• Mattie Stu

Enfys Nest and the Cloud-Riders – Solo: A Star Wars Story Lore #4

Led by Enfys Nest – an individual equally as mysterious as she was dangerous – the Cloud-Riders took their name from those who operated as swoop pilots. Otherwise, those in the gang who leaped from sidecars onto target vessels were more appropriately labelled marauders. Indeed, so fast were their notorious crafts, that each member could easily catch up to, if not overtake, starships and ground vehicles alike. And while such swoop bikes sported bold colours to distinguish the Cloud-Riders from rival gangs – such as the Dark Star Hellions and the Nova Demons – they were often described as engines with seats, and with good reason. For example, their lack of finesse made them both crude and overpowered. Moreover, they were incredibly difficult to control – requiring timing, instinct and strength. Of course, these very traits made swoop bikes the perfect vehicles for spectator sports in the Core Worlds. The same, however, could not be said on frontier worlds populated by outlaw gangs.

Circling the skies of Vandor aboard a carrier ship called the Aerie, the nomadic group launched themselves from altitudes of 400 kilometres to plunder cargo ships and settlements alike for both riches and gear. Contrary to their reputation as one of the most infamous swoop pirate gangs in the Outer Rim territories, however, the Cloud-Riders preferred capture over destruction. Likewise, much of their gear – such as ordnance launchers loaded with cable-rockets – was dedicated to immobilising targets.

In the same vein as their leader, the Cloud-Riders tended to conceal their identities with masks and helmets. But that's not to say each outlaw was entirely mysterious. Take these eight names, for example:

Weazel – Having worked with the Hutt gang out of Mos Espa on Tatooine, Weazel left behind a life as a petty criminal to become Enfys Nest's most vigilant spy and closest lieutenant.

Tubes – This mysterious marksman, who concealed his features behind a chrome helmet, spoke very little of his past. So much so that when the Galactic Empire conquered his homeworld of Yar Tonga, an act that sparked a mass exodus, Tubes refused to join the likes of Crimson Dawn in favour of the Cloud-Riders.

Tayshin Maxa – Having learned harsh survival lessons following a violent gang dispute on the planet Eshan – one sparked by the infamous Droid Gotra – Tayshin sought out the Cloud-Riders as a means of protecting her younger sister. Speaking of whom...

Moda Maxa – Given her superior piloting skills over Tayshin, Moda demonstrated impeccable timing and coordination while riding a Vulptereen Skysnipe-616D during shipjacking raids. But that's not to say she was equally as skilled as a martial artist. In fact, Moda often trained with her sister as a means of improving her combat abilities.

Callixido Ryss – The pilot of a Javelin-112 swoop bike, Ryss used his competitive streak to race the Maxa sisters during raids. At least according to Tayshin, he had a particular fondness over Moda.

Batcha Hunaris – A brute who preferred clubs and fists to knives and blasters, Hunaris chose to tag along with the Cloud-Riders following their raid upon a fuelling depot on Orinda he was designated to guard.

Auromae Iselo – This former bounty hunter with a strong sense of justice grew tired of the quantity of political targets that were being assigned to him by the Galactic Empire. So rather than deal with corrupt bureaucracy, he instead pursued a life punishing violent criminals.

Baroosh Pawk – With more daring than brains, Baroosh Pawk was a climber and skydiver who typically paired with Tayshin Maxa on raids – doing so on her Caelli-Merced Halberd 441.

And, last but certainly not least...

Enfys Nest – From the outside looking in, no one was entirely sure on who or what lay underneath the mask of Enfys Nest. The exact identity, age, gender and species of the individual behind the Cloud-Rider attacks all went unanswered for years. Even her true voice was something of a mystery due to her vocoder chest box. However, closer inspection of her apparent random attacks pointed to a particular hostility towards Crimson Dawn operations. During these very raids, the martial artist utilised a broad mix of combat styles to further confuse those seeking to pinpoint her origin. This – combined with her fleet-footed agility, relentless ferocity and powerful weapons – made Nest rather tricky to deal with. So much so that given her disdain towards blasters, she often closed large distances with stunning leaps and deadly swipes. The outlaw did so with her weighted electroripper polearm – the base of which, or the glowing energy ribbon, left her enemies stunned and shocked, literally! But despite her “violent” ways, Nest etched poetry upon her mask, just underneath the animalistic antennae. It read:

“Until we reach the last edge, the last opening, the last star, and can go no higher.”

Having said all of that, the Cloud-Riders were far from the outlaws and pirates they were portrayed to be. But which Rebel in the making is your favourite? Let me know in the comments below!

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