STORY: UTILIZING A SWIFT AND UNEXPECTED SNEAK ATTACK, THE GALACTIC EMPIRE OBLITERATED EARTH WITHIN 10 MINUTES, STARTING A CAMPAIGN FOR POWER.
HOWEVER, A SMALL BAND OF SURVIVORS ESCAPED EARTH DESTRUCTION AND HAVE JOINED THE REBEL ALLIANCE.
NOW THE GALACTIC EMPIRE AND THEIR NEWLY ATTAINED 'FORCE SENSITIVES' FROM EARTH ARE PLANNING A CONQUEST OVER THE SHI'AR, KREE AND SKRULLS.
HOWEVER, SOMEONE HAS HACKED THE REBEL ALLIANCE AND THE EMPIRE, WITH AHSOKA AND APPRENTICE MOLLY HAYES ON ITS TRAIL, BUT NOW PRESUMED DEAD!
THUS LEIA HAS DISPATCHED A TEAM TO RETRIEVE THE DATA.
SIDIOUS HAS DISPATCH VADER TO RETRIEVE THE DATA.
NOW THE HUNT IS ON TO GET THE DATA AND FIRST STOP IS A WATERING HOLE FOR ALL BOUNTY HUNTERS - KNOWHERE!
The humid air smelled of strange gases. The heavy fog that seems to be denser in some areas than others, held a stench of strong alcoholic substances.
They had walked about for close to a standard sixty minutes. Knowwhere, the neutral space port located in the Outer Rim of the Known Territories, was unoccupied by both the Galactic Alliance and the Empire.
This was the realm of the The Bounty Hunters. The Smugglers. The Gangsters.
A true ‘No Man’s’ paradise, if any law enforcement tried ‘enforcing’ anything, other than a personal agenda, his head was sent floating out to dead space with a detached body.
This was the rule here. This was the culture. This was Knowhere.
And they had to find one person here, who could tell them where their friends went before they were killed and hopefully, give them the only lead hoped the get.
STAR WARS - THE CAMPAIGN II: A WAR OF EMPIRES
CHAPTER 2 - NO NEED FOR BOUNTY HUNTERS
PART I - THE WATERING HOLE
“I hate this place.” grumbles Julia Carpenter, “Like I really hate this place.”
Nico Minoru walked her hand cupping her face and nose, struggling in vain to keep the odors from bringing up the small amount of food in her stomach.
Unimpressed at the establishment, Nico arches her eyebrow, “If I sneeze will it fall over?”
Sabine smirks at the quip, “Probably.” she says before looking to Miles Morales, “Miles, be careful, sneak in while we three go in the front.”
Miles nods and gives a two-finger salute before disappearing into thin air.
Nico’s eyes open wide, “He can do that.”
Julia pulls her along by the arm, “He can do more than you can.” she says.
However Nico shrugs her arm out Julia’s grip, “I can handle myself.”
Julia’s face turns firm at the reply, “This isn’t Los Angeles Nico, this is the Bounty Hunters waterhole…”
“What?” Nico scoffs.
Julia sucks in a frustrated breath between her teeth before explaining, “Okay.” she sighs, “In Space, Bounty Hunters, the good ones, belong to ‘Houses’ or ‘Guilds’. They, in turn, are hired by high powered people who can afford them, making them great storehouses of information if you can get cozy with a few. We can. So try not to get yourself incinerated but if you, that’s fine by me.”
“Alright Julia.” Sabine interjects, stepping between them, “Let’s keep focused…” she says, “...we go inside, find who stole Data from the us and the Empire and maybe a lead as to where Ashoka was last. That’s the mission. Is that clear?”
Julia looks at Sabine, “Nico cannot be left alo....”
“ENOUGH Julia.” Sabine growls with an equally stern glare, “I’m Field Leader. Its my call.” she says, checking Julia’s assertion, “Either you get on board or you both head back to the ship and let Miles and I handle it.” she states.
Nico and Julia exchange a brief look before Julia pushes up her gold lens goggles from her eyes to the top of her head and shakes her head in annoyance, motioning to the entrance of the establishment, “Let’s just get this over with.”
Opening the creaky wood door to the ‘Hotel Bar’ establishment, Nico’s field of vision almost immediately becomes overwhelmed by the cluttered crowd and pungent odors.
Dim lightning didn’t hide the fact that the rather large gutted space with a massive bar on the left, and various ‘island counters’ populated with clustered patrons. Clanky music with sporadic rhythmic horns offended Nico’s ears and didn’t drown out the inaudible voices filling the room.
Nico’s tried not to stare, but she garnered looks at passersby. She couldn’t help herself, she had never seen red skinned humanoids in blue cloaks before. Their elbows, reverse bent, bringing exotic yellow color drinks liquids frothing blue at the top to their darker red shaded lips.
Canary yellow skinned humanoids with one or two thick tendrils coming from their heads, wearing skimpy clothing and smile their sharp-tooth grin at gruffy individuals who could’ve been deserter soldiers.
Others, wore masks that completed covered entire faces. Some stand at the bar alone, quiet merely staring while some hold out shiny weapons, displaying them to their female companions at their site, running their fingers up their chest while whispering. A loud roar of cheering voices erupts from the rear.
Nico peaks over and sees a large round with crowds around it screaming, throwing coins and paper while others push each other and brawl.
Feeling a gloved hand on her shoulder, Nico looks to see Sabine behind her, moving her through the crowd to the Bar. Reaching a seat, Sabine calls over the blue skinned humanoid with three eyes. He raises his six arms and speaks a foreign language.
“Put this in your ear.” Sabine whisper to Nico, sneaking something into her center of her palm.
Nico quickly pushes the soft device into her ear. Within moments, voices suddenly become sharp, clear, and in English. Surprised, Nico looks at Sabine in shock.
“Universal translator.” Sabine says as if on cue, “Sit here, order anything. Don’t talk to anyone. Everyone here is trouble. Keep your head down and your ears open.” she says, to which Nico nods.
Sabine leaves Nico at the bar, making her way through the crowd. Spotting Julia, making her way casually through the crowd, Ignoring the alien language ‘cat calls’ at her figure, Sabine reaches the crowded section that sinks down two steps - the gambling den.
Leaving her helmet on, Sabine allows the facial recognition on her Heads Up Display, HUD, do its work. Standing still like a sentry, she observes for catching sight of Julia Carpenter slinking through the crowd with ease. Then it comes. Sabine sees alert on her display and moves. Like two predators moving through a thick field of brush, Sabine and Julia make their way from opposite corners of the room to one of the largest tables on the floor.
“DONE! YOUR DONE!” shouts a gravelly voice, followed by cackle.
Sabine pauses amidst the crowd seeing a rather muscular blue fellow stand up and hunch over the table, slamming his large hands on the table with a tremble.
“YOU VERMIN FILTH…” he bellows, “...YOU HAVE CHEATED ME.” he shouts.
Suddenly, Sabine hears the swift draw of a weapon out a holster followed by a high pitch tone of it charging.
“INSOLENCE!” shouts another voice.
Immediately the crowd clears, leaving Sabine a clear view of the two individuals. Her HUD brings up the species of the blue skinned muscular humanoid hunched over a black topped card table, staring down the wrong end of a blaster pistol. A Kree.
Holding the pistol to the Kree’s face, a Weequay, dressed in a long crimson red high collar coat with a set of square goggles over his eyes, “We are Pirates and Bounty Hunters.” he declares, “INSOLENCE?! WE DON’T EVEN WHAT THAT MEANS!” he exclaims, “You my blue skin friend, are in front of the Legendary Hondo, I have…”
Suddenly, the Kree reaches across the table and smacks the gun out Hondo’s hand while reaching for his blaster with his free hand. However, a loud blaster fire is goes off, stopping the music in the establishment as a bright dolt of red light shoots through the Kree, leaving a large burning hole Hondo sighs, looking down at the card table where Rocket Racoon stands up, holding out a silver blaster, watching the Kree fall backwards to the floor with a thud.
His black eyes look about at the crowd cautiously, “Anyone ELSE feel like gettin’ murdered?!”
After a moment, the music begins to play again and everyone turns about, minding their own business. Holstering his pistol, Rocket cuts Hondo a dirty look, “You let him get the drop on you.”
“I knew my righteous furry business partner…”exclaims Hondo, holding his hands out to Rocket, “...would absolutely have my safety in hand!”
Rocket folds his arms, “Because you owe me two hundred and fifty thousand creds.”
Hondo smiles and wags his finger at him, “OF WHICH i will pay promptly!”
“This table free for a private game?”
Rocket glances over at Sabine Wren, setting down a fallen chair at the table, but instinctively, he reaches for this blaster handle in his holster but hesitates, “You know…” he sighs in relief, “...you really should get a new helmet.” he points, “If it was a tad more grayer, their woulda been a tad more red, and your insides on the floor.” he huffs, shoving his blaster down into the holster.
“My dear...” Hondo exclaims jubilantly, “...Hondo is so glad to see you. Have you finally left the ‘cause’ and taken up the wonderful life of you Mando like your brethren, Fett is it?”
Sidling up to Sabine, Julia Carpenter in her black spider-girl one piece and leather jacket, nods at her, “All clear.” she mumbles.
Hearing Hondo use the word ‘Mando’ short for Mandalorian lifestyle, make her stomach flutter with anxiousness. Pulling off her helmet, Sabine ruffles her bright pink hair with white frost tips. Her lavender eyes settling on Hondo, “Rocket, don’t associate me with Fett.” she flatly states.
“You two got a lot of balls coming in here…” Rocket says, hopping back into his seat, “...especially you!” he says, pointing at Julia, “You know how much the bounty is for a Human Refugees? Your right in the Bounty Hunter’s Guild watering hole? If I call you out, I could pay a years rent with you.” .
Pushing up her golden goggles from her eyes, Julia narrows her blue eyes at Rocket, “Not if you’re face is smashed into your…”
“Thank you Rocket...” Sabine sternly interrupts, cutting her a look before returning her attention to Rocket, “...for the concern, but its why we are in a bit of a rush. We’re here for information.”
Hondo plops down in his chair, “Sabine.” he says in a calmer aged voice, “Even in the days of the Clone Wars, I, Hondo, supplied many with information in their time of need.” he says, resting his hands on his chest confidently.
Rocket tilts his head in disbelief, “You helped people?”
Hondo jolts, startled at the accusation, “Helped? No. For a fee? YES!” he says to Rocket but then smirks at Sabine, “And Hondo and his furry business partner can assist you as well - for flat rate of course.” he grins.
Hondo’s yellow teeth grin make Sabine’s jaw clench, “Of course. Because why shouldn’t I let you charge me after all the help us rebels have given you?!”
Rocket points at her, “Landscapes changing Mando and this is Knowwhere, baby. Don't let this total disaster fool you, we may let wonton havoc thrive here, but we guard it…”
“I think what my business partner is saying…” interrupts Hondo, “...is that both Rebels and Empire alike invite more trouble than free work allows and we are more ‘picky’ over our clientele.”
Julia folds her arms and looks to Sabine massaging the bridge of her nose with two fingers, “Let’s just get out of here. We can get info from…”
“Don’t be so hasty. Play a game.” Hondo invites, fanning out the black and gold cards in his hand, “Ahsoka would, especially if it was for something she wanted.”
Julia tenses, her lips pressed firmly together as she looks to Sabine, also tense and quiet.
“One game.” Sabine says, slamming her helmet onto the table.
Elsewhere in Knowwhere
Inside an abandoned residence among the shadows, Boba Fett, holds up his wrist gauntlet.
Immediately a soft blue lit hologram appears of Darth Vader.
“I take it you have a job?” Fett asks.
Besides Vader’s image, a picture of Sabine Wren, Nico Minoru and Julia Carpenter appear.
“I do and it starts immediately.”
To be continued….