My group recently finished the beginner story for the Edge of the Empire RPG. It was modified to some degree to fit our characters and their personal stories, but to what degree I do not know. In any case, I got bored and decided to write the whole thing out in story format. I do not know if this is the place to post it or not, but I am going to go ahead anyway. Its rough draft quality but I found it pretty enjoyable to write.
Valen Kar leaned heavily on the bar. The smell of stale alcohol permeated the air in the dingy little cantina. He found it fitting. It was a tiny dirty nothing of a cantina in a tiny dirty nothing of a city. Mos Shuuta was no place anyone would ever brag about being. It was a filth hole, even by the low standards set by other cities on the desert planet of Tatooine. The drink in Valen’s hand was already warm when he got it and he thought he could smell the dark liquid inside getting older by the second. He even contemplated asking the Devorian tending the bar for a new glass, but decided against it. Credits were hard enough to come by in Mos Shuuta. If he ever wanted to get out of the city, with its dirty brown buildings and dirty brown everything else, he would need to save every single credit.
Still, it was better in here than out in the streets. Recent chaos had seen many unwelcome visitors in the shining metropolis of Mos Shuuta. Imperial patrols had been spotted all over Tatooine of late and their presence, or the mention of it, was doing damage to local business. Whatever the imperials were looking for they were out in force and pursuing it with determination. The man drinking with Valen laughed nervously at a joke he had been telling Valen. It was the kind of laugh that told Valen the joke-teller was not sure if it was funny or not and was waiting for some response. Valen cracked a dry smile and raised his glass.
Valen’s drinking partner was a man he knew only as Glitch. Glitch was apparently a slicer of some skill and had absolutely no issues sharing that information over a few drinks. He was slightly taller than Valen but he had a softer quality though they were not so physically different. Both men were around average height and build, with Valen being the broader of the two. Valen was rough. Years of working as an imperial scout had weathered the man inside and out. Glitch was a city-dweller and it showed. He seemed out of place on this low-tech planet with its brutal ways. Glitch was a sophisticated criminal, or so he said. He laughed aloud at the acknowledgement of his joke and took a deep gulp of the horrific liquor filling his glass. Glitch could not imagine which was worse, drinking in Mos Shuuta or being sober in it.
The two had been the cantina’s only patrons for the majority of the day. Apart from the devilish bartender and a lone twi’lek dancing girl they were the cantina’s only living inhabitants. The dancer swayed, mostly ignored, on a stage at the rear of the tavern. Cheaply recorded music poured from somewhere behind her to become faint and then die half-way across the cantina. The tables that scattered the floor were covered in a visible film as if they had not been treated to a clean rag in quite some time. Shadowy alcoves lined most of the walls and Valen could only imagine the clandestine dealings that had, and would, occur in those dimly lit booths. He had heard it said somewhere, “Scum and villainy.” The scum was certainly here. In one corner, propped against a wall, a lone droid rested. It was connected to a charge port and was currently powered down. The droid struck the experienced scout’s eyes as out of place. The droid was far too clean to be here. It was curled in a fetal position with its arms wrapped around its legs. A single number adorned its armored pauldron, a crudely painted number eight. The crimson marking on its shoulder glared in stark contrast with its cream colored chassis. Glitch was also eyeing the droid. A mischievous intent gleamed in his eyes. Suddenly the cantina erupted into chaos
A lone gizka peeked its head out of a burrow beneath the trader’s hut. The bright sun stung its overly sensitive eyes even in the relative shade of the alley. The reclusive creature would normally hide until evening but the smell of a feast so close to its den had drawn it out. Life was hard for everything on Tatooine and the gizka was no exception. Its nose probed ahead of it already sensing the scraps of food that remained in the trash pile mere meters away from the creature’s den. It squawked excitedly as it rushed toward the unguarded refuse. Its small mouth opened to take the first delicious bite when a boot landed hard beside it. A human raced past the diminutive creature, nearly stepping on it. It was lucky to be alive, or so it would tell itself if it were capable of such thought. The creature shrieked in terror and began to scurry back toward its den. Two steps later an even larger foot covered in thick hair struck the tiny creature in the flank sending it hurtling into the air to crash against the side of a building. Life was hard on Tatooine.
Cash Kraken sprinted down the narrow alley, his legs stretching out before him in a frantic stride. A long coat lined with armored plates billowed behind him as he vaulted over what occurred to him as dramatically placed debris. A blaster pistol banged against his hip within its holster as he ran. He struggled to control his breathing. It was not the first time he had been forced to flee through a dismal trash-filled alley and he hoped it would not be the last. Behind him came the towering figure of Tojjevvuk. The grace of the wookiee always amazed Cash. With his long legs and natural endurance he could have easily outpaced the human. He was trailing by his own design, and for that Cash was incredibly grateful. The wookiee’s fur was blown back by the sheer speed of the dash and Cash had to keep from chuckling at the giant hunter’s appearance. A loud grunt behind them snapped any thought of levity from the Cash’s mind as a huge shape trailed them into the alley.
Things had been going so smoothly the day before. Toj and Cash were working to pay off their debt and Sinsau had seemed to warm up to the pair. Cash had even fostered hope that Sinasu the Hutt would order his personal pet bounty hunter, Trex, to stop accompanying the pair everywhere. The trandoshan was a violent thug and little else. His presence always made Toj uneasy and Cash knew it would not be long before the two tried to kill one another. Then their latest assignment came. An accountant had been making a profit of his own by skimming credits from Sinasu’s business dealings. This, of course, did not sit well with the hutt. Cash, Tojjevvuk, and their babysitter Trex were sent to collect the accountant. There was some quip about accountability that Cash had to stifle at the time.
The trio tracked the accountant to his safe house and things went poorly from there. They cornered the man when imperial storm troopers arrived on the scene. A firefight broke out almost immediately, started by the violently inclined Trex. The trandoshan was not really interested in bringing the accountant back and was happy with bringing a head back to his master. What caused the explosion was a mystery to both Cash and Toj, but it claimed the life of the accountant as well as numerous storm troopers. It then dawned on the group that the accountant had been working for the imperials the entire time. They were now guilty of murdering an imperial official. While the hutts and imperials were not necessarily allies, they went to great lengths in order to avoid upsetting one another. A blunder like this could see Sinasu’s territory collapse.
When the group returned to Sinasu’s palatial mansion Trex went to report alone, ordering Cash and Toj to remain in the waiting room. Cash did his best to reassure his friend that things were going to be fine, but the wookiee had an uneasy feeling. Tojjevvuk paced relentlessly back and forth across the waiting room, his antiquated bowcaster clutched tightly in his massive paws. The wookiee growled faintly and it was apparent to Cash that he was preparing himself for battle. Toj’s uneasiness was infectious and soon Cash found himself preparing for a fight. The safety strap on his holster was unclasped and his fingers trailed lightly over the handle of his blaster pistol. When a woman burst into the room at a full dash it took a great amount of restraint from the pair to avoid drawing and firing on her.
Cash recognized her instants after her abrupt appearance. Her name was Nara Daklan, and she worked as a spy for the Empire. She looked different than their last meeting. Her clean and well tailored officer’s uniform had been traded for the outfit of a palace dancing girl. Layered veils surrounded her barely concealed frame leaving the mostly exposed skin beneath distorted in a multicolored haze. Her hair was no longer short and cropped. Long blonde braids crisscrossed down her back to her waist and around her ears to rest in front of her bare shoulders. Her makeup, while once conservative and professional, was now seductive. Heavy attention was drawn to her icy eyes and full lips. With all the haste Cash could imagine a human being could muster she made her way into the waiting room and came to a halt no more than a foot away from him. Despite her dash into the room she was in complete control of her breathing and did not pause a second in giving warning to the pair.
“You have to get out of here, now!” she whispered forcefully.
“We were beginning to get that same feeling.” Cash’s reply was accompanied by a wolfish grin, still looking her over. “Doesn’t suit you, but I like it.”
An indignant glare that portrayed the severity of her statement was the only response he would get for his trouble. The look of worry remained etched on her face. She raised her hand and passed Cash a small rolled scrap of paper. His grin never faded as he took the note from her hand.
“Trex blamed the entire thing on you. Sinasu is furious. He is summoning his guards right now to come in here and capture you both. I do not know if he plans to kill you before he turns you over to the Empire or if he will just let them do it. In either case, I do not think you want to be present when the guards arrive. These are the new launch codes for the Krayt Fang’s piloting system. Take them, take the ship, and get out of here.”
The pair needed no more incentive than that. Turning quickly they made their way to the exit. The pair of gamorreans at the door proved to be little more than a speed bump for the already enraged wookiee. Tojjevvuk, already feeling his honor slighted by the trandoshan and the hutt, knocked the first guard flat and used the other as a battering ram to open the mansion’s doors before the guards were aware they were in a fight. With a violent growl the wookiee stalked passed the downed guards. Cash gave a glance back to the spy turned dancing girl and gave the faintest salute before following his only friend through the freshly wrecked doors. Her last words lingered in his head. They had the weight of a eulogy behind them.
“You owe me, Kraken.”
Valen’s reaction was slight at best when a pair of travelers burst into the cantina at full speed. The duo was led by a human wearing a long coat. The man had dark hair and pale eyes. Close behind the human lumbered a towering fur covered silhouette, obscured by the blazing sun that the pair’s entrance allowed into the cantina. While still large, the wookiee was not big for his race. Based on its dark colored fur, Valen was relatively certain the wookiee was young. It had to have just recently reached adulthood. They slowed immediately upon entering, and descended the few steps down into the cantina in a casual manner. It was a practiced casualness that belied their hurried intent which Valen could immediately detect.
The man and wookiee alike gave the cantina an assessing glance, taking in each patron and feature for evaluation. The man whispered something to the wookiee that Valen could not hear and walked in a direct path for the dancing twi’lek on the stage. A few hushed words were exchanged between the two after which the dancer laughed and motioned to the door behind the stage and began to lead the man away. He raised a hand and beckoned the wookiee to join him and offered a cocky grin to the cantina’s obviously interested patrons. He then followed her behind the stage.
The wookiee nodded his acknowledgement to the man and lumbered over to the inert droid resting against the wall. Pawed hands reached for the cable connecting the droid and plucked the cable from the wall. The droid immediately uncoiled from its fetal position shooting upright to stand beside the wookiee. Its clamp like mechanical hands clutched a blaster rifle tightly.
“Don’t touch my cables! I’m up and functional. The time has come to crush our enemies in the name of freedom! Tell me you need me to vaporize some organics. I am standing by and awaiting orders.” The litany shot immediately out of the droid’s vocalization unit. The droid’s voice was modulated heavily, to the point where it sounded like the voice of a gruff human male.
The wookies paw banged down hard atop the droid’s head causing it to vibrate audibly throughout the cantina. Shaking its head, the wookiee turned and motioned for the droid to follow with a growl. A single step brought the wookiee onto the stage and a few paces carried him into the back room to join his companion. The droid shot its head around in a circle. If it had eyes Valen would have been sure that it was glaring at each patron in turn. It then moved with quick clanking motions to follow the man and the wookiee to the room behind the stage.
“Sick humans. Watching a droid sleep. Better not have touched me.”
No more than a breath after the droid’s departure six gamorreans thundered into the cantina. They were squealing amongst themselves in their strange language while their beady eyes surveyed the cantina and those inside it with bared hostility. Each green skinned pig-like creature stood just under two meters and the smallest of the bunch had to weigh at least 100 kilograms. Clutched in each creature’s fleshy fist was a truncheon that crackled with electricity. Their heavy steps shook the stairs leading down from the entrance as, like some terrible herd, they flooded into the cantina.
Valen did not flinch from their scrutiny as they began to investigate the building. He had dealt with gamorreans before and found them to be useless when they were not hitting something. He resumed his relaxed pose and leaned against the bar once more. He turned back to Glitch, who was now turning pale with barely contained terror, and shook his head. It was obvious that the slicer was nervous that the gamorreans were here to collect him. In Mos Shuuuta, and on most of Tatooine, gamorrean thugs were synonymous with Hutt enforcers. He had assumed things were not going well for the group hiding behind the stage, but it was until now that Valen began to get a clear picture of just how bad they were.
After what seemed like an eternity of snorting and squealing, the gamorreans reached what Valen could only consider a consensus that their quarry was not here. As one the bulbous pack of thugs began to make their way toward the cantina’s exit. One paused briefly while it eyed Valen suspiciously. It took a heavy step in his direction before another one of the creatures put its hand on the moving gamorreans shoulder and spun it around violently. Snorting and squealing once more filled the cantina before the investigative beast was convinced that it was time to leave. As the pack was just about to ascend the stairs and leave the building the blinding streak of blaster fire ripped from somewhere behind the stage and struck one of the gamorreans in the back and sending it flopping to the ground dead.
Behind the curtains of the stage, Cash gave the small and dimly lit room a cursory glance. The room was thick with the haze of incense and Cash had to narrow his eyes in an attempt to penetrate it. Crates of aging liquor lined the far wall. The rest of the room was set up to be the dancer’s dressing room. There was a small cabinet filled with various outfits next to a table with a lighted mirror for the application of makeup. The room smelled of incense, makeup, and body oils. All were scents that Cash was relatively familiar with.
The twi’lek dancer turned to face him. Worry was clear on her face. Cash had always been more than adept at reading people and he knew that she was wondering how much trouble she would be in if she were caught hiding him. He couldn’t bring himself to give her a truthful answer. She ran her fingers nervously over the leather straps holding her lekku to the side of her head giving the tentacle like protrusions the appearance of hair. Her lips parted to speak but before she could get a word out Toj and 8 entered the room quietly closing the door behind them. Tojjevvuk gave a nervous growl shaking his head in Cash’s direction. The wookie glanced out the small viewing window in the door and growled faintly to Cash.
“There are six of them? I don’t know how long we can hide out here, Toj.” Cash said. “Gamorreans are easy enough to fool, but sooner or later it will be Trex hunting us down.”
Toj howled slightly louder than Cash would have thought prudent. The one problem with working with a wookiee was that they were so damned impulsive.
“I know you aren’t scared of him.” Cash replied. “I’m not either.” He lied.
“I’ll turn that fluid filled sack into a pair of boots!” 8 vocalized. His voice sounded like liquor pouring over gravel.
OI8U, or 8 as Cash called him, was a recent addition to the team. A job took the group to an ancient droid factory that had once been an important resource in the Clone Wars. They found the powered down droid curled into a ball near a computer. It appeared the droid had upgraded itself shortly before running out of power. By his design, Cash was certain he was a battle droid much like countless others manufactured during the clone wars by the Trade Federation. Heavy modifications marked this unit as different from its peers. When the Trade Federation droids were decommissioned, 8 found a way to escape destruction and was in the process of making itself the most superior droid the galaxy would ever see until he ran out of power. Despite the protests of Toj, who did not want to perform maintenance on a droid, Cash decided to adopt the wayward battle droid. It wasn’t until 8 was fully powered that Cash realized the droid had many severe personality flaws matched by faulty programming.
“Later, 8. I am sure you will get your chance one day soon. For now we need to focus on getting out of here. I managed to steal the launch codes for the Fang. We just need to get to the ship and we’re home free.”
Toj shook his head from side to side and let a somewhat mournful groan escape his mouth, now more careful in keeping the volume of his voice in check.
“You picked a fantastic time to upgrade the hyperdrive motivator. That’s just wonderful.”
Toj howled a little louder.
I know it needed to be done. I am not saying that upgrading the ship is a bad thing. I am just commenting on the timing of your little fix-it project.”
Toj growled, waving his arms in the air expressively.
“No, I’m not saying this is your fault.”
Tojjevvuk folded his massive arms across his chest and groaned.
“My fault!? You can’t be serious. Look, we just need to get a new hyperdrive motivator. I am sure Trex would have ordered a new one by now. Let’s just go over to the junk dealer and pick a new one up.”
“And shoot the human merchant in his smug face!” 8 chimed in.
Cash rolled his eyes and glanced out the window to observe the group of gamorrean pursuers arguing amongst themselves. It appeared as though they had eluded their hunters and would soon be able to get out of here and with a little luck they would be able to get off world. The wide creatures filled the entry way with their mass and what Cash considered to be a brilliant idea came to mind. Wookies and malfunctioning droids weren’t the only impulsive ones in this room. Cash drew his blaster pistol in a fluid motion.
"You know they are going to be all over the place once we get out of here. It’ll make it difficult to get the part and then get to the ship if we have to stop every ten minutes to hide from them. It would be easy enough for us to ambush them right now.”
Toj shook his head but readied his crossbow anyway. He knew better than to try to dissuade Cash from his current course of action. 8 let out an excited noise and readied his rifle. The dancer moved close to Cash. The look of fear that was once on her face gave way to excitement. Her fingers rested on his shoulder turning him to face her.
“I hate those gamorreans.” She whispered.
“Then watch this.” He replied as he threw the door open and dashed onto the stage firing his blaster indiscriminately into the pack of thugs crowded tightly in the entrance of the cantina.
Valen took cover immediately, the trained reflexes of a soldier taking over the conscious part of his brain. His rifle slid free from the tight strap on his back to rest cradled in his arms. The butt pressed into the crook of his shoulder and he took up a relaxed firing position. His body crouched low behind on of the tables littering the cantina floor. He could see the intent of the ambushers rushing across the stage. It was a simple strategy, but an effective one.
Glitch had a similar reaction, but his was panic induced and accompanied by a terrified shriek. He planted a single hand on the bar and leapt over it to land crouched on the other side. The bartender glanced at him with an unnerving smile on his demonic features. As if Glitch was not panicked enough, he had to be trapped with a devorian. Cursing his luck he peeked around the bar peering into the cantina as the battle unfolded.
Cash was the first across the stage, his pistol firing streaking blaster bolts that singed through the air and found their mark in the back of the gamorrean at the rear of the pack. The creature screamed in its porcine language. The sound was excruciating to all who heard it. Luckily enough for everyone, except the gamorrean, it was short lived as the creature dropped to the ground dead.
Tojjevvuk was not far behind. A howl of battle ripped from his lungs shaking the glasses that remained on the bar. His traditional wookiee bowcaster let loose a blazingly energized arrow that struck another gamorrean in the chest. The force of the shot forcing the pig-like brute back nearly four yards where it crashed against the wall and slid slowly down. The truncheon in the gamorrean’s hand rattled across the floor as it breathed its last gasping breaths.
8 clanked heavily across the stage firing his rifle without aiming. Shot after shot ripped through the cantina shattering glasses and scoring the walls where they hit. Many of his shots found their intended targets causing terror and aguish amongst the ambushed gamorreans. Planting a foot at the end of the stage the droid leveled his blaster rifle and shot one of the adversaries in the throat. Fat hands clutched at the burned and torn flesh of the creature’s neck before it crashed like a falling tree to the cantina floor.
To the gamorrean’s credit, they did not falter and they did not flee. After the initial shock of the ambush the tusked monstrosities rallied and began a full charge for the stage. They spread out in their rush, reducing the ease with which they were being shot. Each creature lowered its head and held its club high in the air. Murder gleamed in their beady black eyes as they waded through the blaster fire making their way to the stage.
The first gamorrean to make it across the killing floor caught up to Tojjevvuk, who had taken a forward position. It lashed out with the energized club in an overhand blow with the entirety of the thug’s considerable weight behind it. Toj pivoted backward but could not avoid the swing entirely. The crackling weapon struck the wookiee in the shoulder and he howled in pain. Tojjevvuk felt his shoulder crack from the force of the blow, but the electricity coursing through his body was far worse. His vision began to blur, but he was not losing consciousness. A red hue overtook the wookiee’s sight and he howled in rage, dropping his bowcaster to the ground.
Somewhere on the cantina floor another gamorrean fell, shot down by one of the trio. It didn’t register to the enraged wookiee. Toj lunged forward, his long arms wrapping around the gamorrean and lifting it into the air. The squealing creature beat its fists against the wookiee in an attempt to extricate itself from the grapple to no avail. Toj howled again and with a twist slammed the struggling gamorrean into one of the cantina tables. With a crack like thunder the table gave way beneath the considerable bulk of the thug and the strength of the enraged wookiee. The gamorrean hit the floor hard, the air blasted from its lungs. It flailed flabby arms impotently at its attacker. Toj loomed over his fallen foe and snarled down at the fallen gamorrean.
Before the wookiee could strike the last standing enforcer lunged forward smashing its club into the Toj and following by crashing its body into that of the wookiee. The impact of the strike was audible. Off balance Toj could do little to defend himself against the heavy truncheon with its electric field. The gamorrean pressed in raising its club for another attack.
Cash lined up his pistol with the gamorrean in order to assist his friend, but was unable to get a clear shot. Rushing forward he took the only option he saw available and leaped from the stage. The handle of his pistol crashed down on the face of Toj’s attacker with a sharp crack. The creature’s strange blood dripped from its snout but it seemed unaffected by the attack. It lumbered forward raising its club once more, but this time its focus was on Cash. It let out a grunt and prepared to strike.
An eruption of crimson light burst from across the cantina heralding the blast that found the striking gamorrean in the back. The creature twisted from the shot and toppled to the floor writhing in agony. Its breath was labored and fear filled its beady black eyes. It expired shortly after. Valen raised his rifle from his shoulder, smoke drifting from the barrel, and nodded in the direction of the others.
Cash stepped down from the stage looking over the carnage so recently wrought upon the cantina. A whistle of astonishment left his lips. His eyes came to rest on the struggling gamorrean on the floor who Toj had so delicately thrown through a table.
“Sorry, pal. You were dealt a bad hand this time.” He said solemnly.
Cash twisted his hand and lowered his pistol firing three shots, point blank, into the chest of the thug Toj had smashed through the table. It squealed in pain from the first shot but was silenced by the second. It was already dead when the third blast tore into its body. Smoke rose from the charred remains of its chest and its green hued blood spattered the floor.
“A really bad hand…”
Toj roared, his rage not yet subsided.
“We can count that one as yours…” Cash backed away from the wookiee raising his hands passively.
A few deep breaths later and Toj found his control. His lengthy frame visibly relaxed. Muscles which were once taught and visible hid once more behind the wookiee’s thick dark fur. He bent down and retrieved his bowcaster. After his weapon was secured Toj began to stretch out his wounded shoulder, growling softly against the pain.
The devorian behind the bar rose from the safety of cover to survey the carnage that had unfolded in his establishment. A grin came to his fanged mouth and his clawed hands began to slowly clap together. The applause grew faster and was accompanied by a somewhat sinister chuckle. Cash bowed deeply before walking over to Valen.
“Thanks for the help, friend.” Cash said. “But you may want to get out of here now. You don’t want to be mixed up in all of this.” He added.
“If I had let them kill you I wouldn’t be able to ask you for a ride off of this dust ball.” Valen shrugged his shoulders. “You are leaving soon, I would imagine. Otherwise there would be no point in killing Sinasu’s enforcers. Call the assistance part of my payment for transport.”
Cash laughed. “You really think that is all it will take to get us to take you with us? We don’t know you.”
“You know that I’m a good shot.” Valen replied in a matter-of-fact manner. “You also know that those weren’t all of Sinasu’s thugs. There will be more.”
“Fair enough, you help us and we’ll get you off-world. The name’s Kraken. This is Toj.” Cash said while motioning to Tojjevvuk. “The foul-mouthed droid is 8. Don’t look directly at him. He’s funny about things like that.”
From across the cantina 8 mumbled “Better not try to water my plants...”
Valen offered a calloused hand, which Cash shook. “Valen Kar. We should probably get moving. It won’t be long before someone figures out that these dead fellows have been in here for far too long.”
“A few quick errands and we’re on our way. First we need to do some shopping.” Cash chuckled.
Edited by unkle_caveman, 17 October 2013 - 06:51 AM.