“The Lightspeed Express always delivers.”
Gaust - Qatr Station
This job had taken him to a system that didn't have a name, just a long, alphanumeric string of characters that constituted an astrographic signature. It wasn't until he'd landed that someone had told him the star had a name - Qatr.
The system was so remote and unimportant that the Sith Empire, early in the war, had conquered it quite accidentally. Military strategists on both sides of the conflict moved the frontline from time to time to accommodate territorial developments, and at some point or another the parsec containing Qatr ended up on the Imperial side of the map.
Qatr itself was a small blue star orbited by two planets, called Qatr I and Qatr II for lack of a better alternative, respectively. Qatr I was a near worthless hunk of scorched, airless rock orbiting its star inside a distance of sixty million kilometers. Entirely uninhabitable, Qatr I was home to a few inconsequential mining operations. The most attention the Qatr system ever received came when a Borgo Prime-based industrial group considered cracking the dwarf planet open in a strip-mining operation shortly before the war.
Qatr II, a hazy green gas giant orbited by a few moons, was slightly less worthless for the fact that its atmosphere contained gasses that, while heavily diluted, could be converted into sublight engine and hyperdrive fuels given sufficient refining efforts. Despite the difficulty in finding the system on even the most current map, the navigational challenges in traveling to and from the system, and the discouraging profit margins, a small collection of mining and refining stations had taken root on Qatr II, hovering some fifty thousand kilometers above the planet core.
One of these, called Qatr City, was home to just shy of a thousand or so sentients, most employed by Borgo Prime based mining companies, eking out a living in the Empire's microscopic private sector. There were no education centers for children, hardly anything that qualified as a restaurant, and a skeleton government manned by local union representatives wearing different hats. There were very few places in the galaxy less relevant, which made it an ideal location for the Corsin Resistance to set up shop.
Resistance types and rebels were, in Jonnu Gaust’s experience, good for business. Lightspeed Express prided itself on its captains’ abilities to move anything and anyone wherever they needed to go. Rebels frequently needed to move people and things to places quickly and discretely. The Corsin Resistance might as well have been Lightspeed Express’s target consumer if it weren’t for the fact that working for them was not unlikely to get you killed.
Gaust and his crew were the types willing to do the kind of work that might get you killed though, so it was all the same to them. Courier operations across the Republic border, and especially inside Imperial territory, were their specialty.
“Courier operations across the Republic border and inside Imperial territory are our specialty,” he stated as much matter-of-factly. His partner in this conversation presented him with a thin smile.
“That’s what we need.”
Gaust sat across from a waif of a woman, pale skinned and silvery haired, in what passed for a cantina in Qatr City. It had all the homeliness of a droid factory, mixed with the smell of spilled liquor, sweat, piss and vomit. Tough to open the windows on a world without a habitable atmosphere, sure, but he wished the air filtration systems were working. Or that someone would give the place a once-over with a mop at least.
The woman was seemingly unaffected. Though dressed plainly, she was well poised, back straight in her seat at the table, both hands wrapped around what passed for a clean mug at this joint. More poised than Gaust, even, a man who held stature in high regard after serving his 20 with distinction.
“You’ll be carrying a shipment from Borgo Prime to a second location deep in Republic Space.”
“What’s the nature of the cargo?” Gaust asked.
“Compact and highly sensitive,” the woman answered. Gaust didn’t like vague answers, but that was part of the business. “But very discreet. A captain with your skillset should have no problems transporting it.”
“You’d be surprised how little it takes to run into problems in my line of work,” Gaust returned.
“I’ve reviewed your company’s fees. We trust the expense we’re incurring for your services means that we can expect the cargo to arrive regardless of any problems that may arise.”
Gaust leaned back in his chair in what he thought an approximation of easy confidence. “Well, one way or another,” he said with a smile, “the Lightspeed Express always delivers.”
- - -
Welcome to Once Upon a Time in the Outer Rim: Episode II – Lightspeed Express, the second chapter in the Once Upon a Time in the Outer Rim series of small scale, Spaghetti Western and frontier-inspired adventures in the Star Wars universe.
Lightspeed Express is one of the galaxy’s premier courier companies, providing rapid transportation of goods and people anywhere and everywhere. No matter the job to be done, the Lightspeed Express always delivers.
Enter Jonnu Gaust, former Imperial naval officer, Lightspeed Express courier, and captain of the courier transport Destrier. Rather than pursue a post-service career within the comfortable infrastructure of the Imperial administration, Gaust turned his attention to the Empire’s fledgling private sector, that unhappy accident that arrived alongside the hundreds of worlds annexed from the Republic. His skills, talents, and experience proved invaluable, giving him the tools he needed to succeed as a courier in the most heavily regulated and patrolled sectors of Imperial space, and across the border into the Republic itself. Years of success in this arena have attracted a most unlikely client, the Corsin Resistance.
Few worlds fought the Sith harder than Corsin. Battlecruisers dueled in the uppermost atmosphere of the system’s gas giants. Starfighters engaged in fierce dogfights through an asteroid belt cluttered by the wreckage of warships. The lunar crust of her moons fractured under turbolaser bombardment before the local Corsin defense force and Republic Army allowed the Sith to bring the fight to the planet’s surface. But Corsin was conquered, her Queen executed on the throne, and her people subjugated. The new Queen of Corsin is a Sith puppet, but her sister, the Princess of Corsin, leads a fierce resistance against the Empire.
The Princess of Corsin’s war for her planet’s freedom is a losing one, however. Only with the help of an old ally might the tide turn, and so the Corsin Resistance places a message in a proverbial bottle and hands it to Captain Gaust.
- - -
This is larger than Last Skiff to Mos Vaada, for sure, and I expect we’ll see a bit more variance in the types of characters signing up for this one. The crew of the Destrier, Corsin Resistance fighters, Borgo Prime information brokers, Imperial agents and various antagonists, and so on. As always, both permanent and one-shot characters are welcome; check out the character sheet section for a Limited Use Character Template.
Come by the OUTOR channel in the PW Discord to coordinate your role in the story.