Quinn Corvin

Light-hearted, aloof and utterly alone in the universe.

Description:

Description

STR 12 (1)
DEX 16 (
3)
CON 10 (0)
INT 17 (
3)
WIS 15 (2)
CHA 19 (
4)

Levels

Noble: 3
Scoundrel: 2

SPECIES ABILITIES:
Human: Extra trained skill at 1st lvl, extra feat at 1st lvl.
Automatic Languages: Basic
Additional Languages: Shriiwook, Huttese, Durese, Rodise, Sullustese, Ryl, Boccee, Binary
MAX HP: 41

ATTACKS

BAB: +3
MELEE: +4
RANGED: +7

DEFENSE
FORT: 16 = 10 + 5(level)0(class)0(CON)1(misc)
REF: 23 = 10 + 5(level)3(class)3(DEX)
2(misc)
WILL: 19 = 10 + 5(level)1(class)2(WIS)+1(misc)

ARMOR:
None

WEAPONS:
Hvy Blaster Pistol w/scope. ATTK: +7 DMG: 3d8/2d8 CRIT: X2 TYPE: Pistol

SKILLS

ACROBATICS: 9=2(LVL)+5(TRAINED)2(STR)
DECEPTION: 11=2(LVL)5(TRAINED)4(CHA)
GATHER INFORMATION: 11=2(LVL)5(TRAINED)4(CHA)
INITIATIVE: 10=2(LVL)5(TRAINED)3(DEX)
KNOWLEDGE* (GALACTIC LORE):10=2(LVL)5(TRAINED)3(INT)
KNOWLEDGE* (STARSHIPS): 10=2(LVL)5(TRAINED)3(INT)
KNOWLEDGE* (TACTICS): 10=2(LVL)5(TRAINED)3(INT)
PERCEPTION: 9=2(LVL)5(TRAINED)2(WIS)
PERSUASION: 11=2(LVL)5(TRAINED)4(CHA)
PILOT: 10=2(LVL)5(TRAINED)3(DEX)
STEALTH: 10=2(LVL)5(TRAINED)3(DEX)
USE COMPUTER: 10=2(LVL)5(TRAINED)3(INT)

TALENTS:
*Educated: Thanks to his well-rounded education, Quinn may make any knowledge check untrained.
Connections: Quinn is able to obtain licensed, restricted, military or illegal equipment without having to pay licensing fees or enduring background checks, provided the total cost of the desired equipment is equal to or less than his character lvl X1,000 credits. In addition, when obtaining services or equipment through the black market, Quinn reduces the black market cost multiplier by 1. See Restricted Items (page 118) for details.
Disruptive: By spending two swift actions, Quinn is able to use his knack for causing trouble and instigating chaos to disrupt his enemies. Until the start of his next turn, Quinn suppresses all moral and insight bonuses applied to enemies within his line of sight.

FEATS:
WEAPONS PROFICIENCIES: Pistol, Rifles, Simple.
LINGUIST: Quinn gains INT+1 languages in addition to his normal starting languages.
DODGE: Once per round, Quinn may designate an enemy with which he gains a +1 to reflex defense. Any action that would negate Quinn’s dexterity bonus also negates this bonus.
IMPROVED DEFENSES: Quinn is skilled in fending off attack in many forms. Quinn gains a +1 bonus to Reflex, Fortitude and Will defense.
QUICK DRAW: Quinn may draw or holster a weapon as a swift action instead of a move action.
SKILL TRAINING: Quinn is considered trained in a new skill.
POINT BLANK SHOT Quinn gains a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls with ranged weapons within point blank range
PRECISE SHOT: Quinn can shoot or throw a ranged weapon at an opponent engaged in melee combat with one or more of his allies without taking the standard -5 penalty.

EQUIPMENT:
Datapad, Holster:Both hip and chest, Long range video comlink (video comlink woven into glove, paid for as an option), ‘Smugglers’ satchel (spacers chest as a knapsack; paid for as an option) Utility belt (pg. 140) standard, Low Light Scope, ‘spacers’ clothing (Trenchcoat and short jacket, several shirts/telac pants, gloves, scarf), hipflask, sense of superiority, self loathing and dispair.

Bio:

The windswept forest groaned all around us as gusts from the north pummeled the soft needle furs. There was something etheral about coming out of a spacecraft into a living environment, be it forest or jungle or plain. One could almost feel the life pulsating all around after escaping the cold void and coming back into a world of touch and smell. Dead durasteel and humming cables grew silent next to that which had grown from the womb of the universe itself; the churning maw of existence blanketing the nothingness that was hyperspace, and the annihilation of the carbon based life we never seemed to give enough credit to.

The outpost had been built during the Clone War. When Jedi had flown off to battle at with armies of a billion souls, and the galaxy burned on the pyre of war, this world had been a beacon in the dark; a place where wounded soldiers could bring their battered ships and broken spirits for healing.

Some had been lucky. They arrived and they got the care they needed. Many had had not been so lucky and died in transit. Heavy damage to a corrupted droid brain, and the carnage of battle showing hard on the once gleaming hulls, the twisted metal plunged into the soft ground and broke the world where it fell.

So the army dug. They dug deep into the bedrock and built a city underground. Hangers and hospitals all hidden from the horror of war bellow the protective shell of living rock.

When I was a boy, I had heard about places like this. My father had been an army medic. He had lived through things I had never dreamed about, and he had come home with his share of the spoils, and what he hoped would be a lasting peace.

Palpatine, Vader, even the Empire itself; it was just another name for the same machine. Didn’t matter where folks went, there were others who were more interested in running things than making then run, just like there were those more interested in burning than building. Build something, he would tell me always. Build something, and even if someday it gets destroyed, it will have been there for a time; that’s all a man could ask.

The blast doors screamed as they slid themselves open, throwing back my long black hair. The scarf around my beck ruffled in the metallic breeze, and my short jacket moved just enough to show the hilt of a weapon.

Before us, the trandoshan smiled and fingered a weapon of his own slung low across his battle worn tac suit, but a silent nod let us through.

Staci went first, she always went first and I was never going to stop her. She was pretty, it was true, even by human standards. She wore knee high boots and telac trousers with the empty cargo pockets shrunk for the meeting. Her thin frame seemed to billow under her half jacket, and she pulled her long blond hair into a single tail of sweet smelling grace that swayed with her hips. Even the non humans gaped at her. She was just, well; pretty.

I glanced at my chrono and frowned, scratching the three-day stubble on my thin beard.
Close, very close.

‘Morgan?’ She says to no one in particular.

The room was cavernous. At one point, this would have been filled with munitions and supplies ready to stock ships recently patched so they could be slung back into the fire. Now, it was mostly empty, the haunted hauls imprisoning the countless millions who died in the cold ground. In this particular hangar, many thousands of sentients huddled together like gnell against the Sarian winds. Refugees mostly; aliens from all walks of life shaking like frightened children in a tent city that begrudged no one. The lights were dim, with 76-hour days there must have had a day/night cycle running, and the bright sun blasted the sleepy crowed awake. I saw my father looking into the explosion I was not there to see, his ashen face lit by nuclear fire.

‘MORGAN.’ She says, snapping me out of memory. It’s no longer a question.

‘So sorry, my dear so sorry.’ A tall, aging human in an Imperial officers uniform steps forwards from one of the larger tents. ‘I never dreamed such a beauty as yourself would be, well… doing what you do.’ The worn lines of sleep loss stained his otherwise handsome features, and frost covered hair told a story of a hard life. I stepped in, glancing at my chrono once more.

Close.

‘Yeah yeah, we get it she’s pretty and you’re old, what is it you want exactly? I hate planet side and would like to get this done-zo, you know?’

Staci rolls her eyes and plays the part well. To be honest, it isn’t much a stretch for us. I am impatient and loud, she’s tolerant but bossy. It works.

‘You’ll have to excuse my partner, he thinks owning a ship excuses him from any kind of grace or tact.’

I feign disgust. ‘What. They are desperate; you need transports right? It’s us or it’s another three months here because I’ll be honest, this place is a wee bit off the beaten.’

That was true. It had taken me almost a month to find charts for this place and even then it was a guess at best. Evidently the beacon of hope for the army was a dungheap for a galaxy at peace; nothing around but cold, dark vacuum and the occasional asteroid collision. But then, that’s why we were here.

‘You have nothing to apologize for, my dear; we have all of us been young once. Youths great tragedy is not that we grow out of it, but rather that we are forced to see it in others daily. I think I should like to live alone once this whole ghastly affair is concluded.’ He turned to me in typical Imperial fashion, his dusty uniform gleaming like a greasy bar top. ‘As for you, son you are quite right; transport is what we need, and in great supply.’

I smiled back as politely as I knew how. ‘Fair enough. I have six dreadnaughts at my disposal, and before you get queasy you should know they are all CroCorp retrofitted and the shafting seals are all original; it will be a comfy ride for any and all.’ I glanced over his shoulder at the seething sea of colorful bodies. ‘Especially for the damned.’

The old captain gave me a look that made something slither in my gut. His nearly crystal eyes were looking in the back of my mind, trying to spot the bluff. It was there somewhere; I didn’t nor would I ever own a dreadnaught fleet, but that’s because I’m not a complete moron. I just had to keep the lie hidden someplace for just a moment. Lucky for me, Stace was, as always, there.

‘I don’t know about comfortable, but we’ll get you there.’ She smiled that sweet smile of hers, and nodded to the older man. ‘Trust me.’

His stone gaze softened, and he extended his hand into mine. ‘Captain Morgan Kress, formerly of the Imperial Naval Command, and your very humble servant.’ We exchanged pleasantries, and then Stace managed to get the Imp to take us up to the control tower.

‘If were going to pilot a fleet through here, then I want to know exactly what were dealing with as far as supernovas and deep sinks in the area; if we get followed, we might need another way out.’ Morgan nodded his approval and walked us a short distance to the wall of the great stone grave; a thousand eyes watching our every move with hope and shame all at once.

She stopped just short of the locked door, cinnamon colored metal flaking off it’s aging hinges. ‘I don’t like to walk into a building with only one exit; the same applies to star systems.’

I chimed in just to hear myself talk ‘Also, we don’t like to walk into poor peoples buildings and… well you can guess the rest.’

The captain regarded me with mild discontent, and rapped his hand on the hard steel. The door swung open and we ascended a metal stair.

‘You know, I couldn’t agree with you more my dear; tell me you must have gone to the academy at some point? I won’t believe that the universe would create such a perfect vision as yourself, and grant her this world wary sensibility as well; sounds like Imperial paranoia to me.’

We topped the stair and found ourselves in a small control room. Most of the terminals were ripped out or moved, but a few still remained as several 6E-11 data droids manned them silently. On the far wall, a transperisteel window overlooked the enormous bellow ground hanger we were just in.

‘Paranoia huh?’ Staci pretended to be insulted. ‘And from a guy wearing the black and grey himself? Am I that easy to read?’

The old man smiled, but his eyes glazed over with a mist of sorrow and longing that I didn’t need to call any skill to read. I shooed the sixies out of the way and syncd my datapad with the old memory banks, trying to look like I was busier than I really was.

Morgan turned away and walked to the window. Outside, the artificial sun was beginning to shine in the cycle, and sentients from all walks of life rose to start their menial day. Miltio armed zelians and sharp eyed bothans left with rifles and sleds, presumably to hunt in the forest. The quarrens and the calamarie avoided each other, and the zeltrons comforted the sick. Durro’s tinkered, and a dug drank deep from a Ruvian Decanter filled with some kind of fire. They all went about their day bellow him, but not one of them was human.

‘Forty years I have been in the Army. Forty long years, from Republic to Clone War to Empire and now… Rebellion. Forty years I was silently slipped through the black pale to bring death to all manner of life. Some we killed for treason, some for their systems and others for lawlessness. I once sentenced an entire village to death in the pits at Hadrian VI for their actions against Black Point outpost; you remember that?’

‘Oh yeah, good stuff.’ I tried to sound busy as the little AI squirmed it’s way through lines of decades old code as I prayed Reeve was as good a slicer as he said he was. If this program failed, the two of us would be having words; assuming we actually made it out of here alive. On my glove, the screen clicked on and H3-R1 peered at me from the ship, his frozen metal face somehow conveying my worst fears.

Close.

‘I do.’ Said Staci, but it didn’t sound like her. I had to stop and look, but there was something on her face, a soft glow in here eyes that betrayed a weakness. I didn’t like it.

Morgan turned and stepped slowly towards her. ‘I am not a good man, my dear, but I have given my life to the betterment of our society through combat, through death. I have followed just about every single reason to kill and to maim, and I have done it for the words I spoke, and the promises I have made, more than once to more than one master; but promises all the same. Then this.’ He turned and gestured with his hands at the window, his ashen face became hot and red, twisted with shame as black hate seemed to well up form his heart and bleed into his eyes.

‘This, atrocity. As I have said; I kill for most any reason, but for birth? For race? For species? Forty years, and my marriage and my oldest son I gave to service, and I will not let an old man in a chair dictate to me who should die for actions they are not responsible.’

He placed his hands on Staci, and that same slither in my gut game back. The datapad beeped triumphantly, but none of us moved.

‘You wear so many badges in your life that at some point you have to stop and find out who you are behind it. I will not let these sentients die because their cells are arranged differently than mine. This one,’ he made a small gesture at me, ‘I wouldn’t trust to polish my boots, no offense my young friend.’

I made a kind of half smile and looked away.

‘But you; you are going to help us. Thank you.’

I unplugged the pad, and tried to keep myself calm. In a few moments, things would start to happen, and I had to be ready. ‘Hey stace, this data looks-’ but I couldn’t finish.

She turned to me, this women I had known and loved for almost 7 years, and in her eyes I saw something I never thought she could give. It wasn’t sadness, or sorrow or even pain. It was shame. She was ashamed of herself, of me and of us; and she wore it like a mask of shadow.

Morgan broke the spell. ‘Right then, apologies for an old man’s lament. I’m sure you don’t need me telling you about darker days; they approach us even now. I will leave you to it, take what you need from the starcharts, although they would be at least two decades old. When you are done, come across the way to the old medabay; there we can discuss a price over some fine Zetronian whisky I procured from the Moff’s private stash oh some many months ago.’ Giving a curt bow, he left the room with the grace and ease that comes with a lifetime of soldiering.

Staci didn’t move.

‘So I got the charts, sweetheart and you are going to love this! Good show by the way. I think he bought it, now I say we head back to the ship and just get out while-’ she slapped me. Honestly, I half expected it, I just wanted to act like nothing was wrong in the hope that I was. Oh well.

‘I can’t do it.’ She said, holding back tears. ‘I can’t, I won’t take from this man, these sentients. I wont!’ Thick, wet sobs spilled from her throat like a burst dam, and for the first time in our admittedly complicated relationship I watched Staci Garrott cry. It was amazing, both fascinating and sad at once, like a spectacle at a traders booth that just grabs you and locks your gaze.

Blaster to my head, that’s when I first knew I had lost something that I would probably never get back. I would tell my self for years after that I had no idea, that I never saw it coming, but when I look back; that’s the moment it happened. I wanted to hug her, I wanted to comfort her, I wanted to want to agree; but I didn’t. I looked down inside and the pitty just wasn’t there. I decided to find some rage instead.

‘Slag, Stace we don’t have time for this! I have the charts; we can go now why does everything have to turn into a frelling fiasco with you? Was this just too easy? Why can’t we just have an easy one and keep it that way! Easy!’

‘Easy?’ her voice said it all; disgust. ‘If the Empire finds this place they are going to kill everyone, Quinn, you get that? Everyone!’

‘Yeah yeah, I get you but if we don’t leave now-’ I trailed off.

‘What?’

‘Nothing’ But I knew it was too late. My chrono started to beep quietly.

‘What is that?’

‘Im recording a holo on a needelcast, I wanted to make sure I got it?’

‘You think this is funny? Quinn, what the fuck is that?’

‘Ish’ka women it’s nothing! Can we please just go?’

‘No.’

There was no going back, I could feel the first cracks in the hull of my life; it was breaking apart.

‘So what you’re going to stay now? Stay and be one of them?’

‘No I’m going to help them Voss damnit, Quinn think of someone else for once in your whole fucking life!’

‘I am; I’m thinking of us! I’m thinking of how if we don’t leave now, er…’

‘What?! No one knows about his place, no one even cares but the white-backs! What could possibly be so urgent? Is it that you’re Quinn-fucking-Corvin petty thief and con man who can’t even stand to look someone in the eyes while he fucks them over? Well im sorry for your damaged soul, Quinn I really am.’

‘Stace-’

‘But I am not doing this one okay? And I realize… fuck, I realize im losing right now, but he, I mean HE changed! Morgan changed his whole life what could possible be more inspiring than someone like that turning it all around?’

‘Oh yeah, so a guy does one good thing and he’s exonerated for a lifetime of apathy and misdeeds?’

‘I didn’t say that.’ She was calming down now, rage smoldering into molten anger.

‘Yeah I know what you said.’ I looked at the ground and switched off my comm; Henri was about to message me again with and update on conditions outside, and Satci wasn’t going to like it.

The funny thing is, all these years later, I really thought I could salvage it. I was so confident, so arrogant really that I could play anybody, I still thought even then I could get her onboard, smooth the whole thing over, and just ignore the ache in my gut. We would make it out of there and be back in civispace before cocktail hour, which admittedly for me, is any hour.

Outside, an alarm went off, and everybody but me jumped at it.

She turned towards the siren ‘What? What’s that?’

And then I saw my chance. For whatever reason, in the fight and in her own inner turmoil she hadn’t connected my chrono and the noise. She looked so young in the false daylight streaming through the windows, like the day I met her. But while time had made her hard, it made me empty, a void in my own right, and that dull ache I had been carrying around all these months started to fade away; and that hurt most of all.

‘I don’t know, frell; I must have tripped an alarm.’

‘What? Now?!’ She looked right at me, and did it. You don’t game a player, you don’t con your partner, and you don’t cross them. Ever. I broke the rules.

‘These old bases are wired up, there will be auto defense guns; I have to go tell Morgan.’

She shook her head ‘No I’ll tell him, you get back to the ship, have Henri-’

‘Are you crazy?’ I took her face in my hands ‘No one can get that ship in atmo faster than you can; go, I’ll settle things here, don’t worry.’

I lied.

She kissed me, orange florescent staining our face and screaming bodies polluted our ears, but that was the last full kiss she ever gave me, and even then I think I knew it would be. When we broke, she started out the top hatch in the room to the surface. ‘And when we get out of here…’

‘Yes, we’ll con somebody into helping these sentients.’ We wouldn’t, no one was leaving here alive except maybe us. ‘I promise.’

She smiled my smile and was up the hatch in seconds. I bolted for the door, and ran down the steps. Outside the steel curtain, it was chaos. The alarm was so loud I couldn’t hear myself think. I pushed past panic struck women and kid’s and made my way to the huge open door of the hangar. Slowly, with the lethargy of old age and seldom use, the bay doors were slugging their way to close. I had plenty of time.

Out the still wide gap I went as the mass of life fled deeper into their tomb. As I strode up the ramp, I don’t know what made me look back, but there he was, right at the entrance.

Morgan.

Tears spilled from his eyes, cold metal glistening down a stone face. We were maybe ten yards apart, and his hands hovered near his pockets.

I just stood there, like an idiot; every reflex screaming get out get out! But I couldn’t escape. I touched the butt of my blaster, and he let out a chuckle.

‘No need, son. No need.’

He moved slowly, and from his pocket came an ID cylinder with the name ROSS KRESS etched on the side. Gently, like soft grass bellow naked feet, he touched it to his lips, and whispered something to it between him and his God. Then, his eyes opened, and any anger he had before was gone.

‘You wear so many badges, son; eventually you start to wonder who’s beneath them.’ He moved slowly to button his uniform and pull on mat-black gloves for his pink hands.

‘Well?’

I didn’t know what to say. I felt, the liar in me felt I should react, that this was an important moment that would mean something later. But it fell on deaf ears. Drops of water in an empty transport siphon, the echo didn’t denote the presence of water as much as the emptiness of the vessel. That’s how I felt; empty.

‘You should get inside.’ It was all I could say.

‘We both know that won’t matter.’

‘This wasn’t – I didn’t do this. I didn’t do anything!’ I stumbled for an answer I didn’t care to even have.

‘No.’ he said. ‘You didn’t’

And just like that, the massive doors boomed shut behind him and I ran. Faster than I ever had, I ran to the ship in the nearby forest. The engine wined as prep work finished and vapor rose from the wet vents while they got hot. I don’t remember even boarding, I was just in the cockpit suddenly.

From the navigator’s chair, Staci gave a weak smile. ‘Well?’

‘It’s done.’ It was done, all of it.

She narrowed her eyes ‘What do you-’ But that was it.

I slammed the freighter skyward, and burst through the forest and into the sky like a fleeing child, the last bits of shame flying from me like the needles from the trees.

‘Wait, what do you mean!’

I could see him again in my mind’s eye; my father, kneeling by the dying man and trying his best to ease the passage into whatever comes next.

‘Quinn what did- Oh my god.’

We broke atmo. As stars bled into existence around us, so too did the three Star Destroyers. They moved like sick aquatic animals, languishing and writhing in the dark. I saw the spark of a tie escort squadron leave the hangar, but I had the coordinates all plugged in, we would be gone before they got halfway here.

‘Stace, boot up the hyperdrive.’ It was an order.

‘You knew, didn’t you? That’s why – Oh god that’s why you picked this.’

‘Staci; NOW.’

‘I can’t believe you.’ She should have been angry, but there was nothing left to be angry at, and she knew it.

‘Henri hit it, NOW!’

The droid went to work, I just didn’t want to see-

Too late.

The lumbering beasts dropped a shimmering line of fire onto the base. My father squinted in the nuclear holocaust as it ripped his world apart. I saw Morgan, staring at the sky in his full dress and asking questions of the universe and everything in it. Why?

I knew the answer, and I hated it. I saw him burn as the plasma scotched through the rock where he stood, and behind it a huge S2B landed wetly in the molten steel and stone. It fell through the sick mess, and the people inside would catch one last glimpse of the real sun, the green trees and the almost purple sky.

The explosion was like a supernova, the blast tearing into the atmosphere. Fire touched heaven as reality fell to pieces, and we entered the void where the living were never meant to go.

Epilogue:

The bar we made the switch in was an old standby between Huttspace and the rest of the galaxy. The metal in the orbital platform looked about ready to break, and oil slicked nearly every surface. The dim lights that had not been juiced in centuries cast pale color across the darkened room where the shadows of evil beings swayed in the smokey haze.

It was called Spacers Grave.

The charts from the now destroyed base were less valuable than we had originally hoped. Drexel wanted to cut the price even more, but I talked him out of it. A good slicer could pull 6 different systems out of that mess and abandoned, habitable systems that weren’t on charts sold for big money to those who didn’t want to be found. Slavers, smugglers and mercenaries would all vie for those coordinates and Drex would make a fortune off them all; we only asked a small fortune.

He pays, and I get that same sliding feeling in my gut, only less so this time.

‘How much did you get?’ Stace leans back in the chair behind me, looking nonchalant as ever and sipping some kind of powerful cleaners mixed with rocket fuel they liked to call ‘blue.’

‘One-tewnty. It’s a good score, last us a while.’

‘Last you a while.’

‘You’re really going?’

She sighs and stands up, coolly moving her slim body to the seat across from me, her twin pistols sway hypnotic in the dirty air.

‘I’m done with it, Quinn. With the life, with the game; and I’m done with you.’

She looks hard at me, right into my eyes and someplace beyond. If I had a last chance, this was it. We were patterns, sure but we were more than that. We shared everything; we watched each other’s back and with more than professional care. We slept together, we decided together and we dealt together. We were one unit, a crew and a team. Everyone knew it was Quinn and Staci, there was no other choice. It was then that I realized how much I had needed this girl.

But it was too late. Whatever I was supposed to say didn’t exist inside me anymore. She held my gaze waiting for the big scene, for me to break down and cry out an apology to everyone I had wronged. To admit that I had gotten wind of the fleet, and that I wanted to pull the job so quick because I wanted all records of our presence erased in white-hot Imperial sin. She wanted whomever I used to be to come back.

I just sat there.
She signed again, and hefted the bag at my feet. Opening it, her slim, gloved fingers flipped through the hard currency with care to keep it hidden from the wicked eyes in the dark room. ‘That’s a lot of cash.’

‘You don’t have to go, you know. I can… this can still work.’

She smiled kindly and closed the static seam, sealing the credits and my fate. ‘No. I don’t know why I let it get this far. Frell, I don’t know when it even started, but something happened to you, Quinn. Maybe it’s my fault and if it is, I’m so sorry.’

‘Staci it isn’t-’

‘Let me finish, please?’

I raise my eyebrows and gulp down too much of the viscous blue and thought I might wrench, but the burn felt good down deep, and I let it spread out like hot fingers through my veins.

‘You aren’t a bad buy, Quinn. I don’t want you to think that. Slag, I’m not even judging you really. It was a good play, it was a perfect score, it was… professional. But I don’t want to be professional. Yeah I want to be good, but I always kind of hoped one day things would work out and we could settle down, have a few kids I don’t know.’

She slumped down in the seat across me and seemed to wither like a string doll. Here eyes glazed over wet and her lip started to quiver, but she didn’t look to me for help, not anymore. Those days were over.

Then, she did what women do best; she moved on. In a split second that sadness and that shame froze, and something utterly alone and fiercely strong pooled in the back of her dark eyes. To men, its a foreign currency. We languish with our past and carry every sin we’ve ever committed like a penance of some kind; a self made prison of longing and regret. Not Staci. She stood.

‘I don’t want the creds. Not this way. Goodbye, Quinn.’

All I could do was look away. I was angry, or at least I thought I should be. I felt her kiss my cheek, and when I finally turned back, she was gone. The bag was right there, full of bloody coins and bad business. If I left it, I had nothing. If I took it, I had even less.

I don’t know when I turned into this guy. Maybe it was Staci, maybe we had become such a tight knit duo that I let her talk half of me. Maybe she dealt with the emotional side and I was picking up the cold logic. Maybe I had always been this way, and years in the game just taught me to see it for what it was. Maybe it happens in those dreary moments just before sleep, when all the problems you have ever had eat away at your conscious and build a mind wholly devoted to clean, clerical answers.

It didn’t matter; it was over now.

She took the ship. Hell it was hers anyway, and Henri. I thought back to the day we met while I stood in that old, dank hangar. I had a backpack with two changes of clothes and a few hundreds credits, and a duffel bag with a fortune in it. People I knew, games I played, 120,000 Credits was long, long money.

A rational man would have gone after her, would shed this grimy life and beged the forgiveness he knew he needed. But this was who I was. It wasn’t someone else I needed, I had grown into the black void between planets, the drift that floated aimless through the incredible emptiness of existence. I couldn’t even feel bad for myself.

Behind me, I felt the eyes of a stranger, and turned to see an old Durros in an orange flight suit. He regarded me with some interest.

‘You okay friend? Looking for passage off this greasier?’

‘I am, in fact.’ I said wearily, suddenly aware of how tired I was and how far I had to go.

‘You got credits?’

I nodded that I did.

‘Well, come on aboard then, were headed out for the Core if that works for you.’

I turned to see the long docking tube extend to an enormous, flat bulk of a ship, the boxy hangers on its underbelly shimmering in the black pale of space.

In one breath, I breathed out whatever was left of me, and left it there on that filthy rust bucket floating alone beyond the edge of the rim, and trudged through the darkened tunnel onto the vessel. The Durros followed me and as if sensing my melancholy, patted me on the shoulder and smiled. Somewhere inside, a manufactured response told me to smile back.

‘Welcome to the Midnight Star.’ He said.

Quinn Corvin

Starhounds QuinnCorvin