“I’m hurt, mate, I am.”
“Oh comeon don’t start.”
“Ya lied to me, Uji, I thought we were pals? Why didn’t ya just tell me why you was comin’ along, it’s a perfectly legitimate reason.”
“We’re trying to limit the amount of information about Perdition getting out, we don’t know how big they are, we don’t know what assets they have out here. I’m hoping we cleaned most of it up already, but they likely have ships operating in the area still, somebody moved their troops around anyways. Besides, Kord, Dassac is still out there.”
Kordath shuddered at the mention of the Chistori Sith. He’d spent about a week in the One Sith Elder’s ‘care’ when they’d attempted to invade Selen. Torture, physical and mental, had left scars on the Ryn that he still drank to forget. Occasionally he could hear the old lizard whispering in his brain, he’d taken to mental exercises after that encounter. It was likely the only reason he’d not done something unforgivable. After all, shortly after escaping the Sith he’d nearly lost control and cut Uji down in a turbolift before regaining his senses. Another encounter with Dassac could only spell trouble.
“But that doesn’t explain why–” Kordath was cut off as the comm speaker squealed to life loudly, cutting through the privacy settings. “Oh kark.”
“Captain! The bait has attracted some attention, we’ve got inbound on the sensors!” came the crackling voice.
Bleu groaned and tapped a button, bringing up the holo projector again as it showed the courier vessel out ahead of them. Coming out of the asteroid belt, trailing them but picking up speed was an old model Corellian Corvette. Someone on the bridge attached a quick data analysis to the feed, showing off the ship’s capabilities and likely armament.
“We can take that,” mumbled the Ryn, staring at the feed and feeling a grin start to spread across his face. “Come along, boss, we might have this in the bag already, eh?”
“Let’s hope so, the looks Nath is giving me I’m not sure I want to be aboard for too long.”
“Made yer own bed mate.”
“Stealth integrity is holding, Sir!” came the first report as the Ryn stepped on to the bridge. His second, the Sephi was standing before the much larger holo display that dominated the center of the bridge. Rulvak gave him a short nod before turning back to the image.
“Sound general quarters and all that, get people to their positions. Give the Commandant a ring as well, his lads are about to have some fun methinks. Suggestions, Commander?” Kordath stood up straight despite his lack of true military prowess he had been learning to fake it. Confidence in front of the crew was more important than anything else, they knew how to do their jobs, he mostly just had to let them.
Qurroc pointed at the display, “I think it’d be best if we swung about their aft and put ourselves between them and the asteroid field before shutting down the stealth field and engaging. We can keep up with them easily in open space, the Nighthawk is faster by far, but they may know the belt better than we do.”
Kordath nodded in agreement, “Makes sense, let’s do that. Kalon! Take us about on the Commander’s vector!”
“Yeah yeah,” came a reply from the helmsman station, which the Ryn chose to ignore. The security door at the back of the bridge opened, allowing the Barabel entrance and a few other officers.
Zakath glanced at the display, taking it in at a glance before grunting. He moved on to the tactical station to oversee it.
“We pickin’ up anythin’ else on sensors?”
“No, Sir. But we’re having trouble getting much from the asteroid belt due to the mineral and ore saturation.”
“Aye, that’s why we sent the courier ship out as bait. Alright, get us into position and we’ll give these pirates the scare of their lives.”
The command crew watched as the ships moved through the holo display, the Corvette slowly catching up with the courier which had begun evasive maneuvers. The Nighthawk was steadily gaining on the pirate vessel, the calculations suggesting they’d catch up nearly a minute before the courier would be in range. Kordath sighed in relief, getting those girls into trouble, at least this kind of trouble, wasn’t what he’d hoped for. He saw Uji visibly relax a bit as the numbers confirmed themselves.
“You headin’ down to join the Talons, mate?”
“In a minute, want to see how this starts.”
“Hmm, observin’ to the end.”
“I swear you’re never letting that go are you?”
“We are in range, Captain!”
“Stygium field down! Shields up! Prepare weapons!”
“Target iz locked, Captain.”
“Proceed, Mister Zakath,” spoke the Ryn with a little smile. It was fun getting the drop on somebody else, way more so than his usual luck. A warning alarm started to scream through the bridge and Bleu felt as if the Universe’s sick sense of humor had just kicked on. “What is that for?”
“Captain! We’ve got another vessel exiting the asteroid field!”
“Oh of bloody course we do! What do we know!?”
“Sending it to the display, Sir!”
“Oh kark me is that another Corvette?” Kordath looked at the display and did his own calculations, even while the projection updated itself. The ship chasing the courier was turning about to engage them already, and they were already in range of the new Corvette. A projection number appeared, stating that an engagement with both vessels was not in their favor. Kordath was almost surprised the numbers were still in the double digits.
“The new arrival is hailing us, Sir.”
Bleu hung his head for a moment and sighed. Out maneuvered by pirates in their own system. Zakath was never going to let him live this down, if they survived. Something skittered across his mind, causing the Ryn to shudder and feel cold. Raising his head slowly he stared at the ship, feeling a primal fear grow. He forced it down with some effort and turned to his Aedile.
“Sir. I’d like ya to leave the bridge.”
“What? If there’s someone of authority hailing us, I’m the–”
“Sir. I’m the person of authority on this ship. Remember. I’d like you to leave the bridge. Please, Uji.”
The Human gave him a quizzical look, “Kord what’s wrong?”
“Sir. Please leave the bridge,” stated the Captain again before leaning forward and lowering his voice. “I’d rather he not know the man who lead the counter offensive is on board me ship, mate.”
Uji gave him another odd look before nodding, “Your ship, Captain.”
Kordath counted to ten after the door closed before nodding to his communications officer. The holo projection shifted over to show the bridge of a Corellian Corvette and several officers. The Ryn stiffened as he heard a clicking sound. He noted Zakath sit a little straighter as well, the sound of talons on metal plating were distinct, no surprise the Barabel could recognize the sound as well. A toothy maw in to view, red eyes set above them as the Chistori’s face filled the screen.
“I see we’ve caught some Arconans out on their own. What a pity. Oh, oh my is that our old friend, Bleu?”
“Dassac,” growled the Ryn, trying to hold on to anger rather than fear.
“My my, is that a Captain’s uniform they’ve dressed you up in? How amusing. Do they not know the extent in which I twisted your little mind, Ryn?”
“Piracy, Dassac? You’ve truly fallen low, eh?”
“Mmm, piracy for the sake of piracy would be one thing, Kordath my friend. We both know that’s not why I’m still out here, biding my time and preparing my forces. Your little friend Tameike put up an admirable defense of the system, but we still decimated the Scepter organization. I cannot wait to have him in hand, I’m sure they’ll send him out after we’ve destroyed you and your sneaky little vessel.”
“Destroy us? How wasteful and uncouth of you, no attempts to sway me to your side again?”
“Mmm, adorable, playing for time. As lovely as getting you back to work on would be, I fear that you will not survive the destruction of your vessel. Such a shame.”
Kordath glanced at the tactical station, Zakath was shaking his head and had a grim look on his face. This was bad, this was…the Ryn sighed, recalling the other bit in his orders packet that he’d not shared with his officers yet.
“Fine. I got a proposal for you, ya big toothy bastard,” growled the Ryn. He could see Dassac’s eyes light up with glee. “Me. Let the Hawk go, let the courier ship go, they’re just civilians we hired anyhow, no threat to you or your operations. Let them go, and I’ll dump myself in a pod. Then we can have a proper conversation again, eh?”
“You think you’re life is worth a stealth vessel? Please, Bleu, your sense of self importance has expanded greatly since our last chat.”
“Well, let’s see,” spoke the Ryn, holding up a finger, “One, the fellow who stopped your push is me best mate. Two, the Shadow Lady and me are pretty close as well. Three, I’m a bloody Captain, who knows what I might know, eh? You want Tameike to come out and play? Let the Nighthawk go, I’ll come along, no muss, no fuss.”
Dassac narrowed his eyes and watched the Ryn, who was trying his hardest not to shake. From somewhere on the Corvette’s bridge a feminine voice could be heard, “You can’t be seriously considering this, Master! The one who killed Tiysha is on that ship! I can feel him, my Lord!”
“Quiet Lysha! Your sister died because of her own recklessness. She shouldn’t have tried to face the Neti on her own, she has no one to blame but herself. Now then,” Dassac turned back to the cam, “You trust me to let your vessel go if you should surrender yourself, Bleu?”
“Let’s go with this, Dassac, buddy, pal. The Hawk is fully capable of destroyin’ at least one of your ships before she gets blasted her self. Which one do ya think she’ll go after, hmm? Give me fifteen minutes and I’m yours, gotta make arrangements.”
“You have five. I so look forward to seeing you again, little Ryn.”
“Yeah, yeah,” muttered the Captain as the display blinked out.’
“Sir you cannot be serious, this is a trick of some kind, right?” asked the Commander. Kordath sighed and pulled a data card from his pocket and handed it to the Sephi.
“That’s the rest of my orders, Rulvak. After this mission, or whenever I felt it was prudent like, I’m to hand over command to ya. Got a postin’ on Selen waitin’ for me, finally get to be on solid ground again,” spoke the Ryn, smiling weakly.
“Thiz iz a miztake, Captain.”
“Probably, but we won’t win a fight against both of those ships, not without help. So get help, or try and get the drop on them when you can. Don’t worry, you all are familiar enough with me to track me through the Force. I’m sure I’ll be broadcastin’ pretty strong.”
“What, when they’re torturing you?”
“Pretty much. I’ve got a pod to catch, lads,” Kordath sighed and straightened, giving his best attempt at a salute to the Sephi. “Permission to disembark, Captain?”
“…granted. Crazy Ryn.”
“I’ll be called worse, ‘fore the day is over, mate.”
Kordath had managed to slip past Uji on his way to the pods, the Human would have tried to stop him from doing this, probably. The pod made a loud pop sound as it shot off, and jarred as a tractor beam got hold of it. Long minutes passed with the Ryn keeping his eyes shut, breathing deeply as he tried to send some last thoughts out via the Force, towards a few friends on Selen.
Sorry, Blinky, here I go again, eh?
He opened his eyes as the pod settled and the hatch popped open.
“Well, this is gonna hurt,” muttered the Ryn as he climbed out.