In this episode of Star Wars fanfiction, Imeda makes a plea to Tretyro for her daughter Kaila. Meanwhile, the Rebels learn the origin of Kaila’s crusade against Tretyro.
“I hope where ever we’re going is really close by,” Piani said. “Otherwise we’re going to drown!”
Corana gave Piani a sideways glance. The Twi’lek squirmed in the passenger seat behind her, trying to avoid the rivulets of water spraying in from cracks in the cockpit’s organic shielding.
Corana quickly turned her attention back to piloting the modified bongo submarine.
The channel the Gungan named Bethor led them through had a few more curves than Corana would have liked. She really didn’t like any of this. Piloting an alien watercraft that handled like a jet in molasses was not on her list of things to do.
The cockpit’s organic shielding had taken some hits after some misjudged turns. It wouldn’t take too many more to shatter the shielding. That is if the water pressure didn’t crack the weakened structure first.
Running the channel was a better alternative to giant fish eating them, so there was that.
“You can ease off the throttle,” Bethor said over their comm.
Corana glanced at the control surface in front of her. “There’s a throttle?”
“Every time you push the control handles forward,” the Gungan replied. “Pull back.”
“And lose you?”
“Drowning!” Piani said from behind Corana.
As if for emphasis, another crack in the cockpit’s organic shield sprung a leak, sending a stream of water into the Pantoran pilot’s face.
Corana jerked away from the water, then modified her place in the pilot’s seat to avoid the constant spray — one of several slowly flooding the compartment.
“So how’d you ladies get tied up with Kaila?” Bethor asked.
Corana watched ahead of her as Bethor turned his submarine around a sharp curve. She did the same but left a bit of her submarine’s underside on a piece of rock.
The bump threw Corana back into the stream of water. She wiped at her face, moving aside her matted red hair.
“Is now really the time for stories?” Corana asked.
“I knew Kaila as a kid,” Bethor said. “She has a damned good reason for hating the Empire, but I never thought she’d go full Rebel.”
“Just because she got us to you doesn’t mean she’s gone full Rebel,” Corana said. “She’s up to something.”
The piloting smuggler heard Nile chime in from Bethor’s sub. “Bethor, you said Kaila had good reason to hate the Empire. When she and I met, Kaila mentioned (as she so colorfully put it) ‘handing the Grand Moff his ass.’”
Piani and Corana heard Bethor snort. “Now that sounds like the Kaila I remember from eleven years ago.”
“That sounds like the prelude to a story,” Piani said.
“I’ll tell you all about it when we get home,” Bethor said. “Wouldn’t want to distract your partner from driving.”
Corana wanted to throw out a retort but the water splashing around her convinced her to just get this over.
Imeda Ores lay in her bed, naked beneath the sheets, a sheen of postcoital sweat covering her body. Her lover Grand Moff Jasper Tretyro stood at the window, looking at the city of Theed. Night had fallen.
In the decade-plus that she’d known Jasper, his focus had always driven him to control this city, this planet. The emperor’s deal with his birth world’s natives to maintain the queen and her magistrates stifled his desire.
Later, as an ISB agent, Jasper had discovered then Queen Apailana harboring Jedi. With the emperor’s permission, he handled the situation.
Unfortunately, the ruse of Naboo having a queen sharing responsibility for the planet persisted.
When Jasper took over as Moff, he pressed his position right to the edge of sharing with the queen. He sought a way to push it so there would be no queen, with himself as Naboo’s sole royal figure.
A decade later he’d found a way — but Imeda’s daughter Kaila stuck in his side, just as she had when Jasper conspired to remove Imeda’s husband to uncomplicate their lust for one another.
Perhaps Jasper and Imeda’s actions of a decade ago were too fast, too obvious. Hell, even a then sixteen-year-old Kaila had nearly derailed their plans.
Fortunately, the threads of evidence moved in their favor and things worked out. Jasper’s move against the former queen cemented his ill-gotten position as Moff.
Now, once again, Kaila stood against him in his move to take Naboo. This time, she wasn’t the young girl with passion but no understanding.
As an ISB agent, Kaila knew exactly how things worked in the Empire. She would use that knowledge against Jasper, making his life uncomfortable at best.
At worse, she would bring him down. By default, Imeda would fall with him.
“She’s your daughter,” Tretyro said. “Talk to her.”
“There is no talking to her when she’s got her teeth on a bone,” Imeda said. “You left her quite the meaty bone with all your loose threads.”
Tretyro turned to Imeda. She casually ran her finger across the bed beside her, paying little attention to him.
“I destroyed the bones and sent the dog away,” Tretyro said. “She conned her way into the investigation on Odoum, then somehow turned it into an investigation into Rebels.”
“Are there Rebels on Naboo?”
“Not according to our intelligence reports. The terrorists were working with the miners, not the rebels.” The Imperial paused in thought. “Unless they weren’t.”
“You’re okay with sacrificing an innocent man to derail Kaila’s investigation?”
Tretyro laughed. Imeda looked at him, her eyes demanding an answer. He sat on the bed, her back to him.
“You bother to ask that, the woman who helped sell out her husband for fortune and glory?”
Imeda looked away from Tretyro and continued her fawning over the mattress. “Not something I’m proud of.”
“But not something you’d think twice about doing again.”
Imeda frowned. “Still. Kaila won’t stop until she learns the truth.”
“What would you have me do? Murder your daughter?”
A flash of anger crossed Imeda’s face. She glared at Tretyro, searching his face for some sign he would not go that far. She turned away when she could not find it. He moved to kiss her cheek.
She turned her cheek away from him. “Perhaps this all was a bad idea,” she said.
Tretyro laughed. The laugh angered her.
“Yes, Imeda. I can see you remaining a middle-tier merchant’s wife. Sacrificing the splendor of the Naboo court and the extravagant life of a Grand Moff’s concubine.
“Even abandoning all the Empire has done to advance the careers of your children.”
“What you pushed them into,” Imeda said.
Tretyro thought on this. “There is truth to that. I should have pushed Kaila to become a lounge singer instead.”
Imeda met Tretyro’s gaze. Worry marred her beauty. “What are we going to do?” she asked.
Tretyro gently stroked Imeda’s shoulder. “Once the magistrate is executed, I can use the presence of Rebel Alliance sympathizers in the queen’s court to press for her removal
“Dalné won’t leave willingly,” Imeda warned.
“You need to see that she does.” Tretyro headed out of the room. “It’s her life or ours, Imeda.”
Imeda had ignored that reality, hoping the day would never come when she would have to acknowledge it. Now that day fast approached. She still hadn’t decided on which side she’d fall.
It worried her that Tretyro seemingly had no qualm about deciding for her.
Bethor got Corana and her Rebel allies to the safety of his home. The place had once been a magnificent underwater city beneath a dome.
Bethor said the first waves of mercenary slavers had raized the city, forcing the Gungan to flee.
He and a few others eventually repopulated the city. Unfortunately, it was little more than a refugee camp that occupied a few blocks of the once bustling metropolis.
Generators and related technologies created an atmosphere deep beneath the waters of Naboo. Corana was thankful for that; she and Piani were already wet enough without having to live underwater with a rebreathing device.
She joined Nile and Bethor in the city’s makeshift medical facility. A Gungan doctor worked with some supplies to help Piani’s leg. Bethor used the downtime to tell his story about Kaila.
“I’m a bit more impressed with the girl,” Corana admitted at the end of his story. “She went up against the big bad Empire with nothing more than a holovid confession?”
“It concerns me she’s still on this quest,” Nile said. “Revenge darkens the soul.”
Bethor fiddled with a piece of equipment attached to the gauntlet on his wrist. “The Empire tried to enslave all of Kaila’s Gungan friends when she was nine,” he said. “By sixteen she was already pretty dark when it came to the Empire.”
“How did your group survive?” Piani asked.
“Without the supplies we depended on from the above ground, we struggled.
Corana stretched, “Trust me,” she began. “We feel your pain about that particular pain in the ass.”
“I’m curious about one element of your story,” Nile said. “Kaila told you she heard the grain trade rep’s confession in her head. Then she coerced his holovid confession?”
“That’s what she said,” Bethor replied. “I didn’t get what she meant by hearing the confession in her head but I know she wouldn’t make something like that up.”
Nile looked at Corana. An unspoken moment passed between them. Nile looked back at Bethor.
“That’s the reason why we’re on Naboo, why we need to speak with Kaila,” Nile explained. “We believe she may have the power to manipulate the Force.”
Without looking up from his work, Bethor asked, “You think she’s a Jedi or something?”
All three female Rebels were surprised.
“You know of the Jedi?” Nile asked.
“Of course,” Bethor said. “Two of them saved our butts back when the Trade Federation tried to take the planet. Before the Clone Wars. I fought in that battle.
“Jar-Jar Binks even got to work with them and Queen Amidala. Told us all about them.” Bethor reflected for a moment. “He always did talk too much.”
“Knowing the Jedi, you didn’t think Kaila…”
Bethor shrugged. “Never crossed my mind.”
The Gungan turned back to the equipment on his wrist. “Finally!” he said. He then took the item off his wrist and put it on a table between them. A moment later, a hologram of Kaila projected from the item.
The Rebels looked to Bethor. He smiled. “Holovid projector coupled with an encrypted holo commlink.” Turning to Kaila’s image, he said, “Took you long enough to log in, Kaila.”
The ISB agent’s image looked at Bethor. “I’m an ISB agent,” she began, “which means I have more eyes on me than a standard citizen. Especially on Tretyro’s turf.”
Kaila looked at the Rebels. “I see Bethor got you all together in one piece.”
“Mostly,” Piani said.
“Can’t say the same for my ship or my team,” Bethor deadpanned. After noting the Rebels’ looks of contrition, he said to Kaila. “Whatever brought you back to the swamp better be good, K.”
“Tretyro is framing a magistrate as a Rebel sympathizer to throw off my investigation and attack the queen,” Kaila’s image said.
“I told you there are no Rebels on the planet,” Nile said.
“I know,” Kaila said. “I also know for sure he’s innocent because I did what he’s being framed for. We have to shut Tretyro down before they find that out or harm the magistrate.”
“Agreed,” Nile said.
Corana waved a hand. “Hello? Not sure I wanna get back in business with this girl. I mean, next thing ya know she’ll have us raiding ISB headquarters or something insanely stupid.”
Kaila’s image smiled. “And here I thought I was the mind reader.”
To be continued…