Ikara stormed to the small closet, pulling things out. "Here," she barked, shoving a stormtrooper's suit of armor at C'Mos. "Put this on."
"Excuse me?" the slicer said, eyeing the armor. "I don't think so. I don't do white."
"You'll do white." Ikara pointed the blaster at C'Mos, holding it under the younger woman's nose. "If you want to live, you'll do white."
"You wouldn't. You need me too much," the Slicer said, staring Ikara right in the eyes.
"I would. I can get another slicer," Ikara growled.
"Not as good as me. Not one that knows this ship well enough to rig that holo good enough to fool that guy who's got the Captain."
"I can work that thing well enough. Don't flatter yourself, girl." Ikara tightened her grip on the blaster. "I hate cleaning, you know."
"Fine," C'Mos snapped, grabbing the armor. She snorted. "I'd like to see you try to rig that holoprojecter, but then I'd rather let you shoot me than let you touch my equipment."
Ikara slammed the blaster back into her holster. "You'd do well to remember who killed the Hutt for your toy, C'Mos." She turned and pulled out the Imperial officer's uniform that was kept there. The captain had laughed that it was a perfect fit for her. And it would have been, if it weren't for the blaster hole in the back that neither of them had ever found the time to repair properly. She shrugged. She wouldn't be facing Quincy with her back to him.
"I can't see in this thing," C'Mos complained as she slipped the stormtroopers helmet over her head. "What kind of idiot designs a helmet you can't see squat out of?"
"Imperials," Ikara said, shrugging out of her own clothes and into the dark uniform. "We won't have much time once we're on the Axe. We're going to have to move fast."
"Fine," the younger woman said, yanking off the helmet. She ran a hand through her two-tone, blue/black hair. "I could stick a mini holo pickup on this and expand the range of vision into something a little more useful," she said, looking at the outside of the helmet.
"Later." Ikara dropped into Roark's chair. "Get that holo thing going. The Butcher's Ax will be in range shortly."
The slicer heaved a sigh and tossed the helmet into an empty chair and then slumped down into a chair at one of the computer access points. Her fingers flew across the keypad, programming the holo and false sensor feeds.
Meanwhile, aboard the "Butcher's Axe bounty hunter and prey are bound for Ord Mantell via an unusual route. Seemingly busy with planning Roark's rescue, Ikara had not noticed the "out-of-the-way" route the bounty hunter was taking. Perhaps she thought the bounty hunter was a poor pilot and navigator. Either way while Ikara was busy plotting a rescue plan, Roark was calling upon his last resolves to stay alive. Something that mattered little to Butcher Quincy, after all his prey was "Wanted Dead or Alive."
Barely conscious, Roark hung suspended upside down from shackles and chains inside Quincy's detention cell. The last time he was in a detention cell was on his way to the Spice Mines of Kessel. Every inch of Roarks body ached as his muscles contracted against the brutal torture they had endured in the past several minutes. As he passed in and out of consciousness, the pain reminded him of the pain he had suffered while laboring for ten long years on Kessel. The mines were a nightmarish hole from which he and a handful of other men had fought to survive.
His eyelids closed from the pain and Roark drifted off into dreams of his past. The raspy sounds of his own labored breathing drowned his ears from underneath his breath mask. The sun bite into his backside as the searing pain peeled back several layers of his skin. He had been sentenced to hard labor outside the mines, the Imperial officer had hoped for a swift death for this one. The salt flats were a place were even fewer people had survived. Roark had stood the test of time thus far, at least until that fateful hour when the Imperial shuttle had sped up to where he was working on the construction of another atmosphere factory.
That day on Kessel, Roarks bronzed muscles rippled as sweat poured like rain off a mountains boulders. He swung a wide arc with the sledgehammer as he himself began a rainstorm. The storm was his hammering of spikes into the foundation of rail tracks being laid. Although the sound of the shuttle had not escaped his notice, he made no move to confirm his awareness. Once the shuttle was stopped the Imperial officer who had arrested him, walked down the landing ramp. On his arm was attached a lady in white robes, her face hidden by a veil. Again, Roark retained his composure as the pair approached him.
"I am quite surprised to see that you have survived this long doctor." The officer began to circle Roark. The woman remained quiet as she moved step for step with the Imperial.
"You seem to take delight in the fact that you have imprisoned an innocent man?" Roark had not missed a single stroke in his hammering.
"I see no innocent man, only a fool." The smugness was almost as thick as the sneer on his face.
"My disappearance will be reported. You will be rewarded in kind for all of this." His faith in the sightlessness of justice was evident in his tone of voice.
"I have already been rewarded doctor. I had your estates, your bank accounts have been seized in the name of the Emperor. Finally, I even have your woman." The Imperial began to laugh as he wiped his boot on the backside of Roarks scared body.
"You're lying. When Jasmine finds out I am missing she will have her family begin a search for me." Roark would not be provoked, he had to maintain hope he would be rescued from this hellhole by his fiancée.
"You truly are a fool. You have no idea the hardships you have caused the lovely Jasmine or her family." The officer seemed to be enjoying his prodding of his victim.
"I'll kill you…" Roark dropped his sledgehammer and turned for the Imperial with his hands reaching out for a neck to strangle.
"Sebastian, leave him alone." The lady under the white veil spoke, Roark froze as he recognized the voice.
"Jasmine?" Roarks eyes lit up for a moment until he realized how she held herself close to the Imperial.
"He's right, you have no idea the shame you have brought my family." She spat her words at Roark like nails in a coffin.
"Jasmine, what do you mean? All I did was aid a dying man. I am a doctor." His eyes pleaded with his fiancée.
"You were a doctor. Now you are no more than a common criminal. I shall have to work very hard to expunge this dreadful mark from my families record. I hope you die here for what you have put me and my family through." Jasmine clung to the Imperials arms as she smiled at her attendant.
"Then so be it. Consider me dead." He looked now at the Imperial. "Enjoy your latest acquisition Commander, if you can." Roark turned his back on the both of them to lift his sledgehammer into the air once more. As he brought down the full force of the hammer onto the next spike driving it down with a single stroke, there was also a single tear that ran down his face to slowly disappear within the heat as did the love his heart had held.
Awaking from his dream, Roark looked around with one eye functional. The dream had given him new resolve to stay alive. He had survived love, betrayal, Imperials and Kessel. What more could Quincy do to him that he hadn't trodden underneath his boots before?
To be continued in…
Ahoy at Ord Mantell Part Three - Out of the Noose
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