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11.03.2012 , 06:35 PM | #26
Chapter 12. Nar Shaddaa: Parting Gifts

Jorgan called me from a little side office in the spaceport. When I showed up I found Jonas Balkar there, too. Jorgan looked pleased, or at least neutral with a touch of extra energy, when I showed up. That probably meant that some combination of extra info on the M1-4X mission or our extra services in Shadow Town had persuaded Balkar to start a search for Jorgan's Deadeyes.

"Lieutenant!" The glib warmth of Balkar's manner when we first met had given way to respect. After his mission support I was inclined to return it. "Walk with us. There's something I want you to see before you ship out."

We talked about nothing important while we walked through the crowded spaceport. Then he rounded a corner and brought us into a smallish warehouse or a biggish supply room.

Where M1-4X was standing, shining in a fresh paint job with Republic-insignia overlays.

The missile turrets weren't out and Balkar seemed pretty relaxed. In fact, he took out a datapad and read off "Republic war droid M1-4X is to be repaired and direct control transferred to Havoc Squad's current commanding officer immediately."

"Balkar. You shouldn't have." I paused. "Seriously, I don't know what other surprises he's been programmed with."

M1-4X waved. "I assure you, sir, my loyalty to the Republic is unshakeable!"

Balkar grinned. "We wiped him and gave him a more trustworthy system image we, ah, recovered from early design sources."

"And the rest? How did you even…?"

"Apparently you weren't nearly as thorough as you could've been." I think that smile actually qualified as roguish. "You really ought to be ashamed of yourself."

I frowned. "I knew I should've brought the flamethrower."

"We don't have a flamethrower, sir," said Jorgan.

In fact we didn't. "Let's get the honorary supply officer on that, eh?" Dorne had earned the position by liking paperwork much more than either I or Jorgan did.

"I'd love to see what she lists as a justification."

"Should be good. Now. This." I took a step toward the war droid, which still didn't seem inclined to kill me. So far so good.

"Unit M1-4X reporting for duty!" said the droid.

"Uh, welcome to Havoc Squad."

"I must say, Lieutenant, I'm very pleased to see you again. Your work in disabling me was incredible. Republic soldiers obviously are the best in the galaxy." He bowed. He actually bowed. "It will be an honor to fight alongside such an exceptional servant of the Republic. Together we will crush the mindless hedonists of the Sith Empire!"

I wasn't sure whether to laugh or…well, laugh. I suppressed the urge, anyway. "You and me are going to get along," I said.

Balkar spoke up. "It's been a pleasure, Lieutenant. Sergeant." He nodded at Jorgan. "I hope next time we meet I'll have something more for you."

Jorgan nodded back. "Just get me a direction. I'll do the rest."

"Come on, Forex," I said. "Let's show you around the ship."

"It will be a pleasure to return to the service of freedom and democracy, sir!"

No matter how bouncy his enthusiasm, I didn't laugh. The sentiment was right on, after all. "We're glad to have you."
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