"Travels of the Hutt"
Nal Hutta: Hutt homeworld
Within the massive halls of Nogga the Hutt's palace, father and son say their goodbyes.
"It is time, my son, for you to seek out your fortune, to establish your own empire as I have done." Boomed Nogga, his voice echoing in the vast, vaulted ceilings.
Tarsulla looked up at his father with big, bulging eyes. "I will add honor to your name father, I will serve our clan well."
Nogga unleashed a huge grin that swallowed his gigantic head. His turquoise skin rolled in great wrinkles as he beamed at his son.
"I know you will son." Replied Nogga. "Spend your money wisely and you will go far. Cease those who are of service so as to multiply your fortunes but do not forget to pay them. Remember, a mercenary cost money, but a friend is free."
The young Hutt listened attentively to his father's advice. More than anything in the galaxy, he wanted to please his father.
Having slithered down the great halls, the two Hutts arrived at the landing platform on the terrace. High above the endless swamps, Tarsulla gazed at the green landscape before him.
He would miss the beauty of the bogs, but he would make do.
From above, a sleek, bronze shuttle eased down onto the platform, its repulsors blasting away clouds of dust.
Tarsulla turned to his father. "Well, it is time for me to go…farewell father." His eyes welled with moisture. He fought to hold back a tear.
Nogga leaned in and gave his son a warm, slimy hug. His stubby arms patting the sides of his son's slender frame.
"Remember to eat son, you are far too skinny. It's unhealthy." He jested.
The young Hutt grinned, turned toward the shuttle, and wormed his way forward. Two Vondran servants loaded his luggage onto the craft. As he reached the boarding ramp, he gave one last look at his father before leaving.
And so began his journey, one that would take him to greatness among the Hutt Clans.
However the rise of a Hutt is never an easy one. Many obstacles were laid before him. And so begins his tale…
Chapter 1: "Starting Out"
The ride to Nar Shaddaa was a short one. A simple shuttle ride to Nal Hutta's moon, no more than 10 standard minutes. Tarsulla got a quick look at his beautiful, bog ridden world amongst the stars before he was quickly engulfed by the thick smog cover of the 'Smuggler's Moon.'
"We are approaching landing bay 2c42, Nogga's private pad. Touch down in five." Quipped the shuttle's pilot.
Tarsulla wriggled on his hydrofoam cushion. He was anxious to begin his life's work. And he was also very nervous.
Gently the silver plated shuttle eased onto the spacious landing platform. Its sleek ramp jutted out as the engines' whine died down.
As he slid down the ramp, Tarsulla noticed the armed guards. Some were patrolling the perimeter, others standing by doors and entryways, and four were waiting for him on the pad.
"Greetings Tarsulla." Replied a stout, armor clad, Weequay. "We've been waiting. Follow us, we'll show you your quarters."
Bowing his massive head as far as he could, which wasn't much, Tarsulla accented to the Weequay's request and glided behind his armed escort.
"My name is Sol, while you are within the walls of this compound I will look after you. But once you leave you're on your own." The Weequay spoke in a rough, gravelly voice as he turned his attention to his fellow guards.
The other three, also Weequays, fanned out around the Hutt, providing a circle of protection.
Uneasily, Tarsulla pondered the nature of this security. "Is this necessary?" He asked.
Sol's rough, deeply wrinkled face emitted a harsh grin. "The Hutts rule this world but they compete amongst themselves. They don't like competition and right now your open game." The other Weequays chuckled to themselves.
Carefully, Tarsulla mulled over these new events. He had never thought about the danger of beginning his new empire, at least not so early in the game. His bulging eyes glanced around at the distant roof tops and windows. Each one seemed like the perfect spot for a sniper.
His muscles spasmed in a brief moment of discomfort.
Sol seemed to notice. "Don't worry, it's very difficult to kill a Hutt with one shot. More likely they'd try and blow you up.' The grizzled Weequay let loose another sinister smile.
Thinks were beginning to look bad.
Tarsulla's quarters were impressive. A spacious audience chamber led to a shielded balcony where the view was magnificent. Kilometers of sky lanes and skyscrapers could be seen as far as the drifting smog banks would permit. People wandered across skywalks and turbolifts in a constant swirl of motion. The city was teeming.
"A guard will be outside your door at all times. A droid will be here in a few moments, he will attend to your needs." Sol turned and headed for the door.
Hesitantly, Tarsulla almost stopped him to ask where he was going but thought better of it. Obviously the Weequay had better things to do than baby sit some Hutt. So be it. Hopefully the droid would be of more help.
Right now, he was hungry.
Two hours passed before the droid arrived.
A moment indeed. Grumbled Tarsulla.
"I am at your service, o' gracious one." Replied the tinny voice of the droid.
Tarsulla eyed the droid and found himself dumbfounded. He couldn't tell what kind of a droid it was.
Definitely not a protocol droid. He thought.
"What kind of droid are you? You don't look like any protocol droid I've ever seen." He replied.
The dark blue, almost black, droid tilted back it what appeared to be amusement. "Why I am an interrogation droid, but I assure you I am very capable in handling the needs of a prominent Hutt, such as your self."
Interrogation droid! Tarsulla was stunned. "How did-"
But before he could finish, the droid interrupted him. "I know what you are thinking, how did an interrogation droid ever end up in the role of protocol." The droid's eye sensors seemed to intensify their brightness for a moment, much like a blink. "Your father, the great Nogga, found my interpersonal skills to be quite amusing. Since my main function is as interrogation, I am familiar in many forms of communication, including physical mannerisms and brain wave activity. And unlike protocol droids, I am free to use hostile force if necessary or if commanded to do so."
Tarsulla could have sworn the droid boasted of his capabilities with a tone of pride.
"Alright, what is your name?"
"My name is 61MDK." Replied the droid in his cheery mechanical voice.
"Well MDK, I'm hungry. Can you cook?" Asked Tarsulla, his stomach was starving.
"Why certainly. What would you like?"
Without an instance of hesitation, Tarsulla said, "scuzzi spits."
"Ah yes, that is Huttese for scurrier tips. I'll have the chef scrounge some up. Would you like any particular sauce or maybe desert with that?" Inquired MDK.
"Sweet sauce and Pyollian cake, uh two Pyollian cakes." Drool seeped out of the Hutt's mouth at the mere thought of food.
"Very well. I'll be back shortly with your dinner." MDK scooted out the doorway and down the hall.
Now I need to plan. Thought Tarsulla. First thing first, I need a place.
Gracefully the Hutt slid across the smooth polished floor and over to the data terminal in the wall. With his stubby little arms, he punched away at the keys.
-Search- real estate
-One moment please…
As the results fanned out on the screen, Tarsulla quickly chose the first tab. Navigating through the site, he found a listing of available locations.
Garage, shop, tenet, tenet, warehouse, ah, Perfect! Old cantina, slight repair, discount. Tarsulla skimmed over the words skipping down to the price: 32,000 credits.
Now the question was whether he could afford it.
He pulled out a data stick and placed it into the terminal. A window popped up displaying the Munn Intergalactic Banking logo. Entering his pass code, he accessed his account.
Over the years his father had set up a savings account for his son. Traditionally all Hutts would leave their parent's side and venture forth into the galaxy and each was given a small sustenance to begin their fledgling empires. But no one ever discussed the amounts of such sustenance.
Looking at the bank account, Tarsulla was relieved to see that no less than 400,000 credits were at his disposal. More than enough. He was elated.
In a blur of motion, he completed a transfer of credits to purchase the cantina. After filling out several forms, the transaction was complete and the terminal notified him that the Official Galactic Records of Ownership had updated their archives to acknowledge the purchase.
"Perfectly according to plan." Beamed the Hutt, smug in the ease of his actions.
The door slid open and MDK entered with his food. A long cart rolled into the dining area, carrying along
with it the spicy aroma of sautéed scurrier tips.
Making his way towards the banquet of food, Tarsulla noticed several other droids carrying in two crates.
Ah, my luggage. I'd almost forgot.
Without out another thought, he dove into the delicious bits of grilled meat. Each juicy chunk was drenched in a thick sweet sauce that rolled down the Hutt's bottomless throat. His short fingers groped into the piles of meat, stuffing it into his face.
MDK watched in fascination as the Hutt gorged himself in the steaming mounds of food. It never ceased to amaze him that the quantities ingested that would kill any normal being seemed to have no effect at all on a Hutt. If a metric ton of food was dumped from a speeder truck, some how a Hutt's gargantuan stomach would find room for it. Even poison seemed to do little to upset their appetite.
After pillaging through half of the delicacies before him, Tarsulla seemed to slow his eating, having quenched the bulk of his rapturous hunger.
"MDK, as a Hutt beginning my empire I have made my first purchase, a cantina. I will be needing to construct whatever repairs and modifications that may be necessary and after that I will need employees and supplies for the business." He paused in though. "And I will also need security."
"And you need help in doing these things." Added MDK.
Tarsulla nodded, another handful of scurrier tips went into his mouth.
"First you will need a manager, someone with experience in running such an establishment. I will inquire to see what sort of sentients are available and will have them come here for interviews. After that, you can work with him to acquire the rest. As for security, I think I can round up some possibilities." MDK's voice hummed in anticipation. The art of dealing pain was one of his specialties, who better to thin out the ranks of security personnel.
"This will work perfectly, MDK. You are truly a marvel." Boomed Tarsulla in his rich, hearty voice. "I can see why my father chose your."
The droid was pleased with the compliment. His eye sensors glowed in response.
The next day MDK arrived with the first wave of potential cantina managers.
"Good morning your excellency. Are you ready to start the interviews?" Asked MDK.
"Yes let us begin." Replied Tarsulla.
Having already planned out today's activities, Tarsulla arranged a raised dais in the audience chamber so he could command and air of power during the interviews.
The entrance door slid open and a pale skinned Umbaran entered the room.
Dressed in a simple lavender tunic and trousers, the being seemed comfortably at ease. "My name is Ral Tanos, I heard you were interested in hiring a manager for a cantina."
Silence followed the crisp, articulate enunciation of the Umbaran's words. Tarsulla allowed that silence to continue just long enough to unsettle the seemingly confident Umbaran.
In perfect basic Tarsulla asked, "Well Mr. Tanos, what kind of experience have you had in this field?"
Taking a moment to formulate his answer, Mr. Tanos replied, "I operated an establishment on Coruscant for three years. In so, I was in charge of the cantina and the business' gambling facilities. After that, I went on to open up my own cantina which was successful for seven years. I sold the cantina for a large sum and took a much needed vacation. I am now ready to get back in the business, as they say."
"It sounds like you know what you're doing." Replied Tarsulla. "Out of interest, where did you take your vacation?"
"Ahh…the Kendamari Casinos are very nice I hear." Chided Tarsulla. "Guess the house took more than you would of liked huh?"
"So how much would your services normally run?"
Tanos gazed at the ceiling trying to put a proper figure to what he thought he was worth. "Per week 5,000 credits."
"Oh, but that was on Coruscant. Here on the Mid Rim prices are much more reasonable." Tarsulla savored his moment. "I think 1,500 credits is very lucrative. More than enough for you to continue to play the tables and still pay off your loans to the Hutts."
Tarsulla had hit the nail on the head. Tanos was an addict. He sold his business, gambled the credits in the casinos, and lost it all. But like any addict, he couldn't quit. So he took a loan from the Hutts running the Kendamari Casinos and now was desperate for credits.
"Two thousand." He countered.
Very desperate. "Fifteen hundred…plus another five hundred in credit at the tables."
A bead of sweet rolled off the Umbaran's bald scalp. The desire, the need to gamble, was making him shake. Such a skilled and talented being brought so low, Tarsulla almost felt pity. Almost.
"You start work tomorrow. We'll go over the property and discuss plans." Tarsulla motioned Tanos forward. "I think we will do very well together my friend."
The Hutt reached inside of the red silk vest he was wearing and pulled out a billfold of paper credits.
"Take this as a gift of friendship." Tarsulla watch a smile stretch across the Umbaran's chalky, white face, "Don't spend it all at one place."
Greedy shaking hands snatched the handful of credits. "Good doing business, your excellency." Tanos replied, eager to get rid of the credits now burning a hole in his pocket.
Tanos slipped out the door.
MDK approached Tarsulla. "Would you like to see anyone else?"
"No, I think the Umbaran will do." A big grin spilled across his pale green face. "His people's talent with mind control will come in handy; I think."
"What about security personnel, would you like to see any of them now?" Asked MDK.
"How many do you have outside?"
"Three, but I-" MDK was cut off before he could finish.
"Just hire them." A big yawn creeped out of the Hutt's mouth. "I think I'm going to take a nap."
"Very well, master." The droids blue jointed limbs squeaked as MDK left the suite.
The next day Tarsulla and Tanos rode out to the cantina in one of Nogga's landspeeders. Sol was kind enough to lend one out, seeing that the Hutt was in some need of protection.
The three guards Tarsulla ended up hiring were something less than desirable.
One was a Rodian. Most of his kind were known to be good hunters. In turn hunters had skills that were well suited for work as a bodyguard. He could handle a gun, kill or maim when needed, and would possess some degree of fitness.
Then there was a Gammorean. A stocky, muscular brute of average height. Not particularly bright but Gammoreans did make efficient brawlers. In a hand-to-hand situation, they were hard to beat.
Lastly was a Wookiee. Tall, strong, and notorious for their unbridled fury, a Wookiee was a prized warrior to have on your side. People would often back down from a fight at the mere sight of a Wookiee.
But there was something slightly off about them. The Rodian, for instance, had a bright red mohawk and a plethora of facial jewelry. He looked more like a punk teenager than a bodyguard. And the Wookiee
had only one good eye, the other was glazed over in a pearly white film. His hair was also clumpy with bald spots, as if he had mange.
As far as the Gammorean…well he actually appeared to be normal. But even a Givin wouldn't give two out of three odds on this bunch.
Regardless, Tarsulla and his entourage made their way to the catina.
"This doesn't look so bad." Replied the Hutt as he gazed over the front of the establishment.
Big glass panes, tinted pitch black, covered the building's exterior. A large neon sign hanged above the door spelling out 'Drensul's Pub' in Huttese. Two windows were cracked and another completely shattered, but beyond that, it looked promising.
"Let's take a look inside." Tarsulla eyed both ends of the street. "Bensha, you stay out here and guard the door."
The Wookiee bobbed his head in agreement while unslinging an old, modified, Czerka blaster rifle.
Sliding through the entrance, Tarsulla carefully inspected the inside layout.
A long bar stretched the entire length of the left wall, nearly 25 meters in all. Numerous padded bar stools sat in front of the bar, some of them lying on their side. The floor was a glossy black surface with a mirror polish. Above it was a high ceiling crisscrossed with lighting fixtures. An open area to the right looked to be a dance floor but there wasn't any stage. Oddly enough there wasn't any tables or booths either.
"Your excellency, it seems we'll be needing to order some furniture." Commented Tanos.
Tarsulla agreed. "We'll make that are first order of business." He slid toward the middle of the room and pointed toward the right wall. "I think a stage would do nicely over there, we can set booths in the back and tables out in front of the bar area."
They all looked around, nodding their heads, and as a group, headed for the back.
Through a set of double doors was the kitchen area. Silver metal counters and tables mixed in with white durasteel cabinets and no less than 20 industrial stoves made up the bulk of the room. A red tiled floor complemented the white interior.
Tarsulla looked over at Tanos. "The kitchen looks good."
"We'll need pots, pans, utensils, etcetera, plus all the consumables." Tanos pointed toward a large gray metal door on the back wall. "That must lead into the freezers."
Opening the door, a frigid breeze slammed into the group.
Inside the walk-in freezer was a simple white interior. Meat hooks hanged from the ceiling and metal shelving stood in neat little rows off to the side.
After inspecting the rest of the building, including bathrooms, closets, offices, and the like, the Hutt and his entourage went back to front sidewalk.
All clear, roared Bensha.
Tarsulla looked at Tanos. "What did he say?"
"I believe he said there's someone over there." Tanos pointed a finger at the building across the street.
Boosting his sluggish form up a full half meter in height, Tarsulla took action. "Roke, go check out that building. See what's over there."
The red mohawked Rodian strolled across the street with a big, phrik plated blaster in hand.
That's not what I said. Bensha stuggled to make the Umbaran understand. The aging Wookiee gripped Tanos' shoulders, the coast is clear, there is nobody in that building.
Eyes growing wide, Tanos' voice trembled as he spoke. "Bensha says there's a…beast…inside the building…I'm not sure what he means."
Shifting anxiously, Tarsulla boomed "Roke, stop!" The Hutt turned to Xu, the Gammorean, "go help him, this could be trouble."
Now the Rodian and Gammorean approached the building together. Roke took one side of the door, while Xu, armed with a shockhammer, clinged to the other side. Xu bashed the door in with his heavy sledge and Roke darted in, rolling for cover.
Moving room to room, the duo looked for intruders. Opening doors and tossing around furniture, they were unable to find anything out of the ordinary. But then, out of the corner of Roke's eye, something moved.
"What's that?" Asked Roke.
Looking around, Xu noticed movement in the shadows of the dimly lit room. He turned toward Roke, patted his shockhammer in his hands, and gave a low grunt.
Roke raised his BlasTech and took steady aim on the dark silhouette.
Two red beams seared across the room as the blaster fired, kicking up chunks of the floor as they hit.
The 'thing' darted across the floor toward Xu.
Lifting up his shockhammer, the Gammorean slammed the heavy sledge down, narrowly missing the target.
"Quick! Don't let it get away!" Cried Roke.
Blaster bolts bounced around inside the building's first floor. Muffled crashes sent dust and debris floating out the broken windows. Flashes of light could be seen through the crummy, soot stained permaglass of the building.
At first, Bensha continued to grumble about the Umbaran's misinterpretation. Now, seeing all the ruckus across the street, the old Wook began to laugh.
Tarsulla watched his wrecking crew with satisfaction. His two hired guns were doing a magnificent job. Whatever was in there didn't stand a chance. Soon he added his own deep chuckles to the Wookiees gargled humor. Even Tanos managed a smile.
The building in front of them was being thoroughly demolished.
"What was that!" Barked Roke as he hugged a corner in the hallway.
Xu looked over at his comrade and shrugged.
"There, there!" Roke pointed at 'thing' moving in the dim light of the hall. "Look at those teeth!"
In a hoarse roar, Xu charged forward, swinging his clumsy shockhammer in the air. With a mighty blow, he brought the sledge down onto the floor. A loud crunch echoed as the plasteel tiles shattered from the weapon's blow, spitting shrapnel out in all directions.
"You missed!" Roke shouted, pointing at the scurrying object as it zoomed into a nearby room.
The Rodian ran in, gun blazing, bolts flying wild. Chunks or permacrete fell off the walls as red beams streaked across the room. Along the floor the 'thing' continued to dash around wildly for its life.
"Stand still you little-" Roke was cut off by the thunder of his blaster.
Dodging behind boxes, the elusive 'thing' managed to avoid the blaster fire.
Xu came in just as the shooting halted. Reaching into his belt pouches, Roke pulled out a new blaster cartridge and shoved it into the BlasTech's hollow grip.
Suddenly, amidst the haze of the burning room, the shadowy object turned toward the two aliens. The creature belched a horrid screech and charged towards them.
Fumbling with his power pack, Roke struggled to reload his blaster.
Looking at the speed of the oncoming beast, Xu knew he needed to act fast. He took his shockhammer and hurled it out toward a nearby column. The sledge collided with the durasteel beam, folding it over, and collapsing it. With the destruction of the column, the entire ceiling fell in bringing down tons of plaster, permacrete, and hydrofoam.
The sewer rat was dead.
As the dust settled, Xu and Roke slowly rose to their feet, picking off chunks of the second floor. A wicked smile crept across the Rodian's snout. Xu smiled too. The beast was slain.
"I think we got it." Replied Roke in a nasally voice.
Rummaging through the debris, Xu found his shockhammer. Above him was a giant, gaping hole in the second floor.
"Come on," urged Roke, "let's get outta' here."
The two smash brothers proudly exited the building, leaving a swath of destruction behind them.
"Good work!" Bellowed Tarsulla, "now that everything is all clear-"
Bensha roared enthusiastically.
Without prompt, Tanos interpreted. "He concurs, your excellency."
"Well then, let's go. We have work to do." And so the motley crew left. A good day's work gone to pass, a building on the verge of collapse, and a lone rat put to rest.