In the concluding episode of this “Star Wars” fanfiction, Nile is down and Corana badly injured, leaving Piani alone to get her friends — and the data for the Alliance — away from Imperial Inquisitor Leeta Greyhelm.
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“All too easy,” Imperial Inquisitor Greyhelm said as she raised her lightsaber for a stabbing blow to finish Jedi Nile Chinelo.
She hadn’t counted on the Twi’lek Piani Nuruodo getting off a shot. It went wide but was enough to distract the inquisitor. Her gray eyes homed in on Piani.
“The next one won’t miss,” Piani said. She meant it to be intimidating, but in light of the situation, she couldn’t hide the fear sneaking up on her. She was taking on a Sith, and her Jedi ally had just gone down.
The inquisitor lowered her lightsaber. “I wanted the Jedi,” she said, “but she will keep.”
The beaten Pantoran woman in the Twi’lek’s arm drew a holdout pistol from the small of her back and fired at the inquisitor.
The red bolt bounced harmlessly off Greyhelm’s red lightsaber blade as she stalked toward the gunslinger and her companion’s position.
The inquisitor’s lips curled into an evil grin.
And then she stopped.
Five local security men ran up behind the Twi’lek and the Pantoran. They aimed their blaster rifles at the inquisitor.
A sixth man stood to one side, a blaster pistol in hand.
“I am Captain Lophen, head of Peroon hangar security,” the man said. “Cease all activity at once until we can sort this situation.”
“And I am Imperial Inquisitor Leeta Greyhelm,” the inquisitor said. “You have no jurisdiction over me.”
Lophen aimed his pistol at Greyhelm. “Gentlemen, if she moves, open fire.”
Greyhelm’s eyes widened in surprise. “You dare?”
“I am the law here,” Lophen said. “This is how we deal with murderers.”
Greyhelm gritted her teeth.
She then saw Miri Way standing a few feet behind this local scum and his men.
“The emperor will hear of this,” Greyhelm said.
“Then he will also hear of your failure.”
That was the damned Jedi at Greyhelm’s feet. She’d managed to rouse herself.
“Which do you think will anger him more?” the Jedi asked.
Aboard the Bevryder, Piani applied her limited medical skills to healing up her companion, Jedi Nile Chinelo. The wounds she’d taken at the hands of Inquisitor Greyhelm were painful but manageable.
“What did you say to that lady to get her to help us?” Piani asked Nile while she finished mending the wound on the Jedi’s shoulder.
Nile looked pained when she gave her explanation. Piani chalked that up to the Jedi’s compassion. Losing the contact hurt her, as did the deaths of anyone seeking to help their fellow men and women.
“I told her the truth as to what happened to her husband,” Nile said. “Her morality did the rest.”
Corana said from across the room, “And thank the gods for that!”
Nile and Piani looked to the entrance of the Bevryder’s community living area. Corana leaned against the doorframe as if it was the only thing holding her up.
The smuggler’s wounds were much more difficult to heal. The inquisitor had used the Force to strain every cell in Corana’s nervous system.
When they’d returned to the ship, Piani had made Corana’s pain manageable with the supplies she had but her partner’s next stop needed to be a medical center.
The ornery smuggler relented to doing so, right after their rendezvous with their Alliance handler.
“Plot’s in,” Corana said. “Hopefully we’re in for an uneventful ten hours to the rendezvous.”
She stepped into the room, stumbling a bit. Piani quickly moved to Corana’s side and helped her into her favorite chair.
“How’d you get out unscathed?” Corana asked Piani.
The Twi’lek shrugged. “People tend not to shoot what they’re too busy ogling.”
Corana rolled her eyes.
“Where were you ladies earlier?” Nile asked. “I couldn’t raise you on the comm.”
“We saw an old friend,” Piani said as she moved back to the Jedi’s side.
Corana pointed at the Twi’lek. “This one wanted to say hello.”
Nile smiled. “Another of your smuggling associates?”
Piani’s expression darkened. “Just the slaver who screwed with us.”
The smile on Nile’s face faded. “And what happened?”
“Short version is he got away,” Corana said while making herself comfortable in her chair. “But he had good reasons to go, so it wasn’t all bad.”
Piani went back to tending to the Jedi’s wounds.
“We will get him,” the Twi’lek said. “One day.”
“I expect you will,” the Jedi agreed.
“Just hope we don’t run into any more inquisitors,” Corana said. “I could have lived my whole life off your stories, Nile. Didn’t need to see one in person.”
Nile thought about this. “I’m curious how she even found me.”
“We should probably find out,” Corana said. “Before she finds you again.”
A silence befell the women.
Piani finished with Nile. She then took a comfortable seat herself. Corana looked to be asleep. Usually, that was from all the Hundarian Ale she’d drink before a long flight. This time, Piani knew it was the painkillers.
Turning to Nile, Piani said, “So Way uses her pull with the captain to hold off the inquisitor and let us escape. It’s got to get back to the Imperials what he did.”
“When we got into the air I took the risk to contact the Alliance,” Nile began. “They’re getting her off the planet.”
“Hope that doesn’t close down the Teth network.”
“Part of it, but the data we have should open new avenues.”
Piani thought about this. She then asked, “What about the captain? I’m sure that inquisitor will raise Hell against him.”
“Remember that the Hutt crime lords have more sway then the Imperials on Teth,” Nile replied. “I understand that Captain Lophen is in excellent standing with the Hutts.”
“The damned Hutts,” Piani mumbled. She looked away from Nile, a hint of guilt in her expression.
Nile looked at her curiously. “I don’t remember you and Corana having anything to do with the Hutts.”
“We’re smugglers. Everyone deals with them at one time or another.”
Piani glanced at Nile. The Jedi wasn’t buying her story. The Twi’lek shrugged. “Can’t get any emotions past you Jedi,” she said with a nervous laugh.
“Let’s just say in dealing with that ass Cragen we kinda got on the wrong side of the Hutts.”
The Jedi sighed. “At least the captain didn’t know that when he let us go.”
Piani nodded in agreement. “Could have been a bit of a problem.” She stood up. “Gonna get some sleep. You need anything else?”
“I’m fine,” Nile replied. “I think I’ll turn in myself in a few.”
Piani nodded and started toward her sleeping quarters. Nile called after her. She turned to face the Jedi.
“You did well today, Piani,” Nile said. “Many would have cowered in the face of a Sith, but you held your ground.”
Piani smiled. “It’s not just you old Jedi who can fight the Dark Side.”
“And for that,” Nile said, “I am glad.”
“I feel your anger across the galaxy.”
Inquisitor Greyhelm did not look at the holographic image of her master, Emperor Palpatine — the Sith Lord known as Darth Sidious.
“I take it the Jedi eluded you?” Sidious asked, though to Greyhelm it was a statement of fact. As such, she felt it best not to answer.
“I heard of this Nile Chinelo during the Clone Wars,” Sidious continued.
“Her master, Jedi Odan, was a formidable opponent. His power lay in his ability to build a community. When I gave Order 66, his clones were so loyal they ignored the command.
“I sent an entire squad of Mandalore to hunt them down. They found Odan and his rogue clones embedded on an Outer Rim orbiting colony he had helped start. The Mandalore had to destroy the colony to kill Odan.”
“I had the Jedi at the point of my blade,” Greyhelm said, “but a woman from the planet brought security to stop me.”
“Then Chinelo learned from her master.”
Sidious let that hang in the air before adding, “I assumed she would be too much for you.”
Greyhelm’s head snapped up. She stared at her master in disbelief. “You intended me to fail?”
“You have had a productive crusade against the remaining Jedi, Greyhelm. Easy success breeds arrogance.” Sidious scowled as he said, “You needed to learn humility.”
The inquisitor inhaled but then turned her gaze to the floor of her starship. She could not let her master see the rage within her, rage directed at him.
“We will keep a watch for Jedi Chinelo. Should she appear again, I will send an inquisitor to deal with her.”
Greyhelm glared at Sidious. “You will send me.”
Sidious appraised Greyhelm. He let a mocking smile creep into his expression. “Perhaps,” he said. His holographic image faded, leaving Greyhelm alone with her rage.
She focused that rage on the Jedi Nile Chinelo.
To be continued in Episode 3 — “Old Wounds.”
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