Chapter Thirteen: The Quest for the Magic Duck

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The Clotis IV arena was moderately sized, just about big enough to land a large freighter in. It was built into the side of a hill, with seats on the slope, and the combat ring at the base, a flat circle of sand that looked very out of place in the rugged, green landscape. It would no doubt be in much less use now that Kara had seemingly abandoned the tradition of the hunters' lodge, but it was here that Gan Sendi had decided to brief Ishti and the three other bounty hunters he had selected.

Ishti greeted Gan as he walked down the tiered seating to the ring. He had decided to come early, so he'd finally have a chance to talk to him about why he seemed so interested in him.
"Hello, Ishti!" Gan called up to him jovially as he approached the bottom. "Whom have you chosen for your team?"
Ishti hurried down to him before answering.
"Da'bral - of course, a pilot called Olulm, and Nyron."
"Nyron? He's an unstable psychopath and he ruined your last mission!"
"I know, I know, it sounds crazy, but you haven't seen him in a fight. If I can keep him balanced between scheming sober and manic drunkenness, he'll be a useful asset and - Speak of the devil..."

Nyron sauntered/skipped down the steps taking swigs from a newly acquired stock of alcohol.
There goes that conversation, Ishti thought with a sigh.
Nyron was closely followed by Da'bral, who was frowning furiously. He had not been told that Nyron was coming with them, and when he joined the others at the bottom, he looked ready to tell Ishti exactly how stupid of a decision he thought it was, but Ishti hushed him. "Trust me," he said reassuringly, "I know what I'm doing. Did you tell Farrel?"
Da'bral nodded. "He didn't take the credits - said we'd had enough taken from us. He left just now."
"Thank you. I just hope we can finally get to Corellia before too long, and with the money Gan's offered us for this job, I'm sure Kanso will forgive us. It'll be nice to finally go home."

These two were followed by Olulm Streev, the other bounty hunter Ishti had selected. None of them knew him personally, but he was well known from his days as a mercenary, when he was the best in his business. He'd become a bounty hunter very recently; the story was that he'd wanted to do something more challenging than protecting convoys from pirates, but he'd refused to reveal his true reason. Ishti had picked him for his leadership
experience and serious attitude which would make him ideal for keeping Nyron under control. Olulm was skinny like most Duros (they prefer lithe), and wore a white jumpsuit with his black flight helmet tucked under his arm.

Gan smiled approvingly as he approached, realising why Ishti had picked him.
"At last, we're all here!" He said.
"So we are." Said Ishti, brushing sand off his armour.
"Yup." Gurgled Nyron while drinking.
Da'bral and Olulm just glanced at Nyron disgustedly, eager to get this over with.
"Hey Olulm!" Nyron said happily, before frowning in confusion.
Olulm just stared at him suspiciously. How did he know my name? He wondered.
Gan winced at the thick tension, closing his eyes briefly to let it melt a bit and calm himself before starting his briefing.
"Right, now that we all know each other," he began, "I'll tell you your mission. I'd like you to intercept a pirate freighter. Onboard is an object of great sentimental value to me."
"How will we know where to intercept this ship?" Asked Olulm.
"All the information is on the device I gave Ishti. Take it out, check for yourself. We know their flightpath, number, and weaponry."
Ishti took out the device from the bag strapped to his side, but before he had a chance to check the data, Nyron snatched it from his hand, tossing his rum at Olulm as he did so to free his hands. Olulm stepped aside to let the bottle smash on the ground, rolling his eyes at Nyron's antics.
"One more thing," uttered Gan, "It is imperative that only Ishti touches it."
"Why?" Inquired Da'bral.
"My question as well." Said Ishti suspiciously.
"I can't tell you that, Ishti - not yet anyway. Perhaps I will one day." He paused. "But for now it is better for you not to know."
Ishti grunted in annoyance, but didn't press further.
"I bet the artefact is a duck." Nyron said absently, searching through the device for the real answer. "A special, magic duck."

"Where does it say to intercept the ship, Ishti?" Asked Olulm as the Corellian muscled the device from Nyron's grasp.
"Yavin." He replied.
"Short journey then, good, I won't have to spend too much time with this guy." He said as he dodged another bottle from Nyron. "Shall we take my ship? She has a class one hyperdrive and I'd like to make this journey as short as possible."
"Sure, we can use your ship."
"I'll use my own!" Nyron announced with a triumphant bottle-swing at Da'bral. "My own ship, that is."
"Stop that! Annoying creature." The Dathomirian growled venomously.
"The last time I saw your ship, Nyron, it was floating in orbit around Zygerria." Ishti reminded him.
"Oh yeah."
"Do we have any gunners?" Asked Olulm.
"Yeah, but I'm not helping a Duros, Cad - I mean Olulm."
"I can gun." Sighed Ishti with frustration.
"Great. Da'bral, if you can make sure Nyron doesn't throw any bottles around on my ship, I'd be extremely grateful."
"I'll do my best but - and there he goes again. I'll get him!"
"I'll let you sort this out." Gan smirked as he backed away, "I'll give you the credits if you come back."

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