Lucrehulk-Class Cargo Freighter GPA-LH-099397823065269845 "Amanoa"
Crew: 100 Humans, 10,000 Droids
Cargo: 3,000,000 Metric Tons of Glitterstim Spice
Course: Hyperspace Transit from Kessel to Muunilinst
The panoramic window of the guest quarters at the front end of the freighter's core module provided Halna Gowen with an amazing view of the glowing blue tunnel of hyperspace, as well as the inside of the c-shaped cargo ring in which the spice was stored. Halna had seen the tunnel many times before, but he wasn't interested in the view; this was his first time alone. His parents were nobles from Celanon; his father Argo was the head of Gowen Planetary Advancement, a sub-company of the Trade Federation that provided planets that had start-up space societies with technology and the means to join galactic society and get representation in the Republic, and Callista, Halna's mother, was the senator for Celanon in the Galactic Senate. Despite being the head of the company, Argo made monthly trips to client worlds of GPA, and brought his family with him. This trip was different, as Halna was under the supervision of Captain Bonteri, who worked for GPA and named his ship after the ancient queen of his homeworld, Onderon. Argo and Callista had been summoned to a confidential meeting with other high-ranking officials of the Trade Federation, and Halna was only 10 years old. Because the meeting coincided with their monthly trip off Celanon, Argo didn't want to leave Halna at home. So he assigned Captain Bonteri to take Halna under his wing, if only for a week or 2, in preparation for his future career in GPA. Halna wasn't too happy about the arrangement; they were originally set to go to Ando, a tropical world. Instead, he had to spend 5 days on the dusty, boring world of Kessel. He was now on his way home, but they had to make a stop at Muunilinst to unload the spice; the only thing to go right for Halna on this trip; Proddo Tonith, his first long-distance friend, lived on Muunilinst; maybe Halna would finally get to meet him. He and proddo were watching the Boonta-Eve podrace live on the Holonet. Halna loved podraces, but hardly got to watch them; his parents didn't like Jabba the Hutt, the sponsor of the annual race on Tatooine. They would always dispute who would win this year; Proddo was just like any other Muun; shrewd and calculating. Because of this, he always supported Sebulba, the racer who won every year for the past 3 in a row, while Halna picked a new racer every year. This year, Halna picked a local human named Anakin Skywalker; a kid around Halna's age. "Are you kidding? That kid doesn't stand a chance. I mean, he's only 9 years old." Proddo chastised. Halna weathered the rebuke. "But he's already in second place, and catching up. Besides, Sebulba has to lose sometime." Halna said. "Just watch; he'll crash, and Sebulba will win again." Proddo responded with confidence. "You're like a droid Proddo, you know that?" Proddo chuckled lightly, "I'll take that as a compliment." "... and Sebulba's pod is going out of control! That is the first time he crashed. And Anakin takes the lead!" the Troig's right head announced. "What?!" both human and muun exclaimed with shock; Anakin won the podrace, and became the first human to do so. As both of them were disputing what was going on, a copper-plated protocol droid entered the room. "Master Gowen?" "What is it Seetoo?" Halna asked. C2-M3 responded, "We are 5 minutes away from Muunilinst; Captain Bonteri wants to see you on the bridge." Halna was slightly dismayed, "Okay, I'll be there in a few seconds." (to Proddo) "I gotta go, we're arriving at Muunilist." Halna, like all humans, said the name with the last n silent. "It's alright." Proddo responded. "I gotta go to; apparently, my family is welcoming a guest; a captain in GPA who's delivering spice." Halna's eyes widened. "That's the ship I'm on!" Proddo's eyes widened too, "Oh my stars! Well, see you soon."
Captain Bonteri sat expectantly in his command chair. "We'll be dropping out of hyperspace in 20 seconds Captain." a droid reported. At that moment, Bonteri's guest, Halna Gowen, came running onto the bridge. "Hey kid. We're dropping out right... now!" The tunnel straight ahead transformed into the lines of shortening stars as a planet seemed to jump out right in front of them. Bonteri pointed out the space station in the distance. "See that?" he asked Halna, who strained to recognize it. "That's the financial funnel, right?" he asked. "Yep. Administrator Tonith is waiting. Droid, is the shuttle ready?" "Yes sir." the droid responded. Bonteri looked to Halna. "Come on kid; we've got to take a shuttle to the station." Together they walked down to the hangar. They boarded the ship, a Haor-Chall made Sheathipede Transport, which whisked them to the ornate space station. Waiting in the station's hangar was an entourage of Muuns dressed in typical business wear, and a squad of Iotran guardsmen. The transport turned around as it entered the hangar to present it's boarding ramp. Bonteri and Halna exited. The lead Muun and two others walked up to them "Welcome to Muunilinst Captain Bonteri; how was the trip?" the adult Muun asked. "As successful as ever; we have the shipment." Bonteri responded. The Muun nodded in approval, "Good... and who's this?" he asked, referring to Halna. "Oh sorry administrator, this is Halna Gowen. Halna, this is Riz Tonith; he's the administrator of the skyhook." Tonith looked down on Halna with interest. "Halna Gowen? The heir of GPA?" he asked. "That's me." Halna said. "Nice to meet you Halna. This is my eldest son, Pors, and I believe you know Proddo. So, let's head downside and discuss the shipment." "By all means administrator." Bonteri said. Halna, Bonteri and the Muuns made their way to the lifts, the Iotrans following closely. They took two lifts; one for the Muuns and their guests; the other for the guards. The two lifts then started up and made their way downside. Halna heard about Muunilinst's clean skies and oceans, but was unprepared when he experienced it's beauty for the first time. Halna's parents had been to the planet multiple times before; business and politics demanded it. Halna would ask them about the planet each time, and he was awed with stories of big, sleek buildings and crystal clear oceans. His eyes were wide open the whole elevator ride, and the whole speeder ride across the ocean to their private mansion on a series of small, tropical islands. The mansion was nothing short of magnificent; a series of ornate buildings built into the mountain, connected to one another through hallways decorated with exotic flowers and marble pillars lined with pure aurodium. Surrounding the mansion were several smaller buildings of similar architecture, which served as guest houses, and a barracks for the Iotran guards. On one of the outer islands, was a runway with a fleet of airspeeders from many parts of the galaxy. Proddo ran up to Riz as he and Bonteri were talking. "Father, can Halna sleep in my room?" he asked. "No; Halna is a guest, and therefore, he and Captain Bonteri will be staying there until their business is complete." Riz answered, then turned to his elder son, "Pors, would you show Halna to his suite? Captain Bonteri and I have to discuss the shipment." "Yes father." Pors answered with respect in his voice, and turned to Halna. "Come with me Mr. Gowen." The Muun led the young Human out of the mansion, down a stone brick walkway that went through the foliage. The leaves of the palm trees on the sides swayed slightly in the warm wind, and the jungle was alive with various alien sounds. "What's that?" Halna asked, referring to the clicking sound. Pors answered, "That's a tree-scaler. We imported from Felucia. Anyway, here's where you and Captain Bonteri will be staying." The Muun indicated a beach-side residence; a building not unlike the others, with two floors and a balcony above the dining hall. "You'll be staying in the downstairs suite." Pors said, "It has a bedroom, a restroom designed for human use and a holo-device. You can use it to summon servant droids if you have an issue, want to order some food, or browse the local Holonet. However, if you want to make off-world transmissions, you'll have to go to the comm-tower, which is a few meters down the beach." With that, Pors walked away, leaving Halna to his own devices. Halna walked inside the building, into a lounge with green velvet-lined couches and poofs, a dark wood, round table with a holoprojector in the center, various shelves with flimsi-plast books and local flowers, a dejarik table and a large, curved window with a panoramic view of the beach. A portiere on the left wall to the door lead to a dining room and a kitchen, and a door straight in front lead to the first floor suite. Halna opened the door and found a large bed with velvet green blankets, an armchair, two bed-side desks, and a computer terminal. Halna used the terminal to order some Bantha milk, and five minutes later, an expensive, golden E-3PO protocol droid rang the door. When Halna answered it, it spoke in a prim, synthetic female voice, "Here is your beverage Master Gowen. May I be of further assistance?" "No thanks." Halna responded. Without another word, the droid left, heading back to the mansion. Sitting down on a poof, Halna activated the dejarik table and began a game against the computer.
The Next Day
Bonteri and Riz were supervising the transfer of spice from the Amanoa to various freighters, shuttles and several Alderaanian medical corvettes, fulfilling orders left and right, and checking manifestos, all from the mansion. Meanwhile outside, Halna and Proddo were using a pair of electrobinoculars to zoom in on the skyhook, which floated in the sky like a moon. They were trying to identify the ship models that were coming in to pick up the spice; they spotted CR-90 Corvettes, YT-1300 light freighters, VCX-100 freighters, GR-75 Transports, a few Commerce Guild ships and even a Mon Calamari cruiser. While they were discussing a particularly suspicious manifesto from a Star Yacht, an attendant droid came in, "Master Tonith, we're receiving a live transmission from Hego Damask." Bonteri looked confused "The reclusive former head of Damask Holdings?" Riz looked equally confused, "Must be. Record the transmission and summon Pors, Proddo and Halna." he said to the droid. "Already recording." it responded, and it walked away.
"No, that's an MC-80; you can tell by the ventral bridge pod." Halna said. "MC-80s don't have those," Proddo responded, "That's an MC-75." "Excuse me young masters." a synthetic voice said. Both kids looked at a silver-plated protocol droid, who said to Proddo, "Your father would like to see you both in the transmission tower." They then handed the binoculars to the droid and hurried off. The transmission tower looked like the other buildings; ornate and circular, except for a large array of antennae on the top. The kids walked in to a darkened room, with a holoprojector inside. Bonteri, Riz, Pors and several other Muuns were standing around it. As soon as the door closed, the holoprojector displayed an elder Muun wearing a breathing device. The Muun spoke in a rattling, slightly mechanical voice, slightly muffled by the hologram, "As many of you may have heard, the Trade Federation has blockaded and invade Naboo, in defiance of the taxation of the Free Trade Zones. Viceroy Gunray and his constituents will be arrested. (1) Pay heed to the way the Republic and the Jedi Order deal with them; The Federation will be dismantled, and the precedent will be set. Unless you take steps to begin a slow, carefully planned withdrawal from the Senate, taking your home and client worlds with you, you too, risk becoming property of the the Republic." The hologram then faded, and lights came on. As the Muuns and Captain Bonteri broke into discussion, Halna contemplated what Hego Damask said, and found himself hating the Republic and the idolized Jedi.
(1) Luceno, James. (2011). Darth Plagueis: New York: Del Rey