Not the most exciting chapter, but it does dive into the personalities of Rance & Torivena a bit more. It also holds a note or two that will be important in later chapters. Enjoy
Chapter III – The Exchange
Dusk slowly shifted to night as the speeder cruised along Taris’ bustling skyscrapers. Torivena was taking us to his estate, though its location remained a mystery me. It didn’t matter; the shootout back at the cantina was still was fresh in my mind. I kept replaying the battle over and over in my head. Prior to that I had never even held a blaster let alone shoot someone. Though I could not help but think who those mercenaries were, and what they wanted. I had a feeling that Torivena would know, but I felt it was best to wait before I started asking questions. Torivena was doing the driving while Rance was seated in the rear. Rance was still favoring his wound a bit, occasionally adjusting his position every few minutes or so trying get a bit more comfortable. The package was lying safely next to him, which was a reminder that there was still business to take care of.
“Ah, no place like home…” Torivena stated in a refreshing way. I turned my head towards his direction on the driver’s side. Torivena was looking out over the beach below. A mansion, a beautiful one at that rested along the beach, as Torivena descended the speeder, you could see the estate slowly begin to eclipse the star’s beautiful lush rays of light. Once on the surface, Torivena maneuvered the speeder inside a garage door built along the side of the estate.
“Welcome to my estate gentlemen. Here you will be treated as my personal guests, so feel free to make yourselves comfortable.” Torivena humbly stated while gracefully stepping out of the speeder.
“I assume we won’t be leaving anytime soon?” Rance asked respectfully.
“You can leave at your own leisure, though if you choose so I doubt you’ll find your way home from here.”
“heh… I was joking.” Rance said quite humorously.
“By the way, I never had the pleasure of asking you two honorable men your names.”
Rance was exiting the vehicle, with his hand still grasping the wound, though it didn’t stop him from replying in the process.
I was laid back in the passenger seat, still going over some things in my mind. Torivena looked at me for a moment, then I glanced back and replied “Davik… Davik Kang”.
“Excellent. Rance theres a medical room right down the hall; have the droids attend to that wound of yours there. Davik, if you will; follow me please.”
I exited the vehicle and followed Torivena as I wished me to. The garage was rather large, encompassed by vast gray walls. Though through the door, the hall was decorated with elegant, indigo wallpaper that radiated a powerful feeling to it all. Torivena was about five meters ahead of me, and Rance grabbed my attention before I continued any further than a mere few steps.
“Hey Davik, you might want to take this with you.” Rance handed me the package. “Hopefully these droids don’t come up with anything serious. I don’t want to spend my pleasure hours laying in a bed,” He said so with a smirk.
I let off a short chuckle. “I’ll check with ya later on.” I told him.
Torivena was about 15 meters ahead, and I had to pace myself slightly faster than normal to catch up. Torivena stopped half way down to hall, turning to his left while pulling a small card from his pocket. It gave me enough time to come within several meters of him. He opened the door utilizing the keycard, and proceeded through it. We came into a rather small room with an oval shaped table, accompanied with a dozen chairs.
“Take a seat wherever you wish” Torivena said. “I will take but a moment to return”.
I nodded and sat down in the chair closest to me, which was around the edge of the table. Torivena went through another door on the other side of the room, and continued wherever he needed to go. I placed the package on top of the table, and slumped comfortably into my chair. Sitting there, thoughts of my life came about again. For some reason however, I felt good about being where I was. In the course of a single day, I ventured to the upper city, shot and killed several mercenaries, rode in a luxury speeder across Taris and now I find myself sitting here at Torivena’s estate. What a day I thought to myself. This could very well be a new beginning… I wondered if my mother would be proud.
Moments later Rance walked in. He was no longer clutching his side anymore, so I assumed the medical droids treated him just about right. “Hey” Rance said. He then went on to take a seat opposite from me, on the other side of the table.
“Looking sharp,” I commented.
“Yea, turns out it wasn’t much of anything. Once the medic droids applied a bit of kolto to it, I felt whole again.”
I nodded slowly, assuring him that I was listening. After several minutes of silence, Torivena walked in. “Gentlemen. Now that we have assembled here, let us discuss business shall we.” He continued while taking a seat at the other end of the table.
“As you can tell, I am in fact born of nobility. I’ve been here ever since I was born. The Torivena family is a powerful one at that, though we prefer to keep quite amongst society. My family partakes in a variety of activities such as politics, business, military and even, crime. I am apart of an immensely powerful syndicate we have come to deem, the Exchange. And I am here to offer you two a position with us, to work under me.”
Rance and I see didn’t reply for several seconds. When finally I decided to say something.
Torivena smirked as if he anticipated that question, and answered.
“It has become increasingly difficult to find decent services as of late. Many of the former individuals who worked for me began demanding higher payments in the wake of the depression. Eventually most went on to work for my competitors who had much more appealing offers. What they didn’t know until it was too late was each of my competitors would collapse under their own expenses. Allowing for the authorities to shut them down with relative ease.”
“So we’re just some of the replacements you’re bringing in?” Rance asked.
“If you see it that way. Though I admit I have learned something from that incident, that quality is better than quantity. So far you’re the only two I have requested since then. However I’m still quite curious on your decision.”
I sat there, thought about for a few seconds.
“Sure, why not?”
Rance glanced at me for a second, and then looked back at Torivena. Torivena began laughing humorously at my reply, and commented
“Why not!” he continued to laugh, “Davik, I’m already beginning to like you my friend!” He then proceeded to stand up and walk towards me. His laughter began to fade off as he placed his hand on my shoulder and spoke once more
“You shall remain in my mighty company for the time being. I have several guest rooms within my estate. A protocol droid will be sent to guide you to your respective rooms”. He then looked at Rance. “You will stay too, will you not?” Rance replied humorously
“Well the way I see it sir, Davik won’t get far without me watching his back” Rance complemented his statement with a wink. Torivena’s laughter elevated once again “Then its settled!”
I inquired shortly after. “What about this package?”
Torivena responded “Its intelligence on the Republic’s military base here. Its well… valuable for our future efforts.” He nodded, and then took the package and started out of the room “The droid will arrive shortly” he reminded us while leaving the room.
Rance looked at me with a smirk on his face. “Well?” he asked.
“Rance, I think things are gonna be quite different from now on. And by the way its probably going to me watching your back not the other way around” I replied with a slight smile. Rance chuckled for a second as a protocol droid entered the room. I thought to myself, finally I must be on the road to achieving self-significance. For now, I was ready to get some rest for today.