Bounty Hunter Anon III

by Sunny Solaire


Coming to Terms

With a roar, Anon slams his fists into the durasteel wall as hard as he can over and over again. His breaths are feral and he's practically snarling. He's like a rabid animal. After a few seconds, he takes off his helmet and throws it on the ground, making the three of you jump back in fear.

He continues panting and pacing back and forth, grabbing his hair and tugging hard, before turning his attention to the wall again and punching it like crazy. It looks like it hurts with how hard he's hitting it. He's making noticable dents. If it does hurt, he clearly doesn't care, because he punches and kicks the wall over and over again, yelling and screaming all kinds of bad words with each impact.

You, Applejack, and Rainbow all stand back and away as you all watch him. What all can you do? Mandalore sacrificed himself to save you all and gave Anon his title. Which means he's now the leader of all Mandalorians in the whole galaxy. Every world, every ship, every soldier, everyone. That's a lot of responsibility to be handed all at once. Plus, Anon looked up to Mandalore. More than anyone, except for maybe Sunset.

"Should... Should we do something?" Rainbow asks quietly. "I mean, I'm really sad about Mandalore being gone too, but he's kind of taking it out on my ship."

"I dunno what we can do right now, Sugarcube." Applejack says. "He's hurtin'."

Anon punches the wall one more time, leaving another dent in it before stopping. He's clearly out of breath as he leans his back against the wall and slides down to sit on the floor. It doesn't look like he's angry, he looks absolutely distressed, more than anything.

With a gulp, you take a few tentative steps towards him. "Anon?"

He looks up at you for a moment, still panting hard, before looking away. He actually has tears in his eyes... It's the first time you've ever seen a Mandalorian cry.

"Anon, I'm so, so sorry." You say. "I really am."

"Why... Why didn't you let me help him?" He demands. "Why did you bring me aboard this damn ship and just let him die?!"

"He told me to, Anon!" You reply. "When you were fighting Chrysalis and Applejack went to find you! He told me that if it came down to it, to save you and leave him behind!"

He stares at you silently as you crouch down beside him.

"I didn't want to go through with it, but he said I had to! The fate of the galaxy depended on you being safe!" You say. "He said that someday, all Mandalorians would look to you to lead them. I didn't know that 'someday' would mean 'today' when he said it, but it did."

Behind you, Applejack steps forward. "Sounds to me like he was tryin' to cover his bases, and he trusted you to do just that, Anon. More than anyone else in the galaxy, even. That ain't somthin' to take lightly."

He shifts his gaze between you and her as you both talk to him.

"I tried to say no to the idea of leaving him behind to die." You say. "I liked Mandalore. I really did! He was a bit of a Grumpy Gus, sure, but I liked him! He was a tough Mandalorian that wasn't scared of anything! He reminded me of you in a lot of ways!"

Anon sighs and looks away again. "I'll never be as good as he was..."

"Not with that attitude!" Rainbow says. You all look at her as she approaches. "Anon, ever since I became a Mandalorian, I've tried to follow your example. You've been a huge inspiration for me. I'm awesome, sure, but you're crazy awesome too! Coco and Thunderlane have told me tons of stories they've heard about you! I don't know if anyone else in the galaxy could've taken down Discord's gang the way you did! That was something even the Republic couldn't do!"

Anon looks at Rainbow as she speaks.

She continues. "I'll be lucky if I'm half as awesome as you are! I'm sad that Mandalore is gone too, but I'd be absolutely devastated if you had died instead... I look up to you. Ever since you found me on that prison and helped me escape, I've thought you were the coolest person I've ever met! Mandalore thought that you'd be a good replacement for our people, and I could not agree more. You may not be the leader he was now, but you can learn. Just like how I'm learning right now! I've got your back, Anon. Don't worry."

She smiles at him and Applejack looks at him again as well. "The fact that you were able to persuade Supreme Chancellor Celestia and Grand Master Luna to forgive you on the whole 'Hoity Toity' issue is impressive too, Sugarcube. You know my personal thoughts on how that was done already, but that don't change the fact that he was a spineless, evil man, who probably deserved what he got. Makin' the Chancellor and the Jedi see the complete truth without resortin' to anymore violence was simply amazin' too. You have no idea how nerve wrackin' it was for us when we heard that we were gonna protect the Chancellor while she met with Mandalorians. Despite what the Sith did to Cerea, I'm still so grateful that y'all didn't resort to bloodshed durin' that meetin'. All you did was tell the truth. That's it."

You turn around and pick up Anon's helmet, brushing it off a little as you hold it out to him.

"You've been a great friend to me too, Anon. You and Sunset both have." You say. "Sure, we kinda roughed each other up on Nar Shaddaa when we first met, but it all worked out! I'm glad we met! You helped me reunite with Maud again. I had spent so many nights wondering how she was and what she was doing. Same with all my sisters! I've missed them so much. Even Limestone. Sure, I'm sad about the choices she made, but I hope that we can be friends again someday. I still love her." You pause for a moment before continuing. "But thanks to you, I have hope that we can. Just like how I'm friends with Maud again!"

Anon stares at you and the helmet for a long time, saying nothing. His breathing has slowed down a little and he's obviously thinking about what you've all said.

"Do you all really mean that?" He asks.

The three of you nod in unison and smile.

Anon sniffs once and wipes his nose before he takes his helmet from you and stares at it for a long time. He rubs his thumb along the visor slightly.

After a few long moments, he looks at you all again. "Thank you."

"You're welcome..." You say as you stand up and hold your arm out to him. "...Mandalore."

He shuts his eyes and shivers softly as he silently repeats the name. Then, he grabs your hand and you help him to his feet. The look on his face is one you've seen many times on a bunch of other people who have felt sad or down. There's only one real cure for something like that.

You smile wide and reach in to give him a tight hug. He's a little taken back at it, but you keep hugging him. Applejack gives a little chuckle at the sight.

"Pinkie, I appreciate the gesture, but you know what I've told you about hugs, right?" He says.

"I know, Anon, but you look like you could really use one right now!" You giggle. "It'll all be okay, don't worry."

He endures it for a few more seconds before you release him and smile. He gives you an awkward half-smile before taking another deep breath and putting his helmet back on.

He looks at the dent in the wall he made with his fists before turning to Rainbow, rubbing the back of his neck. "Sorry about that..."

Rainbow laughs. "It's fine, I don't blame you for freaking out a little. It's been a hectic day. Just fix it when we get back home, okay?"

Anon nods, but stays silent.

"Well, looks like we got a bit of time to kill before we get to where we're goin'." Applejack says with a sigh before turning to Rainbow. "You got any food? I'm sure we could all do well with somethin' in our stomachs and a bit of rest."

Rainbow chuckles. "Yeah, I have some stuff here. Let me show you." She turns to look at Anon. "Do you want me to get you anything?"

Anon nods once. "Yeah, I'll take whatever you've got, but I'll eat it by myself... I'd like to be alone for a little while, if that's okay."

Rainbow nods back at him and smiles. "Whatever you say, Mandalore."

They both walk away and Anon shifts uncomfortably at that, just a little bit. He's clearly not used to being called that name quite yet.

You turn back to him and smile. "If there's anything you need, Anon, you're always welcome to come talk to me, okay?"

He looks back at you and nods. "I know. Thank you, Pinkie."

He takes another breath before turning around and heading into one of the empty rooms and shutting the door. You know that he probably won't talk to you about any problems like this, but it was still nice to offer, just in case. He's your friend, and he's feeling sad right now.

You smile softly and follow Applejack and Rainbow Dash to get some food too. You could use a break, and you really want to get out of this ugly Sith armor.

---

You set down your foodstuff and take a deep breath as you lean back on your bed in the crew quarters. You don't have the biggest appetite right now, but you still needed to eat something. It's been quite a few hours since you last ate.

Your mind races back to everything that happened on Khar Delba. A part of you still refuses to believe that Mandalore is actually gone. You've known him since you were a child. He was like your father in many ways. When your actual parents died, he stepped in to fill the void and teach you anything he could. He wasn't always the leader of the Mandalorians, but he did hold that title for a long time. Now, that title belongs to you.

You, Anonymous, are now Mandalore.

You've only dreamed of holding that title, but you never thought in a million years that it would actually be yours. It's a title and position of power that is on par with the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic, or the Dark Lord of the Sith. Once you tell your people about this little shift in rulership, you'll have all of Mandalorian Space under your control. That means that stopping the Sith is entirely up to you now.

As you think, your mind begins to wander to Sunset. How will she take this news?

She'll probably be sad about Mandalore being dead, obviously, but to the news that you got his job? You aren't sure. Especially after your big fight with each other just before coming on this little adventure. You were talking about turning on the Republic and conquering the galaxy after destroying the Sith. As nice as that sounded at the time, the fear of losing her was enough to make you want to abandon that thought forever. Would that be a concern to her?

You look over at your helmet beside you and sigh. After a few long seconds, you take it and put it on your head again. Now that you're out of Sith Space, you're able to get a signal. On your HUD, you open your communications and see an unread message from Sunset. She sent it a few hours ago. You select it and press play.

Before your eyes, you see Sunset standing alone in the main hold of your ship. She's in her robe, and looking at you with a small smile.

"Hi, Anon." She begins. "Um... just wanted to let you know that I'm okay. We ran into some trouble, but it's nothing we can't handle. We should be on our way tomorrow." She pauses for a second. "I miss you... A lot... Contact me as soon as you can, okay? I want to talk to you again. I know you're okay doing whatever you're doing, but I'd still like to hear your voice. So...as soon as you get this." She gives you a big smile. "Bye, love."

As the clip ends, you exhale and shut your eyes. You stay there for a long time, thinking to yourself about what you'll say to her and what she's been doing. What kind of trouble did she run into?

You're about to contact her when a knock at the door cuts you off. "Anon, we're here." Applejack says.

"Thanks. I'll be right out." You reply.

Looks like your message to Sunset will have to wait.

You stand up and grab your leftovers from off the bed before heading to the door. It opens and you step outside into the hallway, throwing your trash away as you head to the cockpit. Once you arrive, you see the small asteroid field that surrounds the cluster of deformed rock, formerly known as Malachor V outside the viewport window, in front of Rainbow Dash at the controls. Among the rocks, you see skeletons of warships and frigates, centuries old, still floating around in the empty vacuum of space. They're all that remains of the Mandalorian Wars, even after all this time.

Rainbow looks back at you for a second. "I see one ship on my scanner, Anon. It's Gilda."

You look at her scanner to see the outline of the Griffon a few kilometers away from your position. You're pretty sure that Gilda has a stealth drive aboard her ship. If she hasn't activated it, then that means she wants you to see her. Either this is a trap, or she really does just want to talk.

As the Sonic Rainboom idles forward, the Griffon starts to move as well. Gilda has spotted you.

"About time you showed up." Gilda scoffs on the comms.

Her ship comes into view in front of you, but she does not move to an attack position. She just stays there, revealing her ship to yours completely.

Behind you, Applejack and Pinkie enter the cockpit as well. You clench your fists and take a deep breath as you activate your comms. "So where's your welcoming committee, Gilda?"

She chuckles a little. "It's just me, Anon. Don't you worry your scaredy-little head. Our two ships are the only ones here right now."

"Fine. Assuming you're telling the truth then, why am I here? What could you possibly need to tell me that's so important?" You ask.

"Let's dock and speak face-to-face." She replies.

Applejack steps forward and mutes the comms before turning to you. "That's a bad idea, Anon. If she's half as bad as you say she is, then lettin' her aboard is the last thing we should be doin'."

Rainbow nods. "Definitely. I really don't want her or her crazy Sith friend destroying my ship."

To be fair, if Rainbow didn't want to see her again, she should've destroyed the Griffon back on Cato Neimoidia instead of letting it go, as per Pinkie's request.

You turn to your pink friend. She's not her usual, giddy self right now. "What do you think?"

She looks at you for a moment. "I don't know... I want to believe that Limestone has changed, but I also know what she did to Rarity and her building, and those Sith back there, I just... Please don't make me choose, Anon..."

You sigh and cross your arms as you think. This is all so damn shifty, you don't know what you're supposed to do. Of course you know what Gilda is capable of, and you know not to trust her, but if she had wanted to kill you, she would've tried to already. She had the perfect opportunity to back on Khar Delba. You were surrounded, the base was going up in flames, there were ships and Star Destroyers closing in. If she wanted, she could've bombed you right there and gone back to Lord Sombra for a handsome reward. So why didn't she?

You take another breath as you look at Gilda's ship. "My first act as Mandalore should not be one of cowardice. Of course we will not trust her, but we will be ready for anything she has to throw at us, if she does... You girls have my back, right?"

Applejack, Rainbow, and Pinkie all nod. "Of course, Anon." Rainbow says. "You're Mandalore now. Wherever you lead, I'll follow."

You stare at her for a moment as she speaks. She trusts you. She's loyal to you. To Mandalore. That realization is enough to make you feel just a bit better about everything now.

You unmute the comms and speak again. "Fine, Gilda. We'll dock and speak face-to-face. Try anything funny, and we'll kill you though. There are four of us, and two of you."

There's a pause before she speaks again. "Four? I thought there was five. Where's Mandalore?"

"You're talking to him." You growl.

The girls all look at you as you stand up straight, unconsciously puffing your chest out some.

She chuckles once before continuing. "Alright then, 'Mandalore'... Let's chat."