The trip to Russan is rejuvenating for the most part, but I may have mixed too much “spice” into my tea. I feel quite cool underneath my fur, yet I find myself sweating. At one point I hear technician Manco’s singing voice echoing through the ship – he does not sing… does he? I open my door to check, but now all I hear is the hum of the Gambit.
Yes – definitely some odd side effects with this brew. And it certainly lingers, because the next thing I know I am at a bar with my crew fighting a couple of Swoop Gang members! It is over pretty quickly and we run off with their jackets. This has to be a dream. We flee the scene in a speeder while Urgle steals one of the Swoop Gang bikes.
I take a moment to collect my thoughts – we have indeed already landed on Russan, and our plan to infiltrate the Krayt Dragons headquarters is already in motion. Urgle’s brother Kyfer is very likely at this location, but Urgle cannot show his face after what happened on Inercia – thus the stolen Swoop Gang jackets. A moment’s rest back at the ship, technician Manco and Urgle modify the emblems on the jackets slightly to look less suspicious, and we are off to find the headquarters.
We can hear the ruckus well before arriving at the compound, it appears there is a big gathering of Swoop Gang members here tonight – there are roughly twenty to thirty swoop bikes parked outside the bar area alone. Friend Vrinko and technician Manco head off to scout out the public section of the bar, and hand me and pilot Tyr the Swoop Gang jackets – I do not like where this is going.
While we wait in the speeder I sense Urgle is quite nervous, almost as nervous as I am. At least pilot Tyr appears to have a cool calm about him, occasionally playing with his concealed blaster, which only makes me more anxious. I jump as friend Vrinko’s voice over the comlink interrupting the silence – he claims to have felt Kyfer’s presence in one of the levels above the bar. Urgle mumbles something incoherently as pilot Tyr and myself put on the jackets and head off toward the private section of the bar.
As we approach the building the music, voices, yelling, screaming, it all gets louder – and as if to compensate, my heartbeat too begins to thump louder and faster. If it were not for pilot Tyr leading the way I would surely have turned around by now. Confident in his stride he marches straight into the bar – what choice do I have now, but to follow.
The attack on my senses as I walk into the bar is relentless. I am bombarded with a stream of loud noise that sinks even my heartbeat, there is something in the air that certainly does not agree with my eyes, and there is not a single pleasant smell that I can identify – and those I can identify, I’d rather not.
What am I doing here?
Is this a dream? I shall not brew that same tea ever again.
The skin beneath my fur begins to feel cool again, and the sweating returns. My eyes can no longer focus on anything, the screams from all around me are affecting my balance, and I begin to feel eyes following me. I stand paralyzed here in the middle of a bar full of criminals, my feet unable to move – more people starting to notice the strange Wookie in the room. This is no dream – this is a nightmare. Somebody bumps into me and stops, I cannot bring myself to look at them. I turn my gaze upward across the room, and notice an object hanging on the wall directly in front of me – my eyes allow me to focus, it is a skull of a Krayt Dragon.
Pilot Tyr is somewhere here, technician Manco and friend Vrinko too. I cannot allow our mission to be compromised. Furthermore, I do not want my skull up on the wall next to the dragon. The person who bumped into me is now yelling, I ignore him and keep my eyes on the Krayt Dragon skull. I straighten my poise as I take a deep breath, raise my arms high into the air and begin to clap in the direction of the dragon trophy. What I thought not possible; the bar suddenly doubles in loudness as the crowd cheers along with me to celebrate their dead idol – everyone in the room now has their hands in the air in applause. Everyone except, hopefully, pilot Tyr.
Anxiousness escapes me for the moment, and I do my best to accept the drunken admiration and alcohol offered by a group of devout Swoop Gang members. With a bit of an effort, and after a few drinks, I find myself a place to rest in a corner seat of the room. There is some chatter over the comlink, it appears pilot Tyr has successfully made contact with Kyfer. I find myself distracted however by a decorated Hutt who made a welcoming entrance into the bar, and while I am pleased to have some of the bar’s attention redirected from me, I find this new gang member strangely suspicious.
It is at that moment I see pilot Tyr exit the bar, and I wait a few minutes before standing to leave myself. As I am about to pass through the exit I catch a glimpse of the Hutt looking at me – I do my best to conceal the shiver that passes through my spine. I wonder if he saw the commotion I started back inside the bar, or whether he was eyeing me as I sat in the corner. What if he came out for that very purpose, to get a closer look? What if… he knows who I am, and who I am with? No… surely he could not. I zig zag around the parking lot in hopes of baffling any followers I may have, before finally heading back to the speeder.
As we drive off, the crew informs me that our mission was a success, and that we are heading to a safer location to meet and talk with Kyfer. Urgle still appears nervous as he was earlier, but also a little more excited. We arrive at a dining bar called The Floater, friend Vrinko suggests we go in separately to avoid walking into a trap together – I tend to agree. Fortunately there does not appear to be an immediate threat inside the establishment, and I find myself once again sitting alone in a corner watching my crew members scattered around the room, trying not to look suspicious.
Eventually a Nautolan enters and sits with pilot Tyr and Urgle, the embrace between the new stranger and Urgle suggests to me that this is indeed his brother Kyfer. Things seem to be going smoothly at their table, while friend Vrinko and technician Manco appear to be doing a good job of remaining inconspicuous at theirs.
I wonder, what they would have done if I had been made back at the Krypt Dragon headquarters. I would never even think to divulge any of my crew’s identity to my capturers, and if any one of them would have gotten into trouble, I would have jumped to their side without a moment of hesitation. But would they have done the same for me?
When the time comes… will they do the same for me?