It seems that a loud mouth will indeed eventually get you heard, but sometimes that draws attention of those who have the power to bring silence. The Golden Beetle has operated under the pillars of good reporting for the entirety of our time spent serving the community of Nar Shaddaa. We have striven to inform the people of what was unfolding around them and bring their attention to what we felt was important news. That has been put on hold as this reporter refuses to think that the voice of the people can be silenced forever. If not this paper, then another one like it will rise up to be a counterpoint to the official word coming down from on high.
An official cease and desist order came through to the Golden Beetle from a glorious Hutt who shall go unnamed least we wish to bring more misfortune to our door than has already been visited upon it. In this order, we were required to immediately cease operations for the foreseeable future making it rather impossible to continue as we are, but fear not, we shall see a voice rise from the Lowers soon enough. That is my prediction. Nar Shaddaa is gritty and untameable. No matter how hard the Hutts try, they cannot keep us all quiet for long.
In my parting words, I encourage you to not lose hope, to not give up, and to not remain silent.
This reporter has done his level best to serve his community well and hopes that the people have thought so too.
Many frequenters of lower level establishments may have been met with an unusual sight in those parts as of late; a sign on the door declaring it closed due to failed Health and Wellness Department inspections.
This organization isn’t unknown on the pleasure based Smuggler’s moon and patrons are welcome to seek out the bi-monthly report released that lists the grades of local,but those reports most often focus on businesses above a certain level on the high rises that cover the moon. Very rarely does the organization venture into the often smog covered layers to evaluate restaurants and bars that, frankly are not considered tourist grade level and therefore not worth the time and effort. Over the past few weeks that has been changing. Hole in the wall bars, brothels, and cut rate casinos have been closed on various infractions. Sometimes the businesses are able to correct the issue and re-open though a few have been forced into closure such as the Frisky Frigate pleasure house and the small though well loved sandwich shop, The Pickled Pole-Snake.
There are a few rumors floating that the ruling Hutts wish to strengthen their hold on the sector as Sith and Republic based businesses continue to expand in the independent space and are choosing to finance those plans by extorting the true working class of the moon. It does seem that the more independent businesses struggle while the ones that have theorized connections to well connected gangs are able to pay off the Hutt backed Health Department to re-open quickly with little interruption to business.
The Red Lantern, a busy dive bar in the Red Light Sector, was recently closed citing rodent infestation, improper chemical storage, and malfunctioning fire suppression systems. The owner, Jance Fetner was a bit vague in whether those problems were corrected before the business was able to re-open the following week. He was quoted as saying, “That cluster f--- of a department can’t keep their boot on the throat of the little guy!” This was stated as he was serving customers in the newly reopened bar and handing out little rat shaped pins that said ‘I survived the Red Lantern”. There have been rumblings that the bar has recently come under the protection of a growing Corellian gang presence in that sector, but that is as of yet unconfirmed.
In any case, the working class of Nar Shaddaa is once again put at the mercy of those who would seek to make use of them as they please. The changing climate of the world beyond the glittering high rises of Shaddaa will make the near future a bit more uncertain in how the Hutts intend to treat those that keep the smog laden pleasure moon running. If they aren’t careful, their citizens might seek out their own salvation and then where will the rotund ruling class be.
The situation in the Lowers is swiftly deteriorating as time goes on and those still paying the price seem to be, as always, are the people who can’t afford to do otherwise. The purple haze crime wave is still in full swing and the Hutts’ response is still sluggish which has been exacerbated by smaller gangs sweeping in to fill in the gaps.
There are rumors of one such gang on the rise taking up residence at the Red Lantern which is a dive bar based down in the lowers of the Red Light District. Recently the RRU (Rapid Response Unit) was called to said local watering hole to contend with an altercation that reportedly stemmed from Purple Haze use. Three altered individuals stormed into the bar and immediately began harassing patrons even escalating to violence, but was put to a quick end by the on site security who shot two of the assailants. RRU apprehended the surviving spice head as well as the bouncer and records show he was sentenced to serve a short term detention period as well as be subject to probation for a length of time.
In the aftermath, a new presence has been making waves in the bar and indeed throughout the Lowers. There is admittedly not much information readily accessible to give a real clue as to who the members of this coming to light organization are, but two names come up most frequently. Eyepatch or Patchface seems to be popping up more in the whispers concerning underground business dealings. Most seem to think the individual is Corellian and indeed that is the sector where the most reports of this presence originated.
Gangs like this are on the rise as the Purple Haze epidemic rages on. With CarSec having to respond to more and more spice fueled crime sprees, there is less time to focus on the ongoing task of keeping the local gangs in line. The Red Lantern is just the latest example in how this lack of organized response to the continuous threat of the rising spice trade makes space for more criminal organizations to gain an easy foothold. Until the Hutts decide to take notice of one gaining too much influence, the average citizens of Shaddaa will be left to their own devices which so far, has been played out tragically at best. One can only hope that the Hutts will shift their resources towards more civically minded pursuits or some other organization will. Until then, it’s business as usual.
There has been talk in the streets of Nar Shaddaa lately that those in the highest (and biggest) seats of power on the moon aren’t what they appear to be. The rumors range from the utterly ridiculous such as one man who wished to remain anonymous simply going by “Waldo”, suggests that there are perhaps humans donning well crafted Hutt disguises or even smaller Hutts in such suits as to make them appear larger.
While that is completely beyond the pale, there is a wonder in if there is a grain of truth hidden in the bizarre. With the recent events on Nar Shaddaa regarding the Jedi setting up a work exchange and Sith having used the moon for a base from which to launch business or grow personal power bases, it makes one wonder how secure the Hutt hierarchy is. How difficult would it be for one to infiltrate this often times mysterious power group that collectively drives the fate of the Gambler’s Moon.
Alongside the ludicrous suggestions of shapeshifters, there are less laughable ones such as Republic agents taking up important posts in the cartels and attempting to flood the system with their own moral standards. Some suggest that Sith run businesses are squeezing the earning power of the Hutts enough so that they are being given key positions from which to influence policy and direction.
While not all citizens are always pleased by the choices made by those sitting large and high up in the authority of Shaddaa, there is something to be said about the culture of Hutt space. Things operate in a certain fashion here which has attracted numerous people to the area where they start businesses, visit as tourists to consume what the moon offers, and those who wish to remain as neutral as possible in the growing conflict beyond. There are some who worry that balance will be upset with too many outsiders setting down roots here, but not interested in following the methods of operation that have brought success for so long.
It leaves more questions than it answers and while this reporter won’t be donning the frequency repelling hats that Waldo manufactures in his apartment, he will definitely be keeping one eye open and an ear to the ground.
The purple haze epidemic has only worsened in the past weeks with more drug related violence tearing through the lower sectors of Nar Shaddaa. There has been a surge of violent crimes that are more than simple muggings or breaking and entering. Victims are often left mutilated which seems to happen both pre and post mortem. The mindless nature and seeming randomness of the crimes have put civilians and enforcement groups on edge alike, even having those in the higher levels starting to turn a wary eye.
Any pleas for help from citizen groups at this point seem to fall on deaf ears as the enforcer groups that offer protection for cost don’t seem interested in disrupting the distribution of the drug too much which raises questions as to how far the sales network extends. CaSec is equally quiet on the sweeping crime which is not all together unusual considering spice consumption is legal on the moon, but the violent nature of these ‘Haze Fiends’ as they are being called is appalling enough to turn the head of even the most desensitized residing here.
There are rumors that a figure on the moon has shown a willingness to stand up where others are not and while the Haze Fiends have not been the focus of this singular citizen, it’s hard to hope they might be soon. It’s been difficult discern rumor from fact, but hushed whispers claim there is a man being labeled as Allesh’Gesu. The moniker, which loosely translates as “Giver of Safety” seems to have originated with a group of freed twi’lek slaves claiming to have seen the mystery man who could only be described as wearing leather armor. It has more than a few people putting forth their hopes that this individual will step in where authorities have not.
Whether by means of elusive would be heros or by action on the part of those in power, it is clear to most that something must be done about this growing cancer on the moon. It is only a matter of time until it spreads to such a wide sphere of influence that it will be a real thorn in the side of the Hutts as it begins to affect tourism and therefore the bottom line. When that happens, it can be a sure thing that checkpoints and patrols will increase, but what will be the tipping point to get there? And how many innocent lives will be damaged or lost in the process?
The key will be discovering the chain of supply and whether it is as random as it seems or if it is a carefully crafted “grass roots” kind of approach to selling by keeping it all small time dealers and therefore harder to track. The Golden Beetle will be keeping an eye on this developing story and keeping our readers informed. If you have any information regarding purple haze or recent crimes associated with it, contact the paper.