In this episode of Star Wars fanfiction, Imperial Security agent Kaila Ores investigates potential rebel activity at a mining facility on Naboo’s moon.
Meanwhile, rebels Nile Chinelo, Piani Nuruodo, and Corana Biabru regroup after their encounter with an Imperial Inquisitor.
Want to read from the beginning? Go to Episode 1.1 here!
Odoum was little more than a giant rock orbiting around the planet Naboo. Geospect Industries was the corporation on record for the operation, but the worst kept secret about Geospect was that it was Imperial-controlled.
The mine itself was literally a hole in the rock that drilled down to Odoum’s core. Three pre-fab buildings for operations, housing, and storage comprised the facility itself. They were built around the large, domed hole that was the mine.
ISB Agent Kaila Ores’s Lambda-class shuttle landed on a patch of ferrocrete serving as a landing pad. Three freighters were parked nearby.
Service droids loaded two of the freighters with mining materials as Kaila and her two ISB security troopers deplaned.
There was no atmosphere on Odoum. Anyone on the surface wore protective suits to get from their starship to the facilities, hence the use of droids to load the freighters.
The rock also had little gravity, requiring the use of magnetic boots to keep visitors attached to intentionally placed metal in the ferrocrete.
The visiting ISB agents passed from the landing pad to the mandatory decompression area before entering the main facility building. This building and the others like it used technology to create an atmosphere and standard gravity.
Once inside, Kaila’s team removed their protective suits.
Underneath the garb, Kaila wore the standard ISB uniform: white tunic with black pants and boots.
Kaila wore her black, shoulder-length hair loose but cut so that nothing obstructed her vision. It was a severe cut but worked with the cold determination in her deep brown eyes and her lips which seemed incapable of a smile.
Kaila also wore a military holdout blaster in a holster at her right side with a stun baton on the other side. A small messenger bag hung over her shoulder.
Her two ISB security troopers wore the ISB padded black jumpsuits with vests of white armor, complimented with blaster rifles.
She rarely needed the backup, but better to have them in case the rebels were on the rock.
A grizzly-looking, older man in beaten, dusty fatigues approached Kaila. From her files on the facility, she recognized the man as Ton Billix. He was the facility’s foreman, in charge of day-to-day operations.
As Billix moved closer, she could feel the man’s sense of dread coming off in waves. Then she listened. Though he had not said a word, she could hear faint whisperings from him.
Kaila had no idea how she was able to hear such things.
The only other person she’d told about her ability was her brother, Ian. He didn’t believe her and suggested she keep it to herself if she ever wanted to advance in the Empire. She’d listened to his advice but often used the power for her benefit.
This was one of those times.
Billix’s thoughts relayed that he was relieved to see her, though troubled by her seeming youth. She reasoned his advanced age and the lack of interaction with women for months on end (personnel records revealed no women at the facility with shifts for the men lasting several months) warped his senses.
Billix would be surprised to know that, at twenty-nine, Kaila wasn’t even on the younger end of the age scale for ISB agents.
“I am Agent Kaila Ores of the ISB,” Kaila said as Billix reached her position. He barely held her gaze. “I need access to your security network.”
Billix blinked, then rubbed his hands against his trousers. “You’re not here to inspect the mine, are you?”
From what she’d heard from Billix’s thoughts, he had hoped the Empire had sent Kaila to deal with the collapse of a mine shaft a week ago. Footage of that collapse had leaked onto the HoloNet.
The transmission also included images of dangerous working conditions and structural integrity issues. Geospect records revealed several complaints lodged about these conditions had gone unaddressed for months.
Too bad she had to crush his hopes, something she’d grown used to doing as an agent of the Empire.
“That’s a problem for another department,” she said. “My concern is the leaked security footage. It could be used to sow discord in your workers and drum up support from outside influencers. This is attention the Empire doesn’t need.
“I need to identify whoever leaked the footage and shut them down.”
Kaila noticed Billix looking away from her. She moved into his line of sight and asked, “Is this a problem?”
“No,” Billix said without a bit of confidence. “It’s just that —”
“Either you provide access, Mr. Billix,” the ISB agent said as she moved uncomfortably close to Billix. He seemed to shrink into himself. “Or, I send you or anyone else who obstructs this investigation to an ISB detention center.”
Billix held up his hands in surrender.
Minutes later, Billix set Kaila up at a computer terminal in the control center. She removed some slicing tools from her messenger bag and logged into the system.
Her two ISB security troopers took up positions nearby. They were ready to move the moment she found the information she needed.
Kaila used existing passwords (provided by Billix) to identify the cameras used to capture the leaked footage. She then cross-referenced the projected time of the leak, transmissions leaving the station and personnel time sheets.
The agent eventually narrowed her search to five potentially guilty parties. Pulling up their names and schedules, Kaila ordered Billix to assemble the men.
“Four of them are on duty in the mines,” Billix said. “The last one is in housing.”
“Find the man off-duty and bring him to the other men in the mine,” Kaila said. “I’ll interview them all there.”
The dome above the mine shaft had atmospheric generators affording an atmosphere within the mine.
However, it was mandatory that all personnel in the mine carry oxygen units and the same magnetic boots used on the landing pad in case of an emergency.
Similarly equipped, Billix led Kaila and her ISB troopers into the mine shaft. What had started as one deep drilling shaft had turned into several offshoot veins as miners found more materials in Odoum’s rock.
Ferrocrete like that on the landing pad made narrow paths through the otherwise wide shafts. Elevation gradually changed the further into the rock they progressed. Overhead lamps provided illumination but left many a shadow in the area.
The sounds of drills and the grunting of manual labor bounced off the rock walls.
Billix led the ISB agents into one of the side tunnels, a newer one from the look of the infrastructure. They eventually reached a relatively flat area outfitted as a rest area, complete with tables, chairs and a few food dispensers.
Kaila recognized the five men seated at one of the tables from her files. They barely met the gaze of her entourage as Billix marched them into the area. Kaila took up a position at the head of the table and addressed the men.
“Gentlemen, I won’t waste your time if you don’t waste mine,” she said. Looking at each man, in turn, she added, “Which one of you leaked that footage?”
The Bevryder traveled through hyperspace near the Corellian Trade Spine in the Outer Rim territories. Pilot Corana Biabru sat in the cockpit, her feet on the control console, her eyes looking at the stars streaking by.
There wasn’t anything for her to do, which was fine with her. She was still smarting from the Force attack back on Teth. A nice, long hyperspace trip is just what she needed.
“You should be in bed.”
That was Corana’s partner, Piani Nuruodo, presumably leaning in the cockpit’s entrance behind Corana. She was a good-natured woman but tended to nag the older Corana on occasion.
Said occasions were usually when Corana was about to do something stupid, so maybe that was a good thing.
Placing her feet on the floor, Corana swiveled her chair so she faced Piani. The blue-skinned Twi’lek indeed leaned in the doorway, her arms crossed, her twin tentacles dangling behind her.
“This is my bed,” Corana said with a flourish of her hands, referencing the cockpit. “Feel more comfortable here than most places, anyway.”
Piani frowned. She moved to sit in the co-pilot’s seat. “I thought we’d seen it all with that scavenger team on Ceti Alpha Five. Now an Imperial Inquisitor?”
“It was damned inevitable one of them would show up,” Corana said, absently twirling a strand of her blood-red hair between two blue fingers. She usually wore her hair in a ponytail while on the ship.
In her present condition, she had no care for such a formality. “We travel with a Jedi.”
Corana referred to the third member of their party, Nile Chinelo. She was back in the community living area.
The smuggler pilot leaned forward, eliciting a grunt. Piani moved to help her but Corana waved the Twi’lek’s worry away.
“It’ll pass,” Corana said. She waited a moment for that to happen. “I was just gonna say, if there’s good in this Force thing, there’s gotta be bad too.”
Satisfied Corana wasn’t feeling any worse, Piani sat back in her chair. She stared out at space. “You ever think maybe we should have stuck to busting human traffickers and stayed out of this rebel alliance thing?”
Corana was silent. Piani looked at her, watching her Pantoran partner stare out the window. The two had been through a lot in the past decade.
Corana was a good mentor to her, bringing her up as she did from a slave to a competent smuggler.
After a time, Corana said, “And where’d be the fun in that?”
Piani did a double take. “You call what happened to you fun?”
Corana looked at Piani. “You love it too.”
Piani’s tentacles went a lighter shade of blue. The girl looked away from Corana.
“Admit it,” Corana continued. “Every time we help someone get out from under the Empire’s yoke, you get a thrill. Same thing as fighting traffickers, but on a bigger scale.”
Looking back out the window, she added, “Either way the Empire’d be on our pretty little asses. Better with a Jedi and the Alliance at our side. Come what may.”
Piani stared at Corana for a moment. A steady beeping sound caught her attention. The Twi’lek turned to the communications section of the co-pilot’s control console and studied a readout there. “Priority transmission from a coded channel.”
“Recognize the code?” Corana asked.
Piani nodded. “We’d better take it in back. Nile’s gonna wanna hear this too.”
To be continued on Tuesday the 27th!