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The Tipsy Hutt
By: Savage

It was called the Tipsy Hutt, and it was, if not the most disreputable, at least in the top five most crime ridden drinking establishments in the spaceport. The bar lay three levels down on the night side of the port city, which itself was some force-forsaken settlement long abandoned by any sort of authority. Best Savage could tell the bar was brand new, as he hadn't seen it last time his crew had made port here to sell off their stolen goods. But, that came as no surprise given the nature of this place. The previous owner had probably lost it in a bet, or a knife fight.

What he did find surprising was how run down it was, despite being supposedly established within the last few months. Graffiti strategically covered the walls to mask splashing stains he could only hope was from liquor. Empty spaces between the graffiti were either covered in wanted posters or signs posted in multiple languages stating “Our aim is to keep the refreshers clean and your aim will help" hung directly above a pictogram of a person vomiting.

Savage took in the scenery as he sat nursing a drink at the end of one of the two bars in the place. He couldn't quite bring himself to drink it as he wasn't entirely sure that it wasn't some sort of industrial cleaning agent with a splash of color added for mirth. He wasn't here to drink, however. Across a mottled crowd of rowdy patrons lay his mark, a fellow crewmate. Savage could see a tattoo of three black slashes on their forearm as the Mirialan gestured about with drink in hand. It was their shared crew marking, one that everyone aboard The Talon wore with pride. Savage bore the same marking, but hid it under the long sleeves of his coat. Because, this bar was frequented by a rival pirate crew, known as the Blood Stars. And, curiously enough, it was Blood Stars that his fellow crewmate was drinking with.

Savage found that odd, but he wasn't here because the Mirialan was fraternizing with their rivals. He was here because the man had killed a friend of his on their last voyage. They'd been adrift in hyperspace due to a mad jump made by their helmsman, and Savage had been stuck on the bridge taking shifts on the wheel as their ship traveled with a pod of purrgil. He shuddered at the memory as he looked down at his drink. They'd been chased by Imps, and the helmsman had jumped them over a particularly dangerous border of wildspace using the purrgil pod as their unwitting guides.

No one had really been sure where they would come out of hyperspace during that voyage, and some of the crew had lost their wits. Though the captain would never admit it, there had nearly been a mutiny. And, in the midst of it all, nearly as a side note to what they were dealing with, ol' Nefrey was gutted with a vibroknife. The story was that Nefrey was trying to disable the hyperspace engine. Everyone bought the story at the time. It was easier that way, to assume Nefrey had lost his nerve, and had tried to disable the engines to force a drop out into hyperspace prematurely. That Nefrey couldn't bear the uncertainty of where they would drop out with the purgill, and had decided to cut the trip short and take their chances.

The strange part was that no one came forward. The crew generally agreed, in passing, that whoever knifed him was a hero of sorts, but no one ever 'fessed up to the deed. It would have passed over as just another strange event in a long strange voyage, except that Savage had recognized the vibroblade. It belonged to Torg, the chief of the gunnery crew. But, he never said a word while on their voyage, because Torg outranked him. Not only that, but Torg was one of the leading voices of dissent in the faction that tried to instill a mutiny that night.

Savage didn't care about the mutiny the Mirialan had tried to foment, but he did care about ol' Nefrey. The aging human had been his friend. The man had helped teach him basic when he first joined the crew, and Savage was indebted to his memory. It was that memory that brought Savage here to this hive of villainy tonight, three levels down on a lawless spaceport staring down his own crewmate.

Torg sat at a table with three rival pirates. He had a face that looked like it had been used as an anvil, and a frame that looked to be chiseled from durasteel. Their table was next to what passed for a stage in the Tipsy Hutt. A band played the latest glimmik music behind the faded glow of secondhand ray shields to protect them from thrown drinks by the rowdy crowd. Even as Savage watched from his vantage point a blue liquored concoction splashed against the cheap ray shields as a brawl broke out across the bar between two Sullustians. Savage watched as the bouncers moved in, and drug out the culprits. He'd have to watch the bouncers tonight, but thankfully they looked like average thugs.

"Need 'nother drink or still working on your'n?" the Twi'lek bartender asked.

"Still sippin' it." Savage replied as he slid a credit chip across the bartop as a tip. He knew well how to play this game. If he didn't buy anything he would eventually be thrown out, but he couldn't risk getting too drunk himself if he was to catch Torg unawares. The trick lay in keeping the bartender happy so security was never called on him.

"Suit yourself," she said as she made the credit chip disappear, and moved down the bar.

Savage leaned back on his seat, keeping the rival pirates in the corner of his eye, and felt the reassuring pressure of the vibroknife hilt press into his lower back from its sheath. It was the same knife that had been left inside ol' Nefrey. The blade had managed to get stuck between the human's ribs, and its assailant had left it there. But, now it was finding its way back to its rightful owner.

Under the low lighting, and intermittent flashes of light from the glimmik band, Savage noticed someone stand up from the table. Torg was finally getting just a little too drunk. Savage watched without looking directly at him, as the Mirialan swayed his way through the crowd to the back of the bar towards the refreshers. Savage pushed his drink to the edge of the bartop, and stood up in what he hoped was a nondescript manner. With a half glance around he made sure no one was watching him as he made his way across the main floor towards the refreshers as well.

He could see there was a line outside of them, which was good, as he knew Torg to be an impatient man. Sure enough, the Mirialan took one look at the line, and decided he was better off going into the alleyway behind the bar. Savage watched as Torg looked over at the nearest bouncer to make sure he wasn't being watched, and slipped out the side door marked in fading Huttese as an “Emergency Exit Only".

No one paid him much mind, except for Savage of course. His horned visage cast cruel shadows over his face as he edged around the bar floor. He had to take a meandering course to stay at the back of the other pirates, lest they recognize him, being the only Devaronian in the place. He eventually made his way to the back wall, and assumed a stumbling gait. He bounced off another patron, and muttered his apologies as he surreptitiously glanced at the same bouncer Torg had watched before pushing open the emergency exit door.

Up until that point he had been very calm and calculating, but as the heavy durasteel door swung open and the darkness of the alleyway fell over him his adrenaline suddenly hammered through his veins. He was no stranger to the adrenaline rush that came before a fight. Many who were new to violence found themselves overwhelmed by it. Those greenhorns always talked about seeing red in the heat of the moment, but Savage was no hobbyist. Instead, he welcomed the rush, and allowed his focus to widen as all his senses sharpened. His vision seemed to grow more clear, and he noticed a strange patterning of rust along the edge of the door as it swung shut past his face. There was a metallic clang as the door banged onto its frame.

He remembered to stumble out, and he brushed along the far wall of the alleyway just as he saw Torg, not three meters away. The Mirialan turned his misshapen face towards him to look over his shoulder as he relieved himself to see who was stumbling out into the alley. Not for the first time Savage noticed how Torg's nose lay at a crooked angle from being broken too many times in fist fights, and he reminded himself that this man was not to be taken lightly.

"Had a little too much eh?" Torg chuckled in the darkness of the alleyway. The only light provided them was a handful of neon lights from a tattoo parlor further behind them, and the dull glow from the street lighting perhaps fifteen meters down the alley. That served Savage well as the neon light was behind him and so didn't reveal any of his features to Torg. They were also alone, and that too served Savage well.

Savage muttered something incomprehensible as he made to turn to face the alley wall, and even made a show of fumbling with his pants with one hand as though he was also there to relieve himself. His right hand reached back onto the vibroblade hilt. He could feel the slight effect of what little alcohol he drank get washed away by a fresh surge of adrenaline. He dared not look over his shoulder to see if Torg was paying him any attention, but instead slowly pulled out the knife. He noticed he didn't hear any more liquid hitting the permacrete, and knew he had to make his move.

Without a sound he suddenly lunged to his left, and tried to cover the distance between them as he thumbed on the vibroblade which he held low in his right hand. Torg, though somewhat inebriated, wasn't so drunk to simply stand there and die. Indeed, this wasn't the Mirialan's first knife fight. In more reflex than awareness of what was happening he managed to jump back as Savage's blade sliced just inches away from his thigh.

Still not making a sound Savage slashed again, this time backhanded, and angled upwards at Torg's wrist. Torg continued to backpedal, and managed to avoid having his hand lopped off at the wrist, but he was dangerously off balance.

"You think you can ta—" Torg began to say in challenge, but before he could Savage hit him in the hip with a heavy front kick that sent him flying backwards to bounce off the permacrete wall of the bar. As he bounced off he threw the bottle of local brew at Savage who was forced to twist to avoid it.

In the split second that gave him Torg managed to pull his own vibroblade. His blaster unfortunately was on his ankle, and he dared not risk reaching down for it. Anger flashed within him as he blamed the Blood Stars for his predicament. If they hadn't been so particular about him being armed, he would have had his blaster on his hip where he could reach it easily.

Savage gave him no time for his musings, however, as he came in with a series of stabs. First high, then low, then low again at Torg's body. Torg twisted and slashed at Savage, but neither was able to deal any damage. Until Savage kicked at Torg's shin with his back leg, and as Torg set his weight in reaction Savage slashed down and caught the Mirialan across his upper arm. The vibroblade easily sliced through the cloth, and bit deep.

"You sonofashutta!" Torg grunted as he pushed off the wall and deftly switched the blade to his other hand. He was at an angle to Savage now, and began his counterattack. He managed to grab Savage's collar and stuff the Devaronian's backhanded swing he was attempting as a way to close the angle Torg had gained on him. As he held Savage's collar at arm's distance he lunged in with a vicious stab at the Devaronian's ribs, but Savage had already twisted away.

Savage had tossed his vibroblade to his left hand, and slipped his arm out the coat sleeve so that Torg stabbed through the coat instead of his ribs. However, the blade stabbed close enough to slash through his shirt, and Savage felt a line of fire across his ribs as the blade gashed him. He twisted the opposite way in a dancelike motion to free his other arm as Torg pulled back on the coat, his knife tangled in its weave. Savage caught the end of the sleeve as his arm slipped out with the tip of his vibroknife and flicked it at Torg's face to obscure the Mirialan's vision.

Torg still had his vibroknife tangled in the coat, and had to bring his other hand up to brush away the rest of the coat that was being thrown at him. But, Savage was already on the attack. Even as he had flicked the coat sleeve in front of Torg's eyes he was already coming in with a punch, which he laid viscously across his crewmates face. Savage felt the reverberation travel down his arm, and knew he had made a solid hit.

Torg reeled back, but he was no stranger to pain and forced his eyes open to see his enemy. The coat had fallen off, and his blade was free. He lashed out with a series of slashes at Savage, who in turn adopted a defensive stance. The Devaronian reversed the grip of his blade so it faced point down and began stabbing down at Torg's slashing hand. The first stab missed entirely as he backpedaled, and the second stab merely nicked off the edge of Torg's blade as the Mirialan slashed in.

Torg didn't notice the change in strategy, he simply knew that had Savage on the backfoot. In the dim light he finally recognized his crewmate, and anger burned inside him that this damned savage freed off a slave ship from force knows where had dared attack him. Consumed with these thoughts he incoherently growled as he slashed a third time. This time, however, Savage's defensive stabbing was aimed true. Savage's vibroblade sliced downwards and half severed Torg's knife hand.

Blood splattered, and even as Torg's vibroblade fell to the alley floor Savage slashed outwards across the Mirialan's forehead with his blade still in reverse grip as his free hand pushed down Torg's injured hand to get it out of the way. The blade bounced off the Mirialan's skull, but unleashed a great deal of pain and caused blood to begin running down Torg's face. Torg's bleeding hand now pushed down and out of the way Savage came back with the knife a third time, and pressed the blade up against Torg's throat as he thumbed off the vibro feature. The blade, now at rest, forced Torg back against the alley wall, and the Mirialan met Savage's eye.

"For ol' Nefrey you sonofashutta."Savage growled as he raked the blade across Torg's throat. Without the vibro feature active the blade tore painfully through the pirate's throat. The Mirialan slid down the wall sputtering out some response Savage couldn't quite make out. There was a look of surprise in the pirate's eye as if he couldn't quite believe what was happening to him.

Savage didn't linger. He looked both ways down the alley to make sure he hadn't been seen, and wiped the blade of the dying Torg's clothes before he re-sheathed it and grabbed his coat off the permacrete. He frowned as he held it up in the dim light to see how bad the hole was that Torg had stabbed through it. His ribs were beginning to ache, and he could feel his shirt sticking to his body where the blood had soaked it through. He knew it wasn't time to see how bad the cut was, but instinct told him it was shallow.

He walked down towards the mouth of the alley as he caught his breath. The whole fight had probably taken fifteen seconds or less. Torg would be just another dead criminal on a planet without any real police force to speak of. Nefrey had been avenged, and if anyone on his crew ever became the wiser he knew his captain wouldn't press the matter. He had found Torg fraternizing with their rivals, and the man was known to be a dissenter on the crew anyway. He wouldn't be missed.

Savage walked out into the dimly lit substreet, and began making his way up a few levels. He may be a pirate, but he still had his honor. He passed another bar with a holonet connection on relating the latest rebel action against The Empire. He considered, as he made his way back, if the rebels were more honorable criminals than he. He dwelled on this thought all the way back until he reached The Talon and climbed aboard once again to a life of piracy.

The End