Vislor Vittbug sat in his deckchair and watched the Duchess Mistal of Dargul chatting to his wife on the other side of the yacht.
He was glad the two women were getting on well. The banker had spent many an happy hour in the Duchess' box at the Umgulian Blob Races. Lippi always seem to get so bored at races, so it was good for her to have a friend to chat to on those occasions.
The Duchess was such a beautiful and elegant lady. She was dressed in an handsome white dress, with a light silk scarf about her neck. Even in the relaxed atmosphere of Vislor's yacht, she still wore her slender silver tiara. Her feet were bare; even duchesses had to observe the 'no shoes on deck' rule on the Vittbug yacht. She had a silver bracelet around one of her shapely ankles.
These days Dargul had gotten a little too friendly with the New Republic. The Imperial banker hoped that Lippi might be able to persuade the Duchess of the worthiness of the Galactic Empire. All that Rebel diplomacy had to be countered somehow.
Vislor took a swig of his Corellian brandy.
"You've got to help me, Vislor," said a voice from behind him. "You are my only hope."
"Eh? What's that?" said the startled banker.
Vislor turned around. It was that young man, Dack, consort to to the Duchess. Vislor found him very odd. Always so nervous and uncomfortable looking. It was very strange given that he had such a lovely wife.
"I can't believe she's leaving me on my own. She must really be taking to your wife," said Dack.
"What are you talking about, old chap?" asked Vislor.
"My wife! I can't bear her! This is the first time in weeks that she has not kept me right by her side!"
"I say, your wife is a delightful lady! If I was married to her I should certainly want to be by her side all the time," said Vislor.
"You have no idea what it is like!" burst out Dack. "I can't sit down and read a book without her disturbing me. I can't go out for a walk without her wanting to come. I can't watch the holonews without her wanting to distract me. I can't take any more of it."
Vislor tried to get his head around Dack's problem. He glanced back at the beautiful creature talking with his wife. He was finding it very hard to empathize with Dack.
"Well my first two wives were rather ghastly on a bad day, I suppose. Can't you get a divorce?" asked the banker.
"Dargulian law does not recognize divorce. The whole idea of breaking up a marriage is alien to their culture. I can never be free of her until I'm dead!"
Vislor tried to imagine being stuck with his first wife forever. It was not a pleasant notion.
"But why are you bringing this to me?" asked Vislor.
"You're a good man. You're a good friend. And I did give you that advice about which software companies to invest in," said Dack.
"Yes, you did. And it was very good advice. But I'm not sure what you are expecting me to do," said Vislor.
"You can help me escape! You have influence with the Imperial government. You could get me a commission in the Imperial Bureaucracy or the Imperial Navy. You could get me posted far away; in the Unknown Regions maybe.."
Vislor certainly did have a lot of influence, but he had a bad feeling about that suggestion.
"I'm not sure about that, old chap.."
"Please, you have to help me!" pleaded Dack.
"Look here, I really don't think I can get involved. You see, for one thing, Lippi and your wife are friends. Lippi would kill me if I did anything to upset the Duchess."
Dack looked like he was about to say something, but Vislor continued.
"Besides, what about the politics of it? If you deserted your wife while in Imperial territory, with complicity from both Imperial citizens and the Imperial government, as you are suggesting, what do you think would happen? Dargul would fall into the Rebel camp and the Empire would lose any hope of friendly relations with Dargul, and probably Umgul as well. In fact, I'd probably never be able to show my face at the Umgulian Blob races again!"
"I'd do anything..." pleaded Dack.
"Look here, old fellow. I know women can be difficult. Just the other day, Lippi bought this beastly little statue in the market. She insists she wants to put it in the hallway. I told her that was an awful idea, but she is insisting on it. And Lippi can be clingy too. She's always asking me what I've been up to. And she won't ever let me play Sabacc..."
At that moment, the two women broke off their conversation and turned to face the two men.
The Duchess Mistal began pattering towards her consort.
"Will this never end?" whispered Dack.
"Oh, my poor Dacky," said the Duchess. "I've missed you so much. Please tell me you've been missing me too!"
Before Dack could emit another groan, the Duchess had wrapped her arms around him and began planting kisses on his cheeks.
"What a peculiar fellow," muttered Vislor, shaking his head