(Note: Each volume of Star Wars: Tapestry contains 500 in-character posts. Since we moved our game away from its prior home mid-volume, Volume III of the game is currently in-progress. The first 108 posts of Volume III can be found here. A downloadable pdf of those posts will soon be available, and when this volume reaches 500 total posts, they'll be combined into a proper pdf of the complete Volume III. And now, back to the story! )
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The Snark shook violently from multiple laser cannon blasts, and Inex Jonn spun the craft frantically, trying to avoid any further damage. Having just blasted off from Owara, the Sakiyan had been laying in a course for Mull Station and thinking about getting a bite from the galley when all hell had broken loose.
There was only one other craft on the sensors, and it was closing rapidly. Its transponder identified it as the Archaeologist, a vessel Inex was unfamiliar with. As the strange craft continued its unrelenting assault, he opened a channel.
"Archaeologist," Inex shouted into the comm. "What is the meaning of this? I have no quarrel with you!"
Over the comm there was only silence, while the air around Inex thundered with the continued blaster barrage. He looked frantically at the navicomputer, which busily crunched the numbers for his destination. Twenty seconds to go.
"I take it you're working for Lord Pavana," Inex supposed. "Listen, Pavana's going to-" nearly knocked out of his seat by another blast, Inex had to fight to steer the ship and get his headset back on. "Pavana's going to want me alive! And my prisoner! If you kill us, you'll really be karking things up! Acknowledge!"
Again, no response. No orders, no demands, nothing. It was as if a damned robot were flying that ship.
Around Inex, alarms blared and red lights began to flash. He studied the boards. Hull integrity about thirty percent, astrogational computations at ninety-five. Inex could live with those odds.
"You're making some powerful enemies, Archaeologist," Inex warned.
Continued cannon fire was his pursuer's only answer, and as the Snark's navicomputer finished its plotting, Inex hit the jump switch hard. The beleaguered transport shot out of space in an instant, leaving the Archaeologist to circle the area confusedly, like a hungry shark in a vast, black sea.
Somewhere near Ryloth:
The transport came out of hyperspace, Ryloth filling the view ports before her.
The captain of the small vessel calls in for clearance and begins his decent to the small town of Nabat. Not one of the biggest markets on Ryloth, but he had a delivery to make and credits to earn, so who was he to complain.
Back in the hold, going over his stock a Twi'lek merchant,by the name of Did'Noma, makes sure that the swoop bikes and goods are secured and undamaged. Walking over to a large shipping crate, he placed a gentle hand to it. Whispering in Ryl, "We are almost there my lady." he paused almost reverently, then he continues his rounds making ready for their arrival in Nabat.
Setting down at the pad on the outskirts of Nabat, the Penchant's Crow eases down, refueling and maintenance crews run about committing themselves to their duties.
Did'Noma, walked down the loading ramp, "First pay the captain, second arrange for the unloading and storage,, ahh, then a drink." he said to himself as he walked down the ramp.
At the bottom, the captain waited to be payed, and just beyond him the loading officer.
"500 credits my dear captain, I do believe that was the deal."
"Yep, that was the deal." the captain said in return to Did'Noma's cheerful approach.
"Ya got an hour or two to unload your goods, it will take them that long to get her prepped and refueled." the captain stated as a dock mechanic walked over with a data pad in hand.
"Very good captain, I shall be unloaded and ready for the return trip in under an hour." Did'Noma payed the captain and headed to the loading office to arrange for the moving and storage of goods till their respective buyers come to retrieve them.
Nabat, not being the busiest of markets, is not with out storage for Did'Noma's delivery, and he makes all the arrangements with the office, giving them the list of respective clients that will be coming to retrieve they purchases. Satisfied that all was as it should be, Did'Noma had the loading crew load the large shipping crate and a modified 74-Z speeder bike into the back of a speeder truck. Paying the crew a modest tip for a job well done Did'Noma hops into the truck and speeds off into the rocky terrain beyond the cities limits.
Not far, just a few clicks out side the city limits, behind an outcropping of rock Did'Noma stops and moves to the back and the shipping crate. Moving to the crates magnalock Did'Noma entered the code sequence to unlock the container. With a pop and a hiss the lid rised up on hydroliks. Inside the container was a droid, a BD-3000 model.
'System scan,,,complete. Environmental scan,,,complete. Activating all internal and motor functions, photo-receptors on, area scan,,,complete, life form found, process, match, Did'Noma, classification friend.'
"It is good to see you again my friend, I take it that we have arrived."
"Yes my lady, we have arrived. You and Rhainnon have both made it to Ryloth safe and sound, as I promised your Master."
Climbing up out of the shipping crate, "Would you unlock Rhainnon and move him from the back of the truck." The droid said as it moves and flexed each joint and servo, checking for stiffness after the long trip to Ryloth from Dween. "You have served both my Master and myself well Did'Noma."
"It is my pleasure my lady, you know my feelings towards the Empire." he said as he unlocked and moves the modified 74-Z speederbike out of the back of the speedertruck.
Walking over to the speeder the droid gave it a quick inspection, "Yes your feelings towards the Empire are quite well known to me my friend." she said as she mounted the bike and started it up.
"Shynite, here is your ID and registration code as an independent droid, I have arranged employment at the cantina for you under your old name of Sheen." he said as he handed her a code cylinder and a data card. "I have done all I can for you my dear, and for what its worth,,, May the Force be with you Shynite."
Throwing up the hood of her ash gray cloak and securing the veil she turned to Did'Noma, "May the Force be with you also my friend, and may we meet again when times are brighter and our hearts are lighter." and with that she kicked Rhainnon into high gear and sped off to her new home.
Nabat, such a small town, and the site of Shynite as she sped her way through the dusty streets did not go unnoticed. Many where the heads and eyes that turned to see the flash of silver and gray streaking passed, strung up the dry baked earth.
It did not take her long to reach the Stones Throw cantina. It was here that her new life would start.
She dismounted Rhainnon, turning to the speeder, "Find a place to park and keep a scan up while I'm here."
Rhainnon popped a beep and a whistle and moved off to an open spot to the left of the cantina's entrance.
Shynite turned and walked in to the cantina, no sooner had she entered and removed her hood and veil, did a rather large Twi'lek male bar her way. "We no serve your kind here." He said in an imposing manor.
Stopping Shynite produced the data card with her authorization as an independent droid. "I am Sheen, I believe I am expected." she returned to the bouncer.
Taking the data card, "Wait here." he turned and walked off to a doorway leading to a back room.
While Shynite waited she made not of the patrons there, mostly Twi'lek, with spattering of Rodian, Human, and a Gamorrean here and there. The crowd was light, the waitresses having time between orders, but the hour was still fairly early and Shynite was sure it would get livelier as the hours grew on.
A few moments later the bouncer returned and motioned for Shynite to follow. He led her threw the patrons to the back room. Shynite could sense the eyes of the patrons as she passed, her audio sensors picking up the whispers and comments made.
As She and the bouncer entered the back room she was presented to the Stones Throw's owner and manager. "Sheen." he said then turned and left to go about his duties leaving the two to handle their own.
The owner, a Twi'Lek female introduced herself, "Hello Sheen, my name is Ura'Ren. I see that Did'Noma did not lie as to your beauty. The wage is set 50 credits per set, 3 sets per shift, one shift per daily cycle. This will increase as time and the show of patrons dictates. Is this an acceptable deal?" the pinkish skinned Twi'lek asked.
Shynite took a moment to appear as if contemplating the deal, "This is acceptable."
"Good then, tomorrow you shall start do bring any music you wish, any up beat tempo works well here. And it is Sheen correct?" asked Ura'Ren.
"Yes, Sheen is correct." Shynite said with a slight curtsy.
Standing Ura'Ren reached over her desk and extended her hand to Shynite, "You have an impressive resume I look forward to your performance."
Shynite took Ura's hand in her own and with a slight bow, "I thank you, I hope my performance pleases you. Until tomorrow then." and with that Shynite, Sheen, turned and left.
Safe in the spinning embrace of hyperspace, Inex Jonn set the Snark's controls for autopilot and rose, shaking off the post-dogfight jitters. It occured to the Sakiyan that it had been an extremely long, eventful day, and his eyes were heavy with fatigue. Still, he was in much better shape than the Snark was. And when he arrived at Mull Station, he was going to have some serious explaining to do.
The crimelord Obar Mull probably wouldn't be angered to see Inex alive (it was his estranged wife Seema who'd ordered the Sakiyan executed, after all). But he'd likely be annoyed that Inex had stolen one of his transports. And he'd likely be livid over the condition that Inex was bringing it back in. And he'd likely be furious over the loss of the vessel's four-man crew, which Inex's former companion Ellex-Zerozero had electrocuted to death.
Yes, some serious explaining to do.
Still, Inex had an ace. And it was time to go and check on that ace's condition. He found her in the galley where he'd left her, still bound by the wrists and strapped into a lounge seat. She was conscious now, the effects of the heavy stun having finally worn off. Her feline features were strained with hatred, her eyes piercing him with a predatory gleam.
"Are you hungry?" Inex asked cordially.
The Farghul woman merely glared back at him, and Inex shrugged, opening a compartment and inspecting its contents. Ration bars. Ick.
The ebon-skinned alien took one, peeling back the wrapper and biting into it as he slid into the seat across from his prisoner, Mir'isha.
"Perhaps a drink?" he offered.
"I need to use the refresher," the woman said flatly.
Inex smiled. "Of course you do. Where are my manners? It is so easy to forget them while under fire." He paused in chewing the flavourless ration bar, making no move to get up. "I'll let you use the refresher in a moment, and then you'll spend the rest of our journey in there. But first, a few questions, yes?"
"Go to hell."
Inex chuckled, smiling warmly. "Without a doubt, my dear, without a doubt. But at the very least, not until I have finished with you. Are you familiar with a vessel called the Archaeologist, that attacked us over Owara?"
"Well... no matter. As you know, I shall be taking you to an ex-employer of mine, Obar Mull. Obar has no interest in you specifically, but he intends to sell you to the pirate lord Tarvos Ghull. Obar's bounty says you were once one of Ghull's pirates, correct?"
"I'd assumed. However, whatever grievance Ghull may have with you for leaving his gang, it appears that Ghull's real prize here is your friends, back there on Owara... the Jedi."
Mir'isha stared at Inex flatly. "There are no Jedi. You're an idiot."
Inex looked pained. "I'd have agreed with you, before the events of today. Now, I'm afraid to say that I am a 'true believer'. Tell me... what does a pirate lord want with Jedi?"
Mir'isha remained silent, but there was something new in her cat-like features. It was fear. Inex doubted if the Farghul herself knew what Tarvos Ghull wanted with her friends.
"You know," Inex said, leaning back in the seat, "I'd always understood these 'Jedi' to be knights in gleaming armour, infallible paragons of justice... before they almost seized control of the galaxy, that is."
Mir looked sharply at him, but Inex held up both hands and smiled. "Now, don't get me wrong - I'm no fan of this 'Emperor' of ours, either. But I must say, I'm a little surprised by the behaviour of your friends, the only 'Jedi' that I have seen."
Noticing the confused look on Mir's face, Inex went on. "Of course," he explained, "you were stunned unconscious for most of the chase. You missed some excitement! At one point, it became necessary to cause a pileup of dozens of speeders to escape your friends. I have no doubt that many civilians were killed, and even more wounded.
"I don't know, I confess I had expected that these 'Jedi', these infallible paragons of justice, would have halted their pursuit to see to the wounded. But do you know what they did?"
Mir's face was blank.
Inex looked deep in her eyes. "They sped right on past, intent only on rescuing you, and murdering me. Two individuals, among dozens. So you see, it would appear that these paragons' armor only gleams during office hours. And if you have taken what they consider to be theirs... all bets are off."
Inex exhaled thoughtfully. "I occasionally wrestle with my conscience over the things that I have done. But you know, when I look at our collected peoples' heroes, the finest this galaxy has to offer... I don't feel nearly so bad!" Smiling, he crumpled up his ration bar wrapper, plopping it neatly into a waste receptacle, and drew his blaster.
"Now, let's see about getting you into that refresher."
Leaving the Stone's Throw, Shynite mounts back up on Rhainnon and headed to the market.
'Time enough to look around for accessories and lodging.' she thought as she sped on her way.
Slowed to a moderate cruising speed Shynite stopped by a small parts shop. There in the shops small window, was a sign, "Loft Space Available".
"What do you think Rhainnon?" she said to her steed.
'Scan - Threat - NA. ,,, area, terrain,,,' exedra, exedra, came up on the display screen.
Shynite chuckled to herself. "Park. Rest." she instructed.
Shynite dismounted Rhainnon and entered the small shop,taking a quick look about and scan as she did.
"May I help you?" she heard from the back on the clustered shop. The voice old and graveled, drifted amounts the stacks of parts and oddities.
"I come about the sign, is the space still available and what is the price?" she replied.
"Who do you represent, and what need of it would they have?"
"Myself,, and quarters." Shynite said in answer to the quarry.
From around behind a pile of odds and ends appeared and old and bent Ryn. "Now that would be something of interest." he said as he emerged. "Now,, who would you be?" his shaggy gray eyebrows raised to his mane. He leaned heavy upon a walking stick made from Kriin-wood.
She curtsied, "My name is Sheen, I am a dancer of recent employment to the Stone's Throw. I will be in need of lodging and storage for my speeder bike."
"I see,, I see. Well in that case,, I believe I may be of assistance to you." he move closer to her as he spoke. "My, my.. You are a pretty one aren't you? Let me see,, I think 100 credits a week will suffice,, I don't suppose you will be much of a problem at all." he quoted as he rambled searching for something in his pocket.
"That would be acceptable." she produced a credit chip from her belt pouch, and handed it to the old Ryn.
He accepted the chip with one hand still searching his pockets with the other. "Where now is that,,. Ahh, there you are." he stated as he produced a key card from an inner breast pocket of his coveralls. "This is the key to the loft, the entrance is around the side and you can park your speeder in the garage. Have to make some room though. My name is Harlin Vox. You let me know if there is anything you need, and I'll see what I can do for you."
"I thank you sir Harlin, and I am sure everything will be fine."
Harlin moved to his service counter and swiped the chip making the transfer of funds complete. Then handed the chip back to Shynite,
Just then another customer walked into the shop, a Chadra-Fan.
"HeyHarlinyougotanythingnew?" it said as it, he, sauntered in holding a relusorboard in his hands.
"Caleb is that you?" Harlim replied leaning over the counter to get a better look at the small fellow as he entered.
"Ofcorseitis,whoelsewouldcomeandrumagearoundthough allofthisjunk?" the Chadra-Fan stated motioning around to the piles of parts and gizmos. "Ooooh,Whoareyou?" he said as his big brown eyes came to rest on Shynite.
"Well hello there, I am Sheen. And who might you be?" she asked the little guy.
"Caleb." came the reply almost to quick to catch. "Whattypeofdriodmodelareyou? Ihaveneverseenadroidlikeyoubefore. Whereareyoufrom? Whodoyoubelongto?" he said in rapid succession.
"Those are a lot of questions to answer all at once." she started to reply.
"Now, now Caleb be nice to Sheen, she is new here, there will be time enough for all those questions later. Let our guest be about her business and us about ours." Harlin said to caleb.
"Awwe,,,ok. IwillseeyoulaterSheen." Caleb said as he and Harlin started to haggle over the price of this item or that.
Shynite decided to go and check the loft and see what room there may be for Rhainnon in the garage area Harlin spoke of.
The loft was small, but sufficient for her needs, plenty of room for training and maintenance.
'A few piles of parts here and there will have to be cleaned up and a good dusting, but all in all this will do.' she thought as she examined the space.
She then headed down to the garage. As Harlin had said the garage was in the same condition as his shop, cluttered. Shynite stood looking at the jumbled piles of parts, artifacts, relics and bizarre items.
"This would take a decade to sort through all of this." she commented to herself.
Carefully wading through the cluster of object near the back of the garage she spies a crate. She moved a bit closer to the crate to get a better look, and found it to be a shipping crate. On top of the crate was a pry bar and cold cup of Stimcaf.
Shynite judged by the amount of dust and the line of evaporation in the cup, that Harlin had forgotten about the crate for some time now.
She looked over the crate and found the content manifest. It listed three pit droids as its contents. Shynite thought about this for a moment, and decided to be of some service to the kind old Ryn, so she took up the pry bar and opened the crate. Sure enough there was three pit droids all band new and ready for activation. Shynite looked over the little compact droids, finding their access panels she programs each one to sort and clean the garage. once she was done with the programming she sat each one down and turned it on.
One by one the little droids popped up and went about their newly programed task. they ran about sifting and digging tossing objects to and fro, from one to the other as they went about sorting through the various items and objects. Shynite watched as the three chattered and beeped, sorting and scanning, tossing this item there and that one here. It seemed to her quite amusing.
Not long after the pit droids started there new task did Harlin and Caleb come to see what might be the cause of the noise coming from the garage.
"Now where might you have found these little fellas?" Harlin asked as he spied the droids hopping and tossing things about.
"Ooooo,theyaresocooolHarlin,aretheyyours?" Caleb squeaked in excitement.
"Well actually they are yours Harlin. I found them in a crate near the back. There was a pry bar and a cup of stimcaf resting on top. I figured you may have gotten distracted and forgot about them.
Harlin thought about that for a moment, "Hmmm, I seem to recall something about a crate of droids, but that was… Oh, he,he,he, I guess I may have my dear, I may have." he said chuckling to himself.
Caleb on the other hand, decided playing catch and keep away was pure fun, and set about laughing and running about, causing all sorts of havoc for the poor three pits.
Harlin turned and headed back to his shop and Shynite followed. "I hope I was not being to forward in opening the crate."she stated to Harlin.
"Not at all my dear, not at all. I had forgotten all about those droids. I had ordered them a while back to help me out. Bah, I'm getting old, and forgetting things is part of the game I guess." he said with a slight chuckle.
"Besides now that you found them, they should have that place cleaned up in no time. That is if Caleb doesn't dive them nuts first. He, he, he." he laughed.
"He is a good lad Caleb, he was stranded here in Nabat a few years back. Friendly little fellow, real good with his hands, good mechanic, got in with a group of swoopers around here. They call themselves the Knights. They're a bunch of swoop racers that fancy themselves as protectors. To bad the Imp's don't see it that way." Harlin stated as he went to wash and refill his cup with some fresh stimcaf.
"They're a good lot, a little misunderstood, but a good lot all the same, and not deserving of the reputation the Imp's have placed upon them."
Shynite listened to Harlin as he spoke of the Knights. It seemed to her that the old Ryn, Harlin was a good judge of character and the name of the swoopers caught her attention.
"What type of people are they Harlin, these Knights?" she asked.
"Theyarethebest." came a reply from behind her as Caleb entered the shop from the garage. "Theyaremyfriends,andtheyhelpanyonewhoneedsit. "
Shynite turned to see Caleb, various springs and bits of wire poking out or wrapped around himself. Looking as if the pits got he better of him. "Well you look like you had fun." she stated. "I would like to meet these Knights sometime, if I could, you speak very highly of them ."
"SurebutIhavetogonowbeforeitgetstolate.SeeyouHarli nandSheen." Caleb said as he waved goodbye on his way out the shop.
"See you tomorrow Caleb." Harlin called after him as Caleb left. "Good lad he is." he commented as he turned to go about his business.
"He very well seems so. I will be retiring for now Harlin, if you have need of me I shall be in the loft space." Shynite said as she left Harlin to his own.
"Thank you Sheen but I shall be fine. I shall see you when you are rested. Good day." he states as he wanders off to the back of the shop disappearing behind one of the many piles.
Shynite walked over to Rhainnon just out side. "There will be room in the garage for you soon my friend. I just need to gab a few things." Reaching over she opened a small storage compartment. Taking out a toolkit and a satchel of clothing she heads up the stairs to the loft. 'Time for a bit of polish and hot oil.' she muses to herself.
Trans-atmospheric orbit, Corellia.
“Unit one-six, control. Come to heading 215 at 20. Call-in of suspicious activity at the heights apartment building in the solve industrial park. Guy says there is a weird looking man walking around the roof across from his building. Seems to be taking measurements of something. We’ve had two calls in the last couple of hours indicating similar activity at other locations. All speed please.”
“Copy control, one six is inbound all speed” Dyvon Rand was proud that his Basic accent was almost non-existent these days, although it hardly mattered considering his impending return to Glee Anselm. He had two days to go till his trainee exchange program with Cor-sec was up. Well one day really” he thought, “tomorrow is just out-processing.” It was his last day on the job and in a week he would be home to graduate from the Glee Anselm security forces academy. While the Empire really ran the show back on Glee, the security forces took care of every-day law enforcement.
“Any info on those other calls control?”
“Just a ship or airspeeder. Small fast and dark.”
“We’ll keep our eyes skinned control, one-six out” Dyvon turned his helmeted head to the right looking out of the Cor-sec X-wing canopy to the other green x-wing flying lead and shook his head. He got a grimace from his supervisor/partner Trip Escoa. “ not much to go on eh Glee?” Trip was human and friendly, a good instructor and an excellent cop. His referral to Dyvon by the first name of his home planet had irked Dyvon something fierce in his first days under the mans wing, but after working a few cases with the man he grew to understand the word as a term of endearment and respect for Dyvons choice to become a cop. Trip wasn’t a fan of the empire’s anti-xeno bias and made his voice heard, to the frequent frustration of their offices’ imperial security liason officer.
Dyvons R2 unit updated the x-wings’ HUD with the location of the call And Dyvon noticed an elaborate building with a grandstand being erected in front of it for some sort of celebration or speech not far from the LZ indicator. Trip led them to a landing space not far from the apartment building. They landed safely and left the x-wing systems on standby, SOP in case they had to persue a suspect in a vehicle or starship. Trip hopped down the side of his x-wing, scanning the area as dyvon did the same. Dyvon saw a man waving from the door to the complex, caught Trips’ eye and headed that direction. He could see the man was very disheveled and slightly drunk. An odor of kashyyykian liquere was wafting their direction.
“ I sawl ‘im on th’ roof!” he slurred loudly, “ was measuring sumthin.”
He led Trip and Dyvon up to his room telling them what he saw, he couldn’t seem to take his eyes off of Dyvon.
“I member the vids o’ the clone wars, seen this jedi once, looked like you” he reminisced “name’of fisho or fisto I think it was. All them jedis was bad news in my ‘pinion.
Dyvon smiled politely, deciding not to disclose at that time his distant relation with the famous Nautolan Jedi master.
“Is there anything else you can tell us that you may have seen? theres not much here.” Dyvon said as he looked out at the roof across from the mans window.
The roof had a mass of pipes and solar collection cells on it with only one access door. Trip pulled a pair of macrolenses from his belt and started scanning the roof.
“ I think I got something” he said “seems to be a ship parked under the cells, but I cant get a make past all the pipes. Lets head on over and check it out.”
They made there way out of the building and across the street. The neighborhood was mostly deserted and seemed to consist of industrial type buildings. The sun was beginning to set and dyvon removed his shades as they got to the building entrance. Inside was a front desk with a mounted map of the offices in the building, the security office seemed to be on the top floor and trip and dyvon headed up to see if anyone had noticed any strange activity. As they opened the door a man looked up from the vid console. On one screen was an outside view of the hallway and on another screen the façade of the building Dyvon had noticed on the way in, as it seemed to be from a camera mounted on the building exterior. A roof access door behind the man was standing ajar.
“can I help you officers with something?” the man inquired.
“yeah, are you aware there is a ship illegally parked on your roof? Trip asked.
“Really?” the man sounded amused, “ you must be mistaken.”
“See for yourself.” Dyvon replied.
The man looked at him for a moment and turned to head up the stairs. As he did so Dyvon noticed a door on the other side of the vid console that was closed. There seemed to be a burn along the hinge side of the door and it was slightly off the frame. As he noticed this he began to smell something. It seemed to be coming from the closed door. He stepped over to investigate as Trip started cycling through the feeds on the vid screens.
As he touched the door control, the entire door fell inwards revealing a bloodbath. Apparently someone had felt the need to place a mil-grade concussion charge around the edges of the door and partially liquefy the organic contents of the room. Two human males and a Rodian female wearing a supervisors badge were mostly recognizable in a heap against the far wall. As Trip stepped into the threshold behind Dyvon with his sidearm drawn Dyvon saw the mans legs returning down the stairs. He drew his sidearm and rushed to get past Trip while yelling for the man to drop to the ground. Trip realizing what was happening turned to aim up the stairs as a blaster bolt caught him in the gut. Trip went down with a gargling scream and clutched his hands to his belly, dropping his gun.
Dyvon seeing his instructor shot down at his feet shouted into his commlink for back-up. As control responded to his call he thumbed the commlink to record and clipped it to his lapel with one hand as he fired up the stairs with his other. The man had retreated back to the roof as Dyvon started firing. Just then something clattered down the stairs and Dyvon grabbed a groaning Trip and yanked him into the gory office just as the Frag grenade demolished the outer room. Trip, now covered in dust and soot started to fade into unconsciousness.
Dyvon head ringing, grabbed a stun grenade off Trips belt and lobbed it up the stairs from his hiding place in the office. The grenade detonated with a tremendous bang at the top of the stairs as Dyvon broke cover and fired up the stairs at a run. At the top of the stairs the roof came into view.
“Get cover” Dyvon thought to himself. “calm down.”
Dyvon scanned the roof, taking in the complicated pipes and solar cells. Underneath the cells Dyvon saw the ship Trip mentioned. It was painted matte black and was wedge shaped. It looked like speed incarnate. Glimpsing movement on the other side of the small craft Dyvon threw up his gun and shouted for the man to stop and show his hands. The man staggered away from the ship with something in his hand. He was clearly barely functional and not wanting to risk another firefight dyvon quickly thumbed his sidearm to stun and shot the man in the throat. The man fell straight backward knocking himself cold when his skull hit the duracrete roof. The object in his hand slipped free and rolled towards Dyvon flashing a small red light in sequence. Dyvon immediately recognized the detonator and attempted to deactivate it. He thought quickly noting that this model was fairly compact. If he had to he could wait till the timer was almost done and chuck it off of the roof as it wasn’t much of a danger outside a diameter of a couple of meters. It would definitely wake the dead when it went off though. Luckily it deactivated on the first attempt and Dyvon walked over to the suspect and cuffed him. He soon noticed that the man seemed to be drooling excessively and was beginning to foam at the mouth. The man began to convulse and died. It happened fast.
“suicide pill,” Dyvon thought “before I even shot him.”
“What the kark is going on here?” he wondered aloud as he ran back down the stairs to the ruined office.
He walked in and started first aid for Trip, although there wasn’t much he could do till the med droids showed up. He was on the comm requesting an update when a voice called from the outside hallway.
“Identify yourself, this is Corellian Security forces lieutenant Cory!”
Dyvon called back “Rand, Unit One-Six, officer down, im coming out”
Holstering his sidearm and raising his hand above his headtails he sidestepped into the hallway. The officers outside recognized him and immediately went about securing the scene. They called up the medics for Trip as they prepared to head up the stairs, with dyvon in the lead taking in the carnage of the inner office. As they filed up the stairs the sound of a ship powering up was heard and Dyvon ran up the stairs, a squad of cor-sec officers in tow. The black wedge was hovering on its repulsors and engaged its sublight engines right in front of them. They dove for cover as two streams of bluish-purple efflux lashed out at them from the oversized nacelles. The tiny ship rocketed away while still retracting its gear and was a speck in seconds. The dead man was still on the roof, although he was now missing any identifying features. They seemed to have been removed. With a tool that apparently cauterized wounds.
Just then an imperial officer arrived on the scene with a stormtrooper detachment and took lieutenant Cory aside. Dyvon headed back down toward the front of the building and spoke to the medics. Trip was pretty bad and they needed to rush him to a bacta tank quickly. If he was lucky he might be able to walk again without spinal prosthesis. As they were buttoning up the med-speeder the imp officer came up and spoke with Dyvon looking down his nose.
“I apologize for the loss of your partner-“ he began disinterestedly
“He’s not dead you know” Dyvon cut him off, irritated.
The officer glared at him and said, “I will be submitting an inquiry and filing a full report of your performance in this investigation. It would behoove you to comply fully and respectfully in this matter.”
Dyvon opened his mouth to reply just as lieutenant Cory stepped in to say “of course sir, it will be done. Now I need my officer to see the medics. You will receive full copies of our filed reports along with submitions your superiors. Thank you for your concern.
He steered Dyvon toward another med-speeder as the officer glared at them behind there backs.
“you okay to fly son?” he asked.
“yes sir, I think so sir.” Dyvon replied.
“Okay, Wait till the imp jerk is back upstairs and take your x-wing back to the hangar. Get your paperwork done and meet me at the hospital if you want. I know you’ll be leaving tomorrow but rest assured were going to find out who did this to Escoa.”
Dyvon headed toward his x-wing, the canopy raised as he approached. He flew back to base, pondering the placement of the wedge shaped ship under the solar cells. There was no point in parking a ship there and nothing to observe… except the building with the grandstand. He checked the x-wing in at the hangar and finished his report flagging the address of the building for a follow-up investigation. He also looked through the ship archive index and typed in some basic features he had noticed from the roof. The closest thing he could find to what he saw was an R-22 spearhead; it seemed as though the one on the roof had been extensively modified. he appended the entry to his report and filed it. he then took a short sani-steam shower and checked in his sidearm at the armory then hopped onto a speeder bus toward the hospital.
“It’s been a hell of a last day.” he murmured.
Location: Mull Station
“Yes. And maybe one of my eyes. Give me some credit, here. Do I look like a Gungan?” He rubbed the bridge of his nose as the Duros merchant narrowed his big eyes at him, trying to make his best impression of a bad, criminal merchant, making good use of the scars that adorned his face. He let go of a sigh and stared back at him. “Listen, I know that you're used to dealing like this with everyone. I get it. Only, it doesn't have any effect on me, because I've seen really scary things. You're not one of those.”
“Oh, really? Like?” He groaned, moving a hand through his brown hair, which he still hadn't had occasion to wash. He had been looking for good supplies for the whole day, and then he had been bartering with that guy for a good half a hour, and he seemed to be set on going on to tire him out.
“... Well...” He had to cut it short. It was getting tedious and boring. He brought his right hand to his chin, acquiring a pensive pose. “There was the time I lost my arm.” He could actually see the merchant move back in his seat. He raised his left arm. “See this? It's a high tech prosthesis, but I'm sure you've seen plenty of them around here. The point is, how I lost it.”
“And... That would be?”
“It got digested.” The Duros' skin visibly paled as he slowly removed his glove and raised his left sleeve ever so slowly, revealing a point where the skin suddenly started sporting terrible, black colored acidic scars. “See? All this literally melted away in acidic gastric fluids... Along with the person who was hanging on it, begging for me to pull them up as their very flesh was being burned away, excruciating pain taking away their sanity and then their life.”
The Duros was silent as he pulled the sleeve back down and then put the glove back on. “Blood curling scream, his fingers digging into my dissolving flesh, and the like. So, your bad criminal impression doesn't fade me much.” He got back on his feet and picked out a few credits cards from his pocket. “The supplies I've asked of you are worth no more than 3000 thousand, and most of them are probably stolen, so you're still making a profit. And...” He picked one last one after a bit of hesitation and placed it in the sweating hand of the alien, giving him a really sweet but came out as disturbing smile. “This last one is for being such a good listener. Have them delivered to my ship today by six, alright?”
“Y-Yes...” The duros nodded, and he dropped the smile, having scared him enough for a day. He walked out of the once crew quarter as the door slid open, finding himself in a corridor full of 'scum and villainy', alias thieves, drugs dealers and prostitutes. Some of the latter were too young to even be called women, but, he guessed tastes were tastes. His taste told his stomach to curl at the thought.
As he walked back to the hangar where his ship was docked, he decided to keep his thoughts occupied with the ship he was on. A Venator class Star Destroyer turned into a den for smugglers and space pirates. He had asked around about how such a situation came to life, but the stories were various and mostly false. Some told him that Obar Mull had singlehandly took control of the ship and killed all of its crew, other told that it was Seema, other again that it had been the Jedi, others the Sith, etcetera.
“Can't a guy just ask for the truth and get it, sometimes?” Not in the galaxy, it seemed. At least, not on that station. But it really was a mystery. He doubted any pirate crew could get control and kill every last member of the crew of a Venator, without leaving any signs of a fight.
He had heard that the engines were busted, but the ship was immaculate, if one took the time to look past what had been added ever since it was taken over. No signs of a fight, no bloodstains, nothing. How do 10.000 crew members and troopers disappear in thin air?
There it was again. His curiosity. His common sense's worst enemy, since it had led him into many dangerous situations over the years. Yet, he was still alive to tell, so it wasn't that bad to listen to it, once in a while. He turned the corner when he reached a medical bay, where many still working computers were, but the local was mostly used by local 'doctors' to patch people up.
He approached one of the computers and pulled off his left glove, revealing nude prosthetic which suddenly started to crack in geometric patterns, revealing the metal underneath. One finger in particular had an extension like a computer probe, and that was the digit that he slipped in the key-card slot of the computer. He had half an idea of checking out the ship's registers. Who says prosthesis are always a bad thing? Jason Greysands on the job.
"Snark, this is Mull Station, Portside. Where've you jokers been, joyriding? The boss is in a rage!"
Inex Jonn reached for the comm, pausing to get his thoughts together. But really, there was little to get together; he and his now-disintegrated ex-partner had stolen this vessel, the Snark, killed its crew, and made off with it. And now, Inex and the Snark were back.
Might as well just get on with it, Inex supposed.
"Portside, this is the Snark. The 'jokers' you refer to are no longer a concern. Request permission to land."
"Who is this?" the voice replied, turning hostile.
Inex considered the possibility that starboard-side agents of Seema Mull might be listening in on Obar Mull's channels, found it extremely likely, and opted to prolong his life by withholding his identity for the time being. "Who I am is not important at this time," the Sakiyan replied. "However, the identity of my prisoner will be of great interest to your boss, Obar."
"Oh yeah? And who ya got in there? 'Han Solo'?"
Inex ignored the derisive chuckles coming over the channel, studying once more the Snark's bounty list. "A Farghul," he reported. "A Farghul by the name of Mir'isha."
A pause. Then, "Snark, stay put, and wait for instructions."
So, that was it, then. The negotiations concluded, Inex was now either going to be allowed to board Mull Station, or blasted to oblivion. To calm his nerves, he checked the sensors. There were two freighters in the area, one outbound (the Layabout), and one inbound (the Dawncaller). In addition to these was the customary smattering of Clone Wars-era starfighters, on patrol. Two of these fighters broke formation, coming his way. Inex looked up from the sensors to the cockpit glass, straining his eyes to-
"Snark, you are cleared to land. Follow your escort. Deviate, and you're dead."
Heart pounding, Inex switched off the comm. The fighters were now visible, a formidable pair of old-time ARC-170s, on approach. Inex found himself mildly disappointed that they hadn't trotted out any of the Jedi starfighters to greet him, but was at least pleased to see that the two ARCs closing on him were painted a rich, warm red - indication of their service to Obar Mull. Had they been sporting the deep blue of Seema's fleet, Inex might have been better off shooting himself out the airlock.
So far, so good, Inex supposed.
One ARC fighter sidling up on either side, the Snark made its way toward Mull Station...
Damon and the others instinctively stood back to back. "Any ideas?" Elayne asked.
"Nothing comes to mind," Damon said grimly. "Tam?"
"I've got nothing," the boy replied.
"Please do drop your weapons, little foxes," Pavana said. "You are worth more to me alive than dead, but I have had my fill of brash action for the day. If I have to kill you and present your bodies to the, ah, appropriate authorities instead, I will do so."
"He knows we got a message out to the Empire," Tam murmured. "He wants a bargaining chip when they show up."
"Well," Damon growled, "he's not getting one."
"Yes," Elayne chirped with false cheerfulness, "Because I was looking forward to being shot repeatedly. It'll be the highlight of the day."
"Decide quickly," Pavana said. "I grow tired of waiting."