Matt lay in the bunk holding Pep. She was asleep. He had missed her touch and the smell of her hair. He pulled her close as she gave out a quiet whimper. She was suffering from extreme fatigue and had reached her limits of endurance. Rest is what she needed most of all.
Ragg and Ceecee had left them alone in their cabin aboard the freighter as they returned to the base. It had been a very trying past few days for all of them.
Ceecee looked down the hallway to see if the coast was clear. “What do you think will happen to Pep now?” she asked Ragg.
“Your guess is as good as mine right now. All I do know is as far as her attacking me I’m just going to forget it ever happened. When I saw that hole in the mud with all those bones in it I understood everything.” Ragg said.
“What do you mean?” she asked.
Just imagine being born into a world like that. You are treated as a possession and never given anything but pain. Those were more than just bones in the ground. Each body in that hole was a person at one time. Maybe they got sick and died a long slow death because medicine cost too much. Maybe they were a little to slow at doing something so they were beaten to death as an example to the others. Maybe the girl was born with a defect of some kind. I’ve seen places like that before on other worlds and it’s always the same. How can I hold a grudge against someone who has lived like that? Of course she would lash out. I’m just thankful she did as little damage to me as she did.” Ragg said.
Ceecee leaned back and fiddled with the controls on the ceiling. “Pep and me used to talk about our childhood sometimes when we were working. To be honest I did most of the talking. I always complained about never being allowed to be around any boys or having a boyfriend. It never even crossed my mind just how difficult it was for her. The things they must have done to her there must have been horrible. She was so young, just a child really. Did you know she was only thirteen when they sold her as a sex slave? They must have begun training her way earlier than that. It makes me sick to even think about it.” Ceecee said.
“After actually seeing that place I feel really stupid about talking about not having any boys around. She must have wished she had my life. Yeah I feel pretty stupid about that.”
“Well don’t feel to bad Ceecee, you’re the closest thing to a real life friend she’s ever known so you can feel happy about that. I’m sure she new there was no way you could have understood.” Ragg said.
“What do you think will happen now that she has those powers? Do you think she could become dangerous?” Ceecee asked.
“I think Pep is Pep and those powers she has won’t control her. She had a lot of rage inside her but she only has ever used them against people that meant her harm. If they leave her alone I don’t think she’ll harm anyone again. She should probably see if Kang or Lore could help her learn to control them.” Ragg said.
“It’s all still strange to me, all this Force and Jedi stuff. Even my sister’s visits still make me feel strange at times.” Ceecee said.
“Any visits from her lately?” Ragg smiled.
“No not lately, I guess she doesn’t have anything to tell me.” She said shrugging. She knew he meant no disrespect.
They sat in silence for a while watching the stars zip past as they blurred into streams of light.
“You want to fool around?” Ceecee asked.
Ragg looked straight ahead at the lights. “Okay.” he said.
Mykala helped Hudd up the wide steps towards the door at the end of the room. She helped him to sit down on a broken pillar lying on the floor at the top. The door was massive nearly thirty feet tall and twenty feet wide. It was made of wood and held together with huge bronze bands and rivets. She began to think the people who built this place must not have been Feloids but perhaps a race of giant beings long extinct. As she got closer she could see the new inhabitants had modified the door by adding a mechanical device that assisted in opening and closing the huge door. It had a complex data system that needed a code entered before it would open.
“What now?” Hudd asked.
Mykala turned on her light saber and ran it straight down through the device. They heard the locking mechanism release and the door creaked open slowly. She turned off her light saber and looked at it and then Hudd. “I love this thing.” She grinned.
Hudd grinned back but the beating he had taken was beginning to show. They needed to hurry and get out of there.
Mykala leaned in and looked down a long dark hallway. It was too dark to see how high and wide the hallway was but it was their only way out so she helped Hudd back to his feet and they started off down the hall. The tunnel was very long and pitch black. They had gone far enough down the tunnel to the point that there was no light at all except for Mykala’s light saber. The ancients must have built this tunnel as well. They would on occasion come across a huge pile of rock that had fallen from the ceiling. There had been no one to maintain the tunnel for centuries as the pile of fallen rock showed. Mykala was getting more and more worried for Hudd. He was busted up pretty bad and was close to exhaustion. The cold had frozen his fingers and toes to such an extent that he couldn’t feel them any more. He needed dry clothes and rest. They had been traveling down the tunnel for over two hours. This tunnel must be miles long. It was sloping downward so Mykala surmised that it lead to an exit near the bottom.
“Stop, put me down.” Hudd said exhausted. Mykala helped him over to one of the rock piles and sat him on a large rock. She helped him to elevate his broken ankle to ease the pain.
“You need to go on Mykala. We both know it won’t be long before they figure out where we went. They’ll be after us soon and I’m just slowing you down. One of us needs to get out of here and let the others know what happened. I’ll just rest here until you can come back for me.” Hudd leaned back and shut his eyes.
Mykala had been in combat most of her life growing up on Bentoo. Most everyone called it The War Planet there and across the galaxy. Years ago the economy collapsed and a war over resources began. Millions had died there over the years from the non-stop fighting, disease, and starvation. It was nothing new for her to have to leave someone too wounded to continue behind. Things like that happened everyday there. But she wouldn’t leave Hudd under any circumstances. She was one of the last of the Jedi still alive. She had to find a way to save him.
“Okay Hudd no more of that kind of talk. We started this trip together and we’ll finish it together.” Mykala said as she held her light saber high over her head trying to look for anything they could use.
“Look I know I’ve had it. Tell Timtam I’m sorry and I love her.” He said.
“You know what I’m going to tell her? I’m going to tell her that you didn’t love her enough to keep trying. I’m going to tell her that you wanted to die here instead of dying trying to get back to her.” Mykala said angrily.
“Hey look Mykala…” Hudd started to say.
“What? It’s true isn’t it? You’re giving up right?” she said.
“I can’t take it any more,…” he said breaking down.
“Okay Hudd settle down. We both need some rest but we need to get you warmed up first. Mykala pushed her light saber slowly into a large rock. It began to melt and drip with molten stone. She pushed it close to Hudd with her boot and crouched down next to him. She put her hands over the stone and warmed them. Hudd lifted himself up and leaned forward warming his hands too.
“I should have thought of this earlier.” Mykala smiled.
“I’m sorry about all that just then.” Hudd said.
“Forget it. Everyone has a breaking point. I’ve sat and bawled like a baby plenty of times, it’s normal.” Mykala said.
Hudd sat quietly for a minute. “It wasn’t exactly like a baby…” he said.
“Oh yeah, you were a big fat baby alright.” Mykala said smiling.
Hudd looked over and laughed out loud as did Mykala.
The stone continued to warm them and help Hudd’s clothes to dry. Mykala cut into the stone a few more times to keep them warm so they could rest.
Mykala suddenly crouched down and peered into the darkness.
“What is it.” Hudd asked quietly as he tried to get lower.
“Something is moving in the dark down there. I keep hearing something but I can’t make out what it is.” she said.
“Do you think it might be Granic?” Hudd asked.
“Granic?” she asked puzzled.
“Yeah I was hoping it was Granic because I want to punch him in his big mouth one time for sending us here before I die.” He said.
“If it is him you’re going to have to wait your turn.” She whispered.
They heard the sound getting closer. It was footsteps. It sounded like several people walking towards them. Hudd and Mykala crouched lower behind the rock pile.
“Who’s there?” one of the people in the tunnel called out.
“Who wants to know?” Mykala asked.
“We’ll ask the questions.” The voice said.
“Okay, ask away. Just understand we don’t want any trouble. We just want to be on our way.” Mykala said.
“We don’t want any trouble either. We just came to feed the beast.” the voice continued.
Mykala looked at Hudd with an “OOPS” kind of look on her face and smiled.
“We got lost and wandered into this tunnel. My friend is injured and needs help.” she said.
“How did you get lost way down here?” the voice asked.
“We’re looking for Tohklos. We are supposed to be buying something from him.” She replied. Mykala hoped they didn’t realize she hadn’t actually answered their question.
There was no response for a few moments. “Okay, we can help you but you have to step out so we can see you.” The voice said.
“What have we got to loose?” Hudd said. Mykala helped Hudd to his feet and down the pile of rocks. They walked into the darkness in the direction of the voice. Mykala had put away her light saber so these strangers wouldn’t know she was a Jedi. As they neared the feeding crew they could make out four Feloids wrapped in heavy clothing from head to tow. The one in front carried a rocket launcher slung over his back. It was most likely for protection against the beast if it attacked. He also had two blaster pistols stuck in his thick leather belt. The other three appeared to be slaves or prisoners so at once Mykala knew she didn’t have to worry about them. The slaves were chained to a cart with one pulling and two pushing. It was piled high with rotten meat that luckily for them was frozen so there was no odor.
“Can you show us the way out of here? As you can see my friend had a bad fall and I have to find him some help.” Mykala asked as they neared the feeding crew.
The Feloid with the pistols looked them up and down. Mykala smiled and gave him her best “please help me because you’re so strong and I’m just a weak little girl face.”
The Feloid looked around without speaking not sure what to do.
She thought about his two pistols and the rocket launcher. She could easily kill him and take the weapons. If she freed the slaves they might even help her with Hudd and any other resistance the might meet along the way. No, that was how she would have done it before she was a Jedi. She would leave them alone if they didn’t try to stop them.
“Head back the way we came until you see a light hanging from the tunnel ceiling. Just a little further on you’ll see a door that leads to the lower landing pad. They can help you to find Tohklos from there.” He said still having a tone of uncertainty in his voice. He most likely didn’t believe her but he certainly didn’t want to have to fight her way down here all alone. He wasn’t even sure Hudd was really injured. It could all be a trick.
Mykala smiled and thanked him. She took one last look at the Feloid and the slaves. She felt bad leaving them behind but her first priority was getting Hudd home and back to Timtam.
Lionette had spent most of the night sitting up watching Stella sleep. Lionette had insisted on Stella sleeping in her bed that night. Stella had seemed very tired from her journey. Lionette was a little upset that none of her security was able to stop Stella from entering her room. She should have never even been allowed to enter the palace let alone her private quarters. Stella was a Jedi after all and they had many skills that others did not. They could change the perception of ones mind and pass without being noticed. Still Lionette was glad to see her back now that Adda had been exiled. The group would need a new leader and Stella would be the logical choice. It was Stella that had recruited most of the group so she would be obvious choice to lead.
She had thought that Stella had died sometime back. She had been turned to the Dark side and in a battle with her old master, Den Athgar, had fallen down a bottomless cooling shaft and presumed dead. There had been rumors that she been seen by others and was still alive. Now that she was here Lionette wondered where she had been and more importantly what she had been doing.
It would be important to make sure she had changed her ways as had been reported to her. Stella had never officially graduated as a Jedi but she was still one of the most talented unofficial ones left alive. Lionette would give her the benefit of the doubt and re-introduce her to the others in the group. They would all have questions for her as did she.
Bronski had been awake for hours. His plan had worked just as expected. Tarin was still mad at him and wouldn’t even speak to him.
He had to take care of some unfinished business now and he didn’t want Tarin asking a lot of questions. He had made her angry on purpose. Regardless of everything he had said he really did love Tarin. He knew there was only one person alive that could stop that droid from killing her. It would only be a matter of time before the droid would find her. Tarin never should have underestimated its devotion to eliminating its target.
Tarin landed her ship at the base. She opened the cockpit and jumped down. She was still mad at Bronski. He had turned her down and was treating her like a child. Men never did that to her. She was Tarin Farstar. Men would fight to have her but none of them ever dumped her. She walked away from her ship not even looking back at Bronski.
Buck made his way out of the back of the ship and climbed down. He was hungry and thirsty from not eating for the two days he was out cold. Eating and drinking would have to wait just a little longer. He made his way to the back of the hangar deck and into the storage area. Buck walked up to something large stored under a great big tarp. He gave it a good yank and it slid off revealing his old battle frame. It was a machine of war rarely used in these times. The machine was a cross between a battle droid and a suit of armor. The machine stood nine feet tall and was supported by two thick articulated legs. Above the legs and hip mechanism was an armored cockpit where the pilot sat. On either side of the pilot compartment was a mount for heavy weapons. Bronski had heavily modified this version. It could even operate in space and in a tight spot had even been used to attack small craft in space just like a star fighter would do. It had been fitted out for boarding actions the way it was now. On the right side was a large drum like mount that housed six anti-ship missiles. On the other side was a big grappling harpoon used for firing into the hull of the enemy ship and then opening the hooks to keep the harpoon from sliding back out. Mounted just below the cockpit were two laser cannons that fired forward. Also each leg had a grenade launcher connected to the knee joint. Each launcher could carry three large grenades of different types.
He loved this weapon like a youngling loves his first speeder. It was his baby. He knew every inch of the battle frame from years and years of modifications and refits. It was a machine of destruction that he operated as if it was a second skin. It was a reflection of its owner. It was big and battered with most of the original paint faded and flaking off. The paint on the modified parts didn’t even match the original paint making it look like a piece of junk to the average person but it was a machine designed to deal out destruction just like its owner. He would find the droid and fight it. He would be ready for it this time. He would be the one hunting it now.
Bronski talked to the flight officer and found a ship headed back to the planet Tarin and him had just left. He booked passage on it for him and his machine. In three days he would kill the droid or die in the process.
“Get up.” Novuh said to Adda. They had been training all afternoon and Novuh was enjoying teaching her teacher a lesson. Adda wiped her mouth and looked at her hand. She saw her blood smeared across it. Novuh wasn’t pulling any punches anymore. Adda’s defense technique was excellent but she found it lacking against Novuh’s cybernetic arm and legs.
Adda put out her hand for Novuh to help her up but Novuh slapped it away.
“We’re not doing it that way anymore Healer. This is a fight between you and me. Kllair isn’t here right now to protect you’re prissy ass. She won’t be back until tonight. Now get up and fight before I kick the shit out of you.” Novuh said.
Adda jumped to her feet in one quick motion. She was getting angry now. Ever since she joined Kllair’s crew Novuh had made it clear that they weren’t going to be friends. Novuh saw Adda as a threat and wanted her to fail. Novuh wanted to make Adda look bad or even leave.
Adda wiped her mouth again and instead of looking to see if there was more blood she looked Novuh in the eyes.
“Just don’t stand there talking then…hit me.” Adda said.
Novuh smiled and looked at the twins. The twins both ooowed and aaahed at Adda’s challenge coaxing Novuh on.
Novuh circled Adda smiling. She was becoming cocky now and had lost her fear of Adda’s so called Jedi training. Her cybernetic enhancements gave her enough of an edge to beat her. Novuh was naturally more aggressive so it was easy for her to keep Adda on the defensive. As long as Adda was defending herself she wasn’t attacking. Novuh hit Adda in her face with a solid punch from her cybernetic arm. Adda reeled backwards and hit the floor again. Novuh kicked her in her side as she tried to stand flipping her over. Adda tried to push herself up but Novuh kicked her hand out from under her.
“Stay down. You can’t beat me Healer.” Novuh said cruelly.
The twins laughed at Adda as she lay there holding her wrist where Novuh had just kicked it.
Adda looked at the twins as that held their wrists mocking Adda.
“You see all this talk about Jedis and their powers is a bunch of crap. Look at her, she’s pathetic” Novuh said grinning.
“Kick her again.” Nya laughed.
Novuh walked around Adda daring her to try and stand up. Adda lay on the floor cowering.
“What’s going on here?” Kllair ask sternly as she walked into the room.
Novuh stepped away from Adda and waited for the confrontation. She knew she had gone to far this time. Adda was obviously hurt pretty badly.
“It’s my fault Kllair, I slipped and fell flat on my face.” Adda smiled and put her hand up to Novuh.
Novuh realized Adda was not going to tell Kllair what she had done.
Novuh grabbed Adda’s hand and helped her up.
“Novuh if this is your doing…” Kllair started.
“No Kllair really, I slipped.” Adda said interrupting.
Kllair looked at all of them as they stood silently looking back.
“Okay Adda if that’s your story then I’ll let it drop. Now get yourselves cleaned up and go to sleep. We have to move everything to our secondary hideout tomorrow.” Kllair said as she left the room.
Novuh waited until she was sure Kllair was gone. “If you think that you taking the blame to save me changes anything you’re wrong Adda.”
Adda finished washing her face and gently toweled it dry.
“Actually Novuh I did it for me not you.” Adda said stepping closer to Novuh.
“What the Hell does that mean?” Novuh laughed.
“It means that one of these days I’ll be able to figure out a way to beat you. Each time you fight me I learn a little more about you and your weaknesses when you fight. The day will come when I figure out your weakness and I’m going to beat you so badly that you’ll beg me to stop. It will happen Novuh because that’s what you really want. You want to find someone that can control you because you can’t control yourself.” Adda said calmly.
“You’re crazy. I don’t need anyone controlling me. I don’t need anyone at all.” Novuh protested.
“And yet here we are headed down the very path you put us on.” Adda smiled.
The twins laughed at Novuh who was now noticeably angry. Novuh swung at them with her arm but they were too quick for her.
Nya and Vyra ran out of the room still laughing. Adda was standing up straight and defiant holding the cool wet towel to her face.
Novuh regained her composure and smiled at Adda.
“You’re good Jedi. I almost lost it there for a minute. You got inside my head didn’t you? One of those mind tricks I’ve heard so much about I’ll bet.”
“If that’s what you want to believe then you will believe it no matter what I say.” Adda replied.
“You stay out of my head Adda. I don’t care what Kllair says, I’ll kill you if I have to.” Novuh said coldly.
“Novuh I don’t have to get inside your head and mess with it. You’ve already messed it up enough yourself.” Adda said as she turned and followed the twins down the hall.
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.
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Last Updated (Tuesday, 10 September 2013 02:16)