Blaster’s Path, Raider’s Cove
Ad’enn nervously checked his chrono, probably for the twentieth time since he’d arrived at the cantina. Even among the myriad of intergalactic pirates, cutthroats, tourists, and local residents, his Republic naval officer’s uniform made him stick out like a Gen’Dai in a herd of jawas. To calm his nerves, he braved another sip of whatever the green fluid was that had been served to him by the bartender.
His contact was running just a little late. He looked up at the stairs leading down into the galley, the belly of this greasy establishment. Two female Rodians, perhaps sisters, descended down the stairs in their dancing outfits. He spun around slightly in his chair to check the more discreet rear entrance. No movement.
Releasing a heavy sigh, he brought the glass with the ominous green liquid in it back to his lips.
Several weeks ago, Ad’enn secured a deal with a pirate gang leader in this very bar. This very table actually. A Wanderer
-class transport of the Republic’s Arcturus Defense Fleet had settled into orbit above the planet, making a small supply run and allowing the crew a bit of shore leave. Ad’enn would lead the pirate captain and his crew to the ship’s small, temporary supply depot several kilometers outside the settlement to plunder the goods. In exchange, they’d transport him to a popular pirate hideout on Vendaxa where he’d either secure a position with a pirate group or perhaps be considered for membership in theirs, the Killer Queen Fleet. He’d also been promised an introduction to a curious character named Gnat, an underworld dealer, and a substantial portion of the booty, though the pirate leader, Vinzago, had “negotiated” his portion quite low.
Ad’enn checked his chrono again. Something was off. He was taking a terrible risk coming here to collude with pirates in treason to the Republic.
His attention was captured by a brawl in a corner. Apparently a White Maw cutthroat felt cheated by a Death’s Claw scavenger at pazaak. The two rose fists and knocked over a table in their scuffle.
Ad’enn wasn’t going to wait around for the authorities. Finishing off the polluted green drink, he began to rise out of his unwashed chair, only to feel something like a large hand grasp his shoulder and hold him in place. Looking quickly to what was restraining him, he thought it looked more like a paw than a hand.
“Have a seat, captain. You’ve only just finished your drink.” Ad’enn looked further around to find that the deep voice and firm paw belonged to a large, blue-skinned male Cathar.
His eyes went wide at the sight of the towering cat-like villain, who stood at least six and a half feet tall and was flanked by two grimacing orange-skinned Houks. The Cathar’s head was wrapped in a dirty brown mane which was braided on the right side.
The Cathar applied more pressure to Ad’enn’s shoulder which was all the encouragement he needed to resume his seated position.
“Name’s Rokin. Folks call me ‘Roarin’ Rokin, but you can just call me ‘sir’ for now,” the giant blue feline-like figure instructed as he released Ad’enn’s shoulder and walked around to take the seat directly opposite of him.
After overcoming his initial surprise, Ad’enn took another look at the two ugly Houk bodyguards and finally mustered a statement.
“I’m uh … actually expecting someone—“
“You’re expecting me. Admiral Vinzago sent me. I’m a sub-lieutenant with the Killer Queen Fleet. I’ll be overseeing our little operation here today,” the Cathar stated commandingly.
The two Houks assumed a position between Ad’enn’s table and the rest of the room. Far enough away to divert any unwanted attention from local patrons but close enough to move in on Ad’enn if things took a wrong turn.
Ad’enn’s overt apprehension about his situation rose. Admiral Vinzago, the blue-skinned Chiss pirate he’d brokered his deal with never mentioned sending an intermediary in his place for the raid. Perhaps they were just taking precautions and keeping Ad’enn on his toes. Ad’enn knew there had been some suspicion at first that he could be Republic law enforcement or a Strategic Information Service agent and Vinzago was probably just ensuring his personal safety until Ad’enn could prove himself trustworthy. Well, as trustworthy as any Republic traitor can be.
Ad’enn conceded to the new situation and after a deep sigh, reached into his pocket to retrieve a datacard, placing it on the table between two stacks of pazaak cards.
“Here’s coordinates to a shoreline cliff that we can meet at as a staging ground.”
As Ad’enn lay the card in front of the looming Cathar, he caught notice of two armor-clad Republic soldiers descending down the stairs into the galley. The two troopers, helmets in hand, made their way straight to the bar and apparently hadn’t taken notice of Ad’enn or his strange company.
Rokin took the datacard in his large paw, looking it over with suspicion before finally settling his gaze squarely on Ad’enn.
“My boys here are going to follow you to the rendezvous point—at a distance. Help make sure you don’t—deviate from the plan,” the Cathar stated pointedly.
Ad’enn nodded, expecting further conversation. To his surprise, the Cathar rose suddenly and made for the rear exit behind them.
“Wait two minutes, then start making your way to the rendezvous.”
With his final instruction, the Cathar, flanked by his two Houk flunkies, departed the cantina the same way they had come in.
Ad’enn looked into his empty glass, longing for another beverage to bolster his courage, but decided against it. After waiting the prescribed two minutes, he subtly rose from his seat and made for the stairs. He kept a cautious eye on the two Republic soldiers at the bar, but both seemed content to retain their focus on their drinks.
Ascending to the top floor, he exited into the bright streets of Raider’s Cove, and made for his speeder.
Ad’enn must have appeared especially nervous as he approached the cliffside in the light of Rishi’s setting sun.
Already the Killer Queen pirates had assembled. He spotted a few lookouts in crevices in the cliff and a few in the foliage near the shoreline.
As he drew closer, he noted the diverse makeup of the group closely matched that of the patrons of the Blaster’s Path. The gathering was comprised of all manner of species. A handful of Cathar, at least one skinny brown male and a tall orange female with a scar across her eye. Rodians, Weequay, and a few he didn’t recognize.
He settled his speeder several meters from the group. Several of the pirates approached him, Rokin, the giant blue-furred Cathar leading them.
“Glad you could make it. We’ve already had a chance to scout the area. Your information’s proved good so far, captain,” he said in a gruff manner, though Ad’enn got a sense he was genuinely satisfied with his performance thus far.
“This way,” Rokin commanded, tilting his head toward a small hill at the edge of the cliffside.
Rokin led Ad’enn and a handful of the pirates toward the hill, crouching low to the ground the last several meters. They lay just toward the top, concealing their presence from the Republic troopers bustling about in the makeshift depot before them. Ad’enn felt a nudge in his left arm, and looked over to find Rokin handing a pair of macrobinoculars to him.
“Four caches, just as we were told,” Rokin seemed to be talking to the pirate to his left more than to Ad’enn. Rokin pointed out two sentries standing between the pirates and their prospective bounty. “Two guards at the entrance are all that stand between us and the first cache, which is general supplies. Uniforms, toiletries, rations, and so on.” Rokin gestured past the guards further into the supply depot. “Then a store of medical supplies behind that. And our new Republic friend here says the payroll of the crew of that Wanderer
-class in orbit is also being transferred here. That, and the fourth cache is the real prize: weapons. Grenades, ammo, rocket launchers,” Rokin said eagerly.
The ongoing resource crisis had affected everyone, and that included pirate gangs like the Killer Queen Fleet. Ad’enn considered the supply depot before them to be a rather modest target for a large pirate crew, but times were desperate for everyone.
Ad’enn glanced to his left to find Rokin glaring at him expectedly.
“Right,” Ad’enn remarked quickly. “The payroll will have at least two troopers on it at all times. There’s also a squad of about half-a-dozen men in the rear of the camp. But if we do this right, like I told Vinzago, we should be able to subdue all of them quietly and depart without bloodshed.”
“Yeah,” Rokin said unconvinced. “And aren’t you forgetting one thing?”
Ad’enn shrugged in confusion.
“The ATV sitting right there, captain,” the Cathar spat out as he pointed out the large armored vehicle in the center of the compound.
“Oh, well that’s just for mounted and large-scale attacks. The marines won’t even have time to fire that thing up.”
Rokin shot Ad’enn an unimpressed glare before finally speaking. “So Vinzago said you had a plan to get us in there.”
“Right, I’ll distract the sentries while two of your men come up from behind and gag and bind ‘em. After that, just stay close to me. We want to be quick and quiet and not get anyone hurt.”
Ad’enn noticed Rokin roll his eyes at that final statement.
“Alright, we’ve scouted this place for hours already and already have a plan of our own. Head off when you’re ready, we’ll be right
behind you.” Ad’enn noticed the Cathar had concluded his instruction with more of a warning than an acknowledgement of an agreed upon plan.
Taking a deep breath, Ad’enn scurried away from the hill and headed toward the route to the encampment.
En route to Vendaxa
Ad’enn stood in the ship’s small refresher, laboring to rub the dried blood off his neck.
He probably should not have been surprised that the attack had turned violent so quickly.
As planned, Ad’enn had approached and distracted the two perimeter guards at the depot. But instead of quietly subduing and binding the sentries, Rokin dispatched two cutthroats to literally cut the throats of the two distracted soldiers. Ad’enn had been shocked by their quick violence, and it took Rokin’s quick intervention to get him back on track.
A single medic had been spotted inventorying the depot’s medical supplies. He also fell victim to the silent knife of one of Rokin’s killers.
The real trouble started when the raiding party approached heavily secure crates and lockboxes bearing the logo of the First Bank of Coruscant holding the Republic crew’s payroll. Two sentries stood guard over the small fortune and were on much higher alert than could be said for the perimeter guards. When Ad’enn approached them to distract them as he had earlier, the guards sensed something was off. Rokin, watching from behind some nearby crates, immediately dispatched his cutthroats to silence the guards. One of the troopers had turned around as the other interrogated Ad’enn on why he was on an unscheduled visit to the depot. Spotting the two approaching assassins, the soldier got a shot off, killing one of the Weequay killers. The other pirate managed to kill the soldier before being gunned down by the other. Rokin pressed his pirates into action, overwhelming the last soldier but nearly killing Ad’enn in the process.
The brief scuffle drew the attention of the squad of Republic marines in the back of the depot. An alarm sounded and half-a-dozen Republic troopers sprang into action, racing toward the sound of the shots.
Ad’enn cautiously advised Rokin that they should split with the caches they’d secured already, but the belligerent Cathar was determined to steal the final supply of Republic weapons.
As the bulk of Rokin’s group took up defensive positions behind crates, barrels, rocks, or whatever they could find, Rokin snagged Ad’enn and the female Cathar pirate and fell back. The three retreated back to the entrance of the depot, trying as deftly as possible to sneak around the stockpile of crates and boxes to flank the Republic squad.
It hadn’t taken long for one of the Republic soldiers to race into the ATV in the center of the compound. Firing it up, the soldier initiated the ATV’s slow turn toward the pirate gang.
Out of nowhere, a Republic trooper leaped at Ad’enn from behind some boxes, bearing a standard-issue field knife in his hand. The trooper slammed into Ad’enn, forcing them both to the ground as he shouted “Traitor!,” at the Republic officer. Ad’enn had pressed hard against the trooper’s armored forearm to keep the menacing-looking knife from his throat. Just as suddenly as he had appeared, the soldier halted his attack, as Rokin discharged a blaster bolt squarely in the soldiers back. The trooper’s body collapsed on Ad’enn, who managed to worm his way out from underneath the cadaver but found his chest and neck covered in the soldier’s blood.
Rising to his feet and taking cover behind some crates, Ad’enn watched the Cathar female make her way into the cockpit of a NovaDive scout parked at the edge of the depot. The feline pirate hurriedly fired up the starfighter’s engines and rotated it to face the rear of the ATV. Quickly targeting the Republic armored behemoth, she launched two rockets into the rear of the ATV and it exploded in a magnificent ball of fire. The explosion shook the entire compound, forcing Ad’enn off his feet and throwing him behind some crates. Rokin hurried into action, directed his gang over comms to advance on the stunned Republic squad members.
The last of the Republic troops, half of whom suffered concussions from the blast, were quickly killed. Rokin made a call to his ship, the Ferryman
, which was upon them in just over a minute. The raiding party hurried to load their new bounty on the freighter, and swiftly departed as a flight of Republic strike fighters advanced on them.
Ad’enn looked down at the blood-soaked rag in his hand. Closing is eyes, he slowed his breathing and tried to collect his thoughts. An immediate hammering on the refresher room’s door interrupted his brief reprieve. He quickly opened the door, revealing Rokin.
The towering feline murderer’s frame took up the entirety of the small room’s doorway. Rokin stood silently, nodding for several seconds.
“Admiral Vinzago won’t be overly pleased with losing four of his crew but …” He turned and watched as several crewmembers began cracking open crates to revel in the success of their raid. “I think the credit value of what we’ve scored here today will more than make up for that.”
Ad’enn nodded nervously. He swallowed hard and opened his mouth to speak, “Will—”.
Rokin raised a hand, cutting him off. “Vendaxa. We’re on our way right now. We’ll inventory the goods on the way there. They’ll be sold off or divvied up as Vinzago sees fit. When we get to Point Nelere … stay close for awhile, eh.”
Ad’enn silently nodded his acknowledgement, looking back to the gleeful pirate thugs exploring their newly earned plunder.
Rokin looked over the seemingly troubled Republic officer for several seconds before turning and departing for the cockpit. “And you might want to change clothes before we get to Vendaxa,” he called out over his shoulder.
Ad’enn turned and looked at a set of civilian clothes prepared for him on the refresher’s closet. He reentered the room and closed the door behind him. Picking up his new garb, he caught himself hoping this adventure of his would prove fruitful.
((Honorable Mentions: Tycho
, guildmaster of the Arcturus Defense Fleet; Vinzago
, creator of the Killer Queen Fleet; Ravnie
, owner and creator of Point Nelere; Boulder/Gnat
, owner of the character Gnat ))