was just a passing fancy, as the more intriguing spectacle was the hover-bike docked on a rotating stage drum that allowed the viewer to gaze in awe at the high class shine of the vehicle. The SDK Saddleback was a limited run machine that had been donated to the museum for it's excellent showmanship and quality of work. It was one of the fastest bikes on the market, and certainly turned more than a few heads. That was the main attraction, and that was his target.

@[member="Cora Passek"]

Cora Passek

An Angel with a Shotgun
@[member="Ezekiel Redding"]

Cora, Cora, Cora .... What have you gotten yourself into? She mused in deep thought as she wandered through the gala in an elegant gown. Still, even all dolled up the woman couldn't help but feel out of place. High society, wasn't her place. Not anymore. But it was part of her cover, so she was expected to attend events like this even if they bored her to death. Everything just felt wrong to her. A gala like this, she hadn't been to since she was a teen. And here on Atrisia, Cora felt particularly alone. She, surrounded by people that she didn't know, but of a culture she didn't quite seem to grasp. Apparently calling the Emperor a ching-wah tsao duh liou mahng, was something that landed you in a jail cell for a while. Granted, she was angry, and to be fair, she did follow with your royal highness, though at that point even that was likely an insult. He had insulted her, and her ship. It was ... deserved.

Cora made the ships for Atrisia, though most here knew her by another name. Another person, her life written out so simply. It all seemed even more real than her own. At least, she got to keep her life. She had the protection of Atrisia, and could sleep peacefully knowing someone, somewhere would be watching. And she was handed everything she could ever want on a silver platter. Lastly, she got to do what she loved most and that was design ships. After the blueprints left her hands, it was no longer her process. But Atrisia, simply did not have someone like her about. Atrisia needed her so badly that they, do anything to keep her.

The girl seemed even here to be out of place. She didn't know what to do anymore. This world, this realm was not hers. Give her a ship, some tools or some flimsi and a pen and she was happy. The woman had simple needs, just to tinker with ships, have a place to sleep and on occasion blow things up... So long as it was something Atrisia considered an enemy, and it was a military target, the Emperor didn't care much about that hobby.

Her eyes drifted to a server, something about him seemed off to her. And maybe it was because she'd been a criminal for so damn long that she just knew one when she saw one. Or a gut feeling, or something about the way he moved, and walked. Something seemed off. He ... seemed her type. None of the men in the room she'd spoken to, she wanted any part of. Snobs, plain and simple and she would not ever be some trophy wife. Ever. She had a job, a damn good one. And one that she would likely be bound to, till the day she died.

The blonde, gave a knowing smile, a wink as he looked to her. She knew he was something else. Had a good bet he was here for the art, but not that she was going to say a word. Hell even in her dress there was a hold out strapped to her thigh, and the comb that was in her hair, well it was no comb. It was highly sharped, knife of a sort, four prongs. She lived for excitement. A reason she designed personally some of the fastest fighters on the market to date.
Somewhere there was a poor waiter tied up and stored in a locker nearby the service entrance that had been stripped of his clothing and ID tag. Ezekiel was here for reconnaissance at the first, and then to use the infiltration as a means to an end. Meriting an invitation would of been too costly, time consuming, and risky. This was a far easier and more direct approach. He also had no issue with accosting someone to get his way, it was his primary modus operandi after all. This object though was not as simple as some of the other hair-brained heists he had attempted and pulled off. It would not be a simple smash and grab job, and would need something with a little more class. He could hardly turn down the opportunity though, as the Silver Dragon was certainly a prize worth a more organized con.

Pockets of on-lookers and admirers of what was considered 'high art' gathered in a small pocket to hear a speech by one of the artists while others still mulled about the exhibits laughing and generally having a good time of pretending to be honest with their emotions. Normally he'd not be within twenty kilometers of these people in a social setting. He'd not stoop to serve them drinks and appetizers, he had far better things to do than to cater to the socialite elite. This however was a more covert operation, and the prize was certainly worth it. If he could wade through the well-to-do waters of society and leave with one of their prized possessions, well it would simply make them look all the more powerless, which was in an of itself an aphrodisiac of sorts. He circled another time on the same level coming up behind the blond who stood on the outskirts. He had watched her position, her slightly unorthodox behavior that lent him to the notion that she was certainly not one of them. He had a bit of time before the 'main event' and he felt like testing the waters.

"Doubt a crowd full of holo-soap actors could pull off that thin veil of charity they're sporting." Ezekiel said in hushed tones as he stood just behind Cora, tray in hand with four filled glasses of champagne and a platter of Hors d'oeuvres. The fire hued irises not looking directly at Cora though, but over her shoulder at the more affluent and regal sentients huddled en masse to listen to a lecture on abstract fractal holograms. "Champagne?" He asked, holding the tray perfectly still for her to choose a beverage. Generally not as cordial as this, and by no means as pleasant - but he was playing a part. He could blend when he wanted to, and act with a small semblance of decorum, and even in that shell - he found a way to be insulting to the populace around here.

While Cora seemed out of place, Ezekiel had a similar issue trying to perfectly blend in. While the attire was correct, the face was not. Despite a more respectable comb over hair style that left his mo-hawk at a reasonably fashioned state, the scars on his temple and neck were visible. Most of the serving staff didn't have a buzz cut on either side of their head, and look like they could also throw down at a moment's notice. He did what was necessary to blend in, but it wasn't the easiest attempt. The forward and brazen part of his persona drawing a step closer and placing his left hand gently on the small of her back while he stood to her side. Taller than her by a good five inches normally, but her heels brought it down to just about three inches in difference. There was that air of firm confidence in his vocal timber that made what he said seem more important than the words actually conveyed. A natural charisma often hidden by a more renegade nature.

@[member="Cora Passek"]

Cora Passek

An Angel with a Shotgun
@[member="Ezekiel Redding"]

"Charity? No, there is no such thing here. Just a bunch of people with too much money speaking sweet platitudes of things they know nothing about. Only spending money to further advance their families in this society." She whispered back, a soft smile on her lips. Knowing full well how much of a game this event really was, and the chess pieces were on the board, all in motion.

With a kind bow of her head, she took a glass of Champagne, and took a small sip. "Personally hate events like this, but I've come to fulfill my social obligation. Beyond that I could not give a feth about being here." Her voice still quiet so others would not hear them.

The gentle touch on her back, did not go unnoticed, actually brought a smile to her lips. For now, she allowed for, after all this guy seemed far more her type than anyone else here. And at least she could make fun of the idiots buying the art.

"If only they really knew..." She cocked her head to the side, looking closely at security, "Security systems aren't the best, one can tell by the slight flicker every now and then." More than a clue, that she was far more than met the eye. No, she either was a criminal or had been one in the past. And she seemed to have this place at least particularly figured out.
"They certainly try to put on a show, don't they?" The reply came with a satisfied smirk raising across his visage for the moment. Ezekiel kept his forward facing gaze locked on those seemingly enchanted by the discussion that was blending sophisticated words together in an attempt to justify a lack of substance. In many ways, he felt that what he did was far more honest than these pretentious and pious patrons of the arts. They were practiced liars, and lived on falsehoods by the dozens. Redding never really understood the point of lying, and he often spoke the truth, no matter how improper that was, or indecent. Despite what he had the penchant for doing, he was at least honest about it, and that made him feel superior in every way to these socialites and debutantes. "Sometimes you do have to go where the money is. Chasing credits and all - not always the best of company." He noted further as he moved back behind her to hand out two glasses to a thirsty looking couple behind them. The last was taken in his own hand. This was an obvious server faux-pas, the help didn't swill the champagne, an obvious sign that he wasn't.

"Present company excluded of course - and if you're as bored of this as you seem, stick around. The game is about to change." Redding saw his opening as he stepped to the other side of Cora, a smile growing on his face before he lifted the glass of champagne to his lips and swilled the entire drink in one fell swoop. With that a wink was offered to his new blond friend as he stepped forward towards the group enjoying the lecture. Dropping the glass in one of the potted plant bases and taking the serving tray in his left hand at his side. Pushing right through the crowd and up towards the microphone as if he was somehow in charge of this entire operation. A Fondorian at the mic was cut off from his speech as the sudden and rude interruption caught his, and everyone else's attention.

"Ladies and Gentlemen!" Ezekiel exclaimed with a loud voice as he threw his arm over the Fondorian artist's shoulder and hugged him close. "This...." He started leveraging his right hand beneath the white blazer, to pull out a blaster pistol. " a stick up!" The words no more leaving his mouth before the crowd began to gasp and scream in various volumes. The alerting of the guard on his right was a few seconds behind as he registered what was going on. The gun was drawn on Redding, but the fake waiter was already in motion. Turning on a dime, he whipped his left wrist forward and chucked the serving tray into the man's hand, knocking the pistol aside before picking his own shot right into the man's kneecap. "Don't be the hero who gets everyone else killed." He said to the now downed security before he grabbed the Fondorian again by the jacket and placed the blaster against his cheek. "By the way...all this - it doesn't mean anything to anyone anymore." He said motioning to the artwork behind him. A few well placed shots holo-emitter took the fractal design out of commission. "Get a real job...or do what I do." Tossing him down, he moved along the wall of other art as the alarms started to sound.

Timing the jump just right, Ezekiel landed on the rotating hoverbike that was on loan from it's unnamed owner. The Saddleback seated two, and he already knew which companion he wanted on the trip. Security was coming through the museum and was on their way in far more numbers to stop the imposter. Revving the bike's throttle, it lifted right off the ground and broke from it's gravity hold with ease. The whine of the engines pulsed beneath the seat. The sense of power and freedom welling up in Redding's eyes as he circled the current floor before sliding back around and stopping feet from Cora, presenting the broadside of the engine to her. His hand outstretched before him in an immediate invitation.

"Time doesn't wait for much, and neither will security. You're in or out."

[member="Cora Passek"]