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Before - Legends "An Independent Contractor: The Smuggler's Tale" (TOR Smuggler class origin story)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Goodwood, Apr 18, 2013.

  1. Goodwood

    Goodwood Jedi Master star 5

    May 11, 2011
    Title: An Independent Contractor: The Smugglers' Tale
    Author: Goodwood
    Timeframe: Great Galactic War, TOR era
    Characters: OCs (the Smuggler Captain and others)
    Genre: Action/Adventure
    Summary: During the heating up of tensions between the Galactic Republic and the resurgent Sith Empire, a hotshot pilot, treasure hunter and occasional shady businessman reflects on his past and how he came to be one of the more notorious members of the galaxy's fringe element.

    It never gets old, the elongation of stars as you shoot your ship into the superluminary dimension, going at speeds that earlier ages may have thought impossible, across quantum distances that boggle the minds of even the most intelligent among us. Pilots know the feeling intimately, that rush of adrenaline as the course you plotted is fed into the computer and the proper thrust is applied. It fills you with an elated sense of near-dread, as no matter how careful you are, how much you know a route, there's always the off chance that something new is out there in the void, waiting to yank you out of your reverie and back into realspace and oblivion.

    I happen to be quite a fine navigator, thank you very much, as well as a hot shot pilot and crack gunner. But even so, that secret thrill is omnipresent. It's almost addictive, which is why I've been piloting starships across the galaxy for the past fifteen years. For most of that time I've flown other folks' ships, and only recently acquired a freighter of my very own (a slightly used XS model, a bit rough around the edges but she's got it where it counts). And wouldn't you know it, after only a few runs as an independent contractor, I got suckered into an arms run to the good people on Ord Mantell, fighting the good fight against a mob of violent thugs who cloaked themselves in a veil of patriotism so thin that you could pour sand through it.

    That's when that festering, self-aggrandizing womanizer Skavik made off with my baby—and the guns I was supposed to deliver. However, it's been a while since I laid him low, and now I'm working for the Republic again. It's a good gig, but not quite as thrilling—or dangerous—as the last time I got corralled into government service.

    It all started a few months after I got my first piloting job, hauling droids out of Balmorra during the hard fighting of the last war...


    "How long until you've got that damn course in!" the captain, an impatient Cathar with graying fur and fiery green eyes, barked at the navigator.

    "Working on it, sir," cowed the Zabrak behind the console to my left. I spared the pitiable man a glance as I looked through the main viewport and spotted the occasional spat of green light as more fighters sent potshots our way. My own hands were busy with the helm, trying to take evasive action while at the same time maintaining good fields of fire for the ship's two gun turrets.

    The captain spat out a curse in his own language. "If the Sith don't kill us first, I may yet kill you."

    I had to suppress a chuckle at that. Captain Erdias was an ill-tempered man, but his threats of violence were always empty ones. Still wet behind the ears after having gotten my license, I was easily ten years younger than the next-oldest member of this bulk freighter's crew of twenty-five sentients. It was a testament to the seriousness of this war that such a junior pilot was being hired on by seasoned crews charged with hauling vital equipment and supplies. We were paid well, but the work was still risky, and going into flight school I had also began inquiries into other forms of acquiring credits. I had never been one to blindly follow orders, so the military wasn't an option, and I didn't really fancy the idea of training for interstellar combat where death came at the blink of an eye—most times, it was quicker than that.

    Despite their advanced age, the crew were generally kind to me and were always handy with practical advice.

    "Sir, we're getting a signal from the convoy flagship," the Twi'lek at the comm station said. "They want to know why we're leaving the formation!"

    My stomach did a minor flip-flop at that. The captain, in his pugnaciousness, had failed to clear our "enhanced" course with the commodore leading this happy bunch of freighters and fighters on a surefire course toward destruction. But I hadn't brought up the subject, because I was still leery of our little sideline in the first place. We knew that, when we arrived at this waypoint, we would likely come under attack by an Imperial patrol. But the Navy officer leading us had deemed it an "acceptable risk" and had transmitted contingency orders.

    "Ignore the bleeting woman!" the Cathar snarled. "She said scatter if we're attacked, and I'm scattering!"

    "Course laid in!" the navigator chirped happily, and I glanced down at my console to watch the numbers go through.

    "Punch it!" Captain Erdias yowled, and I instantly obeyed.

    Had I known what would be waiting for us at the other end of that jump, I probably would've bolted for an escape pod and trusted in the tender mercies of the Empire...