“Attention soon-to-be-dead fleshpile,” came Envy’s robotic voice in my ear, “all of the other racers have finished. You might as well cross the finish line, too. Besides, staring at the man who will soon be killing you is a waste of what little time you have left.”
Realizing that our staring contest was getting us nowhere, I broke eye contact with Nalith and pulled my swoop bike across the finish line, into the garage. As I dismounted my bike, I could feel every eye on me. Their confusion was apparent without me even having to look at them. I had just done something that no other racer had ever done before: I had openly thrown a race. Not caring what they thought, I started walking back to The Quick Fix.
Before I had even left the mechanics area, a figure stepped in front of me. Expecting it to be Nalith, I was a little surprised when I found myself face-to-face with Teebo. Then again, I thought to myself, Nalith won’t find me from the front. He’ll sneak up behind me and the next thing I’ll know, I’ll be waking up in my bed again with him standing over me.
Teebo seemed like he was about to say something, so I raised my hand to stop him. “I’m sorry about what my droid told you that I said about you,” I said in Basic.
“So, you didn’t actually say that,” he asked back in Huttese.
“No, I said it. I’m just sorry he told you.”
Teebo threw up his hands in disgust. I thought about trying to stop him and attempting to make peace, but the next thing I knew, I was waking up in my bed again. Nalith stood over me, his normally passive face was a mask of rage. “Do you realize what you have done,” he screamed at me.
“How are you able to knock me out in public and drag me back here without anybody seeming to notice or care,” I calmly responded.
Apparently, he didn’t like my response, because he slapped me hard on both sides of my face. “I asked you a question,” he screamed again.
“I know exactly what I’ve done,” I yelled back. “I did to your career what you threatened to do to mine.”
At that, Nalith laughed. “You overestimate the effect of your actions, Torr.”
“No, I don’t, Nalith. Think about it for a second. This was one of the biggest races of the season. There had to have been dozens of holorecorders there. While I’m sure that most of them stayed on me during the whole incident, I’m betting that at least one person got curious as to what I was looking at. That means that there’s video of you already out the on the HoloNet.”
“That’s an awfully big risk to be taken for something that’s not guaranteed.”
“I thought so too. That’s why I had Envy take the holorecordings for me. What? Did your ‘toys’ not pick up that Envy was broadcasting? Maybe you just didn’t notice because you were too busy staring back at me.”
Nalith pulled a datapad out of his pocket, hit a few buttons, and turned blood red in the face. “I’m going to kill you.”
“No, you’re not,” I told him. He stopped in his tracks, confusion replacing anger on his face. I continued, “In your line of work, anonymity is usually a good thing. Now, your face is out there for everyone to see. In the future, when people see your face, all they’ll think is that you’re the guy who rigged a race. You’ll never find anyone to hire you again…. except your current employer. And they won’t hire you again if you kill me.”
“What makes you say that?”
“Because most fathers don’t like it when you kill their children.” Nalith raised his eyebrow and waited for me to continue. “I didn’t put it together until you told me ‘your’ opinion of my driving skills. It’s funny how it is the same as my father’s. Not just similar, but word-for-word. I’m guessing he gave you some materials to help you with dealing with me and, you being the meticulous type, memorized it all.”
“An interesting theory.”
“It might be a theory, but, since I happen to have the highest powers of deductive reasoning in the entire galaxy, it’s more like fact.”
“Oh really? Care to fill in the rest of the blanks, then?”
“Sure thing, Hutt-licker. It all started with Katellan’s betrayal. It never made sense to me. I was never able to process it. The reason I couldn’t process it is because it would never happen. He would never do anything like that to me. That means he was in on it with you, and the only way he would agree to deceive me is if he knew who was behind the deception…someone like my father. They knew each other fairly well.”
“If he was in on it, as you claim, how did he end up dead?”
“That would be your fault, Hutt-sniffer. I’m guessing the original plan was that you’d say you wanted me to fix Teebo’s swoop, and when he refused, I’d take his place. You, however, had a rivalry with Turussk, and saw that you had an opportunity to take him out while completing the task my father had for you. So, you tried to drag him into it, but since he’s incredibly paranoid, or he just knew you too well, he didn’t buy it for a second. He defended himself, and Katellan got in the way.”
“Sounds like you have it all figured out. I have a question for you now.”
“Go ahead, Hutt-lover.”
“If you knew that your father was behind all of this, why did you throw the race?”
“This race is one of the things that helped me realize that this was my father’s doing. This is his favorite track. If you were really only interested in fixing the race, you would’ve waited until the next one after what happened to Katellan. Because it had to be this race, it made me realize that he was behind it. So, I threw it for two reasons: One, to make him angry. And two, to make you pay for what happened to Katellan, you Hutt-kisser.”
“If you’re as clever as you think you are, why do all of your insults have to do with Hutts?”
“Because they are the most ugly and vile things in the galaxy….except for your mother.” Nalith shot me a death glare, but I ignored it. “Tell my father I’ll see him the next time I make it back home. Now, get off of my ship.”
Nalith stormed out and left my ship. I instructed Envy to fly us out of there, and after he informed me of my continuing inferiority, he took the ship up and out of Tatooine. I didn’t care where we went, I just knew we had to get away from that place.