A Year Without the Sun

Chapter 5:Small Talk

Is there any chance that Stardust is here by coincidence? Korr asked himself silently as he discreetly observed the Twi’lek over the rim of his glass. He had seen the starship captain’s eyes glint when she had  spotted him from across the barroom.

She had joined Piron and him, insinuating herself into their meeting and remaining there for the better part of an hour now. He could detect nothing in her manner to suggest malice but he could sense in her an opportunism,  a watchfulness. Of course, it would be natural for a woman in her profession to be artful and cunning, always alert for opportunities to profit. Her appearance in this place may have been coincidence, as she herself asserted that it was. Nonetheless, he perceived keen interest under her causal exterior.

Piron also seemed wary of the smuggler. He was fairly dripping sweat, a fact that could not entirely be put down to the close, warm air of the cantina. The Rodian had reason to be nervous, of course. They both did. The men were meeting to discuss business which was both urgent and alarming. Korr was not at all sure that they would have been able to reach a solution in the best of circumstances. They certainly would not do so now. Stardust’s inopportune disruption had rendered such discussions impossible.

Throughout his silent assessment of the captain, Korr had kept up his portion of the irrelevant small talk at the table. Piron was now attempting to articulate the finer points of the Tekan sublight drive over its competitor, sweating all the while as he outlined price, energy efficiency and fewer movable parts as his chief reasons for preferring the Tekan to the Durafly. Stardust’s noncommittal responses to comments that would–under normal circumstances– provoke hot debate, underscored Korr’s impression that she had other things on her mind. His deep sense was that–whatever it was–he wouldn’t like it.

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