Just as the grouchy lady named Marta closed the door behind her stormtroopers were rounding the corner, swiftly locating the Jaazenee Brothers who were beginning to stir.
“Arrest them!” the unit’s leading trooper barked.
The Brothers groaning, were forced off of the ground, and into the custody of the First Order. Meanwhile, Zorii was in Marta’s windowless, dimly lit workshop catching her breath and trying to figure out her next move.
“So, what’s going on today? More smuggling? You killed a big-time gangster and now you’ve got a bunch of crooks chasing after you? Or better yet. You’ve got the First Order breathing down your neck?”
Zorii shook her head. “None of the above actually.” She turned to Marta, pulling a small sack of coins from her pocket. Coins that converted into roughly 20,000 credits. Marta whistled, impressed. “I’m getting out of here.”
Marta looked at her with surprise. “Getting out of here? You mean, you’re leaving Kijimi?”
Zorii nodded, putting the sack back into her hidden pocket. “I can’t take it anymore. This life I’ve been living here. It’s gotten me nowhere. I’m going to find a new life.” She turned away from the elderly woman. “One that maybe doesn’t involve me having to associate with scum anymore.”
Marta scoffed as she headed through the workshop. “It’s about time you’ve come to your senses.” She flicked a switch, bringing additional light into the shop. “But I do have a question?”
Zorii turned to her.
“How are you going to get off of Kijimi? You know the First Order’s got the hyper-lanes under high security. You’ll need a First Order captain’s medallion to get through.”
Bliss nodded curtly. “I am aware of that. That’s why I got this money. I know a guy. He’ll get me the information I need to get the medallion but first, I’m going to have to pay up.”
Marta seemed pleased with the answer but her eyebrows soon creased as she remembered another problem. “What about your debt to Mother Ooma?”
Zorii’s jaw clenched. Mother Ooma was a constant presence looming over Zorii ever since that devilishly handsome wretch named Poe Dameron skedaddled to join the Resistance and left her to fend with the crime lord’s anger after a busted operation. There were some less than kind negotiations. Either Bliss would become another memory after Ooma disposed of her or…she could pay back the money they had squandered in the operation; a hefty 300,000 credits’ worth. Zorii, of course, made the sensible choice. Now here she was, years later, still shadowed by a debt thrust upon her because of one man’s betrayal.
Her fists clenched. If she ever saw Dameron again…oh-ho, the things she would do to him. Maybe she’d kick him in a delicate area and punch his teeth out to rid him of that charming smile he always used to have. Then she’d shave off his hair (if he still had it) and give him a nasty scar that would run across his face, marring his good looks. Or maybe she’d just shoot him and get it over with.
Yet despite her anger toward Dameron she understood why he left. At the time she liked the thrill of crime but Poe never did. He was a part of the crew just like the rest of them but deep down, he wanted to be more than a scumbag spice runner. She wanted to hate him for leaving and ripping her heart out in the process but she couldn’t. Especially now when she wanted to escape this wretched world too. She couldn’t forgive him for leaving her with such debt though. She wouldn’t forgive him.
Through clenched teeth, she replied to Marta’s question, “Yes…I’ve still got the debt but I plan on fixing that too.”
Marta began dusting off a spare part she found lying on the floor, regarding Zorii with what appeared to be a look of pity. “Well, it looks like you’re going to have a busy day.”
Bliss chuckled humorlessly. “You think?”
She turned, heading to the door.
“Wait a sec.”
Zorii turned just as Marta was flinging a small brown satchel in her direction.
“There are about five thousand credits in that satchel. Old savings that I’ve been storing for any occasion. I figured, heck, you need those credits more than me.”
Zorii couldn’t believe it. Marta was a good-natured person but she had never been so forthrightly kind to Bliss. This gesture of abrupt benevolence left Zorii feeling a bit emotional.
“Thank you,” Zorii said with genuine appreciation.
Marta dipped her head, a small smile touching her lips. “Good luck.”
Zorii smiled before leaving the building, stepping out into the street where the sun sat high in the sky, basking everything in a golden glow. She looked both ways. There were no stormtroopers and no angry brothers to be seen in either direction. She was in the clear. Now all she needed to do was get these credits to her contact but before she could do that she had to have an audience with Babu Frik.