Imagine a space station the size of a moon, floating about somehere in the Outer Rim. It was a hub for bounty hunters, smugglers and other criminals, and it was owned by a man who nobody had ever seen and whose name was a mystery, a man who holed up inside his private quarters in the heart of the station. Everybody simply referred to this individual as “The Owner,” and paid the feller no mind as they went about their business.
Aboard this station were many bars, hotels, restaurants, casinos, bordellos and weapons stores. Mean men and women strode down the hallways looking for jobs or pleasure or gear. Jet-black combat droids armed with heavy repeaters clanked through the corridors, keeping a watchful eye, always ready to defend The Owner’s property no matter the cost.
But it wasn’t an uninviting place. Music echoed through the hallways and neon lights dispelled the darkness of space. While the station must’ve had an official name, the people who frequented it had been calling it the “Power House” for years, and the name stuck, and most everybody had forgotten what its original name was.
It was inside one of the casinos—an exquisite establishment called The Black Eye Funkaboo—that an elderly man was waiting for three rogues who he had contacted a couple cycles ago. He had contacted each of these individuals for specific reasons. The first he had sent a message was the notorious Crom McCready. He figured that if anyone could get the job done, it would be the legend himself, who was said to have punched a bloody Death Star. Of course he didn’t think that that was true, but that didn’t matter. The sheer fact that people said that about McCready was enough to convince him. Punching Death Stars sounded ridiculous, but he reckoned he would hate to see McCready obliterate somebody’s jaw with a single blow of his iron fist. The second he had contacted was the fearsome Mandalorian known as Gida Me. He wanted her for this job because this Mandalorian appeared to be quite the rising star in the world of bounty hunting. Besides, he had dealt with Mandalorians before, and not once had those fierce warriors failed him. Having a Mandalorian on the team, he figured, ensured victory. The third and final one he had contacted was the clawdite spy, Valanna Haal. He knew about her having worked for the Rebellion—he had his contacts who were able to reveal the identity of this person when he asked for the best spy they knew, someone who was an expert at stealth and assassination.
He wasn’t sure if this group would get along well and to what extent that would mess things up, but one thing he knew for certain: offer a hefty sum of money—half a million credits for each of them—and they would likely answer his call. So he had the waitresses and dealers on the casino floor on the lookout. The moment that he would hear about their arrival, he would reveal himself to them, and they would talk business.
His name was Larram Lamhamm, the richest motherfucker in the sector, and he was waiting…
The "Power House" was buzzing with chaotic energy, the crowd electric and restless as they all waited for the fight to begin. They were gathered inside one of the station's many casinos, TheBlack Eye Funkaboo, the grand establishment living up to its reputation and catering to the locals with a side area for sporting events. As luck would have it, the notorious Crom McCready was here on business, though his client had offered him a hefty reward the temptation of a fight before the mission was too great. Before he could even meet up with his mysterious client the fighter had waltzed his way down the halls and found his way to the arena, signing up for a fight and quickly becoming the main event of the evening thanks to his combat record and the myth of punching a Death Star propelling him into stardom. He couldn't quite remember where the legend came from (he chalked it up to a Giggledust inspired fever dream) but he wasn't about to ruin the tale for those about to watch him pulverize someone's face in.
Thunderous applause boomed across the arena, deafening the two fighters squaring off against each other in the middle of the caged fighting pit. They wore nothing sans a pair of fight shorts and were both equipped with light fingerless boxing gloves, an archaic form of combat but typically it meant the fights would go on longer. It was less bloody than a bare knuckle competition and slower than a shock boxing contest, meaning the patrons would get their moneys worth as their cheers rained down into the pit.
"You hear that, lad?" Crom hissed to his human opponent, a tough looking man standing across from Crom who was trying to match his intensity by mean mugging him back. Crom was all smiles where his opponent was doing his best to look tough, a foul scowl stretching across his scarred face. "That's the last sound you'll ever kriffin' hear - people applauding me as I punch yer bloody head off!" He laughed, towering over his opponent and leering down at him. The referee joining them in the cage then instructed the pair to tap gloves but Crom's opponent backed away from him immediately, no show of respect was about to take place especially after Crom taunted him like that. The cage fighter proudly lifted his hands up at his opponent and jigged away, two middle fingers outstretched comically while Crom backed up and took position. The crowd went hysterical as he did, some chanting for Crom's opponent to beat his ass for the disrespect while others were already chanting his name.
F I G H T!
The two men immediately met in the center of the cage and the arena erupted into pure chaos, Crom's opponent was already throwing wild haymakers as they collided. Crom ducked and weaved around them, keeping light on his feet and practically bouncing away from each punch. He was like a ghost, each punch felt like it phased through Crom when really the Matukai was timing his dodges just right to demoralize his adversary. Only a few seconds had passed and Crom spotted an opening, the Matukai warrior took aim and fired a vicious left hand punch while his opponent was feinting with his right and firing a left hand of his own. Crom was faster, striking his rival with a flush hit on the chin and knocking his lights out with one devastating punch. He watched as the man fell to the canvas, only for the left his opponent had thrown to strike Crom's right eye hard in the heat of the moment.
The fight was already over, with Crom standing over an unconscious opponent with a rough looking shiner underneath his eye already forming. The referee raced over and separated the two before Crom could throw some follow up shots to the crowd's displeasure, the fight barely starting before it was already over. The Matukai threw his hands up in the air in victory to a mixture of applause and boos, Crom no stranger to mixed reactions like this when he put his opponent away too quickly. He had no choice, he saw an opening and he took it and now he was a hefty sum of credits richer before his real contract had even began! After the fighter he taunted them back, dancing about the cage and around his downed adversary. Soon a microphone was forced in his face while his opponent was led out of the cage in a floating stretcher, the commentator barked at Crom for his thoughts on the fight.
"THEY CALL ME CROM FOOKIN' MCCREADY! THE REAL POWER HOUSE OF THIS FRAKKIN' STATION!" He roared immediately, his voice blaring across the loudspeakers. "WHOSE NEXT? I'LL TAKE ALL OF YOU SCHUTTAS TONIGHT!"
"Crom... what a wonderful performance! Did you expect him to actually land a single punch on you?" The commentator asked, only for Crom to snatch the mic away and continue his onslaught of words.
"I LET HIM GIVE ME THIS SHINER - I AM THE BLACK EYED FUNKABOO!"
After the fight, the Black Eyed Funkaboo waltzed his way out of the arena using the back entrance, Crom soon found himself out on the casino floor and away from the crowd. He stood out like a sore thumb though, especially with the spray of blood across his face and the fact that he hadn't actually bothered dressing back into his normal clothes. Still wearing his fight shorts, he began to tear away at the boxing gloves and casually tossed them to the floor as he walked by. He was now in search of his client, the one with the name he was still struggling to pronounce. With even more credits on his mind he wandered across the casino floor aimlessly, hoping to find his way to his client one way or another.
Valanna Haal was far from unfamiliar with the Power House, but yet to have visited the Black Eye Funkaboo—the location her enigmatic employer indicated they were to meet. As with most times that she'd been aboard the Power House, Valanna wasn't wearing her familiar human face, yet at least. Prior to her time working with the Rebellion, her familiar face had been nearly as unknown as she liked to be. She had docked with the Power House looking like a rodian woman, named Veedo Haas. Sometime between then and now, she had transformed her appearance again—this time to a petite zeltronian girl.
At present, the ex-Rebel spy was stalking the halls that surrounded the Funkaboo, a datapad in one hand and the other tucked inside her slim coat. She was an inconspicuous-looking being, like she might be a waitress starting or finishing her shift—exactly what she was going for. Waitresses, cooks, and other attending staff passed her, coming and going, all of them too caught up in the hustle to notice the lingering girl. Each time, Vala compared their face to the one on her screen, until she saw her.
She'd scraped the employee list for the Funkaboo before arriving, and had located a waitress that matched her general physique. Now, Vala had just been waiting for the girl to show up for her shift. When she finally did, Vala made sure the hall was clear and moved in to follow the girl. She was about to open the back door to the casino, but the glowing cone of a stun blast caught her in the side first. The girl twitched and fell with a slight yelp, and Vala grabbed her under the arms to drag her away from this obvious spot. It was a position she'd picked out due to a lack of cameras covering the area, and because she knew there were spots that the girl could be hidden nearby.
She used the girl's ID badge to open the back door to the restaurant, and then dragged her quarry through with her. There were other employees further inside, but Vala was careful to keep her unconcious quarry in the dark and away from eyesight as she drug her further into the storage area. She passed several containers that were taller than herself, and then finally a ice-chest that was as wide as she and the passed out girl were tall. With a heft, she lifted and rolled the unconscious waitress into the ice chest, and then leaned in to begin the more humiliating task.
The girl was wearing a tight and short pink sequin dress, and Vala slid the straps off each shoulder, and then rolled it down until it was bunched up near her ankles. She drew her pistol and pointed it towards the doorway to this area while shrugging her own jacket off. Her pistol arm had to drop for a second while she slid it off, and then did the same with her simple t-shirt and flight pants. Standing there in her underwear, Vala retrieved the dress from her victim, and tucked her own clothes under the girl's arm.
She had her legs into the dress, and the strap over one arm when a quarren steward came into the back for some food supplies. She instinctively poured two stun rounds into him, causing the man to seize up and fall even while his muscle still twitched. "Damn," she muttered, and tucked the other arm into the dress. "I probably could've talked my way out of that, but the embarrassment."
With considerably more effort, she drug and hefted the quarren into the ice chest with the waitress, and then tucked her pistol into a holster that was strapped high on her inner thigh. With all of her disguise in place, she peeked back into the ice cooler for a last glance at the girl, and then her appearance shifted all at once. Like a wave going over her body, her pink skin was replaced with the unconscious girl's pale white, and her dark purple hair shimmered into brilliant platinum blonde.
She did all of this for an opportunity to survey the casino for her employer, but found far less luck in that regard. Vala spent nearly an hour on the floor, serving drinks, clearing trays, and flirting with the guests, but never once did she see anyone that looked to be their host. There were eccentric men galore, and plenty of enigmatic loners, but none of them seemed interested in the goings on around them. She even looked for outliers, sentires that might be monitoring the crowd for her host, but still there were none.
After a streak of failure at identifying the man, Vala decided to end the cat and mouse games. Just as the cage fight was concluding, she set her tray down on an empty table and headed straight for the bar. In mid-stride on her way, she shifted her appearance again, this time to the familiar blue haired human that her employer would've known as Valanna Haal. She slid into a stool at the bar, and turned to the bartender. With no one else looking for their employer's quarry, she figured it had to be the staff themselves, so she flagged him down. "You can tell whoever's paying you, I'm here."
Gida wasn't necessarily one to turn down money. It was a little ironic, really, that so much of her life was based on selling herself, when she had spent so much time being sold. In this case, though, she was the one earning the money. As she piloted her way toward the station that held The Black Eye Funkaboo, she considered her ship. The Ghtroc wasn't in the greatest repair. She'd taken it upon herself to handle much of the restoration after she'd found it crashed. What should have been credits to keep her afloat on missions became credits for buying parts. Eventually, with only a little assistance, it reached a flight-ready condition. It had stayed that way ever since, very slowly shaking itself apart. It couldn't take much longer for the whole thing to collapse, at which point Gida would have to find the money to fix it again. Hopefully, this gig would provide the credits to bring it back to original condition.
It wasn't necessarily an easy decision to take this job. Gida considered herself moral - or rational at least - and she knew nothing about this job. In any other situation, she didn't want to accept pay without knowing what she'd be doing up front. The price tag on this job was high, but that just seemed even more suspicious. What if it would be something grossly nefarious? Something Gida couldn't condone? She'd already battled herself about this for a while, always waffling back and forth between taking it or turning the other way. She just couldn't convince herself to turn down the money, whatever the job might be. She'd figure out the rest later, certainly. She'd gotten herself out of worse jams.
At the Power House, Gida docked her ship and headed inside. She wasn't unfamiliar with this station, but she also didn't make a point of spending much time around the businesses it contained. At best, the types the types that frequented the bars and casinos might have some information about the slave trade, and Gida usually made a point to ask about red Twi'lek women being sold. Today, she hurried to the casino where she was expected to meet her new employer. Along the way, the usual sorts milled around her - dealers eyeing her like was a threat, prostitutes eyeing her like she was a challenge, and other bounty hunters eyeing her like she had just stolen directly from their pockets. It wasn't unusual, but it made the station feel a lot less friendly.
Through a side entrance to the casino, Gida passed an indoor arena which was normally packed with screaming fans of some archaic fighting sport. On this occasion, the crowd seemed to be boo-ing rather aggressively, and Gida paused to peek inside. All she caught among the sea of heads was an unconscious man in the cage and a streak of somebody exiting the ring. She didn't really understand the sport, but the crowd seemed very displeased. Maybe they were upset because the man had not died? Perhaps the other fighter exited the ring too early, after merely incapacitating his opponent instead of killing him. She thought for a moment of providing a mercy killing for the battered man, so that he would not be ashamed when he woke up. She put a hand on her blaster, considering the best plan to execute the man before getting out through the quickest exit. The man with the microphone was very close to the unconscious man, and there were hundreds of people surrounding the arena with rather strict security. The amount of time it would take to execute this man properly... just didn't seem worth it. She couldn't risk this job to help the fighter. Gida sighed, sending a silent prayer to the man that he might recover from his deep shame, and moved on toward the casino.
Inside, Gida made her way to the bar and ordered a drink in a whimsical cocktail glass. There were quite a few people around her that seemed displeased by her presence, but none made a move against her, not here. A lot of the criminals that frequented this station had also been victims in some way of her work, but that was just business. Gida took a long, flexible straw out of her gauntlet and slid it into her helmet so she could drink her cocktail, then leaned against the bar, eavesdropping on a conversation that the bartender was having with a waitress and some kind of manager.
"Lomiya just disappeared." The waitress whispered, looking around the casino floor. "She came on the floor on time, and I saw her working, and now she's just gone. And I swear that girl is wearing her dress!" She nodded toward a blue-haired human at the bar. "Someone needs to go find her now."
"And Sarne placed an order for two drinks with me before he went to the kitchen for his guest's food, and I haven't seen him since! It's been like fifteen minutes and he hasn't come back, and his guest just came and yelled at me about it! Someone needs to figure out what the hell happened to him, first." The bartender stared down the waitress as he said the last sentence.
"Alright, listen, I'll go look for Sarne in the kitchen, and maybe we'll find Lomiya along the way. Just cover her for now." The manager nodded at both employees and disappeared through a doorway, the waitress rolling her eyes after him.
It would seem that there was something else nefarious going on in the casino. Gida sipped more drink through her straw. Further investigation would have to wait, because the client would surely make an appearance at any moment.
“All right, listen, I’ll go look for Sarne in the kitchen, and maybe we’ll find Lomiya along the way. Just cover her for now,” the manager told the employees before disappearing through a doorway. This must be it, then, he thought as he paused in the hall. He reached inside his breast pocket and produced a small comlink and said, “Mr. Lamhamm, sir, we have three stooges in the dining room. I repeat, we have three stooges in the dining room.”
“Excellent,” Lamhamm’s voice sounded from the comlink. “Proceed.”
“Yes, sir. There’s just one small thing, sir.”
“The spy. I think she incapacitated two of our workers.”
“Yes, yes,” Lamhamm drawled. “Of course she has. Just send someone to take care of them. As for the three stooges, like I said, proceed.”
“Copy that, sir.” The manager put away the comlink and entered the monitor room. He sat down in front of the screens and pressed a button on the keyboard. Leaning over to the microphone, he said, “This is your manager speaking. Everyone knows what to do. Open the flood gates. I repeat, open the flood gates.”
The bartender had heard the message loud and clear through his earpiece. He reached under the bar and grabbed something, and turned to the blue-haired woman. As he poured her a Corellian wine, he said, “I assure you, Miss Haal, we’re well aware. Please enjoy this drink—it’s on the house. And, here, a token of our appreciation.” He set the wine down in front of her and shoved a shimmering coin across the counter toward her. “Now don’t lose that. It’ll be useless outside of the Funkaboo, but here…it’s just about enough to pay the ferryman.”
The bartender turned to the Mandalorian and told her, “As for you, Mando, we’d offer you wine as well, but please know that your cocktail is on the house too. And like your colleague over here, a token of our appreciation. For the ferryman.” He shoved a second coin toward Gida.
“Now,” he said, looking at the one, then at the other, and finally at the back door, which was guarded by a hulking gran guard. “You see that handsome feller over there? Maybe if you ask nicely, he might tell you where the ferryman is at. Have a nice evening, ladies.” And with that, the bartender turned to a casino guest, no longer paying any attention to the women—whatever they would do with the bartender’s cryptic hints was up to them.
Elsewhere on the casino floor, a sexy Twi’lek waitress approached the self-proclaimed Black Eyed Funkaboo. She was carrying a tray with a Corellian wine and stopped right in front of the cage fighter, smiling lazily under her bright blue eyes. “Heya, handsome,” she said. “The crowd may be booing, but that don’t mean your little victory went unnoticed. You got a fan, darling, and he bought you a drink. I sure hope you like wine.” She nodded briefly at the glass on her tray. “But before you say anything,” she continued, placing her forefinger on his lips, “you should know that your little victory has also earned you a little ride with the ferryman.” She reached into a pouch on her hip, and the following moment she was holding a shimmering coin in front of Crom’s face. “But the ferryman will only take you if you can pay him. Ask our handsome security guard over by the door in the back for directions—he’ll tell you where to find who you’re looking for. Don’t lose that coin, though. Without it, you’re just as lost as these poor souls on the casino floor.”
After handing Crom the drink and the coin, she turned and went on to serve patrons, never even giving the cage fighter the chance to get a word in. She had vanished about as fast as she had appeared to him, following Lamhamm’s instructions to the letter.
The handsome hulk of a gran by the back door had seen the three stooges already. He crossed his arms, leaned with his back against the door, and waited for them to come on over. He grinned, knowing exactly what the three of them were in for. He would never claim to understand how Lamhamm’s mind worked, or what the purpose behind all the theatrics was, but one thing was for certain—Lamhamm was one nasty sonofabitch.
"Cheers, lass! Don't call me victories little again though, yer in the presence of theBlack Eyed Funkaboo!" Crom shouted back to the Twi'lek who handed him a glass of wine and a strange looking coin. She was there and gone in a flash, so quickly that he didn't have the time to say anything back to her. Mostly because she had shoved a finger against Crom's lips and shushed him which had been to her benefit, typically he couldn't shut the fuck up. He rolled his new coin in between his fingers, examining the shining piece of metal closely. Crom then raised the coin up to his mouth and bit into it, the fighter shocked to find that it hurt when he chomped into metal. "YOW! Pretty kriffin' shiny for a goddamn ferry pass. Packed more of a punch than the pussy back at the arena, though." He cackled to himself, crossing the casino floor toward the handsome guard the waitress had mentioned.
Now, most people would be suspicious of a drink handed to them for free. Even by a cocktail waitress it was suspicious, especially on a station like the Power House and just how abruptly it all happened. Most people would pour the drink out and consider it better safe than sorry...
Crom McCready downed the Corellian Wine in one mighty swig, slamming back the fine liquid as if it was some sort of shot. It didn't cross his mind that it could have been tampered with, even if it had been it didn't matter to him. Crom felt invincible after that fight and he wasn't about to pay that close attention to what he was ingesting, complimentary wine was free booze after all. The fighter smacked his lips but groaned afterwards, he hated wine but could never stop himself from drinking it. He looked around for a moment to place the empty glass down but when nothing convenient presented itself he simply tossed it behind his back without looking. Crom locked eyes with the sexy Gran standing guard near the back, he had no doubt seen what he had just done but Crom approached the guard anyways and acted as if he had done nothing as the glass shattered in the background.
"Oi, lad." Crom barked at the handsome security guard before getting a better look at him. When he did Crom gasped, "Damn... your eyes... all t'ree of them... are bloody gorgeous! Wow." He observed, mouth agape as the Twi'lek Waitress hadn't steered him wrong with her assessment. "I... fook me, you are pretty! Don't you ever cover up them peepers son, they'll get you places. Anyways, listen lad, I got told by some rude bar maid that you'se would be the man to talk to about catching some sort of ferry? Or where to find that guy? I didn't really get to ask her any questions because she put fingers in me mouth and made me drink some chitty wine but she did tell me to come see your handsome ass so clearly she wasn't full of chit." Crom flashed the most charming smile he could muster, his black eye swelling up more and more while he spoke.
A small glow of pride swelled in Vala's chest, as she had nailed who was playing lookout for the employer. After so long spent on the floor looking for her employer, Valanna had worried that she might still be off-base as to who was watching the crowd. Her approach to the bar had been a suave, confident bluff, and one that had been correct.
The bartender swiveled around to face her, and already knew her name. He set out a tall glass and started pouring Corellian wine into it. Even through the glass Vala could tell the wine was thick and sweet, and she took a long swig of it as soon as the bartender handed it over. She could feel the familiar taste of fine Corellian wine swishing around her mouth, and the warmth in her chest from the alcohol. "It's nice to be working with professionals again," Valanna commented while swirling the wine in her glass.
The bartender laid down a coin for her, and immediately it was in Valanna's hand. Her eyes analyzed the coin and her fingers turned it over while he gave her the riddled clue about a ferryman. She nodded slowly, listening as he repeated the same thing to the twi'lek mandalorian seated nearby her. "Cute clue, I'm going to tear your tongue out through your eye-hole if this wastes my time." She flashed a radiant smile at the bartender with a wink, and then slid from her barstool.
She still had her wineglass in one hand, and the coin in the other. She finished the wine off with a long slurp, though perhaps too quickly. She could feel her face growing warm now, but she embraced the coming buzz. Years of dark work had gifted Valanna a far higher alcohol tolerance. "I guess you're on this job too?" She questioned the mandalorian. "Cool, guess that means its going to get spicy," she turned to the other woman while still walking.
There was already a sweaty cage fighter talking to the gran, and she could hear the tale end of his conversation. The man was swooning for this guard, but nonetheless questioning him about where to find the ferryman. She approached from Crom's right side, making eye contact with the guard while she did. "What Bo the Brawler said, gonna need the ferryman, please,"she asked, blowing a kiss towards him when she finished.
Gida paused her drinking as the bartender turned to speak to the girl in the aforementioned dress. As he spoke to both of them, she realized two things. First, the man hiring them was an eccentric, and Gida wasn't a fan of playing games. Second, he had recruited a team, and Gida wasn't interested in working with strangers either. She didn't trust other bounty hunters because they tended to be chaotic, lawless sorts. Gida's values included a strong emphasis on honor, which these types had little of, if any at all. With a sigh, she set down her drink and picked up the coin offered to her.
"That's fine, I've had enough." She grumbled, shaking her straw out and slotting it back into her bracer. Considering the mystery that had already been established, it seemed like a bad idea to partake in anything offered for free. Instead, she studied the coin as the turned away from the bar. It seemed purely decorative, a chip for the game at hand, but it couldn't possibly function as only a symbol. Was it a tracker, or a camera or microphone of some sort? It could contain something designed to harm or incapacitate her. She tried to pry at the edges to force it open, or to find the seams where some device was hidden. She almost didn't notice that the other girl was speaking to her.
Spicy? What could spicy possibly mean in this context? Gida contemplated this as she crossed the casino floor, holding the coin between her gloved fingertips. Would they be eating a lot of spicy food? Was that possibly the other girl's favorite type of food? Or maybe spicy was code for poison, and she was planning to slip something into Gida's food. Maybe she had already slipped something into her drink, in which case it was best that she hadn't finished that cocktail. She didn't feel anything strange yet, but the effects of poison could kick in at any moment. The girl had drank the entire wine that was offered to her, maybe because she knew what was going on already. Could this all be a plot designed to fool Gida? She would have to stay vigilant, lest anyone manage to gain the upper hand against her.
Across the casino, a man in fighter's garb was already talking to the gran guard. From what Gida could pick up with her helmet's equipment, he seemed to be... hitting on the guard? The bartender had called the gran handsome, but Gida assumed that was a form of sarcasm. This was a perfectly average gran, by all accounts. Perhaps the fighter was being manipulative by complementing the guard. Was this the man that left the fight earlier? He was certainly a man without honor, in that case, and Gida resolved not to trust him. He might even be in on the spicy plot.
"I am also seeking the path to the ferryman." Gida spoke up, feeling a little dumb for playing along. "And please do not make it spicy." That would get her point across, at least.
The handsome gran turned his peepers at Crom and started shaking his head. “If it ain’t Crom McChickenshit.” His voice sounded like the rumbling before a lightning strike. “Ha! Your dick must be even smaller than those tiny hands of yours.”
The others stopped in front of him and he fixed one peeper on each of them—Crom, Gida, Valanna. “Yes, yes,” he said. “If it wasn’t for the ferryman, why the fuck else would you be here? Don’t fool yourselves—ever’body knows why ya’ll set foot inside the Funkaboo. We got eyes ever’where. The walls have ears.” He blinked his peepers one by one, as if he was winking at each of the mercenaries in sequence. “But enough of that shit. Pass on through this door behind me if you dare. Then go through the second door at the end of the corridor. The ferryman awaits.”
Of course the gran didn’t neglect to swat Crom’s buttocks just as the cage fighter walked through the door.
It was a medium, round room. There was an oval desk lined up along a wall, and a big monitor sat on top of the desk. There was a sofa opposite from the desk, along with a comfortable chair and a coffee table. There was all sorts of clutter scattered across the floor, from rolling papers to empty Ziploc bags to unwashed clothes. The air smelled like gabaki herbs and smoke and Corellian fries. The door to the left of the desk led to the corridor through which Crom, Gida and Valanna would be coming. The door to the right of the desk led somewhere else, and it was locked.
“Eenie, meenie, miney, moe,” the ferryman said, “grab the cash and smash your ho!”
He was a thin rodian dressed in an oversized shirt. He was wearing a cap backward. A number of golden chains were hanging about his neck. When he grinned, a golden tooth shimmered. And he was in the process of rolling the fattest fucking blunt in the universe.
“Oh yeah, baby,” he said, cranking up the volume of his radio. The space hop beats swirled through the room. “I’mma get so fucken high, all right. Oh yeah.”
The ferryman brought the blunt to his mouth and lit the tip and dragged, and immediately started coughing when he looked at the monitor and saw three stooges standing before the gran. “Karking kowakians!” the ferryman exclaimed. “Not now. For the love of—”
Bleeps cut through the music. He quickly pressed a button on his desk and the camera footage of the stooges switched to the stern face of Larram Lamhamm.
“Are you in position?” Larram Lamhamm droned.
“Yeah!” the ferryman said. “Hang on a sec…I gotta put on some pants.” He got off his seat and found his sweatpants.
“Palpatine’s balls!” Larram Lamhamm shouted. “Get a grip, moron! They’re right there!”
“Okay, okay,” the ferryman said. “Sheesh. No worries, man. I got this under control.”
“You know what to do?”
“Yes I know what to do! What do you take me for? Some fucken blazed-out idiot?”
Larram Lamhamm cocked an eyebrow.
“Okay, whatever,” the ferryman said. He took a drag from his blunt and blew the smoke into the direction of the screen. “You better get your rear in gear too, though.”
“Enough of this crap,” Larram Lamhamm snarked. “Do what I’m paying you to do. Lamhamm out.”
Larram Lamhamm’s face vanished and now the ferryman saw a flickering image of the corridor. The stooges would soon appear on screen again. “Time to get fucky,” the ferryman said to himself.
With blunt in hand, he walked to the door and pressed a button on the wall panel. The door slid open and the ferryman stood in a cloud of blunt haze, waiting for the esteemed guests.
Crom McChickenshit. Ha! Your dick must be even smaller than those tiny hands of yours.
All those words echoed in McCready's head, the incredibly handsome Gran's words repeating in his mind over and over again. Crom McChickenshit. For once he was dead silent, those words dealt to him by such a beautiful person actually stung. Small dick. Here Crom was, complimenting the breathtaking Gran and trying to sweet talk him and the first words out of his mouth had been hostile. Tiny hands. Never had Crom been so heart broken from someone else's words before, his blood boiling at how evil the pretty peepered Gran had been to him. All Crom could do was stare at those three beautiful eyes, all of them winking at the group one by one which only further pissed Crom off. His black eye started to twitch, he didn't even hear what the Gran had to say with how furious he was for the verbal crimes that were committed. Stay calm... Use your training... Breathe... He spoke to himself, the Matukai desperate to refrain from lashing out at the smoking hot guard. His words mean not'ing... Calm, lad... Don't fook yourself out of a payday. Crom McChickenshit.
Crom McChickenshit. Crom McChickenshit.
Finally, he calmed himself. At first his body was tense, the half naked man standing there squared up and ready to pop this sexy Gran in his sexy fucking face. Crom didn't even get the chance to introduce himself to the two behind him, one calling him Bo the Brawler while the other requested something to do with spice. He could barely hear them, his ears were ringing and his rage was boiling over until finally he wordlessly walked past the Gran towards the Ferryman's location. What other option was there to do? He had a job to do and if this guard wasn't going to treat him kindly he simply had to walk on. The door had opened for him and he caught that the Ferryman was this way so he pressed on, eager to put some distance between him and the rude guard.
Crom's right ass cheek reverberated from the Gran's open hand smack, his muscular glutes clapping loudly from the force of the swat.
With an overwhelming amount of force, Crom spun about on his feet and dragged his fist through the air like a pissed off top. The gorgeous Gran stood there, reeling from smacking the man's overtly muscular ass, his hand stinging from the slap. There was nothing he could do as Crom smashed his face with a spinning backfist, one that crumpled the Gran's face in and sent him flailing to the ground unconscious with one swift strike. It happened so quickly, his lighting fast footwork paired with his not so tiny hands blindsided the Gran and knocked him out cold. Crom had even channeled the force into his fist to make it sting even more, just as the Gran's words had stung him. This no doubt would alarm his potential teammates so he turned to them but backed away slowly so they could pass by and digest what just happened.
"Sorry lasses, nobody calls me McChickenshit then sexually assaults me. Consent is important, even when you're bloody gorgeous." Crom gestured towards the open doorway to the ferryman, allowing them to pass first instead. "You lot first, I gotta rub me arse and I don't wanna do it in front of you."
Crom’s fist hammering down on the gran’s face did not go unnoticed. A nearby twi’lek waitress saw it and yelled, “Hey! No fighting outside the arena!” She waved at the bartender and pointed at Crom and the unconscious gran.
The bartender pressed a button below the bar counter and activated the silent alarm. Only moments later two other security guards emerged from the crowd, striding over to where Crom was standing. One was a towering trandoshan with a battle-staff. The other was an enormous zabrak with a durasteel club.
“Surrender now!” the trandoshan growled.
“Or get squashed!” the zabrak grunted.
They came at Crom, ready to strike at him with their weapons. If Crom wouldn’t surrender immediately, they wouldn’t even give the fighter the chance to talk himself out of this. They would attack. Fast. Hard. Zero tolerance.
The rebuke from the gran guard was surprising, considering the flattery he'd received from the fighter. It seemed that he thought the fighter was lower ranked than a guard, and treated "Crom McChickenshit" as such. Gida spent a moment contemplating whether that was his real name or an insult. It sounded almost familiar, like she'd heard the name being spoken before. She decided that it must be his name, since it seemed so familiar. She followed this Crom McChickenshit as their trio was ushered through the door, ready for introductions.
The plan was interrupted by the gran guard, who slapped his hand across the buttocks of Mr. McChickenshit. Gida stopped, reeling back a little in surprise. In criminal areas, assault wasn't particularly uncommon, but this was shocking from a guard, especially one that had openly rebuked the fighter's advances. It was a good thing she'd made the space, because Crom immediately punched the gran so hard that he hit the floor. Gida coughed awkwardly, partially just to cover up her intent analysis. Was this the spice? Was McChickenshit working with the other girl against Gida, planning to "spice" her with his fists? There were too many possibilities, and no clarity.
Gida reevaluated her earlier conclusion when Crom turned to speak to her and the other girl. It seemed that he didn't like the name McChickenshit after all. He wanted Gida and the girl to go ahead, but that was a foolish suggestion. Open her back to him while the looming threat of spice still hangs in the air? She would have to be an idiot to go along with that.
"No, that's -" Gida started, when two more guards approached, shouting at Crom. Clearly, he'd crossed a line in punching that gran. Gida took the opportunity to hurry down the hallway, expecting the guards to provide a helpful distraction. At least she would be able to avoid the spice a little longer. "Alright, I'm going," She said over her shoulder at the other two in her group, striding quickly to the other end of the hallway.
As Gida approached, the door slid open to reveal an even stranger character in this mission, a rodian dressed in some sloppy casual attire. His sweatpants were hanging at the brink of falling down, just above the hem of his awful shirt. His neck was decorated with chains, and a cloud of smoke greeted Gida before he could. She coughed pointedly, waving a hand in front of her helmet.
"The ferryman...?" She asked, no longer sure that this wasn't just an elaborate prank set up to spice her. Maybe the smoke was the spice? Gida held her breath, deciding to take as few shallow breaths as possible to avoid inhaling the airborne poison. "I have a coin." She hissed, holding it up between her fingertips."Please." She couldn't waste any more words, lest she succumb to the plot at this very moment.