Bounty Hunter Anon III

by Sunny Solaire

Needle in a Haystack

You step out of the armory and head to the cockpit, passing Pinkie Pie sitting in the main hold.

She looks at you and smiles. "Hi Anon!"

"Hi Pinkie." You reply. "Come with me, we're here."

She stands up and follows you as you enter the cockpit. The console is flashing a light on and off, and you decelerate the ship to bring it out of lightspeed. Outside the viewport, the orange planet of Geonosis comes into view. You're just outside its gravity's pull.

You'd like to keep your distance as much as you can. It would be best to not let anyone know you're here yet. Sure, you had made a stop at Nar Shaddaa and illegally changed your ship's ID signature a couple days ago, and your stealth drive was working properly, but you can't be too careful. You're a wanted man now, after all.

It's strange having a price on your own head. It's never happened to you before. That you know of, anyway. Luckily, you're good at looking over your shoulder. You should be fine if you play it extra safe.

"Anon?" You blink a few times and look over at Pinkie. "You okay?"

"Yeah." You nod. "Sorry, just got a little distracted."

Stay focused, Anon. You're here to get out of this mess.

You look back outside at the planet and start scanning for ships. "Think you can find Discord's ship from here?"

"Hopefully." Pinkie says. "He's probably changed his ID signature too. It's been a few years since I last saw him. He may have done it a couple times."

"Let's see what we can do then."

You press a button on your scanner and start sweeping the area around the planet for ships. After a few seconds, you locate a good handful of ships and cruisers in orbit. More of them are actually on the planet itself. As time passes, you detect more and more ships. They all appear on your screen in greater numbers.

This will be like finding a needle in a haystack, but luckily, you brought a magnet with you.

Pinkie leans in and takes a good look at the ships in orbit. "Lemme see... His ship is big. Not super big like the Republic's cruisers, but still kinda big."

"Like the same size as Senator Melody's Consular cruiser we rode to Dantooine on?" You ask.

She nods, still looking at the screen. "Yeah, about that size. Maybe a little bit bigger."

You turn back to the console and adjust the parameters to filter out smaller ships. Onscreen, most of the ships disappear, leaving only a few left, by comparison. There's still a good number of them onscreen though.

"You don't know what kind of ship he had? What its make and model was?" You ask.

Pinkie shakes her head and looks back at you. "No I don't. His ship was really weird though. I've never seen a ship like his before, even with all the time I spent on Nar Shaddaa. It's like it was from another universe or something."

Well, that may help a little bit. If a big ship sticks out, it should be easy to find.

You take a seat and proceed to head towards the planet. "What color is it?"

"It was lots of colors." Pinkie says. "Green, yellow, blue, brown, red... It was kinda random."

"He sounds like quite the character."

She nods. "He is. He's really funny though!"

You don't reply as you approach the planet, occasionally checking your sensor to make sure you aren't being followed. A couple ships are in your general proximity, but they don't seem to care about you, which is good.

Just play it cool. You're no one special, you're just here for the monster fight, nothing more.

You maneuver the ship over the ring of asteroids that orbit the planet and proceed towards one of the cruisers your scanner picked up. Got to start somewhere.

Once it comes into view, Pinkie shakes her head. "That's not it."

You cross it off and casually make your way to the next cruiser. Again, no luck.

After a few long minutes of checking out different cruisers and bearing no fruit, you sigh. "There's got to be something else we can do. This is taking forever, and we don't have much time."

Pinkie nods and hums to herself. "Maybe Maud can help."

You look over at her.

"Maybe she can use the Force to find Discord. He might've stolen some Jedi and Sith stuff from somewhere that he's keeping on his ship. If she can sense the Force energy coming from those things, then she can point us in the right direction!"

Like you, with Adagio's gem...

You nod. "That's possible, if he has any objects like that aboard. She managed to find me with that stuff before."

"I'll go get her!" Pinkie smiles and heads back into the ship to find the Jedi.

That's actually a really good idea. You never would've considered that. Who can blame you though? You're a Mandalorian.

A minute later, Pinkie comes back into the cockpit with the Jedi.

Maud looks at you with her signature emotionless gaze. "Hello Anonymous."

You nod at her once. "Master Jedi."

Pinkie turns to her. "So Maud! Do you think you can help us please? Maybe Discord stole some stuff that's strong with the Force!"

Maud looks at her sister. "I will do my best. Would you like to help me?"

Pinkie pauses for a moment and her smile disappears. "Oh... Uh... Maybe. I still know how to move and push and pull stuff, but I-I can't really remember how to sense stuff like that."

Maud places a hand on Pinkie's shoulder. "Just think back to your early training, Pinkie. Clear your mind and stretch out."

Pinkie stays still for a moment before nodding and Maud steps up beside you. She looks at the screen that shows all the different ships on or around the planet.

Pinkie sits down in the seat next to you and takes a deep breath. "Okay..." She stretches out her hand, and closes her eyes.

Maud does the same. She sets her hand on her sister's shoulder and closes her eyes as well.

Pinkie starts chanting softly. Trying to calm herself down or something. "Clear your mind... Clear your mind... Clear your mind..."

You just sit there and cross your arms, silently tapping your fingers. Not much you can do right now.

It's kind of awkward just sitting here while two girls are just holding their arms out in front of them and saying nothing right next to you. But what else are you supposed to do?

You wish Sunset was here.

"Do you feel it?" Maud asks.

You look back at the girls. Pinkie's eyes are still closed, but she looks like she's focusing hard. "I... I don't know..."

"Temper your feelings, Pinkie." Maud says. "Don't focus on the conflict inside you, focus on being calm. At peace."

Maud puts her hand down and opens her eyes, while Pinkie still tries to focus on the ships outside.

After a few moments, her hand slowly moves to the right. "Anon? Can you turn the ship a little?"

"Sure." You take the controls and twist the ship to the right, following her hand. Geonosis slowly moves to the left of the ship's viewport until it's behind you.

Pinkie's hand moves to the left again. "Stop."

You stop turning the ship. Directly ahead of you are three cruisers, each one far enough away that they shouldn't be able to see you from here. Even if they weren't, your stealth drive is still active.

Pinkie strains a bit more and her hand starts to shake a little.

Maud squeezes her sister's shoulder a bit. "Focus, Pinkie. It's okay."

She takes another breath and stops shaking.

After another long moment, she slowly takes a breath and opens her eyes. "There! That's his ship! The one on the right!"

You look at the ship she's referring to. "You're sure?"

She smiles. "I'm positive! I saw it! In my mind!"

You take the controls again and proceed towards the rightmost ship on your scanner.

Maud smiles. "Well done, Pinkie. I knew you could do it."

Pinkie smiles wider and looks down at her hands, like she's seeing something incredible. "The Force..."

She gives her sister a big hug and takes a deep, happy breath. You can't help but give a little smile at them. Pinkie really needed to feel happy again. She's been through a lot lately.

Turning your attention back to the controls, you focus on the approaching cruiser. After a few moments of flying, it's close enough to make out a few details.

True to Pinkie's word, this ship is unlike any you've ever seen before. It resembles a thin oval stretching out and cutting off to a set of sleek engines. It looks fast. It looks like it was originally built as a merchant vessel... Maybe? It's looks like it has more than a few illegal modifications on it.

There are a lot of aliens in the galaxy, but this ship truly does look... alien in every sense of the word.

Once it's in view, you slow down and turn on your lifeform scanner. There are only a few people aboard. Either patrolling or sleeping. A couple of them are brawling in the center of the ship. Near the rear, a large lifeform is detected. It looks like a Rancor monster.

"Pinkie, you said Discord kept Rancors onboard his ship, right?"

She nods. "Mostly to use in arena fights like this one. He always kept at least one aboard the ship though."

With only a handful of people and one Rancor aboard the ship, you assume that Discord is currently on the planet with the rest of his crew and Rancors.

"Okay." You reply. "It's a safe bet that he's already on the planet, so if there was ever a time to sneak aboard his ship, it's now."

You move closer to the ship's underbelly, looking for a way inside, but you can't find an opening.

"The hangar bay is on either side of the rear of the ship." Pinkie says.

"Oh." You turn and head to the rear of the ship, staying slow. Hopefully the remaining crew is too distracted by the fighting on the planet to notice you here.

You fly up to the starboard hangar bay entrance and jam any comms and surveillance systems they have in here. The hangar is a bit cluttered with a few small ships, but it's mostly vacant.

You're going to head in with Pinkie, quickly disable the ship's hyperdrive, weapons, and shields, then head back to your ship and wait for him to show up. Once he does, you'll send word to Sunset and the other Mandalorians. They'll show up and join you to help capture Discord. You'll avoid killing members of his crew if you can. Bringing more than one target to the Republic alive would make you look very good, and that's exactly what you need right now.

Killing one or two wouldn't be the worst thing though.

You land the ship in the hangar bay and stand up. "Okay, Pinkie. You know the ship's layout, so you're with me. Master Maud, stay here and let us know when or if they come back early. Keep the engines hot."

Pinkie smiles and they both nod. "Okay, Anon!"

Maud takes a seat on the floor and crosses her legs to start meditating or whatever. You grab your helmet and exit the cockpit with Pinkie, putting it on. She grabs her blaster pistol and gear while you grab your blaster rifle and sidearm.

Once your jetpack is secured, the two of you quickly step down the exit ramp and sweep your weapons across the empty hangar, scanning for enemies. Pinkie ushers you to follow her and the two of you jog over to the hangar bay doors. She goes to the control panel and pushes a few buttons and the doors open. The hallway is empty, so you both proceed deeper into the ship.