A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
The Wild Cards
In 130 ABY, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These soldiers promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the OUTER RIM TERRITORIES.
Today, still wanted by the SITH EMPIRE, they survive as soldiers of fortune.
If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire THE WILD CARDS.
_Narrated by Mace Windu! _
The final countdown! We will sing it together!
1v1 slammed to the stage landing firmly on its reinforced armored feet. The stage shook with the impact and Baradasi the Hutt in his resplendent and ornate armor turned slowly to chuckle a greeting at the massive droid.
“I was wondering if I would get to enjoy defeating you again droid.” The Hutt announced in deep bass tones out of his armor speaker.
1v1 stepped forward to close with the Hutt. “I think you are less prepared this time worm. I do not see a carbonite team prepared to rescue you.”
Baradasi laughed and raised his hand with a strange tool in it. 1v1 suddenly dropped to one knee. The device fired off a safeguard installed in the droids motivators. “I won’t need to fight you at all this time, droid.” The Hutt laughs. “But I will enjoy cutting your friends into pieces.”
1v1 felt the imperial processors fire off the hidden commands in its inner systems. The droid laughed as it fell to one knee. The Hutt still had no idea what it was really up against. The Hutt’s laugh died on its lips as 1v1 surges back to its feet and closes. The override command safeguard the Hutt had implanted in the droid was no match for its core processes unleashed.
Seeing their master retreat in surprise the dozens of gunmen in the stands open fire on 1v1 as he is the only visible target so far. The droids armor take the blasts and several misses set small fires on the stage.
Haro up in the rigging looks down at the trap and keys open his helmet communicator on an open channel. “Hey Zabo? What are you doing?” He sounds almost jovial, as if this was only a mild inconvenience.
Zabo across the amphitheater in an enclosed control booth near the main entrance smirks at the comment. “Doing? Watching my minions kill you? What else should I be doing?”
Haro lays down on the scaffolding to line up a shot. “Watching? That is so like you. Seems like all you do is watch. Can’t let your fingers get dirty. Do you ever do any of the work?” He squeezes off a shot at one of the Sith below, catching the man in the face killing him instantly. “Or are you just setting up a bunch of new patsies, like when you framed us for murder?”
Zabo looks confused at the comment. “Framed you for what?” He points at nearby minions and waves at them to indicate they should attack the stage. “Hold on. That was you guys? The five oh first team at Brightrock? Wow small world, how did prison treat you?”
“About as well as its going to treat you.” Haro replies as Kiv opens up with his VX sidewinder shredding a section of the stage below. Somehow he manages to hit everything except the two Sith now looking up at him.
One of the pair. A woman. Reaches out with one hand and seizes Kiv with the force attempting to yank him down to the stage below. Kiv desperately holds onto the rigging however and the tug of war ends in a stalemate.
The other Sith beside her leaps through the air passing close enough to Zher’Vesh to slash him severely with his lightsaber in passing then lands on the stage below. Zher’Vesh crashes down to the rigging in response to the hit but does not fall further.
From the other side of the stage another sith woman leaps at 1v1 from behind and slashes with her lightsaber. The lightsaber does little damage to the droids armor and snaps off in response to the cortosis the droid is full of. The last sith on the stage follows her in and has the same insignificant result on the droids armor. His lightsaber does not extinguish, he manages to react in time seeing what the armor did to the other sith’s lightsaber.
Havok throws a concussion grenade at the pair and it detonates right behind 1v1 driving the woman back with blood spraying, but the other is not harmed. Havok follows the grenade down to the stage floor landing just after it detonates.
Zher’Vesh rolls over painfully and finds some cover among the rigging. He hits himself with a stimpack to deal with the pain of the injury the lightsaber gave him a moment before. Then he rolls over as the painkillers kick in and takes a shot at the sith who cut him, missing widely.
While all this is going on 1v1 leaps forward and slams its axe into Baradasi. The impact sounds like a speeder crash. The entire stage shakes with the hit. Baradasi reels from the strike but recovers fast enough to return a shot to 1v1. Baradasi’s axe pierces 1v1’s armor and comes away throwing sparks.
Baradasi decides he needs to let the Sith handle the droid. That hit was more than he was prepared for. He attempts to put some distance between himself and the droid. However 1v1 is having no part of that and slams his axe, transforming into a spear as it strikes, through the Hutts tail, nailing the armor to the floor.
The Sith see the droid is going to be difficult and attempt to intervene. The one who previously slashed Zher’Vesh leaps across the stage slashing at the droid and when that shows no real effect slams the droid with the force staggering it momentarily.
One of the Sith women nearby also came to the same conclusion. Force not lightsabers are what is needed to take this foe down. She seizes the droid with the force and hoists it up away from the ground.
The other Sith woman with the extinguished lightsaber turns to see who threw the grenade at her. She finds Havok just as he reaches the floor punching him solidly in the face.
Haro still prone up in the rigging taking potshots at the visible targets continues to banter with Darth Zabo as the battle unfolds below him. “So Zabo did you know that fool Dent’s brother was stationed in Brightrock when you gassed it?”
Zabo chuckles “And?”
Haro grins. “I wondered if you were aware or just not paying attention.”
Zabo laughs. “It’s Dent. Just point him in your direction and he is blind to everything else.”
Haro squeezes off a shot killing the Sith holding 1v1 up off the ground. 1v1 slams to the stage in a ready position retrieving its spear.
Several of Baradasi’s thugs are running up onto the stage at this point to try and save their boss from the droid clearly about to murder him. Kiv drops down to the stage and opens fire with his autogun and manages to drive most of them back, except for one almost suicidal moron who slams his vibrosword into the back of the droid without even chipping the armor.
Havok reels from the sith woman who punched him with a growl and fires back at her as he tries to disengage, missing badly. Zher’vesh applies another stimpack to himself and steadies his aim for a long shot at the control booth where Zabo is waving his arms around pontificating gleefully.
“That was such an amusing operation. All I really needed was to eliminate a single target. But getting the whole base, as well as framing you guys, then getting away with it completely clean? You don’t often have an op go down that well. I have to admit I really enjoyed watching them haul you idiots away.”
Baradasi lunges back at the droid slamming it again with the axe and on the drawback ripping the spear from 1v1’s hands. The spear clatters behind the Hutt into the seats four rows back.
Every gunman in the audience opens fire on Haro, seeing the lethal shots he has made already, they decide he needs to go. That section of the rigging explodes from the incoming fire as Haro attempts to roll away from his hiding spot. He is hit in the fullisade but not seriously.
1v1 lacking a weapon leaps onto the Hutt and attempts to rip off the helmet from Baradasi’s armor. The droid fails to sieze onto anything and is pushed back as one of the sith seize a nearby bench with the force, tearing it from the floor and driving it through the droid. The droid stumbles back leaving Baradasi at the bottom of the stairs to the stage and 1v1 at the top.
The sith behind 1v1 at the top of the stage attempts to backstab the droid with her lightsaber. The armor blocks the attack and the sith snatches the blade away before the cortosis could extinguish her blade.
Harbek dives aside as the sith who punched him manages to ignite her lightsaber and slashes him down his side. He manages to roll away but the wound is not inconsequential. “Things could be going better!” he yells.
Zher’Vesh fires at the control booth and the bolt smashes the glass screen there but does not hurt Zabo behind it.
Darth Zabo shrugs at the attempted snipe. “Is that the best you can do? Even Dent could do better than that.”
“You are right.” Dent interjected angrily over the open channel Haro had been broadcasting since the start of the fight. “I can do better. All guns. Open fire on the Nebula Star. Sink it.”
Darth Zabo put his hand to his forehead in aggravation. “So that’s what you were about. Dent don’t be a fool. Stick to the operation as planned.”
“Let’s see who the fool is when you are sucking space Zabo.” Dent replied harshly. “To get the killers of my brother I will burn the ship to ashes. You did order me to be more thorough this time.”
Zabo looks at the mess on the stage and the sudden thudding noise on the hull prompted him to leave the booth. “Well looks like I need to end this quickly.”
Haro sees Zabo exit the booth and head down the central aisle of the amphitheater. He grins and shoots the sith who slashed Harbek. She took the shot and staggered but is not taken down. “Zabo buddy, finally getting your hands dirty? I thought you were above that.”
The last sith behind 1v1 and two thugs leap bodily onto the droid trying to drag it down. Baradasi is clearly bleeding from the wounds on his side and tail and trying to retreat. They scramble to protect their boss.
Harbek lunging to get away from the sith who slashed him has a shot on Baradasi, he takes it but the Hutt’s armor absorb the bolts without any real damage.
Kiv tosses a grenade at the group trying to hold 1v1 down. The explosion kills one of the thugs, knock the other down, and the sith somehow survives despite leaving a great deal of his blood on the droids back.
The bothan gunmen in the audience en mass open fire on the stage suppressing everyone. The last surviving thug who was on 1v1 drops his vibro axe in surprise as the bolts narrowly miss him. Kiv is hit and Havok narrowly avoids a shot to the face.
Baradasi seizes 1v1’s spear from the seats and turns charging back up the stairs at 1v1 with both weapons. “I will end you!” the Hutt bellows as he slams both weapons down onto 1v1 who was pushed forward by the grenade blast behind him. Only the Hutts axe connects however. The spear upon being seized by the Hutt transformed into a different shape and struggled trying to escape the Hutts grip.
Havok pulls out a thermal detonator and lobs it at the lone Sith still on the stage. The grenade however was only half keyed and reset its trigger as it bounced across the stage. Havok ducks back towards the curtains for more cover yelling up to Haro. “This is not going well!”
Baradasi slams 1v1 twice knocking the droid back on the stairs and crushing the droids left arm. 1v1 staggers back moving up the stairs and stepping over a fallen sith as it does so. An instant later the droid has recovered the fallen sith’s lightsaber, ignited it and slammed it into Baradasi’s faceplate. The Hutt makes a terrible gurgling noise and collapses backwards rolling down the stairs.
“Objective complete.” 1v1 states darkly.
Darth Zabo seeing Baradasi fall shakes his head. “That’s my queue gentlemen.” He turns towards the exit and starts to run.
Haro drops to the stage and attempts to snipe Zabo in the back. But Zabo deflected one of the shots with his lightsaber and almost deflected the second which knocked his lightsaber from his hand.
Kiv seeing Zabo seeking an exit drops back and runs backstage. There he finds the amphitheaters backstage console. He hacks it quickly and orders the blast doors to seal the amphitheater.
Zabo stops the moment the exit seals in front of him and turns around calling his lightsaber back to his hand. “Fine. Have it your way.” He then seizes 1v1 with the force and attempts to throw the droid at Harbek.
1v1 reacts by pivoting and seizing a nearby railing with its remaining good hand. This prevents Zabo from throwing the droid. The dozen or so gunmen remaining in the stands however seeing Baradasi fall all open fire en-mass at everyone on stage, but mostly focused on 1v1 pummeling his armor with blaster bolts but not doing much damage.
Haro takes another hit, now that he is down on the stage and visible to the gunmen in the audience. Zher’vesh still up in the rigging takes a hit and falls from the rigging crashing to the floor wounded but still alive.
Harbek gets a shot off wounding one of the thugs on the stage with them. The thug responds by leaping at him and slamming him to the floor with his vibro axe. Harbek does not get back up.
The other thugs rush the stage and attempt to corner Haro and Zher’Vesh before they can get any more shots off. Zher’Vesh is hit and overpowered but manages to disengage.
1v1 turns on Zabo releasing the railing and re-igniting the lightsaber. Darth Zabo seems to take this as a personal insult. “That does not belong to you!” He fires lightening at 1v1.
The energy washes over 1v1 who lets its internal grounding protect its important systems. 1v1 moves into a ready position and taunts Zabo. “Does the concept this unit might know how to use this weapon frighten you Sith lord?”
All of the thugs on stage immediately go for 1v1. The droid moves in a fluid defense among them. Zabo frowns as he rushes forward. The droid was moving like a Sith would. With explosive and forceful movements that brought the enemy to the lightsaber. As the Thugs were beaten back he growled. “That is not possible.”
1v1 replies. “That is why you have lost.”
Darth Zabo looks down suddenly as something has touched his foot. A thermal detonator had been rolled across his path by Kiv who had snuck down into the audience seating unseen. He looks over at Kiv with a “you are kidding me” expression on his face as the detonator shatters the amphitheater.
The explosion knocked everyone not in cover over. Darth Zabo’s demolished body flies through the air and lands on stage at the feet of the last surviving Sith woman. The battle pauses as everyone gets their bearings.
Kiv stands up from the stands so he is visible to the last standouts on the stage and in the audience. “Well I just blew up your boss. You can run now.”
The Sith on the stage simply extinguishes her lightsaber and leaves. She moved so fast nobody realized she was gone until Kiv spoke. Then the thugs on the stage threw down their weapons and ran for the exits. A few of the gunners in the audience take potshots at the team as they flee.
The sound of something critical giving way under the bombardment from the Parabellum shakes the entire place. Several lights fall from the ceiling and crash to the floor.
Haro keys his helmet com and yells. “Dent! We won! All targets down! Stop shooting!”
The sounds of bombardment cease. A moment later over the com. “Nebula Glory, surrender, cool your engines and heave to. We are seizing your ship in the name of the emperor.”
“This is the acting captain. We surrender.”
Haro looks around and removes his helmet. “Whelp, looks like we are done here.”
The stage is practically destroyed and bodies are everywhere. One of the riggings collapses behind Harbek who is still laying on the floor unconscious. Kiv walks over to the aisle and drops into a seat. “Might as well get comfortable. It will be a while before they get to us.”
1v1 walked over to the corpse of Darth Zabo as Haro walked up with a repair patch for the droids arm. “Hold on big guy. We don’t want your arm falling off.”
1v1 paused as Haro applied the repair patch to reinforce its left arm. When Haro stepped back 1v1 bent down and recovered Zarth Zabo’s double lightsaber. “What are you planning to do with that?” Haro asked.
A concealed hatch in 1v1’s leg opens and a small arm reaches out to retrieve the lightsaber and lock it into place inside the leg. Haro got a glimpse of the inside of the compartment, it was meant to hold several lightsabers specifically. One was already in there that looked a little smoother, shinier and not like a sith’s lightsaber should.
1v1 did not answer the question.
The group spends the next few minutes applying stimpack’s and collecting gear. Zher’Vesh manages to get Harbek back up. His injuries were serious but he should recover.
Then the amphitheater doors open and a score of Stormtroopers surge into the room. They form a perimeter around the team but only hold their weapons at the ready. They do not raise them to fire. Following them in a very tall imperial almost reluctantly walks down the aisle as the group gets to their feet and stands together in a row.
The Wild Cards with the exception of 1v1 stand in a neat row and salute commander Dent. 1v1 stands behind them silently.
Commander Dent almost looks confused by the salutes and after a moment returns it. “All this time it was Zabo who poisoned Brightrock… I seem to have made some mistakes.”
Haro shakes his head. “I think it more appropriate to say you have been used. Just as we were used.”
Dent does not like the assertion but relents. There is no point to further hostility. “My commanders will want you terminated for killing Zabo and sabotaging Baradasi’s operations. However… It seems I will not be giving those orders.”
Haro grins. “If your faith in the Empire is shaken. Remember the Emperor is still alive.”
Dent nodded. “I still believe in the Throne and the strength of the throne. Just not its current occupant and his Sith pets.” He paused for a moment and then continued. “We shall seize this ship, dump the passengers and crew, and then head to Bastion.”
“Sounds like a good plan.” Haro replied.
Bodomas arrived at the doorway to the amphitheater at that moment surrounded with a security detail. “I will take care of the ship and its crew commander. I believe an arrangement can be made considering the previous management is no longer.”
Kiv smirked “I take it you are the new management?”
“Indeed.” Bodomas replied. “Gentlemen this is the conclusion of our relationship. I expect it has been profitable for us both.”
“Indeed.” Haro replied with a smirk. “Will that be a problem Commander?”
“No.” Dent replied. “It in fact simplifies things. I will take my leave. Good luck Wild Cards.”
“We will let Bastion know you are coming.” Haro replied.
Bodomas and the group watched Dent leave. Zher’Vesh piped up as he walked out. “Bodomas there are a number of slaves on this ship. Will they be freed?”
Bodomas laughed. The first time the group had seen him so jovial. “The former slaves you had assault the lower decks have been releasing them since they walloped the security team. It seems two thirds of the security force was indisposed. Some sort of stomach bug?”
“Something like that.” Harbek replied.
“I have come to an arrangement with Baradasi’s former slaves.” Bodomas replied curtly. “I will be transporting them to freeholds on the rim. I have one last piece of business with you.”
“Oh?” Zher’Vesh asked.
“Yes. The droid. It is considerably valuable and originally was the property of Baradasi. If you are amenable to selling it. I could offer considerable compensation.”
The team looked at 1v1 who remained silent. “I dunno. He might not want to…” Haro started.
“I am no longer anyone’s property.” 1v1 stated flatly.
“There is your answer B.” Havok replied. “Sides I think he might be more trouble than he is worth.”
“Likely so.” Baradasi replied. “Should you reconsider, please feel free to contact me.” Baradasi turns to leave and then pauses before walking away. “I apologize for the credit chip by the way. I need to ensure I have the proper assets to maintain operations. I am sure you understand.”
Kiv looked at the others as Bodomas walked away. “The credit chip?”
Harbek leaned back in the chair he had appropriated. “I bet it’s not worth two hundred million anymore.”
Haro shrugged. “If so that star destroyer you guys want is off the shopping list.”
“You guys?” Zher’Vesh laughed.
When a Hutt dies in Hutt space, legends are born. Rumors are spread and tales are told. For some those tales are cautionary, about what happens when a Hutt is challenged by unworthy foe. For others those tales are a thin ray of hope. That somewhere out there, someone is willing and capable, of bringing down the greatest of enemies. For those others there might be the chance that, if no one else can help, and if they can find them, maybe they could hire THE WILD CARDS.