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Doom of the Fates - Pt. 1

Posted on Sunday September 6th, 2020 @ 1:19am by Jai Damodar
Edited on on Sunday September 6th, 2020 @ 1:30am

Mission: When a Hutt Laughs
Location: Hutta Town | Nar Shaddaa
Timeline: Before MD 0

Hutta Town, Nar Shadaa

"Qam ruay farr?" What are you looking at?

Jai looked away from the hull breach behind the cockpit to the greasy little Rodian in the pilot's seat. "Shut up." He readjusted the blaster pistol held to the back of the bug man's head. Wind whipped at his locks, reminding him of his bold act of desperation just moments before.

Collecting bounties was usually beneath Jai, but beggars can't be choosers. And employers who weren't connected to either side of the latest Civil War became more and more rare by the day.

That meant as often as not, Jai was hunting down the object of some rich man's scorn. This particular bounty had taken him for quite a ride.

+++30 minutes prior....+++

"Te kalya skrek, grulla woska!" Put me down, you hairy heap!

Jai had bumrushed the subject, a slimy Rodian named Vuko, and taken him to the ground. "I don't understand you," Jai said curtly in his baritone voice, "so you might as well shut up and save it for Grakkus."

"Ittu! Te Thuku! Inta'si'rin'na Goa-Ato!"

Some sentiments were universal and needed no translation. Jai grunted as he pushed himself back to his feet, hauling the Rodian up from the deck along with him. Assorted bystanders who'd cleared space for the tackle now grew disinterested and returned to their bustle. Assault and battery was just another day on Nar Shaddaa, especially when the large, armored man dropped the name of a Hutt gangster.

While Jai was going for the manacles issued by Grakkus' goons, the closest thing to a port authority in Hutta Town, the Rodian made a slip. Double-jointed bastard.
And, to make matters worse, there was the distinct tink-tink-tink at Jai's feet. He looked down just in time to watch a sonic detonator light up.

He dove away, but that was just out of reflex. The sonic detonation slammed him into the wall of the starpad terminal several meters away from where he'd been standing. Jai slid to the cold metal deck headfirst, toppling in a bulky heap. It took a moment to clear his head. When he did, he was greeted by the telltale whine of thrusters priming for takeoff.

Vuko had reached his ship. The Rodian's head was visible through the cockpit's windshield, bobbing in laughter.

"No, you don't!"

Reaching back to the laser lancer strapped to his back, Jai hefted it in his right hand as he fell into a full sprint. The crowd gave way to the armed man charging out onto the starpad. It seemed he was too late, as the little Verpine asteroid hopper was already airborne.

Jai dug the toes of his boots deeper into the harsh metal plating underfoot and increased his speed. He would need lots of speed for what came next. The asteroid hopper turned in place, the pitch of its repulsor thrusters increasing in preparation for a jump to high atmosphere.

Running to the edge of the starpad, Jai shoved the tip of his lance downward and ignited the laser discharge. The blast reflected off the deck and catapulted him up and forward. With the starpad behind him, Jai tried not to look down at the 100 meters of empty air between him and the ground below. He recharged the lance and pivoted in the air. It took both arms to swing his lance around his body and shove it toward the asteroid hopper in the mere seconds before gravity would drag him from the adjacent starpad to the pedestrian traffic below.

Just before the lance made purchase, Jai triggered the secondary charge. The hull of the asteroid hopper crumpled beneath the blast. He clung to the lance's handle with a death grip as G-forces tried to pull him to his death. Fortunately, the loss of cabin pressure meant that the asteroid hopper dropped a few dozen meters. Rather than dangling for dear life, Jai found himself whipped up over the top of the hopper's hull. His death grip on his lance flipped him around directly onto the cockpit windshield.

"Open the port!" he screamed into the windshield.

The Rodian either didn't hear or didn't care. Jai jostled against the cockpit's exterior, trying to hold fast while the asteroid hopper's responsive repulsor tech fought against wind resistance and pressure failure.

"Enough of this..."

Jai accessed the blaster pistol on his thigh and aimed for the exterior port release. The first two shots ricocheted into the sky, but the third one hit its mark. As the door popped open, the asteroid hopper suddenly veered wild as its regulators failed to compensate.

The sudden emotion was enough for the embedded laser lance finally broke free. Had it gone the other way, Jai might've been tossed aside like a bad case of fleas. As luck would have it, though, he was flung directly into the hatch's opening.

Rolling to a crouch, Jai sat up in time to level the blaster still in his hand directly at the Rodian. "Do exactly as I say or I'll splatter you against your own windshield." The command rumbled up from deep in his chest. At first the Rodian hesitated as if considering a brawl, but he'd have to take his hands off the controls to do so. It was clear Jai had him dead to rights.

"Turn this heap around and head for Grakkus' Palace." He jumped up, almost too tall to stand up straight, and shoved the muzzle of the blaster against the Rodian's bug-eyed head. "Do it now!"

Grakkus' Palace, which Jai had been staring at, loomed on the horizon of Nar Shaddaa's ecumenopolis that spanned the entire surface of the Smuggler's Moon. As the prince of Hutta Town and one of Nar Shaddaa's movers and shakers, Grakkus was one of the more reliable employers in the sector.

The beat up asteroid hopper couldn't fly straight, but the repulsor thrusters were still strong. Four swoop bikes rose up in formation and surrounded the struggling asteroid hopper. The lead rider gestured toward a landing pad atop the palace.

"Go on," Jai said said to his captive. "Do it."

Only when the asteroid hopper completed its choppy descent in a hard but otherwise safe landing did Jai breathe a sigh of relief. Now to collect the reward money and be done with it.

There was just one problem.

Lanshka, a Trandoshan who was Grakkus' majorodomo, came forward with a protocol droid in tow.

"The Honorable Lanshka wishes for you to explain yourself, Jai Damodar." The jittery protocol droid wavered to and fro as it tracked the gestures and expressions of everyone present.

"I'm collecting Grakkus' marker on Vuko," Jai said, stumbling out of the busted up asteroid hopper with the Rodian clutched by the collar. Once clear, Jai threw him to the ground. "There he is."

The Trandoshan snarled, which made his pig-nosed Gamorrean bodyguards ready their blaster rifles.

"The Honorable Lanshka says you are welcome to collect Vuko's bounty just as soon as you supply him. This Rodian is Thuku, an agent of His Eminence Grakkus the Great." The protocol droid almost sounded nervous. "If you would please come with us, the Honorable Lanshka says we can clear up this misunderstanding."

Jai briefly weighed his options. He could make a break for it. It wasn't inconceivable that he could best the Gamorrean bodyguards. Lanshka was an unknown, as were any surprises that were hidden. But then there was the matter of escape. The swoop riders overhead would take down the asteroid hopper or any other craft he could commandeer. Piloting never was one of his specialties.

To help matters along, a red dot appeared on his chest. A laser sight. Somewhere among the crenelations a hidden sharpshooter had him in the scope of their slugthrower.

"Fine." Jai held up his hands and let the Gamorreans disarm him. "Let's go see what 'His Eminence' has to say."



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