View Full Version : Bounty Hunter Blues

4 February 2003, 05:16 PM
Well a new little bit of fan fiction by well me :)

Anyway it is in 1st person - so tell me what you think, and tell me where I did bad things (story-line bad or grammaticly bad.)

<B>Bounty Hunter Blues</B>

"Where are we? What do you mean where are we? You of all people should know. You used to work here after all." I growled at the whining Gran locked up across the hall from my cell. "Were in cells. No, cell is too nice a word for it. Dungeon is even too nice. We are in a slimy stinky place, on a slimy stinky planet, controlled by the galaxies largest... well you should have gotten the picture by now, if not I have three words for you. Garahoian the Hutt."

Indignantly the Gran snorted and rolled his lower two eyes, his third eye had been burned away sometime in the past. "Gara is my employer, I trust him and he trusts me. Why would he need to keep me in a place like this?"

If you want to know, and if you don't, here is an interesting fact about the species known as Grans. About thirty percent of the time, if you put out their upper eye - the one that sees in the infrared spectrum - they go totally and irreversibly insane.

But insane or not I have to admit he had a point. I, at least, was locked in an old fashioned prison cell, the air smelled of rotting things, when smell permeated through the dense, moldy fog. I could taste several varieties of liquid coolants and grease on the air at almost all times. I am sure that I will get some kind of lung disease from my exposure to the air of the place.

My boots, which were supposedly liquid proof, had started to leak. This caused the flesh of my feet to become clammy. As a side note I was refused a refund by WhynTeckís Imports, the claim was that sludge in the bottom of a Hutt Dungeon was not in the list of liquids - Galladiniums has never treated me that way.

I too, was sometimes an employee of the Hutt, so that brings me back to why I was sitting there in his dungeon in the first place. My tale does not start in the dungeon but rather some place far more pleasant.

It was a miserably hot day outside, but my client-gathering booth inside the Glow Dome was kept cool by the constant fan of artificially cooled air. Now I have heard the Glow Dome called a 'wretched hive of scum and villainy' but I will make it clear that it is one of the fancier establishments in the Outer-Rim and is undeserving of that label. This is not just due to the decor, the stupendous drinks and entertainment or even its choice location on Adarion - in the Minos Cluster. Rather it is a combination of those and its galaxy famous holo amusements that make it so.

Besides that it's run by a pair of knockout-gorgeous sisters. They don't mind the occasional deal being made in their bar, so long as one buys drinks. In case you are wondering they donít tolerate violence of any kind, or bounty hunters in their establishment - except for the local imps pet snake, Vallikar En-Vahdi. Thereís not a place in the sector that will deny him entrance.

Well I was sitting in my booth sipping a tall glass of Nova Starlight and entertaining Cori - ahem - Corinna A'daasha when I was approached by a respectable looking Filvian. Flivians in business suits always look respectable to me.

Another side note Ė incase you ever go to the Glow Dome. If you canít tell the sisters apart, Corrinna's the one with the red-blonde hair, the brooding green eyes, and a smile that could cause worlds to go to war. Her sister, Kandria, is the one with the curly blonde hair, bright green eyes, and a smile that has caused worlds to go to war. Knowing which one you are addressing is a good idea.

Well, seeing as this was potential business, I had to ask Cori for a stay on our conversation, she agreed and walked back to her offices on the far side of the dance floor.

The Filvian scampered over on his four legs and sat down, placing his forward two feet onto the table. He cast his eyes around and said very quietly, "I'm looking for a fast ship and a hot pilot. You come highly recommended."

"'Course I do." I replied, "I am the best after all." That he would find me at the Glow Dome was not a huge accomplishment. Most people know that that is one of my favorite haunts when in this sector. However, that he had asked about me meant that he wanted something hot hauled. "Cargo? Destination?" I asked. No sense in taking chances, I'm not a Corellian after all. At least I don't think I am.

"I have five crates I need brought to Kal'Shebbol." The Filvian said.

Two alarms went up, first he did not tell me what the cargo was, that's the first indication that it's very illegal. Besides its never wise to run a cargo unless you know what it is. Second, the final destination, Kal'Shebbol is in the Kathol Sector, and back then the entire sector was crawling with Imperials and had been ever since Moff Sarne arrived a few weeks back. "First off I never haul a cargo when I don't know what it is, second, Kal'Shebbol?" I asked, and then thought of something else, "Why don't you hire a blockade runner, I hear Old Man Quince is free."

Quince Redwings and I go way back so I have nothing against tossing a few jobs his way even if he is a stinkiní blockade runner.

"I need this done quietly otherwise I would have." The Filvian snapped at me. "As for the cargo, fifty-thousand credits say you don't need to know what it is."

Fifty-thousand, for a simple haul, I couldn't believe my luck. I realize now that it wasn't luck. But at the time, well, I decided to see how far it stretched. "Fifty thousand and I'll haul cargo, no questions asked, to any civilized sector. Kal'Shebbol will cost you another fifty." I hoped I was not pushing my luck too far.

"Ten now, sixty upon completion."

"Thirty now, sixty on delivery."

"Twenty now, fifty-five on your return."

"Done." I said, "My ships on landing pad twenty four."

"Excellent, I will see to it that they cargo is there in an hour. Remember that time is an exceedingly important factor in this delivery. My crates need to be delivered in exactly five days. No sooner and no later." The Filvian said and then counted out twenty, one-thousand credit chips and handed them to me. He then walked from the cantina.

In the instant the Filvian left I knew one of two things had just happened. Either he was enormously desperate to get something to Kal'Shebbol, or I had just achieved smuggler divinity.

Hubris is a terrible thing.

On my way out the Glow Dome, I left ten-thousand with Cori's sister; Kandria. She is just as saintly as her sister is and I'd trust either of 'em with my life. They act as my bank, I give them credits from time to time and they store Ďem up until I need to make a withdrawal. At the time I was saving up to pay off Gara for an incident he helped me with concerning Imperials.

Within the hour five crates loaded with something sat, strapped down in the hold of the Shadowed Visitor all ready to go. If I had known what it was I was delivering I would have dumped all the crates into the densest, deepest part of the Maw and fled to the Corporate Sector, never looking back.

A smuggler is nothing without the contacts he has developed across the spacelines. I learned this early in my carrier among the rough denizens of the Warlock and I have done my best to maintain a good working relationship with an enormous number of people (sometimes I think the most expensive thing a smuggler can buy is not his ship, but rather the friendly attitude of local officials).

It does not matter how famous you are, how fast your ship is or how many times you have circled the galaxy. The people that you know will either lift you up into the top of the game, or make you into bantha poodo. Or Both, Solo's a good example of that.

Even before I took off I went through a mental list of all the good slicers and infochants I knew nearby. Luckily I know Loh'Khar. He is one of the few beings who makes it his business to get things to people who need him. I needed information about the Imperial activity on Kal'Shebbol, and, since he knows everything that happens in this area of space, he was my first stop.

After the Filvian left I had contacted Loh'Khar and we arraigned a meeting later that day at our normal spot. I am not going to say where it is, a fellow needs to keep a few secrets, but I will say it is one of the most beautiful planets in the galaxy. The planet, I will call it Paradise though I know that that system name is already taken up by the Ugors, is composed of around ninety-percent water. It has practically no valuable minerals, gems, or other commodities of on it surface or in its oceans.

The entire system has seven planets, they are all ice balls, giant tropical oceans or boiling, steam filled places. Paradise is the fourth planet, and one of two with breathable atmosphere. Between planets four and five is an asteroid belt composed totally of frozen water. The light from the blue sun reflects off the belt and onto Paradise in a rainbow of colors all night long. There is the day, when you get the light directly from the sun, and then there is the night, when the sea and islands turn brilliant colors from the reflected light. When a pod of the enormous white fanta fish swim by and the sun is just setting a person could stay there forever.

I arrived at the pickup during the planets night, and found Loh'Khar already parked on one of the larger islands of the equatorial archipelago.

The Twi'lek got up from his lounge chair when I arrived and shook my hand. "Captain Dark, It's good to see you again." He said to me smiling.

"The pleasure's all mine. What have you got for me?" I asked.

He sat. "The parts you requested are ready to be loaded into your hold. My assistants will see to it."

"Make sure they don't bust anything, the loading ramp is acting up again." The ramp had not worked right since I got the ship three years before. But then a year before that I would never have dreamt that I would be flying a freighter. I was flying for the Empire and all my fighters maintenance was done for me by professionals.

"Certainly," Loh'Khar said rubbing his clawed hands together. "It looks like Moff Sarne will choose Kal'Shebbol as the sector capitol. He hasn't yet announced his decision, but when he does there's gonna be a lot more Imperial activity there then there was this morning. Right now it looks like all that's there is a Victory Star Destroyer, a pair of corvettes and a single garrison on the planet." Reaching over to tap a couple buttons on a datapad, Loh'Khar continued. "A Capitan Heinded commands, he's ineffectual, fat and lazy, a typical Imperial."

"Good." I reached into my pocked for his usual fee then thought of something. "Do you know if Rik is back in the sector?" I asked.

"Galie'o'Rik the Dug?" He asked scratching his left head-tail.

"Yeah. Even though now he makes his living as a 'professional gambler' he once was one of the better data forgers in the Outer Rim."

With his lekku twitching along with the tune he whistled a rather illegal song by the now deceased band 'Laser-punchers', Loh'Khar punched keys on his notepad for almost a minute. "He is set up on the old Galaxy Station bankrupting the casino there."

"Thank you old friend, you've been a help as always." I said and placed two of the thousand-credit chips on his 'pad.

I left with my ship full of twenty identical crates, fifteen full of spare ship parts and five, buried under the other fifteen, filled with something else.

Galaxy Station is easy to find, itís located just off the Minos-Kal'Shebbol trade route. It used to be a stopover station for scouts exploring space beyond the Minos Cluster, but now it is deserving of all the names it has accumulated over the years. Ye-Old-Rust-Pile is my personal favorite.

Though the station is run by an Imperial officer, he generally doesnít care what happens on it unless it directly involves the rebellion. What's better, so long as the credits come in, he totally ignores what happens on the station, or in its casino; the Backwards.

The Backwards is run by a pair of wookiees that escaped their life of slavery, with their master's treasury in tow. They set up a casino on the Galaxy and use it to slowly gain funds to purchase other slaves, particularly wookiees. It is a favorite stop for the gambling sort of people before they hit the reaches of the Kathol Sector.

I landed and paid the minimal docking fee, I did not want to be refuled with their quality of fuel. I stepped out of my ship and into the business end of a blaster. Bounty hunters are the bane of any good smuggler. Sooner or later every one of us fails to offer enough bribe money to an imperial, or angers one of the galaxyís many crime-lords. I didn't, at the time, know which I had done, or failed to do. What I did know is that even a half-rate hunter such as Wullums is deadly to mess with when they already have a blaster on you.

I should say now that, at the time, I did not walk about noticeably armed. I like to deal with situations without weapons, I think it increases my chances of survival.

"Let's take a walk." The hunter said in a filtered voice. Some bounty hunters must feel inadequate so they were masks to cover their nervousness.

Not having any choice at the time I nodded. We walked into the bowels of the station, down where the floors are not polished and the walls are stained with various kinds of grease, among other things. We arrived at a door that he keyed open, I suppose that it was his room, the place was a dump.

Well he pushed me into a small side room, with a manual lock on the outside saying to himself as he did so, "This ought to hold 'em until I am back with Tessenek."

After I heard him close the outer door I pulled the vibroblade from its boot sheaf and went to work on the lock. It took me all of fifteen seconds to cut through the door so that I could reach around and unlock the door.

I meant it when I said half rate.

He had weapons lying all over the place in the piles. Everything from a Golor-Bertum Apex Incisor Surface to Air missile to several nasty looking knives lay in disrepair scattered around the rooms.

Being the nice person that I am, I burned my way out the door with a heavy blaster and set up some trip-mines around the room. I don't know what happened to the bounty hunter and his friend, but if he was as stupid as he looked, well he's probably still in that room.

I found my buddy Rik taking money away from several rich looking people. Apparently the house refused to play against him, something about his tendency to take all their money away. I joined a sabbac table near his and won enough credits to get his attention. He hates competition.

Finally he was finished depriving a poor herglic of a handful of credits, and he joined me for a drink or five. After losing all the credits I had just won, plus a three thousand more he agreed to forge me some legitimate looking cargo seals and cargo manifests. He does good work, a definite plus if you are running cargo by inspectors. However, if all you are running past is stormtroopers, all you need is some tape that is the right color and some official looking seals.

Anyway he sliced and forged with his normal expertise and speed. All he charged me, besides what he took on the gambling table, was a promise to fly him to Bespin at my earliest opportunity. I jumped to hyperspace then next morning, scheduled to arrive on time at Kal'Shebbol.

Kal'Shebbol was a nice little world until the empire arrived in force and turned it upside down. When I arrived they were in the process of just that. The glorious Moff Sarne had apparently chosen the day before to make the planet his capitol, and his fleet had arrived in all its pompous, gun-blazing glory. I imagine my reaction upon my arrival would have been amusing to someone watching. People say Iím funny when something unexpected happens.

Half a sector fleet is not something any smuggler expects. We're not blockade runners after all, we are stealthy where they go in guns blazing. A smuggler is not supposed to have to win his way past that many ships.

The second bit of surprise was worse for me then the entire fleet. Somehow they managed to convince Imperial Command that they needed an Interdictor Cruiser to pacify the planet. Otherwise I would have jumped out of the system and hired myself a blockade runner to do the job, the merchandise might have been a little late. I figured at the time that late was better then never.

As it was I was hailed almost immediately by a rather large frigate called the Manager. "Unidentified freighter broadcast your BOSS identification and cargo manifest. Prepare to be boarded for inspection." An official sounding officer said.

Without much else to do I broadcasted my altered BOSS ID as well as the cargo manifest that Rik had forged for me, powered down my engines and waited. After the Manager leisurely maneuvered to dock with me a squad of stormtroopers and a sadly un-bribable officer marched into my ship. After a through inspection of my papers, my ship and seven of the top cargo crates they let me go.

Well I landed and unloaded my cargo into a small repair bay. With the rest of my payment in hand I took off into space as soon as the last crate touched the floor, feeling pretty good about myself. Once again I had succeeded in my chosen profession.

Then the TIE fighters attacked without any warning and blasted my engines apart. Running only on partial power and almost dead repulsorlifts I managed steer the Visitor into a sandy area. I slid almost six hundred meters before my ship finally came to rest. Obviously I survived the crash, and the imperial interrogation that followed (luckily they did not have an inquisitor with them).

I was finally released to a bounty hunter for transport back to Gara the Hutt. I was unconscious when I was dumped in the hunters' holding area, but woke sometime on the trip back to the Gray Shipyards. I am wanted by the Imperials on some minor charges but apparently they did not realize who I was until I had already been taken away.

Why Gara had chosen to call in my debts so soon is beyond me, however if a hutt does something it's for their own gain so I am sure he thought he would profit by it somehow.

The bounty hunter who captured me specialized in capturing smugglers. A tricky fellow if I ever saw one. He's the Filvian. He operates by buying passage for something into Imperial territory, and then warning the empire about the infraction, on the condition that he gets (or gets a bounty for) the persons captured. He did tell me what I had been hauling for him. Five crates of rebel propaganda material.

I don't know his name, but if I ever find him I hear that heís wanted on his home world for murdering a sector ranger. I hear the Flivians set murders lose on the plains of their world, to be hunted by large predators.

Anyway I was delivered to Gara, managed to escape and swore off smuggling. Instead I turned to piracy, something more amusing and profitable.

How did I escape from Gara's dungeons you ask?

Well thatís another story entirely, and if you ask nicely next time I capture a prize you're on, I might even answer it.