The Outer Rim! A region of adventure! A region of danger! A region of treasure! What opportunities await in this lawless world? What secrets lie buried in the sand and soil of these distant systems? Ancient Hutt gold, Old Republic secrets, Sith Ruins? What is lost here is just waiting to be found!
These are the adventures of the Correllian Corsairs, an elite group of pilots-for-hire led by the irrepressible Iyan Desertfire! With skills coveted by all, and equaled by few, the Corsairs rove the Outer Rim for forgotten riches on their Carrier base, the Huntress. Do you have what it takes to fly with the Corsairs? Can you dogfight with destiny? Will you survive their perilous quests for wealth? Join the fight in the sky and help unearth the Galaxy's mysteries!
Character Card Format:
Useful tips: It takes a drukload of marbles to join the Corsairs, and Desertfire wouldn't take too kindly to ex-Bucketheads. Think daring, adventurous, desperate, or completely insane.
Ship Card Format:
Useful tips: Dueling in a freighter may look heroic in the Imperial Reports, but being space debris does not. Small speedy fighters, like the A-9, or the Howlrunner, as well as cheap and easily customized ones like the CloakShape, Preybird, Toscan 8Q, or even Skipray Blastboats are ideal. Captured Imperial vessels are very hard to come by, and should be avoided. However, Incom Factory products are commonly found on the black market, usually in red and black showroom colors. Trainer versions of their famous X-Wings are great for modifying due to their simplicity.
This RP will not begin until at least 4 devoted pirates are ready to raid the skies!
Bio: Charismatic and eager, Iyan Desertfire was once the son of a poor shopkeep in the nether regions of Anchoread. He spent most of his chilhood cleaning the counters, dreaming of a better life. His father's patrons were some rather unsavoury characters, often smugglers and scoundrels from outside the planet. Young Iyan would watch the spacers swagger in through the doors and brag of the excitement high in the stars.
After a falling-out with his family, Iyan left the store in Anchorage to travel the galaxy. He soon stumbled upon the massive Black Market of Hutt Space, and was easily allured by the curious curios and exotic elements that the shifty merchants had for sale.
Desertfire purchased a small freighter, and began doing milkruns for some low-level Black Market traders, hunting down pieces that they desired to sell, and keeping some for himself along the way.
After making a meager fortune, Iyan went off on his own. He eventually joined together with his close treasure-hunting friend, Adson "Ringer" Bell, and together they founded the Corellian Corsairs, Hunters for Hire.
Bell and Desertfire were an excellent pair, and served eachother as fantastic wingmen. They were harmonious, concerted, so much so that they seemed to communicate without speaking. They knew eachother more than anyone else could ever know. But, in one treacherous mission over Kessel, Ringer's Starchaser was hit by an Imperial Turbolaser emplacement, and sent tumbling down to the planet below. Ringer's body and ship were never found.
Desertfire was not extinguished by the loss of his closest friend. Although alone in command, Iyan tries his best to lead the Corsairs with as much gusto as ever. Ringer's, death however, is always haunting the back of his mind.
Condition: Used and worn. Not built for comfort, but results.
Details: Paladin is a modified Razor-Class fighter piloted by Iyan Desertfire. Its Class 2 hyperdrive was removed to save weight and create cargo space. It is also equipped with seating for one passenger directly behind the pilot. An astromech port was added on at one point, but removed. Its remains can still be seen from the top. Paladin is grey with red highlights, sporting a black-red checkered pattern on the nose and tail. Towards the front, but behind the checkered tip, is the insignia of the Corsairs, and Iyan's own personal symbol; a gaffi stick and a blaster rifle crossed over a skull wearing an Imperial Helmet. The cockpit transparisteel is tinted black.
Bio: Val Icebourne was born to a wealthy lawyer family on the planet of Aargau. Well educated since a young age, Val Icebourne looked into the stars longing for a way off the planet to learn from experience. However, this wasn't easy for a young Val as his parents held him back until he can educate himself. Disappointed and spiteful with this idea, Val attended school to learn the ways of a physician.
With Val's first steps away from the strong and controlling arms of his family—the young doctor found it difficult to survive in the galaxy he longed to explore. Taking a variety of alleyway clinic jobs, Val practiced his study with limited finesse due to lack of proper materials and environment. Paid very little from employers and abused by those he rented from, Val was eager to find a way to better pay and conditions.
Running away from the debts he owed to several people, Val found his way aboard a freighter as the ship's doctor. With an undermanned crew, Val learned to work the ship's mechanics to keep the thing running while also providing medical assistance. Successful from this, Val switched from job to job on freighters—eventually earning enough to buy a Howlrunner in hopes to run a job by himself.
This of course was rather unsuccessful, and eventually this forced him into finding a job with another company. Oddly enough this meant being employed by Desertfire for the Corsairs. Considered intellectual and cunning, Val proves to be a vital asset in case of any medical emergancy.
Name:Look Over There
Condition: Pretty worn condition.
Details: With the exception of a few modification and comfort details being added to the I-7 Howlrunner used by Val Icebourne, the ship remains close to its original line model.
Bio: Natt Blyss is an Umbaran from the planet of Concord Dawn in the Mandalore sector. The mere fact that he grew up there is already unusual; Umbarans usually remain within the Ghost Nebula, where their homeworld is located. Even so, Blyss' unusual traits do not end there. Typically, Umbarans become politicians, mostly because of a combination of their culture and their ability to influence others' thoughts, but Blyss, having grown up on a Mandalorian world, had an affinity for war. He never did become a Mandalorian himself, but their culture influenced him greatly. Fairly soon, he found himself as a bounty hunter operating from city planets like Nar Shaddaa and Coruscant, where he earned himself a reputation as a swift, silent and efficient assassin, until in 8BBY, a job went wrong; Blyss had been hired to assassinate a Togruta crime lord, but as it turned out, it was in fact a trap. The crime lord's henchmen managed to capture him, although they did not kill him. Instead, they cut off his legs below the knees and left him for dead.
Blyss survived the ambush, but he was no longer capable of working as a bounty hunter. So he took to another thing he was very proficient with: starfighters. In the years after the Galactic Empire had been formed, quite some Republic starfighters were left to rust, despite being in working order. One such ship, a Nimbus-class V-wing, had come into Blyss' possession when a contractor failed to pay up for a job. Blyss started to modify and improve the V-wing, replacing engines and weapon systems alike. Eventually, he found his way to a pirate gang known as the Corsairs.
Natt Blyss' personality reflects his previous bounty hunter reputation. He is calm as a mountain creek and surgically precise, yet swift as the wind and ruthlessly cunning. (Think ME's Thane Krios but with less religions and moral obligations)
Class: Alpha-3 Nimbus-class V-wing starfighter
Condition: Well-maintained, despite extensive use
Details:Carnifex is the Alpha-3 Nimbus-class V-wing starfighter used by Umbaran pirate and bounty hunter Natt Blyss. Although the baseline V-wings already perform impressively, this specific ship has been modified extensively to maximise its effectiveness. Its standard laser cannons have been replaced with a pair of the far more powerful Electromagnetic Plasma Cannons, which are complemented by an Ion Cannon as well as a Proton Bomb launcher. In addition, it has been outfitted with improved engines and a GBk-585 hyperdrive unit, allowing for far greater deployment range. Because Natt Blyss' Q7 astromech's repulsorlifts kept failing, the droid has been permanently wired into the ship.
The entire ship has been painted in the same colours of the traditional Umbaran Shadowcloak. Although this may not seem very special for species who can only see in the regular visible spectrum, this feature makes it essentially invisible for those who can see in the ultraviolet spectrum.
Bio: Cazen Vassa was born in Nar Shaddaa, the son of a cantina worker and a spacer. After his mother left his father to escape the family's debt with the Hutts and the family's home was sold, Cazen was taken aboard his father's freighter to work for him. Like all of his species, he showed an affinity for piloting and space travel, and developed reparation skills to some degree - enough to repair a hull hit by plasma or fix a better part to a starfighter, which is enough.
For a while, he flew a salvaged GAT-12, taken from a group of Devaronian pirates. One of the Devaronians happened to have a bounty on his head, and the credits from delivering him, as well as from the sale of the cargo, helped to pay his father's debt. The GAT later became so modified its initial model was almost indeterminable.
After his father's freighter was shot down by Imperial ships above Tatooine, having been betrayed by a crewmember to the Empire, Cazen fled in his GAT, hoping to escape before attention turned to him. Landing in Mos Espa with his co-pilot, the Aqualish Goro Shand, he was able to sell the ship and its cargo. The credits were split between the two, who went their separate ways. Cazen used his share to buy Z-95 starfigher in decent condition, and silent passage from Tatooine.
From Taris, he looked for piloting work, and spent a lot of his time escorting and protecting larger ships with his modified Z-95, before he found himself on the Corsairs (but dat is andere koek).
Name:Blink of an Eye
Class: Z-95 Headhunter
Condition: Modified and repaired, with overall good condition
Details: The Headhunter's standard Zr-390 navigation computer was in poor condition and the ANq 2.4 targeting computer was malfunctioning when Cazen purchased the ship from an Ithorian merchant, so in Taris he replaced them with an LpL-449 computer and a ANq 3.6. Used on the swift A-Wings, these components would be able to keep up with the most alacritous of flying and manoeuvring. Later, in his mercenary service, he affixed a L-s7.2 laser cannon, the rapid fire rate of which appealed to him. The ship is painted orange, with scratched diagonal white lines running across it, and a phrase in the Durese alphabet is printed in black below the cockpit.
Bio: Little is known about Mirax's past. None of the Corsairs, other than Iyan Desertfire himself, knows anything about the mysterious Ubese. Some of the members speculate that Mirax could have been one of the first to join the Corsairs, others think that Mirax is just a cover for a number of different pilots. He rarely speaks outside of combat, something that does not help the situation. He is however, considered to be the most loyal of the pirates, and has as such been allowed to serve as the wingman of Desertfire. Mirax is also a skilled mechanic, apparently self-taught.
Condition: Well-maintained, but somewhat worn from battle.
Details: The Talon's body is painted in a light brown and black colour scheme, while the wings are dark red, with the Corsairs symbol on them. Through the removal of some cargo space, Mirax has managed to fit in an extra pair of heavy laser cannons to the ship, now having four in total.
(*countdown ends* Alright, we have 4 people ready. Let's start.)
Amidst the humming of the roguish rabble, Desertfire strides to the head of the room, flicks on the projector, and seats himself on top of a stack of spice crates. He waits for the room's noises to quiet, then stands up on the top box.
Desertfire: Fearless friends...and Draxx.
The pirates laugh.
Desertfire: I'm here to tell you, that the loot from yesterday's raid on the Gamorrean Interstellar Mining Compex has cashed in at....drrrrrumroll please?
Some of the scoundrels in the crowd drum on the floor, and the rest soon join in.
There's a pause.
The room erupts into whistles and whoops
Desertfire: ...of Palpy's finest shiny chips!! Ladies and Gentlemen, a round of applause for ourselves, please!!
Everyone's cheering. Literally everyone. Even Taam Xi, the Polis Massan, was at least attempting to potray jubiliation with his body language.
Desetfire: Now, I've rigged Sparky and Twinkly up in the mess hall to dispence each and everyone of your -equal-
He looks to someone in the crowd.
Desertifre: shares. So get going, and help yourself. We're stopping by my good ol' hometown, Tatooine. Try to get as much of that mula gone as you can. We don't want the feds catching us for anything. Enjoy, people! You've earned it.
While the overjoyed pirates continues to cheer, a tall figure, face wrapped in cloth and eyes covered up with a pair of goggles, starts making his way through the crowd, intent on arriving at the mess hall before the rest of the scoundrel crew.
A few minutes later, the man stares down from a railing into the mess hall, which is empty apart from himself and the two droids in charge of handing out the credits. He casually walks down a couple of stairs and is greeted by Sparky, a Treadwell.
Sparky: Hello there, Mirax. Nice seeing you again.
Mirax simply stares at the droid in response.
Sparky: Right. You're an Ubese, not the chatty type, I forgot. Twinkly has your cut ready to go.
Mirax steps past the Treadwell and walks up to Twinkly, an old astromech droid. As he does so, an Aqualish pirate comes running from a corridor, obviously eager to collect his part of the credits. The pirate almost jumps into the hall, but is grabbed by Sparky's claws.
Sparky: Hey, wait for your turn!
The Ubese looks over his shoulder and emits a sound similar to a scowl, and then turns back to Twinkly. He extends his hand as the astromech begins to dispense the credits.
Twinkly: Eleven thousand creds, ready to be spent on whatever you like. Have fun with them.
Mirax turns towards the exit again, nodding at Sparky to release the Aqualish.
The repeated clang of metal hitting metal signals Natt Blyss' entrance into the mess hall. The pale man gets in the back of the line, from where he can see the Aqualish get grabbed by the repair droid. With a defeated expression, the alien gets in line behind the Umbaran.
Natt: Your impatience might well become your undoing, Chaw.
Chaw: Fuck do you know, Blyss?
Natt: Impatience makes one an easy target. I have bested many because they became reckless in their impatience.
Chaw: Just mind your own damn business, will you?
Natt faces back in front of him. Eventually, he reaches the front of the line, where Twinkly dispenses his credits to him. The Umbaran thanks the droid and heads for the dining tables.
Far from the singing, dancing, and drinking, Iyan was in the main hangar cleaning his fighter. They had cleaning droids, but he preferred to the work himself. The hangar itself was a long strip in the bottom of the ship, which opened up like one of the old Venator-classes. The starfighters (if not on the sidelines in storage) were dangled by mechanical arms in the center. It was pretty precarious sometimes, especially when trying to do maintenance, but it was the quickest way to deploy into atmosphere. Docking with the hooks was also easier than it seemed. A lone figure enters the room.
Casbia: So, you actually do put effort in.
Iyan: For some things, I suppose. What are you doing out here?
Casbia: Could ask you the same thing. They all love you, you know. You should spend time with them.
Iyan: They wouldn't trust me for shit. I could be telling 'em to fucking...you know....blast.
Casbia: What is it?
Iyan: I can't think of a good example.
Casbia: See? This is your consience speaking, right?
Iyan: Not this again....
Casbia: Yes this again, now hear me out.
She hops onto the Paladin's wing.
Casbia: So, your consience is trying to get your stubborn little head to understand something, you see?
Iyan: I'm not being stubborn, just...real.
Casbia: Oh, excuse me.
Iyan: Your stupidity is excused, my Padawan. Now, listen to me. Not you, alright? I'm talking. Got it? Me, not you.
Val joins the back the line, looking at the long line as he sighs. Witnessing a short quarrel between the Aqualish and the droid, as the alien then proceeds to enter the line behind Natt. He shakes his head, as he runs through his mind a list of items that he needs to purchase. Ever since Val was employed by Iyan, he was required to make all purchases of the bulk of medical supplies--typically with his own credits. This infuriated Val to an extent, but he quickly cooled when he realised that meant the supplies was his. And that meant the experiments were his as well.
As the line shortened, he made his way to the front where he was greeted by Twinkly. The droid extends to him his 11,000 credits, as he takes the currency before placing it in his pockets. The droid looks at Val.
Twinkly: Have fun!
Val: Yes, I'm quite sure I will have fun... I'll just need the proper materials and subjects. Which I gues we will find on Tatooine, very cheap there.
Val turns his head and walks past the dining tables towards where his 'office' is located on the ship, making his way through the hangar bay.
With his credits stored safely in his pockets, Mirax enters the cockpit of Talon, the Ubese's modified Preybird. A few minutes later, the Talon takes off from the hangar of the Huntress, heading down towards the sandy surface of Tatooine. While entering the atmosphere of the planet, Mirax takes note of the grey and yellow Z-95 fighters seemingly on patrol. They're marked with the symbol of the Warhawks mercenary gang, a notoriously vicious warband, but Mirax gives no further attention to them as he begins his approach towards Mos Eisley.
The Paladin drifts downwards to Mos Eisley, landing on the outskirts in the sandy flats. As Iyan had found, this was a much cheaper alternative to a docking bay. A few Jawas immediately scurry up and begin to barter for his fighter. Iyan names the price: one fuck off. Jawas may be crafty, but they're not very brave. They part like the tide for this foreign pilot with his starfighter. Jawas are masters of commerce, but they still know for sure when someone means business.
It wasn't long before he arrived at his destination. The doors swung open with the arid breeze, as if a ghastly doorman was welcoming a patron to Hell. And Hell it was. Seated in the center was Gaf Medo, a disgusting Nautolan crimelord who was as slimy as he was sly. He was a very unwelcoming sort, as gangsters usually are, and his putrid green skin didn't help his case. Nor the helpless looking concupines. Or his terrified court. Or the dank dark sewer drain of a venue that he called home.
Desertfire was in no mood to start any fights today, so he quickly rushes for a seat in the back, avoiding all eye contact. And just when he thought he was safe, a voice calls out, "Thought you could hide from me, eh boy?" The dispersing herd of attendants reveals the speaker. Only one phrase could possibly be selected in this situation, "Shit".
The caller breaks an empty bottle against the bar counter. "Thought you could hide from any of us?"
It was Favino, one of Gaf's lapdogs.
"Look, look, I'm just here to make a deal with-"
"Make a deal with who, pirate scum?"
"Aren't....aren't you a pirate...too?"
Favino clenches and unclenches his fists. He mutters some things under his breath, picks through some words in his head, confuses himself, thinks harder, then turns red with anger. Giving up on diplomacy, Favino roars and charges. The attack succeeds in launching Desertfire at least halfway across the room, into a booth with a young woman and a well-dressed man. Iyan's open arms catch some glasses on the table and knock them into the customers, who both try unsuccesfully to get out of the way. "What the hell are you doing?", the man yells. "Hey there", Iyan coughs out, "Nice day, right?"
Recieving no responce, he utters an apology and staggers to his feet, just in time to collect Favino's fist with his face. Favino looks to the well-dressed man in the booth. "Feel like joining in?" The man grins, "Sure I do! Who goes first?" Favino ponders the question. "Well", he scratches his head, "I saw him first, but you can finish him if you want". The well-dressed man is still grinning, "Wrong answer."
There's the sound of a blaster, and Favino's smoking body falls like a rock. "Iyan", the man says to the other lifeless corpse, "Iyan, get up". A few kicks work just as well as a defibulator in the right hands. "Wha...what is...", Iyan stares dreamily upwards, "Jins....?"
The rest of Nedo's court were ready to kill. "Get to your feet, get the girl, and run", Jins says, "I'll handle this mess."
(One last textwall before we start making short posts again.)
Still drunk from pain, Iyan follows Jins' associate out the back of the building. When the sound of the brawl becomes faint, she hands him a hologram projector. "It's all we have on the target", she explains, "And it took quite a toll to get our hands on it." Iyan grabs it with a limp hand, "What's a target...?"
Jins soon arrives, with nothing but a few bruises and a single bead of sweat to remember the occasion. "Did you give him the data?", he asks. "Yes", says his partner with a hint of unsureness, "But are you sure he's the right man for the job?" Jins laughs.
"Please, Desertfire here is the epitome of an oxymoron. He's the most professional pirate in the entire blasted Outer Rim! Isn't that right, Iyan?"
Jins claps his hands together, "You're not doing much good for yourself, pal. Why don't the both of us go take a walk?" Iyan chuckles and agrees. Jins quickly turns back to his partner, who's now looking completely unconvinced. "He's normally not like this, I promise you." "You better", comes the reply. Jins purses his lips and nods, and starts leading the inebriated pirate back to his ship.
"You land in your normal place, buddy?"
"Did you park out in the sand?"
"Alright", Jins waits until they're out of earshot, "Now, try not to take any hard punches before the mission. You're a real pain to deal with."
Setting Talon down in one of the many docking bays of Mos Eisley, Mirax is immediately greeted by a Duros, who appears to be in charge of the dock. The Ubese hands over a hundred credits in exhange for permission to use the dock, knowing he's getting ripped off. He heads out of the dock and into the city itself.
"We agreed on 205,000." Cazen looks around the dim, dank room, and his orange eyes come to rest on the fat Gran reclining on a chair in the centre of the room.
"180 will have to do."
"We agreed on 205,000, Iloph," Cazen repeated slowly, becoming impatient.
"If I didn't know better, Vassa, I'd say you were a Neimoidian," Iloph declared, as he ate another handful of silvergrass from the bowl beside him. The room erupts into laughter, half sincere, and Cazen's scowl does not go unnoticed by Iloph's bodyguards. "We make no deals with thieves or pirates. Count yourself lucky we pay you this much." The Gran gestures lazily to one of a pile of bags on the low table in front of him. A Tarnab hastily picks it up and shoves it to Cazen, before attempting to usher him out of the room by the barrel of his blaster; the Duros, however, stays.
"I repeat, Gran: 205,000 credits." Cazen stares at Iloph. In his periphery, he notices a Zabrak draw a blaster and hold it by his side, whilst the Drackmarian beside him pulls out a vibroblade. "Or my people will be back."
Iloph jeers, prompting other snorts of derision from the group. "Your people? Let them come! Ask again, and you'll walk out here with no credits and one eye! Ask after that, and you won't walk out at all!" The jeering grows louder, and Cazen nods. With a "thank you", he pulls the blaster from the Tarnab's belt, shoves its owner to the ground and fires at the Zabrak by the wall. As he falls, a smoking hole in its chest, Cazen fires again at a vibrostaff-wielding Trandoshan and throws what appears to be a thermal detonator into the crowd.
Natt flies Carnifex to the outskirts of Mos Eisley, where he finds Iyan's fighter with relative ease. The wings fold up as the ship sets down on the ground nearby Paladin, and the Umbaran hops out of the cockpit. He lands in the sand with a calm grace, despite the intimidating metal contraptions that are his legs, and walks into the city. With his ornate, all-black apparel, Natt looks quite different from the inhabitants of Tatooine; here, even the wealthy and powerful are dirty and muddy. Crime lord Jabba Desilijic Tiure is living proof of that.
Glass shatters as the Trandoshan ducks and the blaster bolt flies over his head. After the Drackmarian dives from the thermal detonator, the rest of the crowd quickly follow suite. Iloph himself falls forward, hoping to shield himself with the chair and scramble away, and lands on the table. Before he can get away, however, Cazen strikes him with the handle of his blaster and shoves him backwards; the fat Gran lands against his chair. Kicking back the Tarnab, now coming to his feet, who tried to escort him out, Cazen grabs a few bags from the table, slings him under his arm, and runs out of the room.
After he leaves, various members of the room continue to crawl away from the thermal detonator, but once a few seconds have passed without explosion, a Devaronian stands to his feet and picks up the device, before holding it above him. A wide, toothy grin breaks across his demonic face, and a deep chuckle begins. The sound of it draws the attention of the others, who look, bewildered.
"It's," he manages to say past the cackling, "a Magball." He throws the ball to the stunned Trandoshan, and his laughter rises to a howl.
Iloph, however, is not so easily amused. "Bring his head back to me," he roars, pulling himself to his feet, "and you can keep a bag!" Without a second thought, the Drackmarian bounds out of the room, followed very closely by others.
Cazen, meanwhile, has left the cantina - used as a front by Iloph - and emerges onto the streets of Mos Eisley. Hearing roaring from far behind him, he sets off at a faster pace towards the hangar where Blink of an Eye is stored. He brings his wrist to his mouth and speaks into it as he slips into an alley. "I've got the credits, and a little more: Iloph needed a bit of convincing. Make sure the Blink is ready."
As he exits onto another street, he's stopped by a burly human, two companions of his - a Zabrak and some Near-Human - standing behind him. "What you got there, greeny?"
"Silvergrass. What's it to you?"
This prompts a laugh from the man's companions. He turns to them, then looks back slowly. "Never heard of silvegrass that rattled." A bag is knocked from Cazen's arms before he can react; as it falls, credit chips spill out onto the road. The Zabrak snatches the bag up, whilst the Near-Human grabs the others from Cazen, who stops his protest after the human pulls a vibroknife from his belt.
The human slowly begins to walk towards Cazen, but he hasn't taken more than a few steps when a shadow releases itself from a nearby wall and grabs him by the neck. A loud snap is heard and the man drops to the ground, head twisted in an inhuman position. The vibroblade held by the dead man finds itself rammed into the chest of the Near-Human a few seconds later. Backing away, the Zabrak draws a blaster pistol, but is quickly disarmed by Mirax, who is now fully visible in the daylight. Mirax picks up the dropped bags of credits and turns to Cazen, offering the bags to him. Meanwhile, he also picks up the vibroblade and the pistol, strapping the weapons to his belt.
Cazen sweeps the spilt credit chips into his palm and takes the bags from Mirax, just as an emblem on the human's jacket catches his eye. "Warhawks. I should have known," he mutters. "We--" Before he can finish speaking, he spots a prowling Drackmarian in the street behind them and curses in Durese. "Iloph's men." He crosses to another alleyway. "Are the ships ready to depart?"
Jins is caught off guard by the stranger, but he seems to be familiar somehow. There aren't many Umbarans anywhere, it must've been that silent ghost-freak from Desertfire's crew.
"It's nothing, really."
"Oh, it's fucking something", Desertfire chimes in, "Next time you pick a meeting place, why not a cake parlor? Or a diner? Or even a nice table by the water, you know? Time it right we can get a nice pretty sunset. Hell, I'd settle for the bowels of Raxus Prime. But that was not cool."
"Cheer up, princess. You got what you came for."
"Yes, Jins, yes. Exactly. I flew all the way across the damn system to get punched in the face. What a great day. Gee."
Jins sighs. "Come on", he mutters, "Ship's this way"
"You know, I've always wanted to get punched in the face by a fucking Herglic. I heard they had a great touch. Numbingly gentle, you know"
Mirax nods in response to Cazen's question. He begins to move towards the next alleyway, but stops as if realizing something. Mirax quickly jogs backs to where the Warhawk ambush just took place. He finds the Zabrak mumbling words into a communications device. Before the mercenary has noticed Mirax, the Ubese draws his blaster pistol and shoots the Zabrak in the head. Looking at the skies above them, Mirax then spots a squadron of Warhawk Z-95s. Mirax turns to Cazen and points at the fighters moving towards Mos Eisley.
Desertfire: You know it. We're gonna get going now. Natt, head back to the Huntress and keep a low profile, got it? We don't want any fights tonight, too much paper work. I'll call for the rest of the people to head back too. Get going, good luck.
Cazen stares at the Z-95s as they pass overhead, before the surprise of hearing Mirax the Ubese speak registers with him. He looks back at him, who has already begun walking again, and quickly tags along. Within a few minutes, the pair have arrived at the hangar with neither incident nor speaking. Cazen throws the Duros in charge a single credit coin.
Duros: Thank you, Traveller. Hangar bay seven. And I'd get going, Traveller: a couple of thugs passed by, and if they meant well, I'm a Neimoidian.
Nodding, Cazen passes the Duros another credit coin - of higher value - which is swiftly pocketed, before making his way to his hangar with all but one of the credit bags: he knows the Talon's limited cargo space. Once they are stored, he clambers aboard; the roof opens and the Blink lifts up.
Val pushes a compartment to a close that contains various medical tools. Removing several credits from his paycheck, he inserts them carefully into a hidden pouch on the inside of his jacket. He was after all headed down to Tatooine, the place where the vast majority of people were inbred filth. He took with him a DC-17, holstering it on his right thigh as he left his office.
Having a list of the medical items he needed to purchase, Val hopes that the people down on Tatooine would show an inability to properly price most medical materials.
Entering Talon's cockpit through a ramp, Mirax sits down in the pilot's seat, closing the ramp behind him with the press of a button. With the single credit bag stored in the small cargo space, the Preybird takes off from the hangar.
The Blink quickly pulls from the hangar and soars towards he Huntress, flying slow enough for the Talon to stay ahead. As they pass over Mos Eisley, Cazen sees a pair of Warhawk Z-95s some distance off, going in the same direction. He accelerates to try to leave them, although they may not have been following them; nonetheless, whether for that reason or another, they turn off and travel from the Corsairs. Minutes later, the Blink docked, in the Huntress, the cockpit releases with a hiss and Cazen steps out.
Desertfire eases the throttle forward as the Z-95s begin to head in his direction. Luckily, the Warhawks aren't in a hurry either. What happens next is an agonizingly slow entry into the atmoshpere, with the pilot of the Paladin constantly checking the sensors to monitor the unfriendly fighters. Occasionaly he would change direction, but in such a slight way that it would hardly register as maneuvering.
Evenetually the Paladin drifts under the Huntress, which opens its lower docking doors as welcome. The Razor-class carefully ligns up and extends its top hook, then snags the yoke of the trapeze. As soon as it reels up, Desertfire opens the canopy and lifts himself out. He tosses the data card to Casbia.
Desertfire holds up his hand and Casbia tosses the cube back.
Desertfire: Twinkly! Haul your big ass down here and open this up, will ya?
The purple R1 slugs his way over.
Twinkly: Thanks for noticing me...
Desertfire: Listen you big hunk of rust, I need you to be very careful with this. If you drop it, I'll break you.
Twinkly: You already broke my heart...
Desertfire: 'Already broke my heart', holy shit. Sometimes I wish we kept you mute.
Twinkly: Even with this voice I can't share my feelings...
Desertfire thrusts the Data Card into Twinkly's similarly shaped port.
Twinkly: Oh, wow... This is amazing, Captain...
Desertfire: Yeah, yeah, you have to give me more than that, Twinks. I can't even tell when you're being sarcastic or not.
Twinky: You don't trust me... It's a map to the wreckage of an Old Republic Treasure fleet...On Kalakwa... It's a shame they weren't found until now.... All alone on that deserted world... Never to see their families again... I wonder if they even knew they were gone...
Desertfire: Yep, shedding a tear. Great narration. Class-A. Now get down to the juice, what were they hauling.
Twinkly: I wish I was good enough to tell you, but my processors can't decrypt it... I'm worthless...
Desertfire: Aww, Twinks, don't say that. It's okay. We can figure out when we get there.
Twinkly: You're right, you don't need me...
Iyan takes the datac card out of the astromech.
Desertfire: Casbia, take this to the briefing room. This'll be a big one, I feel it.
Cazen enters the briefing room carrying several bags of credits, some of which he drops at the feet of Desertfire.
Cazen: Iloph wasn't feeling very generous at first, but I managed to change his mind. One of these bags, he said, contained 180,000 credits: that was his initial offer. Shall I have Sparks count them out?
Val walks into the briefing room, seemingly flustered.
Val (muttering): 1,000 credits for a quarter-litre of Bacta? They have the audacity to charge 1,000 for a quarter-litre of Bacta?!
Val approaches the centre of the room.
Val: We have a bit of a problem, Iyan. Either we will need to inform the rest of the crew that catching blaster fire isn't too incredibly healthy, or we need to ration our Bacta until we can find a more generous tap.
Desertfire: Alright, everyone, can I have your absolute attention?
Chaw (in crowd): What's the magic word?
He waits for the pirates to settledown.
Desertfire: Okay. Only took you....six and a half minutes. Record time. Now, I know what you're all thinking. "We can't top that Gammorian Oil Rig!" "That's the most money I've seen in my entire life!" Well, people, I have great news for you.
Casbia activates the hologram, which displays an enlarged projection of the data card.
Rashassk (in crowd): So where's the mission?
Desertfire: This is the mission.
Chaw (in crowd): This is a rectangle.
Desertfire: Alright, everyone shut the fuck up and let me explain. This datacard is, actually, a really nifty thing. Because, it happens to be the coordinates to an emergency tracker to an old convoy. We're talking the old times here, the good ol' days.
Rashassk (in crowd): My question stands.
Desertfire: Okay! Okay, you know what? New rule.
He picks up a metal pipe.
Desertfire: This is the Speaking Pole. You may only speak when you are holding this pole. If you are not holding it, you do not speak. But you may raise your hand to ask for the pole. Chances are I won't give it to you, so, like, don't even bother. Alright?
He waits for the sound of silence.
Desertfire: Much better. Now. This convoy is, actually, a Treasure Fleet. Was heading down the Hydian Way to...what was it?
Casbia: Subterrel. (Chaw (in crowd): She's not holding the pole!)
Desertfire: Subte- thanks- Subterrel, when it was attacked by a Mandolorian fleet. It went off course, got lost, and eventually found itself a ship wreck on Kalakwa. Literally, it went under-water.
He hands Casbia the Speaking Pole.
Casbia: And because of the Treaty of Orax, the Republic couldn't just get their stuff back. Kalawka has been allowed it autonomy forever. And they don't take kindly to outsiders. (Desertfire (quietly): Say who "they" are, they don't know-) Ah, right. The Kalakwa Ma-ohli. The native Near-Human peoples ruled by a king. They have a sort of micro-sovereignty over their home system, and they tax travelling merchants for use and maintenance of their trade lines. It's actually really interesting, dates back to-
Rashassk (in crowd): Speak Basic! Both my eyelids are closing!
Desertfire: What Casbi's trying to say is, "The Empire won't be there".
Casbia: Well, yeah.
Desertfire: So, the plan. We're going to fly out in teams, and do low flights over the water. If we find the convoy, it should register on your systems. Big Old Ships, the computers won't miss 'em. After that, we'll bring the Huntress over, spelunk on down, and reel 'em up. We're deploying from atmosphere, just makes it easier. Savvy?
Desertfire: No, you are probably right. Well, I have no clue where we'd get any form of lift-gear that size. But I still think we should still try to secure the area. Who knows, our little friends the Warhawks might get their first. And we can't have that.
Mirax, who had so far been quiet, standing at the back of the room, marches forwards, hands clenched. He extends one of his fists and opens it, revealing a Warhawk symbol, torn from one of their jackets. He pulls a vibroblade from his belt and nails the symbol to a wall with it, and then swipes his free hand over his throat, his message obvious.
Val heads through the corridors of the Huntress, reaching the hangar where he mounts his Howlrunner-class ship. Opening the hatch, he slides into the control seat as he waits for the rest of the pirates to make it through.
Desertfire (COM): This is Paladin. I read you, Blink. Listen up, our team is gonna be, Natt, Ax, Caz, Four-Eyes, Val, Grizon, and myself. We're gonna rake and sweep up the...uhhh...Jakawalakawakakwawawawawawa....sea, and check out the...Badadawakakakaka archipelago? Casbi, how's my pronunciation?
Casbia (COM): Ignorant, but hilarious.
Desertfire (COM): Exactly what I was going for, excellent. So, guys, stay close, stay in touch, and let's go.
Leaning back in the pilot's seat of the Talon, Mirax scowls loudly over the comms upon hearing that Chaw Cahlit is in the team. Nevertheless, he proceeds to start up his ship as with any other mission, and soon, he joins up with the squadron of the other six fighters that has taken off from the Huntress. Mirax decides to hang back in the group, flying a slower, but more heavily armed fighter.
After a period of flight over the sea, Mirax spots a rather large group of islands of varying size. He loudly growls over the comms in an attempt to notify them of it, but no one seems to understand. Just a few moments later, the loud voice of Chaw is heard over the comms.
Chaw (COM): There! There! I see it, cap! It's the Baldwalkians, or whatever!
Desertfire (COM): Good work, Four Eyes. I guess there's some reason to that nickname of yours.
Mirax now growls even louder, the annoyance and slight anger in his voice clear to everyone.
Desertfire (COM): Fan out and drop low, guys. Sensors should pick it up if it's here.
Iyan pushes both sticks forward and the Paladin dives vertically. The control stick is slowly pulled back, and the dive evens out into a straight path. Water is sprayed on either side by the ship's momentum.
Val keeps his hands pressed tightly against his controls, paying attention to both the computer onboard and the world beyond his ship. Carefully listening to the COMs, he comes to assume they are with the vicinity of their target.
Desertfire (COM): That looks like our baby. You know, maybe you're all a good luck charm or something. Cause I at least expected a few days of searching. (All Coms) Paladin to Daggerhound, guess what we just did?
Casbia (COM): Bullshit. We just started looking!
Desertfire (COM): Guess my team's just a smidge better. Huntress, proceed to the marked coordinates over. Mission success.
Unknown Signal: Attention, unmarked vehicles. You are now entering Imperial Airspace. Please depart immediately, or we shall engage and destroy you.
Desertfire (COM): Imperial Airspace? Huh. I thought this was Wakakakakalalalahuhalakahuka.
As the Imperials offer some gentle threats and slurs, Iyan scans the ground around him. He spots a bridge, a quickly built type common on Imperial frontlines. The kind suspended by metal cables, which are shot across long gaps like grappling hooks. On it, a group of some vehicles flanked by infantry cross from one island to the next.
Unknown Signal: Last warning, pirate scum.
Desertfire (COM): Agreed. Guys? There's a convoy on that bridge. Blow those posh bastards into the air.
The nimble V-Wing breaks from the formation and shoots down towards the bridge. The ship's Proton Bomb launcher flares, and a purple blob of energy soars down and impacts one of the supports, taking some Imperial personnel in the blast. One of the cables, previously attached to the support, snaps loose, and the bridge starts wobbling furiously.
Talon starts descending, slowly lining up with the bridge. As soon as it is within range, the four heavy laser cannons mounted on Talon open fire all at once. The laser blasts starts tearing right through the infantry not in solid cover. A few AA turrets also go down with their operators, and a number of more lightly armoured ground vehicles explode. Once the Talon has passed the bridge, the aft concussion missile launcher is fired, sending a single rocket flying towards the bridge.
The Paladin banks out to sea, its tail facing the unsteady bridge from the side. It then darts upward, climbing, and continues pulling upward until it's completely inverted, before flipping right-side-up once more and zooming towards the Imperials. The blue rods of light that emit from the cannons burst loudly when they make contact with the bridge. The ones that miss create small geysers in the sea, or carry on to infinity.
A single TX tank teeters on the edge, and falls off with a mighty splash. The infantry fire back, and Iyan chuckles quietly as the lasers harmlessly plink off. He looks over to see Mirax make his run, and peels away to give him room.
Carnifex nimbly manoeuvres around the missile, and the projectile harmlessly sifts into the sky. With that threat out of the way, Natt turns the V-Wing back around and goes into another nose dive. Once again, a Proton Bomb propels from the launcher, and impacts another support. The bridge, now half unsupported, creaks furiously, before crumbling into the water.
Cazen, low over the sea, spins the Blink about as he comes away from the buckled, sinking bridge, sending a wave behind him. The fighters appear beyond the bridge high above Cazen and begin spreading out. Immediately, the Blink bursts forward and speeds over the water in order to reach their flanks.
The Z-95 fighters disperse, whilst the Blastboat continues towards Talon and dips to avoid the laser fire. One of the Z-95s turns and swerves back towards the Preybird, coming at its side, before its KX5 laser cannon begin firing.
In response to the sudden threat, the Talon dives downwards at an almost vertical angle. The first shots from the Z-95 harmlessly pass over the Preybird, and the pursuing fighter follows its target downwards. With both ships descending at a very quick pace, the pilot of the Z-95 laughs as the cursor of his targeting system centers on Talon. However, just as the pilot is about fire another salvo from the KX5 cannon, a flash of light appears from the rear of the Preybird. In less than a second, the pilot realise that he's been baited and tries to pull up and away from the incoming concussion missile, but it is too late, as the Z-95 explodes into flaming metal. Mirax smiles as he breaks out of the dive, watching the debris from the wrecked starfighter land into the sea.
Carnifex swerves in the air and comes up behind one of the Z-95s. The ship tries to shake off the V-Wing, but fails; Natt's fighter is far too agile and quick for the heavier, slower Warhawk ship to outmanoeuvre. After some circling around each other, Natt manages to get the Z-95 into his visors, and fires his Ion Cannon. The cannon's effect, that being disabling enemy starfighters' electronic systems, has a far more deadly effect in the atmosphere than it does in the gravity-lacking vacuum of space: instead of just floating further with no controls of the ship like the Warhawk pilot would've had in space, he plummets down towards the sea, where he impacts the surface with a loud crash.
Amidst the fighting, a Z-95 slips into the Paladin's five o'clock. Iyan is quick to notice the green lasers flying above his head, and he rolls the fighter to the right. The Z-95 follows suit. It was twice as quick as he was, he knew that, and outrunning it would only delay the inevitable. So he pulls a shallow turn and lowers the throttle. The Z-95 follows the maneuver at its higher speed, and comes dangerously close to passing in front or the Razor-class' guns.
The Warhawk slows down too, beginning a new fight. Both fighters roll and twist, trying to force the other to overshoot. A few times, they came so close that they almost collided. This is where the fun began.
Iyan abrubtly pushed the throttle fully open, and the Paladin darts ahead. The Warhawk seizes the opportunity and speeds up too. Blaster bolts zip around Iyan's canopy. Then, without warning, the Paladin corkscrews and slows down again. The Headhunter flies right by at full speed, its green projectiles still lighting up the clouds. Iyan grins as the Headhunter flies into his aiming reticle, and hammers down on the trigger. The Z-95 is absolutely pelted, and begins leaking at least five different colors of vapor. It sideslips to the right, half rolls, and falls.
Flying low over the sea, Cazen swings his Z-95 to the side to evade a flurry of red beams; behind him, they are enveloped furiously by the hissing ocean. The Duros can clearly see the source of the lasers - a grey and bright gold Blastboat - above him. The Blink turns just in time to let an ion bolt pass by, but the Blastboat is now on his tail. Attempting to avoid being targeted, the Z-95 swerves and dips livelily as it soars across the ocean, and lifts up suddenly, turning backwards and rolling until it faces the other way. Cazen dares to take a glance at the Blastboat under him.
Iyan notices the grey and gold Blastboat pitch upwards and onto its back, following Cazen's Headhunter. It was strong and quick, but it moved like a grumpy Herglic. The Paladin turns towards the Blastboat, approaching from its four o'clock.
The Blastboat pilot fires again at the Z-95, but, being unstable, the shots miss. A ping alerts the Zabrak pilot to Paladin's presence and he curses. Before he fires again, the Headhunter slows and drops below; the Warhawk passes overhead and Cazen pursues.
Cazen (COM): I'm in the clear. Light her up, captain.
The Blastboat maintains a straight line forward at its highest speed, completely outrunning Iyan's own fighter. After making a distance between the two craft, the Skipray unelegantly swerves around and charges head-on, guns blazing. Iyan barely rolls Paladin out of harm's way, as pillars of light whir and snap against his shields. His adversary stays its path, stretching the distance between them once more. It pulls the same "U"-shaped turn and prepares to charge again.
Carnifex interferes in the dogfight, opening fire on the Blastboat with the Electromagnetic Plasma Cannons that were fitted onto the ship. Beams of blue streak through the sky and find their target, dealing massive damage to the Warhawk ship.
The Blink, turning beneath the Warhawk, targets the smoking Blastboat. A second after the laser cannon fire, a bright blast erupts from the ship and its debris crashes into the sea. Cazen flies past, lifting up.
A Bulk Freighter arrives from behind a volcano on a nearby island, the last of the Warhawk Z-95s pulls a full turn and darts back to it. Two more Cloakshapes emerge from the ship, lead by a smaller, nimbler fighter. A Manta-class. There was only one person Iyan knew of who would bring a Manta all the way out here. About damn time she showed up. He quickly switches his communicator to the other frequency.
Desertfire (COM): And how are you, Faie?
Faie (COM): I'm fine, thank you very much.
Desertfire (COM): I see you've switched employers.
Faie( COM): I guess you could say I had a change of heart.
Desertfire (COM): That's not very hard for you, is it? So, you're coming to steal from me?
Faie( COM): Well, first I have to kill you.
Desertfire (COM): Right.
Faie( COM):Then I'm going to steal from you. Now, don't make it hard for yourself. From past experiance, I know you don't last very long.
Desertfire (COM): From past experiance, I know that you suck.
Faie( COM): Well I know that at the end of all this, I'm gonna end up on top.
Desertfire (COM): So...are we just going to, like, verbally spar with a bit of innuendo? Or are you gonna fly your ass over here so I can sink you into this sea like a grav-ball?
Faie( COM): Actions do speak louder than words. Have fun, hope you die.
Talon starts firing short bursts from its cannons as the Manta-class approaches Paladin. Only a few shots connect with the nimble starfighter, but those that do seem to break off some of the armor. However, no real damage appears to have been done, as the Manta remains stable on its course.
Paladin's guns begin to roar and spit light at Faie's Manta-class, which was now approaching at alarming speeds. Faie begins to fire too, the Manta's plentiful weapons releasing their payloads to gnaw at Iyan's fighter. Luckily and unluckily, both of them miss entirely. Iyan jumps as they nearly collide, and grits his teeth as he barely pulls the Paladin away from disaster. Faie, however, does not budge.
(The one time I'm sick, my character is ordered to do stuff :/ )
Natt flies Carnifex right into the crosshairs of the Cloakshape on the left of Faie's Mantra. The pilot, who falls for the bait, opens fire immediately, but none of his blasts hit; the V-Wing nimbly darts out of harm's way, and the Cloakshape is left vulnerable, firing at nothing. As repercussion for this mistake, he is caught in the flank by Carnifex's EP Cannons, which quickly turn his engine to rubble. The fighter quickly starts losing altitude, eventually striking the ocean surface.
As the Manta speeds away from its failed chicken race with Paladin, Mirax turns Talon around to follow it. Despite being much slower, Talon is able to keep up with the ship for a while, until Mirax opens fire. Most of the salvo miss the Manta, and now aware of the threat behind her, Faie goes into a loop, coming down into a collision course with Talon. The Manta opens fire, and having a much larger target, the salvo strikes home on the hull of Talon. With smoke starting to rise from his right wing, Mirax waits as long as he dares, and then fires the front missile launcher twice. One of the concussion missiles hit, right into the front of the Manta. Most of its front armour is torn apart, and this time Faie is the one who pulls away from her adversary.
As the aerial battle continues behind them, Cazen and Grizon speed towards the freighter near the island. At this distance, they can barely make out the shape of ships inside the hangar. Cazen rolls and turns his Z-95 towards the island, intending to inspect or attack the freighter from behind, and Grizon follows suite. Clearly, however, someone aboard the freighter notices, and a Rihkxyrk fighter quickly flies from the hangar towards the pair. As Cazen's wingman brings it to his attention, he keeps his course while Grizon drops his fighter and brings it to the left.
Faie's Manta goes vertically upwards, shooting into the atmosphere like a firecracker. Chaw's own CloakShape takes after her, following the silver and blue streak clear into the clouds. Suddenly, the Manta's engines cut off, prompting gravity to grab the small craft by its nose and tug it towards the ground.
They were now face to face. Faie's fighter screams downwards towards the climbing CloakShape, all six of its weapons pattering against the helm. The ion cannons took care of the shields, and the blaster cannons took care of the canopy.
The joust ends with both fighters barely slipping past eachother. Faie pulls up against the water, but Chaw's CloakShape merely tilts lazily to the right, stalls, and tumbles.
Desertfire (COM): Hey, Four-Eyes, y'alright over there?
There's no responce.
Desertfire (COM): That's quite the spin you've get going, eh? Ch-Chaw? Come in, man.
Chaw's only responce was the faint thud of a distant explosion, as the CloakShape collides with the volcano island.
The blasters from Grizon's fighter strike the left of the Rihkxyrk. Some of the red spokes puncture their way into the the radiator, while a few others thread the needle between the body and the wing-stablizer columns. The fighter begins to list, but continues to chase Cazen. It fires a cluster from its three heavy blasters.
The Starchaser's computer beeps thrice, cueing Grizon to fire two of his concusion missiles at the heavy fighter. They whistle towards it, and create little puffs of black smoke on impact. The flaming Ryhkxyrk sheds off its entire right side, flipping awkwardly into a spell of turbulent jinking.
Spotting the last Z-95 of the first squadron they faced flying out of the Bulk Freighter, Mirax decides to use the damage he recieved in combat with Faie to his advantage. Talon starts slowing down to the point of where the Preybird is barely moving, in an attempt to fool the incoming Z-95 that its damage is much worse than what it actually is. The trick works, and the starfighter passes right over the Preybird, heading for Paladin instead. As soon as it has passed, Talon accelerates and lines up behind the Z-95. The Warhawk barely has time to realize his mistake before a concussion missile is launched and the Headhunter explodes. With the surrounding skies clear, the exception being Faie's Manta, Mirax moves to join up with Paladin.
Desertfire (COM): Okee-dokey! New plan. Natt, Ax, Val, form up on me. Nice echelon formation, fellas, gotta look good for the graaaaand finale. Grizon, Cazen; both my 'zens. I need you two to work on that freighter. Prod it, probe it, just don't get too friendly. If you can, take it down. Everyone ready?
Grizon (COM): Ready.
(Now it's you guys' turn. Reply with your readiness and we'll begin.)
As the Rihkxyrk drops, smoking, Cazen looks back and sees it slap into the ocean.
Cazen (COM): Ready.
Slowing, Cazen allows Grizon to regroup with him. By this point,
the freighter has moved beyond the island and is hovering over the open ocean. Cazen pulls Blink near to the sea and skims over its surface to the island.
Iyan watches as Faie's Manta-class pierces through the clouds and darts towards the formation. He had become all too familiar with her head-on passes. They nearly got him killed. And he was done playing her game.
Desertfire (COM): Here she comes. When I say break, we break.
The pair of Corsairs pull up from the sea as they curve round the tropical, foliage-covered island. Both ships' laser cannon open fire on the Freighter's underside, which flashes slightly as it is hit; besides the shields flaring, however, they have no effect. In response, two turbolasers mounted on the underside of the ship fire back, but the green beams only slap harmlessly into the ocean. Grizon's Starchaser twists upwards and the Blink follows, until both fighters are level with the freighter. Even more turbolaser emplacements stud its top. Grizon takes a few pot shots, before turning back.
Cazen (COM): Our lasers just won't cut that shielding, nootka.
A couple of shots hit the CloakShape's wing, causing it to start smoking. The Warhawk sinks to avoid Paladin; while the latter chases, the Manta fighter lines up behind it and opens fire. The Warhawk pulls up and flips, veering away to engage Mirax, whilst Faie engages Desertfire.
Iyan pulls back hard on the stick, jerking the Manta into view. Blasters wouldn't be good enough now. Without thinking, Iyan hits the small red button on the side of his control stick. Four times. All four of his concusion missiles are unleashed, leaving nothing but air in the missile tubes. They race towards Faie's fighter like hawks after wamp rats. All but one make contact. The Manta isn't turned to shreds as Iyan had hoped, but it loses power and falls like a rock.
Apparently Faie manages to maintain some vague form of control, because the Manta begins the glide towards one of the tower-shaped islands. Judging by the kicked up dust, however, it wasn't the softest landing.
Iyan (COM): This is Paladin, I'm breaking off. Have some business to deal with.
With Faie's Manta crashed on an island, the skies are now clear aside from the single remaining CloakShape and the Bulk Freighter. Coming in from behind, Mirax fires a few bursts from his laser cannons at the fleeing CloakShape. The shots are intended to scare the fighter away, but most of them hit its already damaged wing, which grabs the attention of its pilot. Foolishly perceiving the Preybird as a threat he can take down, the Warhawk turns the CloakShape around to face it head-on. He realises his mistake just a couple of seconds later, as Talon's laser cannons together with a concussion missile tear his ship apart, breaking the entire right side of the fighter into flaming metal fragments. Mirax briefly hears a scream over the comms as the CloakShape spins wildly out of control and crashes into the sea.
The Paladin gracefully touches down on the island, unlike its prey, and its canopy slides open. Iyan hops out onto the grass to find the Manta teetering on the edge of the island's bluff, and a cut-up Faie trying desperately to free herself from the collapsed canopy.
Faie: Ah! There he is. Well fought, good sir! If I...
The ship shifts a bit.
Faie: ...If I didn't mess up there...I woulda had you for sure-
Iyan: Alright, cut the crap. I'm not falling for anything.
The Manta tilts again.
Iyan: But you just might be.
Faie extends her hand.
Faie: Could...could use a little help, though.
Iyan walks over, grabs her hand, shakes it, and lets go. The Manta creaks uneasily.
Faie: This...this isn't going to end well for me...is it?
Iyan: Nope. This is not going to end well for you.
The Manta slides forward, closer to the edge, and Faie lets out a brief yelp.
Iyan: You know, this world isn't all lagoons and ardees. It's plenty dangerous too. They've got these things called Wakalakakakakakakawakaklaka...huka...laka...thingies. They're like sharks? And they live in these oceans.
The Manta produces a metallic wail.
Iyan: And what they do is, they dismember their victim. But they make sure they're still alive. They like to keep the heart beating, so that it pumps the blood out of the holes they made and into their mouths. Pretty clever, but awfully painful.
The Manta slides forward into a tree, causing it to bend.
Iyan: Now, I'm just a desertboy myself. Marine biology? Not my strongsuit. But I do know that these Waka...huka...thingies love blood. Adore it. They can sense it from kilometers away. Just one drop, and they'll go into a frenzy. Good thing there's no blood in the water-Oh wait.
He walks up to the Manta.
Iyan: Oh...oh, what's this.
Iyan rips off his glove and smears it on Faie's canopy, essentially coating it in blood. Faie stares in horrific fascination.
Iyan: Oh...oh no. Oh whatever could happen if-
Iyan makes eye contact with the injured pilot, and tosses the glove off the cliff.
After another barrage from the freighter's turbolasers, Cazen and Grizon manoeuvre to the island and hover low above the water, out of sight. They pick up over the trees just as the CloakShape crashes, and turbolaser bolts fly towards the rest of the Corsairs.
Faie stares over the edge for a while, then nods quickly.
Iyan: Well shit, F, this is pathetic. What happened to that blissfully overconfident young lady I just shot out the sky? She was here a few moments ago.
Faie: I don't wanna die, Iyan.
Iyan: This is rich.
Faie: Please don't do this.
Iyan swaggers over to the Manta and leans against the side.
Iyan: Those fish down there, they're are gonna have so much fun.
All the color drains from Faie's face.
Faie: Okay...what d-do you want?
Faie: You want credits, you g-get credits. You want...you want-
Iyan: I think we can strike a deal.
Iyan: Yeah. All you need to tell me is where to find those crown jewels, and I'll help you out. Just like that.
He hits the side of the Manta to demonstrate, the impact freeing the cockpit. The canopy slides itself forward effortlessly. It takes a few moments for both Faie and Iyan to realize what had happened.
Iyan: Oh shit.
Faie lunges out towards him, her hands wrapping around his throat. Iyan is tackled to the ground by the surprise attack. He tries to reach the blaster holstered at his hip but it's just out of reach. Instead he tries to talk.
Talon dives to avoid the incoming turbolaser shots, and assuming that Iyan has the crash site under control, Mirax turns his Preybird towards the Bulk Freighter. He begins circling it, searching for a weakness in its defense, while avoiding the poorly placed turbolaser salvos.
Grizon's Starchaser skims across the surface of the Freighter, its shots creating little geysers of smoke and flame with every impact.
Grizon (COM): Woo! All come here! Water is warm!
The Starchaser pulls upwards, half-rolls, and dives behind the freighter. Its target; the engines.
Iyan: Faie, holy sh-
Iyan recieves another direct hit, one of at least twenty in the past couple seconds. He struggles to get up once more, only to be pinned right back down to the ground. Faie releases her hold of him, and shoves him closer to the edge of the island. From where he is Iyan can see the Huka'la'maka'i circling. He stumbles and falls, and is pinned again.
Faie: 'Those fish down there, they're are gonna have so much fun.'
Iyan: Wait, wait, wait, wait!
Faie: This better be fucking good!
Iyan: I wasn't actually gonna do anything!
She punches him.
Iyan: I was just gonna scare the shit out of you! That's all! Honest!
She punches him again. She then grabs him by the neck and brings his eyes to her level.
Faie: And why in the hell would you do that?
Iyan: To find the...grrk...the...stuff you...
Iyan: I mean...
She slams his head back against the ground, and begins trying to force him over the edge.
As Grizon strafes the useless freighter, Cazen lifts in front of the bridge and hovers above the ship. The laser cannon burst into life, flashing incandescently before bursting against a turbolaser, leaving bright flecks on its side. After a few seconds, sparks and flashes erupts from the newly-formed hole in the turret.
Cazen (COM): Do we have to sink her? She can't do any harm with her wings clipped.
The alarms are screaming inside the Quasar Fire as one system after another suffers some form of fatal error, each loss announced with the calm and collected voice of the main computer. Their leader stands at the helm, an older Vodran in a long black cloak. Despite the chaos slowly filling his crew, he stands firm with a stiff upper lip and arms folded behind his back. His one good eye watches the hostile fighters with intent. One of the crew members runs up to meet him.
Crewperson: Sir, they've just taken out Engine Besh! If we don't leave now, we never will!
Commander: During my time in the fleet, I've been told those very words countless times. Patience, my friend, for our unfriendly competition with these scum will soon turn in our favor.
Crewperson: But sir, they outnumber us! They outgun us!
Commander: But will they outsmart us? Stay calm, for I know that fate is on our side.
Crewperson: But the Empire isn't!
Commander: You must be mistaken, I contacted Moff Tresel not two hours ago.
Crewperson: Come, look!
The captain is lead over to his underlings's hologram, pushing and shuffling through the busy hallways. They arrive.
Commander: No. No this cannot be.
Crewperson: What do we do?!
Commander: I am reluctant to say that we shall depart. We have lost our advantage.
The human picks up the intercom and holds it to his mouth.
Crewperson: On your word.
The Vodran sighs.
Commander: Begin the retreat.
As the human behind him begins shouting the procedures into the system, the Vodran calmly makes his way to the helm. With his one free eye, he watches the fighters dart around his ship.
Strafing the Bulk Freighter's right side with laser cannon shots, Mirax spots two Class B Type shuttles making their way out of the freighter's hangar.
Mirax (COM): Incoming transports. No weapons. Engage and destroy, Paladin?
There's no response.
Mirax (COM): Iyan?
His attention now entirely diverted from the freighter, Mirax turns Talon towards the island where Faie crashed. He quickly accelerates, hurrying to find out why the man he is responsible for protecting isn't responding to his calls.
As Mirax wheels away towards the island, Cazen hears his transmission about the shuttles. He pulls away from the bridge and tails the unarmed, rear ship at a distance, targeting the ship but not firing.
Iyan manages to slip away just as the dirt he was on begins trickling down the side of the island. Now that he was free, he unholsters his blaster and takes aim.
Iyan: Just stay where you are and let me-
Faie completely ingores him and draws her own blaster. Iyan's reactions kick in almost immediately. There's a flash, a scream, and an object dissapearing over the edge. Iyan's hand instinctually glues itself over his mouth, while the other drops the gun and reaches to where the other pilot was just standing. The open hand gently falls to his side and he stares for a while. He decides not to investigate further. And on the walk back to the Paladin, he tries his best to ignore the sound of splashing water. Even if it was just the waves.
Setting Talon down next to Paladin, Mirax sees Iyan walking towards the two starfighters. His captain is covered in dirt, missing one of his gloves, and with a subtle expression of sorrow on his face. Mirax looks behind Iyan, spotting the Manta hanging on the cliff edge.
Mirax: The girl?
Iyan simply stares at him.
Mirax: I see.
The captain and his wingman enter their starfighters again, and soon they're in the air. As the pair begins to move away from the island, Mirax turns around, and heads back to the crashed Manta. Passing over it, Talon fires a single laser shot at the ground beneath the wreck, which sends it tumbling into the ocean, to be buried and forgotten along with its pilot.
The Paladin lines up with the bottom of the Huntress, and extends its top hook. The hook slides into the yoke, and it is reeled into the hangar. Iyan opens the cockpit and rolls out onto the catwalks. Casbia's waiting on the wing of Daggerhound with Rogan and Tevion.
Casbia: Hey, there you are! We gave those guys are run for their money. How'd you fare?
Iyan: Lost Chaw. Lost Natt.
Rogan: New guy?
Iyan keeps walking past them.
Casbia: Well, they brought a lot of the bastards down with them.
Iyan is deaf to their words. He trudges past Sparkly, knocking over a tray of lubricants, and punches open the blast door.
Rogan: What the hell do you suppose is eating him?
As Paladin is winched inside the Huntress, Talon lines up to do the same. Before the Preybird is hooked on, Mirax opens the comms.
Mirax (COM): All fighters, return to the Huntress. Operation is over.
Grizon (COM): Who the hell was that?
Inside the hangar, Mirax exits Talon to find Casbia, Rogan and Tevion confused over Iyan's acting. The Ubese looks towards his captain, who is in the process of leaving the hangar, and then turns to the others.
Mirax: Personal matter. Better to leave it be.
With those words, leaving the trio possibly even more puzzled than they were before, Mirax picks up his pace and follows Iyan into the Huntress' main sections.
After firing one final bolt at the fleeing shuttles, Blink spins away at Mirax's transmission - once Cazen sees the bolt hit. The shuttles hurry away and Blink does the same, docking shortly in the Huntress.
The sound of chatter once again fills the makeshift assembly room. Desertfire stands at the front, and waits for everyone to stop talking. He gestures for the Speaking Pole, and stands atop the boxes. A hush falls over the crowd.
Desertfire: Hi everybody.
There's an awkward silence.
Desertfire: So. Our last little scuffle with the Warhawks has made us a pretty popular dance partner. Spotters just sighted a group of Imperial bombers, unknown class, and their fighter escort. Heading our way.
Rashaask: What are the Imperials doing here?
Desertfire: We'll deal with that later. Right now it looks sort of like they want that Treasure Fleet in their own pockets.
Rogan: So, what now?
Desertfire: Two things. Stop them from blowing us to Hell, and find out where they came from.
Rashaask: Oh sure, we can just ask "I beg your pardon, good sir. Ever do you mind telling me the location of your secret miliary base?"
Iyan rolls his eyes as the chatter picks up again.
Desertfire: Yeah, yeah, laught it up. But here's the plan, Rashk. When we launch, we go right for the fighters. The sensors got those; Torrents and such. Flying garbage, we can take it. After we hit the escort, we'll destroy all the bombers but one. When we get that last guy on his lonesome, we're gonna force him to land.
Desertfire: Sorry, was that a question?
Barizaan: No. Just what.
Desertfire: Right, well-
Rashaask: Now I know that the Imps got kickin' machines, boss, but nice enough to risk your neck for? What gives?
Desertfire: Well I'm hoping there's a data log, map, codex, or a talkative pilot on that bomber. To help us find out where all these guys are coming from. I don't want any more surprise business deals getting in the way of our little archeological dig. Now everyone get ready. We launch in five hours.
Val shakes his head listening to the plan, the idea of fighting the Imperials—and wanting to down their bomber in order to secure information seemed too haphazard and inefficent. But alas, it was the mission.
Val: Well, nasty surprises are a part of the business. Let us proceed.
Mirax, who has been standing at the far edge of the room as usual, walks up to Iyan with a datapad in his hands. He pulls the captain away from the rest of the remaining crowd, and bows forwards, speaking in a whisper.
Mirax: You'll want to see this, captain.
The Ubese hands over the datapad to Desertfire, who quickly reads the content of the datapad.
Desertfire: They want some special flower for oh-so-almighty Palpy? So what?
Mirax: Read the rest, captain. They claim we attacked them without cause, and that our "unprovoked" attack proves "what the Empire has suspected for many years"; we're mercenaries funded by the government of this damn planet.
Desertfire: No kidding? And now they're going after us harder to "make an example", I presume.
Mirax: Captain, it is obvious that this is propaganda to cover their efforts to take the shipwrecks before we do. As an advisor, I would suggest you to ignore it. As your wingman, I suggest that you watch your back in the near future. As your friend, I say that the Imperials have declared war on us.
With his ship in good condition and no pressing need, Cazen makes his way to the Huntress' canteen and takes a seat amongst several other pilots. As he takes a sip of Gralish liqueur, he pays attention to the conversation on the table.
Rodian pilot: And now there's Imps? If they wanted, they could crush us like that! I signed up to hunt treasure, not fight the empire.
A murmur of agreement rushes around the table.
Chistori: Like the empire's ever going to stay away from piracy! Have some faith in the captain - he's bound to being playing a 23.
Rodian: Was it a 23 he played over Kessel? I know what his card is - 0!
The pilots erupt in laughter and resume drinking, except for the Chistori and Cazen. A new conversation begins, but Cazen finishes his Gralish and walks away.
Casbia: You're one of the new guys, right? You're lucky. Most people that pick up a kill on their first mission usually take themselves with it. Alright, now listen. You see those nutjobs over there? The ones you were just with.
Val sits in his 'office', going over the tools he has collected for his practice. Shining the device of his laser bonesaw, he looks towards the window which gives him immediate view to the canteen. Oddly enough, the room he occupies was once the place they prepared any sort of food. He examines the people inside the canteen carefully, before tossing the cloth he had used to clean the bonesaw onto a nearby table.
Placing the instrument down, he leans back into his chair as he draws his hands together. His eyes dart from the group of pirates to Casbia and Cazen, and eventually back to the group. Not thinking anything particularly about it, he turns back to his 'office desk' and begins to organise everything else.
Casbia: You're a clean slate. They don't know not to trust you yet. So here's the plan. You keep an eye on them, get in with them, all that good stuff. Find out what they're up to, and report it back to me. We'll meet up here. End of the week, okay?
Casbia: That Rodian over there, he's not crazy you know. Iyan has, in the past, made some pretty rash decisions. This might just be one of them. And sometimes, or should I say, a few times they haven't ended well. But the thing to remember is, Iyan, he never really wanted to be put in this position. But, because he's always been a little, you know, paranoid, I guess you could say, he feels this need to do these amazing things. But, between you and me, he tries way too hard. So far, luck's been with us. I like to think it'll stay that way.
Casbia: Well, I was one of the original bunch that decided to start up the, you know, the whole organization. And I've pretty much been a thief my whole life. Where else could I go, you know? I don't know where you're from, but "treasure hunting" on my world is called "felony".
"And you know what they said they were doing?", slurs Iyan as he slams his drink back on the table. "What?", Rogan asks. Iyan looks disgusted, "Stopping to smell the fucking flowers."
Rogan fights back a grin, "No kidding?" "Yeah", Iyan gets to his feet and knocks over a lamp in the process, "They say...that's what they said."
"Weren't because they were here to steal our treasure", he waggles a sarcastic finger, "Oh no, no, my Zabrak friend. It's because they were....are picking pretty potted plants for Palpatine." He falls backwards into his seat, "Hey....that rhymes."
Rogan wasn't drinking anything, due to a few promises he made with himself before he ran away with the pirate crew. He wanted to keep his wits about him, for one. And he didn't want to look like a fool, either. It helps to be on your toes when you're being hunted by the governments of at least twelve different systems.
Rogan opens his mouth, "You think they're after the treasure". It was more of a statement than a question. And a dry statement at that. "Well what else could they be doing!", says Iyan with a numb tongue.
"Well, it could be something much bigger than us."
"Bigger than us?", Iyan laughs to himself, "How much gold do you think is on these ships man?"
Rogan sighs iritably, "This isn't about the gold, you low-minded fool. It's always like that with you. Credits for this, credits for that. God damn it, man. Don't you ever think about anything besides money?"
Iyan swallows. "Yeah", he says in a voice that's almost a whisper. Rogan stays straight-faced, eyes-piercing like vibro-daggers, "Like what?"
"What to do with it", says Iyan, who breaks into a fit of cackling shortly after.
"I can't do this", Rogan grumbles to himself. He gets up to leave the room, but changes his mind and decides to kick over a table instead. "I can't do this!", he roars. Iyan looks up from the floor, which seemed very interesting just earlier.
"There are people in this very ship that want to see your god damn head on a wall! Your only real chance is to gain their trust! But no! No. It's always 'Gold!', isn't it? 'More than you've ever seen in all your days'! 'In your lives'! Like, in the name of...", he replaces his curse with a deep exhale, "Why can't you just do what Ringer used to do!?"
Iyan stares up blankly, but the Zabrak wasn't budging, "I'm....I'm not Ringer, Roge."
"Like hell, you're not."
"I try though"
"I just want you all to be happy."
"Well it isn't fucking working, now is it?"
Iyan shifts his gaze down to the floor again. "Now", Rogan breaks the ice with a pickaxe of a growl, "If you excuse me, I have to catch up on some reports. Holonet's buzzing about an Imperial invasion."
He storms out of the door for real this time, but he still calls back.
"And I'm pretty sure they're after more than gold"
A few minutes later, Iyan feels a strong pull in his arms, as Mirax drags him into standing position. Iyan stumbles backwards, and is stopped from falling by Mirax's grip. The Ubese allows his captain an attempt to come to his senses, but as Iyan simply tries to sit down again, Mirax grabs him and hoists him over the shoulder.
Mirax: Come on now captain. We can't be lead by a drunk.
Iyan: I don't wanna go...
Mirax: With all respect, you're drunk, sir.
Iyan: Just one more...
Val is abruptly stopped in his work as Mirax barges into his office, putting Iyan down on his desk.
Mirax: He's drunk. I want him sober for the battle. Do what you have to do.
With those words, the Ubese turns on his heel and exits as quickly as he had entered.
Val, about to say something finds that Mirax has left his office almost as quickly as he had come. Sighing, Val pushes up from his desk as he circle the table that the Ubese placed Iyan on. Tapping his chin with his thumb, Val stops and looks down at his patient.
Val (muttering): There is no curing being drunk! Guess I should have expected this by working with low-brained scoundrel. (Outloud) What can I help you with, Captain?
(Mandatory double-post, peeple deeple. God, this hurts...)
Iyan: Easy there, Doctor Death. I can handle myself.
He staggers to his feet.
Iyan: God damn....You know what? Come with me. You and...hold on.
Using his hand to guide himself along the walls, Iyan leaves the room and calls for Sparkly. The Treadwell droid drifts around a corner and looks eagerly up at him.
Sparkly: What is it, Master?
Iyan: Alright, Sparks? You're not a dog, and I'm not your master.
Sparkly: Yay! Thanks, Master. Sparkly is a Free Droid!
Iyan: Now get the intercom going, alright?
Sparkly freezes like a statue and retracts all of his arms. From the bindle of metal another apendage unfolds, with a small microphone attached.
Iyan (Intercom): Hello, hello, hello. Hope you're all busy as can be prepping for the mission. Cause we're gonna need it. And speaking of prepping, can I have...Ax, Cazen, and Grizon down here. Well, up here. We're gonna do bit of practice. Thanks and bye bye.
Iyan: Took you long enough. Yep, Practice. That was some good fighting you all did against those Warhawks, but I still think we can do a bit better. So what say we take a little tour of the islands and...hone our skills, if you will.
Iyan half-rolls the Razor-class onto it side and scans the skies below him for the formation. He draws a bead Mirax's Preybird as soon as he finds it. The Razor completes its roll, until it is completely inverted, and dives down. Iyan watches as the Talon enters his sights.
Iyan (COMS): Glakglakglak.
Grizon's Starchaser also drifts into his fire.
Iyan (COMS): Aaaand....glakglakglak. I just got both of you. But nice reflexes, Cazen. Either I'm really drunk, or you're freaky quick. Alert and alive. Now, form up, and we'll try again.
The Paladin peels off and upward, again out of view. Iyan gives them time to think of a plan this time, before setting up a new approach from the side. He dives on the ships' profiles.
Iyan (COMS): Atakatakatakatak! Now, I just killed you. Be more careful.
Bio: Kyraemxavravik nal Jarkhai, often called Kyrem because of his complex name, is a Kaleesh Starfighter pilot and part of a band of mercenary pilots-for-hire. His skill both as a fighter pilot and as a close-quarter combatant is matched by few, not counting those individuals sensitive to the Force. Kyrem's traditional face mask, although still looking mostly pristine and untouched, has been adapted to function as breather mask: it can be hermetically sealed, and has lenses that display a digital interface, allowing for real-time datafeeds and assisted Starfighter targeting, among other things. All this makes it a high-tech piece of equipment, while also maintaining its traditional design and purpose.
Condition: Mostly pristine, although slightly scratched and heavily modified
Details: Kyrem's starfighter is an HT-9 Pike, an attempt by Rendili StarDrive to bring back life to their similarly-named FT-6 Pike that saw service during the Cold War. It was not a successful project, however, and despite the new Pike being every bit as effective as its ancestor was, it didn't sell very well and only saw very limited production. Kyrem has complemented the Pike's already impressive quadruple laser cannons with twin proton/ion missile launchers on the sides of the cockpit and a concussion missile launcher on the bottom. The ship is painted black, with the symbol of Kyrem's mercenary band on the left wing, and his fighter designation within the band, Zerek Nine, on the port side of the cockpit, both in red.
Zerek One: (COM) That's where you are wrong, pal. Look out of your window.
Below them on the islands, one can see a large industrial compound. Several other black-and-red Starfighters are docked in a hangar, and various figures can be spotted walking and running across the bridges and platforms, although they seem tiny from this distance. Also visible are several Turbolaser towers pointed at the Corsairs.
Iyan (COM): Alright, alright, keep it chilly. That's a nice...military base you got there. Fully...dangerous-looking. Very well made, me like- I mean- I...like. Now, we're just going to turn around, if you don't...mind.
Iyan (COM): No, can't say I know the Crimson Moon. Love how you say it, by the way. Very dramatic. But, unfortunately for you, I don't take orders from little Imperial Lapdogs, no matter how loud they bark. So we're gonna just do our thing, and you can watch.
Zerek One: (COM) Do we look like Imperials to you? We're an underworld organisation with an off-the-radar military base on a planet no one's heard of. Now, I am going to ask you once: return to where you came from or set your fighters down.
Iyan (COM): You know what? Fine. We'll get out of here. But in a few hours, we have a mission planned that includes heading right over you to our target. And we're going to do that. And you're not going to bother us. Got it?
Zerek One: (COM) Do you see those Turbolasers down there? They will shoot you out of the sky the next time you fly over our compound.
Suddenly, a new voice taps into the comms.
Unknown female: (COM) Zerek One, that's enough threats. You are Iyan Desertfire, am I correct? Please, ignore the security's harsh manners. Understand that we must always be alert for hostile intruders. Now, I am personally inviting you to be our guests. Zerek One, please escort them to the hangar.
A short break of silence fills the comms after this message.
Zerek One: (COM) Roger that, ma'am. Well, looks like you got lucky. The boss wants to speak with you.
Zerek One flies in front of Paladin, leading the convoy to the nearest hangar. As the Corsairs come closer to the surface, they can see that there are various banners depicting a red crescent moon with a Cresh in the middle. Zerek Squadron lands, and out of the TIE Interceptor hops a Devaronian man. A bit farther off, Zerek Nine lands and turns out to be piloted by a tall and musclebound Kaleesh wearing an intricately designed bone mask. Also present is a number of armed guards. Interestingly, no one in the compound seems to be wearing armour, only jumpsuits in the colours of the Crimson Moon.
Zerek One: Well, these men will take you to the boss. You're lucky that she saved your ass, Corsair - I would've turned your fancy fighter to stardust.
Iyan: You've heard of us? I'm flattered, honestly.
Guard: This way.
The guard leads them down the hangar into a hallway, which is, thankfully, much quieter.
Iyan: You know, I really don't trust you.
Guard: I wonder why.
Iyan: Well, first you have the Imperials being pissed. Then you have them saying they'll "finish it privately". Then we see your joker back there zooming around in a fucking squint. And just when you're about to "shoot us down", you do a complete 180 and go, "Actually, no, let's invite these strange and mysterious people to supper! Sounds like a jolly old idea. I'm sure they'll love the roast!" Like, what gives, man?
Guard: While you were running your mouth, we've arrived.
The door slides open, revealing the elegantly designed quarters of the woman so far only referred to as "the boss". "The boss", as it turns out, is a fairly attractive human in her mid-thirties. Unlike everyone else here, she's not wearing a jumpsuit, instead wearing a formal red dress with the Crimson Moon symbol on its left side in black.
Boss: Ah, welcome. I am Zanna Lindrin.
As she smiles, the Corsairs can see that her teeth are pointed, indicating that she actually isn't a human, but a Lorrdian.
Val folds his arms, placing the palm of his hand into his face as Iyan addresses the leader of the Crimson Moon. As he looked around the facility, he notices how much cleaner and neater everything seems to be. Perhaps, this was a place more fit for a man of his measure. A place that could actually afford Bacta.
Zanna: Why, that's no way to greet your host. To answer your question, it's business.
Zanna gestures the Corsairs to enter the quarters, while she herself sits down on a comfortable sofa.
Zanna: I understand the Empire is out for your blood, Desertfire. And when the Empire is out for your blood, thirty Starfighters will not be enough to keep your safe, no matter how prestigious your reputation may be. So, you might need some extra firepower. And I can provide that firepower, for a reasonable fee.
Zanna: Well, since the customer is always right, let's give you a tour and let you pick for your own, shall we?
With that, she stands up and walks for the exit. The Corsairs follow her and after a short walk, they step onto an elevator, which takes them to a catwalk. As she leads them over the passage, she explains the Crimson Moon.
Zanna: If you weren't aware, our little organisation offers various services which can be hired for a fair price. If you want something killed, we have just about every way imaginable available to do it for you.
The catwalks leads the group through a shooting range, where more jumpsuit-clad men and women are practising with blaster rifles.
Zanna: These are our Marines. They are trained primarily for boarding capital ships, but they can fight effectively in nearly any environment. They can be hired in squads or platoons.
Further on, the catwalk passes through the hangar, where the Corsairs' Starfighters are also docked.
Zanna: You've already seen our fighter squadrons. Apart from the general-purpose squadrons, like Zerek Squadron, we also offer bomber squadrons and interceptor squadrons, as well as boarding craft.
The tour continues for a while, taking the group past several rooms, including an assassin training room, an explosives testing chamber and even a heavy artillery storage.
Iyan: Chill, both of you. Well Miss Lindrin, everything you have is interesting. But we have absoultely no mode of transport to get them anywhere. Our own ship is at pretty full capacity. Perhaps....you have a solution?
Zanna: Well, that really depends on what you want to hire. If you want Marines or other infantry units, then you should be able to accomodate them. In case of Starfighters, each Squadron is in possession of a small fighter carrier that can carry their fighters just fine.
Zanna: If you're speaking of capital ships, we have them, but I doubt you can pay for them. However, we do have something else you might find interesting.
The group returns back to Zanna's quarters, where she turns on a holoterminal and presses a couple of buttons. A hologram of an elongated missile appears, with an image of some sort of shipmounted launcher next to it.
Zanna: This is the DAG-R ship-to-ship guided ion missile system. A single one of these missiles is powerful enough to overload the shields of your average Cruiser, and can entirely knock out smaller classes, like Corvettes. Best of all: it can be fired from outside the range of any type of Turbolaser known to man.
The Kaleesh, along with the two Humans that pilot Zerek Three and Seven, are standing by some crates close to Iyan, and are thus the first to reach him. Four and Six soon follow, and the rest arrives with their Devaronian leader at their head.
Zanna: Well, as a criminal syndicate, you want to keep the base of your organisation as far away from prying eyes as possible. A backwater planet, where the Empire would never even bother to look, but also away from the territory of other, larger organisations like the Black Suns and the Hutt Cartel. A planet like this one. But apparently, not even this place is out of the Empire's reach anymore...
Zerek One sighs and turns on his comms.
Zerek One: (COM) Boss, you didn't seriously sell us to this joker, did you?
Zanna: (COM) Yes I did, Regan. Now follow your orders and do your job.
Zerek One: (COM) ...Yes ma'am.
Zerek One: Well, orders are orders. We'd best get ready for departure, then.