Coldblue, First Entry
I dunno, I was probably feeling suicidal on some deep down level… when I heard they were looking for volunteers to help bring the corporate crooks at Czerka to justice, I thought, ‘What the heck? I’ve got some off time, all my best buddies are either dead or lost across the galaxy, and the Alliance is taking a breather.” So I polished and charged up my newest blaster (I named her Akavi because…yeah) and the trusty scattergun, stocked up on med packs and headed over to that little moon, CZ-198. Figured if nothing else I could pick up a crystal shipment from Ilum afterward and make a tidy little profit.
Couple of friends of mine were there too and we decided to pool together and see if we could take down Rasmus Blys’s pet monster project, a real cyborg nightmare named The Vigilant. It was the strangest security system I’ve ever seen, and I’m not too humble to admit I’ve sliced some complex stuff in my day. Risha would’ve been fascinated with it, but she’s as gone as Akavi and the rest. Blast it, why are things never fair? My crew were often more trouble than they were worth, but people wise, they were the best. Heck, I’d give my last credit to hear Corso whining at me again. And after losing Akavi, who way beneath that tough Mando skin was a sweet and tender lover, a supportive and soulful wife…I don’t think I’ll ever love again…okay, I might still flirt, but it’s just not the same.
Anyway, it ended up being me, Master Culmyso and Major Tolas’s Crest-walker. I brought along Teeseven too. Now, you would think, if Republic forces and volunteers were coming in and clearing the place of evidence and making it safe, the staff and droids would greet us with open arms. But the closest thing to open arms we received were bolts flying at us from the get go. Still it was no big deal getting past the initial defenses. But we had to shut down a couple of…experiments. They were bad. How can anybody do that stuff? And have the gall to say it’s in the name of science or technology? I felt kind of bad for the mutant experimental creatures…that is until they persistently tried shredding us. I let the boys slice and dice and shoot and did my best to keep everybody patched up (even the astromech); we got through it okay.
Well, eventually we got to the heart of CZ-198’s core, which Blys had activated for meltdown in a crazed fit before becoming one with the Floor, courtesy of Tolas’s and our buddy Zalc. Basically like being on the business side of a Faraday cage — lots and lots of zapping, and angry mutant critter things coming after us. But the worst part by far was The Vigilant. I’d expected a monster computer but it was literally… a monster computer. I mean, think five Bowdaars stacked together — freakin’ huge, and all interconnected to data nodes and all wired up. We knew the only way we could take him was to separate him from the data feed so we concentrated on that at first. It was slow going between watching out against electrocution (or as I like to call it, death by standing in stupidity) and fighting off the endless mutant minion things. But we did it, and once we had that data feed shut off, the Vigilant came at us with everything he had. It was a helluva fight; we nearly lost Cul when that beast pushed him into an arcing damaged mainframe; fortunately Teeseven played decoy long enough for Tolas’s to yank Cul back to us and me to apply some sweet kolto magic. We all kept getting knocked back and rendered unconscious, but when you’ve fought as much as I have you learn to take it in stride. In the end even Virgil (Tolas’s’s pet name for the guy) didn’t stand a chance against us. I mean, come on, a Jedi, an elite commando and an old hand spacer like myself? Unstoppable!
We were rewarded with a terse thanks and sent on our way. Nobody even bothered to offer us a round at the cantina…ungrateful nerfherders. But then again, I guess, like me, they all knew that one major battle done just heralds another one on the horizon.
And it’s to the horizon I’m flying now. Just running the old XS Light in and out of the hyperspace lanes, looking for that road less traveled. Could be I’ll run into my wife, or even old Guss in some out of the way hole on some backwater planet. I know one thing for sure, I’ll always manage to find trouble. And a part of me is always happy to catch up to it.