Star Wars: Cruise Control | Scene 2.1

The Third Class shuttle is slick but not opulent. The passengers are not the galactic elite, just average, middle-of-the-road folks for whom this is their one vacation for the year or even the big one of their whole life. JT lets her mind wander as she idly looks around, but then her eyes meet a pair that are looking at her quizzically. They belong to a young woman, a blue-skinned Twi’lek who seems vaguely familiar to JT. Something about her makes JT think of the Pit, that nice junkyard in Coronet City. She scavenged some good backup ship parts from there just before they headed off to rescue Renn and Che from Gesaril. But that was also the part of town in which the droid battle arena was located. The Droid Liberation Cooperative had a few agents embedded there who helped when DRS was freeing Jeppo, Jr.

JT sits down next to the Twi’lek. “Excuse me, I’m really sorry, but you look really familiar. I was on Corellia at the start of the year. I think I saw you at some sort of fighting arena…? Yeah, you were one of Jonas’s friends, right?”

The Twi’lek brightens up as she realizes where she knows this human from. “Oh, you know Jonas, too!”

“Did CH-1 ever pay a visit? I gave him all your pamphlets. He got mixed up in some real bad stuff.” JT goes on to provide a more detailed description of the droid she advised to seek out the Droid Liberation Cooperative after the debacle with Killjoy in Cloud City. “He’s kind of tall and really friendly. He has a customized chassis. It’s slate gray right now, and he has glowing red eyes. Really brings out the color. And he carries a big gun. He’s a bounty hunter, a really friendly bounty hunter.”

“You know, I’m not really in the recruitment section…”

“That’s fine, I was just curious. He’s a friend of mine, and he wasn’t sure what he was going to do after… He had a bad run-in with another droid. Unfortunately.”

“There’s all kinds out there,” the Twi’lek observes consolingly.

“There are,” JT agrees.

“But you know, just like there’s all kinds of organics, right? There’s good ones and bad ones.”

JT quietly says, “There are a lot of bad ones.” But then she brightens up. “What are you here for? Are you on vacation?” JT reads the negative answer off the other woman’s face before she gets a stuttered verbal reply.

“Y-yeah! Oh, uh, you know, I don’t remember your name. I’m Sharni Selsun.”

JT introduces herself. “Didn’t think I’d run into anyone I knew. I’m actually here to raise money for a charity, the War Orphans Fund. I just came from the fancy lounge.” She lets out a breath. “They’re pretty tight with their credits.”

“Well, there are a lot of good causes competing for people’s attention.”

JT nods in understanding. The Droid Liberation Cooperative is not an armed force. They struck JT as more of a philosophical movement that could sometimes be prompted to take action. Come to think of it, it was DRS who did the actual physical work of sabotaging the restraining bolt factory and disrupting the droid bloodsport.

“Do you have an event going on for your fundraising?” JT’s question is met with a confused look from Sharni. “Rich people like to have social functions they can go to. I’m organizing a gala for the War Orphans Fund. Do you have something like that going on?”

“No… A gala? What does that even mean?”

“Everyone puts on a lot of really fancy clothes, eats really expensive food, and hopefully gives large piles of credits to the person organizing the gala.”

“That sounds really expensive to put together,” Sharni observes. “Like you have to already have a lot of money. Do they buy tickets to go to it?”

“Oh, yeah. It’s like 500 credits a plate just to attend. And you auction off a bunch of stuff, too, some of which is pretty stupid, but there’s nice things, too, like pieces of art. That reminds me, I still need to get some of that together.” JT pulls out a pad and scribbles a note to herself. “People with too many credits, that’s how they like to spend their money. It’s a way for them to show that they’re doing something without having to do anything. You put on a little event for them, and they give you a pile of money. It seems to work better than just asking for money, although sometimes that works, too.” From Sharni’s continuing bewilderment, JT concludes that she is new to the fundraising world… not that JT is so experienced herself. JT has at least attended galas and hung out with rich people, so she has a leg up in this realm.

“This is your… job… now?” The last time Sharni saw this human, she was taking down a crime boss with some other toughs. And what she was saying about that bounty hunter droid did not sound so tame as this.

JT smiles pleasantly. “Part of my job now, yeah.” She considers a bit and then continues, “I helped put this charity together, so I can’t neglect it. I have to get it enough credits so it can start sustaining itself. So that it can hire some staff to do fundraising events like this all over the galaxy. ‘Cause I don’t know if you noticed, but there’s a war going on right now.”

“Is it legal what you’re doing?”

“What, running a charity? Yeah, it’s one of the most legal things you can do.”

“This sounds like a really good thing that you’re doing. I don’t have five hundred credits, though,” Sharni says regretfully.

“Every credit matters,” JT insists. “Every credit. Fifty credits could buy an outfit for a kid just getting out of the orphanage, just getting started in life. And it’s not just about money, it’s about awareness, too. Opening minds, not just wallets.”

Sharni nods in understanding. Obviously, her main focus is all the droids who are oppressed, but it is a larger galaxy than that, with more than just one evil ruining more than one type of life. She keeps her voice low as she talks about how Corellia does not feel the current war the same way worlds farther out do. They chat a little more, and the conversation moves to the topic of Jeppo, Jr. and his paintings. JT shows Sharni a picture of the one in the Val Isa Memorial Meditation Room at the New Meen Community Center, a work she had commissioned from Jeppo, Jr. in that ancient artist’s style. 

Sharni offers to place a call and see if they can get him to donate a painting for the gala’s auction. It will be a few hours yet before Dame Metropolis departs, so there would be time to get an already-completed work on board. “We’re still in Corellian airspace. We can make this work. I’ll place a call to Jonas. He’s friends with Jeppo’s dad. Maybe they have something sitting around they can send.”

That makes JT smile, how casually Sharni refers to Jeppo Jr.’s creator as his father. “Tell them it’s for a good cause and that I say, ‘Hi!’”