[A/N: BOOM! Baby. Okay, I'm back... this one is very brief, but it's been sitting on my computer for months... much like the rest of my stories. Not sure when I'll have the gumption to continue with the rest of this. I have things plotted here and here, mostly for the end of Taris, but it seems like it'd be such a pain to write through the Rakaghouls and then the swoop meet... bleh. The next section should get you through the arena, with a slight twist on the history of the Mysterious Stranger. And thanks to all the people who wrote in with words of encouragement while I was gone! I do want to write this. I just have a hard time working out the story. Waaaiii...]
STAR KILLER, STARKILLER, Part 1
Things take a turn for the strange. The dynamic duo have broken up and an inexplicable species of followers called "fans" tags Raven; making a covert mission above ground more dangerously so in the sparkling confines of Upper City.
TARIS: UPPER CITY SOUTH: 1030 (Day 4)
The current situation is not quite what I expected. I look down at the blubbery bandit who has materialized at my waist, holding what is clearly a fake model light-up saber.
"Aren't you a bit short to be a Jedi?" I ask, trying not to offend.
"Really? You don't think the cloak helps?"
"Well, I didn't think Hutts could use the Force."
"The spirit of a Jedi is not defined by accident of birth nor species!" The little brown blob jiggles in righteousness and actually tries to puff a nonexistent chest. Right.
"Can I help you?"
"Yes! We are your welcoming committee, Mysterious Stranger!"
"Yes! We are your biggest fans! I am Hutt Two Three Kenobi and this is my fellow Knight of Taris, Puke Sogplodder!"
I nod politely to the brown-robed Kowakian monkey-lizard on the Hutt's shoulder. He seems significantly far less space-crazed than his blubbery friend. The self-satisfied, happy look on the adolescent Hutt's face reminds me of very wrinkly Corellian bread dough.
"And now I must ask for you to come with us at gunpoint, please!"
"What? Sorry, but I'm a little confused. What happened to the lightsaber?"
The young Hutt is undeterred. He pulls a sleek little custom blaster number from some secret fold inside his cape. "This way, please," he reiterates, and I shrug, raising my arms and placing them behind my head in the traditional prisoner surrender position. Where else could I possibly ever want to be other than at the far end of a spoiled Hutt kid's blaster?
We take the back walkways to an inter-Tarisian elevator, and the doorman greets the young Hutt with familiarity.
"Seriously, though," I whisper out of the corner of my mouth, "are you even allowed here in Upper City?"
"Our Da kinda has some pull with the locals," The Huttlet blushes and puts his free hand to his face, and something about the gesture triggers something. This weren't no junior tub ballin' to emulate his gangster papa. I blink. Had I really missed those lines of pastel purple over the eyes? This wasn't a Huttlet, it was a Huttette!
"Does he, now? Heh. I guess I'm not surprised. You Hutts probably have the balls of the whole Tarisian aristocracy in your wallet, right?"
Amazingly, her already dark complexion drops several shades lower. "Yeah, Da's got something in his grips, alright." She broods for a minute and then lowers the gun. "But it's not the Jedi way," she finishes sulkily.
"Da… is that your name for your teru?" I ask. I like to think that I'm up to speed on multiple galactic ethnicities, and Hutts are good people to know about. Helps to know your way when dealing with gangsters and thieves ready to rip you a new opening at a moment's notice. Never know when reminding some Gungan guards of their dearly cherished sacred water days might buy you a day's pardon to crack the security code on your cell door, for instance.
"I dunno, what's a teru?"
"Chuba rima di hatta?" [Do you speak Huttese?]
The Kowakian, who has been silent up till now jutts in. "Ne. Ki chuba da naga? Bana ne rima di hatta. Mindi ya bana Jeday" [No. Kids these days. Don't know their own ass from their homeland. Thinks she's a Jedi.]
"Bana tila a je kalia duga." [Boy, that must be frustrating.]
"Ji uyari men yo nara." [You have no idea.]
"What are you two talking about!" The Huttette, who is still holding her tiny—and I'm noticing—pink blaster in her other pudgy hand, waves it about.
"Just saying that you don't sound too happy with your dad's operations."
"Oh. Yeah. Well, you know, typical Huttese gangster."
The elevator doors swish open, and I'm non-too gently prodded in by the edge of the Huttette's fake saber.
"So, uh, where are we going again?"
"Da's got a job for you. Says you used to do real well fighting for him."
My forehead twitches and I try not to shit my pants. "You want me to fi-wha-ba-fiba-do-what?" Mentally, I'm already slapping my own forehead before the words are even out.
She shrugs, but her eyes are filled with a not-exactly-sane-obsessive kind of light when she looks up at me. The purple marks on her eyes, I note, are really kinda disgusting. "I was really serious about the welcome, though. We really are your biggest fans!"
The elevator slows, and comes gently to a stop.
"I don't suppose I get at least one comm call," I ask, as a sliver of light opens between the doors.
"No, sorry. I think Da would disapprove."
Great, I think, just great.
"Mal, I want to name it Moxy Fi."
"You can't name it Moxy Fi."
"You just don't name ships Moxy Fi, Revan!"
"I think it's catchy."
"You also think hiding our identities as cross-dressing smugglers is a good way to get into Mando space."
"It's working so far, isn't it? I think that Keldorn Ordo was quite taken with you, too."
"That's not the point!"
"Well, what is?"
"It's called the Ebon Hawk."
"But I'll call it Moxy Fi."
"It's a stupid idea, Revan."
"Mal, when are you gonna learn that there are no dumb ideas, only poor executions?"
"Oh, that's funny, because I thought dueling in the Tarisian arena was a pretty frackin' dumb idea."
"Yeah, but we won enough to buy Moxy when I took that fall, didn't we?"
"Do I even need to remind you of why we are running away from Tarisian gangsters right now?"
"Are you trying to start another game of questions?"
"You're just trying to get a rise out of me aren't you?"
"Is it working?"