The holo springs to life with a familiar hexagonal lotus icon. A stirring theme plays on woodwinds and strings. Before you, you see a green and gold colossal-class carrier docked in a class-4 shipyard, surrounded by a crowd of jubilant Ithorians.
Standing at a podium is Wynk Waawat, Jungle Pope and the Oracle of Ithor. You hear the deep brassy notes of the Ithorian’s double-throated voice, followed by its mechanical-sounding translation.
“My friends, it is an absolute delight to welcome you all to this christening! I promised you all a very special surprise, and I won’t keep you waiting much longer. As you may know, our Ithorian herdships have traditionally roamed the stars, serving not only as our homes, but as centers of trade. The Merchantates fleets of days gone by were well known for bringing with them exotic goods from far-flung systems, and perhaps even more importantly, stories and folklore from the many cultures who came to shop. It has been too long since we had a herdship to call our own -” (the longing in his voice is palpable at that statement) “- but we will not let that stop us from sharing our joy, our culture, and our friendship with the galaxy.”
The camera zooms out, panning across the beautiful colossal-class carrier. The green, gold, and blue panels are interrupted by swaths of glass, showing what looks like a forest inside the ship.
“This may not look like the herdships of yore, home to thousands of our brethren at a time. But what makes a herdship isn’t its design, or its size. The heart of a herdship is this: that it carries Ithor with it, wherever it goes. On my recent pilgrimage to Ithor, I communed with Mother Jungle. She blessed me with seeds – Bafforr seeds – which I have cultivated according to our traditions. I am delighted to announce that we have a true Ithorian Garden, complete with Bafforrs and other plants lovingly – and sustainably – collected from our homeworld, onboard the ship.” The audience gasps audibly. Cries of delight and rapturous applause force the Oracle to hold up his hands to settle the crowd.
“And so we come today to christen our first true herdship. It will be a home for our people, our plants, and our ideals. On behalf of The Legacy of Ithor, I give you: The –TLI- Merchantates!”
Dangling from a silvery cord between the ship and the smiling Jungle Pope is a bottle of fine Ithorian Mist. Though it is beyond his reach, Wynk gives the bottle a sharp shove with the force, sending it crashing into the side of the vessel.
The holo snaps to a playfully painted EV droid onboard a traveling newsroom.
“That was the scene this morning as The Legacy of Ithor proudly commissioned its the TLI Merchantates in Leafar. Sources close to the ship couldn’t be herd over the deafening roar of the engines, but if my lip-reading skills are as good as my crochet, the vessels first public showing will be to, quote, ‘Slap, Beat, and F*%$ You.’ …” He puts his hand to antenna. “I’m now being told that I misheard that, and I should apologize for saying that on-the-air. The first public showing will be at the Swap Meet at Tatoo. Yes, that makes much more sense.”
“The Merchantates will include vendors with all sorts of goods, including droids, arms and armor, vehicles, datacard rentals, and various services. You can view our current list of merchants on The Legacy of Ithor’s holosite. The Merchantates is proudly sponsored by these fine merchants…”
“If you, or a loved one, would like to set up shop on the Merchantates, or join our fine group of sponsors, please visit our holosite to apply. We’ll see you over the skies of Tatooine starting year 24, say 117 through year 24 day 127. Until then, I’m … wait, they never gave me a name…”
…the droid is cut off abruptly by the lotus logo and a stirring theme.