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10.29.2012 , 03:13 PM | #1
Chapter 1

Lord Methic was having a fairly good day–Quinn was off the ship, as were Jaesa and Broonmark. He had been forced to order Quinn–the traitor–to leave with Jaesa, but he was gone.
Methic was particularly pleased because he had, using his status as the Emperor’s Wrath, gotten him and Vette into Dromund Kaas’ highest-prestige diner. It was the first time they’d had time alone in weeks.
Quinn, Jaesa, Broonmark…they were gone, leaving only–
“Hey, boss!”
Methic knew he’d forgotten something. Pierce had become Methic’s closest friend on the ship–save for Vette, of course–in the recent months, since Methic had helped Pierce gather a team to attack the Bastion on Corellia.
Pierce even thought of Vette as a sister, since she and Methic were married. But she wasn’t fond of him sticking around, and it was extremely hard to get Pierce to take a hint.
“Yes, Pierce?”
“What’re we doing this evening?” Pierce asked.
Methic sighed. “Actually, Vette and I were going to dinner.”
“Ooh, great! I’m starved. Where?”
Methic thought back to the last time Pierce had interfered with his and Vette’s alone time…

Two months earlier

Methic had just finished his mission on Belsavis, and was about to take off for Voss. But first he and Vette went to have lunch at the Imperial garrison’s small cantina.
Pierce had entered the cantina before they had ordered their food.
“Hey, boss!” Pierce said. “After you’re done eating you want to go hunting one last time before we leave Belsavis?”
Vette choked on her drink.
Methic sighed. “All right.”
Pierce pulled up a third chair and sat down between Vette and Methic. He had an unusually youthful grin on his face, like his big brother had just agreed to take him to the holovids with his friends. Methic kept a straight face.
“Pierce,” he said slowly. “Vette and I were kind of hoping to eat alone.”
“Oh!” Pierce exclaimed. “Of course, silly me!”
He got up and went to a table on the other side of the cantina. Methic returned to his drink and had just started to say something to Vette when he looked over to Pierce and saw the man sitting there, his eyes wide, and that silly youthful smile on his face, staring at them.
Methic sighed. Pierce was like a baby nexu. Treat it right and it would be your best friend forever, but abuse it and it would withdraw.
“I know,” she muttered. “He’s your buddy. Go hunting and we’ll eat dinner in the ship’s mess later, okay?”
Methic nodded. “Okay.”

The Present

“Actually, Pierce…I only managed to get two reservations; one for me and one for Vette,” Methic said.
Pierce looked downcast. “Oh. All right.”
“Maybe you could get your friends in Black Ops and hit Nar Shaddaa, or something.”
Pierce nodded. “Okay.”
Methic watched Pierce as he walked away; his head hung low like a sad little boy. Methic chuckled and walked to his and Vette’s bedroom.
“Vette!” he called. “We’re gonna be late!”
“Hold on!” she replied. “I’m almost dressed, be patient!”

Pierce visited Nar Shaddaa and had a few drinks with his old buddies from black ops, but quickly became bored. Taking a shuttle to the Imperial Fleet, he checked the bounty boards and announcements, hoping there would be something interesting he could do for a day or two.
He found something.

Major Prudii of Havoc Squad saluted General Garza, who motioned for him to stand at ease. She sat down at her desk.
“Major, our intelligence agents have located the black ops team that helped General Rakton capture the Bastion. Led by Jonas Balkar, they captured the SIS captured the team–save one member, who was apparently the commanding officer of the group. Lieutenant Pierce.”
“Want us to hunt him down, General?”
Garza shook her head. “No, Major. We have other objectives for you. We will be posting Pierce’s name on the Republic’s most wanted list, and giving a two hundred thousand bounty to anyone who captures him alive.”
Prudii saluted. “Yes, ma’am.”
“Now, onto your other objective…”

Pierce geared up in his gold and orange suit of Mandalorian armor he’d taken from a corpse on Taris. He always wore it when going on a hunt.
As the shuttle landed on Belsavis, he loaded his favorite rifle and sighted it up. He grinned went to the speeder rental store, which he took to the far reaches of Belsavis’ prison–the Tomb. Imperial Intelligence had offered a reward for a live Esh-kha to study.
Pierce would get them one–but leave a bunch of dead ones in his wake.

Dha, Grand Champion of the Great Hunt, sat on his ship and read through the latest bounties. Mako, his wife, got his attention.
“How about this one?” she asked. “Lieutenant Pierce, two hundred thousand credits alive, or one hundred fifty thousand dead.”
“No way.” Dha shook his head. “Says here Pierce works under the Emperor’s Wrath. Killing Tormen already got me on the Empire’s ‘almost a threat’ list, and this would definitely put me on the ‘kill’ list.”
“Oh. Says here he pilfered a set of Mandalorian armor off a corpse. Isn’t that taboo in your culture?”
Dha nodded. “I’m not gonna do it…but I’ll tell the Mandalorians, just in case they want to nail him.”

Chernan, one of Mandalore’s bodyguards, received the call from Dha about Pierce. With Mandalore’s permission, he assembled a team of Mandalorians to find and track down the Imperial.
His wife, Dinua, would join him, of course, and he selected ten of Mandalore’s finest soldiers to go with them. Dinua wore traditional Mandalorian armor–except for her chestplate, which was a Republic trooper’s gear to symbolize her past in the Republic army.
“Last report saw Pierce leaving a cantina on Nar Shaddaa,” said Dinua. “That’s where his allies were captured. Let’s see if anyone there saw him leave.”