The Photonovel Alliance
ALLIANCE INTELLIGENCEChapter 14BOUNTY





A lot has changed for Rebel Col. Airen Cracken in the past few years:


    



His close friend Hank Landow’s younger brother Jaig has left the team to train under former Jedi Master Qwarr…





Imperial ace Hans Kott, finally realizing the moral decay of Palpatine’s regime, has deserted, following his brother Sila into the Rebel Alliance…





And Cracken himself has developed a new rivalry with Bane Malar, an infamous bounty hunter now in the employ of the Empire; tasked with hunting down the galaxy’s most wanted man: Airen Cracken.





Now, a mere month after suffering serious injury in a botched prison break on the frozen moon of Annesland, the detirmined rebel agent is back in the field, now on the scorching desert planet of Tatooine.





Sila Kott, however, has stayed behind on the Rebel flagship Alderaan Dawn, attempting to help his brother Hans adjust to life outside of the Imperial Navy.





“Hans, didn’t you hear the bell? It’s time for dinner”.

——“Yeah, I heard it,” Hans moodily replies. “I just wanted to finish fixing this hyperdrive”.






The two brothers exit the workroom, heading down the ship’s corriders, to the mess hall.

—“So have you made up your mind about joining the rebel navy?” Sila asks.






“Yes,” Hans mumbles as the duo enters one of the shuttle’s great hangers.





“And……” Sila prods, trying to get a straight answer out of his disillusioned brother.





“I can’t do it,” Hans finally answers.

——“What! Why?”

“Sila, the Palpatine is the lawfully appointed ruler of the law-abiding galaxies. That makes your….Rebel Alliance a blatant terrorist organization. I can’t allow myself to be a part of that!”






“But Hans, you saw for yourself the evil that has corrupted the Empire! You can’t jusify that! We’re not terrorists, we’re liberators, freeing the people from the harsh grip of tyranny!”

——“And how many of the people you say you represent have to die to achieve your goals? The Empire is too powerful, Sila! You’ll never win. And me, I’ve had enough of war and death. I’ll stay with you ‘til I get a chance to return to Fangorn. That’s all.”

“As you wish, brother,” Sila sighs and resignation.






However, the two pilots spirits are soon lifted by the apearence of former Naboo Senator Nat Reed. After being rescued from an Imperial assasionation on Sila’s first mission, she and the young rebel have become close.





“Sila, Hans! You’re 30 minutes late for supper. You’d better get moving before Jek and Piggy eat all the food.”

——“We’re on our way!” Sila smiles. “Hans is just slow, is all.”

—“You scruffy little lier!” Hans humorously snaps. “I could beat you with my legs tied!”






“Well, both of you boys need to hurry up, or I’ll be eating with Gold Squadron,” Nat laughs before turning back towards the mess hall. As the brothers begin to follow, Sila pulls Hans aside.

——“Don’t even think about it brother,” he scolds Hans, only half-jokingly. “This is one girl you aren’t stealing from me!”






Far away, from the Alderaan Dawn, Col. Airen Cracken meets his closest friends, Hank Landow and the Alleen, Havi, on Tatooine.





“I’ve made contact with the informant,” Hank instructs Cracken. “We’re to meet him two blocks from here. Doc assures me he can translate,” he adds, motioning to Gen. Naht’s reprogrammed pit droid. “Time in 15 minutes”.





Fifteen minutes later, the group of rebels meet their informant, a Nemoidean accountant in the employ of Jabba the Hutt. Doc begins to translate:

—“The mighty Jabba, ruler of the Dune Sea, most great Lord of the Galactic Underworld, most wonder…”






“Tell him to skip the formalities, Doc,” Cracken interrupts. “We don’t have time for this”.

——“Nunca waz oolac ty,” Doc informs the Nemoidean.






Seeming only minorly insulted, he resumes speaking, while Doc continues to translate:

——“The mighty Jabba has considered your master’s treaty very carefully, low one.”

“Seriously?” Hank interrupts again.

——“Quiet!” Doc continues: “And in all his benevolence, he has decided to accept, in exchange for a few small tasks…”






Suddenly, the Nemoidean is silenced by a blaster bolt from the street!





Racing outside, Hank catches sight of a Trandoshan assasion fleeing the scene.





Giving chase, Hank gains ground as the killer trips over a pedestrian.





But promptly regains his footing to open fire on the prusuing rebel.





Keeping momentum, Hank takes the Trandoshan to the ground with a flying tackle…





But has neglected to notice that his assailent has backup.





Grabbing Hank from behind, the second mercenary lifts the furious rebel into the air…





But is himself caught off guard by a swift punch to the jaw!





Still, the Trandoshan has regained his composure…





and takes Hank to the ground! He raises his knife to finish the stunned rebel….





Only to be stopped just in time by a well-aimed shot from Cracken.





“Who do you think tipped them off,” Craken asks, helping his friend to his feet.

——“I don’t know, but that second thug got away. And this is one heck of a place to be the galaxy’s most wanted man…”






Elsewhere in the city, a hooded stranger sits in a dimly lit bar filled with bounty hunters.





News has broken that Airen Cracken is in town…





And the galaxies greatest hunter has just announced the Empire’s largest bounty ever……

[quote=“Choi”]Alliance Intelligence: Chapter 14: Part 2

—When we last left Col. Airen Cracken and his team of rebel commandos, they was on the desert world of Tatooine. After their informant was murdered, their presence was revealed to Bane Malar, who has now doubled the bounty on Cracken’s head, sending the entire violent population of the seedy spaceport into the streets to hunt down Cracken.






-Walking through the streets of the spaceport, Cracken and Hank hurry to return to the rendezvous point, where they will reunite with Havi and the droids.





-Only to be ambushed once again by a gun-toting local!





-Surprised, Cracken stumbles to the ground….





-And is dragged to his feet by two more assailents.





-These two alien thugs, however, are only local business men, in search of a quick buck. Cracken easily bests one…





-Only to watch as the other stumbles into the path of an oncoming speeder full of trained mercenaries.





-Back at the rendezvous point, Havi waits patiently with the teams droids, astromech Artoo and Pit Droid-turned translator Doc. Suddenly, Artoo sounds an alarm! His sensors have picked up an incoming threat!





-But it is too late! A trio of hunters has surrounded the rebels and they are taken prisoner!





-Unaware of what has befallen his companions, Cracken battles on through the streets…





-Through seemingly never-ending waves of assassins.





-He scrambles to dodge the weapon of another attacker…





-A threat that is promptly eliminated by Hank’s blaster.





-Given a brief respite, the two rebels stop to make a plan when they overhear a communication from the dead hunter’s comlink:

——“Team 5, reporting capture of rebel and two droids. Moving to rendezvous at the Dactilion.”

-“The scum have Havi,” Hank snarls.

——“Then let’s run them off at the pass,” Cracken allows himself a brief smirk before the duo run off to rescue their friends.






-Outside The Dactillion, a seedy bar popular with outlaws and Bane Malar’s present base of operations, the bounty hunter Zukuss and his allies find their way blocked by a gang of Jabba the Hutt’s henchmen.

———“How about a deal?” the leading Klaatu growls. “You give us the rebels. We let you live”. Zukuss reaches for his weapon….






-Just as Hank and Cracken leap into the fray, opening fire. A massive blaster fight breaks out in the street!





-Within minutes, several hunters are dead. The rebels flee the scene, as more of Jabba’s gang close in on them.





-Ducking into a alley gives Havi, Cracken, Hank, and the droids a short rest.

———“Whatever happened, Jabba obviously thinks we’re worth more as bounties than allies,” Hank assets.

-“I’d say that’s a safe guess,” Havi quips. “Let’s get back to the ship, like, right now.”

———“For once I agree with you, little buddy,” Hank replies.






-Back outside the Dactillion, Zukuss kneels over the heavily damaged form of his droid companion 4-LOM.





-He is approached by Bane Malar.

———“You worked well as a team,” the masked mercenary observes. “And you still can. I’ll fix your droid, make him better than ever.”

-“Blllzquxic unadawik?” Zukuss replies (*And what’s the catch?*)

———“I’m assembling a team. A hit squad of the best hunters in the business. Very good pay. Would you be interested in such an opportunity?”






-Meanwhile, in the desert surrounding the spaceport, Jabba’s men have found the rebel spacecraft.





-Two thugs approach first, scanning for signs of life. Too late, they hear footsteps…





-And are set upon by a raging Wookiee!





-The remaining troops have no time to react, as they too are attacked from behind by the cloaked man from the village who, with a flick of his hand, sends them flying backwards!





-A dropped pistol flies to the stranger’s hand, and the third thug falls with a blaster shot to the knee.





-But, as Saigorr, having dispatched his own opponents, races to the sound of fighting…





-He finds his mysterious guardian has vanished, never to know that he has received aid from the old hermit, Ben Kenobi.





-As Saigorr ponders this, Cracken is leading the rest of the rebels through the desert sands. Their shuttle is in sight, but they are not out of danger yet!





-Suddenly, a speeder roars over the hill, carrying Bane Malar, Zukuss, and a squad of Stormtroopers.





-“Get to the shuttle!” Cracken yells. He and Hank open fire, covering their companions as they flee to safety!





-Concentrating on the two rebels returning fire, the Stormtroopers fail to see a knife flying through the air towards them until it strikes one dead…





-While his partner fails to see the Wookiee that threw said knife until it is too late.









-Back in the valley, Bane Malar has found Col. Cracken, who shoots first…





-But barely fazes the masked bounty hunter. Seeming to slip, Malar slides down the dune and grabs his opponent’s arm…





-Before landing a devastating blow on Cracken’s face!





-“Today is the day you die, rebel scum,” Malar speaks, his voice sounding eerily calm as it is filtered through his helmet. “You never even stood a chance.” He prepares to land a final blow…





-But is pulled into the air by Saigorr, roaring a ear-splitting Wookiee battle cry!





-Even this fails to faze Bane Malar, who promptly shoots his assailant in the knee.





-Dropped to the ground, he scrambles to turn and finish the rebels…





-Only to be shot twice in the back by Cracken!





-The battle over, Saigorr and the Colonel help each other to the shuttle.

———“Havi, start the engines,” Cracken orders. “We’re getting off this worthless sand-trap now!”






-Within minutes, the rebel shuttle lifts off, taking to hyperspace on its way home. Meanwhile, night falls on the Tatooine sands, and upon the unconscious form of Zukuss. Suddenly, he is awakened by a bright blue light shining in his face.





-He is shocked to see, standing before him, Bane Malar, alive and well!

——“Blzzztkkkkawanchow?” (*I saw you shot! How are you?*)

-“Blast proof vest. A worthy investment, it turns out, when dealing with cowards such as these,” the calm, toneless voice coming from Malar’s dark helmet seems to echo across the silent desert plain. “Now get up. We have work to do.”






——Elsewhere in the galaxy, three forms tread carefully through the desolate remains of an ancient, wrecked starship.





-“I don’t understand,” Imperial Detective James Marquand at last speaks to his partner, Rick Watts. “The ship’s register clearly states that this is the correct bay.”





-“Is he sure he knows what he’s doing?” the supervising Stromtrooper asks Watts.

——“Trust me,” the detective assures. “If anyone can get Inquisitor Dreyfus his bugs, we can.”






-“It seems like someone’s been here already. But that doesn’t make any sense…” Marquand muses

———“Well, anyway, it’s time to go,” the trooper looks up from his comlink. “You’ve been reassigned”. Regretfully, Marquand turns to leave.






-As the three Imperials head back to their shuttle, one lone figure remains hidden in the dark.





-The figure of a terrified Niles Kott, who cannot yet begin to imagine what his actions in the service of Inquisitor Tarsus are soon to cause…



ALLIANCE INTELLIGENCE
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TURNING POINTS
 
Chapter 14Chapter 15
ALPHAS
 
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Brought to you by Choi


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