The Most Dangerous Game

Datalog Entry: Bymm.per.log/62278-66

Encrypted: THETA5; RECALL4-4/12; RECV

After a mostly unproductive trip home, a run-in with a hutt and several dead-ends, it’s time to get serious about this. Instead of simply gallivanting about the galaxy, it’s time to settle down and making some money. So while we’re at Qwenn Space Station for fueling, I set out to try and track down some cargo heading back towards the Danagon sector, perhaps something towards Atikan.

No cargo, but I did find some a Big Game Hunter from an impressive core-world family looking to do some big game hunting on Kirisu. I’ve never heard of Kirisu, but I gather that it’s a rather rugged and primitive planet that’s more or less on the way back to Danagon. All we have to do is deliver him and his hunter companions, wait around a handful of days while they hunt and then ferry them away.

Since it’s a easy run, I used the opportunity to continue my lessons from Shadya and work on my flying. I’m still working on improving my skill, and I am getting better, but I have a long way to go. So a simple landing on Kirisu, that’s easy. No, the incident is when the Big Game Hunters attack everyone in the back of the ship – well, everyone but me, since I was still following the shut down procedure in the cockpit.

Upon hearing the gunfire from the back, realizing that I am greatly outnumbered, I do the only thing I can – lift off and hope that I can keep everyone off balance long enough to come up with a plan. Mind you, I’m not very good at piloting, so I’m not bluffing as I call over the intercom “Gentlemen, we are currently going far faster than my skill set allows” as we plow through trees and jungle.

Eventually conditions overcome my skill level, and I plow the Runaway nose first into a swamp. I blow the emergency bolts on the canopy, shoot the navigation computer several times and flee across the swamp. I almost make it when I was dropped by a lucky, long range shot.

After an unknown amount of time, we awake – stripped of guns, comlinks, medpacks or really any useful equipment. We did have a datapad with a message from the leader of the hunters. Apparently we were the hunted and not just the transportation to the planet. So much for easy money.

For lack of a better idea, we strike out in a random direction, trudging through the jungle and spending the night in a tree. Needless to say, everyone was pretty down. Next morning, was more of the same – until I decide to use my most potent weapon. I may not be good with a gun or can fly with the best of them – but I am good with words. The defeatist attitude was turned around with a genuine, not schmaltzy pep-talk.

And then we get into a fight with the first of the hunters – five weequay warriors try and catch us in an ambush. It would have nearly worked until they themselves were attacked by a large, four armed creature with heavy clubs for hands. This “Whompa” pounded the other group into the ground while we quickly and quietly snuck up a tree to safety.

That’s half of the hunters down. We might come out of this okay. Just the leader, his Whipid sidekick, a brother and sister duo and a laconic gun slinger to deal with.

Speaking of the leader, it wasn’t long before we accidentally stumbled upon him. The skies opened up with a torrential downpour, masking our approach – I found myself nearly nose to nose with him, in fact. I only wish I could communicate with my fellow team members – but I decide on a dangerous gamble. While I hate the idea of murdering someone in cold blood, if I could take out the leader right here and now, we could end this. He doesn’t know I’m here, I’ve got a nice clean shot. I take the shot –

– and it ricochets right off his armor. Yeah, that was a good idea.

His Whipid cohort hits me square in the shoulder with his vibroaxe. His friend, caught off guard by the sudden attack falls down the other side of the slippery mud slope we were standing on. The battle was intense and short – we were lucky enough to overcome the Whipid, but lost sight of The Leader. Which means another night in the wilderness – this time hidden behind a waterfall in a small alcove. Hard, rocky, wet, loud, uncomfortable – and my shoulder wound is looking worse for wear. This time, my cheerful words have their work cut out for them.

It’s another several days before we encounter anyone else. We’re getting further up the closest mountain (although calling it a full blown mountain is being extremely generous), and my shoulder’s looking pretty – well, I try not and look at it too closely. Its early the . . third, fourth – I’ve lost track – morning when we encounter our next set of hunters: the twins.

I’m not much help, but the others manage to overpower the male, causing his sister to become unfocused and distracted. I’m not a combatant, but even I realize that losing control like that is a recipe for disaster. Once she realizes that the tide has turned against her, she retreats over a ridge to a waiting speeder – only to get gunned down just as she reaches it. Under better circumstances, I’d be more forgiving – but now? Not so much.

Del fiddles about under the hood, crossing wires to cause an explosion when the speeder is activated – a long shot to be sure, but anything we can do to even the odds, we’ll take.

Further up the mountainside, we almost run afoul of another of those Whompa creatures. Fortunately we heard it coming early enough to hide ourselves – they’re not very subtle beasts. Unfortunately, the hunter with the very nice sniper rifle had been following us for quite some time. She didn’t snipe us, but she did shoot the monster, angering it and sending it rampaging after us.

Shadya opened up at range, Mahitha was able to take the beast on with an improvised club while me and Del took to the trees. Fortunately there were very large, thick trees for climbing just out of the Whompa’s reach. We manage to deal with the monster, but the sniper eluded us. But by this point, it’s pretty clear which direction we were going, so we expect to see her again on the road.

Later that night, it’s a dark, moonless night – and someone spots a light further up the mountain. It has to be a trap, there’s no way that these professionals would make an amateur mistake like that – that’s more something I would do than a hardened killer would do, But the light remains steady, burning brightly in the night. So – investigate? Move on? Remain hidden? I vote for hiding, but everyone else was more keen on investigating the light – and since there was no way I was remaining behind all alone, up the mountain we go.

Reaching the ridge line, the light is a spotlight on a landing pad of some sort, cut into the side of the cliff. Off to one side is a large cargo crate and a sizable metal door leads into the mountain – not at all what we were expecting. What we are expecting is that if we were trying to snipe prey, the overhang above the pad would be an ideal location to do so. Shadya and Mahitha head flank the overhang while Del and I remain below.

It was a near thing – she was very, very good. Del and I had very little to do, the wrong angle to fire on her. Mahitha and Shadya overcame her by rushing her position – a sniper weapon does you very little when your target is point blank range. It ended very badly for her.

The large metal door was surprisingly unlocked. The crate on the pad was – well, garbage. Biological waste and dinner scrapings – lovely. The door lead to a long stone corridor leading down into the mountain, well out of sight. At the bottom? A vast cavern of ruins, a small team of professors and scholars huddled about a computer terminal discussing an artifact of some sort.

If this is a trap, it’s an exceptionally clever one. – and one that’s taking it’s time to spring. Long enough for Del to properly clean and attend my throbbing shoulder, for us to get some proper rest in the most luxurious cot I have ever slept in. The next morning (or at least the next time I regain conciseness), the kind professors fed us and show us a shortcut to the other side of the mountain.

Yeah, probably not a trap.

However The Runaway sitting in a clearing at the foot of the mountain, all alone and seemingly unguarded almost certainly is. Mahitha, ever the paragon of caution, insists that we find a bolt hole somewhere and wait until he makes a move. And so the waiting game begins.

Well, at least for an hour or so. Look, I’m not designed for crouching in a bush for the better part of a day. It’s been a very long week, I feel like a wreck, my shoulder still hurts and nothing has happened for the better part of – two hours? I have no idea how long we waited there. But enough was enough. At least with him shooting at us, we’ll wrap this up one way or another.

The funny thing – The Hunter drops Mahitha in one go. Not me, not Del – no, the person who wanted to continue to wait some more. Before he can find his range on me, I quickly drag her under cover of the ship. While I try and draw the Hunter’s fire, Del attends to our unconscious body guard and Shadya creeps around behind the perch in the tree, catching him off guard. To my amazement, the teamwork works. I miss him wildly, but it allows Shadya to catch him flat footed, The hunter falls from his perch face first into the mud from 40 feet up – and we’re safe again.

Well, aside from being on a wrecked ship with no navigation computer, a massive set of wounds and some serious stress. Other than that, perfectly fine.

First things first. We get to wander the surrounding forest, finding the important bits of our drive systems getting The Runaway in shape enough that we can limp to the landing pad half way up the mountain for more complete repairs. I did quite a number on the ship in my efforts to get away, so there’s no end of Delany cursing at me. The bright side, But they did have a astromech in their bag of tricks, bypassing our lack of navigation computer.

Well, I guess that’s one good thing that happened this trip. Free droid!

Next stop, Kwenn space station!

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