CHAPTER 6

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The cantina was packed with patrons from the Upper City. People gathered around the dueling ring to watch the fights, place bets at the pazaak tables, and of course watch the Taris Season Opener. It was everything people were talking about.

One corner of the bar was empty save for a single gruff-looking man with a large scar running vertically along the left side of his face. Downing a Tarisian ale, the man glanced quickly around the room. He wasn't like the rest of the patrons, the haughty aristocrats and nobles. The Mandalorian brand on his neck marked him as one of the most feared warriors in the galaxy, Canderous Ordo.

If he wanted to, he could single handedly take on the entire cantina with his bare hands. So what am I doing here, a bounty hunter, he thought. This started as just a single one deal job for Davik Kang, leader of the Exchange on Taris, but with the blockade... well his partnership with Davik has become a bit more permanent. Cracking the skulls of lowly thugs when they refuse to pay their dues, ransacking businesses that don't pay their protection money. It was all rather dull work, especially for a battle hardened veteran of the Mandalorian War.

Everything would have been fine had it not been for the Sith. Ever since the blockade, they've been tightening their grip on the world. As a warrior, he's keenly aware of the rising tensions and its only a matter of time before the chaos of war erupts on the planet. He needs to find a way off the planet before that happens. The only way to get off the planet is with the orbital security codes... which is kept in the Sith Military Base here in the Upper City.

He would just go in guns blazing but the base is heavily defended and they would probably just change the codes after the assault anyways. He needs someone subtle enough to break in unnoticed and steal the codes out from under them. Someone skilled enough to be able to silently deal with anyone they come across and not alert the entire base.

He glances up at the holoscreen at the bar, playing live footage from the big race. The camera panned over to the announcers' stage as they announced the winner of the race, someone racing under the name of the Mysterious Stranger. Stupid name, he thought. He watched as suddenly, chaos broke out on the screen. The view wasn't clear and he couldn't see the faces of those involved but he saw The Mysterious Stranger disarm one of the thugs and then swiftly take out a few others as another person, a scantily clad woman, took out a bunch more with a staff. Though, they were no Mandalorians, Canderous admired their fighting style. Then he saw something that really intrigued him, two beams of bright yellow light ignited from a thin metal cylinder and flew into the hands of the woman. The Jedi.

A half-smile crept over his face as he watched the action unfold. A man with no name, and a Jedi, who better qualified to break into somewhere they don't belong?

Already, Sith forces were cracking down after learning that the swoop gangs had been holding the Jedi they so desperately wanted, and had let her escape. Sith troops were beginning a campaign into the lower city to route out the gangs and search for the stranded Jedi. Little did they know, the quarry they sought was laying low in an abandoned apartment in the Upper City. Amidst the nobles and the majority of the Sith occupation force, it would be the last place anyone would think to look.

Still, Venar, Carth, and the others thought it wise to lay low for the next few days, only leaving if it was absolutely necessary. Mission spent some time teaching them to play pazaak, a card game with different positive or negative values on them with the goal to get exactly twenty points. Venar seemed to be a natural at the game, winning all three games against Mission.

"You- you cheated somehow!" She had protested.

"I'm just that good," he had replied folding his hands effortlessly behind his head. Zaalbar had confirmed that he didn't see any evidence of cheating. "What do you say Big Z? Wanna play a hand?"

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