There was a click in the poorly lit room. A small flame lights up in Stefan's cusped hands, illuminating his stony features intimidatingly. Small spatters of blood streaks across his face. Leaving the cigarette in his mouth, the man pulled out a piece of tissue and wiped his face clean.
Stefan glanced at the seated man, his face severely bloodied and bruised. The strange sucking noise was from the man's ragged breath: his nose was squashed and skewed to the side. On the table that separates the two of them, several handyman tools were laid out. Some bloodied, some untouched. A pair of pliers sat closest to the mobster on a small metal tray, complete with small bloodied lumps.
Sniffing, the interrogator tosses the used tissue at the man's face. Without missing a beat Stefan threw a straight punch. The head snapped back and forth as the man cried out in warbled pain, tears rolling down his cheeks. "Please I told you everything-"
"Yeah, Ah geddi' taff guy. Six-ten hanga-"
"S-s-sixtee-Ahh!" There was a sound of wet sound as Stefan's fist connected with a jawline.
"Shut up, 's wha' Ah sed. Keep tah'kin' if youse wanna play dentist-n-patient 'gain." The man whimpered, lowering his head in defeat. Satisfied, Stefan continued. "Six-ten hangar bee-ai ahn the lower levels. Ubleck's gang got 'em tenner shmucks ta' be sold off-planet, mostly twin head-tails."
"Twi'leks, ya frakkin' goon. Whaddaya, an airhead?" The room's only light bulb swing madly as the man retaliated with another back hand swing. "This Ubleck guy's gadda big crew workin' rahnd the clock ta make shoore this delivery goes on swell. Whazzat like, some two-three tenny- thirty shmuckatellis?" Stefan sucked through his teeth, running the numbers in his head. Try as he may, that was thirty too many goons for him to handle solo. "Leavin' in, what, two hours?" There was only a pained groan and a shaky nod. He shrugged, content. Standing back up Stefan stubbed the cigarette on the edge of the table and gave the thug a pitiful look. He smiled at the man, then pulled out a slugthrower and pumped three muffled shots into his chest.
He left the room, pausing at the exit only to throw an uncapped bottle of lighter fluid in. Snapping his lighter open to light one last cigarette, Stefan tossed the lighter in before walking away.
He sat across the main entrance to the lower level hangar bays on a bench, a large briefcase resting on his lap. Stefan's small notice on the black-net message boards was simple, aimed at similarly altruistic individuals as himself, although that was up for debate. Short notice jobs like these usually demanded high pay but the man himself was broke. The only thing he could guarantee was that Ulbeck was a fairly centered individual in the Hutt's hierarchy. Whatever you found in the raid, you could keep as long as you earned it. Stefan shifted uncomfortably in his seat, trying to adjust the sides of his vest. Hidden in several layers of rather out-of-place formal attire, that uncomfortable piece of equipment was all that stopped a stray bolt from killing him. It was however, inadequate as far as bodily protection went. If everything went to plan, he wouldn't need to rely on its questionable durability.
Otherwise nobody would miss him, so Stefan wasn't exactly worried. As soon as his cigarette burnt through its course he quickly replaced it with a fresh stick, lighting it with a different disposable lighter this time. Over the din of the street's crowd, his sensitive ears could pick up the wails of public services rushing to a sudden outbreak of fire in the local junkie den. Chemical fires were common in such locations, and a dead body or two was surely the result of a deathstick deal gone wrong. A story reinforced with a few well placed credits in a few morally loose police officers.
Stefan pulled his coat jacket tighter to his body. For whatever reason, he felt extremely cold. Hopefully it wouldn't affect him when the shooting started. He glanced at his watch, an old piece from a different time: there was ten minutes left before go time. Whoever was stupid enough to respond to the notice wasn't going to have much time for a get-together before all hell broke loose.
Fine with the man, he supposed: the less the crew knew about each other, the less likely one of them could rat out on the group should anything fuck up. And things rarely went according to plan.
She’d just come sauntering round the corner, only to see the den go up in flames before her, the fire reflected in her aviator shades. She was so perplexed, she accidentally dropped her fat gabaki roach to the ground and promptly forgot about it. What the kark’s happening? she thought. Why can’t these motherfuckers just peacefully trip out for once? Why does everything on Nar Shaddaa have to go to shit every time?
Sirens cut through the night as public services were closing in to fight the fire. Nisa could but stare at the spectacle, her jaw dropped, her eyes wide behind her shades. The wind blew some of the smoke her way and the charred scent entered her nose, and she winced.
Well, she figured, guess I’ll just get my stash elsewhere.
A burning man—clothes, hair, skin, his body—came running out the den, screaming in panic, swinging his arms around wildly. Clearly he didn’t see where he was going, and plunged into the Nar Shaddaa depths after falling from the platform.
Fucking hell, she thought, slowly backing away from the scene. In a sense, seeing as the den was selling more and more deathsticks and less good and healthy psychedelics, it wasn’t that big of a loss, especially considering drugs were available anywhere in the galaxy, and she preferred to harvest her Fantazi mushrooms by herself anyway. But all those people…all those people dying. What the fuck.
It was one hell of a way to wake from a gabaki-induced haze.
She turned away and walked, her heart beating rapidly and her mind racing despite being as stoned as a bantha. The image of that burning man was one she wouldn’t forget, an image that might resurface in a nightmare. The sheer idea of getting high in a place like that and not even realizing that death was upon you terrified her, and she walked a little faster.
I gotta calm down, she thought. I really gotta calm down.
She moved into an alley, hearing the sirens and screams and shouts and roaring flames behind her, and took a deep breath. Yes, she had seen fires before. She had seen people dying in front of her eyes. Hell, she’d seen and had been forced to do the worst fucking things during her time as a slave to a pirate crew. But it never got any easier for her. In fact, the more she got confronted with death, the harder it seemed to process.
She looked up at the starless night sky, awash with colorful neon light. Was it some kind of a gas leak? she wondered. Or was it done on purpose? You never know on this crinking kark ball. You never know.
She shivered, and got in motion, not wanting to stay in such close vicinity to what was no doubt going to be a pile of burnt corpses among rubble and ash. And she kept walking until she reached the entrance to the lower level hangars. Nisa never intended to stop here for long, wanting to move on to her little hideout further down in the city. But I could sure as hell use a little joint to calm my nerves right now, she thought, looking for a spot to sit down and have herself a smoke.
Nisa saw a few benches close to the doors. One was occupied by a couple that was completely oblivious to the disaster a block away as they sat making out passionately. Under normal circumstances, Nisa might’ve grinned at the sight, but this time it seemed all she could manage was a grimace that screwed up her face. The other bench was free, but it was right next to another on which sat a human guy in formal attire, smoking a cigarette. She figured, seeing as he was smoking, he wouldn’t mind if she just lit a joint next to him.
She didn’t speak to him as she sat down on the free bench, reaching into her black leather jacket to produce a bag of gabaki herbs and rolling supplies. When she started rolling, she discovered her hands were shaking slightly and messed up a little bit, which resulted in a short but really fat spliff. Not giving a fuck, she lit it up and dragged, and simultaneously saw the smoke from the flames rising over a smaller building in the distance.
Nisa removed her shades, tucked them into her breast pocket, and ran a hand through her silver hair, feeling beads of sweat between her forehead and the palm of her hand. She took another drag, and as she did, the image of the burning man came to her once more, and just like that she started coughing, the gabaki hitting her system even harder because of it.
When a stranger sat next to him and rolled her blunt, Stefan tracked her movements out of the corner of his eyes. She certainly didn't look like she came from anywhere respectable. If he had to warrant a guess, she was here from the noticeboard, if a little under equipped to the naked eye. At least, the mobster assumed she was there for the job. He had already added in his personal description to the notice board so whoever was taking the job would know who he was. Her coughing startled the man who gave her the luxury of an interested sideways glance, finishing with a raised eyebrow.
"Fers' tahme runnin' a blunt?" he inquired, gesturing at her with his rapidly disintegrating cigarette. He threw his burnt out stub and squashed it beneath his right shoe. Clearing his throat he patted his chest to make sure his pieces were in position. "Take yer tahme, delivery's ain't for 'nother six-or-fiver."
Stefan reached into his pulled up collars and drew out a mouth scarf that had been hidden, covering his nose and mouth. He shivered and clapped his gloved hands together for warmth. It was always like this before a job. Shivers down the spine, numbed extremities; all the discomfort of his performance released in a sudden drop of body temperature. After nearly 23 years of working on the streets for the big man, Dellucci still remembered how his first kill felt.
"Got yer peece?" asked the dressed man. He patted his briefcase gently when he spoke, keeping his eyes front at the entrance to the spaceport hangar. Two of them could probably take on thirty or so guns-for-hire if they were well equipped and prepared. Confidence came later on, but right now he had very little of it watching the girl next to him curse herself. He lit another cigarette and stuck it in his mouth, quickly hiding the lighter in his breast pocket. "Donn' think ain't nawbody camin' 'round. Shoot, figured ahma hafta make the del'vry m'self but ya soore are a lifesaver."
He glanced down at his pocket watch and smiled to himself. "C'mon." he said, standing to his feet and carrying his briefcase with his right hand. Stefan paused and pulled out a pair of tinted glasses. When he slipped them on it gave Stefan the image of an insect, until one slowly realised that other than his pale skin, the man had no real discernible features.
Without saying another word, he walked confidently to the hangar bay's blast doors.
She inhaled deeply, holding in the smoke awhile with closed eyes. It wasn’t until the guy on the bench beside her started talking that she exhaled, opened her eyes, and shot him a sideways glance.
“First time?” she said. She looked at her spliff. Though short and fat, it was tight and burned slowly. “No,” she continued. “This ain’t my first—I think it’s, like, my one millionth? I don’t even know, dude.”
Then he said something about a delivery, and Nisa looked at him in confusion. Is he a drugs dealer or something? she wondered. Or waiting on a deal to happen?
Just as she wanted to ask him, he actually was already asking her a question, something about her piece. She saw him patting his briefcase and noticed how his eyes remained fixed on the entrance to the hangar. Nisa opened her mouth to speak, but held her tongue when he started talking about how he didn’t think anybody would come over, and how he would’ve had to make the delivery on his own, and how she was a lifesaver.
“Um,” she began, but he told her to follow him and put on a pair of glasses. He looks kinda funny, Nisa thought, with those glasses. Like some kinda…I don’t know. Some kinda Felucia bug? The thought reminded her of the mosquitoes that had been harassing her a few weeks ago as she was searching for shrooms in the middle of the jungle, and a familiar itch resurged. She scratched her arm while the joint sat in her mouth, and had to force herself to stop doing so. It’ll just get worse if I keep doing this, she thought.
The man, however, didn’t say another word and strode to the blast doors up ahead. Nisa watched him go, dragging from her joint, raising an eyebrow. What an odd feller. Really. But what if this leads me to a stash of drugs? I don’t really care which, the ones I don’t want I’ll just sell off or whatever. Or maybe I can just get some fun shit to try out with Crom some time. I mean, if all this comes to a fight, I guess I can still shoot straight. Can I? Well, at least it wouldn’t be the first time I fought while high—and the Force knows I’ve fought in much worse conditions than these.
“Hey, wait for me, man!” she called as she ran after him.
Nar Shaddaa may be the glorious jewel of the Hutt Cartel, but much of its sheen came from the vast amount of illicit trade that was done on, and under its surface. Not particularly well known for its high quality, clean buildings the hangar area was dilapidated and in poor condition. Several of the neon signs were flickering and those that still worked fine had faded words. Before entering through the blast doors however Stefan made a quick detour to the information booth. An equally derelict droid manned the counter, its cogitators and gears whirring loudly to dull even the sound of overhead traffic.
"How. . . .may. . .I ser-r-rve. . .you?" it inquired, slowly raising its head at the newcomer. Originally the booth was meant to be separated by a glass partition, but street gunfights had made that addition obsolete. Stefan did not speak, pausing only to pull out a wrapped package and pushed it to the droid. It looked at the box and then at Stefan. ". . how m-m-may I s-ser-"
"The bawx es fer any two-bit chump comin' after hangar 16BI. Hand et ta 'em." The droid attendant took another look at the box, then at the man and peaked over his broad shoulder at Nisa. In what seemed like hours to Stefan, the attendant finally placed both hands on either side of the box and looked at him. "T-Thank. . . you for placing y-your t-t-t-t-trust in Cz-z-zzzzzerk-" The man left the droid to its preprogrammed speech, motioning Nisa to follow after him.
The inside of the building was a long corridor spaced out between five hangar bays, most of which had their own hangar doors closed for privacy. The corridor was three meters wide to accommodate for the hovercarts, but was still somewhat cramped at several intervals from crates and boxes stacked high and as wide as possible. Most of them were left their by their owners, long since passed. Stefan walked through the thin crowd of aliens and humans deftly, making sure to keep pace with the woman behind him. Tight as some areas were he never allowed anybody to touch the briefcase, deftly side stepping or even carrying it above his head.
At the end of the corridor was a single door that Stefan pushed through silently. As Nisa were to follow through she'd notice the lift and stairs sign above. Stefan didn't break a pace as he broke through the stairwell door and ran down the steps. He tossed his cigarette butt off the side, his breathing heavy and ragged with sweat sliding down his cheeks; it was hot, and the exercise was ill advised with that many layers of clothing on him. "Fahkin'-" he cursed loudly, his voice echoing up and above towards Nisa. Laboured as the man was he could still run fast.
Stefan leaned against the wall at the last floor, panting like a dog in a summer's sun. He contemplated throwing his hat away as he pulled out a flask from the depths of his jacket and drinking the sweet, alcoholic nectar greedily. ". . .fahkin' hell. . .holy fahkin' 'ell, sixteen fucking floors: Ulbeck's a right cunt."
Glancing back at the girl, he grinned. Hefting his briefcase over his shoulder Stefan opened the only door before them and walked through, beckoning for Nisa to follow with a slight wheeze.
Unlike the ground level corridor, there was only three hangar bays available: the closest two was locked, stripped with caution tape for maintenance. The tape was falling off and bug eaten in some areas, with several flyers regarding the due date of the end of maintenance. That was nearly three years ago.
The last hangar bay was open, but the path was blockaded by a wall of crates and various miscellaneous items stacked nearly six feet tall. Cutting through the barricade was a small entrance guarded by a few humans dressed in a punk rock fashion down to their bright neon hairs and Mohawks. Two shared a smoke, talking with low voices as they watched a pazaak game happen before their eyes; seated on two smaller crates with a larger plasteel box acting as their table, it was a heated, tense match that drew much of their limited concentration.
Concentration that was broken when Stefan pulled out a silenced slugthrower pistol and shot the first player in his temple. Blood splattered across the dead man's foe, some even landing on the cuff of the shooter's shirt. His weapon coughed a second, and then a third time: the last pazaak player's throat exploded in gore and the smoker's companion was thrown back with a hole in his chest leaking red. The mobster dashed forward to the survivor and swung his briefcase- in between his stunned reaction and Stefan's speed the briefcase connected with his jaw, breaking it with an audible crack. The man's muffled cries of pain was silenced almost immediately as Stefan jammed the piping hot barrel of his pistol into his mouth and pulled him upwards so that he stood straight.
He sniffed and made a disgusted look, backing away slightly from the man's pants. "Okay pal'" growled Stefan, glancing over the man's shoulder for reinforcements.
"Ya Ulbeck's goon?"
The young man nodded feverishly, wincing at the pain in his mouth.
"'e left yet?"
Small muffled no, accompanied by a pained head shake. "Good."
There was a silent cough from neither Stefan nor the dead corpse, now slumped over on the ground. "Made good tahme." muttered Stefan to himself, wiping the blood off his weapon's barrel. A crude tool, but very effective at what it did. He looked over at the bodies and spotted a few holstered blasters. Gesturing for Nisa to help herself to whatever she wanted, he passed through the next entrance.
The Golden Hand roosted in its nest, its loading ramps lowered as men and droids loaded the freighter. Not all were productive, with many seemingly on guard duty but maintaining a very lax air around themselves. After all, who would dare pick a fight with one of the Undercity's crime princes?
Ulbeck was not hard to spot, his red-and-neon-pink hair easy to spot out from the catwalks above. His back was turned, speaking with several other of his lackeys with much spirit. The rest of the cargo, Stefan surmised, was locked away at one of the four other storage units to the left of the hangar. Many of the thugs were humans, some rodians- low level scum that Nar Shaddaa cared for with its sickened teat. Can't be no mor' 'an twenny, twenny-n-sixer he thought to himself as he glanced back at his compatriot. He pointed at the Ulbeck, then at the ship, whispering to her. "Tha' tharr's the stoopid fahck we gotta whack- we whack the goons, nab anything ain't nailed down on tha' ship. Bounda hav' sum spice, drugs: nothin' you can't find at the lowest levels but its gotta be 'nuf to set a man high for the rest offa 'is life, short's it gotta be if ya smoke all of 'em at once."
Clamping his briefcase in between his armpit, he lit another cigarette and threw the lighter away. The noise did not go unnoticed by the workers close to the entrance.
Their expressions were not amicable, but neither were they hostile.
Until they noticed the pool of blood from the barricade entrance, and hands went for holstered blasters faster than you could shout a warning. For his credit Stefan wasted no time in revealing the contents of the briefcase, pulling out a long blaster rifle and cocked the lever action forward.
Nisa followed Stefan to the information booth and saw the weird little droid behind the counter. Its frame was a bit rusty and she could hear some of its joints clicking as it moved. Clearly this one hasn’t gotten the proper maintenance, she thought as Stefan and the droid conducted business. Then again, if it’s just standing out here all day and being neglected for the most part, I guess it’s bound to fall apart at some point. Poor thing.
She saw Stefan pushing a small package toward the droid, telling it to hand over the package to any two-bit chump that came after hangar 16BI. What’s in there? Nisa wondered. She looked at this guy, this Stefan, and thought, I really hope I ain’t walking into some sort of trap or some shit. It’s been a rough enough week as it is, dammit.
Without so much as a word, Stefan motioned for her to follow him, and she watched him walk off with her eyebrow raised. She took another drag from her spliff, then shot a glance over her shoulder at the Nar Shaddaa streets as she exhaled the smoke. I could just be heading home, she reasoned. Just chill on the couch a bit, smoke some gabaki, watch some holovision or whatever. Maybe paint. But then again, she looked back at the man who was approaching the blast doors, if I did I might miss out on an adventure.
Up ahead the blast doors slid open and Stefan walked through. “Fuck it then,” Nisa said, and she walked at a quick pace to catch up with this weirdo. Just remember, she thought to herself as she moved through the blast door, it wasn’t curiosity that killed the cat. Nope. Stupidity did.
As she continued to follow Stefan, she noticed how protective he was of that briefcase. She grinned at the sight of his peculiar movements. It’s almost like he’s dancing through the crowd, she figured. Still wonder what’s in that briefcase, though.
They closed in on another door and Nisa saw the sign above, indicating that a lift and stairs lay beyond. She quickly followed Stefan through the door and couldn’t help but think to herself, Where the fuck are we even going? Hell? Of course the irony was that she had no idea at that point what an apt description that was.
Then Stefan started to run and she picked up the pace as well, skipping steps as she went, doubting her decision to follow this dude more and more.
She stopped beside the man, who stood leaning against the wall, panting. She casually leaned with her back to the wall herself, and continued smoking her joint. “You run fast, baby,” she said, giving him a little wink. But it seems he ain’t too used to this shit, she continued in her own thoughts. Otherwise he wouldn’t be out of breath like that, would he?
She heard him starting to complain about how many floors that was, and she chuckled. “I’m sure Ulbeck is,” she said. “Such a fucking cunt.” Of course she had no idea who the hell this Ulbeck person really was and, frankly, she didn’t care that much. This Stefan seemed like a funny guy to her, a bit weird but a funny guy all the same. Just following him around and seeing what he gets himself into is half the fun, she thought with a smirk.
She followed him again and saw the punks standing guard by the barricade. She noticed their mohawks and uttered, “Huh. Try-hards gonna be die-hards.” Clearly these guys were just scum, as gruffy as they looked, their faces smeared with oil and dirt. Some random gang or another, she thought. Papa would laugh his ass off if he saw them like that. Punk rockers are supposed to go to concerts and party and do drugs and fuck and do whatever the hell they want—but I guess there’s a fine line between punk rockers and punks, huh?
Nisa was just taking another drag from her joint—which she had almost finished—when her mysterious companion drew his slugthrower and started to slaughter the punks, making a bloody mess of it all. If the slugthrower hadn’t had a suppressor to muffle the gunshots, Nisa might have actually jumped at the sudden booms and bangs, but it being silent meant that this shit was over as quickly as it began. The one moment Nisa was making fun of those posers, and the next she was staring at their corpses.
“What the fuck…” she said under her breath, dropping the joint to the ground. “Was that…I thought…what the fuck, man?” As it began to dawn on her what had just happened, she turned her face toward Stefan and looked at him with wide eyes. But apparently Stefan hadn’t even heard her, as he swung his briefcase right at a mobster’s jaw, only to jam the barrel of his gun up the mobster’s mouth a second later. Nisa could smell something awful, then, and waved her hand in front of her nose. “Ew,” she said, wincing. “Did somebody crap his pants or what?”
Apparently this gangster was one of Ulbeck’s men, and he almost immediately got killed for it. Nisa reached into her jacket and grabbed her own heavy blaster pistol, feeling a lot more comfortable holding the weapon in her hand. With her finger on the trigger, she looked around to see if there were any others coming in to avenge their fallen brethren, but Stefan and she seemed to be alone for the time being. Then she noticed him pointing toward the blasters that once belonged to these gangsters, suggesting for her to take whatever she might need, but she shook her head. “I got my own,” she told him, raising the barrel of her weapon. “I’ll stick to this.”
Cautiously, she followed him through the next doorway and saw the freighter, the men and the droids before her. What the fuck did I walk into? she questioned herself. What was that thing about stupidity killing cats again?
She glanced at Stefan with narrow eyes. He some kinda hired gun or something? Or maybe some vigilante? One thing was for sure. If she had thought this dude to be funny before, he surely didn’t seem as funny anymore now. There was something really off about this whole thing, and Nisa didn’t like it one bit. But if we get to remove some gangsters and make the streets just a tad safer, I suppose that’s something I can handle. A little bit of a warning beforehand would’ve been nice, though. But whatever.
She quickly counted their numbers, and it seemed to her that there were about twenty of them. Maybe a few more. It’s a good thing I’ve got the ammo for this…
Then Stefan started talking about what was inside the ship. So, drugs, huh? she thought. Okay. Maybe I won’t walk away from here empty-handed, after all.
“Sounds good,” she replied to him. “Ready when you are.”
Stefan’s answer to that was as straight-forward as it was lethal: he revealed his rifle and opened fire.
“Fuck!” Nisa exclaimed, ducking behind a crate as bolts and bullets flew past her ears. Okay, Nisa, she thought to herself, this is one of those moments where some Jedi training and a kriffing lightsaber would’ve been beautiful, but instead you had to drop out of Jedi school and do drugs and shit. But just think about what Crom would do. Crom would fucking wack those assholes with his fucking Matukai shit, which is way more badass than a fucking Je—
Her train of thought got interrupted when something big and heavy and hot slammed into the crate she was taking cover behind. She jumped to her feet and performed a combat roll to the next crate, and immediately sat on one knee and started returning fire. Those motherfuckers were easy enough to target as they all seemed to run around wildly in search of either some cover or a target of their own. Nisa took a deep breath and locked her mind into the present moment, feeling currents of energy rushing through her body, letting it guide her hand in aiming.
She shot off someone’s head; it exploded in a rain of blood and brain, which came splashing down on the floor. Another unlucky dude slipped in it, blindly firing a salvo toward the ceiling as he fell. Nisa pulled the trigger and blasted a smoldering hole into his torso. She didn’t stop to watch, however, but jumped to her feet and ran for a big stack of durasteel plates that stood there in the hangar before those assholes could pin her down.
When she got there, she took out a third goon, shattering his shoulder blade, and then a fourth, who she shot square in the balls. After blasting a fifth one, burning a hole through his chest, right beneath his throat, she turned her eyes toward Stefan to see how he was doing…
"Fook me-" Stefan quickly ducked forward for cover, rolling into a stack of plasteel crates. He felt the impacts of the thug's shots against his back. The smell of melted metal mixed with the scent of ion and gunpowder made him giddy, and the mobster paused as he spat to his side. The noise of battle was a terrible orchestra of blaster shrieks, the dull impacts of energy against metal and the multilingual curses of poorly educated gunmen. Contrary to the stereotype, for the gunman it was precisely that, not the chimes of calming music people tend to believe with assassins and soldiers. He gritted his teeth, switched to his pistol and peeked over his cover and quickly fired two shots at an approaching thug.
The round tore through his left tibia and crippled his advance. His cry of pain was interrupted as Stefan pumped two more rounds in his chest. Catching the glimpse of another gunman he quickly aimed at him: his weapon coughed four times and clicked empty. He turned back behind cover and tossed the empty magazine that clattered across the room. With a well practiced motion that denoted more about his past than his accent would ever give away, Stefan leaned across the side with a full magazine and fired two more shots.
A gunman goes down as his head snaps back, a neat hole in the dead center. His death lights the spark of fear to the fighters around him, who immediately retreat behind cover and start barking orders at each other. Stefan paused and took the opportunity to dash forward, grabbing his longrifle as he sprinted.
Blasters shrieked their indignation at his fleeting silhouette. He leapt over a low-level stack of crates and rolled into a raised blast cover with a yelp. The man had landed roughly, tripped by the leg of a corpse he had shot previously. His pistol fell out of his grip and a quick search turned up fruitless, lost in the middle of a frantic firefight devolving into an ugly shoot out.
Then he realized he had dropped his hat back on the crates he had to jump over, lying on the floor out in the open. ". . . .oh fook me sahd-weys. . ." Stefan cocked his longrifle and waited until he heard the distinctive 'ping!'.
In an instant he spun around and hip fired a fully charged shot that sent him flying off his feet several meters back, landing on his butt and skidding to a halt next to his rogue hat. He heard a warbled scream and smelled the singe of molten flesh wafting deliciously to his nostrils. He snatched his hat and quickly dove back to cover right as a withering fire of bolts flew angrily at his last location. "'Ey!" he yelled back at his only compatriot, hidden somewhere along the other stacked crates and barrels.
"OI!" Stefan screamed, throwing away all form of composure as he blind fired his weapon over the top. "Fahker's got meh pinned! If youse got'sa'n ace in youse sleeves, bout tahme you played it- Fahck!" cursed the man loudly as a blast of energy came dangerously close to his head. Praying loudly to a long list of deities he lowered himself as low as possible, cocking his rifle for another charged shot. Flinching as another barrage slammed itself against his cover, Stefan quickly returned the favor with a loud blast- each shot ached his wrists, though it was worth to hear the thugs own panicked screams. "Eat shet you's dumbfahcks!"
The Mandalorian groaned, his voice deep, his breath leaving his chest in an irregular pattern. He sounded as if he was dying, sweat dripping down his face and into his matted beard. "Don't... know... if I'm gonna... fookin' make it..." He winced, the fighter barely hanging on for survival as he kept his hands on the shuttle's controls. The ship was flying erratically, the Nar Shaddaa skyline dotted with equally terrible pilots (mostly due to substance abuse or inexperience). Fortunately for them, Crom McCready was an excellent pilot, one of the best.... in comparison to Nar Shaddaa's horrific drivers. Crom was awful. "Kriff me... I t'ink I'm gonna... fookin' crash this t'ing." He grunted, his eyes closing tight as the shuttle cut through the sky like a knife. He still maintained control, he still somehow managed to prevent crashing the ship but then something reached out to him.
A voice. A presence. A person in need. Someone that Crom cared for very much, in his own dysfunctional way, was in trouble.
"Nisa." Crom grunted, feeling his friend's energy not far from where he was. "In danger lass? I'm comin'..."
"You're cumming already?" A voice replied to Crom, preceded by a loud popping sound. Crom glanced down to see a Zeltron in his lap, doing what she did best. "You look like you're dying. Should I stop?"
"It's cause yer suckin' the soul out of me fookin' body, lass!" Crom cackled, seeing the flames from a nearby building. It was as if it was a beacon telling him that Nisa was absolutely in danger. Or, causing it. She had been known to cause some mayhem, especially with Crom, but this was new. "Get the fook out." Crom barked at the Zeltron abruptly, pulling up to a nearby roof top and opening the shuttle door on her side. "I don't give a kriff if yer a fan, I got chit to do." Before the woman could reply Crom pushed her out, the woman screaming at him to 'pay her' and something or other about a pimp. "Schutta, I am THE pimp."
Music started blasting loudly in the shuttle car as Crom took off, closing his eyes whilst in the midst of insane traffic trying to pinpoint just where exactly Nisa was. He was very in tuned with the force, the Matukai Mandalorian focusing as hard as he could until he found her. Her force signature was wild when in combat, that and he had just spent a large amount of time with her so he had grown to recgonize it. It was unmistakable. "Nasty Nisa is in trouble and the King McCready is coming in to save the day... AGAIN." He paused, thinking outloud to himself. "Well... Ruin the day. Again. Kriff it."
A thunderous explosion filled the air of the warehouse hanger. Rather than piloting the shuttle through the open hanger McCready had slammed his shuttle car into the side of the building at top speeds. The shuttle car was destroyed but it opened up a massive breach in the side of the building, an eruption of fire and a storm of shrapnel exploded into the hall as it distracted everyone there. The intruder's vehicle skidded across the ground, screeching as it finally came to a halt next to a bunch of durasteel crates. Without missing a beat the mangled shuttle car's driver side door was flung off with a mighty force-infused kick, the door narrowly missing a group of goons that had went to investigate just what in the hell was happening.
"OH NISA!" Crom shouted, drawing everyone's attention in the way only Crom could. "I'M HERE TO SAVE YE AGAIN LASS! IT'S ME! CROM MCREADY!"
"Crom?" A goon asked, his rifle pressed forward as three of them went to nab Crom before he could cause any more trouble. "The pit fighter?" He questioned, gun trembling as this could only mean one thing.
A half naked man sprang out of the ruined shuttle and hit the goon questioning who was inside with a mighty punch that broke his jaw. The man crumpled down to the ground, the two others following swiftly as Crom dealt a devastating spinning back kick to one and head butted the other. They all were writhing in pain, the man hitting them so incredibly hard it had to have been impossible without the assistance of something. Anti-climatically, Crom gave Nisa who he spotted in the distance a delicate wave. He was shirtless and pinching a tent in his pants from the Zeltron blowing him... but nonetheless he gave his friend a wave.
What the kriff is that dude doing? she thought as she watched him turn around for his hat. “Just leave the damn hat!” she cried, her voice barely audible over the storm of red-hot lasers, sharp slugs and booming ion cannons. Nisa gritted her teeth, gripping her gun tightly, and saw how Stefan only just managed to get behind cover. But at least he had retrieved his hat; that ought to count for something.
Well, she thought, of course he needs saving. Pinned down and shit. Better get going, huh. I dunno who he is but I don’t want him killed regardless. She looked over the crates she was sitting behind and saw that the goons were more or less concentrating their fire on her new acquaintance. Among the goons was a big and ugly Gran that was holding up a grenade, ready to lop it into the general direction of Stefan’s hiding place. “Not on my watch, fucker!” Nisa hissed. She cocked her gun and was about to fire when an actual motherkarking shuttle came crashing through the wall, or the roof, or both—honestly, the entire side of the building got torn asunder before Nisa’s wide, unbelieving eyes.
“What the he—” she began, but never got to finish that line as she had to dodge a big durasteel plate that would have come crashing down right on top of her if she had stayed put.
She lay there on the floor, on her back, her eyes fixed on the vehicle. It didn’t even occur to her that all had quieted down for the time being, that the Gran had never even thrown his grenade at Stefan. Then the door was launched from the shuttle, flying through the air, but Nisa never saw where it landed or who it might have crushed. Instead, she found herself staring at a muscular man wearing just some pants—his giant damn tent pole didn’t go unnoticed. Nisa rolled her eyes; she would recognize that boner anywhere. Seriously? What is it with him and his hard ons all the time?
She heard him screaming her name, and something about being here to save her, then announcing who he was to the entire hangar. She was about to get back on her feet and raise her gun against the goons when Crom actually leaped from his vessel and cracked the jaw of an unlucky fucker with one helluva punch. He floored two more of them before turning to her again and waving like the ridiculous clown that he was.
That was when Nisa cracked up with laughter. “Crom!” she cried. “You Force-fucked sonuvabitch! If we get outta this alive I’mma give you a big kriffing hug, but only if you manage to calm that rattlesnake in your pants because I’d rather not have you poke me—”
There was a goon standing on top of Ulbeck’s ship with a heavy blaster repeater, and he opened fire, blaster bolts tearing holes in the floor, running from Stefan toward Nisa, and from Nisa to Crom. She had just enough time to duck behind the crates again.
Shit, these guys ain’t letting up, she thought with a grimace. She quickly reloaded her weapon before closing her eyes and holding the butt of her gun in both hands. She took a deep breath, concentrating as deeply as she could what with the chaos ensuing once more. It was tough, but before long she felt a spark of energy in the base of her spine. By breathing in and out she managed to guide the energy up her back toward her brow where it nestled and began to crackle. Her eyes opened again, possessing a silver glow so faint it was barely noticeable to those who couldn’t sense the Force. “But I ain’t letting up either,” she told herself as she jumped to her feet. In her hyper-focus she saw the guy with the gun on top the ship. “All right, asshole,” she grunted. “You’re going down.”
Nisa aimed and fired and the gunner’s head was reduced to bone splinters that rained down along with lots of blood on a goon below. As the lifeless body of the gunner collapsed, his twitchy finger still pulled the trigger, and a salvo cut into the floor, then the far wall, and lastly the ceiling, barely missing Crom’s pretty head. If it had struck, the mighty Mandalorian Matukai moron might have had to go on living with one head less, although Nisa supposed it wouldn’t have been that big of a loss seeing as he did most of his thinking with the head in his pants anyway.
“Yeah!” Nisa screamed, climbing on top the crates she had been taking cover behind. “Take that you fucking Sithspawn bastards!”
She perceived time differently now; it was like everything had slowed down, everyone’s movements, the bolts flying through the air, the flames raging up ahead—she saw all of this with clarity and had ample time to react. She raised her gun and four more head shots later she jumped from the crate, running toward Crom, avoiding bolts, shooting a couple more goons in the chest while grabbing her combat knife from the sheath hidden inside her jacket.
Finally, Nisa tackled one of the goons that was creeping up on Crom, plunging her knife into the thug’s heart, then tearing out the blade again, blood spurting into her face. “Ah, fuck!” she cried. “Fucking fuck!” She tried to wipe the blood, but only smeared it out, and gagged.
But honestly, she thought, glaring at Crom’s ass. What choice do I have? I ain’t about to let this sucker steal the show again! … That ass, though, damn.
A stray bolt exploded the head of the goon she had just stabbed and bits of brain and disgusting fluids splattered all over her. It dripped from her face, her chin, onto her chest, and she gagged again; she could feel it burning in her throat.
“Hang on a second,” she groaned, then barfed all over the wrecked corpse she was still sitting on.