Title: Shadow over Curean Author: Anedon Timeframe: After the Second Galatic Civil War Characters: Ilona Malek, 'Kat'herina Ricter, other OCs Genre: Friendship, Adventur, Romance Summary: Helping her best friend with her studies Ilona acompanies Kat to the isolated world of Curean where the two women soon find themselves in a net of mysteries and dangers... "And they forced you to wear that?" Kat laughed as Ilona showed her the pictures of her latest trip to Dathomir. Ilona returned the smile, as she once again looked at herself in the short, revealing, leather armor Marie had given her. "Should wear that more often, it fits you," Kat continued. Ilona shook her head but her smile continued. "Speaking of it. Still unused to wearing civilian clothes?" She asked her best friend and Kat nodded. Kat had left the military together with Ilona after the end of the second galactic civil war, and now studied sociology at the University of Eriadu. "It is," Kat said stretching herself. "Been a soldier for so long civilian clothing is far too comfortable. Still it's an advantage not to catch as much attention anymore." Ilona nodded, on Eriadu or elsewhere soldiers always stuck out. But now wearing simple dark tops and comfortable traveling pants both young women where noticed by no one. They had played with the thought of taking their own ships to get to Curean but Kat had suggested them traveling like 'ordinary mortals' and so they had chosen to travel on the merchant vessel Demeter a mid tier freighter that was traveling from Eriadu through the more distant worlds of the galactic south and back, supplying the isolated worlds with necessary goods while bringing back resources to the industrial centers of the Seswenna Sector. It was a slow trip as they stopped in many places, stayed a day and then continued their journey. But for both Kat and Ilona this simple, free life was a nice change of peace from their experiences in the military or the luxury they had experienced since then. "Girls, we are closing in on Curean," a voice called out to them and as they looked up they saw Xora Suj the attractive Falleen captain of the ship looking at them. Xora was a tough but fair leader, unbeatable at Sabacc and both Ilona and Kat suspected she had several contacts to local pirate groups. Despite this they got along with her splendidly. "Prepare yourself for the unloading," she told them. "Of course my Captain," Kat said as she jumped down from the container she and Ilona had been sitting on. "If nothing else we probably could work as deckhands when we were too loose everything else," Kat said as they began cutting the next set of containers loose. "I'm sure Xora would hire you instantly," Ilona said. "You haven't signed up with her already haven't you?" "How do you get to that?" Kat asked her, her face taking a slight red coloring. "'Of course my Captain'," Ilona said with a grin as she and Kat where working on the containers of goods to prepare for the unloading. Kat gave her best friend a slap on the arm. "Seriously given how she looks at you... she might be someone for you," Ilona continued. Kat's face turned fully red, telling Ilona her guess had been right. "But I can't..." Kat muttered. "Why not? Because she is a non human?" llona inquired, in the past Kat had once held a huge crush on her. A crush Ilona had been unable to return, so they had stayed best friends instead. "No," Kat said, hastily. "Of course not, but she's..." ...a criminal. Kat didn't say but Ilona knew that was what she had wanted to say. She placed her hand on her friends shoulder. "Its ultimately your decision, but you shouldn't let something like this destroy your happiness." Kat looked into Ilona's eyes, unsure. "How about that?" Ilona continued. "We do what we set out to do on Curean and then, in a month when Xora comes to pick us up again you ask her out when we get back to Eriadu." "Maybe..." Kat said as the two returned to their work. "Couldn´t you have chosen a nice planet for your studies?" Ilona asked Kat as the two of them stood on the ramp of the Demeter and took in their first look of the world they would spend the next month at. Both had put on light coats over their tops to protect themselves against the cold and the slight rain. "Sorry, chief," Kat said her voice imitating her professional military talk. "But this one is the best I found. Thought the cold would remind us of home." Ilona grinned, "the air is far too clear and fresh for that. And what are those? Actual healthy trees? I can't believe that even still allowed in the Seswenna sector." Both of them chuckled a bit. Their ship had landed on a muddy field surrounded on three sides with a dark forest and on the other with a settlement. The buildings there where largely made of stone filled with beautiful ornaments and decorations. Between the ship and the settlement Xora's crew had set up their goods as they were now approached by locals, mostly humans wearing simple dark clothing. Some brought crates of ore towards the ship on ancient speeders and transport platforms to exchange them for bits of technology as well as and caskets of luxury food and drinks. Xora stepped next to the two humans watching the scene. "So this is it, your destination. Do you still want to leave?" She gave Kat a look that had the blonde human look away. "That's the plan," Ilona said. "You get us home in a month?" Xora nodded, "sure can't promise you the exact date but it should be around a month." She gave Ilona a few credits for their work over the last few weeks. "You have been working very well, would have a place for you in my crew if you ever need it." "Thanks," Kat said. "We might get back to it one day.... What can you tell us about this world?" The Falleen shrugged, "don't know too much to be honest, the locals are rather tight lipped. Don't get me wrong, there are good customers and always fulfill their end of the bargain. But they never talk much, only time they ever asked me something was during my first trip if I got into trouble with the pirates around here." She gave Kat and Ilona a knowing smile. By now Ilona knew enough about her to know that Xora had her own way of dealing with Pirates, mostly by including them into her route. Some of the goods her crew was currently selling came from less than legal sources and in return several illegal goods where probably smuggled back to Eriadu on the Demeter. "Did they ever want to buy something 'intresting' from you?" Kat asked curious. "You could say that," Xora´s grin grew another inch. "But they mentioned having had trouble with slavers in the past, so I guess they are just careful." "Makes sense out here," Ilona agreed. "Then guess it's up to us to find out what is going on here." "Can only wish you the best of luck then," the captain told them. She shook Ilona's hand goodbye and gave Kat a quick hug that the blonde human returned a bit surprised. Then the two women left the ramp and walked down on the surface of the planet that was to be their home for the next month.