Waypoint Ch. 2

A braggart, that’s what you are, boy; a damn fool braggart, Giru thought as his arms strained to pull himself up the next meter of rock face.

It had seemed like a good idea at the time, to boast about being able to scale the Celest Wall and slip into the Imperial garrison there, and he had never been one to shy away from a challenge – particularly where beautiful women were involved. But he was so far out of his depth the irony was likely to kill him.

Weeks before he had been merely a maintenance tech on a third-rate freighter owned by a D-list smuggler whose profits went to shoring up his vices rather than his ship. And then their route had led them here, to Jelucan, a world so steeped in Imperial oppression that the lines that used to exist between the different groups of settlers had all but vanished. It had been nothing more than a brief pit stop to refuel and restock the “ship’s” stores and Giru had taken the opportunity to scavenge up some mostly functional spare parts to get the knock out of the hyperdrive when he had seen her, followed her into a local tavern – a dim and flickering holosign proclaiming it as the Waypoint – and stared at her from a corner for an hour before even ordering his first drink. He had watched as the trickle of other spacers had come and gone, as they decried the Empire with varying degrees of bluster and bravado, until the few that had stayed long enough to get truly soused had started to proposition the woman with gallant and entirely far-fetched tales of their daring heroics. That was when he had left the Waypoint.

That had been six weeks ago, now, to the day. And here he was, dangling from one of Jelucan’s famed mountainsides on a laser-brained mission to steal some Imperial power converters. “Trust me, it’ll be easy.” There’s a nice epitaph for my tombstone…

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