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(L,F&E #4) Quest

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kalenath
12.16.2011 , 04:22 AM | #1
Nia sat on the uncomfortable seat in the small, unmarked transport and waited. It seemed like an eternity ago that Will had led her to the bay and plunked her down in the seat with instructions to wait for Olanagychew. She felt, strange. Part of that was the nerve amplifier belt that she wore. Every member of the Stormhawk’s crew wore them. They prevented hostile Force users from dominating the minds of the crew. So she was glad to have it. But it itched! And no matter how much she scratched, the itch wouldn’t go away. So she called on her training to block it out. She was mostly successful. But that left the rest of this…stuff. Survival kit, blaster, ammo, lightsaber, secure comlink, filter mask, canteen, grenades, flares, the list went on and on…

She sighed. She had known that going back to Tatooine would not be simple, but had baulked at the sheer amount of details involved in getting the Stormhawk there. She reached up and touched her face. It felt normal, but everyone she had asked said she looked nothing like herself. Will and the commander had been adamant that she not look anything like herself. The Sith HAD to know she had escaped, er, been rescued. So they would be looking for her. So her hair was now a dirty brown and her face… She hadn’t believed L’trask when he had said they could give her a new one. She had screamed when she had seen her new self in the mirror the first time. It had taken a while for her dad and Olana to convince her that it was a good thing that she didn’t recognize herself. And they had promised they could change her back as quickly as they had changed her in the first place. Of course, these surface changes meant little to a person sensitive of the Force. So she had spent her time since her discussion with her father in meditation, trying to dampen what she whimsically called her ‘Force Glow’. Now she focused on it further, damping herself down until all she could see of her inner fire was a small, dull spark. She hoped it was enough. She looked up as the hatch opened. A strange brindle furred Wookiee stood framed in the door and she cocked her head, and then smiled. The Wookiee smiled back and shouldered his bowcaster.

<Olana, I didn’t recognize you.> The Wookiee nodded soberly.

<That is the idea, Nia. Or should I say, Cora?> She frowned, and then nodded. Her ID proclaimed her to be Cora Ni, a mercenary/part time bounty hunter from Alderaan. The Alderanians were so lax with things like documenting all of the inhabitants that it was almost simple to fake IDs from there. He would use his own name, since the Sith records of his identity were long gone.

<We should get in the habit now. We will be launching in a few minutes.>

<Who will be flying us?> She asked and then froze as Olana smiled widely, a terrifying sight for anyone who didn’t know Wookiees well..

<Who do you think?> She grinned sheepish. As if her dad would trust it to anyone else. Then she shook her head.

<But… Isn’t he wanted on Tattooine?> Olana wuffed, a sound she knew meant amusement in a Wookiee.

<He is unwelcome in a lot of places, Cora. Don’t worry about him, he can take care of himself, worry about keeping yourself intact. He will rip me apart if anything happens to you.>

“Have we been able to find out anything about the shuttle?” She asked, speaking basic since her cover identity didn’t speak Shirwook. Olana nodded.

<It was impounded two months ago. With luck it is still in the impound yard.>

“So we get it out of hock and fly it offworld to meet the ship?”

<That’s the plan.>

“Sounds easy.” Olana sighed deeply.

<First rule of combat Cora, nothing is easy.> A chime sounded and the transport shuddered. They were away.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
12.16.2011 , 04:23 AM | #2
He wasn’t kidding

Nia thought to herself as Olana stood arguing with the impound yard droid. First they had been delayed landing. A plague of some sort had broken out in one of the outlying settlements and the whole planet was in an uproar. They had been routed to Anchorhead, then ordered to stay aloft while medical ships scurried this way and that. Finally they had been given permission to land, only to find another ship in their assigned docking bay. That had taken almost an hour to straighten out. THEN the customs agent had wanted a bigger bribe than usual and it had taken all of her self control not to shove her blaster down his arrogant throat. Money wasn’t really a problem; she had enough for the foreseeable future, but… It rubbed her the wrong way. Even after seeing the heavy blaster turrets that would have cut her down if she had killed the slimy scum. She had dropped him onto his rear end; he had actually tried to grope her! The heat and dust were worse than she remembered. And the Sith, they seemed to be everywhere. Troopers, droids, ship crews, even a Dark Jedi sauntered by at one point. The fact that none of them gave her a second glance was reassuring. What was not was the reward poster on the wall by the impound yard. She had seen it before, but had discounted it. Now she couldn’t take her eyes off it. It read: 50,000 credit reward for proven information leading to the recovery or destruction of the renegade ship Stormhawk. 100,000 credit bounty on the commander of the Stormhawk, Shin Mace. She filed the name away, deep. She would not betray their confidences. Then she froze. 200,000 credit reward offered by the Sith for her DAD? Alive only?

Wow, they REALLY don’t like him, do they?

She smirked at the tacked on addendum at the bottom. It was a who’s who of deceased bounty hunters who had tried to kill her dad. She flipped through it. It went on for two and a half pages. She froze at two of the names; they had been infamous, very highly skilled, very highly sought after. And now very dead. The warning not to attempt apprehension was in bold letters at the bottom and she smiled.

“Don’t try it girl.” Came a voice from the shadows and she spun, her hand on her blaster. What she had taken for a pile of cast off rubbish was actually a person. A woman, if she was not mistaken. “All you would do is get yourself killed.”

“I don’t see that it’s any business of yours…”

“I just don’t like to see little girls get in over their heads.” The little girl remark cut her to the quick. But none of it showed in her tone.

“I know better than to try people like that. I know my limits.” The woman seemed taken aback by her calm response.

“A rare gift, you have a name girl?” Nia felt Olangychew come up beside her. She looked at him and they left.

The woman stared after them for a moment, then with a grace unusual in older women, climbed to her feet and walked in the other direction. She came to an unmarked door and it opened as she approached and closed just as quickly after she had passed. Her companion looked up from the pad he was reading. She nodded a greeting and poured herself a cup of cool water before speaking.

“She’s here.” The man sat up straight.

“You’re sure?”

“It’s her. She’s with a Wookiee.”

“Anyone we know?”

“No.”

“This is going to complicate things.”

“Yeah. She’s strong.”

“How strong?"

“She was cloaked so tight that a Dark Jedi I don’t know walked right by her.” The man goggled at her “I was cloaked even tighter. He never felt me. If I hadn’t been almost right on top of her I never would have felt her at all, as it is… Bjorn, she shines in the Force. She is powerful.” The man blanched.

“And untrained…” She shook her head. “What?”

“She has to be trained. Someone like that, everyone in the system would know she was here and approximately where she was if she didn’t know how to hide.”

“She’s THAT powerful?”

“Bjorn, she shines like the suns at noon. But you have to be almost within hands reach to see it. As it was, I could barely stand to look at her.”

“Then what can we do?”

“We need to talk to her.”

“What about the mission?”

“She IS the mission, remember?”

“Well, yeah, but, the Sith had her…”

“And then lost her. As well as a good chunk of that base on Talus.”

“But, Master Jina…”

“No buts, we will try and find her after dark.” The woman went to a closet and opened it,
inside hung a set of brown robes.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
12.16.2011 , 04:25 AM | #3
Olanagychew led Nia back to their transport and didn’t speak. She also remained silent. He touched a control and then relaxed as a light showed green. She cocked her head.

<Hidden microphone detector.> She nodded. <You saw the poster. Lots of people want us dead. We can’t be too careful.> She nodded again.

“No luck on the shuttle?”

<They had four Hok’lan shuttles in impound. All have been sold.>

“You are kidding me!” She exclaimed.

<It’s a common design. Probably how your people got it in the first place.> She shook her head.

“So we have to track down the shuttles then?” The Wookiee nodded.

<Two of them appear to have been sold to legitimate shipping concerns, one to a weapons smuggler we have dealt with.> He looked at her, but she didn’t react. It wasn’t news that the Stormhawk had to deal with scum to keep fighting. <The last to a fence who works for Cranna the Hutt.>

“The Hutts, wonderful.”

<That may actually be a good news. We have done business with Cranna in the past. She is not unreasonable.>

“She?” Female Hutts never left Nal Hutta, at least as far as Nia had ever heard anyway.

<Yes, she was exiled from Nal Hutta for some reason, and now lives here on Tattooine.> Nia digested that information for a moment.

“Why would she help us?” Olana shrugged.

<She hates the Sith. We have never been able to find out why, but we believe it has something to do with why she was exiled.>

“Then she knows who you are?”

<Yes.>

“Can we trust her?” Nia grinned sourly as she spoke and Olana laughed at her dry humor.

<We can trust her to stay bought as long as another competitor who isn’t Sith doesn’t come along and promise her more money.> Nia nodded at that, still hesitant though. Hutts usually didn’t inspire trust and dealing with one was like walking through a sewer. She had worked with and on people who had worked with Hutts while she had been a medic here on Tattooine, and twice she had been called for an autopsy for a body that people said were Hutt victims.

“So, when do we talk to her?” Nia didn’t turn as the hatch to the cockpit opened.

“YOU don’t. I do.” Her dad stood framed in the hatchway and she moved to him and gave him a hug. “You two stay here in Anchorhead, track down that arms dealer, Nikki is her name, and those two other shuttles.” Olana shook his shaggy head.

<Are you sure you don’t want backup?>

“Cranna and I have an understanding." and he grinned. Nia shrank back; he looked positively evil when he grinned like that.

<An hour later>


Cranna the Hutt sat on her divan and sighed. Life had been boring lately. So much business had dried up when the Sith came that it was hard for a Hutt to make a dishonest credit. Her partner sat nearby and looked at her, but she just shook her head.

I am so bored…

Suddenly a loud crash came from the front of her shop and she immediately reached for her remote. It controlled all of her defenses. As elaborate as they were; she knew they wouldn’t stop a serious assault. So it also controlled the grav slide her divan was resting on. That coincidentally led to her escape tunnel and thence to her waiting ship. Her fingers rested on the buttons as she waited to see what would happen. She knew without seeing that her partner had drawn his pistol and hidden it behind his desk. She was ready for anything, or so she thought. A voice called into her sanctum. A voice she recognized with a start.

“They are not dead Cranna.” She started laughing. She waved to her partner and he reluctantly put his pistol away. An armored figure stepped into the room. His hands were empty, but her partner froze anyway. The armored figure reached up and undid his helmet. Even before it fell away, her partner had shrunk back, now he positively cringed. She looked at him.

“Don’t do that! He won’t kill you unless you give him a reason. Right Will?” Most Hutts wouldn’t speak Basic, although they knew it. They considered it a point of pride to only speak Huttese. Cranna considered it a poke in the eyes of all the Hutts who had cast her out that she spoke whatever language she wanted. He smiled at her.

“I prefer NOT to kill people anyway. It’s bad for business when all the law types start poking around.”

“Indeed it is, my old friend. What brings you to my humble shop? And why did you do whatever you did to my guards out front?”

“I knocked them unconscious. They didn’t want to let me in. I guess they thought I was a bounty hunter.” There WERE a few outstanding bounties on Cranna’s head, for this and that, but nothing her guards couldn’t handle. Usually anyway.

“Well, my friend, come in sit down. I was just bemoaning how life was getting boring around here. Funny that.” Will smiled, sadly.

“Yeah, funny.” He sat, but in such a way that he could see both Cranna and the entrance. This was not lost on either Cranna or her partner.

“How much have you stolen from her today, Draga?” Will asked the partner who stiffened. Cranna laughed again.

“As always, you skill in gathering information is barely outstripped by your skill in fighting.” She waved to her partner and he left in a hurry. Will grinned and she shared it.

“You knew that I know that he embezzles from me.”

“Yep.” She cracked up laughing again. Will reached into a pouch and pulled out a small device. He looked at her and she nodded. When he pressed the button on it, several squeals were heard from around the room and puffs of smoke came from where hidden microphones had been placed.

“You killed the transmitter already?” She asked, worried. He had a lot of enemies, people who, if they learned he was there would blast the whole block, heck the whole city, from orbit.

“Yeah.” She sighed and extended an arm. He clasped it. It was a grip of warriors. Of equals.

“What brings you here? You know the Sith are here in force.”

“Yes. I need to find out about a shuttle that your people bought a month ago. A client left something in a Hok’lan class shuttle. And needs it back.” Cranna immediately reached for her computer and started typing. Her fat fingers literally flew across the keys. Then she shook her head.

“We purchased the Hok’lan, yes, but then we disassembled it. We needed the parts. Nothing out of the ordinary.” Will nodded. “We can see if…” She broke off as Will shook his head. “What?” When he spoke his voice was soft.

“Cranna, stay out of this.” Her voice wasn’t much louder.

“I owe you.”

“Cranna, we need you here. We need someone we can trust here.” She sighed, Will was about as moveable as a black hole.

“Then tell me one thing. Who is this strange woman the Sith seek? She was here; a bounty hunter took her to a Sith base on Talus, which was reduced to ash in a strikingly familiar fashion.” Will shook his head, but leaned close to her ear. When he spoke her eyes widened so much they hurt. She cursed softly in Huttese. For her, that was an extreme obscenity.

“Boskca!”

“Yeah.” Will moved to get up, but Cranna held up a pudgy fist.

“Wait, there are Jedi on Tattooine.” Will froze. “I have done business with them in the past, you know this.” He nodded. “They are seeking the same thing the Sith are. I didn’t know…I…”

“It’s not your fault. I have to get back. Stay safe, my friend.”

“You as well, my friend.” Then he was gone. A few minutes later her head guard stumbled limping into the room. Before he could speak, she snarled in his language. <Bring me Draga and prepare your clan, we will need them.> The Ubese nodded and left the room, wondering what could possibly make a Hutt cry.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
12.16.2011 , 04:25 AM | #4
Nia came awake wondering what had happened. She and Olanagychew had checked out the shuttle purchased by Nikki the weapons dealer and had come up dry. Nikki had tried to wheedle money out of Nia when she thought Olana wasn’t looking, but one roar from the Wookiee had persuaded the woman to be content with not having her arms torn off. Then they had been looking for the second Hak’lan. They had found it in a private slip, and after some negotiation, had been allowed to search the ship. She had smiled, thinking that having a Wookiee along helped with negotiations a lot. She had opened the hatch, heard a hiss and now she was on the ground, dizzy.

A high pitched scream came from nearby and she winced as a Rodian, er…part of a Rodian, came flying over a set of boxes nearby. A loud howl testified to the cause of the Rodian’s demise and she spun quickly to her feet. A quick check of her chrono showed he hadn’t been out for more than a few minutes. Olanagychew came from behind the boxes, wiping his paws, and stopped as he saw Nia. She nodded to him.

“Bounty hunter?” He nodded and she sighed. “For me or…” She broke off as Olanagychew shrugged. He didn’t know. She quickly checked the rest of the hatch for traps, but other than the spent gas canister, nothing else was different from the other one they had examined. She opened the drawer but the book wasn’t there. She slumped. She went to where the lower portion of the bounty hunter lay and searched through the grisly remains. A cheap blaster pistol, another gas canister and a datapad were all that she could find. A quick check of the datapad and she paled. Olanagychew looked over her shoulder and growled. It had a rough sketch of her, in her new face, and declared her wanted for questioning by the Sith Empire. And it listed a reward, while not a large one; it wasn’t a small one either.

“Every two bit bounty hunter in this system is going to be looking for us.” She said quietly to Olanagychew and then she froze as a voice came from behind her.

“Lucky for me I found you first.” She spun and her heart sank as she saw the Dark Jedi she had seen before standing between her and the exit of the hanger. “Come along dear, your new master is waiting.”

Olanagychew launched himself into the shadows and she spun behind the ship and drew her blaster. A pitiful weapon against a Dark Jedi, but better than the lightsaber she didn’t know how to use. She heard a roar and then a laugh and the roar cut off in a cry of pain. She sneaked a look. Olanagychew had managed to get almost close enough to strike the Dark Jedi, but now the Dark Jedi had the Wookiee suspended off the ground and Nia’s friend clutched impotently at the vise like Force grip that encircled his throat. Nia fired two shots at the evil human, but he ignited his lightsaber and batted the bolts away easily. She ducked back into cover and moved to the end of the shuttle. She heard Olana land with a thump and prayed he was still alive. She sank into the shadows of the crates surrounding the edges of the bay.

“Come out; come out, where ever you are.” The Dark Jedi taunted. She could hear the hum of his lightsaber and trace his approximate path from where the light of it shone. Then he heard the man curse and a shallow roar of triumph. She looked out and her heart froze in her throat. Then she screamed in exaltation. Olana was alive. He had managed somehow to grasp the Dark Jedi by the ankle and throw him into the wall of the bay. But her jubilation was short lived. Olana collapsed and the Dark Jedi stood up, rage suffusing his features. He raised his hand and screamed.

Die animal!” Blue white lightning that Nia remembered well arced from the Dark Jedi’s hands to the supine form of the Wookiee and Olanagychew convulsed as the power flowed through his body. Nia felt something happen, something that had never happened to her before.

Something…She jumped out of cover, threw her hand forward and…something shot from her hand and struck the Dark Jedi in the stomach. He flew all the way across the landing bay and landed with a dull cracking noise. He flopped on the ground in a way that told Nia he wouldn’t be getting up ever again. Suddenly she was tired. So very tired. She slumped to the ground, barely aware of a presence that came up and knelt beside her. She looked up into the eyes of the woman from the impound yard, but she was wearing Jedi robes! Nia opened her mouth to speak, but darkness claimed her before she could.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
12.16.2011 , 04:27 AM | #5
Bjorn Davei was not an exceptionally powerful Padawan. But he had been around powerful beings most of his life. And he could only shake his head and stare in awe at what the woman had done. She had Force punched the Dark Jedi so hard it had thrown him all the way across the bay. The force of the punch had broken the evil man’s neck on impact. He searched the body quickly, finding nothing but the man’s lightsaber, a credit chip and a keycard. He checked the Wookiee, it, er he was unconscious but alive. He shook his head again. He hadn’t seen what the Dark Jedi had hit the Wookiee with but he had heard the hiss of Force lightning before. Just the thought of the Dark side power made his skin crawl. He walked quickly back to where his Master was kneeling beside the woman. She didn’t remove her gaze from the woman or her hand from the woman’s brow. He stopped a pace away and spoke.

“The Wookiee is alive, the Dark Jedi is dead. All he had was this.” He held out the key, credchip and the lightsaber. She nodded and he put the items in his small pack. The order might find use for them, somehow. She nodded, and then froze.

“Bjorn, get out of here.” Her voice was soft and it took a moment for him to realize what she had said.

“Wha…?” He began but she stood quickly.

“Get out…Oh no…” She breathed and he followed her gaze to the open personnel door of the bay. A dark shadow stood in the door. Human, or humanoid at least. It stood there for a moment looking at them, then strode into the bay. The shadow resolved into a human, of average height, with black hair. He wore armor with the ease of long familiarity but no helmet. He strode to the middle of the bay and crossed his arms. Bjorn looked closely at him, but could see no reason for fear. His blaster was laughable; the man obviously wasn’t a Force user. His eyes were a deep, deep green.

“I thought you were dead.” His master’s voice startled Bjorn. He had focused on the man’s eyes so closely that he had ignored everything around him. Master Jina had moved between him and the stranger and he had never noticed.

“I thought the same of you.” The man’s voice was colder than space itself and against his will and his training Bjorn took a step back. Then he recovered, he was a Padawan. An apprentice Jedi Knight. Fear did not rule him. He acknowledged it and let it fall away, but it didn’t fall away completely. He moved to stand beside his master, but she held up a hand, stopping him. He stared at her, then at the newcomer.

“What are you doing here?” The man didn’t answer Master Jina, and Bjorn started to feel something strange. It wasn’t anger, fear, or doubt or anything he could identify. He realized it was incredulity. This man, this non-force using man, was threatening his master! He drew his lightsaber, ignited it and moved between the two of them.

No Bjorn!” He heard Master Jina shout and then his lightsaber flew out of his hand as something struck his arm hard enough to throw him to the ground. His lightsaber flew a ways and deactivated. He looked up from the ground, dazed. The man stood still; a strangely shaped pistol in his hand. Bjorn reached out with the Force to try and pull it away from his assailant, but the man fired again before he could focus enough and Bjorn was spun backward again. Master Jina stepped in front of him. He was dumbfounded to see that she hadn’t drawn her lightsaber. Pain from his arm lanced through him and he realized with a sick feeling that it was broken.

“Do you kill children now?” He heard his master ask through a haze of fear and pain.

“He’s not dead. Yet.” The man’s cool, unemotional words sent a chill up and down Bjorn’s spine. He could have been discussing what flavor of caf to have in the morning.

“We are not here to fight you.” Bjorn couldn’t believe his master, one of the bravest and mightiest Jedi Knights he had ever known, was acting so…so meek.

“Leave now Jina. And leave the girl.”

“I can’t do that.”The voice of Bjorn's master never faltered.

“You don’t have a choice. How will you carry her and the boy?” Bjorn heard a beeping and the man raised his chrono to his face. He looked at it, blanched and then yelled.

Incoming!” They all ducked for cover. Anything else that might have been said was lost in a blur of massive explosions.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
12.16.2011 , 04:28 AM | #6
Nia was knocked awake by the earth shuddering around her. Furry arms held her tight and she burrowed into Olanagychew’s body as the world went mad around her. She heard explosions but they were muted, then she felt something in here ears. The Wookiee must have put her earplugs in, but if that was the case, what was going on? She tried to look out from the encircling arms but they tightened on her and she was forced back into darkness. A darkness that smelled of scorched fur and blood. Finally the shattering explosions came to a halt and the arms around her released her. They flopped loose and she stiffened for a moment, before she realized that Olanagychew still breathed. She looked around and stared. The bay they had been in, was gone. In its place were four partially destroyed walls and lots and lots of debris. Then her heart froze. The woman she had seen before was levitating a block of something off of… Her dad lay supine on the ground, clutching a sonic pistol. But the Jedi was so focused on lifting the block off of her dad that she didn’t see the durasteel beam that was toppling towards her. Without thought, Nia was in motion. She struck the Jedi just as the woman threw the block away and hurled the Jedi out of the impact zone. She wasn’t so lucky.

Nia!” Will screamed as he saw the metal beam land on his daughter. He scrambled to his feet and made to run towards the wreckage, but a hand stopped him. Jina stood up, gathered her breath and levitated the beam off of Nia. Even before Will reached her side, he knew she was critically injured. The beam had landed on her abdomen, crushing it almost flat, along with her pelvis and a section of her ribcage. He catalogued her injuries and shook his head. He didn’t think even the Stormhawk’s sickbay could heal such damage. He looked into his daughter’s face and she was looking at him. The right side of her face was starting to bruise, but the light in her eyes was clear still, for the moment. She opened her mouth to say something, but a hand reached past him, touched her on the forehead and her eyes rolled up into her head as she lost consciousness. Will spun and saw Jina standing there. His pistol was back in his hand as quick as thought. She raised hers empty.

“She’s asleep. I wouldn’t…” He snarled and she jumped away, landing perfectly balanced beside where her padawan was rising shakily from the ruins. He snarled again and she realized belatedly that he couldn’t hear her. The explosions had deafened them all. Her Force healing abilities had healed her eardrums much faster than his would and he… She shoved her padawan down as a stream of solid sound came out of Will’s weapon. She ignited her lightsaber and blocked it. She was bemused to see it split in two and continue beyond her rather than be deflected. Luckily neither stream hit her padawan who was trying again to regain his feet. She stared at Will and lowered her weapon. He looked at her, then at Nia. Then he returned his stare to her and pulled a small object out of a pouch with his free hand. She recognized the object and blanched. A thermal detonator would likely kill them all. She lowered her lightsaber and deactivated it. She knelt in the rubble, ignoring the sharp pains as bits and pieces of debris poked her. She lowered her head. A minute went by with no shots or explosions, then another. She looked up into his eyes and she was shaken by what she saw. Nothing. Nothing at all behind his eyes, as if… no one was home at all. Or whoever was home didn’t care anymore. Her eyes widened. He thought the girl was dead. She mouthed words exaggerating the movements to him.

“She lives, asleep.” He looked at her, not lowering his pistol. Then he looked at the girl. She looked as well and the both relaxed as the girl’s chest rose and fell. They locked eyes again. He moved the pistol in a gesture and she rose to her feet, assisted her Padawan to his and moved away from where the girl lay. He followed, slowly. Once they were in cover, she mimed touching his head, and while he stiffened, he then nodded and put away his pistol. She reached quickly to his head, put a hand on his ear and concentrated for a moment, and then she did the same for her Padawan. Will was the first to speak.

“What did you do to her?” His voice was cold.

“She’s asleep. We can…” Jina broke off as Will raised his pistol again.

“You can leave now.” They all spun as a new voice interrupted.

“Oh, why leave now that the party is getting fun?” Sith troops surrounded them. A leader in red armor pushed his way to the front flanked by two war droids.

“Well, well, well. What have we here?” Will looked at Jina and the edge of his mouth quirked up in a sort of smile. Then he turned to face the leader. The Sith troops actually took a step back from his expression. He spoke.

“If any of you want to live to see tomorrow, run now.” His voice ran through the ruins and several of the forms in the back moved a bit before the leader looked at them.

“You make awfully funny, mister. You will look funny too when you are strapped to an interroga…” He broke off as Will pointed up. Several of the troops gasped and the leader looked up as well. Where the Sith battlewagon bombarding the area had been, now there was a rapidly dispersing ball of fire. He looked back at his quarry, but Will was gone. He snarled and looked around, but the other two humans were gone as well. Then the shooting started. He was about to order a full scale assault when a blaster bolt took him in the eye. He was dead before he hit the ground. The droids, sans direction, just stood there. None of the troopers had the codes for them. They recovered quickly, being trained troops and fanned out through the ruins looking for the hostiles. But nothing appeared. Every so often another shot would come in; usually the recipient would drop instantly dead. Very rarely another quick shot would follow. And by the time the team managed to arrive where they thought the shots were coming from, the sniper was gone. Finally there were five of them left and they pushed the mercenaries they had hired in front of them. This did not endear them to the mercenaries. Then the voice of the man who had started this came, seemingly from somewhere close by his position. He froze.

“How much are they paying you?”

“200 per.” The surviving leader of the mercenaries said quietly as he tried to find a position that gave cover from both front AND rear. He was almost as worried about the Sith shooting him as the stranger. he moved seeking better cover.

“Look down.” The voice came again and he saw a small bag at his feet. He froze, but if it was a bomb it would have gone off and killed him by then, so he picked it up. It jingled. The weight of the bag said a lot more than 200 credits per man. He looked at the bag, looked at his men, then at the Sith who had clustered in a defensible part of the ruins. Then he nodded.

“Pleasure doing business with you, even though we have never met.” He whistled shrilly and all the surviving mercenaries bolted. The mercenaries quickly ran out of the ruins ducking blaster fire from the Sith. One was hit and died just short of cover, the others made it. They ran and kept running. Then another of the Sith dropped. And another. The remaining three, seeing the unconscious woman lying there, started shooting at her and suddenly black armored figures appeared in their midst.

Will watched as the Ubese tore into the Sith troops like a lightsaber through paper.

Lightsaber…

He looked around for the Jedi, but didn’t see them then his heart froze. Nia was gone! He ran to where she had been but there was nothing there. A moan came from nearby and he uncovered Olanagychew. The Wookiee's face was sorrowful.

<The Jedi took her.> Will screamed loud and long.

<On a shuttle bound for orbit>


When Nia woke, she hurt. Everything hurt, but only for a moment. A face she seemed to remember came into her view and smiled.

“My name is Jina, Nia. We will take care of you.” Nia lost consciousness again to the feeling of a hand on her brow and something happening inside her.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
12.16.2011 , 04:30 AM | #7
Will stood, silent as a statue as the black armored Ubese took the bodies away and cleaned up the mess. His comlink chirped; he ignored it. Olanagychew tried to rise, and then collapsed. Will looked at the Wookie, looked at the Ubese and waved one of them over. The Ubese took in the scene at a glance and barked commands in his language. Two more came running with an AG stretcher. Carefully they assisted the Wookiee onto it. Will’s comlink chirped again. Olanagychew looked at him.

<Aren’t you going to answer that?> He barked, quietly, his voice filled with pain. One of the Unese handed him a medkit and he started applying the contents to his wounds. Will looked at the Wookiee, then at the ruins around them and nodded. He started off and the Ubese towing the stretcher followed. He activated his comlink. Before anything could come out of it, he spoke. His voice… Even the Ubese, as angry as they were much of the time, took a hesitant step back.

“Prep Dragon for launch.” Olanagychew gasped, and then hacked as the pain overcame his horror. That ship…

“Two?” Came the voice of Stormhawk Boss.

“A shuttle took off a few minutes ago, track it, and tell me when it jumps. I bet I know where it is going.”

“Two what happened? We can intercept…”

“No, Nia’s aboard. She’s hurt. The Jedi have her.” A moment and then Boss came back on. His voice was almost as cold as Will’s was.

“Roger that, Dragon prepping now.” They arrived at the landing bay. The Ubese pushed Olanagychew’s stretcher into the ship, but the leader stood and waited. Will nodded to him. The leader spoke, luckily Will understood some Ubese.

<You go face Jedi?> Will nodded, still silent.

<We will aid.> He shook his head. Their hatred of the Jedi went bone deep. But…

“You have aided me this night. Tell Cranna…” Will broke off as the Ubese shook his head.

<We not do this for Cranna. She told situation. We did for you. Our debt…>

“…Is paid in full.” The Ubese froze at Will’s words. The Ubese knelt.

<Is not. We come protect your family, in memory when you protected ours. We fail. We owe.> Will thought hard, and then nodded. Ubese concepts of honor might be alien to many, but he understood, oh did he ever understand.

“You know where I must go. I cannot take you.”

<Understood. We ready. Call, we come.> Will nodded again. The Ubese leader stood. His companions came out of the ship and they all vanished into the night. Will looked after them for a moment, and then stepped into the ship. He checked Olanagychew, saw the Wookiee was well strapped in and then moved to the cockpit. He merged with the ship and only a few moments later was airborne.

<On a shuttle running for the edge of the gravity well>


Jedi Master Jina sat at the controls of her shuttle and tried not to curse. She could see the Stormhawk on her scanners. The massive ship wasn’t closing with her though. She had expected them to. She had hoped they would talk to her, maybe let her explain. But they didn’t seem interested in talking. She saw another blip appear and her heart froze. A transport, Republic troop carrier. Heavily modified. She knew without looking that it was on a course to meet the Stormhawk. She opened a channel to it, he didn’t respond. She winced. Bjorn came into the cramped cockpit.

“How is she?” She asked, not taking her eyes off her screens.

“Still asleep. Master…” He asked hesitant. His voice was full of pain and fear and she turned to him. She had splinted his arm and accelerated the healing as much as she could, but it had to be hurting him. His face had a pall she didn’t like. But he was the only other person aboard, so he had to be awake, for a while anyway. If just to keep tabs on their ‘guest’. She could feel the confusion inside of him, so she cut to the heart of the matter.

“What do you wish to ask, Bjorn?” She had been expecting his questions, and dreading them.

“Who was that?” She sighed.

“That was Will Kalenath.” His eyes widened and he sat down quickly on the deck. As well she was sitting down or his shock might have destabilized her.

“The traitor?” He was surprised as she scoffed.

“I will believe both of Tattooine’s suns will go nova in the next ten seconds before I believe that man a traitor.”

“But…” he broke off as she looked him full in the eyes.

“I knew him Bjorn. I knew him as well as any could. We fought together, before the Sith came and after… I thought he died at Coruscant and some pirate had taken his name. I…I don’t know what happened. We don’t have enough information.” She watched as the sensor readings of the Stormhawk and the transport merged. Then she checked her computations for hyperspace. Almost done. “What are the stores like?” They had planned on carrying two, not three and one of those an invalid.

“Water tanks are full, food is plentiful, but…air is short, master. They never delivered.” She smiled at his outraged tone.

“They were not supposed to, Bjorn, not until tomorrow, remember?” She chided him gently and he flushed. It had seemed an insignificant thing. Now it was anything but. She smiled sadly, hindsight was always clearer than foresight. That had been one of Will’s favorite sayings.

“Oh, I am sorry Master Jina. I…” He broke off grimacing.

“Where do we stand?”

“My calculations show us running out of air a day out of Tython.” Jina grimaced then nodded. Hers showed the same thing.

“Ok, this is what we will do. You will go into deep meditation. Set it up to come out as we enter Tython space.” He nodded. The Jedi meditation would lower his metabolism to the barest minimum level needed to sustain life. Then he looked at the back cabin. She grimaced again. If they both went into meditation, there was a good chance the girl would die before they reached Tython. And if that happened… The fact that their mission was to bring her to Tython was immaterial beside what Will would do, he obviously cared for this girl. She furrowed her brow, deep in thought. Then she nodded. “I think I can put her into a healing trance. While it isn’t as good as a deep meditation for conserving air, it will keep her alive until we get back to Tython and the healers can help her.”

“Can they help her Master?”

“I hope so, Bjorn. I truly do. Something about this girl… something resonates in the Force. I think… I don’t know. Get comfortable, and start meditating. He nodded to her and sat in the other chair. His breathing slowed and she watched in approval as he sank into meditation. He is a fast learner She thought with approval as she unstrapped from her seat and went to the back cabin. Nia lay on the sole bed and Jina’s breath caught as she saw again the girl’s terrible injuries. She knelt beside the bed and laid a hand on the girl’s brow. Then she froze. Nia’s eyes were open. The girl tried to talk.

“No. Don’t try and talk. Don’t move. You are badly hurt.” The girl closed her eyes and Jina felt…something through the Force, then Nia spoke. She couldn’t believe the girl could do that…

“What?” the girl’s voice was soft and weak, but Jina understood.

“We are taking you somewhere where you can be healed. But to get there, I need to put you in a healing trance, or you won’t survive to get there. Can you do that?” Nia turned her head slowly away. “Nia, we won’t hurt you, I swear it.” Nia looked back at her and Jina actually shrank back from the girl’s regard. Nia spoke again.

“Word of Jedi, worthless.” Jina sat back, shocked to her core.

“How can you say that? I…” She froze as the girls face, bruised as it was, became fierce.

“Jedi betrayed him, left him to die, while run away.” Jina flinched. She could feel the girl’s absolute belief in her words.

“I wasn’t there. I had been…” She broke off, thinking hard, remembering things she longed to forget. “I was sent away on another mission. I don’t know what happened at Coruscant. I can’t believe…” She froze as the monitors attached to Nia’s body started fluctuating. The girl was trying to move! Desperately she tried to calm the girl.

“Nia, Nia, please. Don’t move. You are hurt very badly. If you move at all, you may start to hemmorage again, if that happens, I won’t be able to save you.” The fear in her voice must have made it through to Nia, because the girl stopped trying to move. She took a moment to calm herself then she spoke again.

“What happened at Coruscant is in the past, I can’t change it no matter how much I might want to. What matters now is the present. You were hurt saving me. I owe you. Will you let me pay the debt?” Nai looked at her, unable to talk, all of her energy spent. Finally Nia choked out words again.

“No trust Jedi.” At those words, Jina’s heart seemed to turn into a block of ice. “But…trust you. Please…” Her voice trailed off.

“I understand Nia. I won’t tell them who you are.” Nia’s eyes widened. Jina smiled. “I am a Jedi, that doesn’t mean I am stupid. Will wouldn’t have reacted that way for anything other than family.” A single tear ran down Nia’s cheek. Jina quickly continued. “I will tell no one. You have my word, not the word of a Jedi, but the word of Jina Darkstorm. I will see you healed and protected, and I will speak to none of this.” Nia opened her eyes again and Jina sensed her acceptance. She laid a gentle hand on Nia’s brow and concentrated. An indeterminate time later, she removed her hand and saw Nia’s life rhythms on the monitor. Very, very slow and weak. But there. She nodded then sighed. She moved quickly to the cockpit just in time for the navicomputer to beep. She punched in the coordinates and keyed for a jump to hyperspace.

The shuttle left realspace. Moments later another ship appeared. It left the Stormhawk’s hanger and started towards the edge of the gravity well. All over the system, heads turned as music poured across the comlink bands. Hard, loud music. The ship blurred into hyperspace followed minutes later by the Stormhawk.

The Dragon was hungry.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
12.16.2011 , 04:30 AM | #8
((ok, things are about to get VERY interesting. Stay tuned. As always, comments or suggestions are welcome. Flames will be met with thermal detonators.))

((btw, kudos to anyone who can get the Dragon reference.))
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here