Almost a Smooth Transaction

Duro, several months ago -
Darrick Colton walked along the road seeking the docking bay he had been told to meet his contact at. For all he knew, he could be walking into a trap. But he had faith in Lexar, his go between. He knew he had paid enough to keep that mercenary from flipping on him.

As he found the one he was looking for, docking bay E-74, he put his hand lightly on his blaster and walked through the blast door.

He saw the Z-95 Headhunter before him and heard someone performing some work on the far side of it. Looking underneath the starfighter, he saw two legs that likely belonged to his contact and heard what seemed to be a curse in Gand through the modulated voice of a rebreather.

"Hello?" he called out to announce his presence.

"Oh, greetings. You are the one called D'arrick Col'ton?" the Gand said, popping his head around the edge of the cockpit.

"Yes, just Darrick is fine. And you are Querl?"

The Gand came around the ship casually in response, but then noticed the pilot with his hand on his blaster.

"Yes, yes. Please no violence. We have agreed to a fair price, yes?" Querl replied.

Darrick removed his hand from his blaster demonstrably to show he meant no harm to the engineer.

"Sorry. You know how it is these days. So this is the ship?"

"Absolutely, D'arrick. It is the one. I was just verifying the integrity of the added hyperspace drive. You know, these ships did not have hyperspace drives in the stock models. This one is very fine, if a bit stubborn. It is limited to two destination coordinates, but if you are travelling with another ship with an astromech, they can feed you updates as needed."

"While we're on the topic of fair price, should I ask how you were able to acquire this ship to be able to sell it at such a fair price? I mean, i might be better off not knowing, but I for sure want to know if I should fear it's rightful owners coming to look for it when I land it in some ports," Darrick asked the insectoid like alien. He had difficulty judging the emotional reactions of some species and understood most humans did when interacting with Gand. Had something to do with lacking the correct type of olfactory system.

"Oh no, no one should be missing this. It never existed in any tracking system, at least it ceased existing after a certain point. Querl promises that this ship is free and clear yours from your payment."

"And I shouldn't be worried about where the proceeds will be going? It's not going to fund some Hutt's slave trading enterprise?" Darrick asked, hoping to soothe his mind from having to deal in black market goods.

"Not at all, D'arrick. This money will actually help fund freeing my brother from indentured servitude. Querl worked hard to deliver a product worthy of your funds for that cause," the Gand insisted.

"That's a good cause then, Querl. I don't have much left after paying your price, but is that enough to do what you need to pay off your brother's debt? Do you need more?"

"Most gracious offer, D'arrick. No, your payment is enough. I will make sure to speak well of our dealings without giving away the subject to other engineers I know. You will hopefully find good prices for any future service on this or any ship you need help with," the Gand beamed.

"Thank you, Querl. I am glad to have met you and worked this out so amic-" Darrick stopped mid sentence as he heard what had to be Imperial Stormtroopers interrogating someone just outside their docking bay.

"Quick, Querl. Is there a back entrance? You need to get out of here!" Darrick quickly keyed the transfer of the remainder of the funds to Querl's account.

"Yes, D'arrick. Thank you for your concern. Here is your code cylinder for control of the ship. You leave and I'll leave. We'll both make our escape."

Darrick grabbed the code cylinder and dove into the cockpit, pulling on the helmet he had been carrying with him. He knew his getting this ship out was just as important to Querl's safety as Querl's own escape. Dealing in contraband was a quick ticket to an Imperial labor camp.

With a thankfully quick engage sequence as it seemed Querl had primed the ship for flight, Darrick took off just as he saw several of the suspected Stormtroopers come into tyhe docking bay. He was happy to see Querl was nowhere in sight and had successfully eluded capture.

While his escape from the planet was not a sure thing, he was glad to know ahead of time that no Imperial ship was in system with any chance of subduing him in this fast little starfighter. Making it to the safe distance from the planet's gravitational well to jump into hyperspace should be a piece of cake. From the cramped cockpit (wow, had he forgotten how cramped these Z-95 cockpits really were), he flew with all speed to get to the future that was before him. His eagerness to join the Rebellion was literally all that kept him going. As the ship broke atmosphere and no ships appeared in pursuit, he took a moment to pull the holo disk out of his pocket and he set it on the cockpit dashboard. The blue projection came to life and he saw Magdeline and little Leashia as they were before the Empire took them from him.

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