Duul had been on Nar Shaddaa numerous times over the years for both business and pleasure, but he hadn't been in the Meltdown in nearly twenty five years for whatever reason other than the most obvious. Business wise, there wasn’t a point, since he'd gotten his jobs through brokers and go betweens on the promenade, and it honestly brought back too many memories of Ludda Caysarta.
Ludda Caysarta had started out as a contact for side jobs he could get while he was under the thumb of the Hutt Cartel, using her job as wait staff to facilitate her work as a broker. As a twi'lek she was often overlooked as nothing more than eye candy, belaying the fact she had a keen intellect and she had a system for passing out work. If you wanted some work, you asked for either a blue plate, or a red plate special. Blue plate was smuggling jobs, while red plate specials had a more violent end.
She was a good friend and confidant at the time, and he was sitting where they would meet when he would blow into port after doing some job for his then employer, Nem'ro the Hutt. The booth hadn't changed in the years since he'd last sat here, same sticky spots on the bench and the cracks where the tabletop and wall met. The Holo emitter was a new addition, but it had been a very long time.
Last time he'd sat here, he was telling Ludda that he had to make a break out of Hutt space, since he'd crossed Nem'ro and the Cartel to help his brother Tangho, which to his surprise she understood completely.
He promised to get word to her, which he hadn’t of course because he was an idiot. If he had, would she have told him she was pregnant? Would she have told him she named him Cryxx, after one of the kids he knew at the orphanage he grew up at?
Would she have told him she was sick?
He hadn't know he had a son until his old friend Roa Zephre told him Cyxx had been brought to the Jedi Temple on Tython after his mother had passed. His Jedi buddy had taken him as his apprentice, or padawan or whatever they called them. The kid was strong with the force, which was another shocker to him.
Must have been her side of the gene pool, cuz it certainly wasn’t his..
Why was he here, he was beginning to wonder. He wasn’t superstitious, so he didn’t believe her ghost was sitting across from him. He also wasn’t particularly sentimental, but for some reason Ludda made him act like a mooning sap. He reached inside his jacket pocket, and pulled out his flask, and giving a silent toast to the empty space across from him, took a good tug, finishing the whiskey. If she did have a ghost, and it was floating around Willie nilly, it was probably following around their son, and not hanging around a dirty booth in a third rate drinking hole on the 88th level of fake Coruscant.
It was the place where you could get information, and put out misinformation if it were called for. It was a place where someone with a ship and relaxed views on law and order could pick up some credits, or a place where a gunslinger could pick up a quick credit from the bounty board. A quick look around confirmed that, as he could see three bounty hunters he recognized off the bat sitting at one of the center tables near a group of loud freight haulers leering at the dancers and waitresses.
"What can I get you.." A woman's voice called for his attention and he looked up to one of the wait staff, borderline scantily clad outfit with bare midriff and shorts. A thought flitted through his mind, and tugged a smirk out of his rough face. Why not, for old times sake.
"Blue plate special and an ale." Fortune said simply.
The woman paused, and frowned. "Do you mean Red Plate special?"
"Do I look like a Red place special kind of guy?" He said, leaning forward on the table, his elbows holding his weight.
"That gun rigg suggests a red plate.." She countered.
"Blue plate.." Fortune leaned back in the booth, shaking his head.
"Were out of blue plates, sorry sugar.." She said, "How about the Chili."
The Captain of the Rim Runner smiled. "Sure, lets do the chili and an ale."
With that, she was off towards the kitchen, as he spread out in the booth and watched the crowd as people ate, conversed and drank. The table turnover was pretty rapid, which one group leaving and another group taking the empty spot in quick progression.
The tavern area was particularly lively, with the dancers concentrating on those patrons, and alternating with crowd work and the poles. There were dancers circulating the diner side, and if you turned on the holo emitter on your table, they would slip into the booths or tables and keep patrons company and gently suggest the more expensive liquor.
His was off..
Duul was a little disappointed that there wasn't any quick smuggling jobs up for grabs, but he didn't like making money off the other thing he was particularly good at. He reserved gun slinging as a survival skill rather than a way to make credits. Those skills served him well in the trenches of Balmora, Ord Mantell and Hoth.
Three humans entered the meltdown, and took a long look around the run down establishment from the doorway before splitting up. One moved into the tavern crowd; one moved towards the kitchen and the third started walking around the dining tables. Duul Fortune wasn’t sure why, but this guy rang off the alarms in his head..
Nonsense, he knew exactly why. These guys were hitters, and they were looking for someone in particular..