96. In which Quinn makes demands (IV/VII)
This seven-part series contains spoilers for the Sith Inquisitor Belsavis line. Overall class arc significance has been omitted.
A villain in search of an in
Must menace in order to win.
A victory speech
Must be earned, each to each,
With power. Just ask Captain Quinn.
Ghost-Quinn stood alone in the doorway and set himself at parade rest, hands folded behind him. “At the moment two boarding parties are securing access to your ship. I leave it to you to figure out where. Also, if you’ll check behind you you may notice the destroyer Retribution.”
“You always come through for me, Quinn,” said Nalenne.
Quinn kept his eyes on Rho. “For such a high-value target as yourself, Jedi, I am fully authorized to destroy this vessel and everyone on it.”
“Wait. I didn’t agree to that plan,” said Nalenne.
“I gave you the chance to make suggestions, my lord. You told me you wanted things smashed.”
“Don’t be foolish,” said Rho, but Nalenne already sensed doubt in him. “Consider my offer. Your Wrath will survive and receive fair treatment, and your Dark Council member can go free. How is killing us all a better option?”
“I believe my lord Marr’s exact words when authorizing this operation were ‘the brats and Tython-boy? Great shades of Marka Ragnos, please, blow that ship up and take a video.’” Quinn cocked his head. “Fortunately for you, Jedi, I can be satisfied with a lesser objective today.” He looked over at Lord Scourge. “Incidentally, I would advise taking your hands off her. I rarely lose my temper on the job, but I am getting close.”
Rusk and Scourge both straightened a little. Neither one released Nalenne’s arms.
“You’ve never seen this guy pissed off, have you?” said Nalenne.
“We do not answer to you, nor to him,” said Scourge calmly.
“Jerk,” said Nalenne.
“When you get to be my age, very few things intimidate you,” said Scourge.
Quinn looked off to one side and spoke a quiet command to someone Nalenne couldn’t see. Then he faced Rho again. “Boarding party one will arrive here shortly. Release the Wrath.”
“I cannot do that.” Rho looked over at one of the bridge crew. “We’re working on hyperspace coordinates, right?”
“According to my reports,” said Quinn, “boarding party two has already disabled your hyperdrive.” He smiled thinly. “Release the Wrath.”
Something impacted on the hull, shaking the whole bridge. Everyone turned to see the Retribution fire a volley, then two, of saturated blaster cannon bolts.
“Return fire,” said Rho. He extended a cautioning hand toward Quinn. “You know this ship isn’t armed for this. Listen to me. I’ll surrender myself, just let the crew go. Do we have a deal?”
“There will be no deal. Release the Wrath.”
Another salvo slammed into the ship somewhere above the bridge deck. A few pieces from the ceiling broke loose, swung, and fell.
“This is a terrible plan, Quinn!” squeaked Nalenne.
“Release the Wrath,” said Quinn, “and you may yet make the escape pods in time. Those are all the terms I have to offer.”
Rho threw Nalenne a desperate look. “Lord Nalenne. Can’t you reason with him?”
“Are you kidding? He is the reasonable one! Or was.” It would actually be kind of cool to see where he goes from here, except for the part where we’re all about to die because of it.
Rho shook his head. “Take her, Imperial,” he called. “Everyone, get to the escape pods. Now, you have what you want. Don’t try to harm my people on our way out.”
“Tick tock, Jedi,” Quinn said calmly. Another cannon volley rocked the ship.
Rusk released Nalenne and bolted alongside Rho. Scourge paused a moment. “Not intimidated,” he said quietly, “but somewhat impressed.” He handed her her saber, nodded respectfully, and went on his way. Nalenne trotted to join Niselle and her crew. Quinn reached out as she approached and seemed to let an expression slip past his guard for a second, but he caught himself and started back toward the hangar bay. Nalenne and the others followed.
“I wanted to see you tied up, too,” pouted Niselle.
“Run and whine at the same time, sweetie, if you think you can manage it.” Nalenne kept moving.