AOH :: APPEARAN.TXT|
Star Wars: Keeping up Appearences - by Simon H. Lee (email@example.com)
By: Simon H. Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)
KEEPING UP APPEARANCES
The doors to the small cantina opened, admitting the harsh light of a
Tatooine double noon to wash over the cramped entranceway. A man stepped
down into the darkness and immediately headed for the bar, casting nervous
glances at the insignificant dive's few other customers.
"What'll you have?" asked the bartender, a tall, stern-faced man in an
oversized tunic. Speaking made the myriad scars on the bartenders's face
animate in an entirely disconcerting manner.
The man nodded toward a large flask behind the bartender. "Novanian
"Got it," said the bartender, who reached behind him for the grog and a
stein. "You seem a bit nervous," he observed, setting the stein firmly in
front of the man, who immediately reached for it and took a swig.
The man shot a suspicious look at the bartender, his gray eyes slitting
"Nothing, nothing. Just noticing." The bartender studiously scrubbed
at a spot on the bar.
"Oh, well, I suppose it can't hurt to tell ya--everyone's going to know
about this pretty soon." The man swiped at his closely-cropped dark hair
and drank some more of the foul-smelling grog.
"Please do," the bartender requested. "Not much else going on around
here," he said, indicating the bar's other customers, most of which were
already drunk to a stupor.
"Yeah..." The man took a deep draught of the grog and grinned. "It's
so silly, too."
"Jabba. Jabba the Hutt. He's got his fat little fingers in all these
little schemes everywhere, it's a wonder that he has any idea how much he's
pulling in from 'em." The man jerked a thumb at himself. "That's why he
"Interesting," the bartender said. "And what exactly did you do for
the big tub o' lard?"
The man laughed. "Yeah, that's what I thought of him too. Nah, I kept
Jabba's books straight, make sure the Impies don't catch too much of a
scent--not that Jabba doesn't have them paid off real good already--but hey,
how much do I get paid? Not very damn much."
The bartender nodded. "Let me guess...you had yourself a little 'pay
"Oh yeah. Real slick, too. Just a couple percent off a few of Jabba's
money laundering schemes, and *boom*, I'm plush with credits." He shook his
head, a little more unsteadily now with the effects of the grog sinking in.
"Shoulda been more careful, though. I think Jabba found out, but he hasn't
done anything to me yet, right? I'm not some Rancor snack. And I don't
plan to end up one."
The bartender smiled knowingly. "Skippin' out, aren't you? Don't
blame you for wanting to leave this sand dune."
"If I needed a reason..." The man twirled the stein around on the ring
of condensation it was dripping onto the bar top. "And I know you can help
me...You work here, you must know about Yeffek's little arrangement with me,
The bartender nodded. "Yeah, me and the boss, we had a nice long talk
when I was hired so I'd know about all of 'is little deals. He told me what
to do. Just give me a name, and I'll check in back."
"I'm Usor Bani."
"Got it." The bartender opened a little door behind the bar and walked
into the back storeroom, then looked at a pair of datapads hung up
side-by-side on the wall, one very old and smudged with innumerable food
stains, the other one much newer. After rummaging through the drawers of a
desk in back, he came back out a minute later holding a data card.
"Here's your card," he told the man.
"Thanks. My ship's leaving in...unhh." The man passed out.
The bartender caught the stein as the man's slide onto the bar knocked
it off the side. He looked around at the other customers, none of which
appeared to be especially ambulatory...or conscious. He stepped around the
bar and hauled the unconscious man into the back room. He very efficiently
slapped a restraining harness onto him and then dumped the man into the open
supports of a small force cage. A moment later the cage was active and
humming with the energy of its enclosure field.
The bartender opened the door of another room set in the left wall of
the storeroom. A large and very unconscious Quarren, the regular bartender,
was neatly trussed and concealed under a tarp in the corner. He checked on
the state of the Quarren's unconsciousness before continuing with his work.
That was far too easy, the man thought. Jabba--that fool--is going to
try to negotiate the bounty down... He pulled out a small silver sphere
from the right hip pouch of his armor, then replaced it. Hmm. Maybe it's
time to leave Tatooine for a while, maybe see if there are any other jobs
out there...interesting study of technique, this, but too easy.
The man opened a closet in back, shucking the loose, baggy tunic that
he had been wearing as he did so, revealing an impressive amount of body
armor. From the closet, the man added heavy arm vambraces and a jet pack to his suit. Finally, he
withdrew the sinister helmet of a Mandalore warrior and slipped it on over
Got to keep up appearances, Boba Fett thought.
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