Another chapter. This one's pretty lengthy. A lot of dialogue. I promise we'll see some action soon.
Chapter Six- The Grey Cartel
Titus arrived at the Grey Bastion ten minutes before his appointment. His taxi touched down in a huge hangar, set into the side of the tower. On his way in, Titus had noticed a few things that made him curious. AA guns mounted on pivots set into the tower at regular intervals. Numerous hangars scattered around, that, upon inspection, revealed scores of oddly shaped fighters. Walkways wrapping around the tower with numerous patrolling sentries. Titus thought he saw some lightsabers amongst the patrols. This place was not a business building. This was a fortress. Titus thought of the things that implicated.
Titus stepped into the huge main atrium that a hallway led to. A large square room with vaulted ceilings that seemed to be miles high. On each end of the room were giant statues made of stone, resembling a man with his hands held as fists beside him, dressed in flowing robes. Titus noticed a lightsaber on the statue’s belt. Hanging from the statues at about navel level were flowing grey flags with red trim. The symbol in the middle of the flag was a black fractured ring with red flames in the middle. What was this place?
The Bounty Hunter walked over to a desk, with a young human female sitting behind a terminal.
“I’m here to meet a representative.” Titus said to the woman.
“Name?” She asked, not bothering to look up from her terminal.
“You’re to be meeting with Lieutenant Isaac in room 372.” The woman responded, glancing up at Titus.
“Thank you.” Titus walked away from the desk. Lieutenant? Did he manage to get himself involved in some kind of private military? His curiosity was piqued, and that propelled his footsteps. It was only then that he realized he had no idea where he was going.
Titus stepped into room 372, taking his armored pilot’s helmet off. The room was a small, yet comfortable office space, with a grey fur rug that looked artificial, with two sofa chairs set in the corner. This was set against a large window, facing the galaxy famous Club Naga, with it’s blinding neon features. A desk close to the back wall was manned by a protocol droid. The droid wasn’t very unique, like B7-A4, but was instead one of the millions of generic, silver plated droid used by anyone of little importance. The droid pushed a button, and a side door slid open.
“Come in.” Called a voice from within. It was masculine, and human. Titus walked in, holding his helmet in his left arm. Sitting at a desk in the room was a large-built man, wearing a grey Imperial Officer-style uniform with red trim. His office had another large window, facing Club Naga. He also had a painting on the wall, of the planet Alderaan.
“Welcome Titus. I am Lieutenant Isaac of the Grey Cartel. Have a seat.” Isaac pointed at a metal chair with a pillow built into the seat. Titus sat down, putting his helmet on the floor. Isaac looked over him, seeming to grunt with disgust.
“Your armor is in…. unseemly condition. That is one thing we’ll fix if you join our ranks. But I bet you want an explanation first.” Isaac asked, raising an eyebrow. Titus nodded.
“Indeed.” He responded curtly.
“Well, what we do is a little muddy and often times misconstrued. A lot of people believe we’re like the Hutt Cartel in that we partake in illegal acts and criminal wars. That’s not true. We are a mercenary contracting company and bounty collection board. The word “Cartel” was added to the company’s name by its creator and owner, Yymir the Grey. Simply put, we help private parties solve their private matters. Each of our mercenaries operates individually on most contracts. However, occasionally work will require multiple beings be put together to achieve a goal. I assure you, this will not be an unpleasant experience.”
This kind of talk continued on for quiet some time, Isaac listing off monetary benefits to working under the Grey Cartel, what the Cartel would provide for its workers and what it would not, what its laws were, the command structure, and other small, unimportant factoids. Titus remained silent throughout the majority of this.
“One thing I will tell you is that when you come here, you leave your allegiances and other affiliations aside. We employ both Sith and Jedi here, along with people located within any faction. We do not discriminate against anyone’s previous or current occupations. That being said, neither will you. Nor will anyone else you meet here. Leave your fights outside, for we have no place for them. Is this understood, Titus?” Isaac asked. The first time he’d actually seemed to really talk to the Hunter.
“Yes, Lieutenant.” Titus replied.
“Good. I’ll have my droid send you your contract and other legalities. Thank you for your time, you’ll be notified when we need you.” Isaac said, standing up from his desk. Titus did as well, and they shook hands in the middle of the room before Titus departed.
As Titus found his way into the atrium once again, he received an alert from A4, telling him to go the Bastion’s armory. He consulted a map, then made his way to the armory. Upon entering, he was astounded by the array of arms and armor. Suits of Bounty Hunter armor was mounted to one wall, while a set of grey Sith robes hung off a mannequin. He also noted several styles of Echani fighter armor. Sitting in glass cases were selections of blasters, rifles, blades, knives, cannons, lightsaber hilts, and some of the most unconventional pieces of equipment he’d ever seen. The whole place was an array of the most spectacular killing and protecting devices in Nar Shadaa.
A man stood behind a counter, dressed in a full suit of armored Jedi robes. He was polishing a small double-bladed lightsaber. Titus approached, and the Jedi looked up.
“First Rank Hunter Titus. I am Arms Master Diagon Ult. I’ve been told you needed a new set of gear?” The Jedi questioned, putting down the saber. Titus nodded. The Jedi nodded, and then went into a room at the back. He came back with a droid behind him, the machine carrying a folded up set of armor. Titus looked it over. He couldn’t see exactly how it looked, but he noticed it was grey and red, and was in much better condition then Titus’s own armor. The droid handed the suit to Titus, who held it in his arms, marveling at its weight. It was both heavy, yet light. Light for its size. The Jedi motioned to another room.
“Try it on.”
Titus came out of the room in a suit of armor that looked the part. The undersuit was a tight black material, which had the pieces of armor mounted on top of it. This included a grey breastplate with red trim, gauntlets, legplates, boots, a belt, bracers, and a piece of armor centered on the waist. All of these pieces bore the same color scheme. On the right shoulderplate was the symbol of the Grey Cartel, the black circle with the red flames. The armor was of a simple design, nothing two fancy. However, it was functional, and came with a few pieces of equipment that only a Hunter would use. The right gauntlet had a flamethrower set into it, which got fuel from a backpack. The left gauntlet had a magnetic towcable that could also be fitted with a piercing spearhead that came included. The cable was black and hidden within the gauntlet as a secret tool. Upon clicking the heels together, blades would stick out of the sides of the boots, useful in a hand-to-hand fight. Also set into the boots were two small jumpjets. They wouldn’t be used for prolonged flight, but for mobility. In a pinch, the backpack could be burst open, spewing the fuel behind the armor’s user.
Titus looked over the armor as he stepped out. It felt good on him. He hadn’t felt real armor before, since he’d only had his broken flightsuit-armor.
“Whadaya think?” Asked the Jedi, looking over the armor himself. He seemed to smile.
“I like it. A lot.” Titus replied, feeling the weight of it as he moved his arms. The Jedi reached underneath the counter, and held up a Bounty Hunter’s helmet. It was a simple styled helmet, grey with red trim like usual. Set into the middle was a red Mandalorian style T visor. Not an exact T, more angular. But it was undoubtedly in Mandalorian style. The Jedi handed the helm to Titus, who looked it over before putting it on. The visor was black from within. Titus ripped the data chip from his old armor’s vambraces, and put in a slot at the back of the helm.
The inside of the helmet flicked on with a HUD. The visor didn’t have a color from within, nor did it seem to limit his vision. A small icon of a person showed up in the lower left corner, with individual sections outlined and colored green. This was his vitals, and the color would change based on his armor’s condition. A robotic voice crackled through the holocom set at ear level.
“Hello master! My readings indicate you’ve received a new set of equipment! I’m already working diligently to move all of your data between your old suit, your new suit, and the Oppressor. I can help you familiarize yourself with the armor upon your return. Also, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s a retractable echani gauntlet-blade in the right hand. Simply punch to activate. Good bye master!”
The voice came to a stop, and Titus tested out the retractable blade. He punched the air, feeling the knife blade jump forward. Lethal. He then fired the towcable against the wall, feeling it stick, and become tight. He then detached it, watching it fly back into his gauntlet. This whole suit was amazing to him.
“Glad you like it.” Diagon Ult said, waving Titus away. Titus nodded, then left the vault of equipment.