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  1. In Memory of LAJ_FETT: Please share your remembrances and condolences HERE

Saga -Abjure- OC's, Vader, Tarkin. Chapter 7, July 3rd

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by darksideyesplease, Jun 14, 2013.

  1. darksideyesplease

    darksideyesplease Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 12, 2005
    Author's Note: I co-wrote Ruin: http://boards.theforce.net/threads/ruin-ocs-completed.50013002/ and the first six chapters of this story with my wife FelsGoddess. Abure was posted under her name so I have no way to edit the posts or title. So I'm re-posting it from the beginning. The point of this story was not to disrupt any canon situations that happened in the OT. It is something I feel could have happened in the PT (Ruin takes place in PT) and the OT. I will post what I have written over the next few days, then I plan on writing more and posting it as I do.


    Title: Abjure
    Author(s): darksideyesplease & FelsGoddess
    Timeframe: Post-ROTS
    Genre: Action, Adventure, Romance, Friendship, Vader being a B.A.

    Characters:
    Zafii Pel - Former Jedi Knight and survivor of Order 66. Was in a coma on Bakura.
    Kyn Fuller - Always in the wrong place at the wrong time. Brother of Cole Fuller and Kyra Fuller.
    Kyra Fuller - Youngest child of Tyon and Rayna Fuller. Has a special Force bond with Zafii.
    Cole Fuller - Eldest sibling and former Republic and Imperial soldier.
    R7-Z3 - Zafii's trusted astromech.
    Jesse Kaldo - He has shown up in many of my stories before. He is kind of a running joke back when this board was much more active and I wrote A/P stories.
    Hep Naguzi - Filthy rich, award winning journalist. Did not care for the Jedi.

    Summary: Zafii and the Fuller family go into seclusion while Kyn has been missing for 9 years. Vader is looking to exterminate the last of the Jedi and Force sensitive beings in the galaxy.

    ru•in {roo-in} -noun
    1. the downfall, decay, or destruction of anything.
    2. the complete loss of health, means, position, hope, or the like.
    3. a person as the wreck of his or her former self; ravaged individual.

    ab•jure {ab-joo r, -jur} -verb
    1. to renounce, repudiate, or retract, esp. with formal solemnity; recant: to abjure one's errors.
    2. to renounce or give up under oath; forswear: to abjure allegiance.
    3. to avoid or shun.


    -Prologue-

    STAR WARS
    ABJURE


    The Empire has just celebrated its one year anniversary and the proclamations of peace are still being spread. While some are prospering in the new galaxy, others are suffering and there is still a silent war in the Senate, the last remnants of the old Republic.
    The traitorous DARTH VADER, along with Order 66 purged many of the Jedi from the galaxy but a few remain. THE EMPEROR has put Vader personally in charge of continuing the search for any remaining Jedi and Force sensitives in the galaxy.
    KYRA FULLER has been marked for death as the Jedi Temple records indicated her as a potential student as she was pursued twenty-two years ago to become a Jedi youngling. Her parents refused to give her up, yet the record remained and became privileged knowledge of the new Empire.
    After the Fuller family escaped from the Empire’s assault on their home, thanks to an old friend, JEDI KNIGHT ZAFII PEL, they took refuge in Lieutenant-Colonel COLE FULLER’S Imperial starship and fled from Alderaan. Their current objective is to find Kyra’s older brother, KYN FULLER who disappeared nearly nine years ago after his daring escape from the Jedi Temple in which he kidnapped a dying Zafii to save her life.
    Officials on Alderaan are puzzled by the scene they find at the Fuller’s home. Four storm troopers shot and killed but no other victims. It is only a matter of time before the Empire supersedes the investigation and gets to the bottom of the situation.
     
  2. darksideyesplease

    darksideyesplease Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 12, 2005
    -Chapter 1-

    A small cottage on Alderaan with no visible neighbors was the site of an ongoing investigation. Local officials surrounded the interior and exterior of the house looking for clues as to what happened to the occupants.

    “Sir,” an Alderaanian officer spoke up to his superior. “We just received a report.”

    “Well go on,” Kerr Antilles urged the rookie.

    “About four kilometers to the north, Sir, they found SoroSuub ship. It has been abandoned.”

    Kerr Antilles was suspicious. There was nothing but fields and pastures that way. Why would a ship have landed in such an unusual spot and be abandoned so close to a crime scene?

    “I’ll need to go see it myself. Those things usually have astromechs on them. See if we can…” Antilles was interrupted.

    “No droids, Sir. I asked.”

    Antilles shook his head and began making arrangements so that he could go inspect the vehicle himself. Before he could get on his comlink, two Imperial ships began to land all around them in the field next to the cottage.

    “What in the blazes is this?” Antilles cursed.

    “Imperials, Sir.” The rookie informed him.

    “I can see that, Blankins!” Antilles yelled. “How did they find out about this?”

    A dozen of storm troopers began to file off of each ship. The Alderaanian officials watched in silence as they lined up to make a makeshift isle. A smarmy looking man walked down the ramp of the ship on their right. His footsteps were taken with purpose.

    He was short and thin. His cheeks were hollow and his black, peppered hair was slicked back. Perhaps he used Hutt slime to comb it. He was squinting, looking at Kerr Antilles from a distance.

    “Tarkin…” Antilles grumbled. “That bastard… here…”

    Even from a hundred meters away they could hear the deep, bone chilling breathing coming from the ship on their left. A tall, imposing figure dressed in a biomechanical, black suit sauntered down the ramp and met Tarkin in the middle of the field to discuss strategy.

    “Is that?” Blankins gulped. “I’ve only seen him on the holo.”

    “Shut up!” Antilles ordered underneath his breath. “I’ll take care of this.”

    With that, Kerr Antilles motioned for his men to stay back and he walked out to meet the Imperial officials. Tarkin was watching him the entire way, still leaning into Darth Vader, muttering something. When Kerr got close enough that he might over hear them, Tarkin straightened up and looked Kerr up and down like he was a piece of filth.

    “This is a private discussion,” Tarkin informed him, looking for a name.

    “Captain Kerr Antilles,” Kerr nodded. “I’m the law around this sector.”

    Tarkin took a step forward and narrowly missed brushing Antilles shoulder in a disrespectful way. He looked into the distance at the house and the ensuing investigation. “Is that so?”

    “We have this under control.” Kerr said, turning to face the direction of Tarkin.

    “Our intelligence says otherwise,” Vader’s deep voice interrupted the conversation. “Are there, or are there not dead Imperial storm troopers in that house?”

    “There,” Kerr hesitated. “There was a disturbance. That’s all I’m at liberty to say at the moment.”

    Tarkin turned sharply to face Kerr, his hands folded neatly behind his back. “I think you will find that your liberty is at an end.”

    With that, Tarkin marched towards the cottage with Vader trailing him. All of the Alderaanian officials had vacated the house and the two Imperials paid them no mind. They entered the front door of the home, Vader having to bend down slightly as not to bang his helmet.

    Tarkin folded his arms across his chest and surveyed the damage. Broken glass and furniture was strewn across the kitchen and living area. To go along with the debris was four dead bodies, still armored in their white storm trooper attire.

    “Pity,” Tarkin said, clicking his tongue.

    Vader kicked rubble out of his way as he looked at the floor for evidence. He came upon the first storm trooper which had been shot with a blaster bolt in the chest. Kneeling down, he inspected the wound. When he wasn’t satisfied with what he could see, he gripped the edge of the chest plate and ripped it off with amazing strength, exposing part of the troop’s chest.

    “Well…” Tarkin sighed.

    Vader did not answer but instead moved around the room to the next dead body. This time the troop had been shot in the midsection. As before, Vader showed incredible strength in taking off only a piece of the armor but he made it look simplistic in his style.

    He repeated this two more times and then took a step back to survey the room as a whole.

    “Vader…” Tarkin pressed.

    “Notice the trooper over there,” Vader pointed out. “Not just shot down so that he might lie on the couch.”

    “Of course not, the couch is on its back.” A hint of frustration was in Tarkin’s voice.

    “Average sized man,” Vader continues. “After being shot, how would his momentum have turned the couch in such an awkward position?”

    Tarkin did not speak this time; instead he let Vader continue his theory.

    “The trooper in the kitchen… His helmet was off when we came in. He suffered severe head trauma as evidenced by the contusion on the back of it.” Vader continued.

    “So what do you think happened then?” Tarkin asked.

    Vader stepped heavily, pacing around the room. He showed neither respect nor regard for the dead bodies surrounding him as he stepped on and over them.

    “The resonation of the Force, I can feel it.” Vader spoke. “All four tried to run from the cramped hallway leading to the back bedroom. A simple, albeit powerful Force push sent them hurdling in all directions; hitting what they may.”

    “How do you explain the blaster bolts in them?”

    “A cover up and not a good one at that… They knew more would come so they were in a hurry. It was sloppily put together, although it bought them enough time to get off world.” Vader insisted.

    “So the girl used the Force on them? She has been trained then.”

    “No…” the word was drawn out and somewhat mysterious. “Something… someone else.”

    Vader turned on his heel as Kerr Antilles stepped into the house. He was obviously intimidated by the situation and was physically showing it now.

    “I thought you two gentlemen should know. My men found a SoroSuub ship four kilometers to the north.” Antilles announced.

    Vader pushed Kerr out of the way and nearly ran into Tarkin as he stepped back outside under the Alderaan sunlight. He did not stop until he reached a speeder bike that had been taken off his ship. It was currently being manned by a storm trooper waiting for instruction. Without a word Vader grabbed him by the back of the neck and threw him 5 meters through the air.

    To everyone’s surprise, Vader climbed aboard the speeder bike and his weight nearly sunk it to the ground despite the repulsor lifts. He touched a button that wanted to break under the superhuman strength and the speeder engine roared. He then shot off, heading north like a black star hurdling over a planet’s atmosphere.

    **


    No one had heard from Kyn for nine years. Although Zafii was sure that he had come to visit her on several occasions, it was not helpful in trying to locate his whereabouts. They lingered in empty space for quite a while. They would stop off on small, remote moons to refuel and then they would be off again. R7-Z3 and Cole kept the ship maintained while the others brainstormed.

    “What about transactions?” Tyon said. “How did Kyn pay these people who were taking care of you? Perhaps somehow it can be traced.”

    “I’m positive he paid in person,” Zafii frowned. “Before I left they told me that he would come by and drop off large sums of credits. Apparently I could be lying in that bed another 10 years; he’s paid them so much.”

    “I don’t understand how he could have gotten so much money.” Rayna shook her head.

    “I hate to say it but he is probably doing something at least slightly illegal.” Kyra noted.

    They all sat silent for a few moments. Who were they to judge at this point if Kyn were doing something illegal? Technically everyone on the ship was now a fugitive. The galaxy was a big place and the best idea they had come up with was to go back to Bakura and wait for Kyn to show up with another payment.

    “I suppose we can just go there and wait,” Rayna spoke of the idea again.

    “We are not going to last much longer out here in dead space.” Tyon added. “We have our savings but much of it was spent to buy the cottage on Alderaan. We can’t expect to go wait around. Besides, it could be dangerous if they track Zafii’s ship back to Bakura.”

    Tyon was right and Zafii knew it. Suddenly she remembered her parent’s house on Naboo. Perhaps it could be a safe haven for a few weeks while they formulated a better plan.

    “I own shelter on Naboo.” Zafii explained. “It might be dangerous to go there but I don’t see any other choice. We can grow our own food there if we feel like we are safe and can stay long enough.”

    “I like it,” Cole said, walking in from working on a greasy piece of machinery. “I don’t think we will get much trouble from the Empire there.”

    “Why’s that?” Zafii asked. “Sorry, I’m still trying to catch up on this entire Empire thing.”

    Cole shrugged, “Just a hunch. The senator from there… what was her name… Padmé something.”

    “The former Queen?” Zafii asked.

    “I think she was, yeah.” Cole nodded. “Anyway she died right at the end of the war.”

    Zafii looked shocked. She had only met her once while she was Queen of Naboo but she had liked her very much.

    “They made a big to do about her funeral and basically no one from the new Empire showed up. It was pretty odd in hindsight, knowing how they do things now.” Cole explained.

    “Do you know how she died?” Zafii asked.

    “The ‘official’ word is that a Jedi Knight by the name of Obi-Wan Kenobi killed her. They wouldn’t deny that he was still alive but they wouldn’t confirm it either.”

    Zafii sat back on the cushioned chair and looked at the wall across the main hold. She found it hard to believe that Obi-Wan Kenobi would kill a Senator. What kind of story had the Empire cooked up? Did it matter… at this point there was no way to know the real truth.

    “Naboo then?” Kyra spoke up.

    “Yes, I suppose.” Zafii nodded. “When we get there I will need find some new clothes. All I have are these old Jedi things and patient robes. I don’t think it would be wise to wear either out in public.”

    “The latter would be amusing,” Cole pointed out with a chuckle.

    “While the first would get us all killed.” Kyra said seriously. “You can borrow some of mine. I think we are about the same size.”

    Zafii nodded and thanked Kyra for her kindness and told everyone that she needed to rest.

    “Plan on waking up though, don’t you?” Cole asked, jokingly.

    “Plan on it,” Zafii smiled. “Just don’t get us into any trouble, otherwise all bets are off.”

    **

    Vader pulled up on the speeder bike to slow his velocity when he saw the SoroSuub in the distance. As he pulled up next to the ship he inspected it closely, still hovering slowly on the speeder bike. It was a ship like many others, its origins not easily traced just by looking at it.

    He parked the bike and stepped off, walking towards the ship. No droid: he quickly noted, that means the pilot must have brought them along, knowing they would not return. This gave Vader confidence that if the pilot was in this much a hurry, they wouldn’t have thought to erase the navicomputer history.

    He used the Force to jump onto the wing of the ship, not bothering to climb the ladder that was still hanging down. He hopped into the pilot’s seat and turned on the navicomputer. He searched through the previous records; there weren’t many.

    “Ah,” Vader spoke with a menacing amusement in his voice. “Bakura…”
     
  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Kessel Run Champion star 8 VIP - Game Winner

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Great stuff. I like the mysteriousness. Oh, Tarkin works my nerve, but I'm sure that was the intent ;) Love your siggy. @};- [:D] !!
     
  4. darksideyesplease

    darksideyesplease Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 12, 2005
    Thanks Jade_eyes, some of it isn't as mysterious if I would post Ruin. I'll go ahead and do that soon and just post the whole story at once in a thread. I reread and edited some stuff in the chapters I have written and realize that there are a lot of inside comments you are only going to understand if you've read Ruin.



    -Chapter 2-

    When Zafii and the Fuller family arrived on Naboo, they had to find a hiding spot for Cole’s ship. It was much too large to just keep in a field by the house. Zafii suggested a large cave in the mountains and when they found one big enough, they left the ship and took all of their possessions.

    It took them nearly two days of traveling on foot but they finally made it to the house. From the looks of it, no one had occupied it since Zafii left Naboo. The field was once again dry and only wild weeds grew nothing you could sell at market.

    When they got settled, Zafii showed them to the large garden. It wasn’t quite big enough to be considered a farm.

    “Let’s get started.” Cole spoke up first.

    He got down on his hands and knees and began to rip the weeds up by their roots. Tyon, Kyra, and Zafii followed suit.

    Rayna was now feeling much better after being stunned by five bolts several days before. She told them she would go inside and do what she could with their rations to make dinner. It took hours but as the sun began to set, they had meticulously pulled up every weed in the garden.

    “We can use that as part of our compost.” Zafii said, looking at the large pile of weeds.

    “You’ll have to show us any tips you know along the way,” Cole said. “We’ve never farmed before.”

    “I got pretty good at it towards the end.”

    “End? When have you farmed, Zafii? I thought you would be too busy saving lives to learn how to farm.” Kyra asked.

    They all began to walk back inside and Zafii began to recall her experiences and time on Naboo. She told them how it had been part of her Jedi trial to come here and discover what her parents had done.

    Rayna had prepared a small but pleasant looking dinner that was set out on the table as they walked in the backdoor. Zafii hadn’t realized how cramped they would be when she suggested coming here but at this point they had no alternative.

    “I think we could all freshen up a bit before we eat.” Kyra said, looking at her filthy hands.

    “I think there is an extra ‘fresher in the front.” Zafii noted.

    With that they all washed up and took a change of clothes. Kyra had given Zafii some of her dresses to wear. Kyra had several sun dresses in a variety of colors. She had been right as well; they were almost a perfect fit. .

    While the two women were the same height, Kyra was more petite. Even after 10 years of lying on a bed, Zafii still had retained some muscle tone. She gave credit to the Force and the healers on Bakura, for the reason why the atrophy of her muscles wasn’t worse.

    It was odd not having a place to clasp her lightsaber. When she exited the ‘fresher she sat it on a dusty table and walked back into the dining room.

    As they ate dinner, no one wanted to talk about anything serious. They had already been through enough. The brainstorming to find Kyn wasn’t getting them anywhere and it was just causing tension and stress.

    Cole had excused himself to go outside while the rest finished up dinner. To their delight, the lights in the house sprang on and seconds later, Cole walked back in.

    “Little trick I picked up.” Cole smiled, bowing slightly.

    “Electricity!” Kyra exclaimed.

    “I saw a satellite outside too,” Cole’s eyes lit up. “I bet we can watch this old holoset.”

    There was a couch and a loveseat in the living area, as well as a recliner. Tyon and Rayna took up the loveseat as they watched the holonews. It felt good for them to relax in each other’s arms once again. Cole was granted the recliner chair and kicked his feet up, quickly falling asleep on it. Kyra had taken the long, white couch as was lying down on it. Zafii on the other hand was back outside in the garden as the moonlight reflected off the nearby spring water.

    She had put back on her filthy clothes that she had used before and was on sitting on an old bucket, ripping the weed into small, finer pieces with her bare hands.

    “Bleep beeop boop?” R7 asked.

    “Nothing’s wrong.” Zafii answered.

    R7 responded sadly, knowing her response was a lie.


    **


    The smoke-filled air cast a haze over the booths and tables. A Hapan male was tending the bar. His wavy honey-blond locks and chiseled features attracted the attention of most females in the bar. He didn’t own the establishment, but his rules were followed. The bar was packed, as usual. It wasn’t the seediest cantina in the town by far, but it suited the patrons’ needs.

    Five beings sat around a table, playing Sabacc. A Codru-Ji slid a small stack of credits into the pot. A male Ugnaught placed two card chips into the interdiction field and matched the bet. A Twi’Lek female, folded her hand with a glare. A female Togarian, and dealer, called the bet. The final player, a human male, called the bet and placed took another card.

    The human male picked up his tall, thin glass of lomin ale and drained it. It was his fifth game that afternoon. He’d perfected his Sabaac face years ago. He sat through the game, calling as necessary and waited patiently.

    The final card was dealt. Inside, he cheered as the dealer handed him the Queen of Air and Darkness. He had a negative twenty. Everyone laid out their hands. He’d won again.

    The Twi’Lek hissed at him, “You used a skifter!”

    “Dream on, sunshine,” he growled as he pulled the credits towards him. He shoved the credits in a bag. “As much fun as this has been, I’m out.”

    He tossed a chip to the dealer and left the table. He walked past the bar, placed his empty glass on the surface and tossed the bartender a credit coin. He shoved the credits into the inner pocket of his shirt. He could hear the Twi’Lek stalking after him. He wasn’t worried.

    “You!” she screamed. He turned to face her, hand on his low-slung blaster. His vibroblade was tucked in a wrist sheath. Various other weapons were hidden around his body. He gave her a hard look, waiting for her to make the first move.

    “You are a rotten cheater, Fury!” she seethed as she approached him. He had no doubt that she was as armed as he was, if not more.

    “Now come on, Lyma, you know I don’t cheat,” he said.

    “You filthy liar!” she snapped.

    He rolled his eyes, “Seriously? Lyma, chill out.”

    “No! That was not the plan! Now everyone knows who you are!” she yelled.

    “They wouldn’t if you would stop yelling,” he growled. He gripped her elbow and drug her to his quarters nearby. He punched the access code and entered.

    “Varik, that was stupid,” she snapped as she pulled away from him.

    “Aww, sweetheart, you know we’ll be fine,” he crooned.

    She snorted, “Don’t you ‘sweetheart’ me, Varik Fury! If you want my help, you’ll do exactly as I say.”

    Varik rolled his eyes, “I’m the one with the ship.”

    “Yeah and I have the connections. Zandra has spies everywhere. If she finds out what we’re up to, she’ll have us killed,” she said as she sat in a chair.

    “The ol’ Hutt is too concerned about her offspring to give a shavit about us. That was the entire reason we are here now,” Varik reminded her. “All we have to do is steal the shipment and leave. You said the Rodian will be waiting for us.”

    “In an hour, yes.”

    “So we’ll get the cargo, load it and blast out of here before Zandra finds out. Once she hears, we’ll have already dropped it off, we’ll be ten parsecs away,” Varik said calmly.

    “You’re overreacting.”

    “Stang, Varik,” Lyma said standing up. She walked over to him, leaned over and gave him a rough kiss. “You’re too sure for your own good.”

    Varik shrugged, “It’ll work. You go get the ship ready. I’ll see you in forty-five.”

    --------

    “Here is the shipment,” the Rodian, Mello, said.

    Varik inspected the case for any tampering. He popped open the hatch to make sure that the Rodian wasn’t trying to pull one over on him. The case held blasters, detonators and mines. Varik didn’t know what the weapons were for; he truly didn’t care. He snapped the case closed and turned to the Rodian.

    “Looks good.”

    He pushed the case onto the repulsor cart he’d brought with him. He gave Mello a nod and then pushed the case out the backdoor of the small antique shop. He didn’t have time for small talk. He had a deadline to make.

    He loaded the case into his rented speeder and took off for the spaceport. He didn’t need to call Lyma to prep the ship. They’d pulled enough jobs together that they had a perfect system down. He pulled the speeder to the spaceport and removed the case. He loaded it onto the ship. He could hear the ramp close as he strapped the contents into place.

    “Any problems with clearance?” he asked as he sat down in the pilot’s chair.

    “None,” Lyma responded as they lifted off from the hanger bay. They hurtled through the atmosphere, increasing speed. Varik could see a line of sweat on Lyma’s upper lip. He shook his head in amusement. There was no reason to be nervous. This job was child’s play. He’d done far more dangerous activities than this.

    Within the half hour, they were hurtling through hyperspace to meet their contact on Drall. It was a two-day trip. Varik left the cockpit. Lyma followed. She reached out and tugged the back of his jacket.

    “What?” he asked.

    Lyma gave him a look, “No problems with Mello?”

    “None,” Varik assured her. He turned to face her, aware of how her honey-colored eyes raked over his body. It was their old game. They pushed and pushed each other until one broke. He slowly walked away from her. Lyma’s eyes flashed and she walked closer to him. He ignored her and walked into his cabin. She followed him, as he knew she would.

    He took off his jacket and threw it in the corner of the room. He took off his boots next. He could hear Lyma remove her own nerfhide jacket and boots. He could hear her weapon-laden garments hit the floor.

    He smirked to himself as he tore off his alcohol and sweat –stained shirt. He was going to win this time.

    ----

    Lyma handed Varik his share of the credits. They were walking back to his ship, The Rockhound. The job had gone as well as Varik had promised. She looked around. Drall was a fairly quiet world. The small Drall themselves paid little attention to the two of them as they walked to the spaceport.

    “Stop,” Varik snapped as they entered the hanger bay.

    “What?” she hissed in annoyance.

    “Look,” he nodded towards their ship. Four large humans were standing around the ship, waiting for them.

    “Shavit!” she growled. “What do we do now?”

    “Leave,” he said. They whirled around and walked out of the hanger. Lyma followed Varik into an alley.

    “Now what?” she asked.

    “Well, you could seduce one of them,” he said.

    “Oh you had better be joking,” she ground out.

    “Relax, I am,” he responded, waving a hand. “I think we should wait it out.”

    “Oh thiss one wouldn’t do that.”

    Lyma and Varik whirled around to see a male Barabel approaching. Varik had his blaster out. Lyma pulled out her own blaster and a virbroblade.

    “Thiss one could kill you,” the Barabel hissed. He approached the two. Lyma glanced over her shoulder, but that exit was blocked by an armored bipedal. She figured they could take down the armored being, but they stood no chance with the Barabel.

    Varik and Lyma exchanged a look. She shook her head. They wouldn’t be able to win this. They tossed their weapons to the Barabel, who caught them easily. The armored being approached them and roughly cuffed them.

    The armored being pushed them behind the Barabel as they walked down the alley and into a building. Lyma looked around the room. It looked like a clothing store. The Barabel turned and shoved them into a dressing room.

    “Ssstay here.”

    “Like we have a choice,” Varik snorted. The door closed and the lock clicked. Lyma tilted her forehead to Varik’s lips. He bit one of the red false jewels on her headband and pulled it out. A thin metal straight pin was attached to the red button. She turned around and he bent down to drop it in her hand. She took it and picked the lock. He turned around so his cuffed hands were underneath hers. He caught the cuffs as they fell off her wrists. She quickly took them from him and removed his.

    Varik pulled his holdout blaster from his boot. They could try to burst out of the store, but she had no idea how many were out there. She crouched down. The gap between the bottom of the wall and the floor was small enough she could crawl through. She nodded to Varik and dropped to her belly. She yanked her spare vibroblade from the pouch that sat inside the front of her waistband. She wriggled underneath the wall, Varik following. She made it into the third dressing room when the Barabel’s large feet walked by. Lyma swallowed and began crawling faster. She reached the end of the dressing rooms when the Barabel broke open the door.

    “Findz them!” the Barabel growled.

    Lyma rolled to her side and tucked her knees to her chest. She rolled out from under the wall and sprang to her feet with a dancer’s grace. She threw her vibroblade at the Sullustan female charging towards her. The blade embedded itself in her arm and she screamed. Varik rolled out and stood slower. He shot through the store as they ran.

    “That way!” Lyma yelled. They ran out the door, the Barabel and others chasing them down the alley.

    “That speeder!” she screamed as they approached the intersection of the alley and street. She yanked the door open and dove in. Varik followed, swapping out the power pack in his blaster. Lyma yanked a blue-colored button from her headband and stuck the metal piece attached to it into the ignition slot. She pressed the ignition button, wiggled the pin and the speeder started. Varik rolled down the window and rained shots towards their pursuers.

    “Now what?” Lyma asked.

    “Go to the ship. Run those ingrates down with the speeder or something,” he suggested.

    “Worth a shot,” she said as they approached the hanger bay. “Never did like Drall, anyway. Add another warrant to the list.”

    Varik let out a sharp bark of laughter, “Bet you wished you’d seduced them now.”

    Lyma glared at him. She took a deep breath and pushed the accelerator to the floor. She maneuvered the speeder through an access doorway. It scraped against the side, barely fitting through. She ignored the shouts of the guards as they flew towards their ship. The four men were still there, but ran as the speeder powered toward them. She slammed on the break, turned the speeder as it screeched to a halt. Varik and Lyma jumped out. Varik pushed the access code into the panel by the boarding ramp. It hadn’t lowered all the way before they jumped inside. Lyma raced to the cockpit and began the take-off process while Varik closed the ramp. He ran back to the cockpit and took the gunner’s seat.

    She took off, ignoring the shouts over the comm. Alarms blared through the cockpit as the sensors picked up incoming Pocket Patrol Boats.

    “Take them out,” she ground out as she coaxed more speed from the ship.

    “I am,” Varik growled as he took shot after shot.

    Lyma’s hands flew over the instruments. She juked and jinked as they raced through the atmosphere. The ship rocked as a laser made contact.

    “Get me some coordinates! I’m jumping the second we are out of the gravity well,” she shouted.

    Varik nodded. He shot off one of the few missiles they had and slid over to the navicomputer. He pulled up a set of pre-configured coordinates, and then went back to the gunner station.

    “Frag!” Lyma growled as another shot hit their stabilizers. They were ruined, but one more hit and they would be sunk. “Get that kriffin’ thing off me!”

    An explosion ripped through the atmosphere as Varik destroyed one of the PPBs. The inertia of the explosion caused them to wobble off course. The debris provided brief cover as Lyma straightened out.

    They burst through the atmosphere. Varik yanked the hyperspace lever down the second they were clear. They both collapsed against their seats.

    They had made it. They were alive.
     
  5. darksideyesplease

    darksideyesplease Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 12, 2005
    Chapter 3


    Kyra woke up on the bed that was meant to be Zafii’s, so many years ago. The room was still decorated as if a young girl lived in it and had kept mementos of every year of her life. She walked out of the room wearing the light blue gown she had slept in. Cole was still sleeping in the recliner; Kyra mentally noted that his neck was going to be quite sore when he woke up. She walked to the window and looked out past the garden. There was a person in the distant near the spring. She was sitting down, their legs crossed.

    It was Zafii, obviously meditating, Kyra realized. With that, Kyra walked into the kitchen and asked Rayna if she needed help with breakfast.

    “There isn’t much to help with.” Rayna admitted. “We don’t have much.”

    Kyra saw this to be true and frowned.

    “Why don’t you go into town and pick up some things?” Rayna asked.

    “Yeah, I could do that.” Kyra nodded.

    “I’ll go with you.” Zafii added, as she walked in through the backdoor which led to the kitchen. “I don’t know if it is safe here yet.”

    Rayna put some credits on the counter and Kyra went to get dressed. Zafii was once again wearing once of Kyra’s sun dresses, which made her feel and look uncomfortable.

    “I need to do something with my hair.” Zafii noted to Kyra when she walked back in the room.

    “It’s… fine?” Kyra lied.

    The ends of her hair hung to the middle of her back. The healers on Bakura had forgotten to cut it recently.

    “No, it’s not the style so much as the color. I think I need to dye it.” Zafii explained. “It’s best if I not look the same. I know I wasn’t that well known of a Jedi but if even one person was to recognize me...”

    Kyra collected the credits from the counter and the two of them set off towards the city of Theed. It took them over a standard hour of walking but they finally arrived. Everything felt safe; Zafii could not feel any disturbances in the Force.

    “If something ever does happen,” Zafii whispered to Kyra. “Just run, okay? I can’t use the Force. It would draw too much attention.”

    Kyra nodded. She didn’t want Zafii to use the Force for a couple of different reasons. She didn't need Zafii lapsing into another coma for ten years.

    The two of them selected about a week’s worth of fruit, vegetables, and meat for five people. They each carried a couple of bags when Kyra saw a salon.

    “There you go,” Kyra pointed it out.

    Zafii looked at her sandy blond hair and shrugged.

    “Your hair is so pretty, a shame you have to dye it.”

    “It doesn’t matter to me. I just want everyone to be safe.”

    It was obvious to Kyra that Zafii had never had a normal life at all. Of course she wouldn’t have, she was raised by the Jedi. She hadn’t gotten her hair styled for enjoyable reasons.

    They both entered the salon and were able to be seated right away. Kyra decided that her brown locks could use a trim and the two women sat beside each other as a stylist took care of each of them.

    “What color were you thinking?” The stylist asked Zafii.

    “Black,” Zafii answered. “Jet black and much shorter. Whatever you think looks best.”

    The stylist nodded and went to work as the two women talked to each other.

    “So, did you like him the first time you met him? All those years ago?” Kyra asked, trying not to laugh out loud, speaking of Kyn.

    “Oh no.” Zafii said, trying to hide her smile but failing. “I thought he was insufferable.”

    The two stylists paid no mind to the women as they chatted.

    “So what changed your mind about him?” Kyra asked.

    Kyra noticed Zafii’s hesitation and wondered if her mind had ever changed.

    “Well he’s incredibly loyal. He’s considerate… and extremely irresponsible.” Zafii answered.

    “Aren’t they all sweetie?” The stylist chimed in. “At least the irresponsible part.”

    “So what will happen when he um… comes back?” Kyra coded her sentence.

    “I don’t know.”

    “Well…” Kyra sighed. “Do you love him?”

    “I owe him my life.” Zafii responded.

    “That’s not what I asked.”

    Zafii didn’t answer. Kyra rolled her eyes and then asked Zafii where she wanted to go next. They finished about an hour later and headed back into the city.

    As they walked down the streets of Theed they began to window shop. Kyra immediately took notice to how this was all probably a new experience to Zafii.

    “That would look so cute on you, with your hair black.” Kyra pointed into the window.

    She was pointing to an outfit. They were modest royal blue robes, not unlike what many of the commoner women wore on Naboo.

    “I guess I do need my own clothes.” Zafii said, pulling out her own credits.

    “Where did you get that?” Kyra asked curiously.

    “I think R7 is really good at Sabaac… He must have played with the healers on Bakura.”

    The two women walked into the store and soon had another bag to carry, this one full of clothes.

    “Excuse me,” a gentleman said as they walked of the store.

    “Yes?” Zafii spoke up.

    “I’m sorry, forgive my curiosity but do I know you?” The man asked, looking at Kyra.

    “No.” Zafii answered for her.

    “Sorry, I don’t think so.” Kyra answered.

    “I’m sorry, I didn’t think so. Let me introduce myself. I am Jesse Kaldo.” He said, holding out his hand and shaking Kyra’s.

    “Okay…” Kyra said, blushing. “I’m Kyra and this is… Raquel.”

    “I know this is going to sound really odd but do you have any plans tomorrow evening?” Jesse asked.

    “I… uh… what?”

    Kyra hadn’t been asked out on a date in years and this stranger coming up to her out of the blue seemed a little suspicious.

    “Well, we are having a small party tomorrow evening at the palace. Unfortunately I don’t have a date yet and when I saw you I just couldn’t help but introducing myself. I’m sorry if I am forward.”

    “I see,” Kyra said. “I don’t know if I can go… I just moved here.”

    “That won’t matter to any of us, Kyra. I understand if you don’t want to. After all I’m just a stranger off the streets.” Jesse replied.

    He was well dressed and looked as though he came from money. Kyra also had to admit he was rather cute.

    “If you want to join me, then by all means just wear your best ensemble to the palace and meet me at dusk. If you show up, I’ll know you accepted my invitation. If not… somehow I’ll manage. Oh and Raquel is it? You are more than welcome to bring a date as well. I will put your names on the list.”

    “I will… I will think about it Jesse. Thank you.” Kyra responded.

    Jesse bowed to her and began to walk away. He turned back around to look at her again and waved. As he did so he nearly tripped over a vendor’s foot. Kyra laughed at his antics as he waved once more and disappeared into the crowd.

    “I don’t like him.” Zafii muttered.

    “Is that anyway for a J… lady to respond the first time she meets a man?” Kyra asked, her face eliminated with laughter.

    “Yeah,” Zafii nodded as they pressed on. “Perfectly acceptable.”


    When they arrived home, it was midday and Tyon and Cole were in the garden working. They accompanied the two women inside and were glad to see lunch as served. Kyra began to go over everything they had done in Theed and then the subject of Jesse Kaldo and the party came up.

    “I don’t like it.” Tyon and Cole said simultaneously.

    “That’s what Zafii said!” Kyra huffed.

    “She’s right,” Cole said. “We just got here and we don’t know who we can trust.”

    “Well at least he knows me as Raquel…” Zafii rolled her eyes.

    “Ick…” Cole laughed. “Sorry to hear that.”

    “We are never going to know who we can trust until we take a chance and meet someone.” Kyra argued.

    “If she wants to go we can’t stop her.” Rayna pointed out from the kitchen where she was reading a datapad.

    “See?” Kyra’s eyebrow shot up, her arms folded across her stomach.

    “She’s not a child anymore.” Tyon admitted. “Just because we are hiding from certain people doesn’t mean we can stop living our life.”

    “And Zafii will be there to watch over me.” Kyra added, seeing that her father was now on her side.

    “Me?” Zafii asked. “I don’t think so.”

    “Yeah, she just needs a date.” Kyra said. “Cole, you want to be her date?”

    “I could live with that.” Tyon said. “If you two were both there I’d feel a lot better about this.”

    Zafii didn’t know what to say. She had certainly been out voted and thrown into a situation she didn’t feel comfortable with.

    “You have some nice robes don’t you, Cole?” Kyra asked.

    “What do I look like? Some scruffy underbelly dweller?” Cole asked, acting as if he were offended.

    “Do I need to answer that?” Kyra shot back with sisterly affection.

    “Wait a second! I can’t go because I don’t have good dress robes.” Zafii said, thinking she had gotten out of the situation.

    “I was looking through… well… I guess it was supposed to be your closet. There are very nice dresses in there. I was actually hoping I could borrow one.” Kyra corrected her.

    Zafii finally gave in and accepted the fact that she would have to accompany Kyra on her date.

    “Come on,” Cole said, as he walked over to Zafii and lightly punched her in the arm. “It will be fun, Raquel.”

    “Call me that again and I’ll make sure we both end up in a coma.” Zafii smiled dryly.

    Cole’s hands rose in mock defeat and he couldn’t help but laughing. Zafii finally cracked as well and joined in by laughing as well.


    **


    Vader kneeled down on the large holoprojector as he had been ordered to contact the Emperor immediately.

    “Yes, my master.”

    “What did the investigation on Alderaan reveal, Lord Vader?”

    Vader hesitated for a moment, looking into the larger than life holo-image of his Sith master.

    “A cover up, all too easily discovered.” Vader spoke.

    “And you have tracked down the fugitives?” The Emperor asked, knowing he had not.

    “Not yet, my master. I have just left the planet of Bakura, deep in the Outer Rim. I know who was behind the escape of the girl and her family.”

    “Yes?” The Emperor hissed.

    “A Jedi Knight by the name of Zafii Pel awoke from a coma only days before the attack on the Fuller family was to commence.” Vader explained.

    “Ah, yes. I remember now. The young Jedi Knight from Naboo. The Jedi wanted to kill her if I remember?”

    “Yes, my master.”

    The Emperor cackled with mad laughter. “Excellent. Do you know what she looks like, Lord Vader?”

    “I do remember seeing her and her rescuers, years ago. I was in the hangar of the Jedi Temple when they boarded their ship.”

    The Emperor nodded, “It’s coming back to me now. Yes, I remember quite well the stories of the intruders within the Jedi Temple. The spy eventually became of some use to me.”

    “Should I proceed in my search for the young Force sensitive?” Vader asked.

    “They will be together, I presume. Yes, we can kill two with a single strike… unless...”

    The Emperor hesitated and asked Vader everything he knew of the two women. Vader thought back to the rumors he had overheard as his time as a Jedi. He remembered something about a Force bond between the two; the Masters had spoken of it.

    “I want you to hunt them down and bring them before me,” The Emperor commanded.

    “They are not to die on sight? Master?” Vader questioned.

    “No! They might be useful to us, Lord Vader. Or has your passion for the greater power lost its purpose on you?”

    “Not at all, my master.”

    The Emperor wasn’t sure he was telling him the truth. Vader had become increasingly better at hiding his feelings from his master.

    “Perhaps the compelling bond between these two could shed some light into the mysteries of the Force. No doubt the Jedi would have died if she was left to it but yet somehow after ten years she awakens from a coma to yet again save the girl’s life. Intriguing… wouldn’t you agree, Lord Vader?”

    “I…” Vader hesitated once more. “I don’t see how…”

    “In time, you will come to understand.” The Emperor reassured him. “This could be the first step we need in acquiring the knowledge to immortality.”





    **


    Zafii couldn’t help herself. She needed to know more about what had happened in the past several years. Cole didn’t know enough of the details, as the Empire hid things. She needed an informative source, even if he was half-mad. She could only hope that he was still alive. She used the Force to run faster than a normal human could and it only took her a few minutes to get to Theed. From there she found a man with a speeder who was willing to give her a lift out into the country.

    “Yeah sweetie, I’ll take you out there.” He said.

    “How much for the speeder?” Zafii asked.

    “Excuse me?” He replied, baffled.

    “Three thousand for the speeder.”

    “Shavit, okay yeah. You have the credits on you?” He smiled.

    Zafii handed over the credits and jumped in the driver’s seat. They would need a speeder anyway she thought… This was not an impulse buy even though she needed it now.

    The only thing on her mind was what really happened in the Clone Wars. What happened to the Jedi? What was this talk of Sith? With that she hit the accelerator and sped off towards a familiar destination. Even in the middle of the night, Naboo’s beauty was bountiful. The way the moon sparkled off the waterfalls and the mountains in the distance.

    None of that mattered now though. All that mattered was Hep Naugzi and if he knew the truth. He would be only too pleased to divulge the downfall of the Jedi; that is as long as he was in any frame of mind to speak about it.

    She arrived at Hep’s castle nearly an hour after she had started her journey. The lights were on inside even at the lateness of the hour. Just as before, she used the Force to leap over his massive moat, as the drawbridge was vertical. She knocked on the door and it opened almost instantaneously.

    “Are you kriffin’ mad, girl?” Hep said, pulling her by the arm and dragging her inside.

    “Hep?” She asked, surprised at his tone.

    “Yes, yes.” He muttered, slamming the door and walking over to his trusty bar. “Drink?”

    “I’m good, thanks.” She said.

    “You’ll need a drink.” He insisted, pouring two glasses.

    He walked over and handed her one. She could smell the stench of the liquor and it almost made her gag.

    “I knew you’d be back.” Hep smiled, sitting in his comfy recliner. “Sit, sit…”

    “You remember me?...” Zafii asked.

    “Of course, do you think I’m mad?” Hep laughed, taking a sip of his drink. He closed his eyes devouring the taste of it.

    “Honestly, yes.” Zafii answered, sitting across from him just as she had done years ago.

    “I put on a good show, don’t I?”

    “Show?”

    “Did you think me senile when we met a dozen years ago?” Hep asked, yet again sipping on his drink.

    “I guess you took a lot of pleasure in tricking a Jedi.” Zafii nodded.

    “It was amusing, yes. I must say though, I felt awful about what happened to the rest of your kind. So why have you come back, my dear?”

    Zafii took a deep breath. This was all news to her that Hep was apparently a gifted actor as well as an esteemed journalist.

    “I want to know what happened during the Clone Wars… I want to know about the Sith.”

    Hep took a deep breath of his own and began to divulge the story of how Chancellor Palpatine had started the war with the invasion of Naboo. An invasion that cost Zafii’s parent’s their life. He went on to tell the tale of how Palpatine was a Sith Lord all along, pulling the strings of the entire galaxy until he revealed himself as a Dark Lord of the Sith.

    “Are you telling me the Emperor is a Sith Lord? How do you know that? If the Jedi have been discredited…” Zafii said.

    “Do you think all of my sources over the years have been the most reputable people? You don’t get to where I am,” Hep said, pointing to all of his awards that hung on the walls. “By using only reputable and honored sources, my dear?”

    “Who killed our Senator then? The former Queen… Padmé Naberrie?” Zafii asked.

    “Ah,” Hep laughed. “Tragic…”

    “I thought you didn’t like her?”

    “Doesn’t mean I wished her dead!” Hep exclaimed. “No, from a political standpoint I didn’t agree with a lot of her decisions. She was young and naïve. Nevertheless, she was a good person and didn’t deserve the fate she endured. No doubt you have heard the name Obi-Wan Kenobi?”

    Zafii shook her head, she couldn’t believe it. “So it’s true. Master Kenobi did kill her.”

    “Codswallop,” Hep sipped his drink. “A great fabrication by the Empire. Knowing that he is still at large, even though they won’t admit to it. No, she was pregnant when she died. She was buried with the child still in her womb.”

    “Pregnant?” Zafii said, astonished.

    “Which means,” Hep said, leaning forward. He gave a great dramatic silence before continuing. “She was married. But married to who? Why would a well respected senator need to keep a marriage hidden along with the pregnancy? Senator’s are allowed to marry, Master Jedi.”

    “But for a Jedi, attachment is forbidden.” Zafii finished for him.

    “HAHA!” Hep exclaimed. “You see now that she was married to a Jedi.”

    “Which Jedi?” Zafii asked.

    “Can you not think of one?” Hep smiled, almost evilly. It was so obvious that he took great pride in his gossip. “Why frame Obi-Wan Kenobi? Perhaps because he helped protect the Queen during the Separatist invasion and the fact that he is still at large. It’s an easy connection to make.”

    “Perhaps Kenobi did kill her? Perhaps he was married to her?” Zafii shot back.

    “Perhaps… But it is not like the Empire to tell us the truth. They lie, they deflect… it is their way. Why tell us this truth? Perhaps the connection to Kenobi has nothing to do with the Separatist invasion 14 years ago. I tend to believe that he might have been there the day she died, although not responsible for it happening.” Naugzi explained.

    He picked up a datapad and tossed it to Zafii. It already had text on the screen; the date was over a year ago. She took note from the article that Padmé Naberrie and Anakin Skywalker both died on the same day.

    “I didn’t write that, I assure you.” Hep said, rolling his eyes. “Dreadful writing… If we are to take anything out it, we should take this; Master Kenobi’s apprentice at one time was Anakin Skywalker. They both had a connection to the former Queen and Kenobi is still alive and was known to have seen these two the day of their deaths.”

    “I still don’t see how the truth could be any different from the Empire’s version if Kenobi is indeed alive.” Zafii said, looking down at the datapad.

    “I can tell you for a fact that Padmé Naberrie is dead. I attended the funeral, I saw her body. You can believe Kenobi is alive or you can believe he is dead, as no one has seen him in one fashion or the other.” Hep explained. “At least no one I speak to.”

    “And of Skywalker?”

    Hep looked deep into her eyes, a knowing look was there. “What can be said for Master Kenobi can be said for ‘The Hero Without Fear’.”


    **

    Moff Wilhuff Tarkin sat behind a desk which had many holo feeds and terminals. He was studying something rather intently when part of the desk began to buzz. He sighed in irritation and accepted the incoming transmission. A small, translucent hologram of Darth Vader appeared in the middle of his desk.

    “Ah, Lord Vader.” Tarkin greeted.

    “I have something you might be interested in; I am sending a transmission over to your terminal now.” Vader replied, wanting to leave the conversation short and sweet.

    Tarkin took a moment to peruse the information that was being downloaded. He then looked back up at the hologram.

    “Do you think he will accept the mission? It might be hard to convince a… man,” Tarkin said the last word as if it stung him to say it. “Of this mold to go along with us; although it might be rather ingenious if it works.”

    “He will accept it,” Vader said, pausing for dramatic effect. “Or die.”
     
  6. darksideyesplease

    darksideyesplease Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 12, 2005
    Chapter 4

    Arriving back at the country home just before daybreak, Zafii saw Cole and R7 out in the garden. Cole’s eyes lit up as the land speeder approached. He and the astromech made their way over to her as she jumped out of the driver’s seat.

    “Who did you beat up for this hunk of junk?” Cole asked.

    Zafii noticed that his hands were covered in the wet dirt of the garden. The dew had saturated the ground nicely.

    “Bought it in town,” Zafii answered. “Thank R7. The credits he won from playing Sabaac bought it.”

    “Who ever heard of an astromech playing Sabaac?” Cole said, disbelieving her story.

    “Well I certainly wasn’t hustling the Healers on Bakura.” Zafii shot back playfully.

    Cole didn’t answer but instead opened up the small hood of the speeder and began to inspect things. He reached out towards the engine when Zafii yelped.

    “Don’t! The engine is hot!” She exclaimed.

    Cole grunted and proceeded, ignoring the searing pain on his fingers. He stood upright and put his fingers to his lips to cool then with his saliva.

    “Here…” Zafii said, taking his hands in her own.

    She guided his hands so that his palms were turned upwards out in front of his stomach. The palms of her own hands lightly touched over the burns. Zafii’s eyes were closed and her lips moved but no words came from them.

    “Neat,” Cole gulped as the pain receded.

    She opened her eyes and looked at him. “Better?”

    “Yeah, but should you be using the Force?”

    “I think I will be safe in small doses. It was only in the most stressful situations where I had to call upon the Force too much when I had problems.” Zafii clarified.

    “If you say so,” Cole said. “I just don’t want anything to happen to you.”

    “You sound like Kyn.”

    “Maybe Kyn was right.”

    “Maybe he was.”

    ***

    Varik leaned back against the pilot’s chair. They’d barely made it out of there. He glanced over to Lyma, who was checking the navicomputer.

    “That was too easy,” he stated.

    “It was. They didn’t take our weapons or anything,” she responded as she turned to face him. “It was Zandra. She never could hire good help.”

    “You think she’s still after us?”

    “No doubt. Zandra doesn’t take too kindly to a profit loss of any kind. She’s almost as bad as Jiliac. Lucky for us, she’s not a part of the big clans,” Lyma said.

    “Worried?”

    “No,” she scoffed as she stood up. “Zandra isn’t the first Hutt I’ve crossed.”

    “Oh, right. Jabba, Jillac’s nephew.”

    “That’s right,” Lyma replied as she walked out of the cockpit.

    Varik propped his feet up on the console. Lyma’s sister had been sold to Jabba years ago. Lyma had been on the way to Ryloth to see her when Nyla had been taken. Varik had learned long ago not to ask about Nyla. He had his own secrets to keep. He and Lyma both agreed that the less they knew about each other, the better.

    “Varik!” she shouted from the main hold.

    “What?”

    Lyma entered the cockpit, “Let’s hit Nar Shaddaa next.”

    “That’s too close to Hutt space for my liking.”

    “Then Smuggler’s Run. We need information. You know the route,” she suggested. “Maybe we’ll meet up with Roa.”

    Varik grinned at the mention of the old smuggler. Roa was the most honorable smuggler in the galaxy, no doubt. He had his own set of rules and wasn’t afraid to tell them to you. Varik had met him two years ago on the Run.

    “Sounds like a plan,” he said.

    Lyma slipped over to the navicomputer and pulled up the coordinates. “Here, you want to handle the next jump?”

    Varik nodded, “I’ll get you afterwards to take the next shift.”

    Lyma flashed him a grin and sauntered from the room. Varik, feet still propped up, closed his eyes and waited for the reversion to real space.

    ---

    Skip I was dirty, smelly and dangerous. The ooze covering the floor made the location much less desirable. Lyma barely noticed it as she walked through the sludge to one of the many bars, the Waltzing Wampa. They’d entered Smuggler’s Run with no problems. Lyma hadn’t told Varik exactly why she wanted to come here. She knew he’d negate her idea to go to Nar Shaddaa. She needed to talk to contact.

    Lyma slipped into the doorway. Loud, obnoxious music pulsed through the air. She could see a group of Weequays in one corner smoking some type of intoxicant. She hated spice. She preferred pleasures of the flesh as a coping mechanism. She scanned the room, passing various species until her eyes settled on a young man, no older than 30 and his partner, another human male. He was much older, around 50. She walked over to the booth. She sat down next to the young man.

    “Hello, Malik,” she purred. “How’s business?”

    “Not bad, Lyma. Yourself?”

    “Never better,” she responded, lying on hand on his leg.

    “Not from what I hear. Zandra’s been throwing a hissy fit from her lost credits,” he responded.
    “Good,” Lyma scoffed.

    “What do you want, Lyma?” the older male, Zev asked.

    “You know exactly what I want. I need a big payout. These small-time jobs aren’t worth it,” she stated.

    Zev snorted, “Probably not, with that kid hanging around you.”

    Lyma grinned, “Like you hang out with Malik? Varik’s a good shot.”

    Zev glared, “Is that all he is?”

    “Oh come on, Zev. You know me. It’s all about the credits,” she said. “I’ll prove it, if necessary. Malik here looks like he could use a good time. Or maybe you want to relax.”

    Zev let out a loud bark of laughter, “Honey there aren’t enough credits in the world.”

    “Oh ouch, wound me,” Lyma shot back with a laugh. She reached out and took his glass from its resting place on the table. She brought it to her lips and tilted the glass to swallow the contents.

    “Smooth whiskey in this dump?” she asked as she put the glass down.

    “Shocking,” Zev responded, tipping his head.

    Lyma ran her hand higher up Malik’s thigh as she told Zev the basic details of her last job. Malik squirmed under her grasp, trying not to draw attention to himself. She squeezed his thigh tightly, leaned in and kissed his cheek.

    “Sorry, your boss says no,” she said silky as she stood up. “Zev, call me when you have what I need.”

    Lyma walked out of the bar, satisfied. Varik was scoping out another establishment, looking for Roa. Between the two of them, they should have a couple jobs lined up. She was hoping they could earn enough credits to pay for a better ship. Theirs was fine, but it could use better weapons and more cargo space.

    And once she had a better ship, she could save her sister.

    **

    Kyra and Rayna had gone through Zafii’s would-be closet and pulled out several magnificently made dresses. The two of them were astonished as the skill Zafii’s mother must have had to craft these delicately beautiful robes.

    “She was very talented.” Rayna noted, messing with the thin shoulder strap of the dark purple dress her daughter wore.

    Kyra nodded her agreement when Zafii walked into the room, looking quite uncomfortable. She was wearing a strapless royal blue dress that they had found in the back of the closet.

    “You look great.” Kyra said, happily.

    It was apparent to Kyra that Zafii wasn’t so sure. Her newly dyed, black hair matched well with the dark shade of blue. Her dress shoes weren’t quite as nice as the dress itself but luckily the dress was long enough to cover her feet.

    “I don’t think I’m equipped well enough to pull this off.” Zafii said, trying to adjust the bodice.

    “Nonsense,” Rayna said, walking over to her. “You just can’t tighten the lace well enough while wearing it. If I may?”

    Rayna then took to adjust Zafii’s dress for her. This all seemed surreal to Kyra. Just a few days ago they were in dead space, wondering what their next move would be. Now they were standing in the home Zafii could have grown up in, ready to attend a gala at the palace.

    Kyra’s brown locks were tied up in bravura braids. Her purple dress hung past her knee in the front and slightly longer in the back.

    Zafii sighed, “I have a bad feeling about this.”

    Kyra shook off her comment, knowing she was just extremely uncomfortable as Rayna continued to prod at her.

    “Wow!” Kyra exclaimed as she looked past the two into the hallway.

    It was Cole standing just outside the room. He had trimmed up his already short black hair in a very military style cut. Usually he had facial stubble he didn’t bother with but he was clean shaven and he wore elegant dress uniform.

    “You look terrific, Cole.” Kyra said.

    Zafii had turned to face him and Kyra could see her face turn from his line of sight. Cole was obviously drinking her in with his eyes.

    “Alright then,” Kyra announced. “We should get going.”

    “We really need to park that speeder far away and walk to the palace. If we pull up anywhere near it we are going to stick out like a sore thumb.” Cole mentioned.

    “Not to worry, I’ll be with you. So expect to anyway.” Zafii muttered.

    With that they were off. Cole had heeded his own advice and parked just outside the walls of the city and they took to walking.

    “This is why we wore boots,” Zafii said, grimacing as they neared the palace.

    “You’ve never worn dress shoes before?” Kyra asked.

    Zafii looked at her and Kyra immediately knew it was a dumb question. She knew she needed to find Jesse Kaldo and separate from Cole and Zafii as she wasn’t going to be too pleasant this evening.

    “Mi’lady!” Jesse called out. “I thought you have decided not to come.”

    “Running a little late,” Kyra blushed as Jesse kissed her hand.

    “Raquel,” Jesse bowed. “This must be your date?”

    “Cole,” he introduced himself.

    Jesse extended his hand to shake and Cole accepted. Cole’s grip was a little firmer than he what he would have usually used.

    “Kyra’s brother.” Cole clarified.

    “Ah,” Jesse gulped. “Well you all look wonderful. Shall we go in?”

    Jesse led the way into the palace and into a large ballroom. When Jesse had said it was going to be a small party, he had been using the word relatively. There must have been at least a hundred people mingling, drinking and enjoying hors d'oeuvres.

    “So Kyra,” Jesse said, taking everyone over to get a drink. “Where are you originally from?”

    “Ennth,” Cole answered for her.

    “I can answer for myself,” Kyra scolded.

    “You’re right,” Zafii said. “Come on Cole.”

    Zafii grabbed Cole by the hand and he attempted to protest but couldn’t find the words. Kyra and Jesse then began to get to know each other as Zafii and Cole found themselves on the dance floor. The music was slow and not to either of their liking.

    “Care to dance then?” Cole asked. “We can take turns spying on her as we turn.”

    “No,” Zafii said. “I mean, I don’t want to spy on her. I don’t feel as though anyone has bad intentions here.”

    “Would you if they did?” Cole asked, taking her hand.

    “Possibly.” Zafii answered as she gave him her other hand and they danced close to one another.

    Cole leaned in close to her ear. For a wild second she thought he was going to kiss her neck but instead he spoke.

    “Thought you were trying to cut back on the Force?” Cole whispered.

    “Bad habits die hard,” Zafii laughed.

    With that they began to dance slowly to the music, trying to forget how incredibly uncomfortable they both were.

    “I don’t guess anyone would recognize you?” Zafii asked.

    “I wasn’t exactly what you’d call a War Hero.” Cole admitted. “Mostly technical stuff; computer maintenance and such. But I worked my way up through the ranks.”

    The song ended and another horrendously slow one began. They looked at each other and decided one song was enough as neither was skilled in the dancing department.

    “Care for something to drink?” Cole asked.

    “Nothing hard,” Zafii said.

    “Sounds boring,” Cole said gruffly.

    He walked over and ordered a drink that looked like it would melt the glass. He walked back carefully through the crowd with his memorizing drink and some water for Zafii.

    “They were all out of blue milk.” Cole joked.

    “I see,” Zafii laughed.

    “Where did Kyra and Rich-y Kaldo disappear to?” Cole asked.

    “They went out to the gardens to talk in quiet.” Zafii informed him. “Force bond, remember?”

    She clarified for him when he gave her an inquisitive look for actually knowing the answer. Cole jerked his head and motioned for her to follow him. They made their way up the grand staircase and found themselves on the second level. They found an empty balcony and closed the glass doors behind them. Zafii caught on quickly that they were overlooking the gardens within the palace now.

    “So,” Cole cleared his throat as he looked out for Kyra. “Have you thought of any ideas of how to locate my brother?”

    Zafii shook her head, “Nothing yet. Honestly I think it is prudent to assure our safety and livelihood here before we go out on any wild bantha chases.”

    “To be honest, I’ve been rethinking the whole situation.” Cole admitted.

    Zafii looked at him, “How so?”

    “I mean, at this point the Empire is looking for all of us. I don’t guess you bothered to erase your navicomputer when you landed on Alderaan?”

    Zafii looked away, a bit ashamed that the idea had escaped her.

    “So they know where you flew from,” Cole said purposefully. “They know for sure. All I’m saying is, if we go out looking for him or he gets wind and starts looking for us we are all bound to get caught.”

    Zafii nodded, this was something she had been thinking about.

    “He’s been gone for nine years. I know he did right by you but he didn’t tell the rest of us anything. I know mom and dad feel like he deserted the family.”

    “They said that?”

    “No, but I can feel the tension between them when his name is brought up. We don’t even know if he’s still alive. A lot of crazy kriffin’ stuff happened at the end of the war.” Cole explained.

    Zafii did not answer. She only looked out into the gardens, at no one, at nothing.

    “Are you always so…” Cole began.

    “So what?” Zafii said, turning to face him now.

    “Distant?”

    Zafii shrugged, “It was the way I was raised and how most Jedi were raised I suppose. We were taught to be kind, compassionate and giving. That being said, we were also taught how to distance ourselves so that compassion and kindness didn’t turn into attachment.”

    “Sounds impossible.” Cole spoke softly.

    “In a lot of ways, maybe it is.”

    “So,” Cole said seriously. “Do you love anything? I mean… do you really love anything? Or do you not know what that is?”

    “I’m not a droid,” Zafii said defensively.

    “Definitely not.” Cole said, not making an attempt to clarify.

    “Do I know what it is to be romantically in love?” Zafii asked rhetorically.

    She turned once more to face him and he looked at her curiously.

    “No…” she whispered.

    “Are you,” Cole whispered back, “capable of it?”

    Zafii shook her head, breaking the moment.

    “Not while I’m a Jedi.”

    “Are you capable of not being a Jedi, then?” Cole asked, taking it one step at a time.

    This immediately reignited the moment. She looked at him and knew it was wrong, so wrong on so many levels.

    “He wanted me to give up my life as a Jedi,” Zafii admitted, somehow their bodies had grown closer to each other. “He thought it would save me… or maybe he was just being selfish.”

    “You told him no.” Cole finished for her.

    “I told him no,” she repeated, her words so light, they seemed to float on the cool night’s air.

    “Would you say yes now?” Cole asked.

    Their lips just millimeters from each other’s as they spoke, Cole’s head craning down to hers.

    “No.” She whispered back.

    If their lips could have been any closer without touching, Zafii wouldn't have believed it.

    “Would you say yes…to me?”

    Zafii’s lips lightly touched Cole’s and they shared what started as a soft kiss that grew deeper. Cole was physically stronger than her by a parsec. He lightly pushed her against the glass leading back into the palace and fervently devoured her lips with his own.

    She felt his surprisingly velvety lips, tasted the hard flavor of his drink, and smelt his masculine cologne. He withdrew from the kiss for a moment and then placed another small kiss on her lips before finally pulling away.

    Her back was still against the glass door as she watched him turn around and grip the railing of the balcony, his attention once again was on finding Kyra. Zafii grabbed the door handle and opened it slowly and snuck down the stairs before Cole had realized.
     
  7. darksideyesplease

    darksideyesplease Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 12, 2005
    Chapter 5

    Lights pulsed to the music in every spectrum of light, creating a tantalizing show for most species. Even those who only saw in ultraviolet rays could enjoy the spectacle. Varik idly wondered aloud what the lights looked like to a droid who could see everything. He glanced down at Lyma, hands resting on her waist. To the patrons of the club Andris, named for the spice so frequently consumed there, they appeared to be a couple dancing on the floor, having a good time. In reality, Lyma was scanning the crowd for the slave dealers who negotiated the deal regarding her sister. Varik was there as backup.

    Lyma would never admit it to any living being, but standing in such close proximity to slavers made her skin crawl. She never spied on those types alone. She didn’t care who the help was, as long as they could work a comlink. It was always a plus if they could shoot straight.

    Which Varik, of course, could.

    Varik was the perfect partner. He cared enough that he never put up much of a fight when she wanted to follow up a lead to her sister, no matter how low the odds of success were. He didn’t like to travel too far out of the way, but there was always work available.

    Varik’s eyes glanced at a young woman with dark blond hair and green eyes twirling by them. Varik smiled, his mind drifting for a moment to some place he had been before. The unknown young woman turned towards him and caught him staring. She smiled as best she could. Varik could tell immediately she was lit up on spice. Her green eyes that he had first noticed were glossy and her smile was haphazard. Immediately Varik was drawn back into reality and turned away from the girl, his attention back to Lyma.

    “Anything?” Varik asked softly, lowering his lips to her ears. His fingers grazed up and down her side, bringing a tingle to her skin.

    She shook her head slightly, her lekku waving, “Not down here.”

    Lyma’s gaze slid to the stairs in the back of the room. The spiral staircase led to the offices and private rooms. These rooms were often used for spice dealing, slave trading and other illicit activities. Club patrons could rent out the rooms for a modest fee.

    “Let’s go up there.”

    “How?” Varik asked.

    Lyma turned in his arms, giving her an amused look, “Like anyone else does. Spice or—“

    “Spice,” Varik stated firmly. “It’s cheaper and the last thing we need is some lunatic trying to escape on our ship.”

    “Spice it is,” Lyma confirmed. It didn’t take long for her to find a dealer. It’s not as if he was hiding. Officials didn’t come into places like they unless they wanted to die. She scanned the crowd. It wasn’t long before she saw a Duros at one of the side tables.

    “You stay here,” she told Varik. “Follow when we head up.”

    Varik tipped his head in acknowledgement. Lyma sauntered over to the male Duros. She slid into the seat next to him, pushing a couple of large denomination credits to him. “Pure gy’lan.”

    The dealer gave her a look. “I don’t deal that in public.”

    “No one does. What room is yours?” Lyma responded curtly as she rested a hand by his waist.

    “Forty-seven.”

    “Meet me there in five minutes,” Lyma stated, holding her hand out for the passkey. The Duros glanced back down at the credchips on the table. He swept them into his hand and tucked them into the inner pocket of his rusty red tunic. He removed a key card from his belt and handed it to her. “Don’t lose it.”

    Lyma just laughed as she stood up and walked away. She wound her way to the back staircase without giving Varik so much as a glance. She didn’t need to. Either he would follow or he wouldn’t. No look from her would change that fact.

    “How do you know he’ll come?” Varik hissed from behind. She ignored him until she reached the room. She swiped the keycard, half expecting the door to stay closed. She walked inside with Varik on her heels. He immediately drew his blaster and started to poke around.

    “He’ll come because I have this,” Lyma stated smugly, flashing a small pouch. She opened it for Varik to see. It contained various fake IDs, a couple thousand in credits and a folded holo of a small Duros child. The hole was torn and worn.

    “He may not want it back.”

    “Oh he will,” Lyma said knowingly. She had a feeling about that holo.

    There was a knock at the door. Lyma shot Varik a look, “Remember, just look like your taking it. Once he’s out, we’ll have a look around.”

    “And if he just watches?”

    “Well, that’s what you have your blaster for.”


    **

    Kyra was sitting at the kitchen table the morning after that gala. Her father was cooking her breakfast. Meanwhile, Rayna tried to get any information she could out of her as they listened to the holonews broadcasting from the living room.

    “You are not acting as if you had a good time last night,” Rayna frowned.

    “Oh,” Kyra sighed. “I did. I had a lot of fun. In fact Jesse wants to take me to dinner later this week.”

    “Then why the long face?” Her mother asked.

    “I just feel like something is wrong with Zafii. She disappeared this morning before any of us got up and I just can feel it.”

    “Don’t you worry about her; she can take care of herself.” Rayna reassured.

    “And then some.” Tyon chuckled, as he worked over the stove.

    Kyra sighed; her bond with Zafii had been getting stronger and stronger over the last few weeks since they had been reunited. When Zafii was uncomfortable or sad, Kyra couldn’t help but feeling that way herself, at least somewhere deep down inside.

    “There is a difference between having the ability to take care of yourself and the ability to be happy,” Kyra grumbled while poking at her breakfast.


    **

    Zafii was sitting in the middle of a forest on Naboo, trying to concentrate. Even though there were only peaceful sounds around her, she found it incredibly difficult. She couldn’t get last night out of her head. She had given into her desires, desires she hadn’t realized were there.

    “It was a whim of a desire,” she tried convincing herself. “It meant nothing to either of us.”

    But she knew it was a lie and that fact only made her feel worse. She hated everything about this situation and that emotion only doubled her guilt. It was a vicious cycle of regret and remorse.

    She was trying her best to remember the Jedi Knight she once was but it was difficult while wearing the clothes she had bought in Theed. Something as simple as the attire she wore made her feel out of place and not like a Jedi.

    It was all for not. She couldn’t concentrate on this world; the world which had seen the birth and untimely death of her parents, the world in which she had not only been disloyal to her Jedi edification but to Kyn as well.

    Zafii stood up, a grayish rock in her right hand. She threw it at a tree as hard as she could and missed it completely. She fumed with anger and picked up another rock. This time she threw it and made a concerted effort to guide it with the Force and it hit dead on. The rock dangled for a moment about five meters high up the tree. She had thrown it with such velocity with not only her arm but with the Force that it had nearly wedged in the tree. When the rock fell, it brought a chunk of wood and bark with it.

    Her precision didn’t stifle her anger but she did not throw another rock. Instead, she paced in a circle with her hands on her hips, trying to think, trying not to think.

    “Just because Kyn had some schoolboy crush on me years ago, doesn’t mean that I have to be in love with him.” Zafii tried to tell herself. “It doesn’t mean that I can’t satisfy carnal needs… it’s human nature. A lot of Jedi did it without forming attachments.”

    For all of the convincing, she was not able to talk herself out of feeling guilty. If there was one thing in the galaxy that Zafii valued more than anything thing else, it was loyalty. The galaxy seemed to have none at all anymore, what with the Empire. She did not want to let everything else around her make her sink to a level she would be unhappy with.

    “Perhaps I’m not supposed to be happy. It's not a right that all people get to be happy... Especially for a Jedi Knight.” Zafii said, continuing to talk to herself as she paced. “You are being selfish, Zafii! Worst of all, you are being disloyal…”

    She decided to go deeper into the woods, looking for something, anything that would get the gut-wrenching feeling out of her stomach. After several minutes she stopped, realizing that she should stop self-loathing and go back to the garden and work. She wasn’t helping anyone out here.

    “So, this is where you disappeared to.” Cole’s voice rang, slightly echoing off the trees.

    “What!” Zafii turned; surprised she had not felt the presence of another approach. “You followed me? You’ve been watching me?”

    “Followed yes, watching no.” Cole said. “Not my style.”

    “What do you want?”

    “Okay, you’re mad, I get it.” Cole said, holding up his hands. “I’m sorry if I offended you or you felt forced into anything last night.”

    Zafii laughed but the anger was bleeding through it, “You… force me? You couldn’t make me do anything.”

    “You’re right.” Cole said. “I was just saying…”

    Zafii interrupted him, “As a matter of fact, I could make you do anything I wanted and I wouldn’t have to lift a hand. I could crawl inside your mind with the Force and you would be my slave , if I saw fit.”

    Cole looked stunned. He had never heard Zafii speak this way but he had to admit, his own interaction with her was limited to say the least.

    “I don’t doubt that. I know the things you are capable of. I guess I could technically be under your control right now for all I know.”

    “Don’t patronize me, Cole.” Zafii warned, she began pacing again.

    “Sorry, I was trying to ease the tension. When I’m nervous I make jokes.”

    Zafii looked at him and immediately felt remorse over the horrible things she had just said.

    “I’m sorry,” she said. “It’s not true anyway. I couldn’t do that, at least not for a prolonged period of time. Maybe the dark side is capable of such things but I wouldn’t know.”

    “I know you will never know that then.” Cole nodded, walking closer to her now. “What’s really wrong?”

    Zafii’s face contorted with severe emotional pain, “Everything.”

    Cole nodded and stopped walking when he was close enough to her to make her stop her pacing.

    “I shouldn’t have kissed you,” Cole admitted. “It complicates things.”

    “What do you mean? I kissed you!” Zafii retorted.

    “Really?” Cole said, thinking back. “I was pretty sure I was trying to lure you into the kiss.”

    “I was urging you on with my tone of voice.” Zafii candidly admitted. “So…”

    “So… we kissed each other then.” Cole stated. “Okay, so it happened. It’s over and no one got hurt. No one even knows about it except us. We can put it behind us now.”

    Zafii turned, not wanting to face him. She didn’t want him to see how hurt her face was by his words. She was too ashamed of her feelings or perhaps more perplexed that she could develop these sort of feelings so fast or at all.

    “It’s Kyn, isn’t it?” Cole said. “I feel like I betrayed him as well. I know you two are in love.”

    “No!” Zafii exclaimed, much to Cole’s surprise as he jumped. “I don’t love him, I was never in love with him.”

    Zafii was wiping away the tears and even her back being turned to Cole couldn’t hide that fact.

    “You don’t?” Cole said, even more astonished by this confession.

    “He saved my life,” Zafii said.

    “And you feel like you owe him something?”

    “My loyalty.” Zafii admitted.

    “You saved his kriffin life how many times? I mean, I’m sorry but that’s a pretty deluded way of thinking.”

    Cole once again made an effort to get closer to her. He reached out and touched her left shoulder and she did not flinch. This gave him the encouragement to turn her around to face him. Her eyes were bloodshot red and tears were drying to her face.

    "A relationship doesn't have to, nor should it be based on one person saving the others life. That's not healthy."

    “What would Kyra and your parents think if they knew I didn’t want him? After all this, after everything that has gone unsaid when I’ve had the chance to set things straight.” Zafii asked.

    “They are not the Jedi Council, Zafii. You have sworn no oath to them or to my brother. When Kyn was out running around, nearly getting himself and Kyra killed, you were there for them everytime. You've lost a huge chunk of your life to a coma for them. You owe my family nothing! For Force-sakes, Zafii, you have to do what makes you happy. This galaxy is full of so many things that are awful and terrible and to forsake your own happiness for the happiness of everyone else… what kind of life is that?” Cole said, holding her steady by her upper arms.

    She shook her head and looked away from his gaze. She didn’t want to hear this; she couldn’t handle it right now.

    “That is the life I swore to, Cole.” Zafii said, crying. “That is the life of a Jedi. My happiness doesn’t matter.”

    “Your happiness, doesn’t matter? Doesn’t matter?” Cole repeated her words in disbelief. “The Jedi Order is dead, Zafii. The Empire murdered them all. Darth Vader destroyed them and whatever ones are still out there, he will get them too. If you aren’t careful, we’ll all be next. If there was ever a time to stop being a Jedi, it’s now. You are so brilliant and wonderful but you can’t change the entire galaxy. Not even killing yourself from using the Force can turn back time!”

    As much as she hated to admit it, his words rang true. Why should she carry on the ways of the Jedi? Perhaps if she had been given some sort of instruction on how to carry on but she was in no position to receive such orders. Going out into the galaxy to search for any living Jedi would not only put her and the ones she searched for at risk but Kyra and her family as well.

    “Kyn asked you once before to give up the Jedi way for him.” Cole said, looking deep into her crystal-like green eyes, noticing the tiny specs of black in them.

    She looked back into his dark brown eyes, transfixed on his words.

    “Now I am asking you to give up the Jedi way.” Cole said in most serious tone.

    “For you?” she whispered.

    Cole shook his head and his somber stare remained etched on his face.

    “No, Zafii.” Cole’s head was shaking, his lips pursed so tightly to hold back from showing more emotion. “For you!”

    She reached down as he watched and grabbed the lightsaber that hung from her black pants. Without even a last look at the weapon, she tossed it on the ground. Her eyes never left Cole’s. She had no interest in where it landed. No one would find it out here in the middle of the forest.

    Zafii stood on her toes to reach Cole’s lips and she kissed him once again. This time it was not of raw passion but a simple thank you kiss. It was obvious by Cole’s expression he didn’t know how to process this new information. So for clarification purposes, she kissed again, this time longer and more passionately.

    He wiped the tears from her eyes and moved her black, matted hair away from her cheek as the kiss broke.

    “I think we should wait before we tell the others.” Zafii whispered.

    “Kissing and keeping secrets?” Cole chuckled. “You are good at this ‘not being a Jedi’ thing.”

    They shared a small laugh before making their way out of the forest and back towards home.
     
  8. darksideyesplease

    darksideyesplease Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 12, 2005
    Chapter 6


    The weeks began to pass and the efforts of the Fuller’s plus Zafii in the garden were beginning to show. It wouldn't be much longer before they could go to market. It was a good thing too, funds were dwindling fast.

    This particular day saw Kyra working with Rayna on one side of the garden and Zafii and Cole on the other side. They were just far enough away from each other that they couldn't overhear the conversations. Tyon meanwhile had gone into town using the old speeder to buy supplies.

    Suddenly Kyra felt a searing pain in her finger. Her mother had accidently hit it with a gardening tool. It had been just as much Kyra’s fault as Rayna’s as the young girl hadn't been paying attention.

    “Your mind someplace else, is it?” Rayna asked, tending to her daughter’s bleeding, dirty finger.

    “I guess,” Kyra answered.

    “On Jesse?” Rayna asked, as she wiped it clean with a rag.

    Kyra did not answer but only turned her head to look at Zafii and Cole on the other side of the garden. You could hardly call it work when two people were laughing that much.

    “Let’s go inside to make sure this doesn't get infected.” Rayna said, tugging at her daughter’s hand.

    She followed her mother into the house but did not say a word the entire time. There was a saved message from Jesse Kaldo when they walked back in but Kyra didn't really show any interest when he told her he wanted to see her.

    “What is it?” Rayna asked. “Something has been bothering you lately and I want to know what it is.”

    Kyra shook her head, obviously something on her mind but she couldn't be bothered to say it out loud.

    “Kyra…” Rayna prodded.

    “Fine,” Kyra blurted. “Do you think there is something going on between Cole and Zafii?”

    Rayna was a little surprised at the question, “I uh… what gave you that idea?”

    “All of a sudden they are best friends the last couple of weeks. As far as I can recall they had never spoken to each other before this whole fiasco.” Kyra explained.

    “Maybe they are best friends, who knows? Are you jealous?”

    “Well,” Kyra had to think about this. “No, of course not.”

    How childish of her would it have been to admit, yes? Zafii was her childhood hero. The Force bond was with her yet her brothers always seemed to steal Zafii’s attention. Kyra had always dreamed of Zafii being her best friend, secretly teaching her the ways of the Force. All of her friends in school were a bore. They were either into their looks or boys looks or at least that’s all they ever seemed to talk about. She never had anyone to talk about art, theology or any of the many other interests she had. It was circumstance that had stuck her on Coruscant, Alderaan, and now Naboo. Perhaps that was why she had taken a liking to Jesse Kaldo so quickly. Of course he was handsome and wealthy but she saw past all that. He, like her was a hopeless romantic. The idea of heroes and villains and adventures as far as the eye could see.

    “What does everyone see in her?” Kyra asked.

    Her tone was slightly bitter but not hateful.

    “I think the same thing you do,” Rayna said, as she finished bandaging her finger.

    “Have you noticed that they won’t talk about finding Kyn? It’s like they have just forgotten.”

    Rayna avoided Kyra’s gaze and went to get a glass of water.

    “Oh no, I told you now you have to tell me.” Kyra said, following her mother.

    “It’s just,” Rayna began. “Kyn left all of us, all those years ago. He didn't bother to tell us or get a hold of us afterwards…”

    “Are you saying you don’t want to see your own son?” Kyra was shocked. “What if I had to go on the run, would you not want to see me?”

    Rayna looked hurt by the words and Kyra knew she would when she said it.

    “Of course, you are my baby. But it’s not what Kyn did. I’m glad he saved Zafii but it’s the way he went about everything. A simple note would have sufficed. He never even attempted to contact us afterwards. I suppose you can look at what he did for Zafii as heroic, but perhaps there was quite a bit of selfishness in his actions, as well.”

    “Does father feel this way as well?”

    Rayna sighed, taking a long drink but as she did, no liquid seemed to be leaving the glass.

    “More so,” she finally said. “He always felt like Kyn was an underachiever. He loved him and wanted the best for him, don’t get me wrong. He wanted him to be more like Cole.”

    “Apparently he’s not the only one.” Kyra shot back, in reference to Zafii’s apparent feelings.

    “Can I ask you something?”

    The two of them walked back to the small dining room area and sat down. Rayna seemed to be bracing herself for some galaxy shattering announcement.

    “You seem to want Kyn and Zafii to be together. Why?”

    Again, the hopeless romantic in her came out. “I knew he loved her from the beginning. When I was nine years old I could see it in his eyes and I would tease him mercilessly. As much as I wanted Zafii to be my best friend, he could have retorted and teased back but he never did. I don’t think he had the stomach to talk about her.”

    Rayna nodded, “I understand it was something you saw as a child and of course our fondest memories are from childhood, would you not agree?”

    “I suppose.”

    “Say they would have been an item when we first arrived on Coruscant. Say Zafii did all those things that Kyn asked her to do. Is it possible that you thought that if she was with Kyn that would mean she would also be with you?”

    Kyra had not really thought about it from this perspective before. Perhaps that was why she had always been so fond of the idea. Zafii being around for all of the family get-togethers and spending quality time with her.

    “It’s obvious you and Zafii care for each other. I think the feeling is mutual between all of us.” Rayna continued. “All those things you hoped for as a child, at least the reason you hoped for them are here now.”

    “I suppose your right, as usual.” Kyra smirked.

    “Kyra, my dear you have always had one trait in common with your brother, Kyn.” Rayna said, standing from her chair.

    “Yeah?” Kyra asked curiously.

    “Don’t be mad when I say it but it’s something we should have told Kyn a long time ago.”

    “You think I’m selfish?” Kyra angrily said, standing herself.

    “Maybe not to the degree that Kyn was but sometimes you seem almost unconsciously selfish. I know you don’t mean it but just look inside yourself and reflect on the conversation we just had.”

    With that, Rayna left Kyra standing in the kitchen pondering quite a few things.


    Eventually day turned to dusk and dusk to nightfall. The stars and planets were in full view on this night as there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Kyra had desperately wanted to apologize all day to someone but she didn't know to whom. Her mother had made her reflect on a lot of things, perhaps some that were not even intended. Nonetheless, Kyra had spent the majority of the day mentally beating herself up.

    “Perhaps I should just clear the air with Zafii,” Kyra thought.

    She didn't have to look far. Out past the gardens in a field that Kyra was sure didn't belong to Zafii stood two figures: Cole and Zafii.

    Kyra made the short walk out to them, passing R7 who was still watering the plants in the garden. He had a hose hooked into this back of his metal body with some sort of contraption that Cole had rigged.

    “Hi, R7.”

    He whistled back and it made her smile for the first time in hours. It was obvious that the two hadn’t planned on being disturbed and they both straightened up and faced her as she approached. It was a little awkward to say the least.

    “What are you two up to?” Kyra asked, her tone surprisingly upbeat.

    “I need something to drink,” Cole responded, leaving them alone before he had to answer anything more difficult.

    “Do you want to take a walk down the river, Zafii?” Kyra asked.

    Zafii nodded and the two women set out on their nighttime stroll. Kyra wore a green day dress and Zafii simple blue robes. They arrived at the river without either of them saying anything.

    “That day,” Kyra finally said, as they watched the moonlight sparkle off the water. “In the salon I asked you something really personal about Kyn.”

    Kyra watched for Zafii’s response and wasn't surprised when she couldn't gauge it.

    “I just wanted to say I’m sorry. I probably made you feel really uncomfortable and the honest truth is we didn’t know each other very well. You knew a kid and now here I stand a totally different person. I guess even now we don’t know each other.”

    Zafii smiled but kept her eyes on the water, “You don’t have to apologize.”

    “But I needed to.”

    “Thank you.” Zafii said.

    “I don’t want you to feel that I’m putting some sort of weird pressure on you to go out and find my brother so you can shack up with him and pop out a few kids.” Kyra said, half joking.

    Zafii chuckled. “Thanks for the support.”

    Kyra sat down at the bank of the river and slipped her shoes off. She let the bottom of her feet touch the cool water. Zafii joined her but apparently did not feel like getting wet.

    “I know you,” Zafii said out of nowhere.

    “What?”

    “You said we don’t know each other but we do.” Zafii explained. “I think the Force bond did a lot more than just let me know when you were in danger. I could often feel your emotions, whether they were happy, sad, angry. I must admit it was a little distracting at times.”

    “Maybe that’s what I have felt in the past. Sometimes I would be happy but somehow sad at the same time. Like I knew things weren’t so good other places.” Kyra offered.

    Zafii nodded and more silence interrupted their conversation.

    “I don’t love him,” Zafii said.

    “Kyn?”

    “Well yeah, that too. But I know you wanted to ask about Cole.”

    “Force bond?” Kyra asked.

    “Girl bond,” Zafii smiled.

    Kyra didn't know how to respond to this. The two had been awfully chummy with each other the last few weeks.

    “I like him.” Zafii admitted. “I think... I like him... This is all really new to me. I'm still conflicted but maybe, excited too?”

    At this point she didn’t know if Zafii was reading her mind or just rambling but she felt uncomfortable remaining silent. She didn't want Zafii to think she wasn't interested in having this conversation.

    “It’s a nice feeling,” Kyra admitted. “I like Jesse.”

    “Well we can be sure of one thing,” Zafii laughed. “Cole certainly does not.”

    “I guess he’s in the same boat I am then.” Kyra replied.

    “How so?”

    “Can’t really do anything about it. So, have we officially given up the search for Kyn, then?”

    “I… I mean if he’s out there somewhere he might be better off without us coming to bother him. I’ve been enough hassle on him.” Zafii answered.

    She was sure that Zafii was wrong. Kyn would not have thought of going to Bakura to visit her to be a hassle but she didn’t bother to argue the point.

    “I guess he could be married somewhere with a family by now.” Kyra nodded, looking up into the stars.

    “Sneaking out of the house every few months to go see another woman,” Zafii joked.

    Kyra laughed out loud at this. It was perhaps the first joke that Zafii had ever told that she thought was funny.

    “I suppose if he ever found out about you and Cole that he would blow a gasket.”

    “Who said there was Cole and I?” Zafii said, eyebrow raised.

    “Well,” Kyra said, backtracking. “You said you liked him and you two are always talking and having such a good time. I just assumed.”

    Kyra did not wonder why Zafii didn't bother to respond to this. She knew that she wasn't a very good liar.

    “There was one thing I wanted to ask you,” Kyra said. “I wanted to know if you could teach me more about the Force? Perhaps how to use it if we ever needed…”

    “No,” Zafii interrupted, standing up.

    “No?” Kyra said, slipping her wet feet back into her shoes and running to follow her. “Why not?”

    “I not a teacher,” Zafii said.

    “You attained the rank of Jedi Knight which means you have the choice to take on a padawan learner. I know that much.”

    “Choice is the keyword there, Kyra.” Zafii said, her tone almost angry.

    “I just wanted to talk about the Force, that’s all.” Kyra pleaded.


    Zafii stopped and turned to face her. The kindness that Kyra had always loved in Zafii was once again beaming radiantly from her face. It was odd for Kyra to now be taller than Zafii, if only by a small margin.

    “I can’t control the Force anymore. I don’t know if it’s the associated illness or if it has something to do with the Jedi Order but ever since that day on Alderaan my sensitivity is degenerating. When I was younger I would not forsake the Jedi, even for my own health. Cole helped me see that it is okay to be a little selfish sometimes. If doing for others all the time, trying to save the galaxy is going to hinder your own happiness then what good is it?” Zafii explained to her.

    Kyra shook her head, “That doesn't sound like something the Jedi I met all those years ago leaving Ennth would say.”

    “That girl,” Zafii emphasized girl instead of Jedi. “Was naïve and believed she could change the entire galaxy single-handedly. I think a lot of Jedi thought that secretly and that was not the Jedi way. I suppose over the millenia, the message gets harder to pass down correctly. All I know is anytime I have had to exert my full potential in the Force, I've wound up passing out. Last time I slipped away could have very easily been the end of my life. ”

    She had no response for Zafii. There was nothing she could say. Again to ask Zafii to go back to her Jedi ways would be selfish, wouldn't it? It would satisfy Kyra but make Zafii unhappy, something she had spent all day contemplating in her mind.

    “You changed me all those years ago. You were my hero. If they had made holo posters of you like they did for musicians and sports players, you would have been on my walls as a little girl.” Kyra said sadly.

    “I’m sorry.”

    “You have nothing to apologize for.” Kyra mimicked from earlier.

    With that, quietness engulfed the air around them as the night started to turn cold. They began to walk back towards the small house.

    "Did the Jedi ever figure out why you had the spells?"

    Zafii looked straight forward as she walked, "If they did, they didn't tell me. Master Tine believed it might have something to do with the midichlorians in my cells expanding beyond the capacity that my body could handle."

    Kyra shrugged, "That sounds reasonable I guess, from a scientific point of view. Although I'm certainly no expert. Although I have wondered ever since you discovered we have this bond between us... we were born worlds and years apart from each other. Yet we still somehow share this connection. Hypothetically, if I did learn how to control the Force, would I be at risk for the same condition as you?"

    Zafii shook her head as they walked past R7. "R7, that's enough, let's get you some power."

    They got to the door and as they began to walk inside and simultaneously they both said, "I guess we'll never know."


    **

    -Nar Shaddaa-


    Varik and Lyma walked around the small room denoted, 47. Lyma seemed like she knew what she was looking for, Varik on the other hand just pretended to know. Being in a room that had no doubt seen some of the slimiest, illicit deals in all of the galaxy, even a second seemed like an eternity waiting around.

    Of course spice was run out of these rooms and even taken in large amounts by the dealers and buyers. It was the other things that had possibly transpired in this room that made Varik want to vomit. He looked at a small couch in the corner and wondered how many young slave girls had been tested by their new, grotesque masters. His teeth gritted when he thought of his loved ones and the notion that something like that could ever happen to them.

    "Lyma, this is one room out of fifty in this place. This is one place out of a billion. Do you really think there is a clue in here? Or this spice dealer knows anything?" Varik said, pulling out a small device to check the time.

    Lyma didn't answer, she was now on her knees in the corner, running her hands on the walls to check for Varik didn't know what.

    "It's been fifteen minutes. Apparently this guy found a lucky lady and headed out and forgot about our deal... or he's found a blaster bolt in his head by some young punk down there." Varik chimed back in, putting the device back in his vest pocket.

    As he finished the sentence, the durasteel door shot open and four storm troopers filed in, followed by a decorated Imperial officer.

    "The latter," he noted, as he neatly stepped into room 47.

    The Imperial officer held his arms tucked behind his back as he walked around the room, yet to make eye contact with Lyma or Varik. The music and chatter in the club was eerily gone. All that was left was lingering smoke and the hypnotic lights shining in every so often from the dance floor.

    Varik walked over to Lyma and pulled her up by the arm before they both raised their hands in surrender.

    "Want to tell me what this is all about?" Varik asked.

    "You sent out a transmission earlier today." The officer noted.

    Varik's face contorted as if he was saying 'so-what'. "I send a lot of transmissions... Mr. Imperial guy."

    "The name is Moff Tarkin. And yes, I'm sure someone in your line of business makes many, upon many transmissions. Varying degree's of illegality for each, if I'm not wrong."

    "I wasn't aware I had done anything that would warrant a Moff to come personally pick me up."

    Tarkin nodded, "Indeed. The transmission I'm concerned about wouldn't even seem illegal. But at 16:00 hours you attempted to contact a newly restricted Imperial building on a newly restricted Imperial system."

    "Well, you see. I didn't even know I was breaking the law." Varik laughed. He lowered his hands and acted as if he was going to walk out of the room.

    The blasters held by the four troops hummed with violence, ready to shoot.

    "I hope for your sake, you are the man we are looking for." Tarkin motioned for him to step out of the room.

    He eyed the troops for a moment before walking past them and joining Tarkin on the upper-loft of the club, over looking the dance floor.

    Varik's stomach turned as he saw hundreds dead, scattered across the club. At the bars, in the booths, and on the dance floor. Everyone that had been in the club just moments before was now dead... Except for the other 50 storm troopers that were down stairs, kicking limbs out of their way so they could walk.

    "If you are not the man we are looking for, then I'm afraid you two will end up very much like your peers." Tarkin noted.

    With that, Varik was hit in the back of the head with a blaster and fell to his knees. Unexpectedly, it did not knock him unconscious.

    "Just stun him," Tarkin sighed. "Her as well, then bring them to my ship."
     
  9. Kahara

    Kahara FFoF Hostess Extraordinaire star 4 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Chapter 1:


    He was short and thin. His cheeks were hollow and his black, peppered hair was slicked back. Perhaps he used Hutt slime to comb it. He was squinting, looking at Kerr Antilles from a distance.
    “Tarkin…” Antilles grumbled. “That bastard… here…”

    I see they’ve met before.



    “There,” Kerr hesitated. “There was a disturbance. That’s all I’m at liberty to say at the moment.”

    Tarkin turned sharply to face Kerr, his hands folded neatly behind his back. “I think you will find that your liberty is at an end.”

    No kidding…



    I liked seeing Vader play Holmes with the evidence. He’s not easily fooled.



    Without a word Vader grabbed him by the back of the neck and threw him 5 meters through the air.

    Wonder if the trooper’s insurance covers that. Probably not.



    “I don’t understand how he could have gotten so much money.” Rayna shook her head.

    “I hate to say it but he is probably doing something at least slightly illegal.” Kyra noted.

    You think, Kyra? :p



    “Yes, I suppose.” Zafii nodded. “When we get there I will need find some new clothes. All I have are these old Jedi things and patient robes. I don’t think it would be wise to wear either out in public.”

    “The latter would be amusing,” Cole pointed out with a chuckle.

    Jedi Traitor identified after being arrested for public indecency! News at ten!



    He used the Force to jump onto the wing of the ship, not bothering to climb the ladder that was still hanging down. He hopped into the pilot’s seat and turned on the navicomputer. He searched through the previous records; there weren’t many.

    “Ah,” Vader spoke with a menacing amusement in his voice. “Bakura…”

    Sigh. This is why you clear your history when you’re a fugitive, Zafii. [face_shame_on_you]
     
  10. darksideyesplease

    darksideyesplease Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 12, 2005
    Note: Thank you Kahara for your continuing in depth help with this story.

    Chapter 7

    The sun radiated down onto the streets of Theed, officially the hottest day in twenty years on the planet in some parts. In between vague reports on what was going on around the galaxy, the holonews would come back to harping about the weather.

    "It's a regular Tatoonie out there." One news anchor had joked.

    Kyra fumbled with the small remote that controlled the old holoset and turned it off, tired of listening to the same thing, over and over again. She paced around the sitting room, obviously impatience was getting the better of her.

    "Come on!" Kyra nagged. "Someone drive me into Theed so I can meet Jesse. He is going to buy me a new dress for the wedding."

    "Wedding!" Cole shouted, as he pounded on the air conditioner.

    The air conditioner worked but apparently not enough for Cole's liking. After cleaning the filter and hot-wiring the the insides to try to produce more power, he was growing as frustrated as Kyra was about meeting Jesse Kaldo.

    Kyra rolled her eyes as if she were still a young teenager. Now twenty-two years old, she still had several lapses in maturity. She would drive herself but the old speeder Zafii had acquired was unstable and took a lot of practice to learn how to handle it effectively.

    "Not my wedding, you nikto face! Jesse has invited me to be his date at his first cousin's wedding next month and he's been dying to buy me something magnificent." Kyra explained.

    Zafii was sitting in the recliner that Cole usually used as a bed and was watching him work on the air conditioner. "Cole, it's plenty cool enough in here. It's working as hard as it can."

    "Can't R7 do something?" Cole pleaded. "I'm used to being in space. Used to being cold. This is intolerable. I thought Naboo was supposed to be a paradise."

    "Go jump into a waterfall!" Kyra pouted.

    Zafii chuckled at his frustration, which was very much out of character for her. It was obvious since leaving her lightsaber in the forest and accepting Cole as a companion, she had undergone some changes. Even being closer to 30 than 20 years of age, she had lost ten years of her life to a coma. In many ways she was the same age of Kyra now. Everyone in the house, including R7 could see a transformation happening slowly, every day.

    "Don't you think Jesse is moving a little fast?" Zafii asked.

    "WHAT?" Kyra yelled in somewhat mock anger.

    It was obvious that Kyra didn't think Zafii or Cole of all people should have the right to say she is moving too fast, especially since they had become so chummy as of late and hadn't really known each other for very long.

    "We've only been here a little over a two months now. The way he introduced himself was very suspicious." Zafii noted.

    Jesse's initial approach to Kyra could be seen as a somewhat standard social interaction of introducing one's self to a lady in some cultures. But the fact that he seemed so noble and obviously came from money did make it seem a little suspicious that he would invite a complete stranger to a gala as high class as the one they did end up attending several weeks prior.

    Kyra shook her head, "Cole has been in your ear. I'm not giving you two a hard time. Someone just take me in the speeder to town, you know I can't operate the blasted thing."

    Cole stood up, finally giving up on the air conditioner. "Fine, but after I'm going for a swim in the river spring. That will hit the spot."

    Rayna and Tyon had wandered off on foot for a hike earlier in the morning, so Cole, Zafii, and Kyra loaded up some water in the speeder and of course, R7, and took off towards Theed. Cole preferred to park on the outskirts, as Theed had a lot of wealthy people, wearing fancy clothes, driving fancy speeders. Not everyone was wealthy but he just didn't want to draw attention to their old, rusted piece of junk.

    At the gate waiting like a puppy for Kyra was Jesse Kaldo. He was waiving the four of them down for a 50 meters away.

    "Yeah," Cole haphazardly waved back. "We see ya, pal."

    Kyra elbowed Cole in the ribs. "Be nice and give him an actual chance."

    The five of them, including R7, then set off into the city and headed towards the shopping district.

    Zafii had not been able to completely tune the Force out. There wasn't really a way to quit cold turkey. She could still sense many things around her. Her hearing was well above average, often times hearing through walls when others could not. She also had always been good at reading the emotions of others and somewhat tempering them if need be. In fact, she could make a room full of people stand still and walk about them if she tried hard enough.

    She could sense Cole's apprehension. Zafii could only assume he was contemplating whether to reach out and hold her hand as they walked down the streets of Theed. Was it his unfamiliarity of the customs of Naboo and whether it would make them stand out? Or was he still unsure on how close his relationship with Zafii really was? Of course they had shared a hand full of kisses now and had talked into the night on several occasions.

    It was odd that Cole would not know how to approach her though. Zafii knew all to well that he had several girlfriends in the past. Of course she knew this because like anyone in a new relationship, she had asked and she knew he had been open and honest with her.

    Of course for Zafii's part there wasn't much to tell. Besides the fact that a young man once had a crush on her and asked her to stop being a Jedi so that they could presumably run off and be together. Cole knew that story all too well though, so there wasn't a reason for her to ever bring it up.

    Kyn had been a sore subject for everyone in the house for a while. Now he was simply not a subject of conversation at all.

    "So the color scheme of the wedding is going to be a royal blue and off white." Jesse began to explain to Kyra.

    Cole and Zafii trailed several feet behind and he leaned into her ear. For a wild second, Zafii had thought he was going to kiss her somewhere besides the lips. That was not something they had ventured yet. Instead he whispered.

    "He's really into this wedding stuff." Cole chuckled.

    "Everybody needs a hobby." Zafii smiled.

    Cole noticed how young Zafii's skin looked, and was memorized by what he thought was true beauty. She was nearing 30 standard years, which for a human is of course not old, but her facial features and even the way her body was shaped resembled a much younger woman.

    The Force certainly is what had always given Zafii her superhuman strength, because her arms were very thin. If she flexed her bicep, there might not be a noticeable difference. Her legs were very long for her body, considering she was only slightly above the average height for a human female at 168cm.

    Being a Jedi her entire life, trying to look attractive for herself or anyone else was not a concern or even a thought. Now she wore clothes that allowed the sun to darken her skin a bit. She still had not taken to the concept of make-up but Cole obviously didn't think she needed it.

    What had really seemed to turn Cole's head was the first day Zafii and Kyra had come back from Theed and she looked like a completely new person. Her hair was stylishly uneven from the left to the right side. The left side being several inches longer. Also going from the sandy blonde hair to complete jet-black had been the icing on the cake for Cole's attraction to her, at least from a physical standpoint.

    Suddenly the five of them stopped. Jesse had brought the party to a halt as he scoffed at some workers and droids who were remodeling a building. A large neon red sign, barely illuminated from the overhead sun's rays read:

    CESH'S CANTINA!

    A banner underneath read:

    OPENING NEXT WEEK!

    "Can you believe they are putting this dive here?" Jesse frowned. "Theed used to have standards... It's that damn Empire I tell you. The morals and standards of the entire galaxy are suffering now. The local government would have never let this happen before, I tell you!"

    "Does the Empire have a lot of influence here? I was to understand they hadn't bothered Naboo as much as other systems." Zafii asked.

    Jesse sighed, "Well you won't see any storm troopers parading up and down the streets, will you? No, they aren't that bad here. They are some places... a lot of places, mind you. But of course they have their hand in the government. Regional governors have just recently been put into place. They don't have final say, but they may as well have!"

    "So how much of Naboo and its government are Republic sympathizers?" Zafii asked.

    Jesse put a finger to his lips to tell her to be quiet, "Not here, you never know who is listening. Even the conversational topic could be considered treason."

    Cole had noticed a scrolling holo message in the window that said: NOW HIRING ALL STAFF.

    "You guys go on ahead, I'll catch up." Cole said.

    Zafii didn't walk with them but she told R7 to follow Kyra and Jesse so that they trace their coordinates and meet back with them later. She followed Cole into the up and coming establishment.

    "Hello there," a seedy looking, middle aged man called out. "I'm Cesh, can I help you with something."

    Cole nodded, pointing to the hiring notice. "I saw the sign out front."

    "What kind of position are you looking for? Because a big, strapping guy like you... Haven't seen many of your cut here on Naboo. Definitely going to need a bouncer in this place."

    "What are you doing?" Zafii whispered.

    "Hey, we could use some extra money." Cole shrugged. "And it's a nightclub. You can't do much farming at night."

    The man stepped closer, now noticing Zafii and her small frame and the sexy cut of her jet-black hair.

    "And what have we here? You'd be just about perfect for any position," he inferred.

    Cole's jaw clenched but he knew being macho and defending Zafii's honor in that way would only anger her and potentially cost him a job.

    "Is that right?" Zafii's asked, with a raised eyebrow.

    "Not your natural hair color, your eyebrows are still blonde." The man noted, getting close enough to smell her.

    Zafii made a mental note of that. If this low life spotted her 'disguise' that easily, an Imperial looking for her would do the same, only faster. Her attire was a bit more revealing today, thanks to the heat. Her skirt only came just above her knee and her shirt was small and tight. The man prodded her with his finger and lifted her shirt to see her belly. She pulled away, knocking his hand back.

    "Excuse me..."

    "Flat belly, you'd make some tips in here."

    "Just what kind of an establishment is this?" Cole spoke up, trying to change the subject.

    "We will have sports over there on the holo," the man pointed out. "Over here we will have dancing and dancers. We will serve drinks, food, have live bands, gambling. We are going to do it all here."

    "Well, I'm interested in a job. So if you want to see what I'm made of..." Cole insisted, wanting him to stop drooling over Zafii.

    "Yeah, I think we could work something out. But I'd like to get you both as a package deal. She can dance..."

    Zafii laughed, "I'm not dancing."

    "Serve drinks then. I heard you say you guys needed money. Young couple like you, starting out. I know how it is. We'll have no competition and no matter what the citiziens tell you during the day, this place will be thriving at night. Theed has never seen anything like this. They all have their fancy parties and galas. All that uptight stuff. But sometimes people just need to let loose."

    "Why don't you just take on Cole here and we will pretend I at least thought about your offer." Zafii said.

    **

    Jesse Kaldo sat in a chair in a swanky robes shop in the middle of Theed's shopping district. Kyra had already tried on several dresses but hadn't liked any of them so far. Unlike most stereotypical men, he did not seem to grow tired of Kyra's exhausting shopping habits.

    "How about this one?" she asked.

    Kyra was wearing one of the most expensive gowns in the entire shop. She had been hesitant to try it at first, not wanting to seem as though she was only interested in Jesse for his money. It was a dark blue, darker than the blue Jesse had described earlier. The bride's party would be wearing that color and she didn't want to be confused for one of them. It was long and elegant and it had small, clear jewels that were only big enough so that it made the dress shine in the light.

    "It's lovely." Jesse sincerely noted.

    "I don't know..." Kyra sighed. "You have said that about them all."

    Jesse shrugged and walked over to her. "Perhaps it is you then, Mi'lady. Maybe you make all of these dresses look magnificent."

    Kyra blushed, turning away from Jesse's stare. "You're just saying that."

    He grabbed gently by the hips and pulled her close to him. Finally she looked at him, their eyes meeting. He nuzzled her nose with his.

    "Why would I 'just' say that? I have no reason to lie to you."

    "You are just smitten with me, that's why you are saying it." Kyra noted.

    "Think about that for a second." Jesse laughed. "Would the fact that you are so magnificent have anything to do with why I am smitten?"

    Kyra shrugged, not knowing what to say now. She had been on a few dates when she was a teenager on Coruscant. She even had a boyfriend for half a standard year. But Jesse Kaldo's charm, coupled with his fancy lifestyle was something she wasn't quite used to.

    "I hate to say it, she is my cousin after all, but at the wedding the most beautiful woman won't be the bride. You are going to steal the show no matter what dress you pick out."

    "Stop," Kyra laughed.

    Before she could stop laughing, Jesse had kissed her. Just a short, small peck on the lips. He looked into her eyes for reassurance that what he had just done was okay. She nodded and they kissed again, this time longer.

    "Oh, I'm sorry." A protocol droid who worked in the shop said. "Did not mean to interrupt."

    They broke their embrace and stepped away from each other embarrassed.

    "Have you found anything you like?"

    Kyra, remembering the kiss, said, "Yes I think I'll take this dress."

    **

    Varik and Lyma were both cuffed and once again conscious aboard a transport ship, heading to Moff Tarkin's personal Star Destroyer.

    "What do they want?" Lyma whispered.

    "Your guess is as good as mine." Varik shrugged.

    "We had a good run," Lyma swallowed hard. "I think we would have found her too. I just needed more time."

    Varik glanced at her and saw the tears beginning to fill her eyes. He had never seen Lyma cry before. He had never seen her so vulnerable. She was giving up.

    "Hey!" Varik nudged her with his shoulder. "This isn't the end."

    "Okay," she said, as she hung her head and frowned.

    "Think about it. If they wanted us dead, they would have killed us with the rest of those poor saps." Varik reminded her.

    "Once they have what they want from us, we are dead. You and I have seen more than most, what this new Empire is capable of. The Clone Wars may have ended but there is still a war going on out there. As long as there is war, there will be death."

    "As long as there is life, there will be death." Varik commented.

    The ship began to slow and they both felt the familiar pull of a tractor beam guiding them in. When they felt the thud of landing, Lyma looked at Varik.

    "For luck?"

    They both leaned in and kissed each other, as they broke their embrace, Varik let his face slide against one of her lekku.

    --

    Two storm troopers escorted Varik off the transport and onto the Star Destroyer to a secluded room. He had been separated from Lyma, as she had been taken in an opposite direction once they had been brought aboard.

    He was surprised when the troops un-cuffed him and shoved him into a large conference room. There was an elongated, yet somehow oval table in the center of the room. There was some fruit in a bowl in the middle of the table. Varik found this all very curious.

    First a Moff leads fifty storm troopers into a crowded club, kills everyone in the club except Lyma and himself, and arrests them. Now he finds himself in a room he can't escape from, un-cuffed, but they have given him large, ripe fruit from across the galaxy.

    "Wow, the Empire sure knows how to treat a guy." He said to himself.

    A few moments later the durasteel door shot open again and a single, dark figure entered the room. The first thing Varik noticed was what he was hearing. The deep breathing that sounded like something out of a nightmare.

    "Hey!" Varik pointed. "I know you. Holy bontha fodder, I don't have a piece of parchment. I really want an autograph."

    Darth Vader in one short year was perhaps the most prominent figure on the holo. He was more famous than any holo-vid star or athlete. Only seen as the Emperor's bodyguard to many, he was even more infamous than the man who ruled over the galaxy.Vader did not speak but rounded the room and stood on the other side of the table as Varik.

    "And I know you," the brooding voice said.

    "I didn't break your sisters heart or anything, did I? Because if that's what this is about, I must say..."

    "Silence!" Vader's voice boomed.

    Varik shrugged and walked over to the fruit bowl and picked out a ripe, red piece that resembled a plum.

    "What village did you guys burn down to get this fruit anyway?"

    "Don't push your luck, Varik Fury." Vader's finger pointed at him, menacingly. "You and your partner were brought here because we want you to track something down for us."

    Varik twirled a swiveling chair and plopped down in it before it had stopped spinning. In one movement he had his feet up on the table and took a large bite out of the piece of fruit. Some of the juice dribbled down his chin but he didn't acknowledge it.

    "You've come to the right man." He said with his mouth full. "Tracking stuff down, stealing stuff... Yeah, I've gotten pretty good at it over the years."

    Vader stared, perhaps he was amazed at the man's bravado. He was older than Vader, yet that wasn't saying much. Only a little over a year ago, Vader had that same sort of confidence and wasn't half machine.

    "Yes, you are so adept at stealing that even before you were legally an adult you were able to forge a plan, hire the people to pull off said plan, and you yourself walked right into the Jedi Temple and stole a half dead Jedi Knight."

    Varik was now the one who was speechless. He shot up out of the chair and and stood. His hands pounded the table and he wasn't going to back down from the big, bad man in the black suit.

    "You tracked me down because I tried to call Bakura."

    Vader stood still, letting him figure it out. Images of Zafii in a coma, being brutally murdered by Imperial scum flashed through Varik's mind.

    "What have you done with, Zafii! How did you find her! She was out of the Jedi's reach! She was out of YOUR reach!"

    "Nothing is out of reach for the Sith!" Vader informed him. "But I have done nothing with her. She is an outlaw of the Empire and we want you to track her down and bring her to us."

    Varik, now revealed as Kyn Fuller, shook his head. "Why... why do you think I would cooperate."

    Vader pressed a button on the table and a holo-image of Lyma in another room popped up. She was unaware she was being watched.

    "Who's that she's talking to?!" Kyn demanded.

    "Her sister. We have located her and have guaranteed her release to Lyma once the Jedi is in our custody."

    Kyn watched as the Twi'lek, his lover, talked with her long lost sister via holo communication. He sunk to his knees, thinking of all of the ramifications.

    "Zafii... she's awake?"

    Vader nodded, "Yes. She brutally murdered several Imperial troops."

    "Just how they murdered hundreds of innocent people in that club tonight." Kyn shot back.

    "Can you truthfully say any of those people were innocent? Spice addicts... wife and children beaters... rapists... murderers themselves in some cases."

    "I can't..."

    Vader rounded the table and walked close to Kyn. "Do you love the Twi'lek?"

    "LYMA!" Kyn yelled.

    "Do you love, Lyma?"

    Kyn's throat was dry, he couldn't answer. He knew what he wanted to say but his voice was lost to him as he saw how happy Lyma was.

    "But you love the Jedi as well. A love she never reciprocated. A love she wasn't allowed to reciprocate." Vader seemed to sympathize. "I was a Jedi Master. I know all too much how the Jedi Council perverted her mind into their dogmatic way of thinking."

    Vader told a half truth, of course he was never promoted to the rank of Master. But in his warped mind he was on the Council when the Jedi dissolved, so that gave him just as much right as any to claim the former title of Jedi Master.

    Of course no one except the Emperor himself and two Jedi who were worlds away knew that Vader was once a Jedi. This wasn't something that would ever be public knowledge. But Vader, feeling the need to coax Kyn into this, decided for a moment of honesty.

    Kyn only could stare at the holo. Every scenario played out in his mind on how this could end. Surely Vader and the Empire would destroy Zafii, just the way they destroyed the rest of her brethren.

    "We will not kill the Jedi, but she is an outlaw to the galaxy. Track her down, lead her into our grasp and Lyma and her sister will be reunited. The Empire will buy her freedom. You can run off to the most luxurious planet in the galaxy with them and you and Lyma can live a life free of smuggling and danger." Vader enticed.

    Kyn had dreamed of living somewhere with Zafii, somewhere nobody could ever find them. No one could bother them. They could make love on the beaches of the make believe planet in his head and then go inside and share a romantic dinner and fall asleep in front of a roaring fire.

    He never had to fantasize about Lyma. She was a means to an end... At least that was how it had started. She had numbed the sting of loneliness. They had met four years ago and there was an instant attraction from both parties. He didn't have to wonder very long what she looked like under her clothes as each tried to scam the other. Yet a friendship... a relationship had blossomed from the mutual respect and the mutual lust for one another.

    But he had to wonder now, thinking of Lyma on that make-believe beach. A happy Lyma, a woman whose mind was finally at rest because she knew her beloved sister was safe. He wondered if she would want a boring life with no smuggling, no adventure. If he would be enough for her... would she be enough for him?

    "How am I suppose to track down a Jedi who doesn't want to be found?" Kyn asked, tears running down his defeated face.

    "We have a lead." Vader informed him.

    "Then go get her." He said, rising, trying to compose himself.

    "She has a ship and could run to another system if she senses a threat. You might be a threat, but a threat she would listen to and not run from. She is on the look out for anything suspicious. You know her. I would rather her be gift wrapped to me, to ensure her safety."

    Kyn didn't know if he did know Zafii, not truly. But he knew he didn't want her vaporized in a daring escape from Star Destroyers.

    "I want more credits than I could spend in 100 lifetimes."

    "Done."

    "I need a team. We will have to draw her out slowly."

    "Done."
     
  11. Kahara

    Kahara FFoF Hostess Extraordinaire star 4 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    You've already seen most of my comments, but I like the revisions. The part with Varik's conversation with Vader is still my favorite.
     
    darksideyesplease likes this.
  12. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2005
    This story has taken some unexpected turns, really not what I anticipated at all. Not sure how I feel about Zafii/Cole, but it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

    Kyn had been a sore subject for everyone in the house for a while. Now he was simply not a subject of conversation at all.
    :(

    "As long as there is life, there will be death."
    Looks like Kyn has gained some wisdom over the years....

    "But you love the Jedi as well. A love she never reciprocated. A love she wasn't allowed to reciprocate." Vader seemed to sympathize. "I was a Jedi Master. I know all too much how the Jedi Council perverted her mind into their dogmatic way of thinking."
    A nice glimpse of Anakin Skywalker. I wonder how Zafii would feel knowing she had something in common with Vader....

    Kyn torn between Zafii and Lyma creates a really interesting dynamic. I like the comparison of Zafii and Lyma in Kyn's fantasy world. It ends with a really good question:
    If he would be enough for her... would she be enough for him?