It was around the time that the second blaster shot had hit me in the back that I realized that I should really start thinking several more steps ahead during these altercations. I had never been the type of person to stand in the line of fire and there I was again; unarmed, hands-bound, running away from thugs, directly in the line of fire. Hell, it had hardly been 24 hours since our little run ins with the imperial forces and the strangely able guard droids in Mos Shuuta.
But, I have got to hand it to my comrades, they know how to defend themselves. Especially Zachary, he's one tough bastard. I should remember thanking him for waiting to blow up the cave till I got out and the others for not hitting me during the fire fight. However, I guess this is how it's going to be from now on, and until I find some people to do the fighting for me, I should look into getting my hands on a blaster.
After Zacheri untied me, we patched Ana up as well as we could only to be interrupted by a terrible shrieking noise coming from inside the cave. Nahosa didn't seem phased at all as he calmly continued his beauty sleep (I guess he must have hit his head a bit harder than we thought). While Lainaki assured me that she had come across a Hutt making a very similar noise (and Zacheri expressing his disbelieve behind her back by mimicking what that would look like) , we noticed a speeder in the distance. It appeared to come from the other flank of the bluf and Lainai suggested that we'd go take a look. But because neither I or any of the others was inclined to join her on this trip, she let it go.
In the meanwhile, Anna had been patching up the speeder. I'm 80% sure that she literally did it with one eye shut, whether it was because she was showing off or because she was starting to show early signs of a sun stroke. B'ura B'an decided to keep a close eye on her. As soon as Anna got the speeder running again, Zachery crashed on the backseat beside his employer. I guess the heat must have gotten to him as well. The rest of the trip was rather uneventful besides some weird incident of "who's hand is this?" between our two sleeping beauties and B'ura B'an. Oh, and Anna found some incredibly stylish sunglasses in the glove compartment to compliment her look.
A little while later we arrived at New Meen. B'ura b'an had already told us that his people (well, our people… my people) had been living under duress for the past few months, ever since a new landowner had started buying up all surrounding land. But still, I was quite shocked when I saw the conditions my brothers and sisters lived in. The mining 'town' of New Mean turned out to be not much more than a small collection of tents and improvised shelters; and the few stone constructions were in such a sorry state that they only amplified the rag tag feel of the encampment. Upon our arrival we were greeted by around twenty of my kinsman, what later turned out to be almost entire population of the town. The crowd immediately rejoiced at the return of their leader, but it couldn't hide the overall gloomy atmosphere. After noticing the worried look on B'ura B'ans' face, me and Lainaki decided to join them to discuss the situation. In the meanwhile Ana and Zachary discussed if they could possibly combine the blaster scraps of the blown up thugs from earlier into a functioning weapon.
After a quick conversation with B'ura B'an and the spokesman of the town, the situation turned out to be pretty grim. Ang Drombb, a human businessman, who had bought up all surrounding lands had now set his eyes on New Mean. And after B'ura B'an had repeatedly refused his low ball offers, Ang Dromb had turned to intimidation tactics. Thugs would regularly come to the village to destroy equipment and threaten my fellow Twi'leks with violence. Upon hearing this my stomach turned and my blood began to boil. No one oppresses or threatens my people, and especially not some second class thug in a fancy suit. (who as far as we could suspect is in bed with Teemo, why else would Trex have captured B'ura B'an?)
Lainaki and I consorted with our comrades and after a quick discussion where I pointed out to Ik that the our potential business agreement with New Mean wouldn't entail much if my people couldn't mine in peace, the others agreed to help. Anna didn't seem fully comfortable with the idea of staying there for a while (I hoped it was the sand and sun and not my kind that was bothering her), but even she realized that leaving our 'suppliers' hanging would be bad for business, and that no moneys meant no new toys for her.
The idea of an immediate direct military confrontation with Ang Dromb was put aside in favor of a ploy to get more intelligence about his operation. (B'ura B'an had told my in private that he at all cost wanted to avoid direct involvement of Free Ryloth). Lainaki, Ana and Zachary would travel to Ang Drombs base of operations (which only laid a few milest to the south) in the morning to get a sense of what we were dealing with. Na'hosa and I would stay in New Meen to see what we could do to help out here. As night fell over New Mean, the town held a little celebration for the return of their leader. And for a few hours everyone seemed to forget their dire situation; seeing smiles on the faces of my brothers and sisters reminded my of the resilience of my people. I ended the night bonding with B'ura B'an (who seemed tired after years of struggling for Twi'lek independence) and 'convinced' him again of the fact that it's better to die fighting as a free Twi'lek than to live a life of oppression.
Being among my people again and looking out over the seemingly endless desert had brought back many memories, making it almost impossible to catch some sleep. So I decided I might as well keep watch; catching some thugs in the act could benefit Lainaki in her negotiations in the morning. It was about 2 hours after the others had gone to sleep that I started to hear a rumbling in the distance and after a few moments I spotted what appeared to be a giant crane heading straight for the village.
I sounded the alarm and while me and B'ura B'an tried to get as many people to safety, Lainaki and Zachary devoted their attention to stopping the monstrosity. Zachary fired a couple of warning shots, but the heavily intoxicated driver and crew, who appeared to having the time of their life (bottles in hand), could not care less. Lainaki managed to throw her grappling hook on the vehicle as it passed her , but collision was only moments away. It was at that point that Zachary saved the day (… well night, well, the village) by grabbing a hold of the 'passenger ladder', climbing up, knocking out the driver, and slamming the breaks. The crane only lightly grazed the rag tag warehouse.
The intoxicated crew members did not stand a chance against the wrath of limp. He knocked them out cold and dragged the supposed leader back to his tent. Damn, I knew the guy had a temper, but after seeing him in that state put his everyday behavior in a whole new perspective. However, he did have every right to be furious. These thugs most likely belonged to Ang Drombb's outfit and I didn't think they would have been polite enough to let us leave our tents before running us over like cattle. I asked Geoff (one of the toughest looking bystanders) to tie up the party goers and to make sure they would not wake up comfortably. He and some friends were very happy to oblige and it was at that point that I picked up on the situation that was slowly developing. [Editor note: Twi'leks can communicate emotions/feelings/thoughts via Leku]
Some of my kinsman were wondering why we would grant them the mercy they would not grant us, and I could not hide the fact that I agreed, pretty strongly even. On top of that I saw a unique opportunity to turn a tired, hopeless, beaten down tribe into a bloodthirsty vengeful crowd. They would not need our help, they could help themselves and storm the encampment of their oppressor by night.
Geoff must picked up that I agreed with him and suddenly started shouting: DEATH TO THE HUMANS as he ran off towards the mine entrance. Without me noticing the bystanders had picked up rocks and knifes, while starting to slowly surround not only the prisoners but also Lainaki and Anna. (Limp was asleep in his tent) Anna pulled her two blasters and started shouting how she would take at least seven of them down with her. (you've got love the fire that girl has). I have to admit that I contemplated giving the prisoners to the crowd while trying to convince them that my comrades were not the bad guys. But when Geoff returned with a gigantic powered on drill while alternating between DEATH TO THE HUMANS and DRILL THE HUMANS. I realized that fueling the blood lust would put my friends in a very dangerous position. I signaled B'ura B'an that I needed his help and he was able to defuse the situation. Anna was only inclined to put her guns away when we told her that she could have the crane. (she ran off immediately).
The rest of the night passed relatively peacefully and in the morning I heard from Zachary that Anna wouldn't be joining them on their trip because she was still passed out. (this later turned out to be because Lainaki had stuffed the 4 unconscious thugs on top of Anna in the crane cockpit, preventing her from catching some sleep). I spent my morning helping out around the mine, which gave me the opportunity to talk to every able bodied Twi'lek in order to convince him or her to take up arms if negotiations would fail. At the very least I was able to convince Geoff.
Zachary and Lainaki returned around midday. As Anna joined us for lunch, they told us what they had learned. Lainaki had met with Ang Drombb who turned out to be nothing more than a thug in a fancy suit, and a particularly foul mouthed one at that. A peaceful solution didn't seem likely anymore. Luckily they did get away with a good notion of the camp layout, firepower and numbers. On top of that Zachary might have tricked some of Ang Drombb's thugs into a trap by telling a story of how he once dealt with reluctant land owners.
As we considered our options around the dinner table, an idea began to form which included the crane, explosives, and taking out the booze supply of Ang Drombb's operation….