"Okay, crew, despite what Jango said, we're still gonna operate as we have before, however if war breaks out, we're no doubt going to be hired a lot." All the Dusk bringer was seating at the mess hall of the ship, Brick pacing around, "That means we're likely to be spread thin, too many jobs for us and too little time to do them, we'll need a better hyper drive, which means going to Corelia.
"I've tried to find a job there, but there's not too much choice, a hit on a local with a very loud voice against corruption, a merchant that refuses to serve insect species, a food run and a smuggling of drugs, nothing when compared to the offers we get here, smuggling, delivery, hit and run, a contract for the pod race, either to deal with the tuskans or to sabotage a racer, we got a plot against jaba, a kidnapping of a local rich guy, thief of a piece of art, defence of said piece of art, you chose, the list goes on
"The highest paying are the thief of the piece of art, and a hit on the children of a local merchant; the theft would take us to a nutjob in Mustafar, head of a mining operation there, the hit on the children gets us off the planet, point, but the masterpiece in question is inside of Jabba's collection.
"Next best job would be the sabotage of one of the racers of the pod event, make sure he never leaves the start line, we get extra money if he doesn't come out without need of a bacta tank, and a bigger bonus if he doesn't make it out.
"What do you say we take for our next pay check?"
"I say we go for the sabotage" David said, cleaning his rifle, "None of us have the stealth to sneak past all the trandoshian guards that the slug has, not even with the field generators"
"On the other hand..." Lydia leaned back, "What if talked to Jabba about the man, give him an alternative, he pays us to take out the thief, we fly to Mustafar, get paid, then kill him, and buy our hyperdrive"
"Problem with that, Lydia, is that I don't think Jabba is one for paying up front," David replied, looking up from his work, "However, if we sabotage that pod, make the guy lose enough flesh that he can't even get replacements fitted, we got a full bonus, and probably enough for some more shield generators"
Tronk gave a series of serious growls and howls, pointing at where their suits of armour were kept, currently brown from the sandstorm they had caught before entering the ship.
"He's right, our shields are not young enough to keep up with new weapons," Alema said, even if she kept her eyes closed, "We need to upgrade them, or at the very least give them a faster recharge and higher load capacity"
"So, I say we take the sabotage, two hits, and theft, there were two easy hits, a merchant that holds a grudge, and a man that blackmailed a peacekeeper's daughter, both spend a lot of time in public, so we can take them out at the same time, meanwhile, Sugi and Stax sneak into the house of the appointed mayor and take his collection of historic holocrones, we have to plan everything so that we are done the day of the pod race, and we leave as soon as we get paid." Brick looked at his crew, the people he had been adventuring for nearly a decade now, "Let's get to it, people, we got two weeks"
The house they would be stealing from belonged to one of the few Neimodians that dared enter the outer rim without an escort, but that would only make sneaking in and out easier, as a Neimodian that confident was likely to have forgone protections inside his house, something that Stax and Sugi would make sure to exploit.
Their first hit was a Gossam, a reptilian species that most, with good reason, associated with greed. Little taller than a metter, Gossams were often blue in colour, with shrivelled heads and elongated neck. They were frail, however, relying in cunning and shrewdness to get them out of the line of fire, and it showed in their target, who had used the blackmail material on the daughter of the peacekeeper to become nearly untouchable in the village he lived in. The daughter, however, had an admirer, and he did not like that the reptile was using the object of his admirations for his own gains.
The second hit was on a Verpine, an insectoid species from the Roche asteroids, known for their aptitude at creating and remodelling existing technology, and they would no doubt recruit one to install or upgrade the current hyper drive on the ship and the shield generators on the armour. However, this particular one was not only as adept at sensing radio waves, limiting the communication between the team selected for taking him out, he was a very vindictive insect, and had taken offence to a resident of his village insulting his creation and banned him from it, incurring the wrath of their client, who now wanted the insect dead.
"Niteko, I leave you and Alema to take care of the Grossam, you both need to get out of the hot zone as soon as you confirm the kill, so try to make it a head shot, the gorier the better. Stax, you and Aela are going after the Verpine, your pheromones will make dealing around his radio wave sense easier, if not eliminate it from the board. Tronk, you, David and I will try to make the pod racer trust us, show us his pod and plant a bomb that takes him out. Lydia, you can choose between going with us three or with Niteko and Alema"
Brick left the ship to his crew members, they would do what they needed to. But now, he wanted to talk to Jango.
Mos Eisley bar
"Strum, you wanted to see me?" Jango was a handome man, he would admit it to everyone that asked without hesitation, why lie about such a trivial manner? But he was not here to admire the soldier, but to question him.
"Yes, you didn't tell me all you know, I want to have the biggest picture I can manage" He was also without his helmet, a testament to how much they both trusted each other, to be without the most important part of a bounty hunter.
The Mandalorian sighed deeply, "Yeah, I didn't tell you everything for a good reason, you're still inexperienced, as good as you are, and the only one that I know can keep his mouth closed on your crew is the ex-mando.
"Strum, war is coming, I don't know how long, but I do know that it's going to be large, larger than the outer rim. The trade federation is moving, I don't know if you've heard, but they've put a blockade around Naboo, and they're recruiting planets to join them, last I heard they got Geonosis on their side, and that planet has not accepted anyone other than Geonosians in ages.
"I am in my thirties Strum, I put ten, maybe fifteen years before Bane starts overtaking me, he's only a few years older than you, that's why I accepted the offer from the Kaminoans, a base of opperations other than a ship, I never set up a safe house, and it's about time I did."
"What do you suggest I do, then?" Brick looked at Jango eye to eye, "Train my crew is an obvious thing, but what else?"
"Get implants, modify your DNA so that you don't age as fast, set up safe houses, do what you can to make sure you and your crew don't die in your first open conflict"
"The Kaminoans, are they still searching for samples?"
"Not after I agreed, bes soldier in the galaxy and all that," Jango glared at Brick, "You want in on the pay." The Mando said matter-of-factly.
"Yes, no, I don't know" Brick picked up his helmet, looking at the action camera that transmitted everything that he saw during battle to the ship's console, to review his fights and find ways to get better, "You know the gut feeling"
"I wouldn't be alive if I didn't"
"Yeah, I've been thinking about that, about your clones, and for some reason, I get the feeling that it won't be good for the jedi" Brick thought to the Neutolan on his crew, the Force sensitive member, who would no doubt insist that they kidnap his brother should he learn of a plot against him
"Didn't know you could see the future" Fett leaned back, hands on his blaster.
"And I can't, I'm no jedi, the Force can't call out to me as it can to Stax, but the feeling is still there, nagging, telling me that if I don't do something, half my crew will end up dead."
"What do want me to do, I'm a warrior, not a politician"
"Talk to the Kaminoans, find out what specifications the clones have, or let me in with them, and I can do it myself"
"You're a dumb man encumbered by bonds, Strum, but I suppose I can do you this service, and note that I said service, I will be expecting pay in some form. One week from now, I'm meeting with them for the final negotiation, you can be there, or you can get lost, either way, that's your only chance"
Jango stood up, shot a lizard trying to sneak up on him, and walked out from the bar.
Brick followed soon after, his destination clear in mind.
"Gather up everyone, gather up," Brick stared at the dessert from his place at the cockpit of the ship, "There's been a change of plans, I'm not gonna be involved on the operations against the pod racer."
Mutters of confusion answered him, "May I ask why?" said Stax.
"Jango invited me to Kamino, I wanna see the specifications of the clones, make sure they won't pose much of a threat to us" It wasn't a complete lie, he wanted to make sure they wouldn't be a threat to the Jedi order, even if he wasn't on good therms with them, he didn't want them gone, either.
There simply was too much profit to be made when people wanted things done under the Jedi noses.
"Clones of the best bounty hunter of the decade will be problematic" Amela said.
"Yeah, but we're on our way to take his place," Sugi said, "Anyway, shouldn't Aela go with you, you know, as she's the best sneak in the crew"
"Normally I would, yes," Brick looked at his crew, "But it's been a while sins I've flown solo, last time I separated from was, what? Ten, eleven months ago? We all got our specializations, but what did I train you all to remember?"
"A Jack/Jill of all trades, master of none, the one way to survive is to never overspecialize, an overspecialized hunter is as good as death once his antithesis comes around," all members said at the same time, with Tronk growling it out.
"The best code to follow is the one that is always true," Brick said, "I wanna practice my stealth some, and my hacking, a man can't only worry about having the biggest gun around."
"Was that a dick joke?" Lydia groaned
"Do you really have to ask?" Brick shook his head, "This means a change in plans of operation, I want the hits done before I leave, Lydia, you're with David and Tronk, incapacitate the racer, make sure he won't be able to apply for a prosthetic."
"I'll go with Alema and Niteko, I'm going to be the whistle-blower, shoot as soon as you get my signal, and go for the head, use a kinetic sniper if you can"