Bounty Hunter Anon III

by Sunny Solaire

How's That for Gratitude?

Using your lightsaber, you cut through some of the jungle thicket as you lead the way back to the ship. In one arm, you're holding the severed head of the droid you destroyed yesterday. It's badly damaged, but it should still work. Big Mac is behind you, holding a weapon of his own, as well as the droid's torso.

Well, what was left of it, anyway.

In your anger, you sliced it to hell yesterday. It was nearly unrecognizable now. Still, there was a chance that some data survived, and you were going to take it.

You push through a section of jungle thicket until you spot your ship, right where you left it. Neither you nor Big Mac encountered any enemies this time, but taking Twilight or Fluttershy with you was still a huge risk. They're on the ship right now, locked in safe and sound.

You activate your comms and contact them. Twilight answers. "Sunset! You're back!"

"Sure am." You reply. "Lower the ramp."

You deactivate and put away your lightsaber and walk to the ramp with Big Mac as it lowers. Once it hits the ground, the both of you step aboard the ship and enter the main hold. You pass the girls and toss the HK's head on the central terminal. It lands with a loud clang, making Fluttershy yelp and jump backwards a bit.

"Alright. There it is." You say flatly.

Twilight steps toward the droid's head and looks at it cautiously. She sets her hands down on the console and Spike appears on the holographic display on her bracelet. He also looks at the head.

"Woah. HK droids are pretty rare these days." He says. "Whoever commissioned these ones must be pretty rich."

Rare as they may be, they're still as deadly as ever.

Twilight looks at him. "Spike, do you think you can find out who sent it?"

Spike nods. "I can try. This thing has seen extensive damage."

"That's my bad." You say. "Yesterday was not a good day, and I had some frustrations to let out. Plus, I needed to protect Fluttershy."

Fluttershy nods sheepishly. "Um, yes... It was very scary."

She shifts her gaze between you and the droid's head, like she's choosing between you two. Your onslaught on the droid was pretty feral. Maybe she doesn't know who she was more scared of. You or the droid.

Twilight reaches into her pocket and pulls out a small cord that she connects to her bracelet. She then grabs the droid's head and turns it around. She peers into its inner workings like she's looking for something.

"Ah, there we go." She inserts the cord into a socket in the back of the head.

Spike flickers for half a second as he downloads the information.

After a few seconds, he blinks. "Alright, I've got all I can get. Processing now."

She disconnects the cord from the droid's head and watches Spike as he goes through the information. You'd like to see what he found too, so you activate the ship's computer and show the port to Twilight. She nods and inserts Spike into your ship. His holographic body appears above the terminal immediately after.

"What did you find, Spike?"

He looks at Twilight. "Lots of stuff. Mechanical diagnostics, behavior core information, weapon proficiencies..." He pauses for a second. "Wait, here it is! Memory core."

A series of numbers and letters appear behind Spike as he speaks.

He sighs. "It's encrypted."

Damn it.

"Can you crack it?" You ask.

"I think so." Spike hums. "Give me a minute."

He puts one of his cartoon claws to his head and squints his eyes as he stares ahead. The numbers and letters behind him change to characters in all kinds of languages, most of which you don't recognize. Every so often, one of the characters turns the color red and Spike either groans or shakes his head before it disappears and changes into something else.

Finally, after a few minutes of trial and error, each character turns green and Spike grins. "I'm in."

Twilight smiles. "Nice work, Spike!"

The series of characters vanishes behind him and a holographic screen takes their place. It looks like a screen you'd see on a regular terminal. Files are organized by date and time and have names written in a long sequence of numbers. Probably only something droids can understand.

Spike opens one of the files and a view from the HK's ocular lenses appears on the screen. "This one looks interesting." He says.

Onscreen, you see someone. He's wearing a black sleeveless robe with a hood. He's not a Sith, as far as you can tell. He doesn't carry himself like one. He actually looks like he's a bit unhinged. It looks like he's standing in a run-down, Lower City shop. Maybe on Coruscant, or Nar Shaddaa, more likely. He's talking to someone. You can't see who.

"...I promise you, guy. These droids can do anything you want. So long as you've got the money." He says.

"I'm good for the money, Verko." Someone off-screen replies.

The hooded man, Verko, turns toward the droid, you, and rubs his hands together. "Yes... I know."

He lets out a weasel-like little chuckle as he faces you and grins. He's a nasty looking guy with thick goggles and patchy facial hair. He's missing a few teeth too. He's gross. You don't know what species he is, but he definitely isn't a human.

"You must have quite a grudge against whoever you're after." Verko says.

The other man pauses. "I do. They're Mandalorians... They took everything from me..."

You squint your eyes and try to think about who this guy could be. His voice does sound familiar, but you can't place who it belongs to. Who did you and Anon piss off so much that he went out of his way to buy HK assassin droids?

The person finally walks into view and stares into the droid's eyes. You recognize him immediately.

"You've got to be kidding me..." You say in disbelief.

He limps up to the droid and stares at it. Verko watches him from behind.

This guy? Really? After you saved his ass?

Twilight looks over at you. "Do you know him?"

"I do..." You stare at him and clench your fists in anger. "...His name is Soarin'."