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!
You know I am really… Really! Beginning to wonder about these guys. They steal two hundred million credits and GO SHOPPING?
But anyways after several hours of chasing down vendors and specific tech they are piling all their illicit gains onto a cart and preparing to haul it back to the ship when someone nearby is overheard saying.“Now? They are already in system?”
“Looks like a destroyer armada. Better tell the boss.”
Haro looks across the cart at the team and says. “Looks like it’s time to go.”
The area is filling with people rushing off to unknown destinations and alarmed glances. This being a black market port it’s not surprising they are not warning each other. Everyman for themselves is the rule, not the exception here.
1v14r begins pushing the cart and the others frame it. It would not do for them to get robbed halfway back to the ship in the confusion.
Then suddenly every loudspeaker and com-link in the port lights up and begins broadcasting a message. “This is Captain Deschonn of the Imperial battleship Irrefutable. We are seizing this port and all sapiens present. All ships and potential combatants are advised to stand down immediately or face overwhelming force. We have deployed interdiction forces to ensure compliance. This is your only warning. Surrender now or face the consequences.”
Zher’Vesh groans. “That’s not good.” People started running everywhere. Ships were departing as fast as they could get out of the spaceport below. “I bet these idiots thought this was a safe bolthole. That does not look like an organized evacuation.”
Haro nodded. “Agreed. Let’s get to the ship.”
The departing ships actually shake the station. Some ramshackle structures collapse nearby and Haro is separated from the group dodging a descending cargo container. It completely blocks him off in a separate alley and it’s too big to climb over. “Move on!” he shouts. “I will find another way!”
1v14r and the remaining members of the team rush through the crowds with Bodomas alarmed and panting following shortly behind. This was not how he had planned this shopping trip. He was beginning to wonder if anything these jokers did went according to plan.
Outside the station Captain Deshonn stood on the bridge of his Paleon class star destroyer and examined the deployment of his interdiction forces. Four Vigil class corvettes and four fast attack frigates were spread out blocking the only clear exit from the asteroid field from the station. Behind the station the asteroid field grew much more dense and dangerous.
An ensign approached and saluted. “Sir all interdiction mines are in place. All captains report in position.”
“I can see them. Begin advance. The rats are trying to run.”
1v14r pushed the cart right up the boarding ramp of the Vandura and parked it inside. The others looked nervously behind them. The station was coming apart from all the ships inside that were leaving. It appeared even some of the larger pieces of the asteroid station were actually ships. Pretty soon this would no longer be a port.
That said there were people left behind by their ships or so desperate they had no exit of their own. Several of them had to be warned off with raised guns.
“You know.” Kiv commented after they shooed off a rather slovenly Ithorian who though to make friends with Bodomas. “If Hodo doesn’t get here soon we might be in trouble.”
“His punctuality is as always…” Zhur’vesh started to reply and was cut off.
With a roar of its engines Haro appeared on a single rider speeder. One of the k4 sport models, with a flashy red paint job. Clearly a rather expensive toy that someone took a lot of care of. He shot right up the ramp and parked it in the hold to the others surprised expressions.
“What? It was just sitting there. I couldn’t just leave it.” Haro said oblivious to their impatient expressions.
Haro exited cargo heading for the bridge and found Kiv was already warming the engines. “Bout time you showed up.” He complained.
Haro passed him with a wink and dropped into the pilot’s seat. “Lock the door or enjoy more vacuum!” He yelled back at Zhur’vesh who was already working the controls on the cargo door. It was closing, just slowly.
No-one had taken off their spacesuits anyway.
A moment later the Vandura leapt through the atmosphere containment shields on the asteroid station and the crew got its first look at the forces arrayed against them.
Zher’vesh shook his head. “This is a standard scale interdiction. Not sure why they would do this for a pirate port out here? This is going to be a one sided battle and we are on the wrong side!”
Haro is looking at the ships deployed against them. “Not planning on sticking around, check out target three!” He spins the Vandura around putting the station between it and the approaching fleet. “Looking for a back door!”
Behind the asteroid are a few ships hiding from the Imperials. Beyond it are some daring individuals have started to attempt the treacherous maneuvers needed to get through the denser side of the asteroid field. Fortunately for the crew of the Vandura it seems a large cargo transport is plowing a path ahead. Giving the Vandura the start of a clear path to get further in, and further away, from the imperial forces and their interdiction mines.
Kiv is putting together telemetry from his station and projecting it to Haro so he can see all the available paths to maneuver down. They were going to need options to get out of this.
Kiv also notes the imperials are sending out active scans of the entire asteroid field. They would not be able to hide for long and as they passed some asteroids he could see the imperials marking ships attempting to do just that. The hiding ships were disabled the moment they were discovered. The corvettes and Frigates were equipped with ion cannons and overwhelming firepower that smugglers and pirates had little chance against. A red light on his dashboard indicated an active scan had touched the ship. “They can see us!”
Zher’vesh was looking at the target designations and warming up the guns. Target three was one of the fast attack frigates. He read the ships designation and groaned inwardly. “Really?” he lamented aloud. “Why did he have to be here?”
“Get those guns on the rocks!” Haro yells. “I need room to maneuver!”
Zhur’Vesh, 1v1, and Havok all open fire on the nearest asteroids in their path with the point defense guns. Resulting in a shower of broken rocks bouncing off the outer hull of the Vandura and an easier path for the Vandura to pursue the heavy transport plowing a path in front.
Kiv laughs. “I just sliced imperial com! They are using standard encryption.”
Immediately the imperial chatter was routed to everyone’s terminal so they could listen.
Most of it was standard for an operation like this. Ship captures, boarding orders, target identification and then a rather agitated officer on the command channel.
“Parabellum you are out of position. Correct course immediately!”
“The Parabellum is behind us?” Havok looked away from his console in surprise to look over at Kiv. “Can we go faster?”
“Command there are only six registered transports of that class in the sector. I need to confirm this target. The Parabellum is moving to engagement distance.”
“Parabellum Operational Command did not authorize your maneuver!”
“Sounds like they have a discipline problem.” Bodomas comments.
“He is a discipline problem.” Kiv replies annoyed at this complication in their escape. “Haro! Crazypants is coming to play! Putting more power to the engines!”
“Got it.” Haro replied maneuvering up and around the heavy transport that was plowing a path for them. He could see a narrow path of opportunity to get ahead and put some large rocks in the path of the enemy closing from behind.
The enemy was closing rapidly. Two of the corvettes were punching directly through the asteroids on a direct course for the Vandura. Behind them in the distance the larger Parabellum was now blasting at the larger rocks in its path heading in the same direction.
Just as the corvettes get into firing range on the Vandura, one of them is struck by an asteroid large enough to knock its forward shields out. It slows in response focusing its guns on immediate threats instead of on the Vandura.
The other corvette however gets a few shots off. Thankfully it misses and several asteroids around and in front of the Vandura explode. Haro curses and tries to dodge the shattered rock.
The heavy transport in reaction to the attack opens fire on the corvettes. The transport pilots must think the attack was meant for them.
Kiv shakes his head the maneuvering options available to them are all bad. “Haro we need more distance! Do something!”
Haro notes a rather large asteroid approaching nearby. “Ok. But if we get killed doing this it’s on you.”
“What?” Havok and Zhur’vesh yell together.
Haro cuts close enough to the large asteroid if he was standing on the outside of the cockpit he could reach up and touch it. He slams the throttle down and burns a barrel roll around the asteroid causing it to spin sympathetically with the Vandura. As he breaks away the Asteroid’s course is altered by the motion spinning it back towards the pursuing corvette.
Haro laughs seeing his maneuver worked. “Oh… That’s gonna sting!”
The imperial com chatter was getting heated. “We have confirmed escape of one craft from operation in sector four! Parabellum we need you to move back to position now!”
“Not until I get an ID on that ship!”
The nearer corvette fires a barrage at the ship framing it on all sides in green blaster fire. It follows up on its miss by deploying a cluster of missiles at the Vandura and the heavy transport. The Vandura’s point defense guns and the asteroids take care of most of them. One strikes above decks and a damage alert shows on Kiv’s console.
“That was not a standard payload!” Kiv yells.
For its trouble the corvette finds itself caught between the asteroid Haro redirected and in its attempt to maneuver away from it takes a second asteroid in the port side. The impact was serious enough the ship loses its portside weapons.
Suddenly on the Vandura Kiv’s console lights up with damage alerts. “The starboard turbo laser is down! Shields need to cycle!”
“Nothing hit us?” Zhur’Vesh asked surprised.
“Likely sabo droid activity considering recent missile contact.” 1v1 comments standing from its console. “I will EVA and confirm.”
“EVA in an asteroid field during combat.” Havok replied as 1v1 detached from its gunnery console and moved across the bay to the central overhead hatch access. “And I thought Haro was the crazy one…”
1v1 enters the topside airlock and seals the inner door. “Inner seal complete. Open external hatch.”
The hatch over 1v1’s head snapped open exposing space outside. The air in the airlock vanished in a snap. Small pebbles from outside bounced in through the opening as 1v1 pulled itself up to take a look at the top of the ship.
There a few meters away a standard imperial sabo-droid was cutting away at the port side turbolaser mount.
Kiv looks up as 1v1 announces over the intercom. “Sabo-droid imperial standard model attempting to destroy starboard turbolaser.”
Kiv disgusted at the amount of work this was going to be to fix grimaces. “Haro we have robo lice!”
“Sorry! We can give her a bath once we are not getting shot at!” Haro replied yelling back from the cockpit.
Harbek looks over at Kiv. “Shall we mess with them?”
Kiv grins. “Sure. Want com access?”
“Give it.” Harbek stands up and turns around pulling his pants down and planting his hairy bothan ass right on the console viewer.
Captain Deschonn was frowning at a report on the activities of the Parabellum. “If he is correct about the target that is one thing. If he is not I will have his bars for breakfast.” He growled at an ensign.
The ensign nodded and took the report back from the Captain. He manipulated it for a moment watching reports scrawl across its surface and then a hairy bothan bum appeared on the command channel.
He drew back from the datapad in surprise at the unexpected anatomy. “Sir. We may have confirmation.”
Kiv is scrambling to fix the starboard turret and restore shields as a small rock bounces off the hull. “Hurry up!” Haro yells from up front in the cockpit.
Kiv looks at his console he needs to run a patch cable from one terminal to another to bypass the damage. He looks at the two ports and then at the box where the patch cables should have been. The box was empty. He looks back up the terminals are over a foot apart.
The closer pursuit corvette suddenly seems to be giving one hundred percent of its attention to the Vandura. It is ignoring the larger heavy transport and firing repeated on the Vandura. Haro grimaces as the ship takes another hit and maneuvers to put the biggest rock he can find between the ship and the attacking corvette.
1v1 walks carefully across the outer hull using magnets in its feet to stick to the hull. The Sabo droid sees 1v1 coming and takes a shot at it. It sparks off the larger droids shoulder armor as it closes. !v1 seizes the sabo-droid with one hand to hold it still and punches it solidly with its other hand. As the sabo-droid has multiple limbs resembling a spider with six legs, six arms, and an arc welder the grapple devolves quickly in a struggle to remain attached to the ship.
Haro is running out of room. “Kiv we need shields back, as soon as we clear this rock that corvette is going to have a clear shot!”
Kiv nods back at the console weighting his options and says a curse in Sullustian. He jams his fingers into both ports and becomes the channel for the charge. He yells and is blasted back from the console and across the room by the shock of the current coursing between the two ports through his body.
It’s an engineering miracle but the shields and the starboard turret suddenly come back online.
“You did it!” Haro yelled as the Vandura sped past the asteroid coming into clear view of the pursuit corvette waiting for it there.
Fortunately Zhur’vesh was also ready with the heavy turbolaser and both ships fired together. His opening barrage took the corvette directly in the command center.
Secondary explosions are visible inside the ship and it drives flare. A clearly critical hit, its barrage on the Vandura died after only a few shots, which all thankfully were handled by the shields.
Harbek witnessed Kiv getting shocked and blown across the room. Kiv jumps up reeling from the shock, but the console is wide open. Haro is not being supported in navigating the rocks anymore.
Harbek leaps on the console and tries to get the navigation program Kiv had setup running again.
Kiv joins him a moment later punching up the weapons systems to make sure they can still run.
Havok grins. “I don’t know what you did but that was impressive.”
“The upside is it didn’t kill me.” Kiv replied with a worn grin. “Haro I am giving you a special missile lock. Execute it when you have a shot.”
Haro was looking past the limping corvette at the approaching frigate. The Parabellum would not be as simple to take down as the corvette was.
The missile lock Kiv had sent up confused Haro for a moment, it was locked on the nearby asteroid the Vandura was using for cover. Then it clicked and Haro spun the ship around deploying both launchers directly at the massive asteroid.
They detonate before they reach it the shockwave of their explosion altering the path of the asteroid towards the Parabellum.
1v1 up on top of the ship takes advantage of the shockwave as it strikes the ship to slam the sabo-droid down onto the deck, this gives the larger droid the opportunity to get a good grip and it tears the droid from its grip points on the hull throwing it bodily upwards and away from the ship.
Zhur’vesh sees the droid floating away and shoots it with the ion cannons.
Unfortunately the sabo-droid was equipped with a self-destruct. The munition explosion showered the Vandura and Parabellum with fragments as they closed together.
1v1 pelted with small fragments manages to avoid getting pounded with the incoming rock fragments as it crosses back to the external hatch and climbs inside. “Seal outer hatch.” It announces over the intercom once inside.
Haro looks ahead and sees a window out of the asteroid field. The Vandura will be sheltered by larger rocks for enough distance that he can break away from pursuit. He takes the com away from Havok and announces into the imperial command channel.
“Hey fleet commander Deschonn. Sorry to inform you like this guy is a complete moron. Feel free to do something appropriate to private Dent for letting us escape.”
Havok laughed and keyed in “Denty baby you are beautiful. Don’t ever change.”
Back on the Irrefutable Commander Deschonn shook his head at the antics on the com channel. “Inform Captain Dent that confirmation has been achieved. The operation is a success. He is to discontinue pursuit for now and assist with cleanup in sector two.”
“Sir.” The ensign looks surprised.
“They have the distance they need. Pursuit will only waste our time and compromise the mission further. We will get another shot at those fools soon. Their presence was an accident. If Captain Dent objects he is as big a fool as these idiots think he is and I might just take up their suggestion.”
Several hours later the Vandura climbs out of the asteroid field and stops in empty space so repairs to the ship could be made before jumping to hyperspace.
Inside Kiv is piecing together some of the new equipment upgrades while Haro is trying to wire together some modifications to 1v1. Zhur’vesh walks into the cargo room and observes for a moment. Bodomas follows him in. “It seems we have escaped.”
“Yep.” Haro replied snapping a connector closed. “Test that 1v1.”
“Part is operational. Running diagnostics.” 1v1 replies flexing its arm to test the new motors inside it.
“So what’s next? I am really itching for a pleasure cruise.” Zhur’vesh grinned.
“We should take the slave faculty first.” Kiv countered. “That was the plan.”
“The likelihood of getting involved with other Hutts is a risk with the Nebula Glory.”
Havok replied. “Bodomas what do you think?”
“Financially we can do more damage at the farm. The Nebula Glory will damage his standing with the other hutts.”
“Pride.” 1v1 interjects. “Hitting the other targets lets him know someone is after him. Assaulting the Glory will threaten his pride. Hutt’s are very sensitive to such provocation.”
“So either works?”
Kiv comments. “Freeing his slaves is higher priority for me.”
“Agreed.” Havoc added. “So the farm it is. I think we need another hour or two and all the new gear will be ready.”
Bodomas nodded. “Aduba then.”