Raze’s skin tone had returned to its natural pale cream, but it took a lot of effort on her part to maintain it. Oh… no…. was all that she could think as Barrus crossed over to stand in front of her. He crossed his arms. Bad sign…loss of receptiveness, she thought. She would have liked to use more pheremones, but in her experience, that could lead to trouble. And she was in enough trouble as it was. Damn that loud-mouth, hot-headed, Corellian Di'kut!
“I’ve got a … special package I need moved,” Barrus started. “I was going to send it with…” He paused. “Someone less reliable,” he ended up saying. “But I could include it with the artwork cargo as an alternative solution to your ‘companion’s’ demand for higher compensation.”
“Someone less reliable?” Raze tried to read his expression, but it was ambiguous. “Anyone I know?”
Barrus shrugged. “Perhaps. He’s done work for me before. But on his last job, the cargo was delivered in a… less than satisfactory condition.”
Raze cocked an eyebrow. “Customer satisfaction is my primary concern,” she said, turning up the release of pheromones. “Always.” Barrus’ stance softened a bit, and Raze exhaled a tiny sigh of relief. “So, where is this cargo headed?”
“Same client?” Raze asked with a hint of suspicion.
“Perhaps,” Barrus replied.
“But different fee, right?” Rita blurted.
This time, Raze elbowed her quick and hard in the side to shut up.
A fleeting grin flickered across Phee’s lips. “Much different.” He bent closer to Raze, so close that she could smell on his breath exactly what he had had for his lunch that day. Ugh! How I hate the smell of ibbot… she thought.
“Fifty thousand,” Barrus said softly. “In addition to the eight I offered for the original cargo,” he added.
It was a considerable sum for a single job. What’s the catch? Raze wondered. There has to be a catch. “Fifty-eight thousand?” Raze asked. “That’s….”
“A small fortune,” Barrus completed her thought. “Indeed it is, my dear. Indeed it is.”
Raze hesitated. Something didn’t feel right to her. She gave a quick glance at Zam. He looked wary as well. She didn’t bother to look at Rita. She didn’t need to see the smug, victorious look Raze knew she had on her face.
“This ‘special’ package…,” Raze started.
“It’s fifty thousand for the package, no questions asked,” he said. “And that means, no questions answered, either.” He looked at Rita askance. “Deal?” He held out his pudgy, sweaty hand.
Raze took a moment to consider Barrus’ offer. It was very, very tempting, but a little voice in the back of her mind told her to turn it down. However, a larger, much louder voice (curiously, sounding much like Rita’s) told her to take it.
She grasped his hand. “Deal.”
Veni, Vidi, Velcro. (I came, I saw, I stuck around)