The Geezor plains were unknown to him. It was admittedly a nice change of pace to go from the rocky volcanic surface he'd originally operated from to a slightly cooler environment, layered in a field of wheat or growing malt. As the Mandalorian crouched down in the thick and dying weeds, he stared down into the valley: the sun was rising, the shadows once cast upon a crashed starcraft and the X-wing trailing behind it were dispersing.
One of the ships' occupants was already up and about. The Mandalorian focussed his helmet's scanners on them: they were a male human, joined by a small white and orange droid.
But the Mandalorian could be certain he'd seen this man before.
With a cautious curiosity, Mando took the tracking fob out of his pocket. It pinged right here, on Geezor. The man crawling underneath the X-wing appeared to be Kes Dameron… but part of the Mando wasn't so convinced. The circumstances of their arrival here seemed… wrong. How convenient the fob had rerouted him from Yavin IV to Geezor—a quicker trip for the Razor's Crest. It seemed like an uncharacteristically easy job Greef had given him.
From this distance, his helmet's visual scans weren't nearly as reliable as he'd liked. And Mando had lost the cover of nightfall. Assuming the other occupants were busy making repairs inside the other starcraft, it was possible he could approach from the front—utilise the cliff edge to his advantage. Given the state of the lead vessel, they wouldn't be departing anytime soon, and were unlikely to run.
Maybe he should count his lucky stars and cease to be so suspicious.
With the Razor's Crest secured and the Child still fast asleep, the Mandalorian made onward his journey to the cliff's edge, before descending to the ground level of the two starcrafts.
He clung to the side of the crashed ship, obscuring himself from the view of the two human men. Dameron stood near to a wiry male who was pressing a medical pack of some kind to the back of his neck as they surveyed the crumpled with of their ship.
"Kay was right. No miracle could repair this," the man breathed, shifting his weight on his feet.
Dameron agreed. "I hate to say it, but I could use some of the parts from the Rogue Star to repair the brake flaps on the X-wing," he sighed, running a hand through thick curls. "Have you managed to raise the Rebellion?"
"Not yet. But even if he does, do you really want to meet them?"
"…yeah, that could be a problem."
Dameron moved closer to the wing, examining the torn wing closely, nearing the edge of the craft behind which the Mandalorian was hiding. He brought his hands around a cylinder-shaped component and yanked at it, ripping it from the hull. Mando's helmet tilted down, his fingers reaching for his blaster, waiting for the opportunity to step out…
"Did you hit something?" Dameron asked the other man.
There was a pause before he got an answer, Dameron tilting his head as if he were confused by something Mando couldn't yet see.
The wispy-haired male spoke as he stepped out of view. "That's why we went down. The repairs we made… they were negligible." His voice drew further away, calling out to Dameron. "Kaytoo made the decision to land."
"I remember. It might have been better to stay in space."
"This was after life-support failed…"
He was too far away for Mando to make out the rest of his sentence through regular means. He remained silent, listening to the organic audio—none of this was overly important to him, anyway. Not when Dameron stayed put, still toying with the component he'd pulled from the wing of the vessel.
A droid rolled up to Dameron's feet, swinging back and forth as it addressed him in binary.
"Beebee-Ate…" Dameron muttered quietly. "Stay."
Mando's shoulders dropped.
So that's how this was going to be.
The realisation they had discovered him came a little too late. His hand snapped his blaster from its holster, but he was greeted with the barrel of a stocky hand weapon held at his helmet—in the grasp of the companion who had left ear-shot, now standing behind him.
Mando acted swiftly. Gloved hands grasped his would-be attacker's arm and yanked the man across his body. Mando slammed his fist into the man's back, and he fell knee-first into the dirt. Dameron scooped up the weapon, took aim, and fired at the Mandalorian. His shots missed. The armoured man had knocked him upside the head before he could scramble back to his feet and he stumbled, collapsing to the ground.
The rolling droid squealed out, a taser extension popping from its casing and snapping toward Mando. He side-stepped the odd little droid, firing his grappling line at its optical unit and swinging it around. It jammed under the broken hull of the ship, crying out for its own.
Dameron was still dazed, struggling to balance himself on his hands and knees. Blood dripped from his chin—consequence of the nasty backhand Mando had inflicted.
A boot impacted with the back of the Mandalorian's knee, knocking him down. He'd forgotten about the second man.
"What is going on out here- oh."
All three struggling bodies froze at the interruption. The nameless man held the Mandalorian at blaster-point, as Dameron face-planted back into the dirt. Standing beside the ramp into the crashed ship was an old Imperial droid, standing tall—black and menacing, just standing there staring at the three men as if the scene were unsurprising. Though it made no move to attack, Mando reacted on instinct. He fired his blaster, though missed the droid's head. The blaster bolt into its shoulder area staggered it backwards, but Mando didn't see it fall. Dameron's companion tackled him to the ground, wrestling against him until he was straddled atop the Mandalorian, blaster aimed at his neck.
"Stop!" Dameron shouted, finally getting back to his feet, pulling his companion off Mando. "Everybody take a breath."
The companion exhaled two sharp breaths before glancing past Mando's shoulder. "Kay!"
Suddenly he wasn't interested in the Mandalorian, racing past him to attend to the droid that had fallen. Dameron attempted to follow, but Mando snagged the back of his collar, extending his grappling rope again to slink around the man's ankles. He face-planted once more.
"Enough!" he groaned from the ground, turning over and wiping the back of his hand over his chin. "Who the hell are you!?"
"He's a Mandalorian," the companion called, his blaster raised from his position near the Imperial droid.
Dameron's eyes glazed over with understanding. "Holy kriff."
Mando jabbed a finger towards the companion. "That is an Imperial droid."
"Repurposed," he spat, shoulders stiff as he took a cautionary step towards Mando and Dameron. "Release my friend. Now."
The Mandalorian gazed between the two men—Dameron still on the ground, staring up at him in a fear masked only with confusion, and the companion across the way gazing at him with cold, hard eyes.
Mando wasn't sure exactly what he'd stumbled into, but he had caught both men off guard and unaware. This was unusual. Usually whenever he came to collect a bounty, live bounty at least had an inkling why he was there. These two were hiding that understanding, or utterly lost. Strangely, though, the Mandalorian noted the companion hadn't asked him to relinquish his weapon—just that he release Dameron.
That showed an intriguing mark of intelligence on his part. A small part of him respected that.
The Mandalorian did something entirely unexpected of him. He holstered his blaster. He retracted the grappling hook, letting it catch against Dameron's pant leg as it snapped back to the vambrace.
Dameron huffed in relief, his head dropping back to the ground as he caught his breath. "You're a Mandalorian?"
The helmet tilted down toward Dameron. Liquid brown eyes stared up at him in a bit of wonder.
"My parents used to tell me stories about you guys when I was a kid!"
He's one of those, Mando thought to himself with some disdain, glancing back up to the companion. But Dameron kept speaking. "This day is really panning out to be something else."
The companion didn't budge, uninterested in the Mandalorian himself, but his purpose on the planet. "What are you doing here?" he demanded.
"Collecting a bounty," the Mandalorian replied smoothly.
"A bounty? On Geezor? Why attack us, then? We have no quarrel with you."
The bounty hunter gestured to Dameron laid out in the dirt. The men frowned, Dameron staring back at his companion. "That makes no sense! I just got here," Dameron exclaimed. "I can't have a bounty!"
But the companion ignored Dameron almost completely. "Who ordered the bounty?"
"Doesn't matter to me."
"But you know."
The Mandalorian hesitated. "Republic senator, for damages."
Dameron repeated his words under his breath, thick eyebrows pulling together as his eyes narrowed. He hauled himself upright, dabbing at his chin again to check the red dripping from it.
"Mandalorian," the companion addressed him, stepping closer to him as he lowered his weapon somewhat. "This man… he doesn't belong here. It is… difficult to explain, but… this can't be the person you're after."
Likely story, Mando thought to himself with an inkling of sarcasm. With an inward sigh, he reached into his pocket for cuffs, snapping them over Dameron's wrist.
"What-" Dameron stammered. "Cuffs again? What is it with you people and cuffs?!"
"You're the subject of this tracking chip," Mando repeated.
"We just established that I don't belong here."
Mando slipped the tracking fob from his pocket, holding it up. "For someone who claims not to 'belong here', you look the same as the man I'm after."
"Give me that damn fob," Dameron demanded, stumbling upright onto his feet and snatching the fob from the Mandalorian. He thumbed it on, viewing the same information Mando had been for the last few days. The man did a visual double-take, his eyes widening at the information. "Holy kriff. I can't believe dad never told me a Mandalorian hunted him."
"Your father?" the companion called, holstering his blaster.
"Yeah—Kes Dameron," he explained, handing Mando the fob back and gesturing to himself. "I'm not Kes, I'm Poe. Sure, I'm the spitting image of him, but we're not the same!"
Mando gave a pensive stare back at him, unmoving in his stance.
Dameron—or, rather, Poe—became frustrated. "Did you hear me? Is your helmet receiving audio?"
"Mandalorian, this man claims to have fallen through a temporal anomaly yesterday. I believe the anomaly is still nearby," the companion stated, stepping up to them. "Did your tracking equipment… glitch? How long have you been on course to Geezor?"
Silence permeated the air between them. Poe gave a concerned glance to his companion, eyes wide as he tried to tug his wrists apart. The cuffs clinked, the only noise to accent the wind grazing over the wheat fields.
The tracking fob had glitched—from Yavin IV to Geezor. It was quite the jump for one person to make in such a short time. And even if Dameron had made that jump, why would an ex-Rebel soldier stand by an Imperial droid as if nothing was wrong? That made no logical sense to the Mandalorian.
His helmet echoed his quiet sigh. "Prove it."
The companion beamed. "I just need a ship to take us into orbit, run system scans."
"My ship doesn't have scientific instruments," Mando cautioned.
"Beebee-Ate can help with that," said Dameron, gesturing to the droid carefully picking itself free from the wrecked hull.
The Mandalorian turned back to the two. "Fine. Come with me."
He began a march back to the Razor's Crest, Dameron and the companion in tow. The strange ball droid would eventually catch up, Mando was sure. Behind him, Dameron grumbled once more about being stuck in cuffs.