((Greetings fellow fan-fantics! I am the humble ScwortzForce and here I post my first work upon these sacred threads. I spent a day and half plotting, storyboarding, lite researching, writing and editing what I could from word. Course there are bound to be a few errors, no one work is perfect espeically beginners. The motivation behind this was the recent Ven Zallow server scare almost a whole week ago. I have a few characters there and feared the worst. So I wrote this to perseve what I think is the essence of an imperial agent who works freelance in the infamous landscape of Nar Shadda; the smuggler's moon. I ask that you all read and enjoy what I have posted here. Happy reading.))
Tug'kil tapped on the chronological meter band that was normally rested in his coat pocket. 12:09pm. Late already. Tug had other appointments waiting. His business was information and on Nar Shadda information was more valuable then all currency in the known galaxy. The Twi'lik played with the smoke stick in his mouth; his teeth bore down on the filter as it was carried end to end of Tug's grey lips. Before him stood the 8th ward; major trade district now turned neon sign graveyard. When something was of no use anymore it was dumped here. Speeders, ships, droids, people. Once gleaming skyscrapers now serve as stone heads to a metropolitan grave. Perfect for the meeting Tug'kil had in mind.
A dark crimson speeder descended on orchard bridge; where Tug'kil stood having his smoke. The Twi'lik stared out into the ruinous wasteland before him as two lumberious gangsters crawled out, carrying a small Aqualish who didn't seem at all at ease with the precarious situation he was in. Little choice he had in the matter; his feet were encased in half a meter of carbonite and a black hoody rested on his head. Tug'kil gave one last puff before discarding his stick to garbage abyss below. He gave a wave to the gangster and in acknowledgement set the Aqualish down on the pavement like a statue. Then he made a brief inspection before reviling himself to the guest of honor tonight. Some species look generally similar and Tug didn't want to waste more of the evening on the wrong guest. The Aqualish's hands were inspected most thoroughly; Smooth, nimble fingers. Perfect for a doctor's profession.
"Good evening Dr. Puma, Sorry to call you out at such an hour." Tug swept the hoody off the good doctor's hand in a quick swoop.
The Aqualish blinked profusely with all four eyes."<Whe-where am I?! What is this place?!>"
"I hope my associates were gentle when they took you shopping for those pair of shoes your wearing. Not a lot of people get custom made apparel for special occasions such as these." Tug'kil twisted the hoody in his grey hands as he began to pace before his audience. "And such an occasion this should be, what with this being the eve before your trip. Celebrations are in order. Mar'gul, Champagne."
The alien doctor seemed bewildered as the goon who answers to Mar'gul went back behind the speeder to fetch a bottle and glasses. "<Trip? what trip? I've made no plans to go offworld! Do you know who I work for?!>"
Mar'gul humbly brought Tug'kil his desired drink and poured a glass. "Ah. the aroma of a 23 year bottle kept chilled in Bac'chus the Hutt's private cellar. He has good tastes; remind me to send him a Ryloth brand to his collection."
Dr. Puma was speechless. Who was this guy had such favor with his boss. Mar'gul then offered a glass to the Aqualish.
"'Do enjoy yourself, doctor, this party is for your benefit," Tug'kil first swirled the glass before swishing the champagne into his mouth to maximize the flavor of the bubbles. 'Now then, have you packed all your things for tomorrow? Cloths, brushes, your wife's favorite bracelet?"
"<She's not involved with this...this insanity. I tell you now I am loyal only to Bac'chus!>" The glass in his hand shakes slightly. The thought that he could die at any moment felt real with each passing second.
"Loyalty? Whose questioning loyalty here? Is it you Mar'gul? what about you Gen?"
Both henchmen stood silent though Gen had a crooked smile on his face as he looked at the doctor.
"I'm shocked, no appalled, yes appalled, that you think I brought you out here for any other reason than to celebrate. Really, do I look like hit man to you? I get squeamish when I see blood," Tug'kil moved in closer to the frightened Aqualish. "However, I can't speak for the tastes of these gentlemen of whom brought you here tonight; I think Gen may enjoy strangling the life from a person, especially if their of a feminine sort but I'm undecided when it comes to Mar'gul. But as you see now you are still alive so then they must be here for some other reason no?"
Dr. Puma nodded slowly. "<But...why here? This place has been abandoned for years.>"
"Indeed. It makes the perfect spot for a private event. No noise. No light pollution say for the adjoining wards and districts. It's not the promenade but it has a charm of its own. This bridge we're standing on? Once was one of the highlights of Nar Shadda over a standard century ago. Time changes quickly though which why we must celebrate while the evening is young," Tug'kil goes through the motion of drinking when he stops and looks at the good doctor's drink. "Why you haven't even touched your glass. Your master gave me this to give to you and yet you do not wish to share in your lord's favor?"
Dr. Puma nervously tipped the glass to his tusks, mistaken them for his lips and spilled over his casual clothing. Tug'kil walks over puts a reassuring hand on the Aqualish. "These things happen. It's not like your making a secret deal with Republic SIS agents in regards to your work on experimental metal alloys for combat droids or anything..."
The Aqualish froze stiff like the carbonite encasing his feet. His first thought was that of his wife. He was taken abruptly before he even put the key card into the door of their flat. They pounced like Nexu stalkers and whisked him off to the industrial wards. He was kept tied and gagged like a hunting prize. Gen and Mar'gul laughed and joked dirty about dancer girls in the floating casinos while holding down Dr. Puma as carbonite and tibanna gases were pumped and pressurized into the chamber where his legs were clamped. Did they take her as well. Did these animals tie her up and froze her legs as they told dirty stories to one another or did they decided to act one of them out with her as an unwilling volunteer? Puma closed his eyes and prayed she wasn't already here; dead and discarded amongst the refuse of 8th ward. The core of him shivered. He couldn't stop picturing her lying dead with her eyes staring off to the neon lights beyond here. She was once a cantina server, a Zabrak who wanted to leave this moon like it was a bad memory. He told he had a plan, but this wasn't it. He was so careful; the secret meetings, the holocalls, the drop locations at the promenade in the 1st ward. How did it go so wrong.
"'...Personally I don't blame you for wanting to leave. Nar Shadda isn't for the faint of heart" Tug'kill gently took the glass out of Dr. Puma's hands and tossed over the bridge. "Yet she's a useful moon, especially for my chosen trade. You see I'm an information specialist. That means I look for anything and everything that pertains to my client's wishes."
Tug'kil took another drink of the Champagne. "People, places, ships, droids, Jedi, Sith, and most of all data. Sweet data bytes. I'm considered the best if I was ever known to anybody outside my client listing. Then I wouldn't be the best for discretion is key in my business. But enough about me lets chat about you. I have to at least give you an A for effort in your own little spy game but sadly you've watched too many holonovels. You see, I'm Nar Shadda's big brother and I see everything. There's probably not single public terminal that I haven't bugged. Not a hallway I don't have a micro-droid camera at the ready. Oh the things I have on Bac'chus would make even you blush but that's confidential under client privileges.
The twi'lek swirled his glass in casual manner like one would at a real party. "Back to the subject at hand, namely you, the SIS, and that deal of yours. Naive of them to get you and your wife an inconspicuous trip to Alderran via private shuttle but come on any fool can tell you that planet has plenty of republic support. Would have sold it better had you told Bac'chus you were surprising the mistress with off world vacation instead of, what, a doctor's appointment? Anyway as you can imagine he's not happy. He feels betrayed. That's why he sent me."
Tug'kil snapped his fingers within seconds Puma was whisked off the ground and carried to the edge. Upside down, Puma's fear of death returned with full force as he stared at the sprawling debris fields below him. He cried and cussed and begged in his native tongue but Mer'gul and Gen laughed it up.
"You think he'll bounce?" Asked Gen as he peered over the edge.
"20 cred says he'll sink like a stone in the ocean with this much carbonite stuck on his filthy hide"' Replied Mer'gul, the more vagular of the pair.
"<Stop this please. I'll do whatever Bac'chus asks just don't kill me or my wife!>"' cried the good doctor.
"This could have been a splendid party good doctor but you had to be a party pooper. I have other clients waiting so Adieu.' Tug'kil turned away to savor the last drop of Champagne in his glass on his to the crimson speeder.
"Bonjour Monsieur Big Brother."
A whistling sound is heard nearest Mer'gul
Mer'gul couldn't shout for a vibroknife pierced his lungs.
"'What the-" Gen was cut off when another vibroknife sliced open his throat.
Thump went the carbonite shoes on the pavement followed by Dr. Puma's screeching.
Tug'kil wiped around so fast his left Lekku twisted around him. The Aqualish was curled up in a ball where as Mer'gul and Gen laid dying on the pavement. The Twi'lek's right eyebrow began to twitch.
Instinct whipped Tug'kil around again. And again. The malvalunet laughter reverberated off the steel and titanium beams. In the confusion his glass shattered on the ground.
"What the hoth is this?" whispered the bewildered specialist. He inched his towards his coat pocket for the concealed blaster.
"Like a wampa rat caught in search beams and no place to run. Your outside your element Monsieur."
Was this some sort of Jedi mind trick? Two dangerous men, disposed of within seconds and the intended victim is relatively unharmed? Cyborg maybe or a force user. Either case I'm underwhelmed here. Blast that cheap Hutt for not spending more on quality guards. This "ghost" has to be close. 10-30 meters at best. These thoughts ran through the Twi'leks twin tentacle brain. He knew he could either worm his way out or try to district while inching his way to the speeder.
"Whoever you are we can make a deal. You've probably heard this with the conversation with the Aqualish but I'm information specialist. I know things. I can tell you lots of things. You've heard of shadow town? Imps say it's just a holding facility but it's no simple prison. They got genocide programs running daily in there. The Reps got spies and assassins in all the wards. And the Hutts are worse. Their playing everybody so they can suck this galaxy dry of resources to pleasure themselves!"
'Still trying to take control of the situation even when you don't. A true sign of a notorious extortionist eh Rhydol?'
Tug'kil face became distorted after hearing his true name after so long. 'N-no...how did he...'
The dark voice continued. 'It is Rhydol'lushin isn't it? Born in Coruscant's lower districts. Third child of a family of five. Your oldest brother died in knife fight with some gang rivals. Mother had a slight alcoholic problem. Father died from tumor in his Lekku. Began criminal profession as a stim runner then moved on to dealing; targeting not lower district slummers but middle class citizens. Ideal target considering they had money but not enough to afford protection against the likes of you. You found blackmailing your victims to be more rewarding then simple demands of payment for their drug habits. Used any information you obtained to leverage your clients to doing your dirty work. Adopted and changed your dead brother's identity to serve your own means. Now wanted in three republic systems and a possible involvement in a suicide of an imperial estate owner on Dromund Kaas. You been a bad, busy boy Rhydol'lushin. Guess you're not the only information specialist on smuggler's moon nor even the best..."
Enraged, Tug'kil pulled out his blaster and started shooting randomly. 'Show yourself Filth!'
The voice only laughed in response.
"'You think you can play ME?! I've made Hutts kiss my boot leather for comprising holovids involving schoolchildren! Keep the alien! Bac'chus will have him dead before the night is through! Your just a ghost I'll gladly exorcise once I get to a terminal!" Tug'kil, fed up with this game, turned to head back to the crimson speeder. That's when he came face to face with the ghost.
He stood at 1.57 meters wearing a black storm coat with a wide collar and red underlay. A black brim hat and mask obscured his face but the Twi'lek could tell that he was a black skinned human with cybernetic optical implants. He seemed kind of scrawny for an intimating presence. Maddened, Tug'kil pointed the blaster at the ghost's head and grinned insanely.
Tug'kil grew furious and tried to club the ghost. The next few seconds were a blur followed by his sore face hitting the pavement. He felt great amounts of pain all along his nerve points in his body. He couldn't move any muscles. Then felt something being rubbed against hands. A scanner of some type was cataloging his fingerprints and sending them to databases far and wide. The ghost spoke; his voice altered but not as booming as before.
"SIS will be here in seven point five minutes to arrest you for the murder of these two goons and then they'll process you for the half a dozen crimes you've committed once they match the prints to the ones I've just sent them."
Tug'kil spat as he struggled to make words. 'What...what prints?! I..don't...leave prints!'
"I manufactured some based of Birth records from Coruscant and some help from II. You really should have avoided Dromund Kaas.
'" The ghost then picked the blaster off the pave and took out its empty ammo battery. He then preceded to the side of the freighted Dr. Puma.
"Doctor Henus Puma, Expert in metallurgy and geo-sciences I presume?
" The ghost tucked his black gloves into his storm cloak as he looked down on the helpless doctor. The Aqualish nodded slowly, unsure if he was still alive. "Your wife is safe; she was moved to a safe house in the Duros sector over an hour ago. My apologizes for not getting to you sooner. I'll pulled some strings with imperial forces here and they've agreed to transport you and your wife to a neutral planet tomorrow. Whether you both decide to stay there or head for Alderran is your choice but before any of this can happen you must agree to be one of my agents. You must do anything and everything I command you to do is that understood?"
The Doctor nodded. Slightly out of it. The ghost kneeled down and began the process of thawing the carbonite. "<'Who...what...are you?'>"
The ghost rose his head so his red tinted eyes meet the Aqualishs' own. "I am merely but a Pawn.