Edit: Formatted into spoilers as the text turned out to make each post bigger than expected.
Spoiler: New Beginnings - Part IShow
Unides checked the information on his datapad one last time as the shuttle came to a sharp right turn, aligning its descent to the landing pad. It had taken him a long time and quite the money investment to track down the arms dealer known as Arthec Frevine, and wanted to make sure everything checked out.
As the shuttle touched down, he stashed away the datapad and wore on his helmet before walking out, glancing about the outpost as he stepped on the landing pad. His visor’s HUD darkened slightly, compensating for the mid-day sunlight illuminating the Gorinth plateau. In retrospect, Balmorra seemed a logical place for an on the run black market arms dealer to try and make his tracks loose while still having access to supply lines for his trade.
As such thoughts crossed the Mandalorian’s mind, he spotted a little man matching his target’s description near a merchant stand. Without wasting time, Unides walked up straight to him, hoping for his T-shaped visor to sort the usual intimidating effect.
“Arthec Frevine?” – Unides’ voice came out cold and metallic, filtered by the helmet.
The little man turned around slowly, forcing a confident smile on his face as he glanced up at the armor clad figure basically towering over him. “Yes?”
“I understand you’re not new to dealing with Mandalorians. And I have a few questions about a deal you made with a certain one going by the name of Vasek.” – Unides said, keeping his tone as unsettling as possible.
Frevine swallowed loudly. “I…ah…don’t know what you’re talking about?” – He managed to mumble, sounding more like he was trying to convince himself rather than the Mando leaning over him.
Unides brought his bone-plated T-visor about mere inches away from the arms dealer’s face as he spoke. “We can do this the easy way, or the hard way. Regardless of which, you will tell me what I want to know.” He paused for a moment, before straightening himself up and waiting for the man’s response.
Arthec Frevine considered his options hastily, before opening his mouth to speak. No sound came out of it though. His head suddenly and abruptly yanked sideways, before the man fell to the ground, limp. Unides furrowed his brows under his helmet, taken aback, before he noticed it. A scorched hole in the arms dealer’s left temple. Rage built up inside him. Without even thinking about it, he ignited his jetpack and took off towards the only logical direction from which the shot could have originated.
As he soared over the rock formations granting the outpost a natural northern wall, Unides caught sight of a red-headed woman carrying a sniper rifle and walking towards a nearby parked speeder. Before she had time to react, a beskar-plated shoulder slammed onto her back, sending her tumbling on the ground while the D3 series astromech accompanying her darted off circling around them and emitting highly pitched sounds.
Unides stood over the woman as he drew a blaster and aimed it point-blank at her head. She looked up at him, sitting up dazed. The Mandalorian controlled the urge to pull the trigger as he spoke menacingly. “Nice rifle there. What the heck were you thinking?”
“What the…who are you and what do you want?” – She replied, raising a hand to her head to try and shake off some of the dizziness.
“Who are you?” – Unides tightened the grip on his blaster, suppressing even more frustration. “Going around shooting people’s heads off for sport?”
“Hey, it was just a job. That guy had a bounty on his head. You know how these things work, if you wanted that bounty you should have shot him first.” – She replied without making a move.
Unides stiffened his blaster arm muscles, almost bumping the weapon’s nozzle on her forehead. “You see a Mandalorian and think I’m a clueless bounty hunter? Typical aruetii…I needed information from that man!”
“Well, I’m sorry for you. But a job’s a job. No need to get angry.” – She replied calmly. “Now if you don’t mind, I’d like you to get this thing off my face.” – She continued, pointing at the blaster still aimed at her head. The astromech finally came to a stop behind her back, letting out a low, sad sound.
“You just set me back three weeks! Not to mention what it cost me to get to this point.” – Unides paused for a moment, feeling the anger building up again. “Give me just, one, reason, why I shouldn’t pull the trigger.”
The woman looked up at him, her voice once again firm and calm as she spoke. “Like I said, it was just a job. I’m sorry for your work, but it has nothing to do with me. If you want I could help you. I always have some space on my ship.”
Unides just couldn’t make up his mind if she was being so annoying on purpose, or being genuinely naïve. She didn’t even flinch a second at his blaster almost pressing against her head, nor seemed to show any sign of fear or panic while speaking. He had to give her that.
The Mandalorian remained silent for a couple moments before pulling the trigger out of exasperation.
The shot landed on the ground, passing a few inches away from the woman’s head. She raised a hand instinctively to protect her face, while the astromech darted off once again with a high pitched scream.
Unides felt a weak sense of satisfaction for the fact she did react this time.
“Hey!” – She protested. “That was uncalled for!”
“Maybe…or maybe I should have gotten rid of an annoying amateur.” – He replied while holstering his blaster. Unides took a couple of steps back, giving her space to stand up. He still wasn’t sure that was the right choice, but something in the woman’s character piqued his interest. Enough to not shoot her there like that, at least.
“Heh, not all of us are Mandalorians.” – She said while standing up and brushing herself off. She looked about for a moment, motioning for the astromech to get back. When it got close enough she patted the droid’s head gently, trying to calm it.
Unides crossed his arms over his chest, grunting. “You think all Mandalorians are glorified bounty hunters?” – He asked, his tone even more annoyed than before.
“Well, clearly you are not.” – She said, bringing a hand under her chin and studying the armored figure in front of her a bit better. “So, if you are not a bounty hunter…what are you?”
“I do take on bounties from time to time.” – Unides grunted out. “But if you think that’s all Mandalorians do, then you know so little about us. That’s just typical aruetii generalization born of ignorance.” – He concluded.
She tilted her head lightly. “That’s the second time you call me like that. What does it mean?”
Unides sighed. “It means ‘outsider’. But I’m not here to lecture you, nor do I have time to.” – He paused briefly, then lamented – “You just cost me a lot of time and invested money.”
“And I already said I’m sorry.” – She replied evenly. “Listen, you seem like an interesting guy. I don’t really enjoy bounty hunting, but it’s the only job that can keep me off the grid for now. Why don’t you let me help you?” – She paused for a moment, then added, smiling – “Or at least let me buy you a drink.”
Unides furrowed his brows under his helmet, tilting his head a little while observing her better. “Keep you off the grid? I don’t have time to babysit a fugitive, nor do I care to.”
“I’m not a fugitive.” – She replied seriously, possibly a little offended by the accusation. “I am a free and…ahem…legal person who simply doesn’t want to get any attention.”
The Mandalorian remained silent for some moments, pondering on his options. She did seem honestly eager to make up for the situation. Also, now that he had a clear mind, Unides had to admit she pulled out quite the shot. It must have been about two-hundred meters, and his head was so close to Frevine’s that a real amateur could have easily shot him, instead of the arms dealer. She also didn’t flinch a single moment under pressure, with a heavy blaster pistol pointed at her head. For as much as he hated himself for the decision he was about to make, he had to admit something about that stranger caught his interest. He sighed loudly.
“This is against my better judgment…but alright. You’ll help me until you’ve repaid me.” – He said. “And…I don’t need your ship. I have my own.”
She smiled lightly. “I don’t owe you anything, but you’re a fun guy… I don’t know why, but I’m sure this could be interesting.”
“Oh, you owe me more than you think.” – He paused a moment, then added – “Name’s Unides, by the way.”
“Illythris…and this little guy here is Dee-Three.” – She patted the astromech’s head before continuing. “He’s a bit broken, but does his job if needed…if…he’s not freaking out.”
The droid let out some sounds of protest, as if the last statement offended it.
Unides nodded at Illythris, then glanced over at D3. “He also seems to have a little…temper of sorts.”
“Yeah, he’s a bit stressed out. He doesn’t like this kind of life.” – She looked down at the little astromech as if worried for it.
The Mandalorian snickered lightly. “Well, he better get used to it. It just got more complicated for you both.”
Illythris laughed, genuinely. “He will never get used to it. He’s special…I think. I bought him like this. I guess he has something wrong, but he’s funny.” – She then assumed a more serious tone before continuing. “But if you want my help, you have to tell me what you needed from that guy.”
Unides nodded. “Fair enough. Come to the Sliigam and I’ll bring you up to speed. I’m docked at bay twenty-four-Dee in Sobrik.”
“Sure. I’ll see you there.” – She replied, winking at him before heading for the speeder parked nearby, D3 in tow.
He followed them with his glance for a moment, before igniting his jetpack and taking off towards the outpost at Gorinth plateau. Maybe he could make it before the shuttle headed back to Sobrik. While airborne, one thought dominated all the others. I hope this won’t end up biting me in the ass…