Out of Nowhere

In Uncategorized on 2009-07-26 by Kyle Maxwell

(Author’s Note: The following is something I wrote for the bi-weekly Galactic Tales competition on the Star Wars Galaxies Roleplaying Forum.)

Out of Nowhere

The friendly Sullustan waved to the patrol as it passed quickly down the halls. They recognized him as a starport regular. He’d acquired a reputation as a grease monkey who’d rent out his services to ships that needed a bit of maintenance work. Fortunately for him, he’d never really attracted the attention of the local trooper detachment that mostly watched for fugitives or responded to customs requests for security.

He ducked back into a storage closet and checked his inventory mentally. All the components sat in their appropriate places on the shelves, ready for his use. Without so much as a cautious glance behind him, he chose an appropriate set and strolled over to an Imperial customs frigate docked nearby. Normally, they’d only use their own personnel, but after a recent visit from an unhappy sector moff, the local customs department found itself short-staffed and had to make use of local resources.

The hyperdrive signature sensors needed recalibrating as did the tractor beam control circuitry. He noticed the crew lounge hadn’t had a good cleaning after its last cruise. The memories of the last time he’d peeked into an Imperial crew lounge before they had removed the remnants of their party caused an involuntary shudder. He got back to work on the electronics.

Just as he finished up, an Imperial ensign cleared his throat behind him. Despite the sudden scare, he managed not to scream this time.

“Who let you on this ship, you rodent?”

Offering his apologies, he dug around in his pockets for his starport identification. After a few breathless moments, he found it and handed it over, trying his best to explain in his pidgin Basic.

The ensign sneered as he gave the ID back. “Such a shame we have to allow animals on board these days. Soon enough we’ll get the staff replenished. Now run along back to your cage, rodent.”

The Sullustan said nothing in response, but left quickly. Once back in his own maintenance bay, he exhaled heavily. He sat down at his communications console and quickly entered his work record and noted the time, though his brief status report did not mention the ID check.

Later that evening, he sat in the corner of his favorite tapcafe, nursing his drink and staying in the shadows. As if out of nowhere, the ensign he’d met on the ship appeared next to him and took the other side of the booth without asking.

“I suppose you wouldn’t know anything about what happened to our ship today, would you?”

The Sullustan shook his head emphatically, trying without much success not to squeal in fear.

“A YT-1210 came screaming in past us. The sensors should have picked them up coming out of hyperspace. Odd that they didn’t.”

At this, the little maintenance worker sat back in his seat, showing a bit of surprise.

“Not just that. We tried to engage a tractor beam on them, with no success. Seems all the fuses blew at once, despite the voltages all showing well within normal parameters.”

No troopers appeared to have come into the cantina. Maybe they’d decided to wait for him outside before arresting him?

Then the ensign shook his head. “Just like that, they maneuvered into an asteroid field and disappeared. Probably docked in some little shadowport.” He studied the Sullustan across from him, his hatred for the non-human splayed across his face. “I know you had something to do with this. And when I prove it, you’ll wish you had never left that rathole your species calls a planet.”

As the young Imperial officer got up to leave, the Sullustan made an obscure but discreet gesture to a nearby MSE droid that skittered across the floor and out a small maintenance hatch. He kept his face impassive and waited for the ensign to exit the front before he removed a comlink and thumbed a control on it twice.

The next morning, the local maintenance staff twittered with excitement as the Sullustan arrived. Had he heard? Did he know? Nobody had told him? They spoke over each other, trying to outdo each other in their enthusiasm to tell him that the local barracks had gone into lockdown and a number of the young officers had exited in stuncuffs, escorted to an interrogation center in the starport. According to the workers present at the time, evidently the security detachment had found a MSE droid in the barracks trying to deliver an encrypted datadisk of some sort. Suspicion had fallen on one group in particular, despite their protests, and so they had to answer questions: uncomfortable questions asked by an unusually stern-faced senior officer with interrogation droids.

The Sullustan smiled, shook his head, and said he’d never heard of such a thing, but he needed to check in on his assignments for the day.

Back at his console, he requisitioned some assorted sensor electronics, another MSE droid, and a few more blank datadisks.


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