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Mos Eisley - Tatooine


Tarrian Skywalker
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An Imperial credit chip? What the blazes was this?! Chorvat turned it over, inspecting either side of it as he lifted the mouthpiece in order to take another long pull. It didn't give. Lifting his hand, he inspected the piece briefly, then made to take another pull, this time giving it significantly more effort. Still nothing. Stupid thing must've plugged up on him. No matter, he plucked up another hose. Krath Dangit!! His hookah was jammed or something, and with all that Giggledust inside!!

 

He took another drink of his Tatooine Sunrise, having now downed just over half of it, and beckoned for a server. It wasn't but a moment before a shapely Rutian Twi'lek came to tend to him. She had a sultry look about her, though Chorvat hardly noticed at first, instead being a bit overly excited about the condition of his hookah. Bowing her head lightly, she claimed to have a few hoses in the back that she could offer.

 

Chorvat agreed and upon finding a resolution for his problem, noted her form. "I should go wid you t'make sure dat id fids," he countered, taking his hookah in hand, his lustful gaze not departing from her. With a quirky grin, she replied that such assistance might cost a little extra. "No madder," the Rodian replied as he lifted his Imperial credit. Seemed he had money to spare at this point.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Chorvat awoke the next morning on-board his ship, The Rodian Snout and rubbed a hand over his face. The Twi'lek must've snuck out before he awoke, but not without giving him his full money's worth. Krath what a night!! Spice, booze, and lekku... heh. Sitting up, he noted the comm left by the dark-clad humanoid sitting atop a small cabinet. He could definitely get used to getting paid like that. Definitely.

 

The Rodian made ready for the day before taking a seat at his communications station and dialing up the digits given. In his mind, it was pretty much a done deal already. Folks just didn't have that kind of credits thrown at them all that often. So long as the credits kept flowing, Chorvat would keep chugging... at whatever the task most likely. He was finally patched through, "Dis is Chorvat. You hab werk fer me?"

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"Dis is Chorvat. You hab werk fer me?"

 

Draken smiled to himself as the bounty hunter sent him a comm. He had been expecting the call. "I do have work for you if you agree to certain terms. I need skilled operatives who know how to slice computer systems, who can fly combat vessels and follow orders to the letter. The work will be dangerous but the pay is worth it. If you accept you would answer to me or to an associate of mine. "

 

Draken sat back and began to wait for the reply. The bounty hunters response would tell him just about everything he needed to know about him, and whether or not he would be hired. Though if he was going to be hired, he would have to quit doing any and all forms of spice.

E nomini patri, et Fili e spiritu sancti.

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On the other side of the communications terminal, Chorvat winced hard, so much so that his green fingers flexed closed within their fists. Slicing... Computer slicing!! He wasn't all that skilled at it, but if the credits kept coming like they did just yesterday, paying for the night that he'd just had, then sure, he could slice!! OJT (On the Job Training) Baby!! So long as these guys were footing the bill, the Rodian would learn to do anything... or at least give it a try.

 

The Rodian Snout wasn't much of a combat vessel, but he knew how to get around in it well enough, that much was certain. Chorvat had never really had any -real- space combat against other trained fighters before, though he was pretty capable at handling those who weren't specially trained. He'd held his own more than a few times and had taken down his targets, no problem. The would-be bounty hunter was confident in his skills in that area.

 

Third and finally, following orders to the letter. He'd never really had to do that before, having never been a part of a military organization, but it didn't sound too hard. They tell him to do something; he does it. Simple right? Sure. He took a few moments to think all this over. Well, okay, maybe only a few seconds. The credits screamed the loudest. If there was that kind of pay to be had... and steadily, Chorvat would be -all- over it.

 

Depressing the comm button, he replied, "I hab dun dangeruss werk b'for 'uman. I am Ghestslayer. Danger is middle name. Whad are yer 'certain derms' dat you speak of? I am willin' to adree to most anyding." Probably shouldn't have added that last part he thought. Made him sound desperate... maybe just a little. Krath... it was out there now. Gotta be smarter with what I say, the Rodian thought to himself.

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A dark haired beauty with skin the color of the brown stone she walked on came into the bar at a slight limp, resting her hand on the doorway for but a moment before returning to her normal pace toward the bar. Her outfit was black and stood out amongst the vibrant colors of the establishment's wild clientele, but she didn't seem to mind as she cavalierly strode up to the bar aching for a drink.

 

The woman panted slowly to herself, trying to fan the livid heat and beads of sweat from her exposed skin while she sat down atop a sturdy swivel bar stool, but they just wouldn't leave. She seemed to be exhausted and remained quiet for a few moments before her caramel brown eyes met the bartender's and followed his gaze with a single gesture. She'd been here before it seemed and knew what she wanted; it even became apparent that the bartender had seen her enough that it wasn't an issue.

 

She flashed a credit stick in the silent reception between her and the tender and received a reticent nod along with the transaction of a cold metal beverage that she proceeded to drink violently, clapping it to the bar in between swigs.

 

The bartender chuckled a little to himself as he reminisced of their interactions together and proceeded to try and clean one single glass with a particularly dirty part of his apron.

 

Yes, the woman admitted to herself, the people who worked here weren't the brightest, but she still returned time after time for the busy space fairing atmosphere and the drinks. These men surely didn't know their index from their thumb, but if they knew anything proper, it was drinks.

 

Silently she sat with only a few claps of metal to note her presence; silently she watched the scenes unfold around her and pulled at the sensory orchestra that played around her. There was a menagerie of smells playing among the festive notes lifting softly from the din of patrons while they prepared for the ritual of drinking themselves into a coma; laughing and snorting was heard all around as men offered other men challenges of will and endurance as if making themselves sick was anything of a game. The woman did find humor in watching them induce themselves with illness, because they did it willingly, but she saw no point in doing it herself lest her edge be broken. She knew the dance a little too well though and despite her better notions had participated in events like it.

 

It wasn't the only reason she came to this bar though, and it seemed the other reason was walking up directly behind her, slamming its hand on her right shoulder with what might be considered an overly friendly hello; either that, or a rather shortsighted way to lose an arm. Regardless, the woman unsheathed a small knife from her hip that she had been massaging for the past few minutes with her left hand as she warmed to their approach, but let the man keep his neck for now. She hadn't turned to gauge his gender, but given the size and the smell, it was most certainly a man.

 

She paused and heard no answer from the man behind her while the din continued to envelope the pair of them.

 

The woman finished one more swig of her drink and clapped it down once more. This time however, she reached slowly out with her left foot and used the man behind her as a ballast to swing herself forward, alternating the dagger to her right hand and pushing it back up at the man's throat before he could reach his pistol.

 

There were apparently two figures behind her, even though Isabela seemed to only notice one at the time, but she greeted them as if she carried the notion previously.

She looked from one to the other and profiled them quickly before either could speak.

 

One was a scrawny Rodian that seemed extremely irritated at her brash actions toward what may have been his henchman, but she wasn't quite sure. The other figure, the one she was caressing with the blade of her dagger, was a rather large and soft-spoken human. He was the kind of well-muscled brutish man that she recruited for her space crew, but he didn't seem particularly keen with the blade at his throat so she figured he wouldn't be up for the ride.

 

”œWhat do you need?”

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"I hab dun dangeruss werk b'for 'uman. I am Ghestslayer. Danger is middle name. Whad are yer 'certain derms' dat you speak of? I am willin' to adree to most anyding."

 

"Good, while you work for me you will not touch spice of any sort. I have no problem with you drinking when you are off duty, but if I catch you with any form of spice I will terminate your contract with the utmost prejudice. Also there is to be no killing or harming of civilians while your in my employment. Agree to those two conditions and we will have an accord and you will begin work within the week."

 

Draken ran his hands over his goatee as considered what this would mean, if this bounty hunter agreed to the job, there were several more contacts he would have to get in touch with before the week was over.

E nomini patri, et Fili e spiritu sancti.

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No Spice... NO SPICE?!?! Chorvat couldn't believe what he was hearing. Clearly this humanoid had no knowledge of the spices that the Rodian partook of. CLEARLY!! He mulled it over for a few moments, replayed the message, and came to a decision. He would accept the humanoid's offer. No killing or harming of civilians was an easy enough term to work with. Depressing the comm button, he replied, "I ag'cept yer derms an' adree t'werk for you. Standeeng by for furder in'dructions."

 

With that, the Ghestslayer arose from his seat, adjusted his attire, and made to return back into the Cantina. If he was going to have to be off of spice while under this fella's employ, then he would make sure that he got his fill of it today. May as well be the good stuff too. In his mind he weighted the use of either Neutron Pixie or Carsunum... In a cantina like this, Carsunum would probably be the better choice. No illusions. He didn't want to stir up a ruckus over an imaginary foe, heh. That would -not- be good.

 

For the best spice, he would use his best hookah, an ugly thing that was made to look like a Mynock in flight with wings outspread to either side, gaping maw positioned vertically, and the tail serving as the hose from which partake. The thing even had teeth and glowing red eyes that stared from their parted eyestalks, seeming to glare at you while you took a long pull from the tip of its tail... So creepy... He Loved It!!

 

Upon re-entering the catina, he spotted a dark-clad, shapely looking humanoid (Isabela) and took a few moments to gaze lustfully at her form, focusing intently on her posterior before finally clearing his throat and taking a stool one down from her. As he readied his hookah for a good smoke, depositing a good amount of Carsunum within, he spoke to himself in Rodese, "Nice figure you have." Shooting a glance down the bar, he raised the tail of the Mynock within one hand and stated in his heavily-accented Galactic Basic, "Celebradeeng."

 

Taking further note of another darkly-clad, male humanoid's strong drink, Chorvat pointed down the length of the bar and told the bartender, "I'll hab whad he's habbeeng." Pretty girl to his left, spice in the hookah, strong drink on the way... The would-be bounty hunter half-thought/half-sung to himself: I gotta feeling... that tonite's going to be a good night. That tonite's going to be a good night. That tonite's going to be a good, good night....

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

With twice as many arms as any conventional human being, the warrior named Goro proceeded into the Mos Eisley cantina. He was a mighty character, with a tall frame, four arms, and a top knot worthy of any prince. He pushed the door open with two arms, as he held it open to pass through with his other two arms. He placed one set of arms on the counter top, while he raised two beers into the smoke-filled air with the arms. Arms where everywhere.

 

”œMy name is Goro. I'm wondering if there is any work to be done in these parts. Surely, someone needs a spare hand. Or four.”

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  • 2 weeks later...

Draken's ship landed once more on Tatooine. It had become quite familiar place to conduct certain business and it was for just such an reason that he had returned to this cantina again.

 

”œMy name is Goro. I'm wondering if there is any work to be done in these parts. Surely, someone needs a spare hand. Or four.”

E nomini patri, et Fili e spiritu sancti.

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Draken smiled evilly for a moment as he listened to Goror talk about the places he had fought. "Most impressive mighty Goro. The job I have inmind does involve a fair amount of killing, but you won't be the only one fighting. I am putting together an army and I need capable soldiers who can obey orders to the letter, not to mention capable officers. The pay is good and the benefits are better."

E nomini patri, et Fili e spiritu sancti.

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Shadowlord seemed like a guy who knew how to get things done.

 

”œI would appreciate the opportunity for some gainful employment. Is this work that you can describe, here and now, or is this something that I need to see on site. Either way, I'm in. We can depart when you're ready.”

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  • 8 months later...

What the --- was his problem? The mother---. A little bit of liquid courage and all of these ---holes suddenly become triggermen. Bastards.

 

"Who the --- are you talking to, potna?" Kadafi hiccupped to no one in particular as he stumbled back to the bar, one hand grasping at his zipper while the other manhandled his blaster's grip.

 

They're watching you. One false move and-

 

"--- that!" Kadafi spat as he drunkenly spun around, pistol now in hand. "What the --- is your problem, huh!?"

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Sitting in a corner, Burt Macklin swirled his drink around in his glass, taking a slow puff on a death stick. In the middle of the bar, a man appeared to be about to expose himself. As Yaki drew his pistol on a barstool, Burt couldn't help but chuckle to himself.

 

With his gaudily ringed chubby fingers, he put out his deathstick directly on the table, popped his collar, and slammed the drink back. Burt couldn't help but observe the lack of Twileks and other playthings. Ah well, I can always just steal something fun out of the pipeline. Burt kicked his feet up on the table and closed his eyes for a nap.

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The fellow before him grunted indifferently, but to Yaki Kadafi – a self-styled destroyer of worlds – the sound was an uttered threat as real as any.

 

Shoot 'em!

 

"What the --- IS YOUR PROBLEM?” Kadafi yelled. "Ya see what I'm rollin' with, ---?! Are you brain-dead?!"

 

With a snarl, the drunk fires off a warning shot within the crowded bar – a shot that strikes perilously close to an ol' queer sitting dead in the middle of the cantina.

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Malus sighed and took another sip of his whiskey.

 

"My problem is a drunk who thinks he can shoot straight when he's hammered. Put that away before you get yourself shot."

 

He motioned to the barkeeper to pour the man another of whatever he was having, despite the barkeeper crouching behind the counter and already reaching for his own blaster, or panic button, or whatever he had down there.

 

Plain and simple, Malus didn't care.

Immediately reachable by  charlesjhall@gmail.com

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The laser round slammed right in front of him. Burt fell backwards out of his chair, landing on the floor flat on his back. His head made a sharp crack as it collided with the floor, and his shirt rode up to expose his hairy, protruding gut. A few patrons laughed at his expense, and he unceremoniously collected himself and rose to his feet. However, that took 2 or 3 awkward attempts until successfully completed.

 

Wiping some slobber from his mouth with the back of his hand, he realized his pants had also fallen substantially down. He awkwardly pulled them up with one hand, and drew his blaster with as much confidence as he possibly could. The blaster flew out of his greasy, fat fingers and landed considerably far from him. Nobody even noticed.

 

Approaching the two men from behind, Burt sheepishly rubbed and played with his shirt, uttering out an "Excuse me sirs?" When the two men turned around, Burt was so nervous and startled he broke wind. He cackled nervously and said "I think that one was a bit wet boys. My name is Burt Macklin."

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Kadafi but stood there for a moment, eyes wide as if caught in a trance.

 

What the ---?

 

After a long moment or two, a certain pungent aroma brought the drunk back to life and he composed himself. With an awkward shrug, Kadafi tucked his "pistol" back within the confines of his loins and tossed a few coins in the direction of the barkeep.

 

"Sorry for the mess, gents." The drunk said to everyone and no-one. "The name's Perry Lee, bounty hunter extraordinaire."

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Clint's ship, the Specimen, touched down fluidly on the landing pad outside the Mos Eisley cantina. The obese man wasted no time, hustling towards the establishment, eager as ever for some hopefully discounted food and drink. Hallowed ground that was once traversed by Han Solo and Chewbacca was now subjected to Clint’s fast-food littering, as he barreled forward, hoping no one else would see the petty criminal act. He approached the door, ready to eat.

 

"What the hell is on this menu?"

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"Well hello there, Pister Merry, it is a pleasure to meet a gentleman such as yourself." Burt smiled wide, but was met in return with a blank stare.

 

"Well," he said nervously, "is it hot here or what?" He chuckled nervously, rubbing the back of his head. "I'm certainly not upset by that little blaster bolt, I uh...I'm sure it was just a good natured prank. And if it wasn't no harm no, no foul! That's what I always say..."

 

This man is certainly dangerous, but he IS drunk. Burt made his living off exploiting people based on vice, and he was always eager to jump into an opportunity that could lead to business. Exploiting or appealing to drunk people had gotten him everything in his business life, as well as his love life.

 

The ground slightly trembled, and Burt turned to see who had walked inside. My goodness, that is a fat sonuvagun. After a pause, he realized, At some point, I guess I should change my pants.

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He reminded Yaki Kadafi of his little cousin, William. It was the stank, mostly... a pungent aroma that hung in the air, assaulting those about worse than the drunk and his pistol ever could. Kadafi liked it. With a smile, the drunk took a step back from this Burt Macklin character and offered forth an exaggerated bow.

 

"What the hell is on this menu?"

 

The words weren't Kadafi's.

 

Pistol-fire.

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Clint mentally weighed the menu items that were displayed on a chalk-dusty board above the cantina counter. However, he would never weigh himself. Not again.

 

“I’d like some cheese fries,” he bellowed out, to whatever or whomever was behind the counter. “Large. A beer. Large. And how about something else that’s also fried? Maybe thrice-fried. Onion Rings? Large. And a glass of water.”

 

Clint waited for his order to manifest. Strange characters in the establishment were causing a kerfuffle. The hefty man tried not thinking of them in racial terms.

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  • 4 months later...

Surprisingly for a planet with such historical significance as Tatooine, a mention of this world was generally followed with a joke about dust, sand, wretched hives and villainy. The Switchblade, currently masquerading as a Barloz-class hauler with its illicit transponder suite, lumbered in for a landing at a groundside docking bay at a leisurely pace far slower than the rocketing velocity that it was capable of. Properly paranoid of the underworld that was known to thrive in this city, Armiena kept a close eye on the rooftops until the Switchblade had cleared the maw of the landing port. Even still, Armiena was quick to pop the seal of her interceptor and enter the city streets, least an overlooking assassin try to end her life with a mortar or a similar weapon.

 

She must have made a poor choice in docking berths, because Armiena was almost immediately swarmed upon by the activity of a busy market when she entered the street. All manner of alien races (some of which she couldn’t even identify—impressive for a woman who had lived on Coruscant and served as Jedi Grandmaster) and smells competed for attention and breathing room, and Armiena found herself carried away by the activity. The next few minutes were a daze, and the woman could only focus on making sure that a pickpocket didn’t attempt to make off with her weapons or gear while merchant after merchant and smell after smell forced their way into her personal space. And that heat... the veteran warrior was half certain that her armor would end up slow-cooking her alive before she managed to find her contact. It certainly didn’t help the smell.

 

 

She was shoved in the back by a long-suffering Rodian burdened by a clutch of annoying children into another cart, where a pair of humans was arguing amidst the squalor of vermin-infested comestibles over something called slaw—whatever the hell that was.

 

 

“I WANT MY SLAW!” “YOU HAVE YOUR SLAW, SIR!”

“I WANT MY SLAW!” “YOU HAVE YOUR SLAW, SIR!”

“I WANT MY SLAW!” “YOU HAVE YOUR SLAW, SIR!”

“I WANT MY SLAW!” “YOU HAVE YOUR SLAW, SIR!”

 

It went on like that for a while, before the stench all but physically hurled Armiena away and back into the stream of sapience. Right away another alien that looked something like a Hutt, but made out of spoiled tomatillo sauce and cream cheese, towered over her and thrust a pointy stick in her face. Unknown to him/her/it, a Jawa was picking bits off of its flesh and eating them.

 

“FROGS! GETCHER DELISHEEOUS FROGS!!! THEY TASTE OF YUMMY OIL!!”

 

Armiena thought fast. “I’m… in the… middle of some important calibrations can-it-wait-you-hideous-thing?”

 

“THAT’S VERY RUDE! WAIT WHERE ARE YOU GOING?”

 

But she was gone. Armiena had started to learn and began to clear her own path through the crowd, trying with some success to adopt an aura of a Holonet tough-guy (in reality, the constant frowning and hunching over merely made her look constipated.)

 

Finally, a human so sleazy that Armiena felt unhygienic in his presence grabbed the woman by her shoulder and pulled her close.

 

“Wanna buy some deathsticks?” He leered at her. Armiena resisted the urge to retreat and wash her hands.

 

“No, I don’t want to buy your deathsticks. And that is such a cliché.”

 

“They’re… organic.” He took in a deep breath of his lit merchandise and exhaled in her face. Armiena felt nauseous as the inhaled smoke stole away a few months of her life.

 

She decided that she’d had enough. She’d been jostled around and treated like cattle for too long. She’d been “accidentally” bumped into at least five times by pickpockets who had been subdued by liberal application of her “angry-mother” glare. No less than eleven months of her life had been wiped out of existence by inhaling the fumes from the marketed “food” and narcotics. And to top it off, those blasted fracking suns kept burning her alive, boiling her eyeballs and destroying the complexion that came only with living on starships for waaaaay too much of her life.

 

This called for drastic measures. Her expression morphed into the sort of Kubrickian stare that had recently been adopted by gritty action heroes and Holo-game villains. Her posture widened into a stance for combat, and her hands went to her lightsabers and twisted a dial near the blade emitter. And she lowered her voice, down into a low alto and adopted the growl of a life-long deathstick smoker and howled: “KILL YOU AAAAAAAAAAALL! YES! RUN! RUN FOR YOUR WORTHLESS LIVES!"

 

Spang-hiss! Her lightsabers, aimed towards the heavens, vomited forth identical crimson blades.

 

All hell broke loose. Carts were overturned and homes were broken into in the crowd’s rush to get away from the madwoman. A couple of people, who clearly had given up on life at this point, just curled up and started gibbering pleas for mercy as though they had just witnessed Ktulu rise from the sands. A whole bunch of merchants were trampled before they realized what was happening. Someone might have actually died, trampled in the stampede. When the crowd had dispersed a little bit in a few seconds, Armiena caught a glimpse of a tiny Jawa who was running for his life as quickly as his/her stubbly little legs could carry their owner. Naturally, it was screaming that traditional Jawa-ese scream of terror.

 

“UTINI!!!” [Translation: “OH HOLY MOTHER OF GOD RUN! The crazy *censored* is a *censored* Sith! WHY WAS I CURSED WITH SUCH TINY *censored* LEGS!!! ]

 

And in the space of ten seconds, Armiena successfully cleared the farmer’s market of Mos Eisley. It was a terrible day for localvores everywhere.

 

“Damn. I think I just racked up a few Dark Side points.” Armiena felt pretty bad as she surveyed the deserted street. Those left behind were still whimpering in fright. She stepped over an overturned cart that had once contained a wealth of some unidentifiable spiced meat. "Still, handy, these.”

 

Armiena closed down her lightsabers and returned the weapons to their homes. Heading down a side arterial street, she wandered around in search of her contact. That, or shelter from the heat.

 

Before those stupid, fracking suns turned her into smoked Jedi

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The dark robed figure, a sight aside himself under the twin desert suns, remained the only one in the market when the dust settled. Leaning against a wall with a long stalk of some sort of grass to pick his teeth, not a shred of skin belonging to this dislocated figure fell prey to the harsh rays of light. When brandished a lightsaber became, he remained unmoved, unaffected by the symbol of absolute carnage and mayhem. Of course the thoughtless mob would jump to Sith when it came to undisciplined lightsabers. None would dare take the time to think otherwise. The galaxy at war for generations past had denied them that privilege.

 

Only when the Jedi started down the wrong path, directly away from him down a back alley headed Force knows where, did the robed figure break free from his wall mount.

 

"Jedi!" Echoed a voice off the walls of the narrow alley. "Do you know where you're headed? The path you're on is dark and dangerous. Tread too far and you wont be able to stumble your way back."

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Miles outside of Mos Eisley, the Dark Lord stood at the mouth of a grand cave hidden in the shifting sands of the Dune Sea. A great storm months past had uncovered the entrance, yet not even the sand people had trespassed into this venerable and secret place. How long had the rock face seen the light of day this time about? How long had it been buried in the first place? Only time and inquisitive minds could tell. Whatever lay asleep deep below Julio felt he needed to traverse this great mystery, the very thing that consumed his thoughts and visions on the trip to Tatooine. Try as he might to concentrate on the meeting ahead with the former Grandmaster, this cave was the only thing he could think about.

 

For a long, arduous hour under the baking suns Julio meditated outside the cave trying to derive its secrets without committing himself to a spelunking expedition, and to some degree it yielded results, though nothing along the lines of which he had hoped. There felt to be an entire ecosystem down there, self sustained and closed off from the world for what had to be centuries. Flora and fauna alike thrived despite the cruel nature of the world above, things never before imagined on a planet like Tatooine. Why had the Force shown him this place? What was so important down here as to draw his direct attention, something no underling could handle?

 

The curiousness of it all seemed too much. With time he could surely divine purpose with concentration and meditation, but ever since he had consumed that filthy Hutt's mind the idea of sitting still for so long was maddening. His heart burned to discover the secrets, drove him to step where he would have never bothered before. Worst yet, what if there was nothing in this cave but a few forgotten plants and dumb beasts? What if the only thing that drove him so intently to this spot was an unhinged mind fixated on the shiny bauble? No...No, he urged himself. This had to be something. His feet had not left the path yet. This must be important.

 

This is what I want. What I have decided.

 

His very first step inside the wondrous cave was met by an echoing roar so deep, so loud, yet so far away. Julio couldn't help but ease his furrowed brow and let his wolfish grin spread wide.

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The moment the undetected stalker warned his quarry, Armiena’s blaster pistol shot into the palm of her gauntleted hand and scanned the alley, its owner’s feet tracing an orbit as the woman searched for her pursuer. How had she not detected the spy earlier? Was he hiding under the veil of an ysalamir? Force-Sensitive? The voice wasn’t known to Armiena, but there had to be all manner of Force Sensitive assassins who were skilled in cloaking their presence from the senses of their peers. She kept scanning her surroundings for any ripples or stagnant bubbles in the Force, searching for her tail.

 

Out of this murder hole. Her paranoia leaping to all manner of hopefully erroneous conclusions, Armiena stretched out to the Force and let it carry her legs far above the alley with a seraphic leap and clamber up the walls of one of the adobe buildings that hemmed her in.

 

“I might not know exactly where I'm going, but I am a very dangerous individual. Show yourself!”

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"I'm right here." Followed the voice, just now turning the bend in the alleyway. "You have nothing to fear from me. I am simply an acolyte ensuring my Master was not walking into some underhanded Jedi trap."

 

The robed figure dropped his cowl to show the fresh face of a teenage human boy. He couldn't have been that far past his term in schooling, yet his face held the weary years of a veteran of the front lines. Be it his time with the Sith, or perhaps his charge under the Dark Lord personally, the recent year had not been kind to this poor lad.

 

"I can see now you travel alone. If you will just follow me."

 

On queue a speeder stopped just at the end of the alley where the two of them had entered, without pilot or any other passenger. "It will take some time to get to the Master's location, so if you are in need of any provisions now would be the time to acquire them."

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Armiena’s finger, previously resting on the trigger guard of her blaster, wandered onto the trigger and began to squeeze when the interloper showed himself. Her aim automatically corrected when she realized that her target was shorter than expected… and she realized, the spy’s smaller stature was due to the fact that he was a boy, not even out of his teens. She almost dropped the blaster out of horror—a few more seconds, and she would have started shooting and then interrogated the corpses. The kid even had a few blemishes from teenage acne on his face. Could he even drink—no, was he even licensed to drive or fly?

 

Her grip relaxed and she returned the weapon to its shoulder holster, but Armiena was still wary. Children could also be dangerous if trained or… brainwashed, but they generally lacked the experience that adult warriors accumulated by surviving their years. She dropped from her perch on the alleyway’s wall and fell to the ground, spryly coming to her full stature after absorbing the landing from a Force-assisted height.

 

“Jedi trap?” Armiena raised an eyebrow, glancing at the speeder that had just arrived. “Now there’s something of an oxymoron… unless the Order has changed that much while I was out on the Rim.” The Jedi had never exactly been subtle in their making of war, almost always being forced to react to incursions or recover when one of their members was turned by the Sith. The Jedi could be vicious at times, even ruthless, but deception certainly was not their strong suit, especially under her leadership.

 

Armiena gave the speeder a cursory inspection, not bothering to disguise her glance under the craft’s fuselage for the uncharacteristic bulge of a planted charge. “I’ve brought a canteen and a couple day’s worth of ration pills, but aside from my weapons… I didn’t come prepared for a long journey.” True, aside from the massive, military-style canteen that Armiena had secured just above the curve of her hips, the woman was little more than a walking weapon, positively festooned with lightsabers, grenades, and a simply indecent number of knives tucked away wherever they could find purchase on the surface of her armor. She came prepared for an ambush in the city streets, not a venture out into the planet-sized desiccator that was named Tatooine. “How far will we be from… civilization?”

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