Chapter 1 - Chance Meeting At Naboo
The young dark haired boy had fallen asleep on the bar. His arms were folded with his head lying on them. The long dark hair fell over his scrawny arms covering them like a lions mane. He was a small frail boy and delicate features that made him a look friendly to anyone.
The room was dimly lit with the sun rising over the horizon and into the small window by the front door.
This was a small watering hole on the planet Naboo. The bar was called Trenlak's Run. Renin was a mop boy at the bar. It was owned by his older cousin Trenlak Diggs.
Trenlak had bought the bar 3 cycles ago from a dirty and shady Gungan trader. The price was right but the location was lousy. He had haggled the Gungan down to 50 credits but never questioned the remote location of the old bar at the edge of the Minoskuun Swamp.
Trenlak was tall with blonde curly hair and solidly built like he could wrestle a bantha with his bear hands. He had his little cousin Renin the child prodigy of the family work for free during the slow seasons.
Renin was a bio-mechanical genius. He once outfitted a blaster for a bounty hunter with a intuitive auto-fire. The gun could detect up to 10 enemy targets and fire at all of them without the user aiming once.
Renin didn't like weapons much so he had eventually switched his focus to exploration. He read any tech manual or star ship log he could get his hands on. Renin had mapped the entire sector on the wall of his sleeping quarters. He'd never been to space but he had more space smarts then a smugglers navigation computer.
Trenlak mostly had Renin clean up at the bar. He was too young and light tempered to pour drinks for the hardened patrons who frequented the bat. Renin's small stature and brainy intellect made him the target for drunken bar jokes. That's why he spent most of his time in the back room tinkering with old computer devices. His cousin didn't care about the left over junk so he was able to break anything with no problems.
Trenlak had just walked back into the bar and saw Renin sleeping. He hated seeing the business running slow but more so Trenlak hated seeing Renin take advantage.
"Why is it that I always catch you sleeping on the job?"
Renin started to rise from his sleep and opened one of his eyes seeing Trenlak standing in front of him.
Trenlak continued, "Yeah I'm talking to you Renin. Now get up and act like this is a real job."
Renin picked his head up and looked out the small window. The sun was beaming over the murky swamp so quietly and empty that the insects whispered to blend in with the peace.
"Relax Trenlak. We won't have any customers right away. It takes time. Today will be like yesterday and the day before that. I'm tired of cleaning the same clean spot day after day after day. So I put up signs at the space port about the bar so we can get a real crowd in here."
Trenlak's face started to contort and eventually turned into a smile.
"Anyway, I'd rather see you clean then sleeping at the bar. It's bad for business. And from what you just said we might be busy tonight. Go tinker with those leftover gizmos in the back."
"They're not gizmos. There are all sorts of parts in here. You got refurbished blaster rifle parts, disabled particle detonators and even some scrap droid junk. Your precious workers have been stealing weapon parts from you for years now. Just the other day they took the last part of the canon their building."
Trenlak was now irritated again so he said to his cousin, "You think you're so smart. I know everything that goes on here."
"Obviously not. They've been selling weapons to off worlders for a year now. Maybe you should be selling junk instead of pouring drinks. You know I could probably build a star cruiser from all this junk."
"Then go ahead and build us a star cruiser. I want it to have light speed and a cloaking device."
That irritated Renin. He stood up and started to shout at Trenlak, "Don't you know that cloaking devices are considered contraband in this sector. Are you trying to get me sent to a detention center?"
"Ease up little buddy. I don't even know what a cloaking device is. I thought it was a coat making machine. Why don't you act right for a change? Now get this place cleaned up and don't you ever yell at me again"
Renin picked up his wire headset and strapped it to his head. He tapped the side power button and a sequence of bleeps and whistles echoed out from the headset. Trenlak shook his head while looking at his little cousin like a helpless space nerd. Renin walked over to a broom leaning against the wall and threw it at Trenlak.
"You cleanup." said Renin.
Trenlak was in shock from the bold gesture from his cousin. Renin then took a seat at the bar while saying "And while you're at it, I'll take a double shot of Wookie brandy."
Trenlak tossed the broom behind the bar and started to laugh, "Oh, the star cruiser engineer wants to drink with the big boys?"
Trenlak stepped behind the bar and grabbed a dusty purple bottle off the shelf. "Let's see if you got the Rancor balls to drink with your big cousin."
Trenlak dropped two shot glasses down on the bar and filled them with the purple liquid. Renin reached for the glass and then hesitated. His optical interface attached to the headset rotated forward and down to cover his right eye. Renin looked down into the glass examining it through the optical visor. The headset whistled frantically and started to shake.
Renin talked to himself saying, "It's OK Renin2. I can handle it. I think."
Trenlak looked around behind Renin and asked, "Who are you talking to kid?"
Renin exhaled while he continued to eye the glass. Trenlak put his hand on his cousin's shoulder and continued to tease him by saying, "You're a spineless asteroid worm."
Renin smiled, grabbed the drink and threw it down his gullet with one gulp. "Now I'm a man."
The starship was caught in a black hole. The navigation console was unresponsive. The ship was being dragged into a flat spin. Renin was sitting in the captain's seat watching the stars spin into a blur. In the next instant the ship stopped.
He was back in the bar looking at the ceiling.
"Trenlak, please stop my chair from spinning."
Trenlak was sitting at table playing chess with an old Gungan woman. Renin had obviously passed out for several hours.
"I guess the kid is ready for round two," said Trenlak.
At this point Renin's head was wobbling. He tried to focus with the optical visor but his body took control again and then his mouth opened to push out the most vile and disgusting swamp smelling spew. Renin pulled up his optical visor he called Renin2. He held his head down as he covered the floor with chunks of whatever he had eaten for breakfast.
"OK kid. You had enough. Go in the back and take a nap."
Renin fell off his stool and quickly climbed to his feet. His headset was vibrating with constant beeping as if an alarm is going off. He used one hand on the bar to guide him to the store room door.
The bar had a stronger odor then usual. Renin took a gaze around and saw the bar was packed with all types of scum. This was unusual for the bar. They never had a crowd like this. Renin pulled the visor back down over his eyes and took another look. His visor gave readouts of the number of occupants down to the gender and species of each patron.
Trenlak was playing chess with an audience of about four Twileks. His opponent, the fat Gungan woman, was a known cheat. Her name was Laris Smeega. She was one of the first customers through the door when Trenlak took over.
Laris was a love interest of the previous owner and she had grown fond of the bar or she was waiting for her lover to return.
She was a gang leader of the Tungusla Forest Lakes. She had henchmen all over the swamps that she paid well with her gambling winnings. Trenlak was obviously winning because they were drawing a crowd.
A few drunken Jawas at a near by table were hopping on each others shoulders for a closer look at the game.
Renin's brain was still spinning around the upper galaxy quadrant from that Wookie Brandy. Trying to stabilize his ship before he had another evacuation, Renin had to steady himself to take a closer look at the game.
When he got to the table he could see Trenlak was still in command of his larger pieces and Laris was down to her last soldier.
Renin was analyzing the board with his Renin-2 visor. He could not see any openings for the Gungan woman to take the win but the Renin-2 computer plotted a six move strategy to beat his cousin with just the one piece.
Trenlak's posture was one of cockiness with his hands behind his head. The game wasn't over but Trenlak sure thought it was. A tall stranger approached the table. He was wearing a old tattered cloak and the hood completely over his head. His face was hidden in shadow and as he walked it looked like a corpse had risen from the grave.
Renin didn't pay the stranger any mind and shouted out what was on his mind, "I could program a droid to win with one piece on the board."
That got no ones attention except the cloaked stranger. He turned to Renin and spoke in a whisper, "Can you really? I would pay good money for a droid that could adapt to winning even if the odds are low."
Trenlak overheard and said "Don't go trying to hoodwink my cousin. He's really gullible. All negotiations go through me."
Renin was insulted by the arrogance of his cousin. He felt belittled like usual.
Renin looked into the shadows enclosed in the hooded cloak and said, "I'm a man and I can speak for myself."
The Gungan woman's agitation grew with the focus being taken off the chess game.
She spoke, "Can we finish this Trenlak? I know you cheated and if you think I'm going to pay up after this circus, you're crazy."
Trenlak pushed his chair out in a defensive angle in response to the Laris' words.
The Gungan woman put up her hand and snapped her fingers twice. A short man by the door stepped into the bar followed by three oversized, muscle-bound Gungans. They were carrying staffs which resembled cattle prods.
Trenlak turned to watch the Gungans approach the table. Renin tried to step in their path. One of the larger Gungans said something incoherent and shoved Renin across the room. Renin collided with a table against the far wall. It broke his fall and also knocked him unconscious.
Trenlak jumped in his defense tackling the large Gungan. The other two attempted to stab Trenlak with their staffs but a blaze of red light disrupted their advance. The dark stranger had a red lightsaber held out. Without a word and in the space of a second he cut both Gungans down with multiple slashes from the lightsaber.
Everyone in the bar was frozen in terror. The Gungan woman reached for her blaster but she fell back from the blast to her chest. The blast came from Trenlak's gun. No one had even seen someone react so quickly. But the results were the three dead Gungans.
Trenlak put his blaster back in the holster and walked over to check Renin. He picked up his young cousin who had landed on a table across the room. The dark stranger also walked over to help.
Renin stood up with the help of his cousin . He tried to speak but all that comes out is mumbles that sounded like Huttese. As far as Trenlak knew his cousin had never learned the language of the Hutts, let alone been off world visiting Hutts.
Renin words started to make sense after a few minutes, "I saw a lightsaber before the room got blurry. Are you a Jedi?"
Trenlak looked up at the dark stranger with wonder.
"I am not a Jedi." said the dark stranger. "Well not exactly. If you have heard of Jedi's then you might have heard of the Sith."
Trenlak quickly responded, "I've heard of the Sith. It's never been anything good."
The stranger removed his hood revealing an old gray haired man with a robotic eye in place of his left eye. His left hand was also missing. He had pulled back his hood with the stump where his left hand should have been. Renin and his cousin were able to get a better look at the stranger with the lightsaber. His face was covered in gray hair but groomed well.
"Leave it to the galaxy to only tell half the truth. Can we talk privately please? I have great interest in your young friend here."
Renin's eyes looked like they were popping out of his head.
"I almost forgot I had a hangover."
Trenlak's cousin ran to the store room door covering his mouth holding back his sickness.