As I stepped off of the public transport, I couldn’t help but sigh. More poverty, more desperation in the citizens’ faces. The lower-city was just so depressing. I began to feel sorry for all of it’s occupants. There was so much more to the galaxy than what they had access to. Suddenly, my own life didn’t seem so tough. Most of my Mando brothers and sisters, would think nothing of these people’s plight, they would take advantage of it and use it to conquer, but for some reason, I could not. I could almost feel these people’s pain and hardships. I believe in my heritage and way of life as a warrior, but I simply can not justify wiping out entire species or the merciless enslavement of a people. I hate to see someone living in squalor or see someone in need. There were others who felt as I did, but we were very few. I saw a beggar woman seated on the side of the street, her hand out for credits and I suddenly wished I could make her life better, easier. I wonder if that is how Aiden feels all the time?
I shook myself out of my musings and looked to him, just stepping off of the transport.
“Well, Aiden, where to?”
“My contact said we could find members of the Blood Raiders at a place called, The Accelerator. It is a swoop racer’s club.”
“Well, what are we waiting for?”
The Accelerator turned out to be a much nicer place than I expected, as far as nice places go in the Lower-city. A large neon sign, depicting a racer on his bike, hung over the entrance to the club. An enormous bouncer, whose species I could not readily identify stood, barring the doorway.
“Racer’s Identification, please.”
Aiden pulled his newly acquired identification card from his cloak and presented it to the bouncer. He nodded and waved Aiden through. As we all made to follow him, the bouncer barred our way.
“Racer’s Identification, please.”
I looked at the man, annoyed. “We are with him.” I pointed in Aiden’s direction.
“No ID, no entrance.”
Aiden noticed that we were having problems. He walked back toward the bouncer.
“They are with me.”
“I am sorry sir, they are not racers and can not go in.”
Aiden looked the bouncer in the eyes, slowly waving a hand in front of his face.
“They are with me and you will let them pass.”
“I will let them pass.”
He moved over and we all entered the club behind Aiden. I may not always agree with Jedi ways, but it sure would be useful to be able to use mind tricks like that. As much as I hated to admit it, I would never have made it this far on my journey without Aiden’s help.
The club was dimly lit and filled with comfortable looking furnishings; tables and booths lined one section near the back where there was a bar and the front of the room looked like a lounge with cushions and couches. Terminals lined the walls, each showing a different swoop race. Club members gathered around the screens, watching and talking amongst themselves. Scantily clad Twi’leks in a rainbow of colors walked to and fro, bringing drinks to the patrons. I glanced around the room, taking everything in. Racers stopped and stared at me, as I made my way to the bar; it was then that I noticed that other than the server girls, I was the only female in the building. I slid onto a bar-stool and motioned to the bartender.
“I am looking for someone, maybe you can help me?”
“Who are you looking for?”
“A man by the name of Tylan Jakurra, you know him?”
“Yeah, he is one of our regulars. Second floor; pazaak room, but it won’t do you any good.”
“And why not?”
“No ladies allowed.”
I tilted my head to the side and gave him a grin as I slammed my hand down on the counter.
“Well, lucky for you, I’m no lady.”
I stood and sauntered over to Aiden and the others.
“He is upstairs.” I motioned to Dak and Shorcuk. “You two, mingle. See what you can find out about the Blood Raiders. Aiden, come with me. I may need you to help me with persuasion.”
Dak nodded and moved off toward the viewing terminals. Aiden and I headed toward the lift.
“Are you expecting trouble already, cyar’ika?” Aiden whispered as we entered the lift and the door closed behind us.
“Not really, but it seems that women are not welcome here and you may have to change some of their minds for me.”
Aiden shook his head and rolled his eyes. The lift opened into a room filled with men, gathered around small, round pazaak tables. The room was hazy from smoke and smelled of sweat and booze. A small violet colored Twi’lek passed as we entered the room. I reached out and touched her shoulder.
“Excuse me, but could you point out Tylan Jakurra to me please?”
“Yes Miss, he is over there.” She pointed to a table in the middle of the room. “He is the blonde one.”
The Twi’lek nodded and moved away toward one of the tables. As we made our way toward the table that she had pointed out, A man intercepted us.
“You can’t be in here, lady. Males only.”
“This won’t take long and then I will be out of your way. I don’t want any trouble, I just need to speak to someone.” I looked up at the man.
“Too bad. No females, means NO FEMALES! Now get out.”
“And what if I am a racer?”
“Lady racers? Ha, Ha Ha! That is a good one, sweetie. Now unless you are planning to change into something more..comfortable and join the Twi’leks, I suggest you leave.”
I was getting really angry. Aiden sensed my discomfort and stepped closer to the man.
“I suggest that you let the lady do what she came here to do. She is welcome here.”
“She is welcome.”
I pushed my way past him and continued toward the table, Aiden close beside me.
“That was unpleasant. You could have done that a bit sooner you know?”
I could feel Aiden’s smile. “And what kind of fun would that have been?”
As mad as I was, I still could not help but laugh. “Just you wait, I will deal with you later.”
Tylan was short and blonde. He smiled at his gaming partners, as he raked in the credits.
“That is too, too sad boys. Seems tonight is not your night.”
I stopped in front of him, while Aiden moved to the side in case the racer tried to bolt.
“But this certainly is my lucky night.”
Tylan looked up from his credits, his eyes squinting.
“Do I know you?”
“No, but you are certainly going to.”
He suddenly realized he may be in trouble and made to leave. Aiden stepped behind him and grabbed his arm.
“Not so fast.”
Tylan’s friends began to reach for their weapons. I put my hand on my blaster and shook my head.
“That would not be a good move, my friends. We do not want any trouble. We just need to ask Mr. Jakurra a few questions. There is no reason for you to die today.”
The men, saw the seriousness in my eyes and chose to return their attention to their games.
“What do you want with me?”Tylan squirmed against Aiden’s grip.
“We just want to talk, but not here. Is there some place more quiet that we can go?”
He nodded nervously. “Sure. Back there, in the private rooms.”
He motioned toward the back, where there were several doors. We made our way through the room and toward one of the empty rooms, used for high stakes games. Aiden led Tylan into the room and I quietly closed the door behind us. Aiden pushed him toward a chair.
“Now, lets have a chat, shall we?”