Maybe there was a time when Tak Shuga the nikto spicelord could have afforded something within the top fifty levels of Coruscant, but not anymore. He spent much of his time, as he did now, strung out on a low velvet couch before a gloomy lowsector window surrounded by enough twi'lek girls to feed a hungry nexu.

One of his new runners hung in the dingy hallway, a tall, slim figure dressed in black and wearing a helmet; you got all sorts of strange types not wanting to show their faces down here, and who could blame them?

'Hand over your blaster before seeing big-boss, freshmeat' the yellow-faced houk told the new guy, blocking the way to Shuga's lair with one huge shoulder.

Even with a helmet on the freshmeat could smell that this brute liked his spice. 'Sure,' he said through a crackling voice amp, reaching into his coat and passing over a beat-up blaster. He moved towards the thuds of bass and pink glow of the lounge, but the houk kept step with him and shook his five chins.

'Not yet. You're still new. Gotta make sure you're not sneaking anything by us. Hands on your helmet.'

Freshmeat did as he was asked and planted his boots a foot apart.

'Man, you're built really skinny for a thug,' the houk said, landing heavy pats down freshmeat's back and legs. 'Someone could snap you like a moss chip.'

'I'm still here aren't I?...And you should take me out to dinner first if you're gonna touch me up like that.'

'Urgh.' The searching hands jumped away pretty sharpish.

'If he's not got no weapons, then just let him on through, Ak'ko,' Shuga called over the music from the room beyond.

The henchman grunted his disgust and stepped aside to let the runner through: 'Freak.'

Freshmeat entered the room and took a look around. Just as scummy, tacky and full of lowlifes as it was the last time. He nodded at the fat, scaly-faced nikto on his couch who didn't even look at him let alone get up to greet him.

'There's your credits,' Shuga sighed, nodding down at a metal casement on the floor. A small casement.

Freshmeat crouched down to pop the silver clips on it and take a look. 'There's only ten here,' he said, pawing through the chips.'We agreed on twenty.'

'Yeah?-' Shuga grumbled, barely paying attention as he held up a cigarra and winked at the twi' lek who lit it for him. 'Nah' -big, lazy puff of cigarra smoke-'Ten it is.'

'We agreed twenty, Shuga...'

The half-dozen thugs lurking in the pink shadows glanced at each other, but they all kept quiet.

'Take your credits and run along, sonny' the boss grunted, waving a gnarled hand. 'I ain't heard of you. I don't owe you sithspit. Think you can roll up on my turf and make demands? Be happy with what you get, yeah?'

The freshmeat stayed crouching right where he was: 'Give me the ten. That run you put me on wasn't even worth the whole twenty. You lost two guys today cause it's so crazy down there.'

In a spice-haze or not, Shuga made it clear he didn't hearing like that: 'Shut it, punk! Last warning.' His blubbery lip-flap twitched and hoarse voice started to rise. 'Take your ten and leave, or you'll be taking a swim in the sewers. Our business is done.' He took a moment to wheeze and cough on his cigarra smoke. 'Now get out!'

'You're talking like you're going to do it yourself, Shuga,'freshmeat pushed, chancing rising to his feet and kicking the case, sending golden credits clattering. The girls gasped. The soft rattling of hands reaching for blasters raced round the room. 'When was the last time you went on a job? You're too busy up here to really understand what's going on down there, that's why your turf is going to hell. You're old news, Shuga. You're gone. You're out of breath just talking to me.'

'Enough!' Shot-glasses rolled and smashed when Shuga got to his feet in a hurry, bumping the low-table. 'Enough! Ak'ko! Pop of this worm's helmet and blast his brains out over 4449! I'm not taking this disrespect!'

'My pleasure, boss,' the henchman said with a menacing grin and the crack of his knuckles, emerging from the hallway to make a grab for him.

There was the unexpected blue flash and shriek of a blaster shot from somewhere in the lounge.

And like that, Ak'ko groaned and tumbled to the floor with a heavy thud, gasping his last. Shuga's bevy of twi'leks screamed and clambered over each other in their attempt to scurry out down the corridors. None of the other thugs moved.

Shuga stood there, wide-eyed and speechless at first. What else could he do? What just happened? He frantically motioned to the masked man: 'What the hell is going on?! Shoot h-'

Freshmeat raised one gloved hand and sought out Shuga's throat, not by touch, but a sense deeper. The nikto was a heavy sack of bantha-dirt, but still was lifted inches of the ground and started to choke.

'J-Jedi freak...' Shuga gargled, his glassy reptilian eyes bulging. Faint, desperate squeaks sounded as the heels of his shoes struggled against the glass window behind him.

Freshmeat had to chuckle at that: 'Not quite.' He approached slowly, and the closer he got, the tighter he could squeeze. 'Heard you're not paying all your boys well. It's not just me,' he said, grinding the heel of his boot into the glowing end of the dropped cigarra scorching the floor.

Shuga's voice turned pathetic then: 'What... what... shrimp told you that?!'

'They did.'

The thugs in the room wordlessly sidled up behind the freshmeat like a pack of predators, training their blasters on their once boss without even a flinch.

'You traitorous s-scum!' Flecks of spittle jumped from Shuga's mouth, but no amount of curses and threats could save him now.

Freshmeat clenched his fist and squeezed any more words back down his victim's throat.
'This turf is mine now, you understand? Think maybe we should send you back to your roots. Maybe that will sort you out, make you see things how you should...'His amp sputtered on a sharp inhale. Summoning all his strength, the Force sparking in his nerves, he hurled Shuga against the glass behind him. The window burst into sparkling, tinkling pieces and suddenly the place whistled with the stale, cold, low-sector breeze that rushed in and drowned out the music.

And Shuga? Freshmeat let him tumble -- Twirling and twirling, some distant screaming, and soon nothing more than a blurred, black dot against the orange glow of the long plummet down.

Sonny. Good name, the freshblood thought to himself as he peered out over the broken window, the wind flapping his coat about around his ankles. "Sonny Choker" it was then, and it would be a name made worth far more than that lost 10k.

OOC: Consider joining "Sonny Choker" and his HELLRAZORS

( Otto Shule | Holly Starstorm [cleanup on ailse 4] )