Summary: Rayya inherits the sins of her father.
Date: 09/04/2011
Related Logs: None
Rayya Moseme 
Slums, Coronet City
Somewhere on the wrong side of the tracks.

The smell is what gets most visitors to the slums first off - but the imagery is a very very close second. The cobbled buildings and structures are slowly decaying mostly due to the lack of financial consideration from the rest of Corellia. Wealth was elsewhere because who would want to stick a single credit into the crime rate that has slowly been growing with the advancing plague that are the refugees. Not that anyone would before.

The vents in the streets are filled with the rising smog of filth and unfettered stench from below that seems to grow every year into some semblance of viable life - a vast every growing petri dish of soiled goods. Shadows gather and make their own conversation before their owners disappear to gather what rank life might be left to live off of. To say the least, it's not a shiny beacon of hope.

A lit ember on the end of a used and crushed cigarra flares to life suddenly, throwing blue eyes into light as the smoke drifts up to join the other pollution in the air. "You heard me, keep a keen eye. You guys got your deal..do it. Remember, the more hits you take, the more you get paid. Convince me." The young woman tilts her head towards the stubbled man, stepping up into his face and exhaling before she hands off the cigarra to him. "We gotcha, Mouse…won't be nothin but tip top fancy performin' for you and the Boss." He licks his lips and then the end of the cigarra as his hand flares up with his words into some grand gesticulation. His soiled skin gleams sweat in the light of the ember. "Good, it's my ass if you don't, Ike." She says, stepping back into the shadows. There come some chuckles from the assembled group of five as their leader grins and winks, "Wouldn't want that to get bruised.." He calls after her and some more chuckles follow before he takes a drag and throws the end to the ground, smashing it out. "Come on, we got places…lights, camera..action.." He lets out a long stream of smoke past his lips before they all take their cue, waiting like spiders.

The alleys aren't crowded this time of night. Most folks with half a brain cell in their cranial cavity have shuttered themselves indoors, their old-fashioned locks and bolts more than sufficient to deter the average everyday thief with a do-it-at-home slicing kit. Only the bums and the temporarily homeless are out in force, drowning their sorrows with cheap booze and the occasional hallucinogen: burning for that ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night, as a poet once said, while far above them drift so many elegant starships so many worlds away.

Rayya's out tonight as well. Her rust-red Zephyr-J hangs a foot and a half above the ground as she takes each corner with ease, navigating the winding alleys without stopping to read a single sign, without pausing to look at the outdated map she keeps in her purse. Every so often she'll turn back to make sure her cargo's still there: not that she's carrying terribly much this late at night. This last shipment's for a "Dworran, K" - some generic antibiotics of dubious provenance, no doubt for the local clinic. Not that the girl's bothered to look inside and check. After all, she gets paid no matter what. And sometimes, or so she tells herself, it's just better not to know.

The cargo doesn't matter to the spiders weaving the their web either, it's the street rat guiding the shipment to it's final destination. As the sound of the enclosing swoop is heard turns away, the spiders start to close their web, stepping up into the intended path with plenty of time for the rider to see their blockade. Advises of the girl's jump nature, several are out, appearing just to be conversing while two others wait in reserve, fingering their blades and pistols, mocked and remade to fire longer and faster but sometimes with some explosive results.

As she rounds the next corner, Ike is working on a toothpick, making a motion with his hand towards a Anzat that is standing next to him. But as the light of the swoop gutters over them, they turn slightly - lazily even and shield their eyes like the innocent bystanders they are.

The first hint that something's wrong is a shadow where no shadow should be. Rayya's run this route enough to know that bums usually stay clear of Old Nine-Fingers' place if they want to survive the night, yet here they are, these two men with nothing to do. The barricade makes itself visible a half-second later, and as a sudden icy chill grips her spine, her conscious mind shuts off and reflex takes over. One gloved hand slams forward the handlebar that does double duty as throttle control; the other cycles power from the back to the front, causing her swoop to rear upwards like some clanking mechanical pony. Its tired engine whines unhappily in protest, rattling its dripping carburetor to make its disapproval clear. "Shhh," she whispers despite herself, her knees pressing gently against its hard metal frame. The girl flies forward on a vibrating cushion of air, rapidly closing the distance on the obstacle in her path.

A possible outcome, her revving the engine to give flight. But that means they aren't ready. Actors are always ready, especially the crooked and bent forms of the back allies. The line isn't seen, possibly till it's too late, lowered just enough to catch the back strut of the swoop that is attempting to get away. As it twangs tight, levered so around a metal pole of what was once a street lap, the trandoshan holding the other end clamps it down and cinches it tight. It will give the girl a good wake up call.

Ike lifts up his hands, "'ey!!" he cries, trying to wave her down, but seeing the trip durasteel wire vibrate as it's pulled tight.

The swoop roars its disapproval as the invisible wire cuts into stabilizers just an inch away from clearing the barrier that stands between it and freedom. The whine of its engine turns to a scream as, desperate, Rayya dumps fuel into the homemade afterburner sputtering under strain. A hand scrabbles for the knife at her belt - only to grasp instead the turquoise sweater she wears around her waist, the sweater that Rana had told her to leave at home lest she ruin it on the streets, whose synthetic fibers now stand between her and her blade for the two crucial seconds it takes for her bike's weary powertrain to give out completely -

And to skid backwards as the wire's stored tension releases with a twang, its frame nearly perpendicular to the ground when its emergency thrusters kick in. It's those thrusters that save Rayya from a most ignoble end, whirring to life as she tumbles from the saddle. She falls back; the bike falls forward, so when those thrusters switch off a half-second later, the Zephyr ends up crunching against the curb just six inches from her head. Mister Dworran's antibiotics spill out from that shattered metal box, glass vials splintering from the force of the impact.

As the swoop strains against the durasteel wire that catches it, the spiders can see their prey being wrapped up nicely for delivery. The pole bends a little, threatening to give under the increased pressure till the swoop is the one to give first. Tumbling rider gets a look from the waiting predators, a few more slipping from the shadows like unbidden moths to the flame. Insects, that is all they will ever be but this is their home and though she has grown up here, Rayya is in a sore sorts with her against the odds that are slowly sprouting heads in the gloom.

Ike is first to the scene, lowering slowly towards her. "Eh eh, there scrappy…tried to warn ya.." He says, wetting his lips and looking up at the others. "Got some questions.." He reaches down, meaning to smooth her hair if allowed.

For a minute or so, the girl doesn't stir, though the slow rise and fall of her chest is a reassuring sign. And during that minute Ike can paw away as he pleases, or as much as his boss will let him. A quick frisking will reveal that knife still stuck in its holster and five hundred credits tucked away in the purse on her belt; a search of her swoop, a worn IR-5 blaster locked away in what passes for a glove compartment between her seat and the controls. But other than that, there's precious little loot to be had - unless one wants to make off with her body armor and racing helmet, or of course that offending turquoise sweater.

Soon enough, Rayya comes to. Her nose wrinkles as the stench of garbage assaults her, and when she tries to move she feels stabbing pain all throughout her body. Better to lie still and gasp for air than try to talk or run. Maybe after they rob her they'll leave her alive.

They aren't rooks to the art of the street and frisking her swoop is first on their task because by the way she looks, she's not much of a fighter. Ike however, hovers as he gives off quick barking orders. His stubbled face is shadowed with grime and as his dark fingernails reach out to turn her a little, she shifts. "Eh, she's come to." He lets out, tilting his head and hovering like a vulture, yellowed teeth gleaming in the light as his hands reach out to brush hair back in some understanding of 'care'. "Little bird…you flown too far.." He croons at her. "Tell Ike, about yerself." He says, tracing a finger down her cheek.

As far as the others go, the girl is next, the bike worn and possibly mangled, but one of them is beginning to meddle with the controls and check it over. "Bikes not bad.." He calls back as more sets of feet and shadows fall over her.

Rayya twitches but doesn't dare move. Her eyes squeeze closed so she doesn't have to look at her assailant's grim features, and her body trembles like a leaf in the wind as his rancid breath spills over her neck and shoulders. "I-I'm - " she stammers, moving her lips as little as possible. It helps that it hurts to talk. "Just making deliveries for a doctor," is what she means to say, though only the last word out of six comes out.

"A doc?" He croons and looks about, Ike grins from ear to ear. "We got us a catch.." He knows this isn't the case but feeds on her fear. Grasping her shoulder and forcing her up to sit if she doesn't pull away. "See, lookie 'ere.." He points to his eye and turns it slightly to look away as he pulls the lower lid down. "Got this puffer right 'ere…..wonderin'.." He releases the lid and looks at her, getting close as he shifts on his haunches, "How do I get rid of it..now I have me a doc…" He says, grinning to show some teeth missing. "So..what's my status…" His grey eyes glint evil, dull and worn by the life he's lived but all the more cunning for it too and they are not kind ones that gaze down at her.

They say that your life flashes before your eyes before the end - but as Rayya now discovers, she somehow can't summon up memories of father or sister or mother or friends to smooth the passage from this world to the next. All she can see is an ugly face made uglier by the fires of her imagination, whose leering contempt she can almost feel seeping into her bones, and then some crazy part of her realizes that if she can't see those scrolling scenes from her life, she obviously hasn't been marked for death, which means -

"I-I'm not a d-doctor," she murmurs from where she sits, knobby fingers making a desperate grab for the hilt of her knife.

Whether or not she gets a glimmer of hope from her movement, one of them has seen it. Quick to rush down, the scrawny anzat grasps for her arm and drags it up and away, whether she has the knife or not. "Slicky.." he says, grin forming and a dark gaze settling on her as Ike has the nerve to look hurt. "Aww doc…here you gone and got my hopes up." He touches his chest, grimey hands looking somewhat offended and his mouth opening in mock surprise. There are hisses and soft chuckles as she is made to drop the knife should she have it. Ike moves in closer and he stands, drawing her up with in his grasp. "I don't know if we got room for a doc who ain't a doc.." He looks about to the others. "Whadya think?" He grins foolishly at her. "Come on, speak up sweety.." He starts to croon once more, but it now has a vicious quality to it, as if her bid for freedom had woken the predator within.

That is one of the goons near the back drops with a surprised squeal, arm wrenched hard to the side by another figure. Crushing her boot into the neck of his face, a pistol lifts, sounding off as its power cell whirs. "Lookie here. Put 'er down." Comes the female voice. That gives Ike pause and he turns, "Friend eh?" He says and there is a faint wink that he offers the woman with the gun.

Rayya's bravery reserve has just about run dry. The knife clatters to the alley's broken asphalt and with it goes the last of that insane, animating hope. She has enough presence of mind to realize that she's being forced to her feet. Weak arms try to push off from the bigger man's chest, so when the inevitable comes she'll at least be facing it of her own accord - and part of her is glad that she won't die with a blaster bolt in her back like all the others she's seen, that Rana will know she didn't try to run. So comforting is that thought that she doesn't realize she's actually managed to squirm free, and that she's swaying back and forth on her own volition.

Stepping off the phased goon, Mouse looks to the swaying girl and then the others, keeping her blaster out at arms length and making sure they are all backing up. "Hands up! HANDS UP!" She says firmly, letting it echo off the alley walls, decrepit and secret keeping as they are. She steadies a step towards the girl, reaching out for her. "Come on darlin…" She says, trying to coax her over as the Doshan moves in from her side. The sound of scuffling steps and the rehearsed and somewhat scripted display takes a turn off. Her arm wields about and she lets a shot out, right at the lizard's face. Down he goes, holding his head and hiss-squealing in misery. Ike even has the nerve to look surprised, the others backing up or pulling guns as Mouse straightens her pistol out again. "That's right…back down you scrubbers." She says and reaches for Rayya to pull her towards her, whether the girl realizes she's an ally or not.

She doesn't. All Rayya knows is that someone fired a blaster and she doesn't have a burning hole where her heart used to be, which means that something must have gone amazingly right. And so she dares to open her eyes for the first time since the fall, blinking to clear them of grime and what feels like hot, shameful tears. From the fact that her entire body feels like it just got run through a food processor, no doubt. The back of her wrist rises to flick them away, a motion that serves only to rub more dust and blood into her bloodshot sclera.

Dragging her if she doesn't fall over, Mouse has a hold of Rayya like the death. Their little act doesn't seem to be an act anymore and her heart is racing for it. Ike's even fingering his blade at his side. "Going a little darin eh?" With that he's moving and so are the others. Mouse can only get off a few shots before she gets a right hook to her face and stumbles back, possible pulling Rayya with her. "Frelling scrubbers!!" She hisses and is trying to get up, grabbing for her gun before she is literally hauled by the two guys left, Ike and the scrawny human that had stopped Rayya from pulling a knife. She grunts faintly and as a kick comes straight to her gut from scrawny, she doubles over some, wincing as she levels a bullrush at him, meaning to take him to the ground as blood drips from her lip. Ike in the mean time moves in from the back, flicking his knife up and catching it.

This is about as close to sensory overload as the delivery girl has gotten - but if you asked her, she'd probably say she prefers not to be assaulted five ways from Sunday by these sights and sounds and smells. It's all she can do to follow where she's pulled, her jellied feet wobbling as she stumbles toward her bike, pressing her scrawny frame against the overturned swoop in a desperate attempt to turn it right-side up. Sorry, partner: your damsel in distress really is turning out to be as helpless as they said.

Mouse is winning the little scuffle on the ground and a solid knee to the groin coupled with a sloppy punch to the face has scrawny squirming slowly in pain. But a handful of hair and Ike's ire later, the would be heroine is being pulled back from her assailant. "You know, I never liked you." She says, grinning faintly before she drags her own blade free. Ike grins, unseeing the action in the dark as he needles the blade in the air for her to see. "Boss aint't gonna like you.." He hisses back and as she smiles and turns, "Give us a kiss…" He says and as he allows her to twist, she slams the blade up and into his ribcage, twisting as he stares, attempt to make a swipe at her as he half stumbles. Ducking to the side, it catches her cheek and cuts some of her hair in his grasp before she rips free. "bitch.." He says more in surprise than anger - his strength fading as Mouse stumbles over the others, grasping up her gun and slamming it into the holster as she moves for Rayya. "Come on darlin' push your bike.." She grunts and starts to help, meaning to get it overturned.

Think, Rayya, think. She repeats the mantra in her head as she strains against the swoop's unyielding metal, doing her best to block out the fact that her legs are on the verge of crumpling to the ground. It's hopeless, really - for isn't this precisely the sort of thing that humans invented droids to do? - until with a yelp of frustration she plants the toe of her boot into the handlebars jammed against the curb. The rusted rod quivers under the sudden pressure, bits and pieces of oxidized metal fluttering to the ground, until with a sickening snap it breaks entirely. The Zephyr-J's engine springs back online as the throttle shifts from zero to full, and all it'll take is one last push to right the bike on fluttering currents of air. "Q-quick," Rayya stammers, tugging shyly at her savior's sleeve. And with the elegance of a wounded butterfly she crawls onto the saddle, heedless of the danger of riding a swoop with half of its controls lying broken on the pavement. If the choice is between running and a flying death trap, she'll take her chances with the latter.

Mouse looks somewhat concerned for herself really as the bike is broken in a place she wishes it wasn't. Tugged, the woman gives a raised brow and decides to see just how good this young one can be. Hopping on to the back, she curls her legs down around the bike and leans forward. "Get us outtie.." Mouse's sultry voice says to the other girl when she feels the curl of hands on her jacket. Ike is not quite dead, not yet at least. Turning in place, he is clawing at her, breathing heavily as his breathing catches - coming out in defined air accentuated gasps. "Let me go scrubber!!!" She yells, giving him a hard slap on his arm, "Go girl go!" She says, trying to break the grip and keep a hold of the bike with her thighs, clamping down tight.

So maybe picking the side of the half-conscious driver and a swoop that's twice her age isn't one of Moseme's better life choices. Then again, it promises to be an exciting one, judging from the way the Zephyr almost slams to the ground when her rear repulsor begins to wail. Red blaster shots zip by the staggering bike as Rayya struggles to maintain control, accidentally slamming its bulk into those unwary thugs who don't jump out of its way. Yet somehow she does maintain control, her gloved fingers dancing over simple controls before the barricade is behind her and the winding alleys are before. Brown eyes burning, she navigate by memory alone, trusting in her muscles to take her back to the garage with locks and bolts and really thick walls.

Ike tries to keep a hold, but Mouse is twisting in her seat and trying to shuck off the jacket. It rips free of one arm as they start to speed away. But she drags her other arm out, just before the gas is punched. Ike is let lose and Moseme is free, leaning forward to hold on to her pilot. She lets off a faint clipped cheer before she remembers there isn't much really to be cheery about considering their broken circumstance. "Okay, just keep us alive.." She says. Not after all this will she die or expire on the back of a wild bike that is being driven by a ghost of a girl.

Now let's not be hasty: Rayya isn't a ghost, at least not yet, though the four bleeding scratches on her torso don't do much for her chances. By the time she reaches the garage - in less than fifteen minutes and without any backtracking - she doesn't even have the strength of will to turn off the swoop's engine, which she'll leave running in the gloomy metal can that passes for Arrow Deliveries' HQ. Then it's a short fall to the oil-stained ground, whose concrete embrace she welcomes as if it were made of soft silk pillows. Drawing herself up into a fetal position, her ponytail looped sadly over the bruises of her face, she lets the adrenaline spill out from her body in muffled wracking sobs. Sobs she does her best to stifle.

Settled into what is probably a haven for the other girl, Mouse is looking about in question when Rayya slips off to the floor. Caught off-guard, she tries to grab but lets her go. A soft sigh escapes her and she leans forward to turn the bike off, suffering a few minutes on trying to get that to work until the scrap finally putters and dies off. The silence is broken suddenly by the sobs that rise up from the broken girl and narrowing her gaze, Mouse slides free, hauling one leg over the bike to go to her knees next to her. "Hey, hey now. It's safe, no need to let loose.." Not good with crying to say the least, she at least sympathizes. Everyone starts out in a hard way here. Some just don't stand up to the pressure. Blood colors her cheek and lip, knuckles a little warn from the punches. Ike had surely made her believe - she made sure of that. "Come on, darlin'" She tries to haul her up.

"Th-thanks." Rayya can make her way around here by feel, which is just as well. She doesn't think she dares to see what she looks like beneath the klieg lights of her sister's garage. Pushing herself away from her helper, she crawls on all fours toward a tower of boxes that juts out from the ground like a thick cardboard stalagmite. Trembling hands tear the turquoise sweater from her waist so she can blow her nose on its sleeve. That sends another jolt of stabbing pain through her body, and she's forced to abandon halfway through her ill-thought-out plan to clean herself up. She'll settle for burying her face in the grime-stained synthweave. If there's no way she's going to get out of this without looking pathetic, she might as well do it quietly.

Frowning some, Mouse stands back, folding her arms for the moment as she looks at the girl. With a shake of her head she moves to grasp the girl up again. "Now..come on. Let's get you to a 'fresher.." Moseme murmurs. "Let Mouse take care of you." She intones. Crying, it's wearing on her but she carries it like a badge, shouldering the girl's fragile state like a trooper. "None of em are here, just concentrate on breathing and moving. You tell me, I'll take you." She looks at the mountain that the girl had been moving to, staring at it a moment as she hmmms. "Snap out of it." She finally says, giving her a slight shake so as not to aggravate her pains too much. "You act like you haven't lived here your whole life? You new, cuz your flyin' says you ain't."

"N-no. It's - it's not - um." Rayya's eyes are just a bit watery as they look for the first time into the face of the woman shaking her awake. Though she does sniffle occasionally, and though the edges of her nostrils are rimmed with red, she manages to retain enough of her composure to check out her swoop's hulking silhouette just a few feet away. Noticing immediately, of course, that the doctor's package is nowhere to be seen. "Oh," she says, pulling her knees to her chest so she can make herself as small as possible. "M-my sister's going to k-kill - " Her wide eyes widen further as she realizes what she's just said, and her voice dissolves into a thin, nervous giggle.

Keeping her grip on Rayya, Moseme narrows her blue eyes a moment, "Okay darlin' if you say so." She says, obviously not getting why there is a nervous giggle to the girl. She gives a look to the opening on the shops door. "Should I be closing that?" She asks, curiously. Moseme for her part is a little beat up as well, but to be honest she seems rather stable at this point and time even if she has her fair share of blood. "Up with you..can't stay down there. Isn't solvin' anythin'." Mouse advises and offers her hand to the other girl, a faint lift of her brow over pale features. "I am refusin' to carry you, if you care to know." She says and waits. Ever patient - though Rayya is trying her.

It's only fair that the girl's a little shaken, as this marks the first time she's been threatened, assaulted, and shot at in quick succession. But responding to the steel in Mouse's voice, Rayya grits her teeth and pushes herself to her feet, her slender arms flailing out in an attempt to keep her balance. It works. For about a second or two, that is, before she tumbles without warning into the taller woman's arms. That'll learn her to rely too much on foolish pride. "Y-you saved me," she whispers after a moment. It won't be long until she sags back to the ground, but during that time Moseme might get a close-up look at the loopy endorphin-fueled smile that now lights Rayya's features with a sudden, unexpected radiance. "Th-that was c-cool of you." Her small hands, still encased in her riding gloves, move to clasp the woman's left shoe like it's a very comfortable pillow. And then, with a murmured "Ow," she's curling up on the floor for her requisite forty zees.

"Hey, hey Chipper.." She names her catches the girl. Mouse oomphs, "Not as light as you look.." she grunts but steadies her all the same, trying to get a handle on her while she looks down at Rayya. Lowering a little with her downward slump, the taller girl harumphs and lets her go down as she needs. "Okay, the floor is your friend." She says. SHe reaches down and touches the girls shoulder, hunkering over her. "Chipper, it's what we do…gotta watch out.." She says, letting out a long breath and catching the sight of Ike's blood on her right hand, Mouse pulls it back and begins to scrub at it. Unable to get it clean with persistance, she smears the fresher spots before attempting to get Rayya in a more comfortable position and off her shoe.