Star Wars: Edge of the Galaxy

Imperial Machinations
The Emperor & His Servant

Dusk falls over Coruscant, capital planet of the Galactic Empire; The Imperial Palace looms on the horizon, visible from all directions regardless of the maze of tall buildings. All evidence of the Imperial Palace’s former identity as the Jedi Temple has been erased from history, and existence. Emperor Palpatine sits in a dark, cavernous room on a tall, throne-like chair of seemingly polished stone; small square-shaped cuts can be seen etched into the walls of the former Jedi Holocron vault. The chair’s back is to the turbolift at the end of a hallway, the chamber’s only exit, and entrance. The turbolift door opens and Darth Vader, Lord of the Sith, enters the chamber and kneels beside the gleaming ebony throne.

Danger in the Dark
Smuggler Rescue

The Outer Rim

Escape From Alderaan
A Wanted Herglic

Bernadette, Alderaan

“It was gracious of the Captain to give us this vacation on the planet while she has her meeting in orbit, don’t you think Tik’Trii?” Shamü says loudly and boisterously to his much smaller, and furrier compatriot. “Just as long as you don’t end up kidnapping a child by accident,” Tik’Trii retorts, as he raises an arm to shield his eyes from the glare of Alderaan‘s sunset. The two of them, as well as Max and Raiden walk loosely together down the broad city avenue, noticing the various flowers in full bloom, and the music being played openly in the street. “If the sun is setting, maybe it best we go back to the shuttle?” squeaks Max to his companions, not moments before an Imperial probe droid and two stormtroopers round the corner, practically knocking into the group of aliens. "Hey! Watch where you’re going citizens!" The lead stormtrooper yells at the group, before being visibly intimidated by what exactly he’s yelling at, as nearly a half ton of battle-scarred Herglic marches up to confront him.

Before Shamü can say anything to the stormtroopers, the Imperial probe droid scans Shamü and elicits an alarm, displaying a wanted holo to the stormtroopers with a much younger Shamü Abyssail wearing a Separatist military uniform. Upon seeing this the stormtrooper draws his blaster on Shamü and yells “Stop! you’re under arrest!”. Hearing this Raiden pulls out his pistol and stuns the trooper unconscious with a blast. The probe droids holo fades away as it spins towards the stormtrooper’s assailant but before it can shoot the Arkanian a massive foot zooms into it’s optical sensor shattering it and the droid as it hits the permacrete. Shamü extricates his foot from the wreckage of the droid and lumbers towards the last trooper but before he gets there a burst of microwave energy leaps from Tik’Trii’s blaster cooking the last trooper through her armor eliciting a few pained shrieks until she could cry no longer.

“It good thing me not need to shoot cause me make BIG BOOM!” exclaimed Max. “You really are loud for such a sneaky furball. You really should get something a little more suited to your size and leave the big guns to me,” said Shamü. “Dis’ a squib gun it too smart for you, and you no tell me what to do! You not my captain!” Max retorted his fur bristling in response to his anger. “Calm down there little one we’re on the same side here” Shamü said while laughing “It was just a suggestion since you’re always sneaking around and I prefer my concussion rifle anyway” Shamü pointed out. Managing to calm down a little bit Max asked the Herglic “So why they have your holo and after you anyway?” “I may have been a (Cough) ranking member of the (Cough) Separatist army during the Clone Wars,” Shamü said evasively. “Not that Tik’Trii cares, but why didn’t you mention this to us earlier?” Tik’Trii asked. “Well there was always a chance it would bring unwanted attention and I figured you wouldn’t let me hang around if you knew,” replied Shamü. “We’re not scared of a little danger! Danger is my middle name!” Max exclaimed while brandishing his squib rifle. “Well since the Empire is after us I guess that means our vacations over,” said Raiden as he swaps his blaster’s power pack. While groaning Tik’Trii said “Tik’Trii didn’t even get to eat at The Elysium Table yet” “You can eat later we need to head to the spaceport and get back on Ataraxia before they find us” Raiden retorted. “Sounds like a plan, but how do we get through the spaceport security now that they’re looking for us?” asked Shamü. “Just follow me and we make it through fine!” exclaimed the Squib.

While sneaking their way towards the spaceport outskirts, the crew met with no patrols but did find it odd that they saw no starships leaving or landing at the spaceport. Managing to sneak into the spaceport itself with no trouble, the four crew members got to their RC-2 Twilight Scoutship without incident, but found that they could not use it to escape due to a shield canopy over the hangar locking it down. This left the crew arguing about how to deal with the situation for a while until Shamü chimed in, by saying “You know there are imperial codes to unlock the hangar bay right? All we need to do is get them from the Officer stationed here.” “Well where exactly is the Officer? Cause me not want to spend whole day running round’ spaceport shootin’ imps,” exclaimed Max. “They should be stationed at an office in the stormtrooper barracks,” Shamü responded. “So they’re looking for us and your great idea is to run into their barracks guns blazing. Are you trying to get us killed?” Raiden asked scathingly. “Ya! As much as Tik’Trii likes to cook stormtroopers Tik’Trii doesn’t think we can roast an entire garrison,” Tik’Trii said. “Calm down guys. Most of the stormtroopers should be out looking for us so we shouldn’t have too much to worry about. We also snuck our way here no sweat so maybe we’ll get lucky and be able to sneak through the barracks too,” Shamü responded. “Even if it is just the stragglers at the barracks it’s probably more than the four of us can handle and don’t make me laugh! Not even stormtroopers are stupid enough to miss seeing a huge kriffing Herglic walking around their barracks!” Raiden retorted angrily. “If you have better idea then speak up, but if not then me think we stuck with this one” Max pointed out. “Well I don’t have a better idea but that doesn’t mean this ones good. Just don’t blame me when it all goes to poodoo!” Raiden exclaimed. Although divided on their course of action, the crew headed in the direction of the spaceport’s Imperial barracks.

Smuggler's Rendezvous
Betrayal at the Red Twins

Yedagon, Adumar

Leaning back and peeling the gloves off her hands, revealing bright violet skin, and reaching for the glass in front of her, Captain Soleil takes a long refreshing sip of her drink. She scans the Adumari cantina, looking for Da-Ghu Wu, who should have already been here to meet with her. Soleil‘s thoughts drift to her crew, and she hopes letting B.B. take Raiden and Shamü out for a little vacation won’t get them into any trouble. At least S19-N5 is with them, and can maybe keep an eye on the three of them, especially B.B.. Soleil’s ruminations are interrupted by Da-Ghu striding into the bar in his long blue jacket, followed by an older-looking Weequay who spots her, orders two drinks from a server droid, and quickly settle themselves at her table.

“Ah! So this is the famous, and quite lovely, Captain Soleil I have been hearing all about from my associate here,” the Weequay says, leaning forward and offering Soleil a hand in greeting. “And you are?” Soleil asks the Weequay warily, taking his hand. The Weequay gently kisses the back of Soleil‘s hand, which she recoils from, at which Da-Ghu briefly chuckles. "It is I, the infamous pirate Hondo Ohnaka! I’m actually a little surprised you have never heard of me before Captain, I thought I had quite a reputation in the Outer Rim, though that was probably before I lost my pirate gang…" Hondo Ohnaka says, trailing off quietly, and then bursting into renewed confidence. “But now I have my good partner Da-Ghu Wu here, introducing me to all sorts of new…opportunities. Ha!” “And what sort of business opportunity are you two proposing?” Soleil asks suspiciously. “Just a little bit of honest smuggling Captain,” Da-Ghu says, flashing Soleil a grin. “We’ve got hold of about a dozen crates of Imperial blaster rifles, and a buyer to purchase them on Acherin, just no way there. Hondo’s ship was impounded by Adumar security not long after we landed, so we just need transport.”

“So let me get this straight, we take you and your blaster rifles to Acherin, you sell them, and we get a cut?” Soleil asks the two of them, testing their plan for flaws. “Lovely and astute! Ha! Da-Ghu why did you not introduce me to this wonderful Zeltron sooner?” Hondo says, clapping Da-Ghu Wu on the back. “So have we got a deal, Captain?” Da-Ghu asks Soleil, hand upturned towards the ceiling. “Not yet, how much of a cut are we talking about? I have a ship to run, and mouths to feed, not to mention docking and resupply-” Soleil is interrupted by Hondo‘s chuckling. "My dear Captain! a twenty percent cut would be a handsome reward for you and your crew! Why don’t we-" “Thirty percent, and not a credit lower,” Soleil interrupts, flooding the surrounding area with her pheromones. “Ha! A woman after my own heart. Thirty percent it is Captain!” Hondo agrees enthusiastically, shaking Soleil‘s hand again and laughing. "We’ll meet you in your docking bay within the hour Captain, be sure your crew are ready for the journey," Da-Ghu says, before him and Hondo begin making their way for the cantina’s exit. Soleil, quickly finishes her own drink and settles her tab with the server droid before returning to Ataraxia.

“Ship be prepped and ready for liftoff Captain!” Max says excitedly, at which Soleil nods absent-mindedly as she walks into Ataraxia‘s lounge. “Good, now only if those two nerf-herders would get here like they said they would, we could make good time to Acherin,” Raighl says, before being interrupted by a chime from the ship’s sensors. Standing below Ataraxia are Da-Ghu Wu and Hondo Ohnaka, with about a dozen large crates stacked between them. “Hey Max, feel like getting Oduph and helping them out there loading those crates? It looks like it could take a while,” Soleil asks Max to which he nods and skips down the engineering corridor to the Oduph‘s quarters. The two of them assist in loading the cargo into the smuggler holds, while Soleil climbs the ladder to the cockpit to confer with Tik’Trii.

“Where to Captain?” Tik’Trii squeaks to Soleil, who points at a system not far from Adumar. “Here, the Acherin system. It’s not much of a jump, we should make great time provided we don’t run into any trouble,” Soleil tells him. An icon on the controls turns green, indicating the cargo bay doors have been closed and sealed. “Is everyone aboard?” Soleil asks, receiving a reply over Ataraxia‘s comms from Raighl in the cargo bay. "Cargo is stored, and the nerf-herders are aboard. We’re clear to leave," Raighl says, just before Ataraxia begins lifting off the surface, and into the upper atmosphere of Adumar. As the clouds begin to break, and the black of space fills the viewport, a large star cruiser looms directly ahead. “Captain, what was that you were saying about running into trouble?” Tik’Trii squeaks, before the comms begin blasting static. “Attention light freighter Ataraxia, this is the Imperial Cruiser Relinquish . Power down your engines and prepare to be boarded.”

With little time to prepare, Soleil orders everyone to the lounge to form a plan, as the Imperial Light Cruiser lines itself up to dock with Ataraxia‘s airlock. Hondo Ohnaka walks up confidently to the lounge, grabbing a spare piece of fruit from the galley, and begins munching on it. "There’s nothing to worry about dear Captain! This is all going according to plan. They board us, search for the blasters, they won’t find them, and then we leave, simple as that, yes," Hondo says, between bites of fruit. Not a minute later, grinding noises begin emanating from the airlock as the Imperial Cruiser docks with Ataraxia. The airlock doors open, and an Imperial officer strides out, nose in the air, followed by eighteen stormtroopers in their iconic white armor. “Which one of you filthy aliens is the Captain of this vessel?” The officer demands, holding his nose insultingly. “I am,” Soleil says, stepping forward, “I’ve got all the proper permits here sir,” she finishes, producing the aforementioned documents and waving them in the Imperial officer’s face. He grabs them away, and begins studying them as if they were forgeries, expecting to see details of such, and finding none. “Hmph, you haven’t been through an Imperial checkpoint in some time Captain. Your licenses are old, and dance on the very margins of legality. Stormtroopers, search this ship! We’re looking for crates of stolen Imperial blaster rifles,” the officer says turning to Soleil, “and even a single rifle will mean the seizure of this vessel.”

After hours pass, only one stormtrooper hasn’t returned to the lounge from searching Ataraxia, making Soleil nervous. “When do you think we’ll be underway sir?” She asks the Imperial officer, “It doesn’t look like I have what you’re looking for.” Almost immediately after, a yelp of pain echoes from the port engine, causing the Imperial officer to jump up and order two stormtroopers to investigate. The stormtroopers return with the missing one, who rubs his helmet as if he had taken a blow to the head. “Nothing to report here sir, TK-5772 just bashed his head against a beam while sifting through a salvage pile,” intones one of the stormtroopers supporting the wounded one. “Hey, that mine!” shrieks Max, but Soleil makea a shushing gesture at the Squib. “I assume since everything’s in order, we’ll be on our way then?” Soleil asks the officer, intent on getting the Imperials off her ship. “Indeed,” sneers the officer, “I hope never to have to see you again Captain, or your abysmal freighter. Good day.” And as soon as he finishes, he and the stormtroopers march through the airlock, which seals and begins to disengage from Ataraxia. “Whew, that was a close call Captain. What say we head to Acherin now?” Da-Ghu says with a grin, while Raighl just shakes her head at him, giving him a menacing glare. Climbing up the ladder to the cockpit, you poke your head through and tell Tik’Trii to make the jump to Acherin once the Imperial Cruiser is clear.

After a few hours of hyperspace travel, Tik’Trii drops Ataraxia out of hyperspace, revealing the mostly barren, dark grey planet that is Acherin. Following the coordinates provided by Hondo, Tik’Trii pilots Ataraxia to a small landing platform on the southern portion of the planet; Tall floodlights illuminate the landing pad with a sole shuttle parked by a small building on the far side of the platform, the only shelter from the thin though breathable, atmosphere. As Soleil and her crew begin unloading the crates of blaster rifles with Da-Ghu and Hondo, a dozen individuals emerge from the building and make their way towards the Hondo and the group. The lead individual, a Devaronian with orange skin and two long cranial horns, greets Hondo. “Well, looky-here pateesas , Hondo Ohnaka has returned to pay us back what he owes. How much is it now Hondo, fifty-thousand? Sixty? You’re in deep friend, these blasters had better be worth it-” “Fifty-thousand?” Hondo gasps incredulously, interrupting the Devaronian. “Why Vordell, you backstabbing scoundrel! You remind me of…well…me!” Hondo interrupts, “Unfortunately, I have offered these kind smugglers a thirty percent share of what you promised you would pay me for any blasters like these, my inability to deliver on our last bargain notwithstanding. You must understand my friend, business is business! I will pay you what I owe you and your mercenaries the next time we meet, which I hope is much sooner than later. Ha!”

“Grrrr,” Vordell growls, “Hondo, there won’t be any new deals or bargains with you, I’m sick of you double-dealing us. Attack!” As soon as Vordell gives the order, his men begin firing blaster bolts down the length of the landing pad, forcing Hondo, Soleil, and the others to take cover behind the crates of blaster rifles, and fire back at the mercenaries themselves. One shot from Tik’Trii and Raighl drops two mercenaries, while a stun blast from Da-Ghu forces an Arcona mercenary to his knees. Soleil drops a third mercenary as a blaster bolt burns its way through his chest, and Max‘s tensor rifle rips apart the stunned Arcona. Four of them already dead, the mercenaries begin spraying the area with automated blasterfire, but not before a fifth and sixth mercenary are killed by Hondo and Soleil respectively, firing from their cover. With half of his men gone, Vordell turns and begins to run back to the small complex on the far side of the landing platform leaving his men in confusion. Taking advantage of it, Raighl jumps on top of one of the crates, and firing with two blasters puts a bolt in the chest of two more mercenaries. Tik’Trii sneaks out from behind a crate and microwaves a third mercenary with his pulse-wave rifle, cooking the poor Rodian until he drops to the ground, steaming and leaking a small pool of blood. Max drops another mercenary with a rending blast from his tensor rifle, and laughs as he sees the last two mercenaries take flight along with their leader, Vordell, back toward the landing platform’s sole building.

“And where do you think you’re going my friend?” Hondo asks Vordell, blaster trained on the Devaronian’s head, not ten feet from the building’s entrance. “Damn you Hondo! You traitorous Weequay scum! And what do you think you’ll do-” The whine of Hondo‘s blaster pistol interrupts him, as a blaster bolt buries itself in Vordell’s chest, just as Vordell’s last two mercenaries are gunned down by Soleil and Tik’Trii. “Now Captain,” Hondo says to Soleil, holstering his blaster pistol, “I believe it’s time you got paid!” After securing the mercenaries’ credits, Hondo doles out the thirty percent owed, roughly forty-five thousand credits, to Soleil while Da-Ghu loads up the unpurchased crates of blaster rifles into the mercenaries’ now former shuttle. “It was lucrative doing business with you Captain! I hope we find such riches in the future! Ha!” Hondo says to Soleil, laughing and waving as he boards the mercenaries’ shuttle, while Da-Ghu shouts his farewells to Soleil and her crew as he loads the last crate.

Soleil and her crew board Ataraxia, and Tik’Trii powers up the engines. Soleil continues to shake her head at that old Weequay pirate Hondo, and can’t quite believe that Da-Ghu has such a chaotic partner; the man is usually a pretty cool operator. “Where to next Captain?” Tik’Trii squeaks from the cockpit, but before Soleil can answer, Raighl replies. “Back to Adumar, before BB gets Raiden and Shamu into trouble!” She shouts up to the cockpit at Tik’Trii, making everyone laugh. Soon the stars stream into lines, and then the whirling blue of hyperspace as Ataraxia makes the jump to hyperspace.

Guilty Until Proven Innocent
The Runaway

Cartann City, Adumar

S19-N5 beeps and whistles in frustration, but to no avail. The organics just won’t listen to him! S19-N5 rotates around to lock his photoreceptor on the small Human that has stowed away on his Master’s shuttle. S19-N5 moves over to the crate the little Human is hiding in and with a sharp acceleration of his servomotors, push the box over, spilling the Human onto the deck of the RC-2 Twilight Scoutship. “Ow! Hey!” the little Human yells out, finally getting the attention of the organic crewmembers. “Uh, guys?” Raiden asks, “since when was there a kid onboard?” “Intruder entry = Cartann spaceport” S19-N5 whistles back, but B.B. begins shouting over the droid. “I’m not getting busted for kidnapping, I can barely make my alimony payments! We’re taking this brat back to Cartann City before anyone knows he’s gone. I thought my own kids were trouble, kriff!” S19-N5 makes a rude sound at the Bith, and wheel to the back of the shuttle. If only the organics had noticed the small Human sneaking into one of the crates while they were loading them in the spaceport, all this could have been avoided.

S19-N5 demagnetizes his treads after the shuttle’s descent through the atmosphere of Adumar, and waits for his organic crew to land at Cartann City’s spaceport, all the while focusing his photoreceptor on the little Human trying to escape the cord tying him up. Unfortunately the instant B.B. opens the shuttle’s airlock, the small Human snaps the cord and dashes out the door. S19-N5 squeals in alarm, and Shamü charges out the airlock after the small Human. The large Herglic grabs the much, much smaller human by the collar and roughly hoists him around, right into a wave of stunning energy shot by Raiden. B.B. walks out of the RC-2 Twilight Scoutship with the crate the Human child was hiding in, making a chiding noise to his compatriots. “Tsk, tsk, Shamwow. Don’t you know anything about kidnapping? First you tie them up, then you put them where they can’t run. Like in this crate!” B.B. says, tossing the crate to Shamü and closing the airlock. The Herglic grunts in approval and begins securing the pesky little Human in the plasteel crate.

S19-N5 trundles behind both Raiden and Shamü, trying hard to keep up. Organics move so fast! The three of them are navigating through the wide avenues of pedestrian traffic, the roads a yellow brick, nearly identical to that of which most of the local structures are built. Unfortunately, S19-N5 is too busy recording the buildings to notice his organic crew have been stopped by some local security on the way to a local security station. The Herglic begins arguing with a few of the security officers who unholster their weapons. As the security officers start aiming their weapons at his crewmembers, S19-N5 trills in alarm and wheels behind a bench for some cover just as Shamü roars loudly and begins tossing security guards into the air. Raiden stuns one of the security officers only to have Shamü tromp on the poor man, breaking his ribs.

From his hiding spot behind the bench, S19-N5 sees the small Human wriggle his way out of the crate that Shamü had dropped in the fighting. The small Human begins hopping away from the fight, and the droid is content to just hide behind the bench and leak his fluids, but Shamü yells a command to S19-N5. “Droid! Little astromech, the Human child is getting away! Can you be brave for me little droid? Go get him!” S19-N5 revs up his servomotors and wonders whether the giant Herglic isn’t so scary after all, and chases down the little Human trying to hop to freedom. The Human turns around at the sound of S19-N5 moving, but it doesn’t end up hurting the droid’s aim at all. S19-N5 extends a probe from a side panel, and blue electricity arcs jump from the probe to the little Human, stunning him, where he drops unconscious. S19-N5 whistles back to Shamü and Raiden his small victory over the pesky organic, as they knock the last security officer unconscious.

S19-N5 moves back and forth, along the wall opposite where Raiden, Shamü, and B.B. sit in chairs in the security office, waiting for their claim to be processed. His chronometer tracks the time, and S19-N5 marks that fifty-seven minutes and seventeen seconds have passed since the four of them submitted their security claim. Five Humans exit one of the offices behind the reception area, and walk towards the four of them, the small pesky Human they chased down is positioned between two larger Humans who appear to share some similar features. A security captain walks forward and greets B.B., Raiden, and Shamü while ignoring S19-N5 entirely. “I’d like to apologize for the mix-up,” the security captain says. “These people would like to thank you for finding their son, it seems he’s a bit of a trouble maker. We’ll be dropping all charges as well, some of our men will be a bit embarrassed, but since no-one was seriously injured I’m willing to let this slide.” The progenitor Humans begin talking to the organic crew, possessively holding their Human offspring between them. The Humans hand something to Shamü, and their offspring makes a silly face at S19-N5, to which he warbles loudly in response.

The four of them leave the security office and return to the Cartann City spaceport, starting up B.B.‘s RC-2. S19-N5 boards the shuttle and trundles to a spot behind the co-pilot seat, where he locks and magnetizes his treads for the journey off Adumar. “Next time we decide to go out for a drink, maybe we make sure not to kidnap anyone?” Raiden says to the others, exasperatingly. "Now where’s the fun in that Raiden?" Shamü says chuckling deeply, “Where’s the fun in that?”


Ansion, The Mid Rim

Ataraxia drops out of hyperspace, and through the cockpit’s viewport Soleil sees the planet Ansion, a striated orb swirling with what look like rings, but are really high speed surface winds. The descent through the atmosphere is rocky, Ataraxia bucks and jolts against the heavy crosswinds threatening to rip the starship from the sky. Tik’Trii fights against the controls, and manages to smooth out the starship’s atmospheric plunge, settling down on a plain not far from the town of Jiangyin. Soleil and her crew, with the exception of B.B., set about erecting two fenced pens in the knee-high orange grass a short distance from Ataraxia‘s cargo lifts. Once the pens are properly set up, she sends Tik’Trii and Max back in the ship to run the cargo lifts.

The cargo lifts activate, slowly lowering the thirty Nerf they’re transporting for Councillor Harrik Talloran of Ord Mantell. Once the lifts touch the ground, Soleil and the rest of her crew coax the docile beasts into their pens, while they wait on the buyers to show. After about half an hour, and much cleaning the cargo lifts of Nerf droppings, a pair of Gran show up, the Zees brothers they were expecting to meet. After they greet Soleil and inspect the Nerfs, the three of them get down to business transferring both documents and credits. As soon as they hand Soleil a case full of credits however, a squad of scout troopers led by a dark-skinned Human with his helmet under his arm, emerge from the brush with their blasters drawn. “Paj and Attek Zees! You are wanted for the murder of Oren Lojai and theft of Imperial contraband! Stand down and submit to arrest or else!” The lead scout trooper yells at the two Gran. Stepping away from them with the case of credits, Soleil begins to back off towards her crew, but one of the Gran decides to resist arrest, drawing a blaster and gunning down one of the six scout troopers. Chaos quickly erupts as scout troopers begin shooting at anything that isn’t wearing Imperial armor, Soleil ducks for some cover from the blaster fire, the Gran try to blast their captors, and her crew either take cover as she did or begin returning fire at scout troopers who shot at them. One of the Gran brothers takes a blaster bolt in the stomach and drops to the ground, and the dark-skinned Human leading the scout troopers disarms the other and drops him by slamming the butt of his blaster rifle into the Gran’s three eyes.

Soleil yells at the Imperials to stop shooting at them, but it seems as though the scout trooper leader has already gotten control of his men; too late, as Soleil soon discovers. Raighl is bleeding in the dirt, a short distance from Soleil, a victim of one of the scout trooper’s stray blaster bolts. “You kriffing idiot!” Soleil screams at the scout trooper leader, who is busy securing his Gran captives. The scout troopers pay her no mind as they secure their Gran captives and drag them, along with the one dead scout trooper, to a landspeeder parked in the brush. Soleil starts to run after the damned Imperials, but the need to help her friend stops her in her tracks. “Hey! They’re getting away!” Oduph shouts to Soleil, but she makes a rude gesture at him and yells back in response. “Get the stretcher! Raighl needs to get on the ship now!” However, before Oduph can do anything, Shamü clomps over and gently scoops up the Umbaran woman in his arms as if she were a child. “No need to panic Captain,” Shamü says while carrying Raighl to Ataraxia‘s loading ramp and up it. While Shamü gently puts Raighl on a table in Ataraxia’s lounge, Soleil calls over B.B. on the internal comms.

“What’s the matter with you Captain? How can you be so callous! I was in the middle of- uh is she going to be okay?” B.B. asks, as he spots Raighl on the table as he enters the lounge. “Stop your yammering B.B. and help her!” Soleil yelsl at the Bith who begins to apply some bacta between Raighl‘s shoulder blade and collar bone. "I uh, I think I’m out of my depth here Captain," B.B. stammers, as he throws away another bloody rag and used bacta applicator onto the lounge floor. “What do you mean?” Soleil asks quietly, hoping she had just imagined what B.B. said. “I mean she needs an actual doctor, and some real medical facilities; not me who’s, you know, not a doctor, using a first-aid kit.” B.B. says. “Keep a close watch on her, I’m checking with Tik’Trii to see if there’s anywhere close we could take her,” Soleil says to B.B. as she runs out of the lounge.

Scrambling up the ladder to the cockpit, she’s surprised to see Tik’Trii checking the HoloNet‘s medical database for facilities. "Tik’Trii heard," he says to Soleil, never taking his large eyes off the hologram projected towards him. “The best, closest medical station is the Star Destroyer Obedience just outside the system. The next is…well, farther away than Tik’Trii imagines is good for Raighl’s health,” the small Chadra-Fan says. Soleil digests the bad news that the Empire are the only ones close enough to help Raighl, but nods to Tik’Trii in agreement. “It’s not what I want,” Soleil says, chewing her lip, “but what I want doesn’t matter right now. Get Raiden up here and chart the fastest course you can.” Ataraxia lifts off into the tumultuous atmosphere of Ansion, and Soleil stumbles back into the lounge to check on Raighl. She’s unconscious, and still bleeding, but B.B. is doing his best to apply bacta to the wound when needed. She hopes it will be enough, but knows it won’t. “Let me take over BB, you go find our genius Slicer so we can jump to hyperspace once we break free of Ansion’s gravity well.” B.B. gives Soleil a lazy, mock salute in silence, and rushes off in search of Raiden.

Sweating and stammering, B.B. nearly trips on his way back into the lounge with S19-N5 slowly trailing behind him. “Captain! I did as you asked and I found your droid for you. He can program the NaviComp, and we can be on our way shortly, I assume. Now if that’s all, I’ll be heading back to my shuttle-” “Raiden. R-A-I-D-E-N . Where is he? I told you to find Raiden, and you come back with Signs. You sure have selective hearing for someone with a so-called music career.” Soleil says to B.B., who just shrugs back. “Oh, that. Well Raiden’s not on the ship, according to your droid at least, so I just-” “WHAT?” She nearly screams in astonishment, “where is he? What did you do?” Soleil growls at B.B. who puts up his hands defensively. “I don’t know Captain! That’s why I brought your droid, it was the one to inform me that Raiden’s not onboard,” B.B. says, who then points accusingly at the droid. “It did it I’ll bet. Always roving around when everyone’s asleep. Who knows what it does! You know I caught it in the refresher once? What was it doing in there? Droids don’t poop! I’ll bet it’s been secretly recording me, hoping to-” “Enough!” Soleil shouts at B.B., “I asked Signs to clean the refresher, so If you’re not going to be useful, go stay in your shuttle! Now, Signs, tell me what happened to Raiden.” She says to S19-N5, who begins to utter a stream of beeps and whistles to Soleil, while B.B. skulks out of the lounge.

Soleil gathers her crew in the port cargo bay for a meeting, all but Raiden and Raighl, the latter still lying injured in Ataraxia‘s lounge. “It seems as though Raiden has been kidnapped while were shooting it out with the local scout-trooper patrol on Ansion. Apparently some old Clone Wars droids take people from time to time for maintenance workers, but few have been found, or made it back alive,” Soleil informs her crew. "Now Raighl doesn’t have that long to wait, and I won’t cut it close, for either of them. BB I’m taking your shuttle, along with you and Signs, to transport Raighl to the Star Destroyer Obedience to get her the medical treatment she needs. The Empire won’t destroy a small craft looking for medical aid, the worst they’ll do is just ignore us. Tik’Trii, you’re going to take Ataraxia, and the rest of you are going back to Ansion to rescue Raiden. Hopefully those clankers haven’t done anything to him. Is everyone clear on the plan?" She finishes, hoping that it is, but Max begins jumping up and down and waving his arms. “Yes Max?” Soleil sighs, hoping the small Squib doesn’t have any outlandish requests that Raighl may literally not have any time for. “While you gone Captain, can me use missiles?” The Squib asks, with an impish grin plastered on his face. “Only if Oduph and Tik’Trii supervise, no exceptions.” She says, finalizing the matter. “Time to save some lives.”

“Seeing Ataraxia jump to hyperspace from an observers perspective is strange, like someone else driving off with a part of you, far, far away,” Soleil thinks to herself. Raighl is laid out on a stretcher behind her, with S19-N5 holding it steady in his claw arm. B.B. is co-piloting, if it can be called that, the Bith is doing little real work in helping Soleil pilot the small RC-2 Twilight Scoutship towards the Star Destroyer that looms ahead through the starship’s viewport. “Uh, Captain…You sure this is where you want us to be?” B.B. asks nervously. “Yep, unfortunately it sure is.” Soleil laments, awed by the size of the Imperial-Class Star Destroyer that only gets larger as they approach. The Venator-Class Star Destroyers the Republic used in the Clone Wars were large, but this is larger still by about a third, making it one of the largest starships she has ever seen.

“RC-2 Scoutship, identify yourself immediately,” a crisp Coruscanti accent states, as the comms crackle to life, startling them both. “Star Destroyer Obedience this is Imperial Senate craft Twilight Princess seeking medical aid. Please respond,” Soleil says, hoping that the ruse will work. “Twilight Princess we’re not seeing an Imperial Senate designation on your craft, if you could provide a clearance code we-” The comms abruptly cut out, but crackle back to life after a moment of silence. “Disregard that Twilight Princess . Tractor beam has you, and will park you in the main hangar bay, where a security team will meet with you. Please power down any weapons,” the Imperial concludes, with the comms going silent with another static crackle. While the tractor beam guides the starship into the Star Destroyer’s gaping maw of a hangar bay, B.B. goes about ensuring any obvious contraband or distasteful material of his is secured, hidden, or trashed, while Soleil secures Raighl’s ident-card, which hopefully will be all they need to sell the ruse entirely.

The airlock to the RC-2 is forcefully opened, and four stormtroopers file in, followed by a grey-uniformed Imperial officer. The middle-aged Human visually inspects the starship, making visual twinges of disgust every time his eyes meet something that offends him. Finally he addresses Soleil while nearly ignoring Raighl on the stretcher in front of him. “We’re not a civilian medical facility,” The officer states bluntly and does an about-face, ready to march out of the starship with his men. “I wouldn’t do that sir, unless you’d enjoy answering to the Senate subcommittee for naval conduct,” Soleil says simply to the dark-haired man. The Imperial officer gives a short bark of a laugh and turns to face her, “are you threatening me, Zeltron ?” The officer says coldly, to which Soleil only shakes her head. “Not a threat sir, a promise. A promise that I will inform this young woman’s father, the Senator of Zeltros, how you callously denied his daughter the medical treatment that could have saved her life. And then you’d be dragged out in front of the subcommittee for hearings on your conduct. Won’t that be fun? And now, I know you won’t be terminated, but you’ll be demoted. You’ll never work on a Star Destroyer again, let alone leave whatever backwater you get assigned to pending the hearing. But that’s assuming I need to keep my promise, right sir?” Soleil says, laying out his options and releasing clouds of her pheromones into the air. The officer pales, begins sweating, and snatches the ident-card from Raighl’s stretcher, plugging it into a handheld datapad.

The Imperial Officer’s eyes widen in surprise, and he begins rattling off orders to the stormtroopers accompanying him, “Get this woman to the medical bay immediately! Disarm these civilians and escort them to an observation deck in the medical bay as well.” The stormtroopers grab Soleil and B.B. by the shoulders and jostles them out of the RC-2 and are escorted through the expansive corridors of the Star Destroyer to its medical bay; Raighl‘s stretcher is taken a different way, one that is presumably quicker and requires no walking, Soleil suspects. After walking for nearly twenty minutes, and taking a turbolift, they end up at the medical bay, though it appears as though it’s sealed off from patient intake and can only be seen through a large viewport as doctors work on Raighl’s blaster wound.

Hours later, an Imperial surgeon dressed in grey and white medical garments arrives through a side door with a clipboard, and Raighl‘s ident-card. "We’ve done all we can. It looks like she’ll make a full recovery, though you’ll have to wait here for a few more hours before she’ll be well enough to travel," the doctor says, handing Soleil the ident-card, and exiting through the same door that he entered from. Soleil walks up to the viewport and looks down at Raighl sleeping in a medical bunk; her thoughts turning to her crew and Ataraxia, and she hopes they’ve found Raiden safely.

Tik’Trii’s face scrunches in frustration, big black eyes wide with a comical grimace.

“How does the ‘master slicer’ get kidnapped by a bucket of bolts?! Raiden better have a good explanation when Tik’Trii finds him.” He flicks over to the nav computer, punching in what little information they have and start scanning for the droids. “Oh yah~” Tik’Trii drawls sarcastically, “Just go west, can’t miss it… West isn’t a lot to go on, old ma-!… Oh hmm.” The sensors blink as it bounces back ping after ping from hundreds of battle droids all clustered in an encampment.

Oduph rumbles, clearly excited by the horde of things to fight. Tik’Trii chuckles as it looks like his trigger finger is actually twitching. Max is practically salivating, probably dreaming of all that salvage. Tik’Trii brings Ataraxia around, strafing over the mobs of battle droids, and spots Raiden at it’s heart. Tik’Trii’s ears perk in confusion, “Why is he tied up like that?”

Raiden wriggles in futility, tied to a stake on top of a pile of wood, the battle droids raise their metal fists to the sky chanting all kinds of nonsense. The growing call to “Burn the Reprogrammer!” changes everything. Tik’Trii swirls around in the pilot seat, scrabbling for the words, but all that comes out is “Shoot!”. Oduph wastes no time, charging up the heavy laser cannons and raining down laser fire into the crowds of battle droids. Charred pieces of arms and chassis fly into the air in all directions, the small explosions mixed in with the pitiful wails of the defective droids would almost be funny if they weren’t blasting my ship. Ataraxia lists lazily over the mob, and Tik’Trii lands it in the newly formed clearing made from their attack run.

Leaping out of the seat and almost falling down the ladder out of the cockpit Tik’Trii shouts orders, “Tik’Trii will get Raiden on Tik’Trii’s speeder. Do not stop firing!” Visions of his precious speeder being blown to bits in a large explosion stops Tik’Trii dead and he quickly scampers back up the ladder, staring daggers at Max. “NO MISSILES, MAX! Tik’Trii is not going to deal with that mess.” The young Squib glares back, huffing and muttering to himself. Down in the cargo hold, Tik’Trii revs his speeder to life, and checks the newly installed weapon systems as the loading lift descends. A shadow looms over him, and looking up Tik’Trii sees Shamü settling himself onto the speeder’s attached hitch, his bulk beginning to strain its repulsorlift. “Allow me to help you in saving Mr. Anders, little Tik’Trii!” Shamü bellows to him, while the Herglic is strapping himself into the hitch. Battle droids flail their make-shift weapons and a hail of blaster bolts whizz past their heads, but Tik’Trii couldn’t care less. The feeling of the engine beneath him once again, Tik’Trii can hardly hope to contain his cackling if he wanted to. Flying off the lift before it’s even touched the ground the battle droids shout their bizarre zealotry as the nose of the speeder plows them over like blades of grass. The high pitch whine of the blaster rings out as Tik’Trii shoots a path to Raiden, the droids’ wild blaster fire singeing his fur more than he’d like, but it doesn’t matter now.

Tik’Trii pulls up along side the pyre and Shamü tears down Raiden and shoves him onto the seat behind Tik’Trii. Tik’Trii pulls his googles down over his eyes as Oduph lets loose another volley from the cannons. “Shamü’s got him! Fire up the engines, we need to get out of here.” Tik’Trii squeaks into the comms, drifting through battle droids back onto the loading lift. Oduph comes to grab Raiden off the hitch; Tik’Trii stares blankly at the pock marks and scorched paint of his once immaculate speeder. “Raiden! You owe me a new paint job!” Tik’Trii lets out a long sigh, the adrenaline high fading away.

“Tik’Trii hopes Raighl is alright.”

The Duel

Santo, Jazbina

Swirling her drink in the dim lighting of the Courageous Clone Cantina in the capital of Jazbina, Soleil watches the holo-game unfolding before her. Oduph, Raighl, Raiden and a Human starship Captain are each on opposite sides of cube-shaped hologram, strategically placing knives in squares to claim them, and block an opponent’s placement. It’s some sort of Mandalorian game, but Soleil doesn’t know what it’s called, only how hard it must be for Oduph to plan his moves after all the Corellian ale the Ithorian downed. Soleil catches snippets of their conversation, some of it commentary on the game, some of it boasting by the starship Captain about how much he saved on his last shipping job. “….And I didn’t even have to put in more rations for those hairy beasts!” she hears, before Oduph interrupts the Human, “Yeah, but how much money is a lot? And how’d you find locks strong enough to keep in a Wookiee?” The Human laughs at Oduph, “Wookiee? I think you mean Wookiees friend. Stun cages work real well in keeping those walking carpets in check until the Empire takes ’em for labour.” “By labour, you mean slaves?” Raiden interjects, shocked, to which the Human chuckles and shrugs. “They weren’t volunteers, that’s for damn sure,” the Human says, snickering cruelly.

Soleil‘s comlink goes off, indicating S19-N5 has received a hyperspace transmission for her. Soleils look up to tell her crew to pack it up, when she notices Max sneaking a hand into the Human’s pockets, coming out with a small fistful of credits, while the Human takes no notice. They lock eyes for a moment, and the small blue Squib scurries out of the bar, with Soleil practically chasing after him, all the way back to Ataraxia. “Why did you do that?!” She hisses at the little Squib, but he sticks his tongue out at Soleil and makes a crude noise. “These credits mine! Me stole them, so me no have to share with you!” Max squeaks gleefully, practically skipping back to his nook in the port engine. Sighing and shaking her head at the Squib kid’s antics, Soleil brings up the HoloNet on the computer and checks the message waiting for her, as she waits for the rest of her crew to return to the ship.

Baj’R‘s face comes up on the holoprojector, and Soleil listens to his proposal; It could be worth a few credits, depending on what this job of his is. Once her crew returns from the Courageous Clone Soleil fires up Ataraxia and cedes the heavily modified pilot’s seat to Tik’Trii as Raiden plots a course to Ord Mantell. During the trip through hyperspace Soleil goes about making some food in the lounge, and joking with Raighl when the two of them are interrupted by B.B. “Wailing” Jinkins shuffling into the lounge, sobbing and well, wailing. “Captain! Oh by all the galaxies, have you no mercy? Why Ord Mantell? Why, in all places, are we going back there?” “Because there’s a job waiting for us there B.B., now stop your whining. If we don’t get paid, how do you expect to get around the galaxy?” That sobers him up, and the Bith stops sobbing, but is still quite morose. “But Captain! Remember I had business there? Musical business? Well it didn’t go quite so musically as planned, and I, uh, er…don’t really want to go back there. I’m a wanted Bith! Yes, that’s it, I’m a wanted Bith. Wanted by the, er, law…Yes! You could very well say I am wanted by the law, no doubt about that. Now how about we turn Ataraxia around and-” “No.” Soleil says to B.B., cutting him off. “Baj’r has a job for us, and I’m curious to see what he’s got, your misgivings notwithstanding. Dong-mah?” “Yes Captain,” B.B. moans as he shuffles back to his shuttle.

Ataraxia drops out of hyperspace, and Soleil runs up to the cockpit to catch a view of Ord Mantell out the viewport. Tik’Trii chitters with laughter as he banks Ataraxia around slower moving orbital traffic moving planetside. Setting down at the Persphone Spaceport, Soleil decides to take Raighl, Tik’Trii, and Max to the meeting with Baj’R. Apparently Tik’Trii makes up for his size in his murderousness, and if Oduph comes too, Baj’R might just think you’re all trying to knock his operation down. Satisfied with leaving the rest of the crew in charge of refueling and resupplying Ataraxia, the four of them walk through the streets and alleys of the island city of Persephone, towards Baj’R’s criminal den.

The heavy duratseel door leading to Baj’R‘s compound is guarded by a muscular, dark-skinned human with a vibro-axe, who nods at the crew’s arrival, and opens the absurdly heavy door. After passing through mazelike hallways, they’re finally led into the central chamber, where Baj’R sits at a raised table. Places have been set at the table for each of them, with some type of biscuits, tea, and a dark-looking bottle of liquor. “Ah, the Captain graces us with ‘er presence. I was wonderin’ if you’d gotten around to lookin’ at my message, thought maybe you were too good to deal with the likes of me.” “A job’s a job Baj’r. Last time we stood face to face, you wanted nothing to do with me or my goods, screwing up my job. That’s on you, and you said you wanted to make good. So what’s the job?” Soleil says, placing her hands on the table and leaning toward the greasy looking Human. “A’right love, down to business it is then. Why don’t you take a seat an make yourself comfy eh?” Baj’R says, to which Tik’Trii promptly hops onto one of the chairs and begins tearing into the biscuits provided. The rest take a seat, and Raighl motions for Baj’R to continue with his proposition.

“You see Captain,” Baj’R continues, “you’re not the only one round these ‘ere parts with a stick up their pi-gu as it so ’appens. Councillor ’Arrik Talloran is looking to move some of his cargo, perfectly legal goods as it turns out, off-world to a buyer. Only the fly in the ointment is, ’Arrik’s not well connected enough to bypass Imperial tariffs, and his goods won’t make ‘im enough profit for the whole ordeal to be worth a damn shipping it ’imself. The old codger won’t do business with me to move his goods to bypass the tariff, but that’s where you come in Captain. ’Arrik will do business with a well-heeled lady like yourself Captain, and you can smuggle his goods off-world, while I take a modest cut from your share.” “My crew get shares. Last I checked you weren’t a part of my crew Baj’r,” Soleil says flooding the air with her pheromones, heightening the tension in the room. “Now, now Captain,” Baj’R making placating gestures. “I said a modest cut. Does fifteen percent off the top sound like a fair compromise to our little parley ’ere?” “Fine,” Soleil growls, slapping his greasy palm in agreement. “Are we meeting this Councillor Talloran at this supposed party you mentioned in your message?” Raighl asks after they’ve agreed to Baj’R‘s terms. “Credits for the smart lady,” Baj’R says, tipping his hat to Raighl. “Tickets for a party like this are tough to come by for rabble like us. Just one of these blasted tickets costs a sapphire the size of a testicle, but I managed to get my ’ands on a couple of ’em,” Baj’R sates with a grin, when both Max and Tik’Trii look at each other and burst into a fit of laughter.

Baj’R‘s face reddens as he realizes what the two small aliens are laughing at. “Tickets you womp-rats!” He yells at them, before tossing two ident-cards your way. "Don’t make me regret trying to buy a little goodwill from you Captain. Now, each of those invites has a few ‘undred credits loaded. Go out and buy some fancy new clothes so you fit right in with those overstuffed buffoons tonight. I’ll be eager to ‘ere back from you soon Captain." The meeting now clearly over, Baj’R‘s burly men escort the four shipmates out of the compound and back into the afternoon haze of Persephone’s alleys. Soleil lets both Max and Tik’Trii know they’re free to do as they please until her and Raighl return to Ataraxia. The two of them are going shopping!

Returning to Ataraxia with Raighl and their expensive new ‘disguise’ dresses in hand, Soleil is surprised to see one of the RC-2 Twilight Scoutships is gone, the one B.B. is renting. They find Tik’Trii in Ataraxia‘s lounge making some food, who informs Soleil that B.B. left for some ’engagement’ and won’t be back until tomorrow. Mildly irritated that the Bith musician didn’t inform her himself he was leaving, Soleil decides it’s pointless to get upset over it as she’s got a party to attend, and may not be back until B.B. has already returned. As the sun over Ord Mantell begins to set, Soleil and Raighl start getting ready for the party, and prepare each of their ‘disguises’. Spending the last of the credits loaded on the ident-cards, they rent a repulsor-carriage pulled by two bipedal droids to take them to the party, located at a sprawling mansion on the far side of Island.

As the repulsor-carriage is drawn up to the mansion, the first thing they can see is a large security matrix that has been installed by the gates into the mansion. Crisscrossing lines of faint blue scanners form almost woven net in front of the open gate, checking all attendees for weapons. “Good thing we left our weapons on the ship,” quips Raighl and Soleil nods in agreement as they both ascend the stairs to the mansion’s gate, and the sprawling gala beyond. They both pass through the security matrix unhindered, and present their tickets to the attendant at the entrance, who takes them, checks them, hands them back to Soleil, and then escorts them both to a lobby area with many other party guests. One by one, the guests are announced by their tickets, and then filter into the large hall that seems to be the center of the gala’s goings on. Once the announcement line gets to them, Soleil hands over their tickets to a new attendant who picks up a small voice-amplifier and speaks into it, “Lady Raighl Nova, of Zeltros; and escort.” They both walk down the stairs into the hall, and the look of all the different species mingling together, in high finery no less, brings back memories of Coruscant before the Clone Wars.

“So we’re looking for this Harrik Talloran guy?” Raighl asks. “Yeah, he’s an older Human, kinda fat. Should be wearing a red sash cross-ways over his chest,” Soleil says, leading the way through the crowd. They luck out and spot the man off to the side, taking a glass of lightly coloured liquor from an attendant. Raighl walks up first and introduces herself, while Soleil stands at her side and scans the room for any grey-uniformed Imperials who might listen in. “And you are?” The older Human asks Soleil. “My name’s Captain Soleil, and I’m Lady Nova’s escort this evening. But we actually came here to talk business. I’m sure you’ve heard of a man named Baj’r?” She says, to which the human raises an eyebrow. “Yes, I have,” he replies, “and I think he’s a psychotic lowlife.” “Be that as it may, and I can’t help but agree with you,” Soleil continues, “Baj’r led us to believe you might want to move some legitimate cargo off-world. It’s a shame what the Empire is doing to businessmen like yourself Councillor, what with these crushing tariffs. I happen to have some extra room in the cargo bays of my ship if we were to work something out?” The man looks at them both, considers, but is distracted as a middle-aged woman in a gold dress adorned with teal-coloured gemstones approaches.

“Councillor Talloran, how good of you to make it!” The woman says, but Soleil and Raighl are instead off put by her companion that she’s locked arms with. It’s B.B., but he’s almost unrecognizable, wearing a formal black suit complete with unnecessary jewelry and a thin scarf tied into a tie, tucked into the suit’s collar. You think he might have even bathed. “Lady Nova, Captain, may I introduce Lady Aithra Wing, a fellow Councillor here, and host of this party,” Harrik Talloran states. Soleil just stares, mouth agape at B.B., while Raighl actually asks the question they’ve been thinking all along. “What the hell are you doing here BB?” The older woman interjects instead, “Balzus dear, do you know these…women? I’d be very cross to think you were spending your time with anyone other than me.” B.B. stammers and makes a line motion across his throat with one finger to the both of them, behind Aithra so she doesn’t notice. “Uh, of course I don’t Aithra! I’ve never seen these women before in my life.” “How true!” Raighl lies, “so why don’t you do me the honour of a dance, Mr. Balzus?” At which Raighl guides B.B. onto the dance floor and the two begin an awkward waltz to the slowly-timed music.

Soleil quickly hashes out the last of the details regarding the transport of a small herd of nerfs for Councillor Harrik Talloran to the planet Ansion, and the buyers she’s supposed to meet there, when a visibly angry Aithra interrupts the two of them to excuse herself. The older blonde woman rushes onto the dance floor and abruptly grabs B.B.‘s arm, pulling him away from Raighl. Soleil can’t quite make out what they’re saying to each other, but the older woman starts screaming in Raighl‘s face, and Raighl just decks her with a fist to the side of the Human woman’s face. The woman stands up, a trickle of blood running down her lip and simply says, “I accept,” and walks away while a cadre of guards swarm Raighl and remove her from the room. “Krif!” Soleil swears, but before she can run to help her friend, Harrow puts a hand on your shoulder. “Leave her,” he says reassuringly, “Lady Nova will be put up in lodgings for the night before the duel in the morning. She won’t be harmed, at least not until then.” Soleil turns to the Councillor with a mortified look on her face. “A duel? With what?” She asks, to which the Councillor simply shrugs. “Vibroswords my dear lady, what else?”

After Councillor Talloran escorts Soleil back to Ataraxia, she informs her crew of Raighl‘s predicament, and the terms of their new job. "So we have to stay until the duel’s over, that’s hardly a problem," Raiden says. “I assume Raighl knows how to swing a sword?” “I imagine she knows what end to hold,” Soleil grumbles, unhappy about the whole situation. In the morning, Councillor Talloran meets Soleil outside the boarding ramp to Ataraxia, eager to transport her to the duel. Once they both arrive at the Wing Mansion, they’re led to the rear of the property where a large garden has been planted and carefully tended. Aithra Wing is in a flowing dress, with a few pieces of plasteel armor covering one forearm and a shoulder. B.B. is standing at her side, while Raighl is still wearing her dress from the party, and looks as if she hadn’t slept. Soleil walks over to her and nudges her in the ribs, “did you practice with that thing before they gave it to you?” she asks, to which Raighl shakes her head mournfully, and gives Soleil a quick hug and steps away onto the grass when an attendant calls the duelists together. “Gut her!” Soleil shouts to her friend, but she’s quickly hushed by an attendant.

The two duelists step out onto the grass facing each other, then take five steps back. Aithra Wing drops into a fighting pose, while Raighl brings her blade up in front of her protectively. Aithra lunges at Raighl, but she bats away the older Human’s blade and follows up with a parry of her own, which is then thrust aside. They go back and forth for a while, but it looks like the older woman is toying with the younger Umbaran. The vibroswords ping and spark as they catch on one another, and Raighl manages to bash the older woman with the pommel of her sword, but Aithra recovers and slashes Raighl on her wrist and shoulder. Trading blows, and wounds too, the two women fight viciously, until Raighl surprises everyone by stabbing Aithra in the chest, just below the shoulder. She practically pins the Councillor to the ground while attendants rush in to aid the injured Councillor and to relieve her of her weapon. Harrik Talloran smiles and chuckles as Raighl limps over to the two of them, B.B. helping to support her as she walks. “Get back here Balzus!” Aithra screams at B.B., but he pays her no mind. Harrik Talloran turns to Soleil and shakes her hand, “If your crew are willing to fight that hard for my cargo, I’ll ensure it’s moved to your holds within the hour. It’s been excellent doing business with you Captain!” And with that, the Councillor departs, leaving the three of them to take the transport he provided back to Ataraxia.

Ataraxia lifts off from the Persephone Spaceport, leaving the glimmering jewel of Ord Mantell behind it. Soleil watches the planet get smaller and smaller as Tik’Trii breaks orbit, and Raiden begins calculating the jump to Ansion. She climbs down the ladder from the cockpit and sese B.B. helping to apply bacta to some of Raighl’s slash wounds. “That was one fine shindig, eh Captain?” Raighl asks, wincing as another patch of bacta is applied. Soleil laughs a little and nods to her First Mate. “Yep, a mighty find shindig indeed.”

Stormtrooper Ambush

Just outside Stalbans, Mygeeto

‘’Tik’Trii why aren’t we going anywhere? We’re still on Mygeeto, and I’m kinda worried what the Empire may do if they found out we blew up that gunship and Lieutenant whats-his-face along with it,‘’ Soleil asks her Pilot, who only shakes his head at her. "Captain, Captain, Tik’Trii may be the best pilot in the outer rim, maybe the galaxy, but even Tik’Trii won’t fly a ship in a blizzard. Have you seen the blizzard? I didn’t think water could actually look beautiful, or not likely to drown me. We’re stuck here until it let’s up, Captain." Soleil activates the ship-wide comms and informs the rest of her crew that they may be on Mygeeto for at least the next rotation. Not a few minutes later Oduph climbs up the ladder to the cockpit. “Uh, Captain, not leaving may not work out too well for me. I’ve got er, a powerful burning in my nethers, if you uh, catch my drift?” “Are you, are you coming on to me? Because that is the most disgus—” Soleil sputters, but Oduph interrupts. “No Captain! Don’t flatter yourself; I mean a literal burning. I think I might need a doctor, but I was hoping to get another opinion first?” Tik’Trii begins squeakily laughing at Oduph‘s misfortune, "This may be called the cockpit Oduph, but this is not the place to do that. Tik’Trii thinks B.B. can at least relate, maybe you should go see him?" To which Oduph slinks out of the cockpit.

A short time later Soleil hears the thrum of engines, as B.B. starts up his RC-2 Twilight Scoutship; Soleil hears B.B. over the comms, “Captain, Ohdoofus here needs to see a doctor about his Ithorian dingus. We’ll be back. Don’t leave without us!” Cursing at the both of them Soleil slams her hand down into the arm of the flight chair she’s sitting in. Leaning forward though, she notices something strange past the cockpit’s viewport; lots of kicked up snow. Soleil climbs down the ladder, only to be startled by a shaking and whistling S19-N5. “What’s the problem buddy? Need an oil change?” But S19-N5 beeps and squeals back to her that there are incoming life-forms converging on the ship, three of which are less than one hundred meters to the boarding ramp. Soleil quickly comms everyone else to meet her at the airlock to B.B.‘s shuttle. As the crew begin to form up around the airlock, an amplified voice broadcasts a message through the snowstorm, which they all can hear. "Thought you could get rid of me that easy Captain? You might have destroyed my gunship, but my crew survived and we came with reinforcements. Give up the Clone, or we’ll bury you in this storm!" As Lieutenant Warrens finishes his speech, Ataraxia is rocked by a detonation, nearly knocking Soleil to the floor.

“These guys just don’t give up!” Raighl hisses next to Soleil, as she motions the crew to jump out the back of the airlock into the soft snow below. Soleil hopes they can take out these stormtroopers before they can do any more damage to Ataraxia, or call for even more back-up. One by one each of the crew make the jump, with Shamü carrying S19-N5 until they drop to the snow below; Max however, decides to clamber up the ring of the airlock, and on top of Ataraxia. Three men stride through the blowing snow beneath the ship, blaster rifles drawn; two of the men are in full stormtrooper armor while one is in an Imperial officer’s uniform, presumably Lieutenant Warrens, whose face is now badly burned. “Give us the Clone now, Captain!” Lieutenant Warrens orders, but Soleil whips her blaster out of its holster instead, and squeezes off two shots at the Lieutenant. Two bolts of blue energy fizzle into the Lieutenant, one in his shoulder the other in his thigh, and he immediately drops to the snow howling in anguish.

A rocket sails through the snow, detonating against the side of Ataraxia. “My ship!” Soleil screams at the two stormtroopers dragging Lieutenant Warrens behind the cover of a snowdrift. Blaster fire pings off the top of Ataraxia as unseen assailants take fire at Max who’s still on top of the ship. Racing to the edge of the top Max scrambles back down the edge of the airlock and jumps down into waist-deep snow. Tik’Trii unholsters his pulse-wave pistol and begins microwaving the snow drift the stormtroopers are taking cover behind, leaving both a melted puddle, and a melted stormtrooper. “You smuggler scum!” The remaining stormtrooper shouts, before a blaster bolt goes through the right eye of his helmet, killing him instantly. Blowing the steam cooling off the barrel of her blaster pistol, Raighl steps over the dead stormtrooper and advances on Lieutenant Warrens.

Soleil walks in-step with her first mate, blaster trained on Lieutenant Warrens. “Call off your men Lieutenant!” She demands, but he only smiles a broken smile, with half his face so badly burned. “These aren’t my men Zeltron, they’re from the local garrison. Even if you somehow managed to escape, the entire planet will be hunting for you before this storm lets up. You’re better off surrendering now before—urk!” A blue blaster bolt burns a hole through the Lieutenant’s chest as Soleil ends his authoritative rant prematurely. “Can’t catch us if you can’t send word back, now can you?” She says to Lieutenant Warrens as the light, and hate, slowly drains from his eyes. “C’mon, we have to find the other Imperials in the storm, otherwise they’ll get word back to their base! And by the stars, get that one shooting the rockets!” Soleil yells to her crew over the blizzard’s howling winds.

Splitting up into groups of two, each of the groups begin to comb through the storm out in the directions of the rockets, and the blaster fire that Max dodged while atop Ataraxia. S19-N5 powers up his energy shield, and Tik’Trii takes cover inside of it, the two of them trudging through the snow off in the direction of the rockets that were fired. Max and Shamü take off together eastward from Ataraxia, the small blue Squib clinging to the neck and shoulders of the large Herglic as he barrels over, and through, snowdrifts. Raighl and Raiden team up and head off in a northeastern direction, towards a source of blaster fire. A shuddering impact and a small explosion forces Soleil to her knees as another rocket explodes against Ataraxia ’s hull just above her head. Cursing, she takes off north, underneath her ship and its cockpit, emerging into the full force of the blizzard.

Nearly knocked off her feet by the wind and blinded by the blowing snow, Soleil tries to blink through it and spot something, anything, that looks like an Imperial uniform. Walking blindly ahead, a red bolt of energy blasts into the snow next to Soleil, spraying her with snow, water and steam. She takes off running in the direction of the blaster bolt, almost smacking face-first into a natural pillar of ice and rock. Crouched in a crevice above, trying to get a bead on Soleil with his blaster rifle, is a snowtrooper in all-white armor. Ducking from another blaster bolt, she dives around the pillar, and manages to squeeze off a couple shots from her blaster at the snowtrooper, wounding him. Rocket detonations go off in the distance, and Soleil thinks she can even see the explosion through the icy haze, but she’s not sure if her eyes are playing tricks on her or not. The snowtrooper clutches his bleeding and burned leg, and topples from his cover on the pillar, into the soft snow below. Unholstering a blaster pistol, the snowtrooper shoots Soleil and a searing burst of pain erupts from her left shoulder as the close graze of ionized plasma burns her jacket and flesh. Returning the favour, she puts a bolt of blue energy from her own blaster right into the snowtroopers chest, puncturing it and burning straight through.

Clutching her shoulder, Soleil takes off in the direction of the explosion she thought she saw, but instead runs into, and through S19-N5‘s energy shield. Tik’Trii microwaves a snowtrooper with the rocket launcher into a pulpy red mess on an ice shelf nearby, and the roar of engines overhead directs their attention skyward. An RC-2, B.B.‘s shuttle, clumsily pulls around in a loop overhead and docks with the airlock used to jump out of Ataraxia. The snow begins to fall much more softly, and Soleil’s comlink springs alive with the voice of Max cheering. “We got ’em, Captain! All the stormtroopers are dead, you betcha!” Running to Ataraxia Soleil engages the boarding ramp and Tik’Trii clambers up to the cockpit to start up the ship, while the rest of the crew hurriedly get on board. Walking aboard herself, Soleil notices Oduph emerging from B.B.’s shuttle.

“Everything clear up?” Soleil asks Oduph, pointedly. The Ithorian’s face deepens in colour and he stammers, “Uh, er, yeah, I’m all clear. We run into trouble Captain?” “Nothing we couldn’t handle,” Soleil says, “Next time you should actually stick around for the fighting, that is what I’m paying you for, isn’t it?” Oduph just grunts and walks back to his room. Lifting off, Ataraxia quickly accelerates into Mygeeto‘s atmosphere, and Soleil watches through the cockpit viewport as icy Mygeeto is left behind entirely. Tik’Trii activates the hyperdrive and stars swirl into the blue-white wake of hyperspace.

The Message
Corporal Cresh

The Mid Rim

Soleil wipes the sleep from her eyes, still groggy after being woken by the transmission from the ICS. Heading up to the cockpit, she punches in the coordinates for Fornax Station, and goes to wake up Tik’Trii while S19-N5 calculates the jump to hyperspace. A sleepy Tik’Trii climbs the ladder to the cockpit, as Soleil sets about waking the other members of your crew for the stop-over. After a couple hours in hyperspace, they reach Fornax Station, orbiting the ringed gas-giant. Tik’Trii smoothly cruises Ataraxia into a docking bay and Soleil, Raighl, Oduph, Max and Tik’Trii disembark and work their way through the station’s corridors to the administration level. Approaching an office, Soleil notices an old man with ill-fitting clothing behind an enclosed counter who looks up and regards the crew as they approach. “Yes?” The man asks, “What can I do for you?” ‘’Are you Li-Shen?’’ Soleil asks, showing him a copy of her ICS transmission. ‘’Ah! Why yes indeed. My name is Li-Shen, and you must be the Captain I’ve been waiting on. You know you should have more respect for your elders, I think I strained something hauling your package into the courier depot! Tzao-gao! Not enough droids to do the work around here,’’ the old man grumbles before shuffling into the back of the office.

After some loud crashing noises, Li-Shen comes out of the office carrying out a rectangular container, almost two metres long with the help of a protocol droid and places it on the floor. “This is the package Captain. Now place your thumb here to confirm your genetic identity,” The old man says, as Soleil touches her finger to the datapad he has placed on top of the container. Once the datapad confirms Soleil’s identity, Li-Shen seems satisfied and shuffles back to the office, leaving her with the unknown package.

Reaching out, Soleil tries an edge of the container, finding a release trigger for the lid. Oduph gives her a hand hauling off the heavy lid, and suddenly Soleil‘s staring into a familiar face, one she hasn’t seen since the Clone Wars. Corporal Cresh, blue hair styled into a crest, is lying in the container in scrubbed Clone armor as if prepared for a state funeral. “What’d go you order a dead guy for Captain? I could have found you one, if you really wanted one I guess,” Oduph asks, scratching one of his eyestalks in confusion. “Out! Out! Out!” Li-Shen hisses at the five of them, motioning Soleil away from the container holding Cresh. ‘’I can’t have bodies coming through my station Captain! Not through the ICS, the Empire will cut my funding and end service to the station. Or worse! They might come here with their stormtroopers, shooting up the place, disrupting my business! Get that out of here Captain, now!" Sealing the container again, Soleil and Oduph lift it carefully and the five of them return to Ataraxia, leaving the old administrator Li-Shen fuming. Setting Cresh’s ‘coffin’ into the starboard cargo hold, Soleil goes about explaining to her crew her history with Corporal Cresh in the Clone Wars, while Raighl searches Cresh’s body for any indication of why he was shipped to Soleil.

Raighl eventually pulls a small holoprojector from a hidden nook in the container, which plays a holo message. ‘’Hello this is CT-7354. My name is Cresh, and this message is intended for Sergeant Soleil, formerly of the Republic military. I sure hope you’re the one listening to this Sarge. I have little time, I’ve made so many mistakes and I know I’m getting put out of commission soon, I’m just hoping you can help this soldier complete one last mission for old time’s sake. I need you to get my body to my brothers on Mygeeto, led by a man named Rex; they deserve to know what happened to me and that what we did during the war wasn’t our fault. The nightmare is finally over for me Sarge, take this Clone home and the truth along with him.‘’ The holo recording ends, and a serious of medical charts and diagrams begin displaying, which end when Soleil promptly shuts off the holoprojector. "I guess we’re heading to Mygeeto," she says, directing Tik’Trii and Raiden to plot a course to Mygeeto and calculate the jump to hyperspace. Oduph raises an eyestalk at Soleil questioningly, “Captain, I don’t see the percentage in dealing with a dead guy. How are we gonna get paid again?” Raighl shoots him a dirty look, while Soleil gets up from the couch and leaves the lounge to get some much needed rest.

Nearly two days in hyperspace pass before they reach Mygeeto, but immediately the calm is broken as Ataraxia is hit with a laser blast, sending the whole ship rocking. Soleil vaults up the ladder to the cockpit; Tik’Trii is at the pilot controls, Raighl is co-piloting, while Oduph is at the gunner controls. No sooner can Soleil ask for an update, than a transmission is broadcast over the internal comms, as it is forwarded through Ataraxia‘s systems. ’’This is second-lieutenant Warrens of the Imperial Navy. We have been diverted by ISB to run scans on suspicious vessels in this system, and you match descriptions forwarded to us by administration on Fornax Station. You will stand down and be boarded while we search your vessel for contraband. Any resistance will result in your termination.‘’ Soleil activates the comms and sends a message to the Imperial gunship closing in on Ataraxia. "Whoa! Not so fast lieutenant, you knocked out our airlock control with that warning shot of yours. No can do with the whole boarding thing, assuming you don’t want to take a walk into hard vacuum?" The comms system’s holoprojector activates, displaying a black-haired man not yet middle-age, with extensive burns on the left side of his face, down to his neck. “Captain. You will hand over that body or else,” the Imperial officer threatens. " Wow, you really want that Clone. Now how exactly are you going to get it if you blow up my ship? That body will go up with the rest of us if you do," Soleil turns away from the holoprojector and assk Tik’Trii quietly, “Think you can outrun this guy?” Tik’Trii smirks and comically thuds his diminutive chest with an even smaller fist. “Tik’Trii can outrun them all Captain!”

Ataraxia accelerates sharply, turning and twisting into a corkscrew heading down into Mygeeto‘s atmosphere. The small holo-image of lieutenant Warrens glares at Soleil menacingly. “FINE! Have it your way Zeltron,” the Imperial officer shouts at her, “We can do this on the ground too.” The holoprojector shuts down as the transmission is ended, prompting Soleil to run to the cargo bay with Cresh in it, hoping to see just what the interest in her friend’s corpse is. Oduph follows Soleil to the cargo bay, and the two of them begin re-checking the container holding Cresh, along with his body and his clothes. “Find anything?” She asks Oduph as he tears apart a wooden insert that Cresh’s body was resting on. “Not unless these boards are made out of magical wish-granting wood Captain,” Oduph loudly complains to Soleil. But then it hits her; it’s not something on Cresh they’re looking for, it is Cresh. Clones are property, not citizens. Sealing Cresh’s coffin, Soleil dashes back up to the cockpit to get an update, but a jolting lurch that knocks her off her feet suggests it’s not going well.

Snowy peaks swiftly streak by the cockpit’s viewport as Tik’Trii pulls Ataraxia into a tight turn around one of the mountaintops and down into a canyon system. The Imperial gunship follows, taking shots but the laser bursts only kick up rock and snow. The barrage of lasers stops, with the pursuing gunship accelerating until both ships are neck and neck, fighting for space in the narrow canyon. Allowing the Imperial gunship to pull ahead Tik’Trii fires the laser cannons, but the blasts seem to be ineffectual, striking only the Imperial gunship’s shields. Raighl begins priming the launch tube with a real missile, not a transponder decoy like the one used to fool the Empire at Ord Mantell, and begins tracking the gunship with the launch controls. Just before a bank in the canyon, Raighl fires a missile, the projectile striking beneath one of the gunship’s engines, slamming it into the canyon wall and detonating it in a fiery burst.

Leaving the canyon behind Tik’Trii flies Ataraxia to Stalbans, landing on the outskirts of the city. Soleil and Raighl leave the others and take Cresh to this ‘Captain Rex’ that they’re supposed to meet, borrowing Tik’Trii‘s speeder with Cresh’s container loaded onto the hitch. The wind is picking up, whipping up ice crystals into the air in a frosty mist as the two of them speed down a series of side streets in the snowy town. Soleil and Raighl Nova eventually come to the coordinates that were given and Soleil gives the door a slight knock; answering the door is a Clone in his thirties, with short shaved hair dyed blonde. “Can I help you with something, miss?” The Clone asks, to which they both nod. “Captain Rex? I was sent to meet you by someone we both know, Corporal Cresh. He asked me to deliver his body to you. He was my friend.” Rex’s stern look softens and he opens the door to let the two women in. “He was my brother, he was all our brothers.” As Rex spans his arm in the room, indicating two other Clones, one of them with a cybernetic eye. “You’ve done so much helping him miss, but, and pardon me for sounding blunt, but why would you help a Clone? Most people don’t think of us as anything more than relics from the Clone Wars.” Soleil extends her hand in greeting, and Rex takes it. ‘’My name is Captain Soleil, and I served as a Sergeant in the Republic military during the Clone Wars, Cresh was under my command. We were on Muunilinst when the Emperor ordered…never mind.’’ Rex puts his hand on her shoulder, “Those days haunt us still ma’am. But there’s nothing we can do. Did…did Cresh have something with him? The last time we spoke to him—” Soleil cuts Rex off by handing him Cresh’s holorecorder. “Everything is in there, I hope you get your answers Captain Rex.” Soleil tells the Clone, staying for the short ceremony they hold in Cresh’s honour before her and Raighl return to Ataraxia.

Later, alone in her room, Soleil looks at the old, fading Republic poster on the wall, tears slowly flowing from her eyes. She hopes they’re both at peace now; Corporal Cresh, and Master Antilles.

Aiming to Misbehave
A Spy Revealed

Persephone Spaceport, Ord Mantell

Upon Captain Soleil‘s return to Ataraxia with Raighl and Oduph, she notices Tik’Trii, Max and S19-N5 dealing with some prospective passengers. Soleil swallows the sour taste in her mouth from the failure with Baj’R and puts a smile on her face; these passengers might be the only money to be made here on Ord Mantell. A Human male walks up to Soleil after dealing with Tik’Trii and introduces himself as Lawrence Dobs. She shakes his hand and he goes to settle himself into Ataraxia, but his path is blocked by a bulky Herglic who is walking down the boarding ramp. “Captain,” The large Herglic bellows, ’’It’s good to finally meet you! Your little droid here convinced me to take passage on board your starship. I’m Shamü Abyssail,‘’ the Herglic says, putting a hand out in greeting. Soleil takes a couple fingers in her hand and gives them a semblance of a hand-shake, to which Shamü laughs loudly, “Your ship is also a little small too Captain, but I will make do!” Soleil welcomes him aboard and moves to greet the last two beings looking to book transport. One is a sharply dressed Arkanian male, apparently a student from Mrisst, who introduces himself as Raiden Anders and the other a Togruta female of similar age, who introduces herself as Fulcrum. Soleil gathers everyone aboard and begins laying out ship protocol, such as what areas are off limits, the amount of time they’ll spend in hyperspace, and cabin arrangements.

After the four passengers have been settled in, Soleil comms Raighl to meet with her in the cockpit to discuss what to do with their illicit cargo. “What do you think we should do with the credits?” Soleil asks Raighl as she climbs the ladder to the cockpit. ‘’I dunno, we could try the Rodian who sold us the info on Dantooine. If he knows about the credits he may want to fence them." Soleil nods in agreement with her and comms Tik’Trii up to the cockpit while she starts a HoloNet transmission to the info broker on Dantooine. Tik’Trii climbs up into the cockpit and eases himself into his seat, adjusting the controls. “Where to Captain? Please, nowhere with this much water. Ord Mantell may be classified as terrestrial, but all the islands are pushing it for Tik’Trii.” Soleil suppresses a chuckle at her Pilot‘s discomfort and after receiving affirmation on her bracer computer that the info broker will meet with them, Soleil directs Tik’Trii to plot a route to Dantooine. She heads to her bunk for a brief reprieve, and allows Raighl to inform the passengers of their brief detour from Iridonia.

An alarm is blaring, awakening Soleil from unintended slumber. She wipes sleep from her eyes as the comm crackles to life in her cabin, “Captain, you’d better get up here. Tik’Trii had to pull us out of hyperspace. There’s something in our path.” Soleil puts on her boots and races to the cockpit, ignoring Dobs’ cries of concern about the ship-wide alarm. Once in the cockpit, Soleil can make out another ship past the viewport, a gunship of some type. Badly rusting, the gunship is missing obvious parts, with long rends in its hull and parts of other starships clearly grafted on to it. Bristling with spikes, weapon emplacements, and sporting a red-paint job that is incomplete and poor, the bizarre rust-bucket of a starship makes her wonder about all the rumors she’s heard on the HoloNet about so-called Maulers preying on starships in the Outer Rim and beyond. “I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” Soleil thinks to herself. “Captain? What should Tik’Trii do?” Tik’Trii asks, jolting Soleil from thought. “Maintain course and speed Tik’Trii. What happens if you run from a kath hound?” She asks him, with his eyes widening at the question. “It chases you, and then it kills and eats you,” Tik’Trii replies nervously. “So we don’t run then. Maintain course and speed, and then resume our jump to hyperspace once they’ve left sensor range,” Soleil says to Tik’Trii while leaving the cockpit to inform the rest of her crew and the passengers of their predicament. While Soleil briefs the passengers, Raiden Anders elects to do the astrogation for the next hyperspace jump, citing his expertise in computers and astronavigation, and that it would help calm his nerves. Oduph escorts him to the cockpit, while Soleil gets to know some of her new passengers a little better.

After nearly ten minutes, Tik’Trii comms Soleil up to the cockpit. Climbing the ladder she sees Tik’Trii helping Raiden plug a personal computer into the HoloNet transceiver. “Are they gone Tik’Trii?” Soleil asks, to which Tik’Trii nods fervently. “It looks like we may have more problems than pirates Captain,” Raiden says, interrupting him. “Someone sliced your HoloNet feed to send a coded transmission to ISB with our location and intended destination when we dropped out of hyperspace. I’m no fan of the Empire, Captain, and ISB investigating you can only mean that one of the people who boarded with me is an Imperial agent.” Soleil grimaces at the implications of an Imperial spy on board her ship; what if they found the credits while onboard? “Make the jump to Dantooine, Tik’Trii,” Soleil says, glancing down at an alert coming from her bracer computer. “Someone’s accessing the cargo hold without our permission, time to see if we can catch us a spy.”

Leaving Tik’Trii and Raiden in the cockpit, Soleil comms Raighl and Oduph on their personal comlinks, telling them to meet her in the port cargo bay. The three of them converge at the airlock and enter the port cargo bay, clearly hearing the scrape of someone accessing one of the hidden compartments. Sneaking down the stairs they are surprised to see the Togruta woman, Fulcrum, rummaging in the hidden compartment, trying to fit a small wooden box into the already-full hold. Aware of them behind her, Fulcrum turns, dropping the box, and putting her hands up in surrender, “This isn’t what you think Captain, I-” Before Soleil has a chance to respond, a voice with a clipped Coruscanti accent replies to her, ’’It’s irrelevant what she thinks, Jedi. Ahsoka Tano, you are hereby under arrest for crimes against the Galactic Empire.’’

Lawrence Dobbs strides from the shadows of the partially illuminated cargo bay, blaster pistol in hand, aimed at Ahsoka. Taken aback, expecting for her to be the one under arrest, Soleil almost misses registering the Togruta’s name. Ahsoka Tano, …. Ahsoka Tano, … Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan! Everyone had heard of Anakin Skywalker, he was practically the poster-Jedi of the Clone Wars! Brave, strong, and dedicated, he and his Padawan had led the charge against the Separatists in so many doomed battles that instead turned the tide of the war in favour of the Republic. So what is a former Jedi Padawan doing on her starship? Stepping between Ahsoka and Dobbs, Soleil raises her hands, “There’s no need for shooting on my ship! Everyone just calm down and I’m sure we can handle this peacefully.” Dobbs takes a step forward, menacing, “As far as I’m concerned Captain, everyone on this ship is culpable of sheltering a fugitive from Imperial law. Once HQ hears about this they’ll be ecstatic, I’ll-” Dobbs is broken off by Oduph swiftly grabbing him, and pinning him against the floor of the cargo bay, Dobbs’ blaster clattering to the ground in the tussle. “Captain, what should I do with this buhn dahn?” Oduph asks, tying Dobbs’ wrists together with a length of cord. “Take him to your room and question him, maybe we can get an idea of what he told ISB before they catch up to us,” Soleil says, as Oduph Nychoth hauls Dobbs off the floor and to his feet. “Just scare him a little,” Soleil whispers to Oduph, who grunts and mumbles back to her, “Pain is scary ain’t it?” “Just do it right!” Soleil hisses at him, while leading Ahsoka to the lounge so the two of them can chat. A soon as she sits, she opens the box she was trying to hide in the cargo bay, revealing a pair of lightsabers. Soleil reaches over and closes the box, “You don’t owe me an explanation Ahsoka, I…I too fought in the Clone Wars, and I saw what happened to the Jedi. You don’t need to explain to me why you needed to hide.” “But I do Captain, I owe you much more than that. Without your assistance, I wouldn’t be able to meet my contacts on Iridonia who are willing to take me the rest of the way. I’m very sorry for dragging you into this, into my trouble with the Empire,” Ahsoka apologizes, but Soleil cuts her off. “Us war vets need to help each other out, right Ahsoka?” She says, to which you both share a laugh.

Coming out of hyperspace, the green-yellow agricultural world of Dantooine looms beyond the viewport. Going up to the cockpit, Soleil shows Tik’Trii the landing coordinates, who begins the descent through Dantooine‘s atmosphere, landing Ataraxia on a grassy ridge not far from the meeting coordinates. Soleil meets in the lounge with her crew and passengers, minus Agent Dobbs and Oduph. Asking for volunteers to help guard the ship results in Ahsoka Tano and S19-N5 volunteering, but surprisingly not the other two passengers, Raiden and Shamü. “In all honesty I think you should both stay with the ship,” Soleil tells them, but to her surprise, both refuse. "It’s been far too long since I got to stretch my legs Captain!" Shamü bellows boisterously. “I want to be as far away from the ISB agent as possible Captain, so I’d prefer to stick with you, if that’s not a problem,” Raiden says. Soleil nods in agreement with both of them, but admonishes them to stay out of a fight if one happens. “Do not worry your little head Captain, I have survived far worse over the Clone Wars!” Shamü states amusedly, before retrieving a large concussion rifle from his personal effects. Now properly equipped, Soleil, Tik’Trii, Raighl, Max, Raiden and Shamü walk down the boarding ramp and march to the designated meeting place, carrying the three crates of credits.

After walking through the thick, tall grasses of Dantooine for nearly fifteen minutes, the five of them come to the designated meeting place, only to find the blaster-burned corpse of the Rodian info-broker they were supposed to meet. Immediately Soleil hears the sound of rushed footsteps, and they’re surrounded by seven white-armoured Imperial stormtroopers, led by an aging Human woman in an officer’s uniform, pointing a blaster pistol at them. “You’re under arrest smugglers! You think you can sneak on and off my planet without me knowing about it? Troopers, arrest these brigands; kill them if they resist!” The Imperial officer shrieks. “Yes Governor Patience,” the seven stormtroopers utter in near unison to her order, two of them attempting to restrain Shamü. “Hey, he’s my passenger not your prisoner!” Soleil screams at them, before another stormtrooper tries to place her wrists in binder cuffs. Shamü utters a deafening roar and breaks free of the stormtroopers trying to arrest him, viciously crushing one of the men in his armor. Max and Tik’Trii, having been overlooked by the stormtroopers now trying to aid their dying comrade, draw their weapons and each gun down a stormtrooper; one is left a charred smoking corpse, and the other crushed by his own armor and the reverse-tractor-beam effects of a Squib tensor rifle. The remaining stormtroopers gather protectively around the Imperial Governor as another two of their comrades are lost to blaster bolts from Soleil. Now left with only two of her guards, the Imperial Governor’s look of confidence is quickly giving way to doubt. Shamü charges in and knocks one of her remaining guards to the ground, while Raighl kills the last stormtrooper with her sonic pistol, before aiming her blaster at the Imperial Governor and firing. Blowing out her shoulder from the sonic blast, the Human woman screams in pain, grabbing at the blaster clutched in her opposite hand, and attempting to shoot Raighl, but not before she’s hit by a stun blast from Raiden. Soleil knocks the Imperial Governor out cold with another stun blast and sets about finding their payment on the info-broker’s corpse, as well as dumping the credits by the Governor; maybe they won’t be in so much trouble with the Empire if it’s getting a pay-day too.

Their work is interrupted by Oduph calling Soleil on her comms, demanding that they return to Ataraxia; S19-N5 is flipping out on him about the sensors, and Dobbs escaped. “Kriff!” Soleil swears, as she ends the transmission and starts running for Ataraxia, her crew and passengers not far behind her. Closing the distance between Soleil and the ridge Ataraxia is parked on, she can make out two people trying to leave by the starboard cargo bay lift. Running up the ridge to Ataraxia, it becomes clear Agent Dobbs is holding Ahsoka with a blaster to her head. “Don’t come any clo-” A ripple of sonic energy shears through the air over your shoulder, impacting into Agent Dobbs’ face, shattering bone, muscle, and exploding his right eye into bloody goop, and almost taking off his right ear. Raighl is planted behind Soleil, knee on the ground, having taken the shot that mashed Dobbs’ face. “C’mon, let’s see what the trouble is,” Soleil says, hauling Raighl and boarding the open lift, along with the rest of her crew and passengers. Shamü kicks the messy body of Agent Dobbs off the lift, which unceremoniously drops onto the grass below. Once the lift closes, Oduph runs into the cargo bay in a huff, “Droid’s on the fritz! But there’s something coming our way, maybe a starship?” He says, anxious about what it may mean. Tik’Trii runs to the cockpit with Soleil, Raighl Nova and Oduph close behind, while Max scurries to the engineering room. Powering up Ataraxia‘s engines, Tik’Trii sees on sensors that it is indeed a starship closing in on their location, the same junky gunship that they crossed paths with earlier. ‘’No kriffing way are we sticking around with Maulers closing in,’’ Oduph says, looking nervous for once. “Then man the guns Oduph, let’s teach these so called Maulers not to mess with Ataraxia!” Soleil says, as Tik’Trii launches Ataraxia off the ridge and into the skies of Dantooine.

Tik’Trii tries to put some distance between the two ships, but the Maulers’ gunship barrels on like a drunken beast, listing slightly from a missing engine, firing laser blasts at Ataraxia. Blasts from Ataraxia’s quad laser cannons seem to just dent the gunships hull, leaving little damage. “Shields decreasing Captain!” Max screams over the comms, and the ship is rocked by a deafening blast. “Did we just lose shields, Max?” Soleil asks, to which all she gets in response is cheering and whooping. She turns and see the gunship is no longer on sensors; a well-placed laser bolt by Oduph had just turned the gunship into a ball of plasma and fire. Ataraxia leaves the atmosphere of Dantooine, and jumps to hyperspace, continuing its journey to the volcanic world of Iridonia.

Dropping out of hyperspace, the black and red-spotted globe of Iridonia hangs in space ahead; Tik’Trii transmits the ident codes for Ataraxia, and he lands at the Boros spaceport. The three remaining passengers begin collecting their things and make for the cargo bay, however Raiden stops to ask Soleil something. “Captain, I must admit to you something. I’m on the run from the Empire, and you seem not to be too fond of them either. Any chance you could use someone with my computer skills? It would be safer for me to stay aboard than find somewhere to settle down.” She considers his request and nods in agreement, quickly working up a contract on some flimsiplast for him to sign. As Raiden stakes out one of the open quarters on Ataraxia, Soleil almost literally run into Shamü standing in the cargo bay , blocking entrance past the airlock unintentionally. “Captain! I did not see you there!” The Herglic bellows to her, “It has been my cramped pleasure to have been on your charming starship! Many fine travels to you! Unless…I noticed your ship is lacking in security. No offense meant Captain, just observation. We ran into the Empire, twice you might say, had to shoot our way through a squad of stormtroopers, and were on the run from murderous savages. I think you could use me around more often if this is a typical day for you!” Soleil thinks about his proposal, and agrees laying out a contract and conditions of employment, same as she’s done for the others who’ve joined her crew. As Shamü lumbers off to find a room suitable for his bulk, Soleil descends down the boarding ramp into the dusty air of Iridonia to bid farewell to the only real passenger she picked up while on Ord Mantell. Ahsoka Tano walks off the cargo lift as it ends it descent, and clasps Soleil‘s hands in farewell. "Soleil, I owe you my life. I can’t thank you enough for bringing me to Iridonia. I wish you all the best in your adventures Captain," she says with a wink, “May the Force be with you!” Pulling her hood over her head and montrals, the former Jedi Padawan walks off into the red-tinted distance, to freedom and hope.


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