The Smuggler and the Princess

by DocDelray

Chapter 1: Prologue

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Streaks of crimson stained the empty blackness of space as bolts of energy cut back and forth between two vessels as one gave chase to the other. At the head of the chase was a YT-2400 Light Freighter. A semi circular ship built primarily for hauling cargo from one end of the galaxy to the other. Every one of its blaster cannons had been turned to return fire uselessly at their pursuers. The bolts of energy collided ineffectively against the shields of the far larger Imperial Star Destroyer. The wedge shaped war ship was slower than the transport, but its weapons were far more devastating. This fact was proven effectively as several massive energy bolts easily ripped past the shields of the smaller craft striking the top mounted turret.

Sparks filled the inside of the ship as it rocked violently. Over the warning alarms and much expected panic the death scream of the ill fated gunner could be heard as his turret became a brief fireball. Those still alive of the crew did everything they could to keep their ship in one piece as they used and abused their superior maneuverability to stay alive.

“Damned Imps,” The human at the pilot seat snarled over the sounds of sparking wires and explosions. “I thought you said this route would be clear of patrols, Serif.”

The Cathar he had addressed steadied himself against the back of the pilot’s chair. Though humanoid in many respects his species was far closer related to felines than anything else. His skin was covered in a light layer of dark grey fur with streaks of white intermingling throughout. Sharp golden eyes glared daggers at the empty void out in front of them as his mind clamored for a way out of this. Compared to the rest of his men he was far better dressed.

“Clearly they changed their patrol schedule to catch ships like ours off guard.” He snarled into his ear as he gripped the chair tightly. “How soon can you make the jump?”

“We’ll be clear of the gravity well in two minutes.”

“Make it sooner.” Serif cautioned him as yet another piece of the ship burst into a hail of sparks.

Tapping away at the controls in front of him, their pilot noticed something odd, “Hey boss, you sure about this jump, it takes us pretty far into Mandalorian space?”

“The Mandalorian Federation’s border with the Fel Empire is the closest safe haven we can run to right now.” Serif angrily pointed out to his subordinate. “Now, unless you want to explain to the Imperials why you decided to make a run for it when they ordered us to cut our engines, I suggest you make a jump to the coordinates given to you.”

With a worried sigh the pilot began making the last few entries into his equipment. “Here’s hoping we don’t explode as soon as we enter hyperspace!”

As the Star Destroyer’s gunnery crews zeroed in on the tiny maneuverable craft it suddenly shot off into the depths of space. Every surviving member of the crew held their breath as the pitch black of space was now replaced by a swirling tube of blue light. As the tension began to die down a collective sigh of relief arose from the spacers.

No longer preoccupied with the immediate threat of death, Serif’s attention now shifted solely to the new situation at hand. “What’s the damage to the ship?”

“We’ve lost the main turret and Gassix,” One of his men quickly answered, “On top of that we’re leaking fuel, there’s no way we’ll make it to the station like this.”

“What about the cargo?” Serif asked in a barely calm tone.

“Still secure sir.” He was quickly informed.

With that out of the way his gaze fell upon the pilot of the craft. “Now then, Varick, I’d like to know, why you decided to make a run for it when I told you to just do as the Imperials said.”

He shot his boss a wry grin as he continued to tap away at the controls, “You kidding me, after what you told me was in that crate? Stopping for the Imperials is the LAST thing I wanna do with THAT on my ship. Speaking of, it’s gonna cost a fat ton of credits to get’er fixed up, hope you got a plan for when we reach Mando space. Not too fond of showing up in bucket head central ya know.”

Serif began slipping on a pair of black gloves as he went on. “I was planning on scrapping her to maybe scrape together enough credits to salvage this whole operation.”

“Scrap’er, hah, flattered that you think we could get a few credits for what’s left of the old girl, but don’t you think that’s a decision for the owner of the ship?”

“Oh, I do.” Serif agreed as he rested a hand on his shoulder. “That’s why I’ll be taking her off your hands for you.”

Before anything else could be said, Serif quickly grabbed him by the back of his collar and slammed his head into the console. Dazed and confused, he put up very little resistance as Serif proceeded to force him head first into one of the blown out control panels. As the live wires connected with human flesh, lethal jolts of electricity shot through the man’s body. Serif felt very little of this, let alone any remorse, thanks to the lining of his gloves as he kept him held against the live wires. The cockpit quickly became filled with the stench of burnt flesh and hair as the body finally went limp and was allowed to drop to the ground.

Taking a deep breath, Serif began to slowly remove the now char encrusted gloves. “I’m sure you’re all a little put off by my sudden burst of anger on poor Varick. So let me try to explain things to you all. We are currently trying to earn an obscene amount of credits by going behind the back of Shuga the Hutt. However, if we are caught, if we raise one too many red flags, Shuga will know what we’re up to. I can guarantee you all that Varick’s death will seem like a MERCY compared to what that Hutt does to us all!”

There was an uneasy silence amongst the group of rogues until one underling spoke up. “So, how do we move the stuff now boss?”

“Like I told Varick, repairing the ship is a waste of credits.” Serif told them as he took over behind the controls of the ship. “But I know someone who can take care of this for us. Last I heard he was on his way to some rock the Bucket Heads went and planted a flag on. Think it’s called Gaia or something.”

Next Chapter: A simple job Estimated time remaining: 4 Hours, 40 Minutes
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