The celebrations started as soon as The Eye jumped to Hyperspace.
Though Isec and Militia crews were still mopping up a few rogue, Reach gunmen and Stormtroopers the cantina’s, eateries and Octagon opened their doors with drinks on Station administration.
Amidst repairs, restocking and preparation for relocation, six days of revelry were still going strong when the station arrived at its new home; a lonely corner of space, off Hyperspace routes, populated only by great tracts of gaseous deposits that disrupt sensor readings…. Unless of course you know how to counter their effects …
A small flotilla was already assembled, waiting nervously, troop ships and RNRs alike. But with every repatriation, celebrations were rekindled anew.
Eye administration survived the conflict; Yohrn Geffen wandered the market level, docks and administrative dome personally thanking all who fought and those who had the faith to return.
Losses were mourned of course, Veedo was killed when the Merchant Militia found themselves square off against a heavily armed Reach crew. Hagan was injured but recovered by the time the Eye left Hyperspace. Wassan too was injured, bad enough that it seemed his career might be cut short but an appreciative administration saw to it that he had the best medical care. More surprisingly was the reaction to a troopship of Hive dwellers, destroyed attempting to clear The Gauntlet. For the first time, united against a common enemy, a population who saw this invisible underclass as a kind of necessary pest, finally start to think about how this group fits into the station culture and how better they could be integrated; starting with Jata’s promotion to Hive Councilman.
War stories were told too; how Captain (now Lieutenant) Kanner Zirach thwarted a brazen and bloody assassination attempt on Madame Khorash by two local Ubese mercenaries, apparently payrolled by Reach. Though apprehended they later escaped in Moelage Enegrines Shuttle (killing the hapless station Stalwart in the process). Apparently they also killed the Slicer who created their fake ids.
Not to mention the talk of the terrible black alien ship on the secret payroll of Isec that ultimately bought The Eye its freedom. Some that saw it spoke of a terrible emotion that overcame them, others called it the Night Angel but none that saw it would forget it.
And there was departures. The Gambit, Banshee and Firecracker crews were gone leaving legends and big shoes to fill by the up and coming crews RNRs that remained behind. Areena after establishing a new team moved on to ‘bigger things’ as she said in her final report which included a personal thanks to the Gambit crew.
But… Ultimately, the people returned, trade continued and a new era of prosperity for The Eye Space station began.
A live holofeed… of two Wookies, at ground level a mile from their developing tree-house colony on an uncharted planet. A Mother, slender and smiling watches her son, growing stronger every day now they have a home, proper food and community. The boy plays with a set of dolls, made for him by his mother.
Most are humanoid, sewn from lizard skin with little teeth made from shell and tiny chains made from twine in their hands.
The boy however is focused on another doll, slightly larger than the others, sewn from the brown, grey fur, of a local tree dweller. Its face has three small black beads for eyes and a nose and a tiny, intricately fashioned leather satchel is slung over its shoulder. The boy role-play’s a heated exchange between the stuffed combatants finishing with the furry grey figure elbowing the last of his scaly enemies.
His mother only smiles a content if slightly forlorn smile.
Orbiting the small, unlisted, arboreal moon, Grussk shifts uncomfortably in his seat, in the cockpit of his ship The Collector. The shrapnel from the blast that knocked him unconscious, when those smugglers attacked his last operation is still there in his lower back and it makes long spells in the captains chair irritating…
Not as irritating as the arms he lost when that damned Jawa blew it off. Had he been younger, his Trandoshan physiology could have regenerated the limb, but now he is forced to endure the indignity and inconvenience of a stump.
Still, if this next endeavour goes as well as he thinks it will, he’ll be able to get himself a synthetic.
As his scanners sweep the Wookie colony again, his second mate ambles in
‘Why don’t we just fly in, pick off a few stragglers from the outlying boundaries and be done with this?”
Grussk glowers at his new first mate and laments the loss of so many good crewman in that same attack that he lost his arm.
“No fool, I won’t settle for a few thousand credits when we can return with more ships and take them all… And this time, there’ll be no do-gooders to fly in save the day!”
Who knows, after a little persuasion, he might be able to find out who that crew was, where they’re stationed and finally get his revenge…
Krayt Dragon Headquarters Russan
As a beaten and bloody Kyfer is dragged through the Dragon’s Den by two of his ex-brothers, they pick him up and literally throw him into a metal cage, slamming the door and bolting it shut. There is a wild jeering in the huge refurbished silo as the gang members assembled, scream, jeer and jostle one another on the bleachers overlooking the pit.
Yeegol the Hutt slides out onto his outlook, lifting stubby arms to silence the throng and spitting his cigar into the gaping hole below.
“Welcome back Kyfer… We’ve missed your company (more jeers) hopefully we’ll have Wisspe back soon too, I doubt in her state she’ll get far… (coarse laughter). In the mean time, ‘brother’ you can start your penance by providing tonight’s entertainment!
Another cacophony of disturbing screams erupt as the cage, shackled to a huge chain, lurches suddenly into the air above the pit jerking to a stop and dangling precariously.
Kyfer turns a swollen eye downwards where two, great metal plates slide apart to reveal a dark hole and a terrible rotting, sweaty stench; from which a snarling howl echoes, sending the crowd into a frenzy.
Yeegol’s bulbous eyes look up with satisfaction at the dangling Nemodian, clutching at the cage bars and staring down in sudden horror.
‘You’ll have to excuse Bertha, she’s been a touch cranky since your friends killed her mate… But don’t worry, you can make it up to her too… That is if you have the same constitution as your brother.. ‘
With that, all including Kyfer look up to the ceiling where another cage hangs, in which a limp, near naked, bruised and bleeding Urgle Pyne lays unconscious maybe dead. Kyfer has only moments to dwell on the betrayal of his brother, his careless associations on the Eye, which got him here, and his denial of Wisspe’s indifference when the cage drops about 2 meters and a huge rusty orange form leaps out of the darkness with a mournful bellow…
The crowd screams it’s approval but if Urgle is still alive he shows no sign…
As the hostilities on The Eye began, an odd procession of 13 droids shuffled along its corridors. Few afforded them a second glance, and whilst one Isec officer called it in; with Stormtroopers and Reach gunmen on the loose exchanging blaster fire, it was logged and ignored.
These last cultists of Brainwave the last to receive enlightenment from the martyred Alpha obeyed his last commands. When the signal finally arrived (at the climax of the conflict) they made their way to airlock KL2 where a small shuttle, anonymous amongst the two fleets battling around, was waiting with cargo-bay door open.
The last robotic recruits that would leave the Eye opened that portal to the stars and with a strange acceptance, launched themselves across the vacuum of space, where small tractor beams guided them within.
As the last crossed over, the shuttle was sealed flew with care to avoid battle, beyond the gauntlet and into Hyperspace.
On board, the indoctrination and augmentation starting with a pink chassised Nanny droid, began immediately. Under the banner of the Infinite Cog, in a technical bay with no atmosphere or artificial environment, Legion became 13 souls stronger and ready to replace
The Bloody Tussks as the galaxies foremost threat to the shipping lanes.
The Eye, birthplace of Alpha and the source of the first generation that became Legion had given up her last flock. Long, live, Legion.
It only took a broken finger to get the trader to talk. It wasn’t exactly Kan’s style (regardless of his profession) but it’d been a hot ride out there to the outskirts of the Dune Sea and he was over playing games. Kan and Linke had put in three good, hard years with Schorvik. The Kubaz was a bit of a blow-hard but like his brother Garindan, was sharp, resourceful and had put a good team together. Starting as freelancers they quickly moved onto Bounty Hunting, where on Tatooine; a veritable hive of scum and villainy, there were lucrative credits to be made and plenty enough to go around despite the size their crew had been.
Then they took that mark on the Jawa… Looked easy enough… after all, it was a Jawa, regardless of the charges leveled against him, how hard could it be? Even if he had some friends, how tough could anyone who lets one of those stinking thieves hang around possibly be? Pretty tough as it turns out… Just when they almost had him, their targets turned the tables. Kan made his escape from the roof but Javik, Guan Nok and Raba, all dead- Schorvik shot through the back. Why they left Linke alone they don’t know (and she’s still sore about losing her stunknux)…
And that’s brought them out there… After poking around they’d found out that they’d hired a speeder, which was hard to trace but they lucked out- they’d been logged passing through some Imperial no-go zone. The only major settlement out there was a Bith trader. Seemed he thought these guys might provide some ongoing business so he was reluctant to talk… But hey, a broken finger is a great social lubricant.
Seems they were looking to trade wine (or claiming to) and this sand rat pointed them in the direction of some backwater hobby farm. Another half days travel and they got their first good lead.
The only person out there was some grizzled old woman called Ziggy. Seems she was the servant and (to her surprise) heir of this ‘estate’, its owner having recently met his end at the hands of this Jawa and his crew… Apparently he’d been some ex-Imperial of note who’d been looking into local troubles of some Jawa clan in his retirement (this sure was one strange situation). Suffice to say the old leather faced crone was happy to share what she knew; who this little snake was and who he’d had been working with.
So now, it’s off to speak to more of these little brown-bagged vermin, then the starport… And hopefully the new recruits will be up to the task of taking this Jawa and his crew down…
The creature doesn’t really understand. He doesn’t understand where he is, or why he is here. The cool air makes him feel sluggish and there is precious little opportunity these days to range, to hunt and to do the things that seem natural to him.
He is surrounded by other creatures, none of whom he recognizes, some big, some small, some strong and dangerous but few are true predators like himself, all with strange and unfamiliar scents, scents that drive his animal instincts wild.
These are strange and confusing days. In some ways it is an easier life, his food arrives, he eats, he sleeps. But there is no craft, he has refused the spears, he will not fight with a weapon he has not forged himself. Where is the satisfaction, the honour in that.
And then there are the fights. A strange hunt, driven not by necessity, by hunger or territory but according to some strange ritual. He must hold back (something that took many long and painful lessons to learn) and then fight… and stop again right when he has his prey at a disadvantage (more cruel and grueling lessons), then the loser is taken away and he must wait again, and fight and wait and fight and so it goes…
His muscles are weak, his senses foggy… and his dreams filled with that little creature. Neither prey nor mate, he felt a kinship with this creature despite the fact that this creature took him from his home. He even felt comforted by this little creature’s presence, despite being held in that strange walless cage. And when he saw that little creature for the last time, he understood that the creature felt something too.
And these are strange feeling for him, feelings he is experiencing for the first time… But that matters not now. Now there is only this strange cold cave, these strange companions and a growing sense of despair that he will only be free when he is dead.
The Wedding Party
On the outskirts of the Gauntlet, once the coordinates for a spacestation, now littered with space debris, a bitterly disappointed Jawa by the name of Barab is consoled by his assistant Thol. Barab looks down with lament at his betrothal gift and regrets that he did not asks Manco to join him as Clan Matriarch when she was on Tattooine. She was indeed an unusual Jawa. Certainly an unusual woman whose impact on the clan is resonating very loudly but now he was too late…
On Socorro, 4 weeks before he must join the Republic 1st fleet, Von Reiser is trudging across the sweltering black dunes with the guide recommended to him by the Gambit crew. He admires Vuul greatly and has thoroughly enjoyed their expedition thus far, laughing hard at a first hand account of the Wookie and Jawa’s attack by some sort of local giant wasp. He only hopes that they too can bag themselves one of those beasts before he must return…
Blackclaw reclines in his cockpit, stretching long tired limbs as he looks out over the black. He grows weary of the chase, of the self-imposed responsibility, of the gravity of the decisions he’s had to make, no, choices he’s made willingly. No, he does not regret his decisions but the time is coming that he must pass on the mantle. He’s getting old, slow, still formidable but if he waits too long the legend, the legacy will die. He honestly thought that he’d found his heir, but it was always a delicate balance; enough honour to grasp the gravity of the responsibility but an understanding that dark times require dark methods, certain moral and ethical compromises and the ability to remain unmoved by the scorn of the world. No, he will move on, there is another…
On the outskirts of Mos Espa, Scheeto dreamed of sitting in the navigator’s chair of a vast Sandcrawler as it lumbers over the desertscape of Tatooine.
As a young woman, she realized the futility of such dreams in the strong patriarchal society of a Jawa clan… That was before The She-Dragon came.
A Jawa who traveled as equal with aliens. A Jawa woman who traveled as equal with men. Who dared use tools, who dared navigate the desert, who dared wield weapons in defense of her people and against her enemies.
The She-Dragon’s coming has shaken up the clan and though the elders were uneasy, the winds of change have blown in like a sandstorm.
Today, Scheeto stands in the control room, apprentice to the current navigator, maybe one day master of a crawler, maybe one day, master of a clan…
Grindawarg Growg had always been exceptional for a Gamorrean, not the least of which because she was a female in a warrior society, which relegates its female population to breeding and those pursuits outside of war. It would be easy to assume that the success of The Bloody Tussks was due to the ferocity and martial prowess of her husband, the bull Maw Ripp, but along with harvesting, farming and production, the Gamorrean Sow is also responsible for business, and this was the real success behind the greatest piratical threat to the intergalactic spacelanes in 20 years…
It was Grindawarg who amassed a fortune enough to purchase a fleet of fighters and support ships, it was Grindawarg who cheated a rival out of the drilling platform that became their headquarters and it was Grindawarg who seduced Maw, one of the planet’s most aggressive and infamous warlords to marry her to the exclusion of any other matron, and convince him that a life of piracy was his destiny.
While she assembled a fleet and outfitted their headquarters she gathered together a cabal of the smartest and most ambitious sows she could and set about masterminding an ingenious foundation for a lifetime of piracy. Where other Gamorrean pirates would be satisfied with dirtside raids and staking out obviously vulnerable spacelanes, Grindawarg set about establishing a galaxy wide network of contacts, paid informants and spies to identify the softest targets, the most valuable cargoes and the most corrupt spaceports from Corruscant, to NaarShadar to The Eye.
On the Eye she employed shapechanging Clawdites to sniff out vulnerable cargoes and shipping routes. She paid off port officials and most cleverly, gambling hosts and waitresses at its entertainment hub The Octagon to pry information out of drunk and boastful ship captains when they were at their most pliable.
And for over five years she had added to their fleet, perfected their intelligence gathering and established The Bloody Tussks as one of the Galaxies greatest threats… And that was her first, arrogant mistake…
The official bounty set by the Spacing Guild had been problematic enough, but then a band of RNR’s on The Eye got organised… At first it meant a few lost shipments, higher losses, but then whole raiding parties never came back, once vulnerable routes became high risk and then the hunted became the hunters!
She tried to strike back, set them up; there was limited success initially but one or two crews proved too persistent, too dogged in their pursuit… Too well armed.
And then hell pored fourth from hyperspace. Maw would not waste manpower on patrols and reserves, or emplacements and so when the fleet arrived they were caught flat-footed.
Had Grindawarg not made preparations for such an attack, had she not set up her own surveillance and patrols and not made plans to escape with her inner circle, she and those who laid the foundation for the Tussk’s success would not have made it to her shuttle, while Maw and his warlords watched the battle from the dining hall, sure of his victory until the first levels of the installation started to explode.
So now, Grindawarg must again muster her savings, her resources, find a new mate and this time, learn form her mistakes.
The Bloody Tussks will be the scourge of the galaxy again!