Jay Merrick's life had always been the same since he was 12.
He lived the life of an orphan scavenger, too poor to leave the planet and barely having enough money to keep himself alive. He never blamed himself for not working too hard, since the money system on this planet is definitely rigged. Sure, the small village was poor in itself, but no one was horribly starving unless you were a scavenger or an orphan, and he was both.
His day went as normal; wake up, automatically head into whatever blizzard had passed over the town today, take whatever he deemed valuable from that Republic cruiser out on the tundra, and then return back into town.
There he would try to sell whatever he found or make deals with private buyers for future profit. But, it wasn't enough; sometimes he wouldn't eat for days at a time after he hadn't gotten much money, leaving him to be thin and boney from over the years.
Jay had wanted to leave the planet ever since the week be began scavenging, but unless he wanted to work for years on some drug dealer's ship or risk being arrested for sneaking onto a cargo ship, he really couldn't leave.
"I literally risked my life for this!" Jay yelled, trying not to choke on his own tears. "I ran into a bunch of....beasts that tried to kill me! And yet you'll only give me half?! The original price wasn't even enough to begin with!" He hadn't eaten in about 4 days once again, and was damning whoever made the price for food here so high to hell.
The twi'lek just stared at the human in front of her, not even phased by his upcoming panic attack. "you're 2 hours late."
Before Jay could speak again, the woman twi'lek woman put her hand up. "Even if you weren't late, I don't bargain with scavengers who cry every time they can't make a deal. No wonder your kind is known as scum." She smirked at him, clearly winning the debate. "Would you like to make a deal or find a better buyer? Because as far as I can tell, not many people here need an outdated B21 motivator."
Jay hesitated on that question. He wished he was getting more, but he was clearly starving, and would take the half price over nothing.
"Fine..." His voice cracked under the pressure, handing over the motivator to his buyer. She smiled, placing the coins from her pocket to Jay.
"Thank you for your service, Jay Merrick." The woman said in the threshold. "I will be sure to...recommend others to you. This place is much more pleasant than Jakku, though i do enjoy hot weather." And she was gone, disappearing into the blizzard going on out, leaving jay inside the warehouse to count the coins in his hand.
Contrary to what he had once thought, the woman had gave him more than the original price, and his heart leaped. It was higher than what he usually got, but not by much. Maybe the twi'lek had accidentally gave him the entire price or did it purposely out of pity, but it didn't matter to him; he was finally going to eat today.
Jay walked through the storm into his makeshift shelter, the one he's lived in since his parents went missing and since he started his life as a scavenger.
He was immediately greeted by a small droid, a T-45 model from the Clone Wars era, at his feet whirring in curiosity.
"Im finally gonna eat tonight, buddy." Jay grinned, looking down at his companion and only friend.
"You can come with me, if you want to." He said, already walking out the door with droid already following. "I'm feeling great today, I'm sure no one will pay attention to you."
The flurry of the town was a bit too much for Jay. Merchants were scattered on the streets advertising their goods, other scavengers that had no idea of the republic cruiser far out on tundra were exchanging their cheap findings for food and money, and Jay could've swore he saw a bounty hunter in an alleyway.
Jay felt good for once in days, and that was pretty rare if you've seen his life.
He noticed someone trying to scrub off a scrawl words that he could barely make out, but at least two words said "Republic" and "Rebellion".
"Jay Merrick." A voice called from behind. The scavenger turned around to see a woman, a Togruta, standing not far behind. "How much for the droid?"
"Excuse me?" Jay raised an eyebrow at her. It was such a random question from a stranger.
"How much is the droid?" She repeated. "Its a T unit, one of the finest in the galaxy during the Clone Wars. I want it. And you will be paid very handsomely for it." She folded her arms, expecting an answer quickly.
Jay stopped again. The only thing he had to give up for a way off this planet is a droid. The only thing he had to give up to stop starvation is a droid. It was a good deal, but Jay's mouth had already spoke.
"It's not for sale." He muttered, looking away.
"Excuse me?" The woman growled. She towered over Jay, and he felt like a bug that could be squashed at any given moment.
"I-it isn't for sale. Now go away." His eyes refused to meet hers, instead looking down at T-45.
"Isn't for sale? They're easy to sell!" The Togruta's voice was getting louder, and some people's heads turned to the commotion.
"It's my friend. Now, get away from me." Jay turned away and started to walk off, but the woman's hand pulled him back around and a fist met his jaw. The pain wasn't acknowledged until the Torgruta woman grabbed him by the collar and pulled him close enough that Jay could feel her cold breath.
"Listen her, scum." She spat the last word. "Befriending droids is a nobody scavenger practice, as if they could afford a droid, that is" Now, everyone was staring at the scene unraveling. "Where did you even get it anyway? Stole it?"
Jay's skin prickled with the stare of people on him, feeling pathetic under the pressure. "I didn't steal anything. Even if i did, who cares? Republic laws aren't enforced this far out in the outer rim." He felt accomplished for that comeback, but immediately regretted it.
The woman's eyes narrowed, dropping him. "Watch your back, scum." She really seemed to like that word, but it stabbed Jay in the back every time he heard it. She punched him square in the jaw for last measure, and then was gone, with everyone from merchants to mechanics staring at the thin scavenger in the middle of the street. He wanted to cry suddenly, but swallowed the sob that almost came out.
Then Jay ran. He heard a few people snickering at his embarrassment, and pulled his coat hood over his head, hoping it blocked out everything he was hearing.
The droid at his feet beeped something Jay didn't reply to, and they continued running into the snow that was picking up now. He's too embarrassed to go back into town after that fiasco, and could probably hold out a few more days without food until it all blew over.
"I'm sorry for that..." Jay told T-45, who was continuously getting caught in the snowdrift they were walking through. "I was stupid for bringing you, and I hope you can forgive me." He was choking on his own words.
Walking in the middle of a cold windy day took a toll on Jay, who had started coughing from the cold dry air.
He collapsed into the snow, unable to walk from the coughing. He felt like he was there for only a few moments before he heard the roar of speeders over the wind gusts. He looked up and through the snow, immediately spotted the oh so familiar insignia on them.
"Oh god." Jay whipped his head around to T-45, who was now whirring in panic.
"Its fine! Its fine! Get home, now. They'll probably take you with them if they're hear for me. You'll be scrap or maybe be sold to that Togruta."
The droid beeped something and rolled off quite fast. Jay cursed under his breath and put his head back down, acting like he didn't see the speeders pulling up.
"Jay." One of the men said. "Good to see you again."
"Good to see you too, Di'Taka." Jay said sarcastically to the Mandalorian. "What brings you here on Alzoc iii?"
"You know why." Di'Taka replied, adjusting his helmet. "Your deals are a real scam, if you didn't know."
"Hey, I'm just trying to get through my life. And if you wanted me to give it to you, you should've given me a better price when I had a higher one already on hold.". The scavenger stood up to face the Mandalorian. "Besides, my buyer had probably already left the planet by now. They were in quite a hurry."
Koehtaix, a Pantoran that once made a deal with him years ago, got off his speeder pushed Jay to the ground. "Shut the hell up.".
"Listen, I'll try and find another one, okay? I could probably find one in finer condition." He kept his voice calm, appearing nonchalant over this situation, even if his actual feeling was the exact opposite.
"We needed that part ages ago. Its too late for your stalling." Di'Taka snarled, putting his boot on Jay's back, letting Koehtaix kick him in the the ribs.
Jay had no idea now strong Pantorans were, and let out a cry in pain, pretty sure at least a few of his ribs were broken.
Di'Taka grabbed Jay's hair and pulled him up to face Koehtaix, their golden eyes seemingly staring into his soul.
Then the real beating began.
Koehtaix jabbed some sort of blunt weapon that he pulled out into Jay's abdomen. The force forced him onto his knees, but the Mandalorian pulled him back up, nearly ripping his hair out in the process.
"Where's your droid, hm? That scrap could be somewhat valuable to us."
"Don't own a droid, buddy." Jay muttered through coughing fits. He really regretted saying that, because the Pantoran then punched him in the nose, and Jay could feel a crack and the metallic taste of blood fill his mouth.
"You're lying to me." Koehtaix's spat. He looked up at Di'Taka, who was grinning under his helmet. "Let him go. He can die out here."
The Mandalorian let Jay crumble to the ground, where didn't even bother to try and get up with the growing pain in his chest. His vision was blurry with the snow's cold in his eyes and the splotches of colors blocking his vision. Blood covered the white snow next to his head.
Jay focused on not blacking out above all else, and he felt the duo looking through everything that could be deemed a pocket for anything valuable. Finally, they settled on taking the small quantity of coins and his jacket that kept the cold out only slightly.
Jay immediately felt the cold needles pierce his skin, shuddering in pain and looking for any sort of warmth around. Sadly, that sort of thing didn't exist during a storm on a freezing planet.
Not long after the speeders were driving away, his vision went black. He was going to die, which he embraced. This was some of the worst pain he's ever been in, and Jay was relieved that his vision had darkened and the cold on his skin was going numb.
Jay was completely numb now, but he had a heartbeat. Laying in the snow for god knows how long still hasn't managed to kill him, but he probably had a nasty case of frostbite and probably hypothermia by now.
His skin felt a prickle of warmth on upper back. Then most of his upper back started to gain warmth, and he thought whatever deity that was up there had finally come for him. But his ribs were still hurting and the sudden movements made it feel like his ribs were tearing into his lungs.
Jay tried screaming in pain and turning away from the warmth, but all that came out was just a horrid moan and a little spasm of movement.
Whatever the warmth was acknowledging that Jay was definitely hurt and proceeded to be careful with the body in its grasp.
Jay's eyes fluttered a few moments and noticed a blurry shadow of someone carrying him. It didn't look like anyone he knew, granted he didn't really know anyone. Sadly, he was still alive.
The scavenger continued to phase in and out of consciousness, still waking up to see the same shadow carrying him to an unknown place. For once, though he didn't know who it was carrying him, he felt safe under the warmth of their touch.