The pilots of Whiskey Squadron could tell by the look on Bake Travnor’s grey stubbled face that their leader was not bringing good news along with the pitcher of Jawa beer he was carrying. The older pilot placed the grog in the middle of the table at the Steamline Tavern, a drinking establishment housed in a space barge cruising through the lawless Outer Rim of the galaxy.
“What is this swill?” asked Howe Hackett, one of the young pilots Travnor had recruited to help the Steamline side in the Tavern Wars, an ongoing dispute over supply shipments with a nearby rival space boozer. “Jawa beer may be fine on Tatooine, but isn’t their anything better behind the bar?”
Travnor’s dour expression didn’t change as he filled the squad’s glasses.
“Get used to it for now boys,” he said. “Lew says he’s short on funds. No fancy beer, and, more worryingly, no new astromechs, missiles or other toys until we successfully guard a few more supply runs from enemy attacks.”
Lew the Hutt was the joint’s owner, and all the pilots knew better than to bring their complaints to the angry green giant. Whiskey Squadron sipped their beers slowly, knowing the perils of mercenary life were now even more dangerous.
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The young pilot placed the empty beer mug down on the bar at the Steamline Space tavern, his hand as shaky as if he held a malfunctioning light saber. Bake Travnor waved for another round for the kid, who had just finished his fourth glass of Thuris Stout.
“I’m telling you Bake, they came out of nowhere. Tie Fighters behind us and a big Tie Defender dead ahead. There was nothing we could do.”
Travnor had been debriefing the pilot, the only survivor of the ambush. The attack was the latest clash in the Tavern Wars, an ongoing fight between two rival owners of bars that operated from separate barges in the lawless Outer Rim. Travnor led Whiskey Squadron, the mercenaries who guarded shipments and waged battles on behalf of the owner of the Steamline. Travnor’s boss, Lew the Hutt, would not be pleased about this setback.
“I can’t believe Agry’s got ahold of a Defender. Those things are pricey,” Travnor said as he sipped his whiskey. “But what has me most worried is someone obviously tipped them off to our flight route.”
The older pilot scanned the dark bar, barely able to see to the end through the smoke from cigarettes and cigars that rose slowly to the ceiling. Someone had sold them out. And in a joint with more scoundrels than saints, finding the culprit wouldn’t be easy.
Continue reading “X-Wing solo mission: Surrounded”