In the latest episode of Mark Wooden’s “Star Wars” fanfiction, Jedi Nile informs her contact’s wife of her husband’s fate. Corana and Piani return to their ship and receive an urgent message.
Want to read from the beginning? Go to Episode 1.1 here! Go to Episode 2.1 here!
“The information I have from Mrs. Way’s husband is personal. I can only relay it to her in person.”
Nile, once again drenched from the rain, stood at the reception area at hangar control. She waited for the administrative droid behind the desk to make up its mind about calling down Miri Way from her office.
The droid scanned through something on a monitor built into its desk. After a moment, it looked back at Nile. “I apologize, madam, but I am unable to let you through.”
Nile nodded, but her disappointment was evident.
The droid’s interjection got the Jedi’s attention.
“I do believe Mrs. Way is on lunch break,” the droid said. “Usually her crew forgoes the cafeteria and eats at the quick stop restaurant next door.”
Nile thanked the droid and headed out.
The restaurant had a small crowd and was nothing extraordinary.
Astromech-model droids moved between tables, serving trays atop them with monitors in their front sides for taking orders. Chef droids worked the kitchen.
As Nile entered, no one paid any attention to her. She pulled a small datapad from the folds of her new yet now just as wet robes. On the pad’s screen, she had Miri Way’s hangar control ID photo.
Miri was a petite woman. Her cheerful attitude came through even in a standard ID photo.
Scanning the crowd, the Jedi found Way sitting at a booth with two other women. They all wore the crisp, olive uniforms of hangar control officers.
Way’s cheer passed on to the women with her. The Jedi was reluctant to break up their happiness with her dire news. Nevertheless, she slid the tablet back into its pocket and approached her contact’s widow.
“Excuse me, Mrs. Way,” Nile began.
Way looked at the Jedi curiously. “You don’t know how to use a hover umbrella?” she asked.
Nile demurred. “It’s just that I’m in a hurry to see you.”
One of the women with Way, a portly woman with thinning hair, laughed. “Look at you, Miri! A groupie for a hangar controller!”
The third woman, thin and wearing designer eyewear, joined in with the laugh. Way must have noticed something in Nile’s expression. She failed to share their humor.
“It’s about your husband,” Nile said.
Way remained silent, but the Jedi watched dread creep into the woman’s expression. She abruptly turned away from Nile and slammed her tray of food across the table.
Way’s friends jumped back in their seats. Other patrons looked over to see the source of the commotion.
Nile watched as Way buried her face in her hands. “I told him not to do it!” she yelled.
“Do what?” the groupie-joke woman asked.
“He had an important meeting for his job,” Nile said before Way could answer. “Unfortunately, Imperial agents intervened.”
“What was he doing?” the other woman at the table asked.
“Nothing illegal, merely helping those in need,” Nile answered.
“You don’t have to lie to them!” Way shouted. “He was meeting with the rebels!” She addressed Nile directly. “He got killed, didn’t he?”
The Jedi’s gaze turned from Way. Her lack of an answer was confirmation enough.
“Since you know about it, you must be with the Empire,” Way said.
Nile shook her head. “I was at the scene, a bystander.”
“Then how did you know it was my husband?”
“I heard chatter from the Imperials.”
“And then you found me. How?”
The woman with thinning hair leaned over to Way. “Sounds like something a spy could do.” The woman looked to Nile. “Or a rebel.”
Looking over the room, Nile saw that most of the patrons had returned to their meals. Still, a few paid attention to her and Mrs. Way’s conversation.
Though there was little love for the Empire on Teth, inevitably, someone would contact the Imperial Security Bureau.
“Are you the one who got my husband killed?” Way demanded, drawing Nile’s attention back to her.
“I didn’t kill him,” Nile said.
Then the Jedi felt a dark presence in the Force. It moved closer to her position.
Leaning down to Way, Nile made her tone as earnest as she could.
“The creature that killed him was an Imperial Inquisitor. Your husband died for a noble cause, something he believed in.
“I can only hope you believe enough in him to understand who the true enemy is.”
Standing back, Nile moved toward the rear of the restaurant and into the service area.
Corana and Piani returned to the Bevryder without incident despite the heightened number of ISB patrols moving toward an area further into town.
They hoped their destination wasn’t anywhere near their Jedi companion.
To their relief, Corana and Piani found a note on a datapad from Nile near the ship’s central computer. She’d returned and uploaded the data on the foodstuffs shipment but had left to cover an errand.
“We’re here smuggling data for the Alliance!” Piani said. “And she wants to go on an errand?”
“Said the woman who led us into a skirmish with our nemesis,” Corana said while removing her gunbelt. “Which may have gotten us on the wrong side of both Peroon security and Ungror the Hutt.”
“Point taken,” Piani said. She flopped down on a beaten lounge chair in the Bevryder’s community living area.
Corana grabbed a stimpack she picked up from storage. Ripping the plastic off the pack with her teeth, she slammed the needle end into one of the blaster burns blackening her blue skin.
“You should put some ointment on it too,” Piani said.
“Not my first time getting shot,” Corana said. She moved to another chair and sat down, wincing the whole way. “Probably won’t be my last either.”
Piani got comfortable in her chair. “Fine. Don’t want to hear any complaining about the stinging then.”
Corana threw the empty stimpack at Piani, bouncing it off her exposed stomach. Piani bucked at the contact, then glared at Corana.
“I thought I was the child,” Piani said while picking up the empty stimpack. Rising from the chair, she threw the stimpack into the waste recycler. “You think we should check in with Nile?”
The wounded smuggler shifted in her chair, trying to find a comfortable position. “Wouldn’t hurt. (Ow!) Find out if we need to have the engines fired up when she gets back.”
Piani moved to the computer where she’d left her commlink. Cueing it up, she called Nile on their encrypted channel.
The Imperials may grab the transmission, but the encryption would give them some time before the Imperials rained blaster fire down on them.
If they kept communication short, they could also avoid a trace.
“The two of you must leave, now!” Nile said over the commlink.
Corana sat up in her chair, her face conveying the pain of doing so. Piani was as surprised as she.
“Hello to you too!” the Twi’lek said. “What have you gotten —”
“There’s no time, Piani,” the Jedi cut in. “There is an inquisitor here.”
“You mean one of those Dark Jedi you were telling us about?”
Piani looked to Corana, who shared her look of dread.
Nile continued speaking over the commlink.
“I can probably lose her, but you and Corana need to get that data to the Alliance. I will not let our contact’s death be in vain.”
Corana moved to Piani’s side, leaning on the computer desk for support. “Wait, the contact’s dead?”
“Murdered by the inquisitor.”
“And where the hell are you?” Corana asked.
“Hangar control, moving away from your position in case the inquisitor catches up to me. Just go, Corana. Now.”
Nile cut the line.
To be continued September 25th!
Like the story so far? Be sure to also check out Mark’s original writing, the “Shadowdance” urban fantasy series!