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Tenn slowed his pace slightly, feeling as if he had just brushed up against a primal force of nature; the edge of a hurricane, perhaps, or an icy comet that simply could not be stopped. Had he challenged Vader by staying in his path, he had no doubt that he would have regretted it for as long as he lived. Which quite probably wouldn't have been all that long.

The chief resisted an urge to glance back. If Vader had even noticed his passing, there had been no sign. "Whoo," he said softly to himself as the sound of the other's boots diminished. That had been an experience he'd remember for a while. He'd almost been the man who'd tugged on Darth Vader's cape.

20

FLUTTERBIRD DINER, SOUTHERN UNDERGROUND, GRID 17, IMPERIAL CITY

Neet Alamant was a polished fellow, his voice as smooth as drive lube; never an awkward pause or loss for words. Seated in the retro-style dining booth across from him, Memah felt very little in the way of trust or warmth for the human. Rodo was at the counter, overwhelming a stool and not trying very hard to look inconspicuous as he nursed a cup of caf.

Memah wasn't afraid of this officious little man, but it did feel comforting to have Rodo nearby, and to have that be

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