Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Ewok_Slayer, Jan 1, 2014.
Love I-five and the bad feelings? I hope everything goes as planned
@earlybird-obi-wan for reading and taking the time to review. I have been out of the loop for weeks. Nothing bad, I just got really busy with life. I dont know if anybody has read the book Death Star or Death Troopers, but there are some references to those books in this diary.
During the flight to Despayre I conducted Force training with Sacha and Magash. I must admit I am surprised and extremely pleased with their progress. Both are able to utilize the Force to move objects and enhance their fighting abilities. In the hours prior to our arrival to the prison planet we worked on using the Force to distract or manipulate people. Although the Jedi don’t like utilizing the Force to influence others it can be a great lifesaving skill, not only for the Jedi but any enemy we face. If an Imperial guard can be tricked into not confronting a Jedi it greatly reduces the probability of violence and death. In reality, a Jedi mind trick is the most humane way to deal with an adversary.
We practiced this technique with the assistance of Den and our young pilot, Kwan Goelth. I had Den and Kwan to sit down on chairs in the cargo hold and told them that no matter what the women said or did they were not to stand up.
I then called on Sacha to influence the men to stand. She walked up to Den and Kwan, hands on her hips, and gazing at them intently before she commanded them to “Stand up”. I could feel the power of the Force behind her words, but it wasn’t enough. Den and Kwan remained seated, smirking at her defiantly. I then motioned for Magash to come forward and attempt the same task. The Zabrak/Human hybrid gave the two men a level look before she yelled out, “Stand up!” Both men popped to their feet immediately. They looked at each other in shock and embarrassment before they chuckled at their actions.
“You are as good as my mother,” Kwan said with a sheepish grin.
That piqued my curiosity. “Is your mother a Force sensitive?”
The dark haired man shook his head. “No, she’s just a strong willed woman who won’t be ignored.” He moved toward the flight deck. “I would love to stay and assist, but I need to get back to piloting. We should be coming out of hyperspace soon.”
Den sat back down and crossed his arms across his chest. “You caught me off guard,” he told Magash. “Try it again.”
“Stand up.” Her voice had a hint of amusement that turned to laughter when Den unconsciously bounded back to his feet. The Sullustan’s dew flaps flushed red as he mumbled a profanity under his breath cursing his lack of control.
“Make him dance!” I-Five shouted out to Magash. He was standing off to the side his mechanical hand casually resting on the butt of his blaster.
Den turned and glared at his friend. “Don’t give her any ideas!” He returned his gaze to the Zabrak woman. “You obviously don’t need any more practice. Let Sacha work on this technique.”
Magash smiled broadly as she backed off to let her comrade try to influence Den. “Stand up!” Sacha called out. When Den remained seated he grinned victoriously.
I could feel the vibrations of the engines as we reverted back to real space. After a few moments Kwan poked his head out of the flight deck looking troubled. “Hey, guys, you may want to see this.”
We all moved to the cockpit of the freighter and stared out of the transparisteel viewport.
“What in the Nine Corellian Hells is that?” I turned to my companions who looked as confused as I. In the distance was the green-blue planet of Despayre. The prison world wasn’t the source of my confusion, but what was hovering in orbit above the planet –which looked very much like a metallic skeleton a small moon. Obviously, whatever was being built above Despayre was in the early phase of construction with little more than the steel girder framework of some colossal sphere completed. We could see massive steel crossbeam, spar and truss segments moved in place by small ships that swarmed around the construction project like sting-bees around an enormous hive.
I-Five came closer to the viewport and gazed at the object. “Judging by its size and shape, I would say the Imperials are constructing a space station.”
Den frowned. “I’ve seen plenty of space stations, but nothing this huge. It doesn’t make sense to build something that big unless they’re expecting to place it in a highly traveled hyperspace lane…but why build one giant docking station when it would be more practical to build a dozen smaller stations?”
I ran a hand over my chin in thought. “Maybe it will be for deep space exploration. It could be a self-sufficient explorer station.”
Sacha gave a skeptical snort. “When have the Imperials created anything that wasn’t deadly? My bet is it will be some type of weapon.”
Kwan took out a holo-imager and started recording. “Whatever it is, I’m sure the Whiplash leadership will want to see it. This could explain the influx of prisoners to this area…they’re using convict labor.”
I grimaced at the thought. If Sheel was up in space helping build this colossal space station we may never find her. “Hopefully Sheel is still on the planet.”
Kwan finished taking holos and turned back to us. “Get ready for landing. I should be coming into communication range shortly.”
Den sat down in the copilot seat as the rest of us shuffled off the flight deck in preparation for debarkation. I was already wearing my disguise consisting of black pants and tunic under the standard Inquisitor’s maroon Zeyd-cloth robes. On my belt hung the red-bladed lightsaber I acquired from an anonymous benefactor a year ago. Sacha and Magash were in their orange prison outfits and I-Five completed their disguise by fitting them with correctional stuncuffs provided to us by Pol Haus.
As we got closer to the start of this undercover incarceration mission, a sense of unease crept down my spine. I walked over to the two women. “You two don’t have to do this if you don’t want to. I could go alone.” I already knew their answer, but I felt duty bound to allow them a way to back out of this dangerous mission.
Magash scowled at me and I knew I made some cultural blunder. “Do you doubt our abilities?” Her words came out accusing, but I also detected a hint of hurt.
Sacha put a hand on her shoulder. “He knows we can do this. He simply wants to reaffirm that this is our decision to make.”
“That’s right,” I nodded at Sacha thankful for her help. “I don’t want you to feel pressured. This is not a military mission with me as commander; we are equals.”
I could see Magash relax. “I go willingly.”
“So do I,” Sacha added.
I reached out and put my hands on their shoulders. “I have every confidence in you two.”
I saw a blush color Sacha’s cheeks as she averted her eyes shyly. “Thank you Jax.”
I noticed Magash rolled her eyes slightly at Sacha’s actions. I wasn’t sure what that was about. Perhaps Dathomir women don't believe a person should feel abashed when receiving a compliment. Unfortunately, there wasn't time to ask about Dathomir customs, we had a mission to do.
Sacha is still reacting to Jax I see. And speaking of reacting, Magash is better at getting guys to literally jump Hmmm. I wonder what that space station could be?
Eesh, I wouldn't want to be the one Magash told to stand up! I feel bad for Sacha not being able to do it!
It is canon that a certain moon-sized space station was built in orbit above the planet Despayre. It was revealed in a book called Death Star. I really enjoyed the book...I won't tell you what it's about...I don't want to give out spoilers.
Sacha will eventually get the hang of it. You have to remember that Magash is a Dathomir witch who probably subconsciously used the Force to boss around men all her life. I would think it would be second nature to her.
Nice update with the women praktising Force skills. (I have read the four books with Jax and enjoyed them greatly)
I see that Magash has a way with words. It does seem like something that would come more easily to her.
The Death Star is being built already? There's no way that could go horribly awry...
@Nyota's Heart for reading and taking the time to review.
I'm glad you enjoyed the books. I am hoping the author writes more with these characters.
I know that the construction started soon after the Jedi Purge. At that time Wookiees were kidnapped and taken as slave workers to build the Death Star. From what I gathered from my readings and Wookieepedia the Death Star construction started around 19 or 20 BBY.
Thanks everybody for reading.
We were cleared to land at one of the planet’s security stations. These guard outposts were hardened citadels bristling with various weapon systems to include watchtower quad-blaster cannons pointing down into the inmate area and ground-to-air turbolasers pointed upward to prevent unauthorized space shuttles from dropping down and expatriating inmates. As we approached the landing zone I could see three-meter tall fencing surrounding the guard station. When we drew closer I could make out the distinctive flickering of a Death Fence—and electrified field surrounding the guard area. I knew from my training at the Jedi Temple that these fences can rise as high as ten meters and the electrical field could be set to kill or shock. My guess is the perimeter security was set at the highest lethal level. I sighed deeply knowing we were now dependent on Pol Haus’ Imperial ‘friend’ to get the women back to the docking platform. We couldn’t cut our way through this type of barrier.
When the ship landed I decided to remain in the crew area until the women were off the freighter. I wanted to give Pol’s contact the ability to talk to the ladies privately if he so desired. From what Haus told me, his contact (a man named Kado Tokk) believed the women, pilot and Den were working for the Zabrack police prefect in an effort to find his lover and facilitate her safe return. I would show up as an unexpected hitchhiker.
I was still convinced I should have joined Magash and Sacha as a prisoner. It is true I wouldn’t be able to smuggle weapons inside using that disguise, but as an Inquisitor there was the chance that I would spook our contact and make him reconsider helping the women escape. Unfortunately, the plan was now in motion and now wasn’t the time to make changes.
I stood in the shadows near the entrance to the cargo hold. I would be able to view what was going on without being seen. After the pilot and Den went through the freighter’s shut down procedures, they moved out of the flight deck and toward the cargo area. Den gave me a nervous smile as he neared me. “Wish me luck.”
I patted his shoulder as he passed. “May the Force be with you.”
“Thanks,” Den said with a chuckle. “That would be more reassuring if I was actually a Force sensitive.”
Den and Kwan entered the large cargo hold where they met up with I-Five, Sacha and Magash.
“Everybody ready?” I heard Den ask.
“I am fully prepared to perform my part in this subterfuge.” I-Five said as he drew his blaster and pretended to guard the two female prisoners.
Kwan activated the cargo bay entry controls and with a loud metallic groan the access panels slid open and the boarding ramp lowered. The cargo bay was flooded by Despayre’s harsh sunlight and I could smell the sour odor of garbage mixed with the stench of the surrounding jungle. A tall man in his late sixties walked in with a smile. He was wearing an Imperial correctional officer uniform with highly shined black boots and grey tunic and trousers. A brown leather belt hung on his narrow hips carrying a holstered sidearm, a shockdart thrower, chemical eye-irritant sprays and stuncuffs. He had a datapad in his left hand as he extended his free hand out to the pilot in greeting “I’m Sergeant Tokk.” As he shook the pilot’s hand he looked up at the giant garbage crawlers. “I’m glad my supply clerk’s requisition came in. You can’t imagine how much trash inmates generate.”
“My company is always happy to be of service to the Empire.” Kwan released Sergeant Tokk’s hand and motioned toward the women. “We also transported two prisoners. I will sign them over to you.”
It looked like the Sergeant was going to address Sacha and Magash but thought better of it when another correctional officer strutted up the gangplank. “Well, well, I saw we were going to receive two prisoners, but the orders never said they would be so…luscious.”
Tokk scowled at the newcomer. “Sergeant Jokol, I can take care of this.”
Jokol was a large human, by any standard. He was easily over two meters of height, with broad shoulders and muscular build. In fact, he was so muscular that I assumed he might not be entirely human or if he was human he was from a high gravity planet such as Ragith III. Ragithian humans were often used by the Empire to work security due to their imposing strength and build. The man leered at the women as he ran a hand over his greasy black hair smoothing it down. He walked up to Sacha until he stood only a hand’s length from her. His gaze raked up and down her body before he reached up and ran a finger down her cheek and along her jawline. “This one has a pretty mouth. I have plans for her.”
Through the Force I could feel Sergeant Tokk’s ire grow. “Dammit Jokol, you were ordered by Doctor Zahd to stop touching the women. How many cases of crotch lice do you want to get?”
Jokol turned and looked down at Tokk who barely came to his shoulder. “That’s because I was taking the women from the prison population. Once they get out there that’s when they get diseases. If I partake now, there is less chance of that.” He looked over to Magash and gave a predatory smile. “In fact, I think I will bring both to my quarters. I will process them into the penal colony myself.”
He went to touch Magash but she pulled away. “Go away!”
I could tell she was using the Force behind the words. Tokk took a step back looking confused, but Jokol simply smiled. “This one’s feisty.”
I let out a frustrated breath. Jokol was probably a Ragithian. I was told that they were resistant to Jedi mind manipulation.
Tokk tried to reason with his coworker once more. “Doctor Zahd is a Captain and he said if you get one more sexually transmitted disease he will court martial you for malingering and destruction of Imperial property.”
Jokol rolled his eyes. “He’s a Captain in the Imperial Medical Corps…that’s not a real officer. In my book the lowliest private in the Correctional Corps outranks him. And since when did my manhood become Imperial property?”
“The day you enlisted, that’s when!” Tokk shot back.
I realized that Sergeant Tokk wasn’t going to dissuade his colleague from harassing the women. I decided it was best to make my appearance. I stepped out of the shadows and into the cargo bay. “Is there a problem here?”
“The only problem is I’m not tapping these two beautiful…,” Jokol began as he turned around to face me. When he saw my Inquisitor uniform his posture stiffened and he stepped away from the women. “No problem, Sir.” He turned to Sergeant Tokk and gave him a questioning look. “We didn’t know a member of the Inquisitorius was on board, we would have…ummm…had a proper reception for you.” Both Tokk and Jokol looked to Kwan questioningly.
The dark skin man gave a slight apologetic shrug of his shoulder. “I’m sorry for not informing you, but the exalted member of the Inquisitorius boarded my ship unexpectedly only moments prior to my departure from Coruscant and he asked that I not inform anybody of his presence.”
“That’s quite right.” I walked up to the correctional officers. “Lord Vader himself has ordered me to search for a rebel spy among your prisoners. You were not notified of my arrival because we believe there is an infiltrator within the Imperial palace—a traitor who is warning the Rebels of my comings and goings. I require my presence here to remain secret, therefore I quietly boarded the first ship scheduled to travel to this world.” I turned to Sergeant Jokol. “I require maps and a briefing of the prison area.”
Jokol nodded. “Yes sir. Please follow me.” The giant ambled down the boarding ramp with me on his heels. I hope Kwan and the women can now talk to Sergeant Tokk in private and soothe the man’s nerves. Having an Inquisitor showing up on your doorstep when you are trying to assist in a breakout had to be disconcerting to the man. I just hope having me here in this disguise is not going to cause problems. As I followed Jokol to the guardhouse my hand ran nervously over the satchel strapped over my shoulder. Inside were a couple holdout blasters, a vibroblade, ration bars, a small amount of explosives and—hidden in a false bottom of the carryall—was a prison uniform and metallic identification band. I would first try to find Sheel as an Inquisitor and if that didn’t work I would switch to a prison uniform and ask around. For now, I was going to let this pervert Sergeant Jokol brief me on the prison population and situation. Hopefully Tokk can get the women far away from here before Jokol did something crude forcing Magash and Sacha to kill him.
Excellent. Jax seems to have things well in hand.
Great to see the plan in progress
Things seem to be going well–can't wait for more!
Thanks! I appreciate you reading. Most people don't know who this character is.
There is a plan. I think in real life it would fail, but this is Star Wars where you can fly into a battle station and free a political prisoner.
I had a post but it was over 3000 words, so I broke it in half. Since Jax says he is writing his journal after the fact then I guess he can take a break from writing where ever he wants.
The following entries were written after my departure from Despayre. I didn’t have the time to journal my adventures while on this undercover mission.
My briefing with Jokol took about thirty minutes. During that time I went to great pains to flaunt my Force abilities, from moving a flimsiplast map without touching it, to making the man’s datapad fly into my hand. I didn’t want him to doubt for a nanosecond that I was anything but a Sith Inquisitor. I then walked out into the prison population alone, the hood of my cloak pulled down to hide my features…not that many prisoners would actually look an Inquisitor in the eye. Sergeant Jokol had offered to send Stormtroopers with me, but I declined saying a member of the Inquisitorius had no need for added security. Once I was in the penal colony I realized most prisoners would trip over their own feet trying to get away from me. People ducked into their make shift shelters or they quickly moved in the opposite direction upon seeing me. I don’t know if any of these convicts ever met an Inquisitor in person, but they were terrified. I could feel their cold fear reeking through the Force. The few men I stopped or ordered out of their decrepit huts to question were of no help. It’s as if incarceration gives prisoners a complete case of amnesia. I am sure some ration bars or highly illegal deathsticks would have sharpened their memory, but I didn’t think a Sith would go that route. A true Inquisitor would torture the information out of the inmates…and since I didn’t want to go down that path I had to think of something else. As darkness fell the occupants of the shantytown barricaded themselves in their rickety homes made of old cargo containers or hand built huts. Soon the muddy footways that ran through the makeshift town were nearly empty. I considered going back to the guard post to sleep, but I decided I wanted to avoid unwelcome questions about my presence on this prison planet. Out of sight, out of mind is the best approach when doing undercover work.
It was time to switch disguises. I walked into the surrounding woods where I discovered a tree hollow large enough to hide my lightsaber and Sith uniform. As I took off my cloak I heard movement through the underbrush. I slowly put my cloak aside with one hand while pulling the vibroblade out of the satchel with the other. I could use my lightsaber or blaster but they would attract too much attention. I didn’t want the guards venturing out of their bunker to investigate. I reached out through the Force and didn’t sense any sentient being lurking in the darkness. Instead I detected an animal out in the brush…a very hungry animal who probably wanted to make me his dinner. I was staring into the thick scrub brush when the creature burst out of the foliage snarling, with long fangs exposed. It looked like a huge rat, which I assumed was a virevole—one of those sabertooth rats Pol Haus warned me about. He said they were huge and he wasn’t exaggerating. It was as big as a small Nek and looked just as dangerous. I looked down at my vibroblade and realized this was going to be a bloody mess if I killed it with a blade. I was searching for another way to stop the rampaging creature when I spied a large branch lying on the ground. As the creature neared I grabbed the piece of wood with the Force and with a wave of my hand flung it at the Virevole. The branch hit the large rodent dead center. I could hear the sound of bones breaking along with the creature’s high-pitched squeal of pain. I slowly walked up to the giant rat as it lay on its side gasping for breath. Its tongue lolled out of its mouth as blood dripped from its mouth and nose. The creature lifted his eyes to me for a second before his head dropped to the ground with a soft thud. A gurgling death rattle shook its body before it stilled, its eyes becoming lifeless.
I don’t like killing things, but sometimes I have no choice. I slowly turned and went back to my satchel where I recovered the prison outfit from the false bottom. I pulled on the orange prison jump suit, rubbed dirt on my clothing and face and mussed up my hair in an effort to look like the other desperate inmates. I then clipped on a metal wristband that identified me by an inmate number. I took a small holdout blaster and hid it in one boot and the vibroblade in the other. I put a couple ration bars in my pockets and then packed up the Inquisitor uniform and lightsaber into the Satchel and hid it deep in the hollow of the tree. I then returned to the penal colony to find a place to rest since it was obvious that the woods wasn’t a safe place to sleep. Unfortunately, shantytowns don’t have hotels and I was in a quandary as to where to bunk down for the night.
As I moved down the sewage-strewn roads wandering around the encampment like a tourist, I caught the attention of a young human male. After staring at me for a long moment he decided to come up to talk to me.
“Yeah.” I nodded my head while looking at the emaciated youth. He was small in stature with bony arms hanging out of his ragged short sleeve prison uniform. His short brown hair was matted down against his scalp and he gave off a pungent body odor (like 90% of the inmates. I guess installing showers was not a high priority for the Imperials). He tried to give me a disarming smile but it came off like a grinning skull; this boy was near starvation. I managed to smile back. “I just got in today.”
He looked me up and down. “I can tell. Your prison clothes aren’t tore or covered with blood.” He grabbed me by the arm and pulled in down the dirt path. “If you sleep in the open you are inviting somebody to roll you for your boots and clothing. Come on, I have a little shelter I share with my friends.”
I pulled my arm away from him suspiciously. “Why would you help me?”
He looked me over again. “You aren’t starving. You can probably fight. My friends are young like me and we haven’t eaten much in months. We don’t have the energy to fight. We find fresh prisoners to help protect us at night. Otherwise we fall victim to others.”
“What’s in it for me?”
He gave a slight shrug. “Shelter and knowledge…things you will need to know to survive. Like who runs what in this prison, what to eat and not eat, what plants or animals that’ll kill you.”
“Sounds fair.” I reached out with the Force and didn’t sense any deception on his part. “Why do you need my protection anyway? You don't look like you have anything anyone would want?” Which was true; his clothing was dirty and torn and he obviously didn't have food to be stolen. “Have you gotten on the wrong side of a prison gang?”
“No, nothing like that. There are murders around here like to keep in practice.” The boy averted his eyes looking embarrassed. “Also, there aren’t many women here...sometimes the inmates think younglings like me make a good substitute.”
I cringed at the thought of young teens being the target of pedophiles. “Thanks for helping me out.” I motioned for him to lead on.
He brought me to a small wooden shelter with a thatch roof made of branches and dried palm fronds. Inside were two scrawny teenagers with closely sheared hair and large sunken eyes. “Hey guys,” my guide said as he pointed to me. “This is…?”
“Jax…and you are?” I looked to the young man that so far remained nameless.
“Sorry,” the boy said. “I’m Norro, this is Kyler and Byson.”
The two boys raised their hand when their name was mentioned. They looked older than Norro and in better health. Kyler had reddish brown hair and a sharp nose and intense green eyes. Byson had blond hair and a pug nose under steel gray eyes. The two boys looked at me suspiciously. “Can you trust him?”
Norro smiled an eerie skeletal grin. “You know me…I’m an excellent judge of character.”
I looked over to the boy and realized I sensed some Force potential in him. Maybe not enough for Jedi training, but it obviously helps him determine which people could be trusted and which he should avoid. The two boys gave their friend a slight nod and then looked at me. “Good to meet you Jax,” the blond boy said. “Tomorrow we’ll show you around. Sorry that we can’t offer you anything to eat. The guards hand out ration bars daily, but unless you manage to cram it in your mouth in the nanosecond after you get it, it’s usually is taken from you. We caught a rat yesterday, but it’s long gone.”
I sat down in their hovel they called home and then rummaged through my pockets pulling out the two ration bars I brought along. Their eyes went wide, but they didn’t make a move, probably fearful that I would hurt them if they did. “I only have two, but if you three want to share you can have mine.”
I could see saliva drip down from the mouth of one of the boys as he put a shaky hand out to me. I tossed the two bars to them and they grabbed them up greedily, but then stopped and opened them up carefully breaking the bars in half and handing a share to each other and then one to me. I waved off my portion. “You guys split up my share. You look like you need it more than I do.”
Norro made a snuffling noise and I realized he was crying. “Thank you,” he mumbled as he crammed the bar in his mouth.
I stood as the teens ate. “I’ll be right back. I have to take a leak.” They gave me a cursory nod as I left them eating in the hut.
Ration bars were a start, but I had a better idea.
great to see him helping the three boys. I hope he will help them to escape
That was cool. Way to go, Jax!
Great introduction to the world they are infiltrating. Between the skeezy guard, the inmates' total avoidance of the Inquisitor, and the teenagers' plight, the grimness of the prison planet is really strong here. Jax does have a way of finding people who need help. Hopefully he can find a way to rescue the kids too, in addition to the rest of the mission. Their reaction to just getting some food they didn't have to fight for was heartbreaking.
Jax will have his hands full trying to get Magash, Sacha and Sheel out.
Thanks. I'm glad you like it.
Thanks for reading. In the book Death Star the prison world of Despayre was described a free-for-all. The guards let the convicts roam the area. It was also coed. In fact almost all prisons in the GFFA appear to be coed. If I recall Tahiri was attacked by male convicts when she was imprisoned over her murdering Admiral Pallaeon. I thought if the women were smart they would segregate themselves for protection. So Sister Central was my creation. Jax does have a way to find people who need saving.
Thanks everybody for reading and taking the time to comment.
I quickly moved back to the woods where I left the dead Virevole. Luckily no other predator had found it. I picked up the large rodent and hefted it up on my shoulders. I then jogged back to the boys’ hut before somebody could see me with the animal. I ducked into the shelter and tossed the animal on the ground. “Can these be eaten? The thing attacked me and I had to whack it with a branch.”
“Kriff!” one of the boys whispered. “You killed a virevole!”
“Quiet!” Norro whispered back. “Or somebody will come and take it from us.”
“So you can eat it.” I looked at each boy for an answer.
“Sure you can eat it.” Kyler said as he reached under his makeshift sleeping mat and pulled out a piece of metal. It looked like it once was part of a food container, but was now formed and sharpened into a knife. “We use this to cut up the small rats, but it probably will work on this monster.” He grabbed some old palm leaves from his bed and laid it out on the floor as a work area. He put the Virevole on top of the leaves and started cutting it up. He held out a couple strips of raw meat to us before he started to eat. I looked down at the bloody strip of meat he handed me. The fact that the animal’s coarse hair black hair was still stuck to the raw flesh made it even more unappetizing. My stomach lurched at the thought of eating meat uncooked.
“You’re not going to roast it?”
The boys shook their heads. “The smell will attract every inmate on the planet. We may cook some later when we had our fill.”
I brought the virevole meat up to my nose and sniffed it and then handed it back to Norro. “I think I’ll pass. I had rodent for lunch.”
The teens chuckled as they chewed the meat. “You won’t turn down any food in a week or two.” Byson said.
They took apart the animal, gutting it and draining the blood and offal into a metal container. Kyler saw me grimace and smiled. “We can make some stew later. If we get enough friends together to share the psycho thugs may actually have second thoughts about stealing from us.”
Norro shoved another piece of raw meat in his mouth. “Until tomorrow we eat what we can. Once people know we have food it won’t stay in our hands for long.”
“We might be able to do a trade with Thomad,” Byson said. “Meat for salt. Perhaps we can salt down some strips and save it for later.”
I watched as the boys shoved their faces with food for most of the night until they got sick. They would run out of the shelter to a makeshift latrine before coming back to eat some more. I assume having so much food is a shock to their digestive track. Norro confessed that he might have a parasite that was slowly starving him.
“My weight loss started two years ago. I don’t know what’s wrong.”
“Can’t you see a doctor?”
The boys laughed as if I said something extremely funny. “Twice a year a doctor comes to the planet to administer immunizations. The only people who get medical assistance are inmates that have a special skill to build that thing up there.” He pointed up to the roof of the shelter, but I knew he was referring to the construction project orbiting the planet.
“Do you know what they are building?”
Norro shrugged. “We’ve heard it will be an Imperial space station, but nobody knows what it’ll be used for.”
Byson lowered his voice and leaned toward me. “There are rumors though.”
“It was said it might be a maximum security prison station for the worst of the worst. Nobody could escape from a prison in space.”
Kyler shook his head. “I heard it was going to be an Imperial capital city. The Emperor and bureaucrats would be housed in the station instead of Coruscant.”
I knew both were possibilities. “Whatever it is, it’s big.” I decided to ask them about Sheel. “Have you seen a Torguta female in the town? She’s a very good friend of mine that might have shown up a few weeks ago.”
“No,” Norro mumbled with a full mouth. “Most women go to Sister Central. They haven’t had a new female in the main part of the prison for a month.”
“That’s going to change soon through,” Byson announced. “I heard some of the Lifers are going on a hunt tomorrow.”
“Yeah, they get a large group of men and they attack Sister Central and try to bring back women.”
“This is happening tomorrow?”
Byson nodded. “At sunset.”
“I would like to go with the Lifers if possible.”
The three boys glowered at me. “To look for my friend,” I clarified. “Not to kidnap women.”
“Oh,” Norro mumbled with his mouth full. “It’s dangerous. The women work together and take no prisoners.”
Byson laughed. “That’s not exactly true. I heard they sometimes keep a male or two as pleasure slaves.”
“Ha!” Kyler said in a mocking tone. “That’s an urban legend created to get more men into the attack parties.” He took another bite of Virevole. “They don’t keep pleasure slaves.”
Norro scoffed. “How would you know, you never lived in Sister Central. They keep men sometimes.”
I looked at the young man confused. “You lived there?”
He nodded. “I was born there.” He held up his wrist in a strange gesture. My obvious confusion prompted him to explain. “No, wristband. I’ve never been convicted of a crime.”
“Except being born here,” Byson pointed out.
“Yeah, that,” he said with a roll of the eyes. “Anyway, boys are allowed to live there with their mothers until they turn ten and then they are sent here. Sometimes the mothers leave with their sons…but my mom died of some waterborne illness when I was three. One of the older women cared for me until I was ten and then she sent me here. That was almost four years ago.”
I was deeply disturbed by his admission. If he committed no crime then he wouldn’t have a release date. He would live and die in this prison unless somebody petitioned for his release. He would need a lawyer and that’s not something a person living on a prison planet could afford. As far as I knew the Empire didn’t provide attorneys to indigent citizens.
“Can you talk to security and explain the situation? Will anybody listen to you?”
He shook his head. “That should have been done when I was a baby, but it’s believed any youngling given to the guards will be sold into slavery or killed. My mother decided to keep me. If I go to the guards now they’ll just say I removed my identification band. Then they’ll probably put me in the solitary confinement box for punishment.”
I shook my head in disgust. When I returned to Coruscant I would ask Pol Haus to try to do something of gain Norro’s release…if possible. Looking at the way this place was run I doubt anything could be accomplished through proper channels. I looked over to the other boys. “How about you? How long have you been here?”
Kyler finished chewing his mouth full of virevole meat. “Byson and I came here together almost two years ago.”
“We’re pirates!” Byson said with some bravado.
Norro rolled his eyes. “They want people to believe they’re pirates. They worked on a smuggling vessel.” He turned to the other two boys. “If you were a pirate you would’ve gotten more than a two year sentence.” Norro turned back to me. “Because they were only fifteen when they were arrested they were tried as juveniles. They have three more months before their release date, right?”
Byson smiled back. “Yeah.”
I could tell Norro was happy for his friends, but despondent about his own situation.
The boys put the remaining meat in a large plastic bag and hung it from the roof of the shelter…I assume to keep rats from gnawing on the bag. Tomorrow I would start early to look for Sheel and if I couldn’t find her here then I would finagle my way onto the hunting party.
Poor kids. I hope Pol Haus will come with a solution to free them.
Great insight in the life on the prison planet
Can't imagine being born in a prison. Surely Jax can help somehow. Hope he finds Sheel soon!
Thank you. The descriptions are from the book Death Star. It sounded like planet paradise for psychopaths. I watched a documentary years ago about prisons in foreign countries and was shocked at how horrible they are. Some prisons in South America let the female inmates keep their children born in the prison until the age of four. This planet there are no jail cells or accountability...so it is possible a child would never be seen by guards.
If they don't find Sheel in the next day or two then they will have to stay until the frieghter leaves and returns with another garbage droid...that may be a week. So you are right, they need to find Sheel soon.
Thanks for reading. I really appreciate the comments.
We woke at daybreak. Byson and Kyler said they were going to trade the leftover meat for other items they might need. Meanwhile, Norro would give me the rundown on the prison, its residents and maybe help me find Sheel.
As Norro showed me around I was surprised at how incredibly upbeat he was for a child that spent his entire life in such squalor. He was also fairly intelligent. He spoke basic, understood a little Shyriiwook, Bocce, Mando’a and claimed he knew every Huttese swear word (I took his word on that one). Unfortunately he didn’t know how to read.
“We don’t get many books here in the prison,” he said sounding self-conscious.
I wanted to promise I would teach him to read, but I knew I would probably be gone within a day or two. Instead I gave him a reassuring smile and and told him to not worry about it.
As we walked around I made sure to avoid anybody I questioned while dressed as an Inquisitor. It wasn’t hard. The colony was huge with tens of thousands of inmates living in horribly crowded conditions. I saw a few women among the throng of male convicts. Each woman stayed close to a large male or sometimes a small group of dangerous looking men. I could see anger, envy and desire boiling up from the unattached males as the women walked by.
I asked various people if they saw a female Togruta that may have come to the penal colony a few weeks ago. There were a number of Togruta men that arrived, but nobody remembered a female Togruta. I am hoping this means she is at Sister Central and not high in orbit working on a construction crew.
Norro would point to various men and give me whispered warnings. “That guy’s nicknamed Pounder. Watch out for him. He’s a rapist. Even virevoles aren’t safe around him.” He motioned toward another brutish convict. “He’s called Ratlick. He’s into things I can’t repeat without dry gagging. Let’s just say it involves bodily fluids.” Norro shuddered and I decided I really didn’t want to know more than that.
He introduced me to what he called his ‘contacts’. These were people who could acquire items like medicine, spices or a little female or male company for an hour or two. Of course to do this you needed to barter with something they valued, usually food, drugs or alcohol. He also showed me the areas to avoid.
“That zone over there belongs to the Wookiees…not that there are many there now.”
I looked in the direction he indicated. “What happened to the Wookiees?”
He pointed up to the sky where we could make out the outline of the space station construction. “Every able-bodied Wookiee was rounded up and sent to work in space. I heard one of the guards saying one Wookiee could do the work of three humans.” He dropped his eyes to gaze at the shantytown. “I’m not sure if I should envy them or not.”
He gestured to the edge of camp. “The latrines can be found at the outskirts of the camps. They are just slit trenches with a privacy blind made out of branches. You straddle the trench and squat. There’s a pile of dirt next to the trench. Throw enough dirt in to cover your waste. Otherwise the smell will be overwhelming. It still stinks, but not as bad as it could. Be careful at night. Not only can you run into thugs, but you can possibly fall into the trench in the dark.”
The way Norro blushed made me suspect that might have happened to him at least once. “That sounds like the voice of experience.”
He chuckled. “In my defense it was not only dark, but raining. It is something I never want to happen to me again.”
I covered my mouth and tried to hide my amusement. “I bet Byson and Kyler loved having you come back to the shelter like that.”
He shrugged. “They don’t smell much better.”
“What do you do all day?” I asked, curious as to their daily routine. “Do the Imperials put everybody on work details?”
Norro ran a hand through his dirty hair. “No…at least not yet. Prior to this construction project that showed up a year or so ago, there wasn’t much to do. Even now, it appears only certain prisoners are being tasked with the space station construction. Wookiees do the heavy work. I heard some political prisoners with engineering skills were dispatched to work in space. Usually we don’t see the workers again unless they come up lame. They live in some of the larger ships near the construction project. It is cheaper than transporting them from the planet and into orbit every day.” He gave me a worried look. “Are you really going on the raid tonight?”
I nodded. “I need to find my friend.”
He shook his head. “The women work together. They will kill you if they get a chance. If you find your friend you can’t stay there with her. If you want to be together you will be forced to take her back here. She’s safer at Sister Central. If you really care for her, let her stay there.”
“I just need to know she’s safe.” I couldn’t tell Norro that I didn’t intend on leaving Sheel on this planet for one second more than I needed to. I still had the communication device in the heel of my shoe, but I haven’t used it. The use of any signaling device would be risky and we all decided we would hold off using the communicator until one of us found Sheel. Obviously the women have not found her yet.
As we walked around the prison colony I grew somewhat fond of my scrawny companion. I had a hard time believing this foul place hadn’t stomped the life out of the boy. I was always told maximum-security prisons bred monsters. Why Norro hadn’t become hard, uncaring and duplicitous over the years is beyond my understanding. I guess there are exceptions to every rule. The boy’s cheerful demeanor made me more determined to see him freed from Despayre. He wasn’t a criminal. He shouldn’t be here at all. Perhaps Pol Haus knew a shrewd lawyer who could convince Imperial Corrections to release him.
As the sun set my new friend showed me where the hunting party usually congregated and once again tried to convince me to stay away from Sister Central. I told him this was something I needed to do. His face wilted into a disappointed frown, but he said he understood and wished me luck.
I sat on a rotting log in an open area near the edge of the encampment. Over the next hour men came to the area, many with improvised weapons in hand. There was a lot of posturing and bluster among the convicts. The felons bragged as to what they were going to do at Sister Central and declared a litany of vile acts they would inflict upon the women—it was a list as cruel and licentious as it was imaginative. Two large shirtless men covered with prison tattoos got into a tussle over which was the most dangerous. When one man drove a shiv deep within the other prisoner’s side, it became obvious which of the two had won that argument.
I didn’t interfere with the mayhem. I watched knowing nothing I did would prevent these men from killing each other tomorrow or next week. I felt like a wildlife holovider who has to stand by and watch Edan Snow Tigers stalk and kill harmless arctic hares. Of course in this case it is more like a Snow Tiger fighting a Wampa…both are exceedingly dangerous.
The murder prompted more violence and soon floodlights from an armored gun platform floating overhead hit the meeting place. I looked up shielding my eyes from the bright light. I could see the outline of Stormtroopers pointing their blasters down at the group. A voice amplifier bellowed out orders for all convicts to disperse or aerosol irritants would be sprayed over the area. The voice sounded like Sergeant Tokk, Pol Haus’ friend. I gave a slight grin knowing he probably was doing his best to protect Magash and Sacha from marauders.
The men scattered and I decided to go back to the boys’ hut. The only reason I wanted to go tonight was to protect my team from the raiders. Since they were not going to attack the women’s encampment, I would continue to search for Sheel among the men’s area and hope the women would contact me letting me know they found her…then we would make our escape.
Hope things go well! I am growing to like Norro.
Definitely a marauder's paradise, all right. It sounds like Jax has gotten out of the need to get his face punched in by berserker Sisters -- for now, at least. It's very interesting that you've taken some real-world examples to build on -- things like Norro's unfortunate situation. It makes sense, given that there's hardly any order kept on Despayre. Why wouldn't there be kids born there who grow up in prison? Ugh. What an awful way live. I'm really hoping that they find some way to take him along when they go, since he doesn't seem to be in good enough health to wait for the wheels of the legal system (such as it is.)
I like Norro and I hope Jax will make his escape soon with Sheel and get help for Norro
Thanks. I think Jax is getting to like him also.
I'm sure Jax will try to get him out. He seems to take on strays.
Jax goes in to save one person and he might ended up taking more home. Now if I was a profic writer Norro would die an unnecessary and ignoble death. Luckily, I am not a profic LEGENDS writer.
Thanks everybody for reading. I have the next post done but it was almost 3000 words, so I broke it down to more manageable chunks of writing.
When I returned to the hut the boys seemed surprised to see me. Eventually Kyler’s face broke into a smirk as he made a wide gesture with his arms. “Where are the women? I thought you’d bring us back a harem.”
I dropped down on the dirt floor and shrugged. “The guards flew over in a gun platform and broke up the meeting before the raiding party could leave.”
“No excuse!” Byson said with a chuckle. “I wouldn’t let any Imperials get in my way.”
“Said the man in the Imperial prison,” Norro pointed out.
Byson glowered at his friend. “If it was me I would have taken out the guards.”
Norro snorted and rolled his eyes.
“No, I would. I can just see it now. The gun platform is hovering overhead. I fling a grappling hook up and secure it and then scramble up the rope silently. I creep over the side of the platform and push the first guard over the side while grabbing his blaster. The other guards turn and we get into a blazing firefight. I duck and weave avoiding the blaster bolts until there is only one guard left. We bring up our blasters to fire…and all we hear is click, click, click—both of our charge packs are drained. The large guard gives me a feral grin as he throws down the useless blaster and comes toward me with his bare hands. He thinks I’m an easy kill because he is so much larger…but I surprise him. I reach back into my waistband and pull out a Wookiee crossbow and put a bolt through his head. He screams and tumbles over the side. I then drive the platform to Sister Central and invite the lovely ladies to join me for a ride out of the camp.” Byson ended his fanciful story with a broad smile as he wrapped his arms around his body and simulated kissing an imaginary woman.
Norro was laughing so hard I thought he might break a rib. “Stang! There is so much wrong with that story that I don’t know where to begin.”
“How about the grappling hook?” Kyler said. “Where did you get a grappling hook?”
Byson shrugged. “I may have found some ore in the mountains and smelted it.”
“You smelted it?!” Kyler howled in amusement. “Okay, how about the rope?”
Byson thought about it. “I took strips of bark and braided them together.”
“How does a person pull a Wookiee crossbow out of their pants?” Norro asked. “First of all, we wear one piece jump suits and second, where would you get the crossbow?”
“From a Wookiee of course.” He put up his arms and flexed his ropy muscles.
My eyebrows rose. “You think you can take on a Wookiee?”
He shook his head. “No, a female Wookiee would give it to me the crossbow in payment for sexual favors.” He spit on his hands and smoothed back his hair. “You know what they say, ‘Once you go human, you never go back’.”
“I am pretty sure nobody has ever said that.” Norro scoffed. “And I am fairly certain you’ve never been with an alien.”
Byson looked a little sheepish. “Not yet, but I am not adverse to the idea.”
That comment prompted a long discussion throughout the night on which aliens were the most desirable and which ones the older boys wouldn’t touch with a Force Pike. The least desirable aliens (according to Byson and Kyler) were Hutts, Dianogas, Utai, Ugnaughts, Toydarians and Neimoidians. On the top of the list of sexy aliens were Twi’leks, Zeltrons, Calians and Zelosians. Kyler said Zelosians woud be a cheap date since they get drunk on sugar (outwardly they are completely human, but they have chlorophyll for blood).
“I don’t have to shell out credits for expensive drinks. I’d just give her the free packets of sugar that are on the table for the caf drinkers.”
Byson preferred Calians because they are an extremely beautiful race of humans...and the fact that these primitive people disliked wearing much clothing probably heightened the boy’s infatuation with that particular species.
I laid down on the ground and listened them argue about the subject until I fell asleep.
Byson is a real storyteller, isn't he? Smelted it, indeed. Now he's MacGyver. They certainly sound like a bunch of teens. Kyler would be disappointed when his Zelosian date wants all the desserts. All of them. Or maybe just some carrion. (I have theories about Zelosians. Photosynthesis through the eyes being enough to run a plant-person? Hmm...)