Dryden Vos stood from the couch, a strikingly tall figure who seemed to embody the power that he held. In his hands were their very lives and Qi’ra knew he loved every second of it. She couldn’t wait to see that power stripped from him.
He approached them with open arms, a dazzling smile on his charming face.
“And the crew returns!” he exclaimed happily. “Everyone was telling me that you were going to fail but I knew, I knew my top lieutenant would be able to see this mission through.”
And then he stopped, his expression growing confused.
“Where’s Beckett?” he asked.
Qi’ra’s eyes darted to Han.
“He didn’t make it,” Han said somberly.
Dryden sighed before approaching Han with a convincible expression of sadness on his face. Han seemed to buy it but Qi’ra knew Dryden better than anyone. He was never sympathetic about anything. All he cared about was money, keeping Crimson Dawn’s grip on the galaxy strong, and, to her great constant discomfort, her. She was the one person that he legitimately cared about.
It was why he had kept her so close and trusted her with all of his most important missions. She knew he loved her and that meant her betrayal was going to sting even more.
Dryden consoled Han before going over to one of the tables in the room and grabbing his favorite snack, a small plate of pickled Colo Claw Fish eggs. Okay, so the first step to this plan was over. Now she needed to get into character.
“Yes, Tobias may not have made it but,” she placed a hand on Han’s shoulder and smiled, “Han and Chewbacca will make great allies if ever we have need of them again.”
Dryden sat on the armrest of the couch, beckoning for Qi’ra to join him. She gave Han one last glance before approaching him, keeping her expression neutral. She stopped before him and he gazed at her with such a strong expression of affection that she found herself almost wanting to look away from his leering stare.
“My dear,” he said softly, “I would’ve been inconsolable if anything had happened to you. There’s no one that I trust as much as I trust you.”
Qi’ra smiled warmly at him, placing a hand on his knee. Even as she moved past him to sit on the couch he still gazed at her with that harshly affectionate stare that made her cheeks warm.
“Well, I guess we’ll be on our way,” Han said.
That attracted Dryden’s attention. “Oh, let me see what you’ve brought me first.”
Qi’ra’s eyes darted to Han and as she saw him nervously place his hands on his hips she began to question his ability to see this plan through without messing it up.
Han chuckled nervously before opening the box of coaxium. The glowing vials filled with energy were beautiful and when Qi’ra looked at Dryden she was surprised not to see a look of wonder in his eyes.
“Bring one to me,” Dryden said.
Han smiled as if there was no care in the world as he brought a vial of coaxium over to Dryden. Qi’ra continued to watch Dryden carefully as he examined the coaxium. The only way this plan was going to work was if Dryden believed the coaxium was false. If he knew it was the real thing their plan would be immediately foiled and their chances of survival would be slim indeed.
Dryden smiled slyly and Qi’ra knew, at that moment, that they had tricked him.
“It’s amazing,” he said, examining the vial delicately with his long fingers. “It’s impressive how much it almost looks like the real thing.”
She had to keep herself from smiling. The second phase of the plan was finished. Now…it was game time.