Timtam and Haven had loaded the speeder with provisions for the trip. On Tatooine you had to have survival gear and provisions any time you went some place because of the unforgiving climate. They were going to the trade fair that the Jawa’s hosted twice a year. The trade fair was one of the few things to do on Tatooine that didn’t require traveling long distances.
Mykala was eager to go as well. Lately she had been having second thoughts about continuing fighting for the Rebellion. It had been very hard on her. She had given up her life and devoted it to this cause and all it had done was cause her pain. This trip would do her good. She would be able to spend some time with her cousin and help Timtam get used to her new life as well.
“Mykala, hurry up!” Timtam called. She was out side the garage standing in the speeder looking up at the balcony where Mykala was. It was good to see Timtam so eager to go. She was becoming more at ease with the idea of freedom from the look of it. A few short weeks ago she never would have told Mykala to hurry up for any reason let alone shout it.
“Are you sure you won’t come?” Mykala asked Tahl.
“ Yes, I’m sure Mykala. Take your cousin and Timtam. You girls should go and enjoy yourselves today.” he said smiling from both mouths.
“Alright master but I’m going to buy you something anyway.” Mykala smiled.
Tarin sat down and put her feet up on the table. Where ever she went she had the habit of controlling the space she occupied. She couldn’t help it. The furniture was the finest she had ever seen here in the palace.
“Make yourself at home.” Baltis said. He threw Tarin a piece of fruit from a bowl on the table. She caught it with ease and sniffed it.
“Fresh.” she took a small bite and chewed. “What’s up?”
“ I’ve made contact with an old acquaintance from a couple of years back. She was hired by Guppa the Hutt to keep an eye on Venis for him. Turns out his gesture of protection was a little too late. However it seems they still want to help us out.” Baltis poured two drinks.
“How come.” Tarin asked taking one of the drinks.
“It seems they don’t like the way things are going with the Empire in charge. The Emperor isn’t likely to let assassin guilds do their job without him controlling who gets whacked.” Baltis took a drink.
“Who are these people that contacted you? Do I know them?”
“ I doubt it. They were a small outfit that hired themselves out to whoever needed them. They got in some trouble with the Hutts and had some problems. Anyway it looks like that’s all behind them now and their looking to join us. The problem is they tend to be a little harsh. They specialize in pay back jobs, you know, make them suffer. Real cold blooded stuff. Me and you like to get in and get out. That’s not how they operate. They like it wet.”
“I really don’t see the others being happy with having a group that works that way. I agree with you. The hit ’em and get out approach has always been good for me but there is something to be said for the shear fear factor that their type can give ones enemies.” Tarin held out her drink for a refill.
“Well it is up to us to decide, they did put us in charge of these things. Besides just because they usually operate that way doesn’t mean they have to. If they work for us they have to take orders right?”
Bronski pulled up the holographic map that was stored in the droid brain that they had bought from the Feloid pirates. The map showed every known Imperial base in the galaxy. There weren’t any specifics as in troop concentrations or even what type of troops or ships were there. It only showed that there was a base at that spot.
“This is very impressive I must say Bronski.” Ragg said.
“Sometimes you get lucky. The problem is what little red dot needs to be hit and which ones need to be left alone. This is a good start but there is actually very little information here.” Buck replied.
‘What do you think about capturing someone that has that information. Some Imperial shit that can help us fill in the blanks.” Matt said.
“A kidnapping? That would come under Tarin and Baltis wouldn’t it?” Ragg asked.
“Not necessarily, if we snatch someone like that we need to cause a lot of damage so they don’t think we grabbed someone. We need it to look like a raid and that the guy we snatched was missing in action or blown to bits. That way they won’t change the information because they’ll think he’s dead. Matt said.
“That sounds like it might work.” Bronski said.
“Well that’s a first, you usually call me a dumb ass.” Matt laughed.
“Oh, your still a dumb ass, but the plan is good.” Bronski laughed too.
“Now put your fingers inside and press the nub with your thumb. That’s it, now wiggle it a little until until it comes loose.” The panel opened with a slight popping sound.
“See how easy it is when you have someone to show you how to do it.” Ceecee said to Pep. Ceecee was teaching Pep about simple maintenance on space ships. They had some down time since they had to wait for Granic to return. Also the others hadn’t decided on their next target so they didn’t even have a ship to prepare.
Pep took Ceecee’s hand and stopped her from working.
“How are you feeling Ceecee? Are you okay?” Pep asked . She had never spoken to anyone about Vee’s death and she wanted to see if she wanted to talk about it now.
“I’m okay. I liked Vee a lot but we were just friends.” Ceecee said smiling. “Ever since I heard about my sister and had my ship taken from me I had to learn fast just how quickly I could die out here. Where I grew up there wasn’t anything to do but work. Everybody worked from first light to night fall. We never had any fun. We weren’t even allowed to have boy friends, it was very hard. I just wanted to explode, I was missing out on life and love. That’s why I left. I wanted to touch someone else, I wanted to know how it felt. That’s just normal, right?” Ceecee asked.
“Sure it is.” Pep smiled.
“So when me and Vee kind of wound up together one thing just lead to another. We were both lonely. Her boy friend had been killed and I had lost my sister. Neither one of us had anybody. We both just wanted to feel good is all.” Ceecee said.
“I’m not sure what that feel’s like to be honest. I’ve never gone very long without having sex with someone. I never had a choice. Someone has been using me since I was thirteen. It wasn’t very nice but I had to make the best of it if I wanted to survive.” Pep said looking ashamed. “Some of it was even fun, if I liked the person I was with. But Matt is the only normal relationship I’ve ever had.”
“You know, Vee is the only person I’ve been with, I’m not even sure if I would like to be with a guy or not. The men on my fathers place never bothered with me and my sister because there was a brothel in town besides my father would have fired them on the spot.” Ceecee said.
“How about the new man, the Major, why not try it with him?” Pep smiled.
“Do you think he’d want to?” Ceecee asked shyly.
“You have a great figure and huge boobs, oh yeah, he’d want to.” Pep said patting her on the back laughing.
Ceecee turned red with embarrassment.
“He was sizing me up the other morning but Buck shut him down. He looks out for me.” Pep said. “You should do it, you should smile at him or have him help you with something so he’ll get close to you. Once he knows it’s okay to be close the rest will fall into place I guarantee it.” Pep smiled.
“Well he is nice looking.” Ceecee wasn’t sure.
“He wants Lionette but she won’t do it, she’s a Royal and she needs to stay a virgin until she’s married. Anyway after what she did to Timtam you should take her man.” Pep said coldly.
“You really don’t like her do you?” Ceecee asked. She was a little surprised by Pep’s tone.
“She is a Royal and that means she only serves herself and her kind. She has no other loyalties than that. If the Royals decided to not help the Jedi tomorrow she’d have us all thrown out the next day. She is loyal to her code, not to us, never forget that.” Pep looked deadly serious.
“Timtam jumped out of the speeder almost before it stopped. The trade fair had started and it was the most amazing thing she had ever seen. There were space ships taking off and landing everywhere. She could see six of the gigantic Jawa sand crawlers towards the back. Even that far away they looked enormous. The sights and smells were overwhelming to her senses. Haven and Mykala stepped out of the speeder and hurried after Timtam as she had a good head start on them. “Slow down Timtam, we don’t want to loose you.” Haven laughed. The trade fair was always, by tradition, a fun event. It was cause to celebrate, eat, drink and catch up with old friends.
Timtam liked seeing the different races immensely. She would smile and wave at them to the point of embarrassing herself. She enjoyed the Toydarians the most. Their little squat bodies and webbed feet were a great source of amusement for her. She stared as they flapped their tiny wings so fast that they lifted off the ground and looked at items in the different stalls.
Haven looked up suddenly to see three large Imperial shuttles racing across the sky in the direction of Tahl Jae Roe’s home in the mountains. Mykala saw them as well and turned to grab Timtam. Timtam was staring at something else now but she wasn’t laughing any more. There coming down the main concourse were two squads of Storm Troopers headed in their direction.
Mykala grabbed Timtam by the hand. “Move, now.” she said and pulled Timtam in the opposite direction.
“We’re leaving.” Mykala said sternly to Haven. Haven placed the item she was looking at down on the table in the stall and followed with out question. Mykala was still dragging Timtam behind her.
“What do they want?” Timtam asked confused.
“We’re not going to stick around to find out.” Mykala jerked Timtam as they turned sharply to the right and down the path between a line of clothing stalls. Mykala looked and saw Haven right on their heels. There was some commotion up ahead as several other people began to flee from the stormtroopers. This was a world run by the Hutts and there were a lot of people hiding from the Empire here.
In the next open area they came across a group of Transdoshan bounty hunters. They were herding up a group of people that had tried to escape. This would make it harder to escape because since the Empire was now using Bounty hunters ,and non human ones at that, it would be much harder to tell who the bad guys were because bounty hunters don’t wear Imperial uniforms.
Mykala turned again and ducked back into the crowd. Haven was still right behind her so she took off towards where the speeder was parked. Mykala knew there would be Imperial troops by the speeders but she also knew most of them would be busy in the trade fair area itself with searching and crowd control so there would be less at the parking area.
“Look!” said Timtam as she pointed up. Mykala stopped in shock. Above the fair was an Imperial ship. It was the biggest she had ever seen. The ship must be of a new class. It was at least four or five times longer than the cruisers used in the Clone Wars. It was triangular in shape like he point of a spear. She didn’t see any markings or identification on it at all.
“Look out !” Haven yelled. She was too late. A bounty hunter had cold cocked Mykala with the butt of his rifle knocking her to the ground. He was a Niktoan. They were used as hired muscle around here.
Timtam screamed as she was torn from Mykala’s hand by a second bounty hunter, a Weequay thug. These boys were locals hired as extra hands to help with the captures. Haven had been grabbed around the waist by a second Weequay and was punching and kicking as hard as she could.
Timtam sunk her sharp teeth into her assailants arm. He screamed and dropped her.
“Run ! Timtam run !” Haven yelled.
She didn’t have to be told twice and dropped too all fours and ran as fast as she could into the crowd. The Bounty hunter that Timtam bit back handed Haven as hard as he could almost knocking her unconscious. He then walked over to Mykala and started to put binders on her wrists. The Niktoan was the first to see her come back.
“Stop that !” it was Timtam, she had returned. Haven sighed in disappointment knowing they all would be captured now.
“Come here pink head, I don’t want to have to smash your pretty face.” the Niktoan bounty hunter said smiling.
Timtam slowly pointed a blaster pistol at him. “I said Stop !”
“Well they can say what they want to about Lionette, but she sure has good taste.” Tarin smiled as she sat down in the co- pilots seat in the ship. Baltis and Tarin had been given permission to use Lionette’s personal transport. It was used for travel and vacations. He ship was a dark glossy red color with black and white trim. It was completely custom built and it’s shape made it look like it was moving even when it was sitting still.
Baltis sat in the pilots seat. “Nice.” the luxury incorporated into the ship was top of the line.
“When this gig is over I just might steal this ship and take it with me.” Tarin reclined the seat and leaned back to get comfortable.
“You know, all this wealth was built on the backs of their slaves.” Baltis said.
“ You know what Baltis… fuck those slaves. If they didn’t want to be slaves they would have done something about it by now. I had it every bit as bad as those losers and I got out. I did what I had to do and look a me now.” Tarin said as she closed her eyes.
Baltis shook his head and took off. The ship handled like it was an extension of him.
“What did you mean, you had it just as bad as they do.” Baltis asked.
“Don’t like to talk about it.” Tarin said closing her eyes.
“You’re the one that brought it up, besides, your not human so you might not fully understand.”
“Try me.” Baltis countered.
Tarin opened her eyes and let out a sigh. “Mother was a drug addict, stepfather raped me, his friends raped me, I wised up and killed all of them. It made me feel strong…so I kept doing it. I came up with this look, and the rest is underworld history my equally murderous friend.” Tarin closed her eyes again.
“Sounds rough.” Baltis said.
Tarin turned away from Baltis. “It was,but I took care of it, I’m nobodies victim now. Everybody we knew just watched and did nothing. So now they can live in fear of me. Maybe I’ll go back one day and kill the ones that just did nothing as well. They made me what I am so that’s what they get…a stone cold killing machine.”
“Glad we’re friends Tarin, you will tell me if I do something to make you angry won’t you?” Baltis smiled.
“Don’t worry, you’ll know.” Tarin looked over and smiled back.
“When we get to the meeting I’ll do the talking. They won’t trust anybody they don’t know. Just hang back until I can size them up.” Baltis said.
“No problem, hey is there any booze on this ship?” Tarin said getting up.
“Most likely, Feloids like their booze that’s for certain.” Baltis laughed.
Tarin rifled through the aft cabin being careful not to break anything.
“What do you think about what happened to Timtam?” Baltis asked.
“Not my problem, not my business.” was all Tarin said.
“Do you think she was in on the assassination?” Baltis asked.
“I think she should have learned to lick pussy better. Then it wouldn’t matter what she did.” Tarin smiled.
“I don’t think it was like that between them.” Baltis said.
“I was joking. I told you, not my business.”
Adda sat down in Thorim’s room. He was looking through the window at the view out over the valley. “Magnificent isn’t it.” Thorim took a long pull off his cigar and turned to Adda.
“Yes,yes it is.” she knew he always started his conversations this way.
“So how do you feel about your new position my friend, do you think you’re up to it?” he asked.
“Not really. I have very little field experience and I have no military training at all. I don’t understand why they all agreed I’d be the best choice to lead them.”
“You are a remarkable creature Adda. You are one of the most educated and devoted people I have ever met. There hasn’t been one day in your life that you haven’t tried to learn something new and yet you are still humble.” he walked stiffly over to her.
“Who do you think would have been better than you to lead us?” he asked.
“I don’t know, I wish Stella was still alive, she was a natural leader.” Adda stood up and helped Thorim to his chair.
“Let me help you see why they all agreed on you.
Mykala has enough to worry about. Matt and Bronski would always be disagreeing with each other. Kang is a great front line leader. He wouldn’t feel at home behind a desk neither would Lore. Baltis and Tarin work with the group but all in all they are not team players. Then there is Granic the race purist, Ceecee the engineer, and Pep struggling to just be normal for the first time in her life.” he blew a smoke ring out the window.
“And then there is you. Adda Beddo, the scholar, the healer, and everyone’s confidant. They all regard you, and rightfully so, the most level headed one in the group. Of course you should be the leader, why you’re even a Jedi for Drev’s sake.” he smiled. “I think the real question you have is what will happen if you make a mistake? That’s what scares you isn’t it?”
Thorim asked leaning towards Adda.
“Yes, I guess it is.” Adda answered.
“Well too bad, because you will. Nobodies perfect Adda. Now It’s time to use that wonderful brain of yours and put this whole thing together. We need a mission. We need to get back into the fight and soon.” Thorim thumped his cane on the floor.
Adda stood up. “You’re right Thorim, the time to act is now. Call Bronski, Matt, and Ragg. I want to see that map of Imperial bases.” she said to Thorim.
“Call them yourself, I ain’t your secretary.”
“Easy girl, now you won’t shoot anyone will you?” the Niktoan bounty hunter took a step closer to Timtam. “You pink heads aren’t even supposed to touch those nasty things. Just put it in my hand and you can go. We don’t even have a bounty on you so there’s no need for any of this.” he said taking a second step.
“Just stop what you’re doing to them and leave.” Timtam said still pointing the gun with shaky hands.
“That’s a nice gun, where did you find it?” said the Weequay that was kneeling and trying to put binders on Mykala.
“Stop, I know how to shoot so stop.” Timtam said.
“Come on Bartas, grab the gun and let’s get going.” said the Weequay holding Haven.
“Run, run Timtam, please just run ! ” Haven yelled.
The bounty hunter smacked the side of her head hard. “Shut up”
There was a gunshot. Every one looked to see where it came from. Every one except for the first bounty hunter who fell face down dead. The Weequay kneeling over Mykala stood up and went for his pistol. A second shot rang out hitting him in the throat. He fell backwards dead. The second Weequay bounty hunter dropped Haven and went for his gun as well. Timtam took two steps closer to him and shot a third time hitting him in the chest. He stumbled backwards and fell. The crowd was dead silent. Timtam helped Mykala ,who was coming to, to get to her feet. Haven quickly grabbed the gun from the bounty hunter laying next to her and held it at the crowd.
“We’re leaving, don’t you try to hurt my friends any more.” Timtam said as she pointed the gun at the crowd. Haven opened a path in the crowd by waving her gun. They made their way to the speeder and climbed in. Mykala hit the excellerator and took off into the desert towards the nearest settlement.
She looked over at Timtam. She was sitting in the front seat holding the pistol with both hands. Timtam just sat there shaking and staring forward.
“Haven, help Timtam.” Mykala said calmly.
Haven leaned in from the back seat and put her hand on Timtam’s blaster pistol. “ Let me have the pistol honey, you don’t need it any more.” Haven said.
Timtam slowly looked at Haven and released the pistol. Her eyes teared up and she started to cry. “I don’t even know who I took it from.”
“Thank the Force you did. You saved us Timtam, you’re a hero.” Haven said grabbing Timtam and shaking her happily.
Timtam wiped her eyes and smiled. “I was so scared, I just did it. It was like someone else was in charge. I guess watching Lionette all those years showed me what to do.”
“Oh no.” Mykala said grimly. They looked up to see Tahl Jae Roe’s home being shot to pieces. Several large explosions blew huge bits away from the building. The Imperial transports were circling the mountain and shooting every chance they had. Mykala drove down into a dry river bed and parked under a large rock overhang. She jumped out and ran to the edge of the bank and looked to see if they had been followed. There was no sign of any pursuit. The bounty hunters must not have been able to send a message to the stormtroopers. They were safe for now.
“We’ll lay low till night fall. Then I’ll send a message to my ship to fly here and pick us up.” Mykala said.
“What about Master Tahl?” Timtam asked.
Mykala looked up at the burning wreckage on top of the mountain.
“He knows where to hide, he’ll be fine.” Mykala knew he was already dead.
They watched the Mountain and saw the last shuttle take off and leave the smoldering debris that was Tahl Jae Roe’s home.
“ We only found one of the Jedi Vult. The other one must have escaped or wasn’t here.” The Captain said as the shuttle lifted off.
“She can’t be far. Soon she’ll have to contact her friends for help and then when I make contact her friend will show me where they are.” Vult flung her cloak up over her shoulder. She had remained on the shuttle while the Captain checked for survivors.
“This isn’t what we were trying to do but I believe we’ve stumbled onto a very useful way of tracking these Rebels.” The Captain sat down next to Vult.
This assignment was finally working out for him. They were supposed to mislead their quarry in their dreams but instead Vult Vulla had been able to find out information from them. His superiors would be pleased.
“Remember Captain, this is not and exact science. I am only able to work with what my target gives me. I can’t make them tell me anything. I can only put ideas in their mind and hope they respond the way we want.” Vult said.
“Of course Vult, of course. You just do what you do and we can figure out the right questions to ask eventually.” the Captain leaned forward and rubbed his hands together.
He turned to the pilot. “Head back to the Trade Fair, maybe our troops have found our missing Jedi.
Baltis landed the long sleek ship on the roof top landing pad. It was raining heavily. The night was miserable and cold. Baltis put on his overcoat and stepped out into the rain. Tarin stood in the doorway.
“Looks like you got stood up Baltis.” Tarin said.
“No, she’s here somewhere.” he said looking around. It was hard to see anything in the driving rain. The lights of the city created an awful glare on everything that was wet.
“Are you sure? Maybe she changed her mind.” Tarin was feeling spooked.
“Look.” Baltis pointed at a tiny green dot of light at his feet. “She’s here, that’s her gun.”
Tarin took a step back into the ship and rubbed her arm. “What kind of game is she playing?”
“It’s no game Ice Pick.” a woman was suddenly standing in the ships doorway looking at Tarin.
“Baltis.” Tarin said. She needed reassurance about her safety.
“Hello Kllair. Long time no see.” he said calmly.
“Hey Baltis, since when do you work with independents?” Kllair was referring to Tarin. Tarin was widely known in their circles. She worked independently from any assassin guild or group. She was known as Ice Pick because of her quick merciful kills.
“It’s a new galaxy with the Empire in charge of things. We need to make friends where ever we can Kllair.” he said stepping back into the ship.
Kllair was a beautiful woman. She wore a dark blue one piece and a hooded sniper’s cloak. The cloak had photosepters that projected a near perfect invisibility effect under the right conditions, like a rain storm.
She had long blonde hair that she had pulled back in a ponytail to keep it out of the way. She had those haunting eyes. They looked inside you like a predator but they also had a calming effect as well. As if you had been sedated and were about to except your fate no matter what it was.
“Call me Kllair Ice Pick.” She said looking at Tarin.
“It’s Tarin, call me Tarin.” she said.
Baltis closed the hatch. “Where’s the rest of your crew?”
“This is the hard part. It seems they got picked up by some Imperial goons last night. I was hoping you could help me bust them out.” Kllair said as she sat down and put her legs up on the table.
“ Why would we do a thing like that?” Baltis already knew she would have a good reason for them to help her.
“It seems that when I was at Rollo the Hutts compound I got to talking with a drunken Feloid royal. Her name was Cheena Ty.”
Baltis and Tarin looked at each other.
“Any how she was talking about everything. About how she had her old man killed and how there was one reason she did it. There is a book, an old book hidden in her room. It talks about a lie. A very very big lie.” Kllair said as she leaned forward and poured herself a drink.
“What kind of a lie?” Baltis bit.
“It is the true history of the Feloid race. It was written two thousand years ago. The Feloids say they lost all their historical records in the God wars. All part of the big lie. The royals destroyed it all and rewrote it.”
“What does it matter what happened two thousand years ago. They’d just call the book a fake.” Tarin said.
“But it can all be proven by a simple medical test.” Kllair said.
“What can be proven?” Baltis asked.
Kllair stood up and opened the door. “ That they are part human, always have been.”
“You know what you’re saying is crazy. Even if it were true how would finding this book help us?” Baltis asked.
“Leverage, leverage to ensure Feloid support. This knowledge, if provable, would destroy their culture. The royals keep their power because their families were the ones that conquered the Gods. Well what if you could prove they all were genetically created in a lab? No Gods, just test tubes and good old scientists, human scientists at that. It kind of messes with the idea that some of them are better than others. That is powerful stuff to have. If that information got out there would be civil war.” Kllair smiled. “I offer this to you in exchange for your help in freeing my friends. If you don’t want it then I could sell this information to some one else. Either way you are going to help free my crew.”
Baltis looked at Tarin, they knew Kllair had them.
“What’s your plan?”Baltis asked.
If you have enjoyed these stories please check out my first all original book series at Amazon.com. The title is Beyond the Crystal Heaven.
Once again thank you for your support.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 10 September 2013 01:58)