In honor of my birthday tomorrow, I bequeath this unto you.
I hope you enjoy!
This wasteland of a planet is nothing but a home to pirates eager to kill or steal from you, the jawa who would stun you just to loot your ship, and then last but not least, herds of skalder ready to trample you. Not a place you want to hang around. As the Sunstrider set her landing gear upon the warm sands, Hiram mashed the green button on the panel to the left of him. The door began to descend, letting the sun illuminate the cargo hold as the winds carried grains of sand into the ship.
"Hurry it up out there! I don't want to be a sitting duck for the jawa." Lyna yelled at him from the comfort of her cockpit.
"You know, you could always come down here and lend a hand." He smirked, before donning his helmet and running his hand over the metal guards on his wrists. "I might get lonely."
She laughed audibly, "No can do, it's way too bright out there for my precious skin tone."
Hiram scoffed and jumped out into the sands below, the cloak of his robes were black so they didn't help with the heat but if he'd left them off his tan skin would handle the sun much better than Lyna's. She was about as pale the snow on Ilum. He looked at the empty expanse the desert offered, but didn't see the pirates they were supposed to be meeting here. He activated his comlink, "Are you sure these are the right coordinates? I'm not seeing our welcoming party."
It blinked back at him as Lyna responded, "As sure as anything, this is where we're supposed to be. Just stand out there and look handsome while we wait for them."
He could practically see her wink while she said that. He sighs, "You may as well go ahead and vent the engines while we're out here. Watch out for me though, I'm on the right." He'd move after she vented the left one.
Shortly after he felt the engine he was leaning on hum to life and get really hot. He quickly propelled himself up and ran for straight ahead as the whirring got louder. He managed to duck behind a small rock just as the built up debris blasted out of the exhaust. "Oktar Arschmade! Lyna! I just said I was in front of the right thruster."
Her laugh echoed over the speaker on his wrist, "I know," A wave of cackling assaulted his ears, "You should've seen your little legs run." She continued laughing as he eyed her in the cockpit from behind his rock, slapping the controls of the terminal in between wiping tears from her eyes.
The roar of hoverbikes interrupted his scheming for potential revenge plots, "You're lucky our friends just showed up, you're in for a world of hurt later." He walked back over to the back of the ship to meet the pirates.
"Right, just get over there and try not to piss them off. I know how you get around pirates but I want this run to be as low stress as possible."
You always say that
He made his way back to the cargo door and stood in front of it. The pair of Weequay brought their hover-bikes to sliding stops just in front of Hiram. They dismounted and released the large containers from their gravity locks. "Two containers sealed and untraceable, Senator Coorr should be very pleased." One of the pirates said.
"Let's hope so." Hiram answered shortly, "Let me check them and then I'll hand over the nova crystal fragments." Hiram walked between them as they parted and invited him to the crates with a raised hand.
"Go right ahead."
Hiram didn't trust them, he looked both crates over for any markings and tracking devices. The Ohnaka gang had a tendency to make trades and then steal back their part of the bargain. A look on either side of the containers revealed nothing hidden, "Open them, I need to check inside."
The weequay looked hesistant, "Coorr has the codes to open them, you don't need to open it."
Hiram drew one of his DX-13's from the holster on his leg, "If it's going on this ship, I get to check the inside, now open it."
He received a low huff in response but the pirate opened both containers and stepped back with his hands up. As Hiram moved to check the interior of the crates the red glare of powdered spice looked back at him, he could hear a low beeping when he got closer, so he ran his fingers along the edge of the container. His fingers found what they were looking for, a planted tracker. He picked it off the container and quickly turned around to face the pirates.
He thumbed the tracker between his fingers as he glanced from it to them, "Well well. What do we have here?" He rested his finger against the trigger of his blaster, "You two have any explaining you want to do?"
The two weequay looked to one another with hands raised, the one on the left spoke first, "We don't know how that got in there…"
The other followed up on him, "Yeah! Uh Hondo doesn't like to tell anybody his plans. I swear we didn't know."
Hiram laughed, "Right, and I'm just supposed to believe you had no idea…" Behind his visor, his eyes began to glow with frustration, "This isn't the first time I've dealt with pirates." He said threateningly, pointing the Dx-13 directly at one of the weequay.
Hiram's comlink buzzed to life, "Hiram, what's taking so long?"
"Looks like Hondo meant to track us down and get his spice back after we'd given them the nova crystals. Now I've got two-" Hiram was interrupted as both of the pirates charged him while he was distracted by Lyna.
He ducked the swing of the one on the right as the other weequay grabbed him from behind, hooking both of his arms. Hiram dropped the tracker and thrust his head back, hitting the pirate in the jaw. He was able to pry his arm free before elbowing him again in the same place. The one who tried to punch him had regrouped and was charging him. Hiram quickly took aim and shot him in the leg, causing him to fall. He looked around for his friend, still holding his jaw and he slammed the back end of his blaster into his face, and then followed up with another swing until he heard the snap of his bone in his face as he crashed to the ground. The weequay cried out in pain as his friend tried to limp back to the bike but Hiram took aim again, shooting him in the back of the head, before stomping the other's face in.
Once his adrenaline settled, the sound of Lyna calling out to him grew louder, "Hiram! Hiram!" She ran to his side, blaster in hand. She holstered it when she'd seen Hiram's handiwork, "For the love of- Efficient as always I guess. I told you I wanted low stress." She glared at him, the red V shaped markings under her brown eyes standing out as her long brown hair blew with the wind.
Hiram huffed as his breathing calmed, "Tell that to them."
"It'd be easier if they were alive, Hondo is never gonna work with me again." She brought a hand to her face dramatically.
"Lyna he was going to double-cross you… This way the situation is dealt with and now he knows not to mess with you." Hiram walked over to the containers, sealing them up.
"Well I suppose that's true, but it sure is hot out here. Have fun loading those up." She took off for her cockpit after a pat on his shoulder.
A small smile escaped his face as he scoffed at her. Proactively save her from being shot down and she still doesn't help load the spice, rich. He activated the gravity wells on the bottom of the containers and pushed the two containers into the cargo hold. He activated his comlink, "All good down here, we can set off after I leave Hondo a message."
"Be quick about it." He could have his fun since he took care of that situation.
Shortly after, Hiram took his seat in the co-pilots chair. He removed his mask to reveal his green eyes, sweaty orange hair, and running gold paint from his forehead, "Great. I'm gonna have to repaint that."
Lyna began the procedure of bringing the Sunshard to life, "So, what kind of message did we leave."
The ship took off as Hiram began to explain, leaving behind an image of two weequay sitting against the hoverbikes they rode in, arms around one another as if they'd just had a drink. The tracker sat between them, and a message was etched into one of their helmets.
"Nice try, see you soon – H."
1 Hour Later
They had been in hyperspace for some time, and after securing the containers Hiram remembered his symbol had smeared. He washed the rest of it off in the refresher and grabbed his painting supplies. He took his seat next to Lyna as he dabbed the brush in gold, then began to outline the form of a circle made up of triangles on his forehead.
"How are you doing that without a mirror?" Lyna had seen him paint it several times, but it confused her everytime.
"Practice." He said, concentrating on the line he was painting to leave a small space between two of the triangles.
"Well since you're so good you could at least offer to paint my nails," She flaunted her hands in front of him, but he didn't pay her any attention, "But why don't you ever change the symbol? You always paint the same one. It's kind of boring." She paused as she thought for a moment, "Make it a flying dewback or something."
He smirked as he dipped the brush, "I guess a correllian wouldn't understand, but there are only specific shapes we paint."
"Oh no," She sighed, "Here comes a lecture."
"Each arrangement is made of triangles, because the triangle represents the culmination of many things to one goal, and one goal leading to balance and wisdom."
"Yeah that's totally the message I get when I see a TRIANGLE." She exasperated, but Hiram continued anyway.
"The one I paint represents the fortune of quick thinking, something we need in his profession. Forming a star with triangles represents courage and making a triangle out of triangles-"
"Hiram, let me just stop you right there," She made a halting motion with her hands, "Making a bigger triangle is literally the most boring thing you could do. Please forget I asked about this and keep painting."
He laughed, "Are you sure? There are seven other shapes I could tell you about."
"I would rather be burned alive than hear about Oktarian triangles." She huffed, checking the navigation terminal to ensure they were clear of any major obstacles for Coruscant.
"Suit yourself," Hiram finished the last stroke of his brush. He set the can of paint away and his brush to the side.
Lyna tapped her fingers along the leather stitches of her boots, "You know it's odd that conversations like these feel so natural when you consider how we met."
Hiram hummed in agreement, "True, I'm still waiting for you to buy me that ship you keep promising to replace."
Lyna scoffed, "Not once have I ever said I was going to replace it. You should be happy I even let you sleep here at all. Losing that B-wing piece of junk was the best thing I've done for you."
"The power that baby had behind could destroy capital ships by itself. It was a masterpiece of engineering." He couldn't let his old ship be insulted; it had gotten him through too much.
"Well you were helpless trying to fly the thing weren't you?" She laughed, "I don't think I've shot down any other ship faster than I scored you."
He contorted his mouth in a frown, "She was built for the speed this one has…it wasn't fair to begin with, but what if I do everything in my power to be annoying? Would you buy me a new ship then?"
"Oh wow so you weren't trying before?" She sucked air through her teeth, "You could've fooled me, but no even then I wouldn't buy you on." Hiram acted dejected but said nothing in return, "You know I'm surprised you haven't been able to buy your own yet with the speed you rake in the credits….On top of the jobs you do with me and the bounties you pull yourself I would have thought you'd have at least to buy a small interceptor at this point."
Hiram threw his hands up into the air, "Well I buy other things. I have to eat, I need equipment. I'm not just saving it all for the ship. Are you trying to tell me you'd rather I leave?"
"Hmm, no but you've had the same gear since I met you, I really don't see where all it could be going. One day I think I'm going to raid that safe you keep in the cruiser and see how much you're hiding." She snickered evilly.
"I'm afraid you'd be disappointed, that's not where I hide the credits."
"You know it truly hurts my heart that you feel you need to hide your money from me Hiram," She feigned a teary expression before snickering again and spinning in her chair, "If you ever do buy and ship you should be a YT-2400 like this one." She patted the terminal, "This baby has never let me down."
Hiram smiled, "I think that has less to do with this freighter and more to do with you skills as a pilot. On another note…," He leaned toward her, "What do you think a republic senator would be doing with two shipments of spice?"
"I don't know, and I don't get paid to."
"Oh come on. As many runs as you've done you have to be curious about what these clients are using the packages for. And this one especially, a senator shouldn't have any business needing spice…" Hiram pondered. The three main uses for spice were for that of powerful poisons, illegal drugs, or medicinal use.
Lyna pulled her feet into her chair, and spun to look at him, her facial expression matching her disinterest, "Never wondered, it doesn't matter what happens to it or what it's used for after it leaves this ship. Besides, he's a senator, he probably just wants to get a little high or personally donate the spice to one of their hospitals." She said, trying to dismiss the conversation.
"No, there's no way he'd be donating it. He wouldn't have it smuggled. Nor would he pay with nova crystals. I guess he could want to use it himself, but this is a lot just for personal use…" Something didn't add up, considering their role in delivering it…the senator could have nothing but bad intentions for these shipments.
"Ugh," Lyna threw her head back, "I don't know, but I am feeling a bit tired so I'm going to go lay down and get some sleep before we get to Coruscant. Keep an eye on the navigation while I'm gone."
"Yes ma'am." Hiram dutifully took over the controls, acting as if he needed to make a turn at any moment.
She sighed at his sarcasm, "And don't even think about messing with my body while I'm asleep or you'll regret it." With that she strutted off.
He did still need to get her back for earlier…but this wasn't that chance. She'd probably tie him behind one of the thrusters if he ever crossed that line. No, he much rather preferred to be inside the ship. Away from the fires of the thrusters and the vacuum of space. But…now that she had gone to sleep he could do some investigating of his own. Hiram left the ship on its course and proceeded down to the cargo bay, where the two shipments awaited his more thorough inspection. He'd tried to see the code the pirate from earlier punched in when he opened it but he had shielded his hand with his body. That just meant he'd need to do this the unconventional way.
He removed his scramblerkey from his pocket, affixing it to the side of the control panel of one of the containers. He triggered a jamming frequency between the number pad and the locking mechanism so no alarm would go off when he removed the pad. Once he took off the panel, he could see the lock. Four circular dials surrounding a part of the container lid, pinned into place by spring-loaded rods. Hiram smirked, this should be easy enough. He wedged small metal chips between the rods and the tumblers and then turned the dials so that the bar connecting to the lid of the containers was freed from their grip. He closed up the panel and deactivated his scrambler.
Again he was faced with the red glow of spice. Different spice products needed different blends and even knowing that, there was really only one way he was gonna know what this particular batch was destined to be refined into. He needed to swallow it. If it was medicinal, he'd have the worst stomach problems of all time. If it was poisonous he wouldn't feel anything, and would need to inject himself with anti-toxin and adrenaline. If it was a drug, then he was in for a ride.
"Here goes nothing," he pinched a small amount in his hand and dribbled the powder into his mouth.
The effect was almost immediate, the cargo hold started to flash different hues of red and purple, as the spice appeared to rock in the container like water and spill over into the ship's floor. He fell against the wall beside him, his feet losing all sense of balance and direction. He then slid down the side of the wall, trying to refocus his vision so he could reassemble the container and its lock. He needed to hurry, he didn't know how much time was passing and if Lyna woke up to see him like this she wouldn't be very happy. One of the rods kept coming free of his grip, knocking a dial out of position so that the bar of the container wouldn't realign.
"Oktari Scheisse!" He recoiled as the spring loaded rod kept pinching his fingers.
He cursed himself, but after the seventh try he managed to fit the bar back into place and let the springs reset the lock. He reactivated the jamming signal to reassemble the number pad and then he was done. Now he just needed to get up those stairs and back to the cockpit….
After several falls and a couple new cuts on his face, Hiram managed to stumble into the pilot's chair, "Senator Coorr, what do you plan on doing with that much hallucinogen?" He laughed to himself, a side effect of the high, "A naughty man you might turn out to be."
2 Hours Later
He'd waited long enough, and after the trip he just had he was exhausted. Lyna had been sleeping for long enough at this point, it was his turn. He made his way to her quarters and knocked on the door. She didn't answer. He knocked again, this time with a little more vigor. No response. He sighed, removing the scramblerkey from his belt and affixing it the door. The locked clicked open in submission and he made his way inside.
The site that greeted him was Lyna sprawled out on the bed half turned over and pillow in her mouth, "Lyna," he called out. She didn't budge, "Lyna" He shook her, this time she jolted from her bed, pulling the small blaster from her boot and holding it to his neck.
It took her a moment to acclimate but she holstered the blaster once she recognized him, "Hiram…I told you not to-….what happened to you face?" She examined the fresh cuts on his face with her hand.
"It's a long story, I'll tell you when I wake up." he hoped she'd forget she asked by that time, "We're a quarter of a parsec away and I'd like to get some sleep. You can handle all of the docking procedures." He plopped down on the bed, immediately taking up most of it and forcing her off.
"Great, so I get the fun stuff." Lyna huffed with a bit of sass, but got up anyways, "Remind me who put you in charge again?"
Hiram did nothing but groan in response, too tired to argue with her now.
"Well I guess you've never really liked coming to Coruscant anyways, I'll let you off the hook this time. She strolled out of the room and closed the door behind her, leaving Hiram alone to muster some sort of shut eye before they landed.
As Hiram's eyes closed, his dreams drifted to his home planet. Two obscure faces he never seemed to make out looked down at him. Doting on him and talking to one another as they shared a smile. The only thing he could clearly see in this dream were the golden triangles marking the heads of the two figures above him.
And thank you for reading!
This is my first project in 5 years so any and all love is appreciated! I have the story arcs fully outlined but this chapter is early as I was getting excited. I'm going to spend some time working to get ahead of the posting chapters so leave a follow for when I start posting them!