The Velabri Lancer

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The Velabri Lancer

Post by Archangel » Mon Feb 21, 2005 6:49 am

Quillin Reagil checked the hyperspace trail, going over the details in his mind. "Why would Koruis go back to Bonadan?" he said to R2-B6, or "Strafer" - he had named the droid after the ship that had taken him from Velabri, so many years ago. "That's where he got the criminal sentence in the first place ... what does he have to gain?"

Strafer tootled a reply. "Perhaps he wants to kill the sentient who had the charges placed against him."

Reagil frowned slightly. "It's possible, I suppose. We'd best get back there, nevertheless."

Strafer beeped an affirmative and activated the navicomputer, setting a course back to Bonadan. While he waited, Reagil ran a strong hand through his silver hair, the short spikes going back into their rigid places as soon as his hand no longer touched them. His solid dark blue eyes shone, even in the darkness of space.

Strafer informed him that they were about to jump with a short beep. He nodded and the stars turned to streaks, before turning into a bright, colorful tunnel. The modified Z-95 Headhunter, christened the Tarrek's Eye, disappeared into hyperspace, leaving behind Mytus VII and heading towards Bonadan.

Within an hour, the ship reverted to realspace and Reagil was already checking his sensors. The Eye showed that Koruis' ship had landed on Bonadan, in one of the major cities. "Looks like you were right, Strafer," he told his droid, "He landed illegally on a pad near Mr. Dolsa's apartment."

He brought the ship in and set it down at the CSA office for the city. No sooner had he leapt down from the ship's cockpit than a young recruit ran towards him. "Your target, Koruis, is pinned down in Mr. Dolsa's apartment by our officers, but he's holding Mr. Dolsa captive. That Duros is scared out of his wits!"

Reagil cursed. "I was afraid this would happen. You have a speeder for me?" The recruit nodded and pointed to a one-man airspeeder nearby. Reagil grinned and jerked his thumb towards the Eye. "Get Strafer down, would you?" he said as he ran past the recruit towards the airspeeder.

Ten minutes later saw Reagil arriving at the scene. A captain waved him over when he exited the airspeeder. "You're late, Velabri," the captain told him angrily.

Reagil shrugged helplessly. "Can't speed up hyperspeed, Cap."

Captain Feuro, a Cathar, gave a feral growl before sighing; he lead Reagil to the door to Dolsa's apartment. Reagil called through the door, "Koruis, you in there, old buddy?"

Koruis' voice, the deep, rough voice that only a Feeorin could possess, said, "Ah, it's about time you got here, Reagil. I thought you'd given up chasing me!"

Reagil laughed mirthlessly. "Me, give up? You've got to be kidding, Koruis." His hand slowly drew his Velabri-made dagger out of its hilt. It's unique make allowed it to be more resilient than nearly any modern-made weapons, and it was the only weapon Reagil ever carried. He said, "Mind if I come in, Koruis?"

Now Koruis laughed. "What, and let you stab me with that spice spider-sticker of yours? You've got to be kidding, Reagil."

Reagil's dark blue eyes narrowed and the side of his mouth twitched into a sneer. He kicked the door panel, sending the durasteel door flying upwards. He stepped into the door frame and threw his dagger with incredible speed. Before anyone could react, Koruis dropped his blaster, his hand pierced by the dagger.

"Sithspit, Reagil! I thought we was friends!" he cried out, clutching at his hand, unable to pull the dagger from it.

Reagil strode over, the sneer still on his face. "We were friends the day you helped me against that spice spider, Koruis, but we were enemies the day you murdered fifteen business executives. Don't you ever mention Kessel to me again, you glitterstim-addicted pile of bantha dung!" He tore the dagger from Koruis' hand, nearly cutting the blue-skinned hand off entirely.

Koruis roared in pain as four CSA officers entered and cuffed him. He whimpered pitifully all the way to the station and, Reagil's friends later told him, he cried like an infant once he was imprisoned.

Feuro looked at the scene and waved Dolsa away - the Duros was still profusely thanking Reagil for saving him. Feuro shook his head at Reagil. "You should have been more subtle, Velabri," he told him.

Reagil rolled his eyes. "You always were against injuring prisoners, weren't you, Feuro?"

Feuro sighed. He hated it when Reagil didn't use ranks properly, but the Velabri warrior was too valuable to give up for such a simple reason. "I can't believe you took him out so easily."

Reagil shrugged. "Koruis always was a coward at heart. The only time he ever did anything of note was ... " He trailed off. He hadn't spoken of Kessel to anyone who hadn't been there, and he didn't intend to start now. But ... seeing Koruis face-to-face again ... it brought back painful memories. Reagil closed his eyes and Feuro nodded, patting him on the shoulder.

Reagil nodded to his captain and returned to the main CSA office to check on Strafer. The droid was fine, but Reagil stayed with the little guy anyway. He had, in fact, told Strafer of his experiences on Kessel, and the droid had taken it all in stride, never complaining. Strafer always did like a good yarn, and Reagil's past was definitely a good yarn.

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Post by Archangel » Thu Feb 24, 2005 12:58 am

"What do you mean, 'you can't do it'?" Feuro demanded.

Reagil rolled his eyes and sighed deeply. "I'm not going to Kessel," he repeated, making sure once more not to use the word "back". Feuro, like everyone else in the CSA, had no clue that he had spent nearly ten years in Kessel's deep mines, hacking away at glitterstim.

"And why in the Nine Hells not, Reagil?" Feuro shouted.

Reagil closed his eyes and forced a smile through the spray of spittle from the Cathar's mouth. "I said I'm not going. Get someone else." He turned to leave before Feuro caught his shoulder, the captain's claws digging in dangerously. Reagil winced.

Feuro hissed, "You're going whether you want to or not. If you don't, you'll be removed from the Corporate Sector Authority and you'll have a traitor's bounty on your head!"

Reagil swallowed visibly. He knew CorSec would know of his past and wouldn't accept him unless he did something extremely noteworthy, and he knew he couldn't do anything noteworthy if he was on the other side of the law again. He nodded his head slowly. "I understand, captain. Expect the prisoner in two days," he said calmly.

Feuro released his shoulder. "Good man. You're transport is in Docking Bay 7." The Cathar turned on his heel and stormed from the room.

Reagil walked slowly to the hangar, ignoring the pain in his shoulder. He stopped by the starfighter bay on his way to Docking Bay 7 and knelt beside Strafer, who was recharging next to the Eye. "Tarrek's Eyes, Strafer, I'd hoped never to go back there," he confided in his trusty droid. "Looks like I'll have to if I want to get all the way back on the good guys' side."

The droid bleeped a reply, a tone of sorrow evident in the notes.

He patted the droid on the head with a forced smile - those are getting increasingly common these days, he thought. He mumbled, "I'll be leaving you here, too, Strafer ... Be a good droid and don't let 'em touch the Eye."

The droid tootled affirmatively and Reagil left the starfighter bay. He continued his slow pace to Docking Bay 7, where the CSA Ghtroc 720 Freighter lay in wait for him. He sighed again as he boarded its open ramp and headed for the cockpit.

Another sentient, a human, was sitting in the copilot seat. He was wearing an Imperial uniform. "Ah, mister ... Reagil, is it?" the man asked.

Reagil nodded, doing his best to keep the disdain from his face. "That's right," he replied.

The man smiled. "I'm here to escort you to Kessel. This is an Imperial prisoner, after all."

Reagil returned the smile - both were fake. "Of course," he muttered as he sat in the pilot's seat. This man knows more about who I'm picking up than I do, he mused.

The ship lifted off and left Bonadan's atmosphere quickly, fueled by Reagil's resolve to finish the mission as quickly as possible. As he navigated the astrogation charts, he cut every corner he could to get to Kessel faster. The Imperial said, "Make sure you're careful - Kessel is very close to New Republic planets these days."

Reagil said, without looking up, "Aren't you guys supposed to be at peace?"

When the Imperial didn't respond, Reagil glanced up to see the man staring at him. "You're a Velabri, aren't you, Reagil?"

Reagil nodded and looked back to the navigation console. "And you are?"

"Oh, human, of course," the man responded, apparently getting the wrong meaning from Reagil's words.

Reagil rolled his eyes. "What's your name, Imperial?"

Finally catching on to Reagil's dislike for Imperials, the smile disappeared from the man's face. "Colonel Jeremy Shearer," he replied evenly.

Reagil nodded and sent the ship into hyperspace. The two didn't speak again during the entire flight.

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Post by Archangel » Thu Feb 24, 2005 5:55 am

Reagil stood by with increasing irateness as Colonel Shearer discussed acquisition of the prisoner - at length - with Moruth Doole.

"I'm sorry, Colonel, I just can't give you a Velabri prisoner!" Doole was saying. Reagil leaned forward at this - the two had been quieter until then.

Shearer sneered. "And why not, Rybet?" Reagil narrowed his eyes - something wasn't right. He could almost feel the tension.

The small alien sighed. "Because, my good colonel, there aren't any here anymore. Our last Velabri prisoner left nearly eight years ago under medical circumstances!"

Reagil's eyes widened. That's when I left, he thought fearfully. Panic infiltrated his thoughts, questions like, Have I been found out? Am I going to get arrested and imprisoned again? Will I ever be freed to police the criminals of the galaxy? All order in his thoughts went out the airlock.

Shearer sighed. "Bloody Nine Hells!" he exclaimed. "Why didn't you say so sooner?" he demanded.

Doole did the Rybet equivalent of rolling his eyes. "Because, Colonel Shearer, you did not request a specific Velabri - just a Velabri. It seems to me you already have one," he said, pointing at Reagil.

Reagil returned to the present, his right hand sliding towards the dagger tucked into his belt.

Shearer said, "Well, where did the last prisoner get sent, then?"

Doole looked at him quizzically. "How should I know, Colonel?"

Shearer turned on Reagil. "Come on, officer, it looks like this Rybet isn't going to help us. I suppose those credits we had ready for him will be wasted after all," he said, glancing back at the fidgeting alien.

Shearer jerked his head towards the hangar. He and Reagil began walking back towards their ship when Doole called out, "Alright, alright! I can look up his name and transfer location!"

Shearer smiled as he turned back to the criminal. "Let's take a look then, shall we?" He motioned for Reagil to stay near the ship.

As the two walked off, Reagil cursed under his breath - he knew that he would be found out. He knew that they would look up the prisoner and that it would have an image of him, giving the name "Quillin Deir", and state that he was transferred to a minimum security hospital in the Corporate Sector. He would likely be imprisoned on Kessel again, trapped in the mines, fending off spice spiders alongside the few remaining prisoners.

A plan formed in his mind - it was a long shot, but it just might work. Chances were, if he could get the ship back to the Corporate Sector, he could say that the prisoner took the colonel hostage and used an escape pod ... That's it, he decided.

He knew he was probably paranoid, but he didn't want to be imprisoned again. He had hated Doole and the Empire and every criminal in the mines. All he had wanted was to join CorSec - the most prestigious police force in the galaxy. But it seemed that would never happen.

His plan solidified itself. His heart hardened. Forget CorSec, he told himself. Forget your hatred for the Empire, for Doole, for criminals. Forget the Corporate Sector Authority.

As he boarded the CSA transport and closed the ramp, he thought to himself, No more moral battles, no more crime-fighting - one must, after all, make a living and, with his past, that was practically impossible working with someone like the CSA.

He eliminated the paranoia from his thoughts - he would be found out, but no one would be able to do anything about it. He would be long gone from the Corporate Sector before anyone even realized he was a former prisoner from Kessel.

He set a course for Bonadan and jumped to lightspeed.

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Post by Archangel » Fri Feb 25, 2005 4:15 am

The Ghtroc freighter nestled gently into Hangar Bay 7. Captain Feuro stood at the foot of the ramp as it lowered, a grim look on his face.

"Thought you could pull the wool over our eyes, did you, criminal?" he asked condescendingly.

Reagil gulped visibly. "Look, Captain, I ... I can explain!" he managed.

Feuro looked towards the four guards at the entrance to the docking bay and jerked his head in Reagil's direction. "Lock him up, boys. First chance we get, he's back at Kessel."

Reagil closed his eyes and cursed as he was cuffed. When his eyes opened again, they were like chips of ice, glinting with resolve. Reagil set his jaw and marched stoically to the Bonadan prison - where he would be staying until things were cleared with Kessel.

One officer disarmed him with an apologetic look - most of these men had been Reagil's friends, and all knew he wasn't a criminal - at least, that's what they thought.

They led Reagil to a dark cell. "Cap wants you in here, Reagil. Sorry," one said as he opened the door. The other officer removed his cuffs and Reagil entered the cell. As soon as he was in, the door closed behind him.

A deep voice echoed in the cell, "Well, well, well, if it isn't me dear friend Reagil. What was it they said your real name was? Deir? Aye, that was it ... those officers talk quite a bit when they walk these halls, y'know."

Reagil took a deep breath. "Koruis," he said.

Koruis laughed. "Never thought you'd get locked up with me, now did ya?" he chortled. Reagil remained silent. Koruis stopped laughing and sighed, shaking his head. "You've got to get a humor, Reagil - it's the only way to keep sane in this Tarrek-forsaken prison."

Reagil's snapped his head back up, glaring into Koruis' eyes. The Feeorin was grinning. Reagil's memory took him back sixteen years, to the day he arrived in the mines on Kessel.

The silver-haired young man hacked gloomily at the raw spice. A blue Feeorin stood next to him and laughed. "You've got to get a humor, Reagil," the Feeorin said, "It's the only way to keep sane in this Tarrek-forsaken prison."

Reagil returned to the present and launched himself into Koruis thick frame. The two went down, kicking and biting. Reagil came out on top and lifted the heavy Feeorin to his feet. The Velabri slammed his cellmate into the wall and pressed his forearm into the blue-skinned alien's throat. "Don't you ever mention the name of my god again, pagan!"

It was probably the first time in the last twenty years that Reagil had cared in the least about how someone had spoken of his religion. In actual fact, he was angrier because he was forced to remember his days on Kessel than because Koruis had insulted his god - still, his reaction to the words surprised even him.

Koruis' eyes widened. "Look, Reagil, it was just a joke..." he said.

Reagil sneered and threw the Feeorin to the floor. All the kindness in his being had left the moment he truly knew that he could never again work for a policing agency. He had become the ruthless, heartless warrior that his people had always trained him to be.

He turned back to the door and leaned against its frame, looking out the meager window into the rest of the prison. "Where you headed, Koruis? After this, I mean?" The change in his tone surprised Koruis slightly, but the roguish Feeorin took it in stride.

Koruis snorted derisively. "I ain't leavin' here, thanks to you, Reagil. I'm stuck on Bonadan for good. Life, the judge said."

Reagil nodded slowly. "You should consider yourself lucky that they didn't execute you on the spot," he said calmly. Before Koruis had fully opened his mouth to respond, Reagil continued, "What would you say if I said I could get you out of here, free to roam the galaxy causing all kinds of carnage?"

Koruis laughed aloud. "I'd say you were lying," he replied.

Reagil nodded again. "Is that right." It was not a question. "When they come to get me, attack one of the officers before they cuff me and we'll be out of here. No Kessel, no imprisonment - free as a mynock in an asteroid field."

Koruis chuckled. "Right. Sure thing, Reagil," he said as he rolled his eyes.

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Post by Archangel » Mon Feb 28, 2005 6:24 pm

Several hours later, two guards approached the cell, stun batons in hand, to escort Reagil to Kessel. They opened the door and one immediately clamped a vice-like grip on Reagil's shoulder. The Velabri nodded almost imperceptibly at Koruis.

The Feeorin returned the nod and lunged, catching the other guard in the stomach. Both went down.

The first guard, his hand still clamped onto Reagil's shoulder, turned and looked at the two, who were wrestling on the floor. It was all the distraction Reagil needed. He wrenched his shoulder from the guard's grasp as he turned and launched his knee into the other man's groin. The guard groaned and dropped his stun baton, which Reagil promptly picked up. He made sure it was on before thrusting it forcefully into the guard's chest. A sharp crack preceded the guard's unconscious collapse to the durasteel floor.

The other guard had managed to stun Koruis and throw him aside; the Feeorin now sat against the wall, dazed. The human stood and face Reagil, stun baton at the ready. Reagil grinned cheekily and feinted to the right before launching the baton in to the left. The guard was barely able to block the attack before a kick slammed into his ribs. He grimaced, but kept enough wits about him to counterattack with a swift left hook. The punch caught Reagil in the stomach and the Velabri was hard-pressed not to double over.

Reagil quickly recovered and backstepped, narrowly dodging the baton that swung at his rib cage. He spun to his left, feinting an attack, before turning back to his right and hitting the guard in the shoulder with the baton. The guard's arm fell limp at his side. Wincing again, the human lunged, striking Reagil in the shoulder with the baton. Reagil grunted in pain.

Reagil started to the left and the guard, expecting another feint, began to parry to the right, but Reagil followed through on his attack, striking the guard in his temple. The human collapsed, somewhere between unconsciousness and death.

Reagil pulled Koruis to his feet, his own arm still numb from being hit with the stun baton. "C'mon, Koruis, we've got to get out of here before the other guards come running," he said calmly.

Koruis nodded and the two rushed from the cell. Koruis ran as quickly as he could as the strength slowly returned to his legs - he was tough, but even Feeorin have their limits on how much they can take from a stun baton.

They soon reached a guard checkpoint. The guards, these carrying guns, shouted at them, "Hold hard there, you two! You're not supposed to be out here!"

Reagil payed no attention and leapt over the desk between them, kicking one in the face as he went. The guard fell back, clutching at his broken and bleeding nose. Reagil grabbed his gun and blasted him with a stun shot.

Koruis ran on, clotheslining the other guard and giving Reagil enough time to stun him as well. Reagil tossed the other pistol to Koruis and the two resumed their escape.

They turned a corner and saw the main doors of the prison ahead. Reagil desperately hoped they hadn't been sealed. The two former prisoners ran up to it - and it refused to open. "Sithspawn," Reagil cursed under his breath as he went to the console. He prayed to Tarrek that the codes hadn't been changed. Another vain hope, he thought absentmindedly as he entered the code.

To his surprise, the door slid slowly open. Reagil laughed as he ran out the door, closely followed by Koruis. They came to an intersection in the walkways. "You'll have to steal a ship, Koruis - the code to the Ghtroc freighter I used to get to Kessel is C374G, and it's in Docking Bay 7. I'm going to the fighter bay for the Tarrek's Eye and Strafer."

Koruis nodded. As the Velabri ran off to the fighter bay, Koruis was tempted to shoot him in the back and turn him in for a shortened stay in prison, but he realized that, having broken out, he would probably be headed to Kessel if he ever got caught again. He tucked the gun into his prison uniform and ran for Docking Bay 7.

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Post by Archangel » Wed Mar 02, 2005 8:17 pm

Reagil slowed to a walk as he neared the starfighter bay. He glanced around nervously before tapping twice on the control panel to open the door. The heavy blast door slid slowly open with a deep hiss. Reagil slipped inside, holding the stolen blaster warily.

After a few moments of silence, Reagil became satisfied that no one was nearby. He hurried to the Eye, where Strafer was still recharging. He deactivated the power source, thereby activating the little astromech. "C'mon, Strafer," he said urgently, "we've got to get out of here."

Strafer's response sounded akin to, "It's about time."

Reagil grinned as he turned on the machine that would lift Strafer into his spot in the Eye. He opened the cockpit and slipped inside, putting on his helmet. As soon as Strafer was secured, the machine lifted away and Reagil closed the cockpit.

A hiss denoted the pressurization of the cockpit. The hangar door was, as usual, open, and Reagil switched on the ship's repulsors, moving the craft slowly towards the exit. The Eye was almost out when the door began to close.

Beginning to panic, Reagil glanced around - he saw Captain Feuro staring at him angrily from the control room. Reagil cursed and slammed his fist against the console. His hand must have collided with engine control, because the ship flew forward, narrowly sliding through the half-closed hangar doors.

Strafer whistled a droid's version of a sigh of relief as the ship escaped into the atmosphere. Inside the cockpit, Reagil himself was sighing, though only partially from the feeling of relief. The rest of the sigh was centered on the fact that he could never return to the Corporate Sector without changing his name, his ship's transponder, his appearance, and far too much else. He had already changed his name once - he did not want to again.

Strafer beeped an alarm. A CSA freighter was fast approaching from the surface. Reagil cursed, activating shields.

Strafer beeped again, indicating an incoming message. "Put it through," Reagil told the little droid.

Koruis' voice came across the comm. "Well, well, well ... if it isn't the Tarrek's Eye. You get out without incident, old buddy?"

Reagil sneered at the voice. "Just fine, Koruis ol' pal - no problems here. How did that freighter fare?"

Koruis laughed, recognizing the disdain in Reagil's voice. "Pretty good, Velabri. How 'bout we part ways here? I've been looking forward to visiting Hutt space - I hear it's easy to hide down there."

Reagil replied, "I figured I'd be heading that way for a while myself - I hear the pay for mercenaries is better than most places."

Koruis answered, "Aye, that's true. I figure we'll part ways anyway - I'm headed to Nar Shaddaa, but you might want to head for Nal Hutta. That's the easiest way to get a job from a Hutt - go straight to 'em."

Reagil nodded slowly. "Thanks for the advice. Now get your Feeorin carcass off my sensor console before I take a mind to blow you to the Nine Hells."

Koruis laughed again. "Whatever you say, Reagil. See you around."

Reagil cut the transmission. "Strafer, set a course for Hutt space."

The astromech tootled a reply.

"Yeah, I know," Reagil said, "I'm not going to Nal Hutta. I don't trust that Feeorin any further than I could throw him."

Strafer beeped happily, causing Reagil to chuckle. "Engage whenever you're ready," he told the droid.

Reagil stared at the stars for a few moments, just before they turned to streaks and he entered hyperspace.

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Post by Archangel » Sat Mar 05, 2005 3:03 am

Deir glanced around furtively. The guards had stayed further back, sending the young Velabri deeper into the mines alone. Ignoring the spice that seemed to litter the entire tunnel, Deir moved deeper into mine, hoping to find another way to the surface - however unlikely that might be.

The silver-haired near-human placed his right hand on the glittering tunnel wall as he walked, steadying himself. It was dark - too dark for Deir's tastes. The further he went, the more he realized that at no point would this tunnel return to the surface.

He turned back, now placing his left hand on the wall. He began his ascent back to the main mining camp, where the guards were, lugging the heavy, but remarkably feeble mining laser behind him.

A strange noise caused him to glance warily over his shoulder. His solid blue eyes were met with a curious apparition - at least, Deir thought he was imagining it. It was a spider-like creature, with many legs, yet it appeared to be made entirely of glitterstim. When the creature advanced, Deir recognized that it was real.

The young Velabri gasped involuntarily as the creature struck with one of its legs, deep into his arm. He yelled in pain, trying to activate the mining laser. The creature struck again, destroying the mining laser before Deir could turn it on. The prisoner gulped visibly and backed away. His back hit the wall. The spice spider reared back, preparing to strike again ...

* * * * *

Strafer's informative beeping awakened Reagil from the nightmarish memory. He had slept fitfully the entire flight, and now Strafer woke him again. "What is it, Strafer?" he asked groggily. He looked sadly at the raking scar on his arm - he hadn't been properly healed and, though bacta treatment could remove the scar, Reagil had decided to keep it as a reminder anyway.

"We've arrived in Hutt space," Strafer tootled in reply.

Reagil nodded slowly. "Right," he said. He tapped a few controls, setting a course for Nar Shaddaa. The ship entered hyperspace again, but Reagil didn't return to his sleep. The last thing he wanted was to revisit Kessel in his dreams.

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Post by Archangel » Thu Mar 17, 2005 3:50 am

"What do you mean, 'Garba the Hutt is no longer this location's proprietor'? I checked the logs, he was the owner of this place the last time those logs were updated - which couldn't have been more than a few weeks ago, at most," Reagil told the Rodian.

The alien shrugged and repeated his statement in his own language.

"Look, bug-eye, I just need a little work - some odd jobs. Can you at least tell me where to find Garba, if he's no longer the owner of this place?"

The Rodian made a derogatory remark, followed by a simple, "No."

"Why in the Nine Hells not!?" Reagil exclaimed.

"Because Garba the Hutt is dead, hoo-man," the Rodian replied in Basic. "Killed by Imperial troops, the word is."

Reagil massaged his temples. Imperials, he thought, I just can't seem to get away from these guys. "Well, then, greenie, can you at least direct me towards the nearest high-paying sentient who can get me a decent job?" he asked resignedly.

The Rodian muttered something in Rodese before gesturing for Reagil to follow him to the back room. When they arrived, Reagil was faced with a tall, armored Devaronian.

"I am Feroc, Master Reagil. I am pleased that you seek employment, for I have need of one such as yourself," the Devaronian hissed, showing the second row of his teeth.

A Devish, Reagil thought, knowing their reputation for being backstabbers and generally untrustworthy sentients. "Yeah, Feroc, I'm looking for work. Anything, really - from protecting someone to killing someone to figuring out why in the Nine Hells the Empire locked me up in the first place."

Feroc chuckled. "Your own goals are of no consequence to me - while you are my employee, you will do what I say and only what I say, or you shall end up like dear old Garba," he said menacingly.

Reagil raised his eyebrow. "Your doing, was it?"

"It was," Feroc replied. He was lying, of course, but no one really knew how the old Hutt died - well, some did, but Feroc had quickly remedied that situation.

Reagil nodded slowly. "Just pay me and I'll do whatever you want."

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Post by Archangel » Fri Mar 18, 2005 8:58 pm

"There is a sentient on Mimban," Feroc had said, "He is human, left over from the Imperial control over the planet to mine its resources. When the New Republic liberated the Mimbanites and Coway, this human escaped into one of the planet's dense jungles. He, along with two dozen of his finest troopers, set up a base there. It is not fully known what he and his men are doing on Mimban - that backwater planet's natural resources are deep and its species are not suited to menial labor.

"I suspect he is bringing in slaves from elsewhere to mine the resources - he then sells the resources on the black market either here on Nar Shaddaa, or occasionally in the Corporate Sector, but more often than not, he sells them to the numerous independent governments throughout the galaxy.

"Why do I suspect this, you ask? Well, I suspect he is bringing in slaves because I, myself, have slave ships incoming weekly - but few ever arrive. I often lose contact with them in the Circarpous system. My contacts say that they have seen this man - his name is Hector Giez - selling Mimban's resources.

"Now, I have no interest in Mimban or its resources - those belong to the New Republic, anyway. I am interested in my slaves. I just want Hector Giez dead - do not come back here without some proof of his death, Velabri!"

Now, Reagil was more than halfway to Mimban, prepping his weapons. He hoped that Giez would be in-system - he really didn't want to go searching for some Imperial deserter.

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Post by Archangel » Wed Mar 23, 2005 3:24 am

It took Reagil nearly ten minutes to find a solid enough clearing in the jungle without getting too near to where sensors had detected a high amount of technology. As he leapt from the Eye, Strafer tootled at him.

"No, Strafer, you can't come - I can't risk losing you to one of these bogs. I'll have to go it alone," Reagil told the little droid.

Strafer whistled a sad tone.

"Yeah, yeah, I'll be careful," Reagil replied. The Velabri trudged off into the jungle, his Velabri blade at the ready. Occasionally, he would hack a low-hanging branch out of the way, but for the most part, he tried not to touch anything.

He hacked a branch out of his way, frustrated with his slow progress. He was trying to get to the allegedly Imperial base without running into any of the native species.

Suddenly, a short, fur-covered creature leapt out from behind the brush, screaming in its own tongue. It had four legs on the bottom of its round, bulbous lower half. Four arms flailed wildly from its upper half and hairless tail wiggled about in the confusion.

Reagil hissed for it to be silent, trying to calm the alien creature. As he growled, "Quiet!" several more of the creatures came out of the jungle. They were all primitive, Reagil could tell that much, but they didn't seem any less vicious. Reagil glanced among the creatures before making up his mind and dashing off towards the Imperial base, leaving the short, whooping aliens trailing behind.

Reagil slowed as the ground began to soften beneath his booted feet. He stepped more carefully now, edging his way through what appeared to be a swamp. His datapad showed the base to be just beyond the swamp's damp edges. The datapad wasn't showing any lifesigns, but Reagil attributed that to sensors masks - he suspected the Imperials were smart enough to have them set up.

It took nearly a standard half-hour to traverse the swamp, but Reagil finally made it across. He glanced back across its seemingly tranquil surface, hoping he hadn't tripped any alarm wires in crossing it.

He sidled up to the crumbling wall of the ruined base. From what he could tell, the place had not been well taken care of. He moved quickly and quietly to the main entrance to the compound, his dagger leading the way. The gate stood wide open. Reagil checked the guard post next to the gate - besides a bloody smear, it was empty.

Reagil swallowed and moved on. The main structure was at the center of the compound, surrounded by several smaller buildings, probably residential units. The Velabri Lancer ignored the small buildings and went straight to the front door, as it were, of the main base.

The first thing Reagil noticed when he entered the building was the smell - the bodies lying around must have been dead for a week, but probably no more than that. Reagil grimaced at the stench, but one thing caught his attention - a trail of blood. It led right to a blast door.

Reagil opened the control panel and tapped a few controls. He had no idea what the code was, so he started pressing random buttons.

Several minutes passed and the console screen beeped again, showing, "INCORRECT" in red letters. Reagil sighed and stared intently at the console. On impulse, he hit four seemingly random buttons.

The door hissed and opened slowly. Reagil stepped through, holding his dagger loosely in one hand. He could hear a man whimpering from the back of the room. He walked slowly, turning a corner around the last of the medical pallets, to find a man, crouched, hugging his knees. The man looked up, wild-eyed in fear. "Get away from me! I've got a gun!"

Reagil cocked his head to the side to get a better look at the man's "gun" - it was some kind of device made from debris and a hydrospanner. It hardly looked like a gun. "Hector Giez?" Reagil asked.

A toothy grin appeared on the man's face. "You know who I am? Did Feroc send you? Please tell me he did!" Giez exclaimed, already delirious from the solitude.

Reagil furrowed his brow. "Feroc sent me to kill you, Giez," he replied.

"K- ... Kill me? N-n-no, Feroc wou-wouldn't do that!" Giez stuttered. Reagil raised his eyebrow as Giez continued, "I work for Feroc! I've been mining resources for him and Garba!"

Reagil set his jaw and took a deep breath. "What happened here, Giez?"

Giez motioned for him to come closer. When their faces were almost touching, Giez opened his mouth to say something, but the whine of a blaster rifle cut him off. A moment later, his corpse lay at Reagil's feet.

"I happened," a gruff and all-too-familiar voice said to Reagil.

Reagil turned and glared at the blue-skinned Koruis. "Why?"

"Well, you see, Degga the Hutt, old Garba's brother, was none-too-pleased about Garba's demise. He was even less pleased when he learned that a self-absorbed Devish had taken over Garba's slave and resource businesses. I killed Feroc shortly after you met with him - then Degga sent me here to finish off Giez. Apparently, something had happened to old Giez's mining crews - but Giez wasn't dead, and Degga wanted to change that. Unlike you, I landed here at the base, but I couldn't find the little prick. So I let you find him for me. Now, though, I think Degga's going to want the tough little merc that served Feroc as a lackey." To emphasize his point, Koruis waved the gun in the direction of the stairs, which Reagil assumed led to the landing pad.

Reagil's hand tightened on the hilt of his dagger.

"Before you decide whether or not to throw that, this is set to kill - you'd be dead before me. Even if you didn't die, you'd be stranded here until Degga decides to restart the mining business; he entered the system and picked up your Z-95 - and that annoying little whistler of yours - not so long ago," Koruis continued.

Reagil cursed under his breath, causing Koruis to grin. "That's right, you Velabri poodoo. Now you lead the way." Koruis jerked his head towards the stairs and Reagil sneered at him as he walked towards the landing pad, Koruis' gun placed firmly against his lower back.

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Post by Archangel » Thu Mar 24, 2005 7:29 am

Degga the Hutt was probably the fattest slug Reagil had ever seen. He hadn't seen many, but he could tell that Degga was quite a bit larger than your average Hutt.

Degga gave a deep, rumbling laugh at the Velabri standing before him. Reagil was still wearing the spacer's outfit he had put on during his flight to Nar Shaddaa from the Corporate Sector, but his hands were clapped in stuncuffs behind his back. Degga waved a thin hand at Koruis, who tapped a button on his remote.

Reagil gritted his teeth and tried to resist the pain, but Koruis persisted. Reagil fell to his knees; he could barely see the duracrete floor through the colored spots as he collapsed face-first into unconsciousness.

* * *

When he awoke, Reagil was in a dark, dank cell. His hands were free, but all he could see was a sliver of light coming in through a wall slit, too high to reach.

His head still throbbing, he had some slight difficulty in standing and stumbling to the door. Outside was a Gamorrean - typical of a Hutt to hire the stupid brutes.

The guard apparently heard him as he collapsed against the bars, unable to stay on his feet. The Gamorrean snorted a laugh in its typical pig-like fashion. It rapped its vibroaxe against the bars, making Reagil fall back into the muddy cell.

Reagil couldn't keep track of the time, but not too much later the click-clack of metallic feet came down the corridor. The Gamorrean stood aside and opened the door. Reagil stood and found himself looking at a strange, spider-like machine. At its center rested a spherical transparisteel tank - inside, a brain floated in some kind of nutrient suspension.

A mechanical voice said, "Welcome, Reagil. Normally, we monks do not have a form of communication, but I was designated our Order's spokesperson, so my droid carrier was retrofitted with this mechanical speaking unit."

Reagil raised an eyebrow at the strange being. "And what Order are you talking about?"

"Why, the B'omarr Order, of course. You were brought to our Citadel by a dear friend of ours - I have been encouraging her to join our Order, but she claims she likes her physical form just fine. It is very confusing to me," the monk replied.

Reagil nodded slowly, confusion evident on his face. "Right ... Well, can I get out of this cell, please? It's rather dank, and your Gamorrean friend there seems to like snorting through my door at me."

The mechanical voice twittered - Reagil assumed that was some kind of laughter. "Of course, Reagil." The spider-like droid turned and walked from the room, speaking as it did. "I suppose you are wondering how I learned your name - that was thanks to our dear friend, as well. Her name is Elizabeth Fury. If you are lucky, you shall get to meet her before she goes off gallavanting again."

Reagil followed the droid through the maze of the citadel. "What planet is this?" he asked, feeling slightly stupid for not knowing.

The monk twittered again. "Tatooine, of course. Can you not feel the dry heat from outside? I cannot remember how it felt. I have not had a physical body for more than three local decades. But Lady Fury tells me it is like cooking oneself - in other words, extremely hot." The monk twittered again.

Reagil widened his eyes behind the monk's back, obviously discomposed by the monk's strange Order. He followed the droid body in silence until they reached the surface level of the citadel. They entered a long hall, opposite a very large door.

The first thing Reagil saw was a beautiful human woman stand and turn to face him. The second was Strafer, tootling happily behind her. The woman smiled at him. "Welcome to Tatooine, Deir," she said.

He swallowed and forced a smile. "Reagil," he corrected, extending his hand.

Her smile disappeared and she raised a cynical eyebrow. "Deir," she countered. "I'm Elizabeth Fury, if Dave - that's the spokesmonk's name, by the way - hasn't already told you." She paused a moment before continuing, "You don't remember me, do you?"

Reagil furrowed his brow and shook his head slowly, trying to place where he had seen those vibrant blue eyes before.

Elizabeth smiled, tossing aside her shoulder-length blonde hair as she did. She was taller than most women, Reagil noticed - probably as tall as he was. "I was there, at Kessel, when you and Koruis killed the spice spider," she explained.

Reagil's mind flashed back eight years to Kessel, to the day Koruis had "rescued" him from the massive spice spider.

"Help me!" a young, feminine voice cried out. Deir spun, glancing around feverishly. He caught sight of two sparkling blue eyes in the gloom. He dashed in front of the spice spider as it swung one of its heavy, glitterstim legs at him. He grabbed the girl - she was probably about fifteen, already almost as tall as he, but she had been crouched in the corner, hiding from the large spider.

He carried her further up the tunnel as a blue Feeorin - Koruis, Deir remembered - ran past, yelling. Deir set the girl down and watched as the Feeorin slammed his mining laser into the "abdomen" of the spider - he was using it as a club. Deir glanced back at the girl to make sure she was alright before grabbing a laser himself and rushing back to the battle.

Reagil closed his mouth, a few moments after realizing it was hanging open in surprise. "That was you?" he asked.

She smiled again and nodded. "I never forgot that you risked your own life to save me - I thought everybody in that place but me was a convict," she said.

Reagil raised an eyebrow. "But you?" he repeated inquisitively.

She rolled her eyes. "Yeah, I was sent to Kessel by CorSec when they caught me slicing into the starport database on Corellia. I guess I'm lucky the Empire didn't catch me, considering I was trying to steal one of their ships for the Alliance. They probably would have shot me on sight."

Reagil nodded slowly. "So how did I come to be in your possession? I could have sworn Degga would have me killed ... or Koruis would have, just for the fun of it."

She shrugged. "Well, they probably would have, if I hadn't intercepted them. I was rooting through the place and found Strafer - he asked if I could help him escape and help you ... when he showed me a holo of you, I knew it couldn't be a coincidence. So I got him out of that trash heap and we stunned poor Koruis before that Feeorin finished dragging you to one of Degga's cells." She paused, as if remembering something. She pulled Reagil's dagger from her jacket. "Here. I found this in Koruis' pack."

He smiled at her and thrust the blade into his belt. "However did you get that off Kessel?" she asked innocently.

He looked at her cautiously. "I suppose I should thank you," he said, dodging her question.

Hiding her disappointment, Elizabeth smiled and held forth her hand. "Consider us even. Unfortunately, I couldn't get your Z-95 - but I brought you here on my ship. It's a beat up YT-2000, but it gets me from A to B."

He nodded slowly. He wanted to ask why she was on Nar Shaddaa, why she was rooting through Degga's complex, why she had brought him to Tatooine to let him sit in one of the B'omarr monks' corroded cells, why she hadn't turned him in to the CSA, and a dozen other questions. Instead, he said simply, "If you could lead me to the nearest starport, that'd be great."

She nodded slowly, unable to hide her disappointment this time.

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Post by Archangel » Mon Mar 28, 2005 4:21 am

Reagil closed his eyes against the glare of Tatooine's twin suns. The mirages that surrounded the landspeeder seemed to amplify the suns' hot blaze. Reagil glanced at Elizabeth through squinted eyelids.

He suspected she was lying before, about chancing upon Strafer in Degga the Hutt's warehouse. He knew she was lying about stunning Koruis - that Feeorin would never go down quickly, and certainly not without a fight. He wondered, though, if she wiped that part of Strafer's memory and reprogrammed it - or even if she reprogrammed him entirely.

The thought of her rooting through his droid's circuits made his stomach flip. He didn't trust her in the least, despite what she said about being at Kessel. For all he knew, she was lying about that, too.

"How did you really get me from Koruis and Degga?" he asked abruptly.

She looked at him, the moment of sheer surprise on her face confirming his suspicions. She immediately regained her composure and tried to look confused. "Whatever do you mean?" she asked innocently - too innocently.

The thin smile on Reagil's face belied her confusion. He said nothing; he merely looked into her eyes, the thin smile of triumph shining through the dusty haze of Tatooine. His eyes glinted dangerously.

She caught on and dropped the ruse. One hand left the controls of the landspeeder and reached for her blaster, holstered on her left thigh. Reagil's hand shot out and his blade was dangerously close to her throat before she could even pull the gun from its holster.

"You really shouldn't have returned this to me," he reprimanded her. "Now stop the landspeeder and tell me the truth."

The landspeeder ground to a halt and sat hovering a few inches off the ground. Reagil jerked his head, indicating that his "captor" should get out of the vehicle. At the same time, he pulled the blade away from her throat, planning for what he knew she would try to do.

She leapt from the vehicle, unholstering her blaster and leveling at him in the same movement.

In response, Reagil threw the blade, embedding it to its hilt in her arm. The tip of the blade extended through the skin on the other side. She tried to contain her scream of pain, but was only partly successful. She dropped the blaster and clung to her arm. Her hand moved to the blade and tightened around the hilt.

"If you take it out, it won't stop bleeding until you get a bacta patch on it. With how far we are from town, that could be a while ... especially since you might end up walking," Reagil warned. Elizabeth - if that was her name - let go of the hilt.

Reagil smiled. "Now, where were we? Ah, yes, you were about to tell me how you got me away from Degga the Hutt." As he spoke, he got out of the landspeeder and picked up the blaster. There was no malice in his voice; instead, there was a sort of serenity.

She said, "I killed Koruis," as if that would explain everything.

Feeling no remorse for the black-hearted Feeorin, Reagil motioned for her to continue.

The pain - physical, emotional, and mental - of the last few weeks had moved him beyond his normal rationales. Despite his upbringing, he cared little for rules or regulations anymore - if he had, he would have turned himself in at a moment's notice, instead of gallavanting across the galaxy to end up in a dank cell in a B'omarr citadel, then in the hands of a bounty huntress. He felt no guilt, either, at having left his species' principles in the past. He lived now only for that - living. If that meant killing others, he would not hesitate. Survival was his only goal, and it was a goal that would be met at any cost.

She said, "I saw the bounty the CSA put on you - and the Empire later added to. It didn't seem like you'd be that hard to catch, given the circumstances and the final fee. Luckily for me, you spent most of your time unconscious."

Reagil nodded slowly. "And how did you come by Strafer?"

"The droid?" she asked. Reagil nodded, a sardonic look on his face. She pursed her lips and then continued, "Like I said, I found him in Degga's place. I had heard over the 'Net that Degga had caught you, with Koruis' help, so I was there already. I just found your droid to be a valuable asset in capturing you, especially after I reprogrammed him."

Reagil's jaw tightened. In spite of his lack of feeling towards any living being, Reagil felt a sort of kinship with Strafer, who had decided to stick with him, even though he had betrayed his people's principles and broke the law. The droid had, indeed, seemed to accept Reagil for who he was, no matter what that meant. Reagil's eyes narrowed menacingly as he thought of Strafer, sitting helplessly back at the citadel.

The bounty huntress gulped visibly before continuing, "I brought you here to get out of Degga's territory before taking you back to the Corporate Sector."

Reagil nodded, then moved slowly toward her. Frightened, she backed away, looking at the gun warily.

Reagil followed her gaze to the blaster. He rolled his eyes and hefted it; he took a step and threw it, sending it spinning through the air until it hit a sand dune some thirty meters away. The bounty huntress visibly relaxed.

He gripped his blade's hilt in one hand and pulled it from her arm in one motion. Unable to suppress her scream, she fell to her knees, trying desperately to stem the bleeding.

Reagil looked at the chrono on the landspeeder dashboard. "You have about three hours before your heart pumps enough blood through that hole to kill you. If you can make it to the nearest settlement before then, I applaud you." He turned and leapt into the driver's seat of the landspeeder.

He began to start the vehicle, then paused. He looked at her carefully. "What about Kessel? Was that true?"

She nodded profusely, her face contorted in horror and pain.

Reagil stepped back out of the landspeeder and leaned against it, motioning for her to come closer. With difficulty, she stood and stumbled over to him. He held her by the shoulder, letting her lean against him. He put his mouth near her ear. "Shh, hush," he said gently.

Suddenly, he stabbed her in the stomach and grabbed her by the hair. She gasped involuntarily and began breathing sporadically. "Where I come from," Reagil whispered, "women are punished for lying!" He twisted the blade and pulled it out, throwing her to the ground. She lay there, writhing in agony.

Reagil sat back in the driver's seat of the landspeeder. Just before he started the vehicle, he said softly, "You now have half an hour, at most. Enjoy it." He started the landspeeder and turned it back towards the citadel.

* * *

When Reagil arrived back at the B'omarr Citadel, the B'omarr spokesmonk greeted him happily. "Where is dear Elizabeth?" it asked.

Reagil walked past him, pointedly avoiding looking at the disgusting brain. "She decided to take a one-way tour through the Nine Hells," he said calmly.

If the monk could have gasped, it probably would have. "You've killed her, you monster!"

"Monster?" Reagil echoed. He spun on the droid, holding up his blade menacingly. "The only monsters around here are brains, floating in a primordial soup, and bounty hunters who think that a sensitive story from my past will make me ignore their lies!" He turned back to Strafer, who was sitting in precisely the same place as when he had left.

He popped open a panel on the back of it and checked the wiring - sure enough, several of the wires connecting the memory circuits had been unhooked, as had the wires connected to the motivators. Either the bounty huntress had no solid knowledge of droid programming or she thought Strafer could be useful later.

Reagil fixed the little droid in short order. R2-B6 was back to normal, and he tootled happily to that effect. "Yeah, I'm happy to see you, too, Strafer," Reagil replied with a smile.

Strafer whistled a warning.

"Yeah, I took care of the 'old acquaintance'. She won't be bothering us anymore, thank Tarrek," Reagil said.

Moaning unhappily, the B'omarr spokesmonk wandered off into the bowels of the citadel. Reagil snorted derisively as he watched the droid trundle off. He turned back to Strafer and jerked his head toward the door. "Let's get out of here, little buddy. I'm sure that we can get a job around here and, if not, we can definitely get a transport off this rock."

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