Continuing Episode Five of Mark Wooden’s Star Wars fanfiction. The Rebels and their Gungan allies come under fire. ISB Agent Kaila Ores confronts her mother about Magistrate Aadhar’s arrest.
Grand Moff Tretyro reveals his plot.
“Down!” Nile shouted as she tackled Corana. The two Rebels fell into the muck at the edge of the lake. Blaster bolts sliced the air above them.
Nile looked up to get her bearings.
The blaster fire came from across the lake. Due to the sporadic nature of the firing, she couldn’t determine how many guns they were up against.
Nearby, Piani and the Gungan aiding her huddled in the water maintaining a low profile. Piani looked back to ensure her allies were still in one piece.
Bethor, leader of the Gungan who met with the Rebels, also looked to Nile and Corana. He was not pleased. “If you’d moved when I said!”
“Place blame later!” Nile said. “I’m sure you had a plan other than dying on the lake!”
Bethor grunted. He held up his wrist and punched a button on a gauntlet there.
Four Bongo submarines burst through the surface of the water, conveniently blocking further blaster fire from their unseen attackers.
“Maybe next time you should lead with the submarine thing!” Corana said.
Ignoring the jibe, Bethor said, “They’re not made to take blaster fire so get your butts moving!”
The Rebels followed Bethor and his fellow Gungan to the ships. The cockpit and passenger areas faced them, affording cover from the blaster fire.
Corana and another Gungan helped Piani into a submarine. Nile followed Bethor into another.
The sound of blaster fire stopped, quickly replaced by the engines of several speeder bikes.
The maroon-haired Pantoran got the wounded Twi’lek situated while the Gungan with them started the vehicle.
At his vehicle, Bethor closed the plasma field that acted as the cockpit window and began the process for submerging. In the other subs, Gungan performed similar tasks.
A speeder bike raced around the submarines. Its driver fired a blaster at the Gungan. He struck Corana’s pilot, who had just settled into closing the cockpit. Corana raced forward and finished the task.
The protective shield absorbed subsequent blaster fire but wouldn’t hold forever.
“So how exactly do I pilot this thing?” Corana asked no one in particular.
The comm unit burst to life with Bethor’s voice. “Sebsoh! Get moving!”
“He’s dead!” Corana said. “If you want us to move you gotta tell me how to do it!”
Corana flinched as more blaster fire battered the cockpit shield. She could see it starting to melt.
Bethor called back with quick instructions. Corana followed them to the letter. The ship bucked backward, throwing Corana to the floor. She quickly got back to the controls as more blaster fire rocked the ship.
Outside, Bethor and his Gungan began disappearing into the lake.
“If you’re going to do something,” Piani said from behind Corana, “Now’d be a good time.”
“Backseat driver!” Corana said. She moved to the pilot’s seat, unceremoniously pushing Sebsoh’s lifeless body aside. She grabbed the control sticks and continued carrying out Bethor’s instructions.
The submarine pushed forward now, its nose piercing the surface of the water. Behind it, blaster bolts pelted the water but could do them no harm.
“Little too close,” Corana said over the comm. “Mind telling us who that was?”
“Mercenary slavers,” Bethor replied. “When the Empire took over the planet, they rounded up Gungan for slave labor off world. My people went underwater. That’s when I lost touch with Kaila.”
“Obviously you re-established contact,” Corana heard Nile say over their commlink.
“A decade ago she tracked me down,” Bethor said. “Still don’t know how.”
“She’s pretty good at that,” Corana said grudgingly.
Bethor continued. “Gave me a datachip to hold for her. Year later, she sends her brother to get it from me. Hadn’t heard from her since until about a month ago. She said she was coming home to finish what she started when she handed me that datachip.”
“And what was that, exactly?” Nile asked.
A warning siren interrupted their conversation.
Bethor explained. “Sensors picking up lots of opee up ahead.”
“Lots of what?” Piani asked.
“Really big fish that like eating these submarines,” the Gungan said. “Luckily, there’s a channel to the right we can take. Kinda dangerous though. You up for it rookie pilot?”
Corana gripped the submarine’s controls and smiled. “Dangerous? Wake me up when it’s impossible.”
Kaila stormed past her mother and into the opulent splendor of her mother’s quarters.
“A pleasure to see you too,” Imeda said as she closed the apartment door. “You’re in a mood.”
Imeda joined Kaila in the main room. The ISB agent turned on her mother, fury behind her eyes. “Tretyro has arrested Magistrate Aadhar,” Kaila said. “But I know the man is innocent.”
Imeda moved past Kaila to sit on one of the plush sofas. “And how would you know this?”
Kaila hesitated. She had a reason but wasn’t at liberty to reveal it to her mother, as close as she was to Tretyro. She didn’t know if she could trust her mother; what a sad state this Empire has left Naboo and its people.
“Tretyro is looking for anything he can use against Queen Dalné to take Naboo for himself,” Kaila began. “If he can frame a magistrate, show the Queen’s failure to protect against the Rebel threat —”
Imeda shrugged off the accusation. “This is the emperor’s homeworld. Part of the terms of its admittance into the Empire was maintaining its native customs. Perhaps it’s time for those customs to die.”
Kaila eyed her mother. “Did Tretyro tell you that one during pillow talk?”
Her mother appeared hurt. She had hoped that after all these years and the support Tretyro had shown the family, Kaila would come to respect him. Imeda playing hurt only made Kaila angrier.
It was open knowledge that her mother and Tretyro were a thing, though they’d stopped short of getting married. It was suspected their affair had begun while Kaila’s father was in jail.
Kaila half suspected Tretyro of framing her father so he could have the affair.
“Things change, Kaila. The queen is merely a figurehead whose power is only what the Empire lets her have.”
Kaila approached her mother. “That doesn’t excuse Tretyro abusing the law to do what he wants. Like he did with my father!”
“You can’t prove that just like you can’t prove he moved against this magistrate!”
“I can’t prove father because you destroyed the evidence I entrusted to you!”
“I did my duty as a citizen of the Empire and gave it to the officer in charge!’
“The very man who had my father — your husband — arrested and executed! Your compliance makes you either blindly obedient or an accomplice to murder!”
Imeda stood and slapped Kaila’s face. The Imperial agent was stunned to silence. Looking at her mother, she saw the woman’s jaw tighten, her raised hand shaking.
“This is exactly what I meant the other night,” Imeda said in a hushed tone. “I warned you about taking on Jasper. I told you people would get hurt.”
The ISB agent shook her head and turned for the exit.
“Because you had to press things, you will lose face,” her mother called after her. “But this allegedly innocent magistrate will die.”
Kaila continued to the door. Imeda walked after her, catching her at the door and turning the woman to face her.
Imeda ran her hand softly over the spot where she’d just hit her daughter. Kaila pushed the hand away. Imeda laid her hands upon Kaila’s shoulders, trying to be as maternal as she could.
Daughter refused to look at mother.
“Leave this, Kaila,” Imeda implored. “Before you lose the career you’ve worked so hard for. Or lose something far more valuable.”
Gently removing Imeda’s hands, Kaila said, “I won’t stop until I’ve exposed Tretyro’s corruption. If you’re wrapped up in it, you may lose something more important than this posh apartment.”
Kaila stared her words home and then exited, leaving Imeda to contemplate her fate.
Grand Moff Tretyro, flanked by his four guards, marched into the Imperial Security Bureau’s counterintelligence office as if he were the emperor himself.
Tretyro wore his standard grey Imperial uniform. Thinking himself royalty, he had added a long, black cape. In his mind he was; he wanted the Naboo throne to confirm his place.
Commander Rundsor snapped to attention when Tretyro entered. ISB computer specialists continued working at their cubicles.
“Report, commander,” Tretyro said.
Turning to her superior and offering a slight bow, Rundsor said, “These are statistically the best slicers we have on Naboo. They implanted the data you requested, making it appear the magistrate was sending the commands that helped the Rebels evade our troops.”
Tretyro stared at her, expecting more.
“They’ve covered their tracks on the slice but are unable to determine who really issued those misleading commands,” Rundsor continued.
The grand moff nodded, pleased with himself. “As long as nothing traces back to our tampering, that will suffice.”
“Are you sure, sir?” the ISB commander asked. “Whoever did the original slice could be the true Rebel threat.”
“Once we deal with the magistrate and, in turn, the queen, the Rebels and anyone sympathetic toward them will be too terrified to defy us.”
The chirp of Tretyro’s commlink interrupted his pontificating. Answering, he heard Imeda Ores on the other side of the line. He motioned for Rundsor to continue her work. She nodded and moved to look over the shoulder of one of the specialists.
Tretyro stepped away from the group for the illusion of privacy. His guards stood a respectful distance away.
“I’m handling business, Imeda,” Tretyro said into his commlink. His tone was far from the authoritarian grand moff he used with Rundsor. “I’ll have to —”
“Put it aside, Jasper,” Imeda said. “We need to have a serious conversation about Kaila.”
To be continued…