Amongst the hustle, bustle and vibroblade shankings of Nar Shaddaa, two tall humans stand huddled around a small datapad. They share the same shaggy dirty blonde hair, green eyes and cleft chins, but the similarities end there. The larger of the two is built up like a Gamorrean and has the same vacant look often possessed by them as well. A blaster rifle is slung carelessly across his back and a vibroblade hangs at his side. The other is thin and wiry. He glances up from the datapad every few moments, as if something were going to swoop down from above and surprise them. His blaster is at his side, stock compacted.
“Where are we supposed to find this ‘Kladdu the Hutt’?” the wiry one wonders aloud, more to himself than anyone.
“I dunno, boss.”
“Dex, for the last time, stop calling me boss. We’re cousins. We’re equal. We get paid the same. Cut it out.”
Dex briefly holds a grin, then drops it. “I’m thirsty, Cal.”
“We don’t really have time for that … but then again, I’m not really getting anywhere with the info we got so I guess it wouldn’t hurt. Fine. Let’s go. But only one drink, okay?”
Dex nods and turns toward the nearest cantina. The sign outside reads “Jawa’s Brew.”
They step inside. It’s happy hour and the bar is bustling with activity and shady dealings alike. A Quarren bartender, greets them.
“Can I get you fellas anything?” He leans forward and lowers his voice. “Or are you looking for work?”
“Just a beer for each of us. And we might have time for a job, but there’s something we have to take care of first.” Cal taps his satchel. “Any idea where we might find Kladdu the hut?”
“Sorry, haven’t heard that one before. If you still want that work, come let me know. Name’s Vekker. Vekker Ren.”
“Cal Binbo. And this is my cousin, Dex. We- damnit, where’d he go?” He sighs, grabs the beers and heads for the Twi’lek dancers in the back. A slackjawed Dex is standing there mesmerized. The two sit and Dex takes his drink.
Meanwhile, in another corner of the bar, a well-dressed Mon Calamari sits watching the crowd with wide eyes. His skin is a mottled brown and glistens moistly in the dim light of the bar. Seeing the two humans leave the counter, he stands up and moves towards Vekker. His voice wavers a bit as he speaks.
“Hey, can I get another of these Gargle-Blasters? You make a mean one. Name’s Gulomi, by the way.”
Vekker nods, pulling out a shaker. “And I was wondering if you knew, um, where I could get some glitterspice, maybe? I’m new in the area and, well…”
The bartender looks up, pondering this for a moment. “I believe Jarga the Hutt just got in a shipment, though I couldn’t tell you how to get in contact with him or his people right now. Let me see if I can gather some information for you. Here’s your gargle-blaster.” Gulomi thanks and pays him, fumbling with a large wad of local currency. Someone sitting nearby takes notice of the display of cash.
“I can find ya anyone for some credits. And if ya buy a girl a drink.” From down the bar a voice tousled with long vowels calls out. Gulomi looks up from his drink to see a woman cloaked in brown looking expectantly at him. Her hair and eyes are both dark, but her skin is pale. She slides up a few barstools to sit next to him and the corners of her lips hint at a wry smile. “Name’s Toowong, Bubbles.”
“Gulomi. But how can I know I can trust you?” Toowong pulls back her vest, revealing a blaster. Gulomi straightens up involuntarily. “Wow. You come on strong for someone I just met.”
Cal this exchange. He nudges Dex in the ribs. “You hearing this? Let’s see how this plays out.” Dex takes a swig. “Sure thing, boss. But did you see this girl just walk in the bar? It’s one of those Twi’leks! I bet she’s lookin real good under all that cloak.”
“What? Go talk to her then. I’m going to listen to this and try to figure out why Magluk gave us a bad point of contact.”
Dex steadies himself on the table, drains his beer, and approaches the Twi’lek. His muscles flare a bit. “Hey there green eyes. What do you do?”
“I mind my own business.” She turns to the bartender, has an animated conversation with him, and then dejectedly sits in a corner booth, nursing a drink while eyeing the crowds.
Dex walks back to sit down. Toowong touches his arm as he goes by. “Oi, when you’re done with the whores, come here. I may have somethin’ better for ya.”
Cal raises his mug in wry salute as Dex takes a seat. “She turned me down. But that other girl said something about a job.”
“Wait, what? What other girl? And did she want a job or did she have a job?”
“Dunno. You go ask her. " He points her out.
Cal frowns and walks over to Toowong, inviting her back to the table. The three discuss locating Kladdu the Hutt, and Toowong agrees to show the way for 75 credits. Cal asks about the Mon Calamari, who Toowong says is “Gulomi, though I call ’im Bubbles.” Dex laughs. The three then listen in on the Mon Calamari, who has started talking with the mysterious Twi’lek in the corner booth.
“You look like you might need help.”
“You look harmless enough. Fine, can’t hurt to ask you. Look, I need to get off planet.”
“Trying to get anywhere in particular?”
“Not Coruscent, and not here.”
“Bad history or something?”
“Something like that. People, things I just don’t want to see anymore.”
Gulomi looks intrigued, but doesn’t press the issue. “Well, you seem capable. I need something myself. Maybe we can help each other.”
“Well, that depends on what you need. I might be able to help you. What are you trying to do?”
“I’m trying to find some Glitterspice. Know anyone who might have some?”
“No. I’ve been laying low since I got here. Things are a bit hectic and I don’t have time for glitterspice. Listen, I just need to get off planet.”
Gulomi frowns. “Fine. What can you offer?”
“How about … 200?” the Twi’lek ventures, her voice trailing off.
“What, 200 thousand? Yeah, that seems reasonable.”
“Uh, 200 it is. But do you have a ship?”
“I’m sure we can find one, even through the lockdown.”
Toowong stands up and saunters towards the Calamari and Twi’lek. “Listen Bubbles, I already told you I can get you anything on this planet. What are you talkin’ to this one for?”
Dex follows his new business associate, and with a good-natured smile plastered on his face, claps a hand down on Gulomi’s shoulder. “Yeah Bubbles, anything!” Cal trails behind, making way for a server approaching the table.
“Can I get you something?”
Toowong claps. “I nevah say no to a drink, right Bubbles?”
Dex shakes Gulomi’s shoulders with both hands, jerking his arm and spilling his current drink. “Yeah! Whatcha say Gills, rounds for everyone?”
Gulomi smiles at all of the attention. “Sure – a round for my new friends!” He offers up another large note. The server pockets it and goes to fill the order.
Dia looks around the table, then to Gulomi. She says nothing. Cal steps forward.
“Well, we can’t be strangers if we’re sharing a drink. I didn’t catch your names or why you’re here. I’m Cal, this is my cousin Dex, and this is Toowong.”
“I’m Gulomi. Dia’s an associate of mine, we met a while back. Jarga supposedly has glitterspice. That’s what I’m after.” He extends a hand and Cal shakes it.
Dex pips up. “So, Dia, are you an escort then?”
Dia scowls and Cal interrupts before his cousin continues his train of thought. “And Hutts know Hutts. Seems like a good way to figure out where this Kladdu guy is.”
Vekker approaches the table. “Here’s your round, sir. Oh, and sir, I think you’ll find your Hutt associate at the Cantina Fiesta – just ask the droid there for an Acklay.”
“Oh, thank you!”
“You’re quite welcome. That’ll be 50 credits.”
“But I alread-” Gulomi’s protest is cut short by an elbow to the ribs. Cal leans over whispering, “Pay the man, and give him something extra for the information.” Gulomi hands him a 100 credit note.
“Oi, I coulda gotten ya there. And I ain’t takin’ ya all there for free neither.”
Cal sighs, and fishes out some credits. “Here’s something for you now. You’ll get the rest later.”
The group stands up to leave, though Dex lags behind to finish the drinks. The Nar Shaddaa evening is cool and the streets are busy. As they walk, Cal and Dex move towards the back of the group and briefly talk in hushed tones.
“Dex, I think I’ve seen this Calamari before. He’s definitely got money. Not the sort to be in these parts. He’s certainly not acting like he’s done this before. Might be in our interest to keep an eye on him, especially if he’s a prior contact.”
“Isn’t he the one from that we met at that spaceship plant? Remember the receptionist at that place? She was smoking.”
“You’re right! He was the guy we delivered those schematics to! Good to see your memory’s still sharp where it counts.”
“Blonde, those cybernetic implants…” Cal shakes his head as Dex trails off.
This shit takes forever. Working on it.