Free Download of : Side Trip – Part 2 Michael Stackpole
Corran Horn’s feeling that something was wrong got a big boost from his first glimpse of the Hopskip. The freighter looked as if someone had taken a stock Corel-lian Yr-1300, split the disk along a line running from bow to stern, flopped one half on top of the other, then patched it together with whatever scrap metal was conveniently at hand. Corran had seen uglier ships, but none that were supposed to be operational. He waited for Riij to close the gateway to the hangar bay before he made a comment. “I guess smuggling doesn’t pay what it once used to?” Maranne’s hard eyes flashed angrily. “We’re traders, not smugglers.” Corran raised his hands. “Call it what you want. With Imp rules and regs out there, what starts as a trading trip could end up as a smuggling run.” Surprise played through Maranne’s dark blue eyes, then she turned away and scratched at the back of her neck. “I’ll get the landspeeder.” Her surprise at his comment made her statement come a bit too fast, and Corran thought perhaps he caught a hint of fear in her words. Definitely more here than meets the eye. The second he saw the ship, Corran abandoned any suspicion that these people were hard-edged smugglers coming to deliver supplies to Borbor Crisk. The things Crisk needed to wage his little war with Zekka Thyne and Black Sun for supremacy in the Corellian underworld weren’t the sorts of things that would be entrusted to the crew of the Hopskip. Actually, for Crisk to depose Thyne would require a Star Destroyer, which this ship isn’t, and a legion of stormtroopers, which isn’t hidden here. Corran saw Maranne disappear through a hatch in the freighter, so he turned his attention to Riij. “Shipping with her can’t be too rough. She’s pretty easy on the eyes. Known her long?” The slender man shook his head, then ran a hand across his short, spiky white hair. “Just along for the ride. If I do some work, I get some pay by the time we reach our destination.” Riij smiled carefully. “You been working with your partner long?” “Off and on.” Corran shrugged. Riij’s quick questioning of Corran about his background played to most people’s tendency to want to talk about themselves, It’s a technique you learn to exploit when fishing for information from suspects.
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