Star Wars: The Wild Cards

Sandy Hellhole my home this is!

That one time at Farm camp...

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! _
Brace yourself everyone this is going to be a long one!

The Vandura explodes out of hyperspace over the planet Aduba three.

The planet is a tan sphere when viewed from space with a greenish band around its temperate regions. A very dry world, with only enough moisture to keep a narrow band at the equator worth habituating. Wispy cloud cover is only visible in the equatorial regions, the rest of the planet was desert. As planets go this one can be categorized as halfway between hellhole and not worth visiting on a dare. Its population is sparse, less than seven million, and it only has one major city at its rather inconsequential starport. A well-traveled port of call this is not.

That said the planet does possess the standard security forces, and actual customs inspections. A small customs ship observes the Vandura leave hyperspace and alters course into its path. It hails the ship and requests identification.

Bodomas nods to Haro who turns on visual com. Bodomas presses a button on the communication console. A burly looking Klaatuenian appears on the com screen. He twitches the moment the connection is completed, recognizing Bodomas immediately.

“Ah Lieutenant Woggar. I am here to inspect Baradasi’s holdings. Can you clear us for atmospheric entry?”

Lieutenant Woggar nods. “Bodomas. You are not expected.” He seems discomfited by Bodomas’s presence.
Everyone in the cockpit and Bodomas notices Woggar’s discomfort.

Bodomas nods and replies in a neutral tone. “There have been some serious incidents and I am confirming the security of Baradasi’s holdings. Is there a problem?”

“No. Not at all Bodomas. I have cleared you for atmospheric entry.” Woggar replies. “Good luck.” The Klaatuenian signs off.

Haro shakes his head. “Ok that was not business as usual. Was it?”

Bodomas nodded. “No it definitely was not.”

1v1 interjects. “Observation: Klaatuenian was not dishonest, only surprised. High likelihood he will alert Farm of our arrival.”

Kiv looks around at everyone. “So maybe Baradasi is here?”

Bodomas shakes his head. “No that is not likely. He is not scheduled for returning here for another year.”

“Our attacks might have prompted him to check his stuff.” Zhur’Vesh suggests.

Baradasi shook his head. “No. I do not think so.”

Haro announces the ship is entering the atmosphere. “What are we doing people?”

“Flying blind into a trap.” Havok states. “We need more intel.”

“So don’t just fly in and land in the trap then?” Haro asks.

Ultimately the team decides to land short of the Farm and do some scouting. Haro finds a rocky overhang a good distance out from the farm and puts the ship down inside it. He informs air control that the ship has made an emergency landing to manage a small malfunction and the crew does not need assistance with repairs.

“Ok you knobs. Take the speeder into town and get some supplies.” Haro grins as everyone assembles in the cargo hold and 1v1 opens the main hatch lowering the ramp to the ground.

Havok looks confused. “I thought we were going to scout the farm?”

Haro shakes his head. “If a patrol comes to find us and you are not here, that’s what I am going to tell them. You should get moving.”

Kiv and Havok climb onto the fancy red speederbike and shoot off into the distance. Haro shakes his head at them. “Want to take bets on their getting back?”

Zhur’Vesh grins. “I think they will get back. The bike however…”

Havok and Kiv shoot off across the dunes. The speederbike is fast, the original owner must have tuned it up some, it handled better than spec. They drove over featureless sand and rocks for over an hour before some trees came into view. The edge of the habitable zones. Finally they maneuvered into a sheltered ravine where the speederbike could be hidden and proceeded on foot from there.

About a kilometer out from the farm, Havok spies a line of poles in the distance. He and Kiv take shelter behind a dune and look out at the edge of the farm with electrobinoculars.

The poles appear to be signal linked, but no visible energy field is between them. It’s just a fence or there are some automated defenses that were not visible. One hundred meters behind the perimeter an actual fence five meters high prevented access to the farm itself. The pillars had to be some sort of security system.

Kiv shakes his head. “You know that seems really high tech and expensive for Hutt’s.”

Havok nodded. “Probably salvaged it from an old imperial base or something.”

Beyond the fence was the farm. Surprising to both of the observers, the farm was actually a farm. Organized and neatly arranged fields of assorted produce stretched as far as the eye could see inside. The elctrobinoculars revealed the fields were being worked by dozens of slaves. The overseers were not visible.

“Well fed slaves.” Havok remarked. “Weird.”

“Look at the tower.” Kiv pointed.

In the distance a tiny prick above the horizon turned out to be a fifteen meter tower with a spherical turret at its top. Definitely designed for anti-air defense of the facility. At its sides were enclosed concussion missile launchers. “Ok that’s overkill.” Kiv commented.

“Baradasi must really want to protect this place.” Havok replied with a grin.

“There it is.” Kiv pointed past the tower. “It’s really far in. Buildings.”

Beyond the tower is a cluster of buildings, too far to make out, but arranged like a small town. Com dishes are clearly visible in the distance.

“That’s easily ten k inside. Sneaking that far through all those fields is not going to be easy.” Havok puts down the electrobinoculars. “ideas?”

Kiv grins and pulls out some tools. “Let’s see if I can find their network.”

The farms data network proved surprisingly resilient to Kiv’s probing. He spent several minutes poking at it with Havok helping when he found local com for the farm. A ship roars overhead from the south curving in towards the farm. The turbolaser orients on the ship as it approaches. Havok looking up while Kiv continued to hack away notes it is a well-appointed pleasure cruiser. Not the kind of junk heap he would expect out here. “High rollers?” The ship has markings on its side. “The dominant venture” in basic, it appears to be a Parliament 2000.

Kiv listens in to the com channel the Farm sends a terse message in Huttese. “Incoming craft, confirm passcode.”

The ship responds in basic, the accent of whomever responded is clear and concise, confirming that whomever it was, had money. “Code transmitted. Did we miss the main event?”

The farm switches from Huttese to basic for its reply. “Passcode confirmed, you have a reserved dock in bay twelve. The grand melee is this afternoon and the main event is this evening, you have not missed anything.”

“Ok that is damn odd.” Kiv shares the details of the call with Havok.

“Really basic?” Havok shakes his head. “That ship was not local trash. We need to contact the others.”

Zher’Vesh isn’t surprised. “The mission not going to plan. I am shocked. Shocked I say.”

Bodomas shakes his head. “A grand melee here? That’s not right. Baradasi would never hold one here. The facilities are not… adequate.”

“I thought he liked using his slaves for sport?” Haro asked.

Baradasi shook his head emphatically disagreeing. “Yes but not here. A grand melee is not an act of whimsy that he can just throw any old place. He would have it at his palace. Baradasi has never run a tournament out here.”

“Maybe the local boss is misbehaving.” Havok offers. “Hutt’s don’t tend to hire the most ethical line following types.”

Bodomas again shakes his head. “Khalee is not authorized to run tournaments. Baradasi would not allow it, it would compromise the farms function. However you do have a point.”

“We got company.” Kiv interjected over the com.

Havok looked up and in the distance heading their way a little bit to the south is a plume of sand indicating a transport or multiple transports heading towards the farm. Havok raises his electrobinoculars.

The transport is a fairly burly speeder truck, flying heavily over the sand and kicking up quite a wake. Its not a large transport and can probably hold eight reasonably sized people. It’s escorted by two speederbikes. The speederbikes are manned by men in blue uniforms. The uniforms, weapons, and vehicles do not look cheap.
“More money.” Havok comments. He switches to thermal which does not show him much, the heat of the sand obscures how many people are in the truck. “I have an idea follow my lead.”

“Uh…” Kiv did as he was told. “What are you doing?”

Havok ran out onto the sand and waved his hands like a madman running at the transport. The transport slows a good distance away and the two speederbikes peel off and close on the pair. They stop a short distance away. One of the men in blue uniforms examines the pair, noting they were armed and well equipped. “You flagged us down, are you ok?”

Havok stumbled and stopped running. Attempting to look a little bedraggled. “Yeah we are physically ok, but we were jumped and the thieves stole our vehicle. We are lost and trying to find our way to the tournament.”

The two men look at each other, and shake their heads. Fortunately the two aliens looked pitiful enough despite their equipment that the men decided they were harmless. “Enjoy your walk.” One of them says and they speed off without another word.

“Well that didn’t work.” Havok said watching the speeder bikes rejoin the transport and speed off.

Back at the ship Bodomas is pacing and thinking. 1v1 is presenting potential theories for the tournament.

Bodomas sighs he is not pleased with any of this.

Zher’Vesh did not understand Bodomas’s agitation. “But why would their holding a tournament here be such an issue? How do you know that Baradasi would not change his patterns?”

Bodomas’s response is almost angry. A behavior the group had never seen him show. “Because this is amateur. You don’t go hosting a grand melee on a backwater the Hutts will not visit. It’s just not done. Baradasi would think of this like performing a wedding in a toilet. Ridiculous and beyond consideration.”

1v1 looked up from the map he was examining. “Observation: You are familiar with how Baradasi thinks?”

Bodomas paused looked at 1v1 and then over at Zher’Vesh. “Gentlemen… I know our relationship has been happenstance, but I think I have your measure now. I have a confession to make, at this point I feel our business arrangement warrants it.”

Zhur’Vesh nodded. “Is this the kind of thing that gets us killed down the road for knowing too much?”

“Not any more than what you know already.” Bodomas replied sarcastically and then followed seriously. “I am not Baradasi’s accountant. I am his Majordomo.”

Haro looked confused. “His doorman?”

Bodomas simmered. “No. His right hand.”

1v1 interjected. “Observation: You are his enforcer. You police the business activity of his enterprise. You are offended by this tournament because it is not in defiance of Baradasi, but you. This changes the underlying agreement we have in regards to this operation.”

Bodomas nodded. “Well to be honest I was not sure what kind of people you were at first. You did destroy a random drinking establishment I just happened to be relaxing in. And you kidnapped and then threatened to throw me out an airlock. Let’s just say I had plenty of reason to not trust you in the beginning and leave it at that.”

“Agreed.” Zhur’Vesh nodded. “Why come clean now?”

“I feel I have a better measure of who you are now.” Bodomas replied. “I have employed many groups of mercenaries in my time, and I can appraise the character of who I have working for me quite effectively.”
1v1 noted the comment “working for me” and nodded. “Observation: With your position in the Hutt’s organization I am surprised he has not been more aggressive about finding you.”

Haro laughed. “We randomly kidnapped exactly the right guy? That’s crazy.”

Zhur’Vesh was losing patience. “Enough. What are we going to do about this?”

Kiv and Havok back on the dunes are trudging their way back to the speeder bike so they can return to the ship when another ship shoots by overhead. Kiv hacks back into the farms com and listens this time. He successfully catches the landing code as it is transmitted from the ship.

“Well if this code works… we can fly in now.” Kiv suggests.

Havok nods and communicates back to the ship they are heading home.

“Khalee is an unpredictable man.” Bodomas is describing the man who runs the farm. “He might have organized this but I would not have believed him capable.”

“In any case we are not going to know more until we are inside.” Zher’Vesh replies.

“So fly in. Hope the code works. Then what?” Haro asks.

“Khalee will likely have been informed of your presence by customs.” 1v1 suggests. “The odd behavior in the customs agent could be explained by your identity.”

Bodomas nods. “I suspect so. However Khalee is a man with appetites. If the grand melee is exciting he would very likely want to watch it… up close.”

Haro looks over at 1v1. “So let’s make it entertaining.”

Once they had returned Havok and Kiv are brought up to speed on Bodomas’s real position. They promptly decide that Bodomas is too distinctive and spend the entire trip to the farm disguising him. They succeed quite effectively.

Haro knocks on 1v1’s breastplate. “Hey 1v, let’s make you look a little more reasonable too. I am going to short out a restraining bolt and then put it on you. It shouldn’t have any effect if I do it right.”

1v1 examines the bolt in Haro’s hand. “Agreement: it will present reasonable camouflage.”

Haro fiddled with the bolt using his tools and then attached it to the breastplate in a prominent location. Its magnetic clamp fired with a loud thunk and then the ready indicator light flashed.

“Ok buddy.” Haro looked up at 1v1. “That do anything wrong?”

1v1 did not reply immediately. After a moment it responded with. “Diagnosis: no critical functions compromised. The restraining bold will not hamper my activity.”

Haro cocked an eyebrow at 1v1. “I can pull it and try again if it’s causing a problem.”

1v1 responded. “Negative: do not remove the restraining bolt.”

Haro returned to the workstation where his tools were laid out. “I have to wonder 1v. If that thing was working, would you know it?”

After preparations are made the Vandura lifts off from underneath its overhung hiding spot and shoots up into the sky making a beeline for the farm. They suspect the tournament will be near the tower, at the cluster of buildings Havok and Kiv saw beyond the tower earlier.

Those buildings come into view as the ship passes over a slight rise. It comes into view just as the code is accepted and they are informed “We are out of landing berths in all five ports, land in the north field, leave space for other ships if you can. We are running out of space.”

Bodomas looked completely shocked by what they saw flying over the farm

The cluster of buildings turns out to be a huge campus, almost a small city, clustered around a series of large barns, several of which show signs of being retrofitted to accommodate starships as impromptu hangars.

One barn has been retrofitted into a coliseum. The central courtyard is full of speeders, and there are easily twenty to thirty medium scale transports parked around the fields. Ships fill almost every conceivable landing space.

Around the converted coluseum there is a market of sorts, almost a festival, and it’s full of people. There had to be thousands of people down there. Haro finds a small space between two larger ships to set down.
“Khalee apparently is fairly successful at this.” Zhur’VEsh offered pulling at the collar of his costume. He was to be the “Twi’lek lord” who is entering 1v1 in the contest.

Bodomas looks at Zhur’Vesh and is clearly not pleased at the sheer size of this event.

Havok walks down the boarding ramp of the Vandura to meet an approaching trio of uniformed officials. One of them is a squirmy little functionary, but the other two are Weequay bodyguards who tower over the man.

Havok waves in greeting at the man who looks at his clipboard absently. “We only have two slots left if you are here to fight. Are you here to fight or watch?”

“To fight.” Havok replies with a Bothan grin.

“Will you be the one fighting?” asks the functionary.

Havok shakes his head. “Nope, he is.” And points a thumb over his shoulder at 1v1 who had just stepped out onto the boarding ramp.

The functionary nods. “A droid. Very interesting. I hope it’s insured. Droids don’t tend to last long, they can’t sustain the punishment without serious repair between matches. Here is a copy of the rules. Simply put, if you need surgery to get back in the ring, you are out. Hold up a match, you are out. Disappoint the crowd… you figure it out. For a droid since it won’t need surgery the rule is no major component replacement.
Starting parts is ending parts. Understand.”

“Perfectly.” Havok replied taking the datachip containing the rules from the functionary

“You might want to get over there. The fight starts in fifteen, and if you are late, you forfeit.”

“We should get moving then.” Haro comments following 1v1 down the ramp with the rest of the group.

“What are you calling this thing anyway.” The official asks.

Zhur’Vesh grins “The eviscerator.”

The fairgrounds around the coliseum is filled with just about every species imaginable, except Hutts. It has both the expected Hutt minion seedy types and numerous other well supplied and equipped groups. It almost lacked the seediness that every Hutt port was expected to have.

Havok reads off the rules from the datachip as they cross the fairground. “One hundred thousand credits if we win the grand melee, think you can do it 1v?”

1v1 replies. “Observation: my objective is to distract not to win.”

Zher’Vesh shakes his head in disagreement. “No way. Kill them all 1v. You can do it.”

Bodomas is not impressed with the prize money. “We should hurry, we need to get into the secure area before they realize we are here.”

Haro sees some tech vendors and as they rush past notes they carry repair patches. He will need to grab some when they have a moment. “We should place a bet on the droid.” He points at a cluster of bookies nearby.

Zhur’Vesh agrees and heads for the bookies.

The crew is led into the barn once they event security realizes 1v1 is a contestant. The group is given an arena side chamber with an open viewport just above the combat area. The seats of the coliseum are above them. The seats are filled with loud and boisterous people and aliens yelling and screaming for the fights to start. They are clearly impatient. An announcer is describing each contestant in turn.

“From here we can watch the fight and advise 1v.” Zhur’Vesh comments.

“Good plan.” Haro replies looking down as 1v1 is lead out onto the playing field.

1v1 looks up at the crowds overhead. A beam barrier separates the combat area from the stands overhead. Some people are throwing refreshments out onto it to watch them disintegrate when they strike the field.

“And in section four a late entry. The Evicerator!” The crowd cheers in response to the arrival of the new entry but it mutes quickly. The announcer notices “Who really cares about a droid anyway? Some nerd’s science project, looks fierce, but can it the punishment?”

Someone yells “Boo! Why even allow droids into this?”

“Moving onto section six. “Another bounty hunter! Hishess the burninator! He’s going to be fun to watch folks, section seven Zeuth, a no name last minute entry. She looks fierce though, two guns. Next is a Gank! She looks mean. Corotha of Draak. That axe looks like it’s seen some serious use.

As the announcer droned on explaining the rules which everyone was basically ignoring on the field. The combatants 1v1 and the team sized up the nearby opponents. The trando is nearly as large as 1v1 and carrying a flamethrower. He is clearly focused on the droid as his first target. The others are further away.

“That’s it folks, eight killers, all ready to go at it in the one hundred and twelfth Farmland Area tournament of Champions. Only a few second timers this time around after last months bloodbath. Lets get this bloody show started!”

A huge horn sounded to signal the start of the fight. 1v1 wasted no time and before the sound had completed, let alone half the audience reacted to the fight start, launched directly at Hishess and closed in half a second bringing its pick into play swung it diagonally through the trandoshan slamming it aside and spraying blood everywhere.

Zhur’vesh notes that Corotha and Zeuth took the starting opportunity to group up, they both point at the droid destroying the Trandoshan. “1v. Looks like the ladies are planning to tag team you. Watch the Gank.”
“Affirmative.” 1v1 responds yanking his pick out of the trandoshan’s arm, which was a ruin, having been all that protected the Trandoshan from a killing blow.

Hishess shocked at the speed and aggression of the droid attempted to leap away. Blasting 1v1 with the flamethrower as he did so. He stumbled on a step and crashed up against a nearby obstacle on the playing field.

Not nearly far enough to get away from 1v1 however, who spins and closes.

The rest of the arena is full of battle. The crowds are very excited by a Wookiee on the other side of the field.
Havok and kiv look at Bodomas inside their observation room. “This looks like a good time for us to find the bathroom.”

Haro nods, “Yeah 1v doesn’t need all of us in here. Zher’Vesh you good feeding tips to 1v? I am going to find some repair patches. We are going to need them.”

Zher’Vesh nods. “Got it. 1v look out the Gank is moving around the other side of that obstacle.”

1v1 spears the Trandoshan to the obstacle. Hishess claws helplessly transfixed by the droids weapon. The Gank, Corotha is just coming around the corner on the far side of the obstacle. 1v1 spins with the Trandoshan on the end of his weapon and launches the body at the Gank. His weapon transforms mid spin slicing the flamethrowers tank open.

The flung trandoshan explodes in a fireball when it crashes into the gank. The woman is spared the worst of the explosion because the body made a convenient shield.

The crowd however went berserk. They loved the spectacle. The announcer actually paused. “Did I just see what I think it saw? What the hell is that droid doing?”

Zeuth takes a shot at 1v1 from the other direction, emptying the clip from her heavy blaster pistol into the droid. The damage is not superficial but 1v1 shruggs it off. It has a more dangerous opponent right in front of it.

Corotha rises from the wreckage of the trandoshan with a yell bringing her vibro-axe harshly down on 1v1’s shoulder. The armor resists but the damage is serious, red error alarms fill 1v1’s vision.

Kiv, Havok and Bodomas discover the path to the office they were attempting to sneak to was well guarded. Two armed guards leaned against the wall in front of the door they needed access to. “Kill them?” Havok asked.

Kiv shook his head. “Not worth it, just distract them. He points at a nearby set of tarps covering some tanks, with flammable warning labels on them. “Hey Haro you are in the shop still right?”

Haro was just lifting a repair kit to check it was still complete. Everything in the shop looked like it had been used less than gently. “Yeah. What’s up.”

“On the other side of that wall is a set of tarps. They need to be on fire.” Kiv replied.

Haro grinned. “On my way.”

A moment later the cheering in the stadium erupts and Haro looks up. “Something good is going on in there.” He leans up against the wall next to the tarps and lights a cigar. Takes a puff then drops it on the nearby tarps. Which promptly start to smoke heavily.

The two guards nearby look over in alarm at the smoke. “Hey! No smoking area!”

1v1 siezes Corotha and slams her to the floor cracking the pavement. The crowd shrieks at the droid going hand to hand. Behind 1v1 Zeuth slams a new clip home and opens fire again. Her clip promptly overheats and fails within the first few shots. She curses and tosses the heavy blaster aside.

The guards run over and start yelling at Haro. One is clearly trying to put the fire out desperately the other is yelling at Haro. Haro shrugs and says “Look it seems like you guys are busy. I will just go.”

Behind the well distracted guards Kiv, Habok, and Bodomas sneak into the secured office door.

“You are not going anywhere bub!” one of the guards yells. “You just lit this on fire!”

Corotha from the ground slams the vibro axe upwards into 1v1. 1v1 notes that the Gank’s cybernetics are in her legs so this hit is less severe. 1v1 tears the axe from her hands and throws it across the room.

“Watch it 1v, Zeuth has a disruptor. She is moving to get you from behind.”Zhur’Vesh announces.

Zeuth had moved closer and was sighting on 1v when another contestant, a man in power armor ran in from the other side of the field. She fired the distruptor at him instead the green beam evaporating the man’s head. He crumpled to the ground and Zeuth took cover with the obstacle between her and 1v.

1v lifts and slams Corotha to the floor again, the sounds of bones breaking is loud enough to he heard by the spectators. She stops moving. 1v1 determines she is no longer a threat and moves to put cover between it and Zeuth.

Haro jumps back as the canvas over the tanks fully ignites. One guard is shouting for him to stop moving, the other is desperately trying to put the fire out.

“Get down on the ground! You are under arrest!” yells the guard who wants Haro to stop.

“Look here.” Haro replies. “You got a real problem there. You should really…”

There is a shrieking sound and a pop and a jet of fire is suddenly spraying upwards from one of the canisters under the burning tarp. The fire triples in size.

The guard looks back at the other guard who is completely overwhelmed trying to control the fire. Haro takes the opportunity to turn around and walk away flipping the guard off over his shoulder as he does so.

Zeuth is moving carefully to get a shot at 1v1 with her disruptor when a Tulls charges in and once sighting up her leaps in her direction. She reflexively blasts the charging alien killing it.

1v1 however noted her lapse in attention and used it to close on the target. As she is watching the Tulls fall over the droid is suddenly upon her seizing her weapon and arm lifting and slamming her bodily into the neaby wall. The gun bounces across the concrete floor and she collapses in a heap at the droids feet.

The sudden ending of the combat surprised the crowd. The battle was over surprisingly fast and a droid was the winner. Many were just pleased by the spectacle. Others, were not so pleased a droid had won. To some it was like the contest had no winner.

“The Evicerator lives up to its name!” Yells the announcer. “Wow that was a fast fight! Looks like we even have some survivors.”

Haro returns to the observation booth and finds 1v1 running a diagnostic on the damage Corotha had done to it during the fight. It was serious and some internal systems were malfunctioning, but it would not hamper the droid in the next fight.

“I heard we won.” Haro grinned.

“1v was in rare form.” Zhur’Vesh replied. “I am going to grab a drink if you want to patch him up.”

“Got the patches. That motivator is going to have to wait for after 1v. Only armor gets patched between fights per the rules.”

Zhur’Vesh steps out into the hallway shared by the contestant trainers, it circles the lower level of the tournament field.

Haro got busy and in short order had most of the damaged armor panels either replaced or patched. He was preparing to button up when the door opened behind him.

He half turns towards the door to see Zeuth enter glowering. Her right arm is in a plastic cast to the shoulder, in her left arm is a heavy blaster pistol pointed right at his head.

Haro blinks. “Now hey that’s hardly necessary.” His left hand which is away from her slides slowly towards his holdout blaster.

“What the hell are you about? Why did you tell your thing there not to kill me? I hope you are not expecting gratitude. Because you just screwed up my bounty.”

Haro looks back at 1v1 and nods. “Been wondering that myself. I think we told the evicerator to kill everyone. Maybe it was an error, the things seriously buggy look.”

Haro flips over his console and shows Zeuth a screen projecting the inner processing activity on 1v1. The screen is full of circles in elaborate patterns. It’s quite pretty almost elegant.

“What the hell is that?”

“It’s drawing circles. I have no idea why.” Haro replies noting she was not easily distracted. “Maybe the restraining bolt did something. It’s been acting weird since the fight.”

“Droids don’t draw.” Zeuth growls she had noted Haro was distracting her with the datapad while he reached for his sidearm. “Don’t. This doesn’t have to be any more than a conversation.”

Haro shook his head and his hand came away from his sidearm. “Fine. Then explain what you are doing here before my friends get back.”

“Who enters a contest like this with a droid easily worth ten times the prize money? Are you bounty hunters too?”

Haro remembered the announcer describing Zeuth as a Bounty Hunter at the start of the fight. “Not really no.”

“So you are not after anyone in the contest?” Zeuth shakes her head in disbelief she can’t imagine the scenario any other way. “Several of the contestants have serious bounties, You are a last minute entry, you have to be after someone in the contest. What is your angle.”

Haro shakes his head. “Actually you are really far off. We are just here to test the droid.”

“Observation: Bounty Hunter, you mentioned we interrupted your bounty.”

This was the first time Zeuth had heard 1v1 speak. “Wait, it’s online?”

“Yeah.” Haro replies looking at 1v with a smirk. “It doesn’t shut off either. I am not sure if this restraining bolt is doing anything useful as well.”

Zeuth takes a step back. “So you did not tell it to spare me?”

Haro shrugged. “Nope. I am as surprised as you are. It’s usually pretty thorough if it wants to be.”

“It’s a droid. It doesn’t have wants.” Zeuth replied angrily.

“Correction: You are presuming a false premise. Termination of final combatant was not necessary due to circumstance.”

Zeuth looked at the droid silently for several seconds. “Does it often presume to understand what you are thinking? What the hell kind of droid is it?”

“Salvage actually.” Haro lied this time, he didn’t really want to play nice. “We rebuilt it from scraps. It’s an old separatist battledroid we came across. Proven itself really useful actually for something that old.”

Zeuth laughs, "Are you that stupid? You really brought this droid here just to test it? Why?”

“It’s a machine.” Haro replies. "Built very well, and it’s smarter than the average toaster. We just came to see what it is capable of.”

Zeuth shook her head and turned to leave. “That thing pissed off a lot of people by winning. Droids almost never make it out of the preliminaries. Don’t be surprised if it meets with an accident if it keeps winning.”

Haro watched her leave.

Out in the hallway Zeuth met with another female Gank, not Corotha, who was probably still recovering under medical care, who nodded at her. “They say they are just testing hardware.” She glares back at the now closed door. “But if that thing is ‘just’ a droid I will eat my gun. Keep an eye on them.”



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