Lies. Deception. The past few days had been full of it. With the suspicion surrounding her electronic alias, the girl had left home, traveling under a false name to discourage the trail from any possible suspicion that had come upon her and her family. If the Alliance thought that either she or her uncle had been the hacker, although the former was much less likely according to the news and talk shows that had profiled her self-assumed electronic persona, then it was a good idea to make tracking her more difficult.
The girl had taken a number of shuttles from planet to planet, skirting the interior of the border worlds. She finally happened upon Verbena, and learned of its Skyplex there. It was a good place to find another line of passage, and the popularity of the station meant that it wouldn't be hard to get lost in the crowd there. While there, the girl had decided, she would try to find a ship to hire her or sign on to as a a passenger. She didn't know where or if she would find one out here, or if her search was better conducted out on the Rim worlds. In any case, she figured, it was worth a try.
The corridor was filled with people, and Saraiyu Dreikyyn, or Sarai as she was called by her friends and family, had to follow them, having no room to skirt around and find her own pace. It gave her time to admire the station's design, though. The gleam of the walls and the reflection that could be found on nearly every piece of metal in the station gave away its recent age and construction. While it had only been a short time since the station opened, its popularity already seemed to be flourishing, if the clogged hallway was any indication.
The flow of traffic finally fanned out when it reached the promenade area, the myriad of shops, restaurants and other locations that ringed the inside of the station's wheel design. Free of the docking area, the crowd dispersed, and Sarai was left without much direction. She found herself walking along the deck, looking at the shops and restaurants. Her stomach growled, and her parched throat finally registered on the girl's mind, realizing she hadn't eaten for several hours. Scanning the area she was in, she noticed a small, out of the way bar. Not wanting to attract much attention, she shrugged and headed for the bar.
Making her way over to the bar counter, the girl took a seat, waving away the smoke from a nearby patron's cigarette. She kept her bag by her side, but moved it to her lap to free her hands. When she finally got the attention of the barkeep, she placed her order. "Umm, can I have a sandwich or something? And some water, to drink?"
I thought I came in here so I wouldn't attract unwanted attention, the girl thought to herself wearily. She shook her head, hoping this hadn't been a mistake on her part. Having come this far, it would be disappointing, not to mention humiliating and embarrassing, if some barkeep was responsible for her demise. Sighing, she pushed the thoughts out of her head, chiding herself for overreacting. No one knows it's you, no one even suspects it's you, she told herself.
She was overreacting, her teenage mind leaping to improbable conclusions and applying a sort of paranoia to events that transpired. That was what had provoked her to run away from home, which in retrospect had probably not been the best decision. Still, she was out here now, and going back home at this moment might seem suspicious. And some ship might be in need of her services, anyways, which she probably couldn't use at home anymore with all of the Alliance watching out for hacking activity.
Her eye caught the bartender returning to speaking with a blond-haired woman at the end of the bar, and she shrugged her shoulders in response. Despite his comment, he had filled the glass of water and given her a menu, and went back to ignoring her as he turned his attention to the blonde. Taking the menu in hand, she reached up a hand to brush back the few strands of hair that had fallen across her face. A moment's glance at the menu was all it took for Sarai to figure out her order. She looked up, trying to catch the man's attention again.
As he hadn't seemed to care for her explanation in the first place, the girl prepared none. She simply pointed to an item on the menu, a simple ham and cheese sandwich. "I'll have one of these. Don't worry, I have money."
Oh my god! she thought to herself, horrified at what had just transpired. She had thought nothing of the two men and two woman dressed in black until they started talking to the bartender. Then, in a flash, shots had rung out, and the bartender was on the ground; dead. The men and women in black were gone, and so were most of the people from the bar already. The girl heard screams, and realized that some of them were her own as she high-tailed it out of the bar.
I gotta get outta here before this all turns into tian fuhn di fu, her panicked mind told her, and she hastily exited from the bar and its immediate vicinity. At a brisk pace, Sarai walked along the promenade, heading back the way she came, towards the loading dock of the shuttles. She had to find one off the station, before the two men and two women started killing others, like her.
It seemed like it was one of those days, one in which the phrase "How w'rin bu lai, whai w'rin bu jwo" applied perfectly. The girl's first mistake had been going into the bar that had soon been swarmed by assassins who promptly disposed of the bartender. Sarai's second mistake was to head directly for the launch bay, which seemed to also be the prime target for the black-clothed assassins as well. If this is karma, the girl thought, almost sarcastically, I'll never hack again.
The girl drew back as soon as she noticed the assassins nearing one of the ships in the loading dock. Her mind protested her body's actions, I need to get to one of those shuttles! It screamed at her, propelling her feet forward in a sudden wave of willpower. She skirted along the edge of the bay, hiding herself in the surging crowd, headed for one of the shuttles at the opposite end. If she could just get onboard one, whether it had a pilot or not, she could get out of there. Her mind considered the possibility of committing yet another crime, larceny, which she was probably more likely to get caught for. But in the confusion, would there really be anybody looking to chase down shuttles escaping the mayhem that was quickly growing onboard the station?
As she reached one of the shuttles near the opposite end of the bay from the assassins, she looked around for a pilot. A screen near the shuttle's connecting hatch noted its destination was Angel, a place Sarai had never heard of. Nonetheless, it was away from here, and anywhere away from here was safe, or so she reasoned to herself. She peeked in, looking for a pilot or someone to fly the ship, or at least pay a fare to, so she wouldn't be forced to steal the shuttle. Ironic as it was following her hacking attempt that had left the Cortex in disarray for an hour or so, she didn't feel the same unattachment towards stealing a shuttle as she did with hacking. But that was a thought process for another time, the girl reminded herself, and brushed the thought away, returning her consciousness to the task of finding a pilot for the shuttle.
She called out to the ship's interior, "Hello? Is anyone there?" She took a step through the hatch, not yet able to see into the entire compartment yet, "Hello? I'm looking for a ride...to anyplace."
(OOC: Ack, I get busy for two days and you boys leave me behind. :P Sorry, Anthony, I'll post more often now.)
The girl was just about to open her mouth when the man who had introduced himself as Toukai excused himself and walked off. She stood with her mouth hanging open, silent as the man walked off. She blinked: once, twice. How rude, she thought, when the shock of the man's abrupt departure had faded away. She narrowed her eyes, How dare he just walk off.
Her attention turned to the shuttle he had closed and locked. She glanced around, noticing the thinning crowd and the relative silence, at least for the high ceiling of the loading bay. She cocked her head to one side as she stared at the door to the shuttle. How easy it would be for her to take out her PDA and hook it up to the control panel by the door, bypassing the lock and opening the door to her. It wouldn't take much more time to hack into the shuttle's systems, she should be able to before he came back.
Her hand slid into her pocket, her fingers wrapping around the metal case that enclosed the device, but she hesitated, thinking. Wasn't this what she had been trying to avoid? Stealing a ship, yet another crime? She sighed, releasing her hand and withdrawing it from her pocket. She wandered around, keeping an eye out for Toukai, but glancing at several other shuttles. Most of those had destinations set for the core worlds, in the opposite direction that she wanted to head. She shook her head, and headed back towards the man's shuttle, plopping herself down in front of a stack of crates placed near the shuttle, a perfect vantage point from which to see the shuttle and scan the area for the man.
She spoke, mostly to herself, in a low, sing-song voice, "Come on, Toukai, come on. Where are you?"