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Creating New Folder: The Mission…
→ Report: Day 5- [Enter Date Here] | 1400 -[Enter Time Here]
I feel I should start this off by noticing the stress of the decision to undergo the initiation trials or somehow find another way was getting to us all. Pand’Ora seemed especially bothered by the whole situation, I’m assuming being this close to Rossi, but still stuck playing his way wasn’t to her liking. Though, to be fair it wasn’t to my liking either. We all reconvened again to discuss what we had discovered as well as where to go next.
Discussion began over discussing whether or not to get Brand more involved in our investigations. L’hrequ felt that we shouldn’t return so soon after being sent out or else it make us look like fools. I wasn’t sure what time had to do with the information we were able to obtain (since that is apparently what the Truthseeker wanted us to do), but L’hrequ seemed assured we didn’t have it yet. Winter agreed, but felt that Brand would have to be alerted eventually, if we ever planned to get off this planet with the Silver Bucket. Not that I wanted to see that sour face again, but I did feel that informing Brand of Deekin’s scouting would at least make it appear we were working with him. And, worse come to worse, if we had to do some nasty tasks to get into this gang, we could, perhaps, have some kind of royal permission to do the deeds unheeded. Not that there is much law, but most people here don’t like the Ganathians, I suspected that targets for loyalty missions may, somehow, negatively impact the people of this planet. Mo said that we should give him the fungus treatment, leave Brand in the dark and feed him…well I’m sure you can fill in the blank there. Though I could really go for some home-grown fungus right now.
Still, the talk of Brand, I feel, was just a way to buy us time from the real decision, should we undergo the initiation. Winter opened it up, in the most shocking of ways! Winter presented her plan as she saw it. Step 1: We undergo the initiation, Step 2: We get to Rossi, Step 3: Winter would torture Rossi, make him suffer, and then Pand’Ora would kill him. Pand’Ora was enthusiastic with that plan, but, I’ve got to be honest I was shocked. I tried to pull away from such plans, by bringing up that going through Deekin was going to be handing all the cards to Rossi, we would have no room to maneuver. Winter started saying something about not liking something, but her train of thought seemed to fade. I suggested we could try to get back to our ship, its sensors could help us sweep the area for any strange activity, possibly pinpointing Rossi’s gang’s works. Though the possibility of that seemed unlikely, and no one really jumped on it, which, unfortunately, kind of took my experience out of the situation.
When presenting the plans, Winter suggested that we could investigate possibly two things, one being a way to get to Rossi without going through this test at all or to just get more information on what this test would be like. L’hrequ was assertive that we had already investigated what the expectations of the test, either you die or you are never seen again! Pand’Ora also presented that those were the reasons why no one else would know what there is to expect. L’hrequ continued, of course, to get to the morbid details of how we would die from the initiation, being burned or diced into pieces, but regardless, stating again, that we would be dead (in this scenario) either way. I interrupted mentioning that while no one is ever seen again (well, unless they died) we do know at least the last place they are seen and that is in the Cantina. So wherever Rossi is, the Cantina must lead there somehow. L’hrequ did say that was a true point, and said that we did have the option to sneak into the tavern at night and looking for the way down. Winter liked the plan formulating, but questioned how we would get to back of the tavern to look around. I mentioned that the Kubaz probably knew how to get all around the city, seeing as he was able to disappear in the alleyway, perhaps he would know a way. L’hrequ, looking at our best guess of time on this planet, suggested that we were a bit hurried. I piped in that we are not really in a hurry, as we are stuck here either way, and L’hrequ said that was what he meant to say. So then, L’hrequ suggested that perhaps we should wait until nightfall and see what changes. Though, since this tavern also served as an inn, the place probably isn’t going to close. Winter also brought up that we got rather little information from the populace, L’hrequ believes it could be because the populace is fearful. So we had opportunities around us.
L’hrequ decided to hang around the tavern to “listen” to what goes on within. Pand’Ora mentioned she would stay as well, helping keep an eye on things (and seemingly itching for a brawl). Winter, however, decided that she would rather enjoy going shopping, though seemed to have low expectations on what she would find. Though with her primary goal being information gathering, Winter figured it could still be a profitable venture. Mo pulled out a weird remote thing and that seemed to preoccupy most of his time. From what I gather, he has some kind of remote control droid of some sort he was utilizing as a camera that he set up in the back of the Stranded Cantina. I had wanted to investigate the alleyway where the Kubaz had disappeared, and the surrounding area, but Winter was to valuable at this time (well, she was the one most at risk) so I decided to go with her instead. Besides, since I don’t seem to have any other applicable skills for this group, I could at least help with lowering some prices. Pand’Ora seemed nervous about Winter leaving, but Winter told her that I was with her and it was going to be OK. While Winter’s confidence in me is pleasant, the look Pand’Ora gave me when she asked if I could protect Winter was spine-tingling. I doubted anything was going to happen, so I told Pand’Ora I could, though I really was hoping nothing would happen now. Not just for keeping Winter and I safe, but also I didn’t want to fail and see what Pand’Ora would do should something happen to Winter.
So Winter and I perused the many shops scattered around the Foreign Quarter of the city, and it would appear Winter’s expectations on finding fashionable wears was on point. Most everything being offered was ten or more years dated. The shops were all very welcoming, at the very least, I suppose you have to make the most of being stuck on this backwater planet. In addition to clothing shops, we came across another cantina (only this one appeared focused on more “wealthy” clientele) and a junk dealer selling all sorts of things, included some ship parts. Winter, uninspired from the clothing options, seemed more focused on the people, gauging social status as well as inquiring about, perhaps, a black market working within the Foreign Quarter. Not that I wanted to flaunt my past, but I did offer to help her utilizing what I’ve learned form being in a gang before, which seemed to help at least a little (which makes sense, I wasn’t too deep into the structure of Viper’s gang). In the end, Winter decided to approach two of the, well what appeared to be, prostitutes to see if they had any more knowledge on the seedy underbelly of this place. One of them was a Human who refused to speak to us, for some reason, but the Twi’lek woman seemed to be a bit steamed about something and was more than willing to have someone to talk to. She told us that the underworld does exist and all its machinations are lead out of the Stranded Cantina. And everyone within, as far as this Twi’lek is concerned, are scoundrels and we could tell that she hates not getting paid for her “services.” Then things began to get a bit shocking, Winter asked how much the Twi’lek charges for a standard “trick” (is that what those are called?). The Twi’lek looked Winter up and down, and said, for her, it would be about 50 credits. To which, Winter then pulled out a credit stick worth 100 credits and handed it over. I’m pretty sure my face turned a bright red, and my jaw dropped. Was Winter really doing this?
In the end, Winter was mostly using the money to help assuage more information from the Twi’lek. Winter discovered that there aren’t any allegiances to a pimp or organization. The Twi’lek told Winter that the few working girls serving on Ganath are not organized in that sense. However, the Twi’lek did say that they do give discounts to certain people. The discounts be qualified as the right thing to do. When Winter inquired about the similarities between those that receive the discounts, she was told that they were all ruffians and all work out of the Stranded Cantina, “all scruffy looking nerf-herders” in her words. The twi’lek also highlighted her irritation when the discount becomes “free”and how she needed to speak to Markus about that. Additionally, the twi’lek told us that Deekin promised her he would investigate the “free rides” and she said that she trusts him (seems Deekin has some footing here as well). Winter agreed that not paying for the services was disrespectful. At this point, the human that was with the twi’lek told the twi’lek “Birdie you’ve said enough. We’re going to get in trouble,” and I really didn’t want them to receive any backlash for Birdie’s assistance. However, Birdie was confident that she wouldn’t get in trouble, and didn’t even care. Winter mentioned that she appreciated Birdie’s sass. Birdie did ask Winter if she was planning on entering the her career field, to which Winter declined. Winter instead stated that she, too, was having trouble with those within the Cantina, and asked if it was being run by anyone. To which Birdie said its that Bothan guy, Deekin, “he may not look like it, but he runs the place! No matter what anyone else says, he really is the final word in this place. He tries to play it straight and narrow, most of the time. But, he has desires just like any other man.” Winter asked if there had been any other group that had tried to shift the balance of power within the city, to which Birdie said no. However, Birdie did inform us that there was a group of spacers that came in about a year ago, but she thinks they are still in the Cantina. Birdie believed that she still sees them sometimes, particularly a Kalleran, she didn’t remember his name, but said that he stands out because he is quiet and moody (which she apparently finds sexy). Though, Birdie did say that this Kalleran is very kind, the few times she had spoken to him the Kalleran had been very polite. This Kalleran was part of those spacers that came in about a year ago, and they disappeared for a day or two, but then they came back and just stay in the Cantina as part of Deekin’s group, Birdie guessed. Birdie wasn’t too sure what the group does, besides hanging out and being lazy (accented by an epic eyeroll). Birdie continued saying that they are just like men and don’t work at all, but looked at me and said no offense. Though, I told her that my own father would agree to my “laziness” as well and Birdie said that my father sounded like a smart man (depends on your point of view I guess). Birdie hoped that my father was not trapped on this rock as well, to which I could assuage her by telling her my father wouldn’t be caught dead here…well unless there was money to be made. Winter mentioned that it is probably better than we thought, but I think that being trapped “is” a hell in itself. Winter did bring up the point that some people never leave their planets and don’t feel trapped, but the choice is what is important. After all, I left Toydaria, which is probably the best planet in the galaxy.
I asked Birdie about the Kubaz, to which she told us that there were a few of them. They seem to just watch on the street, creepy like, and sometimes get together and speak in their “wabble wabble” language. I asked if they ever congregated or hung out in a particular place, Birdie said that had seen one leave the Cantina before, but otherwise they just watch. At this point, Winter introduces herself much more formally, and asks for Birdie’s name as well. To which we are told that Birdie’s name is actually Lucinda. Winter, then asked Lucinda about Rossi (without using his name) mentioning that we know someone supposed to be high up in the boss ranks, but he is never here in the Foreign Quarter. Winter mentioned the person we are looking for was a Togorian, which Lucinda knew about, and that we wanted to meet him, but apparently there is a big initiation procedure we have to go through to do so. Winter asked Lucinda if she had heard anything about that. Lucinda answered, strangely, that she didn’t know any fellow named Rossi (even saying “is that what you said his name was,” but we never mentioned his name), but that she had heard of some sort of initiation thing/boys club were people can go in to try to join Deekin’s group. Lucinda always assumed it was some sort of drinking contest or something. Winter mentioned, fishing for an answer to the contrary, that we had hoped to see Rossi without undergoing such festivities, but that it was appearing that we had little choice. Lucinda told us that had Rossi, being a Togorian, had ever been in the Foreign Quarter she would remember him, but up to this point she has never seen him. Winter told Lucinda that we had brought a Togorian with us, which seemed to get Lucinda excited (at least until Lucinda discovered the Togorian was a she), and that she is an impressive creature (strange way to describe someone, but…). Lucinda seemed worried that this Togorian would want to enter the business, but was glad to hear that she was not going to (or at least it was unlikely since the Togorian was married. Lucinda congratulated her, but I mentioned that the marriage probably wasn’t going to last long as it was a somewhat toxic relationship. After all that, Winter thanked Lucinda for her candidness. Lucinda told us we were welcome, but asked if we were sure that was all we wanted for the 100 credits Winter had given her, to which Winter told her that it was. This made Lucinda smile, and she thanked Winter for being so kind. I wished Lucinda luck in her endeavors, and she thanked me and told me I was cute with my little wings. I blushed, though I doubted I was her type. Winter said we don’t really know what Twi’leks want since they seem to be all over….um never mind, I think I’ll leave this part out. Though it was a somewhat nice complement, I suppose. I blushed again. As we left, Lucinda wished us a nice day (to which we wished her the same) before sashaying back to her position.
I don’t know what happened for L’hrequ, Mo, and Pand’Ora at the Stranded Cantina, but they were all sitting together when Winter and I returned. Apparently, L’hrequ is quite the people watcher (sorta weird pastime) and figured out a bunch of information on the barkeeps, like their names being Jondar (the human barkeep) and Kwilcan (the Weequay), all by just watching them. I believe I even caught him practicing their voices. Strange. L’hrequ really wanted to wait until around Midnight to instigate his plan, so everyone decided to just hang out until then. I found myself getting to agitated from waiting, so I told everyone I was going out and went on a hunt for the Kubaz. Pand’Ora was real sweet and brought me food buckets here and there which I really appreciated. Though, I had little luck finding any of my marks, though I did talk to some nice people.
While I was gone, around 2000 hours Deekin returned to the bar and approached the group. I don’t have all the details, but they apparently had quite a talk. Deekin was fishing for them to undergo the initiation, and tried to lead the conversation in that direction. Winter told him that the group was trying to get a feel for the place, but Deekin said that they should have gotten plenty. Not much to sell, as there are not much of them (outsiders to Ganath). And, if it wasn’t for Emperor Brand, the Ganathians would probably had killed all the outsiders. Mo I hear asked if Brand was seen much, but Deekin said only when he first arrived. They discussed the armor of Brand and legends of him being a comet. Mo asked why Rossi uses this Cantina, and Deekin said that they are all people-people and good at recruiting good members. I guess L’hrequ grabbed Deekin as he was about to leave to investigate what happens if we made the cut, but other than “meeting Rossi” he didn’t get anymore information. Apparently Rossi would have some kind of work for us based on our skill set and Rossi’s needs. When Winter and L’hrequ asked where Rossi takes the gang members he uses, Deekin said he didn’t know, but that Rossi could be up to no good anywhere (given the Ganathian’s low level of technology). L’hrequ mentioned something about Deekin being “good” at not knowing things, and Deekin said he doesn’t want to make himself too important. Though, when L’hrequ did ask if Deekin ever leaves the planet, Deekin said no, but if Rossi is leaving he is either really sneaky (as there are satellites or something looking for ships trying to leave), or (whispering) Rossi has someone on the inside. Regarldess, Deekin somehow managed to convince the group to undergo the tests, as I got a call on my comm asking me if I wanted to join them. I really didn’t want to, I felt uncomfortable going through Rossi’s group. However, I was assigned to help this group, so I had little choice. Winter did say that she would never leave me behind, which was sweet, even if it involved joining another gang.
So I returned as L’hrequ approached Deekin and told him that we were ready for the initiation (though I was sure I’d have nothing really to contribute….per usual). Deekin then rose, pulling out a long knife and began to bang on his glass really loud. Calling everyone to attention, saying that there were new contestants which made everyone in the Cantina cheer and get excited. The Initiation is a set of tests, of which there are four. The first was to take place outside, in case anything goes wrong, and we were lead through a series of doors and hallways. As we walked, Winter applied her darkest shade of lipstick and a crowd began to follow us behind murmuring about the upcoming test. Going through the hallway, it eventually emptied out to the back alley where the crowd dispersed to the left and right sides of the wall, not going into the center of the alley. Deekin, like the crowd, seemed particularly happy and excited and the crowd even began to make bets. I’m pretty sure someone was betting I would get smooched by the end of the first round. Though, soon the crowd went quiet as Deekin introduced the first test, the Test of Sight. Apparently, it was the easiest test, and Deekin asked for a volunteer from our group mentioning it should be someone gifted with a rifle. I shook my head, but the rest of the group all turned to Pand’Ora who seemed eager to play. Deekin said he wasn’t surprised, but then called her Lady Kitten, seemed inappropriate to me. At the same time, the crowd called for a man named Beedo and told him to head down the alley and hold up the bottle of swill he was drinking. This Beedo fellow seemed like a drunkard, who willing lifted the target, as Deekin informed us that the goal was to shoot the bottle out of Beedo’s hand (the distance was about fifty meters and down the dark alley). Pand’Ora took her time, as we waited. However, as she took the shot, I saw Deekin elbow into her shooting arm pushing the blast just enough to make Pand’Ora accidentally hit Beedo’s hand instead, blasting some of the drunkards fingers off (two) and the bottle falls from his hand and lands on the ground unbroken. Pand’Ora immediately turned and punched Deekin in the face. The crowd found it exciting, as Deekin grabbed his face and cried out that it was an accident (As if) and that Pand’Ora would get a second shot. When Pand’Ora threaten him, Deekin said that he would stand far away (out of punch range). In the meantime, Mo dashed down the alley towards Beedo and when he arrived Mo began gathering the lost fingers and operating on Beedo to help remedy the man’s wounds. Mo’s kindness surprising me yet again. As far as I could tell from seeing Beedo later, the lost fingers were all patched back up and would eventually heal, good job Mo!
L’hrequ moved himself between Deekin and Pand’Ora asking what happened, when Pand’Ora explained it, L’hrequ turned to question Deekin if it was true. However, Pand’Ora asked if L’hrequ could honestly believe that she would miss that shot, mentioning how many people he had seen her kill with that shot, to which L’hrequ did mention that it did take Pand’Ora forever to take the shot before continue questioning Deekin. Deekin continued to say it was an accident, to which I constantly mentioned it wasn’t, but L’hrequ told Deekin that we should call that shot good (particularly with the tampering), but Deekin said the only other option was to withdraw. L’hrequ asked if the games would continue like this, cheating, but Deekin said it would only be cheating if he said we had failed. That answer didn’t appease L’hrequ, mentioning Beedo’s lost fingers, but Deekin merely brushed it off (a point that made L’hrequ threaten to take Deekin’s fingers if he did such an act again). Deekin called for Beedo to set it up again (and calling us complainers), but Beedo’s courage was waning. Fortunately for Beedo, however, Mo stepped up and placed the bottle on top of his head, sending the crowd into coos of oohs and ahs! L’hrequ said something about it being a good deal as losing a droid isn’t like losing a life, which I chastised him for. That was Mo up there! Then L’hrequ called me Nacho….what? Sancho now Nacho, does L’hrequ even know my name? Or was he insulting my eating habits…though speaking of eating nachos would have been really good at the time. Anyways, L’hrequ then asked Winter and I to surround Pand’Ora to keep any more accidents from happening. L’hrequ even pulled out his pistol and held it to his chest (to which raised some eyebrows) and Deekin told L’hrequ to put it away, looking pretty distraught. L’hrequ stood unflinching mentioning that were he comes from there is no cheating. As Deekin stood agape, calling L’hrequ a tough one, Winter said that L’hrequ was the nicest one among us. A point I had to deny, was I missing something? Still, Pand’Ora set up her shot again. With no hesitation, even with Mo as the bottle bearer, Pand’Ora blasted the bottle off of Mo’s head without leaving a drop on him. Mo pretended to drop, but the stood up (messing with the crowd). With the trial completed the crowd seemed excited for our victory. Deekin congratulated the Pand’Ora, asking if we could all shoot that good. Of course L’hrequ didn’t even leave him to his imagination and said no. Mo returned to us as the crowd rushed up to congratulate us…however, this seemed to just be an introduction for the second Trial.
Deekin once again said that the shot was amazing, and even congratulated the first one in which would have been a success if it were not for his “accident.” Mo’s standing in even made Deekin extra congratulatory, and Mo was even approached and slapped on the back (a particularly enjoyable one) and it was followed by a annoying beeping sound, making the crowd and Deekin begin to back away in a hurry. As Deekin backed away, he introduced the second test, the Test of Discipline, giving us thirty seconds or therefore to disarm the thermal detonator stuck on Mo’s back to rescue our friend. Winter immediately took charge, directing her companions as to what to do. Mo twisted his arm and head around and used his mechanical knowledge to open up the detonator’s chassis, providing access to the computer system that L’hrequ utilized to disarm the bomb, with Pand’Ora’s watchful eye to help guide their hands and prevent an early travesty. I didn’t really do much, Winter told me to help everyone to stay calm. I’m not sure my voice warrants much calm, but it was nice of her to pretend I was helping. I’m pretty sure they’ve even been in worse situations (even I survived a terrible swoop crash) so I doubted they were in a panic. Though I was glad for Pand’Ora’s eyes helping L’hrequ his hands didn’t seem particularly apt at working the computer. Still together, they managed to diffuse the the thermal detonator just in time, I think the timer stopped on the last second. As the crowd went wild, Mo stuffed the detonator into one of his compartments. Mo’s legs also jerked a bit, apparently the detonator somehow was preventing Mo’s legs from falling. However, not everyone was excited with our victory, since some of them seemed to have lost some credits on bets.
Seeing our victory, Deekin congratulated us again, saying we are doing at least as well as the last group that did it (I mean we had to since you need to pass to succeed, so a wasted statement), and then introduced us to them. The first introduction was to a Geonosian named Urdle, who seems to have appeared just for this event. The second was the Kalleran that Lucinda mentioned, his name being Ku Taow (not really sure how it’s spelled) and he came out of the crowd and gave us a bow. The next one introduced was R7 who appeared to be an astromech droid with blue coloration. Lastly, Orto was introduced as the final member of the last group to succeed. With the seemingly random introductions finished Deekin said that it was time for the third test, the Test of Strength, telling us we were going to love this one and then Deekin went to hit Winter. I, however, saw it coming and called out a warning allowing Pand’Ora to claw Deekin for his audacity to try and attack winter. Orto took advantage of Pand’Ora’s distraction and tried to hit her, but Pand’Ora didn’t even seem to react from the blow. Ku Taow slid up to L’hrequ and with some fancy movements crashed a blow into L’hrequ who was managing to block several blows, but not all of them. Urdle flew at me and punched me in the stomach, and it merely tickled. My suit was built for crashing in races, he’d need a lot more force for me to feel it. R7 pulled out a bunch of bladed appendages, but Deekin shouted at the droid telling him that it had to be non-lethal (even mentioning the droid had been told that before). R7 made some depressed sounded beeps, but swapped out the blades for some blunted metal rods that it spun at Mo who merely used his hands to hold him at bay. Deekin recovered form Pand’Ora’s blow and continued his punch against winter, landing a blow to her chest. L’hrequ didn’t seem to hold the spirit for brawls, and as he stepped away from Ku Taow’s fists, began moving his arms towards a nearby dumpster which seemed to react to his movements. With another wave of his arms, the dumpster was sent soaring through the air and crashed into Ku Taow who was smashed under its weight, but the Kalleran managed to regain his footing. Mo also didn’t vouch for fisticuffs, pulling out a wrench instead and smashing it against R-7. Winter made a return attack against Deekin, striking out with a surprising amount of ferocity directed at Deekin’s crown jewels, making Deekin jump back quickly and putting him in a bad position. I wasn’t worried about the Geonosian, despite his grumpy face I figured he didn’t have the power to affect me. Still, it seemed we were all dealing with our primary aggressor, so I punched Urdle back. Main difference was, Urdle actually felt something.
L’hrequ crashed a trash can into poor Ku Taow again (Really L’hrequ, cheating? I thought your planet didn’t have cheaters) who clearly wasn’t expecting such barrages as he took another large blow. Deekin slammed Winter again, and Orto managed to land another large fist into Pand, this time however she seemed to be a bit rattled by it. Urdle punched me again, flying down at me from above…and I think I felt the wind from his flying by more than a fist. R7’s little fists spun into Mo, the metal on metal giving off a hideous screeching sound. Ku Taow remains strong, despite the large objects crashing into him from the Jedi’s trickery, and struck a blow against L’hrequ again. Pand’Ora changed her target from Deekin to Orto, striking the large Ortolan with her claws. Mo, undeterred by R-7’s chipping fists and continued battering the little droid with the wrench. Deekin plays with Winter, daring her to make her best shot as if she was going to miss. Winter showed him up however, landing a vicious blow to Deekin’s lower extremities (to say the least), a blow that showed. I swung at Urdle, and though I missed I was able to bring myself into a much more defensible position, not that I needed it.
Poor Ku Taow once again found himself meeting the base of the dumpster again as L’hrequ seemed to enjoy hearing the painful crashing sound as his trashy weapon hit. Only this time, it didn’t appear as if Ku Taow had the strength to stand as he and the dumpster crashed into a wall with a nasty crashing sound. Orto landed another blow on Pand’Ora who answered back again with her vicious claws. Urdle pushed towards me, and while he missed I did bump against Mo which knocks my friend off-balance enough for R-7 to take advantage of, smashing his metal fist things into Mo again, which in turn pushed him into Winter. Deekin took advantage of Winter’s loss of balance and landed another hit on her. I land a vicious blow to Urdle’s face, knocking him so senseless the bug couldn’t even fly straight, a fact that brought a hearty laugh out of me. Mo managed to recover his footing and smashed R-7 with his wrench again and Winter landed another ferocious blow against Deekin.
L’hrequ, no longer having his test dummy, he turns his dumpster towards Deekin which crashes into the bothan and sends him reeling, and it doesn’t appear Deekin had much left. Deekin tries to recover and bash Winter, but the dumpster blow makes Deekin a wobbly and Winter easily steps out of the way. Orto attmepts to crash his fist into Pand’Ora, but, even despite her wounds, is too nimble for the large fist inspired as the enemies begin falling. Urdle tries to hit me, but he was still addled by my last blow and was unable to even tap me. R7 spun into Mo, but his metal fists didn’t seem to be able to even chip Mo’s armor. Winter swung at Deekin, but a fortunate wobble actually assisted Deekin in avoiding the blow. Pand sunk her claws into Orto again causing him to roar in pain. I managed to land a flying uppercut to the jaw of Urdle, sending him crashing to the ground, out for the count. Mo landed another clanging blow with his wrench on R-7.
With no foe left for me, and Winter looking likes she was in a bad state, I dash over to Deekin and land a blow to his chest crashing the wind from his lungs and knocks him out. R-7 crashed into Mo chipping off some paint and Orto’s fist landed on Pand’Ora, but she rolled with the blow and seemed unharmed. Pand’Ora returned the blow to Orto, clawing his face with such force the Ortolan became disoriented. Mo decided that this wrench battle was taking too long, dropped his wrench, drew out his massive blaster rifle and blasted R-7 who sparked and squealed from the force and shut off. Winter swung into Orto, but his thick hide didn’t give to her attack. Which was rather unfortunate for Orto, as L’hrequ was still hurling his trash around, and Orto was hit by the dumpster and crashed to the floor. Come to think of it, we were all very lucky not to be hit by the dumpster too. Still, the battle was won as we stood among our now fallen foes. Winterand L’hrequ looked pretty shaken though, and Mo was rather hard to read. I felt fine, but, to be fair, I had to deal with the wimp. Winter really impressed me, however, as her and I were the only two in the group to fight fair. L’hrequ’s actions didn’t suprise me, Jedi… Mo began assisting Winter and L’hrequ in their recovery as the crowd went absolutely bonkers including throwing things in the air and even some gunshots. Deekin, Ku Taow, Orto, R7, and Urdle recovered, and Deekin (considering the circumstances) was seemingly pretty jovial as he clean himself up. In fact, most of them seemed to be in a good mood besides Urdle (who was super grumpy, strange since he was probably the weakest link) and R7 who said that it wasn’t even trying and if it had, Mo would have gone down. Deekin helped pick up Ku Taow from the rubble and the man gave us a bow. Seems we somehow earned respect from this. Winter apologized for her low blows, insisting that she was aiming for the knee caps, not that Deekin believed her. And then there was some discussion of low-hanging fruit and things being apple sized. Deekin then asked if we were ready for our final test, not that we had a choice, and led us back into the Cantina.
Giving us all a seat at one of the booths, Deekin introduced us to the final test, the Test of Endurance, as he licked his lip from some of the blood that was caked there. Deekin said it is probably the most difficult, and even asked Ku Taow to confirm, but the Kalleran just rolled his eyes and shook his head. Apparently it was going to be a drinking contest (why is it never an eating contest), even the droid was allowed to compete since they had some kind of special drinks for him, and it would be all of us against one of them. And with that, the crowd began to chant the name “Meeker” and along the wall a small hatch opened. From it a small creature (about four feet tall) with large eyes and ears came out of it. In fact, he was rather cute and animated. This Meeker as he arrived at the table pointed at us…not sure why was it supposed to be scary? If it was, the crowd bringing over a booster chair certainly took even more of an edge off of it. With Meeker seated, the waitresses brought over drinks for each of us (the one that appeared different went to Mo) and all had something smoking on the top as they put them all in front of us. Deekin told us that even if we fail, we go out feeling good (maybe if it was food). L’hrequ mentioned something about being liquid intolerant, but was told his only option was to drop from this competition to which he did not.
The goal of this test was to drink the entire glass of…this liquid. If anyone one of us was left standing when Meeker passes out, the whole group would win. I asked what was with the drink if only one would eventually take us out, but I guess I misinterpreted the rules as we were going to be served drink after drink. Though we were told that if anyone has any weakness to urine we’d be at a disadvantage (I’d hate to be involved in making this stuff). Deekin also insisted that there would be no cheating in this contest, as his eyes looked and Pand’Ora (though I’d look at L’hrequ), but Pand’Ora told him he would know about cheating. Right when we were going to begin, Winter called us to a halt, asking to use the bathroom before we began. Deekin was hesitant, but Winter managed to convince him to let her go (no one else, just the lady since he was a gentleman).0 Even more weird was Deekin following after her…I was creeped out and kept my ears open in case Deekin tried to do anything. Apparently, Deekin was just ensuring she really had to pee. Winter doesn’t seem like the kind of person who would cheat, kind of reminds me of Nancy that way. Anyway, when Winter returned (applying her lipstick along the way) the contest began. The drink wasn’t the best thing I’ve had, but it didn’t seem bad. Pand’Ora was the first finished, with Meeker matching her speed. I don’t know what was in Mo’s drink, but he sparked and then crashed onto the table. L’hrequ worried that Mo was hurt in some way, but Deekin said he would be fine as he declared one man being down. Winter finished her drink last, she was taking her time and even licked the extra off her lips… was she enjoying this beverage that much?
Round 2 came around and the drinks were delivered again, this time the crowd found it OK to catcall the waitress, how rude. Still we all got our drinks, except Mo, and we all took our drinks. L’hrequ seemed confident, but then his head crashed onto the table. Pand’Ora looked like the drink was gonna get to her, but she managed to recoup and get back together. Meeker seemed to be having a good time, and Winter still seemed to be fine as well. I was detecting hints of mold….it would probably taste better not in a drink.
Round 3 came around and we all got another glass. Pand’Ora, still wavering from her last ordeal with the beverage couldn’t handle the third and went down. Meeker seemed to be doing just fine as was Winter. I was getting rather hungry…I could go for some fungus bread right now….yum fungus…. Deekin was really rude to Pand’Ora as she was unconscious yelling at her about not being so big now or something, honestly….Deekin is a jerk. I yelled at him for it as the next set of drinks arrived.
Round 4 arrived and I got to be honest I could really go for something to eat instead, my tummy was so rumbling something fierce. We all took our shots and things weren’t looking good…like they were all fuzzy. I saw Meeker’s face land into the table…so that was good. But, my own vision started to fade. Last thing I saw was Winter, with perfect poise applying yet another application of lipstick to her lips. She must really be worried about looking good to this crowd, and she certainly could hold her…whatever this is. Winter did well.
I don’t remember too much after that, I was just really hungry. I really hoped that I ate something. Although I really do feel bad I was so out of it. I’m sure we could have gotten some kind of investigating done after our contest completion.
I awoke in the Stranded Cantina, as did all the others and Deekin was already prepared to take us all to “meet Rossi.” Meeker was still laying in his high chair and we were told not to wake him (apparently he is a grumpy riser). It seems it would be our last chance to get out of this, but the others seemed set on this path. Looks like we were going to bid the Foreign Quarter good-bye and follow Deekin wherever that was. We were lead through the back, this time, through the kitchen just like members of the gang. Deeking seemed somewhat more comfortable around us (I always feel comfortable around people who have proven they can and are probably willing to knock my socks off). Exiting the Cantina and entering the alley we walk for another ten to fifteen minutes before the buildings begin to get more sparse as we get to what seems like the edge of town. We are lead to this building that appears to be some sort of garage or motor-pool. Parts of delabidated bits of skiffs, bikes, trikes, hovercrafts, even a landspeeder or two. Some seemed to be in working condition, while others were clearly beyond repair. Entering this building, the employees seemed to have little to no cares in the world, working on their projects and not even paying attention to us as we entered. Deekin took us towards the front desk, where he and the attendant behind the desk gave each other slanted nods before we continued to the back door to the back. Out back, there were more vehicles as well as a large shuttle-craft. It appears to be a large freighter converted into a shuttle-craft vehicle for transport. The loading ramp was converted into an entrance, and it was opened wide for us at the moment. With the converted freighter in sight, Deekin turned to us to ensure we were ready to go, as we wouldn’t have another chance to come back at least for awhile (though, since I’m sure this is a trap, he means it to be awhile). L’hrequ asked if we would be leaving the planet, but Deekin said no. This converted freighter is the fastest ship they have since the Ganathian’s won’t let anyone have anything that can leave the atmosphere (they can have this, but I can’t have my SugarScoot?!). Deekin did say there would be food and drink on the way, at least, including a keg of that swill from last night. Apparently, he brought a keg. Mo said it was thoughtful of him, but I’m sure that was meant in a sarcastic way. Winter whispered to me her suspicions of Deekin, of which I of course agreed, and together we hoped to get a good read of Deekin, but he seemed genuine. Well, that at least speaks for the food and the pleasant thought of us falling into the trap. Regardless, we all loaded up into the freighter where the cargo hold was to be our seating area. Three people were already here, they seemed to recognize us from the Cantina, frankly I had no idea who they were…though I also spent the least amount of time in that place. Stupid Cantina.
Deekin was the last to board, and when he did he hit a button to close the hangar door which seemed to signal the pilot that it was time to go. Deekin kindly offered us our choice of seats in this delightful hangar bay that could fit about thirty, but I didn’t want to sit down. There were no windows, of course what trap would leave us windows, so nothing was really comfortable for L’hrequ. Pand’Ora sat down in a comfortable seat to stretch her leg and began to…clean herself? The ship jerked and began to take off, and I searched for a data link to attach my datapad to, but there wasn’t even a port to track cargo. Additionally, my data goggles couldn’t even link to the signals from the freighter itself. Frustrating! I went to go to the cockpit, but that too was locked from us. The urge to cut it down with my fusion cutter grew with each passing second. The ship was running smoothly, its engine sounded good and everything, so it seemed unlikely the ship was incapable of producing a signal. With the last straw I decided to ask Deekin who gave the classic, we can’t tell you “yet” until Rossi gives us permission. Deekin refused to supply any useful information as it wasn’t allowed. Nonsense….total trap. I began focusing on the vibrations, engine sounds, and the like to get a read on turns and the like but the rest of the group was rather distracting. Mo continuously told me to stop worrying about it, and L’hrequ seemed to agree. At least I was trying to something, I had to find something to help, somehow prevent this trap. Winter asked how long the trip was going to take, and Deekin said that it would take around six hours. And Deekin said mentioned that the ship was heading South for about 8,000 kilometers. Deekin and L’hrequ had some kind of discussion about L’hrequ being a Jedi, and that Deekin thought they were plagues on the galaxy or something. L’hrequ tried to say the Jedi were once guardians of the peace, but Deekin called him out on that pointing out the carnage created by the dumpsters. Though Deekin did say that L’hrequ should keep his Jedi things under the radar, and said something about saying too much. Additionally, at the mention of “tricks” Pand’Ora and Deekin got into an argument on the not so accidental elbowing.
After around six hours of coming up with no way to help us out of this situation, I felt the freighter shift and lower its landing gear…seems we had arrived. L’hrequ even made a snide question if I knew where we were at. Cute, why did I even get sent with this group…this isn’t racing…its not even driving or flying. Anyways, Deekin rose, stretched, and walked over to open the ramp. The oher people joined him quickly, as they all headed down the ramp. The rest of the group quickly followed, except Winter who freshened up first, and I am leaving last… I checked my datapad (since I’m on it anyways), and I had a connection again, but couldn’t get a clue where we were, but at least connections exist (so there was a blocker). Still, I have to go now, I’ll continue this report once the trap triggers…if I’m still alive…
Poncho flew out of the freighter and into the large hangar bay to meet up with the rest of the group. Looking around, it seems that the path into the hangar was seperated from the rest of the world with a large shimmering force-field. The field’s blue glow preventing any hope of an easy escape. Of course, Poncho thought, couldn’t even steal this ship thanks to that. Behind the blue viel was the view of the sky, and below seemed to be jungle-like trees. Poncho seemed unsure if “jungle-like” is an appropriate description in basic, but couldn’t think of a better description. This base seems to be in the air somehow. Poncho tried to think of the ways, perhaps it is built on a mountain or in a tree. Or maybe, Poncho thought, it is one of those large Balloon like ships and not a base at all. Still, it would be hard to tell from here, and the group was already heading towards the Massive Hangar door at the end of the, well, hangar. The large, metal doors began to open with a loud creak and growl as it proceeded to rise out of the way. When it did so, the group was greeted by the points of forty blaster rifles pointing right at them. The rifle’s bearers all seemed to be humanoid, clothed in metallic plates and thick cloth. Their heads masked by helmets fitted with black visors, and, despite all the armors being different in color or design, they all had the same horned skull. Six of these unwelcoming hosts were on the same level as the entrance, while the others were standing along a balcony that stretched all across the airy, large, metal room.
With this great introduction, Deekin and the group all stopped. And soon, stepping through the crowd at the top of the balcony was a tall, dark Togorion fellow, Rossi, who stopped among the warrior people with a big smile on his face. Deekin turned around to face Pand’Ora and the rest of her allies and says with a smile, “This is the part where you guys give up.”
Poncho chimed in, “That’s what my dad told me too!” However, much like most things the toydarian does, it goes mostly unnoticed as Deekin continues, “It’s nothing personal, but, when you told me who you were I knew then that the boss would want to know you as well and he was sure happy to hear that you had arrived. Deekin then turned to the other vistitors, those that did not travel with Winter on her quest to rescue her brother Asher, and said, “You guys go, get out of the way, you don’t want to be in the way of this” while making pushing motions with his hands and guiding them away from the primary guests. The other visitors were petrified with fear.
Rossi waved at the group, from his safe haven about fifty feet away. Mo whispered to Pand’Ora that they could, perhaps, kill Rossi before anything happened, but no one made any such attempts. Rossi then spoke, “Thank you for accepting my invitation and for bringing me so many things that I wanted. Winter Pax, it is a pleasure to finally meet you. You’ll likely be happy to know that your father recently raised the bounty on your head. You’ll be meeting an acquaintance of mine who will be taking you back to Coruscant. I believe you know him already, Dolan? He’ll be here soon.”
“Well this is all depends on the status of my brother!” Winter retorded.
Rossi gave a mighty “oh” and continued, “We’ll get to him. He’s here, he’s safe.”
Winter continued, “I do enjoy being the center of attention, but my cooperation depends entirely on how my brother sounds.”
“Oh, you’ll be meeting soon. I promise he is in very good condition.” Rossi answered, giving the group a short pause before turning his attention to M0-F0, “And you M-0-F-0, I know certain people who are looking forward to meeting you as well and making excellent use of all that valuable data you’ve got hidden away inside you.”
“It’ll be disappointing” M0-F0 chimed.
“Like Pax,” Rossi continued, undeterred, “you will also bring me a lot of credits that I can use. What they find inside you, their disappointment, is none of my concern. I’ll just have the money.” After another pause, Rossi turned his cat-like eyes to Poncho who was confident, or seemingly so, that there really was no reason for him (Poncho) to be kept here. However, Rossi said, “I have an old, old friend of mine, who happens to be one of yours as well, who is quite eager to meet you again. She was giddy with excitement when I told her about you. I can hear the credits now!”
Poncho almost laughed, “Except I’m not wanted by her!” Clearly Rossi had no clue who really own Poncho now. And, thinking about it, Poncho wondered how Rossi could have even spoken to her about him. Rossi, as far as Poncho could tell, didn’t even know him. And even if Rossi did learn about Poncho somehow…it seems unlikely a message could be relayed before this point. Poncho grew more confused than concerned.
“Oh she is eager to see you, at least she was when I spoke with her.” Rossi continued, as he turned his gaze towards L’hrequ, “And, of course, there is you.” L’hrequ looked behind him at the mention of this you as if Rossi was speaking to someone else. Rossi spoke, “I have been asked to bring you to my partner for you are the least value to me, personally, which means you will be the first to die should you decide not to cooperate.” Poncho’s jaw dropped that the Jedi would somehow be worth less than him. Rossi knows about “her” and not the large bounty for Jedi, Poncho thought, strange. Though, perhaps Rossi’s partner has plans bigger than the bounty for L’hrequ’s tricks.
Rossi then turned his head to one of the guards and gave them a nod, “Disarm them, and if they resist make them.” And the six guard on the primary level began to approach each member in Poncho’s group. L’hrequ was checked first, and they gave him a good pat down, finding and taking away L’hrequ’s blaster pistol. However, when they came across his lightsaber, for some reason they treated it as if it was an empty blaster holster. Poncho was unsure how they could confuse it (as he could see the lightsaber ,must have been some kind of Jedi mind-trick or something. However, this didn’t work to grandly as the guard rose his voice and asked, “Where’s the other pistol?”
L’hrequ answered, “It was destroyed in a fight,” but the guards seemed unconvinced.
The guard spoke to someone over his comm, “This one is sort of fishy…” and then began to escort L’hrequ away form the rest of the group.
Winter was next to be searched, and the guards discovered a heavy blaster pistol and a vibroknife, which she surrendered willingly. Still, the guard continued his search, his hand beginning to creep up towards her breast, but Winter’s stern look made the guard back-off.
M0-F0 was next in line, and he handed over his large stun rifle, his blaster pistol, and his combat knife. However, M0-Fo tried to conceal the thermal detonator that he had hidden on his person from the trials earlier, and hoped the guard wouldn’t find it. However, the Guard saw a loose wire that he followed to where M0-F0 was hiding it. M0-F0 opened the container and the thermal detonator activated, everyone in the room got tense, including Rossi, but M0-F0 turned the detonator off and tossed it over to Rossi. The detonator didn’t go off prematurely, and M0-F0’s search was done.
Poncho was next, and the toydarian squirmed a bit as the guard took away his backpack and gear. Soon the guard’s hands began gsliding all across Poncho, somehow finding Nancy, Poncho’s blaster, tucked away in her hidden holster. “Nice try little guy,” the guard said, but Poncho played it off as just being his holster. The search continued, but the guard was unable to find Poncho’s thin molecular stiletto hidden under the thick padding of his crash suit. The guards then began to go through Poncho’s stuff, wondering why the Toydarian would have some of the stuff he did.
Pand’Ora was next, handing over her heavy blaster and her Ion blaster with attached net gun. The guards patted Pand’Ora down for more weapons and discovered her blaster pistol hidden among her fur and clothes.
L’hrequ was being led away, and as the guard and him neared the rest of the guards, more joined the march and followed. The rest of the guards, content with their examinations of the others, back away slowly until they were at a safe distance from the prisoners before joining the rest of their guardsmen. At this time, Rossi spoke again, his eyes focused on Pand’Ora, “It seems you and I are long overdue for a heart-to-heart talk. Dinner, perhaps? I have some fresh Llama in my freezer. I remember you loved it.”
Mo interrupted, “Sure, I’ll have dinner.” Which reminded Poncho about how hungry he was. So, Poncho, too chimed in that he’d have dinner as well.
Pand’Ora, however, asked, “Where’s her (pointing at Winter) brother at?”
Rossi answered, “She’s going to be seeing her brother really soon. She is going to the same place he is. I promise you that you will find out what his fate is. And you will learn that he is in perfectly good health.” Rossi turned towards the others, “Guards, you can take them to the holding cells. Your cone-headed friend is going to receive a thorough personal search.” Rossi smiled as he watch L’hrequ being taken away.
Poncho chimed up, nervously, “I could probably explain his blaster.”
“Oh?” Rossi exclaimed, “Please do.”
Poncho continued, “I stole it from him and sold it for credits.” Poncho looked down to hopefully show shame.
Rossi could barely hold back his laughter, “Then why does he still wearing the holster?” Rossi was sure this was just another waste of his time.
Poncho had an answer, “Because he thinks it torments me!” Poncho growled.
Rossi, at first, laughed, but then he saw the hearfealt rage in Poncho’s face and then let out a sigh and said “Hold! Take him (pointing at L’hrequ) to the cell along with his friends. But, keep them separated.” Upon Rossi’s orders, the guards grabbed the group and began leading them over to a door located near to L’hrequ’s current location. However, as they started to leave, Rossi continued, “Except, for her.” And a guard placed a hand before Pand’Ora preventing her from leaving as the rest of the group was lead away, but not before Poncho could yell, “You’re good Pand! You got this!” As if that simple cheer could make all the difference.
The four others were taken down a large hallway. It was well lit and modern, appearing like those on the Wheel or a nice ship. The group is lead by four guards down the path and then turning right, traveling further, then turning left, traveling further, and then through a door that lead to a holding block. Which, really, was just another glorified hallway with one side being lined with at least 10 thick metal doors each with a small barred porthole (itself having 1-foot by 1-foot dimensions) that looked across the “prison block” to the metal wall on the other side. L’hrequ was placed in the cell closest to the door leading out of the block, in the next cell was placed Winter, the next M0-F0, and lastly Poncho in the next cell down. In each 10 foot by 10 foot cell were small cots and a singular metal bucket. Two guards remained behind to guard the block. Winter mentioned that she was offended that there were only two guards for the four of them, but the guard told her it only takes one to call for others.
Winter called out, “Fresh meat!” hoping to discover if anyone else shared this holding block with her and the group.
After a few seconds, another voice yelled back “Winter?” It was a male voice.
Winter spoke back to the voice, “Oh, Asher!”
“Winter!” Asher yelled back, “What the hell are you doing here!”
“This is going to be awesome, and you’re going to love it,” Winter said.
“Love what? What are you doing! You’re not supposed to be here!” Ashur answered.
“Don’t worry, baby brother, we got this!” Winter tried to calm her hysterical brother down.
“It’s all going according to plan! They won’t know what hit them” M0-F0 added.
“I don’t even know how I even got here, really.” Poncho contributed.
Meanwhile, Pand’Ora and Rossi were alone….well besides the four guards standing over each of their shoulders. Rossi walked over to stand right in front of Pand’Ora and said, “Are you still mad at me?”
Pand’Ora ignored his comment, demanding instead, “Where’s the Elder’s daughter?!”
“Who?” Rossi Feigned,
Pand’Ora pressed the question, “The Elder’s daughter, that’s how I knew what business you were really into!”
“She is safe, she is living a good life now,” Rossi decided to answer, “You do not need to worry about her. She was a small sacrifice to make.”
“You sold her into slavery,” Pand’Ora said, her voice filled with sorrow rising into anger, “You sold an entire village into slavery!”
“It is a small sacrifice for what we will gain. I have told you this. You do not seem to understand,” Rossi was continued.
“You sacrifice our own people!” Pand’Ora interrupted.
“A small number of them to save the greater good! The greater number of us!”
“Not listening,” Pand’Ora said, cutting off Rossi again.
“You have to believe me when I tell you this,” Rossi began again, “I would not have done it if the end goal was not to our advantage. You’ve got to think of the whole planet, not just a group of small people. Twelve….Fifteen….Twenty people!”
“You’re telling me that you enslaved a village to save a planet?” Pand’Ora scoffed.
“Yes! That is exactly what I did!” Rossi replied
“And you kidnapped Winter’s brother?” Pand’Ora pushed, “Why?”
“That was to lure Winter into my grasp!” Rossi answered/
“Why?” Pand’Ora repeated.
“She is worth a lot of money. I need money.” Rossi answered.
“So, you’re going to sell my friend?” Pand’Ora pressed.
“No,” Rossi laughed, “I’m giving your friend back to her parents! I am not selling her into slavery! I am not killing her!”
“You sold the Elder’s Daughter into slavery!” Pand’Ora pointed out.
“She is not the Elder’s daughter. She is a valuable person back on Coruscant. Not only did I know that her brother would lead her here, but also, her brother will ensure her father’s cooperation in other matters that are important to our plan.” Rossi rebutted.
“And what is this plan?” Pand’Ora asked.
“It is very complex and complicated. I will tell you this, there are many wheels in motion, not just our own, and her father’s influence is very important to the people I work with.”
“I have no reason to believe anything you say, unless you show me those wheels.” Pand’Ora stated.
“Then I will show you. Come with me!” Rossi said, as he began to lead Pand’Ora and the four guards someplace in the base.
Meanwhile in the cells:
“I can’t believe you are here! You should be hiding, or running, or whatever it is that you’ve been doing these past years! What are you doing here!” Asher asked his sister.
“I came here to get you, it is unacceptable that Rossi has you in a cell.” Winter answered.
“Unacceptable?” Asher inquired.
“Yes!” Was Winter’s answer.
“What’s unacceptable was when you ran away from home and didn’t come back when Mom and Dad told you too! Do you realize that your mother is in the hospital now!” Asher continued, cutting off several of Winter’s attempts to retort, “She had a mental breakdown after you left. You wouldn’t return our calls…”
“I’m pretty sure that Dad was the one that gave her a mental breakdown!” Winter cut in.
“You can’t blame Dad for everything! You’ve always done that. You can’t blame him for this! He cares about you, and so does Mother. That’s why they wanted you to come home!” Asher berated.
“Dad thinks I’m a liability to his career. That’s why he wants to hide me away.” Winter retorted.
Asher gave out a mighty sigh, “He didn’t want to hide you away he had….ambitious plans for you. But he still loves you, he’s still your father.”
“I think the loves me as much as someone like him is capable of.” Winter said.
Asher sighed again, “You underestimate your own father, he cares about you I could see it! Ever since you left, how hard he has worked to look for you. He has spent way more money than he has spent on this bounty to capture you just trying to locate you to make sure you are safe.”
“See,” Winter chimed it, “Even that right there sounds suspicious. If he really cared about me, he wouldn’t have a bounty on me. If he loved me, he’d give me some measure of freedom. He doesn’t.”
“Ah,” Ashur cut in, “you had a lot of freedom. More freedom than some people had. Its just, I can’t believe you got yourself in this mess. And like an idiot I come looking for you. I’m not profession at this sort of….thing! Promptly got myself captured here and this crazed tiger man captures me and swears all kind of crazy things are going to happen to both of us if I didn’t cooperate. What else was I to do?”
“Well, I’m glad you didn’t get yourself hurt.” Winter mentioned.
“Yeah! No thanks to you! If you would have just come home I wouldn’t of had to do this.” Asher spouted.
“Well its sweet, you came after me. I’ve been very concerned ever since I found that you’re captured” Winter continued.
“Well I was very concerned about you too! So is Mom and Dad!” Asher stated.
“You can tell them I’m doing just fine.” Winter retorted.
“You can tell them that yourself when we get out of this mess. You’re coming home with me… if we get out of this mess.” Asher mentioned.
“I don’t know if we are coming home.” Winter pointed out.
“From the looks of it, it doesn’t look like we are going anywhere.” Ashur expounded. “Do you know anything about this big cat guy? He was saying something about your friend or something, he was trying to lure here.”
“Yeah, I have a togorian friend who is his wife.” Winter answered.
“Well that’s kind of creepy,” Asher said.
“It is,” Winter continued, “Its not creepy that they’re togorian, but she, they, are defiantly at odds. Rossi is a very bad person. He takes what he wants and doesn’t care the costs to other people no matter how many people or how steep the costs.”
“I’ve overheard a lot of his conversations, and I think I agree with you.” Asher added, “I mean, he seems to think he is doing the right thing, but he is going about it in a really weird way.”
“The biggest tyrants feel like they’re the biggest dreamers.” Winter explained.
“I’ve heard him talk about his wife a lot.” Asher brought up.
“What did he say about Pand? I’m interested to hear what he had to say.” Winter inquired.
“He sounded really regretful that it came to whatever tore them apart. He wouldn’t answer my questions and so I just overheard bits and pieces, but he seemed genuinely upset that she was on the outs with him and that he would make it right somehow.” Asher answered, “He said he had something planned, and he talks about this partner that he is working with, but, from the way I hear it, it sounds more like he is not really a partner. Sounds more like he’s a lot smaller than that. He thinks he is a partner, but he is not really. That’s the impression I get. But, like I said, I’m not really good at this stuff. Spy thing…whatever it is that you keep doing hiding from Dad.”
“I’m just trying to maintain my freedom,” Winter extrapolated.
“You’re free back home too, Dad did not keep you in a cell.” Asher dissected.
“No. I’m afraid he’s going to try and lock me away in some kind of covent, or rehabilitation, asylum…where I would not be free. It may be someplace posh, but…” Winter deflected.
“He wouldn’t do that!” Asher interrupted! “He’d threaten it just to try to keep you in line. He would never do that. He loves you as much as the rest of us do, he would never do something like that. He might try to push you into an arranged marriage, but that’s about it. And you know, that would actually be good for you!”
“That’s actually not really nice,” Poncho interrupted, finding the idea quite rude…but very much like his family.
“Hey, who was that?!” Asher demanded.
“That’s just a different kind of prison.” Winter pointed at Asher’s previous statement.
“Who’s that, No!Who’s that voice!” Asher reiterated.
“It’s more of my associates,” Winter answered.
“Hey you, associate boy, stay out of it!” Asher ordered.
“Don’t take that from him,” L’hrequ chimed in.
Asher sighed again, “I can’t believe this….now what are we going to do?”
“Don’t worry…” Winter started.
“We got this!” Poncho cut her off.
“He said something about a bounty hunter coming to get you,” Asher inquired.
“Yeah…he’s a bounty hunter I have encountered a couple times before.” Winter answered.
“How didn’t you get captured? How do you keep avoiding these people?” Asher asked.
“My friends,” Winter explained, a point of which made Poncho blush (and even release an aww sound)…even though he knew he had nothing to do with the events mentioned.
“Who is that,” Asher demanded in response to Poncho aww’ing.
“I had no play in that, don’t worry,” Poncho replied, “I just recently joined the group.”
“I have…I have good friends,” Winter continued.
“So you came here with this Togorian woman and this other person? It doesn’t sound much like a Togorian to me though.” Asher expounded.
“Yes, there are a few of us. Toydarian…” Winter began.
“Who else did you come with?” Asher pressed.
“I also have a cerean…” Winter began to list.
“I am Poncho!” Poncho introduced himself.
“And a droid.” Winter finished.
“Sis, sis, sis, you probably got us in real trouble this time.” Asher lamented.
“No don’t worry yet. We’ve got this. Just stay frosty, when we move our plan into action we may need to move quickly.” Winter encouraged, but this caught the attention of the guards who looked towards Winter’s Cell. Winter merely shot them back a confident smile.
“They’re pretty scared!” Poncho iterated, looking down towards the guards from his porthole.
“Everyone that is working for this Rossi will be dead shortly,” M0-F0 added.
“Who’s that?” Asher asked.
“Your going to kill everyone?” Winter questioned.
“Of course! They are guilty by association. Obviously! They’ll be gone.” M0-F0 stated.
“Who is that guy?!” Asher begged, “He sounds like a bad-ass!”
“He is actually,” Winter answered, “I think you would find him very entertaining,”
“Is that the droid?” Asher guessed.
“Yes. He’s more than a droid! Winter corrected.
“Yeah, you said you had a droid.” Asher reiterated. “How many others did you bring? Did you at least bring a big group? Dozens?”
“Not here with us right now.” Winter replied.
“I think these guys are up to no good.” Asher pointed out. “Something big!”
“Well, yeah. This Rossi person, he’s a slaver, a kidnapper, and…other crimes! And he has delusions of grandeur.” Winter listed.
“Well, not only that,” Asher continued, “but this guy he is working with, that I mentioned earlier…”
“His partner?” Winter filled in.
“Yes, he’s up to some sort of big plan. All I remember hearing was something about a dreadnought.” Asher expounded.
“Dreadnought?” Winter inquired.
“Some sort of super weapon,” Asher answered, “I don’t know anything else, but they are up to no good and if it involves you then we need to get you away from here… and your friends too. I guess they can come.”
“I don’t think we will be here too terribly wrong,” Winter corrected.
“Just…don’t do anything else to rile up the situation, I’ll get us out.” Asher pronounced.
“You think so?” Winter prodded.
“Yeah!” Asher exclaimed, “I’ve got a plan!”
“OK.” Winter said.
“Well, I’ll come up with one!” Asher reiterated.
“I feel better already,” M0-F0 added.
Meanwhile, Pand’Ora was escorted away through several hallways to another door that opened into a large, set of quarters that look rather posh. They are expansive and roomy, and covered in the scent of Rossi. Despite its size, the decorations are rather spartan with very few knick-knacks or pieces of furniture. But enough furniture is there Pand’Ora to easily catch the scent of Rossi. Upon their arrival, Rossi tells the guards, “Leave us!” The guards looked confused at the order and at first hesistate, but they do eventually leave to wait outside the door, leaving just Pand’Ora and Rossi in the room. “So,” Rossi turned to face his wife, “are you going to tell my why you are really mad at me? I cannot believe, for a second you are mad at me for what I’ve told you.”
“I can’t believe that you don’t understand why I am mad at you!” Pand’Ora retorted.
“I understand, but….” Rossi started.
“I cannot even go home until I kill you!” Pand’Ora continued.
“Kill me? Why?” Rossi stammered.
“Because you took and entire village, put them into slavery including the Elder’s daughter! I found her necklace with your stuff!” Pand’Ora pressed.
“Come here and look at this,” Rossi deflected as he walked over to his console and desk and pulled up an image on the screen of what appear to be several warships. “This is power! And this is what has been promised to me for aiding my partner. With that! Togoria will become a power to be reckoned with. Not some backwater world to be trampled upon. We are going to join all the civilized worlds as their equals, not as some primitive world that should be laughed at all the time.”
“So you sold our people into slavery for this?” Pand’Ora cringed.
“Yes!” Rossi exclaimed, “I’m going to make our entire planet. Not just our tribe, not just our region, not even just our continent, but the entire planet! Worthy of fear…”
“The entire planet does not want your help,” Pand’Ora interjected.
“They will! They’ll see the wisdom in my efforts. And you will see it too. Are you seeing it yet?” Rossi asked, hoping.
“No.” Pand’Ora stated.