Plans and Contracts

By Jilly Harris and Patrick Furlong

Midalah leaned against a crate, surveying the warehouse she had chosen as a meeting place with Colin MacDermott. Her white hair was tied back, but an errant curl fell against her cheek that she absently pushed aside. The time was moving closer to when she would once again sit upon the throne of Nebula, and this man would hopefully help her in that quest. Her white eyes drifted to the door where she saw a tall man with black hair that was dressed in plain clothes walk into the warehouse. A duffle bag was firmly in his hand as he took long strides towards where she stood.

"Ms. Nebula? My name is Colin MacDermott," the man said with a thick North Correllian accent.

Midalah nodded, bestowing a soft smile. Extending her hand she spoke to him. "Pleasure to meet you Mister MacDermott, thank you for agreeing to meet with me," she said.

Colin took her hand in his, shaking it. "Of course," he said.

"I apologize for the secrecy, but it is important, as I said," Midalah said.

Colin nodded. "No problem at all, what are the general basics of the contract?" he asked.

Midalah crossed her arms. "First I must inform you, this contract may be a long one, it will depend on how much information can be found," she said. "Have you ever heard of the planet, Nebula?"

Colin shook his head. "No, I don't believe that I have," he said.

Midalah nodded. "Understandable. We are mainly a trade planet; though our technology is high. From what I can determine, the "differences" between the Alliance and the Empire have not reached us," she said. A slight smile crossed Colin's face before he nodded for her to continue. "Six years ago the rightful queen, Chaitanya, and her husband R'Haun were killed. Murdered. Along with their sons. The original attempt was for their daughter to be killed along with them. Nebula is a matriarch royalty, and when Chaitanya was killed, her sister Reesha became the queen mother, and Reesha's daughter Melantha was named the Queen. All under the assumption that the true Crowned Princess died along with her family. However she wasn't. But it didn't matter." Midalah took a deep breath before continuing. "Due to Nebula's legislative law, the Crowned Princess must be 18 years of age before she can take the throne. The Crowned Princess was only 16 when her family was killed."

Midalah paused for a long moment, her head lowered as if she were collecting herself. Finally raising her eyes, she looked at Colin, her eyes glittering. "I am that Crowned Princess," she said. Colin nodded. "I am at an advantage at the moment that my aunt and cousin think I am dead. They won't be looking for me. As far as I know they do not know, but I'd rather not take any chances," Midalah said.

"That's understandable," Colin replied.

"I am looking for you to help me stage a coup. However, I do not want any unnecessary bloodshed to my people in order to take my rightful place as their Queen. But I need information as well. I need to know who is on my side and who isn't, and then I need someone to lead this coup," Midalah said. Colin looked a little surprised, then he frowned slightly. "I have been friends with S'Lara for a long time, and she recommended you," Midalah added.

"Well I can certainly help you with this project, but I'm not sure how easy it will be to keep it contained these kinds of things tend to get, if you'll excuse me for saying so... bloody," Colin said.

"The less blood there is the better is what I'd prefer," Midalah said crossing her legs at the ankle as she leaned against the crate.

"I understand that, but there are no guarantees as I'm sure you know," Colin said. "Now I take it from the fact you've contacted me that your cousin wishes to retain power? There is no chance of a negotiated settlement? Seeing as you are the rightful heir"

Midalah sighed a bit. "Unfortunately no, there is no chance at a negotiated settlement," she said. "The fact that she is willing to kill her only sister and her sister's entire family shows me that."

Colin looked thoughtful. "That's true and it is too bad, armed conflict is always a problem," he said. "Alright then, what kind of resources do you have to offer this army of yours?" Colin set down his duffel and sat on it.

Midalah looked down at him. "What resources will you need if you are to lead it?" she asked.

"Well, first and foremost is money," he said.

Midalah smiled a bit. "Of course," she said.

"We are going to be paying for men and supplies," Colin said. "And the more of them we can get the less likely your coup will be too bloody."

"But the more we have, the element of surprise dwindles," Midalah pointed out. "Frankly speaking, as of right now, how many men would you need?"

"What is the strength of your world's army?" Colin asked.

"Last that I knew, very strong, but who they will support hinders on who they will fight for of course. That is where information comes in. I am already looking into finding out as much as I can to send to you," Midalah said. A small smile lit her face. "That is if you take the contract," she added.

Colin grinned. "Yes we're working on that part. How likely is it that the Army of your world will join us?" he asked.

"It all relies on ifs. IF they support me, and they know you are working for me, they will join us no questions asked. However, I need to weed out who is against me and who isn't, even in my army," Midalah said.

"Hmmm. Why would my involvement change their minds?" he asked with a smile. "I don't think my reputation is that great."

"You may be surprised, but if they know you are working for their rightful queen, whom they support, it makes quite a bit of difference."

Colin nodded. "Standard Guild contract, Officer Pay, Loyalty Clause?"

Midalah nodded. "Agreed."

He nodded. "Very well, I tentatively agree to the contract, I will need a few more specifics before I can sign for sure," he said.

Midalah nodded. "Understandable," she said.

Colin stood and slung his duffel bag over his shoulder. "Contract to begin immediately?" he asked.

"Yes. I will contact you with further information. If at any time you need to get a hold of me, feel free to use the encrypted code I used to contact you," Midalah said.

"Very well, can you recommend a good place to stay on this planet?" he asked.

"There's a place near the Griffon's Luck that seems pretty good. But I'm not sure of the name," Midalah said. "I don't know if you saw the cantina or not. It is somewhat set back a bit from the main view of things."

"I think I saw it on the way in from the space port," he said. "That is where you will most likely be able to find me. Do you have some specific information on your world's army I can review?"

Midalah shook her head. "Not right now. It'll take me a couple days to get it. But let me look in my database on my ship. Perhaps I have something there that I retained when I left," she said.

"Okay, I will also look and see what's in public domain," Colin said. "Anything else I can do for you at the moment?"

Midalah shook her head again. "No."

"Very well, I will wait for your contact," Colin said.

Midalah nodded. "Very well. Thank you again," she said. Colin nodded and turned, leaving the warehouse. Midalah sighed a bit, wrapping her arms around her waist. She was thoughtful to the things she had just set in motion. Her life was turning yet again.

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