The voluminous hangar bay resonated with the sound of the twin ion engines of Imperial TIE starfighters revving up for flight as the gargantuan Imperial-class Star Destroyer Desolator emerged from hyperspace in an accelerated blur of lightspeed. The TIEs, each consisting of an eyeball-shaped command pod flanked by two oversized radiator panels fashioned into solar array wings, were suspended in meticulously ordered rows from cycling racks above the recently-polished deck.
From inside the cockpit of his modified Manta-class assault starfighter, Ozim Kryon watched as one by one, the surrounding TIEs disengaged from the cycling racks after their black-clad pilots clambered into their designated fighters and took the helm by means of a series of overhead gantries.
Fully prepped for liftoff and repulsors thrumming, the fleet deployed into the Outer Rim Sluis Sector in a swarming phalanx of eager fighters, into the cold confines of realspace.
Kryon felt the sweeping darkness of space, familiar yet entrancing as always, envelope him from within his fighter's canopy as he gripped the control joystick, swerving the assault vehicle at the vanguard of an orderly formation of Imperial TIEs.
A smug grin crept like a vile Urnsor'is across the humanoid's pallid face as he entered coordinates into his fighter's navcomputer. If the data his employer had provided proved to be accurate, the fleet should intercept the Rebel CR90 blockade runner Luminescent at 1.5 parsecsinto the industrial Sluis system, where the throng of TIEs would overwhelmingly ambush and cripple the capital ship, thus enabling Kryon to snare his mark.
"The number of casualties is inconsequential to me," the Sith Lord had voiced between sonorous breaths from within his foreboding, black visor. "See to it that the traitor finds her way into my charge, bounty hunter."
Kryon haughtily suppressed a scoff, recalling his encounter with Darth Vader and the explicit and chilling orders he had given him aboard the dark lord's flagship, the Exactor. However, contrary to galaxy-wide belief, Kryon hadn't found the Sith nearly as terrifying and intimidating as half the citizens comprising the galactic population so fearfully professed.
If anything, Vader had been lumbering and awkward in his cumbersome life-support suit, heavily equipped with his various breathing apparatuses, excessive filters, and disproportional helmet; not the daunting and menacing figure of whom he had heard rumors in the smoke-filled corners of Tatooine or Nal Hutta's shadiest cantinas. It was generally known throughout the galaxy that the notorious Ozim Kryon, master assassin and part-time bounty hunter, knew little of fear.
Stifling a chuckle, Kryon mused that his quarry scarcely warranted the 50 thousand credits he was being offered in return for her capture.
A mere girl, he jeered disgustedly. She was hardly worth his time.
No matter, he ultimately decided. He considered the delectable soup that could potentially be sampled from her Rebel counterparts, a tantalizing thought that greatly whet his unquenchable palate. That appetizing possibility alone was well worth the bounty. It had been too long since he'd last indulged in the savory yet grotesque meal known to his people.
A member of the ancient Anzati race, Kryon hailed from a long legacy of assassins, a profession for which his species was legendary. His ruthless line of work had taken him to all corners of the galaxy, from Gamorr to Nar Shaada. Having been employed by such renowned crime syndicates as the Hutts and Black Sun, he was known for taking whatever measures necessary to ensnare his target, dead or alive.
Thus, it was only a matter of time before the Galactic Empire recognized him for his merciless reputation and infamous record in the criminal underworld and proceeded to employ his skill in its effort against the threat posed by the growing rebellion.
Kryon relaxed his jaw muscles slightly, allowing twin coiled proboscises to unravel from cheek pockets in either side of his sallow face where they had been concealed. The pair of tentacle-like organs, the signature characteristic of the Anzati, served a variety of functions but most were aware of their sickening, primary purpose.
The sinuous tendrils that dangled limply from Kryon's blood-curdling visage were essential to the repugnant process that constituted the Anzati way of feeding. In order for an Anzat to feast, one must insert his or her twisting proboscises through the victim's nostrils and into the cranium, draining and savoring the gelid mucoid substance found in the sentient brain.
Known more commonly to the race simply as soup, the viscous cranial fluid consumed by the Anzati was considered a delicacy among the ancient people, and many devoted entire lifetimes solely to hunting suitable vessels from which to procure their insidious meals. Once a young Anzat first acquired a taste for the gelatinous soup, it was not unusual for the craving to quickly grow to an addiction beyond control, and escalate to a crazed and lustful hunger unable to be satiated.
Removing his grip from the throttle momentarily, Kryon ran his hand through his mane of tangled, dark hair. His twin tentacles twitched slightly, almost as if in anticipation at the notion of feasting on the luscious brain mucous of another sentient being.
As the fleet drew nearer to the former Confederate planet of Sluis Van, a faint image became detectable on his Manta's radar glanced over his shoulder through the canopy viewport and saw the Star Destroyer fading smaller into the distance beyond a sea of TIE fighters, still locked in rigid formation.
Ozim Kryon's eyes narrowed, scrutinizing the flashing radar image that slowly dilated in correspondence as the fleet closed in. A subtle smirk crossed his grim profile.