The cargo pods scattered around the lagoon were all empty. The treasure was gone. There never was such an overturn in this world. Each of the thirty revolutionaries acted as though he’d been struck. But with Captain Ardeth Misk the blow passed almost instantly. Every thought of his soul had been set full-stretch on that money; he needed it to continue the revolution against the Empire. He kept his head, found his temper, and changed his plan before the others had time to realize the disappointment.
“Ryku, old friend,” he whispers, “take that, and stand by for trouble.” And he passes the captain a double-barrelled shotgun. At the same time, Misk quietly moved in the direction of the beach, and in a few steps put cover between himself and the rest of his crew.
The crew of the Kraken, with oaths and cries, began to leap, one after another, into the water. One revolutionary named Morgan found a piece of gold. He held it up with a perfect spout of oaths. It was a Velmar trade coin, and it passed from hand to hand among them for a couple rounds.
“One Velmar trade coin!” roared a Gungan named Merkak, shaking it at Misk. “That’s your royal treasury, is it? You’re the man for bargains, ain’t you? You’re him that never bungled nothing, you wooden-headed go tsao de!”
“Swim away, boys,” said Misk, lighting a cigar with the coolest insolence; “you’ll find more coins and gems and I shouldn’t wonder.”
“Coins and gems!” repeated Merkak in a scream. “Mates, do you hear that? I tell you now, that man there knew it all along. Look in the face of him and you’ll see it wrote there.”
Everyone was entirely in Merkak’s favour. They began to scramble out of the water, darting furious glances around them.
At last Merkak seemed to think a speech might help matters. “Mates,” said he, drawing his blaster and vibroblade, “there’s only eight of them there; one’s the old has-been that brought us all here and blundered us down to this; the other’s that marshal that I mean to have the heart of. Now, mates—”
The Gungan raised his arm and his voice, and plainly meant to lead a charge. But just then — crack! crack! crack! — three blaster-shots flashed out of the thicket. Merkak tumbled backward into the shallows; another revolutionary spun round and fell all his length upon his side, where he laid dead but still twitching.
Ardeth Misk drew a brace of pistols and gave the struggling Merkak both barrels. At the same moment, the miner Zaz Kamiroz and Kathos Loof the foreman of the Alderaan mining outpost joined the fight, with smoking blasters, from among the trees.
Tyron Corso hurled a grenade into the thick of the revolutionaries, causing more chaos. While everyone leaped into cover, Captain Ryku used his shotgun to jury-rig one of the cargo barrels to explode. Then he kicked it into their foes, diving behind a boulder himself. 4Q2 pulled a blaster out of his secret leg compartment and went to town killing Humans as his maniacal laughter filled the air.
As explosions and blasterfire lit up the area, Shakka'teksa cried, "Retreat! There are too many of them!" And the crew set off at a great pace, plunging through the bushes to the Embar. Misk ran to keep up with them.
Exhausted and injured as they were, the crew managed to make it to the beach where the Embar and a shuttlecraft from the Kraken awaited — as well as four more revolutionaries. Charl and Neo sprinted into the ship, the pilot to the cockpit and the Force adept to the turret, providing covering fire while his companions caught up. After everyone was inside, Charl got the Embar airborne and maneuvered the craft sideways so Tyron on the other turret could fire at the shuttle as it, too, took off.
Then a host of angry revolutionaries burst out from the trees, shouting and shooting. Ryku ordered the missile launcher be armed. 4Q2 volunteered to be the one to fire it, turning their pursuers into a giant smoking crater.
Captain Ryku ordered Charl to set down on a high cliff somewhere so they could take a moment to assess the situation. He offered his old friend free reign of the kitchen while he addressed his crew. Once Misk had left, he then related in a few words what had taken place in his absence. Jedidiah, in his long, lonely wanderings about the island, had found the cargo pods — it was he that had rifled them; he had found the treasure; he had brought it up; he had carried it on his back, in many weary journeys, from the shores of the lagoon to a cave he had on the two-pointed hill at the north-east angle of the island, and there it had lain stored in safety since two months before the arrival of the Embar. When the captain had wormed this secret from him on the afternoon of the attack, and when that same day he was captured by Misk , given him the coordinates, which were now useless.
"Ah," said Misk, returning with a steaming mug of coffee, "it were fortunate for me that I had Ryku here. You would have let old Ardeth be cut to bits by me own crew, and never given it a thought, old friend."
Shakka'teksa distracted Ardeth Misk in her quarters while the rest of the crew went out to Jedidiah's cave to retrieve the royal treasure. And indeed, what a haul it was! Tankards, scepters, gems, jewelry, trade bars and coins, and even a Jedi holocron!
After all the loot had been stowed safely away in the Embar's cargo holds, Captain Ryku asked Misk to join him in the mess hall for a drink, whence he got his old friend verily drunk. They hailed the Kraken, which was still in orbit around Tantajoc V, and were given permission to dock. Misk was concerned that the remainder of his crew might become just as mutinous as those down on the planet after they learned that there was no treasure. Ryku offered him a plan. They told the crew of the Kraken that most of the treasure yet remained behind on the planet and they should all pile into a shuttle to go down and retrieve it. With a resounding huzzah! the revolutionaries did just that. Ryku then told Misk that he should go down and make sure to set his crew off in a direction that'll get them lost, then to return to the Kraken.
As soon as the shuttle left the bubble shield, Tyron climbed into one of the Kraken's turrets and fired a turbo double laser cannon at it, blasting the shuttle to smithereens.