Continuing Mark Wooden’s Star Wars fanfiction, Corana attempts a daring rescue of her unconscious partner Piani. ISB Agent Kaila Ores moves to stop her. Nile tries to escape ISB headquarters.
Corana threw her useless blaster at one of the two remaining stormtroopers. It slammed against the trooper’s helmet, knocking him senseless. The smuggler wondered why they wore the armor if it was that worthless.
Looking past the damaged speeder, Corana saw the remaining stormtrooper getting to his feet. His blaster was in hand and ready for use.
The Pantoran ducked behind the wreckage and checked on her fallen partner Piani. Thankfully, the stormtroopers used their stun setting. The blue-skinned TWi’lek was still breathing.
Corana turned her attention to the remaining stormtrooper just as he rounded the corner of the wreckage and came into view. He immediately aimed his blaster at her chest.
The trooper started to say something through his helmet’s external speaker, but Corana charged into him. She and the stormtrooper tumbled, both falling to the ground.
The stormtrooper kept his blaster but his boot was closer to Corana. He lashed out, kicking Corana in the head. The impact knocked her back and out of reach.
With her pressed away from him, the stormtrooper started up but slipped in spilled hydraulic fluid. He fell back to the ground.
Corana shook off the effect of the kick and stood. The stormtrooper tried to get up a second time. The smuggler moved to stomp on the trooper’s helmet. He used the slippery fluid to his advantage and slid out of Corana’s reach.
The smuggler advanced. This time, her kick connected with the prone trooper’s blaster, knocking it away. The weaponless trooper struggled to his feet, standing off against the smuggler.
“Your fists aren’t going to hurt me in this armor,” the stormtrooper said as he took up a fighting position.
Corana looked at her fists and then back at the trooper. “You may be right.”
A blaster went off.
A laser bolt slammed into the stormtrooper’s face, laying him out flat.
Corana looked in the direction the blast came from.
Piani, looking very worn out, held one of the fallen stormtrooper’s blasters. “Think we overstayed our welcome,” she said with a beaten voice.
Corana smiled. Moving to her partner’s side, she helped Piani to her feet. The Twi’lek fell back down, but Corana supported her. “We’re not dying on Naboo,” she said.
Nile reached out with the Force, subtly influencing the blonde ISB agent’s dire business ethos to something more amenable.
The Jedi watched as the agent’s resolve floundered. Her hands, once pressed hard against the table, relaxed. She slumped as if about to fall onto the table between her and Nile.
The agent shook her head to clear it, then looked at Nile. Standing straight, she said, “Once again Agent Ores shows a lack of judgment in detaining a worthless prisoner. Come with me.”
The ISB agent moved to the door. Nile smiled as she followed her.
With the crowd afraid of the violence Corana had wrought, it was easy for her and her partner to commandeer a speeder and race away from the scene of four defeated stormtroopers.
Piani had passed out in the passenger seat. Corana wasn’t worried. All her partner needed
After this mess, they’d earned at least that whether they came back with that brat Ores or not. Though Corana was leaning toward not.
As the conscious one of the pair, Corana had the hard part — evading the inevitable stormtroopers between them and the Bevryder.
To the Pantoran smuggler’s surprise, they encountered no resistance as they crept through the streets of Theed. Not even local law enforcement bothered with them, not that she saw any.
Corana reasoned the ISB had followed the same protocols they had followed when pursuing the freighter earlier and had called off the locals.
That didn’t explain the lack of stormtroopers on their tail or in front of them. Corana figured it out when she reached the Bevryder’s landing pad.
The smuggler left the speeder a few blocks away from the pad. She carried her unconscious partner to the location, using what amounted to well-lit back alleys to minimize interference.
Checking on their ship from a distance, Corana saw four stormtroopers outside the closed loading ramp. Another two troopers patrolled the area. This was in addition to what looked like heightened Naboo security droid patrols.
“We’re not getting out that way,” Corana said.
The pilot took Piani to an area of garbage compactors. She noted they were the nicest smelling garbage area she’d ever smelled, fitting in well with the luxury of Theed.
Hiding Piani’s unconscious form in some trash (she’d apologize later), Corana went to perform a more thorough reconnaissance of their adversaries.
When she turned, she found herself staring down the barrel of a holdout blaster. Agent Kaila Ores held the weapon.
At first, Corana looked like a child caught stealing the cookie they had to build a makeshift ladder to steal. She quickly transformed into the cocky pilot she’d been when she had first met the agent and waved.
It drew a scowl from the agent.
“Fancy meeting you here!” Corana said.
“For such a good pilot you are so predictably stupid,” Kaila said.
Corana shrugged. “I’ll take that as a compliment?”
“You got lucky with the other stormtroopers.”
Corana crossed her arms across her chest and smiled. “That was skill. And lack of training on the part of the Imperial Army. You guys should teach improvisational —”
Kaila fired her weapon at Corana’s feet. The smuggler shut up and threw up her hands to play innocent and helpless. “My partner’s stunned out and I’m unarmed,” she said.
“Then you’re stupid and defenseless.” For a tense moment, Kaila let silence fall between them. She broke that silence a moment later. “Lucky for you I have
Corana slowly lowered her hands. “I’m listening.”
The Jedi realized her luck in that the blonde agent was the commander in charge of the facility. No one questioned her as she personally led a prisoner out of detention and right out the front door of ISB headquarters.
The confused expressions of the blond agent’s fellow ISB agents amused Nile. She maintained a stoic expression as not to give the game away.
“Thank you, commander,” Nile said once outside. “I can take it from here.”
A wave of cold passed through Nile. The Dark side called to her. She closed her eyes and forced the cold away.
Convincing the commander to free her against her will was a slight abuse of the Force but not one that would permanently darken Nile’s soul. She was, in a moral sense, innocent.
In a legal sense, the commander didn’t know
“A problem?” the commander asked when
Nile waved away the commander’s worry. “Nothing a few hours of sleep won’t cure.” She added her thanks, turned and walked away.
The Jedi’s immediate goal was to get a commlink and contact her partners, Corana and Piani. They needed to regroup and determine whether there was a viable chance to recruit Agent Ores.
The young agent hadn’t seemed interested in Nile’s offer to help her with her Force ability, but her desire to prove there was no past Rebel presence on Naboo could be exploited.
“Stop that woman!”
Nile was merging into the crowd across the street from ISB headquarters when she heard the commander’s command.
Now free of the Force’s influence, the commander realized what she’d done and was hellbent on rectifying that wrong.
The Jedi quickly melted into the crowd and put as much distance between her and ISB headquarters as possible. Within a few feet, she encountered a dozen or so locals waiting for a transport speeder.
One of them, a pre-teen girl with her middle-aged mother, talked loudly on a commlink.
Nile approached the girl and knelt before her. “Excuse me,” she said but failed to get the girl’s attention. Looking to the mother, Nile said, “I need to borrow that commlink.”
This time, Nile opted not to bring the Force into the interaction.
“Whatever for?” the woman asked. “Don’t you have your own?”
Nile closed her eyes. “If I did, I wouldn’t ask.” Looking back at the woman, she added, “There are some unsavory-looking men following me. I need to call the ISB to protect myself.”
A sympathetic look appeared on the woman’s face. She tapped the younger girl’s shoulder. The girl brushed her off, not wanting to be interrupted.
“She needs it more than you!” the older woman said sharply.
Looking back at the women, Nile saw the younger girl frown as she handed her commlink to her mother, who then handed it to
Nile reached into a pocket and handed the younger woman a credstick. “Trade you. And thank you again.” Nile rushed away.
The pre-teen girl checked the reader on the credstick. She then looked after
The women were looking after Nile when two ISB agents and three stormtroopers pressed past their position.
Kaila sat in the front seat of a Flare-S swoop parked on a side street just outside the Bevryder’s landing pad. Corana stood to the side of the vehicle. Piani, groggy but showing signs of life, sat in the passenger seat.
The ISB agent punched some numbers on her datapad, which was connected by a cable to the swoop’s onboard computer.
“You gave the order for local law to back off us, didn’t you?” Corana asked. Kaila ignored her. The ISB agent also ignored Corana’s follow up question, “You also called off your stormtroopers. Just to meet lil’ ol’ us.”
A few more interactions with the datapad and Kaila placed the device on the dashboard. She turned to Corana.
“I’ve converted the transponder code,” she said. “When you get out of the city, hit the green button on the datapad. The transponder will emit a signal placing you twenty kilometers in another random direction. Shake any visible tails and you’re away.
“Your rendezvous point coordinates are programmed into the datapad.”
Kaila got out of the swoop.
“Two problems,” Corana said.
“Which are your problems, not mine.”
Corana hesitated, thrown by Kaila’s curt words.
“Get going,” Kaila instructed. “I can’t hold the stormtroopers for —”
“We don’t leave without Nile,” Corana said.
“She’s in ISB custody. There is no chance —”
Piani’s commlink chirped. Kaila and Corana looked at Piani as she answered the call. All the women were surprised to hear Nile on the other side of the line.
Corana snatched the commlink from Piani. “Where are you?” she asked, turning slightly from Kaila as if that would make her conversation with Nile more intimate.
“A few blocks from ISB headquarters,” Nile responded. “I have some not so friendlies on my trail. It may be best for you and Piani to get off planet —”
“Things have developed, Nile. And we’re not leaving you.” Corana turned to Kaila. “Can you rig me a tracking system so I —”
Kaila crossed her arms. “Your companion is right. If she escaped and is being followed —”
Corana got right in Kaila’s face. She presented an intimidating presence though she was shorter than the brunette agent. For her part, Kaila maintained her sense of superiority.
“Help me track Nile’s comm or this deal is off,” Corana said.
Kaila remained defiant. “I need Rebels. I don’t need live ones.”
A momentary standoff.
Corana snatched Kaila’s sidearm from its holster and held it to the woman’s stomach.
“We don’t need a live Imperial either.”
Kaila looked down at the hold out blaster, then up at Corana.
The ISB agent smiled.
To be concluded…