The Sand Pit
Aliso City, Aliso
The patrons roared in raucous tongues, aggressively shouting encouragement at the two contenders in the arena. Some had credits in hand, wagering on a winner of the fight. Four large cage walls had been erected around the usually open arena, providing a barrier between the small mob of enthusiastic spectators and the two large humanoids brawling within. Krissok, one of the clan’s larger Trandoshan slavers and a rather heavy heavy-weapons specialist, had hissed a jeering comment about someone’s mother and things quickly escalated into a challenge to a one-on-one cage match. That someone happened to be the largest, angriest, one-eyed Wookiee spacer anyone had ever seen, who claimed to boast a lizard skin collection that rivaled the legendary bounty hunter, Bossk’s entire career of pelts. The metal barriers rattled as the latter had just thrown the former up against the cage wall for the third time in half as many minutes. Most of the patrons were crowded around the fight, but others stuck to tables tucked to the outskirts of the venue. Others still sat on the terraces above, able to see the fight over the more enthusiastic viewers. One such trio sat around their round table, chatting idly about the fight, steadily enjoying their drinks with relaxed boredom.
“D’you think ol’ Krissy has a chance?” Azmodius asked. His pale features smirked in the dim light, eyes shining in empty, white mischief as he leaned forward with ready excitement. His diminutive feline companion absently plucked away at his instrument behind the Arkanian’s chair.
“All he has is a big mouth.” responded the Kel Dor, TuQ’uan Varick, bringing his drink up to his mask and deftly tilting it just the right way to consume his beverage.
A primal howl from the evening’s main spectacle seemed to confirm this as Krissok had just fiercely bitten into his opponent’s neck, losing at least two teeth to the tough flesh of his larger opponent. Blood matted the Wookiee’s fur as he bellowed enraged insults about “lacking honor” or some such nonsense. The Trandoshan hissed his own, more vulgar gibes in reply, blood and saliva seeping and spraying from his toothy mouth. The crowd cheered in approval.
“He might,” stated Furios Morega, the tallest of the three, as he reclined over his chair, legs extended to the empty seat at the table. “Depends on if he sees that trick knee or not.”
The mercenary at the table tilted his head questioningly, his wide-brimmed hat shifting comically to the side. “The Wookiee has a trick knee? How can you tell?”
“I just can,” the Quaestor replied.
“He just can,” his Aedile echoed with a grin. His master shot him a perturbed look, scrutinizing the borderline boot-licking behavior.
“I call bantha poodoo!” the Aedile stated. “I’ll even give you 200 credits to go down there and prove it,” he followed enticingly.
No sooner had he made the challenge than a series of refreshed screams and roars erupted from the skirmish in the center of the Pit. Krissok’s arm was flailing violently though it was his hairy opponent who was flailing it. The poor Trandoshan was being beaten with his own scaly limb as the large lizard buckled and fell under the furious blows. The victor howled and roared in triumph as the slaver curled up in defeat.
“Well would you look at that,” chuckled Az. “Looks like it’s time for a new challenger.”
The Epicanthix pondered for a moment. “I’ll make you a better deal. For 1000, I’ll do it naked.”
“Now when are you going to get an opportunity like that?” the Aedile asked encouragingly. “I’ll even go half-in on it.”
“So you’re telling me,” the mercenary began. “That you want to give me the perfect chance to record blackmailing footage of you getting naked, up-close, and personal with an oversized Wookiee in a confined space and all it’ll cost me is 500 credits?”
“You’d probably be better off posting it on the holonet,” the Arkanian muttered casually.
The Epicanthix rolled his eyes and sat up to face is companions. “So are you going to pay me or what?”
“Yeah, I’m in,” Varick assured cooly. “Get your fuzzy wuzzy freak on and I’ll make the transfer.”
“Excellent!” declared the Epicanthix, slapping his hand enthusiastically on the table. He got to his feet and lifted his shirt, but as if on queue, his hip started beeping in indication of an incoming transmission. He sighed and dropped his arms, letting the shirt fall back over his toned abdomen. Pulling the communicator from his belt, he placed it on the center of the table. With the press of a button, the blue holo-image of Ronovi Tavisaen formed in the glowing light.
“Furios, are you and Azmodius at the Pit?”
“We are,” the Battlelord replied, turning the device to face his Aedile and the Rollmaster. “TuQ’s here too.” They waved.
“He was about to get naked and tangle with a giant Wookiee in a small cage,” the Arkanian said, pointing to his master.
“I’m going to record it,” added the Kel Dor.
“Hah! I know plenty of people who’d pay to see that,” she responded. The Quaestor turned the communicator back to face him.
“So what do you need, Madame Wrath?”
“There was a terrorist attack at the Yards,” she explained. “I need someone to investigate and retrieve any accomplices to the saboteur. He was shot by a Wraith. Why not you three, since you’re already in that area?”
He sighed and looked to the Wookiee in the Pit. Two of Krissok’s companions had jumped in to their friend’s rescue and were proving enough of a distraction to let the injured Trandoshan escape further dismemberment.
“We’ll head there right away,” the Obelisk answered.
“One more thing,” the Proconsul of Clan Plagueis added. “As of right now, slaves need to be kept alive. The trooper that eliminated the first insurrectionist was out of line and is to be non-lethally reprimanded. All Plagueians and Ascendant personnel are to adhere to this rule.”
His jaw dropped for half a moment. “You’re kidding right?”
“I wish that I were,” she said half-mockingly. “Dread Lord’s orders. How close were you going to get to this Wookiee?”
“About three inches,” he said with a huff and ended the transmission.
D&D Construction Yards
Aliso City, Aliso
Dust kicked into swirling clouds behind the black speeder as it approached the main gate. It glided to a halt alongside the guardhouse. The Willing guard inside recognized the summit members immediately, though he was forced to hesitate at their seating configuration and the site of the two and a half individuals crammed into the passenger seat of the Quaestor’s two-person speeder.
“Lord Morega, of course,” the guardsman inclined at the hip in greeting. The heavy gates pulled to either side of the entrance with a slow grinding motion. “I wasn’t expecting you so soon, I only just heard about the bombing from Command.”
“We were at the Pit,” Azmodius piped from TuQ’uan’s lap. “Furios was going to fight a Wookiee naked.”
The Willing did not respond, partially for fear of saying the wrong thing. The Epicanthix sighed and hovered the vehicle through the entrance. As it came to rest in front of the complex’s central offices. Everyone got out of the speeder, the Arkanian intentionally sticking his elbow and knee in awkward places as he freed the Kel Dor from his weight. The trio adjusted their garb and gear as they gathered next to the vehicle.
“How do we want to handle this?” the Aedile asked his fellow summit members.
“We’ll need to question everyone who was in the immediate vicinity of the explosion, both Willing and Subjugate, possibly everyone on duty in the complex,” the Quaestor stated. “Unfortunately that could take days, maybe weeks with the level of production we’ve been maintaining.”
“There’s also the bomb itself,” the Rollmaster continued. “It’s composition could prove insightful and maybe provide a quicker and more concrete lead than interrogation or hearsay.”
The Battlelord pointed at his former student, “We need to keep this place locked down until we’re done. You’re in charge of that.” He shifted his finger to point toward the mercenary of the group, “You take bomb analysis and I’ll talk with whoever’s in charge today and see if we can’t get some help controlling the masses. Then we’ll get this shakedown started.”
Ozzy Pawsborne hopped onto his friend’s shoulder and chimed in rhyme, “If the Willing guards are suspect, some outside help would be perfect.”
Azmodius continued, “There’s also the trooper who shot the bomber to deal with. Seems like we could use a bit of assistance, doesn’t it?”
“I’ll request reinforcements,” Furios replied. He turned to face their destination. “In the meantime, let’s make ourselves welcome,” he said as they walked through the automatic doors.