Guns, Money and Spice

18 years after the Battle of Yavin...
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TalRaimi
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Guns, Money and Spice

Post by TalRaimi » Fri Jan 23, 2015 12:28 pm

OOC: It's been ages since I've written something. So here goes...


IC:

Atticus Vale had barely closed his eyes when his comlink rudely interrupted his sleep, its persistent beeping demanding his attention. One brown eye cracked open, glaring accusingly at the small metal square that rested on the shelf above his cot while a tanned arm reached out to activate it. “What is it?” he grunted.

“Sorry to wake you, Boss,” a distorted voice replied, “But we’ve got visitors.”

Atticus’s second eye shot open and he came fully awake. He rolled off the cot, one hand grabbing for the comlink, the other for his pants and shirt that lay heaped in a pile on the floor. “Distance?” he asked.

“They’ve just jumped in at the edge of the system.”

Shirt on first, comlink pinned awkwardly to it, he struggled into his pants as he replied, “I’ll be right there.” Grabbing the pair of worn brown boots from beside the door he bolted out into the corridor and took off for the command centre at a run.

Barely two minutes later he arrived to find the lights of the command centre dimmed and the large oval room bathed in the soft green glow of the dozen or so terminals that surrounded the large antique holo-projector in the centre of the room. Currently the projector was displaying a three dimensional image of their star system.

“Alright, what have we got?” his booming voice cut through the hushed chatter on the floor. “Vjarr?”

A short, scarred Twi’lek with only one lekku beckoned him over to one of the consoles at the head of the holo-projector. “We have a single Carrack Class cruiser holding at the edge of the system,” the Twi’lek indicated a glowing red dot on the holographic image.

“Second visit this month,” Atticus noted, “Can we tell if it’s the same ship?”

Vjarr shook his head, “Not at this range. The feed is from one of our passive sensor drones. We daren’t try for an active scan.”

Atticus ran a hand through the thick black beard that adorned his jaw. The Dratschi system was an uninhabited six world system just about as far off the beaten track as you could get, its sole standout feature being the small life bearing planet orbiting its slowly dying sun. In his line of work Imperial Patrols were occupational hazards, but the odds of two separate patrols visiting this far flung system so close together were astronomical; and Atticus was a Smuggler who paid attention to the odds.

“They know we’re here,” he sighed deeply. “Damn it! I really liked this place.”

“They don’t know anything for sure,” Vjarr countered, “They’re just fishing. Otherwise they’d have jumped in with more than just that Cruiser.”

Atticus glanced at his chief lieutenant. It was possible Vjarr was right and this was just some Imperial Captain who’d decided that Dratschi would make a good base for a Pirate or Smuggler operation and was just hedging his bets on the off chance of catching some traffic in system. Of course if he’s come back for a second time, then why not a third or even a fourth?

Dratschi had made a nice little base for the past five months, sheltering Atticus’s little group of smugglers from the fallout of the larger galaxy, but like all good things it had to come to an end.

“We can’t risk it,” he shook his head sadly. “Once they leave we’ll make preparations to abandon the Nest. Meantime I take it everything’s locked down?”

“The freighters are under cover and camouflaged. The base is powered down. But… there is a problem.”

“What problem?”

“We have two ships out near the asteroid belt,” Vjarr admitted.

The hairs on the back of Atticus’s arms stood up. He barely had to ask the question, but forced himself to anyway, “Who?”

“Hal and Nara.”

Atticus put his head in his hands and let out a deep breath; of course it would be Hal!

“So long as the Carrack stays where it is and Hal and Nara stay near the asteroid field they should be okay,” Vjarr rested a hand on Atticus’s shoulder.

And what are the odds on that, Atticus wondered? He had to be ready for the worst. Running a hand through his thick black hair he turned to his lieutenant, “Ready the Star for launch and begin evacuation procedures.”

Vjarr nodded his ascent and began to issue orders to the rest of the command centre staff. It would take some time to prepare the Wayward Star for launch, until then Hal was on his own.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hal Hunter yanked the control stick of the YT-1300 light freighter hard to starboard, rolling the ship up onto her side and narrowly missing the jagged chunk of space rock that would have ripped her in half. Brining the ship level again, his grey eyes focused on the glowing exhaust of the Muurian freighter just ahead of him; without needing to consult his senor board he knew he was catching up.

“I’m coming for you, Nara,” he crowed over the comlink as the Muurian juked around a small asteroid.

“About time,” the pleasantly accented voice of the Nautolan female shot back, “I had to slow down to let you catch up.”

Hal grinned. “Well that’s the last time I give you a head start then.”

Good natured laughter floated back over the comlink, “Head start? I practically stalled the ship to give ‘you’ a head start!” This was an old game and as was so often the case they were evenly matched when it came to their verbal duels.

Hal dodged another small asteroid and then followed the Muurian up and over a larger piece of rock three times the size of his freighter. The Sibella responded almost instantly to his commands, the freighter feeling like an extension of his will. Of all the ships that made up Atticus’s smuggler cabal, the Sibella was his favourite, the perfect balance of manoeuvrability and speed.

He edged closer to Nara’s Stormbound. The Sibella was faster than the Muurian, though neither freighter was at full speed, not even Hal was crazy enough to run the asteroid belt that fast. The belt was located between the fourth and fifth planets of the system, a rocky wasteland and a large gas giant, and running the edge of the belt had become a fun pastime for the more adventurous pilots of their little group.

Atticus had officially outlawed the belt runs sometime ago due to the risk of damage to the ships, but that never seemed to stop anyone and Atticus was savvy enough to turn a blind eye so long as nobody busted up any of the ships.

Hal’s shields sparked as several mirco asteroids slammed into the ship, Hal ignored them, alternating between glancing at the scanner and keeping his eyes fixed on the large pieces of rock rushing towards him. The edge of the belt was approaching and thus the end of their race. Hal inched the throttle forward a notch. There was no shame in loosing in Nara, after all his win record was still superior to hers. Of course, he wanted it to stay that way…

The Sibella junked and dogged two small asteroids, before ducking under a giant shard of rock, her top skimming the surface. Ahead the Stormbound grew larger. Hal held his nerve, the asteroids growing smaller and more spread out as they approached the edge of the belt, his shields sparking from the multiple micro hits every now and then.

His scanner identified a cluster of several small asteroids ahead, clear space either side. Nara’s Muurian rolled to port and prepared to edge round them. Hal smiled to himself and held his course aiming for the gap in between them. He rolled the Sibella up onto her side, brought the nose up towards the gap and held his breath… the ship bucked as his top shields brushed the surface of the rocks and then he was through and into the lead.

With clear space ahead he slammed the throttle forward and emerged from the asteroid field, Nara clinging to his tail.

“And it’s thirteen vs seven to me!” he teased her, throwing in a victory roll for good measure.

“You’re crazy, Hunter!” she responded, “But fair play. You deserved that one.”

“Damn right I did,” Hal smiled and throttled back to let the Stormbound come alongside. “And this means that you’re buying the drinks tonight, right?”

Nara snarled something under her breath.

“I take it that’s a yes?”

“Just the first round.”

“I can live with that,” Hal agreed, “So shall we say eight in the…”

Ping!

Hal’s sensor board beeped at him. Something had just emerged from hyperspace just outside the asteroid field. He glanced at the sensor board and his smile died. A Carrack Class cruiser had suddenly appeared barely three kilometres away…
'Would you do it with me, heal the scars and change the stars?'

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