In the conclusion of the first episode of Mark Wooden’s “Star Wars” fanfiction, Jedi NILE CHINELO and her Alliance contact escape the Imperial Security Bureau, only to face a greater threat.
Smugglers CORANA BIABRU and PIANI NURUODO make a shocking discovery aboard their rival’s starship — and inadvertently gain a new enemy.
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“It won’t be safe for you in Peroon,” Nile said over the whine of the swoop’s engines. “I can take you with me off-planet.”
“I have a wife!” the contact replied, matching Nile’s volume so he could be heard. “She works at the spaceport! Teth customs!”
“Do you know the rendezvous point for the foodstuff drop?”
The contact reached into a pocket and pulled out a data chip. Fighting against the wind as she maneuvered the swoop through traffic, he handed it to Nile, who slid it into a pocket in her robes. “The data you need is on there. But my wife!”
Nile took a turn to head down a street toward the spaceport. “When we get to my ship I’ll alert my Alliance contact in Peroon,” she said. “She’ll do everything she can to get your wife safely off-planet and reunite the two of you.”
“We have to get her now!” the contact argued. “The Imperials will identify me and look for her!”
The man was right.
Corana’s ship, the Bevryder, had the room for the contact and his wife but rounding her up and getting her to the ship would delay getting the data to the Alliance.
Yet this man had put himself and his family at risk for the Alliance.
Nile couldn’t turn her back on him.
The Jedi was reaching for her commlink when she felt a surge in the Force. The darkness she’d felt earlier returned, only stronger. She struggled to shake its effect, but it brought a chill to her heart.
She took another turn, slowing a bit to remain just another traveler in the bloated traffic as she continued on to the spaceport. Then Nile spotted two swoops with flashing red beacons ahead, each one piloted by ISB security.
Nile quickly turned down a side street. Looking behind her, she saw the ISB men pass by.
There wasn’t any traffic on this one-way, single lane street. She could see another main street up ahead. A turn would get her that much closer to the spaceport and escape.
“Let me get the data to my companions at the spaceport,” Nile said. “Then we’ll contact your wife and retrieve her.”
“My wife warned me against this,” the contact said. “Thank you.”
Nile and the contact neared the end of the street.
Suddenly, another swoop rounded the corner ahead of them, racing the wrong way down the one-way street. Its female rider wore black leather, with a head shaven on one side, a flowing mane of red hair on the other.
Nile felt the darkness of the Force radiating from the rider.
The rider also held a blood red lightsaber raised to strike.
Spaceport security droids would no doubt be alerted by their firefight outside the ship. As long as there weren’t any immediate signs of chaos they’d probably ignore the event but would monitor the area for further outbreaks.
She and Piani had best play things cool for now.
Corana made Cragen and the newly awakened suit drag the three unconscious slavers aboard the Princess’s Claw. She then marched the two conscious men at blaster point to the storage hold.
Piani was waiting inside the compartment. She knelt with six young women, more slaves Cragen was running to parts unknown. Corana jabbed Cragen in the back with her blaster.
“Where were you taking this bunch?” she demanded.
“Here, ya nosey bitch,” Cragen said.
The “bitch” part got Cragen a kick in the back of the knee. He stumbled to the ground. Corana slammed the butt of her blaster carbine into the side of his head, knocking him out.
Piani looked disapprovingly at Corana. The Pantoran shrugged. “It slipped,” she said. Corana then turned her weapon on the suit.
He still appeared groggy from his fainting spell. Staring down the barrel of a blaster brought him back around. He threw up his hands in surrender.
“You have something to say?” Corana asked.
Piani looked to the suit as he answered.
With a shaking hand, the suit pointed at the girls. “One of those girls is my employer’s daughter. The others, her friends.”
Corana looked at the suit in disbelief. She then looked to Piani. She couldn’t believe it either. Piani stood and approached Corana and the suit.
“We paid this Cragen man to bring them home,” the suit explained.
Piani wasn’t impressed. “He probably kidnapped them in the first place.”
“No,” the suit said. Against all belief, the suit got even more scared. “It was those criminals. The Hutts.”
Corana looked at Piani. She shared her ominous expression. She looked back to the suit.
“So wait,” Corana began. “You mean to tell me the Hutts kidnapped your boss’s daughter, Cragen took the bounty to find them, and now we just planted ourselves firmly in the path to piss off the Hutts for taking back the kid?”
The suit gulped audibly before giving an affirming nod.
Corana slapped a palm to her blue-skinned forehead. Piani turned the suit to face her.
“Gather up the girls. We’re leaving!”
The suit did as commanded, gathering the girls to him. They hugged on him as if they would never let him go. Somehow he managed to get them to move through the ship behind Corana and Piani.
As they reached the gangplank to the hangar, Piani said to the suit, “When spaceport security asks, hell, if anyone asks, you rescued these girls from slavers by yourself.”
“No one will believe that!” the suit said.
“Just leave us out of this!” Piani insisted. “We have enough trouble.”
Corana extended her arm, stopping Piani at the top of the gangplank. She reflexively jerked back, annoyed. But then she looked down the gangplank.
“Think we just got some more trouble,” Corana added.
Five grim-looking mercenaries waited outside the ship.
TO BE CONTINUED IN
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