Predator's Tale

Walking into the dimly lit lounge, Mustang and Typhoon saw Predator sitting by himself at one of the tables in the lounge, his face bathed in a soft bluish light coming from the small glass set in front of him. "Hey fly boy!" Mustang greeted Predator and as both he and Typhoon sat down at the table.

Studying the dark, flaming liquid sitting in front of their squad mate Predator, Typhoon asked "What's that you're having?"

"It's called flameout, a little something I learned of at Obroa Skai, during a stop I made there, just as I was transferring to the Liberty. "How about going a round with me?" Predator asked.

Speaking for both himself and Typhoon, Mustang said with a wicked grin on his face "Sure, as long as you're buying!"

"Hey Mixer pal, could you get a flameout for both of my friends here please?" Predator yelled across the lounge towards the bar tending droid. In a few minutes Mixer arrived at the table carrying two glasses of the same dark beverage Predator was having. "Thanks Mixer, put 'em on my tab," said Predator as Mixer set both drinks on the table. Typhoon and Mustang were already reaching for the drink when Predator stopped them saying, "Hold it you two."

"Light 'em up!" Predator told Mixer.

Following Predator's request the droid extended a miniature flame projector from one of his three appendages. With it Mixer first proceeded to warm the underside of both glasses. When the beverages appeared to be rather hot, Mixer lit the liquid itself. It burned with a bluish flame. Once both drinks were lit, just as Predator's was, Mixer put in a straw in the center of the ring of fire on each of the three beverages. As he did so he announced, "The drinks are now served."

"Ready to commence the competition?" asked the bartender droid.

In nearly perfect unison, both Typhoon and Mustang turned to face Predator with a puzzled look in their eyes. "Was there something you didn't tell us?" inquired Typhoon.

"It's actually very simple," answered Predator. "The object of the competition is to see who can chug-a lug their drink the fastest after Mixer gives us the go, and that's it." Predator said in his most innocent manner.

"Ready?" asked the droid again.

All three Buccaneers responded "Ready!"

Mixer started the countdown, "3...2...1...Go!"

Mixer had barely finished giving the go and all three pilots had started sipping their flaming drinks as fast as they could through the narrow straws. In just about three seconds the contest was over. Mixer announced Predator was the victor. Although he had won by not much more than a tenth of a second Mixer's precise sensors could keep track of all three contestants simultaneously with complete accuracy.

When both Typhoon and Mustang tried to breath they made a gasping sound as the strong drink burned their tongues and simultaneously froze their throats.

Predator who was already accustomed to the flameout only gave out a long "Ah! That feels good!"

After partially recovering from the strange sensation, Predator's squad mates, still with a hand to their throats asked, "Where did you find out about this drink?"

"It's kind of a long story, you got the time?" asked Predator.

"We don't have to report back to duty 'til twenty one hundred," responded Mustang.

"It's only nineteen hundred, right now. We have plenty of time," answered Predator.

And so Predator began...

This story takes place right before I arrived on the Liberty about a month ago. As you might have learned from my bio, after a couple of my clansmen and I escaped from an Imperial ship, we were found by an Alliance task force. It was then that we decided to join the Rebel Alliance. Once we were on board one of the task force's ships, we were taken to the CRS Independence to be assigned to a squadron.

I was berthed on an old, battered freighter called the Leery Pyrate to rendezvous with the CRS Liberty. I expected the trip to be a short one, only a pair of days in hyperspace. Unfortunately, the hyperspace control unit burned out and we had to look for a safe haven until we could get it fixed or replaced. As it turned out the nearest spaceport was on Obroa Skai. Without further incident, we arrived at Obroa Skai and landed on platform 35.

As I started making my way down the Leery Pyrate's boarding ramp, I was startled by the feel of the "wrong end" of a weapon digging into my back.

"I have been waiting for you, young one," said a heavily hissing voice. Reflexively I spun around and caught a glimpse of my assailant, his features hidden by the shadow cast by the ship's landing struts. Halfway in my desperate attempt to reach my blaster, I caught the butt of a rifle full on the stomach. The hard blow sent me collapsing to the ground gasping for air.

While lying on the durasteel floor of the landing pad, I saw my aggressor step into the light. His reptilian-looking face and huge bloodshot eyes now became clearly discernible beneath the powerful flood lights of the landing pad's illumigrid.

"Bossk!" I managed to cough out with what little air I could muster into my lungs. Mixed feelings of both hatred and disbelief haunted my mind as I lay on the floor beneath the bounty hunter.

"Thought you could get rid of me that easily?" The bounty hunter asked with a trace of bravado in his voice as he stabbed the barrel of his disruptor rifle into my ribs.

"But how... " was all I managed to say in a tone of bewilderment. "What in the Empire does it take to get rid of this guy?" I asked myself. I'd practically tossed him out an air lock the last time we faced each other. I thought I'd gotten rid of him permanently. It seems he wasn't interested in telling me how he had survived the massive decompression and scarcity of air, commonly associated with being in a ship's cargo hold at the moment of venting it into space.

Removing my blaster from its holster, he performed a sensor frisk on me and took several other items which had shown on the scan; among them my vibro-shiv, comlink, and a couple hundred credits. As he gestured with his disruptor I got back on my feet. After all, it was an invitation not many would have refused, knowing the mess those things are capable of, especially at point blank range. It's no wonder they're illegal in most sectors of the galaxy.

Half walking, half being dragged, Bossk and I made our way into a drinking establishment by the name of Kontiki Point. I could hardly see anything in that dark smoke filled place but as we moved further inside I could see Bossk signaling to a couple of Imperial Stormtroopers, who I hadn't noticed were laying in wait just beside the very door through which we had come. It suddenly dawned on me that Bossk wasn't looking for revenge, he was going to turn me over to the Imperials.

"Why?" I blurted out. "Why not just kill me and be done with it?"

With a grin that sent shivers down my spine he replied, "It's more profitable to turn you over to Grand Moff Lytton and collect the bounty on your head than just killing you now."

In a surge of courage or sheer stupidity I tried to get on his nerves. "What's the matter? Getting soft?"

Bossk seemed to loose his temper for a moment as he jabbed his disruptor into my ribs, then in a controlled manner said, "Don't push it, I could just as well settle for the 'dead' reward." As a way of punctuating his statement he shoved his weapon into my ribs again. From that moment I vowed to myself that if the disruptor so much as touched me, I would shove it up his reptilian rear and fire it first chance I got.

I calmed myself down and realized that this approach was getting me nowhere. It was time to try a different strategy. With one of my most innocent smiles I asked "Don't I at least get a last request before you turn me over to the Imperials?" It became evident that the bounty hunter had no sense of humor, since after I made my smart mouth remark I caught the butt of the disruptor in my ribs once again. I bent down in agony as I felt a few of my ribs crack.

The bounty hunter didn't seem to be to big on attracting any unnecessary attention from the clientele. With his disruptor concealed underneath his flight suit he made me follow him to a table right beside the bar, where we would sit until the Imperial troopers came to take me away. Whether the bounty hunter would decide to end it there and then, or would turn me over to the Imperials, it seemed fairly certain that I was on the verge of taking the 'final jump'.

I was desperately trying to come up with any idea for my escape, unfortunately there weren't a whole lot of choices left. Before I could think over my plan, I saw the Stormtroopers' highly polished armor as it glistened beneath the soft light of some sort of glow rod that formed the letters of the establishment's name. As soon as the imperials came into view, most of the crowd in the bar started running out of Kontiki Point. Luckily I looked away from the Imperials on their way in. Directly in my line of sight another light source caught my attention, it was a bluish flame set on a glass, no doubt a highly intoxicating beverage. When I caught a glimpse of how close the Stormtroopers were, I knew it was time to act. I waited for the Imperials to move in a bit closer, then in a flash I reached for the flaming beverage and threw it square on the bounty hunter's face. In a shriek of agony he threw his hands to his now burning face, immediately dropping the disruptor to the floor on the other side of the bar.

There it was, the chance I'd been waiting for. The Imperial troopers had begun spreading a barrage of laser bolts. I dove over the bar for the disruptor, just narrowly avoiding being hit by the troopers' fire. I grabbed the disruptor and aimed it at the troopers. After pressing the trigger all I saw was a bright, fiery discharge hit one of the troopers. The disruptor's recoil made me loose my balance, as for the Stormtrooper I had hit, let's just say he was now covering plenty more ground. The three remaining Stormtroopers found partial cover behind one of the tables. With another powerful blast from the disruptor, a good sized hole had been left on the table, and two of the remaining troopers lay dead. The last thing I saw before being thrown against the wall behind the bar was the surviving trooper scrambling for his life, apparently in no hurry to join his comrades. Strange behavior for a Stormtrooper indeed.

There on the wall beside me was the terrified bartender who hadn't been able to leave the place before the gunfight. As I looked over the bar in search for any more Imperials, I nearly got my head cut off by a vicious looking vibroblade wielded by the hand of none other than Bossk. I had completely forgotten about him. As I looked at his somewhat disfigured face I could see that he was out for blood, bounty or not. He charged towards me and jumped over the bar lunging with the vibroblade in his hand. I barely had time to react, but I was able to roll out of the way. Reflexively, I reached for the disruptor only to find it a couple meters away, those few meters seemed more like a couple of light years. I thought that was the end of me. In the effort to elude the attack and fire the weapon, my head hit a bottle filled wall. The last thing I saw before everything went black was the bartender, in a heroic effort, reaching to the bounty hunter's head with a bottle he had kept in his hands all this time and smashing it against his skull as hard as he could...

As I came to, I expected to see the underside of the top bunk in my quarters aboard the Liberty, instead I found myself in a strange place, with a strange face looming over me. After a while I recognized him as the terrified bartender caught in the firefight. As I tried to get up I felt a colossal ache in the back of my head. As the bartender opened his mouth I thought I was gonna get it, to my surprise the bartender said in a sympathetic voice "Take it easy son, rest a while."

Still in astonishment I asked "You're not mad about the mess?"

"Naaw, I figure I owe you for helping me get rid of that bounty hunter, he'd been harassing a few of my best customers. Besides the damage isn't too bad," he answered with a smile on his face. "Still you got to admit that you were pretty lucky that flameout was there, no other drink burns quite that hot."

"Where's Bossk?" I asked.

"He won't be running around the galaxy anytime soon. The local authorities saw to that," Replied the bartender with a broad smile spreading across his face.

As Predator finished his story he said, "So that's how I got my favorite drink, after all, it saved my life. Besides it's quite strong and tasty at the same time, don't you agree? What do you guys say to another round?"

Before answering Predator's question, Typhoon stood up and exclaimed, "Hey everyone, drinks are on Predator!"

The crowd that had gathered in the lounge cheered as they raised their newly filled glasses and toasted, "To Predator!"

Predator only mumbled "Oh great, there goes my week's pay."