The Adventures of Stock Burkonis: Episode 2 – On the Edge

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READ EPISODE ONE HERE

Who do I talk to about safety concerns in modern architecture?  Really, is there some sort of central office somewhere that handles these sorts of issues?  I’d like to know, because it seems like no matter where I go, if a building is over ten stories high, the architects decide that there is no need for guardrails or even a goddamn sign!  I mean, seriously, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been walking while looking at my Hololink, only to glance up and realize that I was about to cross a catwalk that is three and a half feet wide and spans a man-made chasm with a five thousand foot drop that is – for some inexplicable reason – lined with mood lighting.  Yeah, it looks cool, but if you’re falling a mile to your very messy death, you’re not going to be admiring the fucking scenery.  And do I even need to mention how slippery these modern floors are?

Long Vader Go!

Some of you might be wondering how I intend to reconcile this information with the fact that the previous Adventures of Stock Burkonis from my Star Wars Galaxies days took place immediately after the Battle of Yavin. It’s better if you don’t think too hard about it.

But that’s Coruscant for you.  Actually, that’s most Core Worlds for you, but considering everybody wants to model themselves after Coruscant, what’s the difference.  I just want to write an angry letter, but I don’t know who to send it to.  There’s gotta be an advocacy group of some kind.   Citizens for Safer Hypercities, maybe?

One of the first things we did when we got here was to get Corso a makeover.  A little sonic tissue reconstruction to clear up those facial scars, a new ‘do, and a couple hours in the tanning booth, and he came out looking like a new man!  Turns out Corso’s a pretty handsome fella once you clean him up a little.  The man’s got excellent bone structure; cheekbones like a runway model.  His hair is a little stringy, but you can’t have everything.  At least don’t feel like he’s going to run off and start up an impromptu jam session at a wine festival now.

Corso gets a makeover.

Lookin’ good, Slick!

Don’t get me wrong, Corso’s a nice kid, and a hell of a guy to have on your side in a firefight, but goddamn is he a weirdo!  I can’t seem to have a conversation with somebody or check an email terminal without turning around and finding that while I was busy, he’s climbed up onto something and is just standing there, staring down at people like a cat.

Corso standing on tables again.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

You know what they say; if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!

Everyone talks about how Coruscant is the crown jewel of the Core Worlds, a utopian hypercity, home to the Galactic Senate, the Jedi Council, and home base to countless corporations.  People gush about the stunning sunsets (a product of air pollution, I might add), the beautiful parks, the museums, and the art galleries.  Blah blah blah.  Too bad they never mention that fact the roughly two thirds of the population live below the sunline.  Think about it: 600 hundred billion people on the brink of total anarchy, stacked on top of each other, layer upon layer upon layer, billions of tons of steel and glass and plastic supporting untold billions of life stories; tragedies, farces, comedies, dramas, and sprawling epics… and none of them ever see sunlight without dropping $100 on cab fare.

Sewer water.

Blegh. I think I got some of that water in my mouth!

Not to mention the the combined sewage of 75+ different species of sapient species, along with their food waste.  Let’s just say that whoever runs the plumbing and waste management companies – ahem Black Sun ahem – is making some serious bank.  Despite my general attitude of laying low and staying out the sight of authority figures, I generally like to stay above the sunline whenever I visit Coruscant.

Which is, of course, exactly the opposite of what I ended up doing the whole time I was there.  After a couple hours of snooping around, hitting up contacts, and calling in favors, I determined that Skavak-the-Soon-to-Have-a-Ruined-Nutsack had greased his way somewhere in the gang territories, way down in the underbelly of Coruscant.  Great.  Wonderful.

Below the sunline, I often fail to notice when I’ve exited a building.  Everything is so homogenized down there, the difference between indoors and outdoors is a mere technicality, because in either case, there’s a mile and a half of steel in any given direction, with only the narrowest of windows to the open sky above.  What it amounts to is a series of vast interiors, catwalks, gantries, and inexplicably situated cantinas and shops.  Down there, the artificial light has a way of tricking your mind into believing that it’s early evening, no matter what time it actually is.

The alcohol doesn’t help with that.  I may not be a spice addict any more, but I can’t resist a good glass of bourbon or a nice, cold beer, and as I already said, there are more bars than there need to be – I guess there’s nothing else to do – and in the strangest goddamn places.  Like the middle of an enemy base!  Yeah, I just got done fighting a bunch of dudes, I guess I’m pretty thirsty, why not?

I’ve mentioned my penchant for ball-kicking before.  In my own defense, despite my manly physique, I was a pretty scrawny kid, and even now, I’m not of much use in a brawl.  I prefer blasters because I can hide behind shit and because it offers me a chance to shoot a motherfucker in the back before they even get a chance to see me.  You can call that dishonorable if you want, but while you’re busy getting honorably shot in the face, I’ll still be alive.

Sometimes, though, you just can’t put enough distance between yourself and your target.  It’s strange how often I’ll be in a gunfight, and my opponents will just run into melee range.  I mean, this happens constantly, and I’ve never understood why.  You have a gun, dummy!  One of my favorite tactics for situations like these is something I like to call The Burkonis Triple-Threat.  It goes a little something like this:

Well, since I somehow became embroiled in a turf war between Black Sun and the Justicars (which sounds like the name of a repulsorlift rental agency), there was plenty of nut shooting to be done.

Justicar Repulsorlift Rentals: It's More Than Just a Car!

I think I met an elf.  Maybe it was just a little girl.  The air down here makes you head go funny.  To be honest, I’m not sure how accurate my accounting of the events down there will be; between the endless happy hour lighting, the booze, and the various fumes, my recollection of things seem to be a bit fuzzy.  All I know is that she had eyes like dinner plates, and asked me to rescue her brother from service with the Justicars.

Elfin girl

I’m pretty sure I said this out loud.

I also met a bunch of creatures called Ugnaunts.  If you crossed a warthog with an Oompa Loompa and gave it a voice like chili farts, you’d get an Ugnaunt.  They’re not attractive creatures – of that there can be no doubt – but to actually have your species named after your primarily physical trait (ugliness) seems particularly cruel to me.  But they don’t seem to care about anything other than robots and sewage.

Ugnaunt

THPPTPHTPHPHHPH!

The rest of my memories are pretty hazy.  I have a vague memory of meeting some girl who spoke entirely in slang, and rescuing her dipshit brother.  Why am I always rescuing people’s siblings?

I’m sorry if this just seems like a random series of non sequiturs.  I know it looks like maybe I started writing this, say, a year ago, and then stopped, and am now trying to piece together the narrative from a series of senseless, quickly written notes, but I swear, it’s nothing like that!  It’s just the fumes down there.  Promise.

About the Author

Stockton Burke

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I've been known by many names throughout my years online: Maggot, Uncle Maggot, Stockton J. Burke, Stock Burkonis, and as some of my friends call me, Stockie B.K. I've been a freelance writer, a journalist, the owner of a strip club, a drug dealer, a smuggler, and a professional bingo player. Yeah, you heard me: a professional bingo player. Don't laugh, I cleared $150,000 one year, legit. That was hard to explain to the IRS; they thought I was fucking with them. Send me stupid messages and questions at stockiebk@gmail.com