Smuggler’s Blues – Part 4

Boom.

She had only been on this thing for 15 minutes and already she had a headache 3 parsecs wide. The headache started at the metal covering where her left eye used to be and ran up over the top of her head where it hammered on the top of her skull with each step of the walker.

Boom.

Each step of the machine with the four story legs made her regret ever having graduated special forces training, let alone at the top of her class. And what was the deal with a walking machine anyway? In an era when plasma thrusters were powerful enough to move a small moon some bureaucratic hack on Coruscant, who had never seen action outside a simulator, thought building a giant machine that looked like a bantha would be intimidating.

Boom.

So here she was, sitting inside this machine waiting to be dumped out the back end like so much bantha pudu. To make matters worse the Zabrak sitting next to her had been staring at her for 14 of the last 15 minutes.

Boom.

Maev could see the Zabrak’s lieutenant insignia out of the corner of her eye – it was the only thing that kept her from breaking the tension with a plasteel covered fist straight to his tattooed nose. Just when her irritation reached near to the breaking point, Mr. “butterbar” Zabrak decided to break the silence…or what passed for it when you where sitting in a giant metal container with someone hammering on the outside.

“Cyborg?” said the Zabrak .

“Jackass.” Maev shot back.

“Sorry?” came the puzzled reply.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I thought we were making introductions…” and then after purposefully long pause she added in as poisonous tone as possible”…sir

Boom.

Whatever the Zabrak lieutenant replied, most of it was cut off by the sound of the walkers step.

“…sensitive” was all she caught.

“You want sensitive! I’ll give you sensitive butterbar. I am not a fricking cyborg. The only reason I have an eye implant is because I caught some shrapnel from a grenade someone tossed my way in the rioting that followed the treaty with the Sith.

Boom.

“Save it for the battlefield sergeant, said the Zabrak officer, all I said was that I am sorry to touch on a subject that Is so sensitive. In fact, even if you were a ‘borg it wouldn’t matter. You might have noticed that our medical officer over there happens to be a cyborg.

Boom.

The medical officer offered a distracted wave without looking up from his clip board.

“He’s Needles and they call me Fuse, said the Zabrak officer. If you save that anger for the battlefield you’ll be one of the best….”

BOOM!!!

The sound of an explosion rocked the walker, cutting off Fuse’s last words. Running across the compartment to the forward hatch, he flung it open revealing an opening to the countryside where the pilot’s cabin used to be.

“Where did the separatists get shoulder mounted missiles?!” Yelled the medic.

“How the frizz should I know? Snapped fuse. Obviously the separatists aren’t the mindless thugs we thought they were. Now it looks like they are mindless well armed thugs. Looks like it’s time for someone to go out there and do a little seeking and destroying or the separatists will take out all the other troop convoys that come after us. “

Then looking at Sergeant Maev, he added, “Let’s get out there and take out those troops and any missile launchers they have Sergeant. If we get separated we will meet up at Fort Garnick.”

*****

Tajqa circled around the edge of Drelliad Village, approaching it from the North, the circuitous route allowing her to avoid separatist gunfire. The sounds of the firefight continued to echo off the nearby hills as she approached the warehouse behind which she had docked her light freighter. The front door to the warehouse stood open conspicuously – not for any reason directly attributable to the door itself mind you, but more for the quite dead and very well armed body that served as a make shift doorstop. As Tajqa stepped over the body, it occurred to her that blaster rifle clutched in the hands of the dead separatist hadn’t done him very much good. She also wondered what happened to the proverbial “other guy” that had taken out the separatist with a well aimed shot to the head. The answer soon presented itself in the prone form of Corso Riggs, slumped against a control panel on the far side of the warehouse.

Scattered around the warehouse where nearly a half score bodies by way of a quick mental count. Still, this is not what drew Tajqa’s attention. Nor was it the absence of the man who identified himself as Skavak among the dead bodies. That unspoken question was easily answered in the silhouette of her spaceship fading into the distance against the night sky. As she stood there staring she heard a groan behind her.

“ Oh my head, “moaned Corso Riggs, “I feel like a gundark has been using my skull as a drum.”

Tajqa walked over to Corso and began kicking him. “Get up. Get up” she yelled.

“I am awake” Corso shouted back; and then instantly wished he hadn’t as the pain in his head intensified.

“I mean get your worthless posterior off the floor, said Tajqa, the steely tone of her voice making her seem all the more threatening. How could you let Skavak take off with my ship?”

“Skavic helped those separatists get in here. He stabbed us in the back.”

“No kidding, Tajqa shot back, that much I had figured out. Then she added, How can you not know he was working for the separatists?”

“The separatists broke through the front door. I started to fire back, but the Last thing I remember was Skavic sucker punching me.”

Suddenly a panic stricken look crossed Corso’s face as he reached for his empty holster.

“Where’s Torchy? Corso said looking around. I don’t believe this. Skavic stole my blaster. Torchy’s a genuine Blastech Dl-25 with magnetomic adhesion grip and side mounted range finder. She’s too good for Skavic.”

Tajqa backhanded Corso across the face with force that would have left and imprint on steel.

“What was that for?” shouted Corso.

“Skavak stole my ship, started Tajqa, my livelihood. What is more that ship was my home. And all you are worried about is your BLASTER?”

“We can’t let him get away with this,” Corso said quietly as he crossed over to a nearby holotransmitter.”

“ He’s not getting away with this” said Tajqa calmly.

“Come on. Come on. Pick up blast you,” said Corso has he set the holotransmiter controls to Tajqa’s freighter and hit transmit.

A translucent miniature image of Skavak flickered into life above the lens of the holotransmitter. It seem to sneer at the pair of them before it spoke.

“What’s the matter Corso did I hurt your feelings? Be thankful you’re alive kid. And captain, there you are…On behalf of Ord Mantell’s glorious freedom fighters I thank you for your blasters, your ship, and a big laugh. Have a nice day.”

Corso cut in, staring fiercely at the transmitter while he spoke to Tajqa.

“Skavic and I were working for a guy named Vidu. When he finds out that Skavic is a separatist he will want revenge just like you. Do yourself a favor and go talk to Vidu at Fort Garnick. I’ll guarantee he will help you get your ship back.”

“ And what’s Vidu’s plan, said Skavak with a snort, “Walk around Ord Mantell yelling ‘Skavak’ and hope he finds me?”

Corso got even more irritated at the taunt.

“Vidu is the king of cargo, he shouted at the image of Skavak. There isn’t a payload that comes to Ord Mantell that doesn’t come through him. He’s a smart guy with connections everywhere. If anybody can find you…”

Tajqa interrupted Corso’s rant with a wave of her hand.

With that Taqa reached into her flight jacket and pulled out a small hand held device. To the sound of Skavak’s laughter she plugged it into the holotransmitter. The controls on the device immediately lit up, and numbers started counting down from 500. She turned some dials and the numbers quickly reset themselves to zeros across the dial.

“I think you are celebrating a bit too early” Tajqa said, smiling at the image of Skavak.

The image of Skavak laughed all the louder, but was suddenly cut off when Tajqa pressed a button at the bottom of the device. A brilliant flash of light illuminated the sky where the silhouette of Tajqa’s ship was fading into the distance moments earlier. An instant later what sounded like distant thunder reached their ears. Tajqa just looked at Corso and smiled. Then quietly she said…

“He was celebrating too early”

Boom.

She had only been on this thing for 15 minutes and already she had a headache 3 parsecs wide. The headache started at the metal covering where her left eye used to be and ran up over the top of her head where it hammered on the top of her skull with each step of the walker.

Boom.

Each step of the machine with the four story legs made her regret ever having graduated special forces training, let alone at the top of her class. And what was the deal with a walking machine anyway? In an era when plasma thrusters were powerful enough to move a small moon some bureaucratic hack on Coruscant, who had never seen action outside a simulator, thought building a giant machine that looked like a bantha would be intimidating.

Boom.

So here she was, sitting inside this machine waiting to be dumped out the back end like so much bantha pudu. To make matters worse the Zabrak sitting next to her had been staring at her for 14 of the last 15 minutes.

Boom.

Maev could see the Zabrak’s lieutenant insignia out of the corner of her eye – it was the only thing that kept her from breaking the tension with a plasteel covered fist straight to his tattooed nose. Just when her irritation reached near to the breaking point, Mr. “butterbar” Zabrak decided to break the silence…or what passed for it when you where sitting in a giant metal container with someone hammering on the outside.

“Cyborg?” said the Zabrak .

“Jackass.” Maev shot back.

“Sorry?” came the puzzled reply.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I thought we were making introductions…” and then after purposefully long pause she added in as poisonous tone as possible”…sir

Boom.

Whatever the Zabrak lieutenant replied, most of it was cut off by the sound of the walkers step.

“…sensitive” was all she caught.

“You want sensitive! I’ll give you sensitive butterbar. I am not a fricking cyborg. The only reason I have an eye implant is because I caught some shrapnel from a grenade someone tossed my way in the rioting that followed the treaty with the Sith.

Boom.

“Save it for the battlefield sergeant, said the Zabrak officer, all I said was that I am sorry to touch on a subject that Is so sensitive. In fact, even if you were a ‘borg it wouldn’t matter. You might have noticed that our medical officer over there happens to be a cyborg.

Boom.

The medical officer offered a distracted wave without looking up from his clip board.

“He’s Needles and they call me Fuse, said the Zabrak officer. If you save that anger for the battlefield you’ll be one of the best….”

BOOM!!!

The sound of an explosion rocked the walker, cutting off Fuse’s last words. Running across the compartment to the forward hatch, he flung it open revealing an opening to the countryside where the pilot’s cabin used to be.

“Where did the separatists get shoulder mounted missiles?!” Yelled the medic.

“How the frizz should I know? Snapped fuse. Obviously the separatists aren’t the mindless thugs we thought they were. Now it looks like they are mindless well armed thugs. Looks like it’s time for someone to go out there and do a little seeking and destroying or the separatists will take out all the other troop convoys that come after us. “

Then looking at Sergeant Maev, he added, “Let’s get out there and take out those troops and any missile launchers they have Sergeant. If we get separated we will meet up at Fort Garnick.”

*****

Tajqa circled around the edge of Drelliad Village, approaching it from the North, the circuitous route allowing her to avoid separatist gunfire. The sounds of the firefight continued to echo off the nearby hills as she approached the warehouse behind which she had docked her light freighter. The front door to the warehouse stood open conspicuously – not for any reason directly attributable to the door itself mind you, but more for the quite dead and very well armed body that served as a make shift doorstop. As Tajqa stepped over the body, it occurred to her that blaster rifle clutched in the hands of the dead separatist hadn’t done him very much good. She also wondered what happened to the proverbial “other guy” that had taken out the separatist with a well aimed shot to the head. The answer soon presented itself in the prone form of Corso Riggs, slumped against a control panel on the far side of the warehouse.

Scattered around the warehouse where nearly a half score bodies by way of a quick mental count. Still, this is not what drew Tajqa’s attention. Nor was it the absence of the man who identified himself as Skavak among the dead bodies. That unspoken question was easily answered in the silhouette of her spaceship fading into the distance against the night sky. As she stood there staring she heard a groan behind her.

“ Oh my head, “moaned Corso Riggs, “I feel like a gundark has been using my skull as a drum.”

Tajqa walked over to Corso and began kicking him. “Get up. Get up” she yelled.

“I am awake” Corso shouted back; and then instantly wished he hadn’t as the pain in his head intensified.

“I mean get your worthless posterior off the floor, said Tajqa, the steely tone of her voice making her seem all the more threatening. How could you let Skavak take off with my ship?”

“Skavic helped those separatists get in here. He stabbed us in the back.”

“No kidding, Tajqa shot back, that much I had figured out. Then she added, How can you not know he was working for the separatists?”

“The separatists broke through the front door. I started to fire back, but the Last thing I remember was Skavic sucker punching me.”

Suddenly a panic stricken look crossed Corso’s face as he reached for his empty holster.

“Where’s Torchy? Corso said looking around. I don’t believe this. Skavic stole my blaster. Torchy’s a genuine Blastech Dl-25 with magnetomic adhesion grip and side mounted range finder. She’s too good for Skavic.”

Tajqa backhanded Corso across the face with force that would have left and imprint on steel.

“What was that for?” shouted Corso.

“Skavak stole my ship, started Tajqa, my livelihood. What is more that ship was my home. And all you are worried about is your BLASTER?”

“We can’t let him get away with this,” Corso said quietly as he crossed over to a nearby holotransmitter.”

“ He’s not getting away with this” said Tajqa calmly.

“Come on. Come on. Pick up blast you,” said Corso has he set the holotransmiter controls to Tajqa’s freighter and hit transmit.

A translucent miniature image of Skavak flickered into life above the lens of the holotransmitter. It seem to sneer at the pair of them before it spoke.

“What’s the matter Corso did I hurt your feelings? Be thankful you’re alive kid. And captain, there you are…On behalf of Ord Mantell’s glorious freedom fighters I thank you for your blasters, your ship, and a big laugh. Have a nice day.”

Corso cut in, staring fiercely at the transmitter while he spoke to Tajqa.

“Skavic and I were working for a guy named Vidu. When he finds out that Skavic is a separatist he will want revenge just like you. Do yourself a favor and go talk to Vidu at Fort Garnick. I’ll guarantee he will help you get your ship back.”

“ And what’s Vidu’s plan, said Skavak with a snort, “Walk around Ord Mantell yelling ‘Skavak’ and hope he finds me?”

Corso got even more irritated at the taunt.

“Vidu is the king of cargo, he shouted at the image of Skavak. There isn’t a payload that comes to Ord Mantell that doesn’t come through him. He’s a smart guy with connections everywhere. If anybody can find you…”

Tajqa interrupted Corso’s rant with a wave of her hand.

With that Taqa reached into her flight jacket and pulled out a small hand held device. To the sound of Skavak’s laughter she plugged it into the holotransmitter. The controls on the device immediately lit up, and numbers started counting down from 500. She turned some dials and the numbers quickly reset themselves to zeros across the dial.

“I think you are celebrating a bit too early” Tajqa said, smiling at the image of Skavak.

The image of Skavak laughed all the louder, but was suddenly cut off when Tajqa pressed a button at the bottom of the device. A brilliant flash of light illuminated the sky where the silhouette of Tajqa’s ship was fading into the distance moments earlier. An instant later what sounded like distant thunder reached their ears. Tajqa just looked at Corso and smiled. Then quietly she said…

“He was celebrating too early”

Boom.

She had only been on this thing for 15 minutes and already she had a headache 3 parsecs wide. The headache started at the metal covering where her left eye used to be and ran up over the top of her head where it hammered on the top of her skull with each step of the walker.

Boom.

Each step of the machine with the four story legs made her regret ever having graduated special forces training, let alone at the top of her class. And what was the deal with a walking machine anyway? In an era when plasma thrusters were powerful enough to move a small moon some bureaucratic hack on Coruscant, who had never seen action outside a simulator, thought building a giant machine that looked like a bantha would be intimidating.

Boom.

So here she was, sitting inside this machine waiting to be dumped out the back end like so much bantha pudu. To make matters worse the Zabrak sitting next to her had been staring at her for 14 of the last 15 minutes.

Boom.

Maev could see the Zabrak’s lieutenant insignia out of the corner of her eye – it was the only thing that kept her from breaking the tension with a plasteel covered fist straight to his tattooed nose. Just when her irritation reached near to the breaking point, Mr. “butterbar” Zabrak decided to break the silence…or what passed for it when you where sitting in a giant metal container with someone hammering on the outside.

“Cyborg?” said the Zabrak .

“Jackass.” Maev shot back.

“Sorry?” came the puzzled reply.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I thought we were making introductions…” and then after purposefully long pause she added in as poisonous tone as possible”…sir

Boom.

Whatever the Zabrak lieutenant replied, most of it was cut off by the sound of the walkers step.

“…sensitive” was all she caught.

“You want sensitive! I’ll give you sensitive butterbar. I am not a fricking cyborg. The only reason I have an eye implant is because I caught some shrapnel from a grenade someone tossed my way in the rioting that followed the treaty with the Sith.

Boom.

“Save it for the battlefield sergeant, said the Zabrak officer, all I said was that I am sorry to touch on a subject that Is so sensitive. In fact, even if you were a ‘borg it wouldn’t matter. You might have noticed that our medical officer over there happens to be a cyborg.

Boom.

The medical officer offered a distracted wave without looking up from his clip board.

“He’s Needles and they call me Fuse, said the Zabrak officer. If you save that anger for the battlefield you’ll be one of the best….”

BOOM!!!

The sound of an explosion rocked the walker, cutting off Fuse’s last words. Running across the compartment to the forward hatch, he flung it open revealing an opening to the countryside where the pilot’s cabin used to be.

“Where did the separatists get shoulder mounted missiles?!” Yelled the medic.

“How the frizz should I know? Snapped fuse. Obviously the separatists aren’t the mindless thugs we thought they were. Now it looks like they are mindless well armed thugs. Looks like it’s time for someone to go out there and do a little seeking and destroying or the separatists will take out all the other troop convoys that come after us. “

Then looking at Sergeant Maev, he added, “Let’s get out there and take out those troops and any missile launchers they have Sergeant. If we get separated we will meet up at Fort Garnick.”

*****

Tajqa circled around the edge of Drelliad Village, approaching it from the North, the circuitous route allowing her to avoid separatist gunfire. The sounds of the firefight continued to echo off the nearby hills as she approached the warehouse behind which she had docked her light freighter. The front door to the warehouse stood open conspicuously – not for any reason directly attributable to the door itself mind you, but more for the quite dead and very well armed body that served as a make shift doorstop. As Tajqa stepped over the body, it occurred to her that blaster rifle clutched in the hands of the dead separatist hadn’t done him very much good. She also wondered what happened to the proverbial “other guy” that had taken out the separatist with a well aimed shot to the head. The answer soon presented itself in the prone form of Corso Riggs, slumped against a control panel on the far side of the warehouse.

Scattered around the warehouse where nearly a half score bodies by way of a quick mental count. Still, this is not what drew Tajqa’s attention. Nor was it the absence of the man who identified himself as Skavak among the dead bodies. That unspoken question was easily answered in the silhouette of her spaceship fading into the distance against the night sky. As she stood there staring she heard a groan behind her.

“ Oh my head, “moaned Corso Riggs, “I feel like a gundark has been using my skull as a drum.”

Tajqa walked over to Corso and began kicking him. “Get up. Get up” she yelled.

“I am awake” Corso shouted back; and then instantly wished he hadn’t as the pain in his head intensified.

“I mean get your worthless posterior off the floor, said Tajqa, the steely tone of her voice making her seem all the more threatening. How could you let Skavak take off with my ship?”

“Skavic helped those separatists get in here. He stabbed us in the back.”

“No kidding, Tajqa shot back, that much I had figured out. Then she added, How can you not know he was working for the separatists?”

“The separatists broke through the front door. I started to fire back, but the Last thing I remember was Skavic sucker punching me.”

Suddenly a panic stricken look crossed Corso’s face as he reached for his empty holster.

“Where’s Torchy? Corso said looking around. I don’t believe this. Skavic stole my blaster. Torchy’s a genuine Blastech Dl-25 with magnetomic adhesion grip and side mounted range finder. She’s too good for Skavic.”

Tajqa backhanded Corso across the face with force that would have left and imprint on steel.

“What was that for?” shouted Corso.

“Skavak stole my ship, started Tajqa, my livelihood. What is more that ship was my home. And all you are worried about is your BLASTER?”

“We can’t let him get away with this,” Corso said quietly as he crossed over to a nearby holotransmitter.”

“ He’s not getting away with this” said Tajqa calmly.

“Come on. Come on. Pick up blast you,” said Corso has he set the holotransmiter controls to Tajqa’s freighter and hit transmit.

A translucent miniature image of Skavak flickered into life above the lens of the holotransmitter. It seem to sneer at the pair of them before it spoke.

“What’s the matter Corso did I hurt your feelings? Be thankful you’re alive kid. And captain, there you are…On behalf of Ord Mantell’s glorious freedom fighters I thank you for your blasters, your ship, and a big laugh. Have a nice day.”

Corso cut in, staring fiercely at the transmitter while he spoke to Tajqa.

“Skavic and I were working for a guy named Vidu. When he finds out that Skavic is a separatist he will want revenge just like you. Do yourself a favor and go talk to Vidu at Fort Garnick. I’ll guarantee he will help you get your ship back.”

“ And what’s Vidu’s plan, said Skavak with a snort, “Walk around Ord Mantell yelling ‘Skavak’ and hope he finds me?”

Corso got even more irritated at the taunt.

“Vidu is the king of cargo, he shouted at the image of Skavak. There isn’t a payload that comes to Ord Mantell that doesn’t come through him. He’s a smart guy with connections everywhere. If anybody can find you…”

Tajqa interrupted Corso’s rant with a wave of her hand.

With that Taqa reached into her flight jacket and pulled out a small hand held device. To the sound of Skavak’s laughter she plugged it into the holotransmitter. The controls on the device immediately lit up, and numbers started counting down from 500. She turned some dials and the numbers quickly reset themselves to zeros across the dial.

“I think you are celebrating a bit too early” Tajqa said, smiling at the image of Skavak.

The image of Skavak laughed all the louder, but was suddenly cut off when Tajqa pressed a button at the bottom of the device. A brilliant flash of light illuminated the sky where the silhouette of Tajqa’s ship was fading into the distance moments earlier. An instant later what sounded like distant thunder reached their ears. Tajqa just looked at Corso and smiled. Then quietly she said…

“He was celebrating too early”

About Julie Whitefeather

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