[Originally Written by Kalec]
Chapter One: Desperate Measures Nar Shaddaa, the Smuggler's Moon, one of the most vibrant and dangerous places in the galaxy. The cityscape glowed with a neon vibrancy that belied its decaying structures and congested, polluted cities. The upper levels present an endless parade of wealth, while crime bosses and political emissaries make backroom deals. A Defender-class light corvette shook violently, her reinforced frame groaning under the stress, as a sole pilot pushed her through Nar Shaddaa's atmosphere. The friction of re-entry turned the air to fire, as the pilot's dark eyes watched the orange glow of the flames through the transparisteel cockpit. A series of rapidly moving lines of code appeared in the corner of the man's vision, indicating that a systems diagnostic was underway. As the ship began to level off he input a few commands into the main console and ran a manual sweep of the surrounding sky. A few moments later the ship's sensors confirmed they had picked up nothing unusual. The pilot steered the corvette through Nar Shaddaa's Corellian sector. His destination was a bar called the Meltdown Café, a seedy restaurant and well known hangout for bounty hunters. It was the last place he wanted to be, but it was one of the few places left for him to go. Gently the ship swooped down to an available landing pad and hovered a few feet from the dock's surface. The exhaust from the corvette scattered debris from under the ship, blowing the trash off the dock's precipice. A few of the seedier residents moved away from the ship, attempting to hide their identity from any potential scanners. Once the ship had landed the pilot sat a few moments in quiet contemplation before making his way through the unfamiliar corridors of the stolen ship. As he exited the cockpit he remembered to duck his head, the recent welt along his hairline being an effective reminder. Within the ship's crew quarters, the man sat at the portcomp terminal, logged in, and checked the credit balance in his bearer card account. ///// Account Number: 000-334-57594-99 \\\\\ User Profile: Falx, Kalec Available Balance: 13 GCS ///// InterGalactic Banking Clan \\\\\ “Less than twenty credits...great,”he sighed with a tinge of defeat. Minutes passed as he stared at the portcomp's display before becoming suddenly aware of it. Shaking his head, he stood and entered the refresher. Stripping off the ill-fitting republic uniform, Kalec entered the shower and let the hot water rinse away some of his anxiety. Hanging his head he let the water run through his black hair and down his bearded face as he watched the water swirl into the drain. He had come a long way to get here, but found himself second-guessing the decision. When he finished pondering his next move, he stepped back into the crew quarters and changed into his own clothing which consisted of a pair of olive trousers, a black casual shirt, utility belt, and black knee-high boots. He looked more like a civilian than a former Imperial naval specialist but that was the point after all. Within the ship he had found a small arms locker with a single Arkanian heavy pistol, it was an antique by today’s standards but would have to do. He wasn't even sure the damn thing could fire but only a fool would walk the streets of Nar Shaddaa without a piece. He then loaded it into a single sling shoulder holster and checked himself in a mirror. From a pocket on his utility pouch he fished out a cigarra and lit the end, taking in the noxious vapor before slowly exhaling it. He could feel the calming sensation of the narcotic envelop his body and mind. “Life's little pleasures.” he smiled halfheartedly to himself. Nodding to himself, Kalec made his way toward the ship's entry ramp. Since the Jedi who owned this ship would no doubt be tracking its whereabouts there was no need for security measures; the residents of Nar Shaddaa would see to it that no evidence of his presence remained. As the entry ramp finished extending, he stepped out into the bustle of the moon's infamous docks. The first thing he noticed about Nar Shaddaa was the familiar polluted smell. A permanent atmosphere of desperation and animosity permeated everything, leaving one with an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. He took another drag of his cigarra and blew the smoke into the already congested air. “Welcome home,” Kalec muttered to himself. As he left the docking area, residents began to take notice of the fact that he did not raise the entry ramp. Cautiously, a few of the braver pilferers made their way over to and ultimately in the abandoned ship. It would only be a matter of hours before everything of worth would be gutted from the vessel and boosted at one of the many scrap yards. The port authority would ultimately end up towing the vessel but that wasn’t his problem. There is an old saying on the Smuggler's Moon that goes: On Nar Shaddaa there is no law against turning a profit.
Chapter Two: A Farewell to Innocence The nightlife of Nar Shaddaa is nothing short of energetic, perhaps even more so than during standard galactic business hours. The neon-lit walkways and street peddlers catered to the strange and unusual but more specifically to the nefarious. Walk down the right back alley in Nar Shaddaa and you could find anything, but the wrong one will get you killed or sometimes even worse. As Kalec rounded the corner from the docks onto one of the city's main strips he spotted a local food vendor. The sign read something unidentifiable but the smell was overwhelming familiar. It was only then that the long ignored pangs of hunger decided that they would not go unnoticed. Stepping up to the kiosk, he determined that this particular establishment catered to those with a taste for Hutt cuisine. A Weequay vendor caught his attention and gestured toward a large pressure cooker filled with Chuba stew. The head of a gorg was simmering with other vegetables and spices, which to many newcomers would be unsettling. However, years spent on the Smuggler's Moon had acclimated his pallet to the favored food of the Hutts. Assuming that the vendor did not speak galactic basic, Kalec gestured for an order of Chuba stew and a cup of Gardulla. After receiving his bowl and cup Kalec ate in relative silence reveling in the first real meal since his two year prison sentence. Maybe it was the pungent aroma of the food or the bitterness of the alcohol but Kalec found himself reflecting on memories of his childhood... “Get in the ship. Now! Enough wasting time, we are leaving this ugly, god-forsaken rock” Verta ordered sternly, her dark eyes smoldering. “It's not ugly! Concordia's our home! Why do we have to go? I wanna stay! I wanna go back.” Kalec pleaded the way only a five year old could. “This is not up for debate. Get in there. This ship is your home now.” Verta said as she kicked Kalec in the rear scooting him along toward the ship. “I'm ready to go. See mommy? I'm not scared like Kale” The younger Selana smiled with a manipulative innocence and attempted to goad her slightly older sibling. “Shut up!” Kalec called back at her with tears in his eyes. “Both of you get on the ship. This is the last time I will tell you. Is this how you would want your father to remember you?” Verta ordered as she crossed her arms across her armored chest, her long black hair blowing slightly in the wind. In a final gesture to provoke him, Selana kicked dirt at her brother as he bent to pick up a box, before hurrying up the entry ramp of the recently acquired Corellian light freighter. Kalec picked up a container of his personal belongings and raced after her. Defeated, he found his way through the unfamiliar ship to what his mother had told him would be his quarters. Sitting down on a military style bunk, he set the box beside him and sulked in silence. The recent events in his life had created a chaos his young mind was unable to properly understand. An unfortunate mining accident had killed Tal and left the family with a series of increasing expenses. Verta took charge of the family the only way she knew how: by returning to her life as a mercenary and contract killer. In a matter of days she had liquidated all the family's assets, paid off their debts, bought a ship, and found contract work on Nar Shaddaa. It would seem that Mandalorian mercenaries were still regarded as some of the finest soldiers-for-hire that credits could buy; a reputation that Verta would take full advantage of in the coming years. In the doorway of his personal bunk an armored figure appeared and leaned against the frame. The sound of metal scraping against metal grabbed his attention. Verta was suited up in a polished set of traditional Mandalorian scout armor, sans the helmet. Upon witnessing the pathetic sight of her son, she softened her demeanor slightly and reached for something in a hip pouch. Taking out a small holo-projector, she tossed it to Kalec and smiled bitterly. “Take this so you can honor his memory. Now, if you want to watch us take-off then find a seat in the cabin. Get some sleep tonight, tomorrow we start your edification.” Verta encouraged as she made her way toward the ship's cockpit. Kalec caught the disc and inadvertently activated it, displaying an image of his father waving foolishly with a diffident expression, seemingly unsure what he should be doing. The sight of him was difficult to watch but he dared not look away for fear the image would disappear. Eventually, as if to save him from his embarrassment, Verta entered the frame visibly laughing and mimicking Tal's behavior for the holo-recorder. They would go on to smile and wave in unison before the recording reached its end. In the years to come, Kalec would often ponder what became of the elated woman in the video.
Chapter Three: Reeducation “Ten credit. You pay now.” The Weequay vendor said with the hesitation of someone using a second language. Taking out his bearer card , he handed it to the vendor and watched as he ran it through an authorization device. After receiving back his card, an indistinct hollering to his right caught his attention. A series of twelve people jogged in formation while a coach issued instructions. As they passed, Kalec noticed the Czerka sponsored emblems on their identical running suits indicating that they were probably a Grav-ball team. “One! Two! Three! Get those leg's up. Faster you lousy bunch of kung suckers!” The coach berated the team as he maintained their casual pace. Turning back to his food, Kalec finished up the last of his stew and slammed the remnants of his drink. Standing, he nodded a thank you to the vendor and proceeded to follow in the direction of the coach and his team. Unconsciously, he began to walk with a military gait as the yells of instruction slowly faded from his hearing... “Solus! T'ad! Ehn! Now recite the Canons of Honor.” Verta ordered as she twirled a stun baton in her hand. “I shall be calm. I shall be prudent. I shall think before I act. I shall listen before I think. I shall be respectful. I shall be loyal. I shall be virtuous. I shall be dependable. I shall be generous. I shall accept all fair challenges.” Kalec and Selana spoke in unison as they preformed weighted pull-ups on a low hanging suspension bar. “Cuir! Rayshe'a! Resol! Now recite the Resol'nare.” Verta commanded as she began to pace, her armored boots clanking as she moved. “Wear armor. Speak the language. Defend yourself and your family. Raise children as Mandalorian. Contribute to the clan. Rally to the Mand'alor's cause.” The pair began to slow as muscle fatigue set in. “That's enough for the day. Rest for now and meet for dinner in one hour.” Verta said as she prepared to leave. “Wait, I have a question. Why do we have to learn the Resol'nare? I mean, contributing to the clan's welfare? Why? What has the clan ever done for us? Rallying to the Mand'alor's cause? We never even met the guy! So we should follow these lessons out of some asinine sense of tradition?” the winded Kalec spat with a questioning defiance. “You watch your tongue!” Verta exclaimed as she activated the stun baton. She moved with the grace of a seasoned warrior and before Kalec could react she struck him in the gut. A loud cackle emitted from the rod but was drown out by a heavy groan as Kalec fell to the ground. “These lessons have been handed down through many generations and you will not defile their memory in my presence. Everything I have taught you is about survival for both yourself and the continued existence of your clan. You are Mandalorian, act like it!” Verta stormed out of the room and disappeared down the corridor. Verta's eccentric training would come in many forms, from reciting the major clan's history during physical exercises, to preforming various military drills while under live fire, to brutal hand to hand combat that often ended with moderate injuries. Additionally, as he continued to grow older and stronger, he began to train with various weaponry, becoming skilled in their use through constant repetition and practice. Seldom would she teach anything academic unless it had a direct relationship to equipment maintenance or tactical advantage. This unusual method of apprenticeship would end up leaving the siblings physically fit and skillful but socially and scholastically challenged. “Haar'chak!” Kalec spat as he struggled to his feet, hatred welling up inside him. “Di'kut” Selana said to her older brother as she walked out of the room shaking her head. Kalec lumbered over to a heavy bag set up in the corner of the hanger bay. Near it sat a small holovid receiver tuned to a galactic news program. He would often spend time here alleviating his increasing frustrations with his mother against the sand filled bag. He took a Teräs Käsi battle stance and began to strike the bag with the steel hands technique. As the series of blows rained down on the bag his precise striking devolved into rage-filled haymakers. Frak tradition, frak the Mandalorians, and most of all frak you Verta! I never asked for any of this! I don't need any of them. They can keep their archaic rituals and traditions. I'll make my own way in the galaxy. That or die trying... Kalec's inner turmoil would be interrupted by a conveniently timed Imperial military propaganda commercial on the Holonet. “People from all over the galaxy are joining up to fight for the future. Join the Imperial Navy and serve the Sith Empire. We need pilots. We need you! If you have strong mathematical skills, high reflexes, or pertinent technical skills then we need you now. Start training for your future today!” Kalec watched the holovid captivated with the idea of escape through military service. Enrollment was something he had never considered before due to his mother's distaste for the Empire. The only obstacle was that you had to be eighteen to enlist, unless you were luck enough to be accepted into a prestigious academy. He would never pass for eighteen now, but in a few years he would be of average human height and weight. All he had to do was deceive the recruiters and provide falsified papers. How hard could that be? As the sweat glistened on his brow, he formed a slightly mischievous smile and found his way to the nearest refresher.
Chapter Four: The Art of the Unethical As Kalec continued his way through the market district of town, he slowed as he fished a pack of Carababba cigarra's from his pocket. Shaking the box he could feel that he only had a few left, this would become a problem as his addiction was not exactly convenient due to his monetary strain. Pulling the tabac stick to his lips he prepared to light the end and feed his craving when he heard raised voices to his left. Stopping in his tracks, he turned his head and could see the outlines of two humanoids apparently in some sort of argument down a poorly lit alleyway. Opportunity? Some kind of illegal trade? Drugs? Guns? Intel? Stay calm, observe, listen. Keep it casual. Keep it quiet. Kalec casually moved out of line of sight before moving to the alley's entrance. Resting his back to the corner he turned his head and peered into the corridor. He stood there a moment and allowed his eyes to scan the passerby's to give the appearance of waiting for someone. He could just make out the heated conversation taking place not thirty meters from him. “No! The price is set at fifty.” said a hooded man wearing a long coat, his hands in his pockets. “Just this once man. I’m good for it. Please!” said an emaciated looking man, his clothing giving him away as a street beggar. Kalec used the louder, more desperate beggar’s voice to cover his movement and get a better vantage point. He crept closer hugging the wall until he found cover behind a stack of waste barrels. Carefully he drew his pistol from the shoulder holster and prepared to ambush the two lowlifes. “It's simple: fifty credits, ten sticks. Zero credits, zero sticks. Now stop wasting my time and get lost street-rat.” said the hooded man as he began to turn and leave the alley. “No, don't leave please. I said no! Don’t!” The beggar reached and grabbed the shoulder of the hooded man. Turning quickly, the hooded man pulled a serrated vibro-knife from his coat pocket and buried the length of it into the beggar's gut. Grabbing the beggar with his other hand he pulled the man's weight into himself sinking the blade in deeper while twisting. The beggar let out a whispered gasped as his face turned pale and his knees started to buckle. In one violent motion, the hooded man wrenched the beggar to the ground and turned to disappear back into Nar Shaadda's nightlife. As Kalec watched the brief encounter, his training took over and he decided to seize the opportunity. The moment the hooded man's back was turned he moved swiftly into the alley rearing back the heavy weapon above his head. As the hooded man turned around to leave, Kalec brought down the blaster across his temple with a sickeningly wet thud. The hooded man crumpled to the ground, his vibro-knife dropping to his side with a metallic clank. As Kalec stood over the hooded man he slowly replaced the pistol back into it's shoulder holster, there would be no need to draw any more unwanted attention. Kneeling down he pulled the cowl away from the hooded man's face and noticed the slight depression along the side of the man's skull. What was supposed to have been an attempt to render the man unconscious had inadvertently killed him. Studying the hooded man's face, Kalec stood and began to rationalize the situation internally. Well, at least he never saw it coming. It's just a lowlife dealer anyways. He probably deserved it. He was a murderer after all. Yeah... I probably saved lives actually. It's better this way, better it was me that found him. Now get moving before someone see's you. Kneeling back down, Kalec began to rummage through the dead man's pockets. In total he found a couple dozen multicolored death sticks, various loose pills, a half consumed pack of Havao cigarras, a Czerka identichip, and about two-hundred credits worth of ingots. Smiling with a sense of good fortune, he took everything but the pills which he promptly cast aside. Picking up the vibro-knife, he wiped the gore on the hooded man's pants and proceeded over to the dying beggar. Kneeling down next to him, he pulled the man onto his back taking precaution not to get any blood on himself. The beggar groaned in agony as he clutched his gut, frantically rambling to himself. “Uggh. He stabbed me. He stabbed me. Stabbed me. He did it. I...I...need a medic...doctor...doctor...please...please help...” The beggar pleaded, his eyes wide with panic. “No. It wouldn’t help. See, your kidney has been shredded, you don't have much time left. It looks like he used a Czerka manufactured vibro-knife, quite a nice little tool actually. If you look here you can see the internal vibration generator which assists in turning even minor lacerations into something more lethal. Not that I need to tell you. Soon your body will go into shock, and the toxins in what used to be your kidney are going to poison the rest of your insides” Kalec casually explained to the beggar as he lit the end of the cigarra he has been holding in his teeth this whole time. “W-what? Please! You have to do something! Help me!” The beggar implored as his shaking became erratic. “I certainly do not. You put yourself in this position based on the path you decided to follow. Yes, I could rush to find you medical aid, but by the time they got to a street beggar you would be dead. However, let's just say that you did live and I am wrong, how long would it take for your vice to ultimately consume you?” As Kalec calmly spoke, he took a long drag from his cigarra and as if it was an afterthought noticed the tabac stick in his hand. “I know what your thinking: How is he going to stand there and judge me while smoking something that's proven to be equally detrimental over time. To this I would offer a retort: When you find yourself put through the proverbial ringer, as I feel that I have, you have to take time to enjoy the little things. Would you not agree?” Kalec said expecting some kind of response from the beggar who had died much earlier in the monologue. “You see. Seeking medical attention would have been a waste of energy on both of our parts.” Kalec spat before standing to his full height. Kalec looked around to see if anyone had noticed the interaction. Shrugging he made his way to the entrance of the alley and back out into the crowded nightlife. As he walked one of Nar Shaddaa's many catwalks, he began to visualize that final look of fear and surprise etched on the dead beggar's face... Within the cargo hold of the Te A'den a table sat toward one side of them room with numerous blasters and power cells on it. Twenty meters in front of the table several corpses were suspended by their wrists in varying stages of decay. Kalec and Selana looked at one another before entering the hold and nervously approaching the table. Verta stood at the head of the table pacing and scratching the side of her head. Her compulsive urge to to pull out her hair only added a visual element to her increasing paranoia. “Don't think of them as people. They're not. Don't think about who they were. All they are now are bodies. Just rotting, stinking meat. You'll need to get used to the sight of flesh shredding and bone splintering. Eventually, we will move on to live targets. You need to get acclimated to this first. Now, pick up a weapon from the table and fire on my mark.” Verta's voice in recent month's had become more curt and fractured. Picking up a pair of modified training pistols, Kalec raised them and painted his target with it's laser guidance. He stared at the corpses and felt his stomach turn in knots, but his combat training held his aim. He vaguely remembered seeing the rotting street urchin strung up in front of him. He may have been a contact of Verta's but the lacerations to his face made it difficult to tell. Briefly he glanced to his sister as she shouldered a scoped carbine taking aim. She seemed perfectly content, even curling her tongue along her upper lip as she lined up the shot. “Kale...aim careful and look death in the eye.” Selana whispered to her brother as she focused on her target. “Fire! Now!” Verta ordered as she jerked her hand and slapped the tabletop. Kalec would not hesitate to follow this particular order, having acquired many scars from his repeated protests over the years. As he fired round after round into the cadaver's body, his mind would go blank as an emotionless autopilot of sorts took over. When he became aware of his surroundings again, the exercise was over and he set the pistols on the table. Across the room lay multiple heaps of what can only be described as rotting biological pulp. “Good. That's enough for today, gather your things and be ready to depart in an hour. We have a contact on Telos that called a meeting. I'll see you on the ship.” Verta said as she chewed the knuckle of her index finger while continuing to pace. “Um...we are already on the ship. We haven't left the dock yet.” Kalec said with mild concern. “Yeah... I know. Just...clean up this mess then clean yourself up.” Verta's pacing hesitated before she stormed out of the hanger and made her way toward the cockpit. “She is getting worse.” Kalec mused to Selana with a bit of satisfaction in his voice. “She'll be fine. Mum's just confused, just don't do anything to make the situation worse. You gotta stick by family.” Selana spat at her brother in apparent disapproval. Rolling his eyes, Kalec made way over to the maintenance droid and activated it's cleaning protocol. Standing back, the droid fired to life and moved to the bio-hazard that waited for it at the end of the hangar. Curiosity got the better of him and he approached the filth, forcing himself to watch as the droid started the long process of dispensing the meaty paste. Eventually, he turned away from the mess to discover his sister had left the hangar. Taking a breath to prevent himself from getting sick he left the droid to it's work. Kalec walked through the narrow corridors of the light freighter to his personal quarters, his large frame causing the floor plating to bow slightly. He was nearly fifteen but had the physical appearance of a man in his mid-twenties. The Epicanthix were known for their distinctly large, dark features, something he would come to exploit in the months to come. Holding onto the frame of his doorway he peeked his head inside and made sure the room was empty, privacy not being something he could always rely on. Stepping inside he locked the door behind him and sat at his personal computer, the transparent blue screen flickering to life. Opening his electronic mail he put in a simple password and checked his new messages. He had been waiting anxiously for a response from the Imperial screening officer and it would appear that his wait was over. He had spent the better part of the last two years acquiring falsified documents under his mother's name, all in an effort to enlist in the Imperial Navy. With a shaking hand, he selected the message and waited as the screen decoded the anticipated response. ***Imperial Navy Screening Offices*** Dear Mrs. Falx, The Imperial Classification Board has informed me that your son, Kalec Falx, is qualified and has been selected for training at the Imperial Training Facility on Dromund Kaas. I congratulate both you and him upon this achievement. In order to be selected for this most important training, it is imperative that an individual possess very definite qualifications. His character, integrity and trustworthiness must be unimpeachable, as he will be entrusted to carry out tasks that could be the deciding factor in our fight against the Republic. The training of an recruit requires the highest degree of coordination between a keenly alert mind and sound body. You will be assigned to the Imperial Training Facility on Dromund Kaas for a very intensive course of instruction. Upon the successful completion of this course, he will be awarded his certificate and rating as a qualified soldier. It is my hope that you will derive great satisfaction from the selection of your son for training in this important duty and that his future career in the Empire will be one of continuing success and service. W. STALN Senior Chief Petty Officer, Imperial Navy. Commanding. *** End Transmission *** The blue light from the screen painted an eerie glow on Kalec's face, that and his inability to stop grinning. A rush of excitement swept through him and he had to stand to keep from cheering and causing suspicion. Taking a series of elated breaths, he began to pace within the small confines of his room and go over the final stages of his plan. Let's go over this one more time. We got the fake documents from that sleazeball Neroth on Hutta. Paid him way more than I think they are worth, but whatever. The Imperial screening office didn't catch the discrepancy and processed my request. Maybe they did notice it? Could this be an elaborate trap? No, that's insane, why would they waste the effort? I'm a nobody. Okay. Now all we have do is withdraw the remaining balance in my account and book passage to Dromund Kaas. I wonder how much someone would charge for that trip? Not like I need anything once I get there. I should probably sell anything that can make a quick credit. I think I got a couple small arms, a holo-recorder, and maybe a couple crates of foodstock that would probably go unnoticed if I lifted it from the cargo hold. I didn't come this far just to get shot down because I didn't have enough credits. By the time they notice I'm gone, I should be well on my way to Dromund Kaas and the start of a new life.
Chapter Five: Three's a Crowd The Meltdown Cafe. A nefarious drinking establishment on level 88 in the Corellian Sector. It was one of Nar Shaddaa's three most popular hangouts for bounty hunters and the last place a criminal should willingly go. A neon yellow sign flickered Meltdown above the modest entrance while a Trandoshan bouncer stood leaning with his back to the wall. The green scaled creature was well armed and made no attempt to conceal his illegal disruptor rifle. Approaching at casual pace, Kalec eyed the bouncer and knew right away he was not properly equipped to deal with the savage reptile should things turn messy. Better to avoid a confrontation if all possible but sometimes opportunity presents itself in strange ways and after all it was one damn fine looking disruptor. Shaking his head, he tried to put away any delusions of grandeur and walked up to the entrance. The Trandoshan nodded to him as he made his way through the threshold and into the dimly lit cantina. The atmosphere within the establishment was stale with pungent smells from the unwashed denizens mixed with ever apparent concoctions coming from the kitchen. Boisterous conversations carried between brothers in arms overlapped the Scrak music playing in the background. The Rodian bartender at the center of the room was in the process of mixing one of the establishment's specialties, a mixed drink called a Tatooine Sunburn. As Kalec weaved his way through the small pockets of patrons, only a few took notice of his presence. A single Duros sat at one of the many booths nursing a near full ale of some sort, nervously looking around. Casually, Kalec approached the lone Duros and sat in the booth across from him smiling mischievously. He placed his elbows heavily on the tabletop cupping his hands together and leaned his head forward as one would do a friend. The confused Duros began to reach for something at his hip but a brief shake of Kalec's head caused him to falter. “What do you think you are doing? You should leave.” the Duros said with a slightly grizzled tone. “Me? I am having a drink with an old friend. What? You don't remember me?” Kalec asked attempting to sound hurt and puzzled. “I think you are mistaken. I do not know you.” The Duros quickly scanned the room before returning his attention to Kalec. “Come on, I cannot believe you don't remember me. After all we have been through together? The late nights in the red light district picking up random slave girls and dumping their bodies when we were done? Running from the Hutt's after we stole that rare cargo on the stolen Czerka ship. Oh! You mean to tell me, that you don't remember the time when we took turns kicking that bounty hunter in the face until only his mother could recognize him?” As he spoke Kalec began to raise his voice loud enough for a few of the other patrons to hear. “Stop it! What are you doing! You are going to get us both killed! I swear I have no idea who you are, you must be mistaken. What is it you want.” The Duros whispered harshly and extended his hand for Kalec to cease. “What I want? Well, old friend, since your offering you could buy me a drink. Then leave this booth before you get hurt.” Kalec grinned as he stared the Duros down. The Duros set a few credit ingots on the table and left the booth hastily, leaving his near full ale on the table. Reaching over, Kalec slid the drink toward his side of the table and turned his head toward the few that continued to stare. Smiling he raised his newly procured drink in a sarcastic toast toward the onlookers before sliding his off hand to the vibro-knife at his hip. As far as he knew he had no outstanding bounties on his head but sometimes the only way to find out is to throw up a flag and see who salutes. Most of the patrons that bothered to take notice of the slight commotion returned to their business but sure enough, some were scanning him. Only a idiot would enter the Meltdown with a bounty on his head. Taking a pull from his recently procured drink, Kalec began to scan the room for any potential opportunities that often presented itself within the establishment. The few hunters that had even taken notice of him seemed to be losing interest. Relaxing a bit, he let himself sink into the booth before contemplating his next move. In the booth behind him, he could just make out the tail-end of a conversation. “What exactly is the job” a grizzled sounding male asked attempting to sound nonchalant. “It's real simple, we need you to track down the location of a person of interest. Her name is Shae Vizla.” replied a male with an Imperial accent who sounded slightly annoyed. “Vizla? Shae Vizla? Come on, seriously who's the mark?” the grizzled male sounded amused but his voice faltered ever so slightly. “If you lack the ability”, a stern voice challenged, “Then you are wasting our time.” “Well...I would have to triple my normal rate. I won't even touch this for less than nine-thousand.” the grizzled male said half expectantly. *Silence* “Tell you what, let me know when you guys get serious.” the grizzled man slid out of the booth and walked back to the bar obviously relieved but still trying to save face. “That didn't go well, I thought we had a shot with him. You’d think that finding a tracker wouldn’t be such a pain in-..” the man with the Imperial accent commented before stopping short. By now Kalec had stood up and slid into the booth across from the two remaining men. One was dressed in dark robes, his face all but obscured save for a few tattooed lines on his chin. The other, more verbose of the two, had dark blonde hair and a neatly kept beard. He was dressed in a well fitted black and grey tactical uniform although without any rank or insignia. Clearing his throat and adjusting his position, Kalec set his hands openly on the tabletop and looked directly into the eyes of the bearded man. An unsettling cold swept over his body as he could feel the unflinching stare of the hooded figure. It was an unsettlingly familiar sensation but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it... “If you need to find this Vizla woman, then I am your man.” Kalec stated very matter-of-factly taking advantage of of his unexpected presence. “Excuse me?” replied the bearded man with the Imperial accent. “I am a man of certain talents and finding people that do not want to be found is one of them.” Kalec offered to the bearded man while still feeling that piercing gaze from the other, who then offered a flat retort. “You seem poorly equipped for this endeavor; your appearance does not exactly inspire confidence.” “Truth be told, I am a bit down on my luck but I still have the contacts to get the information you want.” Kalec said hoping to sell them on the idea using honesty as his weapon. “You’re a beggar? Get outta here before- ” the man with the beard said, obviously running low on patience. “Just wait. I can acquire everything you need to know, and possibly more, in twenty-four hours.” Kalec interrupted, his head lowering slightly and lips pursing together. “Do I still have your attention?” he asked and for a moment he was a surprised at what he just promised but changing his tune now would ruin any credibility he hoped to establish. “That is quite the promise. I trust that you can assure us of your success.” The robed man’s eyes could not be seen for the shadow of his cowl, but Kalec felt as though they burned right through him. Then it dawned on him where he had felt that sense of focused dread before, among the Sith officers during his time in the military. “I know better than to deliberately cross a Sith. Your robes and your sense of presence give it away. I saw a lot of you guys when I served in the Imperial navy. Always gave me the chills, but you learn how to ignore such trivialities.” Kalec challenged as he turned his attention to the Sith for a moment before returning his gaze to the bearded man. “And me?” the bearded man raised his right eyebrow knowingly. “As for you, I have to assume you are in some branch of the military. Your posture is too practiced and I don't know too many civilians who would willingly associate with the followers of his dogma. No offense intended.” Kalec said to the bearded man before shrugging nonchalantly toward the Sith. There was a brief pause in conversation as the bearded man looked to the Sith for correspondence, however the Sith remained steadfast in his dagger-like stare. “What I can promise is accurate information in regards to the location of your ‘person of interest’. That is how you put it, right? Within twenty-four hours. You simply will not find a better deal within these walls. You can keep searching for a tracker if you want, but I have never known patience to be among the virtues of your ideology.” Kalec turned his attention to the Sith and stared into the darkness of his cowl, feeling as if their eyes had locked. He knew that the Sith respected power and strength and seeing as he had none of the first, his only hope was to display the other through confidence. “Information has its price.” The Sith stated in a low, definitive tone. “We must first know yours.” “Well, that's the catch isn't it? Money is easy, but it rarely lasts so what I want is a favor. I am sure you have connections within the military, specifically personnel files. I want you to slice into the database and ‘adjust’ something... You see, due to a severe misunderstanding, I was discharged from the navy and all I want is a clean record. Modify my personnel file so that I served my term and left without incident. Do that for me, and I am all yours.” Kalec held his breath for a moment and hoped he was not talking to idealists or this could go horribly wrong very quickly. He had a talent for reading a situation and responding with what he thought was the desired reaction. In this instance, he would need to appear honest and unsure while meshing the lines between lies and truth. “That’s quite a favor.” the bearded man exclaimed with raised eyebrows. “When you read the file, I think you will agree that it is a simple misunderstanding blown way out of proportion. It is a black mark on my otherwise clean record, and at this point, I just want the ability to serve again.” Kalec said with no deception in his voice or posture, knowing that the Sith at the table would pick up on that quite easily. “How do we know you'll keep your end of the bargain?” the bearded man's eyebrows scrunched into a calculating look. “Well, I am giving you my personal information. In your hands that can be very detrimental to my desire to live a long and meaningful life. Not to mention that I am kind of stuck on this moon and I am pretty sure you would be the type to track me down should I not keep my word. That sound about right?” Kalec offered with a slightly playful tone of voice, again returning to confidence as his intended display of strength. “Leave us a moment.” The Sith’s words were more of a dictation than a suggestion, and an intense urgency to leave quickly overwhelmed Kalec. “As you wish. I am going to get a drink, either of you want anything? No? Suit yourself.” Kalec stood casually and made his way over to the bar. He positioned himself to keep an eye on the two he had left and ordered a small cup of Twi'lek liquor. The green drink arrived shortly and he began to sip while taking in some of the HoloNet news that played on a viewscreen. If he had inadvertently offended his potential employers, then this was about to get real ugly. After a few minutes, the two in the booth removed themselves and approached Kalec, who turned to greet them. “You’ve got a deal.” the man with the beard flashed his first smile of the night. Kalec took a moment to fish out his Sith issued identichip from his back pocket and handed it to the bearded man. Taking a step back from the two he confirmed the deal. “That should be everything you need to satisfy your end of the arrangement. Then it looks like I will meet you back here in twenty-four hours.” Kalec nodded and visibly suppressed a grin while swirling the contents of his glass. “No... You have twenty-three hours, fifty-one minutes, twenty-seven seconds, and the time is still counting. It started the moment you sat down.” The Sith’s voice was laden with a spitefulness that felt almost justified, given the several quips Kalec had made during the exchange. His cowl remained directed towards Kalec, but the hooded man’s arm rose and pointed toward the exit. Realizing the intention of the Sith's words, Kalec immediately set the cup down on the bar and hurriedly made his way from the Meltdown. He knew what the Sith expected from those they felt to be their inferior and sometimes humility was the right play. As he passed the reptilian bouncer, he gave a sarcastic two fingered salute before fishing out one of his few remaining cigarras. Lighting the end, he began to walk with that same military purpose he used to, only a few years ago. Tilting his head to the side as he walked, he thought to himself: Shae Vizla, now why is that name so damned familiar...
Chapter Six: The Beating of a Mercenary Deadline Deadline – 23:45:31 Having retreated from the Meltdown Cafe with a feigned sense of urgency, Kalec found a nearby alley and watched the entrance of the bar he just left. The corridor he found had all the makings of a good ambush point, poor lighting and height advantage included. Trying to look inconspicuous, he leaned heavily on the side of the alleys entrance and continued to smoke his cigarra. Logic dictated that he get moving to complete his seemingly impossible task but all he really wanted was a stiff drink and a couple of minutes to develop a strategy. He was not sure if the his employers would remain in the establishment or if personal business would draw them away. His mind began swimming with the various and delicate solutions to getting the information he needed. Most of his contacts on this moon were over a decade old and probably didn’t remember him so the probability of actually fulfilling his contract was pretty slim. He could try and muscle some information but that usually just creates other issues and he had enough on his plate as it is. As he continued to ponder this dilemma, the bearded man of Imperial origin appeared at the bar's entrance. Preparing to duck into the alley, Kalec watched him leave with a casualness of a man with nowhere to be, heading toward the gambling district. Soon after the Sith emerged and marched with some unknown purpose toward the ship docking sector. Slowly, Kalec slipped into the shadow of the alley and intentionally calmed his mind and focused on keeping his presence unknown. He had been trained to keep a low profile by his mother, and this included keeping his thoughts and emotions in check to avoid notice by any force sensitives. After a brief amount of time, Kalec strolled down the alley and took an intentionally long route of returning to the Meltdown. Again he nodded sarcastically to the bouncer before entering and made his way to the sparsely occupied bar. Looking around while he waited for the Rodian bartender, he began to quickly study the patrons of the establishment looking for any kind of edge he could gain for his task. Most of them were lowlife thugs that wouldn’t have the faintest clue how to track down an off planet mark. While in contemplation, a fairly attractive blonde haired cocktail waitress approaches him and extends her hand offering him a drink. “Here you are sir. One Tatooine Sunburn.” The waitress said sweetly with her best customer service voice as she waited for him to take the drink. “I have not actually ordered a drink yet. If your intention was to drug me, usually you wait for the patron to actually order first.” Kalec said with amusement and just a hint of suspicion. “No! I..I..Why would you..” The waitress seemed genuinely surprised and a bit offended as she unconsciously pulled her hand away. “Do not dispose of it so quickly there is so much left to learn from it. I still want it of course, free is free, but your going tell me who sent it.” Kalec quickly snatches the drink from her hand and sets it on the bar in front of him. “Um.. those two men over there.” The waitress, obviously uncomfortable, gestures toward a Chiss and a red haired human before taking the initiative to leave while she can. Spotting the indicated duo, Kalec takes the drink and mumbles something about how in five years the first person to buy him a drink in a bar would of course be a pair of men. Casually, he holds the drink near his chest and carefully unbuttons the safety strap on his shoulder holster. Hopefully the action would go unnoticed as he continues his way over to the corner booth that the two are sitting. “To whom do I owe the pleasure? I do not believe I know you, and Nar Shaddaa is not exactly known for its generosity.” Kalec raises his glass, eyeing both patrons for confirmation of the deed. “You look a tad distraught. Did you bite off more then you can handle?” The Chiss wore all black, up to and including his duster jacket which was obviously concealing various weaponry. His body language was very formal as he watched Kalec approach and settle in, those red eyes burning holes into his intended target. “No, I do not think so. I can handle a mixed drink with the best of them.” Kalec takes an exaggerated sip attempting to stall until he knows the direction of this conversation. He lets the potent liquid roll on his tongue while watching their reaction before swallowing. “I think you know what we mean.” The human smirked and tilted his head indicating toward the table where his last business arrangement had taken place. He was dressed casually in a red shirt and grey trousers, a style distinctive to Dromond Kaas. His fiery red hair was well kept as was his full goatee but it was the Imperial accent that gave his lineage away. Cautiously, Kalec set the drink back on the table and narrowed his eyes at the two. There was no reason to admit to anything or show his hand this early in the conversation because after all, how much could they know. For now he would choose to remain silent and let the duo set the stage. “I do not think that Sith will take kindly to failure and the information they requested for you to retrieve may be difficult if the Jedi who owned your ship comes looking for it.” The Chiss maintained eye contact through his statement although a small smirk formed along the right side of his mouth. “Who are you?” Growing defensive, Kalec’s usual arrogant and long-winded speech pattern has become curt and serious as he stiffens in the chair. “Who we are is less important than what we have to offer.” The red-haired Imperial tilts his head toward the Chiss. “We will just say we have overlapping interest.” The Chiss chides while leaning back into his seat. “Now why would a man of obvious Imperial origin and a Chiss want to assist a stranger with anything. Unless they had something to gain. Luckily, in my line of work one does not necessarily need the details of employer motivation. Just the terms and conditions.” Believing that this conversation was initiated in an effort to negotiate, Kalec relaxes his posture and intentionally takes a confident demeanor trying to make up lost ground. “There is always something to be gained by any sort of bargain and if terms and conditions are what you require...” The Imperial casually strokes his neatly kept goatee, sizing up Kalec. “A bargain would imply that I have something you want or something you need done. It also insinuates that I would benefit from the arrangement.” Kalec’s smirks as he takes out one of his last cigarra's and begins to smoke. “I believe continuing to breath would benefit you. That Sith would likely end that habit if you do not provide the information you claim you can procure.” The Chiss said with amusement. “If you are here to threaten me, then get in line.” Kalec says with the casualness of someone threatened on a regular basis. Subtly his right hand moves into a quick draw position in case things turn ugly. He could only hope that his attempt to hide his intention remained unnoticed. “We have taken the time to research you and your family connections in an effort to understand you better. You are something of conundrum that I hope to understand. You have relatives in a mining colony on Concordia. Specifically, tell us about your uncle Raylor.” The Imperial said as if reading from a script. “Raylor was an iron miner last I heard, not that I have heard much.” Taken a bit off guard, Kalec responds before really thinking of the purpose the line of questioning. “Raylor, a small-time criminal who fancied himself a mercenary. Needless to say he was not a very good one. He got caught attempting to raid an Imperial research center a few years back. They threw him out an airlock kicking a screaming like a coward.” The Imperial continued in the same fashion as before, seemingly ignoring Kalec attempt at rebuttal. “Is that so? More's the pity.” Becoming increasingly disturbed at the revelations these strangers are sharing, Kalec returns to being curt unsure what they intend. “Let's look at the rest of the family tree.” The Chiss says as he taps some buttons on the control pad on his left forearm. A small holo-image appears and begins to cycle through different bits of personal information. “Your cousin Zakk, busted for selling illegal ordnance by undercover imperial officers along with many other treasonous activities. Your sister, Selana, has made quite the name for herself. Honorable to a fault and a cliché of the Mandalorian lifestyle. Still waving that clan flag around as if it means anything other than the dying tradition it represents.” The Chiss continues to display images and information as he talks, also ignoring Kalec's replies. “So what, what does that got to do with me? Are you here to give me a family history lesson or what?” Kalec's growing anxiety causes small beads of sweat to appear on his brow. The extent of the background research that would have been required to know this information would either have been long in the making or require top level security. “Your father, a miner on Concordia who, by all accounts, died in some freak accident. The rest of your living family considers themselves Mandalorian and lives and dies by that standard. Your family's dug into that bygone culture like ticks on a kath hound. You, however, grew up on Nar Shaddaa away from that life. Or so you would like people to believe.” The Chiss finished smugly. “Why did you originally join the navy?” The Imperial questioned pausing for an answer. Kalec shifts his weight in his chair but does not respond, growing further agitated. Gradually he realizes the gravity of their knowledge and possible repercussions of that knowledge. He was certain that he had minimized the evidence of stealing that ship but it would seem that these men hand hands in various surveillance avenues. “Do you desire to be a naval officer and serve the Empire faithfully, or do you want to appear to be a naval officer.” The Imperial asked with a slight smirk. “With all due respect, what the hell is it you want from me?” Exasperated, Kalec glares at them, his hostility seeming to radiate from him. “You're simply not naval material if I might be so blunt. I mean look at this service record.” The Imperial leaned back in his chair as he threw a datapad down on the table. Kalec glances at the datapad, clenching his jaw but does not reach for it. He can see that it is a very official looking personnel file that fits with his service history. Looking back up he stares daggers at the Imperial and continues to listen for an explanation. “We have the information that your current employer desires and will offer it to you if you cooperate.” The Chiss states coldly. “And when you agree...” The Imperial slides the datapad back to him and taps on the screen changing the file to a doctored one, “We can make this record look a bit different and perhaps even have future work for you.” “You sure of that are you?” Kalec states with hostile sarcasm and takes a moment to think about what is being offered. He also recalls that he would be given a similar reward for fulfilling the original contract. It bothered him that he could not see past the next move and wondered what they stood to gain from the arrangement. “Indeed.” That smirk returned to the Chiss's face and Kalec wanted nothing more than to remove it violently. “I’m sure you’d like to have more than just a clean slate..” The Imperial gestures towards where Kalec had met with the previous two. “I can make it better than clean. You just need to do a little something for us first. I assure you, you have the most to gain from this little deal.” “So... what then?” Kalec asks as he leans in for a closer look at the datapad reading some of the commendations and recommendations of service on the doctored file. With this he could get into any branch of the military, on any planet, at any station in the galaxy. The new offer was more appealing and better than merely a few files being deleted and polished. This would offer him more, another chance to start a life. The Imperial smiled confidently and taps the datapad a final time and a holographic image of a red-headed woman in Mandalorian armor appears above it. “You see, the job is actually quite simple...” Deadline – 00:03:15 Clutching his ribs Kalec staggered toward the entrance of the Meltdown Cafe, his left arm hanging uselessly at his side. His clothing had been ripped in places and there were many visible untreated wounds around his face and neck. Blood had run down the various horizontal cuts on his neck and had soaked the front of his shirt. The left side of his face was bruised and swollen limiting his vision to his right eye while his hair was matted to his skull in an unkempt manner. He had barely escaped the nefarious swoop gang that had captured him and now was racing to meet his client to keep his ambitious deadline. Breathing heavily, he kept pace by sheer willpower and memory of the establishment's location. This would be close but he had managed to attain the necessary information to fulfill his end of the contract. Pausing for a moment he grabbed the railing of the walkway about fifteen meters from the entrance and coughed up an alarming amount of blood. For a moment he stared at the Meltdown and took a second to catch his breath before forcing himself to the doorway. Fighting his way up the stairs, he looked at the bouncer with the intensity of a cornered animal. The Trandoshan bouncer looked at him with confused amusement, hissing what could only be perceived as laughter as he passed. Once inside the neon-lit building, he stumbled toward the booth he originally met the Sith and Imperial soldier. The crowd took more notice of him than usual and a few of the more savage patrons snorted at the smell of blood as he passed. He felt like a wounded animal walking through a lion's den but the consequences of failure were far worse.
Chapter Seven: The Inflexible Triad The pair he was to meet were sitting in their respective places apparently waiting on him and he wasn't about to disappoint. Upon spotting the battered hunter, the Sith quickly slid out of the booth and approached with his associate in tow. The cloaked man crossed the room with a feverish grace while his companion seemed to be more than a little caught off guard. “If you want to live, hand over the information. Now.” the Sith demanded as he extended his hand expectantly. “That is not how this works; I expect payment on delivery” Kalec said with clear exhaustion in his voice. Shifting on his feet, he coughed violently and swallowed the traces of blood that came up. “It works exactly as we agreed. You give us the information, then we clear your name. You have 147 seconds.” The Sith ordered impatiently, attempting to maintain control and expedite the conversation. “Then your end of the deal has been met, and I have a clean military record?” Kalec asks with a tinge of hopeful defeat. Grinning through bloodstained teeth he couldn’t help but feel like a burden was lifting from his shoulders. “It will be met when we know that you kept your end. Now, time is of the essence. Do you have the data or not?” The Sith stated curtly and with an air of superiority. “I do. However, the deal was payment on delivery. Not a flacking IOU.” Kalec replaced his hand on his ribs after handing off the datachip to the Sith, his voice seething with venom. The relief he had felt was quickly replaced with anger as he realized he was being played. “If this information gets us to Vizla, then your name will be cleared. If it doesn’t, then rest assured that you will see us again and then I won’t be so cordial.” The Sith pointed his gloved finger at Kalec’s chest to stress the point. “If you think you can intimidate me with threats of violence and pain, then go right ahead and take your shot. You see, any hunter worth his salt has a contingency plan. That datachip is heavily encrypted behind multiple firewalls, a short circuit fail-safe, and programmed in the native Mandalorian tongue courtesy of a tech friend of mine. A good slicer could bypass and translate the information in a few hours but I have a feeling that you might be pressed for time. So stay put and let’s chat. I am not a man of unreasonable requests; I just need certain guarantees. I can narrow down the system to get you moving in the right direction; once you keep your word and fulfill your end, contact me and I will give you the password which will narrow down the planet, city, and sector. Unless you think you can slice the datachip with less effort, and I assure you I did not make it easy.” Focusing his aggression Kalec continued to be defiant with the hooded man refusing to give an inch. Given his appearance and apparent injuries it was something of a long shot but sometimes the only way to impress upon the stubborn is to be stubborn yourself. “That was not our agreement. I could end you so quickly, you...” The Sith raised his hand in a threatening gesture, and sparked a few lines of electricity through his fingers. The Imperial set a hand on the Sith’s raised arm and pulled him aside to whisper in his ear. Kalec stared blankly at the Sith as best he could with his limited vision. Mentally he was bracing himself to taste first-hand the legendary short temper of a dark side force user. After a few moments he realized that the strike would not come and that they still needed him yet. The Sith ultimately relented lowering his arm, and stood beside his Imperial companion. Kalec could feel the radiating hate being directed his way but chose to ignore it as best as he could. “I can clear your name and profile just as easily as I can trash it, you know. How about this: I’ll wipe your slate here and now, and you unlock this datachip for us. But, if for any reason, it doesn’t get us to Vizla, I will go back into your file and slander your name so that your family will be remembered as the scum of the galaxy.” The Imperial stated matter-of-factly, his attempt to re-establish reason was not completely overlooked. “And then I will kill you. And perhaps your family, too.” The Sith added in an attempt to re-establish dominance. Kalec began to laugh and was cut off by a fit of coughing. Cleaning his teeth with his tongue he spit out the remnants of the regurgitated blood and saliva to the floor. “If you want to take a shot at my family then I suggest you get in line. You would be doing the galaxy, and me, a kriffing favor, and if you get it done then let me know; I could pay you for the trouble. As for the legitimacy of the information on that datachip: I can put you on the right planet, in the right sector, and the name of her current bounty. How’s that for accuracy?” Kalec responded with the unusual amusement of the utterly drained and defeated. He was tired of going in circles with these two, he needed to visit a medical center soon. “Think, boy-scout: what motivation or incentive do I have for lying at this point? I mean, look at me!” Kalec gestures to himself and the fact that the side of his face is swollen and burned, he has possible internal bleeding, and his arm is hanging uselessly at his side. “If you’re telling us the truth. Then consider your name cleared. Have a look for yourself” The Imperial said as he depressed a button on his wristcomp, displaying a holorecord in the air between the three patrons. After rearranging several panels and altering a few sections, it was clear that the edification was complete and all record of his transgressions were deleted. “Now, about that datachip?” The Imperial said expectantly. “Good. The password on that datachip is ‘Te jédii Ru'vlo bellitha'rum’.” Kalec watched the blank look on their faces before clarifying the translation. Mando’a was not the easiest language to pick up but he had little choice in the matter. “In basic it reads: 'The Jedi break before us'. Translate that phrase when you decrypt the datachip and she should open up for you like a Twi'lek dancer down on her luck. Everything you need to track this woman down should be present save cab fare.” Kalec stated with a little bit of casual swagger. “If this gets us to Vizla, then I wish you the best. But remember, hunter: If you have crossed us in any way, I will come back to this place. I will find you. And then I will kill you. Keep in mind that I hold to my word.” The Sith spoke, his angry tone subsided and replaced with a false cordiality and propriety. Kalec stared at him unfazed at his repeated attempts at intimidation. This type of behavior seemed to go with the territory and the trick was to react as indifferently as possible or you would lose any respect you had garnered. “Yeah. Right. I got it. Hell has no fury like a scorned Sith. I just spent the last twenty-four hours getting chewed up for the chance to give a Sith - one I have never met - inaccurate information to send him into hostile territory, but only after giving my own personal information and the ability to track me. No, that makes sense.” Kalec scoffed at the notion using his facial expression to further demonstrate the point. “As long as we are on the same page, mercenary. We’re done here.” The dark-robed Sith moved past Kalec, brushing shoulders in the process, and left through the cantina door. “Don't worry about him he is... dramatic..." The Imperial said with a wink and patted Kalec on the shoulder in a friendly fashion before heading out after his companion. Once the pair had left Kalec stood still a moment and let a sense of relief wash over him before the pain restored his senses. Casually he made his way to the bar and hailed the bartender. An older, stocky human with various facial scars came over and leaned on the bar in front of him. He looked like he may have been a hunter in his time but now was reduced to serving drinks. “Boy, you look like shavit. What can I get for you?” The bartender asked with the mild amusement of a veteran. His demeanor was that of a domesticated animal and whatever threat he may have poised has long since been tamed. “I need you to contact the nearest medical center and have them send an emergency shuttle to pick me up.” Kalec stated with a gasp trying to subdue a coughing fit. His breathing had become irregular now and from experience he knew his ability to remain upright was nearing it's end. The bartender turned to make the call but before he could dial the numbers, Kalec reached over the bar and pulled him back gently. The startled bartender turned and listened intently. “I need you to make me a couple of drinks as well. Two shots of Corellian whiskey.” Kalec sighed and nodded to himself. The bartender smiled to himself and turned again this time to make the drinks and just as before Kalec pulls him back again. “Also, I am going to need the security footage from your camera's for the last thirty minutes. Be discrete. I will make it worth your while.” Kalec pressed the bartender in a loud whisper while setting a small pile of credits on the counter top. Again the bartender turns to set himself to one of the many tasks and again Kalec pulls him back, this time the bartender looking very aggravated. “Now, would you mind hurrying this up? I do not exactly have all the time in the world!” Kalec stared into the bartenders face, his eyes glazing over. Leaning heavily on the bar, he merely had to wait and try his best to remain conscious until the medical technicians arrived. He could afford their ludicrous fee this time, the benefits of a kolto bath was well within his reach.