said nothing, then, If voice analysis didnt show it to be you speaking, I might have assumed Id hailed someone else.

I have something else on my mind right now.

Oh? Oren paused, as if awaiting a more thorough explanation. Zeerid offered none, so Oren continued: As I alluded to before, I have something urgent. Delivery requires someone with extraordinary piloting skills. Someone like you, Z-man.

I just finished a job, Oren. I need time

This job will wipe your slate clean.

Zeerid sat up in his chair, not sure hed heard correctly. Say again?

You heard me.

Zeerid had heard him; he just couldnt believe it. Mere hours ago, he imagined he could never get clear of The Exchange. Now Oren was offering him just that. He tried to keep his voice steady.

This just a drop?

It is a drop.

Whats the cargo? He tried not to choke on the next word. Spice?


Where is it going?

He figured it had to be heading to some seriously hot hole of a planet for Oren to have offered to clear his debt.

Coruscant. Oren pronounced the name reluctantly, as if he expected Zeerid to balk.

Thats it?

Did you hear what I said?

I did. You said Coruscant. So whats the catch?

The catch?

Coruscant aint exactly a hot LZ. Its a vacation compared with what Im used to. So whats the catch?

You havent caught the holo?

Ive been in hyperspace.

Of course. Oren chuckled. The Empire attacked Coruscant.

Zeerid leaned in close, once more not sure he had heard correctly. Orens simple statement and the flat tone in which he delivered it did not seem to have the wherewithal to carry the import of the words Zeerid thought hed heard.

Repeat? There were peace negotiations taking place on Alderaan.

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