Downtime in Las Vegas
Part 11: Watching…
by Aggy

His looks were an asset. Jaln Nickol would never be as handsome as the men in the Imperial recruitment posters he had idolized as a child, but his features were vitally important to his assignment. He looked like an average young man from some wholesome small town. A tall, lanky young man with dusky hair with wide eyes that seemed to coerce women into trusting him. With a bit of acting, he could look as if he truly was star struck by the garish spectacle of Las Vegas.

His superiors had trained him well. None of the Rebels he had encountered had found his presence suspicious. Few had even noticed the man who had carried their baggage or brought the decadent ordered that had been placed through room service. With each visit, Nickol left behind the tiny recording devices Agent Alis had given him. What data they were collecting, he was not privy to, but that was to be expected. He had no right, no authority, to have access to such information.

But…perhaps, sometime soon he would have that authority. Agent Alis had been pleased by his work. Actually PRAISING him for service that was both a duty and a pleasure. And because he had excelled at that work, he had been given another task: to watch Ms. Hart and her associates.

As the young man fed another quarter into one of the annoying slot machines that took up most of the lower floor of the Tropicana, he carefully watched the doorway to the casino’s theater. During his earlier surveillance of the trio, he had watched them buy tickets the to the Follies….He glanced at his watch, which would start in about ten minutes.

He wasn’t sure that watching the Rebels and their companion would yield any pertinent information, but he would not shirk his duty. Only Agent Alis could measure the data Nickol provided and determine if any of the spy’s observations would help further Madam Isard’s plans. But still…it had been a boring day. Trailing after the Rebels as they bought trinkets and fawned over their tour guide. The only information that Nickol thought might be of interest was that the pilots seemed to be enamored with their tour guide.

Not that he could blame them. She was rather pretty in a subdued fashion.…

Correction…she was spectacular….

Nickol felt his jaw drop as the vibrant young woman walked towards the theater, flanked by her Rebel companions. She was dressed simply in a white blouse and trousers, no they were called jeans, that accentuated her long legs. Something had been done to her hair so that it framed her features like a copper crown. The dark haired pilot leaned down, whispering something into her ear. Nickol felt his breath catch as her laughter illuminated a face that only moments before had seemed beautiful. Now she was absolutely radiant.

She was also a traitor, he told himself sternly. Or was she? The Empire had been given no chance to treat with the Lucas galaxy. They were given no representation on this planet except by a movie mogul who had more money than sense. Perhaps, she would not have been a traitor if the Rebels had not tainted her.

But those thoughts did not matter. His assignment was to watch the Wraiths and their guide and report their actions. The fact that the woman was lovely did not change his orders in the slightest…

Continued in Part Twelve