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Mos Eisley - Tatooine


Tarrian Skywalker
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"Far." He said dryly as the boy's gaze shifted to the languid double suns high above them. Being one of the acolytes stationed on this desolate sandbox he had begun to grow accustomed to the brutal climate and hazardous terrain of the desert. Months spent networking his way through the political, criminal, and economic systems in this sparsely populated planet had left him tanned and jaded, forever losing the soft nature his boyish face inferred. To him today was not just any other day in service to the Master, however. Today the Master was here, on Tatooine, and this business with the Jedi was to be handled personally. What was it about this one Jedi that required the Dark Lord to personally tend to? This broke so many protocols he himself had handed down in the beginning. Never was the Dark Lord to come into contact with the network, never should he have been required to even leave the Station let alone come to this busted rock.

 

After a moment the acolyte broke free from his stupor and made toward the speeder, a sudden haste in his stride as he returned his dark cowl. "Come. We don't want to be on the sands when night hits us."

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

A small transport exits hysperspace above the desert planet of Tattooine. Kenneth has never been to the sandy world but has heard legends of crime and extravagence coming from the isolated port of Mos Eisley. It has been rumored to be the most "wretched hive of scum and villainy" in the galaxy. A place most fitting for Kenneth and his ways. This would perhaps be a good base of operations to build a name for himself as a mercenary. The Jedi has shunned him so they would be his primary objective, hutning them for bounty.

 

He brought his ship down in a local hangar and made his way to the streets. The bustle of city life was something he was used to and enjoyed. There were plenty of people going about their daily lives, perfect victims for him to take advantage of.

 

Spotting a shady looking cantina he decided to stop in and get a drink. He took a seat at the bar and ordered himself a beverage.

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Tros blasted out of hyperspace above the planet within his ship, a Bes'uliik starfighter by the name of Orar. Out here in the Outer Rim, Tros was known more by his personality of Saberforce, a ruthless beroya with a reputation of always finishing the job. Tros piloted the ship down to land in a hangar bay that was a short distance away from the local cantina. As he entered the cantina, Tros did take notice that a few patrons recognized his beskar'gam and began to kakovidir that he may be here for them. Ignoring them, he walked up to the bar and sat down and just waited for the bar tender to take notice of him. This was the place he always began his oya'karir, and it was as good as any place to restart his search again.

Tros_Sig_4.png

Mishuk gotal'u meshuroke, pako kyore.

 

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Thorak Belkin readjusted the loose fitting Mandalorian helmet. He hated the feel of it. It was like sitting inside a Corellian sweat room. If this went well though he'd be able to afford a real battlesuit. Something with temperature control, infrared, all the cool stuff. But first he had to shoot a blind man.

 

Thorak walked to a table in the back of the Cantina. The man was sitting there waiting. This was probably the easiest job Thorak had ever had, other than when someone had asked him to take out a sleeping Hutt. Thorak had promised the blind man a job as a freight worker to lure him here. Thorak couldn't identify the man's species. He was green skinned, maybe some sort of half breed. But he knew the type. There were countless spacers, smugglers and bounty hunters here, maimed from action, unable to afford the medical care to fix their condition. They wandered the streets of Mos Eisley in search of charity, knowing all the while Tatooine was the least charitable planet in the galaxy. This one looked to have lost his eyes. Thorak meant that literally. The man was actually missing his eyes. It was an unusually grotesque injury. But someone wanted him dead. And that's all Thorak cared about.

 

"I am Piccolo, and I am here to end you," Thorak said. He pulled his sidearm and leveled it at the man's forehead. He'd spent the morning rehearsing the line in a mirror, but to Thorak's surprise, the man laughed.

 

"Did you see that on a holo movie?" he asked. He stared straight ahead. Thorak realized sheepishly that the man couldn't see his gun. Still, he didn't like having a leech like this laugh at him.

 

"Watch your tongue. I have my blaster pointed at your head, and in case you didn't hear, I am Piccolo. The most famous bounty hunter in the galaxy. Killer of over a hundred men." Thorak didn't usually have to explain the name. It carried weight. It was why he used it. He couldn't count the number of battles he'd won through simple intimidation. Piccolo had been gone for enough years that all most people remembered was the Mandalorian armor, but he had been around recently enough for his name to carry fear. It was perfect.

 

"Piccolo was just a man," the blind man said. "But you aren't his caliber. If you intend to kill someone, you do it. You don't make a speech first."

 

"That takes the fun out of it," Thorak responded.

 

"Killing is an art. It should be efficient and clean. That is when it is most satisfying," the blind man said with some anger now. "You know when I lost my eyes, I could have had them replaced quite easily. I have the money. But I thought it was time to retire. Time to think. The art had lost its enjoyment. Then I found out some amateur was going around using my name. It pissed me off."

 

In the moment it took Thorak to process the meaning of those words, the blind man had broken his wrist. His blaster clattered to the floor. In the time it took Thorak to process the agonizing pain, two hands were gripping his throat. His last thought was how it was still damn hot in that helmet.

 

When Thorak was dead, the blind man dropped his body to the ground. Then he moved toward the door, a walking stick in front of him and a new Mandalorian helmet under his arm.

 

"Hey, are you going to pay for that?" the bartender asked pointing to Thorak's corpse.

 

"Don't worry," Piccolo said, "I'm good for it. Give me some time to find some work."

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The waitress had been watching the pair as soon as the one wearing a Mandalorian helmet walked in. She couldn't really hear what they were saying, but good money from on high kept her attention to every detail, no matter how mundane it seemed. She only gathered the data, it wasn't up to her to piece it together or make any assumptions from it. Others would dissect her reports and surmise any importance, if any.

 

As she picked up a few almost empty glasses and began wiping down the empty table, she heard one line over the cantina music. "I am Piccolo, and I am here to kill you."

 

The waitress couldn't decide to go for cover or giggle to herself. Who introduced themselves before killing a man anymore? Yet something else caught her attention too, something she didn't quite register until later. Someone had been going around using the blind man's name? To what end? But as quick as her mind had strayed for the absurdity of thought there was an unmistakable snap of bone and crunching of something vital.

 

In a rush it all seemed to click into place. Who this blind man was, or who he potentially could have been. At the very least the caliber of man he seemed to be from his speed and skill, even as blind as he was. She had to think, had to do something fast before this man got away. Her superiors would be furious when the read the report and asked why she didn't try to recruit him. Quickly she scribbled some numbers down on a napkin, pass codes into encrypted comm channels, and rushed toward the door toward him.

 

"The Dark Lord has use of you, killer. If money, glory, guns, and bloodshed you seek call this number when you are alone. Don't bother trying to trace it. We can even get you new eyes if you want them."

 

Placing the napkin in his hand, she spun about and was halfway back into the bar before she spoke again. "You may be good for it old man, but why bother creating a debt when you can just settle it right away?" She smiled holding up her own credit chip as if she had swiped it from him. "If this doesn't cover it, you can settle up next time you're in, alright?"

 

It was for show, of course. Granted, most of these patrons were skunk drunk already at this early part of the day, but there could always be the occasional eavesdropper. By the time she was back at the tables, the man had been pushed from her mind as she brought the tables back to gleaming perfection.

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  • 1 month later...

Tros spent a total of 7 days on the sand planet before leaving after collecting some valuable information from a few contacts. He also took the time to purchase a few items of need that he was low on before taking off towards his next destination. Soon he would be active within the galaxy again, but this time not as Tros Ardell the Senator, but rather as Saberforce, the Bounty Hunter.

Tros_Sig_4.png

Mishuk gotal'u meshuroke, pako kyore.

 

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  • 4 years later...

The smell of body odor lay thick in the air. She wanted her senses to seek the readily apparent marvels contained within the cantina, like all the new types of sentient people she had never seen before and the strange flow of syllables that poured from their mouths, the chaotic yet cyclical music rising up and over the staccato stream of discussion, or the bright holographic displays streaming around in a flurry of short videos and advertisements for things she had never known existed before now. Instead she remained transfixed not a meter inside the door, all concentration devoted to trying to fight against the repulsion flaring in her nostrils.

 

There is no such thing as a good or bad smell. It is simply a smell. It is simply your bias that deems it good or bad.

 

Rattling the old lessons around in the mind seemed to help take away the totality of the sensation, but the assault had done its job in souring her opinion of the place from the very start. Now the smell was simply a type of air, but the indignation remained if now nothing more than a shallow filter over perception. Cred chip in hand Faux walked through the crowded cantina careful not to bump into anyone and managed to find an empty, uncleaned table. A few flit glances her way, but none seemed concerned with her presence, let alone offered any polite form of welcome or greeting. The crowd continued to roar in competition with the music, and she may as well not have existed.

 

It seems to be the nature of this place for everyone to keep to themselves, or at least those familiar. I shouldn’t feel neglected. They have no reason to speak to me. But this was where the Jawa said I could find space pilots. Is everyone in here a pilot, or do I have to just start asking people until I find one?

 

Weaving deftly through the patrons a droid approached Faux’s table and began collecting the dirty classes. “What would you like?” It asked in a monotone voice.

 

Oh, how very helpful.

 

“Hello. My name is Faux. And you are?”

 

“This unit is designated B6-T3. What would you like?”

 

“It’s nice to meet you, B6-T3,” What a weird name… “I was hoping to find a space pilot to take me to Coruscant. Would you happen to know where I can find one?”

 

The droid paused for a moment, not used to this style of inquiry. “Many pilots frequent this cantina. I am unsure of their flight plans. If you require, I will submit your inquiry to the owner.”

 

“That would be very helpful! Thank you very much, B6-T3.”

 

“Would you like something to drink or eat?”

 

“Oh…” So a cantina is a kitchen with entertainment. But why do they need to be entertained while they eat? Why distract yourself from your meal? To distract from the uncleanliness of the place, perhaps? “I would like some water, please.”

 

“One water.” The droid repeated, wasting no time to return to the long counter in front of, presumably, where the beverages were kept. Several bottles of different color lined the shelves behind the counter. The one distributing the drinks was even combining a little from a couple bottles before handing them out. If I had known they had juice I would have gotten that instead. Juice was a rare thing back home, as it often consumed more fruit in the making of the drink than would have been sensible to simply eat, and fruit itself took a lot of time and water to grow. Turning it to juice was simply not prudent except on special occasions, which always tended to be her birthday or when she was feeling ill.

 

She watched the droid relay her order to the beverage cook, or whatever he was, and presumably ask about available space pilots for her. B6-T3 was such a helpful droid. Too bad it didn’t have free will to show such kindness of its own volition. Well, at least the programmers were kind. The beverage cook looked her way, mouthing something in a language she was unfamiliar, and spoke to a couple people at the end of the bar. They made conversation, and they too turned to look her over. Faux smiled and offered them a friendly wave, hoping to make a good impression on what could possibly be the ones taking her halfway across the galaxy on the first trek in space she would ever make.

 

The pair got up from the bar, a human and a sentient she had never encountered before with grey skin, large, black eyes, and a small mouth. His head was shaped like an upside down egg and his hands had less fingers on them than the humanoids she knew from home. As they made their way toward her, Faux could see they were both carrying a drink in both hands.

 

“Looking for a ride, eh?” The human said with a half sided smile, setting both of his drinks in front of Faux as his friend sat at the table, then setting himself. The other one slid one of his drinks over to the human and said something she didn’t understand.

 

“Um… yes.” She said as she looked at the two drinks before her, one clear and probably her water, the other an amber color. She picked up the clear one and took a sip. It was water, but it tasted slightly bitter, like something was wrong with their evaporator. “Thank you for this other drink. What type of juice is it?”

 

The alien said something, but she could only blink at her incomprehension. The human noticed this, eyes narrowing slightly as if he were trying to figure something else, and spoke up. “It’s whiskey. Glaxus won’t let you just order water here.”

 

“Oh…” She said with confusion. What was wrong with ordering water? “Well, I’ve never had it before. Thank you.” She bowed her head in thanks and rose, taking the whiskey in hand. “My name is Faux. I was hoping to find a ride to Coruscant, if you happen to be headed that way.” Raising the glass for a drink, she paused when it got close enough to smell. Incredibly sour, so much so it stung her nose, like the juice had spoiled or something. The human noticed this as well. He seemed to be watching her most cautiously.

 

“I am Stan, and this is Dukono.”

 

Faux wrinkled her nose in acceptance that it would be rude not to accept their drink, and raised it slightly toward them. “Nice to meet you, Stan. Dukono.” And tipped the drink enough to get a good taste of the sour drink.

 

It burns! It burns it burns it burns it burns it burns it burns it burns it burns it burns!

 

Her composure kept the disgust inside, but even after she swallowed the whiskey seemed to keep burning. She took a sip of water to wash it away and that seemed to help a little, but each exhale brought the burning up to tickle her nose. Why would anyone drink this?! Is this some sort of purifying solvent added to the diet to aid digestion or something? Then the thought of solvent seemed to make her connect some dots. This was alcohol. A substance consumed for its qualities as a drug more so than its flavor. She heard the brothers speak of it as a matter of temptation of the body and mind. A form of entertainment. Since she walked in she watched as everyone else was drinking something or another. Were they all subjecting themselves to this suffering for some promise of effect?

 

How in the world is this entertaining?

 

“What, have you never had liquor before?” He said with and amazed chuckle, taking the glass from her and tossing it back like water. “B6!” He shouted above the noise of the cantina. “Bring the lady a Juma juice.”

 

I knew they had juice…

 

“Anyway…Yeah, we can take you to Coruscant. You do have money, don’t you?”

 

“Oh, yes!” She said, pulling out the credit chip Adon had given her. It was all of the money the monastery had saved in the many years since they had to buy something they couldn’t trade for. Often they just bartered with the Jawa’s, but sometimes a few credits would be added or taken in the deals to make them more balanced. “I have a little over four thousand. Will that be enough to get to Coruscant?” A little over four thousand seemed like a lot to her, but her brothers said it would probably only be enough to get her a couple rides and food for a month or so. Even still, she had no idea how much things costed. She might have to find some more if she wanted to get off planet. After that her survival would rest entirely on her own shoulders.

 

Dukono said something to Stan, who held up a hand and nodded a dismissal. “It’s a thousand for the ride. We’re already on a run to deliver a few things, so Coruscant won’t be too far off from where we were going anyway.”

 

B6 arrived with another glass, this one filled with an orange looking opaque fluid. It still smelled sour, but not nearly as much as the whiskey and had a tone of sweetness to it somewhere in it as well. “Thank you.” She said to the droid as it collected the empty glass and returned to work. Sipping this one with more caution, it wasn’t nearly as bad. It still had an aftertaste of chemical burn, but the sweetness covered it well. Juma juice was good! At least, good by comparison of the first. She’d still rather have regular juice.

 

“A thousand doesn’t seem too bad. And you say we’ll get to see other places along the way?”

 

“Sure. Nar Shaddaa and Cardia.” Dukono said something before sipping his drink. “Oh, that’s right. We’ve gotta stop by Kashyyyk first.”

 

She didn’t know where any of these places were, but it felt like she was getting a deal to be able to see all these places for a thousand credits. “Okay! When do we leave?”

“We can head over now, if you like. They’re refueling the ship now and…” Dukono said something between drinks. “No, they should be done loading that by now.” Dukono tilted the rest of his drink back and set the empty glass on the table, muttering on about something or another. “It’ll be fine. The contact said…” Stan looked sideways at Faux, deciding it better not to have this conversation in front of her. “Look, Duko, it’ll be fine. Alright?”

 

Dukono muttered on, getting up from the table and made his way toward the exit. “Okay.” Stan said as he got up. “Finish your drink and we’ll be out.”

 

Faux followed suit and stood up, taking a sip of the Juma juice only to notice Stan was already on his way out. She drained her glass quickly and followed Stan. “Thanks B6!” She shouted as the door shut behind her.

 

“Wait…” Said the droid as it tried to push through customers. “Your bill…”

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  • 3 years later...

The yellowish orange blur that was Tatooine loomed and overtook the main viewport of the Swift Justice. Tros sat within the pilots chair and flipped switches to take his ship off of cruise control features used during hyperspace travel. As he worked, Larkin began to move her head towards the main viewport from the copilots chair and squinted her eyes. It was the first time in a long time that Tros had anyone sit next to him as he piloted, as the last few times he was in a different ship and worked primarily alone. Since getting his new ship, only Vulios Vuuku has been within the main hold, and he was the one flying, not Tros. He had thought he would be annoyed by her being up here with him, but it felt good to have someone else, even a rival now present. 

 

"Not too much activity... Whatever happened with the Hutts and the old guild really sent this place to hell." Tros couldn't tell if she was worried or just simply speaking her mind out loud. "Lifeforms are camped out here and there... Looks more like Tuskens have moved in closer to the main cities. Mos Eisley has the most dense populations around it. That may be where we pick up more desperate people..." With a flick of his wrist, he quickly pulled up the heat shields and began to take them planet side. As he did, Larkin continued to eye the screens to see whatever new information she may be able to pick up. "Looks like we're being directed to land at docking bay 7. Air traffic was quick to pick us up. I'm guessing low traffic in the system." Looking towards his left, the HUD on his ship showed the direct path towards the docking bay. "I'm guessing with the Hutts gone and Black Sun moved on the more core worlds, there isn't much of an interest in scoundrels to visit this place now."  Larkin stood and and nodded her head. "I'm going to get prepared." With that, she left the cockpit. 

 

It didn't take him really long to get the ship settled in place. As he began to lock the ship down from the pilots chair, he stood up and walked back to the main hold where Larkin was. SHe had helped herself to some old armor pieces, namely a matching set of gauntlets and shin guards. He normally would have cared, but since she didn't take anything else of higher value from his fallen vod he didn't care as much. A chest piece of buy'ce would have gotten him a bit more upset. He walked past her to lower the ramp. "I hope that you are at least armed with your own weapons, or do you need to take my people's weapons as well?..." She walked up to him and swung her own heavy repeating blaster to be carried upon her back. "I like my own-thank you." She clearly ignored the tense words and instead now pushed past him down the landing ramp. I hope someone shoots her. After the thought crossed his mind, he then followed her down.

 

As he reached the bottom of the ramp, Larkin had already moved to pay to docking fee, which it looked like the docking bay was rather unattended and unkept. Seeing as she had a grasp on things with squaring away their payment, he decided to walk out and see how much of the city had changed he was last here, which was a good 12 years. He had been on Tatooine since then, but not Mos Eisley. Outside, the city looked about the same colorwise and the amount of attractiveness of the city. Mos Espa and Mos Entha were always more glamorous and attractive when it came to outsiders, regardless of whomever was in control of the system. Although the majority of the former guild operated out of Bestine now. There were far more Jawas running around then the last time he was here before. Quickly two right outside stood up and began to talk to him. Their languages were confusing to most, but his background allowed for him to understand and deal with them. 

 

After about a ten minute conversation, Larkin finally showed up. Tros glanced at her. "What took so long? They didn't like our credits?" She looked and felt aggravated. "No, I was just harassed. They feel like our best bet was another system for work."  She walked out into the middle of the pathway looking flustered. "The locals have more resources. The Jawas have a need of us. Their promised payment isn't exactly high end credits. But I feel like it's a good start... are you willing to take this job?"

Tros_Sig_4.png

Mishuk gotal'u meshuroke, pako kyore.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tros loaded up a speeder with some useful supplies as Larkin moved around the front, attempting to make it more multipurpose than it’s original intent. As he put a box of explosives into the back, one Jawa that he was talking to approached him and began to speak to him about some final details. Larkin looked up for a second and then put her head back down and listened in. After a moment, he walked away and Tros simply climbed into the speeder. Larkin was quick to jump in. “What did he say exactly?” Tros fired up the speeder and pushed the throttle to the max to speed up out of town before responding. “The Ronto’s we’re after have a few other hunters pursuing them. Sounds like a few rival Jawa clans are fighting over them. A few speeders from Bestine have gone out after them as well.” She didn’t verbally respond, but she mouthed the word Bestine and began to focus upon what she felt like she needed to do. 

 

As they moved rapidly out of the city range, Larkin pulled up a map and began to detail some of the details of which they would need. “It looks like we may want to camp out on the Mesra Plateau for the night before we head on to the B’omar flat. If these Ronto’s made it out to the Northern Dune Sea, we’re going to be in hot druk.” The fact of the matter is, they both knew the Ronto’s haven't made it that far, as they were taken by rogues posing as Tuskens and attempting to draw people in. From the story of Chal Bum, the Jawa who hired them, what they were looking for is something that many didn’t return back from, which meant that they were killed while out. “Keep your eyes on the scanner, we don’t want to be ambushed while out.”

 

They made it to the Mesra Plateau before the suns fell and set up camp shortly at the far east of the plateau. Larkin was cooking some food as Tros slowly moved around and surveyed the area. When he came back, he removed his buy’ce and sat down to eat, pulling up a map. “The entire lower ridge is filled with opportunities to ambush. There are about two to three other groups out there. Two or one, I can’t really tell from this far away. There is one group about twenty miles to the west of us. Far enough away to not be a problem, but close enough to count that it’s a group of no more then ten. From this high up, they’re observing the B’omar flat like us.” Larkin stared at the fire and let her own thoughts drift deep. “Do you think it’ll be a firefight?” He didn’t answer her. Instead he focused on eating. How could he tell her that he thought that such a thing was possible, but he intended to strike a deal? It sounded stupid to even him.

 

“Eat and sleep. We’re better off well rested and ready to go. We need to survive to get paid.” Larkin raised an eyebrow and then went back to eating. It allowed for Tros to think more, and to even ponder upon what the future held for him now. Things have indeed greatly changed since his last time here. He wasn’t an independent bounty hunter, his vod had all died off leaving him alone, and his lover perished needlessly to defend Mandalore along with his childhood friend. Now, here he was working as an ally with someone whom he once considered a rival. At the very least, he admired Larkin in her ability to adapt quickly to new things. She processed things the way he did, internally and almost rarely spoke out loud. The last thing he remembered thinking before he slept was that he hoped to see anyone of his own kin soon. 

 

**********************************

 

“Chit! Those Banthas are going to make it difficult to spot anything from this range...” Larkin was tracking down a single Ronto she spotted from her vantage point as Tros kept an eye open and swept through the area that they had moved towards, which was only three miles more north-west on the plateau. He looked down at her for a second before turning his attention to what he was already focusing on. “Shoot one. They’ll scatter.” “If I shoot one, they’ll scatter, the Ronto’s will scatter, and every other group out here will know that we’re up here.” Tros narrowed his eyes as he scanned the area. “Then why complain? You told me, 'I pride myself on tracking’” She let out a sigh. “I’ll eat those words fully by the time we get paid…” No sooner had the words left her mouth when Tros spotted something that neither wanted at this present time. “Larkin- weap-” 

 

The blaster fight had erupted before he could finish his own words, let alone his thoughts. The first bolt struck his upper left pauldron, the next two struck almost deadly close to Larkin’s abdomen area, but only hit the sand, causing a very lucky cloud of cover for her to roll over and move out of harm's way. He had started to produce his own blaster pistols before he even finished speaking, so he quickly began to take shots back in the general direction of the oncoming raiders. His own return fire made it clear that whomever they were up against were indeed more skilled than just average raiders, as the group was attempting to cut him off from moving towards cover and isolate him alone. Fierfek! The maneuver was something he would have done and it made him slightly upset that he didn’t anticipate it. 

 

“I can’t get a good sight on them- what do you want me to do?” The first thought Tros had was for her to not be shouting in the middle of a firefight. The second was to cause a distraction of some sort that would allow for him to gain better cover, as for the moment he was stuck in the open absorbing fire and being the prime target. He never got the chance to tell Larkin though, as the oncoming fighters seemed to anticipate that maneuver as well and began to have a small concentrated effort to pin Larkin down where she was, making it almost impossible for her to alleviate him. They’re good. It was the next move that tipped Tros of whom they were dealing with. 

 

Two grenades went flying into the air, easily spotted by him, yet not in a position to handle them outside of slowly moving away from their path. But they never made it to the ground, as they were shot at and exploded mid air, causing flashes and debris to get thrown everywhere making it beyond impossible to pick up movement on the other side. It was a tactic famously used by Mandalorian clans on Concord Dawn. Not many clans had even survived the recent purges there, except a few. It was then he knew who was leading the others against them. 

 

Ke'pare! Tomad vod! Tros made sure to shout it as loud as he could. It took about two seconds before all fire stopped. It took a moment before a few figures emerged from the dust and sand smoke that had been created from the quick onslaught of fire. It was then that the all too familiar armor of Vulios Vuuku came into sight. Su cuy'gar! Tro’solus, Lone wolf.”

Tros_Sig_4.png

Mishuk gotal'u meshuroke, pako kyore.

 

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For the first time in years, Tros felt like he was home. Or rather, more closely back to the sense of family he had since his time on Concord Dawn. Ever since the deaths of so many, he always felt like he was on the verge of waiting for the blaster that would eventually end him. Much like any other time preparing for an attack, this time was no different with the lone exemption of him not feeling like he would be facing that blaster today. There was a soft thud of boots walking up next to him and he didn’t have to turn to know who it was. “So why here Vulios?” Granted, Tros felt like he knew the answer, as it would most likely be close to his own. With his buy’ce under his right arm, he looked at the man next to him, who also held his own buy’ce the same way. Vulios seemed to ponder a bit before answering. 

 

“I guess the reason was simple. Credits offered up were good enough and the style of which we would be doing things was close to what was comfortable to me.” Vulios now looked directly at me. His eyes burned behind the emerald color of his iris. “Not quite how intense it was under Terra, yet far more comfortable than under Fett.” Tros slowly nodded his own head. “I guess all roads eventually lead all Mandalorians back to the battlefield.” Tros looked out at the B’omar flat and wondered what sort of trouble they really could expect. He then felt a hand upon his shoulder. Cin vhetin.” The hand lingered for only a moment before it was withdrawn. Then Larkin approached the two.

 

“Not to break up the reunion, but…” She pointed back towards a Mandalorian named Avao. ”She, Ava-Avio, or something said that the time to move has drawn to under five minutes. We need to be ready for the strike you two planned.” Vulios looked at Tros with an expression of knowing, almost like a secret shared between the two. He then put his buy’ce on and walked away. “Pack up the caf, we’re going to need it.” Tros then put his own buy’ce on and patted larkin’s shoulder twice in a very upbeat manner. 

 

******* 20 Minutes Later *********

 

The speeder he rode upon was quickly coming up upon the Ronto’s that were moving slowly through a small rocky pass. There were about 7 of them, moving rather slowly and taking up a lot of room, making the passage between them tight and a perfect spot for an ambush. Pulling out one of his blasters, he quickly took aim and fired directly into the back of one of the Ronto’s. It roared and began to lurch itself a bit forward, but it caused a few others in front of it to stop moving entirely. As he came barreling down on the narrow passage, the shot came, striking the dead center of his speeder and launching him into the air. As he reached the height above the Ronto’s, he activated his jetpack and began to slowly lower himself down, not wanting to tip his hand yet, began to pour fire directly at the Ronto’s. 

 

As the beast began to move and thrash about, it was then that the Raiders showed themselves, two upon the cliff side taking some shots at him, four that were hidden amongst the Ronto’s, and about 5 from behind. It was clear to Tros just how much work the raiders had put in. Luckily, the plan of springing their ambush to spring one on top of their was about to prove just how skilled they were in taking on a small group of Mandalorians. As he landed in the mists of what would soon be a chaotic scene, the roar of speeders came near the narrow passage and then broke off to either side. As they broke off, four jetpacks came flying into the air and also began to pour fire at the rear raiders. Tros turned and used his right arm that had his dart launcher and shot a Ronto that at least one raider was using as a shield of sorts. After shooting the beast, he pulled out his other blaster and began to force the fire at the Ronto’s on his left side. As he did so, he knew that he was now ground zero for the chaos. 

 

Vulios and Atin came landing with some hard fire on the very far side of the narrow passage while Avao and Sarpa went up high onto the ledges of the passage, to help provide equal leverage of the situation. Meanwhile Kot’dral and Larkin were the ones on the speeders who raced around. Their end goal was to force a complete encircling of the raiders into a far more vulnerable position. Because of that, Tros needed to keep as many eyes drawn on him so that everyone would be able to accomplish their own objectives. Using his blasters, he kept up a steady stream of fire at the direction to his left, trying to force them to retreat ever so slightly backwards. They were after all, due to Avao and Sarpa, would lose their higher ground support. So he kept a steady stream. He didn’t have to wait too long, as shortly after he made a strong push forward, the Ronto’s behind him began to swirl around and panicked more as Vulios and Atin came up, leaving behind a few dead bodies. 

 

To his right, Avao and Sarpa came flying in, blaster rifles causing a scene and now making the Ronto’s panic and attempt to stomp and run, but with nowhere to go. Kot'dral and Larkin quickly closed in from behind the raiders, forcing them to move into the chaotic Ronto’s. There was no longer any upper ground support, but with the fire being poured down from all sides, the four remaining raiders clearly were feeling the pressure to get out from under fire. Suddenly two Ronto’s dropped behind as Vulios took them down, sealing off a retreat for the Mandalorians. But between the constant fire from himself, Avao and Sarpo and the pushing of Kot’dral and Larkin, the chaos finally reached a peak and the raiders lifted their hands and threw down weapons, wanting out of the mess that had ensued. With the act of surrender, Tros gave the signal and Avao and Sarpo began to have the Ronto’s flushed out in a run towards the main exit as Kot’dral got Larkin out of harm's way. It was then that the rest of the crew quickly rushed the raiders and took them prisoners. The Mandalorians then quickly started to make camp and quickly arranged for their new guests to be held down. 

 

***** 20 Minutes Later **********

 

Tros stood watching the group of three Raiders who remained. They squirmed as each Mandalorian passed by them, wondering when someone would talk to them, or if they would die or be released. Vulios stood beside him and watched as well. After about a good few minutes passed, Vulios spoke. “They’re hiding something for sure. The question is…” Tros and Vulios looked at each other. “Can you get one of them to talk?” Tros smiled behind his buy’ce. “I can get one of them to dance, but it’s going to cost one of them their lives.” Tros returned to staring at the Raiders for a moment before he started his walk towards them. As he came to standing right next to them, he leaned down and looked at three before pointing at one, whom Sarpo quickly pulled him out in front as Tros stepped a few paces backwards.

 

“You have two options before you. You can talk or you can be put through immense pain at your own whim. Why did Chal Bum put such a large bounty on the Ronto’s to be returned?” The raider shifted slightly, and gave a look at the other mandalorians before returning his own gaze back to Tros. “Legends of your people are nothing more than legends. You guys got lucky in us being unprepared for such a counter strike. I doubt that you have the ability to scare us as much as you think you can.” There was a moment of silence before Tros removed his buy’ce and handed it over to Sarpo. He then took another moment to look down upon the man before he knelt down to get to his face level and leaned in to whisper. “You may think you're tough. But let me make this simple promise to you. Within the hour… You will beg for death. And when you do… I’ll make the pain worse.” Tros then stood up. “Larkin, make sure the caf is good and hot. I’m going to need lots of it before the day is over.”

 

Tros walked over to Avao and received from her a vibrodagger and walked back towards the main raider he picked out. He leaned down and slowly cut a medium size cut into his right arm, followed quickly by another. “Now that you’ve warmed up your tongue and I’ve warmed the dagger, lets begin… What’s so special about those Ronto’s?” The pain was evident within the man, as most interogrators don’t open up with such a deep cut. It was Tros’ way of letting him know that he was in for something different. His voice went deep in an attempt to hide the pain. “Ronto’s or Bantha’s? They all look the same to me.” 

 

With a soft almost hidden smile and a soft head shake, Tros grabbed the man’s left hand. “Wrong way to start things off.” Forcing his hand flat, Tros chopped the man’s index finger clean off from the knuckle. Amidst the muffle screams the man made, Tros spoke rather calmly. “I want to be able to make this hand last. What’s so important about the Ronto’s?” Pain was evident on the man’s face, but he was attempting to fight through it. “... Maybe… their meat?...” Tros pulled his lips together and gave a disappointed head shake. “Two more maybe?” This time, he made sure to slowly cut the middle and ring finger off from the knuckles. The screams were no longer muffled and almost screeching at this point as the slow cutting made the pain worse. “Why did Chal Bum put a bounty to return Ronto’s?”

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Mishuk gotal'u meshuroke, pako kyore.

 

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  • 1 year later...

Eyelids fluttered against the sharp and obnoxious lights that dangled like leering luminescent faces over her. She blinked once, then twice, and her vision swam dangerously, the sound in her ears fuzzed like a dying headset into dismal static. Her stomach lurched as she tried to lift her head from the countertop of the dark wooden bartop, but she pushed again and she lifted her overly heavy head up. No helmet,  and her face was sticky with the spilled drink that she had so lovingly laid her head down in. 

 

No. She hadn’t been sleeping. The quick fist in her guts told her that and the pounding in her head made a bit more sense as she was picked up by the blow and tossed over the bartop onto the squealing rodian behind it.

 

She pulled herself into a crouch and felt to her belt. A leather pouch. A little vial. She grinned as she spat a mouthful of acid tasting blood onto the floor. Causing another squeal from the Rodian bartender. No time for the hypospray. She popped the little glass vial into her mouth and bit down hard, shattering the thin glass into shards that bit painfully against her tongue. But there it was. Amongst the glass shards grating against her molars the spice was activating. She took a breath through closed teeth to let the spice fully activate and then, like a flipped switch, the pain in her mouth, her head, her arms, her stomach, was gone. 

 

She spit out the glass and a great deal of blood, then she made her move. With practiced precision, she pushed off her back leg and launched herself over the bar, straight into the chest of the burly human man who had initially struck her. She headbutted his sternum, feeling more than hearing the wind rush from his lungs in a gasp. He choked, then she was striking again. A closed fist to his neck, striking once, twice, thrice. Then she swept his legs out from under him with a kick of her own. Dropping him face first into the bartop, Where he collapsed. His unconscious body struggling to even take a breath as he choked on his own tongue. 

 

Then the bar room erupted into chaos.

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Behold the Rose of Sharon is burning in the valley 

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The sands of Tatooine blew hot beneath the twin suns that sucked practicably every vestige of moisture from the world. Dunes shifted beneath the shaping invisible fingers of the winds; never the same one day from the next. Occasionally cliff sides and jutting protrusions surfaced from the sands only to vanish again within days. It was against this backdrop that a solitary warrior trekked. Clad in blackened leathers and heavy robes, the desolate Tusken, Rruror’rur’rr trod. Exiled from his people, having seen beyond what this world offered, but bound to their way of life, the warrior moved led by the wordless whispers of his ancestor. They called to him on the wind, leading him to  shelter, to food, and water; to life.

 

It was a lonely existence , and one fraught with danger; for the wilds of Tatooine were amongst the most unforgiving in the galaxy. His people, while accepting of the mad Tusken, treated him with caution. And so, following the guidance that only he could hear, Rruror’rur’rr found himself making his way into Mos Eisley as the lunchtime crowds quickly scurried from their favorite haunts back to work, or for the lucky wealthy, to nap. Most gave the shadowy primitive a wide berth; stories of the Tuskens’ more threatening than the plethora of crime bosses that dotted the cityscape. At least the majority of them needed cause to bring harm upon others. Tusken Raiders on the other hand, were little more than monstrous animals that preyed on the weak and solitary. To see one in the city was as seeing a Sand Panther having slipped it’s bounds.

 

The winds blew, whispering direction to the subconscious of the desert nomad. Turning, he was drawn to the sounds of chaos that erupted within the shadowy halls of a nameless cantina. Rruror’rur’rr paused. Something familiar here called to him even as all manner of things and scoundrels seemed to clash with patrons. The former seeking to get in on whatever brawl was boiling over inside as the latter surged to escape any chaos before the enforcement goons of the Hutt crime lord who controlled this area of the city came to restore order and fear.

 

Smelling the air, Rru whispered, “Rose?” Was she here, was it possible? He could still taste her lips on his own. She had vanished into the cloudless skies and sands months ago. If she was here now, then he would not let her vanish again. Where she would go, he would go. Her people, he would make his people. The Tusken shrugged his worn blackened cycler from his shoulder.

 

The weapon slid into his hands, almost an extension of his very being. Pulling the weapon to his shoulder, he stared down the barrel, the antiquated scope painting a cross in his vision that settled onto a rather brutish Devaronian rushing through the front door with disruptor in hand. These invasive pests were little

 more than roaches. These lands belonged to those who had earned them, had guarded them for time eternal, and to those who proved they could hold them; not these invasion leech-lifes.

 

*CRACK*
 

The weapon kicked against his shoulder. The thick cloth robes absorbed some of the recoil, but still, Rru could feel the satisfactory pushback of the explosion that propelled the crafted chunk of steel forward. Scavenged from the desert dead, Rru used what the ancestors provided.

 

The round entered the Devaronian’s skull, contorting his face as the momentum of the weapon and thug flung him forward. The impact erupted, engulfing the devil’s head in a fireball, the pyro slug doing it’s job.

 

Beneath his masked shroud, Rru’s eyebrows raised in surprise. That was unexpected. Even then, Rru was gliding back the weapon’s slide, ejecting the hot brass into the slightly less hot air as another round was fed into the chamber with the slide being forwarded.

 

A traditional “Rhauau-Rhaaaa!” curved menacingly from Rru’s maw announcing his presence as the beastly cry carried supernaturally across the area

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“This happens every time. I hate it,so much, hate this…” Kiv grumbled as he covered his eyes in fear underneath the bar counter.  Overhead above the counter, Eyes flew about noiselessly, scanning the entire scene while trying to remain unnoticed. 

 

The small hooded Jawa opened his robe slightly so he could peek out. Behind the counter, no one had noticed the small figure dive for cover when the fight broke out. The barkeep had stepped out back a few moments ago, and the establishment was the kind that didn’t use service droids.  “I come home. Good place. Sands feel good. Suns feel good. Sell some trash, find nice lady jawa, make a baby, go back to stars. That was the plan, right Eyes?”

 

>yes sir< Eyes beeped back, floating backwards to avoid a body hitting the bartop.

 

Kiv’s stained hood popped up over the counter before his glowing red eyes did, needing a moment to hoist himself high enough to see. 

 

“But no, I had to get a drink. Some nice water with a lime. Had to treat myself. Be greedy Jawa. Stupid me. Geck, stupid lady…”

 

For a few moments the two simply watched the mayhem that had erupted in the cantina. While it was daily crowded, the lady who had been fighting was more then a match for those around her. 

 

Well, almost more then a match. Kiv noted the blood on the lady’s face trickling from her mouth.

 

“Hey, Eyes, you recording this right? People pay good money for this I bet. Rich snobs, gladiator enthusiasts,  angry spouses, anyone who loves violence"

 

>yes sir. You will need to extrapolate the holovid after this though, as my memory…<

 

“Ya ya ya, shush, you talk too much.” Kiv interrupted as he fell back down behind the bar. “I need to scrounge a bit. After all, battle is good for business hehe”

 

>I thought diplomacy was peace for business< Eyes commented, making a sweep over the entire bar, finding the best position to watch the fight. 

 

“It is, it is, but battle is also good for business” Kiv started, pushing around bottles and glasses in hopes of finding something. A moment later, Kiv produced a small data pad, as well as some credits stashed away.


“Oooh, bar tab. Someone will want this. Hehe good ven…Utini!” Kiv exclaimed at the sound of a slug shot outside the cantina. The roar of a Tuskan that followed confirmed what Kiv assumed. 


“Raid!” Kiv screeched, now shoving bottles aside to make room for himself to crawl inside. The advantages of being small came in handy. “Kriffing Tuskans and their raids. No respect for business.” 


Kiv grumbled and grunted from his hide spot. As the brawl continued, the bartender burst in through the back door and promptly slipped on a fallen bottle and smacked his head into the bar.


 “Not that this business has good management…” Kiv commented. With a quick whistle, the small Jawa ordered his small droid to return to its owner, and hid alongside the opened and discarded bottles. 


>Perhaps this will all blow over after the fight?<


“Shush you, you talk too much” 

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It was interesting to see a pyroround do its grim business, even from several meters deep in the bar brawl, she could see the bright flash as the round carved its way through bone and brain and exited in a flash into the wall. The wet pop and following sonic crack as the Devorian’s head exploded from the kinetic backblast would have been a sight to behold if she had the time to watch and observe. But bar room brawls waited for no man or woman. 

 

She spun under a blow and slammed her fist in a riposte that dropped a human like a sack of muja fruit. But what was that other sound? Was that the shrill jabbering of a kwikian monkey? No, that was the sound of a Jawa. And it was a sound that raised her blood pressure through the roof. 

 

“Will someone shut that damn monkey up?” She scooped up a bottle of ale that had been dropped in the fight and threw it with some degree of accuracy at the little beady eyes beneath a hood that lay behind the bar. 

 

Now without the shrill distraction she could get back to the blissfulness of the fight. Riding that high as she dodged another blow and returned it in kind into a patron’s groin. 

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Behold the Rose of Sharon is burning in the valley 

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The jack-booted thug fell, hard. His demise brought a momentary pause from those rushing to join the melee. It was no longer just a brawl of sorts. Even here, when blasters were drawn in a frackas, escalating things, it was rare that higher powered weapons and surefire death was put forth as a go-to option in a bar room brawl.

 

By and large, a majority of the all too eager would-be brawlers veered off. Suddenly there were better things to do and places to be. Doubly so where Tuskens were concerned for where there was one . . . 

 

Still another of the crowd, a rather enraged associate of the fallen devil quickly whipped about drawing his heavy blaster pistol. He had the time to squeeze off one erratic bolt skyward as Rruror’rur’rr’s rifle cracked again dropping the thug.

 

*CRACK*
 

slide the bolt

 

*CRACK*
 

*CRACK*
 

Three successive shots were all it seemed to take and suddenly the influx of brawlers to the cantina was gone, replaced as several would-be weekend warriors ducked out and ran for cover.

 

Rruror’rur’rr slung his rifle with ease, hefting his weighted gaffi stick and at a quick lope dashed to the dimly lit door of the bar room. Inside it was a bloody mess, in part because of his own handiwork; in part because a one-woman wrecking ball seemed to be taking on the entirety of the local patrons.

 

A smile slid across the nomad’s concealed face as his eyes adjusted, with help from his goggles, to the dimly lit interior. There she was, none other than his Rose. The ancestors had not led him astray.

 

Hefting his club, Rruror’rur’rr gave another gutteral roar and added his own muscle to the fray.  The duel-ended gaffi stick spun in his hands as he used one end to sweep the feet of a patron using the momentum of that motion to crack another upside the head with a dense KATHUMP. Each move of his weapon, was an extension of his aura and self, and with each came a step closer to Rose.

 

He pressed forward until he was within striking distance of the female Mandalorian. There he swung his club, striking a rather hefty looking man square in the chest as he leapt with broken beer bottle in hand towards Rose’ backside. The man crumpled his momentum causing him to slide off the Tusken weapon with a thunder atop the bar as it creaked beneath his weight.

 

It would only be a matter of minutes. Undoubtedly someone had already alerted someone to the disorder and be it a garrison of troopers from whichever government of the week tried to claim the world, agents of the Black Sun or thugs of whichever crime lord ruled this particular block, someone was coming to restore order. When they did, they wouldn’t just be the local ruffians either. At best, a half dozen heavily armed Gammoreans would make short order of the mes. At worst, it would be something more official with official orders and weapons and armor. Brawls were bad for business in a place like this. 

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Kiv screeched again when the bottle nearly hit his poor, soft, covered head, but stopped himself when the berzerker lady ordered silence. 


“Ok, ok, stay quiet. Quiet I can do. Quiet is good, yes? Yes, I be quiet, so you don’t be angry, you crazy mad crazy  lady” Kiv started, almost crying, crawling away from his hiding spot to one of the walls. Eye seemed to follow closely, hovering just above the Jawa's head. 


>Sir, I don’t think she knows you are more rodent than monkey< Eyes beeped its typical binary code, still recording the brawl. The one consolation prize to the entire ordeal would be this recording. 


“Shush you. Monkey me is monkey be” 


Another body crashed into the wall right in front of Kiv. After a momentary pause, instinct kicked in and Kiv was patting down and pocketing a few loose credits, some metal trinkets, and a metal emblem with a symbol of what appeared to be a black star. 


“Ooh, this looks valuable. Pleasure doing business” Kiv uttered, giving a nod at the heavily tattooed being. The man, bruised heavily in the face, groaned. Startled, Kiv did the first thing that came and slapped the face fully awake, then rolled off. After all, an old Jawa rule was ‘let them fight, and scavenge what they leave behind’. Now awake, the man growled, grabbed the nearest object and charged the lady again, with the full intent of killing. 


If Kiv wasn’t surprised at how the entire situation had evolved so far, what happened next certainly did. Just as the man leapt at the woman’s backside, a sand raider who had entered the bar put the attacker down with one clean blow. 


“Oh kriff. Oh kriff oh kriff oh kriff...” Kiv uttered over and over again, frozen in fear. This was bad. Very very bad. 


“What is…what is that thing doing in here?!?” Kiv exclaimed, unable to unroot himself from his spot along the wall. 


>It appears it is helping clear the room< Eyes noted. 


“Shh, shh!” Kiv held a finger up to his hood. “You want them to hear you? Gah, but why? I mean, Tuskens don’t enter cantinas, right? Thats their while little deal thing, like, they kill and they raid, and they leave, but no go in, right? Why go in, all the evil magic tech is in there, right? Only us Jawas know better, right?”


>I guess not sir<


Kiv, verbalizing his thoughts, scooted sideways until he was in a small corner of the room, and pulled his cloak over his eyes, only to peek out again at the scene. 


“Perhaps good come from this? I mean, people like this stuff? Ya, ya, that's something. Opportunity is here, just got to live. Can’t make deal if dead, so I shush, but gotta make deal later, so we shush together and watch, yes? Tuskens and Jawas, we don’t hurt each other, so we good, yes? Just be quiet. We be quiet, we walk away, and no one hurts us like the mad, crazy, mad lady.”  


>Sounds like a plan sir<


For once, Kiv didn’t tell Eyes to shut it. Instead, he stayed still, frozen in a mixture of fear, confusion, and awe. 

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Why was that Jawa still jabbering? The high pitched squealing was more irritating than the blow that nearly landed her on top of the slick bartop. But what was that? She shook her head as she crushed her fist into the face of a Rodian, flattering one of his bug like eyes and splashing her with a sick green ichor. What was that smell? The drugs she had just ingested hightened all of her senses, but surely her nose was playing tricks on her. 

 

Was that the same strong spice smell at Roar Roar? She paused for a moment as she stepped over the twitching rodian body. She took another long breath through her nose. Her too wide eyes opened wider. Right as the sound of a Gaffi stick punching through the ribcage of a patron came thundering through her ears. 

 

She spun and came face to face with the Tusken Raider that had stolen her heart. 

 

“Roar roar?” 

 

She whispered through a mouthful of blood before grabbing his arm and pulling him into a fierce hug. She would have kissed him, but the blood and face wrappings always made that part difficult. 

 

“We should uh probably get out of here huh?” 

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Behold the Rose of Sharon is burning in the valley 

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As the body hit the floor, the din seemed to fade; well, except for the chittering of a rat. Normally that would call for some special attention. The desert rats were cowards at best, thieves at worst, dishonorable and plague-ridden regardless.

 

All lf that was pushed aside though as the chaos settled into a settling dust and moans of broken patrons.

 

Letting his club clatter to the floor, Rruror’rur’rr caught the arrmored woman in a tight grasp against his rough-spun clothes. He held his forehead to hers, willing his feelings of relief at finding her wash over them.

 

Slowly he nodded as they slid apart, a longing lingering desire drawing the moment out.

 

Catching his gaffi on his shrouded toe, Rru kicked the weapon up into the air, catching it easily. Reaching behind the bar, the Tusken instinctively seemed to know right where the Jawa was. Grasping a handful of stanky robe he hoisted the rodent free; holding it by the scruff much like a cat. He held the Jawa to face level for a moment, his cold hidden eyes staring into the hood. Even his rebreather could not completely do away with the smell.

 

No words needed to be spoken. The look spoke it all. A threat of legendary interspecies violence known between the two’s peoples for generation. The cowards and the defenders, the thieves and the survivors, the dishonorable and the prideful. It was how he saw them so it must be true. 

 

Dropping the Jawa in a heap, Rru motioned for the diminuative rat to follow. He then turned, his gaze softening as he beheld his Rose. He had so many questions for her. What had happened to her? Where did she go? What had he done? They would need to wait though. This was not the time or the place.

 

Heading towards the door, Rru made sure to step on as many downed pagans as he could. Outside, the whine of speeders grew louder. A pair of mismatched patrol speeders rounded the corner at speed, their targeting  sensors locking on the trio. “Targets acquired the crime lords head enforcer radio’d as he depressed the big red firing button.

Edited by Wyvernfall

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Kiv tilted his head sideways in confusion. 

 

“Thats…new…” Kiv muttered to himself. Eyes didn’t say anything.

 

When the Tusken picked Kilt up however, all muttering turned to screeching. 

 

“Ack! Truce truce! I don’t kill you, you don’t kill me, I don’t take your stuff! Neutral ground, right? Yes, neutral ground! Ground is good and neutral! I give discount even, just don’t kill me! I mean, we like cousins, yes? Old family, you don’t kill old family? Cousins, like fifteen times removed! Yes, please, don’t kill! I give big discount, please, no no no, eeeeee!” 

 

However, despite his flailing and clawing and struggling, the Tusken didn’t say anything, merely gave Kiv the look.  Kiv knew it well. It was the look that almost every sentient being gave him and his clan for all of his life. The look was the first thing every Jawa learned about the outside world. It defined how everything would treat each scavenger from the sands, even those who walked the same dunes that Kiv did as a child. The look was a universally known language, and one that was easy to speak. 

 

The look of superiority.  Having received the look, Kiv was quiet until put down. It was useless when someone did the look.  

 

>Very brave sir.< Eyes beeped. >I recorded the whole thing.<

 

“Oh you shut it you flying bolt ball.” Kiv grumbled as he followed behind the Tusken and the woman. He waved a hand towards the droid, trying to shoo it from his head. 

 

>But sir, didn’t you want me to record everything? I was certain you fought the Tusken to show your bravery<

 

“I swear it Eyes!” With this, Kiv pulled out his one weapon and pointed at the flying spherical exploration droid. A stubby Ion Pistol. Wrapped in old bandages, welded together poorly, and barrel barely holding in place, the device was anything but threatening.  “I’ll shoot and make sure to put you in a Bantha’s back hole to escape!” 
    
Kiv glanced at the Warrior lady and chuckled and held his hands up, not  realizing he anything but  threatening. 

 

“I sorry miss berzerk lady, droid problems, you know. I sell you it though?” Kiv’s jawa trade language flowed like a river of chittering and clickings behind pointed teeth. “Nah, you don’t need droid. But perhaps I sell other stuff? Got good info for good people, yes?”

 

By this point, the trio had exited the building. Kiv stopped talking once he heard the speeders turning the corner. 

 

“Ahh! No shoot, I shoot you!” Kiv shouted. Ion Blaster still in hand, Kiv fired wildly and repeatedly, first into the air, then towards the ground, then towards the speeders. 

Perhaps it was the Force. Perhaps Kiv had some untold skill that even he wasn’t aware of it. Or perhaps it was just dumb luck that one of the shots hit one of the bikes, shorting it out and causing it to crash into the other, sending both men flying over the handle bars. 

 

Kiv would be sure to say it was not the latter in his retellings of the story later on.

 

“Ahhh! No kill me, please! You! You two kill them! Yes, kill please and save me and my profits!” Kiv shouted as he dived back into the wrecked cantina for cover. Eyes followed behind, beeping a stream of chuckling binary.  
 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Rose reached out with one hand and grabbed her rifle from its place on the weapon rack near the door. Pulling her helmet from a nook beneath it and placing the ‘T’ visored helm over her stark blue hair. Darkness covered her eyes for a moment as she flipped the rifle around and brought the weapon’s wooden stock firmly into her shoulder, her hands finding their familiar positions. One blink, then a spam of triplets. One, two, three. The helmet activated in response to its coded password and her HUD sprang to life. It took several seconds to fully come to life as it connected to her suits vitals and other integrated panels throughout her armour.  

 

She followed Roar Roar out the door and spared a glance for the jawa. It was best to ignore the pest for now. If the rat could prove himself something other than a gibbering idiot then she would welcome him as a member of her clan. But for now she saw no reason to. His blaster bolt destroyed the speeder bike threat and then before she could congratulate him he ran away like a coward. 

 

What a strange creature. 

 

She shifted the rifle to one hand and ran towards the two injured men that lay face down on the tatooine sands. Her other hand finding the hatchet on her belt. She looked at Roar Roar and then set about the grisly work of ending the two men’s lives. 

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Behold the Rose of Sharon is burning in the valley 

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Rru would have almost chuckled at the rat diving for cover in fear, had he not been dumbfounded by what he had just seen. The same little rat that seemed to be afraid of his own shadow had somehow managed to wing the speeder and send it crashing into the sands. Who knew what else what the Jawa had hit, but it worked.

 

Rru nodded, shooting a cautious glance towards Kiv. He’d rather not get shot by the wild sand eater. With his gaffi in hand, he walked slowly after Rose; a determined nonchalant stroll, sure to keep a peripheral vision on the entryway to the cantina.

 

As Rose set to the grisly task of ending the goons. Before she could swing on the second downed goon, a humanoid bent into a crippled shape m, Rru caught the haft of the Mandalorian’s raised hatchet. “Maybe we find out who they are before we end this infidel. Give us an idea who we have picked a fight with.” His voice was a gravely growl. He prodded the downed man who let out an agonizing moan.

 

Meanwhile, the loss of a crime lord’s speeder would not stay quiet for long. In this case, the crash set off a remote alarm notifying the gelatinous crime lord’s minions of a problem. As they were responding to a disturbance,  the assumption that this was more than a few drunken idiots was forefront in their mind. It was time to send in the heavy hitters.

 

Gorgonzola the Hutt would not be appreciative. Either these rapscallions would feed his precious cats, they would repay their debt in service tenfold, or they would die in a firefight or tragic accident.

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Kiv shoved Eyes back out into the open, cursing it a bit. Eyes, who had no feelings, sighed and alerted the Jawa that the coast was now clear. After some momentary peeking around, Kiv emerged again into the hot sunlight, with the only shadows being the one inside his cloaked face. 


“Oh, you do good work lady” Kiv commented looking at what remained of the two goons. “You too sand cousin. You two good. That’s why you no hurt me, yes? Little guy like me, there no challenge, you want to keep sharp. Don't waste your skill on me, yes?”


While trying not to get too close to the two scary tall people that could still beat him up, Kiv crept closer to the bodies to investigate. 


“Course, you must be good if you fight people like this all the time, yes? You do this for a living berzerk lady? You a bounty hunter or something? Or maybe you are veteran from war? That big Sith war thing going on has consumed a lot of veterans, but good veterans stay alive, and you are good at this, so maybe…” 


By this point, Kiv was already at one of the bodies, going through the pockets and linings. If this person had some kind of valuable, he was sure to find it. 


“Course I don’t like assuming. Assuming is bad, you know? Unless you tend to be correct of course. Which I sometimes am, so I only assume when needed.” 


>Could have fooled me< Eyes beeped, to which Kiv shooed away.  


Pulling out what looked like a few credits and a small communication device. 


Perhaps this could be useful, yes? You want this berzerk lady? You look like you can talk to people well, yes? Usually the Tuskans here don’t like this stuff, and like talking less, right Sand Cousin?” As Kiv talked, he got closer, holding out the small communicator to the armored lady.   
 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Even as they stood in the middle of the street, Rose’ hand stayed for a moment by the iron grasp of the Tusken and the dust blowing like the close of some dramatic spaghetti western, the Jawa prattled on. Beneath his reflective goggles, Rru scowled. Releasing the armed arm of his beloved, the black-clad barbarian turned to face the diminutive rodent. How fare he compare them? They were not kindred in any way. His people were fierce and free. The small one’s cowards, slaves to their fear of the off world demons. Oh how he wanted to kill it, to snuff out it’s life here in the midst of those it worshiped. They would not care. In the afterlife, he would finally see his mistake.


With his gaderffi in his other hand, Rru’s fingers twitched. It would be so simple. One fluid stroke. Only one thing held him back. His ancestors whispered in his ear, urging him to let the rodent live. He still had a purpose. The greater good would be served by his life.

 

‘A life directed properly’ Rru noted silently as a din down the street in both directions drew their attention. Gorgonzola’s goons had arrived, and quicker than expected. His base of operations, his den or palace, must have been close.

 

With a low guttural growl, Rru slung his gaffu and grabbed Kiv by the scruff of his collared neck, liberally and not too nicely tossing him up towards the nearest single-storied flat rooftop amongst the moisture vaporators and antennae. Pulling on Rose’ shoulder he whispered, “Leave him. We will fight them again on our terms.” before he clasped a rocky cleft and pulled himself up after the rodent. Atop the roof, the band of unlikely comrades began an asymmetrical retreat moving from rooftop to rooftop, leaping and scurrying to put distance between they and the encroaching bands of hired mercenaries. 
 

Several blocks away, Rru slumped behind a rock wall atop a stoney parapet several stories up. Having had to heft the Jawa several times, he turned his head to the rodent. “You stinkers are thicker than you look. What’d you steal from the offworlders this time?”

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With an expert flick of the wrist, she flung the blood and sinew off the blade of the hatchet where it spattered into the sand at her feet. She grabbed the hem of her kama and ran the edge of the wicked blade over the soft leather before slipping the hatchet back into its sheath on her thigh. The smile never left her face as she ran after the unlikely pair of Tusken and Jawa. But she could feel the high in the back of her mind starting to slip. She sighed deeply and slumped next to Roar Roar and the little rat.

 

She gave them both a grin and took a swig from her canteen, tasting the bitter copper flavour of the cuts in her mouth along with the cool water. She held the canteen out to the both of them. 

 

“Thanks for the rescue Roar Roar. And whoever you are.” 

 

She was sure they would both give an explanation of themselves in good time, but for now it was time to hydrate. 

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Behold the Rose of Sharon is burning in the valley 

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Being tossed wasn’t something Kiv was used to. All a jawa’s life, you had to learn how to stay out of reach of those bigger then you, especially when you were stealing something they owned and especially to sell back to them later. 


So being tossed up and over roofs like a ragdoll was not an entirely pleasant thing for Kiv.


“AAAAAAAAH” Kiv screeched over and over again with each toss, arms spreading wide and flapping wildly like some dying bogwing. 

 

Crashing into the ground for what was the last time, Kiv held his hands up to the Tusken, waving a frantic stop.

 

“Ok! Point made, you are one strong son of a Krayt, no more, no more!”

 

 Kiv scampered the rest of the way himself, scurrying and slipping around every obstacle that came between him and the others. He had half a mind to run in a different direction and to put as much distance between himself and the scary lady and barbaric savage, but an old law of the sand rattled in Kiv’s little head: Those who live alone die alone. Those who live in a pack have someone else to die for them. 

 

The group finally stopped. Kiv, still standing while the others slumped, placed his hands on his knees panting. 

 

“You stinkers are thicker than you look. What’d you steal from the offworlders this time?”

 

“Heh, I take that as compliment. Most Jawa’s don’t get to be fat with fat or loot.”

 

>You have gained some weight recently< Eyes chimed in, having followed the group closely.  Kiv rolled his eyes, ignoring the droid for the moment

 

At the lady’s offer of water, Kiv took it and slurped what he could greedily. After a moment of the canteen disappearing into his hood, Kiv then handed the now nearly empty container back. 

 

“Water on Tatooine. More sacred than credits” Kiv commented out loud, wiping his snout. “Name is Kiv. You like me, lady. I Information broker. Knowledge is power and profit, yes? I sell you good power when you need it yes yes. I’ve sold to lots of customers. Hutts, admirals, you name it.”

 

Kiv looked at the searcher exploration droid. “That’s Eyes, my eyes in the back of my hood. Good droid, for a junker. Made him myself, believe it or not. Eyes, we being followed?”

 

>No sir. It appears we have lost those goons for now<

 

“Good good, make easier to get away when they don’t know where we are. Must say, Gorgonzola is busy again. What, you two on his black list or something? I think he still has active bounties on your kind sand cousin.  You, scary berzerker lady, you an ex-lover or something of his? That Hutt has exotic tastes from what I seen. Saw his nasty cats eat his last wife…or was that three wives ago?”  
 

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Rrur looked expectantly at the canteen only to have the Jawa drink it, or worse, douse his stanky self in it. Either way, when he handed it back, the thing was practically empty. Gingerly shaking it in his hand, Rru could hear the lack of water. He let out a low guttural growl as he returned the canteen to Rose as his head turned and his eyes settled on the Jawa. The disdain was practically palpable. 

 

Without taking his eyes off Klu, Rrur reached to his belt and grabbed a black melon. Pulling his foot towards himself, Rru’s knee rose in the air. He cracked the hard exterior shell with one solid crack. Raising the cracked melon to his masked mouth, he poured the bitter liquid down, slurping it hungrily. All the while his eyes remained beneath their reflective goggles on the Jawa until he had drained the fruit.

 

Only once the milky liquid was gone did Rru lower the melon and take his eyes off of the Jawa. Turning to Rose, “The Ancestors called me to you. What happened in your den of debauchery?” He explained briefly and countered with a question of his own. Those goons had been attacking Rose in that cantina before Rru had arrived. Truth be told, the Jawa had been late to the party as well.

 

”If we sabotage this Gorganzilla, perhaps it will plunge these offworld infidels into turmoil. I only ask that I be the one to pull then trigger.” He looked at Klu again, “maybe feed his cats one last time.”

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  • 2 weeks later...

Rose could sense the judgement in his voice and could feel herself shrinking back and away from him. But she hated that part of herself anyway so she forced herself to instead lean forward a draw a bloody smile across her face. She gave a shrug and looked at the Jawa for a half moment, taking back the canteen with a look that emphasized her disdain for the creature. 

 

If you spoke less annoying gibberish then we could all share my gift of water.” 

 

Then she looked back to the tusken raider.

 

“I was wasting my time. Wandering like a lost soul through the plains of Armageddon.”

 

She licked her bloody lips with her tongue. 

 

“And what were you doing? Coming to save a blue haired princess in her desperate time of need?” 

 

She stood and stretched her arms which had begun to be stiff from the bruising. 

 

“Hutts are hard to kill. So it should be a fun hunt.”

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Kiv clapped his hands and rubbed them together. 

 

What a wonderful prospect for us! You two get to knock off a threat, I get a chance to look into some juicy data pads. I like this idea. Of course I do though, it is mine, is it not?” 

 

The little Jawa snapped his fingers, signaling Eyes for his attention. Returning to the group, the small droid stared intently at the Jawa. 

 

“Lets see, Gorgonzola…think think, um…Eyes, you have the location?” Kiv scratched his own head in trying to remember the last place he had seen the Hutt.

 

>one moment…location analyzed. Last known location of Gorgonzola’s base of operations was the Dim-U monastery. Or more accurately, underneath it.< 

 

“Ah yes, thats right, I knew it had something to do with those monks. He was jealous of Jabba and his monks, so he got his own, yes yes, that is correct. And I know where that is.” 

 

Kiv, already standing, gestured to the others. “Yes, I will show you the den of evil, and you will kill the enemies? Or sneak in? I don’t know, thats what you two are good for. And then we will get treasures inside. After all, we have a saying. Delicious treasures hide in dangerous caves…”

 

>So always send someone else in first< Eyes beeped, finishing the statement, and receiving a backhand from his owner. 

 

The trek wasn’t far. Contrary to Kiv’s confidence, Eyes lead the way, peeking around corners and over edges. Eventually the group were across an open plaza, with the Dim-U temple on the other side. Several guards stood at the entrance, and a few others were roaming around, but from the shadowed alleyway, the three were hidden for now. 

 

“Alright, alright…” Kiv commented. “I show you the hutt’s base. Now you two do your work? Or maybe you like other methods of getting in? I don’t care, you do you, and I watch and record. Build up your credit in the underworld, yes? Publicity is always good” 
 

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Rru caught Rose’s tone, a smile playing across his shrouded face. She might be slightly annoyed; but like he, she needed conflict to thrive, to survive. “Here, princesses are trained in the art of war. In my culture, they do not need rescuing like a child or a people who hide beneath stones.”

 

Offering Rose a rough-hewn cloth wrapped hand, he pulled her to her feet and in for a firm embrace. “The Ancestors have deemed you my princess.”


_________

 

Rolling his eyes they began to follow the diminutive rodent. The Jawa scurried. The Tusken moved like a desert wraith, a true demon of the sands. As the wind blew he moved with it carried on the voices of his ancestors.


Soon enough they were atop a four storied, flat-topped warehouse, a trading post of sorts for less than licit imports and exports. On Tatooine, that could mean anything. Staring across the plaza, several monks lazed about, each armed to the teeth if one were looking closely. Beneath their robes they wore armor and carried heavy blaster pistols and carbines.

 

“Other methods.” He growled as he used the butt of his rifle to shove the Jawa towards the edge. “Get us in past the guards. They will create chaos once their overlord has fallen.”

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