Star Wars: Cruise Control | Scene 16.3

When the time comes to make his move against the moff, Tcho is all healed up from his injuries and truly well-rested for the first time in over a year. The ship may be in some disorder, but his conscience is clearer than it has been in a long while. Not only has he foiled a Zann scheme, but he personally saved what lives he could and his actions kept everyone else on the ship safer. 

With JT’s gala in full swing, there are two places of interest to Tcho, the moff’s quarters themselves and the ballroom he commandeered. He starts with the quarters, since they are in an area less likely to be heavily trafficked at this time of the evening, particularly with so many upper class passengers at JT’s event. He is not confident that they will be unoccupied though, so he brings insurance in the form of a ship’s uniform, having managed to acquire another one in the chaos of the past week.

As he swiftly moves through the halls, Tcho checks each intersection for witnesses before advancing. Fortunately, the corridors are all deserted, and the rooms he passes are quiet. He is not intending to make a ruckus in the moff’s quarters, but having no one nearby to hear anything that happens helps him relax a bit more into the job. However, when he listens at the moff’s door before attempting the lock, his mood dips momentarily. It does sound like someone is inside, but they are muttering about document cover sheets. That would suggest it is just a functionary and not that Stormtrooper sergeant, so things are looking up. Given Tcho’s skill set, grabbing physical documents from the room for PD-101 is preferable to having to slice into a terminal.

Tcho sets to work on the lock, trying to open it as quietly as possible, but it does not give way as easily as the captain’s did. Before he can get it to pop, he feels something happening to the door from the other side. Hastily stashing his picks, Tcho straightens up. The door opens from the other side, and a middle-aged white human with a receding hairline asks, “Are you housekeeping? I called over an hour ago!” He taps his chronometer forcefully. “You are extremely tardy.”

That is a lie Tcho is happy to play along with. “We responded as soon as we could. This isn’t the normal time for your cleaning. What are we dealing with here? How may I best be of service?” The man steps back, giving Tcho access to the suite. 

The annoyed bureaucrat tells Tcho to start with the bathroom, which he claims was not sufficiently cleaned this morning. Tcho suppress a frown; that is not really where he wants to spend his precious time. The Imperial adds another complaint about a mess from something exploding in the kitchenette, and Tcho seizes on that detail. “Given the lateness, should I start with the moff’s private chambers, then? The smell of burnt food is really hard to get out, so dealing with the kitchen could take a while. How late is he going to be out?”

“He’ll be out as late as he wants to be!” the man barks back, but he does agree to Tcho’s proposal. “Yes, we can start with the moff’s chambers; that is the most important location.”

“We? You don’t need to take care of this. You’re on vacation,” Tcho says, trying to discourage the official from tailing him.

That is where work happens. That is where I work. That is where you will work,” the Imperial replies fastidiously.

Tcho resigns himself to pretending to clean a room while he tries to get a look at files. That turns out not to be as tricky as he had feared. The moff’s sleeping quarters are expansive, and in addition to the bed, there is also a desk, which the functionary heads straight back to. But the room is a mess, and from what Tcho can see, this suite has worse problems than that caused by inattentive ship’s staff. It looks like someone threw a temper tantrum in here. Datapads and loose flimsiplast documents are strewn about, the bed is thoroughly unmade, and the floor is even littered with broken decorative items. Tcho wonders what set the moff off. Frustration with the ship’s condition? Or the latest news about Gungan activity on Naboo? 

The bureaucrat orders Tcho to tidy things up. “We’ll have to requisition a new filing cabinet,” he adds, and Tcho sees that that drawer of the desk has been wrenched from its tracks. Soon the official is preoccupied with reordering a stack of disrupted documents, leaving Tcho free to pick up papers and quickly skim them for useful information. The most interesting thing he finds is the middle few pages of a report providing insight into the moff’s views on Gungans. He has too low of an opinion of them to think them capable of organizing the current level of resistance without the influence of a charismatic outsider to instigate it. 

The document is a part of a curt summary of the visit with Dargon, and it notes how professional she was in providing the necessary equipment. I knew it wasn’t a tryst! Tcho cannot help but think. Nevermind PD-101, I need to swipe this page to show to JT. The materials Panaka picked up, according to this, are for detaining, “a rogue element regarded by the Gungans as some sort of shamanistic sage.” Tcho is not sure what exactly to make of that description, but intelligence analysis is not the freelance service he is providing. Whoever PD-101 gets this to will be able to figure the details out. Panaka is going after some person that he thinks is in charge of the movement, that is the important part. But that is just one person; Tcho still needs to find what he can about the threats to the poor Gungans Panaka will be moving against. 

The bureaucrat tidies up a stack and starts to turn in Tcho’s direction, so he quickly slips the pages inside his jacket. Time to finish this “cleaning job” and get to the ballroom, Tcho decides. He picks up the pace, straightening everything else up quickly. Before he leaves, he nabs one datapad, contents unreviewed, figuring it will hold far more information than the pages in his possession. “The bathroom and kitchen crew will be along shortly,” he assures the Imperial. “That’s not my area, but I can contact their supervisor to move that up the schedule.” 

The bureaucrat waves the crewmember off, preoccupied with his own work. Following the departure, he looks over the job done and assigns it an 8/10 on the satisfaction survey, then knocks it down to a 7, since not all the tasks were complete. This will be bad news for whoever matches the identification number on the jacket Tcho swiped.

That went pretty well, Tcho reflects contentedly as he leaves the suite. Hope that doesn’t mean the ballroom will be a problem.