The Attempt
Threepio

"Damn ... fifteen minutes late already, and stuck in traffic. I hope she doesn't leave." Peer drummed his fingers on the armrest of the taxi and looked anxiously at his wrist chrono. He glanced out the window and saw his destination just two blocks away. Tossing some credits at the driver, Peer jumped out of the cab and began to weave his way through the crowd of people and hovercars.

"Nerf milk, please." The serving droid beeped and went off to the bar to get her drink. She felt conspicuous here. The regulars were giving her angry looks, as if they expected her to cause trouble. Ping didn't blame them, really. After all, she had kidnapped one or two of them before, but this time was different. Today she was in Wookieehut for a meeting ... that was, if the guy actually showed up. She glanced at the chrono on the wall. Twenty minutes late already ... five more and I'm leaving.

"Hi. Sorry I'm late. The traffic was terrible." It wasn't until he had seated himself that he really took a good look at her. What he saw took his breath away. She was petite, but obviously strong. Her black hair curled around her face, framing her fine features. And when Peer looked into her deep, dark eyes, time stopped. He had to remind himself to breathe, and not to stare. He hadn't expected his colleague to be so ... attractive.

"I was beginning to wonder if you'd show up." As the Swede scanned the menu, Ping looked him up and down appraisingly. A full head taller than she was, Peer had close-cropped dark blonde hair, ice-blue eyes, and an athletic build. Ping sipped her milk and wondered why Peer had chosen this place for their meeting. They both knew it well, but it was their hunting ground ... a place to do business, not talk it.

"Lomin ale and a side of fried mynock." He handed the menu to the serving droid and turned back to his companion. As he did, he noticed the regulars at a booth in the back. They were talking in low voices, and keeping an eye on the Swede and his companion. Even the two youngsters seemed hostile towards them. Peer smiled to himself as he thought about the way this day could end.

"They really don't like us, do they?" She glanced over her shoulder at the booth where the regulars were sitting. Her look brought a glare from every creature in the booth. She turned away, her face a few shades paler than before.

"No, I don't think they do." He took a swig of the ale the serving droid had just brought. He leaned toward his companion and lowered his voice to a whisper. "I asked you here in the hope that we could combine our efforts. Every time I take one of them, I get beaten into a bloody pulp. With your help, I could make a clean getaway and show those guys who's boss. What do you say?"

"What's the use? They still outnumber us. And why are you so interested in these people? The ones in the Cantina or the Tavern are much easier to take. They don't fight back the way these do." She hazarded another glance over her shoulder. She saw the Wookiee say something to the others, and they all nodded. Not once did any of them take their eyes off Ping and Peer. Ping shuddered and turned back to the Swede. She shook her head. "No, I don't want anything more to do with this bunch. The cost is too high. I end up out of commission for days each time I take one of them."

"Ping, I'm surprised at you. People in our profession don't do what we do because it's easy. We do it to show those chatters that they don't control everything. Sure, we get a bit bashed up, but it's worth it." He took her hand in his. "Together, we can crush them!" He saw movement out of the corner of his eye, but was more concerned with what Ping would say next.

"You do make a good case ..." Ping did want to get back at the regulars for catching her a few times. She thought for a moment, then squeezed Peer's hand. "You're on. Let's talk details. Where? When? And how many of them do we take with us?"

"Here. Now. And we hit them where it hurts ... we take the children." An evil grin spread across Peer's face. Suddenly, he felt a jolt in his shoulder, another one in his ribs, and a strange twisting in his gut. He looked past his partner at the group in the corner, and what he saw made his blood run cold. Every one of the regulars was standing outside their booth, and all but one had a weapon pointed at him. That one was staring at him intently, and as she twitched her hand, Peer felt his innards twist. His eyes went to Ping, who had been halfway out of her chair when a bolt from the Wookiee's crossbow caught her in the chest. Peer watched her fall to the floor, stunned or dead, and he tried to run. He had barely started to move when one of his legs was shot out from under him. As he hit the floor screaming, he did everything he could to scramble away from the approaching figures. His stomach writhed, and he let out another scream as a bolt hit his other leg. For one brief moment, everything was clear ...

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Wraith, Rosie, can you hold that bag open a little more?" Shen and Ees were combining their Force powers to dispose of Peer and Ping's remains. Just as they finished, a friendly figure appeared at the door. "Hey guys! Woah, what happened here?" He stepped past the bag and leaned back against one of the barstools. "We dealt with Peer and Ping, Windu." Rosie dusted off her hands and went behind the bar for a club soda. "You do realize their clones will just keep coming back, don't you?" Windu looked at each of the regulars, and they nodded grimly. He shrugged. "OK, just don't let those bodies sit around ... the smell makes me sick. See you all later!" With that, he was gone. "What do you think, everyone? Do we deserve a soak in the hovertub?" Wraith smiled as he looked at the others. Without another word, everyone went off to change, grab drinks, and then slide into the warm bubbling tub to relax. They all knew Peer and Ping would return in one form or another eventually, but for the rest of this evening they didn't care. They clinked glasses, toasted the Hut, and let the water work it's magic.

* * * Fin * * *


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