Star Wars FF: A Race to Danger Finale

race-to-danger

“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.

Star Wars FF: A Race to Danger 11

race-to-danger

“What are you going to do, Master,” Envy asked.

With a raised eyebrow, I looked at the droid. “You better watch out,” I told him. “For a second there it actually sounded like you care.”

“You are a fleshpile who is inferior to me in every possible way. However, you are an inferior fleshpile that I’ve grown accustomed to. Should you perish, I might get stuck with a fleshpile even more useless than you. Therefore, it is in my best interests to try to keep you from expiring.”

We had just finished the upgrades on the swoop bike that we had been working on for Turussk (after Nalith had taken the bomb off, of course). There was only ten minutes left to get it to the track in time for pre-race inspection, so I let the conversation drop there. Besides, it would probably be better for me to leave Envy out of this. I didn’t want anyone else taking a shot for me (not that Envy would actually take a shot for me. He’d probably let me get shot, laugh about it for a minute, then try to find me medical care.)

Getting the swoop to the track on time was a race unto itself, but we managed to do it. The inspector went over our bike and found nothing wrong with it. We got the swoop bike into position at the starting line and waited for the race to start. It seemed to me to be hours, but, in reality, it was only twenty minutes. During that time, I went over what I needed to do in my head. Because races are so unpredictable, it was impossible to know how it would all work out. All I knew for certain, was that I was going to have to drive faster than I ever had before.

The engines of all fifteen swoop bikes roared to life simultaneously. All of my focus was on the light that would signal the start of the race. As soon as it lit, I jammed the throttle and took off. My plan was working perfectly, as this was my best start ever. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long. By the time I reached the first turn, other racers had caught up and passed me. I was momentarily confused because my swoop bike was so much faster than theirs.

“Attention, fleshpile,” came a voice over the comlink in my helmet. “You are supposed to go fast the entire race, not just the first 1000 meters.”

I looked down and saw that Envy was right. I had reverted back to my old ways and only the throttle at half power.

“Unless you want to die a horrible death,” he continued, “you should probably speed up. If you do, in fact, wish to die a horrible death, please allow me to watch as Nalith does his job.”

Tuning Envy out, I gave more power to the engine and held on tight as my swoop quickly accelerated. I let up on the power for just a few seconds as I approached the next curve. After this curve was a long straightaway that should let me catch up to, and pass, all six of the racers who were now ahead of me. As soon as the course straightened out, I once again jammed down the throttle and set my swoop bike to go as fast as it could.

This was the fastest I had ever gone on a bike before and I must confess, it was rather frightening. If I didn’t urinate before the race, I’d probably have a wet race suit right now. Nevertheless, my plan was working and I had passed all of the racers except one. Of course, that one had to be Teebo. As I pulled along side of him, I snuck a glance in his direction. It was very tempting to try to run him off the track, but I reminded myself that I had more important things to do at the moment.

My bike surged ahead of the pack again. I kept up my pace as long as I could, knowing that I needed to gain as much of a lead as I possibly could. The other racers had much more experience taking turns and curves at these speeds, so I was going to have to slow down some. The trick was slowing down enough to where I don’t crash, but also going fast enough to where I don’t lose my lead.

By the time I had reached the last part of the track, my plan had worked. I had given up some of my lead to Teebo, but not enough for me to worry….yet. The very last turn was a killer (I’m not being metaphorical. Many racers have actually crashed and died there). It was a straight ninety degree turn to the left. The only other time I had raced on this track before, I had gone so slow around that turn that the engine power was barely moving the bike. This time, I couldn’t do that.

I slowly let off the throttle and at the last possible moment, hit the brakes and swung the nose of the bike left. With my momentum, I was quickly getting closer and closer to the wall. Envy’s voice over the comlink told me that it had not been a pleasure knowing me. That’s when I kicked the power back up to full. The bike lurched forward and I missed slamming into the wall by mere millimeters. My heart was beating so loudly in my chest that I barely heard the roar of the crowd when I made it out.

“Very impressive driving,” Envy told me. “For a fleshpile, that is.”

I ignored him again and concentrated on the ever closer finish line. As I approached it, I held back my emotions as I whispered, “This is for you, Katellan.”

I slammed on the brakes, stopping the bike ten meters away from the finish line. Looking over in the stands, I found Nalith and just stared at him while all of the other racers passed me.

Star Wars FF: A Race to Danger 10

race-to-danger

I’m not sure how long I just sat there cradling Katellan’s head. It could have been two seconds, or it could have been two hours. When I finally looked up, I saw the Trandoshan staring at me. He didn’t have his blaster pointed at me this time, however. “That shot was meant for you,” he said in Huttese. “Be glad your friend took it for you.” A red bolt of energy passed over his head, but he didn’t duck. Instead, he continued talking to me. “I don’t have to kill you now. He will do it for me.”

With that, he ran out of the hanger. I stayed down on the ground with the body. The sound of footsteps behind me made me turn. Nalith was walking up to me with a scowl on his face. He stopped right in front of me and began screaming. “My employer told me you were going to be a pain to work with, and he was right. If you had done what you were told to do, and left well enough alone, none of this would have happened!”

Normally, I don’t do things as stupid as shooting my mouth off at people who could easily kill me, but I’d had enough of this. “You forced me into this situation. You threatened my life and my livelihood. You got my friend killed and now you’re trying to blame this all on me? I’ve got two words for you, pal….”

I was unable to finish my thoughts as a fist caught me squarely in the jaw. Flat on my back is not an advantageous position to start a fight in, but that’s where I found myself. Nalith stood over me. His weight started shifting from one leg to another, so I knew he was about to strike. My knee shot up, in hopes that it would catch him in the crotch. He must have anticipated this as he moved enough for it to hit his thigh instead. A blur that used to be his hand came at me and my world went black again.

Waking up to find a mercenary standing over me was becoming too much of a habit for me lately and I was getting a little bit tired of it. Nalith looked me over before he began to speak. “This is how this is going to work from now on: You’re only going to speak to me if I ask you a question. If you talk without me asking you a question, I will hurt you. Do you understand?”

“Sure,” I replied.

“Good. Now that we no longer have Turussk with us, we need someone to win the race. Since the race is in a couple of hours, we don’t have enough time to convince another of the racers to work with us. So, what is going to happen is that you will race for us. Not only will you race for us, you will win for us.”

I couldn’t stop myself from laughing. “I can’t finish better than last without someone fixing the race, and you expect me to win one of the biggest races on the circuit? Good luck with that.”

Nalith backhanded me across the face. “You will do this, or I will make the evidence of the last race being fixed in your favor public. Your career would be over. I can also find other ways to make your life a living hell.”

“Sorry for breaking the talking rule, but simply threatening me will not make me a good swoop racer.”

“Your problem is not that you’re a bad swoop racer. Your problem is that you’re too cautious. If you’d stop playing it safe, you’d win. You have the fastest swoop bike in every race, yet you still come in last. Stop worrying about crashing ans start worrying about winning.”

His words hit me like a bolt of lightning. I’d heard them before, about a year ago, just not from him. I now knew who his employer was, I just didn’t know what I was going to do about it.

Star Wars FF: A Race to Danger 9

race-to-danger

Another headache greeted me when I woke up. I’m starting to loathe the person who invented stun blasts (Granted, they’re not the one who pulled the trigger, but if they didn’t invent the thing, I wouldn’t have been stunned in the first place. Then again, if they didn’t invent them, someone else probably would have and the only thing that would change is who I loathe. Great. I’m starting to ramble again. This happens every time I get hit with a stun blast. I’m starting to loathe the person who invented stun blasts. Granted, they’re not the one who pulled the trigger….Wait…Blast it!).

I was in my quarters. Nalith had pulled a chair up next to my bed and was lounging, waiting for me to awaken. He hadn’t seen my eyes open yet. I could make a move for his blaster.

“You will never get the drop on me,” he said, “if you keep announcing your intentions before you do them.”

Blast! I was thinking out loud again. “What’s with the stun blast,” I asked. “If you wanted to talk, all you had to do was come and ask me. You didn’t have to send those two idiots.”

“Let’s just say that it was another test I had for you. I must say, Torr, that you continue to surprise me. I never expected you to be so much fun.”

“I’m so glad that I’m amusing you,” I said in my best Envy imitation. He was not impressed. Either that, or he didn’t get it. Ignoring my sarcasm, Nalith continued.

“We have a problem, Torr. I have many toys that you’re not aware of. One of those toys intercepted a transmission coming from this ship, warning Turussk about the little present I was leaving for him.”

“You mean the bomb you brought on my ship?”

“That would be it.”

“If your toy is as good as you claim it to be, then it’ll be good enough to tell you that I have made no transmissions since I got here. If someone did warn him from this ship, it happened while I was off of it.”

“I am aware of this, but you could have had one of your crew do it for you.”

“Go ahead and ask them. Katellan works more for you now than me, and Envy would have no trouble in turning me in.”

As if on cue, the door opened and Envy started walking backwards into the room. He was apparently in conversation with Katellan. “No, I get his room now that he’s,” was all that he was able to speak before he turned around and saw me. “You’re alive,” he queried. “I mean, thank the stars that you’re alive, Master.” Turning to Nalith, he said, “What is wrong with you? why haven’t you killed him yet, you moron?”

Nalith looked at me and said, “For no charge, I can make sure that it never talks again.”

Envy looked back out into the hallway and hollered, “You need me where, Katellan?” There was no answer, but Envy continued anyways. “Why do you look so scared now, loser? Wait, where are you going?”

A thud sounded out in the hallway, followed by heavy footsteps running towards the ramp. “It was the Devaronian,” Nalith cried as he jumped out of the chair. “Let’s get him!”

I followed Nalith out of my quarters and down to the ramp. When we arrived, Katellan had stopped only a few meters outside of the ship. A few meters beyond him, Turussk stood with a blaster rifle in hand. “If you and your little puppet want to kill me, Nalith,” the Trandoshan said, “you’re going to have to do a lot better than that.”

Red bolts of energy shot out of his blaster. I jumped off the side of the ramp and tried to find some cover. Nalith began to return fire as he sought cover, too. I heard something clatter beside me and, instinctively, I jumped away from it. A stun grenade went off right where I had just been sitting. Luckily, my jump took me far enough away from it that it didn’t hit me full-force. My ears were slightly ringing and it took me a few seconds to see straight again. When I opened my eyes back up, I saw Turussk standing ten meters away, pointing his blaster rifle right at me. He pulled the trigger.

A shadow passed in front of me and I heard a grunt of pain. The next thing I saw was Katellan laying next to me with a blaster wound in his chest. Turussk pointed his blaster again, but Nalith’s fire caused him to duck for cover again. I picked Katellan’s head up off the floor and looked into his eyes. Turussk could have began firing at me again at that moment and I wouldn’t have cared. I cradled the head of the man who just saved my life.

“I never betrayed you,” he breathed.

“I know,” I assured him as he, my friend, died in my arms.

SWFF: A Race To Danger Part 12

Sorry for the delay folks, but here is the final installment of A Race to Danger. I hope you all enjoyed it. As always, if you have any comments or questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments for me. If you feel uncomfortable commenting or questioning in public, feel free to email me at revisedgewater@hotmail.com . To catch up on parts 1-11, click here.

 

RACE TO DANGER

“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.” Continue reading

SWFF A Race To Danger Part 11

RACE TO DANGER

“What are you going to do, Master,” Envy asked.

With a raised eyebrow, I looked at the droid. “You better watch out,” I told him. “For a second there it actually sounded like you care.”

“You are a fleshpile who is inferior to me in every possible way. However, you are an inferior fleshpile that I’ve grown accustomed to. Should you perish, I might get stuck with a fleshpile even more useless than you. Therefore, it is in my best interests to try to keep you from expiring.”

Continue reading

SWFF A Race To Danger Part 10

RACE TO DANGER

I’m not sure how long I just sat there cradling Katellan’s head. It could have been two seconds, or it could have been two hours. When I finally looked up, I saw the Trandoshan staring at me. He didn’t have his blaster pointed at me this time, however. “That shot was meant for you,” he said in Huttese. “Be glad your friend took it for you.” A red bolt of energy passed over his head, but he didn’t duck. Instead, he continued talking to me. “I don’t have to kill you now. He will do it for me.”

With that, he ran out of the hanger. I stayed down on the ground with the body. The sound of footsteps behind me made me turn. Nalith was walking up to me with a scowl on his face. He stopped right in front of me and began screaming. “My employer told me you were going to be a pain to work with, and he was right. If you had done what you were told to do, and left well enough alone, none of this would have happened!”

Continue reading