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11.23.2012 , 10:44 AM | #25
Chapter 17:
A Chilly Situation

Garza sent Havoc Squad to Hoth to find their final teammate, a Gand named Yuun. After Quesh, Jorgan had taken Vik aside and “explained” to him the rules of the squad.

Vik left the room considerably paler.

Dorne took the time to catch some alone time with Prudii–but it was just a quick kiss on the cheek, because there was a very annoyed flight controller telling them to land already.

“Later, Dorne,” promised Prudii.

She hoped it was a promise, anyway.

* * *

Yuun was an interesting one, Jorgan decided. While Prudii and Dorne talked to him, Jorgan stood to the side, arms crossed. Forex was across the room, scanning Yuun’s information on the Umbra encrypter. Vik was outside, standing guard–or that’s what he said. He was probably attempting to avoid Jorgan.

Jorgan’s confrontation with him had turned into a rough argument–and ended when Jorgan showed Vik physically why it was a bad idea to mess with him.

While Prudii was talking to Yuun, Dorne said over the private helmet comlink, “What did you do to Vik?”

Jorgan chuckled. “I learned a thing or two from a guy named Lieutenant Iresso back before I met Prudii on Ord Mantell. He called it a Mandalorian handshake.”

Dorne choked. “I’ve, ah…heard of it.”

She glanced back at Jorgan, and he inclined his head at her.

“I won’t tell Prudii,” she said.

Jorgan nodded. “Whatever it takes to get Vik working with us, right?”

She nodded, too. “Whatever it takes.”

* * *

A cave system later, Prudii was kneeling by one of Sergeant Yuun’s mortally wounded team. Jorgan felt heaviness in his gut.

“Poor guy,” Jorgan said.

Corporal Sajin appeared to have been ripped apart by several blaster bolts, but it wasn’t the professional aim of an Imperial.

“Don’t let his sacrifice waste,” Vik growled. “We need to find the Umbra encrypter before the Empire.”

“Sajin said pirates called White Maw did this,” Prudii spoke up. “Dorne, anything you can do for him?”

She shook her head. “No, sir. His heart was chewed up by a near hit. The arteries were ruined.”

“All of them?”

“All of them.”

Jorgan shook his head and walked over to where Forex was standing guard while Prudii contacted Yuun to tell him of the losses.

“Where do you think this Encrypter is?” Jorgan asked.

Forex inclined his head. “Statistics suggest it cannot be anywhere except the starship graveyard, Lieutenant Jorgan.”

“He’s right,” Prudii announced. “Confirmed by Yuun. Let’s move out.” He turned back to the dying Sajin. “One more thing. Corporal, Yuun said you served with honor.”

“Thank you…” Sajin’s eyes fluttered. “Thank you…”

Jorgan shook his head. He was gone.

* * *

When they found the last component of the Umbra, there was a female Cathar there–Jorgan hadn’t seen one of his own species in a long time, but that was considerably dampened by the fact that she had probably shot Sajin. He raised his rifle, as did Vik and Prudii. Dorne whipped out her pistol, and Forex locked his shoulder launchers into place.

“My, my, my.” The Cathar turned. “I can’t for the life of me figure out what you might be after. I’m Zareen. I take care of…targeted acquisitions, let’s say–like that pretty trinket you came here for. I get the impression you want it pretty bad.”

Jorgan’s rifle didn’t waver an inch from the spot between her eyes. One false move and she’d be dead.

“Can we work this out?” Prudii asked.

“Peaceful agreements are boring,” she hissed. “Unless, of course, they’re profitable. That piece of junk is worth a lot to you, isn’t it? So, make me an offer. If it’s high enough, we walk out of here.”

“You want money?” Prudii sounded disgusted. “You can have it.”

“Respectable, but I think you can do better. Last chance, army boy. How much is that scrap really worth to you?”

Prudii snarled, kept his rifle trained, but pulled a few more credits from his belt. “That’s the final offer, Zareen.”

“It’s a deal, soldier. Hand over the money.”

And she whipped out her pistol. Jorgan snarled and tightened his aim. Vik was already squeezing the trigger, but Jorgan gave him a glare, and he released the trigger. Then a squad of Imperials entered, their rifles aimed on both Havoc Squad and the pirates. Jorgan snarled a Mandalorian word he’d learned from Prudii and whirled to aim at the Imperials.

“Halt!” said an Imp officer. “I’m Major Artano of the Imperial military. Drop your weapons and surrender immediately!”

Jorgan rolled his eyes.

Prudii snorted. “Right.”

He shot Artano clean in the chest. The Imp dropped, and everyone fired at once. Two of the Imps went down from Jorgan and Vik’s fire, and Zareen and her pirates surprised the rest.

“Phew!” Zareen said. “Been a while since I’ve had a good scrap like that. I’m glad you stopped by. Your piece of junk is over there. Hopefully it didn’t get shot up too much. Now hand over my credits.”

“Just as we agreed, Zareen.”

Prudii tossed the credits to the ground.

“Ah…” Zareen said. “Credits, killing. I don’t think this day could get any better. Watch out for yourself, soldier boy. Maybe we’ll bump into each other again sometime.”