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Luck of the Hutt

Posted on Wed Sep 26th, 2012 @ 12:57am by Axion & Zorbo the Hutt

Chapter: Chapter I: Web of Fate
Location: Casino Zorb, Nar Shaddaa
Timeline: Prior to Day One

Zorbo licked his lips as he looked down at the crowds emptying their pockets on his Sabaac Tables, his Slot Machines, his Jubilee Wheels. Casino Zorbo was the hottest new casino in the sector, anything to draw people away from Grogga's cantinas and clubs was a worthy investment. This was Zorbo's game and he intended to win. He just had to play his cards right.

Zorbo sat in his private booth high above the casino floor - an extravagant lounge from which he could conduct business in peace while observing his patrons down below. He was currently awaiting the arrival of a particularly important guest.

The meeting today could forge an alliance that could mean the end of Grogga's hold on Nar Shaddaa and the start of Zorbo's. The cult leader Axion had expressed a mutual interest in extinguishing his troublesome Hutt opponent. Axion was a dangerous man, someone he knew could bring trouble, but Zorbo was willing to take a gamble if he was impressed today.

An alert suddenly sounded from the control monitor, causing Zorbo to exclaim rather loudly. The alarm system had been tripped - someone was on the roof of Zorbo's hotel joined to the casino. Someone was trying to break in. Could this be one of Grogga's assassains?

"Koochoo!" he shouted to his bodyguard in Huttese, "Pick up your weapon and defend me - Someone is coming!"

If it had not been for the power of the dark side of the Force protecting his physiology from the lung-damaging toxins and putrid stench of Nar Shaddaa, the Dark Jedi nestled atop the tower would have feared to take a breath before leaping off the side.

With his small, easy-to-conceal one man speeder nestled from his jumping-off point, he plummeted at top speed, his momentum carrying him faster and faster, towards the glittering lights of the extravagant parade that led into the very building he had landed upon. The top, where he had parked his transport, was where the first-class apartments were, held miles higher than Casino Zorb itself, nearly every floor above the ground level serving as luxury accommodation for a variety of patrons.

With his bright, intense blue eyes sealed shut, Dark Jedi Master Axion delved into his emotional reserves, focusing on all that he desired and coveted, of all the things he envied, to tap into the might of the dark side which was at his beckon call. Time appeared to slow, the windows of the casino and hotel sped past at a slower rate, and he could pick out each individual figure beneath him. Could feel them. This far away, they would look like ants, but to Axion, they were ants.

Finally, an overwhelming rush of urgency splashed across Axion's very soul, the Force telling him to shift his power. Listening, it took little for the Dark Jedi to safely land upon the ground, largely away from the main crux of people. Although one for flare and appearance, Axion had learnt many years ago that secrecy and deception were key to survival for practitioners of his particular art, and so he had listened, and landed simply without noise or impact. It was as if a feather had touched the ground.

Given the large number of sentients going both in and out of Casino Zorb, most paid no heed to the dark figure that had, effectively, just appeared from nowhere. Only a child, the assistant to a scruffy-looking Rodian looking to sell his wares by the side, had truly noticed Axion's descent and immaculate landing. Offering the boy a self-satisfied smile, the young assistant forgot he had ever seen him, and went back to looking sorry for himself.

His form-fitting black robes gave him a distinguished look - one he enjoyed immensely - as he walked up the multi-coloured stairs towards the numerous doorways to the casino, the robes around his legs swaying only ever-so-slightly. A number of Gamorrean bouncers were littered about the entrances, often grabbing the less reputable-looking entrants and thrusting them back down the stairs, likely ne'er-do-wells that were known to them.

The crowd was a diverse group: there were regally-dressed Muuns with elegant Twi'lek and Nautolan attendants, a group of shifty Neimodians, the head of whom had only one eye, a large and dangerous implant where the right organ had once been, and further along was a massive Gungan, and of all the beings nearby, this was the one Axion was enjoying the most.

The absolute stench of the Gungan's greed and loathing for those beneath him was like a source of energy for Axion, radiating from the contemptuous being as a bright beacon in an otherwise pitch-black room. Smiling, Axion let himself enjoy the dark side energies that were so rich and plentiful all across Nar Shaddaa as he pushed his way further into Casino Zorb.

As with much else on the smuggler's moon, bright lights, sounds and a diverse amount of sentients were in abundance within the casino. Above, slave girls danced for patrons' amusement in cages, and below, equally scantily-clad waitresses and coupiers wandered about the gaming floor. A variety of games of chance were arranged in different sections of the lusciously-decorated and designed establishment, with a great din of talking, shouting and laughter surrounding all within.

Again, Axion indulged himself, feeling each and every one of the figures within; their darkness, craving, hatred and greed fuelling him, although only one came close to his own level, and that was his target.

Above and towards the back but in plain sight, was a platform. Guards and attendees were numerous, all clad in particularly bright and expensive garb (or almost none, dependent), with a set of steps leading up to the master of Casino Zorb.

Using a simple mind trick to get past the first set of guards, he even went so far as to believe one owed him a great favour, bringing Axion past the second set of guards and before the overlord himself: Zorbo the Hutt.

Making a show of it, Axion took a low bow, only cocking his head up so that he could face the corpulent criminal as he addressed him. "Great and munificent Zorbo," he began, his well-spoken voice clear and concise, "I am honoured to finally make your acquaintance in person. I am, of course, Master Axion." As he was speaking, the Hutt's head bodyguard began to grip his weapon more tightly, its barrel aimed directly at the Dark Jedi.

Zorbo laughed mildly, rather relieved at Axion's presence, "I assume that was you on the roof messing up my security systems. You had Borgo here rather worried."

"Sleemo!" he shouted at the guard, "Put your blaster away! This is our honoured guest - Master Axion. Please sit down my friend. My girl will pour you a drink."

A deep-orange-skinned Twi'lek girl walked forwards, wearing nothing but a decorated bra and a revealing lower robe. She poured a cup of rich red liquid and offered it to Axion.

The Dark Jedi gave a wide smile as he accepted the drink, and he silently, with no visual cues, used the Force to test the beverage for any poisons or toxins Zorbo may have laced the drink with; one of his own acolytes had unwittingly had their Force powers sapped when accepting a drink from a Hutt. Whilst he had survived the meeting, he did not survive following his report to Axion's apprentice.

"Cerean ruby," he said with approval, having sloshed the liquid about his mouth, gesturing with the glass towards his host. "You do me a great service, most eminent Zorbo."

"Now, I'll save you the trouble of small talk and get straight down to business," the Hutt began once he saw Axion was taken care of, "You came to propose an agreement between my Consortium and your...uh...Cult, am I right? Something you said would see Grogga put out of business for good, hmm?"

Letting his evil smile wash over his dark bearded face once again, Axion nodded. "You are most wise, dear Zorbo; the stories about you are true, and not as Grogga would have your name slandered at all." He drained his glass before holding it out for a refill - but only from the same Twi'lek as before. Watching her with the greedy eyes Zorbo expected him to, he accepted the refill as he spoke. "Indeed, my Cult has become quite powerful of late, delving ever deeper into the riches hidden within history and lore, and we have learnt a sure way to victory over the Jedi, and the way they prance about the galaxy with their empty promises and hypocritical oaths - they make it hard for honest sentients like ourselves to earn a living."

The irony of the comment was not lost on Axion, and it did not matter how the Hutt interpreted it; he would either see it as a joke or be taken in by his charm. One thing was for certain, however: no matter how advanced his abilities in the art of influencing minds with the Force, Hutts were notoriously resistant - even the stupid ones.

"And Grogga happens to have something I - my Cult - needs to see our reality become a vision. Like this magnificent establishment and empire you have made," the Dark Jedi went on, motioning about the area with his black leather gloved hands, "we are hoping to build a better future, but Grogga makes this impossible." After another gulp of wine, he continued speaking. "He has something I need, nestled in that oversized palace of his, but we can't get what we want, not by ourselves; we need someone brave, powerful, intelligent, and - above all else," he gave a wink, "rich."

Using the Force, he let his glass float out before him and in front of Zorbo. "Together, with the Clan of Axion supporting the Zorbo Consortium, we can turn Grogga and his little empire to ash!" And with that last word, he crushed the glass with his mind, crimson liquid, so like blood, splashing across the floor. Great white - whiter than they had any business being - shone through Axion's evil smile at the Hutt, confident of his performance.

A shot of excitement pulsed through Zorbo, rippling his leathery tail. Axion demonstrated great power. Power Zorbo needed. But power always had a price in this galaxy - a fact Zorbo knew well, "An impressive display," he praised, motioning to his slaves to clean up the mess, "And an even more impressive offer. But tell me, what is this object you desire from Grogga? I want to know everything before I make any deals."

Although there was no doubt in Axion's mind of the Hutt's abundant greed and insatiable desire for more power, he also knew that - regardless of whatever marvel of political ingenuity he used to steal the Cult's bounty from him - he would fail in a confrontation. "An ancient relic of the Jedi - a shard of a far more impressive specimen, shattered aeons ago - nothing most would have the first hint of understanding to use... but in the right hands, power beyond belief is available. Of course, for your help in the matter of retrieving the shard, the wondrous and wise Zorbo would be remembered for years to come, by the Cult of Axion." He smiled at the Hutt before lying through his teeth. "And would share in the power."

Zorbo stroked the plaited strands of his beard. Hair growth in Hutts was vary rare and Zorbo was rather proud that he possessed the required genetics to make him so unique. If this Cult was indeed only interested in this artefact, Zorbo stood to gain a great deal from the alliance but he couldn't help thinking he could gain even more if he were to take possession of the shard himself once Axion had helped him take down Grogga. He would have to think on this.

"Fascinating, fascinating..." the Hutt boomed, "We shall come to some sort of arrangement. But in the meantime, please make use of my facilities - I can arrange a suite for you. If you like the Twi'lek here, she will be most happy to facilitate your needs."

The slave girl laid a hand on Axion's shoulder and gave a smile.

"A most agreeable idea, most graceful Zorbo," Axion replied, looking at the Twi'lek as he arose. He would play the part Zorbo expected, and together, it would bring him that much closer to his goals. Once again, he gave an over-the-top bow to the Hutt. "I look forward to working with you."

After what passed for a pleased expression on a Hutt's face, Axion turned on his booted heal and made for the stairs. He could almost feel the power of the shard coursing through his veins.


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