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       “Star Wars: A Smuggler's Entanglement. Part II.”, p.1

           scifiguy3553
 
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“Star Wars:  A Smuggler's Entanglement.  Part II.”
“Star Wars: A Smuggler's Entanglement. Part II.”, by scifiguy3553

  Former Black Sun operative, Kaird, hired Deacon 90 to smuggle his family to Utapau 7 before the Galactic Empire expropriated the Nedij star system.

  Deacon is forced to land the Burned Cloak on Utapau instead by the Empire.

  After they escape to the Lehon System via hyperspace, the Cloak crew find themselves in an ancient space-intrigue!

  …............................................................................................

  A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

  5 BBY, the Utapau System

  The smuggling, Corellian starship, Burned Cloak, slowly coasted down into the sinkhole city of Nos tai. It was one of the smaller conurbations on the planet of Utapau, located a bit further out from Pau City—the largest of them. The concentric, superstructure of the sinkhole itself was not as deep as the other sinkhole cities, so the network of lagoons at the bottom was easily seen. All the same, the various city-levels were jammed with off-white buildings, moored spaceships, and a buzz of activity with all the crisscrossing of flying dactillions and ships, meandering Pau'ans and Utai, and the occasional band of clone troopers. As Ccer said to Deacon 90 upon their approach to Nos tai, the Imperial presence had never left Utapau since the day several Venator-Class Star Destroyers descended upon Pau City several years ago. That was the day, many said in the Galaxy, that the Clone Troopers became Stormtroopers! For, till this day, many still do not understand why the Republic's troops had turned their guns on the Jedi throughout the Galaxy...

  Cloak had a large amount of Nedimix, the rich soil mixture from the valleys of planet Nedij. Kaird, the raptoid that owned the mining and manufacturing operation and a one-time Black Sun agent, stocked Captain 90's ship of the ore and sent the smuggler on a genuine business run to Utapau so that Port Administrator Tion Medon would get to inspect the first shipment of Nedimix. Truth was, the real business was just a subterfuge for Kaird to send his extended family away from the Nedij star system before the new-found Galactic Empire snatched the solar system...and him. The Emperor had gotten word that, years ago, Kaird had assassinated an admiral and several other high-ranking officials of the Republic, and it was payback time! And from the rumors that Kaird had heard about this enigmatic Emperor and his black-clad henchman, mafia Black Sun was a classroom full of Jedi padawan compared to the galactic ruler!

  Mindful that Kaird's family were all stashed away in two of his ship's fake-thrusters, Deacon 90 double-checked his computer's cryption, making sure that the two faux-thrusters were charged and programmed to blast-off at a moment's notice during an emergency! He had hoped the unexpected entanglement with the Empire's presence at Utapau would not come to that, but if it did it would be rather messy to have two powerful, rocket-like thrusters suddenly ignite from his docked ship in Nos tai, and then have them blast right through whatever was in their path!

  Deacon had the emergency cryption programmed to a device that was on his person. For safe keeping.

  When he finally stepped out of the Cloak's long hatch ramp, Deacon was alerted that there were several clone troopers surrounding his ship while a young human male, about thirty standard-years, stood ram-rod at the foot of the ship's ramp. He had a black uniform on; his trousers flared in the hip area while the pant legs were tucked into black boots that were just below the knees. His long-sleeved, double-breasted tunic was belted, and the young man's gloves and angular cap completed the rather severe presence.

  For his part, Deacon wore a rather business-type attire common on Corellia—simple long-sleeve white shirt, beige pants with matching high-boots, and a dark-gray jacket that was typically left opened. Even something as mundane as his attire was all apart of Deacon's and Kaird's ruse to throw anyone off to the smuggling operation of Kaird's family.

  Deacon, however, was not quite so humbled when it came to his BlasTech DL-44. It boldly hung on his right-hip in it's holster. However, Deacon was mindful not to keep his right hand too close to it. Again, the slightest gesture can trigger a much bigger response than one intended!

  “Captain,” the young officer greeted Deacon while he made his way down Cloak's ramp.

  Deacon was not sure how to reciprocate. He was not used to such formalities, even by Coruscant's standards! He had been in Nedij's mining fields and factory for too long, apparently. “And you would be...?”

  “Field Officer Orel Calrian,” he said with a proud snap. Field Officer Calrian then gestured to a couple of lower-ranking officers, whom in turn hustled over to the ship as they wheeled over a large container.

  The two men, wearing a gray uniform with an emblem on their right shoulder that Deacon did not recognize, then detached a segment of the cart and both proceeded up Burned Cloak's ramp. Calrian could see the puzzlement in Deacon's face as the two officers disappeared into his ship with the compartment.

  “Scanning unit,” he said to Deacon; his hands now clasped behind him. “You've probably heard of several attacks on Imperial outposts and ships of late.”

  Deacon was nodding. Secretly, he began to regulate his body so that his nerves about Kaird's family in the faux-thrusters would not show on his face. “Just rumors...who'd want to attack Imperial interests?” They were now slowly walking off to the side, as they waited for the scanning crew.

  “Oh, you'd be surprised, Captain 90...Hutts and pirates not having gotten the word that the Empire will not tolerate their violent turf-battles like in the days of the Old Republic! Why, we've even encountered a political movement against the Emperor himself.” Deacon did not like the way the young officer fixed his stern eyes on him. “Some kind of alliance of rebels. The few we've caught so far do not match a particular demographic. They're Rodian, they're Twi'lek; some Caamasi, some Human...”

  “Some Pau'ans and Utai,” Deacon asked, a bit accusatory as he looked around. For he noticed that he did not see as many of the two predominate, bi-pedial peoples like he used to when he last had been on Utapau.

  Field Officer Calrian showed disapproval with Deacon's sarcasm by lifting his head slightly, while maintaining his steely stare at him.

  “Speaking of which, Field Officer,” Deacon said, ignoring the younger man's gaze, “my employer instructed me to confer with the port administrator, to show him my shipment of Nedimix...” Deacon looked around again, but toned-down his attitude. No sense in pinning a target on his back! “I believe I transmitted the writ to your officer upon my arrival.”

  “Yes, and it checked out. As for Tion Medon, I'm afraid I have rather disconcerting news.”

  Deacon's heart skipped a beat, but he kept disciplining his body to remain calm. He let Officer Calrian explain.

  “As I said, Captain 90, the Empire has been under attack!” He then indicated the scanning crew, the clone troopers encircling the ship, with a quick twirl of one of his hands. “All this is not for show. The Empire had stumbled across some indigenous Utapaun insurrection, bent on violently expelling our presence here! Even though the Empire has been a guardian for the Utapaun system against the remnants of those marauding Jedi...I'm afraid that Administrator Medon was apart of the Utapau Resistance.”

  Finally, the scanning crew were making their way down Cloak's ramp. This was extremely good news for Deacon's smuggling job for Kaird's family. The faux-thrusters out-witted an Imperial scan! But now, Deacon was concerned about the cover job, with Port
Administrator Medon out of the mix of Kaird's plan. For it was Administrator Medon who was going to allow safe-passage for Ccer, Kaird's wife, and their extended family to Utapau 7!

  This was one of many smugglers' fear: getting snagged into an Imperial entanglement! Black Sun, the Hutts, and other galactic fiefdoms' reach only went so far. Whoever this Emperor was, his power over the Galaxy was steadily creeping further out from the Core worlds, and clenching more at the Outer Rim Territories!

  “So, what's happened to Administrator Medon, if I may ask,” Deacon polited, as he watched the scanning crew re-assemble the container and equipment, then rolled off with it.

  “Oh, he's alive, if that's what you are asking,” Field Officer Calrian said, actually with a bit of humor in his tone. He, too, watched the scanning crew roll the scanner off the docking bay. “He's been assigned to the Recolonization Effort. And that part, Captain, I cannot disclose...Imperial discretion, I'm afraid.”

  Deacon noted the look of victory in the young man's face, but he could sense in him a lot more than mere pride.

  “I suppose that means I have to show you the Nedimix shipment, then,” Deacon surmised.

  “Very good, Captain 90. You see,” he then spoke aloud to the nearby clone troopers, “there are civilized beings in the Outer Rim! Captain Deacon 90, here, can serve as a role model!”

  …................................................

 
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