"I have a project for a group like yours," Ota, the short and stout Bothan started.
I couldn't suppress a slight huff of frustration. This was our reward for the entire New Meen debacle? Another assignment? No money, no gear, no weapons. Yeah, they fixed "our" ship and gave us some medical attention, but I'm quite sure that was our reward for bringing B'ura B'an to Ryloth in the first place. And our fearsome leaders are just taking it. Can't believe they made me give up all the parts I scavenged from the crane and the steam roller.
"This is bullshit," I mouthed breathlessly as the Bothan pulled out a holographic projector. It showed images of us on Mos Shuuta, the Krayt Fang and our faces. Then in nice big letters: "Wanted. 50K credits reward by Teemo."
Great. So Kopec was right about the Kubaz. And I'm sure this Bothan is just showing us this message just to warn us and certainly not put extra pressure on us to do whatever the fuck he wants us to.
"With a reward like that, you might find yourselves hunted by people like Bosk, or even The Mandalorian," he continued. Yeah, or blackmailed by some random beast dude.
"So exactly why are you showing us this, instead of delivering us?" Lainaki asked.
"I have a proposition. The project I offer will bring you into contact with people who deal with Teemo," from the corner of my eyes, I saw Lainaki raise her eyebrows, but Ota continued before she could interject, "Teemo has a deal planned with Duke Dimmock, I want you to make sure it falls through."
"I am invited to Duke Piddock's business party, it's his way of introducing himself onto the black market. The Geonosians have no trading positions under the Empire's rule so they have no choice but to turn to illegal paths. He deals in weaponry and wants to use the party to sell and to do some networking. I know he had a deal planned with Teemo, but something changed his mind. Now Teemo has turned to Duke Dimmock, perhaps if he knew what changed Piddock's mind, that trade will get canceled as well. That's where you come in."
"So what changed Piddock's mind?"
"Ah, you'll have to find out. I only know that it was Piddock's initiative to break off the deal. Other than that, I know that Teemo has been promoting a Kubaz spy, Geonosians don't tend to like Kubaz," Ota added, "You'll go as my representatives to Piddock's party. Prepare a good cover story, you never know if there are imperial spies around."
"And our reward?"
"Well. Teemo probably had the credits to pay your bounty hunters on him. When you eliminate him, that will be your reward," and with that, the Bothan left.
[Author's note: Apparently Kubaz like to eat insects and Geonosians are insectoids. Yeah.]
We left in the morning for Taris. Our Krayt Fang was fixed up… sufficiently. Lainaki and Kopec seemed pleased, but I was sure that if I had stayed to lead the technical crew, it would've been in a much better state. The waterproof box we had ordered stood in the cargo hold and we assumed the wookie pelts were place inside of it, because the smell was gone. We decided that our cover story would be that we trade in droid parts.
The trip was calm and Lainaki amused herself during it by inspecting some sort of alien shell that was on board. Kopec took a much-needed shower.
[TARIS - Geonosis]
We received a request to leave all our weapons on board, so we complied. A few heavily armed, giant Geonosian soldiers escorted us to the Duke's party. They led us to a lavish cantina, clearly designed to attract cosmopolites. Piddock was not messing around.
Inside, a band was playing and the guests were clearly having a good time. We decided to talk a bit with the guests first, before approaching the Duke.
First we spoke to the human siblings Orpa and Wrex Vion. They run a taxi business and let us know that they would be willing to ship droids around as well. He's a funny guy, she's clearly the brains of the operation. They told us that the Toydarian guest at the party, Anatta, works for Jabba the Hutt.
Kopec tried to talk to the Sullustan, Mu Nanb, but he said he wanted to listen to the band first. "I'm just a tourist," he claimed. He was sharply dressed, but very young.
Lainaki talked, well, flirted, with an elegant woman at the bar, Maru Jakkar. She's apparently interested in like culture and art and history and stuff? The Geonosians were nearly all wiped out, so their culture is like super special to her or something. I don't get it, but Lainaki obviously liked it. Maru is not just in the relic business, but she's also the front woman of a syndicate operating in the core worlds. She warned us that there were some shady deals going on when we mentioned droid technology: series of suspicious payments for seemingly worthless auctions and B1 battle droid plans had been spotted on the trading post – all traced back to Tattooine. She also told us that the Gant at the party was a bounty hunter of certain repute, called Vrixx'tt.
Then we spoke to Anata from Mos Eisley. Turned out he didn't deal in items, but in information. We headed to one of the private rooms so we could talk discretely. He was a major help, but also an expensive one.
The droid and the Gant approached us, but didn't teach us anything more. The Gant claimed he was a representative of an informal organisation that promotes the interest of insectoid species.
Then it was time to talk to the host, Duke Piddock. He told us he had canceled the deal with Teemo because the Hutt had hired a Kubaz (Thwheek). In retaliation, Teemo abducted the droid technician Sivor, but Piddock had no proof of that. When we asked if other Geonosians would still make deals with Teemo despite the Kubaz, he immediately named Dimmock. "He has lower standards. Vile, no moral compass. He sells inferior droids and weapons."
When he realised that we weren't actually going to order any weapons, we were asked to immediately leave the party and were escorted back to our ship. All in all, I thought things went well.