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Old 09-04-2006, 04:25 AM   #20
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Thanks for all suggestions. This next chapter, well, my imagination ran away with the plot as I tried to develop the tensions that are always around when you make a deal with the devil so to speak. If you notice, I tend to prefer that my main baddies have cold, calculating minds. It just sounds more creepy and a good counter balance to Keegan, the passionate and maybe rash baddie. By the way, the name Keegan, I picked it from the war analyst name John Keegan. Fitting ya think? Also one of my side characters has an interesting name. I wonder if anyone can guess. Well enjoy.

Chapter 6
Nothing is better than the life of a bounty hunter. The life of a bounty hunter is perfect. You find people, kill them, collect the credits and take the next bounty. Yep life seems perfect; at least to the bounty hunter sitting in the corner of one of Coruscant’s many cantinas. Jaqrand, bounty hunter extraordinaire, was considered one of the best bounty hunters in Republic space. He was good at finding people but very good at finding Jedi and it was rightfully earned. In the years after the Jedi Civil War, when there was a bounty on Jedi, he tracked them down, killed them and collected. Even though the bounty was for live Jedi, he didn’t care and brought in their corpses often bearing some form of torture before death. Yep he was the best.

Sitting in his usual corner of the cantina, he wondered what his newest client wanted. All he got was a datapad message to meet the client at this time. He took a sip of his Corellian brandy and watched the Twi’lek dancers dancing a provocative dance but the other patrons were no fools. They knew he was watching the door for someone, possibly a bounty. He sat there in a slouched position, watching. He didn’t have long to wait.

Admiral Keegan stood out like a sore thumb even though he was dressed like a spacer as he walked into the cantina. He wrinkled his nose slightly at the smell of alcohol and cigarra smoke in the air as he entered, looking for his client.

Jaqrand wrinkled his nose at the sight of Keegan. Republics. You can always spot them in a crowd, he thought. He prided himself on spotting fakes and he usually caught wind of Republic Intelligence and lost them before they realized they lost him. He sat up straight and made a motion with his head at Keegan. He hid his disgust as Keegan walked up to his table and sat down. He said, “Well I thought I’d never see the day when the Republic would ask a bounty hunter for help.”

“Keep it down space scum,” Keegan growled, his voice full of obvious disdain.

“Relax Republic. They don’t care,” Jaqrand motioned to the patrons. “They know how to show respect. Drink?”

“No. I got a job for you,” Keegan countered, not missing a beat.

“All business and no pleasure, makes you a dull man indeed,” Jaqrand leaned back in his chair with a smirk.

“This business is of vital importance and right up your alley.” Keegan slid a datapad towards Jaqrand.

Jaqrand picked up the datapad and clicked it on. His face lit up a bit but frowned still. “What’s the job?”

“I want you to follow him and I want you to kill him.” Keegan had been playing with a cigarra in an ashtray. He stopped playing with it and looked at Jaqrand. “There can be no mistakes.” He then stood up, took a swig of Jaqrand’s brandy and turned to leave.

The bounty hunter watched as Keegan left. He smirked and shook his head at the retreating figure. He switched on the datapad again and scanned the information. “Well, well, well. Looks like I’ve got a Jedi to kill.”

Draconis was sitting across from several sentients in a room in the quarters he secured before Senator Amstar returned to Coruscant. He was amused by how much stock they put into tradition by the way they were arguing over something that he couldn’t catch in their language. He wasn’t as adept in languages like some of his people, particularly Kirabaros, but he was able to catch the gist of it and let them argue for a few minutes just to get them into his hands. Once they were finished he began, “I’ve heard that you are very good at what you do; you have unique skills.”

“Can you do more than talk?” the ringleader asked.

“I aim to put those skills to good use,” Draconis said with a cruel smile.

“What’s the job?”

Draconis slid three datapads across to the leader. “All the information is there about your targets. I expect that you’ll inflict little damage as possible?”

“Sure thing. You plan on paying more for intact goods?”

“Like I said when I first contacted you: you will find yourselves the beneficiaries of a handsome sum.” Draconis executed extreme patience. He needed this plan to succeed and it depended upon the three sentients in front of him. He looked at the leader with an intent look, almost as if he was challenging them.

“Alright. We’ll do the job. When do we start?”

“Now. They have already started heading back and someone will be on their tail. Your job is to grab the three on those datapads.”

“Snatch and grab?”

“Yes, though I will tell you now that they may be difficult to obtain. You may have to expect resistance for they are guarded.”

“So they are valuable goods?”

“Oh yes.” Draconis had a cruel smile on his face and his eyes narrowed to black slits that gave him a demonic appearance. The three in front of him had to suppress a shudder. Draconis then proceeded to show them out the door. After they left he went to the table they had been sitting at and began to play with a pen that he had left there. The sound of the door opening didn’t even cause him to flinch. He said still looking at the pen, “I assume that all went well with the hire?”

“He’s on the job though I don’t know why you want him to track and kill your Kirabaros.” Keegan stepped into the room holding the flight jacket he had worn into the cantina. He was slightly disturbed at the calm and calculating manner the Avalonian was exhibiting just sitting there. He saw that there was a sort of malice to his position but he swallowed the feeling right then.

“Didn’t you learn anything about strategy?” Draconis gave him a look that would have frozen the lakes of Naboo if given the chance. “In order to get your true target, sometimes you need a distraction. With Kirabaros having to watch his back all the time, his eyes won’t be watching our goal. The man is good, but not that good.” Draconis spoke in a belittling manner, as if Keegan were a child that needed things explained to him.

“So the whole thing with the bounty hunter scum is nothing but a feint to get the kids?” Keegan asked surprised at how Draconis thought everything through.

“Yes though I don’t think the bounty hunter won’t last long against Kirabaros. The man may have killed Jedi before but he’s never gone against an Avalonian Jedi. I am rather curious to see how long he will last. Would you like to bet on it Keegan?” Draconis gave a sickly sweet smile at Keegan.

Keegan stared, flabbergasted at Draconis’ remarks about Jaqrand. He saw that Draconis considered it as if it were a game and only he knew the rules. Somehow Keegan felt that he had lost control of his own agenda and plans. Sure they were going to be carried out but it seemed that Draconis had taken the reins.

Draconis must have been aware of this for he said, “Relax Keegan. You’re still in the loop as far as everything goes. I just happen to know my people a lot better than you Republic types. Makes sense right?”

“Right. So what about the snatch and grab?” Keegan was all too willing to change the subject.

“They’ll do.”

“I guess there’s nothing to worry about. They’re kids. How much trouble can they be?” Keegan tried to be like Draconis.

Draconis smiled at Keegan in a friendly way. He was amused that Keegan was trying to play it cool even if he was a stuck up, top-notch brass. “We’ll see,” was all he replied.

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