"Unidentified transport, This is the Victory Star Destroyer Raptor. Power down ALL systems and prepare to be boarded!" a voice snarled over the com-system.
"Zork no think so!" he said putting the small ship into a sharp dive.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" she yelled. She held onto the crash webbing for dear life as Zork put the transport in to a series of gut wrenching maneuvers.
"Zork beating the odds. If your father wants you, he can talk to Lord Zurga AFTER Zork gets reward for bringing you to him," the Rodian replied.
"I lost them in the Atmosphere, sir." LT. Kurozo said looking up from The Raptor's crew pit to its Captain.
"DAMN!!' Comdr. Lodovic growled "Does that ship match the configuration of the ship that departed Cedriss?" he asked, looking down at the young officer.
"It's the Same one, sir. Listed as The Rising Star, owned by a Rodian bounty hunter named Zork. Sensors indicate two life forms aboard," the officer replied.
"So that brainless twit succeeded where the other notable hunters failed, eh?"
"Lieutenant Hahneger, I want several teams to go down to the surface of Nal Hutta and secure Jaina Solo, is that understood?" Ludovic barked.
"Yes, sir," the officer bowed, then was gone. 'Finally,' he thought, 'I will be rid of this awful place! Once I have Jaina Solo, I will deliver her *personally* to his majesty.'
Shortly after having a run in with the Emperor's grandson Garrek Palpatine, he found himself suddenly transferred to this part of space.
Some people said that Tatooine was a hive of scum and villainy. Those people, Ludovic figured, had never been to Nal Hutta. This planet was the breeding ground for Tatooine.
He'd been searching for a way to get back into the good graces of his superiors. When he saw the news reports of Jaina's disappearance, he thought he had a snowballs chance on Tatooine of capturing her. Then he learned that a Hutt put out a 10 million credit bounty on the girl.
He knew sooner or later that they would end up bringing her to Nal Hutta. Suddenly being the Captain of one of the few Imperial war ships in the Sector wasn't so bad after all.
He personally sent out bounty hunters, paying them out of his pocket and whatever he could steal from the ship's fund. He was having no luck and running out of credits when he received word that Jaina Solo had taken a job as a lounge singer in a club on Cedris. He was almost irate when it was learned that some unknown hunter had stolen his bounty.
Now this vessel was in his grasp and all he had to do was wait to see where the ship landed. He would send in a team, extract Solo, then go directly to Coruscant and present Jaina Solo to his Majesty.
"My Lord Zurga," Mimaw Naboon Zurga's Twi'lek aide strode into the Hutt's throne room with Zork and Arielle following closely behind. "May I present the bounty hunter Zork and his captive, the Jedi-Knight Jaina Solo," the Twi'lek announced in a tone loud enough for all to hear. Zork pushed Arielle ahead of him and several people gasped. "HEY, WATCH IT BUSTER!" she growled as she was shoved before the Hutt.
Zork had a look on his face like he had beaten the entire Galaxy. 'So this is how Boba Fett must have felt when he delivered her father to Jabba,' he thought to himself.
"Ah welcome Bounty Hunter. You have done well," Zurga acknowledged, looking Arielle over and licking his lips. "Give the bounty hunter his money," he bellowed.
"What? Oh, come on! Listen, you idiot; how many times do I have to say it? I AM NOT JAINA SOLO! I ONLY LOOK LIKE HER!" she shrieked, turning to the Rodian as all the other creatures began to chuckle...all except for Zurga.
"My name is Arielle...Arielle Shimano. You have the wrong girl! And if you give him the money your an even bigger idiot than he is!" she added, looking at the Hutt.
"SILENCE," Zork spat, back-handing her hard across the face and sending her a few meters away into the arms of a Gammorian guard. "How many time must Zork say...your Jedi mind tricks no work while the Jedi Capture Beacon is active," the Rodian yelled.
"Capture Beacon?" Zurga inquired. "Let me see this capture beacon," he ordered holding out a massive hand.
"Certainly, Lord Zurga," Zork replied pulling the orb from a cargo pocket. "This Jedi Capture Beacon will take away all Jedi's powers and leave them helpless," Zork explained.
"Is that so?" The Hutt asked, raising a pudgy eyebrow. "It is, my lord. She has tried to use her Jedi mind trick the moment I ungagged her, but as you can see, they did not work," he said, holding the orb aloft for all to see before handing it to the Twi'lek aide.
Some gasped, but a few who recognized the object began laughing like crazy.
"I was about to get the ancient writing on the bottom translated, my lord, but I captured her shortly after I bought it," Zork stated. Mimaw glanced around at the laughing creatures, wondering what the joke was. Then he turned the orb over and looked at the writing on the bottom. It wasn't ancient writing it was Huttese.
After reading it, he TOO began to laugh as he handed the orb to Zurga. Once he had a closer look, he instantly recognized it and began laughing heavily.
"Wwwwhats ssso funnny, mmmyyy looord?" Zork stuttered, suddenly scared.
"You don't know Huttese, do you Zork?" Zurga asked with a smile. Zork was dumbfounded and could only shake his head.
"I didn't think so." Zurga said still chuckling. "I'll translate it for you," he said, looking at the underside of the orb. "TINY TOT NURSERY SUPPLY COMPANY ZAMBOOLI NAL HUTTA," he read as a new wave laughter swept through the throne room.
"This isn't a Jedi capture beacon, you idiot. It's a HUTTESE NIGHT LIGHT!" he bellowed, laughing hard.
"WHAT? THAT CAN'T BE!" Zork whimpered. "The man I bought it from said that Jabba himself used that to capture Luke Skywalker!" protested Zork. That made everyone laugh even harder.
"Serves you right!" Arielle snarled. "You didn't capture a Jedi, you moron, you kidnapped a Singer!" she snapped, kicking him in the shin. "Could somebody PLEASE untie me now?" she spat, looking around the throne room. A large man wearing dark gray armor, his head swathed in bandages stepped forward and looked at Zurga who nodded. The big man pulled a viroblade from a pouch and freed the girl's wrists.
"Thank you," Arielle said softly as she rubbed her chaffed wrists. The big man smiled and nodded as he put the knife away.
"How much did you pay for this, Rodian?" Zurga asked, still trying to catch his breath from laughing.
"2,500 credits, my lord," Zork replied. Once again laughter swept through the throne room.
"Truly amazing," Zurga nodded, "that you actually had that kind of money to spend." He bellowed, laughing hard.
Zork held his head low, uttering a strange noise. Arielle wasn't sure why, but she suddenly felt sorry for the Rodian. He came in here thinking he was the king of the galaxy, only to find out he was lower than criznock fodder.
"All is not lost, my friend," Zurga said in a supportive tone, "For I would like for you to be my special guest at a dinner to be held in your honor." Zurga stated with a pudgy smile surprising all those around him.
"You would, lord Zurga?" Zork blurted out, totally shocked by the offer. The bounty hunter who had freed Arielle's wrists reached forward and yanked her back a few meters.
"HEY, WHAT ARE YOU..."
"BOKKA" Zurga yelled as he hit a switch on his throne with a meaty hand.
The floor gave way beneath Zork's feet, sending him tumbling into a large dark metal room.
Suddenly as he hit the floor, the blackness seemed to come alive and envelop him completely, and within seconds there was nothing left of him but a few shreds of tattered clothing.
Arielle looked down into room to see the floor writhing, horrified.
"Phirana beetles" The big man said solemnly.
All Arielle could do was stare silently down as the hatch came back up and locked.
"Master, what shall we do with the girl?" Mimaw Naboon asked, grabbing Arielle's left arm, his long fingernails digging into her skin. "She might be of some use to us. She DOES look like Solo's daughter," he added.
All was silent as Zurga pondered his aide's words, nodding. "You have a point. She still may be of some use to us. Take her away," he bellowed. Two Gammorean Guards came forward, each taking an arm. They pulled her from the throne room and down several levels to a small windowless room. They opened the door and shoved her inside.
Arielle, still wearing the mini dress she wore for her singing act curled up on the floor as tears began steaming down her face.
LIGHT YEARS AWAY ONBOARD THE SCOUNDREL
Dev Gramke paced back and forth along the catwalk of The Scoundrel's bridge as the Scoundrel orbited the Planet Balkhash. Treece had gone planet-side after they received no radio response from the pirate base that a friend of Dev's father operated in this part of space.
"Sir, Recon One is airborne, Colonel Treece expects to be back aboard shortly," Lt. Addison said to Dev, looking up from the crewpit. "He says you're never gonna believe who he found down there," she reported, brushing a loose strand of red hair from her face.
"Understood. Have them report to my ready room as soon as they are back onboard," Dev replied, trying to figure out what Donovan got himself into now.
A short time later as Donovan and his team walked into the ready room, Donovan wore a grin the size of a Super Star Destroyer. Before Dev could ask why, in walked a man wearing a tattered black Imperial flight suit flanked by four fleet troopers. It was truly the LAST person Dev would ever expect to see...Garrek Palpatine
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