Hoth was a cold, miserable wasteland of ice, freezing winds, and wind chapped sensitive parts. It didn’t matter how much one wore while on Hoth, it was cold, it was miserable and it was a place of answers for one particular Imperial. Hoth suited him just fine in personality according to some of the lesser members of Imperial society. Plebeians.
Tracking down Cerrill had its share of challenges, but he was ready for them. They both were. They being he and Jaesa. She was with him, of course, following him, ensuring he was okay. She didn’t fully understand what happened to him on Tatooine. He didn’t speak on it. Not much, but it was enough to drive a spike of fear into her heart. She couldn’t shake the feeling that Hoth was the end; of what, she wasn’t sure, but it was an end to something and she couldn’t leave well enough alone. It bothered him on two levels. One level was best left alone, but the other was much more confusing. Really, they both were. They had him absolutely stumped. He liked her, to be sure, but as a friend, which, naturally, stumped him more than his budding romantic feelings for her. And those didn’t make a damn bit of sense either. Focus. Focus on the task at hand. Find Cerrill, find answers, and get the hell off this frostbitten ice ball before going mad from the cold.
As frozen and terrible as this place was, Cerrill was oddly easy to find. She was right at Dorn Base when they landed. It seemed too easy, too convenient, too much like Barnabus making a call while Quinn and Jaesa were en route. Damn that old man. She noticed him right away and smiled in greeting. This surprised him, though it really shouldn’t have and she seemed warm enough. He put himself on high alert and analyzed her movements. She wouldn’t try anything here, not in front of others. She’d want privacy. First step was to get rid of Jaesa. Cerrill walked toward them with a confident gait that made the hair on the back of his neck stand on end. This woman knew something, possibly everything, about him and his past. Things that he might not be able to recover without her. What would she want for that information?
“Jaesa, you are to stay by my side at all times,” Quinn said firmly. “Understood?”
“I had no desire to leave,” Jaesa replied.
“Did you understand or not?”
Jaesa nodded the affirmative then put on her best warm greeting face. Cerrill paid her little mind and that was just as well. It was a little hard to tell at first who she was focusing on, but it was obvious her red orbs were locked on Quinn.
“Malavai Quinn,” Cerrill said in greeting. “It’s been a long time.”
“You must be Cerrill,” Quinn said stiffly.
“I am, yes.”
“Barnabus contact you?”
“I can’t lie to you, Malavai. He did contact me.”
“Captain,” he said firmly, “Quinn.”
“Only Captain? I thought you would be a Moff by now,” Cerrill said with a frown.
“There were complications.”
“Among other things I was previously unaware of, yes.”
“And I’m to help with that,” Cerrill said with a smile.
“What’s your price?” he asked suspiciously.
“For you? Nothing, but your company. I’ve missed you, you know. After the facility was shut down, after everyone was dead and gone, it was just me. Just me and my memories. I wanted to contact you when I heard you were on Hoth those years ago, but I – I couldn’t. I wanted to, but my restrictions are very clear and very nearly complete. Until ol’ Barnabus contacted me, of course.” She laughed quietly then turned to Jaesa and offered her hand. “Hello there, you may call me Cerrill.”
Jaesa smiled and shook her hand. A spike of cold wariness shot into her chest, but she ignored it. At least for now.
“Is that your core name?” Jaesa asked curiously.
“You know about core names?” Cerrill asked in astonishment. At Jaesa’s nod, she beamed. “Smart girl. No, it’s not my core name. I am not a traditional Chiss. Neither was my sister, Pemeri.”
Quinn shivered subconsciously. That name put him on edge. He hoped to find out why, find out more of what was done to him.
“I have private quarters if you would like to accompany me,” Cerrill said with a smile. Quinn idly wonder if she always smiled.
“We would yes,” Jaesa replied.
Cerrill focused her eyes on Jaesa, her smile never wavering.
“Come along then. No time like the present!”
Jaesa and Quinn shivered in unison as Cerrill turned and marched away. There was just something so strange about this woman. So, so strange.