Sweat, spice, and cold damp rock assaulted Tula’a nose when she and her boss, Brock, stepped out of the Ravenclaw’s airlock. A low hum of voices came from below, Tula’a peered down over the walk way onto the merchants who swarmed like ants around ramshackle stands, desperately trying to hawk their wares.
Brock pointed at them, “It’s mid-wake down in the Bazaar. Everybody’s scramblin’ to sell. More are scramblin’ to lift—so keep a feel on your belt items.”
The buzz and flashing colors of the Bazaar was dizzying.
“You sure know how to pick them, Brock.” Tula’a gagged as she put her nose into the crook of her elbow.
“The juicy warrants are in maggot-holes like this one. I’m certain they passed this way.” Brock’s confidence waned, “But first thing’s first—let’s get to the dock master and see if Zeb’s ship is still here.”
After a quick discussion with Ceres’ dock master, primed by a handful of rupees, they headed down to the quiet lower docks. They managed to find Zeb’s ship in the dark catacomb structure.
“Funny. The dock master forgot to mention the magnetic impound.” Tula’a noticed. She then rubbed her hand across the side of Zeb’s ship and looked at her palm. “Heh. Mold. This tub’s been sittin’ for a long while.”
“No doubt Zeb was down on his luck, but sitting that long is unusual for him.” Brock rubbed his jaw. Then something twitched out of the corner of his eye and he yanked out his blaster.
“Down!” Brock barked as he dove on Tula’a, pushing them both behind a crate. A blaster bolt sent a chunk of molten metal and sparks right where they were standing. Brock stuck his blaster up and fired blindly, only to hear footsteps running away. Brock jumped out and started trailing.
“Stay here! This might not be Zeb!”
Tula’a watched Brock disappear past the corridor. She then slumped back to the floor with a huff. Just as she pulled out her blaster to check the safety, she noticed a limp hand out from behind a crate.
Brock was in full gallop behind the interloper. He wasn’t going to let this deadbeat get the best of him. As he rounded the corner he tripped into a full stop, nearly knocking down a merchant that was carrying a stack of kitchen pots. He was back on the opposite end of the Bazaar. He strained to look over the sea of bobbing heads, but his quarry vanished.
“Tula’a’s right, this place reeks.” He muttered. He pulled back his sleeve and spoke into his wristcomm. “Tula’a? You there, chica?”
“Yep. Loud and clear. You get him?” Tula’a’s voice crackled through the tiny speaker.
“Lost him in the crowd.”
“I think you better come back here. I found something.”
Brock and Tula’a stood over Zeb’s body.
“Those don’t look like blast wounds.” Tula’a mused.
“They’re not. They’re bites.”
“Yeah,” Brock rubbed his jaw, “We interrupted feeding time.”