Delusions of Grandeur

Mutiny on the Altered End

I heard the voices of two men arguing. I felt my body flinch at the sound of a blaster being fired. The bulkhead door opened onto the bridge of the Altered End and I saw the curl of smoke rising from the hole in Koban’s chest, Drakka Wessari standing over him, heavy blaster still in his hand.

Drakka looked up at the sound of the door. I saw no remorse in his eyes. I felt, somehow I knew, that there was none. Just like I knew there was no reason to check Koban for signs of life. The man who had raised me was dead. It was the second time I had lost a father.

“Oh, Blue. You weren’t supposed to come back.” Drakka stepped towards me, his blaster at his side. “Not that I wanted them to kill you. I like you honestly. I just knew you would side with Koban.”

“Why? Why did you do this?” Was that blaster fire I heard? It had to be, somewhere else in the ship.
“I think you know why, Blue.”

“Don’t call me that.”
“Come on, Blue. Don’t make this difficult. Just hand it over and we can move on.”


I walked into the hole in the wall bar Koban had directed me to, one of many on the Smuggler’s moon of Nar Shadaa. It didn’t seem to have a name, just a projected graphic of a generic humanoid lifting a mug to its mouth flashing on the front facade.

Koban seemed tense when he had asked me to come here. I had known the man since I was 7 standard years old. I did not need my “uncanny intuition”, as he called it, to know that he was worried. The simple fact that he told me to go alone, to walk the streets of Nar Shadaa without any sort of escort, told me enough. Not that I couldn’t protect myself. I had been in more than one firefight, and plenty of other tough spots. But Koban had always been a bit overprotective.

There were not many people here at the moment- the human behind the bar was more interested in the Twi’lek woman who was wearing next to nothing and leaning across the bar to flirt. An Ithorian sat at a table, his long fingers gripping his cup. His large, oddly shaped head was face down in a drunken stupor.

The woman I was supposed to meet, at least I think it was a woman, sat alone in a booth in the back corner. She, or it, was wrapped from head to toe in rough gray-brown fabric, loose fitting to hide any distinguishing characteristics. She seemed to have a feminine shape but that was the most I could tell. It would have looked suspicious if it wasn’t for the fact that everyone on this moon was basically a criminal of some sort, including me. And it wasn’t unknown for certain cultures to hide themselves this way. I had no way of knowing which it was- a disguise or cultural affectation. I walked through the room and took a seat across from her.

“The weather is cold here on Nar Shadaa,” I said to her, a bit hesitantly.

“Perhaps Tattoine would suit you better.” Her voice was covered by a modulator, sounding robotic.

Again, not uncommon among a number of species, but equally useful for someone that does not want to be identified. But she had given the correct response, so I continued.

“My name is-“

“Jaedyn Cholis. Pantoran. Pilot of the Altered End,” the modulated voice cut in. “I am aware of who you are. Where is Captain Koban?”

“Koban stayed on the ship. He sent me.”

“I see. Perhaps then a different time would be better for him.” She rose to leave.

“No! Please. If you trust him, you can trust me.” Granted, Koban was a smuggler so the thought that I was betting on her to trust him was risky. Whatever the case, she stopped. If I had been paying more attention, I might have realized that it was not my words that had given her pause. She drew her blaster and fired.


“Look, Blue, be reasonable here. You give me the package, and I won’t turn you over to the Imperials.”
I could feel my eyes get wide. “I told you that in secret!” I was screaming inside. There was something deep in my stomach that seemed to boil up from somewhere.

“Yeah, ya did. And trust me, it was nice. That night we were all over each other in the engineering bay? You’d think a girl with blue skin would be cold. But no, you were definitely warm, very warm.” He smiled.

“You disgust me.”

“Aw, come on, Blue. Don’t break my heart. And, don’t make me ask you again. Give. Me. The package.” Drakka raised his blaster, pointing it right at my chest.


The woman (I’m just going to go with that) fired her blaster. I ducked to the side as I drew my own, but it became apparent that she had not been aiming at me. A painful scream came from near the door. Twisting, I saw the group of gunmen by the entry way as I landed on my hip. It hurt, but not enough to keep me from firing back. An Aqualish lay dead on the floor but two other gunmen, a Rodian and a human, were using the doorframe for cover. My blaster shot hit the wall. No damage, but it did make one of the gunman yell out a curse. A curse I recognized. I was being shot at by one of my own crewmates!

Gork was a Rodian and a quite the complainer. I don’t know how many times I’d heard him talk about how cramped the ship was or how we were bound to be caught by local authorities or the Imperials and executed for being smuggler. But I’d always assumed he was too lazy to actually do anything. And why follow me here?

“What the frak, Gork!” I scrambled for my own cover. The bartender had shoved the Twi’lek off the bar. He was cowering behind it, and she was curled up in a ball under a table. The drunk Ithorian hadn’t even moved. From the ironically happy smile he had, he seemed to be having pretty good dream. The only cover was the overturned table where my mysterious contact had taken refuge.

“Sorry, Cholis,” he called back. “But Drakka wants the goods, and you out of the way. We’ve had enough of Koban’s bad pay and worse food. We’re taking over.” I was still on the ground with nothing for cover as he stepped out to fire.

Instead, Gork screamed as a bolt hit him square in the chest. A quick glance upwards and I could see the woman in grey had likewise stepped out. It seemed her blaster shot had ended Gork’s need to worry about anything anymore. Unfortunately, the hired gun Gork had brought along saw his own opportunity. His shot hit the woman and she spun back, falling out of sight behind the table.

I rolled and pulled the trigger as fast as I could. Three bolts of energy slammed into the human. I hadn’t even looked to see if I recognized him. Now he was unrecognizable due to the blaster bolt he had taken in the face. He actually stood motionless for a moment before crumpling to the ground.

I crawled on all fours to the woman as fast as I could. She let out a small groan as I shoved the table out of my way. The large hole in her chest was obviously fatal. The robotic voice modulator amplified her wheezing gasps as she stretched out an arm towards me. Something small and black was clutched tightly in her fist. I held my hand out and she struggled to place the object in my palm just before her arm went limp. She gave one last wheeze before the voice modulator fell silent.


As I looked down the barrel of Drakka’s blaster, I realized how stupid I had been, running back here from the cantina, coming to find Koban. Drakka was charismatic and smart. He would not have made the move on me without ensuring that he could take the ship from Koban. He must have been planning this for some time, sowing seeds of mutiny with the crew. Gork would have been easy to convince, who knows about the others. A few hired mercs would be all it took to overwhelm the rest. He’d have to deal with the passengers as well though. I would try to help them. If I didn’t die right here, that is.

Suddenly, a loud claxon blared through ship, emergency lights flashing red. Someone had hit the alarm. Drakka glanced away for just a split second. Thankfully, I had always been quick. I dove for the door just as Drakka fired. The blasts hit the bulkhead just behind me and I punched the closing mechanism. It wouldn’t slow him down for more than a couple seconds.

Down the short corridor, another crewmate, Hobin, stood next to an emergency console. “Jaedyn! They’ve taken the ship! Fulip is dead! Where’s Gork and Dra-“

Hobin’s question was answered by Drakka emerging from the Bridge. He fired two shots at the poor sod, silencing him forever. I ran, narrowly avoiding Drakka’s blaster bolts.

Drakka screamed at me as I entered the galley. As fate had it, the four passengers sat around a table, apparently quite confused by the alarm. A Human, a Trandoshan, a Gamorrean, and a Mon Cal, they were a rather motley group, but obviously they had had no part in Drakka’s mutiny. I hit the door lock and it slammed shut behind me.

“You have to get off the ship! There’s been a mutiny!” I yelled at them. I crossed the room, pulled open a console, masked to be unnoticed. It was one of Koban’s smuggler holds. “Get in! Quick!”

The entrance to the galley slid open and Drakka, accompanied by a pair of mercs, surged into the room. “Kill them all!” he ordered.

I fired my blaster and they took cover. It didn’t take any more motivation for the passengers to rush to the secret compartment. I was the last to enter.

As I turned, I felt something grab my collar. “Come back here, you whore!” It was Drakka. He was holding on to me, grasping at my throat. I hit the button and the compartment door slammed shut, Warm liquid drenched my front. I had a split second to realize the door had severed Drakka’s arm at the elbow and to hear his screams on the other side before the compartment ejected us out the side of the ship.


We fell four meters to the docking platform below. The Altered End was too big to actually land, so it was hovering just above, connected by an umbilical. Several meters off, a ramp led up to the regular entrance. Four thugs were coming down it, blasters drawn.

“Run,” I yelled and fired at the thugs. Thankfully, the passengers I had just rescued were smart enough to listen and took off for the corridor that led to the street. Blaster bolts flew between us and the thugs as they pursued. Either by accident or on purpose, the human’s blaster shot hit the wall and burst a steam pipe. Scalding steam hit one of the gunmen and he screamed.

The wall of steam stopped the last three but we could hear boots on the roof above us. The door to the street opened and we rushed out while two more of Drakka’s men leapt down from above. Turns out a Trandoshan’s claws are pretty nasty as he sliced open one of them. I finished him off with my blaster. The second one landed next to the Gamorrean. He didn’t live long enough to realize his mistake. Good to know those guys are tough.

We ran down the street and took cover in another of the countless watering holes on Nar Shadaa. This one was more crowded than the one I had been in earlier, but there was an empty booth in the back corner. The Mon Cal went to work patching us up. Seems he’s some sort of doctor or medic. Definitely handy.

A waitress tentatively approached us and I ordered a Corellian whiskey. The four of them looked at me, not with anger thankfully, but more with a look that said I’d better tell them what the frak just happened. I downed the whiskey and was about to explain when a group of seven or eight men walked in. They were armed and had the markings of the Hutt who controlled this section of the Smuggler’s Moon. Apparently the Trandoshan didn’t like the look of them. He flipped the table and ran.

The Hutt’s men opened fire, their blasters set to stun. The Gamorrean went down and the Mon call too. If these guys worked for the Hutt, they were the closest thing to law enforcement Nar Shadaa had. Not that that was a good thing, but at least they weren’t trying to kill us. I raised my hands to surrender. The others followed suit.


We ended up in a jail cell, or something that passed for one. The men who had arrested us said we were being fined for “interruption of business”. We could pay bail or we could work it off. Seeing as none of us had more than a few credits, we asked how we would work it off. A few hours later, the Twi’lek arrived.

He had the look of a mid-level businessman, but the shabbiness of his clothes and the bags under his eyes made it obvious he had seen better days.

“I need a crew to help with a delivery to Tattoine. If you agree to help, I will pay your bail and pay some extra as well.” It did not take long for us to agree. I guess the woman in gray was right- Tattoine sounded quite nice right about now.


His ship is a beat up YT-2400. It’s not in the best of shape by any means, but I like it. She has character. Turns out our new boss is a legit business man. His son has gone and gotten himself in debt to a Hutt though. Hopefully, this delivery will pay that off. As for us, we’re on a freighter bound for Tattoine. After this, who knows? Drakka is out there. If I’m lucky he might have bled to death. Ah, who am I kidding? I doubt I am that lucky.

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Gamorrean Smogs are smooth

Nothing is ever easy. First the incident with the Second Legion and me getting the hell out of port when shit went down on my transport ship, Alter’s End. So, yeah, nothing is ever easy! We had a Twilek, Elav, get us out of jail from that Alter’s End buggery as a result of “disturbing business”. The catch was that he made an arrangement with us to help him with some work on Tatooine.

We traveled on the ship for a time and all did our own things. I tried to build some comradery by telling stories and asking questions. Time will tell how those bridges will hold up. Well, as soon as we cleared atmo’ close to Mos Shuuta we see this orange YT-1300 getting chased by 3 tie fighters. At that time I wondered what the hell was going on around here. Shortly after getting our loose orders to retrieve some items for Elav we were on our way to the cantina and happen to come across 6 dead storm troopers. I figured that was probably what was going on. We beat it to the cantina.

Random thought, Gamorrean Smog is where it’s at! Anyways, in the cantina I pleasantly learned that the scary Devaronian bartender can make a mean smog!

Part of the issue of retrieving the items for Elav was to not to get involved with Teemo the Hutt’s anything. This was to be under the radar from the gangster boss and his thugs. In the spirit of trying to find an undetectable way out of Mos Shuuta we engaged the bartender from the cantina. Seemed pretty reasonable at the time! We should have known better to talk to the person that everyone talks to. We quickly learned that he was on the payroll because he called Teemo’s lieutenant, Laxan, about our shady questioning. This brought some thugs down on us where they died, shit got hectic, and more people died. After some solid interrogation of the bartender we got a name of Tonar in Shantytown.

Luckily there was a secret hatch and after some negotiation with Tonar, we were able to get out and retrieve the goods. The crazy thing was that during all of the excitement we were never able to contact the ship. We decided to scouted the ship out and found that there was a trandoshan bounty hunter and two droids on the ship. They put up a fight but we were able to send Sever the Gamorrean power house to balance the scales. Unfortunately, we were too late to save Elav. He was dead on the floor of the ship and there was no stim in the galaxy that could have save him then. Jaden was beaten up pretty badly and I hope someone else can fly this ship. Nothing is ever easy!

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Making Good Choices...

We got big big box from desert into the ship. Got rid of stowaways who beat up Jaden and killed the boss man, then set off to Nar Shadaa.

Mission died with Boss man, but we knew where box was headed, it is good the trip takes time as we had to make some choices. Jaden is good person, she wanted to trade box to help dead Boss’ clan like we planned. We didn’t know if he was to pay us out of pocket or if he was getting son and money. I argued if box is worth son and maybe money, then if we did not want son we could get son’s worth in credits. Murff saw worth in Jaden’s words, which worried me, Nah’zar I was sure would agree with me but just observed… Lizards. I thought all was lost, but Joren spoke for me. We were stuck, which led to our first good choice, to hack open secret Hutt box. Inside was cold burning butter cloth, they looked like lots of credits. Jaden and Murff tossed words back and forth on cost, figured they may be worth about same as our ship. Jaden and Murff stopped arguing full stop, we all need ship.

We got to Nar Shadaa a little afterwards, city city city, only city, better than sand though. For such a big city, it is a small world, among throng Joren saw living ghost. Got real twitchy, thought it was choppa time, but it never happened, we all kept waiting for it though. Got to Hutt’s casino, I took lead on arguing money with Hutt, this was our second good choice. I think box worth less now… but it still worth ship and job! I will be with this group for some time now as we share ship. They have bled with me well, they are my new clan, at least for now. My clan does not have tools they need for jobs though, and this job sounds hard. I made best choice, tough fight in pit, get money, get tools for clan!

Walked into pit, saw hardened giant Wookie…I have a baaad feeling about this. I know I may die, crowd is not sporting, they want to see death, my allies will not get tools and lose Muscle…I cannot lose this. This thought invaded my head, pushed out the hate fire, filled it with cold will to succeed. First fight I did not hate. We stood and chopped each other, I am still standing, he is not. But my head hurts, muscles torn deep, and missing an arm. Got good creds though so team got tools, now I sleep deeply till we get to job.

Like I said, we made good choices.
-Sever

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By the skin of our teeth of our asses

Securing a job from Karo, we found ourselves underway from Tatooine to Wren. Our job was to break into an empire installation and destroy (or ideally) steal some advanced weapon parts. Wren is an inhospitable swampland of swampy goodness. After getting planetside, we formulated a plan that Joren and I would scout the road leading to the Empire installation, and see what intel we could gather. We were greeted by some tentacled swamp beast with a taste for (Mon) Calamari. Joren nealy lost his life, and my ineffectual marksmanship with a light blaster didn’t help. After finally scaring the beast away, we made it across the swamp and set up an observation position.
As we were doing this, Nah’zar and Sever scouted a cantina in the town of the little indigenous people, who incidentally aren’t very bright or advanced. They lean that these people trade with the empire regularly (mostly food). After we all regrouped, we decided to ambush an empire “convoy” and somehow use it to infiltrate the installation. We stopped a vehicle with 3 storm troopers, and an officer, after some creative blaster and vibroaxe work, we capture the sole survivor, who provided us with some more info about the empire’s setup. After feeding him to the swamp beast, we proceeded to masquerade as a harmless delivery run. Being the only human, it made the most sense for me to attempt to act the part of empire officer. After sever crafted some soap, we were able to clean the blood off the officer’s uniform. I suited up, and everyone got concealed in the back of the transport. After getting into the front gate of the installation, I made my way into the secured storage location. After a piss-ant sergeant gave me shit about not taking the “prisoners” to the brig (I pointed them out to enhance the ruse – not my last mistake) we had to detour. After ambling about the installation conspicuously, I made my way back to the warehouse, and went in to “drop our cargo off.” We found the weapon parts we were after, and tried to get the hell out of there before Sergeant Piss-Ant returned from checking on our prisoners at the brig. We were discovered, but barely scraped through the doors of the warehouse, and proceeded out the main gate. With Tie Fighters in hot pursuit, we opened up comms to the ship, and we rendezvoused before the empire could close the gap. We make it into orbit around Wren, and see a huge increase in Empire presence (most likely in response to our little caper). After going incognito, and then completing the mission, we head back to Nar Shada. Glad that one’s over!

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Pursuit

The Eldest turned his palm to the assembled younglings, spreading his claws wide. “T’doshok have three claws. This way, we can account for only what is important in life.”

He folded his first claw into his palm. “Your clan.”

“Your enemies,” as he curled the second.

“Your Jagannath.”

The cleverest youth, Szarl, dared to question the Eldest. “Why are there two hands, but just three aims?”

Without hesitation, the Eldest told us: “T’doshok must count all aims twice.”


My right arm twitched as Joren turned his tools within it. He made a pleased sound.

“There we go!”

Joren has had his tools in me many times. This was the first time in months my hand obeyed me as it had before Tatooine. It felt right.

Like a merchant looking for payment, he quickly bridged his words to talk of obligations. He revealed his flesh marked with new and old illustration. The first, he said was his past. Maelstrom. A storm. I understand this. The second, larger and still slick, he says is now; is us: A fist, five-fingered, clenched.

He sees us, those who have fought together a few short weeks as brothers, blood, a clan. A finger for each member. I consider what this means. Do I have one fewer aims, or is the clan of greater importance than my accounts? I understand this. I agree to share the mark.


Six days we wait for Karo. He is pleased by our work, and employs us again to kill an old ally. One hears that Hutts keep no friends who need charity, but I hold this thought. I have no debt to clear, but I think of the others. I think mostly of Sever. I owe him nothing, but he beat the life from a Wookie for sport. He lost his arm in the fight, and granted me his winnings to buy better tools. He said we needed my strength while he recovered. I give him my pay to have his arm replaced. We will need his strength added to mine.


“There is no Jagannath in this.”

Russk, Sotsch, and I exchange misgivings in Dosh in front of the Imperials, as they consider the slaves we brought on their command. There was no fight in these pig-men; they stand no higher than an astromech droid and show as much competency in battle. The Ugnaughts cower and bleat at raised human voices. They do not even bother to resist, to fight for themselves or their kin.
The Imperials are even more cowardly. They do not seek challenge; they dominate and subjugate the lesser. They do not demonstrate superiority, they manipulate and threaten. Theirs is a triumph without victory. They force us to this same dishonor.

I wait, and learn.


Karo wants Toum Garon’s business crushed and sends us to find his weakest link, a lieutenant named Kanil, in a grimy puddle in this city-jungle. We arrive at the Severed Lekku without a plan. Kanil and Garon are slavers. The others hesitate, knowing that I have knowledge of these matters. I adopt a familiar manner and language, so Kanil will not be suspicious of us. I abuse and degrade Sever, knowing he understands sacrifice. I claim he is a worthless, inept slave. My lie is to lure Kanil into a conversation I know he is listening for. He offers to trade Sever for one of his chattel and we agree to meet him the next day.

We lie in wait for hours. Kanil departs and we follow him on rooftop and in gutter, guessing he would lead us to his associates. We are correct and unsubtle. Kanil is wary and well-prepared. We exchange blaster fire and vibro-axe. We lose the advantage and I fall.


The atmosphere scrubbers sputter and struggle to filter the smoke from the recycled air. It tastes acrid from blaster fire and burning circuitry. I am wounded and it feels like living.

Nearby, blasters fall silent. Commlinks crackle to life. The Imperials have overcome Russk’s position, but with heavy losses. I reseal the hyper drive’s service panel, shoulder my rifle, and head toward the escape pod.

Two Imperial technicians are clamoring into the pod as I arrive. I press my way into the pod with them, wrestling and slashing at both with claw and tooth before they clear their service blasters. I force the wounded, squealing Imperials from the pod and engage the atmospheric seal. I release the escape pod’s moorings, and I watch their terror through the plasteel portal as I detonate the charges on the hyperdrive. They are stranded on a dying ship as the pod is blasted into open space.

Unrestrained, the force of the ejection slams me against interior panels. I break a tooth and am torn from consciousness.


I gasp suddenly and forget my pain. Joren wrenches his needle from between my scales. Sever collides with the Gamorean standing over me. Bones break and fluids spray. Cloaked in steam, Murff sprays blaster fire at Kanil as he flees. I regain my footing and senses. I pursue. There is Jaggnath in this.

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Pig's Log #2
Chains

Nar Shadaa has one truth, you are Hutt or you are slave. If slave works, keeps head low, is not strong or weak, he may forget about or never see his chain. The weak, lazy, or bad are crushed under weight of links, while strong pull hard against Hutt hand and is seen. If Hutt hand is strong and going same way, strong slave is rewarded, but watched carefully. If Hutt hand too weak, or pulled wrong way, strong slave is cut down as example. The Fist is growing strong and guides self, we tug harder and harder, but don’t know what hands hold us, this is dangerous game and soon we must learn or leave. I know this, but not smart or cunning like Hutt, will never know how Hutts work or who is who, I hope other fingers can.

The Fist is whole again. New finger is slicer from Hutt called Iota, he showed his strength today. We carved our way through the base, in a flash he magicked the doors and data from computers, and we head back to Hutt to finish job before a new surprise appeared. We got paid, but no new job, but this maybe good, give time to test chains, time to rest.

Before sleep, I think to bring opportunity to Fist clan, Nah’zar and I go hunt for rookie smuggler. We go to spacer bar, Nah’zar gamble, put on big show, & bait the game, I try to pull targets from pack to learn spacer secrets. I am as good at this as Nah’zar is at gambling, and we have lighter pockets now. Finally find woman who directs spacers, with many drinks she tells us of a smuggler going to Tattoine, his name, & slip number, we have target. Smog will help her forget what happened I hope.

After sleep I tell Fist clan about plan to ambush smuggler in space, chop him up, space pieces, and take cargo. It is bad plan, almost saved by good thinkers, but falls apart, probably for better. Joren and I talk long about what Fist should do. We both want more strength, he wants to stay here, I do not know why. I am not thinking like he thinking, talk is waste, I now leave thinking to thinkers, I Sever.

At this time Murff returns and tells about shop-keep who did not pay him after job. Fist will fix this. We get there, find Murff fixed droid, keep not pay, I say droid now ours and not leave until Murff happy. Keep did not scare, so I must show strength. Cannot kill, because that will pull on many chains, so I punch instead of sever…I may as well have severed, he is dead, but we have droid. This may be bad for us, but it is what it is, luckily, Joren find job that gets us away for a bit.

Not sure what Fist will do now, but I remember who I am, and Anger from when I became that, I am Sever, and I will do that to foe and chains for self and clan.

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