Simon's speeder slowed to a stop outside a large building on one of the planet's upper levels. The building itself, a lavish high end Dance club, decorated in Flashing strobes and neon lights that glowed vibrantly against the moon's seemingly constant state of darkness was a testament to the moon itself. It lured it's guests in with such things as strippers, alcohol, narcotics, and sex, carefully masking the interior, where a slip of the tongue or a wrong step could get one killed.
Simon could hear the music from inside the club play, as he swaggered up to the club, passed a long line of patrons who'd been waiting patiently along the southern wall for entry. The Bass that vibrated the platform under his feet began to give him a dull headache, as he approached a Large Trandoshan standing behind a velvet rope.
"Name." It hissed at him bringing up the datapad it held in it's hand.
"Simon Basai." Simon said as the bouncer began scanning the datapad. "I'm here on Zax Mantor's behalf." Even though the Old Empire had crumbled, The former Imperial, Mantor, desperately clung to a few of it's old ideals, no matter how retarded they were. Simon remembered the last time Mantor had tried to have a civil discussion with an Alien. The Racist old man had physically gotten sick and had to exit the room. As Mantor's XO, it was Simon's job to deal with Aliens and Droids, a task Simon loathed, but it was a necessary one.
"Alright." The Trandoshan said as he unhooked the rope. "Follow Trok, he'll take you where you need to go." He said, indicating a large Gammorrean with his head. Wordlessly the boar turned around leading Simon into the den of debauchery. A blast of music rattled Simon's eardrums as the entrance opened. Simon followed the Gamorrean through the dark halls and various chambers of the club, illuminated only by neon lights and images of various color that pulsated in rhythm with the music's bass.
Simon's time as a Storm Commando with the Imperial Army taught him to take in every single detail, no matter how small. He noticed a large precence of floor men, made distinguishable by their identical clothes, a black T-Shirt with "Security" Boldly printed on white letters on the back. The bartenders working the 6 massive bars, decorated in red pulsating neon lights were dressed casually, but Simon didn't doubt they were packing some kind of heat, most likely a Flechette cannon, or some kind of shotgun under the bar. Then came the Dancers, some Human, most Twi'lek, Clad in revealing leather outfits, others wore nothing more than body paint. Some were locked in cages that hung over his head, some danced on poles on top of the bar, others on tables, entertaining the drunken patrons who'd paid enough for a "private" dance. Above the cages was a series of catwalks that hung just below the ceiling, Although it seemed as if none were present, Simon guessed a handful of security guards walked above him, most likely armed with blaster carbines or light repeaters.
The most impressive thing though, were the large neon holograms, which displayed everything from escort services to different brands of Alcohol. The seemingly harmless advertisements concealed hollow kill holes built into the wall, where snipers had their guns placed on the entire club. Simon had almost missed it, only noticing the barrel of an A280 distort one of the holograms as it jerked up from it's owner moving around on the other side of the wall. With only one way in and out, the Club was a carefully designed and cleverly disguised death trap, anyone, whether it be the Hutt's rivals, Imperials, or Republicans, who assaulted the Club would quickly find themselves locked inside a slaughter house.
Although he was impressed, Simon was hardly surprised at the level of defense, nor the fact that he most likely had a gun trained on him wherever he walked, but this was expected, knowing the Hutts and their paranoia, Simon guessed he probably wouldn't of made it anywhere near the club if they didn't want him too.
Simon pulled the large DE-10 Blaster pistol out of the quick release holster on his hip. Wordlessly he presented it grip first to a Vodran Thug standing guard at the base of a narrow staircase, as the Weequay thug begin running a portable scanner across him. Having dealt with the Hutts before, Simon already knew the drill. The fact he was allowed to hang on to his pistol past the front door was an act of generosity on their part. Simon had been pirating since the fall of Couroscant. In that time, he'd only spoken with a Hutt on face to face on a few occasions, Each time it was the same, No weapons, and you have to get your DNA Scanned. With the large amount of Changeling assassins such as Clawdites or Shi'ido in the galaxy, made DNA Scans a necessary precaution, Even if it was a bit annoying. Simon noted, as he felt the scanner bite his presented index finger and take in a small amount of blood.
As the scanner read his Blood DNA, he looked over at the Vodran, who was still holding the large pistol in his hands, silently admiring it. He looked up at Simon and nodded approvingly, a grin flashed across his face as he threw the black duster he was wearing to the side so he could put the DE-10 in a chest rig. Hanging loosely at the Vodran's waist just below the holster that held Simon's pistol, Simon could scarcely make out the shape of a Tenloss Corporation DXR-6 disruptor rifle, with a shortened barrel and scope, most likely modifications the Vodran had added later on.
"So he's a gun nut." Simon thought as he looked at the Vodran, who's confident smile had a sprinkle of malice hidden in it. If the Alien wanted to see who had the bigger manhood, he'd picked the wrong person. Although Simon had just entered his late 20's, he was a shrewd businessman and although he would of loved to remind the Vodran of Human superiority, now wasn't the time. His lips curled into a partial smile and gave the Vodran a quick single nod of defeat.
"He checks out." The Weequay grunted, placing one finger to the comlink at his ear. "Want me to send him up?" The volume of the Music made it nearly impossible to hear the Weequay speak. Even so, Simon understood him, opting to learn Huttese during his Special Forces training back in the Army.
"Yea Boss." The Weequay said nodding as another Trandoshan appeared. Large and heavily armed, the green scaled lizard didn't even bother hiding the illegally sawed off Light Repeater in his claws or the Assorted classes of grenades and thermal Detonators that hung from the staps under the loose fitting zippered sweatshirt he wore. "Follow Shanks" The Weaquay said, indicating the Trandoshan.
Simon followed the Trandoshan up the series of winding carpeted staircases, that most likely concealed remotely activated explosives. After the 3rd bend, they stopped outside a double door, guarded by 2 more of the Hutt's heavily armed cronies. The Trandoshan who stood a full head taller than Simon, moved closer, grossly invading his personal space. "You're seeing the Boss himself." Shanks hissed as he lowered himself to Simon's level. Unlike the rest of the Hutt's security, who were most likely in a state of light inebriation, He didn't smell any alcohol on the Trandoshan's breath, nor did he pick up any pupil Dilation or constriction. Simon stared casually back into the Trandoshan's angry reptilian eyes, as he felt his body press against a wall. "I've killed many of your kind before human" Shanks snarled, icily biting out each word he spoke. Simon didn't know what the Trandoshan wanted, The lizard, although intimidating, wasn't the first being to pull this shit with him. His mouth turned up into a defiant smile, as cowering at the Lizards feet like most would do would show weakness. Which, if revealed would end the deal before it even started.
"Don't give me a reason to kill you." Shanks growled, and after one final grunt, rose back to his full height and Led Simon through the double door. At the top of a final short, but wide staircase guarded by 4 more thugs, who matched the trandoshan's armament, sat 3 other men in glass chairs around a table made of the same material. The framing, made out of pulsing lights that changed color, was surprisingly comfortable and durable. Huge Transparisteel windows separated the balcony they sat on, making the VIP room considerably quieter than the rest of the club.
A Twi'lek waitress, clad only in a skimmpy set of blue underwear to match her skin tone walked up with a tray full of brightly colored drinks Simon removed a tumbler filled with a bright red liquid as Shanks took his place at his Hutt's side. As Simon introduced himself to the other men, Simon found he was the only human. He wasn't surprised, given that most Humans on Hutt worlds found themselves dead or enslaved in a short period of time. That thought alone made him immediately set drink on the table, and never return to it.
"Welcome Gentleman." The Hutt said. "I hope you're enjoying yourselves tonight." To any Human's eyes, most Hutt's looked the same, slimy, with a various shade of green. The hutt's large green eyes drifted over at Simon, and flashed a look of disdain. Simon was an unknown, but given Mantor's reputation, his presence was expected. "For those of you who don't know me. I'm Trajik."
"Can we get down to business already?" Captian Brevik, a Rodian grunted annoyingly, before putting a straw up his nose and inhaling a fine line of black powder on the table.
The Hutt nodded, although the old Hutt's temper didn't show, Brevik would soon find himself being stuffed inside an astromech droid if he spoke with such disrespect again. "You're gonna hit a weapons shipment in the Cademimu Sector." The Hutt said flatly.
"How big are we talking here?" Simon asked as he declined the straw that Brevik had offered.
"6 Action IVs" The Hutt said, pleasantly surprised that Simon was fluent in Huttese.
"Any Idea what we're up against?" Another Captian, a Sullustian simply named "Bubbs" asked.
"Nothing too heavy. A few frigates and Z-95's" Trajik lied. Even though the Federation had recently begun "Clean-up" Operations in the sector, it was still pretty bad. Simon knew that 6 lightly guarded refrigerators, especially carrying weapons wouldn't last long in the sector. Which is why he'd never bothered to ask.
"Who do they belong too?" Simon asked. Technically it was none of his business, but it was still good to know who may take offense and come after you.
"Tenloss." The Hutt said.
"Tenloss?" Simon said, raising an eyebrow. The Tenloss Syndicate was nothing more than a bunch of glorified arms dealers, however they were equally, if not more dangerous than the Hutts. Simon took a drag off of his Cigarette, and shook his head. "I dunno about these guys, but it aint gonna come cheap."
"Cheap?" The Hutt laughed. "You think I'm concerned about credits?" One of the Hutt's fat stubby arms gestured displaying his club. On que, 2 strippers approached, holding metal briefcases. They were set on the table and opened before each of the 4 captains. Trajik waited for the dancers to leave before saying "1 hundred thousand now now, 3 hundred when you finish."
"400k?" Simon asked, as he casted a sideways glance at the door. "And I take it you get to keep the weapons? 60k won't even cover a new paint job on my ship. I appreciate the officer but if you're gonna waste my time..." Simon said rising from his seat. It was a ballsy move, Negotiating payment with a Hutt was often ill advised, as Hutts were known throughout the galaxy for being Cheap, but Simon didn't get into this business to get ripped off.
"Mister Basai." The Hutt said sympathetically motioning for Simon to sit. A few months ago, Trajik would of let him leave, but with the Federation and Republican War escalating and the need for privateers, good help was extremely hard to come by. "I'm sure we can work out a deal that pleases you."
Simon returned to his seat. "1 mil." He stated.
"500." The Hutt Countered.
Simon stroked his chin, acting as if he was actually considering it. "The Tenloss Syndicate...." He said. "Didn't some wormhead get vaped after he hit one of their shipments?" Simon asked, turning to Bubbs, who just shrugged. "I heard they mailed his pecker back to the Gracen Faction....." Simon let the sentence trail off as he took a long drag from his cigarette.
"600." The Hutt said.
"650. And we keep anything we take." Simon said.
The deep laughter of the Hutt filled the room. He pulled Shanks, who was standing vigilantly next to him down to his level. "I like this human." He said, before turning back to him. "Very well." The Hutt said, finally conceding. Simon really hadden't been asking for much, just enough to make a small profit. The Hutt could afford to finance a small starfleet, and, while getting the weapons would be nice, he didn't care. Really, he just wanted it out of the Bando Gora's hands, besides, Disruptors were getting hard to push these days anyways.
"I'll have my associates upload the coordinates to your ships. Now unless there's anything else. You're dismissed Gentleman." Trajik said as the Captains stood up and exited.
Simon stood on the bridge of the Correlian Frigate Resolute, next to Captain Mantor. His eyes drifted over to a large hollow husk of what used to be an Imperiator Class Star Destroyer. Captain Bubbs and his CC-7700 Frigate had managed to squeeze inside the hollowed out ship. Brevik and small DP-20 Gunship was located somewhere to their left, However their biggest hitter, was an old Dreadnaught class Cruiser. The old ship directly in front of them, was hardly an uncommon sights in orbital scrapyards such as this, It blended it perfectly with its surroundings.
The wild fluctuation of gravity and frequent Ionic storms that plagued this sector made the use of scanners nearly impossible. Even the Federation, with their state of the art systems managed to get ambushed by the Marauders a couple times during the clean up effort. The Imperials were good at what they did, and Simon hoped that they wouldn't rear their heads. However it was inevitable, even at the most discrete operations, a group of Star Destroyers always had a nasty habit of showing up.
Even though the Federation had given them a Letter of Marquee, the forces that were bound to show up often adopted a "Shoot first ask questions later" policy. Once Aboard, Simon would have to be quick.
Far off in the distance, Simon could see several bright flashes. "That'd be our convoy." Mantor said, noting at the ships dropping out of hyperspace.
"And it's escort." Simon mused. "Only a few frigates and Z-95's eh?" He said, making out one of the older Victory Star Destroyer Models, with the Tenloss Syndicate's logo emblazoned on it. By now, the 6 freightors and 2 escorting VSD mkI's were probably wondering why they'd suddenly been ripped from hyperspace. Simon put on his helmet left for the hangar, it wouldn't be long, only a few minutes, before the crews realized what was going on. Now was the time to hit them, before the VSD's could power up their weapons and shields.
Simon entered the better of the 2 Delta Class Dx-9s Transports that were setting in the hanger. Although the bulk of the crew were former Imperials, the only resemblance to the nation they once pledged to came from their equipment, such as the shuttle they were all on. While the gunners and ship personnel still wore faded Imperial Jumpsuits, An ex-Stormtrooper in full armor brandishing an E-11 was a rare sight to see, As the years drug on, most men, Simon included, sold their weapons and armor replacing it with armor from the private sector. The ragtag group carried an array of different weapons, ranging from the 9118 heavy carbine Simon carried, to light repeaters and conc rifles upgraded with extended magazines and the barrels and stocks sawed down, or hacked completely off to better maneuver in the tight confines of most bulk freighters.
Although the boarding shuttle held up to 40 men, Only 10 sat next to Simon, 2 of which would only be cutting into the ship's hull. They sat in their seats, joking amongst one another as they inspected their weapons and equipment. They all had done this countless times before, running into a heavily guarded Convoy and starjacking a freighter had simply become another day on the job for Simon and these men.
"You gotta hole!" Brevik's voice said over the comlink in Simon's ear. "Hurry up and get aboard, I don't know how long I can keep it open."
"Roger." The pilot said. "Taking off, ETA to The Buck Stops Here 30 seconds."
"Hang on to your helmets people." The copilot said, Before returning his face to the cockpit.
The Jolt from the transport blasting out of the hangar slammed Simon's head against his seat. He quickly went over his carbine once more as he counted down the seconds it took to reach the disabled freighter. The deck beneath them shuddered as the Shuttle's magnetized clamps latched onto the freighter's hull. Simon and the rest of his men quickly sealed their suits an rose from their seats.
The rear door lowered as boarding parties, launched by the other pirates, began sounding off. Simon disembarked, walking into the silent vacuum of space. Customized Z-95's and Y-Wings launched by the Dreadnaught were pursued by Hornet Interceptors zipped around them. Simon turned to wave off the transport when everyone had disembarked. Simon's men were fast, he'd give them that. Not wanting to get picked off by a stray shot from one of the star fighters, most had already disappeared through the individual holes they'd cut in the hull. The remaining four had finished up and were in the process of pulling themselves inside the ship.
The disorienting shock of going from a Vacuum to the pressurized interior of the freighter washed over Simon. As he crawled through a hole one of his team mates had previously cut. Cursing and Blaster fire from men who already had entered loudly echoed through the confined halls of the ship. "The bridge should be just up ahead." Simon said. "You four." He said indicating 4 men, "Secure the cargo bay. The Rest of you, With me."
"Attention all ships reading IFF Code: Black Hole." The threatening Imperial voice in Simon's ear made him pause behind a bulkhead and check his wrist watch. That would be the inevitable fleet from the Federation. Even though it didn't involve them, they had a bad habit of sticking their noses in places where it didn't belong. "Power down your systems and prepare to be boarded. Failure to do so within 10 minutes will be considered a hostile action and will be dealt with accordingly."
"Feds are here." Mantors voice shortly said.
"Just in time!" Simon mused. As the 2 men with the heavy plasma cutters began to cut through a large heavy set of blast doors. "We're cutting through to the bridge, What's it looking like out there."
"3 ISD's and support ships." Mantor said. "One of the Victory's fired on them, I think that throws any chance of a peaceful resolution out of the window."
"Well let the Imperials Engage the escort and the others." Simon suggested, "Keep screening for us, but if it gets too heavy go ahead and jump. I'll figure something out." Simon said, hoping it didn't come to that.
They were nearly through when one of the men cutting the door shuddered. A thin red line had punched clean through his chest. Simon didn't need to see the pirate's body begin to turn to ash to know what had happened. Disruptors were some of the nastiest weapons ever created, capable of punching their way through just about any substance in the known galaxy, and capable of rendering it's victims to nothing more than a smoking pile of ash.
"That complicates things."
Simon glanced at his chrono as his slicer began fidgeting with the door controls on the opposite end. This was taking too long, but with a disruptor pointed at the door, Simon couldn't risk attempting to cut through the door again. "We've secured the cargo bay." his earpiece buzzed. "...I think you're gonna like what they have here."
"I already know." Simon said. He turned to his slicer after glancing at his Chrono. "How much longer?"
"30 seconds." The slicer on the opposite end of the door said. "Less if you quit asking me." as he spoke his attention still focused on the door controls.
The slicer stood back and quickly readied himself as the door slowly began to open. Simon was the first one to charge in with his rifle at the ready, Even though the freighter captain was armed with the devastating DXH-6 Disruptor rifle, he was no soldier. He managed to squeeze off one panicked shot, which missed Simon's head and struck the bulkhead behind him.
Simon quickly lined the captain up in his sights and squeezed off a burst as the rest of his team rushed through the door. 3 bolts hit the Captain in the stomach. He dropped to his knees, looked up at Simon, who was approaching him. Simon let his carbine hang from it's sling, and hand fell to the DE-10 Blaster pistol at his hip and brought it up, placing it at the Captains forehead. The Captain's eyes didn't show fear, or confusion, instead, they showed acceptance of the fate that was about to come.
The bridge went silent after Simon squeezed the trigger. The crew watched in horror as their captain's dead body fell to the floor. "If you want to live. You'll do as I say." Simon said, still brandishing his Heavy blaster pistol. "Slip up and you're gonna end up like him." Simon indicated the body with his boot.
The bridge of an Action IV was small, holding only 4 men plus the captain. Having raided enough of these in the past to know the layout by heart, Simon walked over to the navigation officer, as his team kept their blasters trained on the rest and put the muzzle of the DE-10 to his head.
"We're leaving." He said. handing him a datapad as another pirate began working the helmsman "Program a jump for these coordinates." Dealing with the crew during a starjacking required a firm, yet delicate hand. With Too little force, They'd start to question his orders, or in a worst case scenario, physically resist them. With too much force, as most pirates often displayed, The crew would get so shaken up to the point where they couldn't do their jobs. Of course, he could just slaughter the crew, but Simon didn't have anyone who knew how to pilot a ship this massive.
After Accepting Simon's datapad, the navigator turned silently back to his station. With the constant threat of death, looming over him in the form of the large blaster pistol pressed against his head, he didn't want to say something that may invoke Simon's rage. Besides, he didn't get paid enough for this shit anyways.
"Th-They're set." He reported, sighing a breath of relief when Simon removed the massive pistol from his head.
"Status." Mantor's voice grunted in Simon's ear as the Freighter began to move out of it's formation.
"We've taken the bridge. We're raising the Shields and are moving to jump." Simon reported. "They're carrying Disruptors."
"That explains why they engaged the Federation." Mantor noted.
"How are the others?" Simon said, staring out of the main viewport at the Federation battlegroup.
"They've already hypered out, except the Dreadnaught. They might still have unsecured ships." That much was logical. They'd taken 4 of the 6 freighters. "or maybe he's feeling Generous." Mantor said.
"And the Feds?"
"They're duking it out with the VSD's and the Dreadnaught, Save for a few TIE's they've largely ignored us."
"Good." Simon said as he saw a comm tower on one of the outlaw VSD's explode. "We should be ready to jump in 3 minutes. Keep any fighters that get too curious off of our backs. I'll see you at home."
Simon stared at the viewport showing nothing but empty space as the ship paused. Simon's attention turned to his chrono and frowned as the stars elongated and the ship jumped to hyperspace. Excluding the time it took to slice the door open, 15 minutes was too long. If the Federation hadn't shown up when they did, things could of gotten very ugly within that time.
"Round up the crew." Simon said, returning the massive pistol to it's holster. "Tie 'em up in their quarters." He sat in the old captian's chair as his men escorted the crew off the bridge, staring out the main viewport. The fact one of his men died didn't sit well with him, unlike when he was in the Army, the men under him now followed his orders, not only because they were paid, but because they felt he could get them out alive, and today's performance was just sloppy. They'd have to improve significantly if the Federation expected them to take New Republic targets.
But the Freighter full of Disruptors and Milspec weapons was a nice catch, and would fetch a pretty large profit. His attention turned back to the viewport. Credits were after all, still Credits.
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