Nebula Vertu, accompanied by her latest passenger, Nyx Umbra, sat in her small spaceship, the Nebula Nighthawk, and scrolled through the list of bounties on her tablet. The ship was fitted with a powerful sensor array that allowed Nebula to detect and track her targets, as well as a sophisticated communications system that allowed her to stay in contact with her clients and allies.
"So, why is the Galactic Imperium suddenly interested in a low-life criminal like yourself?" asked Nebula.
Umbra appeared hesitant, fidgeting in his seat and taking a long time to respond. "Well, I hijacked a small vessel, not realising it was one of theirs. It was some kind of research vessel carrying parts and resources for a project. On the ship, I came across a small, cylindrical device with a complicated network of purple and gold crystals. The device was surrounded by a glowing energy field, indicating the immense power it harnesses."
"What does it do?"
"No idea; it has been too hot to sell. After we hit that vessel, I noticed there were Dread soldiers on every planet across the realm. It was clearly something essential to the Galactic Imperium’s plans to tighten its grip on the galaxy further."
"Where is it being kept?"
"I’m not going to tell you that."
Nebula raised her ion cannon and, with great agility, lept from her chair towards Umbra until her weapon was pressed into his forehead. Forcing him to cower and hold his hands up.
"Alright, woman, I get the message. It’s on Aquillon. My crewmate is an Aquillian, and I thought it best to stash it on Aquillon as it's a planet located in a distant galaxy, far away from our own solar system. It has a moderate climate and is mostly covered in vast oceans, with a few small islands and continents scattered throughout."
She needed to find her next job quickly. The fuel gauge was dangerously low, and she needed to make some stellar shards to refill her tank.
"Okay, next stop, Aquillon. But we will need some supplies and fuel first," said Nebula.
After scanning through the list, one particular bounty caught her eye. The target was a notorious smuggler named Tavius, wanted for trafficking illegal weapons across multiple star systems. The bounty was high, and Nebula knew that bringing in a criminal like Tavius would give her some much-needed stellar shards.
Nebula took note of the coordinates listed on the bounty and punched them into the Nebula Nighthawk's navigation system. The ship's engines roared to life, and she set off towards her destination.
As she flew through space, Nebula thought about the dangers of taking on a job like this alone. She had faced some tough opponents before, but Tavius was known to be heavily armed and protected. Nebula decided that she needed backup and quickly reached out to an old friend, who was now a mercenary for hire named Dex Steele; she could always count on his assistance in a galaxy of few allies.
Dex Steele stands tall at 6'1" with a muscular build, evidence of the years of training and combat he has endured. He has a rugged and weathered appearance, with deep-set blue eyes that shine like sapphires against his tanned skin. His close-cropped black hair is often hidden under a black helmet, which he wears to protect himself during dangerous space missions.
Dex's most distinguishing feature is the cybernetic implant that covers his left eye, a result of a close encounter with an intergalactic bounty target. The implant not only enhances his vision but also feeds him vital information about his surroundings, making him a formidable opponent in long-range combat.
He preferred to dress in black tactical gear with a high-tech long-range weapon slung over his back. His weapon of choice is a sleek and deadly energy rifle, which he has modified himself to ensure maximum accuracy and power at long distances. Dex also carries an arsenal of other weapons, including a pistol and several grenades, all of which he is equally proficient with.
Despite his intimidating appearance and reputation as one of the most skilled bounty hunters in the galaxy, Dex is a quiet and reserved individual with a mysterious aura that makes others hesitant to cross him. He speaks little, but when he does, his voice is deep and commanding, a reflection of his years of experience and confidence in his abilities.
Dex agreed to meet Nebula on the planet where Tavius was last spotted. They landed their ships at a seedy bar on the outskirts of the city and waited for their target to arrive.
"You are to stay on the ship Nyx for this one, understood?"
"What? Why? You cannot be serious. You know I'm not one to sit around while you go off on a mission."
"This is not up for debate. I need to keep you out of sight. We are on the planet Zenithar, which is heavily controlled by the Galactic Imperium. It will be crawling with Dread soldiers who are looking for you.
"Come on, woman." "You know I can handle myself."
"I know you can. But I need you to trust me on this. It's not just about us anymore. We've got a job to do, and I can't risk both of us getting taken out. Stay here and listen to me on the link."
After hours of waiting, Tavius emerged from the bar. Nebula followed him into a nearby alley, her hand ready to draw her ion blaster if needed. Meanwhile, Dex took up a position on the roof of an adjacent building, lining Tavius up in his crosshairs.
Nebula confronted Tavius, demanding his surrender, but he wasn't going down without a fight. He revealed a concealed ion blaster from under his robe, and the alley erupted into a fierce shootout. Nebula was quick on her feet, dodging Tavius' blasts while returning fire with precision.
Despite Tavius' resistance, Dex eventually landed a shot on him, causing him to wince in pain and drop his weapon. Nebula took advantage of the situation, quickly disabling his weapon and cuffing him. They dragged him to the local planetary security centre where he would be held until they could transport him to a proper detention facility.
Dex said his farewells as he climbed up the ramp for the Quantum Horizon, a compact and nimble spacecraft designed for solo missions and interstellar travel. Its small size and manoeuvrability make it perfect for navigating through asteroid fields and tight spaces. The ship's exterior is sleek and aerodynamic, with a metallic silver finish that reflects the light of nearby stars. The Quantum Horizon is armed with a small laser cannon that can be used for self-defence in an emergency.
As she watched Tavius being taken away, Nebula felt a sense of satisfaction. It was a dangerous job, but she had proven herself as a bounty hunter once again, and it was nice to work with Dex again. Now, with the shards she had earned, she could continue her search for the Dread Admiral who killed her brother.