Ahoy at Ord Mantell Part 1 - The Hangman's Noose

By Dana Terry, Ron Wilcoxen & R.J. Miller



Ikara stood in the ruins of the bar, staring in the direction Butcher 
Quincy had dragged Roark. If she had any sense, she'd leave the Captain and 
the Slicer to the bounty hunter's not-so-tender mercies. Ikara sighed 
heavily. Roark had saved her sorry hide more than once. If she had to admit 
to having any soft spots, he'd be it. The slicer, on the other hand... if 
they got C'Mos out alive, good. If not, there were other slicers in the 
galaxy. 
It figured the Captain would give in to Butcher Quincy. Because, of 
course, why should he make her life any easier? Not that she wanted to see 
Heln dead. It wasn't that. The girl was a good slicer and useful, but the 
Captain was of a bit more importance in the day to day running of the Calico 
Star. Sometimes, though, he wasn't quite the hard case he made himself out to 
be. 
Couldn't find her way out of a sandcrawler, he said? Ikara slammed her 
blaster home and stormed from the building. Once she got him back from 
Quincy, she'd give him a piece of her mind and then some. 

***** 

While the first mate of the Calico Star fumed over recent events, Roark 
had miraculously remained awake all the way to the spaceport. His body felt 
every inch of the open ground as dirt, briar and stone washed over him like a 
storm. He swore that if he survived, Quincy would be repaid in kind. 
Unbeknownst to either pirate or bounty hunter, a lone figure watched from 
just outside the city. Skirting the outer area of the city was a series of 
plateaus and beyond that a mountain range. Perched atop an outstretched 
plateau stood a man with macrobinoculars focused on the swoop and its 
trailing cargo. 
The stranger had been watching since the explosion that opened the side 
wall of the Silverstorm. The winds whipped around the poncho covering the 
tall man dressed in black, revealing a holstered blaster hanging low for fast 
draw. The poncho and huge sombrero were worn in a fashion to conceal his 
identity. Although the stranger had no lost love over any bounty hunter, 
once he had established the identity of the prisoner as being a pirate he 
lost any notion of intervening. He had even recognized Captain Roark from 
wanted holos. That was another subject he felt no loss for either, for if 
his face were seen by any bounty hunter his fate might be the same. 
For a moment the stranger thought of the Imperial bounty placed on his 
head and the endless trail of Imperial bodies he had left behind him. Once, 
it seemed a lifetime ago, he was an Imperial officer. Until he resigned his 
commission over an atrocity of brutality he had been placed in charge of. 
After his na´ve young eyes were opened to the true nature of the Empire, he 
had realized what he must do. The screaming voices of innocent mothers and 
their helpless children haunted his every waking hour. Pirates were far from 
innocent and thus far from his agenda of salvation. 
He had lost himself in thought until he saw the figure of a rather 
splendid looking woman walking the same path he had been watching with his 
macrobinoculars. She was obviously checking the ground as he swung his 
macrobinoculars upon her. He thought to himself, what was such a beautiful 
woman doing out there? Surely she couldn't be following the bounty hunter? 
Continuing to watch from afar, his suspicions were confirmed. Reminding 
himself once more this was no affair of his, he mounted his own swoop and 
turned to head away from town. The stranger had decided to avoid town for 
sometime until the disruption was forgotten. 

***** 

As the bounty hunters swoop pulled up to the space port, he dumped the 
young slicer C'Mos to one side like a sack of wet laundry as he turned a 
corner to enter into the dark avenues of the space port. Quincy hit full 
throttle as he whizzed through the hanger bay where his ship was stored. The 
concrete floor was burning and scraping at Roark's skin as his clothes tore 
and ripped from friction. Soon the swoop came upon a Skipray Blastboat with 
the name "Butcher's Axe" painted in red across the hull between the main 
entry hatch and the command cabin's side window. Quincy swerved his swoop so 
as it slid sideways through the main entry hatch on the side. The door 
closed behind him after he reeled in his prisoner. 
Behind the closed hatch, the bounty hunter dragged his captive to a 
holding cell. Roark had little strength to continue breathing, let alone 
struggle for freedom. Not that the thought had not crossed his mind, he just 
knew he could not do anything at this moment. After the cell was activated 
the bounty hunter sat down at the flight controls, he had called ahead for 
clearance to exit the spaceport and the system. Within moments the ship was 
rising into the air. 

***** 

Ikara trailed the swoop - or rather, she trailed the marks left by 
Roark's body being dragged through the dirt - to the space port. Now all she 
had to do was figure out where he was being held and get him out, hopefully 
killing the bounty hunter in the process. It'd be the easiest way to make 
sure he didn't come after Roark again. 
Ikara made her way quickly through the space port, frowning when she 
came upon the Slicer. C'Mos Heln was huddled against a wall. "Well, come on, 
girl." Ikara grabbed her by the arm. "It's your fault the Captain's been 
taken, you're going to help me get him back." 
"My fault?" C'Mos stared at her in shock. "What did I do?" 
"You let yourself get caught, little weasel." Ikara turned and glared at 
her. "Until we get White Beard back, I'm in command. You do as I say and you 
don't question me if you want to live. Understand?" 
The Slicer nodded, wrenching her arm from Ikara. "Now what?" 
"Now we get to the Star and try to figure something out." Javan headed 
toward their ship. "If he's got the tracking device on him, we can find him 
that way." She stopped and pinned C'Mos with a look. "You'd better hope he's 
still on this planet. I really hate tracking people through space." 

***** 

The "Butcher's Axe" and captive were blasting off into the blue skies 
toward deep space and Ord Mantell as Ikara looked above the space port at the 
roar of ships engines. Her hand held tracer pad confirmed what her gut 
instinct had already told her. Ikara was able to dredge up invectives in 
more than a few languages, raining them down on the young Slicer once after 
the other. "They've left the planet!" she finally managed to spit out in 
Basic. "I should have just shot you and Quincy at the same time. A lot 
smaller headache that way." Ikara glanced over at C'Mos. "You'd better get a 
lock on the Captain and soon. I'm not in the mood for fooling around. We're 
getting him back if it's the last thing you ever do." 


To be continued inů 

Ahoy at Ord Mantell Part 2 - Cheating The Hangman


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