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Out of the Frying Pan

Posted on Mon Mar 14th, 2022 @ 4:29am by Spacer Shen Daeshim

Mission: Episode 2 - The Empire Rises!
Location: Port Nowhere / Hutt space
Timeline: After Let's Go to the Maul

Getting away from Port Nowhere had been no mean feat. Time had lost all meaning. Dae-dae kept far away from that imposing Zabrak, but not before he had sliced the command codes to the gangster's flagship. The henchman who had last used it failed to properly clear it from the master terminal in the port's central operations. The action gave the flagship full control over what was left of the devastated station, and it also left the command codes ripe for the taking by the stars' favorite slicer. It had taken a lot of slithering through broken maintenance shafts and ventilation ducts both ways. Dae-dae was good at slithering. He was good at avoiding most trouble in general. By the time he pulled himself free from the last shaft in the docking quarter, he was covered in dirt, grime, and assorted muck.

"Oh, Doellin's Triple Teats!" Dae-dae cursed as he wiped handful after handful of slime from his favorite coat. Even so, he had made it. By the time was done, though, he'd left a small pile of detritus by the shaft's grate that his fingerless gloves were all but pointless. He discarded them and set to work with the airlock access with whatever time was left to him.

In less than a minute, the secure doors to the airlock opened. Dae-dae dashed inside, and was immediately confronted by a guard droid. "Halt, gravel maggot! State your business!"

By Dae-dae's expert assessment, it was one of the new KX-series enforcer droids he had heard about. Last he knew, they were still in development. So far as he could recall in his brief moment of shock and horror of walking straight into security, if this thing had the mind, it could plow through a platoon of soldiers and come out relatively unscathed short of anything but heavy ordnance. What's more is that it's processor unit was very advanced. It would be nigh unhackable without first being deactivated, and deactivation...

"Maintenance!" Dae-dae shrieked. "I'm scheduled for maintenance. Routine maintenance. Regularly scheduled routine maintenance..."

"Bantha shavit!" the KX droid countered. "There hasn't been any scheduled maintenance, routine or otherwise." He grabbed Dae-dae around the neck with his oversized hand and lifted him off the ground. "Now tell me what prugnuficating mischief you had planned or I put my servomotors to the test on your neck."

Dae-dae gulped hard and managed to squeak out, "Last minute routine schedule." He held up his datapad with a shaky hand. "See?"

The droid snatched the datapad with its free hand and held it up for review. "This is locked out. Give me your authorization."

"No way!" Dae-dae blurted out of instinct.

"I wasn't asking," the KX droid said with a tighter squeeze.

"The boss gave me his authorization." Dae-dae's voice was little more than a gurgle.

"He did?" The KX seemed skeptical. "Lemme see..."

"Right here..." Dae-dae synced his slicer to the datapad. In a moment, the lockout screen was replaced with the symbol of the Crimson Dawn.

"Well, why didn't you say so, you stupid slagchucker?" KX dropped him into a heap. "Go on now. Get to it, or I'll have to pop your head for real."

Dae-dae sat there and gasped for air for a moment. "It's going to be a command-level diagnostic. Everyone needs to get off the ship, whether they want to or not. Think you can help with that?"

"Say no more." KX removed the blaster rifle hung on its shoulder and gave it a tap to activate it. "I'll clear this bucket out before you can say Sweet Sookie!"

And with nothing more to it than that, Dae-dae followed the KX droid through the interior airlock into the ship proper. It turned out to be a captured GAR frigate that could transport platoon-strength forces, zipping in and out of enemy territory rather quickly. Today it would serve as Dae-dae's exit strategy. The squirrelly Nautolan knew better than try to escape in a lesser transport. These Crimson Dawn types were running a blockade for the entire system. Either he escaped in their boss's ship or he needed to hunker down and hope for the best.

"Go on! Get out!" the KX called out to the crew members who were reluctantly filing toward the airlock. "Move it, move it! Use of force has been authorized!"

After a few laps around the decks, the KX returned to Dae-dae. "The ship is cleared. Get on with your diagnostic before any of them run too far or I'll running after them for days."

"Right..." Dae-dae said. "Why don't you go check on them, yeah yeah?"

KX clicked its heels. "Good idea! Damned fools call me the circuit-brain." It ran back to the airlock. "Don't any of you go anywhere!"

Finally left to himself, Dae-dae rubbed his hands together and grinned. Time to get to work.

Republic operating systems were notoriously difficult to crack, but fortunately these gangsters had done the hard part already. He merely had to brute-force their patch which was considerably weaker than the original operating system. For anyone else, they might have gotten caught by the time the KX-series realized it had been locked out of not only the airlock but all ship systems. Multiple intrusion attempts were initiated from whatever slicers were available in the docking ring, but they were too late.

Dae-dae had successfully, and singlehandedly, taken over command and operation of a stolen frigate of the Grand Army of the Republic. Er, Empire. Whatever.

Eschewing the preflight checklists, as most of them were unnecessary anyway, Dae-dae fired up the hyperdrive and set the navicom to calculating a course to friendlier skies.

But it would seem the Crimson Dawn didn't appreciate their boss's ship getting stolen out from under their noses. The ship rocked by laser fire. A communication alert pulled at Dae-dae's attention, and despite himself he could not help but accept it.

"I don't know who you are," said the menacing Zabrak's hologram, "but I demand you get off my ship."

The blood drained from Dae-dae's face except for his mouth which began to run rampant. "Uh-huh. Your ship? I don't see your name on it. Unless your name is GAR. Am I speaking to GAR at the moment?"

Oh my stars, what am I saying? Dae-dae couldn't control his mouth, he was in such a panic.

The Zabrak fumed, his face contorting into a twisted, angry visage of pure wrath. "If you wish to speak of names, you will tell me who you work for. I just might let you live."

"Yeah, fat chance, you snarkin' spoggick!" Dae-dae's own mouth fell agape at that last one. I am so dead...

Quivering with rage, the Zabrak cut the transmission with oaths and epithets on his lips.

"Go, go, go, go..." Dae-dae said to the navicom, but no amount of sweet-talking made it crunch numbers any faster. Lasers continued to rain down devastation on the frigate. "Well..." An eerie calm came over Dae-dae as he realized what he had to do. It was risky, but no less so than hoping for the navicom to pull it's ass out of its head before the Crimson Dawn blew him to slag.

With only a partial course plotted, Dae-dae punched the hyperdrive. The frigate trembled for a moment as it transitioned from standard space to hyperspace, and then it streaked away.

Several ships followed in its wake.

When Dae-dae came out of lightspeed, he was in the middle of nowhere. Heaving a sigh of relief, he began rebooting the navicom to chart a proper destination.

Other ships began to drop out of hyperspace all around, some before, some behind. One sorry ship streaked right into a distant star half a parsec away. One by one, they all came about and began to converge on Dae-dae's lone stolen frigate.


Dae-dae checked the navicom, knowing it would disappoint. Not even 10% yet. Closing his eyes, he resolved himself for more insanity. He did not need eyes for what he was about to do.

The hyperdrive punched again, sending Dae-dae back into the pilot's seat of the frigate bridge amidst cries of, "Boo-hoo-hoo-YAAAHHH!"

The next crapshoot of lightspeed skipping led to an asteroid field. Several pursuing ships collided in spectacular fanfare.

Then a nebula.

And ice rings.

And a blinding pulsar.

And another asteroid field that happened to be on fire for some starsforsaken reason. Dae-dae skipped again, hoping for a --

Huge farkin' thing with way too many tentacles and teeth! What the blazes was that doing out in space?! Dae-dae squealed before punching the hyperdrive again.

With chunks of hull missing and shields failing, Dae-dae made a final lightspeed skip into familiar territory. Too familiar territory. Every criminal worth their bacta knew the sight of the Glorious Jewel of Hutt space, Nal Hutta, and its Smuggler's Moon of Nar Shaddaa. If there was ever a wrong ship to bring here, it was a GAR frigate.

As if there were any doubt, a proximity alert warned of a Hutt patrol group coming from the far side of Nar Shaddaa. Once again, Dae-dae was being contacted. This time he only accepted an audio transmission.

"This is Hutt space. Go back to where you came from or you will be fired upon."

Before Dae-dae could reply, more than half a dozen Crimson Dawn ships came out of hyperspace right behind him. Evidently their navigator's had taken to lightspeed skipping better than he had for them to arrive so close. Unfortunately, it gave the very appearance of an attacking battle group. In a surprise to exactly no one, the Hutt patrol group opened fire.

Dae-dae maneuvered the frigate away from the middle of the firefight, but three ships from the patrol group broke away in pursuit. At least the Crimson Dawn ships were busy with the Hutts. If Dae-dae could jump away again, risk the odds of more lightspeed skipping, maybe he could only aggro half the galaxy before he managed to shake any and all pursuers.

Before he could punch the hyperdrive again, though, the empty starfield glimmered just before a massive wall of metal filled its space. The frigate crashed into the biggest ship Dae-dae had ever seen--so big, in fact, that it effortlessly knocked the frigate into a spiraling trajectory that left a corkscrew trail of debris in its wake.

"Time to abandon ship!" Dae-dae said to no one but himself.

As he rushed to the bridge's escape pod, a message came through on all frequencies as detected by the datapad at his hip.

"This is Admiral Kanto Ungernayar of the Imperial Star Destroyer Dominus. We are in search of stolen Imperial property. All vessels are hereby ordered to stand down and prepare for boarding by Imperial agents. All resistance will be met with lethal force."

Naturally, the Hutt patrol and the Crimson Dawn ships, what was left of them, joined together to fire on the Star Destroyer. Its turbolasers made short work of most of the criminals, and a small wing of small, nimble fighter craft swarmed after those attempting to flee.

All this Dae-dae witnessed as his escape pod plummeted to Nar Shaddaa's dank cityscape below. From all appearances, he was going to have to lie low again, but at least this time he was on home turf. Though he had been spawned on Corellia, he was no stranger to the Smuggler's Moon. If circumstances required him to go to ground, he could do worse than Nar Shaddaa.

First thing's first, though. As soon as the pod landed, Dae-dae needed to make himself scarce. If even one person saw his face, it would eventually spell his doom. Hopefully that damned Kel Dor would make good on their agreement.


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