The Harlock blasted out of hyperspace above Nar Shaddaa with a jolt. Alyosha, sitting in the co-pilot’s chair, grit his teeth as the ship creaked and groaned upon reentry.
“Chit, did you hear that?” Theo Vathek exclaimed beside him, his blue hands on the controls. “What the feth is this ship made of? Duct tape and toothpicks?”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if it was held together that way, considering how I got it,” Alyosha replied.
Theo shook his head, humming in disapproval. “You ain’t gonna redo the whole thing, but can’t you at least scrape those decals off? I feel like I’m in a chintzy pirate ship. I guess that makes you Long John Silver. Or, no—I’m Long John Silver, clearly, and you’re fethin’ Captain Hook...”
While Theo went on rambling, Alyosha gazed out the window at the planet. Somewhere near here, the luxury yacht owned by the crime lord Tosh Rylance, the Firewalker, floated through space. Thanks to a cloaking device and some signal scramblers, no one but Tosh himself knew the ship’s exact location, and he could only be contacted through a special private comm channel reserved for assassins and bounty hunters in his employ.
The plan he had laid out for himself and his crew was to sneak themselves aboard by pretending to be bounty hunters bringing in their catch, then take the ship from the inside. Alyosha knew the comm channel—he’d used it himself many times back when he was still working for Tosh—but he would remain silent and allow himself to be brought before his ex-boss in chains. Or stun cuffs, rather. Let Tosh believe that he had submitted out of fear for his brother’s life, so he wouldn't expect it when Alyosha buried his vibrodagger between his shoulder blades.
That was the other thing… he couldn’t sense Val. Their Force bond, while not broken, had gone curiously silent. Tosh was smart, so no doubt he’d found a way to dampen Val’s Force abilities, probably with an army of ysalimiri or some other such method. Still, the blank spot was… unnerving. And given how little he knew about the Force, Alyosha couldn’t outright dismiss the possibility that his brother might already be dead.
If he was, Alyosha would be sure to prolong Tosh’s suffering for as long as possible.
Not wanting to waste another minute, they opened up the comm. "Greetings, Firewalker!" Theo yelled into the mic. "This is the Harlock. I have Mr. Alyosha Drutin aboard, ready for delivery..."
He was met with garbled static, then a familiar voice cut through the silence.
"Hello, Harlock. We are delighted to hear it. Sending our coordinates to you now."
Arryn Jhanson Val Drutin