A Friendly Game of Cards

“So then he goes hyper on me,” stated Deel Surool with a laugh and a gesture of his lekku. “He’s like ready to blow my head off.”

Arani Korden threw her head back and laughed. Her short, dark hair brushed against the back wall of the lounge. “What a joke. I thought they were the Supreme Chancellor’s Special Task Force.”

“Yeah,” replied Deel. “You’d think they’d be able to handle things better.”

“Give them a little slack,” came a voice from nearby. Deel and Arani both looked up to see Sia-Lan Wezz and Rann I-Kanu, the two Jedi of their group, approach. Sia-Lan, who’d been the one to speak, sat down gracefully in her seat while Rann moved to the serving droid to grab something to eat.

“Why should we?” asked Deel with a smug grin. “They’re outlanders. They don’t really care about us or our problems. All they care about is the mission they’ve been sent on. The only reason they’re helping us is because they can’t do their job until the Trade Federation is out of the picture.”

“That’s not true,” said Rann softly. “I have sensed that most of them are genuinely concerned about Naboo.”

“You and your senses,” Deel snorted as he leaned back in his chair. His trench coat swept the floor with a soft rustle as he shook his head. “I say you’re full of it. I’ll bet my lekku that they wouldn’t give one credit to help us if they didn’t have to.”

Arani gave him a mischievous look. “Ooooo! I bet those’d sell good on the black market in Nar Shadaa.”

The slightly overweight Twi’lek gave her a mean look as Sia-Lan and Rann both chuckled. “You asked for that one,” Sia-Lan replied.

Their conversation was interrupted when the back door suddenly opened and a small Dug trotted into the lounge. Seeing him, the group fell silent and pretended like they hadn’t noticed him. The Dug trotted over to the serving droid and snatched a scrap of food from it only to shove the whole thing in his mouth effortlessly. Glancing over in their direction, the short alien made his way over to them.

“This food taste like the stuff Zorba feeds to his Kell Dragons,” stated Nyarchagga as his tongue rolled out in disgust. “I can’t wait until Naboo is free and we can eat something decent for a change.”

Deel smiled that same lopsided grin that was always on his face. “I hear ya,” he replied as the Dug pulled up a chair and sat down.

“What can we do for you, Friend?” asked Rann in a gentle voice.

Nyarchagga glanced in his direction and gave him a smug grin similar to Deel’s. “I’m looking to play a good game of Sabbacc. Anyone interested?” he replied.

Deel’s eyes lit up as did Arani’s. “Count me in,” both said at almost the same time.

Sia-Lan and Rann both looked at each other as if they could communicate without words. They both seemed to know that they’d lose everything they had including the shirt on their backs if they stayed. “We’ll see you guys around,” said Sia-Lan, and the two Jedi stood and left the room.

“So who’s dealing?” asked Deel.

“I don’t have cards,” said Nyarchagga. “I was hoping you did.”

Deel gestured with a nod to Arani who slipped a deck out of her back pocket. “I go nowhere without it,” she said with a smile. “I also don’t go anywhere without this either.” She slipped a chance cube out of her pocket as well and held it out for them to see. “My lucky chance cube.”

Deel shook his head. “She can’t make a decision without it. It’s amazing how she survives on chance alone. Why she’s even been in the thick of combat, and she’ll pull that thing out and use it to see what we should do next. ‘Do we go face the battle droids or blast open a hole in the wall? Let’s ask the chance cube,’” he said trying to imitate her voice.

Nyarchagga laughed. “Sounds like a good way to make a decision to me,” he said to Arani.

Arani gave him a smile. “I like this guy,” she said warmly. “He understands me.”

Deel laughed. “That’s funny, Arani. I didn’t think anyone could understand you.”

Arani stuck her tongue out at him. “Lots of people understand me, Deel. Its only Bantha-brained Twi’leks like you that can’t.”

Deel scowled at her. “Touchette, Arani. Now let’s play.”

Arani shifted the cards in her hands and shuffled them with speed and skill like none Nyarchagga had seen before. Flipping the cards across the table to them, she set up the game and opened with a small bid.

“So how’s the rest of your team doing?” asked Arani innocently.

Nyarchagga grunted. “Not well,” he stated honestly. “There’s a lot of dissension right now. Tarrsk still believes that Satchal is guilty of kidnapping Brin’tac’s family and killing his own master as well as the crew of Tso’s ship. He thinks that Satchal’s guilty conscience has led him to confessing his crime to Lialla in the form of some dreams he was having. It’s so confusing.”

“Wait a minute,” said Deel as he looked over at the Dug. “I don’t get it.”

“Well,” said Nyarchagga. “You see. Satchal was telling Lialla that he was having these nightmares about being some Dark Jedi named Bher Nagg Rugge. As this Dark Jedi, he kidnapped Brin’tac’s family and killed his master and the crew of Tso’s ship.”

“Who’s Brin’tac again?” asked Arani.

“He’s the Bothan noble in our group,” explained Nyarchagga. “My closest friend.”

“And who’s Tso?” asked Deel.

“The Sullustan,” said Nyarchagga.

“Oh,” said Arani. “Rorworr is pretty good friends with Tso. They both have a lot in common since they’re both pilots and like to explore places. I saw them chatting the other day about Tso’s adventures in space, and Rorworr seemed very intent. He’s always wanted to go exploring space.”

“And Satchal’s that Jedi with the nasty temper, right?” asked Deel.

“Right,” said Nyarchagga. “Anyway. Satchal’s master was killed by some Dark Jedi, and Brin’tac’s family was kidnapped supposedly by the same Jedi. Tso’s crew was also killed by this guy, so Tarrsk thinks that Satchal’s the culprit.”

“Why’s that? Why would he do something like that?” asked Arani.

“Well,” said Nyarchagga. “Satchal has a dark past. He was raised in a village on some Rim World where the people all practiced using the Dark Side of the Force. It was supposedly a place where the Sith had built a temple, and Satchal was rescued from this place by his master. Tarrsk believes that Satchal’s dark past hasn’t been purged. He thinks that Satchal has just been hiding his dark intentions for some time now.”

“Well,” said Deel. “Jedi are just too weird for my taste. I can’t understand anything they do.”

“Rann doesn’t seem to think that Satchal has any dark intentions,” said Arani thoughtfully. “He says that Satchal just seems confused and lonely.”

“Ah,” said Deel, “but don’t forget that he did say a dark cloud seemed to be hanging over him as if some dark shadow was blocking out the light. Whatever that means.”

Nyarchagga shook his head. “I don’t understand it either. I’m leaving all this for Geldar and the others to figure out. However, if Satchal is the one that took Brin’tac’s family, he’s going to need all the Force he can get to protect himself.” The look on Nyarchagga’s face told the entire story of what he’d do to Satchal if he was the criminal.

Arani laughed. “Oh yeah,” she said. “I can see we’re going to get along very well.”

The End

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