Katellan and I stepped back into The Quick Fix (as Katellan and I have spent the last few years turning my ship into a traveling swoop bike garage, I felt the name fit. You may congratulate me on my cleverness later. I’m kind of busy right now). The man with the gun walked in behind us and closed the ramp. As soon as the ramp clicked back into place, I was getting ready to point out that he was only tough because he had a blaster. Before I could, however, he put the blaster back into his holster.
Growing up in the non-rich sections of Coruscant means you have to be able to take care of yourself, so I knew how to fight. It also taught me intimidation tactics and this one was good. By putting his blaster away, he was daring me to make a move. He was saying that he didn’t need the gun to take me out. The smirk on his face told me that he’d be disappointed if I didn’t try for the blaster, and I hate disappointing people.
Once again, I woke up with a headache. This time, however, I didn’t wake up in my bed. I was on the bridge. Katellan and Envy sat in two of the other chairs, while the man stood behind Katellan. “I apologize for that,” he said. “My name is Nalith, by the way.”
“Excuse me, Nalith, but I don’t accept your apology. You wanted me to do that, which means you wanted to do that to me.”
“That was a test. I do not want any particular outcome.”
“Yes. A test. When I first started in this business, I didn’t put the blaster away and every single person hit me with ‘you’re only tough cause you have a blaster’ or ‘put down the blaster and we’ll see how tough you are’.”
After he said that, he looked at me and arched his eyebrow to silently ask me if I was going to say one of those things. “Please,” I laughed, “give me some credit. I’d never say anything so cliché.” (Shut up! All of you!)
“I was tired of hearing it so I devised this way as a test. There are two types of people in this galaxy, Torr: those that can overcome their fear, and those who can’t. You, for example, are one of those that can overcome their fear. Even though you knew it might me pain, or death, you went after my blaster anyways. I admire those people, and I know that I now have to watch them.
Katellan on the other hand, is one of those who can’t. I don’t like these people. They are ruled by their fears, so they can never know who they really are. If they let their fears dictate their actions, then they are limiting what they can and cannot do. Thus, they will never find out what they are truly capable of.”
Great. Out of all the sleazy hitmen/mercenaries/bounty hunters/whatever the hell Nalith is, I get stuck with the guy who studies philosophy. What’s next? Is he going to start reciting poetry?
“There are four outcomes to my test,” he continued. “One, they, like Katellan, do nothing. Two, like you, they go for my blaster, but fail. Three, they go for my gun and get it. See? Not only is it a test for you, but it’s also a test for me. Eventually, I’ll come across someone who is better than I am. I just haven’t yet.”
“That’s only three outcomes.” (I’m good at math)
“Since nobody but me has thought of this yet, I’ll keep it to myself for now. If we get through this situation without any further incident, I’ll go ahead and tell you. So,” Nalith said, turning his attention to Katellan, “why don’t you tell Torr why we’re here?”
“Ok,” I replied, “but no more psychoanalysis. I’ve already had two throbbing headaches today. I don’t need a third.” After a pause, a thought occurred to me. “Wait. Are you the one who stunned me?”
“No, it was not me. The one who did it is in this room, however.”
Envy is programmed not to harm me, much to his dismay, so that just left….
“Katellan? You stunned me?”
I can hear you thinking, “Torr, with deductive reasoning skills like that, shouldn’t you be one of the top detectives in the entire galaxy?” Yes, dear reader, I could be. It is because of my reasoning skills that I’m not, however. Using reasoning, I deduced that, as a detective, I’d spend most of my time chasing after murderers when logic dictates that the smart thing to do is run away from murderers. My new friend Nalith has proven that point.
Anyways, I looked over at Katellan after asking the question and he refused to look me in the eyes. Instead he hung his head in shame. I let the silence go on for a few more seconds before I finally broke it. “Why’d you stun me, you slimy piece of a Hutt’s backside?” (On a side note, some people have said that I don’t have class, for some reason. Personally, I think they’re just jealous that I’m so much better at everything than they are. Stupid bantha lickers…..)
“Aren’t all pieces of a Hutt’s backside slimy,” Envy unhelpfully chimed in.
“Shut up, or I’ll turn you off.”
“Well it’s true!”
“Shut up, Envy!”
I was waiting for him to keep protesting, but he actually stayed quiet for once. With that little bit of stupidity out of the way, I turned my attention back to Katellan, who still wouldn’t meet my gaze. “I’m sorry, Torr. I didn’t want to stun you, but you left me no choice.”
“I left you no choice? You’re going to try to say it’s my fault that you stunned me? Wait…I couldn’t have been out the entire trip here on a single stun blast. Did you drug me too?”
“I was going to, but I didn’t know which medicines did what to you humans, so I went into your quarters every few hours and used the stun blaster again.”
“So you’ve stunned me 10-15 times since the end of the race?”
“Excuse me,” Nalith interrupted. “As amusing as this banter is, we’re getting away from the point. It’s not important what Katellan has done since the race. What’s important is what he did before and during the race.”
“What is he talking about,” I asked my pilot. He didn’t answer. I asked him again and still got no answer. “If you’re not going to tell me, Katellan,” I threatened, “I’ll have Envy weld your lips shut.”
After hearing this, Envy perked up. “Now there’s something everyone can enjoy,” he exclaimed.
I gave him my best ‘shut up or I’ll kill you’ look and he seemed to get the hint. I was getting impatient so I asked Nalith what he did. “Do you care about winning the races you enter,” he asked.
“Of course not,” I answered. “I’ve come in last in every race I’ve entered, except the last one. If I cared about winning, I would’ve gone insane years ago. I just race because it’s fun.”
“Well, one person cared about you winning that last race. In fact, that person cared so much that they decided to make sure that it happened. You only won that race because someone rigged it in your favor.”
I could’ve asked the obvious question, but I already knew who did it. He’d been avoiding my gaze by hanging his horned head ever since I woke up this morning. He’s flown my ship thousands of times. Even though he’s an employee, I thought of him more as a friend. Because of that, I now feel more betrayed than I ever had before.
You know I’m talking about Katellan, right?