two A-wings settled on the hangar floor with only the slightest
thump, immediately after touchdown they were surrounded by techs
and maintenance droids ready to start post-flight checks and
repairs of the crafts. Charbel "Solo" Tengroth, Wolfshead
10, swiftly climbed down from his fighter and stretched his
legs out a little, the A-wings crammed cockpit didn't allow
for much movement.
are you feeling stiff?" Arachnoid, Wolfshead 9, had been
the flight leader on this patrol. "You know how tight that
shoebox is, and still you keep carrying around that monster
of a gun you have there."
was motioning at the heavy blaster rifle Solo had hanging over
his shoulder. Solo patted it with some affection.
here is my life insurance, you never now when it may come in
handy. Let me show you how it works!"
Solo. I'll meet you down at the shooting range. I have to file
our flight report first."
in the armoury.
held the rifle up against his shoulder, pointing it at various
are you supposed to aim this thing with all that junk in the
way of the line of sight?!"
I usually don't have to aim. Just point at the target and pull
the trigger, you can always adjust the aiming while firing.
Ok, Diego, you look all set now."
pulled the trigger and released it a second or two later, not
only the targets but most of the target area was obliterated.
A couple of droids rushed forward while beeping and hooting
worriedly to put out the many small fires and clean the mess.
Arachnoid engaged the safety and handed the rifle over to Solo,
shaking his head in disbelief.
can it deliver that many shots and not melt?!
Vyper's special forces blaster has problems with overheating
and has a third of this firing rate!"
checked the power level of the energy pack, sighed and exchanged
it for a fresh one before looking up.
believe it's the cooling system. This small cylinder here is
where the heat is released, you see these coils? That's where
the coolant is pumped around between this cylinder and the barrels."
He smiled and went on: "But I don't really know how it
works in detail, I didn't exactly get it with a manual."
got the hint and laughed,
like a story I want to hear. We're off duty for another 36 hours,
what do you say I buy you a drink in the Bomb Shelter and you
tell me how you got this... thing?"
say you got yourself a deal!"
short while later they were standing at the makeshift bar in
their hidden hide-out; the Bomb Shelter. A few of the other
pilots were also there, relaxing after their patrol shifts.
what's the story with this gun of yours?"
took a sip of the glass he was holding and closed his eyes for
a moment, remembering.
was a few years back, when I was still a space trader earning
my living by trading and transporting goods and passengers all
around the Outer Rim. Me and Boone, my Sullustan co-pilot, had
come to the Mos Eisley spaceport on Tatooine to pick up some
goods. This was before the incidents with Skywalker and the
Hutt crime lord, so Tatooine was a real center of commerce,
legal and illegal. Anyway, our contact wasn't going to show
up for another day so I decided to try my luck at a Sabbacc
table down at the Cantina..."
what?" Cardinal whispered.
Cantina, some of the galaxy's best freighter pilots used to
hang out there. That place can get quite rough",
Sparks whispered back.
thought that was a really bad idea of course. He always said
we would have been millionaires if not for my ability to loose
money in card games, he was right of course, but I didn't care.
I like the game, there is nothing quite like sitting with a
perfect hand and luring the other players to raising their bets..."
motioned Solo to carry on: "And the gun, Solo?"
Anyway, I went down to the Cantina and after a few games with
bad luck I was finally shaping up. I had won back my initial
losses and was holding an unbeatable hand, so I carefully raised
the bets, as not to spook the other players. I succeeded a little
too well. One of them, a fellow Correllian by the looks of him,
had betted a little more than he actually possessed. When it
was time to show the cards he accused me of cheating, I wouldn't
tolerate such an insult of course, so we had a fight. I was
doing quite well when one of his shipmates caught me from behind,
judging from the length of his scaly arms I could tell it was
a Trandoshan, I knew I was in trouble. The lizard held me in
an iron grip and the Correllian pulled out this strange gun."
took another sip of the brandy and cleared his throat before
there I was, almost feeling the fangs of the scaly beast already
closing on my neck when suddenly the grip loosened, I heard
a strange hissing and gargling noise behind me. I spun around
to see what was going on! It was Leech, the game table manager,
he had brought a very large weapon and two of his Gammorrean
'friends' with him, one of them held the Trandoshans neck in
a firm grip. The Correllian, Del, looked like he wanted to continue
the fight, but apparantly changed his mind when the other Gamorrean
chuckled and took a fighting stance. Then Leech held a short
speech, preaching the virtues of men who honour their gambling
debts, Del got the general idea and decided to offer me whatever
he was carrying. I took the cash he had and the odd-looking
gun he was packing, thinking that way I wouldn't be looking
down the wrong end of those barrels again. The next day we received
the cargo and blasted off from Tatooine, not thinking twice
about the recent events."
story, Solo!" Arachnoid, checking the contents of his glass
twice for any traces of orange juice before downing his drink,
rose from his chair, but Solo motioned him back.
down Diego, it's not over yet! As I said, we were on our way
to a mining colony, shipping supplies. It was a milk run, nothing
seriously illegal in the cargo hold, and the colony was but
a few days away. We were looking forward to making some easy
credits, we were wrong, terribly wrong. As soon as we excited
hyperspace all alarms went off, we had been ambushed! Heavy
turbo laser fire was quickly depleting our shields, Boone raced
for the guns while I tried to get us out of the line of fire.
We were undermanned and outgunned, it didn't take long for the
pirates to immobilize the ship. The sub-light engines had died,
slagged by expectedly aimed laser fire. Sparks were showering
out of damaged consoles, the ship computer was in a really bad
mood, not complying with any of my requests and complaining
about 'headache'. Boone had gone aft to try and put out the
fires in the engine room and to asses the extent of damage on
the ship. I finally got the computer to give me an estimate
on the time we had until the pirates would board us, it was
less than a minute, giving us very little to hope for.
launched the emergency beacon, knowing how futile it was. This
was probably going to be over before the distress signal had
reached the colony, and long before any help would reach us.
I hoped the pirates would be merciful, but hope abandoned me
when they hailed us. The Trandoshan appearing on the viewscreen
barked out a few insults and threats in the hissing Basic of
the lizard like people. We had been attacked by the Hunters,
a loosely held group of pirates/mercenaries mostly composed
of Rhodians and Trandoshans. I realized that my new acquaintance,
Del, must have had a few contacts on Tatooine, relaying our
destination to these pirates!"
and said: "I
remember hearing about the Hunters some years ago, the Empire
hired them at times to do their dirty work, tracking down smugglers
and such. They were known to be very thorough."
but Boone and I were not intending to go down easy! We still
had a little time before they breached through the airlocks,
barricading ourselves in the cargo hold. Arming myself I noticed
the odd looking rifle that had come into my possession a few
days back, I grabbed it and jumped behind the crates where Boone
handed me an oxygen mask. I barely had time to fit it over my
head before they broke through the airlock, tossing flares and
gas grenades to try and lure us out. But we were prepared, hiding
behind those crates and covering the faceplate to avoid being
blinded. Moments later, the firefight began. Boone was first
out of the hole, blaster in each hand firing wildly. I followed
closely and squeezed the trigger as soon as I had a target.
At that point the battle was practically over. I think we were
as surprised of the outcome as our assailants, although they
were on the losing end. We simply outgunned them, with Boone
covering me as I changed clips we drove them back, into the
airlocks. I don't know what happened then, maybe one of my blaster
shots struck a weak point in their docking tube, maybe one of
the Hunters misfired an explosive, but they lost hull integrity.
The docking tube was ripped apart by the atmosphere rushing
out into the vacuum, I saw the pirates being sucked out and
so would we hadn't it been for a safety lock that was activated
by the sudden loss of pressure. Boone and I slammed into the
now closed hatch, when we realized we were still on board we
went crazy with joy, jumping around and shouting! There was
a terrible noise coming from the outside of metal breaking up,
we stopped our celebration, realizing that it wasn't quite yet
over. The pirate ship had collapsed, its hull crumbling under
the sudden decompression, and we were stuck with it. Luckily,
the colony had picked up the distress signal from the beacon.
It took the miners a few hours to weld us loose from the wreckage,
and another couple of hours to get our engines back online,
but we didn't mind, we were alive!"