Centaxday, 34/5/0 ABY
Today Krom and I picked up some hitchhikers.
I’m still not quite sure how it happened. One minute I’m in Toydod’s Cantina on Klatooine negotiating with Fezzik about the payoff for our cargo of yot beans (and doing a mighty fine job of it). The next minute some teenage Twi’lek with one eye over her shoulder strolls over and inserts herself my business. I have to admit, she did get Fezzik off balance, talking about how she represented another buyer, pointing out the high quality of the beans (and they <u>were</u> high quality – if there’s one thing I know it’s how to fly. If there’s one other thing I know it’s yot beans) and generally just annoying him.
I played along. Seemed like a good idea at the time (and the Twi’lek was pretty easy on the eyes) so served a hard gravball to Fezzik. I mean, the slimy Rodian was only gonna give us 1500 for the whole shipment. 1500!! But my new blue friend and I managed to get him up to a more reasonable offer. Fezzik wasn’t real happy about it; he muttered something in Rodian about revenge or karma or something, but that’s just talk. Besides, if we never dust down on this rock again I won’t cry in my Kowakian rum, so who cares what Fezzik thinks?
I gave Krom a heads up that the sweaty Rodian had paid up (and that he might be a bit irritated) and ordered a bottle of Toydod’s (second) best to celebrate. Chatted up the Twi’lek girl a bit and gave her a nice gratuity for her “help,” although she acted pretty ungrateful. Typical teenager—reminds me of my sister Jan. Turns out she was on the run from some Hutt or other, something about having been its property at one point, and here we were neck deep in Hutt space. Told me she wanted a ride off this dustball of a planet. Can’t say that I blamed her. I was gonna say yes (like I said, she was pretty easy on the eyes) but I figured I’d better check with Krom first. I didn’t want him getting all bent out of shape like when I invited Petty Officer Rer'gesi on shore leave with us. And Rer’gesi looked <u>way</u>better in her flight suit. And out of it, for that matter.
On our way back to the Valencia we ducked into a local bazzar and I picked up a full-size hydrospanner Krom had been salivating about for the last month. When we finally made it to the docking bay I introduced Krom to the girl, who said her name was Keena. She might have told me her name before, but like I said I had already gotten to the bottom of a full bottle of Toydod’s (second) best.
Krom said the exchange with Fezzik had gone fine and started in with some story about some scruffy Trandoshan and a mysterious electronic device and the name Black Wing. Krom’s never been much of a day drinker, and for a minute I wondered if the hyperdrive gasses were leaking when he was making repairs the way he was going on about this stuff.
But then the girl said something about an invisible treasure ship and I remembered hearing some fringer on Tattooine rattle on about the Black Wing and almost the same wild story. Krom pulled out his datapad and found a few HoloNet references to a ship called the Black Wing from back in the Old Republic days and I think he and Keena started having visions of buried treasure and gold bars and cargo bays full of spice. Me, on the other hand—I just wanted to get a nice, semi-legal cargo and get off this parched rock. But no one ever listens to me.
And then things go supernova. The three of us are standing on the Val’s boarding ramp and I see a crusty old Trandoshan walking towards the ship holding some kind of backpack. And right behind him are four humans who look like they mean business. Bad business. At this point I’m thinking maybe Fezzik wasn’t so toothless after all. Although I’m not sure Rodians even have teeth. I encouraged Krom to power up the belly turret, loosened my BlasTech in its holster, and went to see what the lizard man and his friends wanted.
Apparently they weren’t friends. I made it a few steps and then the humans drew down on the Trandoshan, so I yelled to Keena to hold their attention while I tried to get zero angle on them. Before I could get into position one of the goons was lying flat on his back and another was gasping for air from a hit to the solar plexus, courtesy of the Trandoshan’s fists. Things looked like they were going aces until Keena burned a hole in the Trandoshan’s scaly hide and the humans seemed to think they had an ally in the fight. I wasn’t sure why she was shooting at him. I’m still not.
But then Krom swiveled the ventral turret around and thumbed the rangefinding laser to light up the wannabe hard men. He gave them the courtesy of a warning over the Val’s 1MC which caused a couple of them to throw down their blasters at light speed. The (apparently) stupidest one made a run at the Trandoshan to try and wrestle his backpack away and got a beefy elbow to the face for his trouble. Two unconscious or spaced, two unarmed, and it was time for me to show them business end of my BlasTech to make sure no one got any bright ideas.
After I collected blasters (and threw Krom a slightly battered BlasTech DL-18) and the Trandoshan scattered the cut-rate goons, I heard the always-unpleasant sound of sirens approaching. I figured we’d better dust off and head into the black so we wouldn’t have any other uninvited guests. Although we sort of had two already.
Port control wanted us to stand fast but Krom and I weren’t keen on letting any local law enforcement types take a hard look at our sliced IDs, so I pushed the throttles to the limits and punched the Val out of atmo. After that nifty bit of piloting and a lot of empty threats from port control, I decided to head back and see what our uninvited guest(s) were about.
The Trandoshan said his name was Zero, which wasn’t any T'doshok word I’ve ever heard. I thought it was more likely the number of credits he had to his name but Krom gave me a look when I made that joke. Mirialans sometimes have no sense of humor, although Krom is better than most. He and Zero made a hyperspace line for the workbench Krom uses for repairs, carrying some large metal box that looked vaguely familiar and muttering about “data sockets” and “electro-ceramic ram capacitors.” Eventually they managed to get a data tap hooked up and pulled out some pretty interesting navigational data out of it, which is when it clicked for me that the box looked vaguely like an ancient bit of navicomputer hardware.
The fringer’s treasure ship story was starting to look like it was more above board than I had thought – apparently this Old Republic-era dreadnaught with a hull full of experimental technology might be floating out in the black somewhere near Rodia. So despite our lack of profitable cargo and our dwindling credits, we decided to let Zero and Keena tag along and went off to see what we could find out about the Black Wing.