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Daniel Wing

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May 31

Celebrating the summer solstic wasn't a new thing for him – in Republic it'd meant shorter days, a start of slightly less heat, halfway point to a season of rain floods. Not that anyone had much reason to celebrate with the constant war, anything bigger forbidden by the government either way. The poor knew, were relieved for the turning point to a better part of the season, weather one less thing to worry about.

Here in Pandora, the festival also meant a chance to sell his jewelry, make money to support his living. Daniel wanted to be independent, even if this wasn't an occupation he ever imagined taking. But it worked, so a little travel was the least issue. If it went well, he could take some days off after. For now he set up his stall in the usual order, hair braided and wearing a good shirt, smiling at anyone passing – ready to explain what materials his things were made off, haggel about fair prices and maybe even take some custom orders.

It'd be a good night.
 
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Luke Skywalker

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Luke shuffled up to the jewellery stall with a sense of mild interest. It wasn’t his style to decorate his body with shiny trinkets, but he thought that maybe some of the smaller Saculite artefacts could have found their way into such a place.

He hadn’t had much chance to hunt down the stolen artefacts with the distraction of becoming young again, along with losing his expertise in the Force. His adolescent brain was also finding it difficult to drum up enthusiasm for the mission. Who cared about fusty old artefacts? Or that bleak, lonely island in the middle of the Saint Sacul star system?

A kid who looked his age was in charge of the stall, his smile quickly putting Luke at ease. Perhaps he wouldn’t mind answering some questions? Luke sure had plenty to ask!

“Hey,” he greeted the young vendor. “Do you have any really old pieces?”

Luke noticed two stylized sun pendants, which were attached to the same fine gold chain. It was very pretty and reminded him of sunsets on Tatooine. If he’d been the type to wear necklaces, he would’ve bought it in a heartbeat. Well, assuming he had enough credits in the pocket of his tunic!
 
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Daniel Wing

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Young man weren't his usual customers, jewelry more catering to woman – though he had an equal amount of more subtle ones on display, gold as well as leather and strips of cloth. But he was the last one to judge, had made more than one trinket for Alex, so maybe this'd be for some sweetheart? Either way he was going to give his best, no matter the slight anxiety at facing actual strangers.

The question was an odd one, but he still answered without missing a beat: “Well, the corals are quite old, being calcified and all – most of the stones too, depending on how you define it, and there's no telling with the driftwood.” Daniel gestured to the various materials, keeping unused samples around for explanations. “But I assembled all the pieces myself, the oldest would be from a couple months ago.” It sold well enough that he didn't had much leftover, having found his spot in the market by now. “Are you looking for anything specific? Might have something in my materials that isn't used yet.” Since custom jewelry was an extra that paid well, he kept his supplies well-stocked, keeping whatever oddity he found.
 
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Luke Skywalker

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It sounded as though the vendor wandered around picking up wood and stones and stuff off the ground, then assembling jewellery out of them. What a load of junk!

“It’s all very nice,” Luke spoke aloud. And it wasn’t a lie. Well, not exactly. The necklace with the twin suns still captured his attention. “You don’t buy anything ready made?”

Luke looked over the stall, but there was so much jewellery that it made him feel dizzy. Frustration and impatience pressed down on his chest. How was he supposed to tell if anything had come from Saint Sacul? If he’d had a better grasp of the Force, he might’ve been able to sense the artefacts. They’d had a peculiar energy signature.

“Oh, I’m trying to find jewellery from a specific place,” Luke told him. “Some sacred artefacts were stolen from a holy island in the Saint Sacul star system. Not that I’m accusing you of stealing them. I just thought if they’d been sold on to you by the thief…”

Luke’s gaze lingered on a ring, which looked as though it had been carved out of a blue and white speckled stone. He thought he remembered seeing blue and white stones on the island, but then again, didn’t they have those in the Crystal Vales, too? Around the coast?
 
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Daniel Wing

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His work of course was anything but junk randomly assembled – a lot of the materials needed to be cleaned, cut, polished, carved, lacquered or painted until he finally had something worth selling. Jewelry didn't just sprung into being fully done. Shaking his head at the question he answered: “If I'd buy it in to resell, the profit wouldn't be enough to make a living. I buy materials and small additions, like chains or hooks, but nothing fully assembled.” Doing it all himself and not charging for all the time, as more often than not this was his occupation when nightmares kept him awake, made him able to stay in competition with more serious vendors.

“Well, I've never been... up where the stars are.” He wasn't sure of the proper term, but certainly hadn't left the box. “You're welcome to take a closer look – do you have a description, a picture? I remember all that's gone through my hands.” As unlikely as it was, Daniel tried to help. “Have you tried tracking the thief? If they'd done it spontaneous, they're more likely to drop it off as fast as possible – if they know what it's worth, more likely they'll wait and put it up on some black market. Worst case, someone hired them to steal it, then it's likely never going to end up on the free market.” Experience from someone who'd spend his share in the dark corners.
 
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Luke Skywalker

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“Space?” Luke offered.

The vendor had never been to space? Luke’s stomach twisted with empathy. He remembered adolescent life on his aunt and uncle’s moisture farm, watching the sunset every night and sulking about how he was never gonna get off that backwater planet.

It had been the Yensid that'd taken the sacred Saculite artefacts. Nothing about their actions were ever spontaneous, so the vendor must’ve been right. They would wait to put them on a black market.

“Do you know of any black markets for jewellery?” he asked. “Even rumors could help.”

Luke had plenty of time on his hands to check out leads, plus it gave him a good excuse to travel. He could no longer bear spending more than five minutes in the same place. How could he have wasted all that time on Ahch-To, especially when his friends had needed him!?

“This ring.” Luke picked up the ring with the blue and white speckled band, which he showed the vendor on his open palm. “Did you find this stone in the Vales? Or buy it from somebody?”

If the latter, there was a reasonable possibility that it had come from the Saint Sacul star system, either naturally mined or broken from one of the sacred artefacts.
 
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Daniel Wing

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„Space then.“ Didn't matter what it was called, he'd never been there, wasn't sure if he wanted to either. Flying was one thing, but being so far out sounded dangerous. There'd been no need for it anyway, was he content having a life at all, somewhere peaceful with no war going on. When you grew up with nothing, every little bit got appreciated.

At the very direct question of black markets he arched an eyebrow. Sure, Daniel had mentioned it first, but that guy went in assuming he meant well without any proof whatsoever. “I'll certainly not tell some green sprout like you anything about black markets, cousin. End of the day you'll waltz straight there, ask the wrong questions to the wrong people and blame me when someone goes to end your life for it. Not gonna happen.” Not to mention that he didn't want some goons to show up at his doorstep if the guy spilled who led him there. There'd been enough years of worrying about every knock at the door.

Taking one look at the ring in question he was quick to answer: “Bought that one from a specialty story for all sorts of materials at the outskirts of Pandopolis. It's been in a box with assorted leftover pieces, sold in bulk.” Cheaper and for his means perfectly usable. “Any way to check if it's what your looking for?” He'd not hand things away based on a story from some stranger. Who knew what was behind it.
 
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Luke Skywalker

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Green sprout!? Indignation prickled across Luke’s skin. It was kind of the same annoyance that Han had provoked during the early days of their friendship, except he’d called him kid or mocked his abilities as a star pilot. Luke would show the vendor he was more than a kid… Than a green sprout.

“Heeey,” he protested, unable to keep the whine out of his voice. He sure wasn’t proving anything today. “I’d be careful. Oh, c’mon. You’ve got to tell me where I can find one of those black markets. People are in danger if I don’t return the artefacts to that island!”

By people, he meant a small tribe of ewoks. And, oh, he guessed the animals sort of counted as people, too. They’d also lose a lot of history about the ancient and extinct Saculite people, who’d reminded Luke an awful lot of the Jedi with their belief in a mystical energy field.

The vendor’s information about the ring had Luke widening his eyes hopefully, his lips parting an inch or two. There was a high chance that it was a piece broken off a sacred artefact, but he had no way of knowing without returning to the Saculite star system.

He shook his head disappointedly. “How much is the ring?”

Luke hoped it wasn’t too expensive, although it didn’t look any more valuable than the fine gold necklace with the twin suns pendant. He just hoped he didn’t spot anything else that looked like it might’ve been from Saint Sacul, otherwise he might lose all of his credits!
 
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Daniel Wing

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Daniel was deaf to whining, especially about minor nuisances like this. Republic had been a harsh place and complaining got you nowhere. In fact criticizing the authorities that be could easily end you beaten up or dead. “Oh, I got to?” he replied sarcastic. “And by what authority do you try to execute this command, twink?” The danger part sounded made-up, the whole story a bit dubious to start with, especially since he appeared to have no way of proofing his claims.

“Well, the material is leftovers and it's fairly easy to drill into rings. A bit more effort went into polishing it smooth, but I can give it to you for two bronze coins of the Vales – that equals about 30 credits or the same in paper money.*” His profit he couldn't cut out just for goodwill, had to earn his living somehow too. “If you don't have that, I could put it on hold for a week, you'd just have to come to the Vales to collect it.”

*Making it up as I go, assume it's reasonable little but not cheap
 
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Luke Skywalker

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Oh, it was “twink” now?

Luke pouted in indignation, but didn’t press him. If he was too insistent, he might push away the vendor. Luke had to find another way to persuade him to reveal more about the black markets.

The price of the ring was at least good news. It wasn’t cheap, but nor would it put him at too much of a disadvantage. Perhaps if he offered a little more the vendor would tell him about the markets?

Luke dipped a hand into his pocket and pulled out a bunch of credits. He slowly and carefully counted out the right amount, then proceeded to give them to the vendor.

“You can have five more if you tell me about the black markets,” Luke said with an earnest smile.

It was an invitation to haggle over the price of information, although Luke wasn’t sure how far he would go. He hoped it wouldn’t take everything in his pocket, because he still needed to purchase parts to improve the performance of one of his X-Wing’s sub-light engines.
 
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Daniel Wing

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Daniel already expected the boy to buy the ring, even if there was no way of proofing whether it was what he searched for. Wasn't his problem and he wasn't running a charity store. Now, that the kid tried to bribe him with what equaled maybe the price of one simple meal, that told of some audacity. Rising an eyebrow he put on his street face of a hard, ruthless criminal as opposed to a friendly vendor.

“How about you add 5 zeroes to the amount so I don't stab you on the spot? Generous offer. If you try that fun on the black market, they'll not ask first.” Really, this boy had no idea how the world worked. It wasn't a nice place. The people doing shady business weren't to be trusted and you had to take measurements first to keep yourself safe. He'd been able to do it at age 6, but that didn't meant everyone could or should do it.
 
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Luke Skywalker

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Five zeroes!?

Luke gaped in shock. He didn’t have that kind of money!

His initial surprise was quick to shift into outrage and frustration. Nobody had that kind of money! The vendor was being spiteful - and at the detriment of a holy island!

“That’s too much!” Luke protested, his voice rising shrilly. “I bet you could buy a black market for that! I can add another couple zeroes, but that’s all!”

So much for having money left over for X-wing parts. It was money well spent, though, if he could acquire more sacred artefacts to return to the Saint Sacul star system.

“Five hundred. That’s as high as I can go,” Luke said, struggling to keep the impatience out of his voice.
 
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Daniel Wing

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While a number with many zeroes certainly looked impressive, this still was an amount one could have. If that boy would've argued sensible he'd soon drop the price, but that childish back-talk just had him laugh. Buy a black market. Sounded like he couldn't even handle a normal market. And for not even a million at that.

Waving the meager 500 off, Daniel leaned forward. “You know what the price on my head was? 200.000 just for information leading to arrest. Keep your bucks, they'll not even buy you some nitpick there. This sort of market ain't working like normal ones – and from your behavior you can't even handle that.” He embraced all of his stall with a sweep of his hand. “Good days I make over 500 in just an hour of selling, so why should I take your money and get myself in trouble? Haven't exactly heard some reason to help you yet.” Maybe there was a reason, he would listen to that, but the guy sure had a bad way of getting his points across.
 
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The vendor mentioned that there had been a bounty on his head, which took Luke by surprise. What had he done? Had he committed a mindless crime? Or had it been justified - well, according to a certain point of view? After Luke had destroyed the first Death Star, he’d been regarded as a criminal by the Empire, but a hero of the Rebellion. Had the vendor fought for a similar cause?

Luke’s curiosity provided him with brief relief from his impatience and frustration. He hadn’t made any progress persuading the vendor to take him to a black market. In fact, he’d set himself further back. Oh, if only Luke had been old again. He could’ve used the Force to coax the vendor to help him.

Perhaps he still could use the Force? From past experiences, he’d had more success tapping into it during more pressurized situations, like this one.

So Luke took a deep, steadying breath, then raised his left hand. He remembered how the Force had used to flow between his fingers as tangibly as sand.

“You will tell me the location of the nearest black market,” he told the vendor, his voice calm and matter of fact. Luke felt a tingle on the palm of his hand, but it felt nowhere near as strong as it had at the height of his training. And still he hoped it would work on his target.
 
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Daniel Wing

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Most people were surprised by his bounty and the amount of it – he certainly didn't look like a criminal and it got them wondering what he'd done. Sometimes it was good to scare them a bit, the list of things he'd done nothing harmless, all true and Daniel proud of it. Never would he deny having done any of it, no matter the reactions. Through that the other might even get some hints on black markets, but he didn't even ask for it, try to get back into his good spirits.

Instead he did a weird gesture and once more demanded to be told information. Daniel looked him straight in the eyes, raised an brow, his own gaze unwavering – he always had that certain stare full of rebellion, refusing to do things just because they didn't hit him right. “And demanding this for the 4[SUP]th[/SUP] time is going to change my answer how?” was his reply. “You're having some delusions, boy.” Strong-willed and used to working around rules as he was some subtle influence sure didn't do anything on him.
 
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His Jedi mind tricks failed to work on the vendor. A couple of the closer customers were even looking at him, their foreheads creased in confusion. Luke felt heat creep up his neck. Oh, he’d achieved nothing except make a big fool out of himself in front of everybody! He was super tempted to stump off back to his X-Wing, but he couldn’t just give up! The island with its holy history and native inhabitants needed his help!

“Look, I’m sorry,” he sighed, dropping his hand back to his side. “It’s just really important I track down those artefacts! I can’t afford that kind of money. Maybe I could pay you back some other way? Do you need help gathering more materials to make your jewellery? I have a starship.”

Luke smiled coyly, shifting his tone of voice into one of soft persuasion: “I could go to planets your competitors have never heard of and bring back some pretty rare materials. You’ll have customers flocking to your stall. And you can charge ‘em extra, ‘cos nobody else will have these unique little crystals and jewels.”
 
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Daniel Wing

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Thanks to having seen his name on wanted posters for years, along with whatever random face they came up with and a story of his presumable latest crime, Daniel was long past being embarrassed about his actions, could take discussing with some teen in a stride. “You keep repeating that and yet you've not answered why it's important.” he pointed out. The artifacts clearly weren't his own possession, so his story wasn't holding up too well. Who said he wished to collect them in good intention?

Normally gathering materials was a deal in the making, but he didn't like the tone it happened at, preferring hard facts instead of pretension. Also he was doing fine with his income, had enough of freetime despite organizing it all on his own. And there was one issue with the proposal Luke sure hadn't accounted for: “What's a planet?” Daniel asked, frowning.
 
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“The artefacts were stolen from a holy island in the Saint Sacul star system,” he explained, gesturing distractedly with a hand. “Without them, the island is… Insecure… Dangerous. I need to return the artefacts to their rightful place, otherwise its people, its animals and history will perish. If you don’t believe me, I could show you the island.”

What’s a planet? Seriously? He didn’t know? Luke had to fight the urge to gape at him. It seemed like there was an awful lot out there in space that he could show the vendor.

“It’s what you’re standing on right now,” Luke told him, his tone patient. “If you have a starship, you can fly off this planet and go to another one. My X-Wing only holds one person, plus an astromech droid, but I could rent a bigger transport if you wanted to check out Saint Sacul?”
 
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Daniel Wing

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There was quite some difference between insecure, dangerous and perish – seemed like this boy barely knew the outcome himself. But alright, they were stolen. That information he hadn't given before and if there was proof for it, he was willing to help, despite having been a thief once himself. “Alright. You're going to show me.” he took him on his word. Don't offer something you don't want to give.

He was aware that he likely didn't meant the ground, but the whole of this world. Or rather, this bit. Seemed like planets were boxes floating in space. “Do that. I want to see that place and then I'll decide if I help you.” Handing over a business card he finally got to introductions. “Call me Day. You can come over anytime next week and pick me up – I'd suggest leaving your vehicle behind outside of the Vales, they have a tendency to screw up tech.”
 
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