The Sabacc Shift

Info auguy86
01 May. '19
The Sabacc Shift

Happy Star Wars Day, readers!  I put together this fun one-shot story in celebration of May the 4thbe With You Day.  As anyone familiar with Star Wars can probably guess, this story features Sabacc, the card game most famous for bringing Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon together.  And, of course, some sexy aliens from a galaxy far, far away will make an appearance. Enjoy!

The Sabacc Shift

A wise old man once told me that in this galaxy we inhabit, there are only three universal truths. First, there’s nothing more dangerous than arguing with a Wookiee.  Second, there’s nothing more foolish than gambling with a Jedi.  And finally, there’s nothing more alluring than the dance of a Twi’lek.  But I came to learn the last of those truths is only half true, and that lesson ended up changing my life in ways I never imagined.  In any case, I’m getting ahead of myself.

My name is Kyp Grant. I guess you could say I’m a typical Corellian guy.  I’m a smuggler, and I bet you can figure out the rest yourself.  I work for myself, I love every second of it, do odd jobs, pretty much for whoever will hire me.  Some of questionable legality, but that’s nothing new, not with how the Empire has run things for the last nineteen years.  And thanks to the love of my life, I do very well for myself.

The love of my life? That would be the Fool’s Errand, my YT-2400 light freighter.  She’s my pride and joy, saved my ass more times than I can count.  I love her with all my heart, and that’s what’s always driven me to give my lady love the best of the best.  For all her beauty, she wasn’t always perfect.  Pretty much every stock system she came with has been upgraded in some capacity.  Weapon systems, communications, living quarters, you name it.  Hell, about the only thing I had trouble upgrading was her hyperdrive unit.

With hyperdrives, most ships come with a stock hyperdrive with a decent rating.  Mine came with a class 2.0 unit, which had a top speed of 50% of lightspeed.  That’s fine for senators or Imperial dignitaries, but those of us in seedier lines of work need something much faster.  Problem is, there’s a lot of smugglers in the galaxy and not enough top notch hyperdrive units to go around, what with the Empire cracking down on their production and distribution.  In an ideal world, I’d install a class 0.8 to give myself a top speed of 20% faster than lightspeed, but I’d have settled for class 1.0.  And, of course, every pilot’s dream was a class 0.5 hyperdrive, but nowadays, those are impossible to find.  Anyway, I had searched for the right hyperdrive unit at the right price for years on end, but with no luck.  That is, until that one crazy day…

*****

“Sir, incoming transmission.”

My eyes popped open, my wonderful daydream now ruined thanks to my copilot.  That would be LE-C4M, though I always just called him Leecam. Pretty standard LE series repair droid. He’s reliable, observant, always gets the job done.  Not much personality to him, though, despite my best efforts.  If droids had previous lives, he would have been a butler.

“Put it onscreen, Leecam.”

A moment later, the image of a beautiful blue Twi’lek girl appeared, delivering a prerecorded message.

“Greetings from Beelma the Hutt, fine pilot!  You are one of a select few that my master has chosen for a wondrous opportunity.  The illustrious Beelma has in his possession a class 0.8 hyperdrive unit, compatible with virtually any ship.  You will find the price and specifications attached.  The great Beelma is willing to part with this hyperdrive at a much lower potential cost to you than you would ever find anywhere else in the galaxy. If you are interested, please reply immediately and come to Beelma the Hutt’s palace on Tatooine.  If no reply is received by sundown today, we shall take that as an indication that you are not interested.  Safe travels!”

I rubbed my chin for a few moments before asking, “Any idea why I’m one of the ‘select few’ she mentioned? I mean, I’ve never worked for Beelma the Hutt before, and it’s not like I’ve broken any records on the Kessel run.”

Leecam replied, “You are too modest, sir.  In the last three months alone, you have managed to get cleanly through more Imperial checkpoints than most any other smuggler in the galaxy.  Your reputation precedes you.”

“Thanks, Leecam.”  I mean, what else can you say to that kind of complement?  “What do you make of the specs they sent?”

“Everything appears to be in order.  The hyperdrive unit itself is in excellent condition.”

“What about cost?” I asked.

“That is where things become complicated,” Leecam said.  “The only monetary value listed here is 3,500 Imperial Credits, which is about half the cost of such a unit.  However, I should emphasize that the message only mentioned a far lower potential cost to you.”

“I heard that, too,” I nodded.  “Sounds like Beelma’s holding an auction for a few people he knows need the hyperdrive in the hopes our need will drive the price up.”

“That seems the logical conclusion.  What is your reply?”

I shrugged.  “Let’s go for it.  I just completed two very lucrative contracts, so I should be able to outbid most any average smuggler.”

“Very good, sir.  I shall transmit your response and adjust course to Tatooine at once.”

“You’re the best, Leecam!” I said, heading for the captain’s quarters.  “I’m gonna catch a quick nap; let me know when we get close, ok?”

“Of course, sir.”

*****

An hour later, Leecam informed me of our final approach to Tatooine.  Though I could’ve used a bit more sleep, my powernap had done enough to get my mind right for dealing with a Hutt.  After dressing, I made my way to the cockpit.

“We are on course, sir. Estimated time to land is fifteen minutes.”

“Sounds good,” I replied. “So, what do we know about this Beelma the Hutt?  I’ve never worked for him before.”

“I took the liberty of compiling some information about him,” Leecam said.  “As with most any Hutt, Beelma is a crime boss.  He appears to be a high-ranking underboss in Jabba the Hutt’s criminal network.  While Jabba runs his operations from Tatooine’s first quadrant, Beelma is in charge of things in the third quadrant on the opposite side of the planet.  His palace is located on the rim of Thok’s Canyon.”

“Thok’s Canyon? Nice.  Not as famous as Beggar’s Canyon, but I’ve heard it’s quite the spectacular view.”

“Indeed.  May I ask what your plan is, sir?”

I shrugged.  “If it’s an auction like we’re thinking, I don’t think it’ll be too complicated.  Try to come out on top of the bidding war.”

“Perhaps, but I should remind you that you are dealing with a Hutt.  It may not be so simple.”

“Maybe so,” I replied. “I know I’ll need to be on my best behavior.  Flattery is the surest way to survive an encounter with a Hutt.  But just in case, keep the ship warm and ready if we need to make a quick exit.”

“Understood, sir.”

We soon descended through the atmosphere of Tatooine, giving me a picturesque view of the desert below. A far cry from the Dune Sea on the opposite side of the planet, the area surrounding Thok’s Canyon was rocky and mountainous.  With the way the twin suns hit the various mesas and crags, I could see why Beelma had decided to make his home out here.  Once the palace was in sight, I received clearance to dock in the main hangar and guided the Fool’s Errand in.

“I shall begin system diagnostics at once, sir.”

“Thanks, Leecam.  I’ve got my com if you need me for anything.”

Once I was off the boarding ramp, I saw the welcoming committee waiting for me: a tall Green Nikto and a pair of Gamorrean guards.  The Nikto spoke with authority as I approached.

“Welcome, Kyp Grant,” he said in a rough, gravelly voice.  “You are the last of the great Beelma’s guests to arrive.  He is pleased that you could join us today.”

“Glad to be here.  And you are?”

“You may call me Krah. I am Beelma’s majordomo.  This way.”

Krah led the way through the dim hallways of Beelma’s palace.  Even with the invite, I remained on high alert the whole time, ready to draw my DL-18 blaster at the first sign of trouble.  After all, doing business with a Hutt was one thing, but trusting one? That’s something else.  Yeah, maybe I’m a little paranoid, but it’s kept me alive so far.

After a few minutes, Krah arrived at a door and slid it open for me.  Upon entering, I found myself in a lounge of some sort with four other individuals relaxing on plush sofas.  My competition, I presumed.  I noted another human male, an Aqualish, and a Rodian, all of which were common sights in my line of work.  But most interesting was the fourth person: a female Zeltron.

“The last of Beelma’s guests have arrived,” said Krah, interrupting my thoughts.  “If you will all follow me to his Excellency’s throne room, we can begin our business.”

The foursome stood and followed Krah out the door.  The other human, the Aqualish, and the Rodian all watched me closely, but no more so than I was eying them.  If we were competitors in an auction, we had to size each other up, after all.  As the Zeltron passed by me, she gave a little smile and a wink, far from unexpected in my mind.

Zeltrons were a near human species, known throughout the galaxy for their beauty and unrelenting sexual appetite.  They appeared human in every conceivable way, save for their skin tone and hair color. I had met a few over the years, but never had the chance to get to know one more… intimately.  But in spite of their human appearance, there were a few key biological differences in their species.  Most notable was their ability to secrete powerful pheromones that increased their attractiveness to anyone in their immediate vicinity.  From my experience, this extended to what one might define as “personal space,” though I assumed this could vary between individuals.

Their other unique trait was their empathic capabilities.  See, Zeltrons are heavily impacted by the emotions of those around them; they can sense how anyone is feeling in any given moment.  Because of this, their entire society is focused on positive feelings and emotions while avoiding any negative emotions.  In particular, they’re obsessed with romanticism, which they view as the ultimate in positive emotions.  This gives them their reputation for heightened sexuality and free love.  Hell, their home world of Zeltros is one massive party planet where it’s only unacceptable to not have a good time.  Never been there myself, but the stories are legendary.

The female Zeltron walking a bit ahead of me was quite the looker by any measure.  About my age, maybe a couple years younger at twenty-one or twenty-two.  Tall, only an inch or two shorter than my six-foot body, well-defined legs, and a generous bust. Her skin, typical of any Zeltron, was a gorgeous shade of deep pink and, from the little bit I could see, lacked even the slightest blemish or imperfection.  Her hair was the most striking thing about her appearance, being deep purple and flowing down to the small of her back.  From all this, it would be easy to think her nothing more than a bimbo, but my gut told me the opposite was true.  Primarily, most any Zeltron that left Zeltros with any regularity was aware of their own attractiveness and desirability.  Hell, many counted on it, as I suspected this one did under the circumstances.  But more than that, the way she dressed gave her the perfect combination of confident and sexy.  Black skintight pants and an equally snug white tank top showed off her ample curves, but her brown pilot’s jacket indicated she was more than just a pretty face. I made a mental note to watch out for this one, in more ways than one.

By now, we had arrived in Beelma’s throne room, and it was exactly what you’d expect from a Hutt. Spacious, lots of comfortable seating around the edges, but plenty of open space in the middle for events or audiences.  Ahead of us was a large stone platform surrounded by a bevy of beautiful females of several different species, all with their attentions focused on the enormous slug at the center of it all.  It’s almost impossible to tell most Hutts apart, being a near universal shade of puke green, but Beelma was unique in that he had more of a dark brown shade to his skin.

I expected Beelma to greet us at that point, but he instead signaled to a group of Biths in the corner. The musicians then struck up a sultry tune, and the various women surrounding Beelma’s throne began a lengthy dance number.  All the while, Beelma eyed the five of us; I assumed he was trying hard to make us jealous. The women were attractive, to be sure, but none of ‘em came anywhere close to the alluring Zeltron.  She oozed pure sexuality without even trying.  As the dance number ended, Beelma then bellowed a greeting, translated for us by his protocol droid.

“Welcome, esteemed guests of the almighty Beelma!” the droid began.  “The winds of good fortune have brought you here today, and my master is pleased with the opportunity to do business with all of you.  He hopes you will find his hospitality both pleasurable and profitable.”

I refrained from rolling my eyes out of a deep desire to live, but one of my competitors was not so patient.  The Aqualish grunted something in his native language at the protocol droid, who then turned back to Beelma.

“Er, your Excellency, it seems one of your guests wishes to see the hyperdrive unit so that they may begin the auction at once,” the droid’s voice quaked with fear.

Beelma studied at us for several long seconds.  I thought we’d all be dead at that point, and if not, at least the Aqualish.  But then, Beelma just laughed and motioned to a pair of his guards, who brought the hyperdrive in on a hoversled.  After the Hutt spoke again, the droid continued his translation duties.

“The preponderant Beelma understands that you are each here at the cost of valuable time to yourselves and will proceed with business at once.  However, he warns that any further disrespectful actions will not be tolerated. Be thankful that he is merciful.”

The Aqualish stood there with his arms crossed, defiant as ever, but the rest of us nodded and murmured our understanding.  Gotta cover our own asses, after all.

The droid then continued, “In regards to the hyperdrive unit before you, it is indeed available on this very day.  However, there is no auction, as some of you may have incorrectly presumed.  Instead, you will each play for the hyperdrive in a Sabacc tournament.  The buy-in for this tournament will be 3,500 Imperial credits, which is half the value of this top-of-the-line hyperdrive unit.  The winner of the tournament will not only receive the hyperdrive, but will also regain their entry fee.”

My eyebrows shot up at hearing this.  The other bidders, or players, rather, whispered to themselves about how unfair this was, but I saw the brilliance of it right away.  By holding a tournament with five players, Beelma guarantees that he’ll get twice what the hyperdrive is worth, even in giving the winner their entry fee back.  No worries about if someone is good for the money they promised in an auction or if the bidding ended up not going as high as he wanted.  It was genius!  A moment later, Beelma thumped his tail on the floor, catching our attention once more.

“The great Beelma understands your apprehension, but be assured that this is precisely how my master wishes to award the hyperdrive unit.  He wants someone of great skill to receive the prize, not merely one who has more money than anyone else.  In addition, my master has long been impressed by one who is able to win games of skill and chance, and there is no greater such game than Sabacc.  Of course, if you wish to leave now, you are free to do so.  However, be aware that his Grace may take such an action as a lack of interest in ever doing future business with him.  For all who do wish to participate, please step forward and submit your entry fee.”

My mind was already made up, but I remained still for a few seconds, glancing at the others out of the corner of my eye.  If I was going to be playing Sabacc against these clowns, then the game was already on. Sabacc, like most card games, wasn’t only about having the best hand; it was just as much reading your opponents. If Beelma was a junkie for the game itself, then the chance to watch five players battling it out for a pricey hyperdrive would be all the entertainment he could ask for.

Soon, the rest of the group stepped forward to pay their entry fee, allowing me to slip right alongside them.  As everyone registered, the protocol droid recorded our names and occupations in case Beelma wanted to do future deals with any of us.  The other human was named Mat Griggs, a veteran smuggler.  He looked to be maybe twenty years older than me; I pegged him as my toughest competitor.  The Aqualish and Rodian were both bounty hunters named Gantu Balbal and Bordu, respectively.  And the Zeltron?  She called herself Tali Haru.  Damn… to this day, that’s the sexiest name I’ve ever heard in my life.  Not many specifics on her occupation, just said she was a pilot.  Anyway, once that business was done, it was time to start the tournament.

Sabacc was a card game with a simple objective: collect cards to get yourself as close to a value of 23 as you can without going over.  Of the 76 cards in the deck, 60 were distributed in four suits, being flasks, sabers, staves, and coins.  Each suited card was labeled anywhere from one to fifteen.  The remaining cards were special cards with varying negative amounts associated with them, anything from the Star, carrying a value of -17, to the Idiot, with a value of 0.  The tricky thing is, though, that it didn’t matter if your hand’s value was positive or negative 23 as long as you were the closest without bombing out.  Only if two players had the same value did a positive number trump a negative number.

Soon, Krah and his men had the game table set up in the middle of Beelma’s throne room, situated where the Hutt and all his guests could easily watch the excitement from any angle.  As we took our seats, the main entrance door slid open and revealed a stunning Twi’lek woman, whom I recognized as the one in the invitation I had received.  She was as tall as was Tali and looked to be the same age, but that was where the similarities between the two beauties ended. Where Tali had curves in all the right places, this Twi’lek was thin and willowy, almost delicate.  She wore a shimmering silver gown held up by a single elegant shoulder strap.  The gown extended all the way to the floor; a slit showed off the gorgeous teal skin of her slender leg.  We were all mesmerized as she walked gracefully toward us and took a seat at the circular table.

“Greetings, esteemed guests of my master.  My name is Ayana, and I will be your dealer for this tournament,” she said in a sweet, melodious voice.  “First, though I am sure you are all familiar with the general rules of Sabacc, allow me to explain the rules that this game will be played under.  Each hand will begin with two facedown cards for each player, after which all players will announce their starting total without revealing their cards.  Then, each player will have the option to check, raise, call, or junk.”

Yeah, we all know how to play the game, lady, I thought to myself.

“After that, however, the traditional rules of Sabacc are altered under the exalted Beelma’s house rules. These house rules state that the Interference Field and Sabacc Shift are eliminated and will not occur in this game.”

“No Sabacc Shift?! That’s nuts!” shouted Mat, the other human.

“These are unique rules, yes, but be assured that this is how the great Beelma wishes today’s game to be played,” Ayana replied.  “In my master’s opinion, the Sabacc Shift eliminates player skill from the game and instead turns the game into nothing but chance.  He wishes a player who is both lucky and skilled to win the hyperdrive.”

I tried my best to make no facial expression as I considered how this changed the game.  The Sabacc Shift is an integral part to any game of Sabacc.  Basically, after the first round of betting, any and all cards on the table are at risk of changing value and suit.  The Sabacc Shift is always random; sometimes it affects every player on the table, but other times it only hits one or two, or even none at all.  In games with holographic cards, this happens automatically during the course of play, but with physical cards, like the ones Ayana held, players would often use a pair of dice instead.  The only defense against this was the Interference Field, a chip each player had that could make one of their cards unaffected by the Sabacc Shift for the duration of that hand.

In normal games of Sabacc, the greatest amount of strategy came after the shift happened, not only in judging your own hand, but also in reading everyone’s reactions to the shift. With the Sabacc Shift eliminated, I could be free to make larger bets earlier without fear that my hand might change, but the same was also true for my opponents.  I’d have to read them carefully from the first card dealt.  One wrong move, and I could be drawn into a trap and lose everything.

“Now, let us begin,” said Ayana, dealing the first cards.

*****

After about an hour of play, I was starting to get a feel for my opponents.  Everybody was still playing pretty conservatively, most of the chip stacks were close to even, but I had pegged most everyone at the table. It was clear Mat Griggs was the most skilled player, always junking at the right time where others would have stayed in and lost more money.  Gantu Balbal and Bordu were decent players, but even with their non-human facial expressions, they had clear tells.  Tali, on the other hand, was still a bit of a mystery.  She was a very good player, but had some odd habits that I couldn’t quite figure out.  Most notably, she was a table-talker, which is rare for a skilled Sabacc player. Most real gamblers keep their mouths shut throughout the game for fear of accidentally giving something away, but Tali was always engaged in friendly banter with us.  I guessed that this was part of her distraction attempts, which appeared to be working to some extent on the other players.  Crafty little minx.

“Mr. Bordu shows positive 20.  Mr. Grant shows negative 21.  Mr. Grant wins the hand,” said Ayana.

I smiled as I collected my winnings from the pot.  Bordu was none too pleased, judging by his twitching antennae.  Damned fool still hadn’t figured out what was giving him away. Every time he had anything over 18, his head bobbed a bit in excitement.  It was all too easy.

“Impressive hand, Mr. Grant,” I heard Tali say in her sultry voice.

“Thanks,” I replied. “And you can call me Kyp.  Mr. Grant was my good-for-nothing father.”

“Of course, Kyp,” she said with a wink.

I felt a chill go up my spine, but I had to keep my wits about me.  This girl was something else, and she’d distract me into the poor house if I gave her the chance.  Hell, it was a wonder I hadn’t bombed out already.  The way she kept adjusting how she sat, showing off her long legs and curvy ass in the process… damn.  And her chest.  Shit, her tank top was so tight, I couldn’t believe she didn’t burst right out of it every time she leaned over the table.  But the killer was that little hair flip she’d do every so often.  Part of me, and you can probably guess which part, wanted to believe so badly that she was into me, what with the flirty looks she kept sending my way.  At least the larger of my two heads knew better, for now, anyway.

The next few hands were interesting, to say the least.  Bordu, the Rodian, got on a hot streak, winning several nice pots in a row.  Most of my hands were junk from the start, so I was out early, but the others weren’t so lucky.  I eyed Bordu throughout the hands, looking for what might have changed.  His tell was still there, but I couldn’t figure out what was different.  By the looks on the other players’ faces, they suspected something was up, too.  That’s when I noticed that Beelma the Hutt was also watching Bordu closely.  Aside from Ayana, who’s seat was right in front of Beelma’s throne, Bordu was the closest player to the Hutt.  It took a couple more hands, but we soon had our suspicions confirmed.

“STOP THE GAME!!!” Beelma bellowed in Huttese.

Before anyone knew what was happening, Krah and two guards surrounded Bordu and pulled him away from the table.  While the two Gamorreans held the poor Rodian, Krah inspected the cards on the table with what appeared to be a modified pair of electrobinoculars.

“It is as you suspected, my liege,” said Krah to Beelma.  “He was marking the cards with infrared markings.”

Of course!  That’s how he was killing us; Rodians can see infrared light, I thought to myself.

Beelma roared in anger at hearing this and had Bordu brought before him.  The poor fool whimpered and begged for his life for a few seconds, but Beelma was having none of it.  The remaining guards stepped back from Bordu, looking like they knew what was about to happen.  A moment later, Beelma pressed a button attached to his throne, which activated a trap door beneath Bordu’s feet and sent him tumbling down a chute.

“That can’t be good,” I heard Tali whisper.  I was too dumbfounded to reply.

Beelma laughed gleefully as a number of viewscreens appeared from the ceiling all over the room, giving us the perfect view of the room below.  Bordu landed hard on the rocky floor and looked around in panic.  He first attempted to climb back up the chute he had come down, but a few metal bars slid into place to prevent his escape. A moment later, we saw a large gate on the other side of the pit slide open.  It was quite dark, so we couldn’t see at first what was coming out of the gate, but the creature’s horned head and scaly hide soon came into view.

“My god… is that what I think it is?” Tali gasped.

“Yep,” I said.  “A canyon krayt dragon.”

“He’s bantha fodder,” Mat muttered.

The reptile saw Bordu in an instant and crawled on its four muscular legs toward the Rodian.  Bordu did have the presence of mind to reach for his blaster pistol, but the guards had taken it from him in the moments before, leaving him unarmed.  His legs quivered and he fell to his back as the dragon advanced.

At that point, I had to turn away; no need to see what came next.  Tali had long since buried her face in her hands, which was still an incredibly sexy thing to see, for some reason.  Hell, anything she did was distracting. Ayana, who sat next to Tali at the table, was far calmer, but likewise kept her eyes averted.  Looked to me like she had seen this a few too many times before. Mat just shook his head in disinterest, while Gantu Balbal chuckled at seeing Bordu devoured.  After a few more seconds, the viewscreens disappeared and Krah spoke up.

“Divide the Rodian’s chips evenly among the rest of the players, Ayana.  Oh, and here is a fresh deck.”  Krah then eyed the rest of us.  “Let this be a warning to anyone else who would betray the illustrious Beelma’s hospitality.  There is nothing he despises more than a cheater, especially one who would cheat at Sabacc.”

“Clearly,” I muttered under my breath.  “Poor dumb bastard.”

*****

From that point, the action in the game picked up quite a bit.  I did pretty well, winning a decent pot about every three or four hands. Tali and Mat were also going strong, but Gantu Balbal was starting to bleed chips, and he knew it.  This was only compounded by the fact that he was Aqualish, meaning he had a genetic predisposition to anger, frustration, and stubbornness.  If I played this right, that would work to my advantage.

“Second round of betting,” said Ayana.  “Mr. Balbal, it’s your honor.”

Without a word, Gantu Balbal pushed his entire chip stack forward and leaned back in his chair confidently.

Ayana nodded.  “Mr. Balbal is all-in.  Mr. Griggs?”

“Junk,” said Mat, tossing his cards on the discard pile.

“Junk,” Tali agreed before Ayana even had a chance to ask her.

“Very well.  Heads-up, gentlemen.  Mr. Grant?”

I studied the Aqualish’s face for several long seconds.  He was up to something, but what?  Did he actually have a winning hand?  Or was he just trying to buy his way to a decent pot and get back in the game?  As for me, I had a positive 20.  Not awful by any standard, but still a risk, considering Balbal’s big wager.  Still, I hadn’t seen his tell in quite some time, and I worried he was getting better at hiding it.  How badly did I want to see his cards?  After running the chip totals in my head, I figured that Balbal would still be in last place even if he won this hand, while I’d be tied with Mat comfortably for second place behind Tali.  It might not have been the statistically smart play, but Sabacc is about more than just statistics.  Sometimes, it takes real guts.

“Call.  Show ‘em.”

I turned over my positive 20 with confidence, but Balbal showed a negative 22, winning him the pot. Still, I found what I needed.  His total before drawing his final card was only negative 5, meaning he was flat-out gambling the entire hand. Moreover, I finally saw him twitch his whiskers, his tell from earlier.  I may have lost the hand, but I had him right where I wanted him.

The very next deal gave me my golden opportunity.  My opening hand consisted of two special cards.  First, there was Endurance, with a value of negative 8.  But best of all, I had one of only two Star cards in the deck, which the player could choose its value, either negative 17 or negative 10. This gave me the freedom to draw without much fear of bombing out.  Now, I just had to make sure not to overplay my hand.  After stating my opening value as negative 18, the table placed their bets. As I was first to bet, I just checked the option, then called the remaining bets, trying to stay under the radar. Then, Ayana dealt me my next card face-down: the 2 of staves.  I tried my best to contain my excitement, but I knew my heart skipped a couple of beats. With my Star valued at negative 17, the positive 2 and negative 8 gave me a hand of exactly 23, also known as Pure Sabacc.  Now, only an Idiot’s Array could take me down.  But more on that later.

I kept my face even as I eyed the other three players.  Tali was out in a hurry, her eyes fixed on mine the whole time.  She must have sensed my brief emotional spike and knew I had a great hand.  Mat took two more cards, but I didn’t figure he was a huge threat this hand; his opening hand had been a positive 4, meaning he either had two low-value cards or two high-value cards, one positive and one negative to cancel each other out.  When Balbal’s turn came, he took one card only. That was when I saw it.  The little twitch of his whiskers.  His opening hand had been a positive 7, meaning the best he could have with one card was a positive 22.  I had him.

When the final round of betting came, I opened by checking, just like before.  No need to give away my hand just yet.  Mat checked as well, but then came a big wager from Balbal, over half his chips.  This elicited an audible gasp from the onlookers and an interested grunt from Beelma. Everyone could tell this was shaping up to be a big hand.  Back to me, and I decided it was time to see how serious the Aqualish was.  I raised him enough to put him all-in if he called. After Mat wisely got out of the way, Balbal growled a bit before calling and flipping his cards over.  Looks like my instincts had been dead on; he had drawn a 15 on the last card.

“Mr. Balbal shows positive 22,” said Ayana.  “Mr. Grant?”

I just smirked and tossed my cards to the center of the table for all to see.

“And Mr. Grant shows negative 23, Pure Sabacc,” Ayana said.  “I am so sorry, Mr. Balbal, but it seems you are out of the game.”

I stood with a massive smile on my face, relishing the cheers from the audience at such a high-stakes hand.  But there was no time to celebrate, not when I saw Gantu Balbal’s anger beginning to boil over.  After giving a guttural howl, he pushed Ayana to the floor, leapt the table, and charged me with a knife in his flipper-like hands.  Good thing I had anticipated some sort of retaliation, and even better that Hutts had no problem with their guests defending themselves from other guests.

I quickly sidestepped, allowing the Aqualish to trip over my chair and land flat on his back.  Before he had the chance to attack again, I drew my DL-18 blaster and fired off a single shot between his eyes, killing the bastard in an instant.  Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that Tali and Mat on their feet with blasters in hand, too.  Mat had a standard DL-44, but I was impressed with Tali’s choice of weapon: A K-16 Bryar pistol.  After another smattering of applause, I holstered my blaster and stepped around the table to Ayana, still on the floor from Balbal’s shove.

“You ok?” I asked, helping the Twi’lek to her feet.

“I think so, yes,” Ayana replied, leaning against my chest for support.  Damn, she smelled really nice.

“Do not fret for her,” said Krah, arriving at her side.  “Ayana is far more resilient than most would ever realize.  Still, I think we should break for five minutes to allow her to compose herself.”

“Thank you.  If you’ll please excuse me,” Ayana agreed.

Needing some composure, myself, I made for the corner of the room and ordered a Corellian whiskey from the old Besalisk tending the bar.  I stood at the bar in silence for a few moments, just trying to shake off the kill. Truth be told, I hate killing, in spite of how good at it I can be.  It’s bad for business, after all, but business sometimes necessitates it. Pretty soon, I noticed someone taking the spot next to me at the bar.

“I’ll have what he’s having,” Tali told the bartender.  As the bartender reopened the bottle of whiskey, she continued, “You’re quite impressive, Kyp.  Ace gambler and a sure shot all in one.”

“Thanks,” I replied. She was still giving me that smoldering look.  Was it natural, or was she still trying to throw me off my game?  Shit, she’s something else.  “You’re pretty impressive, too,” I said, trying to stay focused.  “Not too many carry the Bryar pistol anymore.”

Tali shrugged.  “I know it’s not the most powerful blaster out there, but it’s hella accurate.  Gets the job done for me.”

“That’s what matters,” I chuckled.

By then, the bartender had returned with Tali’s drink.  “She likes you, you know.”

That caught my attention. “Come again?”

“Ayana,” Tali giggled. “She’s completely smitten with you after that little display.  Not that I can blame her.”

I shot her a wry grin. “Now, such a simple statement has complicated everything.  See, I don’t know if you’re saying this because of your empathic abilities, pure woman’s intuition… or if you’re lying to try and distract me.”

A sexy smile spread across Tali’s face.  “Oh, Mr. Grant.  If I wanted to distract you, I’d just mention that, as delicious as Ayana looks, she could never hope to compete with my skills.”

With that, Tali turned and sauntered back towards the table, her curvy hips swaying with every step she took.  After one last look and wink over her shoulder, she took her seat, ready for the next round.  All of a sudden, my pants felt a lot more confining.

“She don’t play fair, does she?” the bartender chuckled.

“You could say that,” I replied, downing the last of my whiskey.

*****

With only three players left in the game, things started heating up in a big-time hurry.  Each of us were now far more aggressive with our wagers, actively trying to force the others into bad decisions.  I handled things well, for the most part, but Mat was not so lucky.  All it took was two misplayed hands to put him well behind in chips.  I had a substantial lead at that point, but my hand was junk, leaving just Mat and Tali.

“All in,” Mat said quietly.

“Call,” Tali immediately replied.

Mat flipped his cards over with a grin and proved he wasn’t bluffing, showing a negative 22.  But just as I was about to congratulate him, Tali revealed her hand, a positive 22, trumping his negative total.

“Shit,” Mat muttered, a crestfallen look on his face.  “Welp, looks like that’s it for me.  You two kids have fun,” he continued, standing and grabbing his jacket.

“It’s been fun, Mr. Griggs,” Tali said with a grin.

“You play a hell of a game,” I added.

“Thanks.  Likewise,” he said before moving to take a seat in the audience.

I turned to face Tali, figuring we’d start the next hand right away, but Beelma’s protocol droid spoke up before we had the chance.

“The almighty Beelma extends his congratulations to our two finalists, Kyp Grant and Tali Haru.  Both have played a splendid game of Sabacc thus far, and Beelma wishes to further show his appreciation for their skills with a grand feast for all his guests.”

Within minutes, Beelma’s throne room had transformed into a lavish dining room, complete with three long tables spanning the length of the room.  I also noticed that three of the walls were actually shutters, which Beelma opened to show the gorgeous twin sunset that evening.  And, of course, Tali and I sat on either side of Beelma as his guests of honor.  Which was fine… I guess.  Well, the smell was most definitely not fine!  But I wanted jobs from him in the future, so it was time to schmooze.

“Your hospitality has been amazing.  Thank you,” I said.  Flattery was the only way to please a Hutt, after all.

“And your home is so lovely,” Tali agreed.  Looks like she had the same strategy.

“Indeed,” Beelma replied in Huttese, “but not as lovely as you, my dear.”

“Oh, thank you,” Tali replied.  She blushed a bit, but it didn’t look like she appreciated the Hutt’s attentions.

“Sir, I’m curious about something,” I said, trying to change the subject.

“And that is?” Beelma asked.

“How did you know Bordu was cheating earlier?”

“I was wondering that, too!” said Tali.  “I suspected, but there was no way to prove it.”

Beelma gave a hearty laugh. “It is quite simple: he was marking the cards with infrared markings, and I saw him do it.”

“How’s that?  I thought Hutts could see ultraviolet light, not infrared?” I wondered.

“Sorry, but I don’t give away my secrets.”

I wasn’t sure what to make of that, but Tali studied Beelma’s face for several seconds longer. “You have a false eye, don’t you?” she asked.

Beelma now appeared very surprised.  “An astute observation, my girl.  How did you figure this out?”

“I remember hearing a story about you losing your eye in a firefight between your men and a group of Rebels a few years back.  It would only make sense for you to replace it with one that could see things your normal eye couldn’t.”

Another laugh from the Hutt. “Right you are!  Indeed, my false eye cansee infrared light.  That stupid Rodian thought he’d be able to slip it past me, but that’s what happens when one matches wits with a superior being.”

“Impressive,” I said. “Most impressive.”

I kept trying to work Beelma, but at that point, his attention was focused completely on Tali. Tali, strangely enough, was starting to give him the cold shoulder, instead making constant eye contact with me. Eventually, the chef brought out the prime nerf steaks we had ordered, and Beelma left to move about the room and attend to his other guests.

“You’re playing a dangerous game,” I said to Tali.  “Using your pheromones around a Hutt?  That’s liable to get you kidnapped.”

“I’m a big girl,” she shot back with a grin.  “Tie my own boots and everything.”

“Right,” I chuckled.

“Hey, it’s no more dangerous than Sabacc, right?  I mean, hell, two players died in our little game today.”

“Their own fault,” I snorted.  “Cheating in front of a Hutt?  Charging me with a knife?  Not gonna end well.”  Seeing as how she was using her charms to try and get me off my game, I figured all was fair in love and war.  “So, what do you say to raising the stakes a bit for our final round?”

Tali’s eyebrows shot up at this.  “What did you have in mind?”

I took a sip of my drink. “If I win, you have to kiss me. And you have to pretend you like it.”

At first, Tali said nothing to this, but the look on her face told the whole story.  She was intrigued by my offer.  I expected her to ask what was in it for her, but she instead stood and walked around the table to my seat.  Damn, I love how she walks.  She then leaned in, her face mere inches from mine, her generous cleavage on full display beneath her tank top.

“Look who’s playing a dangerous game, now,” she whispered, running a finger down my cheek for good measure.  With that, she turned and headed for the bar, her luscious ass swaying the whole time.

“Well, I had to try,” I said to myself.  I’d see if it was enough of a distraction to work.

*****

After relieving myself in the toilet, I was heading back to the table for the final round, but found my way blocked in a narrow hallway by Krah.  That struck me as odd, especially when he came up and shook my hand.

“Best of luck in the final round,” he whispered.  “The great Beelma is hoping for your victory, my friend.”

“Um… thanks,” I replied.

The hell was that all about?

I shook off any thought of the weird encounter as I arrived back at the table for the final round. Tali was already waiting for me, her face adorned with her usual smile of confidence.  After a few minutes, Ayana reentered the room and took her seat between the two of us.

“Congratulations again to our two finalists,” she said with a warm smile.  “Let us begin the final round of play.”

With that, we were off. As one would expect, Tali and I were pretty much an even match, neither able to gain a significant advantage over the other.  She was good, especially with her empathic powers, but I managed to shift into a “bored-out-of-my-mind” mentality to counter.  This meant Tali was forced to try and find my physical tells, which she was not nearly as skilled at.  After an hour, our chip stacks remained nearly equal, but both of us could feel a massive hand coming soon.

“The cards are dealt. Each player will now announce their opening total,” said Ayana.  “Mr. Grant?”

“Positive 5,” I replied, holding a 2 and a 3.

“Positive 13,” Tali said.

At that point, I expected Tali to try and force me out with a big bet, but we both just checked through the first round of betting.  I wasn’t sure what specific cards she had, but she would have a tough decision regardless. She could stay, but my low total gave me lots of leeway to draw until I could surpass her.  Conversely, she could draw, but ran a decent risk of bombing out if anything greater than a positive 10 came her way.  Still, neither of us were in too deep, so I figured she’d draw. As for me, I had no option.

“Hit me,” I said.

Ayana slid a card across the table to me, but I took a deep breath and emptied my mind before touching it. Any flash of emotion either way would tip Tali off; couldn’t afford to give her any easy breaks.  Once I felt sufficiently bored, I took the facedown card and peeked underneath, finding the only card in the deck to simultaneously be the worst and best card of all: The Idiot.

There are only two Idiot cards in the entire deck, and both carry a value of zero, making them worthless. However, if a player holds three cards, a 2, a 3, and the Idiot, they form the unbeatable Idiot’s Array, the only hand capable of trumping Pure Sabacc.  After all, only an Idiot would think that a 2 and a 3 made 23.  I was now guaranteed to win the hand, but how much could I take Tali for?  If I didn’t play this right, she’d just junk her cards and let me take her ante.

“Hit me,” I heard Tali say, snapping me out of my thoughts.

“Very well.  Another card, Mr. Grant?” Ayana asked.

I sighed for a moment, attempted to look frustrated.  “I’ll stay,” I said after a long silence.

“I’m good, too,” Tali said.

There it was.  It was very faint, but I heard the little lilt in her voice.  Tali was happy and trying not to show it.  She only drew one card to pair with her opening 13, so she had to have something strong, probably 20 or higher.  It was my honor to wager, but I decided to take the biggest gamble I had made all day.  I checked. In doing this, I put the pressure on Tali and dared her to check and make the winning pot nothing but our ante amounts.  But if she had a strong hand, which I was pretty sure she did, she wouldn’t be able to resist raising the stakes.  The room fell silent as the grave as everyone watched Tali consider her options.

“Raise,” she said at last. “4,000.”

That was a significant amount, by my estimations.  In wagering just over half her remaining chips, she forced me into a difficult call. If she had a hand she was sure would win, she could be baiting me into raising right back, putting me in serious danger in the chip count.  With that in mind, I decided I couldn’t disappoint the lady.

“All-in,” I said.

Tali studied my face for several seconds, which was definitely a worry.  She knew she was a bit behind me in the chip count and would have to risk everything to call.  The longer she thought about it, the more she might convince herself that I had her beat. But if she had more than 20, which I figured she did, she would know there was no way I could beat her having only drawn one card.  Except, of course, with my unbeatable hand.  Soon, a little grin spread across her delicious lips.

“Call.”

Before Ayana could even give the official command, Tali flipped her cards over.

“Miss Haru shows positive 23, pure Sabacc!” Ayana announced.

Tali had played it perfectly.  Dammit, it almost broke my heart to shatter her perfect play.  Almost.

“Nice hand,” I smiled, flipping my cards over, “but not good enough.”

“Mr. Grant shows an Idiot’s Array!” Ayana said.  “Mr. Grant wins the tournament!”

Poor Tali’s smile disappeared in an instant.  As cheers erupted from the onlookers, I stood and extended my hand to her.  She sighed in frustration, but shook my hand after a moment.

“Well played, Kyp.”

“Thanks.  It was a hell of a game, and you’re one hell of a player,” I replied honestly.

*****

“She’s a thing of beauty, Leecam,” I said, admiring my prize.

“Indeed, sir.  I shall begin installing the hyperdrive at once, though the work will take several hours to complete.  I will need to uninstall the previous unit, after all.”

“No prob.  With how late it is, Beelma gave all the remaining Sabacc players rooms here for the night.  I’ll get some shuteye, and we’ll leave in the morning.”

“Very good, sir. Sleep well.”

I left Leecam to his work and departed the hangar, heading for my quarters for the evening.  I was exhausted, yet in better spirits than I had been in a long time.  After all, I’d been after a hyperdrive unit like this one for years!  Getting one in excellent condition essentially for free? Jackpot!  I had a feeling this was gonna be a major turning point for my career. Little did I know how right I was…

“Evening, Kyp,” I heard a voice say.

Turning around, I saw Tali coming down the hallway behind me.

“Hey, pretty lady,” I replied with a grin.  “Come to congratulate the winner again?”

Tali grimaced at that. “Damned Idiot’s Array…”

I shrugged.  “We’ve all lost a big hand we were sure we’d win.”

“True,” she replied. “You turning in for the night?”

“Yeah.  Been a helluva day.  My room’s down the next hall.”

“Well, how ‘bout that? So is mine,” Tali said with a grin. “Walk with me?”

How could I say no to an offer like that?  We walked in comfortable silence, just enjoying each other’s company.  As we went, I couldn’t help but notice that Tali walked very close to me, closer than I expected she would.  Once or twice, she even let her hand brush up against mine. Maybe it was the pheromones, or maybe it was the events of the day, but whatever it was, I couldn’t shake off my growing fondness for this girl.  She really was the perfect combination of confident and sexy.

“This is me,” said Tali, interrupting my thoughts.

“Yeah.  So, Tali, just thought I’d ask about our little side bet?”

She rolled her eyes at this. “I don’t recall ever agreeing to that side bet, mister.”

“Maybe, but it’s never too late,” I shot back with a grin.

With a smoldering look on her face, Tali leaned in.  “Oh, Kyp… do you really think you could handle me?”

“Only one way to find out,” I replied.

Tali didn’t move for several glorious seconds, keeping her face mere inches from mine.  The tension in the air was so heavy, I could’ve sliced it with a knife.  At last, just as it looked like she would pull back, Tali moved forward and pressed her lips to mine.  The kiss was short, less than a second, but it was clear from the look on her face and my heavy breathing the impact it had made on us.

“Night, hotshot,” she said before entering her room.  Just before closing the door, she gave one last wink and hair flip.

“Damn…”

I entered my own room, feeling a very uncomfortable erection in my pants; I’d have to take care of that to get any sleep.  Shouldn’t be too hard, though.  Tali still danced around in my head.  Her rockin’ body, her soft skin, the hair, the sultry voice… shit, it’s a wonder I managed to resist her for long enough to win that tournament!  As I was about to get undressed, a soft knock came at my door.

“Please, be Tali. Please, be Tali.  Please, be Tali,” I whispered to myself.

I slid open the door and found myself both disappointed and excited.  It wasn’t Tali, hence the disappointment.  But seeing the lovely Ayana standing there in her silver gown was definitely a pleasant sight.

“Good evening, Mr. Grant,” she said with a warm smile.

“Hey, Ayana,” I replied, not sure what she was doing here.

“I trust the arrangements for this evening are suitable?”

“Very.  Please, thank your master for me.  His hospitality has been humbling,” I said, still wondering what her intentions were.

“Splendid!  This pleases me,” said Ayana, still not moving from my doorway.

I cocked my head a bit. “Is anything wrong, Ayana?  You seem… nervous.”

“Oh, I apologize! Y-Yes, I am a bit nervous, I suppose. You see… my master bade me to come and spend the evening with you.  He wishes me to… take care of your needs.”

Now, that was a surprise.  It’s well known that Hutts collect beautiful women of all species, seeing them as pieces of art to display in their palaces.  But while looking at their beauty is appreciated and encouraged, touching a woman belonging to a Hutt is asking for a slow, painful death.  I was definitely intrigued by the possibility of sleeping with the gorgeous Twi’lek, but only if it was sanctioned.

“Mr. Grant?” Ayana asked.

“Oh!  Right, sorry,” I said, snapping out of my trance.  “Um, I’d love to spend some time with you tonight, but only if it’s allowed.  I wouldn’t want to insult my host, after all.”

She then gave a slight bow. “My master anticipated your response, and asked me to show you this.”

Ayana produced a small holodisk from behind her back, which soon projected a tiny image of Beelma’s face.

“Congratulations again on your victory, Kyp Grant,” the recorded hologram said in Huttese.  “You gave us quite the show today and provided excellent entertainment for my guests.  Not only this, but you proved yourself quite capable in dealing with that filthy Aqualish.  The scum might have even harmed my beauties!  But your quick actions ensured that he was the only casualty.  This pleases me, and I have seen fit to reward you appropriately. Ayana is yours until tomorrow morning. You may do with her as your please, but she is not to be harmed and must be treated with respect at all times. Otherwise, I will hear of it.”

Hearing it straight from Beelma definitely changed things.  It was rare for a Hutt to allow a guest to sleep with one of his slaves, but I damn well knew better than to refuse.  That would have been an even bigger insult to my host.

“Please, come in,” I said to Ayana.

“Thank you.”

After sliding the door closed for the night, I took a few moments to look Ayana up and down more closely. The poor girl was shaking, she was so nervous, but the little smile on her face seemed genuine.  Maybe Tali had told the truth earlier.  Maybe Ayana really was smitten with me.  I had to admit, she was quite the looker, even if I preferred my women more on the curvy side.

“How is the view, Mr. Grant?” she said with a giggle.

“Exquisite,” I admitted.

“Perhaps… you’d like a better view?”

Before I could even think to reply, Ayana reached for the single shoulder strap holding her dress up. After she unhooked the clasp, the gown cascaded down her body and fell to the floor, leaving Ayana as nude as the day she was born.  The teal shade of her skin was absolutely gorgeous, and I saw no blemishes or imperfections anywhere on her thin body.  Her breasts were quite small, but high and firm on her chest, just begging to be suckled.  Ayana then gave a sexy turn, showing off her perky little ass.  As she turned back to face me, my eyes traveled up her long, dancer’s legs and found her hairless sex.  Every aspect of Ayana’s body was perfectly suited to her natural beauty.

“Are you pleased, Mr. Grant?” she asked, her nerves still apparent.

I smiled and walked toward her.  “I couldn’t be happier, pretty lady.  Just one thing: I’d prefer it if you called me Kyp.”

“But of course, Kyp.”

Hearing her say my name in her exotic Twi’leki accent sent a shiver up my spine.  So damn sexy.  Before I knew it, Ayana walked right up to me and slipped her arms around my neck.  The look in her eyes was so arousing, yet so completely different from Tali’s.  Where Tali looked like she was trying to seduce me at every opportunity, Ayana seemed so pure and innocent.  I felt a pang of regret, knowing what she’d have to go back to after tonight.

“Ayaya, just one thing,” I said, rubbing her back with my finger.  “I would never insult my host by declining your company, but I want you to know I won’t force you to do anything you don’t want to do.  Even if all you want is to sleep and nothing else, I’m ok with that.”

“But, if I do not-”

“That would be just between us,” I assured her.  “If I’m asked, I’ll give you a glowing review.  But I do mean it; you don’t have to do anything tonight, if you don’t want to.”

Hearing this, Ayana seemed to melt in my arms, smiling and planting a soft kiss on my cheek.

“Such a sweet man,” she whispered.  “But I’m not letting you off that easy.  When my master gathered his slaves and said he wished for one of us to keep you company, I begged him to let it be me. I intend to see this through to the end.”

At that, I was powerless to do anything to stop her.  Ayana started kissing any piece of exposed skin she could, mostly my cheek and neck, since I was still dressed.  After a minute or two, she allowed my lips to touch hers.  Holy fuck, was it electric.  She was still a little nervous, I could tell, but after a few seconds, I felt her tongue slip into my mouth.  Dammit, I was close to blowing my top and I hadn’t even gotten her in bed yet!

From there, I decided to take the lead a bit.  I guessed from her demeanor that Ayana was a bit of a romantic, so I scooped her up in my arms with our lips still locked together.  Her reaction could only be described as adorable.  I’ve never had a girl literally swoon in my arms.  Shit, that sounds dorky, but as much as she loved it, I ain’t apologizing.  In spite of Ayana’s height, she was surprisingly light and easy to carry, so I had no trouble depositing her on the large bed against the wall.

“Don’t keep me waiting, Kyp,” she purred.  “I simply must have you.”

Well, what can you do when a beautiful Twi’lek tells you that?  I must’ve set a new record with how fast I stripped my clothes off.  Well, my jacket and shirt, anyway; my boots gave me a bit of trouble.  Hey, you try untying your shoelaces with a beautiful naked girl laying a few feet away. But once those were off, I was in the clear.  I gotta admit, it was nice seeing Ayana’s eyes widen when she saw my equipment for the first time.  I may not be not huge, but I do ok for myself.

That business take care of, I slipped into the spacious bed and found myself wrapped in Ayana’s arms. She really was a hopeless romantic, pulling me on top of her and sealing her lips around mine.  God, she’s a great kisser.  I savored her fantastic lips for a few minutes, but then pulled back and decided to do some exploring of my own.  I started by moving my attentions to her neck and jawline, all while massaging the bases of her Lekku, her head tails.  I knew from experience how erogenous they could be.

“Ohhhhh…” Ayana purred. “Kyp, that feels so nice…”

“Thought you might like it,” I grinned.

Soon, I started to work my way a bit lower.  I mean, I just had to inspect those delicious little breasts of hers.  Even with Ayana flat on her back, they were still perky, especially her dark navy nipples. Each one fit in my hands well enough, but it was soon clear that they weren’t a perfect handful.  No, they were a perfect mouthful.  Ayana gasped and squirmed as I began to suckle her.  Geez, every sound she made was so cute and sexy. The feeling of her fingers running through my hair only spurred me on further.

“Kyp… oh, Kyp, take me! Please, take me!  I’ll… I’ll go insane if you don’t!”

Damn, she’s sensitive. Never had a girl begging like that before.  But again, not complaining at all.  After all this foreplay, my cock was already throbbing and ready for the main event, as it were.  I slid back up face-to-face with Ayana and gave a little kiss to her forehead before pressing my member against her entrance.  She gasped in pleasure as I penetrated her; god, the look on her face was priceless.

Ayana’s pussy was amazingly tight, almost virginal.  Her folds didn’t just envelop me, they were squeezing me with everything they had.  I had to be careful with my thrusts; didn’t want to hurt the poor girl, after all.  To my relief, I soon felt her hands gripping my bare ass, almost begging me to pound her harder.

I was no stranger to kinky romps around the sheets with multiple positions involved, but I could tell Ayana was loving the hell out of this as we were.  Besides, after all the excitement of today, I was more than happy with a relaxing, lazy screw.  And as much as Ayana came from the good old missionary position, I wasn’t about to mess things up for her.  Hell, she probably had five or six orgasms when all was said and done!  Sensitive, indeed.

“Kyp,” Ayana panted, recovering from her latest climax, “is it… your turn?”

“Do you want it to be?” I chuckled, savoring the effect I had on her.

“Yes… and no.  I don’t want it to end, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to stay awake if you make me cum again,” she replied with an impish grin. “I think… you should pound me until you explode.  You’ve earned it.”

Yeah, you try to resist when a pretty thing like Ayana tells you that.

*****

I stirred some hours later, still spooned against Ayana’s warm body.  A quick glance confirmed it was still dark outside, but once I felt her perky little butt against my cock, going back to sleep was not an option.  I decided to test the waters and planted a few soft kisses on the back of her neck.  Wasn’t sure at first if she even noticed, but her breathing became a bit deeper. Even if she was still asleep, I could tell she enjoyed it.  A little brush of the hand against her nipples, and her body at last shifted.

“Mmm… is it morning?” Ayana mumbled.

“No, still dark out,” I whispered.  “We’ve got some time.”

Ayana rolled over in my arms and kissed me deeply.  “Time… we should make the most of it, then,” she replied.

A gentle touch was all she needed to push me flat on my back.  I could only barely see her silhouette in the darkness, but I felt her mount me and start to grind her pussy against me.  I moved my hands to her hips to try and participate, but she instead took them in her hands and playfully pinned them back against my pillow.

“No,” she whispered. “Let me take care of you, this time.”

“Yes, ma’am.”  What else could I say?

Ayana soon took my engorged cock back into her pussy.  Her movements weren’t fast or frantic, but slow and sensual.  Every crease of her silky tunnel blew my mind, and with the way she started kissing my neck and chest, I was pretty much powerless.  Then again, she did say she wanted to take care of me. Why not let her?  Our lazy fucking lasted a good long time, at least a half hour. Ayana’s such a little sweetheart, and damn, did she ever know how to get me going.  And those perky breasts of hers?  Well, let’s just say it’s even better when her hard nipples rubbed against my chest as we went.  After a while, her leg muscles were close to giving out, so she rotated into sitting cross-legged on top of me and pulled me to sit up straight with her.  All it took was a little more sucking on her nipples to send us both over the edge.  The last thing I remember before passing out again was Ayana collapsing onto my chest and nuzzling my face with hers.

*****

The next time I awoke, my eyes hurt from the sunlight streaming in through the nearby window. I blinked a few times and reached for Ayana, but she didn’t move an inch; she was still out cold from last night. I kissed her cheek and gave her cute little ass a squeeze to wake her up.

“Morning, beautiful.”

“Mmm… good morning,” she purred.  “What time is it?”

“0800 hours,” I said, checking the clock on my nightstand.

“Good.  I don’t have to report until noon.  Care for another round?”

“As much as I’d love that, I really need to get going,” I said regretfully.

“Perfectly fine.  I understand.”  Before I could slip out of bed, though, she lunged forward and kissed me once more.  “Kyp, thank you for such a wonderful evening.  It was my genuine pleasure to take care of you.”

“Same here, gorgeous.” I then exited the bed and made for the bathroom.  “Feel free to lounge a bit longer, if you want.  Sounds like they gave you a relaxing morning.”

“I think I’ll do just that, thank you,” Ayana grinned, pulling the covers over her face.

After catching a quick shower, I dressed for the day and headed out the door, ready to leave as soon as possible.  But on my way out, I noticed the door to the room next to mine was open.  Daring a peek inside, I saw no sign of Tali. Worse, her room was ransacked, like there had been a fight of some sort.  Though the smart move might have been to leave and ask no questions, something was nagging in the back of my mind.  Sighing, I went back into my room.

“Forget something?” Ayana asked, still naked in bed.

“What happened to Tali?” I asked.

Ayana cocked her head. “Whatever do you mean?”

“I know Tali was sleeping in the room next door.  When I just went out there, the door was open and the room was a mess, like there was a fight or something.  Any idea what happened?”

Ayana paused for a split second.  Even before she answered, the look in her eyes told me everything.

“I’m quite sure I don’t know.  I’m only a slave, after all.  It didn’t concern me.”

“Bantha fodder,” I shot back.  “I can see it in your eyes.  You know something.”

A tear rolled down Ayana’s face.  “Please, don’t do this.  I’m not even supposed to know anything.  My master will kill us both.”

“Ayana, if Tali gets hurt, that’s on you.”

She buried her face in her pillow at this, bawling at what had to be a massive inner conflict. Maybe it wasn’t fair for me to ask this of her, but all I had to go on was my gut instinct.  It’d never steered me wrong.

“I overheard Krah last night,” Ayana finally said.  “He discovered that Tali is a Rebel spy, sent to obtain the hyperdrive unit.  The Hutts have a nonaggression pact with the Empire, but aiding a Rebel like this, even unknowingly, would have risked nullifying that pact.  Krah was dispatched to capture her and make an example.  I… can only assume she is now my master’s prisoner.  Perhaps even a member of his harem.”

As Ayana continued to cry, I walked over and kissed her forehead.  “Thank you.  You did the right thing.”

“Kyp, please promise me-”

“Nobody will ever know this conversation happened,” I promised.  “Word of honor.  That is, if you promise the same.”

“Of course,” she replied, looking up at me with her beautiful brown eyes.  “I would never wish any harm on you, Kyp.”  As I turned to leave, she asked, “What do you plan to do?”

I pursed my lips at that question.  “Dunno. Still working on that.  Anyway, take care of yourself, Ayana.”

*****

“Leecam, how’re things looking?” I asked as I boarded the Fool’s Errand.

“The hyperdrive unit has been installed and all systems are green.  We may depart whenever you wish.  Shall I initiate takeoff procedures?”

“No, not yet,” I replied, still working things out in my head.

“Sir, is something wrong?” Leecam asked.

“Uh… not sure. Leecam, were you watching the tournament last night?”

“Of course, sir.  A brilliant showing on your part.”

“Thanks.  Remember Tali?  The female Zeltron I was up against?”

“Yes.  She was quite the player,” Leecam remarked.

“Yeah.  Well, I think she may have gotten herself into some trouble,” I said, recounting the events of this morning.

“My, my… that is quite unsettling,” Leecam replied once I finished.  “The Hutts are known to keep their female slaves on a very tight leash, sometimes in the literal sense.  And if this Tali is indeed a Rebel spy, I can only imagine the harsh treatment she would receive before being turned over to the Empire.”

“Exactly,” I nodded. “I know what my basic survival instincts are saying, move on, this isn’t my fight.  But…”

“Sir, I am only a droid. I have no ability to comprehend morality within my programming, however, I must say that I have never seen you so indecisive.  If you are having such trouble leaving at this time, could it perhaps be because you already know what you wish to do?”

“Yeah, I know what I should do.  But doing it?  That’s a different question.  I’m putting my neck on the line for this girl I barely know.  Shit… ok, if I’m doing this, I’m gonna need your help, Leecam. Here’s what I’m thinking…”

*****

Once I exited the Fool’s Errand, Leecam initiated takeoff, leaving me in the hangar.  Across the way, I saw Krah keeping an eye on things.  He had a confused look on his face, as I expected he would.

“Is everything all right, Mr. Grant?” he asked as I approached.

“Yeah, we just needed some supplies before we head off-world,” I answered casually.

“I see… yet, you are still here?”

Nodding, I lowered my voice and said, “I, um, also wanted to make sure I thanked my host personally before I left.  His hospitality has been overwhelming… especially the company last night.”

Krah’s eyes lit up as he got it.  “Of course. As it so happens, the mighty Beelma has no other guests today.  Come, I shall escort you so you may thank him in person.”

“I appreciate it,” I said with a smile.

My mind was running a parsec a minute as I followed Krah through the dim hallways.  This was a dangerous gambit, and I might not even have a chance to do anything.  I decided that if Tali wasn’t with Beelma in his throne room, there was nothing more I could do to help her and I’d gracefully exit.  But I knew I had to try.

Soon, we arrived at Beelma’s audience chamber.  It was so different from how it had been the day before.  Where yesterday it was teaming with guests and entertainment, it now only had Beelma, a few of his female slaves, and four Gamorrean guards. I locked eyes with Ayana for a moment. She gave me a sweet smile, and I returned her look with a subtle wink.  But as I looked around the room, I at last saw Tali.  She now wore a metal bikini and a sour expression on her face, no doubt from Beelma chaining her to his platform.  Chauvinistic as it may be, I had to admit her new attire suited her quite well.  Damn…

“Kyp Grant… I’m a bit surprised to see you again so soon,” Beelma said in Huttese as I stepped forward.

I replied, “I’ll be leaving soon, but I couldn’t go without coming to thank you in person for your hospitality.  I was especially floored by your generosity last night.”

Beelma grunted at this. “Ah… I take it that you enjoyed the company of my Ayana?  You found her… satisfactory?”

“More than satisfactory. She’s a little sweetheart,” I said with a smile.

“I quite agree!” Beelma said with a hearty laugh.

Taking a deep breath, I then glanced at Tali.  “Well, what happened to you?  You lose a bet or something?” I asked with a smartass grin on my face.

“Shut up,” Tali sneered.

“Ooh!  This one’s got some bite!” I said.

“Indeed, she does,” replied Beelma.  “I found out this little troublemaker is a spy for the Rebellion.  She thought she could pull one over on old Beelma and endanger our truce with the Empire in the process.  Stupid girl!”

“Not a smart move,” I said, earning another glare from Tali.  “If I may ask, what do you plan to do with her?  I mean, I’m sure the Empire would pay well for a Rebel spy, but she’s also a Zeltron.  She might be more valuable as… another sort of commodity.”

“Indeed, and that is why I intend to keep her.  Zeltrons are known for their beauty, but they are also known to rarely keep to any one person; monogamy is not in their nature.  Who else could possibly hope to tame such a wild beauty for himself except a great Hutt like me?  This girl will be the crown jewel of my harem for years to come.”

“You’ll be certain to make every man in the galaxy jealous.  Hell, I already am.”  After a pause, I continued, “If I may, I remember her carrying a blaster, a Bryar pistol, if I’m not mistaken.  If you happen to still have it, I’d love to buy it from you.  It’d make for a great backup weapon for me.”

Beelma nodded.  “Krah, you still have the Zeltron’s weapon, yes?”

“I do, Master.”

Krah stepped forward and handed me the pistol.  As in inspected it, I could tell the blaster was in excellent condition.  Tali clearly took good care of her weapons, which made sense if she was a Rebel.  But as I looked the gun over, I also glanced around the room and marked the positions of all potential hostiles.  Only four guards, each with axes; that made Krah the only other person in the room armed with a blaster.  Beelma was different; I wouldn’t be able to attack him directly, since most blaster fire couldn’t penetrate a Hutt’s thick skin.  Still, the tub of lard was unarmed, and if I acted quick enough, this should work out in my favor.

“Very nice,” I said. “I’ll pay… five-hundred credits. How’s that sound?”

“Done,” Krah replied.

I then reached into my backpack, pretending to look for the money, but instead took hold of my own DL-18 blaster, which I had previously hidden in there.  Before anyone else had a chance to react, I took one blaster in each hand and opened fire.  Krah was dead before anyone knew what had happened.  The two closest Gamorreans were still reaching for their axes by the time I blasted each in the face.  Finally, the last two charged me, but in their eagerness, tripped over each other, allowing me to finish them with ease.  The entire exchange lasted less than five seconds.  As Beelma and his slaves were still in shock, I had a perfect opening to turn and blast Tali’s chain.

“Come on!” I shouted, tossing Tali’s blaster to her.

Now, I saw it.  Where everyone else in the room was still processing the situation, Tali had a look of sheer determination on her face.  In spite of her youth, she was clearly a seasoned warrior who had encountered many dangerous situations in service to the Rebellion.  She knew this was our chance, but only if we were fast.  She caught her blaster without even a second look and had it ready in an instant, jumping off Beelma’s platform with incredible agility.

“NO!!!” Beelma roared.

We were so close, but the wily old Hutt was faster than I had expected he would be, and he managed to mash the button near his throne just as we turned to run.  Beelma laughed that belly laugh all Hutts were famous for as we tumbled down the chute and into his krayt dragon pit.

“Oof!” Tali grunted, landing on top of me for good measure.

“You’re welcome,” I said with a smartass grin.

“For what?  Getting me eaten alive?” she fired back, more than a little pissed.

“Hey, at least we’ve got blasters,” I pointed out.

The krayt dragon pit was bigger than I expected, essentially a rocky arena.  We both turned at the sound of a gate creaking open, revealing the monstrous beast intent on eating us.  It was bigger than I thought, standing twice as tall as me, even on all fours.  The big lizard crawled toward us, drooling and snarling at what I’m sure it presumed would be its next meal.  And if those fangs or claws got hold of me, I would be.  At least I had activated my tracker when we fell down here.  Now, we just had to survive…

“I have a bad feeling about this,” Tali muttered.

“Die!” I heard Beelma bellow, laughing with glee.

I dared a quick glance above, seeing that Beelma had opened the entire floor of his throne room, rather than watch on a viewscreen.  Poor Ayana was fighting back tears as she watched.  In the nick of time, a feral hiss from the dragon snapped me back to the task at hand.  I rolled out of the way, avoiding the dragon’s opening lunge.  After giving a bit of ground, Tali and I ended up on either side of the beast and fired on it with our blasters.  The creature growled in pain, but appeared no worse for the wear; there were only a couple of burn marks on its thick, scaly hide.

“You got a backup plan?” Tali asked, the fear now apparent on her face.

“This is the backup plan,” I replied.

The dragon then turned to attack Tali, who fired off a hipshot to try and keep the beast at bay. Thankfully, the blast struck inside the dragon’s mouth, forcing it to back off for a second as it hissed in pain.

“Looks like that did something,” I offered.

“Yeah, it did something: it pissed it off!” Tali replied.

Sure enough, the dragon lunged again for Tali, shrugging off her blasts and keeping up with every dodge she made.  I shot back to try and distract it as best I could, but nothing was working.  The dragon had figured out our game of divide and conquer, meaning it knew it had to focus on one of us at a time.  Pretty soon, Tali was backed into a corner. Worse, she tripped on a rock and dropped her blaster, leaving her defenseless.  The krayt dragon inched closer until it was just inches from Tali. I had to think of something, and fast. That was when I remembered that this was a canyon krayt dragon.

“AWOOOOOOOOH!”

To my surprise, it actually worked.  The canyon krayt, despite its fearsome strength, isn’t the top predator on Tatooine. That title belongs to its much larger cousin, the greater krayt dragon.  The greater krayt is the only thing a canyon krayt fears.  Hell, greater krayts were even known to prey on the occasional sarlacc!  My dead-on imitation of the greater krayt dragon’s mating cry was enough to stop the canyon krayt in its tracks.

“AWOOOOOOOOH!”

I continued my dragon call, distracting the canyon krayt and allowing Tali to retrieve her weapon. After a few seconds, she picked up on what I was doing and started to join in, causing the beast to back up in fear. Pretty soon, it retreated back into its pen.  Even though the gate was still open, the fact that we had gotten it to retreat for the moment was nothing short of miraculous.

“That was impressive,” Tali said with a grin.  “Where’d you learn that?”

“I’ve done some survival training in the past.  Never know when it’ll come in handy.”

At that moment, the entire pit was rocked by a sudden explosion from behind us.  While Tali dove to the ground in a panic, I knew exactly what had happened.  I smiled as I saw the Fool’s Errand appear from the smoke and dust, landing on the floor of the krayt dragon pit.

“Here’s our ride,” I said to Tali, helping her to her feet.

“What the hell?  You planned this?!” Tali asked.

“Yep, my droid was waiting on the canyon floor for my signal,” I replied.  “Leecam, weapons hot?” I then asked into my com.

“Yes, sir.  Cannons are ready, concussion missiles are loaded and armed.”

“Great.  Keep us covered.”

While we sprinted for the boarding ramp, I noticed the hole Leecam had blasted in the canyon wall was directly below Beelma’s throne.  After a few seconds, the rocks began to give way, and Beelma himself soon fell from the throne room above and down into the pit.  Tali and I paid him no mind and scampered up the boarding ramp.

Once in the cockpit, I was treated to the magnificent sight of the dragon reemerging from its pen. Gone were to two humanoids it had expected to eat, but it now spied a much larger meal.  Even from inside the Fool’s Errand, we could hear Beelma screaming in rage and terror as the krayt dragon latched its jaws around the Hutt’s tail and shook him in every direction. The resulting whiplash was more than enough to disorient Beelma, who didn’t even realize he was being eaten until he was halfway down the dragon’s throat.

“Ugh… still an awful way to go,” I remarked.

“Yeah, but couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy,” Tali replied with a satisfied smile on her lips.

“Leecam, get us out of here.”

“Yes, sir.  Where to?”

“Any safe port.  We just need out of this system.”

“Understood, sir.”

Tali’s grin just got bigger, I noticed.  “Looks like your droid has things in hand,” she said.  “Come on, let me treat that cut you got back there.”

Before I could even ask what cut Tali was talking about, she grabbed my arm and pulled me from the cockpit. After closing the door, she had me pinned against the wall and forced her tongue down my throat.  I enjoyed it, of course, but her sudden actions meant I could barely breathe, forcing me to push her off for a moment.

“Shit, girl!  You don’t waste any time, do ya?” I chuckled as I caught my breath.

A second later, her lips were on mine again.  Between kisses, she managed, “Take me… your bed… now.”

Getting lucky with a Twi’lek and a Zeltron?  In the same day?!  Yeah, poor me.  Anyway, we were only a few feet away from my quarters, but it was quite the struggle to get there with Tali wrapped around me.  Again, not complaining, mind you.  Once inside, Tali immediately pushed me, maybe even threw me, onto my bed, landing me on my back.  She stood for a few seconds more, locking the door and straightening her hair a bit. Damn, every move she made was so fucking hot.  Still, I knew better than to make any assumptions.

“Tali, please believe me when I say I really, really want to do this, but I don’t want you to feel like you have to,” I said. “I mean-”

“Kyp, let me ask you something,” she interrupted, her eyes still aflame with what I could only assume was lust.  “Have you ever had make-up sex?”

“You mean, like, after a big argument?  Yeah,” I nodded.

“Well, multiply that by about fifty times over, and you’ve got rescue sex.  And you’re about to get a serious dose of just that.”

With that, Tali dove onto the bed and locked lips with me once again.  As she started to kiss her way down my body, unbuttoning my shirt as she went, I could tell she was secreting her pheromones.  But while I had worked to resist them yesterday, I was more than happy to give in to them today.  Holy shit, she was a fucking goddess, especially in that metal bikini.

I took a sharp breath in as Tali arrived at my crotch.  She went straight to work, yanking off my pants in record time and exposing my throbbing erection.  She stared at it for a few seconds with hungry eyes, licking her lips for good measure. But just when I thought she might be teasing me, she took my cock into her mouth with no hesitation.  Fuck, the sensations were intense!  Combine Tali’s expert ministrations with that sexy little outfit of hers, and it’s a wonder I didn’t blow my top right there.  Hell, my time with Ayana last night was the only thing that let me keep it in check for a while longer.

“Enjoying yourself?” Tali asked, coming up for air.

“Shit, you have no idea…”

“Oh, I think I do.”

I could tell she was enjoying driving me crazy, but I still noticed a twinge of pain or discomfort on her face.  “You ok?” I asked.

Tali shrugged.  And yes, even her shrugs were sexy.  “Eh, it’s just this outfit.  I know you men love it, but a metal bra and panties? Not very comfy for the girls.”

I couldn’t help it. “Well, maybe you should take them off?”

Tali rolled her eyes, but I caught that little smile on her face.  Without another word, she stood over me on top of the bed, treating me to the full view of her perfect hourglass figure.  After unhooking the clasp, she slipped the bra off and tossed it to the floor, revealing her best assets at last.  Though she had made a little show of taking the bra off, Tali couldn’t wait to get out of the bottoms of her outfit.  Tali stood still for a few moments while I drank her in.  To this day, hers are still the most incredible pair of breasts I’ve ever seen.  Large, soft, and damn, they jiggled with every little move she made. Almost as enticing was her bare pussy, shaved so well there wasn’t even a hint of stubble, though I’d have to take a closer look to be certain.

“Much better,” Tali sighed, flipping her hair back in that sexy way of hers.

“Definitely,” I agreed, feeling my mouth dry out.

Tali’s mischievous grin only got bigger as she lowered her hips to straddle me.  Still, she took her time, teasing and torturing my engorged member with her fingers.  Shit, I wanted inside that pussy so bad, but she was the one in charge for the moment. Soon, she started grinding her moist slit against my length.  God, she can be such a tease, but only in the right ways, of course.  Tali, for her part, enjoyed the hell out of her grinding. I mean, my cock was right on her clit, as best I could tell, so why wouldn’t she be enjoying it?  But all the while, she kept a close eye on me, wanting to drive me to the point of insanity before giving me what I wanted.

“Oh, poor baby,” Tali cooed. “Did you want me to do something? I mean, you just have to speak up. Y’know, ask nicely.”

“Come on…” I groaned.

“Come on, what?” she replied with a smartass grin.  “What is it you want, Kyp?”

Ooh, she was playing a dangerous game.  I’m usually just fine with letting my bedmates have their way with me, but a man can only take so much teasing before he decides to take control of the situation. Seeing the fire in Tali’s eyes, it dawned on me that was exactly what she wanted.  With just a little bit of playful force, I grabbed her by the shoulders and pulled her inches from my face.

“What I want,” I whispered, “is for you to fuck me with that sweet little pussy of yours.”

Jackpot.  I could feel how much wetter Tali became the instant she heard me say that.  A second later, she became a woman possessed, impaling herself on my rod and riding me with everything she had.  I, of course, couldn’t just let her do whatever she wanted.  When she tried to sit back up straight, I kept her held against my chest.  I mainly just wanted to keep feeling those amazing tits squished against me, but this also had the effect of causing her to lock lips with me again.  It wasn’t just kissing, either.  Tali was so horny she pulled back to suck on my finger, hell, she even nibbled my lips and earlobes for good measure.  Rescue sex, indeed.

“Kyp,” Tali said, starting to sound a bit winded, “I’m so sorry.  This is supposed to be your reward for saving me from being a Hutt’s slave, but here I am, using you for my own selfish pleasure.”

“I sure as hell ain’t complaining,” I shot back, hearing the playful sarcasm in her voice.

“Maybe so… but you’re the hero in this, Kyp.  You deserve to use me… however you want to.”  With that, she withdrew and spun around on her hands and knees, jiggling her curvy ass in the air.  “Come on, Kyp.  Take me. Do me from behind,” Tali beckoned.

Damn, I was on her before I even knew what happened.  I dunno if it was the sight of Tali’s ass on display, her sexy voice, or her pheromones, but no force in the universe could’ve hoped to stop me in that moment. Shit, the sight of my cock sliding in and out of her beautiful pink pussy was so fucking hot.  And the sultry look Tali threw over her shoulder?  My god, I don’t think I’ve ever been with a girl who loved sex so much, and I didn’t even care if it had nothing to do with it being me.  I was just glad to be a part of the experience.

I continued to fuck her, making that delicious ass jiggle and bounce with every thrust of my cock. When Tali instinctively arched her back a little, I had the thought to gently grab her hair and pull her face back a little.  A long moan from her told me not to stop at all, and when Tali started pushing back on me with each of my thrusts, I knew we were both close.  Keeping her long hair in one hand, I placed my other hand on her shoulder to steady myself and began to pound her with everything I had.

“Shit… oh, fuck! Kyp!” Tali moaned.

“God… I’m close, Tali.”

“Then give it to me, dammit!”

Well, that did it.  No more delaying the inevitable, not with this sex goddess making a demand like that.  My last few thrusts were a blur of sensations, intensified even further by Tali’s own climax.  Our bodies twitched as we rode out the last waves of our orgasms, at last collapsing onto the bed with Tali spooned against me.

“Holy fuck… that was… incredible,” I heard her say through her panting.

“You’re tellin’ me…”

Tali rolled over to face me, a goofy grin still on her face.  “It’s no wonder you and Ayana got me going last night.”

My eyebrows shot up at this. “Um…”

“Oh, relax,” she giggled. “I’m a Zeltron, remember? Empathic powers, in particular when it comes to romantic situations.  From the moment Ayana showed up at your door last night, I was so damn horny.”

“So, you… watched?”

“In a manner of speaking,” Tali said.  “I mean, there was only one wall separating our rooms, and you two were getting pretty hot and heavy.  Gave me two good cums in the process.  Not bad at all.  I only wish I could’ve joined in.”

This definitely got my attention.  The only thing more mind-blowing than making it with a Twi’lek and a Zeltron in the same day would be at the same time!

“And why didn’t you?” I asked, trying to choose my words with care.

Tali shrugged, causing her breasts to jiggle again.  “I might have enjoyed the end result, but it still would’ve been rude of me.  I have some standards, after all!”

We laughed.  There was a comfortable silence between us for several long minutes.  I was just glad to be a part of the conversation.  But after a bit, Tali spoke up again, getting that same mischievous twinkle in her eyes.

“So… tell me about her?”

“Um, who?” I asked, still a little groggy from my recent physical exertion.

“Ayana, silly!” Tali replied, slapping me playfully on the forehead.  “What’s she like?”

“You… seriously wanna know about another girl I slept with?!”

“Of course!  I’m pretty much incapable of jealousy, so long as there aren’t any ulterior motives involved.  And Ayana seems like such a nice girl.”

“Yeah,” I said with a smile.

“What did you like about her?”

“She’s such a sweetheart,” I answered.  “Like, the girl-next-door, or something like that.  Minus the whole slavery thing, of course.  To be honest, I kinda felt bad afterward, like I had used her.  Taken advantage of her.”

Tali kissed me on the cheek at that.  “Don’t feel that way.  You gave her a nice, relaxing night off, and she was grateful for that.  I could sense it, among her other emotions.  What else?  How different is she from me?”

“Oh, I’m not fallin’ for that!” I said with a laugh.  “Comparing two girls to each other?!  It’s a trap!”

“I promise it’s not!” Tali giggled.  “C’mon, word of honor.  It’s just a question.”

Against my better judgement, I decided to answer.  “Well, with you, it’s very physical.  Positions, passion, all that stuff.  But Ayana’s a little romantic.  She took things slow, but every little move she made was so precise.  Like… like…”

Tali silenced me with a kiss and took my length in her hands, stroking it back to full erection in a matter of seconds.

“Show me.”

“Come again?” I asked, not sure of what I heard.

“Show me,” she grinned. “Make love to me like you did to Ayana.”

My eyes went wide at her suggestion.  “You’re sure about this?”

“Positive.  I’ve always had trouble bringing out the hopeless romantic in me.  Maybe this will help?  So, what did you and Ayana do first?”

“Well, she was kissing me, like you did, but slower.”

“Mmm… I see…”

At that, Tali went straight to work, planting soft kisses all over my nude body.  After starting around my neck, she lingered around my chest for a while before traveling lower.  She stopped just short of my crotch, though, to my disappointment.

“Did she go further?” Tali asked innocently.

“Uh… no.”  I wasn’t about to start lying to this girl.

“Aw, poor girl.  She’s missing out,” Tali giggled.  “What happened next?”

“She, um, pulled me on top of her.  On the bed.”

“Like… this?”

I couldn’t help but grin as I landed on Tali’s body.  “Yeah.”

“And what next?”

“I… took my time exploring her body,” I said.

Tali liked the sound of that.  “Have at it, then.”

For the next several minutes, I teased and tormented her just as she had done to me a few minutes ago. Of course, Tali wasn’t satisfied with just that.  As I went, she had me describe every detail of Ayana’s body to her, even in comparison to her own.  With any other girl, that’d be signing my death warrant!  But not Tali; she was loving every second of it.  By the time I arrived at her breasts, I felt the irresistible urge to linger for a while.  They were, after all, the most beautiful pair I had ever seen or touched.

“Knew you were a breast man,” Tali giggled.

“What can I say?  The female body is a work of art, and I love admiring and worshiping it,” I replied.

I felt her purr and squirm under me as I suckled her.  Shit, hers were so big and soft; they were a perfect fit in my hands.

“Tell me… about Ayana’s,” Tali managed.

I smiled at the thought of hers.  “Very different from yours, but equally enjoyable.”

“Really?”

“Yep.  Hers are so small, but firm and perky.  Yours are fun to play with, but hers are so sensitive. I think she even came just from breast play alone.”

“Damn,” Tali sighed. “I really should’ve joined you…”

I moved back up face-to-face with her.  “Hey, you’re here now, right?”

“True.”

I was beyond done with foreplay at that point.  Much longer and I would’ve gotten a bad case of blue balls.  Good thing Tali was more than happy to welcome me back into her sweet pussy.  Still, I made sure to take my time with it, like I had done with Ayana.  She asked for it, after all.

“Tell me more about Ayana. How did she feel… down there?” Tali asked.

Well, no going back. “Um… she was… tight,” I admitted.

Tali’s eyes widened at this. “How tight?”

“Like… virginal, almost.”

“You mean… like… this?”

I couldn’t believe it. All of a sudden, there was a massive constriction around my cock, like the walls were closing in.  It felt amazing, and was almost identical to how Ayana had felt last night.

“Holy shit!  Just like that!  How are you doing that?”

Tali did her signature hair flip again.  “Practice, practice, practice.  Once a girl learns how to flex her muscles down there, anything is possible.  Now, keep going, lover.”

By now, there was no more holding back.  Tali’s tight pussy beckoned me, begged me to have my way with her.  I was able to give her two nice orgasms by toying her clit with my finger as I went.  She was very appreciative of that, and was soon pleading with me to finish; we both knew this would trigger another powerful orgasm for her.  Soon enough, I was spent.  Hell, we both were.  Even as my cock was still throbbing from our most recent romp, I could feel myself starting to nod off.  I dozed in and out of consciousness for a while, just enjoying having Tali asleep on my chest.  After a while, I felt her stir.

“Good nap, beautiful?” I asked, kissing her forehead.

“Mmm hmm,” she replied. “You’re one hell of a lover, Kyp.”

Yeah, I was just a little proud of myself.

“I’m glad I was able to get you out of there,” I said.  “Though, I still feel bad I couldn’t get to Ayana.  She’s still a slave there…”

“Why did you go for me instead of her?” she asked.

“Are you really a Rebel spy?”

“Yeah,” Tali nodded.

“That’s why.  There’s no telling how awful Beelma would’ve treated you.  And if the Empire got their hands on you?  Shit, I didn’t need that on my conscience.”

“But you had no skin in the fight?”

I sighed.  “Believe me, I nearly left.  My head wanted to, but my gut wouldn’t let me.”

Tali gave a soft smile and kissed me on the cheek.  “Because you’re a decent person, dammit.  Go figure, right?”

“Pretty much,” I chuckled. “So, how’d they capture you to begin with?  I’d have figured a Rebel spy would be more difficult to catch.”

Tali grimaced.  “I’m pretty sure they used Ayana to create their opening.  They knew they wouldn’t be able to distract me with a similar offering; I’d smell that trap a mile away.  But getting me all horny from you and Ayana?  It worked like a charm.  I was out like a light after sensing your little encounter.  By the time I saw that Krah had entered my room later that night, he had the upper hand on me.  I fought like hell, but…”

“Not your fault.  They play dirty,” I assured her.  “I still can’t even figure out how they knew you were a Rebel.”

“I overplayed my hand at dinner,” Tali explained.  “I was a part of the raid that cost Beelma his eye, and I guess by mentioning it, something jogged his memory.  Stupid mistake, but what can you do?”

“I’m just glad it worked out.”

“Me too.  So, you interested in one more heroic act?”

I gave her a suspicious glance.  “What are you up to?”

“Nothing,” she said with a not-so-innocent look on her face.  “But… well, is there any chance I could get that hyperdrive from you?”

I snorted and gave Tali a peck on the lips.  “Don’t push your luck, gorgeous.”

“Eh, had to try,” she shrugged.  After slipping out of bed, she asked, “You got any clothes I could bum off you? That bastard Hutt took everything I had down to my panties!  At least you got my blaster back.  Thanks for that, by the way.”

“No problem.”

“Anyway, I don’t need much, but I figure I shouldn’t walk around naked in front of your poor droid.”

“To be honest, I doubt he’d notice,” I laughed.  “But yeah, I’ve got some shirts and whatnot in the closet.  Check the bottom drawer; might be a pair of panties for you.”

Tali eyed me at that last revelation.  “What’s a smuggler doing flying around with panties in his closet?” she teased me.

“Eh, I had a female guest a few months back, she flew with me for about a week.  When she went her own way, she left a few pairs behind by accident.  Trust me, nothing pervy,” I promised.

“Yeah, right.”  After winking at me, Tali pulled out a thong from the bottom drawer and slipped it over her luscious hips.  “Look at that!  A perfect fit!  Guess I really am your type, huh?”

“I guess you could say that.”

Tali rummaged around the closet for a minute more before emerging with one of my white button-up shirts. I warned her that it had shrunk and didn’t fit me anymore, but I couldn’t complain after she slipped it on and fastened only the button directly in front of her breasts.  To this day, I still can’t figure out how she didn’t pop right out of it.

“You like?” she asked, giving a little spin.

“Do gundarks shit in the woods?”

Tali giggled at this. “A man’s clothes always look better on a woman.”

“Sir, we will have to exit hyperspace unexpectedly,” Leecam said over the com.  “I need you in the cockpit at once.”

“I’ll be right there,” I replied, throwing on some clothes.  “Well, that kills the mood…”

“Kyp, wait,” said Tali as I was about to head out the door.  “I have to tell you something.”

“We might have a situation. Can it wait?”

“No, it can’t.”  Tali sighed before continuing, “The reason you’re going to have to exit hyperspace is an Alliance blockade.”

I eyed her for several long seconds before asking, “And how would you know that?”

“Because I activated a tracker right after takeoff.  They’re here for me… and the hyperdrive unit.”

“So, you set me up?!” I seethed.

“No, it’s not like that!” she pleaded, her face close to tears.  “Yes, I have orders to obtain the hyperdrive by any means necessary, including seducing whomever Beelma sold it to.  But that was before you saved my life!”

“Nice try, thanks for playing!  You still did your little tracker bit after I saved your life.”

“I didn’t do that for me, Kyp.  I did it for you.”

“The hell does that mean?”

Tali sat on the bed at this, saying, “The whole reason I’m telling you this now is that there’s still a way this entire situation can work out for us all.  Shit, I thought it would be easy to just seduce you and get the hyperdrive away from you, but I didn’t count on the possibility of falling for you. But you’re a good guy, Kyp.  You deserve to come out on top in this situation. And if you play your cards right, you still can.”

*****

“What do we have, Leecam?” I asked, arriving in the cockpit with Tali.

“We are approaching a blockade of some sort.  Exiting hyperspace now.”

As the ship lurched to sublight engines, I immediately saw that we were surrounded by three Mon Calamari cruisers and a dozen X-wing and A-wing fighters.  It was the Rebel fleet, all right.  A moment later, I received a transmission.

“Attention, Fool’s Errand.  This is the Alliance flagship Home One.  Do not attempt to flee; our tractor beam has been activated.  Prepare for immediate boarding.”

“Sir, what are your orders?” Leecam asked.

“Just keep an eye on things. I’ll handle this.”

“Understood.”

Soon, my ship landed in the hanger of the Rebel cruiser with a thud and I made my way to the boarding ramp. I unlatched it without a fuss, but I had no intention of exiting my ship.  If the Rebellion wanted to deal with me, they’d do it on my turf.  A minute later, a human male walked up the ramp with a tall droid in tow.  He looked about my age, though was a few inches shorter than me.  Still, his dark hair and hardened face made it clear that this was a man that had seen serious action in his days.  The droid was an odd sight, as it bore Imperial markings.  But neither Tali nor this Rebel seemed alarmed, so I kept my mouth shut for the moment.

“Lieutenant Haru,” the man said to Tali.

“Captain,” Tali replied, stepping forward.  Turning to me, she said, “Kyp, this is Captain Cassian Andor, my superior. Captain, this is Kyp Grant.  He saved my life.”

Cassian looked me up and down before saying, “You have my sincere thanks.  Lieutenant Haru is one our best.”

“From the way the Lieutenant is dressed, I’d say he would agree with you,” the droid remarked, forcing me to stifle a laugh.

“Shut up, K-2!” Tali and Cassian said in unison.

Cassian continued, “I apologize.  K-2SO is a reprogrammed Imperial security droid.  He’s an invaluable asset to us, but the reprogramming has made him… eccentric.”

“At least he’s got more personality than my droid,” I smirked.

“You said he saved your life.  What happened?  Were you hurt in any way?” Cassian asked Tali.

“Only my pride,” Tali replied.  “Beelma figured me out, pegged me for a Rebel spy.  His henchman snuck into my room last night and took me prisoner.”

“How did you escape?”

“I intervened,” I said. “When I heard about Tali’s predicament, I requested an audience with Beelma to thank him for his hospitality. All I had to do was find a way to get Tali’s blaster back.  Once I bought it from them, taking out the guards was easy, allowing me to free her. Beelma sent us into his krayt dragon pit before we could escape, but my droid got there in time with my ship.  He blasted us out of there, we took off, and here we are.”

“A daring rescue.  Why would you take such a risk for Lieutenant Haru?”

I sighed.  “Believe me, I almost left.  But if she really was a Rebel, there’s no telling how harsh Beelma’s men would have been to her.  And that’s not even counting what the Empire would do if they got their hands on her. She’s a nice girl.  I couldn’t walk away.”

Cassian seemed satisfied with this.  “I’m glad you’re safe, Lieutenant.  Now, what of your mission?  Were you able to obtain the hyperdrive unit?”

“Um… no.”

“Why not?”

“Because the hyperdrive is mine,” I interjected.  “I won it, fair and square.”

As Cassian eyed me, I could see that Tali’s previous descriptions of her superior were correct. He was a rough man who had seen a lot of terrible things, but in spite of this, he was very cerebral.  Cassian always seemed to be calculating every possible outcome of a situation, like it was a game of holochess.  Good thing she had warned me of his tendencies and advised me on the best way to work with him to ensure the best deal for everyone involved.

“Won it, you say?” Cassian at last replied.

“Yep.  Beelma didn’t auction it off.  He held a Sabacc tournament with the hyperdrive unit as the prize.  Tali was good, but I was better.”

“I see,” Cassian said, thinking for a moment.  “I presume you wish for us to purchase it from you?”

I shook my head. “Sorry, but it’s not that simple. I’ve been looking for a hyperdrive like this for years.”

“As have we,” Cassian shot back.

“You understand my resistance, then.  The hyperdrive stays on my ship.  Period.”

Cassian took a few steps forward, coming right up into my face.  “Mr. Grant, you need to understand how much the Rebellion needs this hyperdrive. We struggle to survive each and every day, praying for any little advantage we can gain over the Empire. With this hyperdrive, we would at last have a ship capable of finding every backdoor in the galaxy.  We could bypass all the most dangerous Imperial checkpoints as we move our supplies about.  We must have it, by any means necessary.”

“Are you threatening me, Captain?” I growled.

“No,” Cassian smiled. “Just explaining the situation at hand as clearly as possible.  We wouldn’t want there to be any misunderstandings.”

“Good.  Because if you were threatening to harm me and take my property by force, you’d be nothing but a bunch of sleazy pirates.  And I know a sweet girl like Tali would never have joined up with pirates.”  After a few seconds of silence to build the tension, I continued, “As it so happens, I have a counterproposal, one that could be beneficial to both of us.”

“I’m listening.”

“You don’t just need this hyperdrive unit; you also need an ace pilot with smuggling experience to make your supply runs.  I’ve got that in spades.”

Cassian thought this over for a moment.  “You’re saying you wish to join the Alliance?”

“Not on your life.  No disrespect, of course, but I’m a smuggler. I look out for Number One, with the occasional moment that my conscience gets the better of me, like with Tali. I’m glad to help out, but that doesn’t mean I’m down with your revolution.”

“Fair enough,” Cassian nodded.  “Problem is, you’re one of the top smugglers in the galaxy.  I don’t know if the Alliance could afford your standard fees. It’s what’s stopped us from hiring you in the past.”

“How ‘bout I cut my fees in half?” I asked.

“Why would you do that?”

I shrugged.  “I’ve got money, for the most part.  But I need something else from the Rebellion: protection.”

“What sort of protection?”

“In the process of saving Tali’s life, I killed Beelma the Hutt, one of Jabba’s top underbosses. I’m gonna have a price on my head before too long.  But with the Rebel Alliance watching my back, I can go about my business with ease.”

“Hmm… I must say, I’m intrigued by your offer,” Cassian admitted.  “But how do we know you can be trusted?”

“Captain, is that really a fair question?” Tali asked, breaking her silence.  “This man saved my life with no thought of reward for himself. And besides, it’s standard for one of our own to accompany any of our contractors on their missions.  Surely that would be enough to ensure Kyp doesn’t go off the reservation, not that I think he would.”

“That should work,” said Cassian.  “We hire you to an exclusive contract and provide you protection from any Hutt retaliation, while you take on one of our people as a shipmate.  In return, you can keep the hyperdrive.  Is that acceptable, Mr. Grant?”

I nodded.  “I’m good with that, provided Tali is my handler.”

Cassian looked suspicious at that.  “Why her?”

“I have my reasons,” I grinned.

“Oh, please.  He wants to continue copulating with her!” K-2 said in exasperation.

“SHUT UP, K-2!” Tali shouted.  “Captain, I assure you my personal feelings for Kyp will not interfere with my duties. Did we sleep together?  Yes.  But my ultimate loyalties are to the Rebellion before anything else.”

“Relax, Lieutenant.  I do not doubt your ability to do your job,” Cassian waved her off.  “I think we can do that deal, though we’ll need your ship to remain here until we square everything away.”

“Fine by me,” I said. “I could use a bit of down time.”

“Excellent.”  Cassian then asked Tali, “Now, what of your other mission?”

“No luck,” Tali replied. “Before I was reassigned to this hyperdrive mission, I’d narrowed down our target’s recent whereabouts to the Five Points system, but that was over a month ago.”

“Dammit… I’m beginning to think we’ll never find her,” Cassian muttered.

“Um, maybe I’m out of line, but I was in the Five Points system a couple of months back,” I said. “Maybe I’ll recognize whoever you’re looking for.  Got a picture?”

Cassian pulled out a holodisk and displayed an image of an attractive brunette about my age.  I studied the image for several seconds; I was almost certain I had seen her before.  At last, it hit me.

“Do you know her?” Cassian asked.

“Yeah,” I nodded. “She said her name was Liana Hallik. Tough girl, definitely has a bit of a mean streak to her, but only when she’s threatened.  She was planning a heist of some sort and wanted my help with it, but there was little chance of success.  We were knee deep in Imperial territory, and the potential payout just wasn’t there.  No clue what happened to her, but if she went through with it, I’d bet she’s either dead or locked up in a labor camp.”

Tali glanced at Cassian before saying, “Liana Hallik.  That’s her alias, the one she uses most often…”

“Huh?”

“This woman, her real name is Jyn Erso.  We’ve been searching for her for a few months.  She’s vital to the survival of the Rebellion.”

“I don’t get it. Alias aside, she’s just a survivor of the streets.  What makes her so important?” I wondered.

“That’s classified,” Cassian said.  “But if she was arrested during this heist she was planning, the Empire would have imprisoned her on Wobani.  Unless they found out her true identity…”

“I think we need to look into it,” Tali told him.  “She’s too important not to try.”

“Agreed.  It’s a chance we have to take,” Cassian nodded. “I’ll head to Wobani once I’m done with the paperwork assigning you as Kyp’s partner.  Until then, you two stay put.”

“Will do,” Tali smiled. Once Cassian and K-2 had gone, Tali said to me, “You are something else, Kyp.  Not many can stand up to Captain Andor like that.  He’s one of our most intimidating operatives.”

“Only because you warned me in time,” I replied.  “You sure you won’t get in trouble?”

“I doubt it.  In the end, the Alliance got what they wanted.” She then sauntered up to me and planted a steamy kiss on my lips.  “Looks like we’re going to be working together for the foreseeable future. Think you can keep a working relationship with a bedmate?”

“I’m sure as hell willing to try,” I shot back with a grin.

Just as I was about to lean in for another kiss, we both heard a sound coming from beneath the floor. I wasn’t sure, but it definitely sounded like a person.

“Tali, your people aren’t doing maintenance under my ship, are they?”

“No,” she shook her head.

“Then it sounds like we’ve got a stowaway,” I whispered, drawing my blaster.

I crept down the hallway as quietly as I could, knowing a secret compartment for smuggling was near where I had heard the voice.  Tali followed behind me, ready to back me up with her blaster if the need arose.  I placed a finger to my lips as I knelt down and took hold of the latch on the floor, then yanked it open and readied my weapon.

“Freeze!”

“EEK!  Please, don’t shoot!”

I stepped back and relaxed, blaster still ready.  “Come out of there.”

To my utter shock and awe, out stepped a female Twi’lek with beautiful teal skin.  She was almost as tall as Tali, but thin and willowy where Tali was curvy.  My mind couldn’t comprehend how, but she had found me once again.

“Ayana?!  What the hell are you doing here?!” I asked through my smile.

“How did you get out of Beelma’s palace?!” Tali agreed, bounding toward her in excitement.  “You must tell me!”

“Are you ok?  Did you get hurt getting out of there?” I said.

“I am fine!” Ayana said, stepping back for some breathing room.  “If I can get a word in, I will tell you what happened!”

“Sorry, I guess we kinda bombarded you,” I admitted sheepishly.

“It’s fine,” she replied with a sweet smile.

“So, what happened?” Tali asked again, pulling Ayana to sit with her on a nearby sofa.

“It all happened so fast,” Ayana began.  “I was so distraught when the two of you were dropped into the krayt dragon pit that I wasn’t even paying attention to how close to the edge I was standing.  When your ship blasted through the wall and Beelma’s throne gave way, I fell into the pit with him.”

“Shit!  I didn’t even think of that!” I cursed, pissed that I had placed Ayana in danger.

“Do not worry, Kyp. It was for the best!” Ayana smiled. “While the beast was distracted with Beelma, I knew I had to escape in a hurry to avoid his fate.  As your ship was about to take off, my only option was to grab onto the landing gear.  Once that brought me up into the belly of the ship, I tried to crawl my way out and let you know I was onboard, but the hatch wouldn’t open.”

“Yeah, it’s a compartment that shouldn’t exist,” I said.  “Designed only to be opened from the outside.”

“Oh, you poor thing!” said Tali, taking Ayana’s hand.  “I’m so glad you weren’t hurt!”

“Thank you.”

“Kyp, will you fetch some food and fresh water?  Ayana must be dehydrated by now.”

“Will do.”

I stepped into the pantry for some energy bars, but hung out on the other side of the wall for a few minutes.  I was far enough away to give the girls some privacy, but still close enough that I could hear their conversation.  Yeah, yeah, I eavesdropped.  So, sue me! Anyway, their little girl-talk was interesting, to say the least.

“What will you do with your newfound freedom?” Tali asked.

“I… to be honest, I don’t know…”

“Well, if I may be so bold, why not join us?”

“Join you?  The Rebellion?” Ayana asked.

“Of course!  We’re fundamentally opposed to slavery in any form. You’d be surprised how many former slaves we have in our ranks.”

“I suppose… but why would you want me?  I have few desirable skills other than my beauty and dancing.”

Tali giggled.  “Don’t sell yourself short.  We’ll find a good fit for you.”  After a brief pause, Tali continued, “I might even be able to pull some strings and get you assigned to the Fool’s Errand with me and Kyp.”

Now, that got my attention.

“Really?  That’s so kind of you, but… I wouldn’t want to come between you and Kyp.”

“Oh, please.  We’ve both experienced Kyp as a lover, and I see no reason for either of us to have to step away.  I’m not jealous of the way he talks about you, and I’m more than capable of sharing.  And besides, I think the two of us could also have a lot of fun together.  That is, if you swing that way.”

“Oh!  Well… you are one of the most attractive females I’ve ever met,” Ayana admitted.  “I suppose that could be fun… and it would help ensure equality in our time with Kyp.”

Shit.  Another raging hardon straining my pants.  As excited as I was by this possibility, I knew I had to play my cards right, or this could all come crashing down on me.

“Thank you.  That’s very sweet of you to say, Ayana.  And I happen to agree; I’ve wanted to get intimate with that luscious little body of yours since I first saw you.”

I might have been hidden from view, but I could imagine Ayana blushing at that.

“Um… but what about Kyp? Would he be agreeable to this idea of yours?”

“Please… Kyp’s a red-blooded Corellian man.  If he objects to this, he needs to be committed.  But if you’re still unsure, I suppose we could ask him ourselves.  He’s been listening in this whole time, after all,” Tali giggled.  “Kyp, darling?  Would you join us?”

“Shit.  Busted,” I muttered under my breath.  Taking the snacks in hand, I emerged from the pantry. “Hey, ladies.  Whatcha been talkin’ about?”

Tali just rolled her eyes. “He really is a dreadful liar.”

“Yes, though I rather like it that way,” Ayana agreed with a smile.  “In any case, I’ve decided I’d like to join up with the Rebellion. After all, what safer place for a runaway slave than with them?”

“I think that’s a good move,” I replied.  “And you’re welcome to fly with me and Tali for as long as you want.”

“You really mean that, Kyp?”

“Of course.  And don’t think that the offer is tied to any relationship between us.  Even if all we are is friends, you’ll still have a home here, if you want it.”

“Did I tell ya, or did I tell ya?” Tali said.  “So, what do you think, Ayana?”

After a moment of silence, Ayana answered, “I think… if we’re going to be flying missions together for the foreseeable future, we ought to get to know each other much more… intimately.”

Without another word, Ayana stood and walked toward my bedroom.  Tali only smiled and popped the lone button holding my shirt closed on her chest, letting the garment fall to the floor.

“You heard the lady, Kyp,” Tali said before following Ayana.

Yeah, I am one lucky bastard.

*****

After that day, work was pretty steady for us.  The Alliance had a lot of smaller bases scattered throughout the galaxy in need of supplies, and the Fool’s Errand was the best ship to reach them with ease, thanks to its new hyperdrive. Tali became a hell of a second mate, able to help me and Leecam with repairs and modifications.  And, of course, she remains the most intense lover I’ve ever had in my life.  Hell, between her and Ayana, it’s a wonder I manage to get any work done at all!  The three of us get along pretty well, but I did have to upgrade the size of my bed; my first one was just a bit too cramped.

At first, Ayana thought she might stay only for a while before branching out on her own, but as luck would have it, she was permanently assigned to the Fool’s Errand.  Since joining the Rebellion, she’s discovered a hidden talent in diplomacy, not surprising to me, considering her natural grace and charm.  Once we had the various Alliance bases and outposts outfitted and our supply runs became less frequent, we would often be tasked with escorting Ayana to the leaders of various worlds sympathetic to the Rebellion.  From what I saw, there was no deal or negotiation she couldn’t close.

As of this writing, it’s been four years since I started this line of work.  To this day, I still can’t believe how much one game of Sabacc changed my life.  And, though I’d never admit it out loud, I’m proud to work with a bunch of Rebels. They’re better than those Imperial goons, that’s for sure.  Hell, the way things have been going, we might actually win this war.  Some farm boy blew up the Empire’s ultimate weapon a few years back, sent them packing for the first time in decades.  It was touch and go for a while after that, but once we weathered the initial retaliation, the Alliance really came into its own.  Rumor is, they’re planning something big against the Empire’s newest superweapon, and I’ve been ordered to rendezvous with the entire Alliance fleet near Sullust. I think I smell another Sabacc Shift coming…

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