PDA

View Full Version : Tales from the Fringe: Colonial Blues



Rostek
14 April 2009, 10:48 PM
Coming Soon from Rostek Productions, Ltd.:

This is a series of interrelated stories taking place (mostly) in the Colonies region shortly after Endor involving a cast of disreputable characters all doing their best to make their way in the galaxy in this most chaotic of times. You'll meet some new characters and a few old friends (if you've GMed me or read my other stuff here :)) along the way. I've written a few of these stories out, and will update with whichever group I've written on rather than have separate works for each story arc.
In addition to the story arcs I'm detailing below, there will be the odd interlude with other groups which will serve to both advance the story and demonstrate just how small the galaxy can be.

So...

In a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away:

STAR WARS

TALES FROM THE FRINGE

Dateline: 18 Months after Endor

The Emperor has been dead for over a year, but the time for healing has not yet come. The war between the Empire and Alliance has erupted into an all-out conventional conflict, and the wounded galaxy groans under the strain of constant violence.

Not everyone has taken up arms for one side or another. Most still try to go about some semblance of their daily lives, while on the fringes of society, there are those who are doing their best to make a living because, rather than in spite, of the conflict.

On the planet Misiploos in the Colonies region, the Empire maintains a tenuous and loose grip. But the world has sufficient disorder of its own making to worry bounty hunter BREN LORCAN, who must wade through decades of rot and mega-urban decay to find a cold-blooded killer… before he becomes the next victim.

In a formerly forbidden corner of the Colonies, among the ruins of a forgotten Sith outpost, students from the University of Byblos struggle to survive on a world which refuses to yield its secrets. Cash-strapped, unemployed barrister VALIN BRYN may be their only hope to survive, but he has his own problems: a dying father who needs a radical and illegal surgery, and a shady boss with an agenda more insidious than Valin can imagine.

The spice trade has a long and storied history of high adventure and terrible consequence. New smuggler captain BARDAN KILE and his crew have stumbled on to the most bizarre adventure in the trade: legal trafficking. But on a world where the spice flows freely, the there is surely other mischief to be found, and new allies to be had.

And finally, in the space between the stars there are a few chosen professionals whose names are whispered with awe and whose exploits have become an unwritten textbook for the smuggling trade. The veteran tramp freighter crew of the VANCE BROTHERS is on the precipice of that elite group: just ask them. But with political and military situation constantly in flux, the risks skyrocket along with the rewards, and the rules of the smuggling game are changing as factions battle for control of the galactic government...

Rostek
14 April 2009, 11:16 PM
A Preview...

Bren Lorcan ducked instinctively as the building exploded.

The plasteel windows on the 53rd floor of Tower 19 Aleph burst outward in a spray of razor sharp fragments and fiery destruction. Windows on the neighboring tower and five floors to either side of the explosion shattered as well. It was chaos.

The shockwave shook the massive lower skyway which connected 19 Aleph with its neighbor 19 Bet, nearly chucking the battered bounty hunter over the railing into the Crevasses of Misiploos’ northern continental city.

The Crevasses were where Bren probably should have been at the time—the undercity (both literal and figurative) was where the dregs of society hung their hats and thus where he practiced his profession typically. On the other hand, being hurled off of a skyway five hundred meters above the dead bottom of the continental city was not a desirable mode of transport to get there.

The lower walk way—thirty meters across with a pair of lanes for small hovercraft and then pedestrian lanes along the sides—connected with 19 Aleph on the 57th floor, a third of the way up the massive arcology, and was thus unfortunately close to the blast.

Cursing, Bren picked himself up and dusted the dirt and debris from his formerly black trousers.

And these were my new pants…

Finding little expedient alternative, the bounty hunter drew his concealed slugthrower pistol and duly hijacked the first passing motorist.

Apologizing to the very confused man as politely as he could manage, Bren tossed him a small pouch of credits and blasted off on the speeder bike over the protective railing and dove down into the Crevasses before the emergency call went onto the police net.


That Evening...

The Meridian Club was the sort of place Bren appreciated on a planet like Misiploos. The planet was in the midst of a roaring economic boom, and despite the best efforts of the Planetary Regulators and the less than enthusiastic efforts of the small Imperial presence the cities enjoyed a raucous social scene. The place was dry, alas, just like every other decent establishment on the world, but the upbeat music and fresh-faced enthusiastic youth culture forced even the painfully cynical bounty hunter to smile. The club's jatz bands played music which was smooth like Corellian whiskey and it was always of fine quality. So far as Bren was concerned, it almost made up for the lack of alcohol... Almost.

He ordered a fizzy sweet beverage and waited in a corner booth. The Crevasses were less well-to-do than the numberless arcology towers, and the population was packed, hive-like, in tenements and small apartments along an 80 meter deep trench system which existed around the thick and heavy bases of the towers. Nonetheless, the best clubs and most cosmopolitan venues on the planet were located along the top five levels of the Crevasses… just working class enough to make the tower-dwellers feel as though they are being dangerous by patronizing the establishments, but still fairly close to the police patrolled surface area.

Not that Bren anticipated trouble, of course. Besides, even though blasters were, like liquor, illegal on the world, firearms had supplanted their more advanced cousins as the choice instruments of death and Bren, like the more professional local toughs, was packing a heavy pistol with dumdums. The weight was still uncomfortable after a few weeks of carrying the thing, but the bounty hunter was fairly confident in the boomstick’s use.

His contact took long enough to show up, and Bren was in the midst of a plate of one of the local favorites (a savory poultry dish with a surprisingly sprightly mix of greens) when the slouching Gand slunk into the place. The bob-haired coed who had attached herself to the table gawked briefly then made her excuses as the insectoid infochant limped heavily over to the table and sat down.

“Not that I don’t trust you Quigg, but do keep those hands on the table if you please,” drawled Bren in a distinctly sardonic tone.

“Quigg is insulted,” the alien whined insincerely, but Quigg complied, clicking his mouthparts in an attempt to convey a smirk.

“Misiploos is a dangerous place. Someone killed an acquisition of mine along with a doubtlessly spectacular number of innocents. Someone almost killed me,” Bren nearly snarled. He was angry; not only had he not had a drink in nearly two weeks, work was not going well. He was right, however: the gang wars between competing groups of alcohol smugglers and buyer had reached fever pitch. There had been almost thirty murders in this sector of the city alone in the last two months, including Bren’s former partner, who had been hired as an enforcer by a now deceased would-be crime lord.

A tinny voice suddenly interrupted the conversation as the vox-box in the middle of the table cut out its musical rotation for the local news:

“Mayhem in Sector 19 today as a bomb exploded in Tower 19 Aleph, killing at least nine and wounding forty. Workers are still looking for eight residents who are still missing. Investigators believe the bombing was related to the underground booze wars, and say they have multiple leads at this time. Thankfully the redundant construction of the tower and well-tuned safety features meant that only six domiciles were affected by the blast, though many were injured by flying wreckage at the time of the blast. This has been The Northern City News Net, with all the news that is news at the top of every hour.”

"That was convenient exposition," Bren noted dryly, and the Gand nodded his bulbous head in response.

“Be that as it may, Lorcan,” Quigg blustered with the calm professionalism of his chosen trade, “Quigg is mystified as to why you believe this sequence of events has anything to do with poor Quigg.”

“But it doesn’t… I want to know who tried to kill me, and I know you can find out who the new game in town is and what the hell is his malfunction,” Bren replied, stabbing a piece of fowl with his fork for emphasis.

“Why do you think it is your competition, Lorcan—gangs are nasty this time of year…”

“Because my acquisition paid a hundred grand, dead or alive… and certain personnel within the guild knew I was going to make my move to bring him in today. Certain people with possible motive to see me dead…”

“But still…”

“Silence,” Bren interrupted suddenly and coldly. The alien wisely clicked his mouthparts closed.

“I’ve been looking into Sallet’s death,” he explained, eyes darkening briefly as he mentioned his now-deceased associate, “and it doesn’t add up, Quigg. That much is clear; why anyone would want to kill an old-timer like Sallet is beyond me.”

“The police determined he and his boss were killed in a gang hit…The old fellow was on the payroll by then...” Quigg pointed out.

“The booze barons don’t use nergon-14 with an air pressure detonator," Bren insisted.
"Detonite, maybe, with remote or simple electrical detonation; these people are unsophisticated amateurs who are more interested in results than efficiency,” Bren retorted.

“More to the point, his boss wasn’t supposed to be on that speeder; I think his death was incidental. Sallet did some exotic work that he wouldn’t talk about before he took this job as a cooling off gig. The only thing he said was that it was nasty business out on the Rim that nobody wanted to admit to. Himself included,” Bren added thoughtfully.

Quigg attempted and mostly failed to sigh—hard for a species without lungs to manage, despite a valiant attempt—then spread his hands:

“Quigg will need to be paid up front, Lorcan. This one may be a couple spanners short of a tool box, if he blew up an entire floor to take down one guy. Quigg doesn’t know anything at the moment, but Quigg knows such a high profile job leaves footprints everywhere… even the local jobbers may be able to find them. This is going to be messy, Lorcan; it was an ugly job even for this place.”

“My boy has the payment in your office by now,” Bren nodded agreeably.

Quigg started to get up, but Bren coughed.

“One more thing, Quigg… find out if the bomb was nergon-14.”

End Chapter