• Published 7th Dec 2020
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Bounty Hunter Anon III - Sunny Solaire

Mandalorians Anonymous and Sunset Shimmer prepare for war against the returning Sith.

  • ...

The Enemy of My Enemy

The ground thrums as the Sonic Rainboom docks with the Griffon. You all stand in front of the airlock with your weapons out and ready for a fight, just in case. You're about to meet Gilda, after all. Last time you saw her, she had just tried to kill you by sending you down to the rocky surface of Cato Neimoidia. Thankfully, Sunset showed up when she did. Otherwise, you'd be dead right now.

"Whatever happens, do not lower your guard, and do not fire until she fires first." You command.

Rainbow grips her blasters tighter. "Got it."

You pull out your own blaster and look at the airlock door. It begins to hiss softly and pretty soon, it opens. There, inside the neighboring ship, is Gilda. The ex-Mandalorian stands there with her own dual heavy blasters drawn and ready, and a smirk on her face. Behind her, Limestone Pie stands with her lightsaber activated and humming softly, making everything around them glow red. She glares at you with her yellow, hate-filled eyes.

Neither of your parties move or speak for a few seconds. You all just stare at each other.

Finally, Gilda breaks the silence. "Such a shame this little get together didn't happen a few days ago. The Sith would've paid me so much money."

"I'm flattered that they were that scared of me." You reply.

Gilda chuckles and shifts her gaze to your friends. "I've heard of Pinkie, but I don't know who you other two are."

Applejack doesn't drop her defensive stance. "Applejack."

"And I'm Rainbow Dash." Rainbow adds.

Gilda looks at Rainbow. "New blood, huh?"

Before Rainbow can reply, you cut her off. "Why are we here, Gilda?"

"Because it is in both of our interests to talk." She says. "So how about we put down our weapons and be civil?"

"Not until she puts down the lightsaber." You say, nodding at Limestone.

Gilda slowly turns to Limestone and nods, prompting the Sith to deactivate her blade. As it hisses off, she clips it to her belt, her eyes never leaving yours.

You turn to your friends. "Stand down."

Cautiously, the girls behind you lower their weapons and put them away. You and Gilda do the same as you face each other.

"So," You begin. "Why didn't you kill me when you had the chance?"

"Like I said, it is in both of our interests to talk." Gilda says again.

Limestone steps forward. "We both want to see Sombra dead."

That's a little bit surprising. Killing their master and taking their place is the way of the Sith, but what's surprising is that Limestone hasn't tried to do it already.

Or maybe she has.

"Why come to us then?" You ask. "Why not kill him yourself?"

Limestone flares her nostrils and looks at you. "My former master has denounced me as his apprentice, and has ordered every Sith in the Empire to kill me on sight. Same with Gilda."

"You forced Darth's hand and made him execute his plans prematurely by spilling the beans to Celestia." Gilda continues. "Since we weren't able to kill you on Cato Neimoidia, you were able to form a truce between the Mandalorians and the Republic. I had your life in my hands. Your fashionista friend was the perfect bait, and I knew that Pinkamena wouldn't fire on her own sister. My plan was perfect, but what I didn't count on was your junior speedster over there." She motions to Rainbow.

Rainbow's eyebrows raise a little. "Me?"

Gilda nods. "Credit where it's due, Dash. You're a damn good pilot."

Rainbow smirks and crosses her arms. "Hell yeah I am. Best in the galaxy. I hold the record for doing the Kessel Run in fourteen parsecs."

You groan softly. How many times has she said that now?

Gilda scoffs a chuckle and turns back to you. "Anyway, you had an ace up your sleeve and it cost me my paycheck. Now, we want revenge."

"Oh, so you do want to kill us?" You ask.

"No, dumbass. I told you, it's mutually beneficial that we talk!" Gilda snaps. She turns to Limestone. "I said that to him loud and clear, didn't I? Multiple times?"

Limestone nods. "Yeah, you did."

You growl a little and grip your fists tighter.

Gilda looks back at you. "We want revenge against Sombra. We know where you can find him, and we can share all kinds of dirty little secrets that the Sith have. You only knew about his fear toxin processing plant. You'd need all kinds of help to find his space station, and even more help if you wanted to shut it down."

You think for a moment. She does have a point. Even with Rarity's underworld knowledge and the Republic's resources, it would be much harder to locate Darth Sombra's base than it was to find Khar Delba. You'd be able to do it if you had time, you had no doubt, but time was not on your side. You need to find him now.

"What's in it for you?" You ask.

"Two things." Gilda says. "One, revenge, for both of us. I don't like getting cheated out of a paycheck. I'd take it out on you, but the Sith would still be after us. Now that you're Mandalore, you have the best chance of destroying the Sith. No way the Republic will be able to do it on their own. In addition, Limestone wants out of the Sith too."

Limestone nods and Pinkie steps forward. "You do?"

She looks at Pinkie and nods. "I have wanted to be free from Sombra's grip for years, Pinkie. It is a new kind of hell to be with the Sith. The Dark Side of the Force is so much stronger than the Light Side, but Sombra is twisted. There's no way I can advance being under him."

"Then... Why didn't you leave sooner?" Pinkie asks. "Why not try to go back to the Jedi?"

"The Jedi are fools!" Limestone spits. "Spineless, pathetic, stubborn, and arrogant fools, who turn away from power and change instead of embracing it and shaping reality to how they want! The Sith have all kinds of flaws, but their use of the Dark Side is not one of them. The Dark Side is the true nature of the Force. With it, I'm on the way to becoming even more powerful than Grand Master Luna."

Pinkie deflates a little at her sister's words, but you can't help agreeing with Limestone a little bit. The Jedi, collectively, are fools. Maud is okay, but the Jedi Order as a whole arguably brought the galaxy and the Republic to where it is now. A lawless frontier with no holds barred, and not enough help to keep it governed properly. No wonder they agreed to accept help from the Mandalorians to stop the resurgent Sith.

Limestone appears to dial back her anger a bit and continues. "Pinkie, for what it's worth, I am sorry for trying to kill you... I wanted to turn my back on the Sith and leave for a long time, but Sombra wouldn't let me... After this is over, I will leave the Sith and the Jedi to their own devices. I won't try to kill Maud or you ever again. The thought of Sombra knowing that I'm leaving the Jedi alone to grow would really piss him off, and I like that."

Pinkie looks at Limestone with sadness, but also with a small glimmer of hope in her eye. You can imagine why. Limestone, as immersed with the Dark Side as she claims to be, is apologizing for trying to kill her and Maud. Apologizing doesn't seem like a Dark Side trait.

Gilda looks at you once again. "The second thing is that there is a really good chance that you'll die when you try to stop the Sith. Which is just fine with me."

You growl a little. "Don't count on that, Gilda. I'll have all of Mandalore backing me up for this."

She chuckles again. "Yeah, you're right. No one gets to kill you but me, and only on my terms."

You clench your fists again and take a deep breath. She's trying to get on your nerves, and unfortunately, it's working. You need to be the adult here.

"Look, Gilda." You begin. "You don't like me, and I sure as hell don't like you. But if we don't work together, the Sith will conquer the galaxy and we'll all die. We can be enemies again after they're out of the picture, but until then, let's help each other out."

She scoffs and crosses her arms. "You're explaining the Sith to us like we don't know what they're capable of. Of course they'll kill us all. That's why Limestone and I are here now, talking to you."

"Let's shelve any talk of killing each other until then, huh?" You say, setting your hands on your hips.

Gilda stares at you for a long moment before nodding once. "Very well." She turns to Limestone. "Let's show them what we've got."

Limestone steps forward and pulls out a small holoprojector from her back pocket. She presses a button and an image of the galaxy comes up in front of her. It swirls around slowly, giving you all a three-dimensional view of the spiral of stars.

She points to a section of the galaxy. "The Sith are hidden on a massive space station here. From there, they command an entire armada of Sith ships that they plan to conquer the galaxy with, using their fear toxin. The base on Khar Delba was their primary source of manufacturing the virus, but this station is a backup. After what just happened, it will likely default to the primary."

Applejack looks at Limestone. "There ain't any more places around that make it?"

"Not that I know of."

You study the section of the galaxy where the Sith station is. It's located in the Unknown Regions.

"Tell me about this space station. What are its defenses?"

"The station is located in the center of a black hole cluster, kind of like the one by Kessel. It orbits the largest one. As a result, it is isolated from the rest of the Sith fleet, which is waiting just outside the cluster. Any ships that get too close to the station risks getting swallowed up by one of the surrounding black holes. So, under usual circumstances, large ships and cruisers cannot approach it. That is its primary defense. As far as weapons go, it doesn't have anything more than standard autoturrets and cannons. It is mostly used as a factory, and headquarters for the higher ups."

"How does it get fuel and supplies?"

Gilda steps forward. "Every few days, the smaller black holes' orbits move in the right way to allow space big enough for a number of light cruisers to make a supply run. That window only lasts for a few hours though, so they have to move fast. The only way they know about the movements of the black holes are because they have access to the Sith's constantly updating navigational charts. Without those charts, anyone going into that mess is dead."

A space station orbiting a black hole... You aren't sure if that's reckless or clever. You can't help but be impressed by it, to some degree. It's impossible for larger ships to get close, except for on certain days. Anyone that tries will immediately be swallowed up by the infinite gravity of a nearby black hole and turned into atoms. You don't really feel like waiting for the opportune moment is the best course of action though. Every moment that passes without doing something is another victory for the Sith.

"What about smaller ships? Can they get close?"

"If you've got a good enough pilot, yeah." Gilda says. "Fighters can move pretty easily through the maze, while anything larger than a blockade runner would have trouble."

"We've got no shortage of good pilots here!" Rainbow brags behind you.

You huff a small chuckle. She's not wrong. She's the best pilot you've ever met. Even better than Sunset, and she's miles better at flying than even you are.

"Be that as it may, we still need that navigational data. I want at least one of our cruisers to assault the station from the outside."

Applejack looks at you. "What are you plannin' Anon?"

"I don't have anything concrete yet, but ideally, I'd like to assault the Sith fleet outside the cluster just before the window between the black holes closes. Then, while the bulk of our forces attack the Sith, one of our cruisers moves through the cluster and attacks the station, leaving no room for large Sith reinforcements. I want to stuff that cruiser with as many small fighters as possible so we have a way to defend the cruiser from the inevitable retaliation. While they're distracted, a small team will board the station, find Sombra, and kill him before stopping this fear virus once and for all."

Limestone huffs. "You make it sound easy."

"He's good at that." Gilda chuckles.

Limestone crosses her arms. "Well, unfortunately, I won't be able to get that navigational data to you until I have access to the Sith network. Since I've been cast out from the upper echelons of the Sith, I won't be able to get into it directly."

"What about indirectly?" Pinkie asks. "Can it be hacked into?"

You all look at her and Limestone shrugs. "If someone smart enough knows how to work their way around Sith firewalls and other security measures, yeah."

Immediately, your mind goes to Twilight and Spike.

"We know someone. She's good." You reply. "If you can find a place to access the Sith network, she can get you inside. We won't be able to do anything else without that navigational data."

"You get me inside, I can find it."

You nod at Limestone. "Good. We'll rendezvous with her and Sunset back home and work on it there, as well as come up with a more airtight plan. Before any of that though, I need to inform all Mandalorian systems that I am the new Mandalore."

Goosebumps tentacle out along the surface of your entire body as you say that. It's really happening. You, Anon, will lead the Mandalorians against the Sith with the Republic and save the galaxy as Mandalore. That means that your name will go down forever in history.

You'd better make your memory a good one then.

"I'll stand with you to the very end, Anon." Rainbow says with a smile. "I've got your back."

You look at her and smile back. Knowing that she's with you fills you with comfort and confidence. If she's with you, then you know others will be with you as well. Coco, Thunderlane, Tempest, Lyra, Bon Bon, and many others, but Sunset, more than anyone, hopefully.

She still needs to know about your new role in this. When you're underway, you'll contact her.

"Yes, yes, that's all very nice and sappy." Gilda sighs. You turn to her. "But how about we cut the crap and get going?"

"You seem pretty eager to want to get to Mandalore, Gilda. Feeling homesick?"

"Ha! Not in a million years." Gilda scoffs. "I am optimistic about your leadership though, Anon. Maybe you'll finally bring some spine to your people."

You know she's just talking big because Mandalore kicked her ass all those years ago before banishing her. This will be the first time she's been back to your world since. With you in charge, you'll allow her access just this once. She's still banished, but these are desperate times. Once this is over, she's still not allowed to call herself a Mandalorian.

After a moment, you stand up straight again. "In that case, let's head to Concord Dawn and regroup with our friends. We've got work to do."

"We'll follow you there." Gilda grins.

Limestone glares at you all before she and Gilda turn around and head back into the Griffon without saying another word. Pinkie takes a step after her sister and watches as she walks deeper into the ship until the door shuts completely, sealing off access again.

You take a deep breath and turn to Rainbow. "Take us home. I need to contact the fleet."

"You've got it, Anon."

Rainbow walks into the cockpit and leaves you behind with Applejack and Pinkie. None of you say anything for a while.

Finally, Applejack breaks the silence. "You alright, Sugarcube?"

"I'll be fine." You reply. "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about Gilda's intentions though. There's a damn good reason why she was banished from Mandalore."

She nods. "I don't doubt that for a second. But I don't really see a reason for her to lie now. She and Limestone destroyed a crucial Sith hideout to help us escape. We saw 'em do it. I don't think they're lyin' to us."

"I don't think they are either, Applejack. Even so, the scars she left run deep. Convincing all Mandalorians everywhere to trust me as Mandalore may be challenging if they see Gilda making a return as well."

She sets a hand on your shoulder and smiles. "We'll vouch for ya. Don't worry."

Pinkie nods at you and smiles as well. "I'm sure Sunset will too, Anon."

You take a deep breath as you imagine your future. Having your friends at your back feels like you can do anything. The Sith don't stand a chance.

You set a hand on each of their shoulders and give each of them a squeeze. "Thank you. Both of you. You have no idea how much I needed to hear that."

"No problem, Anon." Applejack smiles.

After a moment, you release them and exhale again. The ship rumbles slightly beneath your feet as Rainbow releases the Sonic Rainboom away from the Griffon.

"Sounds like we're on our way." Applejack says.

"Mmhmm." You reply. "Applejack, you and Pinkie head to the cockpit with Rainbow. I need to contact Sunset and tell her what's going on."

"Got it. Come on, Pinkie."

"See you in a bit, Anon!" Pinkie waves.

You wave back and the two girls head around the corner and into the cockpit, leaving you alone. After a moment, you walk back to your room and turn on your comms. It doesn't take long to find Sunset's message, so you replay it again.

It's so good to see her. She's so beautiful.

Once her message is over, you take a deep breath and call her. It's time to tell her.

After a few rings, her image appears on a small holopad in front of you. "Anon?"


She smiles wide when you reply. "Anon! You're okay!"

She's here. She's finally here.

It feels like it's been forever since you last saw her.

"Yeah... I'm fine... I got your message. Are you okay?"

She nods. "Yeah, we're fine. The ship needs repairs. We ran into some trouble with HK droids and an old friend of ours. You won't believe this. We got here and-"

"Sunset, Sunset wait. Listen..." You cut her off, holding your hand up at her. "I have to tell you something very important... Something has happened, and I wanted you to hear it from me first."

She stops talking and looks at you with concern. "What is it? What's wrong? Are you okay?"

You slowly remove your helmet and stare at her, face-to-face. "I'm fine, but..."

You look away slowly as the words fail to come out of your mouth. Once you say them to her, it will be official. It feels like a long time before you're able to look at her again.

"Anon?" She says. "Anon, what is it? Tell me."

With another pause, you look at her closely and speak. "...Mandalore is dead..."

Author's Note: