In the latest Star Wars fanfiction from Mark Wooden, ISB Agent Kaila Ores confronts her superior about the presence of Rebels on Naboo. Unfortunately, her claims are lost in the desperate chase to catch possible Rebels Corana and Piani.
“Piani!” Corana said into her commlink.
The smuggler captain wanted to scream her partner’s name but knew that’d be a bit revealing here in what appeared to be an art gallery.
Getting noticed wouldn’t help her remain hidden from the two stormtroopers she’d successfully evaded.
Corana looked back out the door’s window. The stormtroopers were standing on the edge of the street. One looked in either direction. The other held his hand to his helmet.
Corana knew that activated the commlink embedded in the helmet.
More stormtroopers were probably on the way. Corana had to find Piani and get
If they could all get back to the Bevryder.
Corana heard the sounds of several vehicles crashing. The stormtroopers and other locals reacted, moving back from the street but looking in the direction of the crashes. Traffic on the street ground to an abrupt halt.
From her position, Corana couldn’t see what had botched up traffic. The smuggler hoped it wasn’t her partner, especially since the stormtroopers were heading in the direction of the crash.
“Remain where you are, Twi’lek!” a stormtrooper ordered.
Piani dragged herself behind the landspeeder that almost hit her. With its hover jets off, it rested on the ground making it great cover if the stormtroopers decided to open fire.
Looking at her lower leg, the Twi’lek could tell it was at least fractured within her boot. That wouldn’t help with a foot escape. She had to fight back the pain to think clearly.
The other side of the street was a few steps away. From there it was into the crowd and sneaking away.
Sounded easy, but with a busted leg and being one of a few if not the only Twi’lek in the area, she’d be easy to spot.
There was another option.
A speeder bike had stopped just behind and to the side of the landspeeder she used for cover. Its driver, a young woman in clothes too refined for the poor shape of his bike, sat inside the open driver’s compartment with the engine idling as if she’d soon leave the area.
Piani knew the stormtroopers wouldn’t allow that but thanked the woman for her optimism. It made Piani’s potential escape that much easier.
Gritting her teeth as she struggled to her feet, Piani moved to the idling speeder bike. Its driver stared at her. Seeing Piani’s condition, she gasped, holding a hand to her mouth.
“Oh my!” the sympathetic woman began. “Do you need help?”
Piani looked away from the woman as she said, “Sadly, I need your bike.”
The woman paused as if contemplating the question. She parted her lips to speak a reply —
Blaster fire rang out, striking Piani in her back. The impact knocked her
She was stunned into unconsciousness before she hit the ground.
The view outside ISB Commander Coleeli Rundsor’s office was almost as impressive as the one outside Kaila’s temporary apartment.
Kaila had encountered many an Imperial agent holding those beliefs. She wondered how she dealt with people blind to the beauty around them, obsessed only with a lust for power in their political urban jungles.
The commander, seated behind her oversized desk, barely looked up from her datapad when Kaila entered her oversized office. The temperature was cold, a mood enhanced by the sterile grey of the room.
It suited Rundsor’s personality.
“I have my initial report, commander,” Kaila said as she took up a position in front or Rundsor’s desk.
Rundsor set her datapad on the desk but didn’t look at Kaila. “About those terrorist miners or your fantasy Rebels?” she asked in a dismissive tone. The junior officer kept her annoyance in check.
“The terrorists are dead.”
Now Kaila had Rundsor’s attention. She continued.
“Not by my hand. Suicide during their escape. However, a supposed merchant ship interfered in the attempt to capture the terrorists. I brought one of the merchants in for interrogation.”
Rundsor’s gaze turned away to her desk.
Kaila said, “She insists she can prove there have never been Rebels on Naboo.” When this failed to get Rundsor’s attention, Kaila added, “I believe her.”
“What do these merchants have to do with the terrorists or Rebels?” Rundsor asked as if Kaila was wasting her time.
“I won’t know until I investigate the woman’s claims further.”
Rundsor seemed no more interested now than upon Kaila’s first revelation. Kaila pressed her case. “Have you located Agent Mirko, so we can verify his report about having extinguished the alleged Rebel threat a year ago?”
The senior ISB agent finally met Kaila’s gaze. Kaila tried not to look too satisfied with herself, for she knew through other channels that Rundsor hadn’t found Mirko yet.
She was curious about how her superior would wiggle out of this one.
“You want to believe this merchant,” Rundsor said, her eyes defiant. “You want to believe your father wasn’t a traitor.”
Kaila flinched but did not allow her eyes to leave Rundsor’s. She wanted to shout back at the blond bitch in Imperial clothing but wisely held her tongue.
The chirp of Rundsor’s intercom interrupted the standoff. Rundsor turned from Kaila and pressed a button on her desk. “What is it?”
From the intercom, the ISB commander and agent heard, “The stormtroopers watching those merchants Agent Ores encountered have reported in. The women tried to evade their escorts.”
Rundsor glared at Kaila. The junior agent inhaled deeply, trying to keep her emotions in check.
“We captured the Twi’lek,” the reporting agent continued. “The Pantoran is missing.”
Kaila turned and headed for the door. Rundsor called after her. “I did not dismiss you, Agent Ores.”
Looking over her shoulder but not stopping, Kaila said, “I figured you’d want me to clean up what you can’t wait to call my mess.”
If Commander Rundsor had more to say, Kaila was already out the door before it came.
With the confusion on the street, Corana chanced leaving the art museum to assess the situation. Staying within the crowd of gathering onlookers, the Pantoran walked toward the street.
Before she got there, she heard blaster fire.
“Piani,” she whispered.
Huddled in the crowd, Corana made it to the street’s edge. Traffic was stopped. Several speeder bikes, a landspeeder,
All four stormtroopers, once the smugglers’ escorts, converged on the area with their blasters at the ready.
There was a human male in his early twenties in on a swoop in front of Corana. Pulling a tactic from Piani’s charm offensive book, Corana approached him, putting on her most innocent girlie look. She wasn’t as good at the charm thing as her partner, but she could make do.
“What happened?” Corana asked the man on the swoop.
“Twi’lek ran into traffic,” he said before looking at Corana. When he did look at her, he did his eyes lit up and he straightened himself out. His eyes tracked the ample curves of Corana’s athletic body.
This is what Piani deals with, the smuggler thought while fighting the urge to roll her eyes. “So why the troopers?” she asked.
“She was running away from them, so they shot her.”
Corana’s heart sank.
“Shame too,” the man continued. “She was a real looker!”
Corana’s eyes narrowed. She looked at the position of the man’s vehicle and then in the direction of the stormtroopers.
One of the Imperials was on his helmet’s comm, probably reporting in. Two of the others picked an unconscious Piani off the ground.
The fourth stormtrooper did his best to look menacing, warning off anyone thinking about interfering. He did a good job; the crowd gave the Imperials plenty of room.
More importantly, the path between Imperials and swoop was clear. Well, she may have to run over one of the troopers. No biggie.
“Ya know, you’re not too bad looking yourself,” the man on the swoop said, leaning forward to make their conversation more intimate.
This time Corana did roll her eyes, but she admitted she asked for his ignorance with her look of seduction. That didn’t mean she had to continue listening to his asinine crap.
The Pantoran pilot slammed her fist on the swoop’s gear shift.
The speeder shot in the direction of the stormtroopers. The unprepared driver fell backward and hit the ground.
The stormtroopers ordered the swoop to stop — as if a driver-less vehicle could do that. They eventually got smart and dived out of the way.
The two troopers dropped Piani in the confusion.
Corana’s weaponized swoop smashed into the landspeeder the stormtroopers had huddled around. The kinetic force pushed the landspeeder into other vehicles, creating more chaos.
Screams erupted from the crowd, most of whom wisely pulled back further from the scene.
Luckily, nothing exploded. Scrap parts and leaking mechanical fluids littered the area.
Corana ducked down, using the idling vehicles as cover as she raced to Piani’s position.
When she got there, the stormtroopers were still recovering. Corana grabbed the barrel of fallen heavy blaster and smashed its butt into the helmet of the closest trooper. He went down.
Corana flipped the gun around, catching the blaster’s grip. She fired at the next stormtrooper.
A beam of light shot from the gun, but it fizzled to nothing by the time it reached the prone trooper. Corana looked at the gun. The battery was out.
“I thought you assholes were supposed to be efficient!” she shouted.
The trooper she tried to shoot scrambled for his blaster.
Corana raced over swinging the otherwise useless blaster at the trooper’s head, knocking him out.
Piani was only a few steps away.
Unfortunately, so were the other two stormtroopers.
Nile had taken the time in isolation to mediate. She opened her eyes when she heard the hiss of the door opening.
Surprise took the Jedi when a blonde ISB agent who was not Agent Ores entered the room. Her ice-cold eyes and her thin line of a mouth projected her no-nonsense approach.
“Where is Agent Ores?” Nile asked.
“Irrelevant,” the ISB agent said. “I hear you’ve filled her head with ideas of Rebels on Naboo.”
Nile closed her eyes. The ISB woman continued.
“Agent Ores defied protocol and did not record your conversation.” Silence from Nile. The agent put her hands on the table and leaned toward Nile. “You are going to tell me everything the two of you discussed.”
Nile opened her eyes and looked at the ISB agent. “Actually, you are going to escort me out of this building.”
To be continued…