The Corellian Corvette Argo emerged
from hyperspace in the outskirts of the Sriluur system. The system
was the site of the recent, brutal subjugation of the Weequay
homeworld by the forces of the Galactic Empire. The Weequay were
putting up a brave resistance against the Imperials, but were
drastically overwhelmed by the Empire's might. The Argo's latest
assignment was to attempt to slip through the Imperial blockade and
provide much needed resources.
Commander Derek Atio's first concern
was the ship's modified transponder. If it was not functioning this
mission would be over ... quick. "Lieutenant Ardac," he asked
immediately after the ship emerged from hyperspace, "Report."
"Sir, transponder is functioning
properly. Shouldn't have any problems." Ardac announced, coolly.
"Let's see what we're dealing with,"
Commander Atio said as he leant back in his chair, "Full sensor
"Aye, aye Commander. Commencing full
sweep of Sriluur system in two, one..." Ardac tapped away at his
control board, scanning the system as far as the Argo's systems
would allow. He kept his eyes open and alert. He received several
pings, each registering as spacecraft. A few buttons later and he
turned to the commander with a grim expression. "Sir, there's an
Imperial Star Destroyer, and a few squadrons of TIE fighters. They
appear to be on patrol, I don't think they know we're here."
"Command warned us this would not be
easy," Commander Atio said stoically. He turned his attention to
Tashi next, "Lay in a course back to the Vergesso Asteroids ... I
want to be able to get out of here in a hurry."
A brief twitch in her lips, and the
cigarra shifted to the side of Tashi's mouth. She sniffled and
turned brandy-brown pools to the navigation computer in front of
her. "Done" she answered in stoic obedience.
"Steady as she goes, Mister Ling,"
Commander Atio said quietly as he ordered her to move the ship
towards the planet.
Shielded from view, Tashi's teeth
gritted in arrogant frustration. The address he designated her with
still boiled her blood no matter how many times she heard it. She
drew a dangerously deep drag on the cigarra, the tip flaring to a
vibrant orange as it receded noticeably. The flash of irritation
didn't detract from her piloting skills though, and the ship crept
cautiously towards the atmosphere.
Leo Kincaid sat in his usual pose,
one knee up, back against a bulkhead, one leg lying on the ground
next to him, a checklist in his lap and a load of supplies all
around him in various piles. Not just a load, a huge load.
Enough for a rebellion, which is exactly why he was doing inventory.
This was a package for the Weequays, straight from High Command, and
a lot of important people wanted to know that they got everything
they needed. Medical supplies, rations, weapons, tools, and various
other assortments of equipment were separated meticulously. His eyes
showed that he was weary, but his cause let him dutifully count,
recount, and check for as long as was needed.
Ardac straightened in his chair, his
shoulders rising abruptly. Red eyes turned to the pilot in
irritation...smoking, again. Then they shot right back to his control
board. "Commander, we've got company...four TIE fighters, hostiles,
approaching head on. We've been spotted." The Chiss physically
relaxed, as if forcing himself into a trance. His hands moved
smoothly across his controls, ready to power up the shields at a
"Easy everyone," Commander Atio said
quietly, "We were expecting this."
Sharp-tongued pilot Tashi Ling's
eyes narrowed on the incoming craft before taking hold of the
control column with both hands. "Everyone buckled in?" she grumbled,
shifting the column tightly so that the ship dove into a tight arc
to the left. One could nearly hear the aged hull creak and groan
under the strain, and Tashi's train of thought derailed for a
nanosecond to offer a silent encouragement that the old welded
panels and jury-rigged repair work would hold.
Ardac heard the faintest sizzle. He
thought, for a moment, it was the pilot's cigarra. He turned to say
something about it, finally, when a shower of sparks exploded out of
his control panel, singeing his eyebrow as he turned to avoid it.
With a pop-hiss, the sparks fizzled out, and Ardac looked at the
Commander, annoyance thick in his tone. "Well, there goes the
transponder...and my eyebrow."
"Blast," Commander Atio exclaimed in
frustration, "We'll never get through the blockade now ... Tashi
engage the hyperdrive."
Tashi plucked the near-spent cigarra
from her mouth and lifted a booted foot, snuffing it out on the
thick black rubber sole. "Not gonna happen. We're going nowhere
fast. Better get on the horn and start requesting a weapons hold
status or else we're target practice."
There was the slightest hint of
concern in the back of the Chiss' voice as Ardac stood, hunching
over the controls. "If we still have communications. Sir, critical
system failure. We're losing systems all over this hunk of junk."
The sound of a Human voice was heard
over the ship's communication systems, "Unidentified transport, this
is Lieutenant Tesla. Our preliminary inspection reports your systems have
failed. Do you require assistance?"
"Inform the pilot that we will
repair it ourselves," Commander Atio said to the operations officer.
Laughter busted out on the bridge as
the small feisty Corellian woman bristled with amusement. "Oh this
is just rich" she chuckled at the Imp's transmission.
Ardac answered back in a cool and
political voice, a complete contrast to how serious their problems
were. "Lieutenant Tesla..." Ardac began to transmit back when the
communications failed. He grinned lightly. "I would Commander...if we
still had communications...they just bought it. I'm surprised we're
not belly up. Orders?"
Tashi rubbed an eyebrow wearily,
evaluating the system readouts on the display. "We might have enough
juice to make it..." Tashi's eyes lifted to the viewports "...to
that small moon...maybe...if we all offer up words of
"That's our play then," Commander
Atio said to Tashi, "Ardac ... tie in the emergency power and
transmit an electronic transmission to that TIE fighter that we do
not require assistance, nor will we be entering the quarantine
"Aye, aye." Ardac brought up a quick
list of what systems were still functioning, and rerouted power to
communications from the least important. Typing up the exactly what
the Commander said, he beamed an electronic transmission to the TIE
pilot, Lieutenant Tesla, and then cut communications back off, leaving the
power route intact incase they needed to make an emergency
communiqué. "Transmission received, sir. Might as well pray to the
closest god. Quay, isn't it?" A grin crossed his bluish lips.
Muttering a few warm fuzzy
tidbits under her breath in hopes the powers that be would smile
upon their misfortune, Tashi guided the Corvette to the designated
moon, limping along precariously, half-expecting the ship to simply
rumble apart at any given moment. It was nothing short of an
absolute unmitigated miracle that got the Argo to the satellite's
proverbial doorstep. Tashi's brown eyes narrowed slightly, looking
over the rock on which they intended to put down. "We're shooting
blind here. This look safe enough to drop this bucket?"
"It'll have to be," Commander Atio
explained to Tashi as he strapped in the harness around his waist.
The crippled Corvette descended
through the atmosphere, albeit with much ferocity and jolting about.
Tashi did not even offer an apology for the turbulence, as it was
far beyond controllable. She found herself being thankful alone that
the ship did not split at the seems when moving from the cold dead
of space into the warmer ozone. As they skimmed the dreary surface,
Tashi pointed to a particularly hideous looking valley, a maw of
jagged rock. "How about that? It'll be tricky, but it offers natural
barriers as our defenses...and we need to stay hidden for a while to
get this damned thing running."
"I haven't seen a surface that rough
since before you put on your makeup this morning," Commander Atio
jokingly replied to Tashi, "Strap in and bring us in."
The gaunt frame of the
fiery-spirited brunette twisted in her chair to glance over her
shoulder at him. Something wild and infernal burned in her eyes as
she scrutinized him sharply with the intent of committing horrific
atrocities on him...mentally at least. An audible growl escaped her
gritted teeth as she shook her head. Seething still, she moved the
Corvette into position over one of the flattest parts of the valley,
which still did not say much for the terrain. The repulsors rotated
and the ship began to descent, the landing gear uncoiling below the
ship. What may have been a reasonably smooth landing fizzled out as
the overtaxed engines groaned an ominous death gurgle before
sputtering out. The thrust of the repulsors wavered a few times
before dying out altogether and the Corvette plummeted the last
fifteen meters, crunching hard onto the landscape and rocketing
about everything within its shaky metal walls. Jolted about her
chair tight against the crash restraint, Tashi winced. When the ship
finally settled and all was still, quite literally...she
straightened up and forced a sugary sweet smile. "That was just
lovely. It's been a real treat, folks. Let's do this again
"Well, at least we only landed in a
barren wasteland," Ardac muttered under his breath, dropping back
hard into his seat.
"It was either that or have the
Empire extend us their best...which I'll pass on" Tashi shrugged,
un-strapping herself and climbing to her feet, taking a moment to
Kincaid was shaken by the sudden
crash landing, and his eyes went wide with the realization that all
the supplies went airborne just as he had, being thrown into
disarray, weapons being damaged, rations being strewn out all over
the deck, and precious medical supplies being utterly destroyed. His
face creased into a frown, looking as though he were about to cry,
his eyes wide and twitching with every reverberating bang...he tried
to swallow the lump in his throat as he picked himself off, luckily
okay from the hard landing. "What the..." He couldn't bring himself
to finish the sentence as he realized he now needed more
supplies and ship parts too.
Commander Atio un-strapped his
harness. It was a rough landing, but it could have been a lot worse.
"Tashi," Derek said as he rose from his seat, "Let's get down to
engineering and see how bad the damage is. Ardac, better get outside and check the
"Oh goody, how I missed my morning
constitutionals." Ardac slipped out of his seat, still agile in his
advancing age. He checked his sidearm, the standard DH-17, before
strolling down to the exit ramp.
Commander Atio strode from the
bridge with Tashi, hoping she would not jab a shiv into his gut the
moment they were alone in the turbolift for his earlier comment.
Tashi ran a hand over her chocolate
brown pony tail before pausing to root for her cigarras. She scowled
upon finding the pack in her pocket, largely crushed when she was
smacked against the sides of her chair. She shook her head in dismay.
"There's no hope now," she muttered before shuffling off after him
towards the belly of the ship...
Tong was smoking a cigarra in the
conference room. The entire ride down had been an adventure that he
was not happy about, but at least he had managed to shed the hated
rebel uniform. Dressed in grey combat overalls and armor, he looked
like a mercenary. The MSD-32 pistol was still on his thigh, and he'd
left the EE-3 on the table while he waited on the briefing to begin.
Corporal Seekith Shardin sat
at the table to Tong's right. The thrill seeking Cathar had enjoyed
their crash landing over an hour ago but knew that it was now time
to work. He was already in his gear but his weapons were still up in
the armory. Being the heavy weapons specialist he tended to carry
only the big guns, and they could be a little difficult to carry
around the ship all the time.
Aami made her way into the
conference room quickly and quietly took a seat at the far end and
waited for the briefing to begin.
Lieutenant Leo Kincaid strode into
the conference room, trying to keep himself together after the
tragedy that was their landing. He was far less intimidating than
the others, looking more like the guy who would throw you an extra
power pack if you needed it, but he maintained a stern expression in
light of the seriousness of the situation. He had nothing to say off
the bat, but he definitely had a lot of questions. And paper, for a
new supply list. He took a seat with the others at the
conference table, looking at at Seekith, then Tong, then to the
The door slid open, announcing
Ardac's entrance. The operations officer had only recently made it
back into the ship, and he did not look happy. In one hand he held a
cup of coffeine and the other a datapad with list of the all the
ship's external damage that he was able to get a look at. The Chiss
sat down, red eyes taking account of each person individually.
As Ardac looked at him, Seek
unfolded one arm and gave him a smart-alecky little wave. "You look
blue ... Do you need a hug?"
Ardac raised his brows. Un-amused,
to say the least. He took a sip of his coffeine, setting it down,
elbows propping on the edge of the conference table. "Are all Cathar
lacking in professionalism as you, or is it a unique trait?"
"That's enough. Both of you shut it
so we can have this briefing and complete the objective. No one
benefits from sitting on this rock a second longer than needed."
Tong spoke in a dead voice as normal, thickened by cigarra smoke.
Commander Derek Atio strode into the
conference room looking stoic and grim faced. He took a seat at the
head of the table and folded his hands triangularly.
Ardac rose momentarily as the
Commander entered, and settled back into his seat only after his
Last, but never least, came the
lanky meandering form of spitfire Tashi. She eyed the lot somewhat
pleasantly, remarking to herself what an assortment of oddballs this
was. She carried with her a small waste basket and slapped it down
on the table in front of her seat, a note taped to it reading
"Complaint Department: Inbox." Casually she dropped into her seat,
nudging it backwards slightly to prop a booted foot up on the edge
of the table. Light brown eyes shifted to their fearless leader as
she wove her fingers together behind her head.
"The power plant is fried," Derek
said grimly, quick and to the point, "It's not something we can fix.
The new transponder we were provided was obviously meant for a ship
with a more powerful unit. It's now obvious that when we turned it
on we experienced a total overload. All systems are offline and
that's not going to change. We need to get a new power plant and we
need to get off this rock or else we'll all end up in that prison we
just left. Is there any external damage?" he asked Ardac.
Ardac skimmed over the datapad he
held, clearing his throat of coffeine before speaking up in a bored
and uninterested, but still oddly professional, tone. "The fact we
can still use hull singularly is about the only good news I
have. There's nothing too severe, but the landing gear's stabilizers
are bantha fodder. If we manage to get up, we can't afford to come
down as hard we did again."
Derek nodded. That was somewhat of a
relief. "Supply," he inquired, "Anything we can trade for those
"Well...on today's menu we have
mashed rations, fried blasters, and our ever famous mystery medpacs"
Kincaid nodded, almost serious, and just incredulous at the havoc
wrought by the brutal landing they had taken.
"Alright," Derek said as he sunk
down into his seat at the table, "Lieutenant ... I want you to
proceed to the nearest mining town. Tashi will accompany you and
identify the parts we need. Do whatever you have to in order to
secure the new power plant." He paused for a moment, "Whatever you
have to ... do I make myself clear?"
Kincaid leaned in a little closer
after several minutes of silence. "Sorry...we have scraps, enough to
bribe locals not to report us, at best. You're perfectly, sir."
Kincaid sat back in his chair, back to all seriousness.
"While we're on the subject, this
was the last cup of coffeine." Ardac said dryly, sipping liberally
from the small vessel.
Tashi was still lamenting the
peripherals. "No coffeine...my cigarras are crushed...this is just
horrible," she mused quietly shaking her head.
"Captain Tong," Derek said as he
turned his attention towards the commando, "take your team to the
spaceport ... find us a new transponder. Better I don't know where
it came from."
Tong had a moment of difficulty not
lecturing the ship's commanding officer on his squeamishness, but he
fought past it with the help of his cigarra. "You have a size of
ship in mind?"
"Better be something small,"
Commander Atio stood from the table. "Move out. Meet back here in
A dark eyebrow singularly arched as
Tashi studied Tong from across the table. "You got another one of
those you'd care to part with?"
Tong turned his flat, dead,
predatory gaze on the officer for a moment and then pried a pack
from the harness that sat over his armor. A moment later, they were
sailing through the air towards her. "Don't crash anymore and it
won't be an issue." With that, he was on his feet and heading for
the ramp, having collected his EE-3 in stride.
The moon's desert-like climate meant
most days were long and hot, and a lot of time was spent just hiding
form the sun. On the outskirts of the mining town, a few merchants
stood around under their small, makeshift tents. The largest had a
clay-like building and looked like several ships had crash-landed
leaving piles of old metal parts of all sorts. It did not seem like
anyone could keep an inventory. The merchant appeared to be the
bulky Houk hauling a piece of an old hyperdrive from one end of his
lot to the next, ignoring the scorching rays of the sun.
Leo Kincaid walked casually through
the stifling heat, or as casually as one could stranded on a remote
world with a ship that would not move. He nudged his head towards
Tashi and stopped for a moment and then nodded up towards the Houk
hauling the equipment. "Look at the size of that thing. I bet you we
could get what we need from him, got any ideas off the top of your
Tashi regarded the Houk with a half
frown. "I dunno. Think we can interest him in some of your mystery
The Houk was not accustomed to
people standing on the edge of his lot, and did not take kindly to
it, either. The beast of an alien dropped the hyperdrive component,
unconcerned with its well-being, and lumbered up at them angrily.
"Hey, hey, hey! You no loiter on my spot. You buy or you go!" he
Kincaid snickered, pondering what
kind of creature the brute was. "I suppose, he looks like he could
use some...uh oh...greetings! We come to buy." Kincaid nodded
vigorously. "You can help us?"
"Grujo help you? You funny. You pay
maybe I give, but no help." The Houk waved his finger at them,
rubbing grease and oil off on a dirty apron.
"Right, we pay...if you have our
part. You accept supplies? We can pay with more supplies than our
credit is worth!" Kincaid smiled, as if seeming earnest, not knowing
if the bluff would work.
Tashi's eyes were following his
fingers in disdain. It was all she could do to keep her nose from
crinkling as she contemplated whether the stuff on his apron really
was grease and oil. "And we're selling cookies,"
she chipped haphazardly.
Grujo's eyebrows, or what passed for
them, rose at the mention of credits. "Grujo accept credits, Grujo
accept many things. What part you want from Grujo? Grujo has
hyperdrive parts, stabilizers, engine components..." The burly Houk
rattled off a list, counting away on his fingers. A loogie was
hocked and spit off into the distance. "No lookie too long, you tell
part, you pay I give. No ifs, Grujo not like ifs. What part?"
"Okay then...we need an ionization
reactor and regulator..." He seemed to ponder the specifics...
"Mason-Branger 7085 if you've got one. We have a lot of supplies
that I bet you can't get around here that would worth a lot
of credits. You like?"
"You say if again and Houk
not like if. Maybe Grujo has both parts, but Grujo want good
credits. Or Grujo will accept human female as trade." He leered at
the woman, patting the muscular bulge of his gut. "Grujo definitely
have reactor, he remembers well."
"Maybe Grujo can sell both parts
together, but cred must be real good. Good cred, better than Empire
cred. Good cred or no part for tiny people." The Houk seemed awfully
scatterbrained as he prattled on, turning away to heft up a random
piece of equipment.
Kincaid laughed to hide his
nervousness, thinking on his feet, but not quite trusting the Houk.
"We'll take the reactor, you Grujo will like trade. We give
you medpacs, you get lots of credits, and how about blasters. You
sell blasters, Grujo become rich." Kincaid put a heavy emphasis on
the last word to get the thing's mind off of Tashi as he reached out
and put a hand on her forearm as if to tell her not to react.
The Houk pounded his fist onto his
chest. "What Grujo need blaster, medpac for? Grujo healthy, strong.
I take cred, you will give good cred. You not find part anywhere
else for many, many miles, Grujo guarantees."
Kincaid frowned, knowing he could
bargain. "But Grujo not find good blasters, and new
medpacs anywhere else. We guarantee. Also, we do you service.
Grujo have problem? We take care of it...no one knows Grujo was
"Strong and healthy won't repel
blaster bolts, buddy," Tashi mumbled. She turned her head so that her
words were for the Lieutenant's ears only. "He's bluffing anyway and
losing focus. He just gave himself away referring to the reactor as
two parts and then just now as one. Keep driving. I think we can
He hoped the offer would sound
lucrative enough. Money was not everything, everyone could always
use a friend, or so Kincaid hoped.
"Why you talk like Grujo now? Not
before. You try mock Grujo, try tell him how Grujo runs business?
Grujo not need blasters, Grujo take care of own problems." Then
Tashi spoke up, sparking that Houk temper. "You talk like Grujo not
here and hear! Grujo want super good cred for part. Who make trade
anyway? Human female or human male? You don't try trick Grujo."
Kincaid shook his head furiously,
with wide eyes. "No, we think you are big, strong, maybe strong
enough to know that everyone should use your name!" Flattery... this
was Kincaid's cup of tea. "Maybe you have competition? We take care
of competition, then everyone says, Only Grujo can take care of
you around here. And I'll be making the trade. She's with me,
you really wouldn't like her, she looks okay on the outside, but she
is much like bad ship" Kincaid pointed to a large piece of wreckage,
hoping to distract the Houk long enough to shoot Tashi a dirty look
and raise his finger to his lips.
Grujo seemed to think for a moment
and then bellowed at Kincaid's apparent joke. "Aaah, so like Hutt on
inside? Grujo think that funny. Grujo like you. Grujo has no
competition, Grujo best there is. Come with Grujo, he show part, we
make deal. Bad-ship woman stay off Grujo lot, not leave Hutt-slime
trail." He wrapped his massive arm around Kincaid's shoulder,
dragging him along towards the part under the tent.
"Yeah that's real funny," Tashi
mused, eyes rolling. "I was at a disadvantage to begin with since
I'm apparently the only one who isn't fluent in Big Dumb Oaf"
she chuckled to herself, eyes panning the lot keenly.
Kincaid smiled as the large creature
half embraced him and shot a look at Tashi over his shoulder, as if
she should know what to do by leaving and packing the supplies for
an imminent trade. Then, he walked, trying to raise his laughter loud
enough to drown out her mutterings.
It worked, luckily. Beneath the tent
sat the part. It was not in perfect condition, but was serviceable.
The Houk released Kincaid, patting the part lightly. "Grujo keep all
ju...inventory...nice and working. Grujo will trade for creds. Also
blasters since Grujo like you. I know people who will buy. What
number creds you give for trade?"
Kincaid frowned, his brow creasing,
then decided to go with the truth. "I've never had to buy one of
these before, but we are a little short, we could spare you two
thousand, no problem. We must have some for food, or else female..."
Kincaid pointed over his shoulder to where he came from."...be like
angry Hutt." He laughed at his own joke, finding the
comparison all too humorous, hoping the humor would satisfy the Houk.
"Part in very good condition. Houk
understand what you mean about female. Houk wife eat like two Hutts,
she big as one." He chuckled, slapping Kincaid on the back, hard
enough to leave a bruise but not knock him over. Friendly. "Grujo
will accept two thousand cred, that good cred, and also ten
blasters, only if working though. This deal, you accept?"
Kincaid laughed, wincing slightly
but letting the pain subside before sticking his hand out to offer a
standard human handshake. "Two thousand creds and ten working
blasters, I accept deal. I like you Grujo, you're a good
businessman." He was beaming like the twin suns of Tatooine, partly
because he was glad to get off this rock and partly because he truly
did like this Houk.
"Grujo tell you, he best there
is...for one hundred cred, Grujo carry part to ship. But you can
also strap to Hutt-woman, use slime-trail to drag." Another
belly-shaking laugh as he grabbed a datapad from some nook. He kept
"Deal Grujo!" The trek was seemingly
short back to the ship considering the long adventure they had
embarked on and had yet to finish.
About half a standard hour of
shuffling through and test firing blasters, Kincaid brought back two
cases of five each with the desired amount of credits. Though the
crew was not happy about the price, there was a unanimous
understanding of how important it was.
After that, it was only a matter of
making the transaction official. With one last pat on the back,
Grujo sent them on their way with the part. It was a good business
day for the Houk.
Tashi had long since returned to the
ship and was seated comfortably in a semi-reclining position and
enjoying a cigarra in the fresh air. As the newly appointed Hutt, it
was now her job to lie around...and do nothing.
Nash Adiras, a native of Corellia,
took in a long drag on his cigarra as he tightened a bolt on his
hyperdrive. "Amazing," he thought to himself sarcastically...his
hyperdrive gave out four times before it finally kicked into gear.
The fact that he invested so much of his hard earned credits into a
ship that was falling apart irked him.
The trip out of the ship and to the
row of hangars that passed for a spaceport was uneventful to say the
least. Tong had kept his eyes up for security, and found it to be
light enough that they could rob the place and fire less than fifty
shots. But that was not the goal. So Tong led what appeared to be a
small band of mercenaries into the hangers, looking for a suitable
craft. The YT-1300 was perfect. He brought his team to a halt just
outside to speak with them quickly before any violence could ensue.
"Alright, simple sweep and clear of the ship. Nothing fancy. But any
occupants, we heard into the cargo bays, alive if possible. Any
questions on this assault plan? You two are battle buddies for this.
You don't go anywhere without each other. Side arms or E-11s are
best in here. Conditions are going to be cramped."
Nash made a mental note to not buy
another hyperdrive, or anything for that matter, from a one eyed
Rodian with a spice habit. After this next job, he planned on
investing in a new hyperdrive, one that actually worked when he
needed it to work. His right hand reached down for the panel that
covered the innards of the machine, quickly putting it back into
place. A sigh escaped his mouth as he removed the greasy gloves from
Seekith nodded his understanding. He
glanced down at the BlasTech E-11 in his hands, which looked even
smaller in his big paws. He had been trying to frown too badly, but
he missed his big gun. Oh what I would give for even a disruptor or
concussion rifle right now...anything but a puny E-11. He had even
complaining to Aami the trek there. He turned and looked his sad
eyes at her, to convey those same thoughts he had already whined to
Aami looked at Tong and then Seekith
as she pulled out her blaster pistol. She gave Tong a nod and
"Alright. Let's move little one,"
Seekith said to Aami, "Remember, just stay close to me. If I get
shot, you plug your finger into the hole so I can keep shooting."
"Alright, you folks have the
engineering spaces, I'll take the living quarters and the cockpit."
And with that, his MSD-32 disruptor pistol, the bane of Merr-Sonn
designers, came free of its holster, while he left the EE-3 on its
sling. Tong was the first one up the ramp, and moving silently,
worked to clear the spaces he had taken responsibility for.
Seekith moved up right behind Tong,
with his E-11 raised and ready. As he made it to the top of the
ramp, he turned left instead of right, heading for the engineering
Aami followed close behind Seekith
looking around as they walked up the ramp, her pistol at the ready.
Jix placed his hydrospanner on top
of the hyperdrive, rubbing his tired eyes. He had spent all morning
attempting to repair his ship from the overheating most of the
ship's systems endured. Indeed, owning a heavily modified ship had
R2-X4, an astromech droid, wheeled
through the corridors of the YT-1300. To his amazement he spotted a
group of unknown visitors aboard the ship and began beeping
wildly and loudly as he sounded the alarm.
Seekith heard the droid before he
saw it. Thinking fast, and not thoroughly enough, he ran up to the
droid and punted it as hard as he could in the direction of the
engineering room. Instantly realizing what he had done, the large
With a whirl of discomfort R2 went
flying through the air and landed on its back in the engineering
part of the ship, "Beep. Whirl. Boop."
Tong would have closed his eyes in
irritation, but his cold, methodical mentality won out, and he
simply gaze a hand signal for them to speed up, and get done, while
he moved at a silent jog, checking all the angles, his disruptor
pistol's muzzle focused on whatever his eyes were. He moved through
the living spaces, and into the cock pit, and then back to the ramp
to wait, and cover his squad.
The alarm klaxon startled him and
Jix almost fell backwards. The sound of the alarm mixed with the
shrill of the R2 unit's mechanical cries was enough to give him a
headache. If it wasn't for the R2 unit screaming, he would
have just passed it off as another ship malfunction. His hand shot
down to his waist, his hand grabbing the DL-44 he had slung in a
holster on his belt, whipping it out and holding it in front of him.
Seekith quickly moved down the hall
in the direction of the droid. He signaled with his left hand for
Aami to follow, while his right thumb switched the E-11 to the stun
setting. He stopped just at the edge of the door way into
Aami covered her ears as they got
closer to droid. "Someone shut it off!" She pressed harder trying to
keep from going deaf.
Jix quickly turned and grabbed onto
a red wire, yanking it out of the slot it was plugged into, causing
the alarm to stop crying. "What is it?" He yelled at the little
R2-X4 beeped and shook violent on
its back, unable to right itself.
Hearing the other man speak, Seekith
crouched next to the door way waiting to see how it played out. If
Tong could get the part they needed fast, then they would not have
to shoot the guy.
Jix aimed the blaster ahead of him,
his right index finger rested gently against the trigger. "What
could possibly be happening now?" He thought to himself, realizing
that he's had the day from hell.
Seekith quickly put just the rifle
into the door way, fired a quick stun coil into the center of the
room, and yanked it back.
Tong had taken a kneeling stance,
the MSD-32 not wavering in his hands as he periodically checked down
the ramp, and then back towards the engineering spaces. This was
taking too long. The ship was not a cruiser. It was a simple
Aami realized the droid had been
shut off and removed her hands from her ringing ears and blinked a
few times. "I forgot how annoying R2 units can be." She sighed with
relief as the ringing left.
Seekith tapped his comm unit and
spoke a simple phrase in a low tone to his captain, "We got a live
Perhaps it was simply a false alar...and
of course, the sight of a blaster rifle being aimed inside the same
room Jix was in changed his mind about that. The stun coil was about
three inches away from knocking him out. "Sithspit!"
Seekith smiled as he heard the
curse. He raises his voice and yelled around the edge of the door
frame, "Good Afternoon! This is Gorhay of the local divisions of
angry Jawa union. Due to a lack of accessible ships on the hills, we
are now first to come and steal directly from your ship. It would
be greatly appreciated if you could through out any weapons you may
have, laying down on the floor, and not move. Thank you!"
Aami laughed at Seekith's remark.
"Yep that will work. Thanks a lot Seekith now we don't have to shoot
him." She said in a smartass tone as she pats him on the back.
Seekith turned back to whisper to
Aami, "Tell Captain Tong that I have this one pinned down. If you
guys can get the transponder we can leave ASAP."
"Captain Tong said not to split up
didn't he?" Aami looked up at him and raised an eyebrow.
Seekith gave her a wide-eyed look
and tapped the comm unit she was wearing.
How could he let this happen so
easily? Apparently Jix needed to also invest on locks for his ship.
"I just put this thing together and now you're going to rip it back
Tong did not need to be told, as he
came up behind them, and gave a nod back to the ramp. "Both of you
go get the part, and guard the ramp. I'll take care of this." And
with that, he pulled what looked to be an incendiary grenade from
the harness that held the power cells and grenades for easy access.
After a moment, he pressed a button, received a beep in response and
pitched it into the room. "That is an incendiary grenade. It's
rigged with a remote detonator and is tamper proof. You will either
throw out your weapons, and step to the door with your hands
raised, or you die screaming. You have five seconds to make a
Seekith tapped Aami on the shoulder
to fallow him as he moved past Tong, towards the cockpit of the
Aami blinked and turned to follow
her battle buddy. "Hey wait up!"
"Alright, alright!" A defeated Jix
tossed his blaster out of the room. "I'm coming!" He slowly began
walking out of the engineering room, unsure as to how many opponents
he would face.
As Seekith made it into the cockpit,
he let his E-11 sling back behind him as he started took around.
Without looking back at her, he spoke to Aami, "Cover down the hall
for me. Shoot at anything that isn't super pissed and has three
scars on his face."
Aami nodded to Seekith and turned to
cover the hall as he looted the cockpit.
Tong stood alone, two meters back
from the hatch that the pilot would be coming out of, his disruptor
pistol raised already, so that it would be at center mass for his
target. "Alright, on your knees, keep your hands up. Is there
anything of value on this ship, credits, arms, cargo. And trust me,
your life depends on this answer. Lie to me, and I'll leave you in
a state that your droid will sweep you up."
Upon hearing the man's voice, he
stopped dead in his tracks and dropped down to his knees as he said,
his hands raised in the air. "There's uh, a few blasters in my
quarters along with a couple hundred credits, but that's it."
Seekith ripped open a control panel
and spotted the transponder they were looking for. In one big
movement, the item was ripped from the console, tangling cords and
all. He turned and gave Aami a winked, "Look what I found just
laying around under some machinery."
Tong made sure that he had the man
dead center in his sights, his dead brown eyes locked on the
prisoner's. "Any traps that are going to hurt one of my men or me?"
his voice was as cold as if it had passed through a voice scrubber
and his aim was unwavering.
"None," Jix stared down the barrel
of the weapon, which was nothing new. This wasn't the first time a
blaster was held at his head, so, he had learned how to keep his
cool when your life was in danger.
Seekith tapped the comm as he
started to move back down the hallway, "We got it, sir."
Aami turned to face him. "... You
know I'm amazed you didn't get shocked."
Leaving the weaver stance to aim
with one hand so he could operate his comm with the other, he spoke
quickly. "Check living compartment. Be careful. Might be a few
hundred credits, and a few weapons in there that we can make use
of." As soon as he was done speaking, he returned to the two handed
grip, and waited for confirmation as to the loot they might make off
Seekith turned mid stride head down
a different hallway. He swept into the room with the E-11 raised in
his left, and the transponder still held in his right. The rifle
looked almost like a pistol in his hand.
"Will you stop that!" Aami followed
Seekith quickly down the hall and into the room.
"Stop what?" Seekith asked as he
handed her the transponder. He quickly start to rummage through the
room for weapons and credits. As he found the credits lifted them to
show to Aami. He only pulled out 180 credits and left another fifty
sitting in there. He raised his finger to his lips to show Aami that
he did not want anyone to know that he left the guy some credits.
Aami nodded and smiles as she held
the transponder close. "Hurry up so we can go."
Seekith quickly stash the credits in
his pocket and then start looking for the blasters. As he bumped the
bed, the top half shifted. He lifted it up to reveal a large stock
of blaster pistols and rifles. His eyes grew big as he spotted the
payload. A Stouker concussion rifle! The blaster and the E-11 were
quickly loaded into the bag. As Seekith left the room, he now
carried the Stouker instead. He tapped his comm again, "We got it
"Good. Evac as planned." Tong nodded
softly, and fired two shots. The first was meant to disintegrate the
man they had robbed. He knew they could not leave witnesses. It
would only lead to the transponder being caught before they could
really escape. He had nothing against the man, but that was the
business he was in. He meant to disintegrate him, and then the
second shot struck the droid, aiming to render it useless and fried.
Jix' baby blue eyes continued to
stare down the barrel, wondering how long it would take before...and
that was as far as he got. His thought was cut short by the blaster
that was in front of him. The bolt smacked him dead in the face
instantly disintegrating him into nothing.
The bolt R2-X4 that let loose a loud
beep as its entire circuit board was fried and rendered useless.
Seekith was just about to make it
down the ramp when he heard the disruptor go off. He stood still,
staring down the hall and waited for Tong. His eyes were huge and
his mouth was slightly open.
Aami ran into the back of Seekith
and fell back. "Hey! Why did you stop?"
With the deed done, Tong holstered
the weapon, and headed from the engineering space. The ship was
clear, and he nodded to Seekith. "You heard me. Evac. Back to the
ship. We got what we needed and more."
Seekith stepped closer to Dagon with
a somber look on his face. He leaned in close to whisper into his
hear so the Aami could not hear, "I don't mean to question you sir
... but you did not need to do that."
Aami stared at Tong. "Wha..." Aami
jumped to her feet and stomped over to him pushing Seekith out of
the way. She gave him a hard stare "There was no need for that
Tong looked his heavy weapons
specialist directly in the eye, his icy gaze not wavering. There was
no joy, and no anger there. The only possible tell the man had was
that his voice was a bit quieter than normal. "It was necessary. He
reports the robbery, and this entire exercise only makes sure we
don't make it to where we need to go. We don't leave witnesses. You
are both Cuy'Val Dar. You no longer exist to the galaxy. Now get
back to the ship. We don't have time for this. If you really want to
whine about it, and seek a transfer, we can discuss it in orbit. And
that is not up for question or debate. Move." There was a particular
emphasis put on the last word, as he finally made contact with his
Aami stared at him coldly saying
Seekith let Tong pass so that he
could take up the rear. As he came started to move he spoke Aami but
in just loud enough of a tone that Tong could hear, "We may be
Cuy'Val Dar but we are also member of the Alliance, not bullies of
the Empire." Seekith's anger filled eyes were still locked on
Tong's. He stepped back signaling that he would prefer to Tong to
lead them out.
Tong did not move, only kept his
eyes on Aami a moment longer, and then to Seekith. "You don't like
it, get out of my unit. You can't fight a war from Kessel, which is
the best you could hope for if he reported this." And with that, he
was down the ramp, and headed back towards the Argo.
Aami followed Tong holding the
transponder tightly. She was very angry with her Captain and was not
about to let him hear the end of what he had done.
Commander Derek Atio sat in the
conference room. It had been more than six hours since the two teams
had set out. He was becoming restless.
Tong brought the duffel bag filled
with weapons and credits back to the ship, and dropped them on the
conference table, lighting a cigarra as he did. He would have to
deal with the insubordination of earlier before they deployed again,
he was sure. But he dropped the transponder on top the bag, and
waited to see if there was anything else.
"Good work, Captain," Commander Atio
said as he reached onto the bag and retrieved the transponder. He
slid it across the table to Ardac. "I want this installed right
Ardac picked up the new transponder,
turning it over a few times, inspecting it closely. "Where'd these
scratches come from? Did you pry it out with your teeth?" He
narrowed his eyes at them, before rising to get on the task. It
would only take him a few standard hours.
Leo Kincaid sat smiling in the
conference room, smug as he could be. A new ionization reactor and
regulator sat in the ship, he had told the Houk to just leave it
wherever. His job was done. "Be sure to thank the Hutt for me."
"I trust it wasn't too much trouble
to get, Lieutenant?" Commander Atio said as he hoisted up the new
power planet. He would install this damn thing himself.
Commander Derek Atio strode into the
bridge of the Argo and took his usual seat behind the flight crew.
He looked towards the operations officer stoically, "Ardac, report."
"All systems online, we're green
across the board." Ardac reported coolly. He tapped the newly
liberated transponder, praying he did not get another spark shower.
Commander Atio stood from his seat
and walked in-between the pilot and co-pilot. He looked up at the
planet Sriluur which loomed in the distance. He paused for a moment,
his gaze turning into a focused glare, "Then let's finish this."