Join Date: Jun 2004
[[this was a short story I started in the JediKnightSeries boards, but since i have migrated to SWG I thought i would continue it here. its from a posts and I just joined them. sorry, up front, for its length. Enjoy]]
the Cantina stunk, but they all stank in Mos Eisly. The same kinda stink you get when you let Bantha hides get wet and dont dry them. Cerceuil had been in worse. the filter in his helmet was helping, but you just cant escape some things and this was one of them. He had made inot the bar when the sounds of buzzing and chiming filled the narrow hallway. the droid.
"get back to the Toljen Se and wait. I wont be long." the droid was a "gift" from a past target. It was nice little astro droid that aided in keeping the ship in order and ensuring the right calculations for hyper flight. It made a few beeps in protest and headed back out on the street.
turning back towards the bar a few were looking at him. It wasnt often that an Imperial Royal Guard showed up on Tatoinne even if the Empire was in ruins. In fact, non of the regulars even had a clue on what he was. Cerceuil didnt care one way or the other. He was here for a job and unless one of them was to be the target it didnt matter to him.
"Can I help any of you gentleman?" the faces turned back to their drinks and the band played on. It was a nice little tune. It had been years since he heard music and it was accepted with open ears. Moving to a table towards the back of the room he noticed a lovely Twi'lek dancing for tips. Such facinating creatures and so graceful. He had overseen the destruction of a Twi'lek settlement on some numbered moon when he was a rookie Stormtrooper Captain. at the time their screams did nothing to him, but, now, he hears theirs and hundreds more when he sleeps and typically wakes in screams of his own. his are different, though, he isnt screaming for his life, but for his soul.
The contact was late and Cerceuil hated waiting. the price was going up. The Twi'lek had finished her dance at the other table and began heading toward his table.
Her name was Bue'tro den and had been dancing in and around Mos Eisly for a number of years. She wanted to join a troupe and move to Naboo or Courscant, but she needed to make a name for herself before any self respecting troupe would even consider her. Her form was sleek and slender and her Lekku nestled gently around her neck. the clothes were nice, but a bit more revealing than she wanted them to be, but she knew that she had to do something for tips.
"can i dance for you?" the figure that sat at the table was in full crimson body armor and a sleek helmet covered his face. she wondered, just for a second, on what he might look like under the helmet. would he be hansome or grotesque? human or alien? in all, she figured, it didnt really matter.
"I heard you the first time." Cerceuil slide a more than generous tip in her direction. He loved their form and this one was particularly attractive. Grabbing the tip Bue'tro began her movements. what she didnt know was that under the helmet she had made an Imperial Guardsman smile if just for a minute.
Yalbo Nacklta was late. He knew the contact would be upset and he knew the price was going up, but a bumbling droid forced him to stay at his job in Labban Palace for three more cycles than he should have and caused his entire day to fall behind. the Rodian darted through the streets till he came to the Cantina where, he hoped, his salvation awaited him. He was a bit uneasy about not having his blaster, but if word was true, it wouldnt make a single shred of difference if he had the blaster or not. If the Guardsman wanted to dispatch him then that was that and there was nothing he could do to stop him.
"i need a breather." walking into the cantina he headed straight for the bar. The guardsman was being entertianed by Tw'liek dancer so he figured he just enough time to scarffle down a bit of Jawa Juice, take a deep breath, and make his way over to the table. besides, he had a strange feeling that the Guardsman already knew of his presence. He was scared, but the lively hood of his family rested on his ability to convince the Guardsman to take the bounty. Soon, he hoped, Guakdo Gjare and his men would be dead and his family would be able to live in peace.
the rodian entered the cantina and went to the bar for a drink. Cerceuil could sense his nervousness, but paid it no mind. This gentle wonder was performing for him and he enjoyed it. The song ended too soon and the Twi'lek bowed and moved on. He caught himself moving his head down in return, but he didnt care. He would have to come back on his own time to see her again, but he was here on business and he expected the Rodian to make haste now that the Tw'liek had moved on.
Yalbo had just finished his drink and wiped his snoot when the dancer finished, bowed, and moved on. It was time.
"has the guardsman ordered anything?" the bartender shook his head and proceeded to the next customer that was waving his hand. Great. He hoped the credits would be sufficient.
"give me two Ulix's, please"
"that will be 18 credits, Yalbo, you sure you can spare that much? howbout some Bantha Juice? much cheaper."
"no thank you, Queekli, just the two Ulix's..."sliding the credits across the bar, "and if you can have her,"pointing to the Tw'liek dancer that was entertaining the Guardsman," bring them to us i would be most grateful. here, here are a few extra credits as a tip." he was spending credits like it didnt stop, but he was limited and he needed to make an impression to the Guardsman.
"sure. they will be over in a just a few minutes." Queekli pocketed the tip and had no intention of giving any to the dancer. and why should he? it was his Cantina.
"youre late." if the Guardsman had any emotion on his face it didnt show in the way he spoke.
"Yes, sir, yes...I know. I respectfull request your pardon for this." this wasnt starting off good and Yalbo could tell. his moisture emmitters began working overtime.
"it will be extra and I dont come cheap as it is. Now, let us get to topic." his words were direct and he could tell yalbo was nervous. that was good. it meant that he had control of the conversation and the Rodian would be more accepting of his terms.
"yes, youre right. I have ordered us something to drink and it should be here shortly." he was visibly nervous. good. Cercueil didnt speak.
"ok. My family, for many years, have been subject to a rather hanous rodian clan from our homeworld. thier clan leader, Guakdo Gjare Saqlidok, has insisted that my grandfather owes his clan many many credits. We have tried paying him, but he keeps upping the call price and, frankly, we are near the end..." relating the story was hard as his family is proud and he hoped the Guardsman didnt think they were trying to skip on a debt, "we have brought our case to Labban, but he sided with Guakdo then placed myself in his service for wasting his time." it was a hard truth and the rodian felt horrible for relating it.
"I see." the matter was trival and he really didnt care. the rodian seemed to be too honest and forthcoming to be making it up. "so, you want me to bounty Labban of the Hutts?. that will be expensive and a difficult ta..."
"oh no, not Labban, Guakdo. my service to the Hutt ends soon, but this torment from Guakdo seems to not be reaching the e..."
"youre drinks..." Bue'tro carefully placed the drinks on the table, "would you like another dance?" the Crimson clad patron had tipped her almost 30 credits and she had hopped for more.
"No." Cercueil did want the beauty to dance and he was slightly angered that the Rodian had used the interest to try and soften him. angered, yes, but slightly impressed, "not at this time. perhaps when our business is concluded." Cercueil had full intention and handed her some credits, "now, if youll excuse us."
Bue'tro was encouraged and rubbed her Lekku as she placed the credits into her pouch and moved away. Yalbos nervousness increased as the Guardsmans attention shifted back to him. He had hoped the Tw'liek would have danced for them and, perhaps, had teh affect of gaining hte guardsmans trust.
"you were saying"
"yes, yes." taking a swallow of his drink the sensation was immediate and calming, " Yes. I would like something to be done about Guakdo. My family has accumulated about 10,000 credits for the dealing of this matter. will that be enough?" the following swollow was long and hard. he made the offer. they had about 2500 more credits to play around with, but he was hoping hte Guardsman would accept his offer.
"ten thousand credits. that may be enough." It was more than enough for a job like this. he knew of Guakdo and Yalbo wasnt the only one that he was ripping off. when the empire fell every shady character with enough behind him came out like Ilipas in the night. He hated beings like that and thats part of the reason he went into this line of work. "Guakdo has many body guards and many in his clan may just take up his position and demand the tribute from you after his death." it was truth and Yalbo knew this, but had hoped that with Guakdo's death the clan may go into dissarray and his family would be forgotten.
"yes, sir. that is a chance, but we are hoping that the records would be destroyed during the event."
"oh my. it seems you would like me to do more than just remove a problem from your life." ten thousand would be more than enough, but Cercueil wanted to determine how far this rodian was willing to go...for his family.
"i will need more resources. the ten thousand may fall short on the resources needed to fullfull your request. an additional five thousand upon completion of the event will be needed in order to ensure that your family will not be bothered in the future."
Yalbo finished his drink, "an additional five thousand?" that was a lot of credits and he wasnt sure the could raise the credits in the time frame. it had taken them almost 3 years to pull up the 12500. his precious wife had worked double shifts in the space port and the rest of the family did the same. damn you grandfather, damn you. "I only have twelve hundred. the additional three will take time to gather, but if fifteen is what you require, i promise you that fifteen will be what you will recieve."
this was an honorable rodian. the decision came before he could even figure out what he was going to say, "Rodian, your family has been under subjugation for a long time and I will not wait any longer than when the job is done for my payment." he stopped to read the reaction on the rodians face. He could see the worry and his eyes shift to his, now, empty mug. "twelve hundred will be sufficient." He could see the Rodians face almost burst with excitement and joy. "however, I will require a bit of service for my generosity." the Rodians face froze. "I have recently come into possession of an astro droid that needs some maintenance. when the job is completed I will request that the maintenance that I require is completed while I attend to other business in Mos Eisly."
Yalbo, without thinking, reached out and grabbed the other mug and took a long swollow.
"yes, yes, sir, guardsman. those terms are acceptible and will be done. If your astro droid requires any service before you leave then i will be happy...oh, yes, so happy to return to my home with it to calibrate and..."
"after the assignment will be sufficient enough. Now, my payment is to be brought to hanger UI-45 and placed in the safety box within twenty four cycles. any time after the expiration and my job will be to deliever you to Guakdo and inform him of our discussion. do i make myself clear?"
"yes, yes. perfectly. your credits will be delivered within the hour. and thank you sir. you dont know how much this means to my fa.."
"im not concerned with that, Rodian. Now, dont you have a package to deliver?" he was tired of the conversation and angered by his generosity. when he first come to this profession he would have never accepted the reduced price and would have demanded more simply for asking for a lower price. that was his conditioning. he was becoming...what was the word she used..."human."
Yalbo finished the mug and placed it next to the other empty one. "im sorry, sir, i drank your..."
"i wasnt thirsty. now, be on your way." the words were clear and the Rodian scurried out fo the Cantina. the twin suns were just setting, but it was the first time in a long time that he took notice of their beauty and the way the breeze washed his skin. He pulled a small box from his belt and pulled out a picture of his wife. holding it to his mouth he closed his eyes, gave it a kiss, and started the journey home. What he didnt notice was the small, but observant droid that was just a few meters from him. it floated only a meter or so from the ground and made note of the targets actions as well as his conversation with the crimsion clad being called the Guardsman. His master would need to know this and quickly. Yaldo had put a bounty on his masters head.
Cercueil watched the rodian leave the cantina. the poor fool didnt even realize he was followed and recorded. All this meant was the Cercueil would have to move quickly and with no mistakes, but, for now, he wanted to see some dancing. He turned slightly to see the Twi'lek finishing up and pocketing her tip. She moved to him and without question and began dancing. The Guardsman just smilled.
Yalbo had gotten the payment into the box in less time than he thought. it wasnt within the hour, but it was still earlier than what was required. His wife was still at work and wouldnt know of the arrangement till later, but he was sure she would be happy. They had been under the thumb of the evil rodian for years and his salvation was at hand. Turning to leave he was met by a small astro droid that had exited the Lamda shuttle.
"hi there, little fella. your master is indeed a generous man." it had long been established that most, if not all, droids possesed some form of intelligence that had yet to be explained. Many were memory wiped on a number of occasions, but a few seemed to escape that full memory wipe and retained a bit of personality that made them up.
beep. wirp. beeep. the droid apparently gave an agreement and continued on its trip to one of the landing legs. Maybe he could give the guardsman part of his payment now and see what he could do for the droid? No. to do so againt the guardsman could put his job at risk. He would wait toll later; when he was requested.
"Keep your master safe, little droid, a lot rests on his safety." the droid made a few beeps turned its head towards the rodian made a few more then continued on his task.
the door hissed closed and R2-Z9 made a slight movement to watch the rodian leave. He had been in service with Cercueil for several months and his treatment was much better than with his previous master. He had expected a memory wipe, but never recieved one and he would work hard in thankfulness. Besides, he was getting regular augments, maintenance, and, soon, his master was going to get him repainted. As a droid he knew his outer appearence was minimal in comparison to the service he provided, but he wanted to look nice. Finishing the task of adjusting the landing shocks he moved to the next leg. These adjustments would make landing in uneven terrain much smoother. If he could have smiled he would, but a couple of nice beeps gave him the satisfaction that he craved.
The lamda shuttle was nicer than the skiffs, swoops, and junk he had worked on before and it required very little. His master had implemented a few programs of a more stealthy nature that he found pleasing to accomplish. He had completed the skematic download from the cities computer network before returning to the landing bay and had uploaded it into the ships main core. The landing shocks was just something to keep himself busy and "earn his keep." His master would be returning soon and, judging by the number of credits the Rodian placed in the security box, they would be off on another mission. His masters weapons would be ready by then. Moving to the last landing shock Z9 reminded himself to ensure that modifications to the hyperdrive would need to be finished soon or they could find themselves drifting dead in space. That would be unacceptable.
The information that was contained in his shell was important and he knew it, but getting the conversation to Guakdo safely was his top priority. Guakdo had many enemies in Mos Eisly and the journey across the wasteland to Anchorhead is dangerous for an unoccompanied droid; especially one of his size.
Stopping by the bazarr, UI-89A retrieved the three data disks he was sent to get. He hardly ever deviated from his provided instructions and it was by chance that he saw the Guardsman and became curious. A curiousness that was increased when Yalbo was seen entering the Cantina shortly after. The Guardsman had a reputation amongst many circles as a ruthless bounty hunter, but his true loyalties were unknown. It was for this reason that all of Guakdo's droids were programmed with the required data to identify him if he were to ever come to Tatoinne. He would get an augment for this. Perhaps a nicer shell or to be implanted into a Probot. Oh, how nice that would be.
Making a scan sweep UI-89A punched himself through the streets fo Mos Eisly and headed towards Anchorhead.
Shifting his weight to the right enabled Cercueil to peer around the cornor without being seen. UI's had good sensors and their programming continually ran checks to ensure that they werent being followed. Apparently, this one was an older model and not as advanced as the ones he had encountered on Courecant; it didnt even realize that a microb had attached itself to its shell and would be the perfect homeing beacon to his target. He could be wrong, of course, and the prob may not belong to Guakdo, but whomever owned it was worth noting anyway. Those droids arnt cheap and usually used for sensitive missions. Why it was following Yalbo remained a partial mystery, but one he would need to find out.
"Excuse me, ma'Lord." The voice come from directly behind him and he cursed himself for being so focused on the droid. His reaction was quick and almost deadly. The saber should have gone through the Bothans neck, but his focus was off. instead it peirced just below his shoulder. The Bothan let out a scream as the pain burned through his body. Cercueil didnt say a word, but only held the bothan up by his cloak; not moving his saber that was still in his visitor.
"AAAAAAAAAAa" the scream made a few heads turn in his direction, but they quickly turned away when saw the saber and the figure that wield it.
"I...aaa...am not....aaa your enemy..." the Bothan tried to speak, but he pain was too great. the humming and the silence of the Guardsman terrified him.
"Is that so?" Cercueil had heard that line before and it always turned out the opposite.
"yes...aaa..please, ma'Lord....the pain is too great" the grimmace on his face only increased as he spoke.
"ahh, yes. Im sure it is." Mercy. What a concept. "Now, I suggest you begin speaking before I increase it.
Tilimate knew the guardsman was speaking the truth. He was stupid for walking up to him the way he did and now he was paying for it.
"I come to tell you about the dancer in the Cantina...aaa," the pain was subsiding, but that was only because the nerves had long since stop sending signals as they had been catarized, "She is in danger...aa....she needs your help."
"What makes you think I care about some Twi'lek dancer" the question was in honest, but truth was he did hold a fondness for her. Why, he couldnt tell or figure out, but he did; and how did this Bothan know?
"I dont, ma'Lord, but I do."
The answer took him by su
.......................˜”*°•.˜”*°•.Brigs • Ahazi .•°*”˜.•°*”˜