Bounty Hunter Anon III

by Sunny Solaire


A Foreboding Aura

As you make your final approach toward the planet's capital city of Zarra, you notice a couple small plumes of smoke coming from one of the buildings below. Rarity's building, to be precise.

"Oh no..."

Pinkie is standing behind you, covering her mouth in shock. Sunset is standing beside her.

Once you get closer, you stand up and give control of the ship back to Rainbow Dash. "Land on that building's platform, but keep the engines hot."

Rainbow nods. "Okay, Anon."

She proceeds toward Rarity's landing pad and you head back into the ship with Sunset and Pinkie.

"Pinkie, get to the gun turret and be ready. Gilda might try to blow us up with The Griffon." You say.

"The Griffon?"

"Her ship."

She nervously heads to the gun turret, while you enter the armory with Sunset to gear up.

"Do you know what we're up against?" She asks.

You grab your blaster rifle and sling it over your shoulder. "Rarity said she's here with something, or someone. I don't know who. It's a trap though." You grab your new lightsaber and press the button. It's still affected by the chunk of cortosis you found, because it won't turn on. "Damn it..."

With a frustrated sigh, you set it down on your workbench hard before grabbing one of your vibroblades and sheathing it. The ship rumbles beneath your feet as it makes contact with the landing pad. You're here.

You still have your jetpack on, but you turn around and grab a pair of blaster pistols. "You ready?"

Sunset turns to face you, holding a blaster rifle of her own in her hands, along with her own vibrosword in its sheath. "Yeah."

Good.

"Let's go."

The two of you head to the lowering exit ramp and step outside. You raise your blasters up and sweep for any potential threats. Apart from a haze of smoke that's partially obstructing your view, you can't see anything out of the ordinary at first. It's when you reach the end of the exit ramp that you see something is clearly wrong.

On the roof, you can see flames dancing around in a few places. Chunks of the building are missing from the edges, and a few pieces of debris are strewn about around the landing pad. The glass doorway in front of you has been cracked. One of the doors has been shattered. Half of the golden "R" that had usually been proudly displayed between the two doors was laying on the ground.

You activate your comms. "Rainbow, if anyone besides Sunset or myself approaches the ship, get out of here as fast as you can."

"I will, Anon." She replies.

You take another breath and quickly proceed toward the building with Sunset. The two of you are jogging, but neither of you drop your guard. You wouldn't be surprised if Gilda can see you right now, somehow.

The remaining glass door ahead of you slides open automatically as you approach, but shatters halfway. The sudden crash makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Someone was bound to hear that.

You're scared. Not for yourself or Sunset, but for Rarity. If the Sith on Tatooine wasn't enough to scare any fight out of her for good, then this will be more than enough.

As you and Sunset walk inside, you turn on your helmet's night vision. The inside of this building is dark, save for a few red emergency lights at the end of the hallway.

You know the layout of this building well. The two of you take off running down the hallway toward her office. It's the last place Rarity was when you contacted her. You pass a couple neimoidian corpses as you run. They didn't stand a chance against a bloodthirsty ex-Mandalorian like Gilda.

As you round a corner, the both of you finally reach Rarity's office.

"Wait." You say.

You and Sunset stop running and raise your blasters at the door. Maybe she's in here, or maybe it's a trap. You're not taking any chances.

Sunset presses the button on the wall and the doors slide open. Nothing happens when they open all the way. You were expecting an explosion or something.

After a second, you head inside and point your blasters to the right, scanning for any hazards. It's just Rarity's office. Scorch marks and destruction is everywhere inside, but there's nothing else you can see.

Sunset is right behind you, scanning the opposite side of the room. "Clear on my side."

"Same here." You drop your guard slightly and look around at the other side of the office.

It's completely ruined. The pristine white couch on the far wall is overturned and cut in half. A thin layer of smoke lingers in the air as well.

"Rarity?!" You pause and wait for a response. Nothing. "Rarity!"

You and Sunset wander around the room, looking behind the furniture for her.

"Rarity?! Where are you?!" Sunset cries out.

You hear a faint whimpering behind her desk. "An...nony....mous..."

You whip your head around and face her desk on the right side of the room. From behind it, you see her trembling hand reach out and claw at the carpet.

"Rarity!" You and Sunset bolt over to the desk and pull it back away from the wall.

There's Rarity, laying on the floor. She's covered in bruises and cuts, she's bleeding from her mouth, and her cheeks are stained with her tears. She weakly looks up at you as you crouch down next to her.

"I...I know.... I look....terrible..." She barely cracks a smile and you almost force out a laugh at that.

That was only funny because she's still alive.

"We're getting you out of here, Rarity. Don't worry. Can you walk?" You say.

She whimpers and winces as you take her hand and try to pull her up. "M...Maybe... I-I think so..."

Sunset gets to her feet and stands guard behind you while you help Rarity.

"Easy, easy."

Rarity cries out in pain as she rises to her feet, grabbing her stomach and wincing. Not surprising. Gilda kicked her pretty hard.

She squeezes your hand for support as she rises to her feet.

"What did Gilda want?" You ask.

She breathes hard and looks up at you. "Sh-She wanted you, Anonymous... You and Sunset both!"

Well, you are a wanted man.

"She didn't get our evidence, did she?" You ask. "What we were going to give to the Republic?"

Rarity shakes her head. "No, darling, I don't think so... I-I kept all that secure..." You don't leave her side as she takes a weak step towards where her desk was and points to a small bump under the carpet. You wouldn't be able to see it unless you were looking for it. "In there."

You crouch down and feel the carpet until you reach a fold. It's a hidden door. You open it and see a small safe inside that's been installed into the floor itself. A smart investment.

Rarity looks at the dial pad and sighs in relief. "Thank goodness it hasn't been tampered with..."

You crouch down. "What's the code?"

"It's biometrically locked..." She winces. "Only I can open it." She strains to crouch down again and you help her as much as you can. Once she's on her knees, she inputs a code into the dial pad. Then she scans her palm, and then her eyes. She clears her throat and leans down closer to the safe. "Rarity."

The safe beeps and hisses before sliding open. Inside are some business papers, a small datapad, and a red, heart-shaped gemstone, among other treasures and trinkets.

She winces as she stands up straight again. "Everything in there, Anonymous... Please?"

You reach into the safe and take everything inside.

Sunset turns to look at you again as you finish securing Rarity's valuables. "Is that everything we need?"

Rarity nods. "Yes, it should be."

"Good. If we didn't need to be cautious before, we sure as hell do now."

You nod. "Damn right we do."

Rarity looks at you, even more worried. "W-Why? What's wrong?"

"Finding you here was way too easy, Rarity." You say. "We haven't even seen Gilda yet. She's had to have set a trap for us."

Rarity's eyes widen further. "Right! She's not alone, Anonymous! She's working with the Sith! They're here!"

You clench your fist as Rarity speaks.

The Sith...

"How many are with her?" You ask.

"Just one!" She says. "A Sith Apprentice! She killed most of my staff! I think... I think it was Limestone Pie! She fit your description of her exactly!"

Oh wonderful. Just what you need. A reason for Pinkie to hold back in a fight.

"Damn it..." You take a deep breath and think for a moment.

You need to do something. Rarity has to live, but she's seriously hurt, and will slow you down. It will likely draw Gilda and Limestone's attention if you go outside.

You snap your fingers as you start thinking. "We need to surprise them. Spring the trap somehow."

You start pacing as you try to think of a solution.

Sunset speaks up. "Maybe Rainbow Dash can do something."

"Maybe..." You hum.

You need to look at this objectively. There's Gilda and Limestone against you, Sunset, Rainbow, Pinkie, and Rarity.

Rarity is in no condition to fight or help you in any immediate way. Rainbow and Pinkie are back on the ship. Assuming Gilda and Limestone plan to fight you on foot and are just waiting for you to show yourself, Rainbow could take to the sky while Pinkie provides fire support from the ship.

In addition, if one of them were in The Griffon and waiting for your ship to take off, then that would leave only one of them here on foot to fight. In that case, you and Sunset could split up and, hopefully, they'd go after you while Sunset gets Rarity to safety.

They have the element of surprise, but you have numbers on your side. Divide and conquer, Anon. You need to acquire some of that surprise for yourself.

You look at the window leading outside in Rarity's office and step toward it. "Rarity, how strong are these windows?"

Rarity pauses for a moment. "I-I don't know. Strong enough, I suppose."

That means she hasn't done anything special to increase their durability at all. They're standard. Unwise on her part, but it's perfect for you now.

"I have an idea." You turn on your comms and contact Rainbow. "It's Anon. Take off, but stay close to the building. Pinkie, be ready to cover us. Your sister is here."

"Oh no..." Pinkie does not sound happy.

"Pinkie, I know it's hard, but she wants to kill you. Do not let that happen. What we're doing here is too important."

She sighs and waits for a moment. "Okay...."

Rainbow speaks up. "What do you want me to do, Anon?"

"Strafe around the building and watch. If The Griffon starts chasing you, run away. Pinkie, if that happens, take that ship down."

"Will do, Anon. Be careful." Rainbow says.

Pinkie doesn't reply, but you know she heard you.

You shut off your comms and turn back to Rarity and Sunset. "We need to get outside as quickly as possible. We're sitting ducks in this dark, cramped building."

Sunset nods. "What's the plan?"

You walk over to the entrance to the room and lock it before breaking the control panel, just in case. No one is getting in or out of this room for now.

"Sunset, you stay with Rarity. Protect her. With any luck, Gilda doesn't know about Rainbow yet, and Limestone didn't notice her back on Shining Armor's cruiser. Hopefully, if they see me alone, they'll assume Rarity has succumbed to her injuries, and you're the one piloting the ship. I'll draw them away from you. Rainbow and Pinkie will cover me while you two get away from here. We'll meet up later."

Rarity is still worried, but she also looks confused. "How will we get out of here?"

"Leave that to Sunset." You turn to her. "Don't go out the same way I do."

Sunset nods. "Got it. Be careful, Anon."

You nod back at her and face the window. The shutters had obscured most of the light from the sun outside, but other than that, there wasn't anything else in your way.

"You might want to cover your ears, Rarity." You advise.

Rarity does as you instruct as you prepare a wrist-rocket and point it at the window. You charge toward it as fast as you can and fire.

---

You move in front of Rarity to shield her as Anon fires his rocket at the window and leaps outside. She screams as the window shatters. The light debris from the explosion hits your armor, but does no damage to you or Rarity. As the gust of wind enters the office suddenly, it whips her hair and a few loose papers around all over the place.

You look back at the charred remains of the window. Anon is gone, and so is that section of Rarity's office.

She looks at the state of her office in shocked sadness. "H-How?..." She says shakily. "I was careful... I-I was so, so careful about covering my tracks..."

You feel for her. She never wanted any of this to happen to her business and neither did you.

You set a hand on her shoulder. "I believe you, Rarity. I'm sure Anon doesn't blame you for this either. You did everything you could."

You head to the door to her office and she follows close behind as best as she can. She's still pretty banged up.

"Gilda is absolutely ruthless, even by Mandalorian standards." You explain. "She hunts for sport, more than anything. The money from the hunt doesn't mean much to her at all. She enjoys killing for the sake of killing."

Rarity's voice trembles a little as she breathes aloud. "How did you two ever meet such a brute?"

You shake your head. "We don't have time for backstory right now. We'll tell you once we're in the clear."

Rarity nods and you turn your attention to the door. Anon destroyed the control panel to prevent outside access. Probably a good idea, since there's a crazy Sith on the loose.

You turn around and head toward the shattered section of wall on the opposite side of the room. You want to make your escape with Rarity when the fighting starts.

Rarity sticks with you as close as she can. "Sunset? What are we waiting for?"

"The opportune moment." You reply. "I don't want to run into Limestone while we make our escape."

As you reach the edge, you look around for any indication of violence. Your ship strafes from the right side and into your view, keeping watch over the building, just as Anon instructed.

Below you is a vast, rocky canyon that stretches on for miles. Rarity's building is located on the edge of the city. If you were to fall from this height, it would be a long time before you hit the bottom. Should Limestone decide to go after you and Rarity in the next two minutes, then you'll have to jump. Your jetpack can hold both of you, but you're trying to avoid that. Freefall would likely exacerbate the pain in Rarity's injuries.

After a few long seconds of waiting, your ship lurches forward, firing its main blasters at the roof. Rainbow just saw something. The building shakes and rumbles a little under your feet, but you stand firm.

As your ship proceeds toward you, it flips on its side and does a sharp turn to the left. The Griffon screeches as it flies overhead a moment later and starts to give chase. Rainbow guns the engines as the topside cannon swivels around and fires. That's your cue.

"Okay, he's got their attention. Let's go." You turn around and head back to the door.

When you reach it, you activate your cutting torch in your gauntlet and start slicing your way through the door. It's not quite as effective as a lightsaber would be, but you make due and work as quickly as you can.

Rarity looks around at her office one last time. "I'll have to start all over..." She breathes.

You don't immediately reply to her. What could you possibly say? She's right. Her entire life's work is crumbling before her eyes, and there isn't anything she can do about it right now.

"At least you can start over, Rarity." You reply. "You're still alive."

Rarity sighs softly and closes her eyes, a tear streaming down her cheek. "I know..."

You can't afford to be distracted right now. Her family's business survived the destruction of Taris. It will survive this too.

"I feel for you, Rarity, I really do, but we'll worry about this later. Right now, we need to focus on getting you out of here, okay?" You say.

Rarity sniffs and nods. "You're right, Sunset... One thing at a time."

That's the spirit.

You finish slicing through the door and deactivate your cutting torch. With a grunt, you push the door forward and it falls flat into the hallway beyond.

You quickly take out your blaster again and peer outside, checking for anyone. It's empty, so you lower your blaster and take Rarity's hand. "Come on."

She holds it and the two of you proceed through the building as quickly as you can, while also being careful about booby traps.

Hopefully Anon is still okay.

---

The rocket explodes into a small fireball, shattering the window and whipping the high-altitude air from outside all around Rarity's office.

A second later, you leap outside and activate your jetpack, taking to the sky with your blasters at the ready. You turn around in the air and quickly ascend toward the roof of the building, keeping your eyes peeled for either Gilda or Limestone. Off to the left, you see your ship ascend from the landing pad and begin to strafe toward you.

Your comms turn on and you hear a pop and some static, followed by Gilda's voice. "Ooooh, what are you planning, Anon?"

She's tapped into your communications.

You growl as you reach the building's rooftop. "How about you stop hiding and I show you?"

Gilda laughs in your ear as you look around for her. The roof is cluttered with housings for electricity transformers, chimneys, and radio antennas. You keep your blasters drawn as you sweep the rooftop for any movement.

Just then, from behind an antenna base, Gilda comes strolling out into the open. Her helmet is removed and is being held under her left arm while she holds a heavy blaster in her right. She glares at you with a smirk.

You growl a little as you stare her down from the air.

"Good to see you again, Anon." She says. "It's been a long time."

"Not long enough." You growl.

You descend to the rooftop and land, staring Gilda down.

"What happened to your prissy little friend? Bit the dust, did she?"

She doesn't know Rarity's still alive. Best to keep it that way.

You don't humor her with an answer. "Why are you here, Gilda?"

Gilda shrugs. "I want you and your friends, obviously. The Sith want you too. You've been quite a naughty boy lately, so they've put a handsome price on your head. I had to get your attention somehow."

"That just means they're afraid of me." You reply. "You should be too, especially after what you've done here."

Gilda laughs. "Spoken like a true Mandalorian! I love it!"

Your ship thrums in the distance somewhere behind you. Rainbow is in position.

"Where's Limestone?" You demand.

Gilda notices your ship behind you, but doesn't stop grinning. "Oh, she's around, but I wouldn't worry about her. She can have Sunset and the Zeltron. Me, I get you all to myself."

She puts her own helmet on and readies her weapon. You do the same. Behind her, The Griffon rises through the smoke coming from Rarity's building and flies over you.

Limestone.

Your ship lurches forward and fires its forward cannons at The Griffon, before banking left and leading it away from the city. Limestone follows right behind her.

"Now that makes things fair." Gilda raises her blaster at you. "May the best warrior win!"

"I am the best. I always was."

Gilda chuckles again. "We'll see about that..."