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or the Jawas continue measuring you for luggage for your final jump." He glared at the little knot of Jawas jabbering to each other. "Dibs on the Rodian."

The Devaronian bowed deeply to Mirax. "I. ah, we, beg your pardon for disturbing you. I am, well, that's not impor-tant, but if I can be of service to you, please, don't hesitate to ask." His apology came accompanied by Rodian buzz-squeak, which Corran took to be a simultaneous translation.

Mirax raised her chin and gave them a chillingly Imperial stare. "You're blocking our light."

The two of them backed away bowing profusely. Laughter ran through the cantina, bold in some spots and hushed in others, but amusement at their predicament united the cantina for a moment or two.

Corran licked his lips and realized his throat was absolutely parched. "Ah, Mirax, what possessed you to do that?"

"As I said before, keeping up appearances." She smiled broadly at him. "You've really only seen the kind, sensitive side of me."

"I seem to recall you burning down a stormtrooper on a speeder bike on Coruscant."

"Oh, yes, I guess there was that, wasn't there?"

"Yeah, there was, but even so there's no reason for provoking a fight like that."

She shrugged. "I wasn't worried. You could have taken them."

I could have taken them? Corran stared at her for a moment. "Thanks for the vote of confidence, but . . ."

Mirax reached across the table with her left hand and gave his right hand a squeeze. "I knew Wuher would intervenethis is an old game we've played from time to time." Her right hand, the one that had been hidden from the open edge of the table, came up and she deposited a small hold-out blaster on the table. "I had things covered; but the moment Wuher mentioned who I was, I knew we'd not have any more
  






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