[Story] The Deal

The cantina smelled like all cantinas; of smoke, incense, and desperation. It also smelled of Hutt. Tirzo’s nose crinkled in distaste as he stepped in, his eyes adjusting quickly to the dingy lighting. He hated Hutts, which was nothing unusual. Everyone hated Hutts, if someone said they didn’t it’s simply because they’d never had dealings with one. Normally Tirzo wasn’t the sort of person who did. He used to be picky about his jobs, and could turn one down if he didn’t like the sound of it. Or the smell of it, in this case. But a lot of things had changed. Most of his crew were gone, as were most of his contacts. The war was bad for business, really bad. Not many people were willing to hire a bounty hunter when the whole planet might be over-run at any moment. The fortresses lingered above to remind everyone of that fact; Tirzo had seen one when they’d approached Nar Shaddaa, he’d seen them everywhere they went. So he’d taken this call to this seedy cantina that smelled of Hutt because as much as he didn’t want to admit it, he needed the credits. Badly.

The twi’lek dancers gave him a curious look and returned to their bored routines. Tirzo couldn’t see anyone else in sight, save for the Hutt, and one twi’lek guy at the counter. From his outfit, Tirzo took him to be a dancer. Then Tirzo noticed the blaster. He probably had at least one hidden on him, maybe a vibro-knife. That wouldn’t explain the outfit. Maybe he was trying to look like part of the crowd. The twi’lek already had a drink, Tirzo put down some credits for his own. The droid behind the bar didn’t ask what he wanted, he simply started pulling out bottles and mixing. No matter. Tirzo didn’t care much what it was. The twi’lek knew was the one who had called, which he figured. That was good. It wasn’t the Hutt. And that meant that somebody still knew who he was, which was also good. Being recognized saved Tirzo the trouble of explaining everything himself. The droid returned with his drink, and Tirzo sniffed it, then tossed it back. It wasn’t bad. Wasn’t good either, but at least it probably wouldn’t make him blind.

The twi’lek explained that he wanted a Sith found. Tirzo suppressed a groan. He hated dealing with Sith, not just because they were dangerous — which it’s true, they were. No more dangerous than any other bounty, but dangerous all the same. No, there were all sorts of political machinations when it came to Sith, and they always tried to talk their way out. Not to mention they usually had a lot of guards, more than most people. The twi’lek put a bunch of credits in a glass. Tirzo scoffed, but kept himself from commenting. Humility was not a habit that was coming easy to him. You’re broke, remember? He reminded himself. That meager cup of credits was going to have to do. There would be more when the bounty was collected, besides. But he didn’t want the Sith killed, the twi’lek explained. Just found. Tirzo furrowed his brow at him. What? He didn’t understand. Why would you go to the trouble to hire a bounty hunter if you didn’t want him killed? Just find him, the twi’lek said. Don’t even have to talk to him. But Tirzo thought it would probably be necessary to make sure it was the right Sith. There were quite a few of them still, after all. He got another drink, taking his time with this one. He was thinking it over. Sure it was a weird job, and not much pay, but he needed the credits. Badly. And with things being the way they were, he didn’t know when he’d get another offer. He still didn’t know why the twi’lek couldn’t locate this guy by traditional means. Tirzo’s own network had been fractured by the war, same as everything else in his life. He didn’t know if he’d have an easy time finding this mark. The twi’lek explained that he’d been hired by a Jedi who wanted to find this Sith. Presumably to kill him personally. Not Tirzo’s business. He bristled a little at their mention, not even realizing that he had. He hadn’t thought about the kid in a long time, but lately he had. With everything else gone to shit, maybe he ought to check in on him? That’s assuming he even wanted anything to do with Tirzo. He probably didn’t, and Tirzo wouldn’t blame him. Last he’d heard, Xaliha had dropped the runt off at the academy and who knows where he’d gone from there. That had been kind of a shock, since he didn’t think she’d had any Force sensitivity. He certainly didn’t. But he didn’t know who his own father was, and he’d heard that sometimes it skipped generations. Or maybe Xaliha wasn’t being entirely honest, but he didn’t really think that was true. Tirzo finished his second drink, but didn’t buy a third. He collected the cup of credits, and the twi’lek’s contact frequency. There was a droid who’d contact him once Tirzo found anything. Nice and neat. Tirzo was pleasantly surprised. Maybe the guy wasn’t a total novice at this.

He had an idea where he might start looking. There was still one contact who might be able to find Sith records for him. He set his navigation map for Dromund Kass.


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