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An Unlikely Rescue

Stultophobe's Avatar

07.17.2013 , 07:16 PM | #1
(Edit: sorry, wrong language)

This piece was intended as both an experiment and personal learning opportunity. I've never really written anything in the way of fiction before and I value your honest critiques—positive or otherwise. I welcome all of you grammar Nazis out there to pick apart this short story until your heart's content, and I equally appreciate your suggestions for improvement as much as I do your complements. I may write more depending on the community's response.

Bear or enjoy!


-----------AN UNLIKELY RESCUE-----------

"We've got our next mark. Plot a course for Saleucami immediately."

Mako raised an eyebrow, "What, not even a 'please'?"

The Bounty Hunter mocked a smile. Not even his custom Mandalorian armor could soften little Mako's perpetual barrage of good-natured sarcasm.

"You're not going to make me do it myself, are you? What do I keep you around for anyway?” he laughed.

It was a rhetorical question, of course. Mako and the recently-crowned Grand Champion of the Great Hunt had grown close over the months following the dishonorable proxy murder of the hunter's mentor, Braden, by the notorious—and deceased—Tarro Blood.

"ETA: two hours," Mako prompted as she punched in the last coordinates. "I'll, uh... go make sure Blizz doesn't blow up the refresher again."

2V-R8, the ship droid, burst onto the comm, "MASTER!?" A loud thud echoed from somewhere in the ship following 2V's outburst. A Previously-sleeping Skadge had banged his head into the ceiling of his bunk. The massive Houk mercenary was now on his feet, hurling anything and everything not bolted to the floor with one hand while clutching his head with the other and shouting in Huttese.

"Master! I mean—oh my sincerest apologies, Master. It would appear that I have neglected to recalibrate the ship comm's volume output on your last shore leave. But I assure you, 2V-series droids are still the most advanced maintenance unit in the galaxy. Please do not deactivate me, Master!"

Palms met faces throughout the ship.

"What is it, 2V?"

"Master, there is a Jedi on the ship's holoterminal. May I put him through for you?"

The Bounty Hunter sighed, "No, 2V. We've been over this, I don't even know how many times now. I'm not turning myself in to the blasted Republic!"

"Master, the Jedi is very insistent. It would appear he 'has a job' for you and that you will be 'well compensated for your time.'"

"Blast. Fine, I'll hear this Jedi out.... And 2V?"

"Yes, Master?"

"Please, recalibrate the ship comm."

"Right away, Master. I function to serve you!"

The hunter made his way off the bridge. A Jedi hiring the services of the Republic's most wanted bounty hunter? "These are strange times indeed."

"Fire-up the holoterminal, Gault."

"You're the boss," the Devaronian obliged.

A stern-faced Jedi materialized on the ship's holoterminal. "I am Master Jaric Kaedan of the Jedi Order, Bounty Hunter. Regrettably, it seems the Force demands that we put our differences aside... at least for now. Mark my words; you will be brought to justice for your crimes against the Republic. Murdering the Supreme Chancellor was... unthinkable."

"I'm not sure why you're still bothering me, Jedi. If you've got a problem, take it up with my employer," the Bounty Hunter suggested, trying to stress the apathy in his voice. "It's not my fault the Republic can't spare the credits for my services."

"Never mind," Kaedan submitted. “It's not important right now. As much as I regret having to say this, I have a job for you. Are you interested?"

"Are you paying?"

"I'll take that as a 'yes.' Jedi Master Satele Shan has been captured. We need you to free her."

The Bounty Hunter almost burst out laughing. "You Jedi sure love irony, don't you?"

"This is not your typical assignment, I know. But you are the only one in the sector with the skillset to handle this. I do not have enough men to spare and I fear that Master Shan does not have much time before she is taken under the radar completely. Need I remind you that you will be extravagantly compensated for this job?"

"'Extravagantly compensated' you say? Very well, Jedi, I accept the contract. I'll need her location... and full payment in advance—you’ll forgive me if I don’t exactly trust you."

Master Kaedan sighed, "We will send half the credits to your discretionary accounts. You will receive the rest of your payment once you have freed Master Shan. For the record, I do not like this, but it was not my decision. I will have to trust your reputation.... And do not think for a second that this will excuse your crimes against the Republic."

"I live up to my reputation, Jedi. I'll need her last known coordinates.... Who captured your Jedi anyway, the Sith?"

The Jedi seemed reluctant. "Pirates...." Kaedan muttered.

"Sorry to interrupt," Torian Cadera abruptly stepped in, "Not buying this. Pirates captured a Jedi Master? Doesn't add up."

The Bounty Hunter shot Torian a warning glance, "We'll discuss that later."

Kaedan appeared to be growing anxious. "I have other pressing engagements to attend, Bounty Hunter. SIS spies report seeing a ship which matches the description of the one Satele was taken on at Port Nowhere. Do not fail." Kaedan quickly cut the link.

"It's a trap," Torian pointed out bluntly.

"Probably," agreed the Bounty Hunter. "I guess we're taking a little detour then. We're headed for Port Nowhere at once."

"Are you insane?" Mako protested. "They'll have half the Republic army waiting for you!"

"That's a chance I'll take. I never back out of a contract, Mako. If any of you want to sit this one out, the escape pod’s downstairs.”

Mako rolled her eyes, “Next stop: Port Nowhere.”

“I’ll go in alone,” the hunter concluded. “If it is a trap, I’m not going to get you all caught in it.”

“No, I’m coming with you,” Mako protested.

“I’ve made my decision, Mako, you’re staying on the ship.”

“Then at least call in Mandalorian support?”

“They’ll take too long to get here.”

There was a long pause before the Bounty Hunter left for the bridge. Mako was clearly unhappy with these developments.

“Gault,” Mako pleaded, “you have to convince him not to do this.”

“If you ask me, the risk is well worth those credits,” Gault shrugged.

The Bounty Hunter’s ship jumped out of hyperspace. From the bridge, Port Nowhere was in sight; an un-kept space station surrounded by a fleet of smuggling vessels and mercenary ships covered in graffiti and various underworld gang symbols.

“I’m landing us in Hangar 3, leave the ship running—we may need to make a quick getaway,” ordered the Bounty Hunter has he made his way to the ship’s exit.

Mako grabbed the hunter’s pauldron, “Be careful, okay?”

“There’s nothing I can’t handle, Mako…. Haven’t you learned this about me by now?” he smiled mischievously at her and gently pushed her back. “Besides, if this is a trap I’ll need you to come rescue me from the big bad Jedi.”

The ship touched down in Hangar 3.

The Bounty Hunter examined the ships around him as he made his way down the Mantis’ ramp. There was one ship on his left that appeared to match the description he was given by Master Kaedan, but it was clearly unoccupied. Perhaps the Jedi was telling the truth after all? If Satele was here, she was likely being held somewhere in the heart of the space station.

There were pirates, mercenaries and smugglers in every corner of Point Nowhere. The Bounty Hunter kept a close eye on them. For all he knew, they could all be Republic agents. He was suddenly approached by a lone Mirialan smuggler, probably a starship captain by the looks of it.

“You’d best head back to your ship, Mandalorian,” the smuggler warned. “We don’t want no trouble here.”

“I’ll stay as long as I like, friend; I have a bounty to collect. Best if you didn’t get in my way”

“I know who you are, Grand Champion, I also know you’re reputation. Things tend explode wherever you go. My station is intact… and I’d like to keep it that way.”

“Well then,” suggested the hunter, “perhaps you could help get to my target faster, that way I’ll leave sooner and only cause minimal damage to your station.”

“Maybe,” agreed the smuggler. “Who are you looking for?”

“A Jedi Master.”

The smuggler frowned, “Can’t help you. There are no Jedi here….”

“You know, Captain,” the hunter smiled, “this bounty pays a lot. I could give you a generous cut for any information that leads me to the Jedi….”

“Hmm, well in that case I seem to recall hearing ‘Jedi’ and ‘Cellblock 11’ in the same sentence. You didn’t hear that from me, of course.”

“I’m sorry, did you say something? Thank you, Captain.”

The entrance to Cellblock 11 was sealed. It was obvious to the hunter that nothing short of explosives would get him in, which was not an issue. The hunter pulled a door-buster specially designed to blast through solid durasteel from his utility belt and slapped it onto the lock. Hugging the wall next to him, the hunter detonated the device. Bits of molten durasteel flew off in all directions. There was an abrupt uproar of shouting in Cellblock 11, someone was giving orders. There were at least eight men inside judging from the voices, and blaster fire was suddenly directed at the smoking door. The hunter pulled out a single thermal detonator from his belt and quickly rolled it into the cellblock. BOOM!! The blaster fire stopped.

There was a pirate—minus a few limbs—groaning and slouched against one of the many prison cells lining the room. The hunter pulled out one of his blasters and quickly gave him a merciful execution before completing a bio-scan of the cellblock. One individual appeared in the scan to last cell on the right—the Jedi.

“Jedi Master Satele Shan?” the Bounty Hunter interrogated.

“You…” Satele looked him over. “So the Republics most wanted criminal has come to collect the bounty on my head? You do not have to do this, Mandalorian. It is not too late to atone for your crimes against the Republic; you can still turn yourself in.”

“There was once a time when I may have considered your ‘offer,’ Jedi. Since then, your agents have murdered my comrades in cold blood, dishonored my clan, and blackmailed me. Don’t act like I have something to ‘atone’ for.”

Satele sighed, “It is clear that I cannot convince you. Why have you come, then?”

“I’ve been contracted by the Jedi Council to get you out of here, Satele. Lucky you, now let’s go…. Oh, one more thing; how exactly did you manage to get yourself captured by a bunch of amateur pirates?”

“I was betrayed by one of my most trusted lieutenants on Ilum…. The way I see it, it is none of your concern.”

Grinning rather smugly, the Bounty Hunter opened the cell door and tossed Satele her lightsaber, which he had pulled from the smoking remains of the former pirate leader.

“Stay in front of me, Jedi.”

“Perhaps we have judged you unfairly,” shrugged Satele.

The Bounty Hunter laughed, “You say that now.”

Four-dozen greedy eyes followed the Jedi and her armed escort as they made their way to Hangar 3.

“This is about to get ugly…” muttered the hunter.

“It doesn’t take an understanding of the Force to sense that,” agreed the Satele.

From somewhere in the corridor, a Rodian shouted in Huttese, “It’s a Jedi! Kill her and the bounty is ours!”

“What did he say?” demanded Satele.

“You know, there’s a reason I gave you back your lightsaber….”

Blaster fire rained down on them from every corner. Satele had no problem deflecting the bolts, and the hunter did his best to dodge them—though his armor was taking a beating, he couldn’t hold out like this all the way to the hangar.

Jetpack blazing, the Bounty Hunter flew up several meters and scattered a deadly barrage of missiles down on the frenzied army of criminals before attempting a smooth landing—too late, his jetpack had taken fire and was now spilling fuel and flames everywhere! The hunter quickly removed it and hurled the flaming machinery into a group of pirates where it exploded violently. Tossing the rest of his smoke grenades, the hunter ran for Hangar 3.

“Close the door!” someone yelled.

“I can’t! It’s the Jedi!”

Master Satele was holding the hangar door open with by way of the Force. The hunter barely managed to jump through just before the Satele lost her hold and the door slammed shut behind them.

The hunter brushed his hands together, “No sense hanging around.”

The two made their way onto the Mantis which took off just in time to avoid a hail of rockets from mercenary shoulder-launchers.
HK-47: "Definition: 'Love' is making a shot to the knees of a target 120 kilometers away using an Aratech sniper rifle with a tri-light scope.... Love is knowing your target, putting them in your targeting reticule, and together, achieving a singular purpose against statistically long odds."