Gonna have to walk home from this. The Headhunter was shimmying slightly at attack speed. It didn’t look it, but maybe Maya did get hit. Or crashed or something. Who knew with humans? The way the crazy chica had been flying, it’s a good thing Ma’ag knew what he was doing. He threw the fighter into a tight roll and recovered into a reverse. Ma’ag would have a blast in this thing. He punched the acceleration to max and imagined riding the space lanes like this. "Beats the Turtle. Beats walking.” Kirgil hated walking.
His comlink lit up and he tapped it, “Is Kirgil.”
“Fee Ry’hea,” a thick voice spoke. “Is that you on approach?”
“ Si ,” Kirgil responded. “She flies good. Have not tried cannons. Where you?” He scanned the cityscape below him as he approached the landing pad that was their meet location.
“Green speeder putting down now,” his buyer said and Kirgil watched a beat up Arrow-23 landing on the edge of the pad. Need a scanner Kirgil groused. The speeder truck could conceal half a dozen beings inside. Not something Kirgil would be able to handle. A single Gran emerged from the speeder as Kirgil started the fighter’s landing cycle. The Bothan checked the charge on his blasters and prepared for the worst.
The fighter touched down smoothly and the canopy popped with a hiss. Still no more contacts from the speeder. Kirgil hopped down and approached.
“It looks like it’s been in a fight,” the Gran said without introduction. He loomed nearly half a meter taller than Kirgil and wore a flight suit with blaster pistol holstered at his hip.
“Is fighter,” Kirgil observed. “That the point. Seventy thousand and is yours.”
“Seventy thousand?!” Ry’hea’s three eyes bulged incredulously. “I’m doing you a favor offering you thirty five!”
This was the part Kirgil loved. Without missing a beat, the scoundrel shot back, “If I go back to Torga the Hutt with only sixty-five, I’m giving him your name and saying you’ve still got the rest.”
“Fifty would be a generous gift,” the Gran countered with a hint of hesitation. Kirgil noted the Hutt’s name had instantly earned him a bump. Have to be careful using that here. Both of them could see where negotiations were heading, and shortly, the Gran produced several credit chips and began sorting them in his thick fingers.
“You just happen to have fifty-seven thousand in cash on you?” Kirgil asked.
“You just happened to have a Headhunter for sale?” Ry’hea returned, looking up from his counting.
Kirgil squinted, his two eyes staring hard into the Gran’s three. They sized each other up, tensing. Their hands flinched together, both extending as they laughed. They shook hands heartily and the Gran handed over the proper amount.
Kirgil turned to leave and caught sight of the Gran removing a flight helmet and kit bag from the speeder and heading towards the fighter. “Hey,” he called. “What gives with the speeder?” He hated walking.
Kirgil helped Lady Mirana Fioro out of the speeder and walked her through the main entrance to the medcenter. The place was relatively clean if somewhat rundown. And very quiet. The only occupant appeared to be an older model protocol droid. Its silver casings were somewhat dented but still shined as it shuffled forward. “Greetings, I am HC-99. How may I be of service?”
“Is Kirgil Dzek’lya,” the Bothan nodded. “Is appointment to Dr. Borac.”
“Yes,” the droid’s eyes flashed. “You are expected. Please follow me.” The droid led them through a back door that sealed behind them, and down a short hallway. They passed exam rooms on both sides of the corridor before coming to a door marked BACTA TREATMENT in Huttesse. They entered another exam room that opened through a sterile field generator into a second chamber containing the Bacta facilities. Dr. Borac, a Rodian clearly identified by the nametag on his white lab coat, was tapping at a console when they entered.
“Welcome,” the doctor gestured to a soft couch. Kirgil helped Mirana, who sighed audibly as she collapsed onto the seat. “This is the patient I presume. Name?”
“Is important?” Kirgil asked pointedly. “Was assured discretion here.”
The doctor cleared his through, visibly nervous. “My apologies, sir,” he stuttered slightly. “Just a formality. I’ll just put ‘Patient, Female.’ It isn’t likely we’ll get her confused with anyone else.” Kirgil had noticed the fact that the rest of the facility appeared empty and made a comment.
“Yes,” the doctor became even more nervous. “I assure you I am fully trained and quite good at my job. It’s just… ah… sometimes difficult to get a permit to practice. And you need that to remain listed on the registry.”
“You lost your permit,” Mirana’s voice practically dripped concern. “How awful for your business. What happened?” Fioro layered her words with a look of sorrow so good, Kirgil thought he could almost fall for it himself.
“The administrator, ah, lost a substantial sum of money to a rough group,” the doctor shook his head. “He drained the business to pay them off and then took off when he ran out. I run the center by myself now. Well, except for the droid.
“But enough of that,” the doctor looked to Kirgil. “You said your field med estimated two days of Bacta. Looking at your companion’s condition from here, I’d say that’s about right. I’ll run an examination first of course. So we agreed on ten thousand credits for two days treatment, correct?”
Kirgil and Mirana made eye contact and suppressed a smile. ‘Two days,’ they each thought. ’We’ll own this place by then.’
The comlink chirped. “Si?” Kirgil left the Bacta chamber as the droid was setting up a privacy screen.
“Nak’s not here yet,” Torrin said.
“Is hour late,” Kirgil replied, checking his chrono. “Should be there.”
“We’ve got a room full of every kind of being in the galaxy,” Zake was online too. “But just the Zabrak we brought.”
“I call, I find,” he killed the connection and retuned the comlink. The connection to Torga the Hutt buzzed for several seconds and then went dead. < CONNECTION TERMINATED AT DESTINATION > The Bothan growled quietly and activated the comlink again. < CONNECTION TERMINATED AT DESTINATION > He killed it and called Torrin back. “Torga not answering. I keep trying.”
“Okay,” Torrin replied. “We’ll hang here and keep looking.”
Kirgil swore quietly to himself. Hutts were paranoid and unpredictable. Could Torga have decided to double-cross them? A second Mando approaching him after Hudu Shiv already blew a hit could be enough. The team could be walking into something serious.
He returned to the exam room as Mirana stepped out from behind the privacy screen. She had changed from the tattered flight suit into a white exam gown. There was no sign of the doctor. Mirana met his gaze and shrugged, “Not the most fashionable statement I’ve ever made. Problems with the meet?”
Kirgil nodded, “Is contact missing. Need to go.”
“Well, I’ll be here I guess,” Lady Fioro eyed the sterile field generator dubiously. “Best we can do for now. Leave me a comlink?” Kirgil handed her his short range link and gave her his frequency.
“Will get you proper equipment while you here,” Kirgil assured her. “What weapon you prefer?”
The woman shook her head, “No guns for me, honey. I can get by just fine without. Just find a nice clothing shop and set me up with a credit line. I nice one.” Kirgil knew what that was going to cost. “I assume you’ll look into medical permits as well?”
“I check into it,” he nodded. “Call if problem.” The Bothan left the Medcenter and jumped into his new speeder. Beats walking, he thought as he fired it up. Definitely needs a tune-up during the next hyperspace jump. He punched in a course back to the Turtle and tried calling Torga again. This time the buzzing continued for nearly a minute before a gruff voice responded.
“What do you want?” the voice spoke in Huttesse but was not a Hutt.
“Is speaking to Torga,” Kirgil responded in Huttesse. “Who this?”
“Torga’s in a meeting with Jolla the Hutt and is really pissed off that someone keeps bothering him. I’m the guy gonna take care of the problem.” Kirgil cringed at the tone, but turned up the persuasion and pushed forward.
“I Kirgil Dzek’lya. Am having arranged with Torga meeting with Nak Simm at Corusca Gem Casino an hour ago. But no Nak is arriving yet. What gives? Is Torga skipping meets he sets?”
“What do mean ‘No Nak’?”
“Is stuttering?” Kirgil pressed harder and switched to Basic. “Nak Simm is not at casino. Is hour late. Is having team at casino waiting to meet. No meet is bad business. What gives?”
“Look,” the voice, in Basic as well, sounded less angry now. “This is Thraka Duroth. Nak contacted me a while ago and said he got hung up.” There was a pause on the line. Then, “Nak should have been there by now. I’ll look into it.”
“Good, do that,” Kirgil nodded to himself.
“And Kirgil,” a hint of menace returned to Duroth’s tone. “Don’t call Torga again. I’ll call you.” The link went dead. Kirgil leaned back in the seat and just guided the speeder through the light traffic. He took several deep breaths before comming Torrin again and passing on the update.
“Alright,” Torrin sounded frustrated. “We’ll just keep waiting.”
‘Not good,’ Kirgil thought. He needed more information on Torga and this Thraka guy. And medcenter permits. And now Jolla the Hutt too. ‘Sounds like time to hit the bar.’
Blame it all on my roots…