Categories > Games > Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic > Life and Times According to Griff P. Vao0 Reviews
Safe and stagnant on Taris, Griff begins to get illusions of grandeur.
The cargo was being shipped to a planet called Taris. Now, at the time I thought Taris’d be a good idea since the people of Taris liked to think their planet was a smaller Coruscant. And you know me, I loved Coruscant. It was just a shame now with my shady girlfriend being dead and a crime syndicate wanting my baby sister that I had to leave.
It was also a shame that given the circumstances, I couldn’t even afford coach tickets. Hence the crate. You know how feisty a five year old can get? Imagine that bundle of energy stuck on your lap with no room to run and scream. Yeah. I had to use the money I had stashed for food to buy drugs to sedate the kid so we wouldn’t get caught in transit.
That was freaky. The drugs. I think I gave her a little too much for the first dose. Nerves, you know? She just flopped limp all over me for a good couple of hours or so. Halfway into it, I convinced myself that Mission was dead and nearly blew our cover for the sake of a panic attack.
So I just sat there. There wasn’t anything else I could do. My back was pressed against one side of the box, my knees against the other. Mission was wedged and unmoving somewhere between my thighs and chest. Her skin was so clammy and her breath so faint and all I could do was try to rock her back and forth and tell her she was going to be fine even when I had no idea if I was lying or not.
She came around eventually, thank frack. She pushed her hands out against my face and when she found out there wasn’t enough room to stretch, she began to cry. So I did the only thing I could in that situation; I gave her another dose to quiet her.
Once we landed on planet, it was pretty easy goings getting out of the crate and getting to a cantina, all things considered. I was a little sore; both from spending all that time in a crate and by the realization that Taris was absolutely nothing like Coruscant. Taris reminded me of those designer imposter colognes that claimed to be just like the real deal, but then you pop the cap and it smells like dead grandmother.
These people had obviously never heard about the kindness of strangers. I had a five year old kid in my arms whose head was bobbing lifelessly! Not that I’d intentionally shirk someone, mind you, but come on! That was a perfect setup.
Of course, no sooner did I step foot inside that cantina than I was hoisted out of it. Upper City can kiss my blue ass.
Lower City, now that was nicer. That was the place to be. Now granted, the first thing I had to do when I got out of the elevator shaft was step over a body; I wasn’t sure if it was dead or just dead drunk, but you know, it was still a body in the middle of the walkway. Lower City wasn’t the cleanest place to be, it certainly wasn’t the classiest, but it was going to be home for the next five years or so.
The cantina in Lower City was more hospitable. I found some dancers on their breaks, ones with big, wide eyes and even bigger… hearts. These ladies cooed and fawned as I explained that my dear sister was inexplicably sick.
…What? You think I’d get any stitch of help if I said, “Heya! I pumped my kid sister full of drugs and now she won’t wake up”? I was doing it for Mission.
In the blink of an eye, these women wrenched Mission out of my arms and into theirs. I was hit with a momentary sense of panic in that I just escaped handing her over to a crime lord only to have her stolen by some twinks in gold pasties and body glitter. Don’t get me wrong, I’d much rather be at the mercy of fake breasts demanding that cred chips be placed into their fluorescent g-strings, but it was the general principle.
And even faster than I was hurled from the Upper City cantina, I was introduced to a man named Gadon Thek. So now I’m forever indebted to body glitter dusted over scant body parts. It could be worse.
Gadon still had his eyes back then. And he had Zaerdra. She greeted me with a fierce right hook to the jaw. Apparently Zaerdra had an eye for the characteristic signs of sedatives in a child and was grossly opposed to it. I quickly crossed out older women along with humans from the list of Griff P. Vao’s potential dating pool.
It was made very clear that Gadon was in charge and that you just don’t piss off Gadon Thek. Not that he would ever do anything to you; why do things yourself when you have a psycho Twi’lek bruiser of a babe to do it for you? Trust me, I like to push my luck as far as it’ll take me, but I also understand the value of having my nose in the dead center of my face and not twisted violently to the left like some abstract painting.
But on the upside, it was also made evident that the guy had a soft spot for stragglers and would give out handouts if you could remember where your loyalties were. So as long as I pocketed the coins of random sentients that didn’t belong to the Hidden Beks and stopped making fun of Gadon’s favorite straggler, Brejik, and his poor choices in both clothing and women, I could show up and get a free meal every now and again.
They took to Mission immediately. Zaerdra regarded her with that sort of annoyance that anyone with half a brain could see was feebly set up posturing. The moment anyone thought to harass that mouthy seven year old, Zaerdra was there with twin blades or even just a wrench and a sock filled with rocks, whatever it took. Man, I can’t explain it, but it was both horrifying and though I’m ashamed to admit, strangely arousing to see that crazy, milky-white bitch get creative on some poor sucker. So long as that sucker was not myself, mind you.
It was an easy, symbiotic relationship. I’d back Gadon and the Beks on all fronts and occassionally, if I had some extra cash flow, would slip a few credits their way. In return, they supplied a place to sleep when I needed it, helped keep track of Mission and kept us fed. And the best part? Zaerdra and the rest of those blaster-wielding crazies were on my side. It was nice to feel safe for a change.
And watching Mission grow? That was something else. It’s kind of weird. It would’ve been so easy for a scrawny little kid like that to just fall through the cracks, but the girl was a natural. So much so I’d like to claim it was a genetic trait. Vaos don’t have a lot of people around to brag about how awesome we are, so we have to have the jewels to boast about it ourselves. You’d be surprised how much a body can get away with when they’re confident enough to just do it.
I mean, she was eight when she first overrode the controls of a security console. It took me at least until I was ten for that kind of stunt. Granted, I didn’t have a stunning older brother to help me out along the way, but still, it was impressive.
Zaerdra was equally impressed when she beat me into a pulp over it. She was upset because I used the Beks’ security system to train Mission, but I figured it was a good way to get the kid’s feet wet. Syndicates like the Exchange didn’t have much of a problem with spewing the insides of an eight year old’s skull out all over the duracrete ground, so I didn’t want to toss her into that without being positive of what she was capable of.
That didn’t make that particular beating any less rough.
But that was just how it was. A constant argument of whether Mission was too young or not. She wasn’t too young to sell to a Hutt, I’ll tell you that much. And if she wasn’t too young for that, I figured she wasn’t too young to learn some useful tricks to ensure that didn’t happen. That was one thing that Zaerdra and I could agree on. Unfortunately, where my tactics leaned more towards being discreet and overlooked, Zaerdra’s slant was more carry many disposable and untraceable weapons with the knowledge of exactly where to strike.
Mission didn’t seem to mind either way. She just wanted people to stop calling her Mishmash.
What I wanted was for a way back to my former glory. I mean, Jart Vao had been loaded. There’s that whole money can’t buy you happiness and blah, blah, blah, but that’s just rich people whining. Let them stare at a blackening gash in their foot and try to decide whether it’ll heal on its own or if it’s really worth the cost of a doctor’s visit without insurance.
I try to imagine it sometimes, me with money. The first thing I’d probably do would be to buy a solid gold bathtub big enough to fit me and at least three others. Indulgent and slightly overshooting my sex appeal? Yes. But it would be incredible.
It wasn’t like I was getting any younger. And with each passing year, Mission’s face would thin out and she wasn’t exactly a cute, helpless thing anymore. More like a damn frustrating brat on more than one occasion. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to explain why sentients are less likely to take pity on and give free credits to a ten year old that’s smoking cigarras? I mean, really!
I made the mistake of letting it slip that the only reason Mission thought she was untouchable hot shit was because Zaerdra was constantly hovering behind her to make sure she didn’t get in over her head. That had the opposite effect intended and from that day forward Mission behaved even ballsier than before.
So much for that. I think the final kicker was when some of the new girls at the cantina thought I was her father. That stung.
I needed a way off the damn planet. And I don’t mean a way that involved crates and packing peanuts. I wanted a way off that had style. That showed I was climbing up, not spiralling down. I needed a sign.
That sign came in pale yellow cream. Man, she was pretty. Eyelids encrusted with purple glitz, her lekku said one thing while her mouth said another. And when she smiled that little half-smile, the one that told me she was really smiling but trying like frack to be coy, it was on. She said her name was Lena and I knew then that I had my ticket out.