Working Corellia was a bit tricky with the Black Suns in charge, but in spite of that it was real nice that things felt kind of normal for a while. Seedy hotels, backroom deals, drinking in crappy cantinas, griefing tourists at the pazaak table… I can even ignore this nagging feeling that it’s all gonna go to shit again on Selonia because we’re all just so awesome.
It all started with Catrinna. I got her name from a friend of a friend of a friend, who told me she could help me move our Imperial speeders. We showed up at what looked like her dive bar, but she lead us right into the back to this super classy sabacc table. Now, sabacc really isn’t my favourite game. I gambled my good skifter away ages ago after a few too many glasses of quenya, and when you’re playing the game on someone else’s turf with their friends it’s almost always rigged. But it wouldn’t have been polite to refuse. Even though the buy-in was really, really high. I’ve been trying to teach Santos how to be a better card player and I guess he thought that was as good a time as any to try his luck.
We actually weren’t doing too bad, but it became clear really fast that Catrinna was determined to completely empty our pockets before she’d do any business with us. In the end we walked out with four thousand credits each for the speeders, but she’d taken everything else we came in with AND put Santos and I at a pretty big deficit to her. Instead of letting us just pay her off, she asked us to go do a job for her. We can’t afford to be in even more debt and it’s not like we had any other good way to get off Corellia, so we took it.
Catrinna wanted us to “borrow” some junky old freighter from an “acquaintance.” It was docked with this huge CEC transport ship and one of the executives was on board. This would have been a problem for lesser beings, but luckily we’ve got a really tall blue guy with a military uniform on our side. And he hasn’t put on too much weight to wear it. With Callia and Qurzer pretending to be his aides, I told the guys working at the CEC ship’s loading bay that I was there with a representative of the Chiss Ascendency and they were finally interested in making a deal with the CEC. That got their attention real fast, and we were lead in to meet with the guy in charge. That conversation was mostly boring, but it covered for Callia while she slipped off to “get Santos a drink” in order to scope the place out.
That guy took off to oversee the takeoff, which left us free to follow Callia’s lead to a docking tube. At the bottom of a ladder we found this shifty-looking human just kind of … hanging out. Santos was still playing “too good to speak Basic,” so I talked the guy up. His name was Palob and he was there to do something or other for the CEC boss upstairs.
Palob invited Callia and I aboard his ship, probably thinking he was just gonna get to have fun killing time. I’ve been inside a HWK-290 once or twice before so I got this idea to ask him to show me how to fly it. The thing with the 290 is the copilot seat is in front of the pilot instead of beside him, which means your hands are hidden. So while he was flirting and bragging and whatever I just popped my breather into my mouth and triggered a knockout grenade. A few minutes later we had Palob locked safely in a box in the cargo bay and we disengaged from the CEC ship just before it made the jump into hyperspace.
Our next stop was Centerpoint Station, where we were supposed to meet Catrinna’s contact Draal. Turns out the job was the Corellian Shuffle! I only know a handful of beings who’ve pulled it off successfully, like, seriously the prestige alone would’ve made me interested in the job, even if we had to do it in some loser’s junky old ship. We had a convict, two shipments of spice and an expat to deliver through this carefully-plotted series of microjumps. It’s a good thing Santos has been teaching me a bit of piloting because he had his hands full calculating the jumps for us, although Palob woke up when I repeatedly didn’t do so great at docking with one of the ships we had to meet.
Things went pretty smoothly up until Callia announced that she wasn’t okay with delivering glitterstim spice. Honestly neither am I. Like I’ve done it before. I’d do it again if I had to. But I don’t like to touch that stuff – slaves usually have to mine it and glitterstim is REALLY bad. But we had a deal, right. When it’s creepy Force stuff, she’s in charge. When it’s smuggling stuff, I’m in charge. Well, me and Santos. Anyway our reputations were on the line – we’d said we were going to do it, we needed to wipe the slate clean with Catrinna, and also we were well on our way to having bragging rights throughout the whole sector at least. So I might’ve snapped at her to sit down and shut up and then let Palob out of his box to carry crates with us… whatever.
It ended up being the right call anyway, because some stupid pirates had dropped an asteroid right on our jump path as we made the final microjump. It helped a lot to have two legitimate pilots in the cockpit as we made our escape. There was no way we were going to stand and fight with our one little gun against three ships.
We made it to the final drop point so fast we actually set a brand new record in the sector! That’s gonna be worth something the next time I have to deal with someone like Catrinna… Palob was surprisingly reasonable about the whole thing and even offered to let us all tag along to Selonia with him. We kind of wanted to head there with Qurzer anyway. The thing is, he mentioned he has a briefcase to deliver to a Trandoshan named Nossk.
Maybe that’s just a really common Trandoshan name but I have a bad feeling about this. Especially with what I know now, about how easy it is for someone who’s Force sensitive to go bad… part of me just wants to avoid him, but if Santos wants to chase him down of course I’ll back him up. And keep him from doing anything too awful. I need more specific information from Callia. Obviously it’s bad if he kills Nossk in cold blood but what if he just hurts him a little?