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Old 04-05-2008, 05:26 PM   #1
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[Fic] Cantina rat

Jarak Traviss, former Colonel of the two-hundred-and-second infantry battalion of the Army of the Republic, technically still a Jedi Knight, former mentor to a young padawan whose name no-one actually knew, but was generally known as Revan (for a brief period, for he had many teachers), sat in the corner of a small cantina. It was not a particularly pleasant cantina, even by the standards of post-industrial backwaters like Khra’Tuinn, but it would do. One ankle resting on the knee of the opposite leg, foot on the floor slowly tapping a beat distinctly apart from the one blasting out of the amplifiers scattered liberally throughout the room, right arm draped across the back of the bench he sat on, left hand holding a drink, he was a picture of casual, elegant indifference. He wasn’t enjoying his drink; the Murito herbs in his drink tasted like they had been picked some time around the First Jedi Schism, approximately twenty thousands years earlier. But no matter. He wasn’t hear to drink anyway, unlike many of the people slumped on, next to or under the various rusting, stained benches and tables squatting around the pokey little space. He was, in fact, here to meet someone.
Well, he was meant to be. In the event, the person he had arranged to meet had never turned up, and he was left to fester, figuratively at first but literally if he sat in there any longer, in this lost, smoky armpit of the galaxy. He was not a happy man.
an intensely frustrating turn of events. The truth was (and this was something he had avoided rather like the plague with himself lately) that he was bored here. Bored out of his skull, but lacking the motivation to go and find soThe man (or woman. They had not, in fact, left any details. Meeting an anonymous stranger was a sure way to get killed in this part of the galaxy, but he had a lightsaber and wasn’t afraid to use it, so all was well) was a deserter, much like himself. He (or she) said they were a former Sergeant from the Mandalorian Wars, though not one of the Jedi, and they had left a message for him saying, somewhat ambiguously, that they wanted ‘information’. About what, and for what purpose, he had no more idea of than the sex of the person he was meant to be meeting. It was mething more interesting to do. He could explore the Unknown Regions, still an area at least five times as large as the relatively large Republic. Visit the farthest reaches of space, meet exotic people, gut interesting animals and find treasure. It was all the rage. There were also do-gooders who had left the galaxy in search of High Admiral Revan and thousands of men and hundreds of ships he had taken into the cast area of unexplored space, and never came back with. No-one had heard from anyone who had followed them. He could become a bounty-hunter, despite the difficulty that lay in starting out in the notoriously cut-throat (often literally, in the case of some of the more… hands on practitioners) profession. Hell, he could dance tables in bars if he wanted to, as long as he stayed off planets in the Core and inner-rim. They were no-go areas because according the Jedi he was ‘missing, presumed dead’ and if he turned up alive and in rude health, he would have some awkward explaining to do. They would probably take his lightsaber as well, and that would just be a step too far. It was a thing of beauty, with its deep grey matte hilt inlaid with a glossy black ore of unknown, but undeniably exotic origin and appearance. The blade was green, and slightly longer than most Jedi possessed, and if he had it taken from him, heads would roll.
He looked around the interior of the cantina again. In the background, the Bith musicians that were an inexplicable staple of the slum-cantina experience honked and twirled away, fighting to make themselves heard over the drone of the industrial strength, pre-Republic era extractor in the roof, one of hundreds of pipes and cables riddling the space above the drinkers’ heads. The floor was sticky, and had been ever since he had stepped in, approximately four hours earlier. Whenever he shifted his feet he got the distinctly unpleasant feeling of his boots sticking for a moment. He got the impression that this was customary for this joint, a place where the word ‘hygiene’ was a funny-sounding word sometimes heard on the (infrequent and often disrupted) holonews broadcasts. Dust filled the air and choked his nostrils. Where the dust came from and what it was composed if he did not know and had no desire to learn.
It was enough to make a man sigh. So he did.
He shifted slightly, making to haul himself up (feet uttering a soft squelch as he did so) off his bench and trudge out into the night. Keeping his heels up and moving quickly, he was able to make it seem like he was walking through a particularly thick carpet. Made of Quarmian sticking fabric.
As he stepped out, framed in the darkness against the relative light of the cantina, he saw someone detach themselves, with evident difficulty, from their seat and get up, also walking out. This immediately set alarm bells ringing in his head. He retained enough of his training in the Force to remember that coincidences of that nature were never coincidence. The alarms quietened though when he studied the distinct lack of subtlety present in their movements. As he walked quickly down the street, cloak billowing around his tunic, boots clumping on the floor in a deliberately dramatic gesture, he saw his follower step out of the cantina behind, scan their surroundings, completely fail to disguise the fact they were searching for a quarry, and turn to follow him.
So they want to play at that game do they?
He made quickly and quietly for the main pedestrian concourse, a neon-lit strip bathing the walkways in a multi-coloured luminescence. Turning left, he continued further down, occasionally pausing to look in a shop window or ponder the menu of a café, but always moving on, cloak wrapped around his shoulders like a man desperate the get home to his family. He continued that for perhaps a hundred yards, before abruptly stepping into a poorly-lit side alley between two buildings. It led into an innocuous-looking row of low-rent housing and flats. Perfect for his purpose.
He walked halfway down, then huddled into the doorway, hidden by the shadows. Khra’Tuinn had no moons, so it was as good a hiding spot as any. He waited, breathing quietened using a simple Force technique, until he saw a silhouette stalk along the wall opposite.
He knocked the breath out of his follower with a knee in the stomach, but to their credit, his opponent was a much better fighter than they were tracker. He found his leg swept from under him with a low kick, and hit the floor with a very loud thump. He rolled immediately, and felt a boot graze his forehead. If it had connected, he would have been out cold.
Kicking an opponent when they’re down? Not fair!
He jumped up, caught a punch and followed through, punching the phantom person in the kidney, and was rewarded with a pained grunt, quickly followed by a brilliant blossoming of pain in his shoulder. He looked down and saw the hilt of a vibroblade buried in the fabric of his tunic. Now that was just nasty.
He feinted a charge and rolled away, tugging the blade out with a hiss of pain before drawing a hold out blaster from a holster on his thigh. He fired, but the shots went high and wide as he was rammed, the air going out of him with a whumph as he hit a box on the floor, and went over backwards. He was an ex-Jedi though, so he arrested his tumble and righted himself pulling out his lightsaber as he rose. Desperate times called for desperate measures.
The blade hummed into life, illuminating the alleyway with strange green shadows.
The mystery assailant responded by drawing a blaster of their own and firing a few shots, but he batted them into the floor comfortably, advancing upon his foe. He deflected several more bolts away before taking one more large stride and bringing the blade flashing round, severing their blaster and the hand holding it.
They still didn’t scream.
He finished it by kicking them hard on the knee, and felt something crunch underfoot. The shadow hissed and fell to the floor, propping themselves up against an alley wall.
‘And who the hell are you?’
No reply.
‘Answer me.’
Again, no reply. He opened himself up to the force, feeling their emotions. It was an odd mix of fear, determination and a strange sort of triumph. He went in further, and finally he got a response.
‘Get out of my head, Jedi.’ It was a woman’s voice, fairly young sounding. She fair spat the last word out.
‘I think not. I want to know why you were following me, why you exhibited the tracking skills of an intoxicated Rancor and who you are. And if you don’t reveal that information voluntarily…’ He left the sentence hanging.
‘Go to hell, Jedi.’
He sighed. Typical blaster-jockey, as cocky and stubborn as a Corellian market-trader. He was about to reach further in with the Force, when he noticed her eyes roll back in her head. Curious, he looked closer. If this was an act, then she belonged in the best theatres on Coruscant. But no, foam now started swelling up at the corners of her mouth.
It was green.
Not a thug with a grudge, then he thought. Only assassins poisoned themselves to avoid revealing their mission.
The woman emitted one last gasping breath, and her eyes closed. Fast-acting stuff, it seemed. He leaned down to have a closer look at her. She was youngish, about twenty-something he thought, with brown hair brushed to one side, some hanging over one eyes. She was extremely pretty, even in the dim light shed by his lightsaber.
What a waste.
He was about the take the body and dispose of it before he did a double-take at a small scrap of paper. It had a small, military-looking logo printed on it in faded, cracked lettering, but he would have known it anywhere,
The corners of his mouth lifted up in something that could have resembled a smile.
It was always nice to know the military were so keen on tracking him down... one way or another.
* * *
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Old 04-21-2008, 03:23 AM   #2
Bee Hoon
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That's a strange sort of happy:P I like the wry tone of the entire fic, though there's some typos here and there...probably artefacts of editing. Do remove those, and the fic will seem much more polished. The descriptions of the cantina were nice and clear. All in all, good job!

The sun goes down and the sky reddens, pain grows sharp.
light dwindles. Then is evening
when jasmine flowers open, the deluded say.
But evening is the great brightening dawn
when crested cocks crow all through the tall city
and evening is the whole day
for those without their lovers

-Kuruntokai 234, translated by A.K. Ramanujan

[Fic] Shreds of a Dying Belief
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Old 04-21-2008, 08:20 AM   #3
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I couldn't bring myself to write a properly happy story Thanks, i'll have a look through it
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Old 04-23-2008, 06:10 PM   #4
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I agree with BeeHoon...very good description throughout the whole story. I'm not entirely sure it complies with the theme, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

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Old 05-22-2008, 12:02 PM   #5
Jae Onasi
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I liked the description, too. I would have liked a little more detail on the explanation for her following him for color, but this was fine.

Some of the sections are quite long and could use some paragraph breaks to make it easier to read, but otherwise I don't have anything else to add that the others haven't already.

I agree it's an unusual thing to be happy about, but I enjoyed the story.

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