- Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Gr
- Date: Feb 2007
From the book
The light freighter Bargain Hunter moved through space, silver-gray against the blackness, the light of the distant stars reflecting from its hull. Its running lights were muted, its navigational beacons quiet, its viewports for the most part as dark as the space around it.
Its drive gunning for all it was worth.
"Hang on!" Dubrak Qennto barked over the straining roar of the engines. "Here he comes again!"
Clenching his teeth firmly together to keep them from chattering, Jorj Car'das got a grip on his seat's armrest with one hand as he finished punching coordinates into the nav computer with the other. Just in time; the Bargain Hunter jinked hard to the left as a pair of brilliant green blaster bolts burned past the bridge canopy. "Car'das?" Qennto called. "Snap it up, kid."
"I'm snapping, I'm snapping," Car'das called back, resisting the urge to point out that the outmoded nav equipment was Qennto's property, not his. As was the lack of diplomacy and common sense that had gotten them into this mess in the first place. "Can't we just talk to them?"
"Terrific idea," Qennto bit out. "Be sure to compliment Progga on his fairness and sound business sense. That always works on Hutts."
The last word was punctuated by another cluster of blaster shots, this group closer than the last. "Rak, the engines can't hold this speed forever," Maris Ferasi warned from the copilot's seat, her dark hair flashing with green highlights every time a shot went past.
"Doesn't have to be forever," Qennto said with a grunt. "Just till we have some numbers. Car'das?"
On Car'das's board a light winked on. "Ready," he called, punching the numbers over to the pilot's station. "It's not a very long jump, though—"
He was cut off by a screech from somewhere aft, and the flashing blaster bolts were replaced by flashing starlines as the Bargain Hunter shot into hyperspace.
Car'das took a deep breath, let it out silently. "This is not what I signed up for," he muttered to himself. Barely six standard months after signing on with Qennto and Maris, this was already the second time they'd had to run for their lives from someone.
And this time it was a Hutt they'd frizzled. Qennto, he thought darkly, had a genuine talent for picking his fights.
"You okay, Jorj?"
Car'das looked up, blinking away a drop of sweat that had somehow found its way into his eye. Maris was swiveled around in her chair, looking back at him with concern. "I'm fine," he said, wincing at the quavering in his voice.
"Of course he is," Qennto assured Maris as he also turned around to look at their junior crewer. "Those shots never even got close."
Car'das braced himself. "You know, Qennto, it may not be my place to say this—"
"It isn't; and don't," Qennto said gruffly, turning back to his board.
"Progga the Hutt is not the sort of person you want mad at you," Car'das said anyway. "I mean, first there was that Rodian—"
"A word about shipboard etiquette, kid," Qennto cut in, turning just far enough to send a single eye's worth of glower at Car'das. "You don't argue with your captain. Not ever. Not unless you want this to be your first and last tour with us."
"I'd settle for it not being the last tour of my life," Car'das muttered.
"What was that?"
Car'das grimaced. "Nothing."
"Don't let Progga worry you," Maris soothed. "He has a rotten temper, but he'll cool off."
"Before or after he racks the three of us and takes all the furs?"...