Greyhawk was resting peacefully after a long bath in the bacta tank. It was likely going to take several more dips in order to fully recover.
Leaving the old soldier to his rest, Targon came into the main hold of the ship where Rick was sorting through a deck of cards. He looked up when he saw the Jedi come in.
“Well, how’s our friend?” Rick asked.
“Resting,” Targon answered. “But hopefully he’ll be on the mend. I feared it might have been too late and his injuries too severe.”
“Nah, he looks like a fighter,” Rick said. “I doubt a little internal bleeding and bruises would keep him down for long.”
“You’re probably right,” Targon sat down on a chair across the playing table from Rick.
Rick started dealing out the cards between the two of them; only after a few seconds did he think to ask, “You play?”
Targon nodded, “A little. My master liked to spend a few hours of the day playing games – and he was especially good at cards.”
“Was?” Rick asked.
“He was killed only a few weeks ago,” Targon sighed.
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
“It’s fine,” Targon smiled weakly. “The Council always says not to fear or grieve over those who become one with the Force. At any rate, death comes to us all, doesn’t it?”
“Hopefully not to me for a long, long time,” Rick finished dealing. He picked up his cards and glanced at them, betraying nothing of what he had.
“I won’t catch you cheating now, will I?” Targon asked.
Rick grinned. “Haven’t you figured it out yet? I’ve gone straight.”
“Right,” the young Jedi laughed. He looked at his own hand and then back up to Rick. “Where are we headed, anyway?”
Rick drew a card. “Well, my navicomp is set for Corellia. I was going to go somewhere more friendly and comfortable after my visit to Calpronica. And after today’s events, I think you could use it just as much as I. And our friend, Greyhawk, too.”
“Corellia’s a nice place,” Targon nodded, drawing a card himself. “Might that be your homeworld? I hear a lot of significant people are from Corellia.”
“Significant? You’re calling me significant?” Rick scoffed. “No, I’m just a scoundrel who’s trying to start over in the universe.”
“You forget that you’re talking to a Jedi,” Targon smiled smugly. “We are very good at spotting people with a mark of destiny.”
“Oh, I have a knack for it too,” Rick winked. “I’ve seen a lot of folks become masters of their fate – and you are most likely one yourself – but that’s not for this chump. I’m just Rick, a man who left the criminal world. Or trying to leave, anyway.”
“So what will you do now?”
Rick flipped a few cards on the table and nodded. “I don’t know. I’ve got two angry crime lords upset with me, a soldier in my medical room, and a Jedi as my first mate…say, how long might you be sticking around? Tython is near Corellia, you going to be heading back soon?”
Studying the cards a moment, Targon replied, “I’m not sure. I left the Temple to start acting like a Jedi and coming to terms with my feelings. From the events on Calpronica, I believe I’ve got a lot more to do.”
“Well then,” Rick stuck out his hand, “I’ll shake your hand and offer you the position as first mate for as long as you like. We can probably do more good together than alone. You can help me get straight, and I can help you deal with the less-savory elements of the galaxy.”
Targon shook the captain’s hand. “It’s a deal.” Rick leaned back with a slight smirk on his face and Targon sighed. “You just looked at my hand!”
“What? Me? No, you must be mistaken,” Rick shook his head defensively.
Targon smiled. “It’s alright, I happened to take a peak at your cards too.”
The two of them laughed and showed their hands. Rick’s cards won, and he gathered the cards to reshuffle.
“What about the Empire?” Targon asked. “Are you worried they might be coming after us?”
“Pfft!” Rick scoffed as he ran his hand through his hair. “The Empire doesn’t concern me – after all, we’ve long since left their space now and entered Republic territory. Unless they’re willing to go to war over us, there’s nothing they can do. And, like I said, nobody cares about some nobody like me.”
“First off,” Targon said as Rick dealt. “You’re not a nobody. You’re my new friend.”
“Well, that makes two of us,” Rick grinned as he finished dealing and took a look at his cards.
Targon continued, “And secondly, what about the trouble we caused? And the fact that I am a Jedi?”
Rick alternated between looking at his cards and looking at the Jedi. “The Empire has to deal with hundreds of issues and planets every stinking day. What will they care that two men – a young Jedi and a former smuggler – made a ruckus of a new world they annexed? No, they won’t even bat an eyelash…except maybe to replace some incompetent officer that failed to detain a couple of fugitives.”
“I’m not so sure of that,” Targon said.
“Hey,” Rick shrugged. “If you want to fret about that, it’s okay with me. You’ll just be less focused and that makes it easier to beat you at cards.”
They laughed again and continued the round. Rick kept a confident smile on his face. He was sure he could win just as easily the first round and he casually showed his hand when Targon called.
When he saw the Jedi’s hand his eyes widened. A triple pair – How? Rick was certain he had stacked the deck perfectly this time.
He shook his head. The Jedi must have known and corrected the tampering with the Force. Sighing, he resolved that he was going to stop cheating at cards. Starting now.
The played several more rounds, and the victories were divided between the two of them fairly equally. Rick was pleased, he finally had someone who was actually good enough to play with fairly. Targon was glad simply to have someone to spend some time with.
The skies above Calpronica V were filled with dozens of Imperial ships. Not small cruisers, but massive capital ships, each coughing up swarms of fighters that roared over the city in perfect formations.
From the lead ship, a shuttle descended down to the Imperial command center. Waiting at the landing pad were squadrons of soldiers lined up in neat and orderly rows. The governor and his staff stood nervously, and they shook as the shuttled folded up its wings and set down on the ground.
A ramp extended and a contingent of twelve guards, dressed entirely in black, slowly stepped out and lined up in a path between the shuttle and the governor.
Then came down the awaited dignitary. He was dressed in a stark white suit, complete with the Imperial insignia and all the badges that displayed his rank as one of the highest officers in the Empire.
He was a Chiss, and his red eyes sparkled in contrast to his cold blue skin. The eyes stared contemptuously at the governor.
Bowing and stepping forward as the visitor approached, the governor greeted, “This is a great honor to be graced by your presence, Moff Taan.”
“Governor Orgys,” the Moff said coolly. “You may dispense with the pleasantries.”
Taan held up a hand. “I am not here simply because I have a desire to inspect the newest addition to planets under my jurisdiction. I am here because I received some disturbing news of a Jedi causing havoc and chaos in the streets – all while you were getting comfortable in your new office.”
“Sir,” the governor bowed, “I had only been given the office a few days before and disorder is bound to ensue a change in the government.”
The Moff ignored his useless excuse. “Furthermore, I have learned that the Jedi escaped with other fugitives. Not only did you allow such a debacle, but also you did not resolve it. What good is a Sith that can’t handle the first day on the job?”
“I don’t think you’re being fair,” Orgys said dejectedly.
“Fairness is irrelevant,” Taan said sharply. “Any failure is unacceptable, and it is an abuse of the trust the Emperor has placed in you over this planet and its citizens.”
Orgys bowed submissively. “I understand, and I shall devote my efforts to extracting information from the men I have in custody and tracking down the fugitives.”
“Such measures are useless now,” Taan said. “Your rule is over this world, and the Jedi has since left – according to orbital security reports. You didn’t even get the ship’s name and registry. I am quite disappointed.”
The governor’s face grew into a scowl. “How dare you speak down to me? You may be a Moff, but I am Sith! I have power you could not even begin to comprehend!”
“Yes, and you certainly displayed your abilities today,” Taan said expressionlessly. He did not even twitch as the governor’s hand started to inch towards the lightsaber at his belt.
“I assure you, Moff,” Orgys said between his teeth. “I will not fail the Empire again.”
“No, you will not,” Taan said simply.
The two guards nearest to the Moff turned their guns on the governor and fired. Having kept his focus on Taan, Orgys was unable to respond fast enough before two blaster bolts struck his chest and he fell to the ground.
Stepping over the relieved governor, Taan pointed to the dead man’s aides. “Clean this mess up, and take me to these prisoners that are being detained.”
The aides obeyed, dragging Orgys’ body away. One of them bowed and led the Moff and his entourage away from the landing pad and through the compound to the holding cells.
Taan made no expression as he inspected the area as they walked. He was not impressed. There could at least be a few cleaning droids to make it look presentable, even if his arrival was on short notice. There was, after all, time between the ships entering orbit and his landing, so they could have at least given the appearance of working.
More of Orgys’ failure, apparently. He would make sure the new governor was one he picked personally, and thereby, more competent.
They arrived at the holding cells. Each of the prisoners – Mandalorians, no less – was held in separate cells. Taan was directed to the leader, and he bid them bring him to the interrogation – no…interview room.
It took several men – and several minutes – to get the Mandalorian to cooperate and sit in the chair. During that time, Taan reviewed the sketchy, and pathetic, reports of the day’s events.
He walked into the room and sat across the table from the detainee. His guards stood silent and alert against the walls behind them both.
“Hello there…” Taan glanced back at the report to see the name, “…Algayne.”
“You must be the Moff that I was hearing the guards whisper about,” the Mandalorian supposed. His armor, helmet, and weapons had been taken from him – but his build was still large and imposing. The scars on his face bore testament to many fierce battles he had faced.
“I am indeed,” Taan interlocked his fingers. “But we’re not here to talk about me, we’re here to talk about you.”
“Feh, I’m in a cell, but I’ll be breaking out soon. What else is there to tell?” Algayne shrugged.
“Perhaps I can spare you the trouble?” Taan said. “The charges against you are less than acceptable, considering that the governor who issued them has been removed and the reports are full of holes.”
“You’re willing to let me out?” Algayne asked.
“Of course, but first…” Taan leaned forward, “…tell me about these troublemakers – the Jedi and the smuggler.”
“What business are they to you? When I find them, I’m going to kill them.”
“I’m interested in a great deal,” Taan smiled. “We may be able to help each other in more ways than you can suppose. Let’s start with their names…”
Conclusion of Episode Two