Nalith was looking at me funny again. Maybe it was the way I asked about Bossk. It kind of had a hero-worshipping quality to it. I couldn’t help it though. There are very few people who are known to more than fifty percent of the galaxy. In the Core, you only gain fame through being a high-ranking member of the Empire. Everyone knows who the Emperor and Lord Vader are.
In the Outer Rim, in order to gain fame, you have to be a great racer, either swoop or pod, or you have to be an underground figure, like a gangster or bounty hunter. It would be nearly impossible to find someone along the Outer Rim who doesn’t know who Boba Fett is. Bossk is in that same category, although he is not as infamous as Boba Fett. I have met most of the most famous racers out there, but those stories (which usually just include me shaking their hand at some point) probably will never sound as cool as me saying, “I hung out with Bossk and built him a swoop bike.”
The sound of a throat being cleared brought my attention back to the moment. I looked over at Nalith and saw him smirking at me. I was going to point out that it was rude of him to be interrupting my thoughts like that (after all, I could’ve been having an important discussion with myself), but I was getting a little bit tired of him looking at me like I’m crazy. “So, when do I get to meet Bossk,” I asked him.
“I never said it was Bossk,” he said, flashing that smirk at me again.
“You said it was a Trandoshan bounty hunter. If it’s not Bossk, then who….” That’s when it hit me. “Oh, no,” I cursed. “No, not him. Anyone but him.”
“Even without me telling you who to back, wouldn’t you rather have him win more than Teebo?”
Nalith had a point and that aggravated me even more. I disliked Teebo with a passion and wanted everyone to beat him (in the race, anyways. I didn’t want them to all jump him and beat the crap out of him….or did I? I really did dislike him. Does that mean that he deserves to be physically beaten? I’ve heard that he is a good person, that he does charity work with the needy on the planets that he races on. Shouldn’t that get him off of my ‘needs to be beaten’ list?
………..No. To hell with him. My greatness should not be subjected to anything that is even remotely annoying, so his overabundance of annoying should get him a world of hurt.)
Where was I? Why do I always end up getting sidetracked? It’s as if my attention span is deficient, almost like I have a disorder.
To get back on topic, the bounty hunter in question is named Turussk, who is as known for his off the hunt exploits as much as he is for his bounty hunting ability. Turussk has the habit of ‘initiating’ every new planet he lands on by urinating on something, or someone, important to the authorities there. There are a few differing stories floating around out there as to why he does this.
The first is that he heard that some of the most fearsome predators in the animal kingdom do this to mark their territory and, since he considers himself to be a fearsome predator, he started doing this also. Another version is that he only does this on Imperial worlds as revenge for their ‘if you’re not human, we don’t like you’ policy. Personally, I just think he’s crazy and is looking for a fight.
No matter what the reasoning, however, the rest of the story is always the same. Local law enforcement is dispatched, Turussk beats them up, then, before he leaves the scene, he drops a credit chip on the law enforcement officers to cover whatever the fine for his actions might be (which pretty much proves my theory).
“Anything else,” I asked.
“No,” Nalith replied. “I told you it was simple. All you need to do is make sure Turussk has the best swoop bike out there and that Teebo has the worst.”
“Just because I make him the best swoop bike, it doesn’t guarantee that he’ll win. He still needs to know how to race. I’m not going to take the fall if your guy crashes or does badly, am I?”
“No. Once you’ve done your work on the two swoops, our business is concluded.”
“Good. Now, I don’t mean to sound rude, but get off my ship. My pilot and I must have a discussion.”
There was the smirk again. “No matter how much you want to, Torr, don’t kill him. My employer still has plans for our dear friend Katellan. And please don’t think about running. It makes me upset when I have to chase people. After I leave, ask Katellan what happens to those who upset me.”
Katellan shuddered at that last statement, causing Nalith to smirk even more. Nalith winked at me (which I found rather creepy) and walked out of the ship. I needed to calm down first (if I didn’t I was going to pound Katellan into the ground, and if I did that, he wouldn’t be able to talk), so I stayed silent for a few minutes. Before I could begin,
Katellan smiled sadly at me and said, “So, they should build monuments to your greatness, huh?”
Blast it! I did say it out loud. Not that I cared what Nalith thought of me, but what if he told other people what I did. Then, those other people might tell more people what I did, and so on down the line. Now, half the galaxy will think I’m crazy and they don’t build monuments of greatness about people who they think are crazy. Suddenly realizing I might be doing it again, I turned my attention back to Katellan.
“You don’t get to mock me when I do something stupid,” I snapped. “Only my friends are allowed to do that, and you’re not one of them anymore.”
Growing up on Imperial Center, the only language you need to know is Galactic Basic, unless you live in or around Invisec (aka the Invisible Sector. Basically it’s where the Empire shoves all the non-humans because they don’t want to deal with them). In my travels along the Outer Rim, I’ve learned Huttese as it is the most used language out here. I’ve also picked up some of Katellan’s native tongue, but I still find myself at a loss. There doesn’t seem to be a curse in any of those languages that will properly express how angry I am at him at this moment….so I made some up.
“You flargen snunt! Eetchewawa fortnin woolper canbewain!”
“Fleshpile….I mean, master,” I heard, so I turned my head to Envy. “You do realize that, except for the first one, none of those were actual words, right?”
I was going to demand to know how he had managed to switch himself back on, but then I realized I still had the remote to his restraining bolt in my hand. I must have accidentally hit the button while clenching my fists. Ignoring him, I looked back at Katellan. “Do you realize what you’ve done to me?”
“I’m sorry, boss. My brother got in too deep with his bookie and they said I could help him pay it back by delivering the spice for them.”
“I don’t care why you did it. You put me and my life at risk. I’ll be lucky if I make it out of this mess alive and not in jail.”
“What are you talking about? You heard Nalith. All they need you to do is work on those two swoop bikes to help them fix the race.”
I turned to Envy. “Is this stupidity new, or have I just not noticed it before?”
“He’s always been this stupid,” my droid responded.
“Shut up, droid,” Katellan shouted.
“No,” I yelled back. “Envy’s right. (Time to show off my gargantuan deductive reasoning skills again. I’d love to show off my other gargantuan parts ladies, but this talking rodent told me I had to keep this kid-friendly. Normally, I’d ignore something that had a high-pitched voice and large, round ears, but something about this rodent told me that it was connected and I should do what it said.) And, if you would stop thinking with your backside, you’d see it too.
If what they really wanted was to fix this race, they wouldn’t be doing it this way. When you fixed my race, did you only sabotage two swoops, or all of them except mine? Don’t answer. You sabotaged all but mine. Why? To leave nothing to chance. If they were seriously wanting to leave nothing to chance, they’d break me into all of the other racers’ garages so I could sabotage them privately and they’d be guaranteed to win the race. They’re not doing that here. They want it to be known that I’m working on these two bikes.”
“What’s your point?”
“My point is that Nalith, and his employer, are only interested in these two racers. I’d be willing to bet that something will happen to one, if not both, of these guys during that race. What’s the first thing they’re going to look at? The bikes. Who is going to get blamed if something is wrong with them? Me. They’re setting me up to take the fall for whatever they’re planning, Katellan.”
“You don’t know that. You’re just speculating.”
“These people have threatened our lives and probably your family’s too. Why do you keep defending them?”
“Because I’ve seen what Nalith can do. They say he was trained by the Empire to be a sniper before he decided that he’d rather be a more personal killer and began learning hand-to-hand combat.” Katellan paused here. A few seconds later he whispered something and I had to ask him to repeat it, as I didn’t hear what it was. “I saw him take a man’s head off, Torr.”
“You said he was a sniper, Katellan. I could do that too if I had a sniper rifle.”
“No, not with a blaster. I saw him do it with his bare hands.”