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(( The following is on my SWTOR smuggler, Captain Jacqueline “Jackie” Rees. ))

She worked in the dark, lit only by holos. One display was a fuzzy overlay of Brembal’s Tattooine compound, another various holorecordings from the bowels of Nar Shadda. Continuous renders of the Tattooine compound churned, loaded, and reloaded, attempting to clear up the haze of the recording. The constant sand storms of Tattooine were unkind to the living and sensors alike. But no matter the filter or computing power poured into the data, the haze remained. Jacqueline gritted her teeth in frustration and pushed back from the console, grousing at the data. Taking up her jacket, she fitted her waist with her holsters and left the Gunstar.

Hoping astride a speeder, she descended into the depths of Nar Shadda’s streets, her datapad beeping with hints of her final destination. She descended, past the huddled vagrants and refuse of the streets, speeding past it all without a second glance. She moved like one rehearsed, traveling streets well known to her and without second thought.

Abruptly, she hopped off the speeder and completed the rest of her journey on foot. Her eyes had no need to watch for holocameras; at this depth, no authority cared for the trash of Nar Shadda. Winding through countless alleyways, she came across an innocuous keypad on the wall, one easily passed over as malfunctioning. Only two of the buttons remained lit and the panel erupted in the occasional spark. Smirking, she tapped a code and a hidden door opened. Darkness waited inside, and flight of steps. Descending further, Jacqueline pressed her back against the wall, paused, and listened. The echoing voices were to her liking. Smirking, she loosened a thermal detonator from her belt, crouched, and rolled it across the floor. Just as the voices expressed shock and disbelief at the sudden guest, she turned the corner and fired. The detonator exploded miliseconds after.

Those collected in the center were first caught in her blaster fire then thrown to opposite ends of the room by the explosion. Not all were whole. Those far enough from the initial blast were pierced by her continuing fire. One gasping straggler remained, along with the man they conversed with only moments before. He stood wide-eyed through the capture of the holoterminal, safe from the carnage but its harrowed witness.

“You guys really, really need to stop using my old security tricks,” she chuckled, entering the room and whipping her remaining foe across the face with her blaster hilt. They fell motionless to the ground. “Didn’t I leave you all a note? Did I need to be more specific?”

“So it’s true,” the holo gasped. He was then quick to recover. Opening his arms wide, he grinned. “So Vee, my dear. You really are back from the dead!”

“Uh-huh,” she replied, her eyes elsewhere. She walked from corpse to corpse, her blasters trained on them, eyeing each for any more movement. “So, Jacko, still doling out all the best bits from the top?” Jacqueline asked as she checked a body for signs of life.

“Yeah,” Jacko replied with nervous laughter. “Business is better than ever, even with Zakuul. Always folks in need of our services. Now, more than ever. The underworld provides where the Republic and Empire fails,” peering at her, he attempted a joke: “To what do I owe the pleasure of a visit from the dead, my dear?”

“Job hunting,” she replied coolly, finding the state of foes to her liking, she reloaded each blaster with a fresh power pack and holstered her weapons. She leveled her gaze at the man. “Done with forced retirement. I want back in.”

Grinning, the man leaned forward, the movement partly cutting his torso off in the holo. “Oh! It’ll be good to have one of our best back. What job you want, Vee? Even dead, you should still get the pick of the lot.”

Cocking her empty hand like a blaster, Jacqueline leveled her sights at the holo. “Yours.” She cocked her thumb and mocked fired at him, aiming between his widening eyes.

Author Ari
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