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09.09.2012 , 08:29 PM |
Jedi dance sounds awesome.
It occurred to me to do a major part of smuggler Nic's origin story, spoiler-free. It's a
, 1000 words.
I always have a plan.
In the interests of full disclosure, a lot of the time it's a bad plan, and usually my plan is under ten seconds old and already nearing the end of its viable lifespan in light of the current situation; but the point is, I always have a plan.
That all changed the day they evicted us from our ancestral home. The noble House Atalan of Alderaan was disgraced when Father was caught…was it money laundering, arms dealing, or tax evasion? I can never remember which charge they nabbed him on first. Anyway, the fortune he had inherited from his noble forebears and multiplied through clever dealings with the criminal element Alderaan so likes to deny was wiped out in a single court ruling. Father went to jail. Mother took me and my big brother to some awful dive in Aldera City. Wouldn’t live on charity, she said. We would live in some grimy apartment listening to Mother crying all day instead.
I was fourteen.
So you see, the plan about me finishing my education and growing up into a nice noble lady and marrying that guy from that other noble house? Out the window. It was only mediocre as plans go, but there had been a certain comfortable, financially solvent security to it.
I tried to talk Mother into getting a job somewhere, or divorcing and finding a smart marriage with the kind of guy who would want a noble name attached to himself even if it was a little tarnished, but she wouldn't hear of it. I tried to talk Deckard into doing something useful, since as a healthy eighteen-year-old he could go to work anywhere, but he just seemed paralyzed from the trial and the move.
I couldn't figure the shock-and-despair thing anyway. It's not like they never noticed Father's dealings. I know I'm the only one who ever showed an interest, but it still ticks me off that they swore 'til the end that they had absolutely no idea how his business success came about.
So yeah, I lost a lot of prospects. And a house. And my father, who taught me just about everything I know, except about being a lady. (Mother did a good job with that part; it's not her fault I left it at her doorstep.) And I couldn't get Mother or Deckard on board for a recovery plan. And the shabby little apartment in Aldera City was miserable.
So I did like Father taught me. I worked on making a bit of my own luck.
It took a little research, a number of rejected and disconnected calls, some outright slicing, but I finally got a holofrequency for one of Father's contacts, Lorne. He was a Mirialan, slouching into middle age, smiling, avuncular. Skilled with a vibroknife, they say, with a well-hidden but serious mean streak; you didn't want to get on his bad side.
But I wasn't on his bad side. Hell, I was the cute fourteen-year-old hanger-on of one of his best business contacts, a very loyal, very discreet one, one who made sure Lorne got away clean during the investigation. All that, plus I'm naturally adorable.
So I stared at my holo for thirty seconds or so, psyching myself up. The career switch I was contemplating was huge, and yeah, it freaked me out a little. But Father always said never 'em see you sweat. I told him once that ladies don't sweat, they glisten. (That's Mother's claim, anyway.) He messed up my hair and said I should never let 'em see me glisten, then.
So I worked up a brave face and called. Lorne picked up and immediately looked…cautious. "Miss Nicolana. Look, it's nothing personal, but I got nothing to say to you."
"Not looking to make a paper trail here, Lorne. I'll make it quick, I'm looking for a job. If you or Boss Ozma have an opening, I'd like to talk."
"You're…looking for a job?"
"Yeah. 'Disgraced noblewoman' just isn't doing it for me. You know I've been watching Father's dealings ever since I learned how to sneak, and I can tell you I learned how to sneak way before he thinks I did. I know some things about the business, I know blasters better'n half the people currently working for Oz, and I will be very, very happy to pull my weight if it means getting off this planet."
"Well, I won't fault you for lack of guts."
My heart was thumping, but I kept going, because staying where I was wouldn't do and this was my only way forward. "Please. If you don't need any kind of thief, slicer, gunman, loudmouthed distraction and/or shill, then get me in touch with Oz. I'll make it worth your while. Got certain artifacts reliably appraised at ten thousand credits if it'll get me talking to the right people."
Lorne goggled. "I don't believe it. You, Miss Nicolana of House Atalan, are offering to sell me stolen antiquities?"
"They're not stolen, they're legitimately mine. Sort of. Or would've been if I'd asked Mother or Father before I swiped 'em. I guess technically they were supposed to be impounded with everything else, but if the authorities were that sloppy on inventory, I can't be held to blame."
"Does your father know you're up to this?"
"Nuh-uh. We haven't exchanged a word about you or any of his contacts ever since the arrest. I'm here on my own account, Lorne. Tell me you can do something for me."
"I don't have the time to train up a kid in my business, but I can get you a meeting with Boss Ozma."
"That's all I need. Arguably stolen antiquities can be transferred at your earliest convenience."
"Honestly…" Lorne shook his head and laughed. "I didn't realize you'd been taking notes during your father's meetings. Once you're settled with Oz, stay in touch, would you? I'm glad you're getting off that rock."
"Can do. Thanks, Lorne."
"My pleasure, Miss Nicolana."
Better get the new career started off right. "Please. Call me Nic."
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