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Thread: Neon Underworld

  1. #1

    Bounty Neon Underworld

    I never much cared for Byblos. It was a strange, sterile world covered in megablocs and skyscrapers. It didn't have any personality to speak of. No style. I could say the same thing about Sheegoth's office, but there was definitely some kind of underlying theme, but it was just as boring as the city outside the big ass windows. Everything in here was designed to make you feel small, from the massive desk that was probably worth more than my ship to the statues, art, and other decorations that were all larger than life. And then you have the old dragon himself who managed to make everything else in the room look small by comparison. He looked so funny towering behind his desk; a big, scaly thing clothed in a silk suit that looked like it was ready to break at the seems. It was be laughable if he wasn't so sundamn terrifying. From the spikes on his head to his gob full of fangs. He radiated a carefully curated flavor of scary.

    Being alone in his office reminded me too much of days spent in detention, of adults lecturing me about failing grades or whatever. It wasn't a great feeling. And just like in those days it just made me want to act up more. With my leg draped over the arm of the plush chair, coat and hood over my armor, fidgeting with some kind of weird cube thing I grabbed from the desk. Gotta be cool. Gotta look like you don't give a shit. They can't make you feel small unless you let them. And I'm a big ass fucking deal.

    "Coruscant? You do know that those civilized assholes don't care much for me, right?"

    "I am very aware. I have intentionally kept you away in Mid and Outer-Rim until your name has faded a little from memory. You have fixed that issue yourself when you changed you name; but still I felt it prudent to keep you away. What was it again you called yourself before?"

    "Bloodhawk."

    "Yes. Congratulations on a successful rebranding. You carry a much more... positive reputation since becoming Abaddon. It is finally time for you to return to Coruscant."

    "Better be a big job if I'm going all the way to the blasted Core. I've got a lot going on out here."

    "So I've heard. Hanging around Jovan Station a lot from what I hear. It is a big job. Perhaps the biggest I have ever given you."

    "I dunno about that. That job out in Wild Space was pretty crazy."

    "Yes, it was. And you were wonderfully compensated to never speak of it again. This job is bigger. I want you to find this man..."

    The projector on Sheegoth's desk sparked to life and a guy's mug popped up. Human. Old. Bald. Goatee. I would say boring but he had a kind of glint in his eye that was unsettling, even for a Bad Ass Mother Fucker like me.

    "Some old guy? Please tell me this isn't another baby sit escort mission."

    "Hardly. This is Doctor Zanon. He is one of the Empire's most wanted fugitives. He was a well known geneticist and former state researcher for the Empire, and possibly the Republic before it. He has a penchant for not staying dead, and has many confirmed cases of being killed in the field or dying in custody; but he always comes back. As you can imagine that really upsets the Empire. The specifics of his crimes are not even listed on the bounty. So classified that even I cannot say for certain what he has done; only what is rumored. They say he creates genetic monsters and super soldiers, that he has absolutely no morals and will do anything to push the boundaries of science. He may look like an old man, but he's been alive for more than a hundred years, does not stay dead, and is considered to be extremely dangerous. The payout for his live capture and return to the Empire is a million credits. He has never survived long enough to reach the Inquisition, which he has now outlived, and the Imperial Knights have not been any more successful. You see, he usually commits suicide. Cyanide pills. Explosives rigged through his laboratories. I've been told he even bashed his own head in on the walls of his cell. Dead. Always dead. And then he resurfaces five to ten years later on another world, in a different system."

    "And you are telling me that he's on Coruscant in the Empire's own backyard? Fuck me. I'm not going to compete with the Knights to grab this guy first."

    "I would not have brought you here if I did not have absolute certainty that he is out of their reach. I have very good sources, the likes of which the Empire has yet to purchase, that Zanon is indeed on Coruscant. I should say, not on, but under. He is somewhere in the Coruscant Underworld."

    "Oh wow, let me get right on that. The Coruscant Underworld? That's what, like five thousand levels the size of the entire planet's surface, with each getting more fucked up the deeper you go? Oh count me in, I'm sure I'll have that whole place searched sometime in the next ten thousand years. Come on, Rath. You can't be serious?"

    "Mister Sheegoth, Abaddon. Do not get too familiar unless you want me to start using first names as well."

    "Right. Sorry. But seriously. That's a crazy brief."

    "Steady yourself. Do not think so little of me. I have good intel that will narrow down your search. Zanon is running a operation of some kind down around the thousandth level. Civilizations still exist down there. My informants are there, and you will have to put in some effort to track Zanon down. It is far from unreasonable. The payout is incredible. I have even generously increased your share from thirty percent to fifty. Five hundred thousand credits could buy you a ship, a home, the new BlasTech spring collection, and still have enough left over to purchase the baronship of a small moon and perhaps even a personality."

    He always found a way to needle me. Always. I didn't even see it coming this time. I was still so absolutely reeling from just how crazy this mission is. The last thing I needed was to go stomping around in the sewers of Coruscants asshole trying to find some old guy who probably fucks corpses by the sound of him. This was not the kind of reputation that Abaddon The Black, Destroyer of Armies needed. Oh look, Abaddon caught some crusty old dude in the sewers. Yeah. Real fucking cool that one. I'm not getting any pussy with a rep like that. What I wanted was blaster fights, near death escapes, and some sundamn explosions. This sounded like none of that. Fuck this shit. Rath looks so smug over there, with that big toothy grin on his sundamn face. He's doing this on purpose. Always sticking me in some mission he knows I'll hate. Tell me it's good for me or some shit.

    "I've secured you clearance to travel to Coruscant, and a temporary Bounty-Hunters Guild Pass that will allow you Guild Access and permits for your weapons. All of them. You're going to need them. The Coruscant Underworld is ruthless and dangerous. They say there is no law down there except the law you bring with you. Imperial Knights don't travel below the two thousandth level. You will truly be on your own. You may want to field a partner or two, but you will be responsible for whatever hell they bring down on this operation. Oh, and try not to die. I have a lot of credits invested into this, and into you. Do not let me down. Now get out of my office."

  2. #2
    I swear on the Goddess, one of these days I was going to put the big lizard in the ground. Who did he think he was threatening me like that? Dammit, that was days ago and I'm still mad. He better thank his lucky stars that he's the guy signing my checks or I would have torched that gaudy office of his years ago. He's right, and I hate it. This is a big job with a big payout, and one that was not going to just help me scrape by like every other job he'd ever given me. Oh sure, they look good on paper and it looks like a fistful of credits, but then you factor in fuel, ship repairs, armor repairs, medical bills, ammunition, and blaster replacements, then insurance premiums and Guild fines, fines for the property damage and personal injury inflicted by collateral damage, and usually a few bribes to escape stiffer penalties, and now that pot of credits has dwindled into nothing. If I was a real Bounty Hunter I would have Guild insurance, better bounties, and a supply stipend.

    Not to mention the ability to act on almost every planet in the galaxy as an extension of the Law.

    Not having that is how I got in trouble last time I was on Coruscant. Turns out the Empire ain't too fond of people coming in and wrecking the place up while chasing down a bounty and I had to make a pretty hasty but tactical retreat from the system before I got impounded by the Navy. It made me feel very uneasy as I dropped out of warp into the system, to the familiar sight of the gleaming gray bead surrounded by those telltale white snack chip triangles. Star Destroyers. What ugly things. No style. Say what you want about Mon Cal cruisers. They might be just as ugly but at least they are trying something different. The Empire might have cool uniforms but they really phone it in when it comes to Starship design. I'd sooner be caught dead than in the cockpit of a TIE Fighter. Seriously. Those things are basically flying trash cans.

    Hitting the throttle the Nemesis of Reason shot forward toward the planet. I wasn't taking any chances and was already broadcasting my passcode, itinerary, and temporary Guild ID.

    "Uh, Nemesis of... Reason? You are cleared for approach. You are assigned to Shaft 44b. Please reduce speed and follow the pylons."

    Was that a fucking snicker? Goddess help me I will find out what control tower this guy is sitting in and vaporize him. Not my fault he can't recognize a sick ass Starship name when he hears one. Fuck that guy. And fuck him wanting me to slow down. This is a Firespray 31. It has only one speed, and that's FAST! Whatever. The guy can rot on the Emperor's Black Throne for all I care. And the pylons? Please. I guess some of these idiot pilots might need that kind of baby help to traverse the planet but I could find my way all by myself, thank you. I've got the tracker suite for it, after all. Escaping Coruscant last time had been terrifying but had also been a blast, dodging through the skyways and out through orbit. Ducking and weaving and dodging the whole way, and that had been back in that POS Headhunter I was flying back then. The Nemesis was faster and more agile. I can only imagine it'd be even more fun now.

    But whatever, I'll play it cool for now. Too big a job to fuck up right at the start. I followed the stupid lighted pylons all the way to the designated shaft. The world was covered in these service corridors that dropped deep into the planet, saving me a lot of time hoofing it all the way down to the center. It was a neverending stream of craft, and like all things on Coruscant, there was already a huge back up lining up outside of the shaft. Oh great, what a good way to start this job. Nothing was moving fast and I had a sneaking suspicion that by the time I made it to the bottom that Zanon guy will have died of old age or fled the planet. I didn't even had an adequate autopilot system for handing this traffic jam, which meant I was stick here, control stick in hand, all the way to the bottom.

    Fuck this. It's settled. I'm using this payout to finally get that advance AI I've been wanting ever since Fook took me in. And fuck Fook, too. I'll show him who's the better Bounty Hunter.

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