Here’s the thing about adventuring parties, ad hoc teams, and ragtag starship crews: they don’t always get along with one another. Whether it’s past associations, disagreements over a course of action, or basic personality conflicts, every group is going to have moments where they’re fighting among themselves (hopefully only verbally). The crew of the Lost and Found is no different. Carga found himself joining up with Zaja’s eccentric crew of data pirates, and has even gotten along with the curmudgeonly technician Thraga, but the fact is that the crew has both an ex-Rebel and an ex-Imperial on the roster, and that was bound to come to a head at some point . . .
Carga stomped into the Lost and Found’s berth on Bonadan and up her ramp, a growl rumbling deep in his chest as he tossed a backpack full of pilfered CSA datapads onto the couch in the common area, barely noticing when Thraga snatched them up, looked at him, and quietly left. He spent a few minutes undoing his blaster holster, grenade bandolier, and tool kit and angrily slamming them onto the table until he heard the ramp raise and the main hatch close. He turned around and immediately got in the face of one former stormtrooper. Ten months of low-key animosity was finally boiling over.
“You just couldn’t help yourself, could you? Nice, quiet job but little miss buckethead hasn’t gotten to shoot anybody today, has she? Well, we can’t have that. Let’s stun the pants off the first corporate drone to come within a hundred meters, let’s alert the entire building, a running blaster fight will be a great way to spend the day!” he snapped, voice getting louder as he went on. Elessa didn’t shy away, her own expression doing a decent impression of an oncoming storm.
“Corporate drone? That was a Security Division officer, Carga, and he was probably either reaching for the flechette launcher on his back or his comlink. Things were going to get loud one way or another, I just made sure it didn’t involve you getting your idiot hide splattered all over the walls!” she shot back, voice rising to match his. “We wouldn’t have even still been there if you hadn’t gotten greedy.”
“Oh give me a break. Even if he was one of the Espos, he was nowhere close to noticing us, and you could’ve dealt with him some other way than a karking blaster rifle! And I’m sorry Elessa, I thought the job was ‘steal all the datapads in Soral’s office, without engaging anyone’, so that’s what I was doing. I thought you people were supposed to be good at following orders!”
“‘You people’ is it? Yeah, sure, we are good at following orders, and just because I’m on the other side of the law now hasn’t changed that. I’m pretty sure there weren’t any datapads in his liquor cabinet or spare credit drawer! You lost a minute doing that. I thought ‘you people’ were supposed to be above petty theft!”
“I had to be thorough, you bloodthirsty buckethead!”
“You probably owe me your life, rebel scum!”
They both turned to see Zaja, and Carga was immediately taken aback by her appearance. She was wearing one of the Lost and Found’s vac-sealed space suits, glaring at both of them through the visor, and it occurred to Carga that Thraga had likely told her about the argument.
“I want you both to listen to me very carefully, darlings, because I’m not inclined to repeat myself,” the boss began. Carga was definitely obeying, stepping back from Elessa as she did the same. As he breathed out heavily, he noticed an absence of something: he couldn’t detect a hint of Zaja’s pheromones. She was often telling Thraga to keep the ship’s filters in good form, but even then there was always at least a hint of an inclination to pay attention to whatever Zaja was saying.
It occurred to Carga that the sealed suit was responsible, the implication being that Zaja didn’t want them influenced by anything but her words. A glance showed him Elessa was scanning the suit, and whatever else he may have thought about her, she was no doubt smart enough to figure it out too.
“You are crew,” Zaja continued, gloved hands on her hips, looking back and forth between the two of them. “There will be disagreements, and mistakes, and arguments, yes, this is unavoidable. But you both are supposed to watch out for one another, keep the other safe, and by doing so keep the crew as a whole safe. Again, mistakes will happen, but bringing up old animosities is not a mistake. It is idiocy, and I will not have it among my people.”
The Falleen pointed to Carga, and then Elessa.
“You are no Rebel, and you are no Imperial. You are both Lost and Found. I do not wish to see you, either of you, become lost again. If you continue in this way, however, I will drop the pair of you in the middle of a field on Agamar and leave you to be a problem for the nerfherders. You understand me on this, yes?”
Carga, feeling chagrined, looked over at Elessa. The human woman looked pretty shamefaced herself, and after a moment they exchanged a nod and looked back at Zaja.
“Got it boss. We hear you.”
“Excellent! Now, one of you bang on the ducts and get little Teek’s attention. This thing is more difficult to take off than put on, that it is.”
Lost & Found
Carga swiped at his brow with the back of his forearm and returned to his attempt to coax open the blast doors leading out of the facility. Behind him, Elessa was hunkered down behind the shattered chassis of a security droid, sending blaster rifle fire down both hallways leading to the little foyer they found themselves in as lights flashed and alarms screamed.
It was, since Carga had joined almost a year and a half ago, the only instance that Zaja declared ahead of time that the crew would be defaulting to lethal shots for a job. The client was paying well for information leading to the recovery of a missing relative, the faster the better, and the slavers on Karazak were certainly not worth the consideration a stun bolt would take. Carga had glady reset his weapon to kill and brought the lethal grenades out of storage, but now he was wishing the job had gone smoother. Zaja and Thraga had gotten the data, but Carga and Elessa were supposed to have held the exit route open.
“The difficult part is supposed to be breaking in, not breaking out. I think we might have mixed things up a bit, here,” he said over his shoulder, speaking loud enough to be heard over a ricochet.
“Exfil’s always a gundark, Carga, they not teach you that in privateer school?” Elessa called back, her tone casual as she sent another shot burning down one of the hallways.
“I must’ve been too busy in Introduction to Petty Theft. Makes sense for the Stormtrooper Academy to have taught you to handle everything going wrong, though. Kind of prophetic, even, probably came in handy on Endor,” he remarked as he gave up on slicing, ripped out the power cell for the door’s controls, and fell back on sheer skullduggery with the manual overrides. Elessa’s response was a bark of laughter and another outgoing blaster bolt, one that was answered with a pained yell.
The fight, Elessa against the slavers and Carga against the blast doors, went on for several more increasingly tense minutes before Carga managed to get a prying tool into the right place and gave it a sharp jerk. With a hiss the blast doors began to open, and Carga turned while still on one knee.
“I got it-” he started to say, Elessa already turning to move, before his eyes went wide. His hand blurred towards his holster and pulled his weapon out and up, pointing in Elessa’s direction even as her blaster rifle was pointing in his.
The heavy blaster pistol kicked like a ronto; between that, his awkward position, and his instinctual flinch as a blaster bolt sizzled through the air maybe a pair of centimeters away from his head Carga found himself toppling over onto his back.
He twisted his neck, and although his view was upside down he could see a Zygerrian who’d been waiting outside the blast doors collapsing to the ground with a burning hole in his chest. He dug the elbow of his blaster arm into the ground to prop himself up and used his free hand to take the one Elessa offered when she stood over him, hauling him to his feet. Once he was up Elessa looked back at another crumpled Zygerrian, the one Carga had shot between the eyes when he’d appeared behind the former stormtrooper.
The two Lost and Found crewmembers looked at one another, a smile crossing both their faces, and Carga opened his mouth to say something-
“It’s lovely to see the results of your hard work darlings, but-”
“Stop standin’ around and run for yer lives!”
The former Rebel and former Imperial had to step back as Zaja and Thraga passed between them at a run; Thraga was actually sitting on and clinging to Booster’s head, the little droid screeching as it raced along. Carga looked back they way they’d come, caught one glimpse of the small mob of Zygerrians waving vibroswords, and dashed after them, Elessa right alongside him as together the quartet ran for home.
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 Elessa was created by BastionKains.