Datapad had been on their possession for a while by now, enough for Kallak'karr crack it open and distract himself with what was inside. Xadok usually handled the more interpersonal details, the Madclaw's business tended to be more technical and - if need arose - more action than words. Pad had a lot of info, whole descriptions of worlds and their current state, apprehended weaponry and where it's manufacturers were located, possible hyperdrive routes by the thousands, a lot of fluff to embellish a much simpler issue - something politicians seemed to have quite the affinity for. Slamming their heads against this wall of text would never get them anywhere, it was why the wookiee called a meeting as soon as a few ideas dawned on him as he skimmed through the contents.
Xadok would evidently have to be warned, Jun's expertise as a war veteran certainly would come in handy and Yal's knowledge of spaceways could also possibly play a big part of it.
"<<Think I got a hit. As close of one as we can get.>>" The wookiee had no mind for theatrics, wasting no time to present results of his brief analysis. Sliding a finger through the onboard computer's screen, Kallak'karr manifested two overlapping maps over the holoprojector. Xadok and Jun would indubitably recognize at least one, Mandalorian Wars frontline, where Jedi slaughtered Mandalore the Ultimate's followers like rabid dogs, an almost identical match to the other map being presented. That, of course, was of the recent conflicts, many shared battlefields between wars. "<<Shared frontlines. Gotta be transporting his karking bolt buckets in 'round here somewhere.>>"
His eyes shift from Xadok to Jun, then to Yaliwen. "<<Notice anything? Smells worse than Bantha dung.>>" The maps expanded, zooming into minor sith campaigns to the south and north of Coruscant respectively, so far removed from the main mass of Revan's Sith Empire and yet no less effective. "<<That's no leftovers from his Republican supplies, kriffing chancellor would know. So what? Revan flies supplies straight through Republic's hyperspace routes to it's rear and no one's the wiser?>>" He pauses, a small grin crossing his stout face. "<<I say we put our Mandalorian to good use, sniff out a Revanchist veteran from the past wars in Yag Dhul, and ask him nicely.>>"
"No way he'd be gettin' that many supplies through easy without someone noticin'," Yal muttered from the back of the room. She was leaning against the wall, arms crossed, only half-paying attention to the briefing. "It's toeochá rí ulwoh just gettin' a few ships around like that, specially when there are eyes out for 'em."
She rubbed at her nose, then stifled a yawn with the back of her hand.
"Unregistered lanes, maybe? Republic don't got eyes on every point in the sector. Could be takin' a risky pass near planets or somethin'."
With that, she gave a noncommittal shrug, as if saying she wasn't super sold on the idea herself, but couldn't come up with anything better.
"Be good to get more info from one of his own, yea."
The meeting at the Chancellor’s Office had been the usual sort of deal. A whole lot of grandstanding, blaster barrel measuring, and quite possibly the biggest promise of a payout Xadok’s ever seen in his entire life. Suffice it to say, he underestimated just how desperate the Republic was.
All the better for him and his crew.
As was usual, Kallak’kar called the rest in for a briefing aboard the Felina, to compare notes and come up with a semblance of a plan to tackle the task at hand. And, as was usual, Kallak’kar proved the most prepared among them to start the brainstorming process. Xadok found himself a chair to sit on as he listened to his old friend brief everyone on the whole situation, starting with the maps of the two frontlines. One old, the other recent. Meshed with one another to prove hardly any difference between the two.
“More things change, more they stay the karking same, eh?” A chuckle, followed by a glance towards Jun. The crew’s token Mandalorian and arguably its best fighter. Barring Xadok himself, of course. “Recognise any old battlefields there, Jun? Any remarkable sites of great victories? Or dramatic losses, perhaps?”
He was teasing, of course. There was hardly any malice in his words—after all, Xadok himself spent the majority of his life weaving through those old frontlines, stalking and hunting down wayward ships and supply convoys during his pirating days, regardless of their side. In such a display of unrestricted warfare, he and Jun were much the same. In a different life, he probably would make a great Mandalorian himself, Xadok figured. Shame he was never one for grand causes. Unless one counted “Getting Paid” as one, of course.
“Tell you one thing: I can’t believe they’re still fighting over Taris. Karking planet and the sector around it is as valuable as a pile of poodoo.” Then, another glance towards Jun was followed by a laugh. After all, the planet Mandalore sat pretty close to Taris—its strategic significance now greatly lessened on account of the end of the Mandalorians. “No offence, of course.”
Xadok listened on as Kallak’kar explained the situation further, pointing out the presence of Revanchist holdouts in the Northern and Southern spirals of the galaxy. The existence of such places was not an anomaly, usually. Both the Republic (or rather, the Revanchists) and the Mandalorians played out a similar method of warfare during the War, using small, fortified sectors behind enemy lines to carry out wolfpack raids against supply lines and isolated sectors, relying on old supply caches and the occasional few resupplies to carry on the fight. It was how old Rasczak carried out his pirating campaigns across the Rim during those days, too. And damn if it wasn’t effective.
But these holdouts now were no small raiding bases, Xadok noticed. These were instead mustering points for two years of prolonged warfare, aggressive and always on the offensive, if the map was to be relied on. And chances are, they probably were. The Republic had little cause to try and deceive anyone with information like that. Kallak’kar was right, then; these were not fleets dependent on leftovers. They were fresh and consistently resupplied. Daggers pointed straight at the heart of the Republic from behind their back, moving closer with each passing day.
There was only one explanation, then: Either those sectors had production bases of their own (highly unlikely) or they were being smuggled their supplies and replacements. Both Kallak’kar and Yal seemed to agree with the latter of the two possibilities.
“You can smuggle a small fleet easily enough if you know the right people to bribe and the right lanes to ferry it through,” Xadok remarked with a nod, echoing Yal’s own comment about unregistered lanes. “But you can’t do it consistently. Sooner or later, someone’s bound to get wise. Even the Republic.”
The idea of grabbing themselves a Revanchist officer of some import to question was good. Straight to the point and aggressive, and uniquely Kallak’kar. But they needed more than one angle. Xadok furrowed his brow for a moment, deep in thought, and moments later his orange eyes seemed to light up with the beginnings of a new idea. “You remember that old karkspit we used to work with, one who very nearly krong’d up Rasczak’s shipment of glitterstim to the cartel?”
His question was, of course, directed at Kallak’kar. The only other person besides himself who’d have any semblance of an idea of the event he brought up. An old memory from the time when they still counted themselves as part of Rasczak’s Raiders.
“Heard these days he works as an info broker right here on Coruscant. Middle-man work for the cartel, handling the tedious details regarding their smuggling lanes.” Xadok’s face broke out into a vicious grin, white teeth gleaming in the dim light of the room like sharp blades. “We should pay him a visit, see what he can tell us about those lanes. Doubt he’s the type to miss traffic that big moving through ‘em.”
It seemed as if there were a great deal of them. Jun imagined he would have felt somewhat intimidated by the scope of the project if, after all, this was a task that troubled even the mighty Republic. Fortunately for him, most of his life was a testament to what a failure the Republic was, and for that matter, the Jedi as well. It was only natural then they were both begging for anyone’s aid: even the aid of those who they once considered enemies.
Who they still consider enemies.
”Hm.” Jun pondered usefully as he sat on a nearby table. His eyes were drawn to the various holoprojected maps and had been as such since Kallak put them on display. They had enraptured him to the point of ignoring much of Xadok’s (good-natured) badgering, though he would crack a smile at the comment about Taris.
”Well, logically speaking, we only have one option right now.” He said, putting his hands on the table so he could lean backwards. ”Any Revanchist I could find isn’t going to be on Coruscant. Your guy is. Once we finish our business up here, I can work on finding a scent. For now, whatever-his-name-was seems like the best lead we got. Better than anything the Republic's got, that's for sure.”
They all seemed to be on the same page, no other leads had presented themselves yet so they might as well go through with what the Republic couldn't verify themselves. "<<You got it right, kid. Moving an entire war effort's gotta be through unregistered lanes, but this much for thing long? Bound to leave some traces behind.>>" Kallak'karr nodded, offering Yal a grin. No matter how much she despised the preparations before the action, kid would eventually figure out how to do business for herself, hopefully sooner rather than later. Meant more creds flowing the group's way. "<< That's gonna be your homework, Yaliwen. Smuggling routes, unregistered shortcuts. We'll need all types of information if we're to find this missing supply route of theirs.">>"
Xadok, on the other hand, had already done his own thinking. Old acquaintances were everywhere in Coruscant, every squirming worm dragged themselves to the center of the Republic in times of war, had to protect themselves, after all, and their not quite so hardly earned fortune. "<<Think the kriffing wompa rat will let intel not even Republic's bribes got? Or are you thinking about beating it out of him?>>" The wookiee roared. "<<Set up a meeting, we'll see our dear old friend.>>" Kallak's attention then turned to Jun, the last working cog of their little squad. "<<You got any idea where to start tracking that scent, Jun? We'll need it. Might even think of it as getting some revenge.>>"
The madclaw folded his arms, slipping the datapad toward the center of the table - he had no more use for it now, not as much as their pilot at least. "<<Seems we've got a small lead. Better start working on it if we want to see those creds.>>"