Posted by: Natasha A. Morea | 04/10/2011

Taris part 3

Manias gave me what information he could about the Blade Vipers. From what I gathered, they seemed to prey on those, who they knew could not repay their debts, for the enjoyment of torturing them later on. I usually try to mind my own business in those kinds of matters, but Manias’s daughter, Kira, was only fourteen standard years of age, and I just couldn’t stand the thought of her in the hands of a heartless gang. She could be made into a slave, or worse. Something about Manias and his situation tugged at my conscience and even though I needed to be looking for Sinka, to ignore this would be wrong. My companions and I left the little man, with the assurance that we would do our best to see his daughter safely returned to him. Deep down, I really hoped that this would have a happy ending. I would do all in my power to see that it did.
Swoop races are a high speed, spectator’s sport. The racer speeds across a special track, filled with obstacles and specialized acceleration pads. Each contestant races alone, through a set number of trials, the one with the fastest time at the end, wins. The high speeds, make swoop racing highly dangerous and very heavily bet upon. Swoop gangs, like these Blade Vipers, were nothing more than thugs, that were known for their acts of violence and for their underhanded ways of winning the races.
The first thing Aiden, Shorcuk and I decided to do, was to investigate the local watering hole. Swoop racers could likely be found drunkenly bragging about their races and I wanted to see if I could find some information on when the next race would be. The best way to defeat your quarry, is to learn their ways, watch them in their environment, what better place to start than a swoop race.
The boys and I needed a place to stay for the night, so Aiden procured us rooms at the nearest inn. It wasn’t much more than a hole in the wall, but I had seen, and stayed in, worse. Aiden had gotten Shorcuk a room to himself, leaving me to share one, as usual, with my Jedi companion. I should have argued, but I had more important things on my mind.
“Thinking about our new mission?” Aiden asked, as we set our kit down in the newly acquired room.
“I am.” I sighed, plopping down on the edge of the bed. “ I just don’t know why Icouldn’t simply walk away and continue to mind my own business.”
Aiden laughed. “Because you are You, that’s why. You saw a person in need and you reached out to help. It was the right thing to do and I am very proud of you.” “ahem…. very Jedi like.” He mumbled, trying to hide his words behind a fake cough.
I cut my eyes sharply in his direction. “ I am NOT a Jedi!”
Aiden walked over to where I sat. “ You are right of course. You are merely a stubborn, little Mando, with a heart too big for her breastplate.”
He tweaked me on the nose as he said this, making me smile, in spite of my trying to be angry with him.
We rested until the late evening hours, then headed out to the nearest cantina, which was only a short walk from our rooms. The crowd was bustling with people playing Pazzak, laughing and drinking. Shorcuk sidled up to the bar for a drink and Aiden and I made our way to the nearest Pazzak table.
Aiden grabbed a seat next to a dark haired man who didn’t seem to be much older than he.
“Greetings, friend.” Aiden spoke to the man. “I am Aiden Vinolo, would you mind if I joined your game?” The man nodded. “ The more the merrier, the name’s Dak Kallos. Haven’t seen you in here before, are you new to this sector?”
“Actually,” Aiden replied, “ I am new to the planet. I traveled here with my wife. We heard that Taris is the place to be, to watch some great swoop races.”
I stood behind Aiden, listening. Bless the Maker!, wife?!?! Really, Aiden? I thought to myself, somewhat irritatedly. The dealer passed out the cards as Dak and my husband, continued to chat pleasantly.
“Well, you heard right! Taris has the best swoop races, hands down. As a matter of fact, I am entering in the race taking place tomorrow.”
He gave Aiden the times and directions to the swoop track. “You and your lovely wife, should come down and watch.” T
he man looked at me as he spoke, raising an eyebrow at me, as if he somehow didn’t believe Aiden’s story, about me being his wife. Don’t worry friend, it wasn’t believable to me either.

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