The War Ending Soon: A Wishful Possibility, or a Fiscal Inevitability?
Our own intrepid reporters, Calishor Arvoisa and Elfang Ventoren, take a look into the dark realm of underworld arenas, where violent games are run by the Hutts and winning or losing could mean the difference between payoff - or a permanent cash-out.
It’s a dark day in the galaxy when neither the Republic nor the Empire live up to their promises toward their own people - and yet that’s what’s happening across the armed forces of both sides of the galaxy-wide conflict. Faced with harsh budget cuts and duty-dependent pay, of which there can’t ever be enough, the forces of the military and even iconic groups such as Jedi and Sith, are turning elsewhere to support themselves. From the odd assassination or bounty, to the more altruistic pursuits of cleaning up street gangs for local authorities, even highly-decorated veterans of the war are learning to find new and creative ways of acquiring credits.
As is to be expected, the Hutts have, as a whole, been willing to exploit this financial hole in both the Sith Empire and the Republic, creating illegal arena games of skill and chance in hidden places around the galaxy. These games are often lethal, with hazards such as treacherous beasts, flaming pits, or vats of acid strewn around the arenas to provide extra risk for the titillation and excitement of the bloodthirsty crowds.
To further investigate this disturbing trend, Calishor Arvoisa and I entered in one such game, referred to as Huttball. A variation on the more common Smashball or Roughball games, Huttball involves the simplistic goal of carrying a heavy ball, with the help of your team, from one side of the arena to the other, crossing the goal lines guarded by the opposing team, with the variation that kicks are not allowed, as “Hutts don’t have feet.” The objectives are given the lie by the arena itself, however, which is composed of four tiers of platforms, with firepits and acid moats placed in dangerous locations throughout. The firepits are known to erupt without warning, while the acid moats provide no more protection than a single slightly-raised step between oneself and certain chemical burns, even leading to death.
The Huttball league is overseen and sponsored, along with his many other pursuits, by Giradda the Hutt. Refereed, such as it is, by the infamous Baron Deathmark, the games are ruthless and full of bloodshed, and indeed, according to the scripted announcement before the games commence, “weapons, namecalling, and cheating are all encouraged.”
The monetary payoff, however, cannot be denied, as pay ranges (which are performance based) number in the thousands of credits per match. With a cash flow of that nature, it comes as no surprise that many of the combatants in the civil war that rages across the galaxy are choosing to take this dangerous and illegal path to meeting their expenses.
However, this points to the much larger and more widespread problem - both the Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic are spending more money than they can afford on a war that they can’t afford to maintain, much less to win. And when they eventually both go bankrupt (which is, at this time, economically certain), where will that leave the galaxy?
This is a question we should all ponder for the future citizenry of the galaxy as a whole, despite political leanings or on which side of the conflict one’s loyalties may fall.
- Elfang Ventoren