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Kal Vonnar

What Stays in the Cantina

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Kal Vonnar    2

Nar Shaddaa

Elona, 3629 BBY


Kal took another sip of his Juma Juice. It had been too long since he played Pazaak. The feel of the card deck was great. Oh, how he wished things hadn't been so drastic! Karter was no longer his employer and Kal wasn't returning to Alderaan soon enough, not with everyone on his case over there. He sighed, knowing he would have to face trial eventually.


He looked around the cantina. The lights were dim, except for above the tables. All sorts of aliens, creatures, and humans wandered to and fro about the cantina. Like him, they were eager to talk or play cards. He shuffled his deck, in hopes of finding someone who would play a game with him. Anyone!


"Ah!" Kal grunted, annoyed. "This is great! I lose employment and must now seek another ship!" He asked the bartender aloud, "Say, bartender, how about another drink?!"


"You've had one too many, Kal!" The bartender said, annoyed. "You don't deserve another drink!"


"I don't deserve--" Kal stood up, advancing towards the bar table in a comedic stance. "Hey, hey, hey! Have I steered you wrong? I ordered a nice drink and hopefully, I'll get to play a nice game of Pazaak. Is that really too much to ask?" He pressed his hand against his chest, showing remorse in the best possible way.


"You're still too drunk, Kal!" The bartender said, more annoyed. "Now, seeing as you're a paying customer, I'm going to have to ask you to keep quiet. Otherwise, I'll kick you out of my cantina, before you can say 'The Gizka are here!'"


Kal raised his hands, retreating to his table. "Alright! You got me, bartender. I'll be quiet. I'll be as still as a grophet on a really bad day!" He sat down, staring at his empty glass in shame. He really wanted another drink, but sadly that wasn't about to happen. He sighed, wondering who he could talk to now that would understand how he was feeling.

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Nar Shaddaa. The classiest of places. Stell hadn't been to the Smugglers' Moon in years. Not since before she'd joined the military, which was... hell, a long while ago. Right after she had gotten into a fight with her mother, an actual fight, with fists and blood and screaming, a fight that ended with her locked in the airlock of a freighter, sobbing, phlegm and blood all over her face and fear in her eyes. Her mother had left her there for three hours. Longest three hours of Stell's life. She had been almost certain her mother would space her, all the way until the door had come open and her mother had come over the intercom, telling her to take the shuttle and get the hell away. 


So she'd bounced around a bit. Not for long, but long enough. They'd been near Hutt Space when her mother had thrown her out, so Nar Shaddaa had been the obvious first stop. Stell had lived in the Corellian quarter for about a month, working as a diner waitress, before getting offworld. Hadn't been the best time of her life.


So why was she here now, sitting in a cantina in the anus of the galaxy, pouring great quantities of alcohol into her body? 


Just because. Pretty much it. After that fiasco at the party on Dantooine, when one of the Peacekeepers had assaulted a Jedi, and another Jedi had stepped out of line... yeah, when she had a couple days' leave for debauchery, it was best to do that offworld. No Jedi to morally police everyone, no Jun to disappoint, no way to really get busted down. And if some pile of poodoo got handsy, like that Peacekeeper at that party, she could just shoot him like he deserved. Wasn't any law around here aside from the Hutts. 


It was day two of her stay. It was cantina three of the night. It was drink five at the cantina. She'd lost the nice (if a bit dim) Twi'lek from earlier, as well as the charming Zeltron female who'd brought her out in the first place. Just had to make new friends, that was it. Of course, on the Smuggler's Moon, new friends were a dangerous proposition.  


"Another one." she said, slapping a palm on the bar. A human male slid up next to her, rakish smile on his ratlike face. "And one for me- and put whatever this little lady's drinking on my tab." he said, nasal voice assaulting her ears. 


Stell looked at him, quirking an eyebrow. "Little lady?"  She wasn't a lady. She was a damn pilot, and she'd vaped skraggers twenty times better than this borrat. And little"You callin' me short?"


Stell Chevric was not the tallest of women. She was not a little person, either. Wasn't quite a Twi'lek dancing girl. She didn't mind that. But her height? Maybe that hit a nerve. She drew herself up, hands curling into fists, half stepping off the stool. She might not be as tall as this rodent, but she sure as hell was stronger. And she had a blaster- her Merr-Sonn pilot's compact on her hip- while he didn't. All of these things appeared to impress themselves on the hapless ratface who had dared to attempt to buy her a drink. 


He turned and walked away, casually. 


She returned to her seat. The bartender had given her another mug of Gizer while she'd been occupied by Ratface. And now he was cutting some guy off. Loud guy, with a pazaak deck. Apparently he had had enough.


Stell picked up her mug, drained in one long pull, put it back down, and decided that she had had enough, as well. At least for this cantina. Maybe pazaak would be a good idea. Maybe pazaak with a drunk barve would be a lot easier and more profitable. She stood up on shaky legs and realized that there were two things wrong with that. Number one: she was also drunk. Number two: she actually barely knew how to play pazaak.


Whatever. Who really cared? 


Adjusting her tank top, Stell lurched her way over to the guy, heavy field boots thudding on the floor. "Hey, you wanna show me how to play pazaak?" she asked, a hand going up to scratch at the base of her ponytail. 

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Kal Vonnar    2

Kal looked up. He was surprised to see someone talking to him! A young woman, too! Well, what was the worst that could happen to him after Karter fired him? He smiled a toothy smile at the woman, keen on getting her attention.


He felt sure he would regret this in the morning, but why not?


"Sure. I'd love to help you out!" Kal said, passing around the cards. He asked, out of curiosity, "So, where are you heading after Nar Shaddaa? I need a ship. I wouldn't mind crashing in your ship for a time. What do you say, miss?"


This was ridiculous! What was he doing?! Him, talking to her? She might chase after him or worse, pull out a blaster and start shooting at him! If he was lucky, he wouldn't try flirting with her, let alone flattery... wait. What was he doing? He was a smuggler, for crying out loud! Didn't women love smugglers?


He smiled again, trying to get her attention. So far, he wasn't sure how well his plan worked, but hey! It was a start.

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