Age of Annuities and Amendments

City of Keren
Naboo

The sunlight was fading in the grand hall, dust and other particles beginning to reflect that orange light in strange ways that made for an oddly beautiful indoor sunset. The amount of windows that lined the main City Plaza made this a common occurance in Keren meetings. What didn't enter into things from the striking architecture was how drab the affairs could be.

"And on point eight point nineteen point seven, we will be adding another investment in the 5th Coruscanti Independent Bank to assure we have diversified all city funds into appropriately wide-spread investitures..."

Marcus Mor sighed audibly, the repetitive and often-nonsensical rhetoric of these politicians drained his soul most days. They had to go into these details, and he had to be at these meetings, but he often wished the financeers and lawyers could handle some of this stuff separately.

"Don't worry," came a hushed tone beside him. "Eight nineteen is the last of it."

Marcus looked over at Counselor Jimbi's wry grin and nodded, his eyes half-open from disgust and boredom. All the while he imagined them all droning on so much that they put themselves to sleep so he could leave.

The officials went on for a tad more and sure enough, Jimbi was right. They came to the end of the amendments section of this ordinance. And, as it seemed to happen at every monthly meeting, the heat got turned up in conversation.

"Now now, counselor," the gruff tone of one member cut through. "This does not have anything to do with us encroaching on the farmlands of the west. We have no intention of interrupting their operations and freedoms. We just want to provide services to those citizens nearby, for safety and quality of life."

Mor elbowed Jimbi who cleared his throat to speak up. But he was stopped short.

"You see, District 4 is a very big opportunity, friends," continued the gruff counselman named Bor Ta'bor. "Not only do they have many resources that can be more broadly shared, they have kind hearts that care about their neighbors to the west. We just need--"

"--their money," came a female voice. Sallai was a brilliant counselwoman and lawyer originally from Theed, and she often saw eye to eye with Jimbi. "Isn't that what this is about?"

The Ta'bor merely chuckled, preparing for a slithery response.

"We would love to spread our borders, but not at the cost of the surrounding land owners." Jimbi used to be the chief counselman, but had yielded that station last year. That didn't mean he didn't shy away from interjecting and trying to bring conversation around a bit. He also did so with Marcus' blessing and advice. "The fact of the matter is that the studies and surveys have shown this still is not the right time. We need more time and we need to prove that we..."

---------

Finally the meeting had ended and Marcus had done his part. He didn't have to wave his hand and change any minds - he hated doing that in these situations. So today was refreshing in that regard. The monthly "jam sessions" that lasted hours did at least give insights into how things were going. In a way, the former Jedi was lucky to be so informed.

"Hey, Marcus," came Jimbi's voice, catching up. "Thanks, the others don't know how much you help."

Jimbi didn't know Marcus' secret - no one did. But Jimbi knew he was a talented mind and had the intentions of the citizens at heart.

"No problem," he replied somberly.

Jimbi's brow furled. "Something wrong? Moreso than usual after these meetings?"

Marcus stopped before a large staircase that led down to another "layer" of city. He breathed in and exhaled, looking over at the somewhat-rotund man. "I don't know how long I can keep doing this, Jimbi."

Jimbi nodded and put his large hand on Mor's shoulder. "I know..."

"There's more out there for me, there are more... like me out there."

Jimbi's brow remained wrinkled. He was confused and didn't know how to ask for more.

"I just..." Marcus managed a smile and looked out over the city before them. Had he done his due diligence? Had he hid long enough with these beauocrats, hid from the Orders and the Jedi? Had he out-stayed his welcome, at least in his own mind?

"Need a change," he finished. "I think."

Jimbi stood for a moment, taking his hand back and nodding eventually. "I--"

The man was about to show his renound compassion when a blaster shot rang out from an unknown corner of the plaza, slamming into Jimbi's chest, singeing his robes and skin as he fell to the ground.

In what seemed like slow-motion, Marcus' instincts seemed frozen, as he stared in disbelief, unable to react or even look around and acknowledge the commotion that came about as a result of the shot.

TBC...

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