Star Wars: Cruise Control | Scene 1.1

A pale white human of short stature with a wave of blue hair makes her way through Coronet City’s busy spaceport, searching for her departure gate. Jai Tessa is here on Corellia to begin her trip aboard Dame Metropolis, a luxury cruise starship that would put many cities to shame. Many guests have already boarded on Coruscant and a few other Core worlds, and Corellia is the last stop before the Dame makes her hyperspace jump to the exotic unknown.

JT will be hosting a gala dinner on behalf of the Tusk War Orphans Fund. Even now, in the boarding area, she needs to work the crowd and establish connections if she hopes to reach her fundraising goal of ten million credits. Potential donors are everywhere. Marks, some of her friends might call them, or targets, but JT is here on behalf of her charity, not her own wallet.

Dame Metropolis is enormous. The crew size is in the hundreds, and the passenger count rates in the thousands. Such a ship cannot possibly land on the surface of a planet. Even the shuttles to take the guests aboard are enormous. JT enters the waiting area and finds it full of throngs of people, mostly humans and Selonians, but there are also quite a few Duros and Drall. At the front of the line, a Pantoran man in a well-tailored jacket nods at the protocol droid behind the counter and then passes through an opaque door to the left. During the brief time it is open, JT catches a glimpse of elegant people holding fancy drinks and a milkshake machine mounted on a wall behind a bar. There is even a buffet, and she is pretty sure she saw a margarita droid.

The line to the check-in podium moves slowly, but finally JT finds herself face to face with a protocol droid, PD-101. She hands over her ticket-chit, and after the reader returns its results, he announces, “Thank you for purchasing your room in steerage, Class 3 Passenger Jai Tessa.” Although JT is smartly dressed in a well-cut winter coat and slacks and wants to create a good impression with everyone she meets, she only booked herself a berth in a basic room. She needs to mingle with the rich folks, but she has no interest in spending those kinds of credits herself. The protocol droid gestures for her to move toward a transparisteel door to the right. Through it she sees a crowded room with everyone packed shoulder-to-shoulder clutching suitcases and duffels.

JT gives the droid a big smile and leans in toward the counter. “Thank you so much. You’re doing great! I really appreciate what you’re doing here—”

“Please step aside,” PD-101 requests of the checked-in passenger.

“Um, I just wanted to step into the margarita room real quick,” JT says, shuffling a step in the direction the Pantoran went.

“That is for—”

“I’m here for a charity fundraiser event. I don’t know if you saw, but it’s on my ticket. I got a non-profit—”

“Ah, yes, you are a worker on the ship.”

“No, no, I’m here with the War Orphans Fund. Would you like to donate anything? Every credit counts.” And those people have the most credits, she thinks, glancing over at the fancy lounge. Not that she values one of them more than she does a non-wealthy donor, but she is here to do a job.

The protocol droid tilts his head in confusion. “I do not have credits for your charity.” What ridiculous things these organics say. “The people with credits, you will find many in that room. Perhaps you should speak to one of the short, furry organics.” He grants JT access to the waiting lounge with the refreshing beverages but only until her Class 3 shuttle is ready to depart.

“Thank you so much, Petey,” JT says effusively.

PD-101 takes her trunk for her so that she can enter the lounge unencumbered, just as the Pantoran did. The droid tells her it will be delivered to her accommodations. JT slides ten credits across to him for a tip, then offers the droid another smile as she leaves the counter.