Star Wars: Curse of the Arcadia

2 years prior to The Force Awakens...
A persistent and interactive galaxy set shortly before the events of Episode VII

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Star Wars: Curse of the Arcadia

Post by Pryde » Mon Jul 25, 2016 4:31 am

Ord Antalaha
1800 Hours...


The Tipsy Nerf was an odd name for a cantina but its tables were not frequented by patrons who cared much for the name. Rather they came in search of drink and The Tipsy Nerf had drink aplenty. Raucous laughter filled the air as glasses clinked together or were slammed down onto tables. The thick smell of cigarra permeated the room and filled Serenity's nostrils as she sat perched atop her stool. Her tail, covered in gray fur streaked with black, swished back and forth as she lifted her mug to her lips and downed her Corellian Ale in one go. She slammed her mug down atop the bar and wiped her mouth with her free hand.

The floorboards creaked behind her and at the sound her ears, shaped like a wolf's and covered in the same colored fur as her tail, perked up. She lightly sniffed at the air then smiled. "Funny meeting you here," she said.

"I could say the same for you, Pup," Captain Owen Thorn said as he sat down in the empty stool next to her. "Thought I made it clear I wanted you to get out. This ain't the life for you."

"I got work that ain't done," she said, "Can't quit till its finished."

Owen let out a long, solemn sigh. He knew exactly what she was referring to and he'd been afraid that she would mention it. "Arcadia's a myth, Pup, let it go."

"But what if it ain't? What if it's real? I owe it to you to find it."

"You don't owe me anything, girl. I pulled you from that slaver ship but I've done you no favors."

"You gave me a home."

"And I threatened to kill you. A lot," he pointed out. Her expression became crestfallen and he sighed again. "Look, Pup, I spent my whole life searching for the Arcadia and look where it got me. I don't want you to make the same mistake."

Then he stood and ruffled his hand through her ebony hair. "Get a job, Pup. Live an honest life."

He turned and headed for the door leaving a sullen Serenity staring into her empty cup. He had just about made it halfway when the young wolf girl had caught a whiff of something and turned to look at the door. When she finally figured out what the smell was she tried calling out to him but it was already too late. An explosion ripped through the front door, incinerating a few unlucky patrons and sending shrapnel flying everywhere.

Serenity had stumbled backwards off her stool and laid low against the ground as men poured into the cantina firing into the crowd. Ahead of her she could see Owen's mangled body lying on the floor. Desperately she crawled her way over to him and grabbed hold of his coat. With all the might she could muster she pulled the aging pirate captain back behind a fallen table. Then she leaned over him and looked into his eyes.

"Captain! Captain," she cried, hoping he could still hear her.

With shaky hands he reached into his pocket and grabbed a small device before shoving it into her palm. "Keep it... Safe," he told her as his last breaths escaped his lips. Then his hand fell from hers and his head collapsed limply to the floor.

Serenity stared at him a moment then looked at the device. She couldn't believe what had just happened, could barely even process it. The man she had known almost her entire life was dead and lying at her feet and she didn't even know why. She wanted to cry for him but a sense of urgency told her she should run instead. She shoved the device into her pocket and took off running for the back exit. There were shouts of alarm from behind her and a trail of blasterfire followed her towards the back of the bar, burning scorch marks into pillars, tables and walls as she ran.

She burst into the alleyway behind the cantina, nearly stumbling into the wall opposite the door she came through. Outside there were two men waiting for her. One of them had drawn the blaster and aimed it at her but before he could pull the trigger she had sliced through the barrel of his gun with a vibrosword. In that same motion she reversed her cut and slapped him upside the head with the flat of her blade sending him reeling into the wall. Then she spun on her heel and with her other hand she drew her blaster, took aim and shot all in one motion. The other man had his weapon blasted out of his hand before her second shot took him in the leg and sent him sprawling to the ground.

More shots could be heard from inside the cantina and Serenity took that as her queue to leave. She spun on her heel and took off at a sprint down the alleyway and out onto the street. She continued to run even when she could no longer hear the screams or the gunfire and she kept running until finally she collapsed from exhaustion. On wobbly arms and legs she crawled to the side of the street and leaned against a nearby wall. Part of her was still in shock over everything that had happened. Another part was curious as to why Owen felt compelled to give this device to her.

She pulled it out of her pocket now and turned it over in her hands. As far as she could tell it was just a simple gyrocompass. She couldn't really see anything special about it beyond the engraving on the back but even that didn't tell her much. Most of the engraving was worn to the point of being illegible, but two letters did stand out, a Z and an N, the initials of the original owner. Upon seeing that her heart skipped a bit and immediately she wondered if that could refer to Zerrak Navaro, Captain of the Arcadia. If that was true then that could easily explain the attack at the cantina, but if Owen had this the whole time then why did he insist the Arcadia was a myth?

She didn't have much time to ponder it now, though. If those men were after Owen then they would undoubtedly be looking for her. She needed a way off this planet and fast. Then she could figure out what her next steps would be...

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Re: Star Wars: Curse of the Arcadia

Post by Archangel » Mon Jul 25, 2016 1:41 pm

Fort Divin -- Ord Antalaha
1830 hours

"That'ss a nice sship."

The Trandoshan, a slaver named Tras'lahk, eyed the vessel closely. It had been repainted, but he knew its design immediately: a Reugeot 905 freighter, called a dragonboat. They were mostly used by Trandoshans like Tras'lahk, because their multilayered cargo system allowed for transport both of slaves and the sort of things slaves needed to survive--food, garments, busy-work. A dragonboat could haul fifty slaves for two hundred days without stopping, and without a single revolt, if it had the right cargo. Tras'lahk had served on a dragonboat for ten years before going into business for himself; he still did some slaving, but he preferred bounty hunting.

Which was, of course, what had really brought him to Ord Antalaha: reports of this ship landing at Fort Divin's starport. The ship ran under the name Rrakktorr, which Tras'lahk knew was a Wookiee word--the beasts that most hated his kind, and the feeling was mutual. No T'doshok would use such foul language to name their vessel, which meant this was the one Tras'lahk was looking for: a ship that was stolen eight years earlier. Tras'lahk's ship, before he left to become a bounty hunter. More specifically, the ship that belonged to Tras'lahk's brother, Ssah'lahk.

When Ssah'lahk had owned it, the ship had been called the Byager. "'Victory' is the perfect name for our ship!" Ssah'lahk had told him, "The Scorekeeper will be proud of us for living up to it!" Tras'lahk had agreed; at the time, he adored his brother. Ssah'lahk had raised him, taught him to survive, brought him out into the Galaxy to hunt down slaves. But slavery had seemed too easy. Tras'lahk had sought out a challenge--some way to prove to the Scorekeeper that he deserved more jagannath points than any Trandoshan yet to live.

Of course, Tras'lahk had not really found that challenge. His bounty hunting was mostly for Nikto crime syndicates, and even then, it was about as easy as slaving. People who offended crime bosses were usually stupid. Tras'lahk was not. He sought more difficult prey, but found that the high-priced bounties went to the most famous hunters--and he could not build his fame unless he took down a high-profile bounty. The system, it seemed, was rigged.

Then he heard about his brother, whose slaves revolted. They were led by one in particular, a Wookiee. The creature was brutal and ruthless. The entire crew had been slaughtered. The slaves disappeared--probably returned to their homes or abandoned somewhere--and the ship was lost. It turned back up, from time to time, and Tras'lahk had kept a weather eye on its movements. Its new owner seemed to have taken up the vile pursuit of smuggling. When the ship appeared again, it had a new name, a blue and black paint job that covered over the eyes and teeth that normally adorned the front of a dragonboat, hidden weapons, and faster engines. But it was still a freighter. In a fight, it couldn't maneuver like a snubfighter or a sleek combat vessel like Tras'lahk's SS-54 gunship, the Wojetar Asha. (Colloquially, the name referred to a Wookiee's pelt, but could also mean any trophy. Literally, it was an insult of the highest order against the furry blights.)

Tras'lahk had wanted to hunt down this Wookiee slave on his own, but he lacked the funds. Soon, though, the Nikto that had contracted out the slave labor--the owner of the slaves set free during that revolt--put a bounty on the head of whoever was in possession of the Byager or the slaves that had been aboard it. Tras'lahk knew that hunting down most of the slaves would be impossible--nameless maggots in a crowd--but the leader of the revolution, the one who had killed Ssah'lahk, was likely still flying the ship. He took the job; Boruk (the Nikto crime lord) appreciated his personal stake, and promised to double the fee if the Wookiee was brought in alive.

Tras'lahk doubted he would get double the fee.

A protocol droid stood near the vessel, well-articulated hands clasped behind its back. Tras'lahk knew it was a protocol droid, but he was not sure which model. Probably some local model picked up by the slave to communicate, or maybe picked up by Ssah'lahk to speak to the slaves he picked up. Ssah'lahk had been something of an idiot; Tras'lahk actually understood the language of the Wookiees, and a half-dozen others, but Ssah'lahk never could grasp the intricacies of Dosh, much less other languages. The droid was as humanoid as they came, bipedal, with non-functioning nose and ears in the midst of an angular face. Circular eyes and a rectangular mouthpiece hid all pseudo-emotion from onlookers like Tras'lahk. It turned slightly to face him upon his comment on the vessel.

"Sure is." The crisp Imperial voice from the vocabulator jarred sharply with the colloquial phrasing. "What of it?"

Tras'lahk scowled. "Is it yours?"

"No." There was almost ridicule in the droid's tone. "The Captain's busy finding more cargo. Just unloaded a bunch of medical supplies for this system."

The lizard barked a laugh. "Medical supplies?" he repeated. "On Ord Antalaha?"

The smooth shoulder panels lifted an inch, then dropped. "Even bastards get sick."

Tras'lahk scowled again. "When will the Captain be back? I wish to book passage on your vessel."

"No." More ridicule. "I just checked the logs. You own a ship. Which means you're not looking for passage. You're looking for prey. Perhaps you should go."

The Trandoshan snarled and reached for his blaster carbine, slung in a long holster on his hip. He barely got the holster unlatched when a growl from the ramp drew his attention. He stayed his hand, still gripping the stock and modified trigger housing. His plan had been to threaten the droid until it told him; self-preservation software should have gotten him what he wanted to know. But now the tables were turned, and he found himself under threat.

The Wookiee was tall, towering about twenty centimeters above Tras'lahk--who was tall for a Trandoshan, so the comparison surprised the bounty hunter. The beast's hair was black, marbled with gray. He wore a brown leather raiment with shoulder pads, a small breastplate, and pockets hanging from his hips. Scars could be seen on his chest, arms, and legs, and three long scars ran from the left side of his scalp to his chin. His white teeth were bared, and he held up a bowcaster, the fearsome weapon of the Wookiees. Tras'lahk also saw two ryyk blades sheathed in his raiment. The hunter knew that, if he tried to raise his carbine, he would die; a bowcaster quarrel would rip through him and he would die within minutes.

Slowly, he released his weapon, which sank back into its holster. He raised his three-clawed hands in surrender.

The Wookiee barked an order. The protocol droid said, "He wants you to leave and forget you saw him." The translation, while factually accurate, was less colorful than the original.

Tras'lahk sneered, but started backing away from the vessel. "I'm not ssome random T'doshok who recognized the sship's dessign. You killed my brother and hiss crew. There'ss a bounty on your head, enough to make me famouss. I won't forget you."

The Wookiee did not look away from the Trandoshan, but did not speak again. The protocol droid inferred his response. "Remembering us won't help you. We'll disappear again. It's a big galaxy. Pick easier prey, and leave your brother drowned in a cage in that Huttese swamp."

Tras'lahk snarled. "Sham ba lu mi lowe!" he shouted in Dosh. "You should kill me now!"

The slave grinned. "Don't tempt him. Ala mi lowe T'doshok."

Tras'lahk stepped out of the hangar bay, and the door closed. Still stinging from the droid's final insult, he ran for his ship. No doubt the Rrakktorr would be leaving Ord Antalaha soon--if he caught them in the air, he could disable the vessel, board it, and skin the Wookiee with his own claws!

* * * * *

"You should have killed him," RQ-8 said to Falatarr. The Wookiee didn't speak Basic, but RQ-8 always imagined that his nickname would be Ryyk. Or was that code that Falatarr had added after liberating him from Ssah'lahk eight years earlier? Ryyk didn't know, but he liked the name anyway.

Falatarr, former slave, grunted.

"There's no honor in leaving him alive!" Ryyk protested. "He will keep coming back. You'll have to kill him eventually." To an Imperial or a Trandoshan, who barely acknowledged that Wookiees were intelligent enough to speak, the conversation would have seemed quite one-sided. "Yes, I know, 'He is a slave of his own making,' but gladiatorial slaves still kill their enemies. We should not risk it." Snarl, grunt. "His ship is the Wojetar Asha, an SS-54 gunship, probably purchased because of the Empire's bureaucratic oversight. Based on starport scans, it looks like he modified it a little, too, same as you. In fact, if you two weren't mortal enemies, you'd probably be the best of friends. His ship's name is as much an insult to you as yours is to him."

The two companions made for the personnel ramp of the ship. The blue and black Rrakktorr was empty; Ryyk hadn't lied when mentioning the cargo they were dropping off on Ord Antalaha. They had enough savings to go to another part of the galaxy, even after fuel and maintenance, and Falatarr made it clear that his goal. Ryyk complained, "Don't you think we ought to pick up at least one piece of cargo? One passenger? Something?"

A negative grunt from Falatarr. Naturally, the Wookiee wanted to leave without putting anyone in jeopardy. He expected to be attacked by Tras'lahk. "Another reason to have killed him a few minutes ago." A snarl that bordered on a howl. "Yes, I know why you don't want to. I'm just saying, in this case, maybe it would have been worth it." Ryyk made a noise like sighing while Falatarr replied. "Yes, I know. I know. Yes. I know. The weapons are for self-defense, I know. That part of your life is behind you now. Yes. Great. Can you just please go begin the start-up sequence now?"

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Re: Star Wars: Curse of the Arcadia

Post by Pryde » Mon Jul 25, 2016 6:39 pm

A hushed silence fell over The Tipsy Nerf after the shootout had completed. Any survivors were rounded up and forced into a corner and surrounded by guns. Not one of them dared to say anything for fear they would be shot. The front entrance to the cantina had been blown completely away and beyond the charred remains of the door and the wall surrounding it the surviving patrons could hear the familiar snap, hiss of working mechanics. Heavy foot falls followed each hiss and from around the corner a tall figure stood silhouetted in the door way.

The half human cyborg took one look around the room before moving over towards the body of Owen Thorn. As he walked his mechanical peg leg left deep indentations in the hardwood floor.

"It's gone, Captain," one of the men surrounding the body said, "Most likely taken by the girl we saw fleeing out the back."

"And you did nothing to stop her," the question was spoken as more of a statement.

"We tried, Captain, but she--," the man was silenced suddenly by the sound of a blaster shot that left a smoking crater in his chest. As his body collapsed onto its knees Captain Killian Blood, a man known as one of the most ruthless pirates on the Outer Rim, turned to face the rest of his crew. The blaster in his hand still trailing lines of smoke as he moved.

"Bring down the Rylak," he told them, "I want that girl found."

"Captain, you want to attack Fort Divin with the gunship," his first mate, a human by the name of Khorde Thane, asked incredulously.

Killian fixed him with a dangerous glare. "Question my orders at your own peril, Mr. Thane. Either follow them or don't."

Khorde resisted the urge to swallow his fear and instead lifted his communicator to his lips to call down the ship. Captain Blood was about to burn a lot of bridges in the pirate community and Khorde only hoped this treasure was worth it...

**********

In the sky above the port town of Fort Divin a small capital-class gunship lowered itself from orbit and began raining death upon the Fort's minuscule defenses. Small hatchway's opened along the gunship's hull and an army of pirates jumped out, lowering themselves to the ground via zip lines. What meager security forces there were met the pirates in the streets with swords and blasters and the clear ringing of metal striking metal filled the air.

Serenity had found herself in the midst of all this quite unexpectedly. She had thought she'd have a moment to rest and collect her wits but much to her surprise all hell broke loose in the skies above the fort. She scrambled to her feet and ran as fast as she could as explosions rained down around her. Buildings exploded outward, showering her with debris as she ran and all around her pirates were landing in the streets and battling everyone who crossed their paths. Whatever it was those men were looking for in the bar they were willing to kill everyone in this town to get it.

She drew her sword in her right hand and a blaster in the other as she ran. Her only chance of getting out of this town now was to make a beeline for the port. Undoubtedly there would be ships trying to escape and getting aboard one of them was her only shot at surviving this. A pirate cut off her path, his vibroaxe raised and ready to strike. Serenity parried his blow to the side and as his momentum carried him past her she spun and shot him in the back. She didn't really want to kill him, but with everything happening she didn't really have the luxury of time to be careful.

"Sorry," she said, but the pirate was no longer capable of hearing her words.

Two more pirates moved to intercept her and she quickly spun on her heel and took off running. They chased after her and as she ran she holstered her blaster and sheathed her sword, then she hopped up on top of a low wall before jumping to a stack of crates and then onto the roof of a nearby building. One of the pirates followed her up while the other stayed down on the street and radioed in for backup.

Serenity jumped from building to building as she ran for the port. She was not far from it now but she could hear the heavy footfalls of the pirate close behind her. Above her the Corellian gunship, the Rylak, continued to rain turbo laser fire down onto the fort and as she ran a hatchway opened up in the ship's stern and a pirate leapt from the vessel and landed on top of her. They both went sprawling to the ground, but Serenity quickly rolled up onto her feet and drew her sword.

The first pirate who had chased her up onto the rooftops across several buildings swung at her first, his blade coming down on her in a diagonal cut. Serenity easily parried him to the side and spun around in time to see the second pirate regain his feet and draw his sword. The three danced back and forth, their blades flashing violently through the air. The two pirates tried to coordinate their attacks, surrounding her and attacking her from two sides. Serenity was not deterred by this though. The young wolf pup may have been outnumbered two to one but she was still faster and more agile. She easily danced around their blades, parrying one and then spinning to parry the other again and again in a dizzying dance of death. One of the pirates thought he saw an opening and stepped in for a forward jab only to over extend himself. Serenity danced expertly out of the way of his blade then smacked him on the back of the head with the flat of her own sending him staggering.

The second pirate rushed forward slicing downward and then across. The young wolf stepped to the side then ducked back to the left, undoing the man's suspenders as she did so. He spun back around to face her but she surprised him by leaping up and over his head, pulling the suspenders around his neck as she went. When she landed she tugged tightly on the suspenders, pulling the man off balance before sending him sprawling into his friend with a kick to the small of his back. They fell into a heap as she ran to the edge of the building and leapt down atop the awning before dropping into the street. She rolled to lessen the impact of her landing then scrambled to her feet and ran straight into the space port. Now all she needed to do was find a ship that hadn't left yet...

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Re: Star Wars: Curse of the Arcadia

Post by Archangel » Tue Jul 26, 2016 6:00 am

Ryyk tapped at an indicator light on the console. "There's a problem with one of the cargo doors. Looks like it didn't shut properly after unloading."

Green and red bursts of fire lit the cockpit of the Rrakktorr, casting deep shadows with sharp angles. Falatarr tried not to think of the memories that evoked. He growled at Ryyk. The droid gave a noncommittal shrug. "I didn't break the ship; I'm just telling you what it's telling me." Falatarr barked. "Yes, of course I can finish the startup sequence."

As the Wookiee stood and headed for the door, Ryyk pointed at his bowcaster, quickly discarded on the sensor console. "Take the gun."

Falatarr growled, but did not disagree. He grabbed the weapon and made for the service lift, right at the back of the living quarters before getting to the cargo bays. The problematic door was an upper cargo hatch, near the back of the ship. As the lift rose, small hatches made way for him--almost. He had to twist his shoulders around his chest to avoid getting his hair caught on the walls. The final hatch slid apart and Falatarr jumped onto the top of the craft, sprinting toward the hatch. Though still about forty meters off, he could tell that it had gotten caught on its way down. There was a manual winch that would finish the job, but that would take a little time.

Overhead, a Corellian gunship--Falatarr didn't know whose--tore up the spaceport. For the moment, it was leaving the vessels alone, focusing instead on defense systems. As pirates poured off the ship and filled the halls, Falatarr was glad that Ryyk had closed the hangar door behind that Trandoshan; maybe that would slow down the pirates.

Not that it was locked. Falatarr scowled when someone opened the door, which was now on the opposite side of the hangar from him. He winched furiously until the cargo door finally groaned shut; green indicator lights told him the magnetic seals had engaged. Meanwhile, he leaned over, trying to see who had entered the hangar, but the Rrakktorr was in the way. Hefting his bowcaster, he ran back along the top of the vessel until he stood atop the cockpit. Below, a young female of a species Falatarr did not recognize was running like her tail was on fire. A pirate was in hot pursuit.

Falatarr did not like getting involved in situations where he did not have all the details, but in this case, chances were good that the pirate wished harm on the girl, and she seemed incapable of doing something that would warrant it. The Wookiee raised his weapon and fired. The quarrel flew forth, wrapped in a swirl of plasma, and struck the pirate in the chest. The explosion knocked the body, or what remained of it, back out of the hangar and into another pursuing pirate.

Falatarr looked at the girl, then back at the pirates. He roared into his comlink. "What do you mean, open the ramp? Are we picking up strays now?" Falatarr's next roar was angry. Ryyk took the hint. "Fine! Opening the ramp. Shall I engage the chain gun to deal with pursuit while you get back inside?" Falatarr grunted an affirmative and fired off another quarrel before darting for the lift. As the Wookiee darted past the ramp, he saw that the girl was inside, and he roared to the droid. "Closing the ramp!" came the reply. "Can we leave now?"

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Re: Star Wars: Curse of the Arcadia

Post by Pryde » Tue Jul 26, 2016 2:00 pm

The pirates were hot on her heels as Serenity burst into the hangar. She didn't know whose ship she was running towards or even if they were willing to help. She just knew she needed to get off this planet and just hoped for the best. So it came as a complete surprise to her when one of the pirates behind her took some kind of blaster bolt to the chest that sent him flying backwards into his buddies. Ahead of her the boarding ramp of the large freighter began to lower itself towards the ground and she ran straight for it.

Part of her questioned whether this was a smart thing to do. She didn't know who owned the ship or even why they would help her but considering her situation it didn't seem like she had much of a choice. She charged up the boarding ramp and as soon as she was inside it began to raise behind her. One of the pirates tried to climb in as it was closing and he was halfway to succeeding before Serenity drew her blaster and shot him in the arm. The pirate fell and the boarding ramp closed and seconds later the ship began to take off.

In the cockpit Ryyk could see one of the pirates lifting a radio to his lips. Seconds later the Corellian gunship above the city began a slow, lumbering turn towards the space port. The Rrakktorr was clear of its birth and on its way into space by the time the first turbo laser blasts struck the tarmac behind them. The Rylak tried to pursue but couldn't go too far with its Captain and half its crew still in the city. The Rrakktorr would be long gone by the time the pirates were ready to leave Ord Antalaha...

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Re: Star Wars: Curse of the Arcadia

Post by Archangel » Tue Jul 26, 2016 9:46 pm

Tras'lahk cursed in Dosh, Huttese, and Basic. The string of profanities rolled off his forked tongue like sweat off a mammal's brow. He had been sitting in the cockpit of the Asha, sensors on active scan, watching for the Rrakktorr to move. As soon as it did, he would pounce, pursue it into orbit, disable it, board it, and collect his bounty.

Then a ship-full of pirates decided to attack Fort Divin.

Tras'lahk tried to wait it out--then he saw the Rrakktorr lifting off. Before he could give chase, stray turbolaser fire knocked an antenna tower loose. It fell from the starport roof onto the Asha, damaging a wing strut and clogging his port engine with debris. He couldn't go anywhere until he made repairs.

The way he saw it, whoever commanded that Corellian gunship owed him for the repairs and the lost bounty. He meant to collect. Leaving his ship behind, he started out into Fort Divin; whoever was in charge of those imbeciles needed to know what he had done.

* * * * *

By the time Felicity found the bridge, Falatarr was hunched over in his pilot's chair, pushing the ship to its limit and trying to work the navicomputer. Ryyk did his job. "Who are you?" he asked the girl. "And why were pirates chasing you?"

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Re: Star Wars: Curse of the Arcadia

Post by Pryde » Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:37 pm

Serenity had not been inside a ship like this before. The ship she sailed on was an older corvette used by the Confederacy of Independent Systems. A bit larger than this vessel with more crew. This ship looked to be a Trandoshan design, there were markings in Dosh everywhere though she couldn't read it. That could mean her savior was a Trandoshan. She'd met one or two in her lifetime though she didn't really care for their company. With all that talk about Jagganath points and hunting and killing she was afraid they might try to hunt her.

She shivered slightly as she made her way through the ship. She wasn't looking forward to meeting another Trandoshan and it came as a complete surprise when she didn't. Hunched over in the captain's chair was a Wookiee, not a Trandoshan, and beside him stood a protocol droid. The Wookiee was busy flying the ship so the protocol droid addressed her first.

"Who are you?" he asked the girl. "And why were pirates chasing you?"

"I don't know," she answered, "I might have taken something they wanted."

"Like what," the droid pressed.

Serenity shook her head. "That I'm not sure about, either.

She stepped forward and reached her hand out to the droid. "I'm Serenity," she said, "thank you for helping me."

**********

The mechanical tread of Killian's metal boot sounded as though it were a funeral march as he strolled down the vacated street. His men had gathered a group of survivors in the town square and were interrogating them. When they saw Killian approach a silence immediately washed over everyone.

Killian held out his hand and pressed a switch on the holoprojector he held in his palm. An image of a young wolf girl in mid sprint appeared above his hand and he tossed the device onto the ground. "Anyone who can tell me how to find this girl goes free. The rest...," his words trailed off leaving it to the prisoner's imaginations.

There was some quiet muttering among the prisoners but no one answered. Finally Killian had waited long enough. "Shoot them all," he said and then he turned and headed back down the street towards his ship as the sound of blasterfire filled the air.

Killian was about halfway across the square when his first mate fell into step beside him. "Captain, we may have a fix on where this girl went," he said, handing the captain a datapad. "It's called the Rrakktorr, it's registered to a Wookiee. Several of our men saw the girl board this ship just before it took off."

"A freighter," Killian mused quietly. A freighter would stand no chance against a gunship, especially with a lack of weaponry other than a chain gun on the bow of the ship. "Very well, order the men back to the ship. I want a pursuit course laid in on its last known trajectory. That girl has the compass and I want her found."

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Re: Star Wars: Curse of the Arcadia

Post by Archangel » Sat Jul 30, 2016 5:32 pm

Ryyk looked at the proffered hand and cocked his head to the side. He extended his own hand and placed it in hers; as a protocol droid, clasping her hand wasn't exactly a firm affair. "RQ-8. Call my Ryyk." He gestured at the Wookiee. "This is the Captain, Falatarr. Welcome aboard the Rrakktorr."

Falatarr grumbled.

"Yes, I'm getting to that," Ryyk chided him. The droid turned back to Serenity. "We don't want trouble with a bunch of pirates, though if what you took is of any real value, I'm sure they're on our tails already." He gestured to Falatarr again. "I know you don't trust us. We don't trust you. But we stuck our necks out for yours, and we're likely to get our heads bitten off for the trouble. So if you have any idea at all what they want from you, now's the time to confess it."

He shrugged. "You may not like our options if you can't--or won't--say."

* * * * *

The pirates were heading back for their ship. Tras'lahk had to act quickly. He knew where they were headed, so he made for their gunship. He milled about among the pirates, who were no longer eager to kill every sentient they encountered; orders were to get back to the ship, so that's what they were doing. The Trandoshan listened to their conversations as he waited for someone important to come by.

"Some freighter took her," one was saying. "I think it was a slaver ship."

"Nah," said another, "it was a smuggler ship."

"I thought it was a Trandoshan vessel."

"Yeah, but a Wookiee was flying. Wookiees aren't slavers."

Tras'lahk almost laughed. What a stroke of luck! The person the pirates wanted was on no other ship than the Rrakktorr. This might actually work out in his favor.

That was when he saw Captain Blood. Tras'lahk almost gave up on his plan with just one glance at the notorious cyborg pirate. Blood would kill him as soon as look at him. No wonder the gunship had attacked Fort Divin; only Blood would be crazy enough to burn bridges with his own kind. He would be persona non grata in pirate markets for years, at least, after this--but when he wanted something, he went after it, and damn anyone who stood in his way.

All the better that Tras'lahk wasn't planning on standing in his way, then.

The Trandoshan missed the irony of that thought as he stepped in front of the less-than-sanguine captain. He jumped right to his pitch, knowing that Blood would have no patience for pleasantries. "If you're after the Rrakktorr, you need my help. I've been hunting that Wookiee a long time, and his specialty is disappearing."

Another pirate next to Blood, probably a mate, said, "We can follow a Hyperspace trajectory. Now stand aside."

Tras'lahk ignored him. He spoke to Blood directly. "He won't stay on that trajectory long. He'll stop in an uninhabited system, then quick-jump again someplace else. When he finally does get to someplace civilized, where you can get mercs to attack him or torture the locals for information, he'll only stay a few hours and be gone again." The Trandoshan gestured to the Rylak. "No doubt that gunship is fast compared to the cruise liners and courier ships you normally raid, but the Rrakktorr's upgraded Hyperdrive will keep it one step ahead of you." He smiled toothily. "So don't follow. I know the Wookiee's haunts. I know where he'll hide. Let me come with you, and I'll get you there hours before he does. You can have his ship, his weapons, his cargo, his passengers--I just want the Wookiee."

He held a claw out to the captain, knowing it might be the last thing he ever did. "What do you say?"

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Re: Star Wars: Curse of the Arcadia

Post by Pryde » Sun Jul 31, 2016 3:35 pm

Captain Blood stared at the claw for a moment then nodded to two of his men. Both of them grabbed the Trandoshan by the arms and Blood punched him directly in the solar plexus. The Trandoshan doubled over and Blood grabbed him by the horn and held his head up. "First of all, you address me as Captain," he said, "and secondly, you have yourself an accord. Get him on board!"

He released the Trandoshan's head and spun around on his one good heel. Then he walked over to a nearby zipline, grabbed the rope with one hand and set his metal boot into a hook. Shortly after the zipline started to recoil, lifting him up towards the ship. Another man walked over to Tras'lahk as he was starting to recover from the Captain's blow. "Name's Khorde Thane, I'm the first mate. Welcome to the crew of the Rylak," he said, holding his hand out towards him.

**********

"Um, well I can't say, not really. It's just a guess," Serenity told them. She pulled the gyrocompass from her pocket and held it out for them. "My old captain gave this to me and told me to keep it safe. That was just before they started chasing me."

Ryyk looked at it. "What is it," he asked.

"I think it's a clue," she said, "Have you heard the legend of the Arcadia? A ship full of riches beyond imagining? I think this compass might lead us right to it."

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Re: Star Wars: Curse of the Arcadia

Post by Archangel » Sat Aug 06, 2016 11:17 pm

Tras'lahk groaned. He knew Blood's penchant for violence; he told himself that he was lucky to be alive at all. He took Thane's hand, shaking it vigorously as he straightened up. "Tras'lahk," he introduced himself. "Merssenary." He knew that introducing himself as a bounty hunter could spell trouble with a bunch of pirates. Common criminals had the tendency to see hunters as the Law, even when, like Tras'lahk, they avoided government contracts.

So instead, he would keep calling himself a mercenary, and his hunt for the Wookiee would remain a personal one. That, at least, was hardly a lie. "And a crewmate now, too, I guesss," he added.

* * * * *

Falatarr snorted.

Ryyk bowed slightly. "A delusional flight of fancy, I'm afraid, like the 'Force,' asteroid-dragons with hoards of platinum, or the silly notion that there's a big old research station at the center of the Maw with the formula for eternal life. It's a smuggler's tale, to keep that lusty look in your eye and that dreamy idealism in your heart: there's an entire pile of treasure just waiting for you to find it!"

Falatarr cocked his head and mumbled for a bit.

Ryyk glared at him. "You can't be serious." The captain gestured with a few more words. "I don't care if you recognized that ship; nothing lends credence to the legend of the Arcadia!" As if compelled by emotion, Ryyk pinched the broad bridge of his nose while Falatarr continued. "What does it matter if they think it's real? I would hardly call a man like Captain Blood reasonable or level-headed." The droid reared back a half-pace. "What do you mean, compared to me?" He spun to the girl. "Do I seem at all unreasonable to you?"

Falatarr held out a thick-furred hand. Ryyk fabricated a sigh. "He would like to examine the so-called 'clue' regarding the so-called 'legend' that will get us all so-really dead. He seems to think that, if we can find it first, we'll either be rich enough to disappear or have exactly the bargaining chip that could keep us alive." He turned a frosty, electronic glare on the Wookiee. "As if."

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Re: Star Wars: Curse of the Arcadia

Post by Pryde » Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:13 pm

Serenity hesitated a moment. She wasn't sure about handing them the compass, after all her captain had asked her to keep it safe. She stared at it in her hand a moment then slowly reached out to hand it to the Wookiee. She just hoped she wasn't making a huge mistake. As their hands neared each other a sudden shock leapt from the Wookiee's fingertips and into Serenity's hand. She yelped in surprise and accidentally dropped the compass. The small device fell several feet to the floor and then broke in two. Immediately afterward a small datacube fell out of the compass' casing and the three companions looked down at it.

It was several beats before Serenity reached down and picked up the cube then handed it to Falatarr. The Wookiee stared at it a moment and inserted it into the console in front of him. A holographic map appeared above their heads with a bright red X highlighting a planet several thousand light years away. The three just stared at it for awhile until finally Serenity was the first to speak.

"Sooo, do we still think the treasure isn't real," she asked.

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Re: Star Wars: Curse of the Arcadia

Post by Archangel » Mon Aug 22, 2016 9:06 am

Falatarr chortled. Ryyk straightened his shoulders and gave a very good approximation of harrumph! "I'll work with the navicomputer to get us a course," he said, ambling back to the rear console of the cockpit.

Before he reached it, Falatarr turned and grunted at him. He looked back at the Wookiee. "Oh. Of course." He faced Serenity. "If you'll follow me, miss, I'll get you situated with a place to sleep. The Captain thinks it would be a good idea to get some rest, in case there are surprises waiting for us at our destination." He led the way out; meanwhile, Falatarr started working with the ship's navicomputer.

When they had left the cockpit, Ryyk explained, "You'll have to forgive the Captain. He's not accustomed to dealing with passengers, and seeing as he can't speak Basic, he doesn't see the point in trying. 'That's what you're here for,' he tells me." He gestured to one of the crew quarters; it was sparsely furnished, but had a bunk and a chest for storing personal items. It had probably been the first mate's quarters, but since Ryyk didn't need any quarters and there were no other crew, the droid thought it most appropriate for the girl. "I'm afraid it's either this or the cargo bay."

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Re: Star Wars: Curse of the Arcadia

Post by Pryde » Wed Aug 24, 2016 9:22 pm

Serenity glanced around the room and smiled. "No, this will do," she said, "It's actually bigger than the room I used to have."

Her tail gently swished back and forth as she lightly sniffed the air. Mostly all she could smell was engine grease but she caught of whiff of Falatarr's scent, enough to know he'd been on this ship for awhile. There were other scents too, possibly belonging to other crew members. That's when a thought occurred to her and she looked back at Ryyk.

"So, how many crew members are on board," she asked.

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Re: Star Wars: Curse of the Arcadia

Post by Archangel » Sat Feb 04, 2017 8:38 pm

Ryyk titled his head. "That depends on whether or not I count as 'crew,'" he quipped. "The Captain runs the ship on his own. There's room for a co-pilot, which I mostly fulfill, and a gunner, which we rarely need." He glanced toward the cargo area of the vessel. "I suppose there is also room for passengers, but not exactly fine accommodations. The ship was designed with slavery in mind, after all."

Serenity looked shocked. "There's no other crew?"

"No." Ryyk paused. "Is that a problem?"

"Those pirates are almost a small army! How exactly are we supposed to fend them off and get the treasure with just the three of us?"

"I had not considered that." So Ryyk considered that. Then he activated his comlink. "Captain, I think it would be prudent to find additional crew members to aid us in this endeavor. If the treasure is real, it will more than pay the bills, and if it is false, we likely won't live long enough to be sent to collections." Grunting and yelling came through the comm. "We will use the utmost discretion about where we got our information, of course. Honorable mercenaries only, of course." A dull, inquisitive roar gave Ryyk more pause.

The droid turned to Serenity again. "I'm afraid I'm not terribly familiar with the galactic underground. Do you know where we might find honorable mercenaries who would ask few questions and will come with us on a task many would consider hunting shoal darters?"

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Re: Star Wars: Curse of the Arcadia

Post by Pryde » Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:47 pm

Serenity had no idea what a shoal darter was but she let that comment slide for now. In the meantime she was racking her brain trying to think of a place they could go next. If they hadn't already escaped from it she would have suggested Ord Antahala as a place where they could pick up crew. Many of her old crewmates frequented the cantinas there and would jump at an opportunity like this. Without that being an option, though, there was one other place they could go, but finding "honorable" mercenaries there wasn't exactly a guarantee.

"There's a station called Freepoint near Hutt space, the one that's built into an asteroid. Lots of--'free traders' frequent the place so maybe we could try there," she said and Ryyk was quick to note the hesitation in her voice at the mention of 'free traders'.

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Re: Star Wars: Curse of the Arcadia

Post by Archangel » Thu May 04, 2017 3:30 pm

The droid bowed his head a little in a hesitant nod. "I'm sure the Captain will not like what you mean, but beggars can't be choosers." He reactivated his comm. "Set a course for Freepoint Station." Falatarr growled something back. "Serenity assures me that we will find reputable help for reasonable prices there."

The tone in Falatarr's reply suggested he doubted that very much, but Ryyk turned off the comm before he finished grumbling. "He is getting us on our way posthaste."

* * * * *

Serenity's reservations turned out to be well-founded. Apart from being near Hutt Space--a hive of slavery and maltreatment if ever there were one--Freepoint Station made "scum and villainy" look nearly aristocratic. As they stepped off the ship onto the hangar deck in the spinning ovoid, Falatarr's grumbling reached new heights. Ryyk hesitated at the base of the ramp. He watched several creatures pass by; they eyed him and the ship hungrily.

"If you don't mind, Captain, I think I shall remain with the ship."

The droid turned back only to be caught by the shoulder. Falatarr growled at him. "Well, yes, I realize that most people don't understand your language. But perhaps I can relay translations over the comm system--" Falatarr snarled, cutting him short. "Yes, of course, Captain." The droid faced the station again and joined Falatarr and Serenity on the hangar deck. He watched forlornly as the ramp retreated into the Rrakktorr.

Falatarr gestured for Serenity and the droid to lead. Ryyk stepped out boldly, then immediately paused. He glanced at Serenity. "Where do you think we should go next? Surely there are many taverns and cantinas on a station like this..."

* * * * *

"Well, Dosh, where are we going first?"

Tras'lahk was not under guard, but he was sure every pirate on the bridge of the Rylak was armed well enough to kill him if he became a threat. He glanced at Thane, the first mate who had seemed genial enough, but he felt compelled to meet Blood's gaze. "One of the first places he always goes is Sullust. It's far from Hutt Space and far from the Core, and it offers a legitimate employer if he wants one. He'll hide out there for a few days, maybe a week. If we go now, we'll surely catch him before he moves on." He bowed his head. "If he's carrying someone, he'll probably let them go there; he prefers cargo to passengers."

Blood glared at him. "You let me worry about that. You're sure about Sullust?"

Tras'lahk nodded. He was, for better or worse. "A Wookiee stands out among those mouse-ears. He'll be easy to find."

Blood sneered. "And if he isn't?"

The Trandoshan swallowed hard. "I have some other ideas. He isn't entirely predictable." At his own risk, he doubled down. "But I'm confident this will be his first stop."

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