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GM_Craig
19 May 2003, 09:25 PM
Well, it's good to be back on the boards again. It's been over two years since my last post (as CraigMarx), but I'm back in Star Wars RPG and here to stay.

I'd like to share a story I recently wrote about an illegal spice trade scenario on Nar Shadda. I don't think it's very good, but a buddy of mine says its "f***ing fantastic." This is only half of the story, and I'll post the second edition when I complete it sometime this coming week. I was listening to alot of the Smiths when I wrote this, so its somewhat depressing and very morbid.

Unlike most stories I've read since my return to the boards, this one concerns more with individual feeling and emotion on hard-line spice addiction and the criminal aspects associated with it. Star Wars functions only as an escapist backdrop. It's a series of short stories about the same moment in time, from different characters' perspectives, yet all are inter-wooven into a complex storyline.

I'll shut up with the explanation and just let you check this out. It's called "A Chance Meeting at Winkies," and I hope you enjoy it.

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"A Chance Meeting at Winkies" (Part I)

Vandal

"So, you said twenty-in-twenty? Right?" A young punk in a jean jacket said to me.

"Yeah, that's right," I said, pulling out two small vials from the inside pocket of my leather coat, "one hundred percent pure Super Six. Not that typical trip-hop rave s***. This is the real thing."

Upon handing the spiky-haired speed freak the vials, his face lit up with a gitty grin. I grabbed his arm and squeezed it, not letting him move his hand until I gave him a last warning. "Now that's twenty-in-twenty, kid. You double hit on this s***, and it will kill you. Understand?"

"Yeah, yeah man. I understand," he said in rush.

I rolled my eyes and released his arm, grinning myself at the gleeful degenerate in front of me. "Good. Then get the hell outta here."

He ran off down the dark alleyway, nearly stumbling over the debris that littered the street on his way out. Speed freaks and demons that roamed the spaceways of the night were my usual nocturnal aquaintences, varying in numbers and presentability each night. As I looked around the alley, hidden from the flamboyently well-lit neon that shone over most of Nar Shadda at night, my hands found the pockets of my black, leather trenchcoat. A bitter smell possessed the air, and a cool breeze on a relatively placid evening gave the night a certain morbid predictability to it.

I could feel two remaining vials still inside my pocket. Another delivery for another customer later that night. It was the sort of monotony every night that drove a man to the brink of insanity but made you thirst for the streets at twilight all the same. There was an entire world for the 'demons of the night', an entire world waiting for fufillment from their injected relationships. I guess that would be as good a place to start as any. . .

Super Six, Special 6, Six-Sixty-Six, Easy R, R n' R - they are all names for the same pleasure device. Reticol, as it was officially named by the Galactic Empire, was first developed a year prior to the Battle of Yavin for use with Imperial snowtroopers. An experimental drug made from refined components of yuantuan spice, it was hoped that Reticol could allow a soldier's nervous system to block out the feelings of extreme cold, allowing them to fight in arctic extremes without feeling fatigued, frostbitten, or numb. While early experimentations showed good short term results, a lot of Imps died from seizures and nerve damage associated with Reticol. After eight months of testing, it was pulled out of Imperial military service.

The spicers got jist of Reticol soon after it was discontinued, and mass cultivation of yuantaun spice by crimelords around the galaxy was put into effect. The development of highly-refined dosages, often times higher than Imperial military dosages, were experimented with. As Super Six, a slang term used in reference to part of the drug's chemical structure, filtered through the spice trade many first time users were becoming addicted. A good shoot-up could give a user a sense of euphoria, an extreme gain or loss of feeling, and hallucinations. The average spicer was blown away.

I gave it try back in the day, in a time when I was trying a bit of everything. I became an addict, and I'm still hooked at this very moment. My bloodshot eyes, insomnia, and constantly trembling hands are side effects the average person may never get to experience in their life. In time, I had to deal to pay the rent for my run-down, housing project apartment. I hadn't slept in twenty days, and my boss was on me hard to reach his monthly sales quota. Plovoo Two-for-One and his DarkCloak Syndicate were my heartbeat, and at any moment they could shut me down. My name is Vandal Lawson. . .

Nar Shadda had become my home for the past three months, after relocation from the Chrona System. Chrona had been a rough place, constantly under observation by New Republic anti-spice operations. After a major raid on a big payoff behind the Open Gambit Tapcafe, thousands of DarkCloak Syndicate credits were lost in Super Six seizure. I escaped unscathed, blasting my way out of the firefight with a few thousand credits, my pistol, and no where to go. Dealing was the only life I had.

I was sent by my 'regional observer' to Nar Shadda, a putrid urban moonscape where the Hutts had conformed an alottment of property to Plovoo Two-for-One and his organization. Mass spice trafficking channels and the protection of the very term "Hutt Space" made the DarkCloak Syndicate the affirmative spice operation in the region. And I was put back on the streets.

Winkies' Cafe was the only establishment opened at this ungodly hour of the night that wasn't affiliated with the DarkCloak. It was near the lower level of the towering urban complex in a location remote enough to escape the ominous glow of the Ecstasy Resort and Casino, Two-for-One's latest development. It was more of a conglomerate of countless sabbac tables, roulette wheels, craps tables, ampitheatres, and any other form of entertainment necessary to draw crowds of millions. Transactions across the casino floor raked in hundreds of thousands of credits every hour to the portly crimeboss.

I tried to forget about the outside world as I walked into the near deserted cafe. A Rodian was mopping the already shiny floor, and promtly delivered me a cup of coffee. I took a booth seat in the corner, near a window that overlooked an intersection of Nar Shadda's countless verticle streets. It was these times that I remembered best. I had shot up two hours ago, and already my veins were pulsing for more Super Six. I gulped down the cup all to quickly, neglecting my long-time stomach ulcer. A slight feeling of nausea didn't phase me when I was by myself, however. It was the only time the DarkCloak, Super Six, or my alter personas couldn't get the best of me.

The addiction. That's what was the problem. People realize all to late what hard-line drug use can lead to, but I had the unfortunate cognizant ability to realize my unwise decisions. But I couldn't subside it now, withdrawl would only worsen my situation. Too many friends killing themselves because of lack of Super Six made me feel much more fortunate every time I shot up. But old times had weathered to the new era, capitalists of the spice trade bent on making as many credits as possible. And I was their instrument of production.

My left hand shook uncontrollably. The coffee cup danced around the tabletop as my trembling fingers slipped off its hand grip at every attempt I made to pick it up. It had gotten too bad. I rushed into the bathroom, went into a stall, and pulled out the two shots I had left. As much I knew they weren't mine, the feel of the cold vials in my hands felt like all the power in the galaxy. I pressed the small tab on the side of one vial, and instantly the automatic syringe popped out. I threw off my trenchcoat and jammed the needle into the precisely-located pin prick in my left arm. I released the tab, and the vial drained out instantly. Super Six had won again, racing outward - through the needle, through my skin, and through my veins, into a mind replenished.

My incesant shaking stopped as the tan-colored interior of the Winkies' bathroom began to dissolve before my eyes. I slouched on the toliet seat as things began to slowly fade out, dropping the expended syringe on the urine-stained floor. Sounds of speeders outside, roaming the streetways of the night, became distant echoes of garbled vibrations. . .

----------------------

Zanis

"Skal', what time is it?" I said, trying to illuminate my chronometer in a somewhat darkened living room.

"Umm, 2:30, I think," Radek Skalanik replied, sorting through a seemingly endless number of spent syringes laid out on an end table. "I don't know if that's nighttime or daytime, though."

That was always the case. When you had seven people congregated within the confines of a small apartment's living room, with all the windows covered up with heavy black cloth, things became disoriented enough. Mixed with high octane Special 6, however, it was a different story. The really burnt out Special 6 addicts would get together in groups, seal themselves off from the outside world for days at a time, and completely lose themselves in a massive trip. Two, maybe three shoot-ups every few hours. After what I think was three days of partying, my body finally caught up with my brain.

I'm Zanis Raedar, but the Nar Shadda underworld knows me as "Tad." I don't even know how the nickname got started, but ever since its inception I've always gone by it. At twenty six years old I'm a Super Six junkie, a true testiment of the addict community. Partying, shooting up, and constant paranoia are my life. I came to Hutt Space a year and a half ago when news of the Special 6 scene at Nar Shadda reached me on Veremoore. I was running a few dealings for Loput the Hutt when I decided to get the hell out of system, fed up with peddling cheap wonder dust for that sloth-like jackass.

Nar Shadda proved to be my spiral downward. In a matter of months I was brewing up my own Super Six, pissing off the local crimebosses with my cheap sales and expanding number of customer. Loput has yet to catch up with me, but I heartily enjoy seeing my face on numerous wanted posters throughout Hutt Space. There's a certain sort of bent appeal in knowing your power over the spice trade but lack there of over spice itself.

A girl named Avana was cuddled up next to me, grasping my arm with a rigid grip. She had a bad trip, a common ocurrance for amatuer users, and was frightened beyond belief. She asked me how soon it would be over and held on to me tight, shrieking every so often at the hallucinations her mind imagined. I just sat there, trying to help her get through it while descending from my own mind-altering experience.

"So, you leaving in a few hours then?" Radek asked me from a chair across the small room.

"Probably. I got some other. . ." I was cut off midsentence when the door to the apartment suddenly exploded inward, startling Avana so much that she fell to the floor, smacking her head against the end table. I looked over, trying to quickly come to my senses, and saw men storming into the room with rifles.

In a hail of blaster fire, three of my friends were instantly vaporized. Radek reached for his pistol, but was instantly mowed down by a rapid volley of shots from several of the shadowed figures. I could feel warm blood spray against my face as I dove behind the couch and pulled my DH-18 from the back of my pants. I stood up and fired as many shots as I could while running towards the window. I knew for sure I hit two guys, but that still left an unknown number of assailiants. What the hell was I going to do? In a vertical city like Nar Shadda, a jump from any window would constitute a flight of no return.

As I tucked my DH-18 back into my pants quick, I realized I didn't have time to question myself. I sprinted for the covered-up window and jumped through shoulder first, breaking both the glass and my right collar bone cleanly. I could feel myself start to plummet, freefalling for a mere second, when suddenly I grabbed onto a window ledge of an apartment a couple stories below. With all luck, it was left arm that had saved my life. I pulled myself up with both arms, screaming in pain from my newly fractured clavicle. I stood on the extremely narrow ledge, banging hopefully on the glass for a gracious person to let a tripped-up, targeted junkie into their home. A light came on, and an elderly woman walked over in awe.

The men were looking down from the window above me and began shooting wildly. I banged on the glass with my blood-stained crippled arms, until finally I pulled out my pistol and shot my way into the geriatric ×××××'s bedroom. Her jaw dropped as if she had won the sabbac jackpot, and I could only smirk a little as ran out of her apartment. I took the stairs down to the front lobby, where there was always a hover cab waiting for people on the streets.

"Drive! Damn it, drive!" I barked at the Twi'lek cab driver as I hopped in.

He dropped the car into full throttle and turned around, grinning. "Whatever you say, sir. You're the customer," his throat-translater said. The car roared forward just as a black speeder truck, parked behind the cab about a hundred meters, lurched ahead as well.

"Oh, s***," I said, blasting a hole in the back windshield for my pistol. I fired aimlessly at the truck, which was catching up surprisingly quick. "Drive, you cone-headed mother! Fast!"

A gunmen leaned out from the passenger side, opening up with a repeating blaster rifle. A few shots grazed the body of the cab, but I returned their fire as best I could. The streets were never busy at night on the lower levels of Nar Shadda, and luckily traffic control was open to interpretation. The Twi'lek had the car topped out, but a sharp turn that he made I thought for sure would fake them out. No such luck. The truck continued to keep pace behind us, firing blast bolts at the cab every few seconds.

The sound of blaster shots wizing by is an alarming sound - believe me, I've been in enough gunfights in my time to know. But the most disgusting sound I've ever heard is when someone is actaully hit. It's a kind "fwapp" sound that you know something has just gone wrong. And when I heard that distinictive noise, I turned and looked towards the front seat, seeing the Twi'lek's tail-like head splattered against the inside of the windshield.

"Oh, the s*** is this man," I said, jumping into the front seat as the throttle pedal was slowly disengaging. The truck rammed into the cab with altitude, caving in the roof of the backseat. I pushed the remains of the driver aside and trompted on the throttle pedal, pulling up on the steering control to gain altitude. Sparks flew all around me as blaster fire pinged off the car every second. A jolt rocked the cab violently, and a computer sensor indicated a critical malfuntion of the battery power. As altitude and speed slowly diminished, I looked at the rapidly approaching truck behind me.

With a slight smirk, I yanked back the throttle control level to reverse, blowing out the computerized transmission in a piercing wail. Altitude dropped drastically and speed was halted to almost a stand still. The speeder truck flew past me at its top speed, and was nearly a thousand meters down the street before he even realized what had happened. On the blaster bolt mangled hover cab's last leg, I pulled off onto a side street at an intersection and jumped out onto a solid boulevard outside a cafe. As soon as I had gotten out, the car began to lose all of its repulsorlift power, and just as I had hoped it started to fall towards the seemingly bottomless bowels of the immense vertical city.

I had ended up at Winkies' Cafe, and the past fifteen minutes were playing out again and again. Who in the hell were those guys? Had the Hutts found me? The NRs? Or was it an angry crimeboss? It could have been any one of a number of well-organized men. They were well coordinated, well armed, and most importantly knew exactly who they were after. . . myself. If I knew one thing for certain, it was that they wouldn't give up. I ran into the cafe, grapsed my now crippled arm, and headed straight for the bathroom.

There was noone inside Winkies' as I made my way to the bathrooms, only a vacant table with a single, empty cup of coffee. I virtually kicked in the door to the restroom and was surprised to find the lone stall there occupied. An expended Special 6 syringe lay on the floor just beneath the stall door, and as I kneeled down to pick it up with my good arm I heard the door behind me burst open.

"Alright, on your knees, you little puke! Get away from the stall now!" A man shouted from behind me as a rifle barrel was jabbed into the back of my neck.

I finished kneeling down and began to turn to see who the hell it was. A team of four men had occupied the bathroom now, all armed with sophisticated blaster rifles and state-of-the-art assault gear. As the man held me captive at gunpoint, I could only think of one thing to say, "F***. . ."

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End of Part I

I hope you guys enjoyed the first segment of this new short story of mine. As always, I demand questions, clarifications, and comments from the people who took the time to read this. I don't know if it's that good, and it's been a while since I've posted a story on the boards, but it feels good to be back. Thanks again.

Fell
21 May 2003, 07:53 PM
This is some of the best Sci-Fi (Starwars style) realism fanfic that I have read in a long time. Great work. Love the gritty feel.

Talon Razor 'GM'
21 May 2003, 10:40 PM
Wow, that's just plain freakin' good. This needs to go to the Online Journal. Really good man, you need to write and publish some of your stuff... from one writer to another, this is some of the best FanFic to come out of here in a long, long time.

Koozalagoobdegoob
21 May 2003, 11:19 PM
This is a pretty good first draft.

You have a command of the subject matter that brings an authority and believability to the story. The characters are real and have a particular ambivalence about that them that engenders both revulsion and sympathy in the reader. Ambivalence is a good thing, it keeps us writers from getting preachy or sentimental.

That said, here’s my ‘helpful’ comments. You often tell rather than show. I.e., you tell me what the character looks like directly rather than using your narrative voice to show me (of course, George R. R. Martin has made obscene gobs of money from telling description rather than showing his best-selling ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series, which I love dearly). Your sentences and paragraphs have a tendency to become long, knotted and clunky rather than flowing. Of course, I prefer a concise style of writing, but that’s just me. After a few more drafts and some hard decisions (if you want to be a writer, you have to learn when to kill your babies) this story will really start humming.

While you definitely have a capacity for creating a character’s voice, I didn’t really see any great difference between Vandal and Zanis. Sure, they’re both hopeless junkies that wheel and deal, but there really should be some great ideological or philosophical defining trait between them and I just don’t see it right off that the bat. Unfortunately, that’s how writing for the public goes, unless you get with the first few sentences –the first impression—you’re not going to keep me reading.

I’m a stick in the mud English major, so I have to say that you made some very blatant and common grammar and spelling errors. God gave us the ‘Tools’ menu for a reason!

This is good work and promises to be great work. You’ve taken the pleasant notions and expectations we have about the Star Wars universe and turned thrown them out the window. Shocking the reader is a good thing. We know that Star Wars can be dirty, run-down, and jury-rigged…but, ye gods, urine stained? Great stuff.

Keep writing.

Crymoon
21 May 2003, 11:55 PM
That was a really great story... Can't wait for the second part...
listen to Talon and publish some of it...

though at first it lacked a bit the SW mood... maybe the young junkie could be an alien... otherwise it seemed a bit cyberpunkish.. But that's just me.. :D

GM_Craig
23 May 2003, 09:57 AM
Please continue to comment, suggest, or question this story. The only reason as to why I post is so that you the readers can tell me your opinions, of which I hold in very high regard. I appreciate those who have already done so, and am looking forward to more feedback on this story. The second edition will be out by next week sometime, as I have spent many late nights considering the storyline and what is to come.

GM_Craig
10 June 2003, 08:04 PM
Due to the relative lack of interest in this story, I've decided to abandon it because of the little feedback I recieved. Thanks to those who did comment, I appreciate it very much. I hoped more people would have given feedback (negative or positive) on this story, but it probably wasn't "Star Wars" enough for some readers. It has to do with maturity, kids, not predictability like so many other stories of the SW venue. Any authors who would like to adapt this story for their own use, you have my complete permission. For me, it will be sent to my graveyard of abandoned works, like so many other bad stories of mine.

Crymoon
13 June 2003, 01:10 AM
C'mon Craig be a good holonetter and write the second part... at least for me.. :D

OK. there maybe weren't many replies but look at other threads and notice the time of posts... most of them arrive late... some even half a year after original posting....

Drat I really liked the story and wanted to read what happens next...
For 4 responses 3 were definetively a big YES and one was a smaller one... There were no NOs for your story... so write the second part and don't let be begged... :)

BRodgers
13 June 2003, 07:45 AM
Originally posted by GM_Craig
Due to the relative lack of interest in this story, I've decided to abandon it because of the little feedback I recieved

Don't be discouraged GM Craig , I've poste dlink to much of my fiction here and have gotten only a few responses..and sometimes none at all.
:(

I think the fact of the matter is that there are only really a core group of people who "walk the talk" in this forum. I've come to realize that a) The fiction stemming from my campaign may be "too mature" for a lot of the posters on the holonet( complete plotlines and well rounded characters tend to turn some people off if their name doesn't start with "Han" or "Chewie") and b) I'm not writing for them, I'm writing for me and my group.

Now, thats not to say I wouldn't like SOME feedback..but I see it like this:

If they don't want to read epic tales of heroism and adventure, then they are only cheating themselves.

That's what it comes down to. Folks may be quick to go out and drop six, ten or twenty bucks on the newest SW novel, but if they can't realize that they have FREE quality fiction right in front of them it's their loss.

That being said, I've decided to write for myself. The characters are interesting, the stories are complete with actual plots and twists and above all else I have fun writing them. If people discover these hidden gems then great...I would love to know about it. If not, then I hope they at least enjoy the artwork!


:D

jspence2
17 November 2004, 06:05 PM
OK. there maybe weren't many replies but look at other threads and notice the time of posts... most of them arrive late... some even half a year after original posting....

Indeed,

I just started reading through the fan fics several days ago, otherwise I would have commented much earlier (Like 6 months ago when you first posted the story).

This is really good stuff and while its probably too late to change your mind about continuing this story, I just want to say that you and all the other fan authors should not get discouraged if you don't get a ton of feedback, sometimes people don't really want to say anything because they feel that they have nothing to offer, othertimes they stumble across the story much later and feel that its too late for their comments, and of course some people are just too lazy to hit a few keys to say Great Job GM Craig:D A lack of reply doesnt nessicarly mean a lack of intrest. Besides sometimes the best stories are written for the enjoyment of the author.

Now about a part 2... :)

Seriously though, this is good stuff and I'd be intrested to see what else you have out there.

Just a thought though: It seems, to me, that you are describing the blasterfight as a firearm or in SW terms... a slughthrower fight. Additionally your uses of eath euphamisims and having both charaters speak in 1st person detract from the story immersion somewhat but its easy to get over with such a great plot.

NOW GET BACK TO YOUR WRITING... please? ;)

Nova Spice
21 November 2004, 08:01 PM
I may be incorrect, but I seem to remember GM Craig leaving the HoloNet a while back after a heated debate.