Kei ran his hand through what was left of his hair. Even after having been stuck in that hole for months he hadn’t grown adjusted to feeling naked like that. It was as if he had been entirely removed of all his clothing upon arrival. Maybe that was how they did it? Strip you of your identity to the galaxy. Make you look like everyone else in that same dump. Sometimes that was a hard thing to do when you’re a human in an Imperial prison. As trouble making as some humans could be the Empire had proven who they were more loyal to: their own ‘superior’ specie. Xenophobes thrived in the Empire and they shot up the ranks. Different species alike stood out to the soldiers in white. All they were to them were either sex slaves, or manual labor.
Shaking his head side to side he felt the small specs of water wander to the floor below. Fully relaxed and out of his prison garbs, he was back into his proper gear. Kei wore a muscle shirt underneath a rough jacket. The jacket had begun to wear out on the elbows and sides. Patches were in place that didn’t exactly match the color of the original sandy texture. His belt was customized with two sleeves that paraded down the sides of either thigh. His right was higher than the other. His pants were in better shape than his jacket. Lean, cut short down to where his boots were on his feet. Other than his jacket Kei’s clothing was kept clean with no patches placed into them.
Tying the two buttons to the front of his jacket, he went to his night table. Sitting on his bed, he slouched and looked over his dusted pistol. The grip and barrel had been dabbled with sections of dust while he had been away. It was stale in the air. Jumping around the edges of his eyes, Kei wipes them away as he disturbs the pistol’s slumber.
Tapping the grip, he places his fingers around the handle and looked over his piece of work. The pistol was a SE-14r blaster pistol. It was a perfect beauty for those that didn’t rely entirely on a one-shot per pull method to firing. While some preferred that it was used like a smaller rifle, Kei had it leveled down to firing at a three-shot pull. This allowed him to use his accuracy and know that his opponent would likely not be standing.
Removing the clip, he looked down into the iron sights that Kei preferred. Also in modifying the firing degree of this pistol, he had removed the miniature scope that had hovered where his iron sights were now. It was bothersome when he had first been firing it. With the iron scopes, he felt monumentally more confident with this weapon at his side. Slapping the clip back in and switching the setting to ‘stun’ Kei holstered his pistol and walked to rejoin the life of the ship.
The young teenager had made his home on one of the couches nearby. Laying down with one foot slid over the other, he had preoccupied himself by tossing a holo-ball hand to hand. As Kei entered the lounge they made eye contact. The boy greeted with him a whistle, “That’s what I expected outta a Captain!”
Kei nodded, loosened up now that he was out of his confining clothing. “This is what I normally wear. Orange had never really been right for my tastes.” Kei continued to walk towards the helm of the ship. He wanted to set out of a course with Viss.
“Hey!” The boy called right before Kei was leaving the room. Entering the helm, Visskiss was looking over the hyperdrive coordinates. They were only a few hours in a day trip. Even though the ship had done most of the work from here on out, Visskiss liked to make sure. He had that habit drilled into him. As Kei approached, the Doshan let out a sharp hiss.
“Yes, let’s head for that planet for now. Once we’re there we’ll refuel as quickly as possible and scoot out. I want to hit the key systems by the end of the week. Sound good Viss?” As Kei let out the commands he folded his arms in his typical fashion. It had been sometime since he’d assumed this role. It fit like a glove with his governing tone.
Watching the streams of stars dashing by them from outside the helm, the boy took over the Captain’s chair. Kei didn’t mind it. He only went for that chair when he was flying. Swirling around the chair, he didn’t watch him as he turned to the hyperspace map and examined it. Visskiss watched their progress. After the Doshan had finished his typical ritual, he turned and walked over to Kei. Breathing a harsh breath over the side of Kei’s shoulder, he let out a slow hiss. His breath had grown onto Kei over the years. Dispute the blood drinks that Visskiss’ species were so fond of, the odor had disappeared.
“Yes,” Kei confirmed to Visskiss’ question, “I’m preparing for the trip that we’ll have to do after we land.” He placed a finger over the map and granted it to expand. The lights in the hull dimmed, the lights on the boards of the displays all over the helm were jubilantly shining. The young man watched as the Galaxy map hovered in the middle of the room. Kei made his way through the hologram display, “We should be making our way here,” his finger stopped over a small system. The world expanded, “That would be Belsavis. It’s a cold world, but I’ve done some dealings before.” Kei looks to Visskiss and adds, “the one who owes us for not only transporting his cargo, but helping him cover it up from the locals afterwards. We’ll call in that favor now.”
Visskiss let out a small hiss that was close for a Trandoshan as a grunt. The young looked at the expanded world, the Galaxy no longer being projected. “Huh. Looks just likea hunk of ice to me. What’s there that’s so important? Why not head to Eriadu? It’ll probably let ya refill cheaper, a world like that.”
Kei dismissively waved the planet away. Coming back to give the room a hue of a light blue, the Galaxy had been recalled. Kei pointed to a planet not too far away from where he had called up the expanded image of Belsavis. Bringing another one to out, the world replaced the Galaxy map. “The reason is, young man, is that this planet is controlled by the Imperials. Granted so is the other one. But their presence is much more known here.” Kei looked over to the boy, “you do know who the Tarkin family is, right?”
Squinting his eyes at the hologram, he stuck the tip of his tongue out the top of one of the Gundark skulls. “Nope. Not the slightest idea ‘bout that little statement.”
“Well,” Kei cleared his throat and slowed his words. He seemed to draw on too much of each word. “The Tarkin family is one of the more powerful families in the Emperor’s pockets. I’m sure they have the ID of our ship by now. Even if they don’t, I doubt they’ll be as open to letting us get by without a thorough search.”
“Wait a parsec.” The boy stood up from the chair and gestured around the ship. “Aren’t you two supposea be smugglers or somethin’?”
Kei nodded. “Indeed we are, smugglers. We’re weapon dealers. And, to add, have had other particulars of cargo aboard this beautiful piece of craft. We are what you’d say to be smugglers.”
The boy ran his hands through the hologram. The image shimmered and separated away from his skin. “Then why the hell are ya two hidin’ from these damn Impies? We got this!” He pulled his arms away and flexed. “There is no way they could catch us!”
The man shook his head. “Not worth the change. Especially since I escaped no more than a few hours ago.” Kei ran a finger through his hair. Old habits were hard to kill. “No, no. Best to not even risk it. That’s how the smart smugglers, or whatever you wanna call us, stay alive. We stick our nose out of trouble. Only get it broken if the reward is high enough. Refueling?” Kei scuffed, “barely worth sneezing.”
The boy rolled his eyes. “Paira broken fuel rods you two are. Where’s the fire that this slab of scales was boasting about!” He passed through the image again. The hologram flickered and wavered as he passed by and returned through the helm’s hallway. Kei distinctly heard “Blast it all” under the young man’s breath as he stomped away.
Kei looked over to Visskiss. “Best offer in this side of the galaxy?” The Trandoshan out a series of quick hisses. “Right, right, I believe you.” Kei shook his head from side to side. “He has spunk. I’ll give you that. Let’s just hope he’s as good as he says he is with hunting.”
The expanded image of Eriadu disappeared. Kei looked through the galaxy map as Visskiss made his way over to the pilot’s chair. Clicking through a few readings of the ship, he turned to watch Kei pull up another picture of a planet. He hissed a question. Kei smirked, “Yes, this’ll be the place we hit after we refuel. How long do you think it’ll be?”
Visskiss let out several hisses. Kei didn’t respond, waiting as he seemed to watch the hologram float. It swirled in a circular rotation. His eyes wandered the landscape, as if he were picking the right place to land. Visskiss told him the time limit. “Four days? Less than I imagined it to be.” Visskiss added a statement. “Yes, it is in Hutt Space. Which is exactly who we’re going to see. A hutt.”
Visskiss’ unblinking eyes seemed to squint at the statement as his fangs bore. Kei shook his head, “No, no, you don’t have to be there. Probably best if I only I went. Don’t want the kid going either. His mouth might run the wrong way around a Hutt. That’s something either of us don’t want.”
The two looked away from each other. The silence grew in the room. Visskiss hissed. Kei answered with a heightened sigh at the beginning. “Because the kid wants this job done. I’m sure that if we want to do this job properly, we’re going to need more than just us.” Kei pointed at the planet’s holographed surface. “That’s why we’re going to Nar Kreeta. We need to pick up our first member.”