TWO YEARS AFTER THE CLONE WARS
Tik’Trii punches in the coordinates for Null into the navicomputer and engages the hyperdrive, turning a black sea with islands of stars into a swirling tunnel of blue-white light. The day’s journey through hyperspace to Null occurs with little incident; Mall-kom Reanolds contacts Ataraxia over the HoloNet partway through the trip, his face displaying from the holoprojector. “Have you received the coordinates to my uncle’s farm, Captain?” Mall-kom asks. Soleil nods her head in affirmation, and points to the rear of a large complex on the property. “So this is where we’re supposed to break in? And we’re just stealing medical supplies right?” She asks Captain Reanolds, testing his plan for any holes while sizing up her crew’s role in it. “Just some meds Captain, nothing that can be traced to you. Serenity will be the one loaded up with them, and I’ll pay you and your crew out-of-pocket. Not backing out are you?” “No, no, just going over the plan again,” Soleil replies. “See you planet-side Captain, and good-luck,” states Captain Reanolds, his holo-image winking at her, before powering down.
As Ataraxia drops out of hyperspace, Tik’Trii begins scouting topographical maps for a good place to land close to the Reanolds’ farm storehouse, landing in a small grove of large trees and thick vines less than a kilometer from the compound. Soleil activates the boarding ramp, and she steps into the humid jungle air, followed by Tik’Trii, S19-N5 and Max, leaving Raighl in charge of Ataraxia, and B.B. to his music. Only a short hike later, the four of them see a tall square-shaped building that is clearly the compound, guarded by 4 individuals, one of them a large hammer-headed Ithorian. Sizing them up, Soleil decides that she can charm her way in and let her pheromones do the talking, so she leads the four of them through the bush to the doors, walking right up to the guards, who aim their blaster rifles at them.
“Hey guys, take it easy! We’re on your side, just some extra muscle the boss hired. Care to move aside?” Soleil says, but her often overpowering pheromones don’t seem to be having the desired effect. A short, greasy, mustachioed human continues to point his blaster rifle in her face. “Boss said Reanolds would pull a stunt like this! C’mon boys, looks like we caught us some intruders!” The greasy man shouts elatedly at his compatriots, but they seem more than a little confused, probably still being affected by Soleil‘s pheromones. "Didn’t the boss say Reanolds’ crew were Humans? Not a one of them are you null-rat!" The Ithorian shouts to the greasy Human in basic, but the Human whirls around on him. “Boss don’t be payin’ you to think hammer-head! You’re here to shoot, plain and simple so don’t you-”
“How much are you being paid?” Soleil interjects, stunning the bickering guards. “Seven percent, that’s standard,” the Ithorian says, holstering his blaster rifle and crossing his arms over his chest. Max suppresses a snicker, while Tik’Trii laughs loudly at the statement. “Oh really? I guess I’m paying you both too much then,” Soleil says to Max and Tik’Trii. “Any of you fellas feel like being paid more to switch sides?” She proposes, but the guards return to their bickering, with the Ithorian jabbing his finger at the short, dirty Human. ‘’-And I have to room with your dirty, smelly ass! Don’t Humans ever wash?"
Before they can argue further, an alarm goes off from somewhere else inside the storehouse, with the Ithorian and short, dirty Human heading inside, leaving a Rodian and another Human to guard the door. “Bad luck, eh fellas?” Tik’Trii quips, before putting a blaster bolt into the chest of the young Human man, while Max shoots the Rodian unconscious with his cobbled together tensor-rifle. S19-N5 plugs into a port near the door, and it slides open revealing a warehouse-like interior, stacked with crates. A meeting table is visible in the far back of the storehouse, where a handful of beings are seated, discussing something. The Ithorian and the short dirty Human from the door alert the rest of the guards to the intrusion, while a few run over to the table to speak to an older, paunchy Human male, who looks to be Reanolds’ uncle. “My nephew has hired mercenaries to take what is rightfully mine! Guards, take these scum out!” He screams, spittle flying from his lips.
“So much for a clean getaway. Max, can Signs actually do what you promised he could?” Soleil asks the little Squib, whose fur stands on end at your question. “Upgrades work Captain, you betcha! You hurt me! Me show you! Move, move droid!” Max squeaks, pushing S19-N5 out in front of the three of you, who begins wailing in alarm. As some of the guards open fire, S19-N5 squeals in fear, and starts up an energy shield that extends up from the top of his box, surrounding all four of you in a large, tent-like blue dome. Blaster bolts begin to ping off the shield, as the four of you scramble to look for some cover amongst the scattered crates of medical supplies.
Tik’Trii slinks behind a tall stack of crates, while Max ducks down behind a box, while Soleil dives for cover behind some short crates, letting S19-N5‘s shield protect her. Max tries to shoot one of the guards, but his gun jams, and he frantically tries to fix it as he takes cover again behind the box. The guards advance, taking fire as they approach the Ataraxia crew, a few of them missing terribly. Soleil points her blaster out of the shield and blast down one of the guards, and injuring another, before taking protection behind S19-N5’s shield again. Tik’Trii peeks out from behind the crates and fries a guard with his pulse-wave pistol, before stepping out from his cover and joining Soleil underneath S19-N5’s shield.
The dirty Human that was guarding the door tries to shoot Max but misses horribly, clipping his fellow guard, the Ithorian, who screams in pain and rage. Advancing towards Captain Soleil, the Ithorian speaks to her in a deep baritone, “Hey lady, you serious about paying more? Ten percent and my own room, and you’ve got a deal.” “Done,” she says, shaking the Ithorian’s hand as he crosses through the barrier of the shield. “Name’s Oduph,” The Ithrorian says, before turning to face his former compatriots. Taking a deep breath, Oduph Nychoth emits a loud, rumbling bellow from his four throats, causing the room to shake as he directs an echoing sonic boom at his former allies. Four of the guards, plus the one Soleil shot, drop to the storehouse floor clutching their heads in agony, blood leaking from their ears, noses and eyes. Crates fall from stacked positions as the room shakes, loose tiles are blown off the floor and ceiling, with Oduph panting hard from the exertion of his effort.
With only Reanolds’ uncle, and the two guards at the table remaining, the Ataraxia crew walks up to them, blasters drawn. “We can do this the easy way, or the hard way. I’m just here to liberate the medical supplies for your nephew, things don’t have to get messy,” Soleil says, trying to reason with the man, but his face only reddens in outrage. “I’ll never let my nephew have what’s his, my schutta of a sister should never have gotten the farm!” The man screams at her, opening fire and overwhelming the shield generated by S19-N5. The guards open fire too, forcing Soleil to duck under the meeting table, while blaster bolts zing over the heads of Max and Tik’Trii. Max shoots one of the guards with his tensor-rifle, while Tik’Trii fries the other with two pulse-waves.
Shocked at the loss of the last of his hired mercenaries, Reanolds’ uncle begins shaking in anger and fear as the crew of five surround him. “I guess you picked the hard way,” Soleil says, firing at the man and hitting him in the shoulder, knocking him from his chair onto the storehouse floor. Tik’Trii walks over and finishes the man off with a pulse-wave, leaving him in a puddle of steaming blood. The five of them gather up the cargo on Captain Reanolds’ manifest and leave the guards that were either incapacitated or killed inside the storehouse. Returning to Ataraxia, Captain Reanolds is waiting for them with a couple members of his crew. He hands over their payment to Soleil as Oduph hands off the cargo to Reanolds’ crew. “Did everything go as planned Captain?” Mall-kom asks, a smirk on his face. “Uh, well I’ve got your cargo, but uh, your uncle’s dead,” Soleil replies meekly, hoping not to anger the smuggler.
“I know it’s ill-manners to speak of the dead Captain, but my uncle was a no-good-rotten-thieving-sithspawn who’d rather I died as a little boy, than share the farm with my ‘Ma. That’s the truth of it. You’ve done me a favour Captain and you’ve got your payment, so I wish you good fortune, but if you’re ever in a jam send me a holo over the ‘Net. I can’t promise Serenity and my crew will come to your rescue, but who knows? Us veterans have to stick together.”
Soleil‘s eyes widen in fear and surprise at the reference, a million thoughts running through her head over Mall-kom’s meaning, but he silences her with a chuckle. “I knew who I was dealing with Captain. I fought in the war like you, I served with the Jedi like you, and I saw them die. Good people. If there was folk like them still left in the Galaxy, maybe we wouldn’t have the Empire. But they’re gone, and the Empire isn’t going away anytime soon. Just gotta stay farther they can chase us is all. Good luck Soleil.” “You too Captain Reanolds,” you say, giving him an informal salute. “May the ’Force be with you!”
As Soleil boards her starship, Tik’Trii informs her that he has already prepped Ataraxia for launch, while Oduph has settled into one of the rear unoccupied crew quarters. S19-N5 and Max board as well, and Ataraxia gently lifts off, breaking orbit and leaving the jungle planet Null behind and once far enough away, jumps to hyperspace to a new destination in the Outer Rim.