5 Chapter 5

With their meals finished, the pair put their helmets back on and sat in the dark bar, waiting for more patrons to arrive. Since it was still early, they had plenty of time to enjoy the music playing over the speakers. The mellow and chaotic beats mixed with one another, perfectly fit the vibe of the bar. 

The bar and technology all around the bar looked brand new and fancy, each one looking like they belonged to a rich businessman or noble. Most likely they had been before some of the patrons or the owner  relieved them of their goods. The seating and decorations of the bar reminded everyone that they were in a town full of outlaws. Each one was worn down and used, either partially broken or rusted. The two contrasts perfectly suited the other, creating a unique atmosphere that most patrons would enjoy. 

A group of individuals arrived and each took a seat at a different table or booth. Kethna went around and served them all, receiving several pats on her bum or wandering hands going under the scraps that could barely be called clothes while she served them. 

After serving each of them, the Twi'lek returned to Jial's table with two cups of water before whispering to them about the new patrons. 

"These are the intermediaries for bounties," Kethna told them while pretending to wipe down the table. "They are usually the first to arrive to set up their spots. After they arrive, most hunters who plan on getting an early start come into the place to meet with them."

Jial nodded before placing 20 credits on the table next to where she was wiping. Kethna smartly wiped over the credits, causing them to disappear from the table. 

"The 3 that are most liked are the Weequay behind me, the Selkath in the corner, and the human sitting at the bar. They only take 10-15% of the bounties and have had the most return customers," Kethna continued to explain

Jial nodded and could understand her meaning. Most intermediaries had the issue of sending more than one client after a single target and causing deaths between the hunters. If they had multiple people returning, it meant they worked with the best or that limited who they sent after certain bounties. 

"There isn't a guild here? Anywhere on the planet?" Jial asked which was responded to with a shake of the head causing Jial to frown. "The Bounty Hunter Guild means legitimacy and stability. Does that mean that these guys sanction..."

Jial didn't finish his worst but Kethna could understand what he was asking. She nodded before walking away from the table to go serve other guests their food and drinks.

What Jial didn't say aloud was that most non-guild intermediaries offered bounties on Republic targets. The Guild and Republic had an unspoken agreement that they wouldn't take up deals against Republic government members or royal family members. They also didn't accept assassin jobs, only taking out legitimate bounties, though the legitimacy of some bounties was questionable. 

"That makes things more interesting," Jial couldn't help but say

"Why's that, Boss?" Sidon asked

"That means this is a place where the people of the underworld can thrive. If we are going to make this place work in the future, we need a few people who aren't afraid of setting up contracts like that."

Jial didn't mind having contacts like that within the territory once he took it over. Although he could get jobs like that through Ac's Black Sun contacts, he didn't want to become dependent on them. He planned to become partners with the Black Sun Syndicate, not their subordinate. 

Several bounty hunters started trickling into the bar over the next hour, each one meeting with an intermediary to either turn in a bounty or collect new bounties. Jial and Sidon watched each of them, trying to see who went to the three that Kethna pointed out. There were a few that were able to catch his attention. 

One was a group of 3 Mandalorians. Each of them was well-armed with armor that could be assumed to have been made of beskar just like Jial's new combistick. They had talked with him for a few moments while looking over some bounties before taking a seat in the bar and ordering some food from Kethna. They seemed to ask a few questions from her before letting her walk away.

Kethna walked away from them and back into the kitchen before walking over to Jial's table with some Smuggler's Delights. These pastries were famous amongst the galaxy and loved by many smugglers and bounty hunters, even with the very sweet taste of it.

"Hello, sir. That group of Mandalorians over there are looking for someone willing to hire them for work on the planet. Their ship is damaged so they are hoping for some work that pays well," Kethna told them, hoping to secure another tip and prove her usefulness to Jial. 

"I see. You can invite them over here," Jial informed her before passing her another 50 credits. Information was important so he wouldn't shortchange her for helping him save time. The sooner that he got his crew together, the better for him.

Kethna nodded and took the credits before walking back to the kitchen to grab the food that the Mandalorians ordered. When she brought it to their table, she did not set it down but instead kept the food in her hands while speaking to them and then looking over to Jial's table. The group of Mandalorians followed Kethna over to the booth where they sat down while Kethna placed the food down on the table. 

The three Mandalorians took off their helmets, revealing their looks. All of them looked very similar to one another with one being clearly older than the rest while the other two looked to be in their early or mid-20s, all having red skin and small horns atop their heads. They were all Zabraks which was a rare sight for Mandalorians since the Excision. Most of the remaining ones were now humans, the complete opposite of the origins of the original Mandalorians. 

"Greetings," the oldest one of the Zabraks spoke up. "My name is Zilvarth and these are my children, Sugon and Bexo. We are members of Clan Spar of the Mandolorians."

"Hello there," Jial greeted him back. "My name is Jial and this is my subordinate, Sidon Ithano. I heard that you are looking for some work." 

They also took off their helmets to show their identities. There were certain bonds that most near-human and non-human species shared. With a galaxy overflooded with humans, the bond between those that were different was always slightly higher as long as they were not from opposing forces.

"Hmm," Zilvarth felt embarrassed looking for work like that. He was a proud Mandalorian but it seemed like his clan was cursed. Every time there was a major conflict in the galaxy, they were somehow drawn into it and always brought to the brink of ruin. 

"We came into conflict with some pirates a few days ago. Although we won the battle, our ship was damaged in the process. We were barely able to land it here," Zilvarth explained why they needed some work. 

Jial could understand this issue. It was the most common problem that mercenaries and bounty hunters faced. Pirates were constantly attacking lone ships, hoping to make a quick credit. He himself had even participated in this act a few times when he saw either expensive or weak-looking targets.

"I see. So you were looking for some short-term work?" Jial asked while sipping his water.

"Correct. We have a job on Naboo and we need to be there in the next week," Bexo, the daughter, spoke up. Her yellow eyes were fierce, making anyone who looked at them intimidated or attracted by the fire that burned in them. "Our ship will take 2 or 3 days to repair and it will take us about a day to get there."

"We are trying to make 3,00 credits. Any job you need help with?" Sugon asked. He knew how important that job was and that they needed to arrive as early as possible to make a better impression on their client.

"You three are crazy," Sidon shook his head. "Only way you are making that type of money is by killing off another crew or stealing someone's ship."

"Honestly? We thought of both," Bexo admitted. "The Black Sun are here though. We can't afford to offend them by causing trouble in front of them. Too disrespectful."

Zilvarth wanted to throttle his daughter. She spoke far too openly and freely which is why he usually left her behind during negotiations.

'I'm gonna kill her. I really want to kill her.'

"I have no jobs now but I do have a job that needs to be done in about a month. How about I pay you in advance and then you guys come back in time for that?" Jial offered

The Mandalorians and Sidon were all shocked. They had come looking for a quick job but did not expect to get a loan.

"We would be crazy to say no to that but how do you know you can trust us?" Bexo asked, causing her father's hand to twitch beneath the table

"You are Mandalorians," was all that Jial gave for an explanation but to Zilvarth, that was enough of one. It also made him appreciate Jial even more. 

Mandalorians were known as some of the bloodiest killers in history and some of the most dangerous soldiers but they were also known as the most honorable. Once they made a deal, they would follow through with it, only stopping if the other party had betrayed them. Mandalorians were some of the few mercenaries that one could trust to not waver to a bigger payout from a target that they went after.

"Thank you, young friend. We owe you a debt, not just for the upcoming job. If you ever need Clan Spar to come to your aid, we shall do so."

Jial nodded and passed him the credits under the table. With the credits secured, the group of Mandalorians began to eat their steaks, which were quickly going cold, with gusto. As soon as they finished their meals, they bade farewell to Jial and Sidon before heading to the spaceport to pay for the repairs to their ship.

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