basically a ghost
Joined: 13-April 13
some crap intro for a post order sw AU role play-
In the Aparo Sector they called him The Steel Hand. Just outside of Braxant, in the crushed lights and glass threads that laced The Edge of The Galaxy resort, high-society dripped fiber optics, murmured that The Wizard had just cut them crystal. Along the Parlemian, there were whispers. There was a man who could peg a deal before it was even made.
To those who knew him, he was Ore. He’d said the word alone was enough. That was as much as anyone knew about him. They could only guess how he picked up the moniker, same way they could only guess how he came to wear the prosthetic arm. Whether or not they were true, smugglers had their stories. They had their records. Except for Ore. Ore was looking for something he’d lost and that was where his story began and ended.
Nobody in the Tion Sector had ever heard of him before The Second Year of The Coalition. Few hiding out in Aparo’s Imperial Remnant could even describe the steel hand, but its digits were the stuff of legend.
People simply didn’t have hands like that. The worst cybernetic surgery could afford a man synskin. Even if it was off-color and reeking plastic, it was better than going around with your wires exposed.
Ore didn’t have wires. He was clean, cold chrome, and always whirring. If you didn’t see him, you could hear his silver fingers writhe while he leafed through your trade, and after that? Nice knowing you.
He never touched anyone, but terrible things happened to any smuggler who crossed his path if they didn’t get moving soon after. Either The Coalition swept them away or worse.
The CO was never far behind. They were tailing him, as far as he was concerned. Ore didn’t like being followed. “Cease and desist,” as they put it. He liked that even less. The most he could do was lay low while allied looters ran his operation in his stead. There was Tip, Flex, and Wixil, who alternated amongst his rounds in the Unknown Regions until they dispersed at the top of Hydian Way. He didn’t have to speak to them, let alone see them without good reason, and that suited him. Ore was the kind of man who spent much of his time in solitude, meditating, thinking. He had much to think about.
Pahn was the only looter Ore saw regularly. He was a wiry-haired human youth, speckled with Zabrak tattoos, teeth ruined by Namana fruit. He had a sudden smile and an unpredictable, livid gleam under the epicanthic folds of his eyes that made Ore feel at home. Pahn was like an old, familiar friend. He was savagely intelligent, too. Knew the trade routes better than anyone outside a GPS. Pahn was Ore’s ace, but even he couldn’t shake The Coalition. So Ore traveled until things cooled off. Traveled and searched.
He went to Quermia, and Gamorr, which was novel for being listed under DO NOT VISIT in the procedure programs he’d ripped off a protocol droid. There was a brutal civil war being waged in Citadel, but it wasn’t any worse than what he’d seen fracturing the Corellian Spine, or what he’d heard was digging its roots into the Core planets. Besides, he’d found coolsap trees submerged in the Gamorrean forests. And the only thing better than racketing coolant these days was racketing the means to grow your own.
Three years later and Xjern might have been proud of him. He drilled a niche for himself in the Outer Rim trafficking coolsap, crystals, and more parts than the Hutts combined. It made him accessible to some and a threat to others, but he never swindled anyone who didn’t deserve it, and he never saw a deal go bad.
Then there was Takodana, swollen with forests and history.
“I have to go south of Andui,” he said, fingering a coolant square, watching it bubble blue under his thumb.
Pahn echoed: “Andui.” He shook his head. “Isn’t that CO mandate now?”
Ore grunted in response. He lined a vest with a long, magnetic strip and started plugging the coolsap cubes inside.
“That’s the Tashtor Sector,” Pahn muttered with a head-tilt. He watched as the vest’s trim metamorphosed from grey to coolant cerulean. “Western Reaches. Big Ubdurian population. What business you got over there? You never go past the Outer Rim.”
Ore’s hand stopped whirring. The smuggler gave him a side-glance and Pahn perked in his seat. Ore’s right eye was clouded and shelled white like a marble, but he was a man uninhibited by blindness. He seemed to know where everything was in proximity to him at all times. Except that one thing.
Pahn got that sheen in his eyes again. If Ore was going to bother with Takodana, he must have scored something good. Since The Battle of Delphon, The Coalition had consumed its trade routes, sawing off the departure point off at Andui. Maz Kanata was still around, burrowed in the green peaks north of the capital, but she’d never rebuilt her castle.
It was a bad time to be smuggler, yet like Ore always said, everybody was one.
He lurched out of the ruddy booth and the coolsap oxagons disappeared as he looped his arms through the vest sleeves. He always wore dark colors- blacks, earth tones-like he was in mourning. The grey stood out, but stark as it was, that little detail had to be the least striking thing about him.
Ore’s face was long and severe, and when he was serious, even longer, and more severe. He might have been better looking in his younger days. Handsome was a bit of a stretch. He had a thin, ghost-like scar that ran down the edge of his temple, down through the pearl of an eye. The curvature of it, the small, abrupt grooves in his cheek suggested that someone had tried slicing his face off with an ion staff and never got around to finishing the job. There was an older, angrier scar beneath that one, which had never healed properly. Pahn often wondered what made it, but he never asked outright. Ore would feel him looking and say, “Who told you to stop working?” And that was that.
“Do I look suspicious?” He asked now.
Pahn eyed him.
“You got to be joking, man.”
A small grin quirked on Ore’s lips. He swept up the high collared brown coat he always wore and tugged it on. He didn’t dress like a smuggler, and he looked even less like one with the hood covering the top of his head and masking his lower face. He looked more like a pirate.
“Hey, man. Careful out there,” Pahn called after him. “I’d like to see you back one of these days.”
“Hey!” Pahn shouted, swung his feet off the steel workbench, sauntered into the cobwebbed loading dock. “This thing you tracked down. It’s big, isn’t it?”
Ore waved his steel hand dismissively and allowed his cruiser to swallow him.
“Yeah, yeah,” he said. “Real big.”
The Coalition was here, that was for certain. He had to land the cruiser in a wood a full fifteen miles south to avoid being spotted. Xjern had been right—nobody could track an Inti ship for the life of them—but she hadn’t counted on how instantly recognizable the thing would come to be. She was a sleek vessel that resembled a spinebarrel bud. Semi-sentient, she had four pointed petal-like deflectors that revealed her unusual veined copper aluminum body when they peeled back. No viewport. No tool-kit. She ate her repairs.
Ore patted her and the patina shields folded tight.
“If they find you first,” he said, "Don’t wait for me.”
He’d named her Suka, short for the old Basic word for collector, but to The Coalition she was known simply as The Scavenger.
Ore walked a few miles until he found an outpost on the edge of a thicket. There he traded his sliver of Mantle for a bike and prayed that the monger only thought of it as a nice way to embellish his salon. As he tore through the south woodlands of Takodana, watching the trees smear by in stripes, he cursed himself for lost time. For the crystal he’d swiped, too. He’d liked that one. It made his connection to The Force stronger and he gladly would have walked the extra twenty miles just to keep it.
Twenty miles deep into the south forests, half an hour wandering through taverns and overgrown roads until he knew them like the back of his own hand, and he still had to ask for directions to Lapano.
The glove that hid his prosthetic could not conceal its whirr and the buzz set the workers in the small Takodanian tradeport a little on edge. Thankfully, nobody in Lapano ever got too suspicious. The Coalition hadn’t cracked down on the smaller townships, which wasn’t saying much, but that meant they still welcomed the smugglers and looters who happened to pass through.
Ore slurped a third of the soup given to him by a Blarina merchant.
“Naberrie? Sure, I know her.” She gestured from her stall to the narrow alley behind the market pass. “Straight through there.”
He looked over his shoulder at the strings of flags and colorful lights that swung from the gaps between thatched cement rooftops. There was a pull there. He could sense it, even without his splinter of Mantle. It whispered to him, made his skin prickle. Ore tugged the hood up over his mouth again. He felt real apprehension for the first time in three years.
Ore nodded his thanks and slipped the Blarina woman a coolsap cube. He’d be one short for his delivery, but it only seemed fair. A warming meal was just as hard to come by.
After shouldering through the back-lane, he waited in front of a mechanic’s shop. That feeling, the tow, was strongest there. Ore approached the counter with his hands jammed into his pockets. He chewed the inside of his cheek impatiently, tongue smoothing against scar tissue.
The shop had no marker and he wasn’t sure how he knew that this was the place. The inside was stained dark green by the glow of the courtyard lights.
The brute in the back of the workroom looked him over with some trepidation. Ore readjusted the crop of his hood. He didn’t bother with formalities and it was probably best that he got out before he got into trouble.
“I’m here for a drop off,” he said quickly. “I’ve got the cubes. One’s missing, but there’s a Gomorrean ‘shroom that’ll more than make up for that.”
He turned to the blurred figure he presumed to be Naberrie. The burly thing at the worktop behind them didn’t much look like a woman, though he’d been wrong before.
In a low voice he said, “Do you have the parts-?”
And suddenly Ore stopped. He hadn’t been able to make her out on his periphery, but now that he faced her fully, it was unmistakable. The tow of energy he felt came from this woman. In fact, she was the pull. More than that, she was a piece of the puzzle he’d been looking for. She was part of his story. The part that needed no retelling. The part he kept close to his chest.
Dream or Lapano tradeport—he’d recognize her anywhere. Ore’s eyes blew wide under his hood and his teeth worked furiously at the scar tissue beneath his hood until he thought he might chew clean through the skin.