Persephone Spaceport, Ord Mantell
TWO YEARS AFTER THE CLONE WARS
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.