Summary: Freed and Evergreen, desperate to find a missing Laxus, hire a pair of crackpot smugglers to take them across the galaxy. They had no way of knowing the two had enough troubles of their own, including a bloodthirsty criminal syndicate on their tails.
Notes: This is for my darling @raijindork‘s birthday. Technically because of time zones and shit, her birthday was yesterday, but here, it’s still her bday. And it’s BixCo Week and I promised a fic for that. So happy birthday, my darling! Have nerds in space!
“Of all the plans you have ever come up with, this has to be the stupidest one yet.” Freed winced as Evergreen’s harsh voice echoed over his comm.
“Listen, Ever, if I had any other choice, I would not be wandering into a bar full of killers and thieves. But this is the only way we’ll be able to get off this hellhole and find Laxus.”
Evergreen’s gusty sigh came across as ear-splitting static and Freed had to fight the urge to yank the device out of his ear. “Fine. Since this is for Laxus.” Her voice changed to a much more professional one. “Eyes activating in three, two, one.”
Though he couldn’t physically tell, he knew Ever’s Stone Eyes protocol had activated, enabling her to see through his eyes, thanks to an implant they’d both received as children. He tried not to think of the horrors they’d endured growing up. This happened every time Evergreen used his eyes; he’d gotten pretty good at ignoring it over the years.
His eyes, and her’s, flickered around the smokey room, searching for…something. Freed was content to let her make a decision on a potential pilot. Her database, another implanted gift from their…parents, was a better resource than the entirety of Corusant’s mainframe. If he trusted nothing else, Freed trusted Laxus’ lightning and Evergreen’s database. His eyes made another pass around the room, hearing Evergreen mumbling and discarding options as profiles jumped across his peripheral and vanished just as quickly. He could feel her taking control of his eyes when they settled on two men seated in a dim corner.
“Bixlow, age 35, pilot and mechanic, formerly of Blue Pegasus. Left for an unknown reason. Current bounty: 20,000 credits. Cobra…” he could hear the frown in her voice. “I have no more information on him. Odd. My database is extensive enough that I should have something more than just a name.”
“What do you want me to do?” Freed murmured, flagging down the bartender for a glass of some unknown concoction. One sniff was enough to ensure it was not going down his throat.
“The two in the corner. I think they’re the ones.”
“You’re the boss, Ever. I’m trusting your judgement.”
She chuckled. “Famous last words.” Freed slipped away from the bar, moving through the shadows to stand before
“Hey pretty boy, you need something? Or are you just going to stand and stare at us all day?”
Freed flushed, then straightened. “Actually, gentlemen, I wondered if I might speak to you for a moment.” The scarred one raised an eyebrow while the tattooed one chuckled.
“Not only is he fancy pants, he’s got fancy words too.” A chair was kicked out, nearly hitting him in the kneecaps. “Sit. We have nothing better to do, so we might as well hear you out.”
“But no hits,” the scarred man said, raising a finger. “I’ve met my quota for the month.” Freed stared then decided it was probably better not to ask. He laid his request out in short, to the point sentences. These two didn’t seem like the type with a whole lot of patience.
“A search and rescue mission.” The two traded looks. “That’s a new one for us.”
“We normally get tapped for assassinations and shit like that. Live retrieval isn’t exactly our forte.”
“We’re not asking you to do the retrieval, just transport. My partner and I can handle the rest from there. And we’re willing to pay quite well for it.”
The scarred man leaned forward, interest piqued. “How much is well?”
Freed leaned in as well, lowering his voice ever so slightly. “7000 up front, 7000 when we find him.”
The men shared a long look before the blue haired one grinned. “Sounds like you have a deal. Docking Bay 95, one hour. Be there or we leave without you, pretty boy.”
Freed nodded and rose, making his way to the door when-
The shriek and accompanying blaster shot sent most of the occupants of the bar to the floor out of sheer survival instinct. The tattooed man swore, grabbing his partner’s arm as a blonde woman burst into the building, obliterating half of the wall. He dragged the other man along with him, hustling Freed out the door, the woman’s continued shrieking following them out into the dusty air.
“Grab your friend, let’s go! We need to get off-planet right fucking now.”
“Evergreen, I hope you heard all that,” Freed muttered into his comm, not waiting for her affirmative answer before bolting after the two smugglers.
She was there, ready and waiting for them at the docking bay as the three swept up in a flurry of dust and haste.
“C’mon, you two. If we don’t hurry, Lucy’s going to catch up and no one wants to be around to see that.”
Takeoff was tense, Evergreen gripping his hand for reassurance the whole way. But once the familiar black and silver pinpricked sky filled the viewport, they all relaxed.
“I haven’t had a face off with Lucy in months,” the tattooed one Evergreen had tagged as Bixlow said, contemplatively cleaning his fingernails with a knife. “I wonder how she’s been doing in this economy.”
“But she was trying to kill us! Why would you be worried about her?”
“Twenty people try to kill us every week,” Cobra pointed out, with the sheer unconcern of a man who was secure in his own immortality.
“And I usually end up getting high with half of them. Besides, Lucy won’t actually kill us. She’s just mad that I shot her boyfriend.” Bixlow frowned. “Actually, she might kill me. She seemed pretty pissed about that.”
Cobra just stared at him, his still-functioning eyebrow raising. “You shot her boyfriend, you ass. Of course she’s going to be pissed.”
Bixlow shrugged. “It wouldn’t be the first time.”
“You are the stupidest sentient lifeform I have ever had the displeasure to know.”
“Awww but you love me!” Bixlow cooed, getting Cobra’s favorite finger flashed at him in response. The blue haired man threw his head back, howling with laughter in response. Soft violin music drifted through the air. “I’m going to go check the engine while I still have time. It was making funny noises last time we had to do some wild maneuvering. Try not to scare the passengers while I’m gone.”
“So…” Evergreen began, glancing between the two, Bixlow’s back retreating further down the hallway. “Why exactly do you have one of the most infamous bounty hunters in the galaxy after you?”
Flipping switches on the dash and changing the music, Cobra spoke absently as he looked over the numbers the navicom was spewing at him. “Have you heard of the Oracion Seis?” “Who hasn’t?” Freed asked incredulously. “They’re the most violent, hated criminal syndicate in the Outer Rim. They have literal planets under their thumbs. Even law abiding citizens who have no association with the criminal underground have heard of them.”
“Yeah. I used to be a member.”
Freed appeared poleaxed. “What,” he asked faintly.
“Yeah, I used to be a member of the Oracion Seis. I killed, stole, murdered, did whatever I wanted under their flag. For awhile, it was great. Then the son of the current head killed his father and took over control. He and I didn’t agree on certain matters so I left. Not before stealing my just dues and a lovely little ship.” He patted the console, looking fond despite his face never changing. “I eventually hooked up with Bixlow on Tallus. We’d been partners on jobs before and I figured he’d be an okay guy to deal with. And here we are.” Cobra gestured widely at the cockpit. He smiled rakishly. “The rest, as they say, is history.”
Evergreen and Freed traded glances. It was faintly alarming how much his backstory sounded like their own. Aside from the genetic experimentation they’d been forced to undergo, that is. Before either could comment, Cobra looked up, a tiny, fond smile edging its way onto his face.
“Speak of the devil and he shall appear.”
“Nah, see, Cobra’s the actual devil.” Bixlow grinned as he loped back into the cockpit, nudging his partner on his way.
Cobra’s scaly tail twitched. “Fuck off, Bixlow. Are we all set for the next jump?”
“All set and ready for action.” Bixlow dropped into the copilot’s chair and spun to face Evergreen and Freed.
“They asked why Lucy was after us.”
“You gave them the whole Oracion backstory, didn’t you? No wonder they look like they got hit by a wampa.” Both chuckled, breaking the spell of shock woven over their passengers.
Evergreen threw her hands up in the air. “Out of every criminal in that forsaken hellhole, you had to pick the major crime syndicate fugitives, didn’t you, Freed. Out of everyone, that’s who you picked.”
“May I remind you that this was a mutual effort?” He demanded, aghast. “We were in this together, Evergreen, don’t even try to pass the blame off on me. And I distinctly recall you deciding they were going to be our pilots.”
Bixlow chuckled as he listened to their passengers squabbling back and forth. “Is that what we sound like?” He murmured to Cobra. The disgusted look on his face was enough to send Bixlow into heaving laughter again. Laughter that quickly trailed off when the proximity sensor began beeping at him. “Oh shittttt…”
“What? Who is it?”
Bixlow looked up, all traces of humor wiped from his face. “It’s Crime Sorciere.” Cobra paled.
“I thought you paid them!”
“Okay yeah so did I.” Fingers flew over the keys as numbers burbled out of the speaker. “Maybe there were hidden charges I didn’t know about. Or interest. Knowing how much of a fucking skinflint Ultear is, that’s probably what it is. That woman will gouge you for as much as you’re worth. Give her a klick, she’ll take a parsec and then tell you you owe her money.”
Cobra yanked back on the thruster. “We should be able to outfly them, the Cubelious is faster than their piece of junk by a long shot.”
“Uhhh….well, normally, you’d be right.”
“Bixlow. What aren’t you telling me?” Cobra’s voice went colder than the stars outside.
“I might’ve…disconnected the tertiary fuel bivalve to the hyperspace engine block? Because I thought I would have time to fix it before our next jump?”
“Are you fucking kidding me.”
“I really, really wish I was.” Bixlow winced at the look on his partner’s face. Cobra looked ready to dismember him and dump acid on the parts before spacing them along with the garbage. Freed and Evergreen sat in tense, anticipating silence, watching the two partners disagree.
“I am going to shoot you out a fucking airlock once we get out of this mess. Go fix the damn thing, you moron! I have to try and clean up after you, again.” Cobra began grumbling as his hands flew over the console, yanking on levers and smashing buttons.
“Aye, aye. Sorry, Cobra.”
“Enough apologies, get going! Strap in and quit fighting, you two, it’s about to get ugly!”
The next thirty minutes were a testament to Cobra’s skill as a pilot. He wove in and out of shots that screamed overhead. Stars and red blaster shots spun in a mesmerizing and nausea inducing whirl with the Cubellious’s movements, and yet through it all Cobra kept his cool. He seemed to be playing a game of cat-and-mouse with the increasingly irritated pilot of the other ship. Barely there and gone the next moment, he was biding his time until he heard Bixlow’s shout.
“It’s fixed! Hit it, Cobra!”
Stars elongated and Crime Sorcerie’s shots careened into the darkness of space. The Cubellious was long gone.
The burly man suddenly found himself under attack by his two dearest friends, who clung to him and cried, refusing to let go. He stared down at them, then at the men standing behind them. One of them raised his hands, tail twitching. “I ain’t hugging you, so don’t even ask.”
Laxus got the feeling, as Freed and Evergreen held onto him, sobbing their hearts out, that he really, really didn’t want to know.
Bixlow punched in the final coordinates for their next destination and settled back in his seat. Next to him, Cobra fiddled with the radio dial, grunting in satisfaction as smooth jazz filled the cockpit.
“Ready to jump, partner?” Bixlow asked, grinning. He received an answering grin.
“Anytime, Bix, anytime.”
The stars elongated and the Cubelious flickered out of sight, off to her next destination.