FORGED BY FATE
Escape From Mos Shuuta – Part 1: Cantina Crashers
TRIGGERED OBLIGATION: None (66)
DESTINY POOL: Light 4 / Dark 3
SCENE: Desert landsape
A static shot of a rocky desert vista. The small, yet bustling starport city of Mos Shuuta sits atop a steep butte surrounded by an ocean of sand in the distance. A YT-1300 freighter descends, slowly rotating in a controlled flat spin towards an unseen landing bay, and disappears from view.
CUT TO: Narrow Mos Shuuta alleyway.
Zuul turned the corner of the alley at a full run, skidding on the dusty ground briefly before regaining his balance. Glancing backwards, he saw a flash of Kee-lah’s green skin and the horned silhouette of Vekrax’s skull against the light at the alley’s entrance. Behind them, a series of beeps and whistles echoed off the walls as D-11K’s wheeled legs brought up the rear. Something about “stupid green meat sacks,” although it could just as likely have been about a hyperdrive malfunction; Zuul was still learning the astromech droid’s dialect. No sign of their fifth companion. Had Teemo’s goons gotten him? No time to worry now.
Zuul had popped out of the alley onto a small side street. He quickly gazed up and down the dirt road for a place his party could lose themselves in the crowd. But there was no crowd here, only a few creatures proceeding about their day’s business. A toydarian hovering in a doorway with wings flapping as it cleaned carbon deposits off a battered R4 droid. A pair of jawas babbled excitedly while they chased a mouse droid into another alley. So places to hide then. A few liquid storage tanks, scattered piles of boxes and discarded trash rested against the stone buildings. Perhaps a business they could enter? Zuul could see an open-bay droid repair shop and a handful of vendors selling cheap food, clothing and trinkets under awnings. Across the road were high walls which partially muted the grunts, hisses and stench of the dewbacks behind them. And then Zuul saw salvation. Only a few doors down was the entrance to the town’s cantina, and it would give them a chance to hide from Teemo’s gamorrean enforcers. He waved to his following companions and hurried towards it.
Slowing to a walk and taking a few deep breaths to appear calm, Zuul pushed the door open and ducked through the entrance. A cool breeze wafted over him as the overhead fan struggled to keep up with the fierce heat of the midday suns. Peering through the dimly lit interior, Zuul was jostled by his acquaintances entering behind him. The cantina was moderately filled due to the lunch crowd. Several various creatures crowded the bar to his left and clamored for the attention of the devaronian bartender, and most of the tables in the middle of the large single-room establishment were occupied. An unused stage was placed at the far end of the room. A row of booths filled the right wall, a few of which were empty. No exits other than the front entrance… but behind the bar was the slightly cracked door of the supply closet. Good enough.
Zuul smoothly sidled up to the bar and caught the eye of the bartender; not too difficult, as he himself was a devaronian. Small galaxy. Leaning forward to speak in a low voice, he slipped a fifty-credit chit across the bar. “For the next ten minutes I’m your janitor, and I’ll be stocking the supply closet behind the bar.” The bartender’s raised eyebrows turned into an amused grin, and he jerked his head toward the closet door as he made the credits disappear. “Looks like you’re hired.” Zuul squeezed through the serving entrance, and quickly hid himself in the darkness between the supplies with the door cracked open behind him.
As he peered through the door’s opening, Zuul watched Vekrax duck into a booth already occupied by another zabrak, while Kee-lah hurried toward the stage at the back of the room as she removed her jacket. Smoothing her hair, Kee-lah disappeared behind the stage with a grin on her face. Vekrax slapped the shoulder of the other confused zabrak and waved a twi’lek serving girl over to them. While Vekrax continued to talk at his new companion, the domed top of D-11K’s head disappeared underneath the bar counter. Zuul could hear a couple of stools being pushed aside the droid hid itself in the shadows.
No sooner had the droid disappeared than the cantina door burst open. Sure enough, they’d failed to elude Teemo’s thugs. Four silhouettes were backlit by the suns as the door closed, and they began to disperse into the cantina. They might not be too smart, but what they lacked in brains these gamorreans made up for with brawn, persistence, and stink. Heads turned and tracked them as the scoured the establishment; Zuul and his friends probably weren’t the only people that wanted to avoid attention in Mos Shuuta. Zuul pulled his modified dueling blaster from its holster and poked the barrel through the thin opening in the door, just in case.
Two of the enforcers walked along the bar, pushing patrons aside as they looked for Zuul’s associates. Another hurried deeper into the building to look amongst the tables while a fourth made its way along the row of booths on the far side of the cantina. Lights at the back of the cantina snapped on as Kee-lah emerged, dressed in a sheer robe. She began to dance liquidly on the stage as blue and red lights played across her skin. Glancing at the bartender, Zuul could see the confusion on his face as the show started. Slowly, the confusion turned into appreciation at the amount of skin being bared on his stage.
The gamorreans continued to hunt. Zuul breathed a sigh of relief when he saw the pair near the bar pass D-11K’s hiding spot… only to hear the scraping of stools and a few gasps from nearby patrons. D-11K’s head appeared above the bar, and then the rest of his body as he steadily rose towards the ceiling with no form of suspension in sight. The two nearby gamorreans shouted, pulled large metal clubs from their belts, and began to swing mightily at the suspended droid.
Zuul cracked the door open a bit further and peered through the opening. Sure enough, Vekrax was sitting in a booth with eyes squinted as he began to move his outstretched hand. In response, the droid began to spin in midair. D-11K whistled a few furious notes. Zuul didn’t know the entire library of droid curse words, but he was sure a few were mixed in there. A panel on the droid’s cylindrical body sprang open and a blaster pistol snapped out. D-11K spewed a series of poorly aimed blaster bolts around the cantina as the droid made his displeasure known. The top of a stool exploded, and new scorch marks were added to old ones on the walls and ceiling. Patrons began to scream as they began to duck for cover or run for the cantina’s exit. The gamorreans were fixated on their prey, and continued to take two-handed swings at the droid.
An Ithorian took the backswing of a club in the chest as he attempted to navigate the gamorreans’ gauntlet and fell to his back, grunting out an anguished sound from the mouths on the sides of its neck while its eyes rolled in pain. A trio of one-eyed abyssans rushed by with their instruments cradled protectively, and a wookiie flipped a table, roaring as he exited the cantina. A few bothans in a booth simply laughed pointed as they continued to drink. Zuul saw the bartender shake his head as he ducked behind the bar. There appeared to be a better than fair chance that fifty credits weren’t worth this amount of trouble.
One of the gamorrean’s clubs finally connected and sent D-11K hurtling across the room and into the wall with a loud metallic clang. Vekrax was startled as his control was broken, but he quickly recovered and slid out of his booth to his feet, charging across the room through the now empty tables. The gamorrean that had sent the droid flying shouted in triumph and ran to the prone figure to finish it off. Blasting a series of bleeps, D-11K popped to its feet and sent a blaster bolt into the gamorrean’s belly. Clutching at his middle and bellowing in pain, the gamorrean continued its charge and barreled into the droid shoulder first. Smashed between the bulk of the gamorrean and the wall, D-11K gave a plaintive wail and its lights flickered, then dimmed. The gamorrean snorted in triumph and turned to where Vekrax was engaged with its compatriot.
Realizing he’d waited too long to reveal himself, Zuul adjusted tighly sqeezed his blaster’s custom grip and ducked out of the doorway. Waiting a split second for a fleeing rodian to move out of his way, he lined up his sights on the gamorrean. A careful shot to the side of the head dropped it before it had taken a full step towards Vekrax. Before he could line up a shot on Vekrax’s opponent, a loud crash drew Zuul’s eyes to the rear of the cantina. Two backlit silhouettes struggled on the stage as Kee-lah viciously fought with a gamorrean. Kee-lah tossed her see-through robe at him, succeeding in wrapping it around his arm but little else. She grunted as he retaliated with a swift club strike to her bare midriff, then raised her arms to fend off further attacks as she backpedalled.
Zuul attempted to get a shot at the gamorrean attempting to strike Vekrax, but he was afraid of striking Vekrax in the process. Giving up on the futile attempt, he drew his vibroknife and thumbed the power switch. A hum indicated it was functional and ready to start carving. As Zuul hopped over the bar to engage, the gamorrean yelped in surprise as its club was ripped out of his hand and flung across the room. Vekrax’s grin gave away that he’d used the force. Angered, the gamorrean rushed Vakrex. Vakrex responded by unsheathing an ornate metal sword and flourishing it, whipping it around in a series of arcs quickly enough to make it whistle. Accepting a few slices to the chest and arms that sent spatters of green blood flying, the gamorrean bulled through Vakrex’s guard to land a fist in his gut, followed by an uppercut that sent him reeling.
Zuul lowered his shoulder and charged, striking the gamorrean in the middle of the back. And it was like trying to shoulder through a brick wall. Zuul took a few hurried swipes as the gamorrean turned towards him and only succeeded in severing a few shreds of leather armor as the blade hummed. In response he’d left himself open, and received a swift forearm to the side of his head for it. The gamorrean suddenly stiffened as the tip of Vekrax’s metal blade suddenly protruded through its shoulder, and Zuul quickly seized the opportunity to plunge his knife into its chest. With the harsh buzz of blade vibrating on bone and an agonized squeal, the gamorrean dropped to the ground.
Vekrax and Zuul quickly abandoned the enforcer’s corpse and attempted to join Kee-lah. She’d received the worst end of the exchange of blows, and blood trickled from multiple gashes on her torso and arms. Running to within easy blaster range, Zuul slapped a fresh charge into his pistol, took a deep breath and steadied his aim. The bolt struck the back of the gamorrean’s head and left a smoking hole. The creature keeled forwards, nearly taking Kee-lah with it to the ground as it toppled. Heavy breathing was now the only sound breaking the silence of the nearly abandoned cantina.
The bartender, now on his feet, began to clap slowly. “Nicely done, people. Nicely done.” Shaking his head at the damage, he continued to speak while Zuul, Kee-lah and Vekrax regained their composure and began to set D-11K upright. “Looks like you’ve got a problem. Above and beyond destroying my property and disturbing my customers, I judge being chased by Teemo’s enforcers means you’ll be wanting out of the city, and probably off the planet as well. Just so happens that there’s a ship sitting in docking bay Besh. It already belongs to a Captain Trex, and he’ll probably resent losing his ship, but nobody in the city likes him much, even Teemo, so I wouldn’t worry about that. The ship’s docked for repairs, so you’ll also want to find a hyperdrive matter reactor before you try to go anywhere with it. You can find one in the junkyard if you’ve got the credits.”
The bartender folded his arms and glared. “Now… any enemy of Teemo is a friend of mine, but seeing as I don’t need any more of his gamorreans in my cantina, I invite you to leave. Now.” The deveronian smiled with bared teeth, and let it devolve into a frown as he raised his arm and pointed at the door. Vekrax tilted D-11K onto its wheeled legs, and began to push it towards the door. Kee-lah wiped green blood off of her shoulder and put her leather jacket on. Checking to make sure his vibroknife’s power was switched off, Zuul slid it back into its belt sheath and turned towards the exit.
Pushing open the door, Zuul and his companions ventured out into midday sunlight and baking heat of Mos Shuuta to find a way off of Tatooine. They just needed to repair their droid, track down a working hyperdrive component, and steal a ship from its Hutt-employed owner out of an Imperial docking bay. No sweat.