Din flicked a coin into the dirt for each of them. One – Ranzar. Two – Qin.

He paused, sighed, held the third coin to the level of his eye. Wondered if Xi'an deserved it, if forgetting her warranted the waste.

Three. One last coin struck the ground.

Din looked down at them. Tarnished and dirty, soon to be left behind. The falling out had been inevitable, he guessed. Ranzar had sided consistently with the Twi'leks, and every tense silence, every tedious disagreement had multiplied with each mission. Only a matter of time, Din thought, shaking his head, until they….

He turned away from the coins. That was the point of them: he wanted to turn away. Forget them. He had given each of them one final thought, so that he wouldn't have to think anymore. He would refuse to.

Before him sprawled an open market, exposed to cold, whipping wind and slate clouds that hung lower than any Din had seen. Every stall and alley blazed with red-hot space heaters, which the swaddled locals made a habit of crowding as they traded their valuables.

Din approached, tugging his cape close to his sides. He needed transport back to the nearest Mandalorian outpost. Preferably one within the Outer Rim, so that the trip might not cost him a fortune. With no ship of his own, and no contacts on this foreign world, the trip might be costly regardless.

Din's steps slowed, stopped. Cringing, he turned back to snatch up the coins. It wouldn't do to wind up just a few short of escape, he decided. So he stuffed them into his pocket with another sigh, and continued on his way.

The sky seemed to darken. Din wondered what time of day it was. He doubted that night was any warmer than…now.

The Mandalorian resolved to hurry. With no money to spare on a room for the night, and no guarantee that the markets would stay open, his time was limited.

His search left him in an empty lot behind a ramshackle inn. He counted his coins, wondering if he could bear the cold. The shuttle station, he had been told, was a day's walk away, and the land ferries were out of commission due to fuel shortages; anyone with hangar space or tickets to sell was out there. Din had been advised against walking to the station overnight – repeatedly, seemingly with worse warnings each time. Ice storms, crevasses, creatures in the dark….

Din rolled his eyes. He hated the fearmongering that festered in backwater towns. Hated that, for his own sake, he would have to assume they were right. No use dying on the same day that he found his freedom. Moving on was preferable to passing on. He huffed, almost a laugh.

A warm light speared the dark ground, as the inn's back door swung ajar. A human in only a couple layers of leather stepped out, looking at Din.

"Someone told me you were looking for the quickest way offworld," he called, cocking blaster-laden hips. "Come on in. We got you a room."

"Liddec. And you?"

"I'm a Mandalorian."

"I know that. What I meant was…never mind."

Liddec and his friends – a small gang of human travelers – had gathered with Din in the common area of the inn. The ceiling was low, the furniture minimal, but a few heaters generated comfortable warmth. Din had pulled his hands between his knees as some feeling finally returned to them.

"In any case," Liddec said, "You need transport, and we could use an extra gun onboard. Not to fight anything. Hopefully, you know." He took a drink of something frothy and sweet-smelling, then wiped a few drops from his stubbled face.

"So maybe we could call it even. We'll drop you off somewhere more civilized, and it'd be free of charge."

"You say you aren't looking for trouble," Din said. "What are the chances of trouble finding us?"

Liddec glanced sideways, then back at Din. "One in fifty, let's say. Life on the Outer Rim always has its nasty run-ins, but my boys and I are good at keeping our noses clean. No serious enemies to speak of. You still in?"

Din nodded. "When do we leave?"

"Morning. My friend here scrounged enough fuel to get one of the ferries going. We'll use it to get back where our pilot's waiting. Sleep in the meantime. Room's on us, as I said."

The Mandalorian took his leave up a narrow staircase tucked into the corner. Walking through the only open doorway at the top, he entered a room that would typically pass for a large closet. Not on this miserable planet, he supposed. Finding a place for all of his gear would be an interesting challenge. He made it work by lining up his weapons along the windowless far wall, and stacking his armor plates under the bed. At least the pillow allowed his helmeted head some cushioning, he noted, as he made himself comfortable. A small heater puffed away in the corner by the door. Din focused on it as his eyes began to close, matching his breaths with its slow thrums of energy.

He could almost forget the events that brought him here…..

Half asleep, he barely overheard two angry voices outside.

"The Zygerrian wants him cuffed now, not later."

"That wasn't the decision last time." Liddec.

"It's been re-decided."

Din was already under the bed, strapping on his armor and readying a blaster.


-i update quickly, expect action soon
-also my only experiences with star wars media are kotor and the mandalorian. so i'm having to practically live on wookiepedia in order to write decent background details