The Slave Traders of Tatooine
Original Star Wars Fan Fiction by "Free Trader"
Part III: Baba Ganoush and Kaarde Tricks
If slavers ever need a poster boy, Baba Ganoush would be the ideal candidate. In Grus’ mind, Baba looked like a slave dealer. He supposed that part of it was the loose, flowing white robes and turban-like headdress of Baba's Tatooine desert garb. But there was more to Baba than mere appearances – he had the sort of confidence inspiring charisma and over-the-top salesmanship that would have made him a great refrigerator salesman on Hoth. In Mos Espa he’d garnered a reputation for only dealing in the finest white silk, which is why Grus Gyre, “slave smuggler extraordinaire”, sought him out. If anyone on Tatooine could lay their hands on Valeria Ontodore, it had to be Baba.
As it turned out, Baba knew all about Valeria. It seemed that the young pinkskin had fetched a handsome price at the private sale Baba hosted only two days earlier. Baba excitedly recanted to Grus the moment when Valeria was disrobed on the stage in front of the invitations-only audience: there was an audible, collective gasp from the two dozen or so bidders in the darkened room when the spotlight struck her flawless, naked flesh and illuminated her blond hair. The bidding had rapidly gone suborbital, with the girl ultimately selling to the governor of a distant moon. Regrettably, the buyer’s agents had insisted on total anonymity for their employer, and Grus’ generously offered credits could not pry from Baba what he didn’t know. However, Baba firmly believed that the information Grus sought could probably be obtained from the infamous smuggler and information broker, Talon Kaarde, if Grus was willing to make the trip to Kaarde’s base on Myrkr.
Grus found it hard to believe that some “information broker” light-years away would know more about the identity of Valeria’s mysterious buyer than her auctioneer, but he also knew Baba well enough to know the greedy slaver wouldn’t refuse Grus’ credits if he had the answer, either. Baba liked Grus – or at least liked the person he thought Grus was: an overly modest but highly successful slave smuggler who’d never been caught by either Imperial or New Republic Customs. For those two reasons Grus felt that Baba was being as truthful as he could ever be and that his information on Talon Kaarde was most-likely accurate or at least sincerely believed by the slaver. In any case Valeria was no longer on Tatooine and Grus had no other leads to her whereabouts other than Baba’s.
As the new day dawned and the twin suns began their slow climb into the morning sky, the Ruptured Duck lifted from Mos Espa spaceport. The aging tramp freighter’s reconditioned military-grade class-1 hyperdrive easily handled the jump from Tatooine to Myrkr, but handling Talon Karrde proved to be a much more difficult task for Grus. Kaarde might be a mercenary and a smuggler, but it seemed he loathed slave traders with a passion and initially would have nothing to do with Grus. The Ruptured Duck was forced to remain in a high orbit around Myrkr while Grus attempted to convince Kaarde that he wasn't really a slave trader over the radio. Grus was forced to tell Kaarde every detail he knew about Valeria Ontodore and Admiral Ajax’ efforts to return her to her husband, and even after Kaarde finally agreed to help Grus the information broker made it clear the "skinny" on the girl's whereabouts wouldn’t come cheap. Luckily, Grus still had the credits that Ajax provided to purchase Valeria and was able to meet Kaarde’s price.
“Ever hear of Shamus Fume?”, Kaarde asked.
“Can’t say that I have,” Grus responded cautiously.
"Then you’re in the majority. Fume was – still is - a nobody. He spent 11 years as a lieutenant in the Imperial Navy. He’d probably still be a lieutenant if he hadn’t married one of Palpatine’s cousins. Got himself jumped two ranks and appointed governor of Banal - IV in one fell swoop, but his bride was no prize if you get my drift. You could fly a starfighter up one of her nostrils if you didn’t get tangled in the nosehairs.”
“So he marries the ugly cousin and gets the consolation prize, huh?”
“If you consider permanent exile on the most god-forsaken mudball this side of Dagobah a ‘consolation prize’, then yeah. Seems Palpy didn’t want either one of them hangin’ around Coruscant and gettin’ in his way, so he gives ‘em their own little planet to rule and a couple dozen army rejects to serve as a garrison. Built ‘em a nice little palace on the highest hump that passes for a hill on the planet. I hear they’ve got a spectacular view of the Great Abyssal Swamp.”
“So where’d Shamus Fume get the credits to buy Valeria Ontodore?”
“Know what a remittance man is?”
“Uh, I believe it’s somebody who is paid to stay away.”
“You got it. Of course now that Palpy’s dead the gravy train has ground to a halt. My guess is Fume saw an opportunity to turn fifty thousand credits into a cool fifty million and keep the good times rolling.”
The above story includes terminology and concepts from the "Gor" series of science fiction novels by John Norman. STAR WARS is TM and © 1996 by Lucasfilm Ltd. Any use of copyrighted material or trademarks anywhere in this story should not be viewed as a challenge to those copyrights or trademarks. This original story is the intellectual property of Free Trader and is intended for personal, non-commercial entertainment only.