The inside of the Crow did little to warm my ice-covered limbs and the news of a hefty bounty being placed on my head kept the atmosphere somber. Wins and defeats were almost indistinguishable for us, with the Dark Trooper project still one step ahead of us. With our leads all but dried up, Jan started tracking the ships coming and going from Anteevy and discovered a pattern: most of them led back to Nar Shaddaa - the Smuggler’s Moon. Just where someone with a bounty placed on their head should go.
Fortunately, the Smuggler’s Moon is a pretty good place for someone to get lost, and under cloak of shadows I was able to stay relatively undetected. Jan and I were able to gather a few crumbs to follow, calling in a few favours to discover an Imperial presence working out of a highrise. I snuck in and stole navigation data for the Arc Hammer, the manufacturing ship we believed was the base of operations for General Mohc.
In retrospect, we were sloppy; I’m sure there were Alliance spies on Nar Shaddaa back then, but I was too cocky. That’s how we ended up captured by Jabba the Hutt, my hubris. As we were lifting off - the perfect heist behind us - the Hutt’s cruiser used it’s tractor beam and pulled us in. The Hutt’s grunts stormed aboard, and although I was able to take out a few we were overrun. They separated us, taking Jan off towards some cells and holding me up at the edge of a pit. Jabba’s ugly, misshapen body appeared above the pit in a hologram - it was his smuggling ring helping the Empire, and I was getting to close to stopping his paycheck.
His guards threw me into the pit, and I managed to land on my feet. I heard the heavy footsteps of a Kell Dragon, Jabba’s favourite pets. He kept them hungry for times like this - and I was on the menu. I searched my pockets for anything useful, but all my equipment had been taken - I would need to fight a Kell Dragon with my bare hands, or die trying. The huge beast lumbered towards me, it’s footsteps sending vibrations through the metallic floor. It suddenly lunged towards me, gaping mouth wide open - I dodged backwards out of reach, and punched the creature in the side of the head.
It recoiled and spat at me, snarling viciously. I stepped forward suddenly, landing another clean blow to the side of the creature’s head before it could react and backing away again. I caught it a few more times like that, taking cautious hits; if my hand landed inside that thing’s mouth, I would lose it. One of my punches connected with the dragon’s eye, and it howled in pain. With the beast temporarily blinded, I began an onslaught of punches directly to it’s reptilian face, and it soon fell to its knees with a throaty scream.
I walked out through the door the creature entered from and found myself in a holding pen for more of the beasts. There was a handler corridor running through the centre of the pen, and I hopped the wall. There was a Gran inside, but he didn’t see or hear me so I broke his neck and stole his keys and thermal detonators. There was more on the line than just my life - Jan was somewhere on this ship and it is very common knowledge what the Hutts do to female prisoners.
The Gran’s key opened the Kell pen’s door, and I walked straight into some Gamorreans. I ducked their axes and elbowed the pig faced mercenaries to the floor. Their axes were too heavy for me to carry as a weapon unfortunately, but rounding the next corner I saw my weapons hanging from a hook inside a control room. I slipped in through the window and broke the Gamorrean’s neck, then grabbed my pistol to deal with the other Gamorrean. I composed myself briefly, making sure all my weapons were there and undamaged. Everything seemed to be in place, except one thing: the nava card we had just stolen. I thought it was hidden well enough, but the Hutt’s grunts had taken it still.
That meant I had a new objective: I needed to resteal the nava card and save Jan. I checked an internal map and saw the holding cells were not far from here, several decks up, and started heading there. I opened a nearby door and climbed upwards, working my way through the ship’s outer corridors. The Gran’s keys were opening every door on the ship, and I soon found myself inside an empty cargo bay.
There were two doors leading away from the cargo bay, and I couldn’t recall which led me where I wanted to go. One was locked, the other opened up with the key I already had so I went that way through a series of blast doors. A senior looking Gamorrean met me at the end of the corridor, and I stole the key for the other door from their dead body. The second corridor lead me towards an arena with another Kell Dragon in it, but this time I had weapons. The beast flew against the wall as I fired mortars into it, and I sprinted up towards what seemed to be a nightclub.
The whole place was crawling with Gran and Gamorrean grunts, which made throwing thermal detonators blind very easy. I restocked where I could, and headed towards a guarded door that a couple Gamorreans had run off to protect when the firefight started. I was right to follow them - the room they were protecting had the nava card in it. With that stroke of luck, I checked the internal map for where the cells were and headed straight for them.
I jumped down into what seemed to be a cleaning room for the Kell, and sure enough the adjoining room had two more of the blasted creatures. The fusion cutter sliced through their flesh, leaving the room smelling like a bad Trandoshan barbeque. I climbed up to the observation platform, and taking out the guards there led me to the cell block. From the window into space, I could see the Crow still attached to the underside of Jabba’s cruiser.
The last guards stood in front of Jan, holding her hostage for their lives but this wasn’t my first rodeo - I took the shot and cleanly executed them. Deactivating the jail cell, Jan thanked me and took the Laser rifle to defend herself. I had cleared most of the ship already, and the last pocket of grunts proved no match for the two of us; we were soon back aboard the Crow and leaving Jabba’s cruiser drifting through space. It had taken a lot longer than we had expected, but we were free and now had what we needed to find the Arc Hammer.