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Old 06-22-2006, 06:24 PM   #131
Local curmudgeon
machievelli's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Las Vegas Nevada
Posts: 2,874
Current Game: Dungeonseige series
10 year veteran!  Hot Topic Starter  Veteran Fan Fic Author  Helpful! 
Yes slacked off again. However if you look at at the website this time next week, I will have another Faerie book up there. 200 odd pages in an orgiastic blast.

So to make up for it...

Other problems

Samsun hit the floor, rolling. He was dressed only in a silken loincloth and a collar. He stayed on the ground, looking back toward the door. The guard, a Rodian, sneered, and the door closed. “I bet Yodai is chuckling his butt off over this.” He whispered.

It had taken a week to get him this close, and it wasn’t until three days ago that Yodai and he had worked out what had to be done. Drubba the Hutt dealt so heavily in the black markets that he had a pudgy hand in everything. Spice, slaves, ships, stolen cargo, you name it he handled it. He was a dark figure in the shadows to everyone in the Black trade. No one met him, the people who carried the messages were always people doing his employees favors rather than Drubba. You could arrest a hundred of his messengers and every employee without being able to prove that Drubba was connected at all.

The only way to break in and discover what was happening was to get beneath that surface. But for an outsider, there was only one way to do that. Become part of it.

Samsun had discovered through the net that the police were completely compromised. The Hutt had always been beings of business, and the term ‘mordida’ would have been defined by local politicians and public employees as ‘proper business’. A Hutt constable walked around with his truncheon in one hand, and the other hand out hoping for a bribe. The same was true right up to the Oligarch. Samsun was surprised, because the society had taken this fact, incorporated it, and went on. They had actually set rates for what was supposed to be paid as a gift. An official who charged too much could actually be fired for demanding more!

As a child they learned to extort money from their elders for chores. They used this money to pay teachers for better grades. The parents paid the children for good grades, and this money was used to pay for higher education, which meant the parents paid them for these grades, and this money was saved for later jobs.

While wildly confusing to the average citizen from just about anywhere else, it also meant that their society worked. To become a clerk, you had to sit (Or in the case of a Hutt slither) for comparative exams. Since you didn’t try for such a position without the necessary baksheesh, it meant that while the officer that gave the exam did collect his toll, he actually had to go by who was best on the exam, and complaining to the local equivalent of the labor board that you had paid your mordida but didn‘t get the job only worked if you could prove bias. The same was true all the way up the corporate and political ladder. No one tried for a job unless they A: had the money to grease the palms, and B: were qualified.

The Hutt had slavery, but it had started among their own race as debt slavery. You were good at your job, but didn’t have the cash. Your boss would allow you to slide on his payment but you didn’t get paid until he was reimbursed. You had a run of bad luck and your boss extended money as credit, and you worked X number of days or weeks to pay it back. But during that time your contract could be sold to another boss, who would expect the same consideration...

Oddly enough, this meant the criminal element were actually more trustworthy and lenient on the whole than the ‘honest’ citizens. They offered terms, gave credit, and since they could actually go into a Hutt court and have the case ruled in their favor if you failed to pay them, they were content.

However about a century ago, they had extended this ‘rule’ to other races. A human working for a Hutt company could end up in debt, then slavery by merely forgetting to read all of the fine print on their contract. When you go to court, and discover your boss has a legal right to have you as property, it can be quite a shock.

Governments quietly put out warnings to their people, but that didn’t stop it. Worse yet, since a Hutt would assure that he had diplomatic immunity before traveling, they couldn’t even free his slave by merely allowing them asylum. The Hutt assured that any businessman that traveled had such immunity as a matter of course.

No one liked it, but at the same time, could do nothing about it.

However there are those pernicious beings of every race that seem to think such a right cannot be extended to just one race. Soon there were Twi-lek Duros, even Human slave owners. As long as they restricted that to their dealings only on Hutt worlds, again, there was nothing anyone could do.

When Samsun had decided to infiltrate the network, he had merely gone to a casino, lost a lot of money quickly, and ended up as Drubba’s slave. However he had two hole cards they didn’t know about.

The first was that at any time Yodai could go to the same casino, pay off the marker, and have him freed in minutes. The other was a skill Samsun had taught at the Monastery.

Samsun could cause electronic equipment to do what he wanted them to do. If he had not entered the order, he would have been barred from the electronic gaming area of every gambling establishment in the Galaxy. When he was three, he had become enamored of the flashing lights of the local slot machines. Since he couldn’t enter the casinos yet, he had made the lights dance standing outside the window watching. The fact that when he did this the machine immediately paid out the jackpot didn’t disturb him. After all, it wasn’t his money being lost.

He could have walked through a casino, setting off randomly every jackpot in the place. All of it only because the lights were so pretty.

That had gotten the three year old noticed by the Jedi.

That was sixteen years ago, and the young boy that liked to make pretty lights dance had become the somber young man that now looked around the room. There weren’t many here right now. Maybe ten or fifteen people, mainly Twi-lek women, Bith and humans.

Only the Hutt...

One of the training classes when he was still a boy had been understanding social structures of the races you would deal with on missions. During one class, a human student had stood up, and given a long rambling discourse on something he didn’t remember now. One of the other students, A Twi-lek, had commented that only a human could find that much meaning in nothing.

The teacher, a Hutt had stopped it before it got violent. He had given the class an assignment. Everyone would write down every such aphorism they had ever heard. Each such list would be a minimum of ten pages long, and they would check with each other so that they didn’t repeat them. However if there was one that had been repeated, the students had to note when they had been repeated and how many times.

The top three were amusing, and appalling equally. They were;

‘Only humans could make war a noble venture’ and;

‘Only the Hutt could make slavery not only acceptable, but profitable ‘.

‘Only a Twi-lek would consider choosing a mate because of how she dances’.

It had taken three weeks of arguing before the class as a whole was willing to admit that these aphorisms were not completely true. The reason they did was after the almost seventy pages had been turned in, the Master had then given every student all of the aphorisms that denigrated his race, and told him ‘prove them wrong’.

Some were astonished to discover that more slaves had been bought by humans than any other race. That some of the most vicious and vainglorious soldiers were among the Duros, who considered war a business venture with casualties. That there were humans of fifteen different planets that chose their mates or sexual partners only after watching them dance.

It was a sobering lesson.

Samsun was looking for a specific Twi-Leki face. There was a woman named Ramadora who had worked in one of Drubba’s office. She had been a data entry level worker. She was renowned for her memory according to their source. Something she had merely glanced at in passing when she was ten was as easily accessible as calling up the data on a computer.

But unlike a computer, her memory could not merely be deleted.

One day someone left a pile of data chips on her desk, and she had entered them. Unfortunately it was supposed to have been given to another clerk, someone who worked on the shadow side of Drubba’s business. The files had meant nothing to her, but there was enough evidence in them that even the bribe ridden Hutt courts would have had to do something.

When the mistake was discovered, Drubba had acted swiftly. He could have merely had a bullet put through her brain, but he still had a use for her, and couldn’t take the chance that she would leave. So he had her kidnapped. When she woke up from the stun web, she was in his private retreat on an island in the Great Swamp. The palace was large enough for a hundred Hutt, but only holding Drubba and his dozen or so men, and the slaves. It was impossible to walk out, and no one had access to vehicles of any kind without his direct authorization.

Now he had an excellent administrator for his stable and criminal activities.

And Samsun intended to get her out of here. But she wasn’t in this room. The problem was, he couldn’t just wander about. The locked door wouldn’t stop him, it was electronic, and he could pop it by merely running his hands over the wall. The collar was also not a problem. He could convince it that it was obeying a punishment command just sitting here.

However as a slave he would not be allowed free run of the building. Once it got dark, he could do some judicious sneaking, but not until then.

The slave overseer came in. A human. “Three for gardening.“ He ordered. He pointed, and each slave got to their feet to follow him. He looked around, and pointed at Samsun. “You.“

Samsun climbed to his feet, feigning weakness, and followed.

The ‘garden’ was a chunk of the swamp that had been left natural in the center of the structure. Samsun noticed immediately the traces of something moving under the surface. One of the slaves leaned toward the water watching them and Samsun grabbed her, pulling her back sharply. A froglike animal leaped up, missing her face by inches, then fell back in.

“The master’s favorite food.” The overseer chuckled. “It’s favorite food is stupid humans.” He motioned toward the mud on the edge of the water. “It must be shoveled out there. If you are not careful you are dinner!”

They had to stand on the squelching loose mudflat, using hoes to pull mud back from the edge. As they did, the daily rains began, washing the mud back toward the pond. Obviously this was a full time job. A killer frog stuck it’s head up, eyes watching the prey just out of it’s reach.

A large form approached. Drubba, and behind him- Ramadora and another woman.

“The shipment from Coruscant has arrived, ready for transshipment to Thule-” The other woman, a human with a collar said.

“Thule has been reported as taken by Corellian forces.” Ramadora replied. “Three ships were lost there.”

“Why was I not told?” The Hutt demanded.

“I told you yesterday at 1300 hours.” Ramadora replied serenely. “Your reply was-”

“Silence!” He grumbled, sliding along the edge of the swamp. He stopped, watching the water. “Doshan. How are my pets?”

The overseer came over, bowing and scraping. “They are not that frisky right now, lord.”

“Maybe they need to be fed.” One of the large eyes rotated to the slaves. “The small one will do.”

Doshan scraped a bit more, then ran over. The smallest slave, the one Samsun had saved earlier, a human girl of about fifteen was grabbed and thrown into the water. It took every scrap of Samsun’s will to resist killing the man where he stood. The girl had time for one scream before the water boiled. Blood sprayed into the water, and one of the froglike animals climbed up, ripping into her face, and stifling her cry as she went under. The water continued to roil for several more moments, then suddenly was silent.

“Get the collar out later.” Drubba ordered. “So where are we to send the merchandise?” He asked, slithering on.

“The factor said that Mooshiro on Ryloth would accept it for transshipment.”

As she passed, Samsun slipped, falling against her. He caught her arm, apologizing profusely, then began writhing as he felt the first shot of pain through the collar. He disconnected the system, just pretending to be in agony, watching the overseer through slitted eyes until he stopped triggering it.

Samsun watched the trio walk away. He would have a reason to sneak later.

That evening, Samsun reached under the collar, pulling out the comlink he had hidden. How and where he had hidden it before the collar had gone on was best left to your imagination. He set it down, then touched the back of his collar. The electronic lock snicked, and it came off in his hands.

He set it down, lifting the comlink, and sliding it into his loincloth. The door was just as easy. He moved down the corridor toward the ‘garden. There was a muttering, and he paused.

“No Doshan, you get the collar.” He snarled. “Can’t let some precious slavey do it. I got to do it.”

Samsun came around the corner. The overseer was standing as far back from the water as he could, wielding a long pole. He was probing in the mud of the bottom, trying to find the collar. Samsun grinned, then went back to the slave’s quarters, returning with the collar.

Doshan felt something land on his back, shoving him face down in the glutinous mud. He felt something being attached around his neck, then the weight was gone. He snarled, leaping to his feet. It was that damn new slave, without a collar!

Samsun held up the control box. “I would think before you move.” He said.

Doshan felt his neck. The collar was on him! “The way out is that way.”
Doshan lied, pointing toward the Master’s quarters block.

“Is that so.” Samsun grinned. “I would swear that is where Drubba lives. Right near the Harem.” He held up the comlink. A small screen was on the side of it, and a dot flashed in that direction.

Doshan opened his mouth to scream, then the shock of the collar drove him to his knees. He felt a hand grab him, the pole thrust into his hands, and he was shoved backwards. The pole caught on something, and he opened his eyes through the pain to see the water only a few inches from his face. Before he could try to resist, something leaped, catching him by the throat. He flailed, falling into the water.

Samsun walked away, headed for the harem. He stopped outside the door, and checked it not only with his eyes, but with those senses that made him Jedi. There was a security section that would automatically activate a collar if someone passed through it. The system was switched on, and was probably for use for the night. He deactivated it, opening the door.

He ghosted past the veiled enclosures until he came to the right one. Ramadora was asleep, and he caught her neck, using a sanguinary strangle. The sleep became unconsciousness. He removed the collar. There was something at her hip, and he ran his hand over it. Something implanted...

Of course. With a photographic memory no password was safe from her. No security system capable of holding her if she knew how to deactivate it. But an implant was where she couldn’t get to it.

He picked her up, carrying her back to the garden. The body of the Overseer was being dragged into the water, and he fought it long enough to pull the dead man’s boot knife free. It was razor sharp. He keyed the comlink locator button, then bent over the unconscious woman. He cut down, pulling out the small vial. He put it aside, then picked her and the comlink up.

There was a roar, and Master Gretu of Triseki was there, exhaust boiling the water of the pond away. Samsun picked up the still unconscious woman. A moment later, the ship was gone. All that remained to show was the crackle glazed glass of the now dried pond, with the bodies of Doshan and the inhabitants fused into it.

'To argue with those who have renounced the use and authority of reason is as futile as to administer medicine to the dead.' Now who said that?

From the one who brought you;
What we die for...
KOTOR excerpts
Star Wars: The Beginning
Star Wars: Republic Dawn
Return From Exile
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