“Out of the way, Republic scum, we’re chasing a criminal to the Empire,” the lead Imperial barked.
“You’re on Nar Shaddaa. I’d think half the population were criminals to the Empire,” Korden stated. Stoic, with the usual gravel in his tone.
“We’ve no time for this. Step aside, or you will be dealt with,” the Imperial threatened.
Imperials. Adamant in their zeal. Dedicated. Often to the point of fault. Soldiers. Troopers. Little more than low-level enforcers here. Out of their element. Little to no jurisdiction. Won’t stop them from making threats. Won’t stop them from taking action. The girl is a criminal. To them, anyway. Young Twi’lek. Most likely local. Most likely causing local troubles. What could her crime be?
“Tell me the charges laid upon the criminal,” Korden softly commanded.
“That’s not for you to know, or for us to tell. She has stolen from the Empire and must be punished,” the lead trooper explained.
Theft. What does the Empire have on Nar Shaddaa that someone could want? A criminal could want. Tech? Data? Obviously something capable of being hidden on someone’s person, as she wasn’t carrying anything. Unless they’ve already recovered what was stolen, and they’re just out for ‘justice’. She knows what she’s in for. She knows that she has relative safety from the Empire in our embassy. That suggests a knowledge of both factions’ presence on Nar Shaddaa, and the dynamics that come with it. Trying to evade punishment from within the embassy could strain diplomatic relations. Could impact our continued presence. If they press us hard enough, they could force us out of the Promenade.
“Stay out here. No reason to needlessly charge into an embassy,” Korden attempted to assuage. “Let me head inside, get a grasp on the situation, and see if we can help you from there.”
“I’m afraid not ‘pub,” the other trooper spoke up. “For all we know, you could be helping the fugitive flee. We’re coming in.”
“Don’t do anything you’re going to regret,” Korden slowly advised.
“We’re well within our right to pursue a fugitive into Republic territory,” the lead Imperial combated.
“The Neutrality clause of Interplanetary Embassy Regulations take precedence,” Korden dutifully informed. “We have an hour to investigate your claims before you are allowed to enter of your own accord. Until that time, I would suggest ceasing any further threats or hostilities.”
In all honesty, the law was actually on our side. Then again, these were Imperials we were dealing with. Law is very, very malleable to these sorts. Our laws, at least. I could tell the troopers weren’t responding well to my continued objections. Didn’t need to see their faces. Their posture subtly shifted. Hand motion suggested impatience. Weighted steps suggested an unstoppable insistence. The Imperials were ready to proceed, whether I liked it or not.
“We’re heading in that embassy,” the lead Imperial proclaimed, taking a step toward the officer. “If you plan to stop us, you’ll have to do it yourself.”
“I'll have you know that you are dealing with an ex-Captain of the Army of Galactic Republic. My name is Vesk Korden. I do not wish to incite trouble, but I am only going to ask you one final time to cease and desist. If you intend to invade Republic territory, I will not hesitate to defend it.”
“Look old man,” the lead trooper uttered as he attempted to pass the Republic officer, “there’s nothing you can…”
The Imperial was interrupted when Korden took ahold of his armored wrist. With a measured twist, the ex-Captain wrung the Imperial’s arm high behind his back, eliciting a sharp howl as the trooper felt an immense pain in his elbow. Not a moment later, Korden swept his leg against the intruder’s, kicking it out from under him and sending him plummeting to the floor. There was a resounding crash as the armored hide of the trooper impacted against the cold surface of the Promenade walkway.
The lead Imperial’s companion looked on with momentary shock, before charging down upon the aged human. Korden dodged the hefty swing of the trooper’s gloved fist. Rising from his ducking motion, the officer found himself slightly behind the attacking Imperial. With a kick, he collapsed the second trooper’s knee, forcing him to kneel. Grasping the lowered foe’s facemask, Korden forcefully slammed the Imperial’s head and back against the ground.
Turning, Korden saw the first Imperial rising to his feet. Reaching behind his back, the trooper brandished a small combat knife from his belt. Lunging forward, the Imperial supplied a swift swipe of his blade toward the Republic officer’s face. The knife managed to sink the slightest amount of its tip into his flesh, raking across his right cheek. As blood hesitantly poured from the thin wound, the Imperial readied another strike. Raising his hand, the trooper brought the knife down with a powerful stabbing motion. Korden halted the cascading arm with his left wrist, the blade stopping only a short distance away from his face.
With his right hand, Korden grasped the pistol currently residing in his shoulder holster. Blaster firmly gripped, the officer fired a couple of bolts under the Imperial’s raised limb, sending two orange bolts into the gap in the trooper’s armor plating beneath his arm. The Imperial released his grip on the combat knife as he crumbled lifelessly to the ground. The Republic officer turned his attention toward the other trooper who still laid upon his back. Walking over to the Imperial attempting to shuffle away, Korden directed his blaster toward his foe’s chest and fire a trio of bolts. The fallen Imperial’s movement ceased
Returning his blaster to its holster, Korden studied his surroundings. Little activity on the second level. No civilians. A short distance away however, one of the Hutt Cartel’s enforcers looked upon him with his arms crossed. The officer offered a nod and a subtle wave, the enforcer reciprocating before turning his back on the scene of death. Korden looked around a few more times, before turning his discerning gaze toward the fallen Imperials laying at the threshold of the Republic embassy. The officer was breathing heavily , exhausted yet pumping with adrenaline. He touched a hand to his wounded cheek before wincing from the sharp pain. Korden let out one final sigh as he wiped the spot of blood from his hand.
Imperials dealt with. Tired. Damn, it’s been five years since active combat and yet I feel like I’ve aged more than a decade. Was able to take down two Imperials, but now we’ve got two corpses laying in front of the Republic embassy. Not exactly an unexpected sight on Nar Shaddaa, but none the less it could have negative implications on our neutrality. Can’t have the Empire pressing us more than they already are. Can’t have the Empire using this confrontation to their advantage. Damn it.
“Korden, we heard shots fired,” a male voice rang out in his ear. “Is everything okay?” The officer steadied himself before putting a finger to his comm.
“I’m okay. The two Imperials won’t be a problem. Can’t say the same for any more that might show up,” Korden proclaimed. “Is the girl still inside the embassy?”
“Yes, she’s patiently sitting in the waiting room. Vesk, you’re going to want to talk to her…”
“In a moment. Tell me, do we still have that cache of confiscated Imperial weaponry?” Korden inquired.
“Yes, I believe we do.”
“Fetch me two rifles. Our intruders need a raised threat level,” Korden stated.
“Right away, sir,” the voice shot back before communications ceased. The officer ran a hand over his head, eventually starting to scratch the back of his neck. Then, another sigh.
What happened? To the galaxy? To the Republic? To me? This is what we’re forced to put up with. Tolerate. A peaceful charade. This… this isn’t peace. Then again… this definitely isn’t war. Or maybe I’ve just seen too much war to think it could possibly change.