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Thread: Star Wars: Tapestry, Volume III

  1. #151
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    Cali glared at the hulking scrap collector floating outside the Whydah’s cockpit, directing angry thought’s at Reil, who for all she knew, had managed to drown himself. Our Hero, ladies and gentlemen. She frowned, and tried to reach Reil on his comlink again, but there was no answer. While that could mean any number of innocuous things, like Reil having shut off his comlink to stay stealthy, or he could had dropped it, or that it’d been damaged but Reil was fine, it could also mean that he’d been captured, or shot, or was face down in a flooded room all bloaty and corpsy, waiting for a maintenance worker who never came.

    Cali hit the console in frustration. This was fracking typical of Reil. Of course he couldn’t just leave Fi on the ship; he can never leave well enough alone. Not an hour ago, they ran into a talking trash compactor, and Reil just had to poke around in it and find Fi and her magical bag of endless troubles, and oh goody, she felt like sharing. On Gamorr, there was a lost Sith Academy, so naturally Reil was the first one to suggest they go investigate it. On Rothana, Reil just had to whip out his blaster to protect poor defenceless Tam from Elayne. Civil war breaks out? Of course Reil had already joined the Rebellion. On Tatooine, he runs across a slave girl, so of course he kills her master and takes her under his wing.

    Cali felt some of her venom drain, as that last traitorous thought crossed her mind. Sitting here fuming wasn’t accomplishing anything. Slowly, she goosed the engines to bring the Whydah back into position to dock with the Reclamator.

    *************************************

    Sloat waited for the inevitable burst of anger from his captor, but it never came. Reil instead sighed again, and sat behind the controls. Sloat was puzzled.
    “What are you doing?”

    Reil waved dismissively as he poured over the console.
    “Sitting.”

    “I can see that. . . but. . . I mean doncha wanna go after your friends?”

    Reil turned and cocked an eyebrow.
    “What for?”

    Sloat fumbled for his words.
    “Well. . .uh. . . Aren’t ya worried about if Rammo catches up with them again?”

    Reil shrugged and went back to the console.
    “He can’t really hurt them if he intends to perform the nuptials. Besides I’ve got complete control of the ship from here. I could drop the shields, or call the police, or just lock the ship down so the next time I go looking for Fi she’s still fracking where she’s supposed to be.”

    Sloat nodded in comprehension.
    “Ah. That makes sense. So which are you gonna do?”

    Reil turned around again.
    “Uh. . . I don’t know. I guess whichever system I get working first.”

    Sloat blinked.
    “You don’t know how to work the ship?”

    Reil became defensive.
    “I know how to work lots of ships! Just not this specific one. . . Ships ain’t all the same you know! Why does nobody get that?”

    Sloat held up his hands defensively.
    “Yeah! No! I get it! I’ll ah. . . I’ll just let you work. In silence.”

    “Thank you.” Reil said as he rolled his eyes and returned to his work on deciphering the control scheme for the console.

    With his captor’s back to him, Sloat began edging towards the exit. Slowly at first, he began to grow bolder, until he was just a hands breadth from making it out the door. He braced himself ready to make a dash for it. Right then his foot hit the empty fire extinguisher, sending it spinning across the bridge. Reil spun in his chair and fired immidiatly, and the bolt struck the spot Sloat’s head was only the second before, as he went sprinting down the ship’s corridor. Reil frowned.
    “Well that can’t lead to anything good.”

    Reil was about to return to the console when a thought struck him.
    “Aww, frack me, he was the pilot!”
    Zealos Reil thought he was hot
    so he left the sim-pod cold
    on his eighth mission he got shot
    and that's all there is to be told.
    Draw your own conclusions rookies.

  2. #152
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    As far as days aboard the Reclamator I went, this was one of the worst that Sloat could recall. The young man, already in his boss's bad books for bungling the name of the Dawncaller, had fallen asleep at his post and awakened to embarrassing alarms and the order to go and bail out a flooded compartment on E-deck. Now, he wished that that was all he was doing. Ambushed and bashed about by an intruder, pushed, prodded, and forced to give the guy the guided tour without so much as a please or thank you, and now, on the run from said intruder, Sloat shuddered to think what would happen if the man caught up with him again.

    Still, maybe he could salvage the situation. Find Rammo. Report the intruder. He might even be a hero! Then, Kroff could take care of the guy. That was his job, after all. Sloat longed for the comforts of his own job; sitting, bored out of his mind, in the pilot's chair.

    The day became just that much worse, then, when he rounded a bend in the corridor and found two women, Fiola Shaku and Jyllis Tromso, standing in his path and pointing their blasters directly into his face.

    "Who are you?" Fi demanded.

    "Who are you?"

    "We asked you first!" countered Jyll.

    "I work here!"

    Fi nodded. "Ah, right... the pilot. 'Sloat', yeah?"

    Sloat looked back and forth between the two girls and their pet fabool that he'd run into before. "And I suppose one of you two must be Miss Tromso. Shouldn't you guys be at a wedding right now?"

    "We're looking for someone," Fi said.

    "Someone's looking for you!"

    Fi held a hand flat in the air above her head. "About yea high? Brown hair? Probably in a bad mood? You've seen him?"

    "Sure, I seen him. He just beat me up and took me hostage, but I got away!"

    Fi considered this. "Well then, it's a good thing you've had some practice, 'cause now you're our hostage."

    "Aw, come on!"

    "We have to find our friend fast, and you know where he is."

    "I don't wanna see that guy again, he'll clobber me for running off!"

    "We'll talk to him for ya," Jyll interjected.

    The man sighed. "Heard that one before."

    Fi waved her blaster in the direction Sloat had come from, back up the corridor. "March."

    They marched.

    "Oh, and incidentally," Fi added, "if you try leading us directly to Rammo, you'll regret it."

    Sloat shrugged. "I don't much want to run into him, either. He sees me being led around by you two, he'll fire me and dump me on the next rock, for sure."

    Fi studied the gangly young man as they walked along the corridor. "You know, Sloat, you don't look to be much older than I am. Did you ever think about, I dunno, maybe going back to school? Getting yourself a career that's a bit more legit?"

    "Said the girl waving the blaster around," Sloat retorted, rolling his eyes.

    "Shhh!" Jyll interrupted. "You hear that?"

    They listened. Booted feet, quiet but audible, coming closer from around a bend ahead of them. With Sloat thrust out in front, the girls and Mr. Mace rounded the corner to find...

    "Reil!"

    Their friend stood there, blaster at the ready. Then he lowered it and, looking thoroughly nonplussed, stood with a fist on one hip and pointed a finger at them.

    "Fi, in the future, it'll be a lot easier for me to rescue you guys if you would resist the urge to go sightseeing."

    "Sightseeing? We came back to rescue you!"

    Sloat smirked. "I can see you guys are a real 'elite unit'."

    "Shut up!" they all chorused.

    "You got a ride off this scrap heap?" Fi asked Reil.

    "Cali's on her way," Zealos Reil nodded. "We should-"

    At that moment a stun blast shot out of a connecting corridor, barely missing them all...
    Last edited by I. J. Thompson; 10-06-2012 at 12:12 AM.
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  3. #153
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    Shamefully, Reil didn’t react as quickly to the first stun bolt as he should have. There was a moment of confusion as the three rescuers, the lone hostage, and the singular pet watched the stun bolt continue down the hall, and strike an opposing wall, concluding in a shower of sparks. The second one to sail past them finally clued them in, however, and Fi and Reil spun to face the attack, peppered the offending corridor with lethal fire, while Jyllis grabbed Sloat and held him at gunpoint.

    As a group they slowly worked their way back towards the bridge, harassed by the intermittent shot Kroff managed to lob their way in between bursts of fire. Reil turned to Fi, “This is some rescue. You came back for me, didn’t you have a plan for getting out?”
    Zealos Reil thought he was hot
    so he left the sim-pod cold
    on his eighth mission he got shot
    and that's all there is to be told.
    Draw your own conclusions rookies.

  4. #154
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    The fact was, they were pinned. Sure, there was ample corridor behind them - even a Y-junction in the near distance. But to get to it fast enough, they'd have to open up their backs to the stun beams that Kroff kept sending in their direction. So, Reil, Fi, Jyll, and Sloat did their best to become part of the corridor walls while Mr. Mace cowered behind Fi's shoulders.

    Both sides of the fight fully aware of the stalemate, the blaster fire stopped for a moment, and Rammo the Toydarian hollered down the corridor.

    "Well played, ladies," he cackled, "well played! I should have checked out the inside of your ship; Kroff told me about your friend on Cloud City... I might've known you'd smuggle him aboard as backup! I suppose that blonde girl of his is sneaking around here somewhere too, eh?"

    Fi fired another warning shot up the corridor and turned to Reil. "You hear that? He thinks we brought you in on the Dawncaller-"

    "-and he has no idea the Whydah's around here," Reil finished.

    "Do you think Cali's re-docked by now?"

    "She ought to've," Reil answered as they all ducked the sizzling blue rings of another stun beam.

    Fi nodded. "We can use that. Reil, do you think you can get Jyll to the Whydah?"

    "And where are you going?" Jyll demanded, gripping Sloat by the hair and holding her blaster against his neck.

    "To get to the Dawncaller. If we can shake these guys, that's where they'll go back to. And Rammo wants you, Jyll, not me. He sees we're not together, he'll probably drop me and try to find you."

    "Probably???"

    "I gotta agree with Glamour Puss," Reil nodded as he fired a few more shots up the corridor. "Dump the ship, Fi - we've got mine. It's too risky to go off on your own."

    "But I won't be on my own," Fi replied, grabbing Sloat by the overalls and pulling him upright, taking cover behind him.

    "You'd better stop firing," she yelled up the corridor, "I've got your man!"

    In the distance, they all heard Rammo cackle again. "Keep him! I'll get another one!" And with that, more blasts thundered their way.

    Fearing for his life, Sloat leaped back to one of the corridor walls, his hands finding a panel there and feverishly punching digits into the keys. Instantly, a heavy-duty hatch slammed down, separating the group from their pursuers.

    "That oughta hold 'em for a while."

    "What are you doing?" Jyllis demanded.

    The pilot shrugged. "Handing in my two-minutes' notice. That is," he coughed, "if you guys can give me a ride someplace."

    Reil ignored the question. "Will the hatch hold?"

    Sloat ran a hand through his unkempt hair. "I figured a way to slice a parallel code in a lot of the hatches aboard, in case I wanted to catch some shut-eye. Boss thinks it's a malfunction. I think I can help get me and - Fi? Fi. To the Dog... Dawn... Dawncaller."

    Fi smiled nervously at the others. "See?"

    Reil frowned. "I don't like it."

    "I hate it!" Jyll exclaimed.

    Sloat turned to Reil. "You must've docked on the starboard arm, huh? When we split off, you need to take the right corridor, go straight through the next intersection, and then go right again, and you're there. But we have to move!"

    Zealos Reil studied the young man, then simply nodded.

    "Right."

    "Fi..." Jyll pleaded.

    Fi squeezed her hand. "It'll be alright."

    They all ran down the corridor to the Y-junction, then split off into two groups, with Mr. Mace bobbing along behind Fi and Sloat...
    Last edited by I. J. Thompson; 10-26-2012 at 04:19 PM.
    Star Wars: Tapestry
    A 6+ year campaign draws to a close...
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  5. #155
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    Sloat whacked one slender fist against the solid, closed hatch. "They won't be coming from that way."

    "So that's it?" Fi asked. "All clear 'til the Dawncaller?"

    "Well, they won't be able to come at us from behind, anyway."

    "Good enough."

    They ran around a short bend in the corridor and found themselves at the mouth of the docking tube, on their right, that led to Fi's ship. The corridor continued aft ahead of them, dark and vacant, and also split off to their left, where nothing stood but a ladder built into the center of the corridor, leading up to a round hole in the ceiling and A-deck.

    "Nobody here," Sloat remarked.

    "Do you think they're in my ship?"

    "Naw. If they were, we could just dump 'em like yesterday's trash."

    "I hope Jyll and Reil are okay," Fi said. Then, pocketing her blaster in her green coveralls, she turned to run down the docking tube to the Dawncaller, the young pilot and Mr. Mace struggling to catch up.

    A muffled thump from behind, followed by a shout, froze them in their tracks.

    "Freeze!"

    The trio turned to find Kroff crouched on one knee at the foot of the ladder, his blaster trained upon them and his face all business. Rammo the Toydarian then fluttered down from the opening above, scrutinizing them all and sneezing violently at the sight of Mr. Mace. Then he cupped his hands around his snout and called out loudly.

    "You gan gum oud, Jylliz, my love! Dere's doe ezgabe!"

    Fi put her hands on her hips, trying to look relaxed and get a hand on her weapon at the same time without Kroff noticing - and failing at both.

    "I hate to break the news, Rammo," she told him, "but you've been had. There was another ship attached. With any luck, Jyll's taken off and she's making the jump to hyperspace right now."

    The Toydarian blinked a moment in incomprehension, sneezed again, and then his eyes widened and his face curdled with rage.

    "Grovv..." he commanded, "gill her."

    Kroff pointed his blaster at Fi's heart, and they all heard him switch his blaster's setting from stun to kill.

    Nervously, Sloat stepped in front of Fi.

    "Nothing doing, chief," he stammered, "me n' her are getting out of here."

    "Sloat-" Fi began.

    "I'm scrap anyway," the young pilot shrugged.

    "Gill HIM!" Rammo shouted.

    There was a moment. Then, Kroff put his free hand on his raised knee and, stiffly, rose up to stand opposite the Toydarian.

    "Nope."

    Rammo was incredulous. "WHAD?!?"

    Kroff sighed. "I'm drawin' a line. You want me to catch that girl for you, fine. But I'm not shooting one of our own, boss. You can do whatever you want."

    Seething with impotent rage, Rammo the Toydarian looked back and forth between Kroff, Fi, Sloat, and Mr. Mace, as if trying to decide who to throttle first. Then he sneezed again and fixed his gaze upon Kroff, snout dripping and eyes narrowed.

    "We'll dog aboud thiz lader... now, gum on!"

    With a flutter of blue wings, he was gone up the corridor. Kroff held his position for a moment and turned back toward the fugitives, where Sloat stepped forward awkwardly.

    "Thanks, partner," Sloat said.

    Kroff gave the young man a mock salute and a broad smile. "Clear skies."

    Then he was gone, too.

    Fi, Sloat and Mr. Mace bolted for the Dawncaller's cockpit.

    "What are the odds of them running us down," Fi asked, "or catching us in the tractor beam again?"

    "Pretty much zilch," Sloat said immediately. "Kroff's pretty handy in the shuttle, but he's a novice in a big bucket like the Reclamator."

    "That's good news," Fi remarked, leaping into the pilot's chair. "Now strap in and power up the comm, would you? We need to know how the others are doing."

    "Ayuh."

    With an echoing metallic clang, the Dawncaller detached itself from the bulk of the Reclamator I and sailed off into open space over the golden planet Bespin.
    Last edited by I. J. Thompson; 11-03-2012 at 08:09 PM.
    Star Wars: Tapestry
    A 6+ year campaign draws to a close...
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  6. #156
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    Regrets

    On the bridge of the Inun, near Bothan Space.

    He had watched it all happen from this bridge, partitioning the viewports so that he could watch the destruction from several vantage points and also take in the horror with his own eyes. The fire had spread below Morning Star Squad, and the crust of Owara had eventually cracked, spilling forth fiery death. Moments later, the superheated landscape had disappeared, replaced by an eerily calm starfield. Tam Dawncaller had committed an atrocity…

    …and Todrin Doule had let him.

    He wasn’t sure why he had just stood by and allowed this to happen. Perhaps it was his still-recovering concussion, or simple shock at the lengths to which this boy—no, he could hardly be called a boy anymore—had gone to achieve his ends. Perhaps Tam had gone back on the promise he had made, using his disconcerting psychic powers to keep Doule from interfering.

    In any case, Doule now felt that he needed to take control again. “Lieutenant,” he said, “transmit a message to the nearest holonav beacon. I’ll be right back to see the results.” He didn’t stop to hear the officer’s acknowledgement, stepping into the bridge’s turbolift.

    Confusion filled the corridors of the Inun, as technicians and gunnery officers stepped out of their stations to ask about their current relocation. Doule had his suspicions about the answers to those questions, but he didn’t want to voice them until he had confirmation. Instead, he brushed past his crewmen and marched straight to the Nexus room.

    “Tam,” he said when he stepped through the blast door, “we need to—“ but his voice failed him suddenly. Moments later, he realized he couldn’t breathe, as if an invisible hand wringed his neck. As he dropped to his knees, frantically drawing on a thin whistle of air, he noticed the snap of his belt holster popped open and his blaster magically levitated out of its holster. He rolled to his side, still gasping, and watched the Nexus Sphere crack open with a hiss. A small form emerged, and the floating blaster drifted into its hand. “So that you don’t shoot me,” the boy said as he walked down the stairs.

    Doule would have insisted he had no such intention, but his lips were still wordless. His vision was even beginning to tunnel.

    “You came to subdue me, Doule. You need to know that you can’t do that.” He released his grip on Doule, and the captain coughed and wheezed until the panic of near death subsided.

    Doule perched himself up, sitting on his haunches to wait until the room stopped spinning. “You asked me to,” he said with a hoarse voice.

    “What?”

    “I said you asked me to subdue you. You told me that the whole reason you wanted me aboard was to keep you in check. I was supposed to keep you from doing things like… Owara.”

    The boy didn’t respond.

    “Instead,” he continued, “I find myself in sick bay with a concussion and a front row seat to a Base Delta Zero given at your command. All because I mentioned some singer.”

    “She wasn’t some singer,” said Tam. “She was all I ever had.”

    Doule knew better than open his mouth. The slightest misstep could end with him forcibly ejected through one of the room’s viewports. He got to his feet and looked into the boy’s eyes. They were red, and sunken, and streaming with tears. Before Doule realized what happened next, those eyes had squeezed shut and buried themselves against his shoulder. Tam had collapsed, leaning on Doule for support, and began to sob uncontrollably.

    This was one of the most difficult things Doule had ever had to do. The captain wrapped two awkward arms around the boy, doing his best to ease the anguish they both were feeling. Then he carefully peeled the blaster from his hand, weighed it contemplatively in his own, then quickly put it against Tam’s head and pulled the trigger…

  7. #157
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    As Reil tried to retrace his way back to the lift to E-Deck, Jyllis followed behind, more than a little reluctantly. After their third dead end, Reil stopped for a moment to try and get his bearings.
    “I hate this ship.”


    Jyllis’ patience had reached its final tether by this point.
    “We’re wasting time. If you can’t find a way back to your ship, we should try and get back to Fi!”


    Reil shook his head.
    “If she’s lucky, Fi’s already off this bucket. If not, then we could be wandering right into the middle of their shoot out.”


    Jyllis was adamant.
    “All the more reason to go back for her then if she could be in trouble!”


    Reil tried to be reassuring.
    “Fi’s perfectly capable of taking care of herself. We’re supposed to be drawing them off, since you’re then one they want remember?”


    Jyllis was not convinced.
    “What if that Sloat guy tries something? Switches sides again?”


    Reil cocked an eyebrow.
    “What’s he gonna do, make puppy eyes at her? Fi’s got a gun, and the kid has not proven himself to be overly menacing.”


    Jyllis stirred as if to go back.
    “I have to do something, I can’t just leave her behind.”


    Reil felt his own frustrations bubble over.
    “No one is getting left! Unless you go back, in which case, you are getting left. ‘Cause Fi is gonna be on her ship, thinking I’ve got you, and I’m gonna be on my ship either way, and Cali’s gonna be on my ship giving me hell for even coming here in the first place, so you decide here and now; do you want to be on my ship, or do you want to go back and forcefully wed Rammo? ‘Cause if it’s the second one, that’s fine by me, I wish you hundreds of fat children. On the other hand, if you’d like to keep on having wacky space hi-jinks with Fi, we need to get going.”


    Jyllis took a long moment to consider the implications of getting left behind. It seemed to sober her of any rash inclinations. She still didn’t seem sold on the notion of leaving however.,
    “But what if. . ?”


    Reil frowned.
    “Look, Fi’s probably on the Dawn Caller right now wondering what’s taking us so long. But, if for some totally unforeseeable reason Fi is in trouble, we’ll know as soon as we get back on the Whydah, and we’ll come right back to get her. Again. They wouldn’t hurt her if they wanted to use her to get to you.”


    Jyllis nodded, more confident in their plan now.
    “All right, so where do we go?”


    Reil looked down either side of the main hallway they were in and grimaced.
    “I got nothing.”


    Jyllis looked about ready to clock Reil, when she noticed something else.
    “You’re all wet.”


    “Hmmm?” Reil took a second to process that. While he was no longer drenched from his aquatic adventure, he was still firmly in the realm of quite soggy and had simply stopped noticing. “Oh, right, it’s a long story. I’d rather not get into it.”

    “Well does it have anything to do with that?” Jyllis pointed down the hall, where water had spilled out onto it from one of the branching paths.

    As they moved over to investigate it, Reil noticed the big sign that said E –Deck .
    “Here we go then.”


    The hall to the lift was slick with water, and when they reached the lift entrance they could see why. Water bubbled up through the bottom of the lift’s door. Reil frowned as he worked through what that meant.
    “The whole lift tube must be flooded now. Y’know, I thought those things were supposed to be airtight.”


    Jyllis turned to Reil with notable concern.
    “The lift won’t work if it’s flooded, even if it doesn’t fry the electrics, it couldn’t displace all that water to get us down there.”


    Reil shrugged.
    “It wouldn’t matter really, all the doors out of the room at the end of the lift are sealed shut anyhow.”


    Jyllis’ face flushed red with apoplexy.
    “THEN WHAT ARE WE EVEN DOING HERE!? I thought you had a plan!”


    Reil looked at the actress in polite bemusement.
    “Me? No. Fi had a plan. I have a ship. Fi also has a ship, but that’s neither here nor there.”


    Jyllis took a step back from a clearly cracked Reil, but then narrowed her eyes in suspicion.
    “You’re doing this on purpose, aren’t you?”


    Reil broke out into a grin.
    “Only some of it.”


    Miss Tromso was not amused.
    “Unless you really have lost it, I assume you’re taking the time to pester me because you’ve already found another way down to your ship?”


    Reil’s smile widened.
    “Just one.”


    *************************


    Reil managed to deftly crawl out of the way as Jyllis came sliding down the chute to land on top of him. After she came sliding out they helped each other to their feet, so that they could amongst the junk they’d landed in.
    “Ugh! Garbage chutes. Why is it always garbage chutes?”


    Reil moved over to the door control.
    “Dunno, this is my first time. You seem to frequent’em though, maybe it’s you?”


    Jyllis glared at Reil, who decided to shut up for the time being and focus on getting back onto the Whydah. As the door the raised to let them through, and angry, banshee like scream of rage and frustration was carried down the hall to for their listening pleasure. All too aware of what was causing the noise Reil took the lead again, stopping just outside the pressure the door to the flooded lift entrance. There, in front of the pressure door, wielding Reil’s fusion cutter, and practically snarling in fury, was Cali, manically trying to burn through the door.

    Cali stopped when she noticed them approaching. She turned, and looked Reil over.
    “You okay?”


    Reil nodded.
    “I’m fine. A little cold.” He motioned back towards where the ship was docked, “We should get out of here.”


    Cali looked visibly relieved, and rushed up to meet Reil. At first it looked like she was moving to embrace him, but then she shifted her weight onto one foot, cocked her arm back, and pivoted, in a single fluid motion, all to give her the maximum force for punching Reil in the bicep.
    “Augh! What the hell was that for? I think it’s gonna bruise. Ow.”


    “Good, by the time it heals, I hope you’ll have remembered how to use one of these again.” Cali whipped out her comlink to illustrate.

    Reil stopped clutching his wounded arm long enough to fish out his own comlink.
    “What are you talking about, my comlink is working just fine.”


    To underscore how fully functional it was, when he pushed the button to activate his comlink, it began to make a fizzling sound, and a small whisp of smoke exited the device.
    “H-uh, must have shorted out when I got wet.”


    Cali glowered at Reil for a moment, then simply headed back toward the ship. Reil and Jyllis followed her, and ignored the muttered cursing that preceded them.


    **********************************

    As the Whydah disengaged docking, and spun around to catch the Dawn Caller, Cali sat in the co-pilot’s chair, busy entering in co-ordinates for the Nav computer while Reil was on the com to Fi.
    “Yeah, we’re all good to go. I’ve got a jump planned just out of the system, then you can pick up your lady friend, and we can talk about where to go from there.”


    ”Sounds good.” The com crackled back, “We’re ready to jump when you are.”

    As soon as Cali finished with the computer, Reil transmitted the co-ordinates to Fi, and pulled the lever to send them hurtling through hyperspace. They sat for spell, looking at the swirling blue together, until Reil turned in the pilots chair to face Cali.
    “You know you broke my fusion cutter.”


    Cali shrugged.
    “You broke your comlink first.”


    “I- How does that even relate?”

    Cali sighed.
    “If you hadn’t been an idiot and flooded the room you were in, and by doing so shorted out your own comlink, I never would have gotten worried about you, and tried to cut open the door, saving your precious fusion cutter.”


    “That’s a nice story, but I think we both know the truth. You’ve missed Fi terribly since she left, and you just had to be part of her rescue.”

    “You rotten liar. You take that back.”

    The look of mock horror on Cali’s face broke Reil’s own stoicism, resulting in a huge grin.
    “You know, it’s so touching, how much you care for our old friend, I think I ought to let Fi know just how devoted you are, even if you can’t show it sometimes.”


    Cali stood and tried to look as severe as she could manage.
    “You take that back or I will punch you in the bruise.”


    “You see, it’s talk like that,” Reil said point a finger accusingly at Cali, “That lends credence to my theory. Sure, you say you’re worried about me, but the minute I’m back, safe and sound, it’s all bruises and threats.”

    Cali dropped all pretense of anger, and gently seated herself in Reil’s lap.
    “So what you’re telling me is you need a gentler display of affection?”


    Reil leaned in closer.
    “That’d be nice start.”


    “It can be arranged.”
    Cali kissed him softly then pulled back.


    Then she hauled off and poked him in the bruise before jumping to her feet. Reil bit his lip and clutched his arm.
    “Ow! Frack me!”


    Cali couldn’t hide how pleased with herself she was.
    “But first you need to get the movie star off my boat.”


    “Our boat.” Reil corrected without thinking, “Wait, damn.”

    “And try to pick us up a re-ward will ya?” She called back to him as she headed to their quarters.
    Zealos Reil thought he was hot
    so he left the sim-pod cold
    on his eighth mission he got shot
    and that's all there is to be told.
    Draw your own conclusions rookies.

  8. #158
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    "Well boss, the scope's clean... I guess both ships made the jump to hyperspace."

    Rammo the Toydarian yanked off his purple satin bow tie and threw it to the deck plating of the Reclamator I's bridge. Then he thought better and flew down to it, picked it up and dusted it off and, tie in hand, flew back to his captain's chair.

    "Romance's a shaky market, eh, Kroff?"

    "Plenty of stars in the sky, boss."

    Rammo pondered this as he picked one of his nostrils thoughtfully.

    "I guess it's like they say... 'if you love something, set it free. If it doesn't come back, you've probably saved yourself a lot of money.'"

    They sat in silence for a time.

    "So... coordinates are laid in for Rhiev, boss. We gonna go pick up the crew?"

    "Punch it."

    Stars turned to lines, turned to the whirling tunnel of hyperspace. The Toydarian and the human rose from their seats, making their way aft, into the labyrinthine interior of the Reclamator I.

    "So what now, boss?"

    Rammo considered.

    "How about a holo? Have you ever seen Quasar of the Heart? It stars Lealla Brim. What a doll! A little short, but soooo cute!" Rammo rubbed his meager chin thoughtfully.

    "Hnh... I wonder if she's single..."

    * * *

    The Whydah and the Dawncaller hung together in the vast, dark void, almost invisible in the absence of any local starlight. A short tube extending from the Whydah's hull connected the two vessels, and it was within this tube that all the organics present were assembled.

    "Fi!"

    Jyllis Tromso gripped Fiola Shaku in a fierce hug, holding the musician close and long, oblivious to the others. Cali watched their embrace, smirking in amusement.

    "Nice outfits," she remarked, referring to the matching neon green salvage coveralls the pair wore.

    Fi let go of Jyll reluctantly. "Cali," she began, "Cali, thank you for getting her - her and Reil - out of there. I mean it."

    Cali crossed her arms. "I'll put it on your tab."

    Sloat stepped forward. "Hi, miss Cali, I'm Sloat." He extended a hand, which the girl didn't take. "Me n' that guy," he indicated Reil, "are kinda buddies."

    "Let's not go crazy," Zealos Reil countered. "Pretty much, we just need to figure out what we're gonna do with you."

    "Hey man," Sloat spread his hands, "any rock with a Type I atmo and a Tateburger franchise'll suit me. I'm easy."

    Fi looked at the others. "It's a good question, though... where are we going?"

    Reil swept his arm outward in an exaggerated gesture of hospitality.

    "Come aboard, gentles," he invited, "and let's talk about it..."
    Last edited by I. J. Thompson; 11-05-2012 at 08:39 PM.
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  9. #159
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    Time Out

    Aboard the Inun.

    There was pain. No, not pain… Something, though; it was clear that something wasn’t right.

    My eyes are closed. So open them already...

    Slowly, Tam Dawncaller’s eyes flickered open. It was some time before the blurry glare of the light gave way to actual vision.

    “Good. You’re awake.” That voice… Todrin Doule… Doule had shot him. He had foreseen it through the Force, and still it happened.

    “You,” Tam said. “I’ll kill you…” The memory of pinching off the Imperial Captain’s trachea came back to him, and he reached out to finish the job…

    Nothing happened.

    “I assume you’re actually trying,” said Doule, “and it seems that the little trick Tremayne taught me actually worked. It’s a cocktail of neuroinhibitors he claimed would keep a Force user subdued but conversant. I would have done it sooner, but I didn’t realize just how surreptitious my actions had to be.

    “Well,” he added, “conversant enough. I want to get to the bottom of this, Tam, and I don’t want to let you out of here until I am assured you won’t go on another rampage.”

    Tam looked around. He was in the sick bay of the Inun, strapped to a sickbed and with a hypoinfusor glued to his temple. “Is this a mutiny, Doule?”

    “A mutiny assumes several things, Tam. One: that I’m looking to overthrow the organizational hierarchy of this vessel; I’d like it to stay how it is. Two: that anyone would support such an action; you’ve pretty much brainwashed the whole crew already, to say nothing of the captains in the rest of the squad. Three: that you have any place in said hierarchy to begin with; you have no military rank or station—“

    “And yet I led the entire squad in its first operation, and with spectacular results.” Tam did his best to look intimidating while prostrate and immobilized. It seemed to have some effect, as Doule seemed to change his tactics.

    “You tried to kill me, Tam. Twice.”

    “I’ll try for a third, once you give me the chance.”

    “What changed, then?”

    “What?”

    “You brought me on this ship—gave me a fast-track commission and everything—so that I could serve as your safety valve. I think you called me a ‘lynchpin’ at one point. Now you want to kill me. Have you changed your mind? Do you no longer need me to keep you in check and make sure that you don’t become the same monster you’ve set out to destroy?”

    Captain Doule moved beside the medical droid. “I presume you chose me for this assignment based on my actions on Ryloth. I had a senior officer killed because he stepped outside of his bounds. You reacted with fear at the time, but I can only assume that, over time, you felt I was capable of doing that to you if need be. I must admit that I probably couldn’t have done it at first, but after a concussion, near strangulation and threat of further violence, I’m well prepared now. One command to this medical droid and…” He let his own threat hang in the air.

    Tam snarled. “You think that after this anything will be the same?”

    “Not in the least. In fact, I’d prefer they weren’t.”

    “I need only wait for the first opportunity, then I will be out of these shackles and you will be dead.”

    “Another threat.” Doule sighed, and moved toward the sick bay’s hatch. “I ask you again: what changed? When you’re ready to answer that, then I’ll return.”

    Tam shouted after him, but in vain. He shouted for hours and hours, letting his voice go hoarse and guttural with rage and frustration. He continued shouting, long after the medical droid had run out of tasks to accomplish and had powered down. With it, the lights of the sick bay dimmed.

    Tam continued shouting in the darkness…

  10. #160
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    There were no crates in the cargo bay this time, so they all had to crowd into the cockpit, which had the only other chairs. Reil and Cali nabbed the pilot and co-pilot seats, leaving Fi and Jyll to take up the console spots. Sloat stood in the door way and looked put out.
    “You don’t have any other furniture? Like, not even one fold out chair?”


    Reil rolled his eyes.
    “Feel free to go wait on the Dawn Caller, we’ll be sure to tell you what we decide.”


    Sloat didn’t reply, and instead focused on trying to find a way to comfortably lean against the door frame. Fi took the opportunity to get them back on track.
    “Reil, didn’t you say you had some kind of plan to contact the Rebels?”


    Reil suddenly seemed rather sheepish.
    “I don’t think those were my exact words. . .”


    “Near enough to them.” Cali said, with more than touch of disapproval.

    Reil sighed.
    “Okay, but plan is a really strong word. I’d just like to put that out there first.”


    Cali frowned.
    “Spit it out already.”


    “All right, fine. When we were on Taanab, I was hired to steal a ship. As payment for taking the ship I was given two data pads. One of them would give me instructions on how to make contact with an information broker on Ord Mantell, the other was supposed to be his payment so that he’d help me make contact with the Rebellion. Obviously, some stuff happened, and I no longer have the data pads, but whoever I was going to meet should still be on Ord Mantell. If we can find him, he might be able to lead us to the Rebellion, and then the Rebellion might just help us with Tam.”

    There was silence, as everyone took the information in. Cali was the first to break it, then it was like the flood gates opened and a wave of criticism followed.
    “I’m smelling a lot of if coming off this plan.”


    Jyll was next.
    “Wait, whoever you were going to meet, so you don’t actually know their name? How are we ever supposed to find them?”


    Even Sloat.
    “I’ve been to Ord Mantell, it’s on the other side of the core and back out towards the Rim. That’s a long trip with nothing to show for it.”


    Fi had more confidence in Reil.
    “If that’s all there was to it, I doubt you’d have brought it up. Why do you think we’d be able to find this information broker?”


    Reil relaxed a little.
    “I figure if Doyle knows him, then he must do some business with Taanab. That means there should be some kind of obvious connection between him and shipments from Taanab, even if they look innocuous on the outside. It’s a long shot, but I don’t exactly hear any better plans forthcoming.”


    Cali was still reluctant.
    “That still leaves us the problem of trekking half way ‘cross the galaxy with nothing to show for it. Credits don’t exactly grow on trees out here.”


    Reil shrugged.
    “Ord Mantell is port world. We should be able to come across something to make it worth our while.” He turned to Fi, “This is your call though, I guess. I mean I said I’d help you, and this is the best that I could come up with, but if you’ve got something better. . .”
    Zealos Reil thought he was hot
    so he left the sim-pod cold
    on his eighth mission he got shot
    and that's all there is to be told.
    Draw your own conclusions rookies.

  11. #161
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    "No," Fi replied, "No, I can't say I have anything better. I've never been to Ord Mantell..."

    "It's kind of a dump," Sloat explained, "but it's pretty laid back. Gonna be a long ride, though."

    "How long?"

    "Days, for sure, no matter how you plot it."

    Fi looked awkwardly at Jyll, mindful of the other eyes present. "I guess... you'll be wanting to get back to your shoot?"

    The actress grinned and kicked Fi gently in the leg. "It'll keep."

    Reil stood, signaling the end of the discussion. "Okay. I'll get the navicomputer to work on the coordinates, and pass them on to you guys."

    "You want a hand with that?" Sloat offered.

    "Nope. I got it. Just wait for the coordinates, and don't make any alterations once you've got 'em. We should fly in tandem."

    "See you on the other side," Fi smiled. Then she, Jyll and Sloat left the Whydah's bridge. Reil sat down again, activating the navicomputer as he did so.

    "'One big happy family'," Cali muttered under her breath.

    "What was that?"

    "Nothin'."
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  12. #162
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    Fi awakened with a jolt, her heart pounding and her brain struggling to place itself somewhere in the universe. Then, she slowly remembered: the Dawncaller. Hyperspace. Ord Mantell-bound. Fi couldn't seem to recall the dream that had frightened her so, but knew that if she didn't get up and walk it off, she could easily end up back in its clutches.

    A warm body was curled up next to Fi, one arm draped protectively across her. Jyllis Tromso. Fi did her best to gently slip out from under the sleeping actress, who snored softly once and then rolled away to face the wall. Fi rose in the chilly dimness, grabbing a robe from a hook on the wall and pulling it on. Then she thumbed the bunkroom's door open and stepped out into the Dawncaller's lounge area.

    A second door stood on her left, behind which Sloat slept soundly, dreaming dreams of his own. Fi passed that door and came to the lounge's food preparation area where, squinting in the darkness, she activated the hot water unit and placed a cup under the spout. Standing on tiptoe to reach a high cupboard, she brought down a container of Inex Jonn's Sakiyan tea, opened it, and crunched a small fistful of the brittle brown leaves into the steaming cup. This she carried over to the Dawncaller's lounge table, sat down, and placed it before herself.

    Inex Jonn, Fi thought with a smile. His tea. Hell, his ship. Not that he'd be needing it. Inex Jonn had died as he'd lived: messing around with other people's lives for his own gain. Fi felt no real sorrow at the loss. How could you feel sorrow for such a man when there were better people, good people, people with futures, having their lives stolen away every day?

    People like Tam.

    But Tam was alive.

    "Tam is alive."

    Fi whispered it into the empty chamber, tasting the words she'd dared not say, dared not think, since Zealos Reil had delivered the news. Though she certainly hadn't made peace with Tam's death, she'd been forced to accept it. The boy she'd loved, and sworn to protect, and summarily abandoned... all the while thinking she was keeping him from harm. Until now, she'd been able to blame that man -Tremayne- for Tam's death. Now she knew Tam was alive, and evil, and had joined with the Imperials... and there was every reason to believe that Fi herself was the cause.

    She had to help him. And if she couldn't help him, she had to stop him. But how? With that power of his, 'the Force', and his rage -his completely justified rage- and with an army behind him?

    Of course, Zealos Reil seemed to think that they might be able to raise an army of their own.

    Fi shivered in the dark. It was all so beyond her. And now she was dragging Jyll right into it. Fi sat there in the darkness, lost in thought, her fingers playing an arpeggio against the side of her cup. Her injured, clumsy, useless fingers.

    The same fingers that had mere hours ago been firing blasters, swinging fire extinguishers and, a short while later, helping Jyllis Tromso out of her coveralls.

    Fi looked at her hands in the dimness, the same hands she'd been told would never work properly again, and hadn't. Until now.

    I guess I just needed a reason.

    Fi rose from the lounge table and quietly returned to her bunkroom, closed the hatch, and locked it. Shrugging off her robe, she slipped under the bed's heavy blankets and lay down beside Jyll, who still slept peacefully. Fi pressed herself close against the sleeping actress from head to toe, taking comfort in the girl's warmth and smoothness, knowing that sleep would not be coming back to claim her any time soon.
    Last edited by I. J. Thompson; 11-16-2012 at 11:46 AM.
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  13. #163
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    “Well, I guess it's because your older brother is supposed to look older than you.”

    Elayne studied Tach for a moment, comparing his appearance to the one of the hologram. Tach looked every bit that of an early-twenties human in fit shape, as opposed to the worn mid-forties image of the man in the hologram that called him brother. Deciding it was best to avoid the headache from trying to think about this situation Elayne just shook her head and went for a glass of wine.

    “Yes, well.”, the irritated Lucius hologram stated, “While I'm sure this has an interesting story behind it there are several matters we need to discuss.”

    Tach cut him off quickly, “Is this going to take long? We have someplace to be right now.”

    Lucius-holo replied arrogantly, “What ever it is I'm sure it can wait-”

    Tach had shut off the holocron before Lucius finished his sentence and dropped it into his satchel. “Not even death can daunt that man. Thankfully he now has an off switch.”, muttered Tach before finishing his drink.

    “He was nice to me.”, Elayne commented casually.

    Tach shrugged, “He has good taste.” Elayne smiled and the smuggler put his empty glass on the table. “Collect your things. We've got someplace to be.”

    -=< >=-

    The pair soon exited the restaurant in the direction of Tach's airspeeder. As they got closer Elayne noticed the damage to the hood. “Tach! Look!”, she stated while pointing in the direction of the vehicle. He made an irritated grunting sound before roughly shoving Elayne to the side.

    She reacted quick enough to spin around and catch the sight of Tach getting brutally tackled by a familiar creature of black furry fury. Summoning her lightsaber from her gun holster into her left hand she ignited it to draw his attention. “Paxan!”, Elayne spat through gritted teeth, the word laced with venom.

    The Shistavanen turned from the crumpled heap that was Tach towards the Jedi and grinned menacingly. “Youngling! We have some unfinished business, girl.”, he growled as he took a slow step towards Elayne. With a quick flick of his wrists a saber appeared in each hand and ignited with a crimson glow. “Just give me what I want and perhaps I will let you and your mate leave.”

    Elayne stole a glance towards Tach and noticed he was stirring a bit. She returned her glare back to Paxan and gave him a mocking smirk. “Afraid I can't do that, furball.”, she proclaimed as she assumed a defensive stance. Paxan gave a feral grin and went to charge Elayne before his world exploded in electric blue pain.

    Disregarding the smuggler had proven to be a mistake. While Paxan chose to focus on Elayne Tach had used the opportunity to draw his DE-10's and open fire upon the Shistavanen with both barrels. A continuous barrage of the blue blaster bolts connected with his back, right arm and head before Paxan could mount an effective defense to the assault.

    Paxan howled in pain and righteous indignation as wounds were peppered up and down his form. It took a moment before he recovered his focus and mounted what he could manage of a defense, able to block and deflect most of the blaster fire. But with Elayne jumping in and pushing her own assault it was decided the fight would be a loss. Mustering what energy he had left Paxan called upon the force and leaped atop the restaurant and fled the scene in a rooftop to rooftop esape. He swore this would be the only time he underestimated that human male.

    Tach rolled to his feet, sweeping his blasters around the area slowly in case of another attack. “Who the frack was that?!”, he demanded a bit heatedly.

    “Paxan. Leader of a group calling themselves Blood Trackers. He's after that artifact you're now wearing.”, Elayne answered.

    “Your friend from the factory?” Elayne nodded. Tach just shook his head and holstered his blasters. “Let's get out of here. I'm sure some form of law enforcement is on its way and I don't fancy another delay.”

    Elayne hopped into the speeder followed by Tach. He winced as he leaned back into the seat, an action not missed by the jedi. “You alright, Tach?”

    Tach fired up the speeder and took to the air. “Yeah, I'll be fine. Getting hit by three hundred pounds of angry muscles isn't fun. I'll have some bruises for a little while. Are there any other horribly angry sentients like that after you?”

    Elayne shad contemplated the question for a moment. When she didn't seem to answer Tach asked, “You have to think about it?”

    “Oh, so someone like you doesn't have a list of enemies?”

    “Touche'.”

    The pair soared over the cityscape in a companionable silence until they reached their destination; a top floor luxury condo with amenities, including personal landing pads. Tach selected a pad and brought his speeder in for a landing. The usual greeting party of personal bodyguards met the pair and received the usual introductions. So, after they left their weapons in the speeder they were escorted inside to meet the sponsor, a blond human male in garish business attire being served a drink by an attractive young pink skinned, dark blue haired female Zeltron.

    “Ah ha!”, the blond called out excitedly, “You're the new racer? Excellent! Please, have a seat. Lana dear can we have some drinks for our friends?” The man wore a genuine used speeder salesman smile on his face as Tach and Elayne sat across from him. Lana brought over drinks, running an appreciative eye over Tach as she served him. “Now, I believe introductions are in order. I am Jeffrey Sole, an unofficial representative of Fusion5 Studio's. And you are?”

    Tach and Elayne introduced themselves respectively, shaking the mans hand each in turn. The smuggler then asked, “Fusion5 Studio's? The holofilm company?”

    Jeffrey's grin remained scarily bright as he nodded fervently, “Yes, that is correct! Let me tell you all about it...”

  14. #164
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    Jeffrey excitedly launched into what was a well rehearsed explanation of his unofficial representation of Fusion5 Studio's. He was part of a Professional Advertising Committee, or PAC, and they abuse the rules of the law to allow legitimate companies to branch into illegal and/or unethical practices without penalty. In this case, the film studio was wanting to make a movie about a down on their luck couple risking everything they had to participate in an illegal underground race for the prize money, and as such a better life. The studio didn't want to spend the money for filming the action sequences, hiring stuntmen, buying equipment or pay for that pesky insurance. They also wanted the film to be 'based on an actual story'. So, along came PAC who, for a reasonable fee, will get them the footage from the races and since real racers will be involved it will be based on an actual story. According to Jeffrey the studio will be safely recording all the parts between action scenes in a studio with hired talent.

    Rumor was the film will be called Full Burn. The lead roles are going to be offered to someone Tach had never heard of and someone he had, Jyllis Tromso. Tach managed to keep his recognition of the name to himself.

    “All we ask of you and your partner is to keep this information to yourselves, put on a good show and stay in the race as long as possible.”, Jeffrey said happily, “And if you somehow manage to win the Run there may even be a bonus in it for you. How's that sound?”

    Lana had brought Tach a fresh drink and gave him an amused smile. Tach smiled in thanks and held his drink out for a toast to Jeffrey. “It sounds like we have a deal.” Jeffrey clinked his glass to Tach's and both downed a few gulps to seal the deal.

    “So, you ready to meet the Beast?”, Jeff asked casually. Tach arched his brow curiously so the man clarified, “The ricksha you will be piloting?”

    Tach put his glass down and nodded, “I'd love to see it.”

    The four exited the flat out onto a landing pad that was occupied by a rather plain looking large transport vehicle. Inside it, though, were living accommodations fit for a decent recreational vehicle with a state of the art garage attached to the back end of it. Inside this garage was one of the meanest looking airspeeders Tach had ever seen.

    It looked like a twenty foot version of a Rihkxyrk Assault Fighter, but with more armor, a two-person cockpit mounted closer to the middle of the craft and painted in an intimidating black and red paint scheme. Sandwiched between the armor 'skirts' Tach could make out a pair of thrusters of a design he was not familiar with, but they did look scary. “I can see why you call it the Beast.”, Tach commented.

    “That's because it IS a beast!”, happily shouted a young girls voice from an adjoining room. Bounding into the room was the source of the voice. A short but energetic skinny framed girl with short wavy gold hair and blue eyes filled with mirth wearing overalls that seemed to have a tool in every pocket. She zeroed in on Tach and continued, in the same tone and volume, “Wait until you hear it roar!”, she turned to the room she emerged from, “Daddy, can I start the Beast?! Pleeeeaase?”

    Following the call 'daddy' entered the room and was a complete opposite of the girl. A man in his mid-forties with a complexion that was paler than the girls' lightly tanned skin. He was also large, easily breaking six foot four inches in height and packed with muscles from years of working on equipment. His hair was a thinning mop of salt and pepper but he held the same mirth his brown eyes as the girls'. “Alright, Spanner, but only for a little while.”, he relented in a kind voice.

    Spanner whooped in triumph, actually pumping a fist in the air with a victory hop and clamored into the cockpit. The group could barely see the top of her golden hair when she settled into the seat but could hear the clicks and whirring sounds as she initiated the start-up sequence. She was also giggling in anticipation throughout the process only to have it overwhelmed by the sound of the engines firing up with a roar that would make any die-hard airspeeder racer envious. The top of her head disappeared as she scooted down to rev the Beast a few times, and if one listened closely enough they could hear the girl laughing excitedly. Eventually she powered down the vehicle and climbed out of the cockpit to slide down the side of the vehicle to land gracefully next to Tach. “Tadaa!”, she cheered, throwing both hands in the air to accent her cheer, “What'd'ya think? I helped put it together you know.” Spanner was bouncing on the balls of her feet as she waited for Tach to answer.

    “I think it's wonderful!”, Tach gushed, “You know, since I'm going to be driving it then perhaps you should help me get familiar with it. Give me an idea of what to expect and how it works. Can you help me with that?”

    Spanner gave Tach a big goofy grin and dragged him to the front of the Beast, then proceeded to start explaining the ricksha in details that would surprise any engineer. Her father watched the interaction and began to chuckle heartily. “Well, he's going to be busy for a while.”, turning to Elayne he held out his hand, “Name's Walsh. Walsh Strider.”

    Elayne took his hand and gave it a friendly shake, “Elayne. And that's Tach.”, she nodded her head in her partners direction.

    Jeffrey piped in, “As you can guess, Elayne, this is your tech crew. They will take care of the ricksha. And they'll show you your quarters. Lana and I have to register your names for the next race, which is in about six hours. So, if you'll excuse us.”

    “Oh!”, Elayne exclaimed, “Could you put me under a different name?”, she pleaded.

    Jeffery nodded in understanding, “Sure. It's not an usual request. What would you prefer?”

    “Umm.”, she pondered for a moment, “How about Tiana?”

    With a nod Jeffrey agreed and turned to leave. Lana, however, seemed to linger to watch Tach curiously. He was listening to the small girl intently, taking her seriously and offering her praise at points as she proudly showed off the work done to the ricksha. It took Jeffrey calling to her twice before he got her attention and left.

    “I'm very proud of her, you know.”, Walsh said to Elayne as he watched Spanner with a smile on his face, “Dita has been the light of my life ever since I found her.”

    “I can see why. She's a genius!”, she turned to look at the towering man, “Not trying to sound rude but, well, I don't see a family resemblance.”

    Walsh nodded, but showed no signs of offense, “I rescued her, you can say. On one of my jobs we came across a Kiffar encampment that was destroyed. As we searched it for survivors I heard her crying from within the rubble of a building. She was only a year old, too young to have received their tribal markings. Soon as I picked her up she stopped crying and fell asleep while I held her. The whole group decided she had adopted me and, honestly, I couldn't argue with that.” He smiled brightly as he recalled the memory. “I couldn't let her go after that. Whoever attacked the clan would try to come for her should they learn she survived. So, I decided to raise her as my daughter. Less chance of trouble that way.”

    Elayne nodded at that. No one could argue with such logic and he seemed quite taken with girl. “So how did she earn the name Spanner?”, she asked with an amused grin.

    Walsh chuckled heartily, “When she was five years old she got her hands on one of my hydrospanners and took apart an engine I'd been working on for a month!”, he stopped to stifle some laughter, “I swear she'd only seen me use the thing, never handled one until that day. When I saw what she was doing I asked her jus' what the heck she was doing. She said it was still broken on the inside and was going to find the 'broken thing' inside it ta' fix it! I didn't believe it until she pulled out a fuel array and showed it to me. Sure enough, there were micro-fractures in it.” Walsh shook his head, his expression one of bemusement and pride, “Please don't tell anyone this, but that girl has a gift, I tell you. She can, well, feel what is going on in a machine. Since that day I've been teaching her all I know. With her gift she learns and understands faster than anyone I know.”

    “I've heard some Kiffar have a gift similar to that. Her's is certainly... unique. Tach and I will keep this safe.”, Elayne mentioned with some surprise.

    “Thank you. And yes, she is very unique.”, Walsh stated fondly before changing the subject, “Now, I'm sure you could use a shower and some rest before your first race. Lemme show you the quarters you two get. Spanner will deliver your partner when she's done with him.”

    Elayne nodded wearily as it was a busy day for them both and followed the large man. “What's going to happen to Tach's speeder and our stuff in it?”, she asked as an afterthought.

    “I'll take care of it, I promise. We have space in the garage to for the speeder. You can get your things once it's on-board.”, he stated before opening a door to a simply furnished room. It had the necessities; dresser, bathroom with shower stall, desk and one queen sized bed. Elayne groaned internally at the pro's and con's of sharing a bed with Tach.

    “Thank you, Walsh. I'll see ya later. Try to not to let Spanner keep Tach up too late.”, she said with a small smile. Walsh gave a small chuckle and a curt nod before heading back to the garage. Elayne entered the room and went straight for the shower.

    -=< >=-

    Tach's head was spinning. When Spanner started telling him about the ricksha she started out at hyper. As she continued giving him the tour of the vehicle managed to talk even faster with a mix of giddiness, pride and technical details that even he was having trouble keeping up with. The kid was a gorram prodigy! Her tour ended back in the cockpit where she went over the systems again, just to be sure Mr. Tach understood them.

    “I am impressed! Spanner, you and your father are amazing. With this thing I don't think I can lose!” Spanner beamed proudly and sat up a bit straighter in the passenger seat. “But there is one change that I need to make.”

    It was as if Tach just kicked Spanner's puppy, her expression was crestfallen. “But... why? What's wrong with the Beast the way it is?”, she whined.

    Tach backpedaled quickly, “What? No! Nothing is wrong, it's just-”, he paused and put on a thoughtful expression, “-well, I guess you wouldn't know about that.”, he finished casually.

    Walsh had quietly entered the garage and found himself curious about this conversation so he stayed near the doorway to eavesdrop. Spanner's eyes had narrowed and she asked Tach suspiciously, “Know about what?”

    “Well,”, Tach started flippantly, “that any good racer always adjusts their maneuvering repulsors when they get in a new vehicle, of course. That way we can fly our best sooner.”

    Spanner looked thoughtful for a moment then nodded. “That makes sense. But those kinds of adjustments would take a while. Like, days!”

    “I've got my ways.”, he said mysteriously. The girl cutely narrowed her eyes at him again and demanded, “How?”, as if retaining this information was a crime.

    Tach arched a brow in amusement and smirked. “Can you keep a secret?” Spanner gave her best serious nod so Tach continued in a lowered voice, “I have a computer in my head.”

    The girls eyes widened in awe. “Really?”, she squeaked.

    He pulled a silvery cable from inside his jacket. “Watch this.”, he said as he inserted the oddly cut round end into the back of his neck and plugged the other end into the vehicles data port. In half a moment the screens on the panel lit up to show calibration values that rapidly began changing until finally settling on the values Tach wanted. He looked at the amazed girl and asked, “What do you think?”

    Big blue eyes gazed at Tach in surprise for a moment before huge smile crept across her face. “Can you reprogram my datapad?!”, Spanner asked excitedly.

    From the doorway Walsh had a coughing fit that sounded a lot like laughter.

    -=< >=-

    An hour later Tach was finally able to make it to his quarters. He dropped the luggage from his speeder next to the dresser, took a shower and went to bed. Elayne was already asleep dressed in a plain oversized shirt. He had carefully climbed into the bed to not wake her and quickly fell asleep.

    As they slept the transport took flight and headed in the direction of their first race.

    A few hours later Tach was woken up by a soft rapping noise on the door. Quickly getting his bearings he found an arm draped over him that was attached to an Elayne who was snuggled up against him. Best not cause her any embarrassment this early on., he thought to himself and cautiously untangled himself from her before answering the door.

    Upon opening the door Tach found a bouncy Spanner holding a recently reprogrammed datapad to her chest. “Hi Tach! Jeffrey wanted me to tell you that we will be arriving soon so get up and get ready.”, she announced happily.

    Tach smiled at her, “Thanks, we'll get ready.”

    Spanner then leaned closer and whispered, “Thanks again for fixing my datapad. I haven't told anyone your secret.” She then waved and bounded back towards the garage.

    Tach just smiled to himself, headed back into his room to wake up Elayne. After a few tries she finally lost the battle to stay asleep. “What?”, she mumbled.

    “Time to get up. It's showtime.”

    -=< >=-

    “Galaxy wide, we're live!”, announced the tech as the illegal video feed began to broadcast.

    Subscribers as far out as the Outer Rim watched their screens light up with a “Coruscant Run” tag followed by the word “Preliminaries” forming under it, all the while some rock music from an unknown group was playing. Moments later the image had faded out to show a backdrop of twenty screens each focused on the drivers in this event while an unseen male announcer spoke, “Welcome ladies and gentlebeings to another exciting preliminary race. Today we have twenty drivers vying for enough points to be accepted into the much anticipated Coruscant Run! The drivers are..” As each driver, along with their navigator if they had one, was introduced their video feed was brought forward.

    Eventually the announcer had reached the last entrant. “...and representing an independent sponsor we have a newcomer to the scene. Tach and his navigator Tiana!”

  15. #165
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    The Mandalorian stood at the landing pad, critically eyeing his ship. Or at least the smoldering remainso his ship, and the second one that had rammed it full force. He had been on a bounty while his squad had off time. Sadly to say, his target seemed to give remote commands to his ship. Bandomeer. He should have known such a low profile planet would be trouble. Glancing around he found some signs of life in his rangefinder.

    Setting off steadily he left the now useless scrap. He flipped on a remote beacon transmitting a request for pickup on any passing ships. A pity. He liked his last ship. He removed his helmet for some air, and some food. Once in town he would not have the relaxation needed to wander with his face in view. That, and people always remembered the wrong things. As if a Mandalorian wouldn't be enough.
    Last edited by I. J. Thompson; 12-03-2012 at 10:30 AM. Reason: OOC stuff

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