Date 13: Zanthe's ElectroCaf back room, Newland, Neona
"We promise not to hold it against you," Vanya offered, turning her left cheek against the artificial wood-grain veneer of the ore crate. "Don't we, gentlemen?"
Doc, stretched out on the restaurant floor to Vanya's right, made a finicky adjustment to the rangefinder on his proton rifle. "Certainly we do, ma'am. The air gap here isn't giving me much of a view, but I don't have the impression they're giving up in disgust."
"I've almost got hacked into the security cams," muttered Higgins in trade, "but the signal is trash, so, yeah. Your secret is definitely safe with us, Sir Tam. Especially if it'll help us get out of here."
Davish glanced down at the two clone troopers, hunched over their equipment and obviously wishing for their armor. "Heartening, gentlemen, thank you so very much. But I truly am only on Neona to make a connecting flight. I can't provide any reason that those bounty hunters would be shooting at us."
"Davish," Vanya said in exasperation, "they're not shooting at 'us'. They're shooting at you. We happen to be shooting back, is all."
Whatever she'd planned to say next was lost as Private Higgins crowed in delight. His datapadd projected a staticky image, which he panned clockwise and downward, and then – "Grenade!"
Vanya and Davish both leapt to their feet, turning, and slammed the incoming metal object back toward its point of origin; Vanya then shoved Davish downward, landing sprawled partially atop him. "For the Force's sake, man, stay down!" she complained, backlit by a chorus of blasterfire lancing across the space where he'd been.
"... You may be right about their primary target," he admitted slowly. "But this makes no sense to me. I wouldn't have accepted your invitation," Davish added softly, letting Vanya pull him back up to a sitting position, "if I had known it would put any of you in danger."
Doc snorted. "Don't worry, sir, the Commander would've wound up in it anyhow."
"Love you too, Doc. Hence your ganjuko-shooter coming along on a purely off-duty afternoon, I take it? Paperboy, I don't suppose you have sound to go along with that vid."
Higgins glanced up apologetically. "Sorry, ma'am, visual only. Looks like they're gearing up to rush us."
"Joy." Vanya traded resigned expressions with Davish. "What say we make a big ruckus heading out through the front, and you sneak down through the basement?"
"I say that plan is awful," he returned. "We could drop the remains of the alley wall on them."
"That seems rather uncivilized," a sardonic male voice criticized from the still-glowing blasterfire hole. "These poor people will already have quite a bit of repairs to manage; I don't see how wrecking the place any worse will improve your reputation around here."
Vanya chuckled weakly. "Oh. Uhm. Hi, Master. I thought my reputation was supposed to be irrelevant. Aren't you supposed to be negotiating some sort of tariff thingy?"
"It was interrupted with news that combat had broken out at a local caf-house. I suspected my padawan and her favorite colleague had embarked on another of their romantic rendezvous. Imagine my surprise. The bounty hunters are about to be distracted for a few minutes; let me widen this hole a bit and we'll haul you four up out of danger. And then we'll put you on your ship, Sir Tam, before that lot realizes you're out of reach."
Vanya sighed. "Great, now he's in on it."