Click on the era symbol for description 

Click on the title to go that particular era

 

Lost (and found) Star Wars stories

 

Articles, columns and quotes in defense of the Star Wars Expanded Universe

Eddie Van Der Heidjen's amazingly exhaustive page!

Robert Mullin's wildly unique chronology project attempts to fuse the EU canon with Disney's!

Nathan P. Butler's famously detailed chronology!

 

Long forgotten, un-reprinted Star Wars adventures and nonfiction literature

 

JJM's great timeline and list of Marvel appearances

 

starwarz.com

TBone's famous Star Wars site include cut-scenes, scripts, and so much more!

 

Plif lives with Marvel Star Wars stats and loads of fun pages!

 

Dino Jim's comprehensive timelines and checklists

 

Fascinating study of the changes made to the original trilogy

 

This site's original pre-Filoni Clone Wars Timeline

 

Another chronology of the Clone Wars incorporates older stories in relation to the animated series

 

Everything you always wanted to know about the Star Wars Holiday Special!

 

Starwarstimeline.net is on:

THE CONTACT

By Charlene Newcomb & Rich Handley

A sequel to “Crimson Bounty,” published in the Star Wars Adventure Journal #14, "A Certain Point of View," published in the Star Wars Adventure Journal #8, and “Crimson Jailbreak,” published in the Star Wars Adventure Journal #5.

“The Contact” was intended for publication, likely in the Star Wars Adventure Journal #18, but WEG lost the Star Wars license and went out of business.

Illustrations by Steve Bryant

STAR WARS

The Contact

Charlene Newcomb & Rich Handley

 

          Sweat beaded on Kaj Nedmak’s brow. This section of Angjon was not on any tourist maps, and for good reason. The smuggler eyed the dimly lit alley warily. Windows within reach appeared to be locked tightly against unwanted intruders, and doors were undoubtedly bolted.

         Walking slowly into the deepening shadows, Kaj swiped a gloved hand across his forehead. He told himself again that running guns for the Rebel Alliance made perfect sense. But as the alley seemed to swallow him, he began to wonder if the information he’d won in a sabacc game—in lieu of credits—would actually pay off.

         Perhaps his partner Crimson had been right. They’d had no luck attempting to contact the Alliance. Every lead had turned into a dead end. Why would this time be any different?

         A movement at the far end of the alley caught Kaj's eye. Three silent figures moved with a purpose that could only mean trouble. Knots clenched Kaj’s gut. Lights flicked on in a second-story window—just enough light to glint off white armor. Stormtroopers!

         "Stang!" Kaj cursed to himself. "A set-up."

         Kaj buried himself in the shadows. Something brushed against his boot. Glancing down, he spotted a jaykah scurrying toward a pile of trash heaped against the wall a few meters away. The clicking of the small furry creature’s claws against the old stone pavement made Kaj wince. He wasn’t surprised when the stormtroopers turned toward the noise and opened fire.

         A burst of blaster fire raked the trash heap. The jaykah shrieked out in pain. Teeth bared, it leaped from its hiding place and charged its attackers. Standing their ground, the Imperials blasted the poor creature to pulp.

         Lights flicked on in a handful of windows and illuminated the scene in a yellowish glow as the stormtroopers advanced. Kaj ducked into a doorway, his breathing jagged and fierce. He glanced back the way he’d come. Too far. The chance of his reaching the corner before the troopers found their mark would be like drawing a pure sabacc in the first round.

         That left one option. Kaj eyed his adversaries. He hoped to get off a blast before they noticed him, but a shot pinging off the wall centimeters above his head told him his luck had run out.

         Kaj opened fire, his first volley right on target. One Imperial down. The other stormtroopers answered Kaj’s blast with a barrage of gunfire. The noise reverberated through the alley and mingled with another familiar sound—the rev of an engine. The stormtroopers heard it, too. Kaj peered past them just as the XP-38 roared up the alley. With a blaster resting atop the landspeeder’s windshield, the maniacal driver opened fire. One of the troopers fell as a torrent of gunfire thundered through the narrow street.

         Shots suddenly erupted behind Kaj and a blast whipped past his head. He jerked around and spotted two more stormtroopers hugging the alley wall and moving rapidly in his direction. Kaj winged one in the shoulder. His second shot sent the trooper careening head-first into the pavement. The man’s companion slipped into a narrow doorway and fired several more rounds.

         The exchange of blaster fire at Kaj’s back swelled, then just as suddenly ceased. Hoping that the XP-38's driver had won that round, Kaj rolled into the alley to get off one clear shot. His firelight lit the shadows, and a moment later his final opponent slumped to the ground.

         “Come on!” a familiar voice shouted from the landspeeder.

         Scrambling off the ground, Kaj ran toward the speeder, hurdled the prone bodies of the stormtroopers, and leapt into the vehicle.

         “Thanks.” Kaj nodded as the driver hit the accelerator and barreled out of the alley. He glanced sidelong at the slight figure next to him and grinned. A few strands of red hair peeked out beneath the hat that covered his rescuer’s head. The collar of her dark blue flight jacket was turned up.

         “Trouble always manages to follow you, Kaj,” Celia “Crimson” Durasha told her partner. Whipping the speeder onto the main street, the young woman weaved in and out of traffic through Angjon’s business district. She flicked those emerald eyes at him and a smile washed across her face. “Lucky for you, so do I.”

         “Thanks, Crimson,” he said. “Could’ve been the end of me back there.”

         “I know.”

         Kaj chuckled softly to himself. “You don’t learn, do you?”

         “Nope. But it was just dumb luck that I showed up, Kaj. I was at the CardSafe, trying to scrounge up information about this Rebel contact of yours. I never imagined that smugglers and thieves were such a suspicious bunch.” She smirked. “Can you explain to me again why we’re doing this? There must be an easier way to earn the credits we need to pay off Bwahl the Hutt and Rass M’Guy.”

         Kaj ignored her question. “How’d you end up in the alley?” he asked.

         “The barkeeper gave me the name Raider, the same one you had. Considering we got it from two different sources, I was beginning to think we finally might track down one of these Rebels.”

         “Yeah, so then what?”

         “Luck was on your side... again. I overheard a couple of Rodians at the pub bragging about a Rebel operative they turned over to the authorities.”

         “Raider,” Kaj said matter-of-factly. “Poor guy must’ve spilled his guts to the Imperials. That explains why our stormtrooper buddies showed up.”

         “And being the resourceful person that I am, I followed them.” Crimson guided the landspeeder down a side street and out of the flow of traffic. Office buildings gave way to dilapidated warehouses, and the air was thick with the smells of the nearby seaport. A heavy mist enshrouded the area.

         “Well, you showed up just in time, Red.” He placed his hand on her shoulder. “So, do we know where they’re holding him?”

         Crimson glanced at her partner. She knew what was coming. And she knew she wasn’t going to like it.

         “Well?” Kaj asked.

         “You can’t be serious,” she sighed.

         “Why not?”

         “You want to break a Rebel spy out of an Imperial garrison?”

         “Since when does one office—occupied by four officers on the first floor of the Jardansen building—constitute a garrison? It’s just a little ol’ detachment.”

         Crimson scowled.

         “Okay, so maybe there’s a few dozen stormtroopers there, too,” Kaj conceded. “C’mon, how hard could it be to get this guy out? The Empire isn’t set up in Angjon the way—”

         “We’re already in deep poodoo with Bwahl and Rass,” she pointed out. “Let’s rethink this debt-reducing plan you’ve implanted in your brain. Maybe we should just head to the opposite side of the Rim and bury ourselves in work.”

         “Look,” Kaj said, running his finger gently across her cheek, “we get this Reb out and we secure ourselves a steady job running guns or supplies—”

         She slapped his hand away. “We don’t even know if they can pay.”

         “At least we won’t have to worry where our next meal comes from. And I hear those Alliance bases have the tools we’ll need to keep the Starlight Red in tip-top condition.”

         “Ha! I hear they have so few supplies they’re begging for help wherever they can get it.”

         “Come on, Red, that’s just Imperial propaganda coming down the newsnets.”

         “Fine. But what about Bwahl and Rass?” They had barely escaped from the last bounty hunter hired by those two businessmen. “They’ll come after us again—you know they will. We need to stay as far from them as we can get.”

         “Well, knowing how the Rebels operate, we probably will be as far from them as we can get.”

         Crimson pulled the landspeeder off to the side of the road. She stared at lights from Angjon’s spaceport glowing eerily through the mists. “I don’t know.”

         Kaj grabbed Crimson’s wrist, a little more tightly than usual. If it caused her any discomfort, she chose not to show it. “Stang, what’s your problem? I know it ain’t just fear talking here. You and me have been through worse trouble than this to get work before. If this were any other job, you’d go along with it. Why are you so hung up about this Rebel thing, huh? What did they ever do to you, to make you so angry?” Kaj gently brushed his fingers against Crimson’s hand. She pointedly ignored him. The sting left his voice as he turned her face in his hands and looked her straight in the eyes. “Look, I’m sorry. I just care too much about you to see you like this, and I want to help.”

         A slight tremble betrayed the stoic posture Crimson was trying so hard to maintain. She met Kaj’s gaze, bit her lip, and looked away. Finally, she simply said, “The Rebels killed my brother.”

         Kaj stared, his head cocked in confusion. “You mean a member of the Rebellion murdered him? Well, frag, Crimson, that’s awful, but it’s still no reason to blame the entire—”

         She jerked her hand from his. “Yes, it is, Kaj.” The sharpness of her response silenced him. “Raine’s unit was ambushed by the Rebels.”

         “He served the Empire?”

         Crimson clenched and unclenched her jaw. “Raine was assigned to Ralltiir. He was slaughtered where he stood before he had any chance to defend himself.” She punched the throttle. “The Rebels are so quick to point out the atrocities committed by the Empire. So quick to scream in outrage at the slaughter of innocent victims, to show that they represent the good and the just. And maybe they do.” Her jaw stiffened. “But my brother never committed any atrocities. He never slaughtered any innocents.”

         Kaj wondered how she could be sure of this, but remained silent.

         “Raine was a good man,” Crimson said, “an honest man, who just wanted to serve in the only way he knew how. The day he was killed, it wasn’t the Empire who committed the atrocity. It was the Rebels. I’ll never forgive them for that.”

         The two smugglers sat in silence for a moment, the only noise coming from the XP-38’s engine. “I’m sorry, Crimson.” Kaj shook his head as his partner’s reluctance to take sides became clear. “I can see why you don’t trust the Rebels. If they killed my brother, I’d have a hard time trusting them, too. But you told me yourself that your best friend was murdered by the Empire. So my point is this: if you can’t trust either side, you might as well go with the one that puts you in the least danger. And last I heard, the Rebels don’t have a bounty on your head.”

         Crimson exhaled loudly but said nothing as she kicked the speeder back in gear. A few moments later they pulled up to the Dyjillan Landing Strip, where they’d berthed their ship, the Starlight Red. The battered YT-1300 freighter, once called the Faceted, was heavily modified, complete with a wide variety of non-sanctioned weapons and sensor attachments. It would be an asset to the Alliance—if the two smugglers could locate them.

         Crimson powered down the speeder and turned in her seat to face her partner. She sighed. “All right. Just answer me this, Kaj. Say we go through with this and manage to get this guy Raider out of that prison. Say that, out of gratitude, he lets us work for the Alliance, and that by some miracle we don’t get killed running guns. What then? How do we convince Bwahl and Rass not to use us for kindling? How do we get rid of the Imperial bounty on my head? What are our long-range plans? Do we even have any long-range plans? We can’t keep running forever, you know. Where is this leading us?”

         “To a way out, Crimson—”

         She snorted in derision.

         “—and for now, that’s all I can promise you.” Kaj gently took her hand. “Look, I don’t know where the future will bring us, anymore than you do. But whatever we have to face, we can get through it together. Trust me on this, Red.” He pecked her lightly on the cheek. “After a good night’s sleep, you’ll see I’m right.”

 

         The Jardansen building was not the norm for Imperial prison complexes. The modest-sized plastone structure, with three floors and an inordinate number of windows, had once been a factory for the production of sabacc decks and other card games. The Empire had never taken much notice of Angjon, but an increase in Rebel activities was motive enough for posting small detachments on this world and others known to harbor smugglers who, oftentimes, didn’t care who paid their wages. Rather than wasting credits on unnecessary construction, the Imperials had simply annexed existing buildings for their own purposes and moved right in. The Jardansen Corporation had been among the first to go.

         “This is going to be easier than spotting a Hutt in a den of sand-lice,” Kaj said to Crimson from their perch atop a building across from the prison. “Typical Imperial arrogance—they think no one would ever dare break a prisoner out, so they don’t make it too difficult to try.”

         Crimson peered across the street, then bent low to get out of view. Shuffling closer to Kaj, she removed her uncomfortable helmet. “Call me crazy, but my guess is they probably think the thirty-plus stormtroopers they have inside just might make people think twice about it.”

         “Ya’ think?”

         Crimson scowled but the ire from last night’s conversation had left her voice. She glanced at the two unconscious men they’d tucked against a large power generator on the far side of the roof. “Those guards will be missed any minute now. The uniforms may get us in the front door, but then what?” She tapped the white plastoid armor covering her chest. “We don’t even have a plan for getting Raider out yet. What are we going to do, just walk right in and say, ‘Hi, we’re here to free one of your prisoners’?”

         Kaj chuckled nervously and pulled out a pair of macrobinoculars to scan the windows of the prison. They had been slightly darkened and had thick metal bars mounted on both sides of the glass, but he could still make out the shapes of moving figures. “All right, we have two guys standing guard outside the building. Inside and to the left, I see the main guard post. Two officers and four stormtroopers there. Then there’s another dozen or so stormies guarding the cells, stationed at various points down the corridor. Can’t tell where the rest of the troops are.”

         Crimson scoffed. The more she thought about this idea, the less she liked it.

         “Looks like only the first floor is being used. From here, I’d guess at least fifty prisoners in individual cells. No idea which one of them is Raider, though,” he added.

         “No problem,” Crimson said, rolling her eyes. “We can just free them all.”

         Kaj bent down and removed his helmet. His face beamed. “My thought, exactly.” He leaned over and kissed her full on the lips.

         “Wha—?” she stammered as Kaj hurried down the ladder. Recovering from her surprise, Crimson put on her helmet and scampered after him.

         ‘Stormtroopers’ Kaj and Crimson crossed the street to the Jardansen building. Shoulders squared, Kaj nodded confidently to the guards at the front door, then hurriedly approached the main guard post with Crimson one step behind. The officer in charge, a middle-aged captain, looked up in irritation and studied Kaj’s hidden face. “What are you doing in—”

         “The prisoners are escaping, sir,” Kaj reported.

         “What?” the officer half-shouted as he jumped to his feet.

         Two of the guards turned immediately to scanners on the main control panel to verify the escape. “I detect no anomalies, Captain,” one guard reported. “No signs of any unrest in the prison block.”

         “That’s because it hasn’t started yet,” Kaj said as he pulled his blaster rifle and burned a hole into the stormtrooper’s armor.

         Before the other Imperials could react, Crimson swung her rifle up. She loosed a barrage of gunfire, catching the captain and two of his guards with blasts that sent them careening backward into the wall.

         Kaj hammered the second officer and the other guard, then jumped for the control panel. Taking a moment to rip his helmet off and draw in a deep breath of unrecycled air, he found the controls for the detention block and released all the cell doors. “Come on!” he shouted.

         Kaj and Crimson sprinted for the adjoining corridor, jumping over the bodies of two stormtroopers, their white armor streaked with blackened blasts. They dashed into the cellblock amidst utter mayhem. Freed prisoners pounced on startled guards and wrestled them for weapons. Kaj let out a war cry and headed toward the nearest guard, his blaster rifle poised to strike. Crimson quickly scanned the second level walkway. No sign of other guards... yet. Grasping her weapon tightly, she sprinted to catch up with her partner.

         Slipping through a prisoner’s grasp, one stormtrooper sounded a general alarm and headed toward the stairs. A half-dozen prisoners bolted after him. He was caught halfway up the stairs and ungracefully tossed over the side to the ferrocrete below. Surprise, enthusiasm, and sheer numbers were on the side of the prisoners, and within moments, most of the guards were subdued.

         The inmates darted toward the exit, grabbing the fallen troopers’ weapons. Kaj was about to speak when a blast struck the wall right above his head. He whipped back in the direction of the shot. Three of the prisoners were shooting at him!

         “Hey, wait,” Kaj yelled. “I’m not the Empire! I just freed you, you ungrateful—”

         Another shot scorched the ferrocrete directly behind Crimson, and the smugglers began to raise their weapons in defense. Suddenly, a barrage of blaster shots rained down on the confusion from the second level walkway. Two of the prisoners with weapons collapsed a few meters from Kaj, barely a heartbeat away from killing him themselves.

         Crimson hammered away at the sea of white armor above them. A shot fired from somewhere in the room singed the faceplate of her helmet. She pulled it off, tossed it aside, and blasted another guard.

         “Stang,” Kaj yelled, firing randomly at the stormtroopers on the second level.

         “Well, I think we know where all the other guards are now!” Crimson shouted.

         Bodies piled up as the firefight mounted. One prisoner turned and ran toward Kaj and Crimson. He wore a dark hood, and his body was tall and lithe. Kaj turned his blaster on the man but a second before he fired Crimson caught his arm. “Kaj, no! He’s not armed.”

         Kaj held his fire, but a well-aimed shot from above caught him in the shoulder. Cursing, he fell back against the wall, hitting it with a thud.

         “Kaj!” Crimson cried.

         The unarmed prisoner stooped down by Kaj, offered him his hand, and yelled over the chaos, “Can you run?”

         “Yeah, I’m okay.” Kaj gave Crimson a thumb’s up, and then turned to the prisoner. “Who are you?”

         “I’m Raider.”

         “Frag! You won’t believe this, but—”

         “No time for that now,” Raider said. He locked eyes with Crimson from beneath the hood. There was a familiar gentleness there that unnerved her. He took her arm. “Let’s go. It won’t be long before reinforcements arrive.”

         Shakily, saying nothing, Crimson let Raider lead the way. They raced back through the guard post, hurdling fallen bodies. She looked back to see if they were being followed, but the occupied troops hadn’t noticed their retreat. Outside the building, they weaved through a group of alarmed passersby. Kaj sprinted past their companion, skirted through a nearby alleyway, and turned into a darkened garage, where their landspeeder was parked.

         Without waiting to be invited, Raider jumped into the driver’s seat. Kaj shrugged, climbed into the passenger’s side, and offered a hand to Crimson. She barely made it aboard the speeder as it accelerated too quickly for the compensators to adapt. Kaj let out an uncharacteristic gasp as she fell awkwardly into his lap, slamming into his injured shoulder.

         Crimson glared at their companion as he gunned the engine. “Hey,” she complained, “just what in the worlds do you think—”

         Raider turned to her and removed his hood. His long, fiery hair was matted and coarse, the hair on his face the same shade of red. She knew that face and hair well, as though they were her very own.

         Crimson gasped. “Raine!”

         “Raine?” Kaj repeated, staring at a masculine version of his partner. “Good skies!”

         “You’re alive,” Crimson exclaimed, throwing her arms around her brother’s neck. “By the stars, Raine, you’re alive!”

         Crimson’s sudden movement caused Raine to jerk the controls, swerving the speeder into oncoming traffic. “Whoa,” he shouted, pulling hard to the right. “Hold on, Celi. Calm down before you get us all killed.”

         Crimson released her near-stranglehold. “You’re alive,” she repeated, tears streaming down her cheeks. Her hands trembled as she reached over to touch the red stubble on Raine’s face. Shaking her head in disbelief, she brushed her hand along his shoulder and held onto his arm, afraid to let go. “I don’t understand...how did you get here?” she asked. “The reports said you’d been killed in a Rebel ambush on Ralltiir.”

         “He doesn’t look dead to me,” Kaj offered.

         Raine grimaced, then looked at his sister. “That’s a very long story, sis. Maybe we should get out of Angjon, then find a minute to lay back on a hill somewhere and stare at the stars, like we did when we were kids—”

         “And talk about hopes and dreams,” Crimson finished his sentence. She paused and threw him a wink. “And dying as Imperial soldiers, coming back to life as Rebel operatives?”

         “Yeah,” he grinned.

         “I’d like to hear that story,” Kaj said, “but if you want to get out of Angjon, you’re headed in the opposite direction from the spaceport.”

         Raine nodded and turned northward, guiding the landspeeder out of town. “Speaking of stories, Celi, how did a cruise ship navigator end up serving as a backup on this mission? I’ll have to thank my friends for sending you to watch over me.” He chuckled. “Do you two enjoy dressing up as stormtroopers and breaking into Imperial detention centers?”

         “I left Galaxy Tours and hooked up with Kaj a couple of years ago,” Crimson told her brother.

         Raine nodded. “About the same time the Empire destroyed Alderaan.”

         Crimson cast her eyes downward and chewed on her lip. “I didn’t leave my job because of—”

         “We weren’t sent by the Alliance to watch your back, Raine,” Kaj interrupted.

         “Raine is dead. I go by Raider now,” he said flatly. He glanced at Crimson. “Sorry, I don’t mean to be so blunt.” He frowned. “Wait, you don’t work for the Alliance? Maybe you’d better start explaining.”

         “Remember the guy you were planning to meet in an alley last night? Well, that’s me. The name’s Kaj Nedmak. Crimson and I are free-traders, looking for steady work. Thought we could help you move the shipment you were here to check on.”

         “Crimson?” Raider tilted his sister’s chin up, glancing sidelong at her face and hair and the fire in her eyes. “Nice name—it suits you.”

         Kaj persisted. “What do you think, Raider? Can you put us to work?”

         “You broke me out of an Imperial prison just to get a job?”

         “Yeah, we’ve been trying to make contact with the Alliance.”

         “Why?”

         “We need the work,” Crimson said.

         “And?”

         “And we’re trying to keep a few steps ahead of a couple of lowlifes who would like to dump Kaj into a rancor’s den.”

         “Trouble with the Empire?” Raider asked as he turned down the dimly lit road toward the spaceport.

         “Not me,” Kaj replied. “But Crimson has an Imp bounty—”

         Crimson placed her hand over Kaj’s mouth. “It’s a long story.”

         “Long story, eh?” Raider smiled. “Guess that one will have to wait, too.”

         “How do I look?”

         Crimson glanced up as her clean-shaven brother strolled into the Starlight Red’s crew lounge. “That’s the man I remember.” She winked.

         Kaj placed his mug down on the system’s console, winced at a spike of shoulder pain from his bandaged wound, and sized up Raider’s appearance. “Quite a change from before, but the red hair could mark you, my friend. I’ll have Uthre dig out some—”

         “That’s okay. My cap will cover up the red.” Raider smiled and sat down beside his sister. “Now let’s get down to business. You said you wanted to work for the Alliance. A week or so ago—”

         “Would you care for some cold raava, Master Durasha?”

         Raider turned to the tray-carrying protocol droid. Similar to the standard 3PO model, it had enough differences from that design—particularly its greenish tint—to mark it as being from the THR series. The voice, however, pleasant and yet possessing a rather aristocratic air, confirmed that the two series were related.

         “No thanks, U-THR. Maybe later. I’ll need my head clear for the job ahead. We all will.” He looked pointedly at Kaj, who had lifted his mug back up to his lips. Kaj stopped in mid-swig, then pretended not to have heard the comment as he downed the remainder of his mug and signaled for the droid to give him a refill.

         Raider snorted. “Anyway, as I was saying, a week or so ago, my cargo pilot got nabbed in a barroom brawl.”

         “Oh, how dreadful!” the droid said.

         “Trey was a good friend and one helluva pilot. They must’ve killed him. His death is a loss for the Rebellion.” Raider’s tone became more earnest. “If I can locate his stash, I’ll need transportation to get it out of here. We can use small ships like yours, good pilots, skilled infiltrators... but the pay isn’t great. Credits are hard to come by in this line of work.”

         “Well, that is a factor, of course,” Kaj indicated, “but there are other things like food, shelter, parts to keep our ship up to spec—”

         “And?” Raider fixed his gaze on Crimson.

         Crimson and her brother had always been close—enough so that reading verbal cues, body language, and each other’s mind was almost second nature. She knew what he was getting at, and she didn’t like it. “Skip the ideology lessons and keep your politics to yourself.” She groaned, her face flushing bright red. “My best friend was gunned down by the Empire. You were killed by the Rebels. But here you are, and now you’re working for them!” She looked away a moment, her anger giving way to confusion. “My friend Kaileel told me to look deeply at the Empire, to see the evil there—”

         “He was right, Celi.”

         “The way I see it, there’s ugly on both sides,” she said. “I don’t want to make it my battle. I can’t. And I’m sorry about that, but don’t you see? I just want a job that puts food in my belly. If working for the Alliance does that, then that’s okay with me.”

         “Celi, you can’t be saying you’d work for the Empire—”

         “No, of course not.” She shook her head and sighed. “It’s not that I think the Rebels are right or wrong. It’s just that everything I’ve struggled to deal with—”

         “The commitments you’ve avoided,” Raider added bluntly.

         Crimson’s voice tightened. “I was angry and hurt. I hated the Rebels because I thought they’d killed you.”

         Kaj reached across the table and took her hand. “It’s okay, Crimson,” he said softly.

         “What do you expect me to say now?” Crimson asked Raider, staring her brother in the eye. “‘I love the Rebs?’ Give me a little while to adjust to this idea.”

         “I know. This must be a bit of a shock,” Raider conceded.

         “A bit of a shock?” she replied, gripping Kaj’s hand tightly. “Think bigger, brother dear.”

         “Like an exploding Death Star?”

         Crimson tried to force a smile. “Yeah, that’s more like it.”

         For a long moment, no one said a word. Even Uthre seemed to be going out of his way to avoid eye contact with the others. Finally, Kaj slapped a hand across his knee. “So Raider—you think you might be able to put us to work?” he asked.

         Raider took a deep breath. “The Imps are probably scouring the city trying to find my cargo and the three of us. Staying in Angjon can’t be a great idea.”

         “You came all the way here to find out what happened to your pilot and cargo,” Kaj said. “Might as well finish what you started. This shipment must be pretty important to the Alliance. Just what’s in it, anyway?”

         “Supplies our bases need—medical stuff, weapons, explosives, repulsor-coil heaters—”

         Kaj’s brow rose at that last item. “Doing some modifications for cold weather?”

         Raider shrugged a “maybe,” refusing to divulge more information. “Even if we locate the cargo, we still have to blast out of here without getting inspected.” His eyes drifted from Crimson to Kaj then back again. A slight grin curled the edges of his mouth. “But if you’re game, there is one more place I’d like to have a look at.”

         After a pause, Crimson nodded and tried to return his smile. Raider gave her a reassuring hug, then slapped a comradely hand on Uthre’s metal shoulder. “On second thought, Uthre, I think I could use that drink now.”

         The bartender at the CardSafe happily obliged the smugglers with the address of Raider’s original cargo hauler. Two hundred credits poorer, Crimson, her brother, and Kaj whipped down a residential street in their XP-38. High-rise structures connected aboveground by covered walkways smothered the district, suffocating it in gloomy shadows.

         The pilot’s apartment was unpretentious and sparsely decorated, aside from a plastone statue of Emperor Palpatine, a classic image of the shriveled monarch benevolently bestowing his New Order upon the galaxy. Crimson raised an eye at the statue, surprised to see such an item in the home of a Rebel.

         She wasn’t sure what Raider was looking for, but the sharp focus of his eyes as they scanned the room told her volumes about his expertise as a Rebel operative. With a vigilance originally bred through service to the Empire, he checked the entire apartment for clues as to the whereabouts of the cargo, but the search proved fruitless.

         Exhaling loudly, hands opening and closing as though needing to stay active, Raider picked up the statue of Palpatine and idly read the inscription at the bottom: “From Chaos, Order. From Decadence, Control. From Corruption, Purity.” He laughed coldly. “To think that our family—that I—bought into this twisted rhetoric.” Turning, he hurled the statue to the floor, where it cracked in half with a satisfying crash.

          A smile crept across Raider’s face. Following his gaze, Crimson and Kaj found themselves smiling as well.

          On the floor, amidst plastone dust and the jagged halves of the statue, a metal object shined. A small key cylinder with a hexagonal base and smooth rounded top. And scratched in crude lettering on the cylinder—an address.

 

          Crimson tromped up to the only door she hadn’t tried to open at the darkened warehouse. It was only a meter high, more suitable an entrance for a Jawa than for a human. The cylinder’s hexagonal end slid smoothly into the lock. Wouldn’t you know it? A slight smile washed across her face when the lock clicked. Nodding inconspicuously to the skiff parked a block away, she shoved open the door.

          On the wall just inside the warehouse, Crimson located the lights and an adjacent control panel which opened a pair of huge double doors. Their recent string of luck seemed uncanny. Somehow, things were falling into place a bit too easily. A sudden chill wracked her body as the skiff pulled in to the cavernous room. Her eyes drifted toward the ceiling. Mounted security cameras!

          Crimson slapped the controls to close the doors, grabbed her DL-44, and blasted the nearest camera. Kaj saw the streak of light and its target. Spotting a second camera mounted in the opposite corner of the room, he opened fire. “Company’s coming,” he shouted as Crimson anxiously scanned the room for other security measures and other ways to escape. “Let’s move it.”

          Raider jumped from the vehicle and forced open one of the containers that lined the wall. Carefully pushing aside the blankets and medkits, he inspected its contents. He eyed some megonite charges, then hefted a brand new BlasTech A280. Satisfied, he turned to his comrades. “Okay, this is what we’re looking for. Kaj, can you—”

          Floodlights filled the room with blinding luminescence.

          “You there—hold it!”

          Half-blinded by the floodlights, Kaj remained still as two stormtroopers stepped toward him. Raider, partially obscured by the skiff, kept his weapon out of sight.

          “You’re coming with us,” one trooper ordered. “The administrator wants a word with you.”

          Raider sneered. “Yeah—and the word is... Drop!

          Kaj dove for cover as Raider swung the A280 around in one fluid movement, his finger melding with the trigger. One stormtrooper pulled off a well-aimed shot before Raider blew him away. Wincing, Raider ignored the burnt, swollen patch on his arm and fired at the second guard. His shot went wide. Another laser blast streaked across the room from the door. Crimson’s blaster found its mark.

          “You two all right?” Raider asked.

          Crimson trotted toward her companions. She helped Kaj back to his feet. “We’re fine, but those stormtroopers were waiting for us,” she said.

          “I told you the Empire would be looking for this cargo,” Raider replied, scrutinizing the room.

          Kaj rubbed his shoulder, still sore from the blast he’d taken during the prison breakout. “Looks like they found it.”

          Despite the throbbing pain in his arm, Raider hefted an unmarked crate onto the skiff. “We don’t have much time. Let’s haul these weapons onto the skiff and get out of here.”

          Crimson nodded. “I’ll have Uthre ready the Starlight Red so we can lift off as soon as we get back.” 

          “Freighter Faceted, this is Lieutenant Yma Smada at Dyjillan Port Control. Our scanners show your ship powering up for liftoff. You do not have authorization for departure. Please power down immediately, or your docking privileges will be revoked. Repeat, this is Dyjillan Port Control. Abort your departure. You do not have clearance. Acknowledge immediately.”

          Seated in the cockpit, Kaj Nedmak laughed and smacked the armrest of his captain’s chair. “Ha! Maybe it’s not such a bad thing that I never got around to changing the ship’s ID registry with BoSS. We’re still broadcasting as the Faceted.”

          “Don’t start celebrating yet, Kaj,” Crimson retorted, pointing to starboard. “Port Control isn’t the only one taking notice of us.”

          Kaj shot a look in the direction she was pointing and swore at the sight of a squad of troops running toward their freighter.

          “And TIEs screaming in from port,” Crimson added.

          “Blast!” Kaj shouted. “Out of the Dune Sea, into the Sarlacc pit.” He toggled an overhead switch. “Raider, we’ve got company. Better get to the lower turret. Something tells me this liftoff is gonna make the Maw Cluster look like a Rulaarian pleasure cruise.”

          “Understood,” Raider’s voice transmitted back from the cargo hold.

          Crimson activated switches on the nav panel. “Kaj, I don’t know if the Red’s in any shape right now to stare down three eyeballs.”

          “I don’t think we have much choice.” His fingers played across the controls like a Bith rocking out on a fanfar, and the YT-1300 lifted off so fast that the smugglers were yanked back hard into their seats. “The only thing we can do now is try to blind them.”

          “Right,” Crimson replied, unstrapping herself.

          “Freighter Faceted, repeat, this is Dyjillan Port Control,” Smada repeated, her voice becoming more vehement with each word. “You do not have authorization for departure. The authorities have been alert—”

          Crimson jumped from her chair, backhanded the comm panel to silence the voice, and hit the deck running for the upper gun turret. Strapping herself in, she waved to her brother below her. She smiled and turned her attention to her targeting computer as the ship escaped Angjon’s atmosphere.

          The freighter rocked as the TIEs screeched deftly past, lasers blazing. Kaj throttled the Starlight Red around, giving Crimson and Raider clear shots at their attackers.

          One TIE immediately erupted into flames, which were just as quickly extinguished by the vacuum of space. “Got one!” Raider yelled, swiveling sixty degrees to get a bead on its wingman. As his targeting computer signaled a lock, the third TIE scored a hit on Raider’s turret, completely severing his gun-mount and raining sparks down upon him. “Frag!”

          Crimson turned abruptly at the explosion and Raider’s curse. Spying the blackened transparisteel of the gun turret, she cried out, “Raine? You okay?”

          “Okay,” he replied, flexing his fingers to soothe the effects of the mild shock he’d sustained. “But I’m not going to be much help to you from down here.”

          Spinning in her gunner’s chair to strafe the attacking TIEs, Crimson tapped her headset. “Kaj, the lower turret’s scragged. Raine’s okay, but I don’t know how long any of us’ll stay that way with only one gun. You better do some fancy flying.”

          Kaj’s stressed voice filtered back from the cockpit. “Just stay on the last two eyeballs, Red. I’ve got a plan.” He jerked the ship hastily in a zigzag pattern, avoiding the fighters. “Raider, get back to the cargo bay. The explosives in those crates of yours—they’d come in mighty handy about now. Pocket a few charges, grab yourself a vacuum suit, and head up to the top hatch airlock.”

          “Vacuum suit?” Raider said. “What? I don’t—”

          Crimson had no idea what Kaj was thinking but could almost see awareness dawning on her brother’s face…

          “Wait—” Raider said. “I think I know what you’re getting at. I’m on it.”

          As Raider sprinted down a corridor toward the bay, the Starlight Red shook hard. Explosions sounded from both sides of the ship. Sensors on Crimson’s targeting equipment told her that the TIEs had taken flanking positions.

          Great, she thought. Shield generators gone. Even a minor hit now and we’re fireworks. “Kaj, they’re coming in from port and starboard. Get us out of here!”

          With a suddenness that most sensible engineers would have deemed impossible for a ship of its class, the Red spun and turned on its axis, coming about 180 degrees with barely a decrease in speed. Klaxons wailed and steam fittings burst from the strain, a deep moan emanating from bulkheads never designed for such a maneuver. But the ship held together, thanks to modifications made by its previous owner.

          Fighting back nausea as stars whipped by at dizzying speed, Crimson found herself facing both attacking ships. From the delay in their response, she recognized the stunned confusion of the pilots as they tried to locate their prey again.

          For one TIE, the delay was fatal. Staccato bursts from the Red’s upper gun turret reduced the fighter to space dust. The other ship stayed out of her targeting cone, dancing around the freighter like a frenzied Wistie.

          Over her headset, Crimson heard Kaj’s voice. “Okay, Crimson, get ready—wait for my instructions.”

          “All right,” she answered non-confidently, hoping he knew what he was doing.

          “Raider, you ready back there, buddy?”

          “In position, Kaj. Just give the word.”

          “The word is... Drop!

          For a moment, it seemed to Crimson as though nothing had happened, but suddenly her sensors picked up the trail of an object off to port, apparently coming from the Starlight Red itself. The freighter spun around, placing the object between the two ships, then came to a full stop. Crimson’s heart did the same. What in space are you doing, Kaj? We’re dead mynocks, sitting here like this!

          Seeing an opening, the TIE turned to make a final strafing run at its elusive prey.

          “Stand by, Red,” Kaj called. A couple of seconds went by, but it seemed like a lifetime. “Stand by… wait…” then he shouted, “Fire at that object off to port!”

          You’d better be right about this, Kaj. As the TIE bore down on them, Crimson locked the slowly floating object in her sights, then opened fire. A brilliant explosion filled space before her, forcing her to shield her eyes with her hands. Looking back a moment later, she watched the TIE fly directly into the explosion. The starfighter erupted in a secondary detonation that was no match for the first, but was decidedly more satisfying to the occupants of the Starlight Red.

 

 

                    “That was a most effective and inspired demonstration of intuitive strategizing, Captain Nedmak. Quite impressive!”

                    Kaj grinned at the green-tinted protocol droid as it refilled his companion’s mugs with raava. “Thanks, Uthre. It wasn’t bad at that, if I do say so myself.”

                    “Having Master Raider expel that megonite charge out the top hatch airlock for Mistress Crimson to detonate was certainly an unorthodox maneuver. However did you devise such an unusual offensive with such little planning?”

                    “Well, you said it yourself, Uthre: I’m inspired, intuitive, and impressive —guess you could say the ‘i’s have it!”

                    Crimson laughed, the first real laughter she’d enjoyed in weeks, due largely, she knew, to the relief of surviving the past few days.

                    Raider groaned and tipped back his mug, downing the contents in one long, smooth draught. “You know, Kaj, somehow your sense of humor seems so much better to me after I’ve doused myself in raava. Now, I wonder why that would be?” He winked at the smuggler, then signaled to U-THR for another refill.

                    Warm and giddy from her drink, Crimson slipped one arm around her brother, the other around Kaj. “Well, boys, here we are. We’ve made contact with the Rebel Alliance. I’ve found my long-lost brother. We’ve managed to track down—and escape with—some important cargo. The shields are fixed and we’re traveling safely in circles on automatic. So what happens now?”

                    Raider grinned. “Now, dear sister, we make a delivery that is long overdue.” Lifting the mug to his mouth, Raider took another long swallow. His green eyes sparkled mischievously as they drifted from Crimson to Kaj. “How do you two feel about snow?”


 

 THE END

 

Roleplaying Game Statistics

 

Celia “Crimson” Durasha

Type: Smuggler

DEXTERITY 3D

Blaster 6D, dodge 5D+1, melee combat 5D+2

KNOWLEDGE 2D+2

Alien species 5D, bureaucracy 4D, cultures 5D+1, languages 3D+1, planetary systems 6D+2

MECHANICAL 4D

Astrogation 6D+1, capital ship piloting 4D+2, sensors 5D+1, space transports 6D, starfighter piloting 5D, starship gunnery 5D

PERCEPTION 3D

Bargain 4D, command 5D, gambling 5D, hide 3D+1

STRENGTH 2D+1

TECHNICAL 3D

Computer programming/repair 4D, space transports repair 4D

Force Points: 3

Character Points: 10

Move: 10

Equipment: Heavy blaster pistol (5D)

Capsule: Celia "Crimson" Durasha was the only daughter of Reise Durasha, a commander in the Imperial army. Crimson’s four brothers all served the Empire, a career that Crimson would have entered had it not been for her father’s objections. Determined to make her living among the stars, Crimson became a navigator for Galaxy Tours and served with distinction aboard two of its cruise liners. Then one day her life changed drastically: she learned her twin brother Raine had been killed by Rebels on the planet Ralltiir; and her best friend, Kaileel, was arrested for supplying guns and information to the Alliance. Despite her bitterness toward the Rebels, Crimson tried to help Kaileel escape from Imperial hands. Unfortunately, Kaileel was shot during the escape attempt.

         Crimson avoided arrest by fleeing to the Oasis, a smuggler haven located within the Maelstrom Nebula. With an Imperial price on her head, Crimson needed a refuge, not only from those pursuing her, but also from the conflicting emotions she felt about the Empire—who had just murdered her closest friend and destroyed the world of Alderaan—and the Rebels—who had killed her brother. Scared, confused and bitter, Crimson was unwilling and unable to commit to either side. She chose to ignore making any decision, hoping to blot out her painful memories.

         It was in the Oasis that Crimson stowed away on smuggler Kaj Nedmak's freighter. When he discovered her, she made a deal with him to work off her passage. Kaj took a liking to the young woman and was impressed enough by her abilities to offer her a permanent position as his co-pilot. They have been working together about two years, barely staying ahead of the debt that Kaj’s fondness for sabacc got them in. Her growing fondness for him makes her overlook his crazy schemes for earning credits to keep their ship afloat; more importantly, he’s given her a reason to trust again.

Raider

Type: Rebel undercover operative

DEXTERITY 3D

Blaster 6D+2, dodge 5D+2, melee combat 6D+2

KNOWLEDGE 3D

Alien species 6D, bureaucracy 5D, cultures 5D+2, languages 3D+1, law enforcement 3D+2, planetary systems 6D+2, streetwise 6D+2, survival 5D+1, value 6D

MECHANICAL 3D

Astrogation 5D, repulsorlist operation 4D+1, space transports 4D, starship gunnery 5D

PERCEPTION 3D

Bargain 5D, command 6D, forgery 5D, gambling 4D+2, hide 4D+2, investigation 5D+2, sneak 6D

STRENGTH 3D

Brawling 5D, climbing/jumping, 4D+2, stamina 5D+1

TECHNICAL 3D

Computer programming/repair 5D+1, space transports repair 3D+2

Force Points: 4

Character Points: 10

Move: 10

Equipment: Blaster pistol (4D)

Capsule: Raine Durasha was always known as ‘the quiet one.’ He was the youngest of three brothers and always seemed to follow in their shadows. Raine was the observer, the mediator. Unlike Jak and Bern, he wasn’t competitive, whether at sports or academics. But he was the hardest worker of the three and never failed to do the best job possible, whatever the task.

         Following the Durasha tradition, Raine joined the army at age 18 because his father expected that of all his sons. They were groomed from birth for service to the Empire. He surprised his father by excelling at Raithal Academy, earning the highest honors upon graduation. But his superiors felt he wasn’t suited to lead troops, so Raine became a foot soldier. Stationed on three different worlds—Janara III, H’Atanman, and Ralltiir—over a six-year period, he saw every atrocity possible committed by the Empire.

         All the while, Raine kept his feelings well hidden, even from his twin sister, Celia. The two of them had practically been inseparable while growing up. They shared a bond that only twins might share. Once Raine left home, the twins stayed close by communicating as often as they could. Raine never mentioned his growing disillusionment with the Empire. He’d already been considering desertion when he was transferred to Ralltiir. The Rebel ambush there gave him the opportunity to disappear.

         Raine knew he could not sit by and watch the continued brutalities committed by the Empire. He sought out the Rebel Alliance on Ralltiir. Given the name “Raider” by the Empire, he went undercover and began working for the Rebels as an information broker and procurer of supplies.

 

Kaj Nedmak

Type: Corellian Smuggler

DEXTERITY 2D+2

Blaster 5D, brawling parry 4D+2, dodge 4D+2, running 3D, vehicle blasters 5D

KNOWLEDGE 2D

Alien species 3D+1, business 3D+2, languages: Huttese 6D, streetwise 7D, survival 5D, value 4D

MECHANICAL 3D

Astrogation 5D+2, sensors 5D, space transports 6D, starfighter piloting 6D+1, starship gunnery 6D+1, starship shields 6D

PERCEPTION 2D+2

Bargain 5D, con 6D, gambling 4D, persuasion 5D, sneak 5D+2

STRENGTH 2D+2

Brawling 5D, lifting 5D

TECHNICAL 2D

Blaster repair 4D+1, droid programming 4D, droid repair 4D, space transports repair 6D,

starfighter repair 5D, starship weapon repair 5D

Force Points: 1

Character Points: 10

Move: 10

Equipment: Comlink, heavy blaster pistol (5D) 

Capsule: Kaj Nedmak grew up on Drall, in the Corellian Sector. Orphaned at age 9, he stowed away aboard the freighter of Corellian smuggler Zevel Hortine, who took a liking to the boy and taught him the arts of smuggling and gambling. When he grew too old to continue in his profession, Hortine left Kaj, then 17, his ship and reputation.

          Kaj worked alone as a smuggler for 13 years, running guns and spice for Bwahl the Hutt, Moruth Doole, and others. A need for more work took him to the Oasis, a smuggler's den inside the Maelstrom Nebula, where he made several contacts and ran up a number of gambling debts. There, Kaj met Rass M’Guy, a kingpin in the criminal underworld, with whom he hit it off well.

          After leaving the Oasis, Kaj discovered a surprise in his cargo hold: a beautiful young woman. Obviously in some kind of trouble, she seemed frightened and alone. Taking pity on her, as Zevel had done for him, he let her work off her passage. In time, he and Crimson became friends, then partners, and eventually, lovers.

          A year after Kaj met Crimson, Bwahl hired him to run spice to distributors on Torque. However, in an effort to trap the Rebel base on Yavin IV, the Empire had blockaded the entire Gordian Reach, making travel to Torque impossible. Bwahl had the spice delivered by other means, and Kaj was never paid for his efforts.

          This was the beginning of a bad turn of luck for Kaj and Crimson, and a trip to the Wheel several months later proved disastrous. Hand after hand of sabaac he'd lost, amounting quite a debt he was unable to cover. Luckily, Rass was also at the Wheel, and he loaned Kaj the credits to survive, giving him a month for re-payment.

          When that month ended and Kaj's luck had yet to improve, it was time to try something risky. He accepted another job from Bwahl, running guns to Tammuz-an, but instead gave them to Rass to cover his debt. Rass took them as interest only, giving Kaj two more weeks to pay him the principal. Unfortunately, Kaj missed that deadline as well.

          To make matters worse, Bwahl discovered Kaj’s scheme and sent Thune, a deadly bounty hunter, after him. Crimson rescued him from the hunter, appropriating her ship in the process, but they knew freedom would be short-lived if they didn’t find a way to pay back both crimelords. Therefore, Kaj decided to work for the Rebellion as supply-runners. Reluctantly, Crimson agreed.

          However, as any Imperial knows, finding the Rebellion is not so easy to do.

 

U-THR (“Uthre”)

Type: 3PO Human-Cyborg Relations Droid

DEXTERITY 1D

Dodge 2D

KNOWLEDGE 3D

Alien species 4D, bureaucracy 5D, languages 5D+2, planetary systems 4D+1

MECHANICAL 1D

Repulsorlift operation 2D+2, sensors 2D+1

PERCEPTION 1D

Bargain 3D, persuasion 4D

STRENGTH 1D

TECHNICAL 1D

Computer programming/repair 2D+2, droid programming 4D

Life Preservation Programming: A droid's programming prevents it from injuring a sentient, even in self-defense.

Move: 7

Force Points: 1

Character Points: 4

Capsule: If a droid had emotions, then U-THR's service to his first master, Alderaanian businessman Deckland Carper, could only be described as happy. Uthre always accompanied Carper on business trips offworld, not only serving as a companion on long space voyages, but also as an interpreter and databank, with millions of bits of information about the cultures and species Carper met. It was common on most of those trips for Carper to engage in holo-boardgames with the droid.

When Carper was murdered by the bounty hunter Thune, Uthre became her property. He did not enjoy serving a master who displayed no ethics and killed without any remorse, but as a protocol droid, his primary programming required service without question. However, that did not prohibit the droid from constantly complaining about the unsavory tasks he was forced to do.

          Aboard Thune's freighter, the Faceted, Uthre's responsibilities included monitoring cockpit information and repair work. Thune also added records about other bounty hunters and their quarries to his databank.

          When smugglers Crimson Durasha and Kaj Nedmak escaped her clutches and stranded her on Junction, Uthre chose to enter into their service. Though their methods at times were not wholly ethical either, his new masters treated him like a living being and a friend. For the first time since leaving Carper’s employ, Uthre was happy again.

 

BEHIND THE SCENES

A short interview with Charlene Newcomb & Rich Handley on "The Contact"

 

What year was this conceived/written?

Rich: “Crimson Bounty” was published in 1997, and we were already talking about a sequel soon thereafter. “The Contact” was written in, I believe,1997 and 1998.

As a team, how did you go about writing it? Was it the same way you wrote “Crimson Bounty”?

Rich: Same way, yep. For each story, we discussed ahead of time what it would be about so that we had a general plot in mind. Then we took turns writing. One of us (I no longer recall who started it, but I think it may have been Char) wrote a section, then sent it to the other, who edited the first section and added section two. The first person then edited section two and added section three. And so forth. It went back and forth half a dozen times, and voila.

Char: Probably more than a half dozen. :)  I recall mentioning to Rich that I wanted to bring Crimson’s brother (see spoiler below if you dare!) back into the picture. Even at the time of writing “A Certain Point of View” I knew his ‘fate.’ Rich has captured the writing process--Word Perfect (agh!) files emailed back and forth, adding, editing, revising until we submitted to WEG.

About what issue of the Adventure Journal was this intended for?

Rich: We had hoped for it to appear in issue #15 or 16. I'm not sure what volume it would have been in. The editor, Peter Schweighofer, requested some changes to the story before he would publish it... and then West End Games lost the license, reportedly because WEG's parent company, a shoe importer called Bucci Retail Group, seriously mismanaged things (in fact, many of us among the freelancers were never paid for our work as a result). It was submitted to Star Wars Insider magazine at some point, but the magazine changed editorial hands a few times, and I guess the new editors didn't know about our story. We then just let it sit dormant on our hard drives for years.

Char: Right. The contract didn’t give us a publication date. If I recall, a signed contract didn’t guarantee publication. 

[Ed. Notes; We now know what would have appeared in the unpublished issues #16, and much of #17, it is likely that had West End Games not lost the license, this story would have appeared in the latter issue, or in Star Wars Adventure Journal #18.]

What would have happened in future stories?

Rich: We never got far in working out future stories' plots, but (SPOILER ALERT for anyone who hasn't yet read “The Contact”—I'm about to SPOIL the ending, so proceed no further unless you want to be SPOILED.... OK, you've been warned) we had planned for Crimson, Kaj, Crimson's brother, and Uthre to meet up with the Rebels at Hoth—hence, the “snow” dialogue at the end of “The Contact.” They would then have been part of the action in The Empire Strikes Back. One thing I had in mind for possible sequels was for Kaj Nedmak to be killed at some point. I dislike killing fun characters unnecessarily, and Kaj was fun to write, but it would have served the story in an important way. Crimson Durasha predated Kaj Nedmak in Star Wars lore, as Char had previously written about her in the story “A Certain Point of View” (Adventure Journal #8), and before that she'd appeared in “Crimson Jailbreak” (Adventure Journal #5). Kaj was introduced in “Crimson Bounty” (Adventure Journal #14) before appearing in Ann Crispin's Han Solo Trilogy (which, as the person who created Kaj, I can tell you thrilled me to no end). Therefore, these stories are really Crimson's tale, not Kaj's—he's part of her life, but she's the star. She has long pivoted on whether to hate the Empire or the Rebels, blaming them for her brother's death, but in “The Contact,” she finds out her brother is alive—and works for the Rebellion. My thought was to eventually have the Imperials kill Kaj, pushing Crimson firmly into joining the Alliance. We might also have brought back the bounty hunter Thune, who debuted in “Crimson Bounty” before menacing Lando Calrissian and Lobot in “Lando Calrissian: Idiot's Array.” I've always had a fondness for this character and would have loved to revisit her for a third appearance.

Char: Backing up just a bit - Pete S. didn’t hold me to anything established in “Crimson Jailbreak,” so I was free to shape Crimson’s story in SWAJ #8 with “A Certain Point of View.”  My starting point was the cover of Riders of the Maelstrom: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Riders_of_the_Maelstrom_(WEG). The sourcebook doesn’t identify the female or the aliens on the cover, but I used the luxury cruiser and the maelstrom. Those locations were great fodder so I incorporated them into my story. 

 

PROPOSAL

The Contact

by Charlene Newcomb and Rich Handley

 THE CONTACT is a short story written expressly for the Official Star Wars Adventure Journal. It is a stand-alone sequel to “A Certain Point of View” (SWAJ #8) and “Crimson Bounty” (SWAJ #14) and follows the adventures of smugglers Celia “Crimson” Durasha and Kaj Nedmak.

          Smuggler Kaj Nedmak realizes he’s been set-up when four stormtroopers appear in a darkened alley where he was supposed to make contact with a Rebel agent named Raider. A firefight ensues and Kaj is trapped. Luckily, his partner, Crimson Durasha, shows up—she had just discovered that Raider was arrested by the Imperials. Crimson helps take out the stormtroopers and the smugglers escape.

          Kaj suggests they free the Rebel from a local prison. Crimson has no trust or love for the Rebels—her brother was reportedly killed by them at Ralltiir. Despite her reluctance, Kaj finally convinces her to go along with the plan.   

          The next day, Kaj and Crimson stage a seemingly suicidal escape attempt at the prison disguised as stormtroopers. Freeing all the prisoners at once, they use the chaos to find Raider. Kaj is shot in the shoulder, but the trio escape to a waiting landspeeder.

          However, Crimson is in for a shocking revelation—Raider is actually Raine Durasha, the twin brother she’d assumed was dead for the past two years; he’d actually deserted during the Ralltiir massacre and was pronounced dead. Now an important Rebel agent, he runs guns and supplies. He’d come to Angjon after his cargo hauler missed a rendezvous. Kaj and Crimson offer their ship and their services.

          Raider explains that the first step will be to find out what happened to the cargo his hauler was delivering to a secret Rebel base. They track down the pilot’s address, then scour his apartment for clues as to the whereabouts of the missing cargo. They initially find nothing, then discover, hidden inside a statue of Palpatine, a key cylinder with an address to an old warehouse.

          At the warehouse, they find the cargo but discover the Empire has set a trap. They blast the security cameras and realize they have very little time. Stormtroopers burst in. Raider and Crimson blast them. The smugglers bring the cargo to the Starlight Red, and blast off the planet, pursued by three TIE Fighters.

          With Kaj at the helm, Raider and Crimson take positions in the YT-1300's gun turrets. Raider takes out one TIE but another shoots his gun turret, shocking him and destroying the gun. Recovering, he runs to the cargo bay at Kaj’s request, leaving Crimson to deal with the remaining TIEs. The starfighters flank the Red, destroying both shield generators. Crimson manages to shoot one, but the other pilot is exceptional, evading her shots. As per Kaj’s plan, Raine launches a megonite charge out the top hatch airlock, which Crimson shoots and detonates, taking out the remaining TIE.

          Later, the trio celebrate their victory aboard the Red over a round of drinks. The mood is festive, the future bright, as they set out to deliver the cargo. Their destination—a snowy Rebel base, unspecified...which just might be the planet Hoth.

 

Illustration suggestions

 

 

1.  Kaj in the alley

          Kaj is in an alley dimly lit by light from 2nd story windows. He’s dressed in typical smuggler garb and has a DL-44 drawn. Wedged in the shadows of a doorway, he’s shooting at 2 stormtroopers moving up the alleyway. The stormies are firing at him. Behind them, we can just make out the front end of an XP-38 that is roaring into the alley. The driver isn’t clearly visible though she is wearing a hat. There is a blaster perched atop the windshield. The driver is firing at the stormies, too.

 

2. The shootem-up at the Imperial prison

          Dressed as Imperial stormtroopers, Kaj and Crimson open fire on the security desk at the Imperial garrison. Kaj blasts a trooper standing at a control panel. There’s another trooper there, too, raising his rifle. There’s a desk in the room, too—Crimson has fired on the two stormtroopers and a captain there. (The troopers are standing to each side of the middle-aged captain—he was reaching for his blaster, a look of surprise on his face.)

 

3. A hooded Raider grasps Crimson's arm at the prison

          Crimson is crouching on the floor in a hallway of the prison, her blaster rifled ready. A man, dressed in an oversized dark robe (ala Ben Kenobi), leans over her. His hood covers his head, so we cannot see him. He’s above average in height. He is grasping Crimson’s arm to help her up. Crimson is looking up at the face, but doesn’t show any sign of recognition, just a thoughtful expression.

          In the background we can see the fallen bodies of Imperial stormtroopers, some prisoners, and cells with doors flung open.

 

4. At the warehouse.

          Raider, (dressed in typical smuggler garb—his hair is close-cropped and he’s clean-shaven—a masculine version of Crimson) partially obscured by a skiff, prepares to whip up a BlasTechA280 and fire on 2 stormtroopers who have surprised them. There are crates (one half-opened) lining the wall behind Raider. Kaj is standing on the opposite side of the skiff closer to the troopers. He is raising his hands as if to surrender.

 

5. Space battle

          Crimson is sitting in the gun turret on the YT-1300. A TIE is bearing down on the freighter, but Crimson has just locked onto and fired at a floating object in her sights. There’s a brilliant explosion (she’s forced to shield her eyes with her hands). The TIE flies right into the explosion, unable to veer off in time, and erupts in a secondary explosion.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

 

Charlene Newcomb is a librarian by day currently working in library publishing, which ties nicely to her love of writing. Her short story, "A Glimmer of Hope," which introduced freedom fighter Alex Winger, was published in vol. 1, issue 1 of the Star Wars Adventure Journal. Nine more stories followed from 1994-1998 in various issues of the SWAJ, including 2 with co-authors Patricia Jackson ("Betrayal by Knight") and Rich Handley ("Crimson Bounty"). In 2009, starwars.com published a tenth story: "Shades of Gray: from the Adventures of Alex Winger." Char has also published 4 novels since 2012: Keeping the Family Peace (a contemporary family saga), and a medieval series (Battle Scars I - III): Men of the CrossFor King and Country, and Swords of the King. She is currently working on a sci fi novel, Echoes of the Storm, researching her next medieval tale (a Robin Hood story, featuring characters created in the Battle Scars series), and working on short story tie-ins to that series. Find her online: 

Website: https://charlenenewcomb.com

Facebook: https://facebook.com/CharleneNewcombAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/charnewcomb 

 

Rich Handley was once a freelancer in Lucafilm's stable of fiction and non-fiction writers. He is the author or co-author of Watching Time: The Watchmen Chronology, Timeline of the Planet of the ApesLexicon of the Planet of the Apes,Back in Time: The Back to the Future Chronology, and A Matter of Time: The Back to the Future Lexicon. He has co-edited Titan Books' Planet of the Apes: Tales from the Forbidden Zone, as well as six Sequart essay anthologies about Battlestar GalacticaPlanet of the Apes and Star Wars. Rich has contributed essays to DC Comics' Hellblazer: 30th Anniversary Celebration, IDW's five Star Trek and threeStar Wars comic-strip reprint editions; BOOM! Studios' four-volume Planet of the Apes Archive series; Sequart's New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics and The Cyberpunk Nexus: Exploring the Blade Runner Universe; ATB Publishing's Outside In series focused on Star TrekBuffy the Vampire Slayer, andAngel; and Eaglemoss's Star Trek: The Graphic Novel Collection. In addition, he provided commentary for the War for the Planet of the Apes Blu-ray's behind-the-scenes specials, as well as the Back to the Future documentary Back in Time.

 

Website: http://www.hassleinbooks.com/pages/index.php

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rich.handley.3?fref=ufi

Note: Any unpublished or out-of-print Star Wars story will be taken down if/when officially released/reprinted

Supernatural Encounters

Cult Encounters

 

Droids and Ewoks Animated Series

Bonus: Holiday Special Cartoon

Rookies: Rendezvous

Rookies: No Turning Back

 

The unpublished Adventure Journal #16

The unpublished Adventure Journal #17

The unpublished Adventure Journal #18

Online articles from 2004–2012 removed from the official website's Hyperspace fan club

The Contact

Fate of the Jedi: Imprint

A Hunter's Fate: Greedo's Tale

 

  

Clone Wars Webcomics Seasons 1-3

Evasive Action:

Reversal of Fortune

 

Evasive Action: Recruitment

 

Evasive Action: Prey

 

Evasive Action: End Game

 

Translated Spanish Droids & Ewoks Comic-Books

(For the history of this series, go here)

 

 

Translated Plaza Joven Droids & Ewoks Storybook PDF

(For the history of this series, go here)

 

  

Hungarian Han Solo Books (PDFs)

 

Sourcebooks, supplements & RPG Adventures

 

The "lost" Heart of the Jedi Novel

 

The unpublished Adventures in Hyperspace #3

 

Lost Prelude to Rebellion webcomic

 

 
More to come!