The Darkest Dawn

Interlude

Steam billowed out of an overhanging pipe, spilling over a metal walkway and onto two figures walking past.

“Damnit, I just had this suit modified,” complained one figure, stopping to shake out his garments of excess water.

The second figure, who was taller than the first and now dripping wet as well, turned back and growled, “shut up and stay focused. You can worry about your precious clothing after we’ve captured our target.” Turning around, the second figure continued forward once again.

The first figure looked up nervously and quickly followed behind. “R..right boss.”

There was very little light in the spaceship hanger, as most of the technicians had finished their work for the day, and had left for their respective homes. However, up above there were still a few small flood-lamps left on, illuminating an upper section of the ship’s engine compartment. The occasional sounds of drilling and hammering could be heard coming from the open hatch as the shadowy figures made their way closer.

A loud clanging soon reverberated through the air, similar to a large wrench being dropped, followed by loud cursing from the engine’s occupant. The two figures stopped at the edge of the light and waited. A minute later a green, scaley hand appeared and grabbed the edge of the engine frame, and a trandoshan pulled himself out of the engine compartment. The trandoshan seemed smaller than the average of his species; his back and arms covered in green scales while his chest was covered in smaller patches of yellow scales. He was wearing a black and white jumpsuit, with a pair of welding goggles atop his head, but strangely no gloves or footwear. The trandoshan jumped down from the engine onto the walkway underneath with a loud crash, and started to dust off his faded jumpsuit as he walked a few feet to a nearby table with tools and schematics strewn all over it.

The two shadowy figures continued to observe the trandoshan as he looked over the various pieces of paper, his back to them. After a few moments, the taller figure began to slowly reach for his belt, when suddenly the trandoshan spoke without turning around.

“I’m sorry gentlemen, but this shop is currently closed. If you’d like to make an appointment for repairs or upgrades, you’ll need to contact one of our representatives during work hours.”

The tall figure moved his hand away from his belt and stepped into the light, revealing himself to be a well built rodian, with a few facial scars giving him a more sinister look. The rodian was currently wearing a belt holster, where a laser pistol could clearly be seen resting against his right thigh.

The rodian smirked, “that’s alright, we’re not interested in repairs. We just wanted to have a little chat with you, Telekrin.”

The trandoshan stopped sorting through papers and placed both his hands on the table. “Oh? I’m sorry but you must have me confused with another. My name is Duuz, I’m just an apprentice engineer here.”

“Liar!” shouted the second figure. “We know who you really are!”

A smaller human stepped into the light beside the rodian. He was dressed in mismatched armor that seemed two sizes too big for him. He also had a laser pistol holstered against his right thigh, but due to the plated armor covering his arm, the human looked like he might have trouble trying to draw the weapon. He seemed to be constantly puffing out his chest, possibly to seem as menacing as his rodian partner, or possibly to keep his armor from falling. Pointing defiantly at the trandoshan, he continued his accusations. “We’ve been following your trail for weeks now. We know it’s you, Telekrin. Give up and we promise we’ll only hurt you a little bit.”

The rodian continued to glare at the trandoshan’s backside, “I promise nothing, I’m here to collect the bounty on your head, Telekrin, and it specifically says dead or alive. I just need enough of your scaley hide for identification.”

The trandoshan finally turned around and crossed his arms over his chest, leaning back against the work table.

“There you go again with that Telekrin nonsense. I told you my name is Duuz.”

The rodian shook his head and smiled. “Oh no, it’s you alright. The bringer of death. The destroyer of Telos. The one who freed the Sith Lords and brought the Black Sun Syndicate back into power. A short, trandoshan pilot by the name of Telekrin.”

The trandoshan’s brow furrowed at the word short, but nodded and replied, “I see, and so since I have the unfortunate luck of being both short and a trandoshan, I must therefore be this ‘Telekrin’ of yours.” The trandoshan then looked up and snarled, “look buddy, I don’t have time to play dumb games with you and your little monkey. I’ve heard the rumors over the net, Telekrin was working under the New Republic Security Bureau as a double agent for the Black Dawn, he has hundreds of contacts and access to damn near any resource or power that he wants. So tell me, why the hell would one of the most powerful and wanted men in the Galaxy be cleaning engine filters in the middle of Hut Space?! Go take your drunken logic and hunt down some bail jumpers or something, I have work to do.” The trandoshan then turned back around and went back to sorting tools.

The human, having watched the rodian and trandoshan argue, started to have second thoughts about their target. “I don’t know boss, now that I think about it, it really doesn’t make any sense that this guy is Telekrin. He’s just some dumb wrench jockey.”

The rodian smiled, the scars on his face twisting his features darkly. “True, but I know a secret about Telekrin. Something that only a select few know. Fewer now after I disposed of them. You see, Telekrin has Biotic Muscle Implants. And our friend here,” the rodian quickly pulled out a hand-held scanner and showed the human the trandoshan’s results, “has implants as well.”

The trandoshan didn’t bother to turn around, but raised his head to respond. “Yeah, and so does twenty-five percent of the galaxy, Mr. Expert Bounty Hunter. You think that’s any kind of conclusive evidence?”

“But your implants are prototypes, a synthetic boneweave that strengthens muscles using nano-servos, a technology that was supposedly still being researched, much less being used” replied the rodian. “There’s no doubt, it’s really you.”

A barely audible “damn” was heard from the trandoshan before he turned back around, crossing his arms over his chest and leaning back on the work table once again.

“Alright hotshot, how do you plan to capture me without any weapons?”

The rodian narrowed his eye and reached for his holster, only to grab air where his gun had been. Looking down in surprise, he noticed both him and his human partner were missing their weapons. The human yelled at the trandoshan, “give ‘em back!”

The overhead lights began to slowly flicker on and off. The rodian quickly looked up to see the trandoshan move away from the table. Each time the light went out, the trandoshan was a few feet closer, yet he wasn’t taking any steps. In the small time the light was on, the rodian noticed the trandoshan’s scales were darkening, turning from green to a deep black; his eyes changing from a pale yellow to bright red. A smile began to grow on the trandoshan’s face, showing all his razor sharp teeth.

As the trandoshan reached out with a hand towards him, the rodian felt an invisible force grab him by his collar and lift him from the ground, his feet dangling just above the walkway. Realization soon dawned on the rodian as fear drained the blood from his face. This trandoshan was a Sith Lord!

Suddenly, the lights went out completely, and all the rodian could see were those two red reptilian eyes, moving closer until they were staring just inches from his face. Panicking, the rodian tried to struggle, but his body refused to respond, all he could do was stare into those eyes. And then nothing but blackness.

A minute later the lights flickered back to life, the rodian and human lying on the walkway, unconscious. The trandoshan, now back to his original color, was standing a few feet away looking down at the his two hapless victims.

Rubbing his wrist, the trandoshan grunted to himself. “Damn he was heavy. I guess I need more practice.”

A voice from the darkness giggled, “that’s for sure. I can’t be watching your back all the time.” A young woman with flowing blond hair stepped into the light, carrying a large metal pipe, and walked past the unconscious bodies of the two bounty hunters. “You’re just lucky I only went out for a short coffee break,” she said as she tapped the pipe against her leg.

“Lucky indeed,” the trandoshan replied. “Nice work swiping their guns.” The trandoshan looked over to the rodian and laughed. “That’s some goose egg you gave him, he’s gonna be feeling that one for weeks.” The trandoshan then looked over to the rodian’s partner, “and I didn’t even hear you hit the human.”

“That’s because I didn’t, he fainted on his own.” The woman started laughing and pointed to the human. “I think he even pissed himself.”

Raising his arms, the trandoshan made a mock scary face and began to slowly stalk the woman. “Thath’s becauthe I’m thuch a thcary Thith Lord.”

The woman lightly banged her pipe on the trandoshan’s nose, making him whine and start to rub the sore spot. “Yeah, real spooky, you overgrown alligator. Though the scales and eye change were a nice touch.”

Still rubbing his nose, the trandoshan sighed. “I don’t like the fact that they knew about my implants. Someone within the Syndicate must have hired these goons. The sooner we’re off this planet the better.” Pointing behind him, the trandoshan continued. “I’m finished with the ship’s engines. We can drop these guys off in a ditch somewhere and then make preparations to head to Imperial Space.”

The woman’s smile turned to a frown. “Telekrin, are you sure you really want to go there?”

Telekrin nodded. “Positive, Amber. We already have a contact via the good, Captain Madine, and Imperial Space is a hell of a lot safer than most areas right now. Besides, Imperial Space was the last known whereabouts of the man who designed the Darksaber, and if we can get to him before the Black Sun Syndicate does, we may have a bargaining chip.”

Amber nodded, her smile returning. “Alright, let’s hurry up and get out of here then.”

Telekrin grinned. “You got it.”

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