Everyone is looking for something, and that everyone includes player characters. After finding himself joining data pirate captain Zaja on the Lost and Found in Part 1, Klatooinian thief Carga now finds himself acclimating to his new comrades. Each of them have come to the Lost and Found for reasons of their own, and not all of them could exactly be described as friendly . . . but most have their own, sometimes surprising, ways of being welcoming. After all, it’s easier to find what you’re after with a crew by your side. There are adjustments to be made, of course, and as we start Part 2 of our Dice for Brains tale some of them turn out to be explosive . . .
“So, let me get this straight. You’re going to be helping me build grenades?”
The doubtful look on Carga’s face was replaced by a startled one as a small crate of parts was slammed onto the table between them; Thraga’s glare was just visible over the top of the pile.
“No, I’m just here for moral support. Of course I’m goin’ to be helpin’ ya, did ya not listen to the Boss!?” the Ugnaught demanded, and Booster beeped in agreement. Carga put both hands up in a placating gesture, not eager for a fight for his first full day aboard. Zaja had explained at dinner the night before that it was Lost and Found policy to cause as few deaths as possible. Blasters set to stun was the default, and that default was to remain in place “until it’s a life or death situation, or I say otherwise, darling.”
“I heard her, I heard her,” Carga said. “Said I had to adjust my arsenal. I just, uh, thought I’d be taking care of that myself.”
“And you have an intricate knowledge of the available resources aboard this ship, then?” When Carga shook his head slightly after hesitating, Thraga snorted loudly. “Course not. Well, there you have it. No point in yer flounderin’ about, muckin’ with things or spendin’ credits at the next port of call. Might as well help ya. It’s that or the bloody Jawa will find his way into doin’ it and you’ll blow a hole in the side of me ship. Start separatin’ parts, then!”
Carga shrugged, and the pair began divvying up parts: reworked capacitors, detonators, remotes, power cells. Once everything had been divided into piles, the assembly began. Most of the stun grenades they were putting together looked hideous compared to the factory-made models, but Carga hardly needed them to look nice as long as they worked. The pair tinkered in companionable enough silence for awhile, but eventually Carga could hear Thraga grumbling underneath his breath. He ignored it for a time, but eventually his sharp hearing picked out the words ‘bleedin’ Rebel idiot’. A low growl started in Carga’s throat.
“Do we have a problem?” he demanded. Thraga didn’t stop his work or look up, but he did answer.
“Course we do, we’re breathin’, aren’t we?” Carga snorted a laugh, but kept looking at the Ugnaught. Eventually the short technician sighed, slapped his latest piece of work on the table, and placed both hands on his knees before looking Carga dead in the eye. “Aye, we’ve got a problem. The problem is that you’re yet another charity case the Boss has gone and picked up outta the wreckage, and I’m not yet sure you’re worth the extra strain on the environmental systems.”
“I’ve barely been here a day,” Carga pointed out, somewhat irked.
“Aye, and when I’d been here a day I’d already improved engine output ten percent! Zaja’s said that Elessa led her to an Imperial cache on her first day, and she had an arm off! Apparently Apaillia got their spot on the crew out-flyin’ some mad pack o’ Dugs! What’s your contribution, then?”
“Zaja hired me to break into places to steal data, and occasionally stun someone. There’s no data to steal on the ship, and nobody I’m allowed to stun. Not that asking for permission hasn’t crossed my mind,” he shot back, not sure he was talking about Elessa or Thraga, there.
“Hmph. Fair enough, I suppose,” Thraga admitted after a moment, shrugging before grabbing some parts again. Carga stared at the Ugnaught for a moment before sighing and getting back to work himself.
“I just want this to work out,” he muttered a minute later.
“Do yer job, listen to Zaja, and you’ll be fine, pup. I’m just givin’ ya a hard time, I do it to everyone,” Thraga muttered back, goggles over his eyes as he convinced a battery pack to do something it had never been intended for, namely shock someone into unconsciousness.
“Pup? Hey, just cause Ugnaughts are born looking old-”
“Har, har. And how old are you, then, precisely?”
“No idea. Hutts didn’t let slaves have life day parties. Something in the thirties, early forties maybe. I’m no pup,” Carga said pointedly.
“I’m older than any other three people on this boat combined,” Thraga shot back, eyes still on his work. “If I say yer a pup, then yer a pup. And yer worryin’ over nothin’. Zaja picks ‘em, they work out. But somebody’s gotta be the skeptic on this ship or else . . . “
“Or else what?”
“Or else somethin’ bad, that’s what! Respect your elders.”
“Not likely,” Carga said, becoming more comfortable. Snark and back-talk he could deal with, easily enough. The privateers had been an uncouth bunch, and even the Alliance regulars they’d sometimes dealt with had been irreverent. The things Moley used to say about her CO . . .
“So every crewmember Zaja picks up works out, then?”
“More or less. A couple have been temporary by design, or have found the life didn’t fit them, but there’s not been much in the way of bad blood upon their partin’. Others have found what they were lookin’ for and left on good terms. Seems half o’ Zaja’s contacts scattered across the galaxy are former crew, all willin’ to drop us tips for ol’ times’ sake.”
“What they were looking for, huh?” Carga mused, closing up a grenade’s casing and placing it in the ‘done’ crate. “What are you looking for, Thraga?”
“I’m from Bespin, lad. Cloud City. My ol’ man, he always told me that place was built on the backs of a million dead Ugnaughts, claimed by the sky. Calrissian wasn’t too bad, but then the Empire came . . . then the Uprising.” Thraga closed the casing on a grenade himself, tossing it into the crate and yanking the goggles up onto his forehead. “I was lookin’ for a place that would give me a fair shake, for once in my life. Found it. Like I said, lad. Listen to Zaja, and you’ll be fine.”
Carga nodded, slowly, before showing his teeth in a grin.
“You’re not as bad as your first impression, Thraga.”
“Start spreadin’ that kinda talk around, pup, and I’ll feed you to the Jawa. He’ll eat anythin’, I’m sure.”
Lost & Found
Carga walked down the main corridor of the Lost and Found’s ‘neck’, moving to the side slightly as Elessa came the other way. Normally the fact that she was wearing a stunning blue dress, rather than the plain clothes or cobbled together armor she usually wore, would have drawn a remark. But this was Elessa, so all Carga had for her was a glare to match the one she sent him as they passed. He managed to keep himself from snarling, but only just.
Carga kept moving, eventually rapping his knuckles on the hatch frame of the wardrobe room.
“You needed me, boss?”
“Ah, Carga darling, yes. Come in, I have something for you,” Zaja answered from wherever she was within the racks of clothing. Carga shrugged and walked inside. It had been a few months, now, and he was settling in well enough, aside from the tension with Elessa. They’d hopped from one part of the galaxy to the next, digging up data wherever they found it and selling it to almost anyone who would pay. There was a definite economic boom going on, as far as the Lost and Found was concerned. Between his knowledge of the Alliance, Elessa’s knowledge of the Empire, and a constant flow of tips from Zaja’s contacts, they’d been busy. Most jobs had been quiet, and the few that hadn’t had ended in stun bolts.
He hadn’t had to do one thing he objected to the entire time. But neither had the ship’s apparently expansive store of clothing been something he’d had to bother with.
As he made his way into the room, Carga drew up short as Thraga and Booster came around a rack of dresses. The Klatooinian and the Ugnaught locked eyes, and Carga’s brow raised. The mechanic was in a suit that, despite its small size, looked extremely fancy. Booster had what looked like a bowtie attached to the base of his conical head, and tweedled a greeting.
“Not a word, lad. Not a word,” Thraga said after a moment, pushing past Carga, his droid following him. Carga shook his head before heading where the Ugnaught had come from to find Zaja, in a stunning dress of her own.
“Ah, excellent! Coruscant might not be the center of the galaxy any more, but it’s still an influential place, yes? If we’re to gain access to the former Moff’s party, we’ll need to look the part,” she said. Carga didn’t miss the gleam in her eye, but the next thing he knew he was standing in front of a mirror, buttoning a jacket over the vest of his own void-black suit. He looked . . . good, he was surprised to find himself thinking.
“Ah, almost perfect. I must say, you clean up nicely, just as I thought,” Zaja said, standing behind him.
“How’d you get something that fit me?” he asked, still staring at the reflection.
“‘Several invaluable services’, I believe I said? Weemateeka has his ways, that he does,” she explained, before gesturing behind them to the racks of clothing. “You’ve only dealt with the more traditional aspects of our enterprise, darling, but there are many occasions where we must instead play roles, and those roles require the right costume. Usually crew borrow from our stores, but I do like to give everyone something of their own, and this event is just the right time to give you yours.”
“This is mine?” Carga asked, looking over his shoulder. “To keep?”
“Of course, darling. You never get yourself anything nice. I notice these things. So I have done so for you. Hopefully you follow my example yes? Now, there is one thing missing . . . ah, yes!”
Zaja walked away, and Carga looked back at his reflection. It was a simple thing, really, even as nice as the suit was. Most people wouldn’t think anything of it, he knew, but . . .
He’d been a slave. He’d been a Rebel and a privateer. Now he was a pirate.
Carga had never had anything ‘nice’ in his life, before.
He had a suspicion that Zaja knew that.
“Here you are, darling. The finishing touch,” Zaja said. In her hands she had his Rebel-red bandana, plucked from the pile of his regular clothing. With deft motions she slipped it under his collar, tied it, and tucked it down into his vest. Another look in the mirror showed the slash of red, seeming like a necktie of some kind, standing out against the black. “Ah, now it’s perfect, wouldn’t you agree?”
“Yeah. Yeah, I would,” Carga agreed, voice quiet before he shook himself. He held out his arm. He’d seen people do it sometimes on that holosoap Elessa watched. “Shall we go rob a former Moff, boss?” Zaja answered with a laugh, slipping her arm through his, and they turned to leave.
“Yes, I think we shall. I think we shall all have fun doing it, too, that I do.”
To be continued . . .
Special thanks to Kristine Chester, Chris Ing, and and Bart Soroka for bringing Elessa Thannick, Thraga, and Sil’vana “Sil” Der’lek to the table as part of the DfB Season 4 Pregame and the Lost and Found crew, and Ross and the rest of the Dice for Brains team for giving us the chance to play together. Particular thanks to Susan White, who was kind enough to edit this Table Fiction.
You can find the Star Wars stories of the Kido Rebellion, the scroungers of Centares, the Knights of Weik, and the heroes and villains of Bavva, along with Not Another Tavern and some Fantastic Beasts, at Dice for Brains.
The character sheet used for Thraga was created by BastionKains.