Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Jedi_Lover, Jan 1, 2014.
That was very funny. Poor poor Ben. I dont think Talon is going to let him live that down.
Bahahaha! Great update. I just noticed the entry was encrypted. Nice touch
The boys are sure in a situation. Great funny update
The wives better not hear/read about this mission or Talon and Ben will be in a galaxy of trouble
*snort* I see they're having no trouble at all blending in... yeah, that's going to work just fine. Ben is so sure that Valla is going to skin him when they get home. I think Talon's right -- it's if he tries to hide something that she'll be more upset.
~~I will write more about what happened later. Ben caught me writing in this journal and is now threatening me with bodily harm if I am recounting his embarrassing encounter with a Zeltron.
Mara's charming personality is showing in Ben more soon
Yeah, he had a long term relationship with Nalli'ti. He got a lot of practice trying to work through those pheromones.
Consider yourself tagged. Thanks for reading.
I always saw Ben in the profics as a bit shy. Talon has dated a bit more than Ben in my fanfic.
I think Talon is going to want to tell everybody, but Ben is probably going to talk him out of it. They are good friends after all.
Thanks. When you are writing these journals it is hard to break a long day up into readable posts. So I thought I would have him get interrupted before he finished writing what happened that day.
Thanks. Like in my last two journals I usually fluctuate between serious posts and humorous posts. This journal probably will be no different.
Yeah, I think the wives won't be too happy.
Ben is not the type of guy to hide things unless he has to. Talon keeps a whole lot of secrets, but usually out of necessity. He told Zylie all of his secrets before he asked her to marry him.
Thanks. I figure two men who grew up like brothers would probably act like brothers and have fun harassing of each other.
Thanks everybody for reading and taking the time to review.
I have some time to write. I'll try to recall as much as I can before I forget all the details.
We spent a couple hours talking to people in the club while nursing our drinks. Ben put up a good front, but I could sense he was extremely uncomfortable with this mission. I don’t blame him, Valla and Zylie are not going to be happy about this. Of course, it’s not like they have anything to worry about; none of these women can compare to the Karrde sisters. Ben and I won the MegaCredit Lotto jackpot when we snagged those two.
We had a small photo of Sola on flimsifilm paper. We would show it to the male customers saying we are looking for our favorite girl who left another establishment and was supposedly working in the area. To our surprise we found two men who claimed they saw her and one of the men said he had sex with her in this very club two days ago. He even mentioned a small birthmark on her thigh. We would have to access Sola’s medical records or talk to her father to see if she had a birthmark that matched that description. It is possible that he was simply with a lookalike.
Ben tried to press him for more information about Sola’s health and frame of mind, but the man suddenly became evasive. “What’s this about? She was fine when I left her. If something happened to her it’s not on me.”
Ben threw his hands up in a placating gesture. “Hey, we’re just trying to find a friend.” We walked away from the men before they got more suspicious. When we were out of earshot Ben nudged me with his elbow. “I sense they were lying.”
Ben is much better at detecting people’s emotions than I am. I guess that is why I didn’t become a Sentinel. He has to be an expert on reading people, not only through the Force but also by their mannerisms and body language. My job is much easier. Just point me toward the enemy and I kill anything waving a weapon in my direction.
“I didn’t notice anything odd, other than they appeared a little nervous. Why would they lie?”
Ben shrugged. “I don’t know, but their story sounded rehearsed.”
“Should we follow them?”
Ben shook his head. “I put micro-trackers on their jackets. I’ll be able to see where they went without having to shadow them.”
I gave Ben a sidelong glance. “I’m impressed. I didn’t see you do that.”
He shrugged off the compliment. “I just used the Force to place them under their collars.”
I had to smile at Ben’s modesty. His control of the Force always dwarfed my telekinetic abilities. It’s true that I could Force shove better than him, but I didn’t have any subtle control; brute force was my forte.
I cautiously pulled out the DNA analyzer from my pocket. “My sensor doesn’t show any DNA readings indicating Sola was ever here.”
“Same here.” Ben looked around the crowded room. “But look at this place. It’s packed and I assume it’s scrubbed down at closing.” He shuddered at the thought. “I really hope the ‘fresher is scrubbed down at least. There is way too much DNA inside that facility.” He turned to me. “If she’s here she’s probably in the backrooms where all the sex is happening. I need you to go back there and check it out.”
“What?” I regarded Ben questioningly. “I’m sure the Captain’s undercover agents already scanned the backrooms.”
“That was three days ago. She might not have been there then. Also you have your Force abilities that will help you look for her.”
I looked over to the huge human bouncer guarding the door leading to the rear part of the building. “Ben, I could use a mind trick to get past the guard, but I am sure this place is packed with security cams. If I’m seen going back there without a girl, security will come running.”
“Then go in with a girl,” Ben insisted.
I folded my arms over my chest. “No way! I’m not going to put myself in a situation that is going to get me divorced.”
He shook his head. “I’m not asking you to have sex. Just get to the backrooms so the sensors can take a DNA sample, do a little Force reconnaissance, then make some excuse and get out.”
My eyes went wide. “Why don’t you go do it yourself?”
Ben’s face tightened. “Because you are much more comfortable around women than I am. You’ve dated dozens of women before you hooked up with Zylie.”
My eyes narrowed. “Not that many.”
“Talon, I’ll be the first to admit that I am outside my comfort zone right now. I can feel my face is already flushed. My skin is probably redder than a Devaronian’s.”
That got a chuckle out of me. “It is a lovely shade of mortified red.”
Ben looked at me gravely. “And that means I’ll look suspicious.”
I sighed as I rubbed a hand over my face. “Fine, I’ll do it.” I reached into my pockets and pulled out some credits. “Do you know the going rate?”
Ben frowned. “Why would I know the going rate for a prostitute?”
I rolled my eyes. “Because the mighty Sentinel was supposed to research all aspects of this mission.”
“Oh,” Ben looked down embarrassed. “Sorry, I missed that detail.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out some credits. “This should be enough.”
“Great. Just kriff’n great. If Zylie divorces me…this is on your head, Ben.” I gave him a tight smile that probably looked more like a scowl. “Wish me luck.” I turned and searched for a suitable lady. I wanted to avoid Zeltrons. I may be good at resisting their pheromones, but why risk it. I settled on a bouncy blond that was flittering around the room propositioning men. I moved up next to her and put a hand on her shoulder. “You working?”
She turned to me and smiled. “I am. Do you want a date?”
“I don’t have many credits. How much?”
She gave me a sultry look. “It depends on what you want?”
I am going to kill Ben for putting me in this situation.
“Umm…just a…umm. What’s your cheapest…thing?”
“A Coruscanti Swirl is fifty credits.”
I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I agreed. “Where do we go?”
“In the backroom.” She motioned me to follow.
I made sure the handheld DNA sensor was activated as I followed her through the doorway and down a long hall. She finally brought me to a small chamber that held a full-size bed covered with some nasty stained sheets. It took all my willpower not to shudder. I am fairly sure if we put this room under a body-fluid-sensing UV light it would glow like a supernova.
She turned to me and started unbuckling my belt. I tensed at her touch and I knew I needed to get the hell out of here. I decided on a Jedi mind trick. I removed her hands from my belt and re-buckled it while saying, “That was wonderful.” I used all the power in the Force I could muster to make her think we had done the deed and were completing the transactions. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a hundred-credit chip. “Here, keep the change.”
She looked at the chip for a second and then back at me and I could tell she was confused, but then she shrugged and snatched the credit chip from my hand and gave me a huge smile. “Thanks. You’re a stud.”
‘True, so true’, I thought with a smirk.
“Well, I guess I’ll be going.” I adjusted my tunic and walked out the door and went in the opposite direction from which we came. I was almost to the end of the hall before she called out. “You’re going the wrong way. The exit is that way.” She pointed in the opposite direction.
I made a show of looking confused. “Oh sorry.” I had the DNA sample; now it was time for a Force recon. As I moved down the hallway I reached out with the Force and attempted to feel the emotions and touch the minds of the occupants nearby. I was searching for a young girl who was probably terrified.
I sucked in a breath as a deluge of sensations rolled over me like a strong, foul current. By the time I was out of that den of sexual depravity I was feeling ill and needed some air. I found Ben and grabbed him by his sleeve. “Let’s get out of here.”
“Okay,” Ben followed me out of the club. “So…what happened back there? Did you sense anything?”
“Ben.” My voice was tight with emotion. “I sensed things… vile things, but I didn’t see or feel the presence of Sola. I got the impression that the women in the back area were experienced sex workers. I didn’t feel the presence of a frightened teenager. I did get your DNA sniffer sample,” I handed Ben the DNA sniffer. “Can we please call it a day?”
“Sure.” Ben said softly as he hailed an airtaxi. I guess he sensed I was upset because he wisely kept quiet during the ride back to our hotel.
I will write more later.
Ooooh, gathering clues was tricky and uncomfortable to put it mildly. Talon's thinking: I'm so glad I can literally fake it
Awesome update and poor Talon, he seemed very upset by what he sensed back there. I can't wait for more
“Thanks. You’re a stud.”
‘True, so true’, I thought with a smirk.
If you asked Talon to do this ten years ago I am sure he would have fun, but he is a very married man now…and his wife has a pet Vornskr.
Club Euphoria catered to a more 'kinky' crowd. I am sure a lot of whips, stun cuffs and maybe a few furries were involved.
It's hard to be humble where you are as great as he is. lol! He was always a smart aleck.
Thanks for reviewing!
Poor Talon, to see and feel so much cruel things done to women.
Loved the banter between him and Ben
EEEKKKK. Talon dodged a rough one there. I'd hate to see him get divorced over something a mission, they need to make some sort of agreement of, if it needs to be done for a mission, either one is allowed to cross that line.
Wow! Be careful there, boys
Thanks. Talon may have dated a few women in his time, but he always treated them with respect. Seeing what goes on in a pleasure brothel I think would be upsetting to him.
I think Ben knew that as long as the girl got paid she didn't care if you simply wanted to talk. It may be suspicious, but Talon was in no danger of doing anything. Talon just knows him even being there would cause problems with Zylie.
He had protection…his lightsaber that is. It had to be Talon to go. I just can't imagine Ben doing something like that. I don't know if it is a profic or fanfic things, but I always see Ben as shy.
@Revanfan1 for reading and taking the time to review.
When we arrived to our hotel room I immediately went to shower. I needed to get the stink of cigarras, Armudu Spice, tabac and Marcan herbal smoke out of my hair. I really hate going to clubs that allow smoking or don’t have sufficient blowers to filter the air. It’s too bad that the hot water couldn’t cleanse the decadent images out of my mind. I could have handled Force visions of a sensual nature, but most of what I saw had little to do with sex and more to do with humiliation, bondage, and sadism. I shuddered under the hot water as I tried to purge my mind of the imagery. The thought that a young teen may be forced into that life made me sick to my stomach.
When I exited the ‘fresher, I found Ben staring at his datapad intently. “Are you tracking those men?”
He nodded. “It looks like they are on the midnight shift at one of the local mines. We’ll stop by GAS headquarters tomorrow to see if they have Sola’s medical records or at least a list of distinguishing marks on her body to help us identify her. I’d like to see if these guys actually saw our victim or somebody that looked like her. Then I think we should go talk to her father. When we’re are in his house maybe we can pick up something with the Force.”
He shut off the datapad and stood. “I hope you saved me some hot water. I smell like a rancid spice stick.”
“The water was hot when I got out.” I paused for a moment. “Ben, do you think the women there were slaves or employees? I didn’t see any slave collars.”
“They could have explosive chip implants, but I think the women who work on the floor of the club were employees. It wouldn’t make sense to put slaves out in the open. They’re probably sold to individuals and kept in isolation.”
I sighed deeply. If that were true it would be almost impossible to find Sola. “We should talk to your father about this when we get back. Maybe the Jedi can do something to close down this illicit trade.”
Ben shook his head. “The Jedi don’t have any enforcement authority without orders from the Chief-of-State and the Galactic Alliance doesn’t like to get involved in planetary law enforcement unless they are invited to assist. From what we've been told the locals turn a blind eye to this illegal trade. There's nothing much we can do, other than report what's going on.”
“You’re right,” I admitted. “Any change has to come from the local authorities.”
“The best we can do is find Sola and make sure she’s safe.” Ben grabbed a change of underclothes and walked to the ‘fresher. “We’ll start fresh tomorrow morning.”
The next day we took a taxi back to GAS headquarters. There we accessed Sola’s medical records and discovered she did have a small red blemish on her upper thigh, just like the one man described. That is another thing I found odd. If the birthmark was as small as a fingernail how did he remember such an unremarkable fact? I would think he’d be drunk on intoxicants and oblivious to anything but doing the deed.
We then requested an opportunity to talk to Baron Zekl. Ben wanted to get into the house to allow me to use my post-cognitive Force abilities. When I touch items I sometimes get a vision showing me the last person who held the object, what it was used for or other events surrounding the object. Ben wishes he had this ability. It is really, really helpful in investigations. That is why he always drags me down to the GAS crime lab on Coruscant. I personally HATE using this skill in criminal investigations. It’s awful. Ben will hand me a knife and ask me what I can glean from it. The first time he did that to me I dropped the knife and threw up. Kriff! People are evil! I really could have gone the rest of my life without seeing what a serial cannibal did with that knife. Yuck!
One of Captain Norrkin’s sergeants drove us to Sola’s home to meet her father. Baron Zekl was a stern looking, foul tempered man who didn't even wait until we were seated before he started berating us. He didn't thank us for coming to the planet to assist in the search. Instead he demanded to know why we haven’t found his daughter. He questioned our competence and work ethics and accused us of kriffing around the local dens of iniquities instead of trying to help. In other words, he’s a jerk.
Ben kept his calm and tried to reassure the Baron that we were doing everything in our power to find his daughter. He asked if we could look around to see if we could pick up anything with our Jedi senses. That initiated a second diatribe from the man. What he didn’t know was—while he was verbally abusing us—I was already at work.
We were sitting in the Baron’s office and I was immediately aware that something was not right about him. He didn't appear to be a heartbroken father. I sensed no worry or anguish, only annoyance and impatience. I was always told people grieve differently, but he had a coldness about him that made my skin crawl. As I touched the armrest of my chair I closed my eyes and tried to visualize past events that transpired in this office. I could see flashes of the Baron fighting with his daughter before he slapped her and yelled ‘You will obey’. I opened my eyes and interrupted the Baron’s tirade. “Baron Zekl, did you have an argument with your daughter before she disappeared?”
He fell silent and gave me a withering gaze. “What business is that of yours?”
I shrugged. “It could explain why she left and went to a bad section of town. There is a spaceport in that area, perhaps she ran away.”
The Baron shook his head. “Are you blind or merely stupid? There was a security holovid showing her abduction! Besides, we checked all the manifests. She wasn’t on any departing ship.”
“You don’t deny you two fought,” Ben pressed for an answer.
The Baron gave a frustrated grunt. “She is to marry Baron Mekss next month. She was upset. According to Sola, her betrothed is an old, ugly and repulsively obese man whom she did not love. I reminded her that he was also rich, powerful and well connected. Marriages between the various houses on this planet have always been politically motivated. Rarely does a noble marry for love. That’s what concubines are for…for the husband that is. She was raised and trained and understood what is expected of her.”
Wow! What a mega-jerk!
Ben nodded his head feigning commiseration. “I understand. Can we see her bedroom?”
It looked like he was going to refuse, but eventually he stood and led us out of the office and to her room.
It was a large bedroom beautifully decorated with antique furniture, expensive rugs, crown molding and just about every electronic device a teenager would want to include a HoloNet projector, computer and hologame systems. It was the standard spoiled rich kid’s room.
Ben turned to the Baron. “Can Jedi Tantiss and I have a moment alone to…meditate?”
The Baron scowled and gave us a dismissive gesture. “Fine, you know where my office is.”
I closed the door behind him and looked at Ben. “Could she have run away? Having to marry a old, ugly, fat guy might be a big incentive to do so.”
Ben nodded. “Maybe, but if she ran away and was snatched while going to the spaceport, we'll still have to find her.”
“Let me see if I could sense anything here.” I moved around the room touching her writing table, chairs, walls and windows. I brushed my hand over one windowsill and hesitated. I closed my eyes to concentrate on the Force vision forming in my mind. I saw a young man entering the room through the open window. Sola was saying, ‘You shouldn’t be here. My father will kill you.’
The young man looked to be in his late teens or early twenties. He was dark haired, handsome and appeared completely enamored with Sola. ‘Sola, I can’t let you go through with that awful marriage. Run away with me. Please, I love you.’
She shook her head. ‘My father would hunt us down. He would rather see me dead than let me go counter to his wishes.’
‘We can depart the planet. I’ve scrounged up enough money.’
She shook her head. ‘He’s resourceful; he’ll find me and drag me to the wedding altar kicking and screaming.’
The image of the couple then faded. Frustrated I moved around the room to try to discover more information, but I couldn’t see anything more. Post-cognitive abilities are sometimes fickle. Occasionally I just get fleeting visions, other times I picked up long complex imageries. Unfortunately I got the abbreviated version this time.
“Did you see anything?” Ben asked.
“Yes.” I looked up to him and gave a guarded smile. “I think I did. Maybe we should go see those men you have tagged.”
He didn't thank us for coming to the planet to assist in the search. Instead he demanded to know why we haven’t found his daughter. He questioned our competence and work ethics and accused us of kriffing around the local dens of iniquities instead of trying to help. In other words, he’s a jerk.
What a duchebag father. Great update, can't wait for more.
What a jerk indeed! Noble families are usually that way disregarding the marry for love aspect... well in fiction at least
A jerk indeed and his comments in the first entry were right on spot. They should be able to do something about abuse
I'm glad Talon was able to get somewhat of a sense of the realsituation. The daughter was right to slip out of there.
How terrible to have a father like that. I wonder howTalon and Ben will work this out
That sounds like a rotten planet to live on no matter what wealth you were born into. Unless you're of the highest elite and male as well. You know what, no. Even then it sounds like a dump of a place. Blah. Hope the kid ran away successfully to somewhere better, but somehow I doubt it. From the father's lack of emotion, he's in on the whole thing. They just have to find out what the deal is. I have a suspicion they may be tracking a dead girl, unfortunately.
Thanks! I'm glad you liked that.
Are we allowed to say that word? But, yeah, you are right.
In Earth history they used to marry for political reasons. I was glad that Britian's Prince William could mary for love.
The role of the Jedi always confused the hell out of me in the New Republic and GA. I really think they should have been part of the GA military…sort of like Special Forces.
I wouldn't want to marry some dirty old man just because of his political connections.
Ben is good at this stuff. He'll figure it out fairly quickly.
Ah…well, I just killed off Mara in another story this week. I think people will get mad at me if we find Sola's body parts in a plastic bag.
@ginchy already told me I owe her mush or smut to overcome the trauma she suffered reading my SJRS Challenge fic.
Thanks everybody for reading!
This post is a little longer than usual. I couldn't find a good place to make a break.
Ben and I went back to the hotel room and got to work tracking down the young men. We picked up their signals and the Planetary Tracking System pinned them to a rundown apartment complex in a high crime rate neighborhood. Ben's tracking devices were so sensitive he was able to pinpoint their position to an exact apartment. Records showed three men rented the flat: Kejy Drak, Jsaplo Loen and Rendy Loen.
Ben pulled up employment photo documentation for the three men and I made a positive identification of Sola’s young man as Rendy Loen. Jsaplo Loen was Rendy’s older brother. According to the records, Drak was no relation to the Loen brothers. Ben pulled up their police records and found that the Loen brothers were clean. Drak had one misdemeanor court date pending. It was a petty larceny charge for stealing items from the corner drugstore.
Ben looked up at me and shrugged. “They’re not what I would call the usual suspects.” He stood and put on his Jedi cloak. “Let’s take a ride to their apartment and have a little talk with them.”
When we arrived to their apartment door Ben took out his DNA analyzer and smiled. “She’s been here.”
“You think she is with her boyfriend Rendy?”
“That would be our best case scenario. The worst case would be her boyfriend tricked her and sold her off.”
“Yeah, that would be the ultimate betrayal.” Ben went to ring the doorbell, but I stopped him. “Wait, how do you want to play this?”
Ben looked a little confused. “Play this?”
“Yeah, I’ve seen police holovids. Good cop, bad cop. Which do you want me to be?”
Ben laughed and shook his head. “Talon, we’re Jedi Knights. We don’t play a version of Jedi cop, Sith cop.”
I was a little disappointed, but I guess having a Jedi Knight yelling and intimidating suspects would sully the Order’s reputation.
Ben rang the door buzzer. After a few moments a man we identified as Kejy Drak came to the door. He looked at us confused. “Yeah?”
Ben pulled out his identification. “My name is Ben Skywalker.” He motioned toward me. “This is Talon Tantiss. We’re Jedi Knights working on the behalf of the Galactic Alliance Security and the local authorities in the search for a missing….”
That was all that he got out before this guy tried to bolt out the front door. He didn’t get far before Ben and I got a Force hold on the man holding him fast. “Let me go! I didn’t do anything!”
“Then why are you running?” I said as I grabbed him by the collar and started pulling him back toward his apartment.
“What’s going on here?” came a voice from within the dwelling. We turned to find Jsaplo Loen standing in the doorway still dressed in his work clothes. He was a pale, gaunt looking man who looked much older than the twenty-eight years of age that his records indicated. “You’re the guys from the club. I thought you were cops.”
“We’re not the police, but Jedi Knights on temporary duty here to search for a missing woman,” Ben explained. “Are you Jsaplo Loen?”
“Yeah, but I don’t know anything about a missing woman.”
Ben pulled out the DNA analyzer. “This device shows the DNA of Sola Zekl is in and around this apartment.”
The man smirked. “Is she the girl you showed us last night? If so, I already told you I made out with her. Her DNA was all over me and I brought it home.”
Ben gave him a knowing look. “The level of DNA is much too high to be explained by transference. She was inside this apartment. We’ll call in a forensics team and I am sure we will find her fingerprints.”
The thin man sighed deeply before he pointed to his friend. “He knows nothing. Let him go and I’ll tell you everything.”
Ben shook his head. “We’re not letting a potential suspect go until we talk.”
The two men looked at each other for a moment before Jsaplo nodded and motioned us to enter. I kept a grip on the other man’s collar until we got inside. I then pushed him down on the couch that occupied the main room of the apartment. Loen sat down next to his roommate. “Sola Zekl was here,” he admitted.
Ben nodded. “Where is she now?”
Jsaplo took a deep breath and let it out. “She’s dead. I killed her.”
My stomach dropped. This was not how I hoped this case would turn out.
Ben gazed at the man intensely. “Where’s her body?”
Jsaplo leered at Ben. It was an expression that made me want to smack it right off his face.
“I dumped her body in a smelting furnace. There’s nothing left of her.”
Ben didn’t react in the way I expected. He laughed at the man. “You expect me to believe that?”
I could feel a spike of panic from Jsaplo. “It’s true.”
“How did you get ahold of her?” Ben asked. “Were you and your buddies the ones who kidnapped her?”
I would feel a twinge of panic from the other man now and I suspect Ben was spot on in his assumption that these men were the kidnappers.
“No, I bought her on the slave market. I took her here. The sex got a little rough and I accidently killed her.”
“So, you’re telling me a low paying miner saved enough money up to buy a sex slave. Why pay all that money for one woman when you can rent them at the local sex clubs?”
He averted his eyes and shrugged. “The local sex clubs don’t like it when you accidently kill their girls.”
Ben crossed his arms in front of his chest as he gazed down at the man with a slight smirk on his face. “You would have had to save for years to buy a woman. Miners are usually not the thrifty type. I can’t see you saving the thousands of credits needed to buy a young female.”
“I can prove it.” He pointed to a datapad on a nearby table. “Hand me my datapad and I will pull up my bank records. You'll see I had the credits and then withdrew it.”
“Can you get that for me Talon?”
I walked over and retrieved the datapad and tossed it to the man. He punched at the screen for a few seconds and then handed the datapad back to me. On the screen was bank account information for a Jsaplo Loen. “He had five thousand credits in his account." I looked at Ben. "A day after Sola’s kidnapping he withdrew four thousand credits.”
“This is all on me." Jsaplo said defiantly. "My roommate didn’t know anything. He has warrants for shoplifting; that’s why he ran.”
Ben rocked back on his heels and cocked and eyebrow. “And why exactly are you confessing all of this?”
Jsaplo looked confused at the line of questioning. “I…uhh…I feel guilty. I deserve to go to jail. I’ve…” he was interrupted by a coughing fit. He brought up his sleeve to muffle his cough. When the attack subsided I notice there were flecks of blood on his hand and tunic. I grabbed his arm to get a better look. “You’re sick.”
The man grimaced. “Ore lung. I’m dying.”
“Ore Lung is treatable,” Ben pointed out.
“The mining company keeps our hours just under forty hours a week so they don’t have to provide us with medical or dental benefits. I don’t have insurance.”
“But the treatment is not that expensive. Your five thousand credits would have paid for a large percentage of the medical care needed. Why waste the money on a girl?”
A sad expression crossed his face. “Sometimes the right woman is worth the credits.”
I wasn’t sure why we were still talking to this guy. We should have stun-cuffed him by now and hauled his butt off to jail, but Ben remained standing in front of the man staring him down. “Where’s your brother Rendy?”
Jsaplo Loen took in a sharp breath and I could see perspiration start to bead on his forehead. “He quit his crappy job working for a caterer and left this sleemhole of a town.” He stood up from the couch and held his hands out in front of him inviting us to cuff him. “Listen, you got me. I confess. I killed Sola. Take me in.”
Ben chuckled and pushed him back down on the couch. “Jsaplo Loen, you are trying way too hard to be arrested.”
The sickly man began to squirm in his seat. “That’s because I’m guilty.”
“You’re guilty of something, but not murder. I have a feeling Sola is alive and well and with your brother.”
The man turned white in the face. “No, she’s dead. Tell her father I killed her.”
“Listen Jsaplo,” Ben said slowly. “I know it was you, your roommate here and your brother that snatched Sola…which isn’t a crime if Sola went along with you willingly.”
“She’s dead!” he insisted.
“I know that’s what you want her father to believe. If she’s dead he won’t look for her. Sola knew her father would never let her marry your brother and if she ran away he would never stop looking for her…unless he thought she was dead. Four thousand credits is a lot of money. Money you probably were saving to get medical treatment, but instead you gave it to your brother…probably for forged passports and passage for two off planet.”
I could see a tear running down the man’s face. “She’s dead. I killed her,” he repeated like a mantra.
“Knowing you’ll die without treatment, I guess life in prison doesn’t frighten you, but I don’t want to send an innocent man to jail.” Ben turned to me. “My friend here has a unique Force ability. He can touch objects and receive visions of the past concerning those objects. He’ll be able to tell me where they’ve gone if you made those plans in this apartment.”
“If you know so much, why are you doing this?” The man said angrily. “ Why can’t you let her be?”
Ben’s face softened. “Sola is seventeen years old. She is considered an adult on this planet. She has every right to leave on her own accord. I am investigating a kidnapped girl. If you can prove to me she left willingly and is alive and well…then I can honestly say I couldn’t find a kidnapping victim. Can you get her on a transceiver?”
The man stared at Ben for a long pause. “I heard you say your name was Skywalker. Any relation to Luke Skywalker?”
Ben nodded. “He’s my father.”
Jsaplo looked over to his friend. “What do you think?”
“His dad was the hero of the rebellion. I’d trust a Skywalker.”
The man heaved a sigh. “If I help you, do you swear you’ll go away and not tell her father she’s alive?”
Ben nodded. “I just need to know she’ll alright.”
Jsaplo slowly stood and walked over to a HoloNet transceiver.
“Talon and I will stand out of sight. Just get Sola on the transceiver and ask her how she is doing. If she doesn’t appear under duress…then we can forget about this entire fiasco.”
“Okay.” The man sat down in front of the transceiver and pushed a series of buttons. After a moment the face of a young man appeared. “Jsaplo,” the man said happily. “How are things working out?”
Rendy’s older brother gave a forced smiled. “The authorities believe Sola is kidnapped and possibly dead.”
“Good,” Rendy said with a chuckle. “I’m sure her father hasn’t shed a tear for his daughter…maybe for his messed up wedding plans, but not for Sola.”
“Can I see her?” Jsaplo asked.
Rendy gave his brother a guarded look, but then turned and called to somebody out of sight. “Jsaplo would like to see you.”
After a moment the beautiful face of Sola Zekl appeared. “Jsaplo! I can’t thank you enough for your help.” She gave a broad smile as tears of joy ran down her cheeks. “We’ll pay you back. Every credit.”
The older man smiled. “Consider it a wedding present Sola. You make my brother very happy.”
“That is so sweet, but it is too much Jsaplo. We’ll get the money back to you. We know how much you wanted that new speeder.”
The elder Loen gave a dry chuckle. “That’s okay. I don’t really need a speeder. I just wanted to make sure you got off planet alright and you two are well.”
“We are,” Sola reached out and pulled Rendy closer to her. “Thanks to you we’re wonderful.”
Loen gave a soft smile. “Good. I’ll let you go. I love you two.”
“We love you also,” the two said on the other end before the connection was cut. He turned in his seat and looked at us. “Is that good enough?”
“Yes.” Ben gave a sad smile. “You didn’t tell them you were saving the money for medical treatments.”
Loen shook his head with an air of resignation. “I never told my brother I was sick. It would worry him too much. When he needed the money I told him I had some that I was saving for a speeder. He would never have taken the money if he knew the truth.” Jsaplo turned to us. “So what are you going to do?”
“Talon, can you pass me his datapad please.” I handed over the device. Ben started tapping on it and then handed it to the older brother. “I booked you a flight to Coruscant. Report to the Jedi Temple and ask for Jaden Tantiss. He’s my cousin,” he motioned his head towards me. “And Talon’s brother. He’s also a doctor. He can be trusted to keep a secret. I’ll make sure you get the treatments you need. Just get there. Other than that, we’re marking this case as unsolved.”
The man broke out in a sob. “Thank you.”
“The local authorities will still be searching for her, so lay low. You may want to scrub down this apartment with a ten percent bleach solution, vacuum everything and wash all your clothing and bed sheets. You don’t need roving DNA trackers zeroing in on this apartment.” Ben turned to me. “Come on Talon. Let’s go.”
As we left the apartment I looked over to Ben as we walked down the hallway. “The guy was willing to die for his brother.”
Ben shrugged. “That doesn’t surprise me. I would die to protect my family.” He gave me a smirk. “Even you.”
I was touched by his admission. Ben and I grew up together and were as close as brothers. “Same here.”
We exited the building and walked down the street in silence feeling a bit awkward at all the brotherly love talk.
“He probably didn’t see himself in much danger. I have a feeling he had all the different possibilities planned out,” Ben finally said. “If we did arrest him he could recant his confession and then refuse to make further comments under oath. As soon as he in in custody he would receive medical treatment for his disease because he is a ward of the state. It usually takes months or years for a defendant to go to trial. By the time he is cured he could get his lawyer to send a message to his brother. Sola could go to a local Galactic Alliance Security office on whatever planet she was living on and give a statement that she is alive and well and provide DNA as proof. The charges would be dropped and Jsaplo walked out a free and cured man. Her father would know she was alive, but by then she would probably be married and possibly with child.”
“Smart man.” I looked over to Ben. “This is going to ruin your perfect ‘Case Solved’ record.”
“Hey, I solved it. I’m just keeping the results to myself.”
“True. I think this is cause for celebration.” I gave my cousin a one-arm hug around his shoulder. “Let’s go to the Club Euphoria and party.”
Ben pushed me away. “No karking way!”
“Hey, maybe you can get another lap dance from that cute Zeltron.” I joked. “I can’t wait to tell the girls about your run-in with her.”
He gave me a murderous look. “I’ll tell Valla, not you! You’ll exaggerate! So keep your mouth shut or I’ll kick you in your MLD.” He then grinned wildly. “I know you used it on the flight here. I could sense your startled response through the Force. That thing gets a big reaction out of you.” He put up his hands and shook them while making a startled expression. “Oh, oh, oh,” he made a mocking sensual moan.
“You’re so full of it,” I grumbled.
He laughed even harder. “Did you get the MLD’s comlink number?”
I gave Ben a punch in the shoulder. “I hate that thing.”
“Is that why I saw you drink a liter of juice before we left?” He gave me a smug smile. “Promise me you’ll let me tell Valla first.”
I shook my head in defeat. “Fine, I won’t say anything to Valla unless you ask for my input.”
Damn it! I wanted to tell this story!
Wow, looks like everything turned out okay! At least Ben gets to tell Valla.