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Sgt. Lucas Kirana: It happened again … this time while I was on Naboo. A bounty hunter working an unrelated job recognized former ISB Agent Goatm An, posing as a merchant captain. I'd been assigned to 'terminate' Goatm almost a year earlier and although we'd had one close encounter, most of the time it felt like I was chasing a ghost. This was the first solid lead we'd had in months. By the time I got to Naboo, the local garrison had identified the ship Goatm had been using, which led them to a house near the spaceport. It was the perfect cover for someone posing as a merchant working his way into respectability. The troops confirmed the house was empty, and then set-up a perimeter. They had orders not to touch or disturb anything before the scanning crew and ISB liaison arrived. They showed me inside, but I'm afraid I didn't make it too far... There was a plant. Something about the smell, or the shape ... reminded me... Something I'd seen before... Shortly after our first encounter, the ISB tracked Goatm to his mother's home planet: Aquilae. They sent a team of agents after him, but lost contact with the agents shortly after they landed. As the sun rose, I saw why. Goatm had been busy. Some of the bodies were already decayed, but others were fresh. Goatm was close, or he had been very recently. The stench was horrific … it was hard to breathe, the humid jungle air tasted of decay … and the flies … can a swarm of flies make that much noise? … the sound rising and falling ... as if the swarm itself had a … a voice... Yes, of course. I was just contemplating our next move. What's up? It's the scanning crew, sir. They found something. Good. … Was there something else, trooper? Uh, respectfully, sir, we've cleared the building, so you can secure your side arm. If you want to. Sir. My pistol. I hadn't even realized I'd drawn it. Roger that. Old habits … where's the scanning crew? Follow me, sir. To be continued ... Update - part 2 finally posted.
The horror... When the Wookie first attacked, I tore my flesh and beat my metal frame. "You cannot kill me beast!" I said to him as he approached our camp like a firefly in the night. But he continued to relentlessly shadow our camp. He was consumed by his fear. Finally, he did get a hold of the girl. His claws on her throat, the other stretching her arm, he looked at me with joy. At long last, he had us pinned and we would be forced to get him out of this distant valley. But his exp ression changed as the girl called out and I did nothing. I then picked up my hammer and approached him. First a trickle of blood, a snap of bone, tearing of sinew. Panic came over his face, then determination. Blood poured from her neck and he readied himself to face me. I put him down like a sick mutt. The ISB had installed a short range beacon to her heart. When it stopped beating, the handful of trackers that followed our scent to Gordon descended into the valley. Empty threats. Please judge. This takes place on the neutral planet of Aquilae
Immediately after [soNE Freebuild] 7.4 Off the Books Goatm and his nurse disembarked the Imperial freighter both with their respective roles. Amid the constant noise and bustle of the docks Goatm would dicker out deals with the local merchants for the sale of the white saplings, so precious to the nobility of Aquilae. Many of the interested merchants were developers for high-end shops and personal landscapers for the elites; they paid little attention to Goatm other than to ask him when he would be returning with more and to schmooze him for the purpose of some future economic familiarity. Goatm had stayed in his Imperial white for this very reason; the merchants only saw a faceless officer rather than the dead man Goatm intended to keep hidden. Just as the last sapling was sold, Goatm called his enslaved Wookiee from the cockpit to inspect the freighter’s hull before takeoff. Shock and awe echoed across the dock as the merchants and tradesmen alike caught sight of the beast. The Empire had been especially jealous of its new species of slave and few had surfaced in the legal market. Meanwhile, after downloading the local Imperial intelligence reports on Aquilae, the nurse went about acquiring civilian clothes for the two ISB agents. Goatm had given her strict instructions to start at the shops outside the Imperial outpost and work her way across town, stopping at the stores of ever lowering levels of economic strife. Ideally, her effort would allow her to disappear with no one noticing the Imperial officer that traded in her illustrious uniform for peasant rags. Goatm’s refusal to sell or trade the Wookiee led to the high-end restaurant overlooking the dock where the merchants continued to hound him and liquor him up. Eventually Goatm found his mark. A flamboyant Ithorian strutted across the dock with a Kowakian perched on his back. He was inspecting a shipment of mining equipment aboard a large freighter and savagely berating the crew for some minor infraction. It wasn’t long before Goatm and the Ithorian –Ng’Ray Sti a mining entrepreneur, surveyor, and equipment supplier– were leaving the restaurant to discuss the Wookiee’s ownership on their way to Gordon –a dubious spaceport far from the capital. There, Goatm would rendezvous with the nurse, take on the new identity she prepared for him, and sell the Imperial freighter to a chop shop. Goatm had exchanged the Wookiee and their remaining cash for Ng’Ray’s stock of mining equipment and a one-way, no-questions-asked ride into the wasteland of Aquilae. The wastelands were known to the locals as barren, toxic, and completely devoid of life, but Goatm had suspicions to the contrary. He remembered his mother recounting the countless green hills under the beautiful green sky of Aquilae where she would play as a young princess. Imperial maps noted many long and entangled canals that led to hundreds of reservoirs far from the city, but only grey wasteland could be seen from above on the rare occasion that the pale green overcast lifted. The city-dwellers didn’t dare to test the longevity of their breathers outside the tall city walls and told horror stories of the deadly gas pockets and nocturnal predators of the wasteland. Something was amiss. To test his theory Goatm and the nurse set out with the flamboyant Ithorian surveyor for the reservoirs hidden in the Aquilae wasteland. Ng’Ray’s ship stays low across the grey, endless plains, avoiding any possible detection along the way. Hours later they drop into a valley to find a bright blue reservoir surrounded by deep green grasses and piercing white flowers. Goatm lowers the cargo door, clipping the canopy of the low lying trees, and the nurse leaps into the canal below. Ng’Ray, rattled by the unexpected departure, screams over the internal comm for Goatm to explain but realizes his radios are dead. Goatm is gone, already tumbling through the thick grass as the Ithorian hears a deep growl from the cargo bay below. [soNE Freebuild] 8.1 Escape to the Wastlands of Aquilae 2 by goatman461, on Flickr [soNE Freebuild] 8.1 Escape to the Wastlands of Aquilae by goatman461, on Flickr “I guess you were right about the reservoirs, but who’s going to check the air first? Our ride just crashed into the cliff side.” “I was actually wrong about the reservoirs. Look; the water is flowing FROM the city; these valleys are being irrigated, not consumed. “As for the air, well, if he made it, the Wookiee will test out the air first. But that’ll mean we’ll have bigger problems… Ever been hunted by a Wookiee?” (To be continued…) [soNE Freebuild] 8.1 Stingray by goatman461, on Flickr Please judge, comment, and criticize. Thanks in advance.