Title: Complications Author: Vek Talis Timeframe: 199 years before KotOR 4,155 BBY Characters: OC Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars and never will. Notes: This is my response to the OTP challenge. EDIT: Sick/Injured/Hospitalized was the condition I received. "Complications. Always complications," Britmar Seclu said as she sat in the common area of her ship, the Osprey. Absently, she fingered the locket Uanaso, her current lover had given her. In her holster, her blaster was still warm from the firefight she'd been in to escape Dathomir. An astromech droid rolled by on its way to the engine room. A series of bleeps and tweets came from it as it stopped near Britmar. "Yes, Gate," the smuggler and sometime pirate said to G8-V2. "Uanaso is injured; he was taken to a hospital just as we were leaving. I hope he'll be all right." Though she'd had her fair share of lovers in the past, and maybe a few other girls' fair share, to boot, Britmar actually had some feelings for Uanaso, a tall, handsome Zabrak mercenary. G8 continued on to the engine room. The Osprey rumbled and shook. Britmar hurried to the cockpit to see what was the matter. In the pilot's seat sat Nevam Bren, controls in hand. "A send off from the authorities on Dathomir," the Pau'an said sarcastically. "They don't like it when we blast one of their Sisters." Britmar told her co-pilot what she thought of the Sisters in words of four letters. "Dirty schutta had to hurt my Uanaso," she concluded hotly. "At least we got the stuff," Nevam said unhappily. The Pau'an rarely seemed satisfied and was never happy. "The stuff," Britmar echoed. "I wonder what the Sith want with it." A unique plant grew on Dathomir in the darkest, most dangerous swamps. It had severe hallucinogenic properties and was highly addictive. Possibly worse than spice from Kessel, it was expensive to export. Unless you were a smuggler. "What I wonder is, why did Uanaso not want us to take the job," Nevam said as she worked on the navicomputer. They were supposed to meet with the buyer in the Korriban system. "Oh, you know how he is," Britmar said dismissively. "He's tough, but some jobs rattle him too much." Uanaso had warned her against meddling with the affairs of Dathomir. The Sisters had full control over the sale and resale of the swamp root. Working against them was bad for the health, her lover had warned. "I remember when we blasted our way out of Neimoidia," Britmar said, a smirk playing about her lips. "Now that was adventure. One engine out, no screens and three angry Neimoidian fighters on our tail. Uanaso was cool as spice the whole time." She felt blood rush to her cheeks. "Well, until we were safely away and I tore off his jumpsuit and, well..." She didn't need to go on. "We're ready to jump to hyperspace." Nevam Bren waited for orders like a good co-pilot. She was more than competent and could handle herself in a bad situation. Without her assistance, Britmar might not have made it off Dathomir. "Let's get this deal over with," Britmar said. "Then, we can go get Uanaso back." At the sound of his name, her hand rose to the locket again. It was a recent gift; so recent, in fact, Uanaso gave it to her right before they started this job. Nevam hit the button and the Osprey warped into hyperspace. "In nearly five days, we'll be in the Korriban system," she said. Five days of worry. Britmar didn't look forward to that. "I'm gonna go take a shower," she said. There was still swamp goo on her trousers and caked mud on her hands. Getting her cargo on board had been a dirty job. "No dirtier than when I had to cuddle up to Jolp the Hutt," she said to herself and shuddered. Now that was a dirty job, but someone had to do it. A message arrived from Dathomir while they were still en route to Korriban. Uanaso was stable and would pull through. Now, Britmar just had to make certain payments to discreet business interests on Dathomir to get him out safely. In order to do that, she had to get paid for this job, first. She felt the floorboards of the Osprey shift. The thrum of the engines changed timbre and she knew they'd left hyperspace. The Osprey was her ship. For over a decade, she'd learned every nuance of her baby. "You'll want to get up here, Captain." Nevam sounded grimmer than usual. "What?" Britmar was still buttoning her shirt when she strode into the cockpit. "Oh," she said, her voice tiny, a moment later. "Oh, is right," Nevam said. In the view screen, a large Sith battle cruiser loomed. Fighters disgorged from it, heading their way. "Unidentified vessel." A bland voice crackled through the comm. "You will surrender your ship immediately. It matches the description of a vessel which is currently being sought in connection with a crime on Dathomir." Britmar slid into the pilot's seat and put on a headset. "Go kriff yourselves," she said over the comm. To Nevam, she said, "You better get on the guns, honey; I don't fancy getting vaporized." "Right." Nevam was a woman of few words. She grabbed a headset and ran for the turret access. The Sith fighters surged forward. Britmar whipped the controls around, gunned the Osprey toward Korriban's moons. "Gate," she called to her faithful astromech, "Get in the engine room and keep my baby flying." Without waiting to hear G8's reply, she got her deflector screens charged up and set to rear. The Osprey shook a bit as red lasers danced around it. "You'll have to do better than that," Britmar said as she pulled the ship into a tight turn. One particular moon of the ancient planet caught her eye. Repeated strikes by meteors left it pockmarked with craters. Some appeared deep enough to be able to hide a ship. "Time for a little game," she said absently. The Osprey was no ordinary ship. She checked her gauges. There was enough auxiliary power for the trick she planned. Beneath the control panel were several hidden switches. She flipped the first one. A few Sith fighters broke off from the others, changing course drastically. "Gotcha," Britmar said. When the second switch was flipped, the remaining fighters slowed, as if they didn't know what to do. The image of a second, then a third Osprey took off at right angles to the real one. The inside of the ship began to warm up. Quickly, Britmar steered toward the moon and selected a place to hide, deep in the recesses of a crater. Temperature warnings echoed through the ship as she set it down on solid ground. Wiping sweat from her brow, Britmar disengaged the secret switches and cut all power except minimal life support. Now it was a waiting game. Britmar worked in the engine room and Nevam patched the weapons system back together. They'd taken a few hits before the decoy system came online. G8 worked feverishly to restore deflector screens and vent the extra heat the Osprey had picked up while it ran in decoy mode. "That thing sure comes in handy," Nevam said as she worked. "Worth every credit," Britmar said. "And to think, I didn't believe the Bith who sold it to me." Before she'd met Uanaso, she'd discovered the decoy system and was skeptical at first. The Bith had agreed to accompany her on a smuggling job if she bought it. It had come in very handy. "We need to meet the buyer; they'll be looking for us." Britmar sat in the pilot's seat again. Worry clouded her mind. Uanaso had a near perfect instinct on what jobs to take. He'd warned her against this one, and now he was hurt. If she didn't come through with credits, he might end up dead. Absently, her fingers glanced against the locket again. "Maybe it's been long enough?" Nevam didn't sound so sure. "Well, our rendezvous point is on the other side of Korriban," Britmar said. "I think we need to risk it. Once we get out of sensor range, it'll be impossible for anyone to find us by looking out a window." "We need extra power for speed, boss," Nevam said. "You heard the lady, Gate," Britmar said to the astromech. "Keep everything else to minimum. Engines to max, and then some." They blasted out of the crater, inputting the coordinates for the rendezvous. "Funny," Britmar said when she saw empty space. "Where did the Sith go?" "Tell me you don't really want to find out?" Britmar chuckled. At full speed, the Osprey could outrun most anything. Of course, as they rushed to the rendezvous point, a sinking feeling gnawed at her insides. "Is that what I think it is?" Nevam asked, pointing to the triangular silhouette in the distance. "This is a steaming pile of shavit," Britmar said. Sith fighters poured from the battle cruiser. "Screens up; get back on those guns. Gate, we need power for screens and weapons." The Osprey twisted and turned. Red lasers screeched across space. But there was nowhere to go. Not even an asteroid field to try and escape through. Britmar couldn't defeat an entire battle cruiser. The buyer wasn't likely to remain, either, not when he saw the battle raging where he was supposed to conduct discreet business. At last, Britmar got too close to the battle cruiser. Sparkly lights reached out from the ship, surrounded the Osprey. Immediately, her ship lost power and began heading toward the cruiser. "Unidentified vessel. Prepare to be boarded." The ominous voice brooked no argument. In a large hangar bay, Sith troops waited to rush up the loading ramp. When the Osprey came to a stop, Britmar and Nevam stood at the top of the ramp, their hands above their heads. The smuggler knew a losing situation when she saw one. Soldiers in shiny Sith armor plodded up the ramp. A cloaked woman, laser sword hilt at her side, strolled up behind them. "My name is Vrove," she said flatly. "You've led us on a merry chase, and that trick of yours... superb." Mirthlessly, she clapped her hands together several times. "Now, tell me: what is your purpose in Sith space?" "I'm a trader," Britmar said calmly. "I was trying to meet a buyer who didn't want complications." Vrove lifted an eyebrow, but said nothing. "Maybe we should tell her what we're selling," Nevam suggested. Before Britmar could make up her mind, one of the soldiers returned. "We found crates of this, Mistress," he said, handing Vrove one of the swamp roots. "Highly illegal to possess without a license from Dathomir." Britmar's heart sank into her stomach. "Clear out the troops, Sergeant," Vrove said and fixed Britmar with an icy stare. "Do you have proof you're here to meet a buyer? Or should I have you spaced now?" "Proof?" Britmar had never heard of a smuggler carrying proof of anything before. "Do I look stupid, Sith Lady?" "Apparently," Vrove growled. "Your buyer would want confirmation, I dare say." "Who smuggles stuff with a flimsy stamped 'illegal goods'?" Britmar was starting to fear she wouldn't make it off this cruiser. Absently, her hand rose to the locket around her neck. "Uanaso, forgive me," she whispered. "Uanaso?" Vrove perked up at the name. Then, she stared curiously at the locket. "Let me see that. Now." Her hand dropped to the hilt of her laser sword. Obviously, she'd never had to ask politely for anything before. Reluctantly, Britmar handed over the locket. Vrove opened a tiny compartment Britmar hadn't known was there. Something glinted in the diffused lighting. Vrove scanned it with her datapad. When it bleeped, she bared her teeth in a grin. "You are who I've been awaiting," Vrove said, startling Britmar. The Sith turned back down the ramp. "Sergeant," she shouted. The armor clad noncom hustled up the ramp. "Bring the satchel and get your men to unloading those crates immediately." "Yes, Mistress," he said and shouted orders. "I don't understand," Britmar said as the Sith offloaded crates of the illegal swamp root. "A deal has been made, Miss Seclu," Vrove said simply. "You didn't think you'd be meeting another smuggler here, in the Korriban system, did you?" Her grin was amused. "You can tell Uanaso that I am pleased with his couriers." The sergeant handed Vrove a satchel, and the Sith passed it to Britmar. "I'm certain you will find all the credits there, along with a small bonus for your troubles." Vrove walked down the ramp and out of Britmar's life. As the Osprey hurried from the hangar of the battle cruiser, Nevam, in the co-pilot's seat, turned to Britmar. "That was weird." "You ain't kidding," Britmar said. "I'm kind of glad that Sith thought we were Uanaso's employees," Nevam said. "Did you see the way she looked when she said his name." "Yeah." Britmar's face scrunched up. "I'm going to have to ask him about his relationship with her." She felt her hand clench into a tight fist as she spoke. A message came from Dathomir. Uanaso was making a full recovery and their contacts were smuggling him off world. Britmar just had to turn over the share of the take for the mastermind of the job, and she could have her boyfriend back. As she laid in bed, her hand rose to her chest. The locket was gone, she remembered when her fingers touched bare skin. It would be so wonderful to have Uanaso back. "We'd be making quite the ruckus by now," she said, mischief in her voice. With the lights out, she stared up into the blackness. As she fell into a more relaxed state, imagining his face, his warmth, she could feel his fingers caressing her body. Once he returned, once he was healthy again, she wanted to get her claws into him and never let go. "At least, until something better comes along." Always an opportunist, Britmar knew the next big thing could be right around the corner. You had to think creatively as a scoundrel.