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Rancor's Tale

The pilot stumbled into the dark, murky Lounge. He was about 6 feet tall, with black hair and green eyes. Despite his fresh cheerful face, he seemed to be covering another side of him only vaguely visible through the haze in his eyes. He was still wearing his flight suit, and a small R2 unit was beeping merrily beside him.

The Lounge was much larger than he was used to on ships, with several sabacc tables and a tank full of exotic (most likely Calamari) fish. The place was almost as deserted as he expected it to be with the shift he'd been given, but glancing along the dark room he was surprised when he noticed Chris "Electro" Schock sitting at the bar. Rancor hopped over to his side and grinned at his new Commanding Officer.

Electro smiled and said, "So how'd you find your first run? The A-Wing O.K?"

"Yeah it was fine," Rancor said in a carefree voice. "Been very well tuned by the last owner, and it has a nice roar to it. Dazzler wants have a go at the circuitry to see what he can get out of it." The small droid beeped in acknowledgment. Rancor smiled and continued. "Can't wait to fry Imps with it."

Electro sighed at his eager pilot and said, "Well, I wouldn't be too eager about combat. It sure isn't pretty."

With this, Rancor flipped out his old blaster, and said with a smile, "I could take out those pieces-of-junk TIEs with this thing."

"Yeah, but it's all TIE Advanced now, not so easy. Where did you get that blaster anyway? Looks old."

Memories resurfaced and tugged at Rancor from a different life as mercenary and a bounty hunter after he'd left the Rebellion for the first time, and most importantly, before he'd met Dazzler's previous owner who had set his life back on track. Electro noticed a faint flash of pain flush over the pilots face and was about to change the subject when Rancor began.

He handed over the blaster to Electro. The blaster was old, but looked as good as new. With its twin barrels, it was just the same as any other blaster, only with a bit more majesty. A Blastech 800 from the Clone Wars. If you only use one barrel, it has the power equivalent of a stun blast, and with both barrels activated, it has the power of a standard kill blast shot without the loud noise. Very good for covert. Then, taking back the gun, Rancor began his tale.

"Several years ago when I was doing a erm job for a local Hutt in the Corellian sector, I met a contact who must have had very good connections. He seemed to know a lot on my past. I used him to dig up anything he could about my parents. Despite the rough image I portrayed to survive, the whole point of doing all the jobs was to find out things about my family, and their links to the Clone Wars. One day he called me, saying he had something very interesting to offer."

"I carefully walked into the man's' old shack with my standard Imp blaster drawn. Despite fairly trusting the old guy, when the Empire has a death warrant on you for treason, you can never rest. I looked round the murky gray room, finding it covered in dust."

"There were several shelves filled with various things that no one in their right mind could possibly find useful. There were 3 small windows, but only for people to look outwards, not in, and as far as could be seen there was no means of power in the place. At the back of the room , there was what looked to be basically a wooden block, but served the purpose of a counter for deals to be struck. "

"Walking over to the counter, I saw the man walking through a pile of rags, which must lead to another room. He was around sixty, with graying hair, and overweight. His face was sagging, and he had a vicious looking scar from his left ear, leading to his nose. Leaning against the counter, I asked what he wanted me for, but he just dismissed me, and slammed a hand-sized metal box on the counter, instructing me to open it."

"Flicking open the box, I found three medals. I studied each in turn. The first had a picture of a man walking on top of a scorpion, and on the other side, a picture of a famous General who commanded the non-Jedi units in the Clone Wars. The strap was red, but with blue and white stripes in the middle. "

"The second had a different man on the back, who was said to have been the tactical genius during the war. On the other side, there were two men defending an acorn tree. On the strap were green, orange and black stripes."

"The final one was a star, blank on the back, but on the front, the inscription: 'The Corellia and Alderaan Star'. It again had red, white and blue stripes, but this time all even, with blue at the sides, then white with red in the middle. "

"The man grinned when he saw my astonished face, and I asked him if they were my fathers'. He nodded, and said that there were more. He told me that the contact from whom he had obtained the medals had possessed a blaster with a personal inscription, but a mercenary had "persuaded" him to hand it over. "

"He then continued, saying the mercenary's his name was Ilsa Ghant: a not-all-together tough guy who ran out of luck, and had to take up the trade of the hunt, basing himself on a small back water planet called Tatooine. I thanked him, and gladly paid the old man all the money I had obtained over the previous three months. "

" So then I paid Mr. Ghant a visit."

"The entire rock was just one big pile of sand that was no use to anyone, either Rebel or Imperial, but surprisingly, there was a huge Imperial presence in the area. "

"The stagnant cantina seemed to beckon the dregs of the galaxy. There were a number of tables, many of which were empty. The best source of information in any cantina is the barkeep, so I slumped onto a stool by the counter, and introduced myself to a greasy bartender who said his name was Wuher. After a half hour of as warm conversation as you could get with this guy, I told him I was looking for Ghant."

"Wuher asked if I was out to harm him, to which I replied, "That it depends on his cooperation." Smiling, he told me to break Ghants' arms, then said he was in docking bay 94. With that, I got up and left, passing some young farmer and an old man on their way in."

"Walking along the series of docking bays, after a quick pit stop for a bite to eat, I saw Bay 94. Entering, I noticed a heavily modified YT-1300. A human male and a Wookie left the ship, and as the man started saying something about 'Jabba had just seen him, and that he'd been given more time', the Wookie flashed a crossbow, just to make sure I didn't do anything funny. "

"Wondering what he was saying, I asked if he was Ghant. The man showed a mixture of both annoyance and relief, but then said that Ghant left last night, but because of the Star Destroyer barricade, he'd only been able to obtain clearance a half hour ago. So he should still be in orbit."

"I didn't hear him finish his sentence, as I was already running out to my ship which was docked not too far away, while telling the on-board droid to "Warm her up," using my commlink."

"I rushed up the ramp into my small-but-adequate heavily adapted Alderaan family saloon (dual torpedo launchers, ion cannons and quad lasers are extra to the noted price). Flinging myself into the cockpit, I was relieved to see that the droid had done its job, and we were ready to fly."

"I quickly throttled up, and flicked through the HUD to find the right ship through the many that were in orbit. There were many names, but Wuher had told me Ghant's was called the Mantis IV. There were very few TIES in the area, much to my relief, mainly smuggler's ships orbiting. Outrider, Slashed, Sunburst, etc. I found the Mantis, and felt the adrenaline surge through, as it wasn't too far away: only 5.3 clicks."

"I throttled up towards the ship, switching all power to engines, thinking: "I can power my ions from leftover shield power." As I hurtled along, I was just leaving the atmosphere when one of the STDs asked me for my clearance. I felt a tang of fear, but thanked the Force when they suddenly lost interest and concentrated their forces on another Corellian ship, possibly the one I'd seen earlier."

"The Mantis was now almost in range, so I transferred shields to lasers, and flicked my comms to a channel my system said he was using, and told him to go to zero throttle, and prepare to be bordered. He asked me what the hell I wanted, and I replied, saying that it was only a small blaster he had obtained, and I did not wish to hurt him."

"He now began to slow down and I prepared to dock, when several blasts of fire came from his turrets, taking away what little shielding I had, and also damaging my sensors. I moaned at having to fire blind, but at 1.20 clicks, it shouldn't be a problem. Firing away with my ions, he went evasive, flipping over in a tight loop but I quickly went to 1/3 throttle and was straight on his tail. He then suddenly opened fire with a rear cannon and I cursed myself for not expecting it."

"Instincts took over, and I strafed hard left and right, thankful for the little amount my shields had gained that just kept me alive. He was getting slower now, and his shields were down to 12%. Just a few more shots. Ghant flew low beneath me, but my top gun turned on its plate with him targeted by the ship, and blasted his system down to 40%, stopping his fire and almost crippling his maneuverability. With 2 more shots he was disabled."

"I flew up next to him, and as I was wondering why the Empire wasn't showing an interest, I noticed they had entered hyperspace chasing the Corellian craft. I carefully lowered my craft onto his airlock and felt a satisfying clunk as I finished docking."

"I went over to my docking door, flicked it open, and began working on the other ships' lock. Using a decoder that had cost me several hundred credits, I soon had it open. The entire ship was black from the loss of power as a result of my ions. I moved using stealth as my weapon, room after room until I reached the cockpit. I entered low to avoid him snapping off immediate shots at me."

"The room was empty, which meant he was hiding: probably scared out of his life. I was about to begin a thorough search when I heard the low click of a blaster safety coming from down the corridor. I threw myself out of the way, but dropped a small metal device the size of a coin. I activated it, then hologram of myself popped up from the device." "I pushed myself beneath the main controls of the ship. The stout man hopped into the room and shot a blast at the hologram, which I immediately countered with a shot to the chest. The last thing the man did before succumbing to the stun shot was to give a look of complete surprise, showing that if he hadn't expected that old trick. He obviously hadn't had much of a success in his line of work. I picked up the blaster from his hand, checking if there was an inscription. I found it well hidden in the chamber where you put the blaster cells."

"The inscription said it was a present from a Jedi to my father, for saving his life. With that, I left clutching the blaster firmly. It had returned to the family to which it belonged."