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Chapter One

Kyle stood there, as one of the crowd.  Not one person in the passing crowd would notice Kyle. No one was caught looking or hearing anything down here: it was and unwritten rule.  The bowels of Imperial Center have always been this way: if you were there, you wanted to disappear from sight.  Kyle looked with disgust at the ration bar he pulled from his pocket.

"Stang! Damn these Imperial Rations™, they taste like the rear of a Bantha."  He scanned the crowd again.  He felt that tickle in the back of his head, and he knew that his contact was close.  He hated that feeling, but pushed it out of his thoughts.  Kyle shuffled off to a secluded corner and watched his contact draw near. The man blended perfectly, and no one would remember him, just the way Kyle wanted it.  The man walked over to Kyle and said, "I believe I have the information you are needing." 

Kyle shoved the man down a darker alley and shoved his blaster right up next to the spy's nose.  "Uhh uhh... Sir, wait…" The man was paralyzed with fear and was barely managing to stuttered out the words.  Before another word could be said, three bolts hit the man squarely in the face.  The first two scorched most of his head, and third sailed through, fairly unimpeded.  The lifeless body crumpled as Kyle turned to face the crowd, giving no thought to the man who he had just shot. Kyle then spotted his true contact and strolled over. 

"Hey!" Kyle shouted, no one even noticed his outburst.  The man walked Kyle's way and introduced himself. 

"It’s a pleasure Kyle, I am known as Red Q.  I believe you are looking for some information on the whereabouts of a certain high placed Imperial Sympathizer." 

"Ya." Kyle replied.  "He was trying to hook the Rebellion up with some much needed supplies, when our collection force turned up missing".

"That’s what the word in the space lanes is," replied the burly man.  "Now you vigilantes want to know where this man is so you can, let me put it plainly, dispose of him?" 

Kyle was taken aback "Vigilantes? Hey now, I'm just a mercenary coming to collect a certain debt from a bad business partner". 

Red Q chuckled, "If that’s how you want to look at it, I suppose it makes sense."  "So, you have been in the 'services-for-hire' business?"  Kyle knew he would grow tired of this pointless banter quickly, so he tried to coax the information out of Red. 

"Look man or whatever you are…" Kyle said, "What I need, what I'm paying you for, is the location of this certain business partner." 

Red chuckled, "You afraid to speak his name?" 

Kyle scowled in return, "Look, I don’t want to broadcast the fact that I'm looking for a high ranking official in the Imperial Hierarchy, while announcing that I am working for the Rebels on contract to Neutralize him.  Especially not on Imperial Center itself." 

"Hmm, well I suppose you might be in a little danger when you're on the planet that holds the headquarters of the Empire."  Red was just toying with Kyle now, and Kyle was already tired from the long haul in.

Kyle cursed the man in silence, and tried again to get the business deal rolling.  "You need to authenticate my credit chit?" 

"I suppose" replied Red.  Kyle handed him the chit, and after Red mumbled the chit's code into him comlink the reply came back positive.  "So," Red ventured forth, "You come to this nice resort often". 

Kyle had definitely had enough now; he stealthy reached for his blaster and whipped the Bryar into Red's face before Red knew what had happened.  "Ok," seethed from Kyle's clenched teeth, "Now we really do get down to business, what is the name of the system?" 

"Sepian" replied Red, quite coolly considering the situation he was in, "…But, I really don’t think you wanted the information that way…"  But before Kyle could blink, Red grabbed him with three of his arms, while his fourth grabbed Kyle's blaster, and quickly shoved it into one of his inside pockets, or maybe even a shoulder holster.  Kyle had good reflexes for a human, but many other species in the galaxy had much better, this was obviously one of them. 

The man took off, with Kyle's Bryar in tow.  Kyle was furious and bellowing, "STANG!! That son of a nerf….  When I get my hands on him…"  As Kyle took off after the thief/informant, he swiped your standard BlasTec pistol from a passerby.  There was a small outburst from the man who had lost his weapon, but no one even noticed.  "What a rotten, filthy city" Kyle thought to himself. "I'll be glad to get off this damn rock."  He knew he should turn down that language, or he might turn off Jan.  But he pushed that from his mind, as he pressed on after his blaster...

-- Check out Chapter Two!
By: Bill Conn

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